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Reason

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Not reason as in intellectual “reasoning.”

But reason as in “why I do what I do” or “did what I did.”

This past Sunday I spoke about shame and its effect upon our lives and upon our thinking. I opened with the following illustration:

John Wilkes Booth believed in slavery, but he did not lift a finger to save it. The South had lost the war it fought to save slavery, and he had been too much of a coward to do anything for the cause. His cowardice shamed him. “I despise myself,” he said and went out looking for a chance to escape his shame. The chance came when a British play called My American Cousin opened at Ford’s Theater, and it was rumored that the president would attend. Abraham Lincoln was a sacrifice to shame.

So professionals have been asking the question-then and now-are people ashamed because they do bad things, or do people do bad things because they are ashamed? Most students of shame point to monsters like Hitler, Saddam Hussein and others like them as examples. Most every monster was a disowned child-abuse or abandoned-or in some other cruel way made to feel unworthy and unwanted.

That is not justification for their inhumane acts, but it does give us some insight into them, and others like them.

And us. You and me. Seemingly normal (so we say) πŸ™‚ people.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture which tends to think “I’m entitled toΒ  (name it).” The whole entitlement mentality needs to stop-at home; at church; at sports; and play. Let it begin with me.

Countdown

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

No…I am not going to play one of my favorite “secular” songs for you. I usually save that for the last post of the year or the first post of a year.

It’s not the countdown that is already beginning around here for the first day of school. (August 8th…seriously?)

It’s not the countdown toward the Pittsburgh Pirates march to the World Series. (No comment from the peanut gallery).

It’s another type of countdown. One that ends with a request.

As many of you know, I was hit by a car going about 60 mph while riding my bike on November 7, 2016. I rebounded pretty quickly from that… or so I thought. About 2 months ago my left hip started hurting and since then I have been through 4 diagnoses- with the last one the one that matters. A sciatic nerve issue. Nope. A slightly herniated disc (somewhat close). An unbalanced sacrum. (Possible but not the culprit). The final one involved an MRI which showed a bulging disc and bone spurs which were combining to squeeze the nerve in my vertebrae. The hit-n-run did not cause it but did accelerate it. Long story short I’ll have surgery on Monday, July 24th. They will be going in to shave off the bulging part of the disc and shave the spurs to open space for the nerve. People ask me if I’m nervous. The answer is no. If they knew the pain I was in; the sleep I wasn’t getting; the effort it takes to get dressed; and a myriad of other things, they wouldn’t ask that question. I’m looking forward to it. I trust my doctor. I trust my nurses. I trust Jo to take care of me afterwards. Most of all, I trust God to guide the hands and eyes of those doing the surgery. There can always be complications…I choose not to think of that. I choose to look forward to resuming my life. I will be out of commission for at least 30 days, i.e. no cycling, no lifting, no bending at the waist (may be the hardest of all), and generally taking it easy.

There is one downside to it right now. And here is where you come in. No meds. That means (in my case) no ibuprofen for 2 weeks prior to surgery.Β  I abhor pain medicine. The doctor gave me a nerve-deadening med which helped zero…or so I thought. It may have been helping more than I thought. Needless to say I could use some prayers as I wait for the surgery, not for my fear (because I have none) but for some pain relief. And you can also be praying that I will be able to rebound quickly. Thanks.

Whirlwind

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

The definition of a whirlwind is:

“a small rotating windstorm of limited extent”

“a confused rush: whirlΒ  *a whirlwind of meetings

The weekend and then yesterday was just that. Have you ever asked yourself “Where did the summer go?” Well, I had one of those weekends. Busy from the get-go I flew through the weekend with barely a stop. Sure some of it was my doing: I rode my bike some on Saturday (it was a tough choice but I twisted my arm). But the rest of it was just part of the tornado of my life.

But Monday (yesterday) was way out of the ordinary. I woke up at the normal time (3:50) which some people call “O dark 30.” My back pain takes away any chance of me staying or laying in bed to relax. So I got up, had my devotion time, and got Jo up to go the Y.Β  After a shower and short reprieve, we took off for Ohio (a 4 hour trip made longer by old people stops) πŸ™‚Β  We picked our grandson up and then turned around and came back home with him in tow. He is going to spend a few days with us. (The big discussion last night was which movie to see: [DespicableMe3 (Gag) or Cars3 (Yeah)] Bet you can’t tell which one I am voting for!!Β  After the movie is lunch, then he loves to play the Wii (since the Y is closed). I’m hoping for a ride. I get a one day reprieve, although I do have to make an hour away trip to our church camp to visit some campers. Then Thursday, we get to do the whole “drive to Ohio to drop him off so we can turn around and come back” drill.

You know what? I would do it all again just to have some time with him because I know he will soon be getting to the age of “I don’t want to spend any time with my grandparents.” So I’ll take it while I can.

And what do you plan to do on your 4th? Or what did you do on your 4th?Β  I’m going to miss the salmon on the grille. πŸ™

UpdatedLook

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

If this is your first time to my blog then you will say, “What’s the big deal?” But if you have been a reader of any length (one day counts) then you will notice some big changes around. Several things were in operation.

First, I tire of the same thing. I like change. Not just for the sake of change for change’s sake but if there is a purpose, by all means, CHANGE! I had long been wanting to change the look of my blog but had to find the time and give my mind a chance to form concrete ideas.

Second, I needed time to do it. I am technologically-challenged so I rely (very) heavily on Ryan (techgeek). Ryan and his family just moved about 1/2 hour away and while we have had a few meals together, finding an extended time to deal with the blog was an adventure in futility. Until last night when Jo, Tami and I went to their house for a meal and a visit. After the meal Ryan and I sequestered ourselves in his office (with one of his monitors as big as a TV screen. BTW: he has three monitors for his work) and pounded out the new banner and look. I had ideas and pictures; Ryan had the know-how and the brains.Β  That is how my Sanguine personality (ideas with no clue how things work) combines with his Melancholy personality (perfectionist given to details).

I wanted my blog to represent me more. I hope I am never pictured as a hoity-toity big shot pastor. Get that thought out of your mind completely. I’m an everyday “joe” (or Bill) who loves life and loves doing what God has called me to do. As the tag line says: I am a Christ-follower, husband, father, pastor and road cyclist. It is true the banner does hit more of the cycling and even some advocacy, but that is who I am.Β  If you want to know who I really am, click on the About in the right column. You will even see a picture of me and my lovely bride. She’s much prettier than I am. πŸ™‚

On the right bar you will see three badges I am passionate about: OVCF (the church I pastor); RoadID (which was used in my second bicycle wreck); and 3FeetPlease (an advocacy for safe distance between cars/trucks and cyclists). Browse the sites. I’ve streamlined my blog for faster loading and have also taken out extra information no one really gives a rip about. πŸ™‚

I hope you like it. But most of all, thanks for reading.Β  I have written over 5600 blogs. No wonder my fingers are beginning to curl up. They are tired. But, Lord willing, I plan to keep blogging for as long as God gives me ideas.

Unexpected

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Lots has been happening this week. So much that it has kept me from posting on my own blog. I’m not sure how I feel about those kinds of weeks. On one hand I say, “I’d rather be busy than bored.” I would probably hear a bunch of hearty “Amen’s.” At the same time I will hear a bunch of “Amen’s” from those who say, “I’d rather sit around and be bored.” πŸ™‚

In the life of a pastor, as for many of you, things crop up which require immediate attention and sometimes cannot be delayed. I didn’t have much happening this week. It is the last week of school for our local kids so that always raises the bar of stress for many. My week started pretty innocuous leading me to think, “Hey! It looks like a pretty slow week.” Ever heard the saying, “You speak too quickly”? That one describes the rest of this week.

Maybe another word is better: UNEXPECTED.

A counseling appointment. Unexpected. An emergency surgery over an hour away. Unexpected. A trip/visit that took almost the whole day. Unexpected. A PT appointment where the diagnosis and treatment were not what I wanted to hear. Unexpected. Power outage at the office on Thursday morning. Definitely Unexpected (and ill-needed).

Life is full of “unexpected’s.” You have them. I have them. How could we possible go through life without them?

There is another unexpected but expected event. The unexpected is Jesus coming back. We have no clue when that will happen. The expected is Jesus coming back. He said He would and I believe Him. And who knows? Maybe it will be during one of those unexpected events in my own life. I’m okay with that.

Jo and I leave tomorrow for northern Indiana where I have been asked to perform a wedding for a couple. The young lady attended OVCF until college and then a job took her away. So I will basically be incognito this weekend. I not only have the wedding; we return Sunday to attend two high school graduation parties of two of the coolest high school young men I know. I EXPECT both of them to excel in their college years and in their chosen professions: one to study optometry and the other will be commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the Air Force upon graduation. I feel a little out of my league. πŸ™‚

But I’ll see you when I get back. Have a great weekend. Please pray for Ryan as he preaches for me.

MDRecap

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

In my last post I asked for prayer for several folks and ended with saying my next post (this one) would be a recap of Mother’s Day. If you look here you will see I had help Sunday. I asked three women to speak alongside me. I thought I would give a synopsis of what they spoke about.

But first, they all did a phenomenal job! First to last. I could have totally stayed out of the picture (but I couldn’t) and it would have been fine.

AMY HAMLIN

Amy has been married to a phenomenal man with a very muscular physique (so he says) named Dan (is that good enough Dan?) for 21 years; a mother of 2 boys and a girl; and takes her desire to follow Jesus seriously. Amy spoke about Hannah, the mother of Samuel, who gave her long-awaited son to God. She and Daniel had waited over 7 years so Hannah became very alive to her. Eventually, Hannah’s (and Amy’s) waiting was fruitful and a son was born. Amy did an excellent job of tying in waiting on God and faith. {Note: My apologies to Amy. My original said “close to 18 years” but Dan said, “I know Amy looks young but it has been 21 years.”} I also apologize to Amy for underestimating her time with Dan. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚Β  And in case you can’t tell, I love these guys.

DIANA MARKLAND

I happen to know Diana pretty well. I work with her everyday. Diana has been married almost 30 years and has two sons. I asked her to speak on being a “warrior woman.” Conversations we have had over the past year or so precluded me asking her on that topic. She has a picture in her office I bought her of a warrior woman.

Diana spoke about being a woman who fights for her marriage, her children, her life…like a warrior. It was very inspirational and challenging to the women who were here.

JO GRANDI

I happen to know this woman!Β  This June will be 44 years together and that love has brought 2 adult daughters, a son-in-law we love as if he is our own, and of course, the best grandson in the world. (And no, I am not prejudiced! Just the facts). πŸ™‚ Anyway, Jo spoke…haltingly at times…about dealing with my 2 bicycle wrecks and the possibility I could have died on either one, especially the last one. (The face plant and helmet split in three places is a dead giveaway). Jo spoke about feeling “closed in on,” of being rushed before the wreck and how the wreck caused us to slow down and breathe. She closed with a video. Enjoy! I cannot tell you how proud I was of her.

Actually, I was so pleased with all three ladies. I could see a “fear” in them of standing before people, but I also saw a strong confidence because they were God’s spokesperson for that time.Β  If you would like to hear their talks you can go to the church’s website and listen to the podcast. The strange guy’s voice you hear is mine. πŸ™‚

It was a good and enriching day. Thanks Amy, Diana, and Jo for making it extra special. Now…next year? Look out ladies! I’ll probably be avoided for the whole year now.

Enjoyable

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

There are a lot of things about my job I absolutely love.Β  I can honestly say there have been very few times I have disliked or not wanted to come to my job. It has been that way for over 40+ years and never has ministry been more enjoyable and fun than the past 11 1/2 at OVCF. Except for Fridays (which is my day off), I think I can count on one hand the number of times I just wanted to stay in bed and not go to work. I love the people. I love the challenges. I love the victories. I love the defeats (they have been few but have been tremendous learning experiences). I love the two people I work with almost on a daily basis.

But this past year something really caught me by surprise on the joy end. First, I’ll show you the picture:

Real Men Read (RMR) is a program where men from the community go into a local school once a month and read a story to the children. This past year I have had the privilege of reading to Mrs. Erica Lee’s Kindergarten class at Spencer Elementary School. I have thoroughly, thoroughly, (did I say thoroughly) enjoyed myself. I’ve read different books each month. I even read a very long Dr. Seuss book two months ago and the kids sat and listened.

Well…RMR actually ended last month but I wanted one more chance to read. So I approached Mrs. Lee about me finding a book to read (it helps to have a Kindergarten teacher who lives in my house) and visiting her class one more time.Β  Several months ago one of the little girls had a birthday and had cupcakes but I had to leave. So I asked Mrs. Lee if I could read and then bring cupcakes in as a treat. She loved the idea so today I become Mrs. Lee’s K class’s favorite person! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ The wise part of Mrs. Lee is to set it for close to the last thing of the day and then send them home.Β  Now THAT is a very wise Kindergarten teacher. Sugar them then send them home. LOL

Oh…the book I’m reading? Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes. Notice some connection?

I have volunteered to read again next year. After this year, it is one of my anticipated events for the next school year.

Potpourri

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Every once in a while I like to do a random post. I pick items that are usually unrelated and give you a piece of my mind life. I can’t give you a piece of my mind because I can ill afford to lose much. πŸ™‚

Life has been sort of hectic around these parts lately. Ryan, our youth pastor, and his family were gone for a much-needed and much-deserved vacation. They were fostering two children (ages 1 & 3) for over a year and it was an emotional and taxing time for them. I’m glad they were able to get away.

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As a result of them being gone, Ryan asked me to teach the Sunday evening ROOTS lesson. Now… understand: ROOTS is…are you ready for this?…Jr and Sr High youth. Yeah. It has been since 1982 or so since I stepped into a Jr/Sr High class to teach. But the kids are good kids and I had a good time.Β  I’d say thanks to the young people but they don’t read this so it would be wasted. πŸ™‚

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It is funny (not haha funny) how I thought the hit and run incident in November would be over long before the bicycle wreck in February. For those who may not know, I was hit by a hit ‘n run driver as I rode my bike on November 7th. Other than a huge hematoma which developed and some definite soreness (and 7 weeks sleeping my chair and not the bed) I thought I was done. Nope. After landing stiff armed on the asphalt I now have shoulder issues. Where he hit me (missing my spine by 2 inches) and sending me though the air with “the greatest of ease” and landing on my hip, I now have hip issues which will be looked at next Monday. The good side is the collarbone and ribs seem to be healing well!! πŸ™‚

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I am leaving today for Pennsylvania to see my brother, Rob & his wife, Joy, and my dad (nursing home with dementia).Β  We will be stopping off tonight to see a certain young man in Ohio (and his parents). I’d sure appreciate your prayers for Jo & I as we travel. I’ll be approving comments by my phone but not much else.

Thanks for reading my ramblings. Have a great rest of the week.

 

3Feetplease

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

ADVOCACY

I think deep in the heart of all of us is something we are passionate about. Sometimes that passion is self-driven, i.e. something sticks to us like glue and we become an advocate for it. Sometimes it is need-driven, i.e. I don’t like the sex trafficking issue so I become an advocate against it. Sometimes something happens to us that “drives” us to not being able to leave it alone.

Things like best friends being killed by distracted drivers. Things like being “buzzed” then given the finger when you motion with open arms. Things like being stalked by a big diesel pickup then being covered in black smoke as he “accelerates.”

Things like bike wrecks caused by a hit and run driver. I’m pretty sure most of you are aware the latter happened to me on November 7, 2016. So has being buzzed and covered in black smoke. It was the former, though, which has led me to a web site and to become an advocate. The site is 3feetplease.com. (It is being overhauled and the new look is to be ready by the end of the week).Β  Below are some of the items available. (There is also a T-shirt which I will have to include in another post).

I rode for years without ever having trouble with a car (except for nuisance from jerks)…until that November 7th date last year. A person’s perspective changes a lot when he is the victim. I plan to become an advocate for the 3 Feet Law in Indiana and with help from Bob Heaton and Rod Bray I hope it becomes a LAW in Indiana. Will it stop it? Probably not. But drivers need to know the law and that there are consequences to disobeying it.

Someday

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

I was sitting in my chiropractor’s office Friday and since I had forgotten to bring something to read (DUH!), I picked up a Men’s Health magazine. I ran across an article about a trainer named Bobby Maximus. (Sort of reminds me of Gladiator.Β  πŸ™‚ )Β  I give you that, not as a stamp of approval on Maximus, but as a “give credit where credit is due” thing. Anyway, they had some sayings which Maximus is fond of using.Β  Several of them struck a chord…one I’ve heard before: “Do what’s right, not what’s easy.”

But the one that stayed with me so much I wrote it down and use it now is this:

There are 7 days in a week. ‘Someday’ is not one of them.

It is easy getting into that mode-whether we talk about our physical condition; our exercise program; a relationship we want to cultivate; a goal we want to realize; and especially our relationship with God. I don’t really need to go into detail as to each of these modes, so to speak. We all know how it applies to our physical condition or an exercise program, etc.

I do find it somewhat disconcerting when I consider how I have used the “Someday excuse” when it comes to cultivating my relationship with God. “Someday I will have that Quiet Time.” “Someday I will pray.” “Someday I will learn that verse.” Someday. Someday. Someday. And Someday never gets anything accomplished.

I’ve written about my two bike wrecks. No need to go into them again. If you want to read about it go here. But those two wrecks have taught me some serious lessons…one of them is don’t use “Someday” as an excuse to get things done which need done. Don’t keep putting things off.Β  For example, Jo & I are in a much better place than we have been for years, largely because of this philosophy.Β  Talking more. Hugging and snuggling more. Kissing more. I’ll stop there. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚Β  (I know Tami…TMI)

Don’t keep saying “Someday.”