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Covered

Sunday, February 4th, 2018

I am, if the truth be known, an eclectic listener of music. I can jump from Tommy James and Frankie Valli to rock to melodic metal to worship music to classical. There are certain kinds I won’t listen to (country, rap, R&B, and opera to name a few).  Personal preference I know. That is why there are so many genres I suppose.

Last week during our worship music set we sang the following song. I heard it about a year ago sung by a high school student who was worshiping with us before she shipped out to the military.  We have since sung it with our worship team.  I LOVE this song!  If it wasn’t for Good, Good Father, it just may be my favorite.

This is my song of the week. My prayer is it will be meaningful start to your week.  It is a little long in this version but we have shortened it.

 

Father

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

A lot has been written about our earthly father and his influence upon our lives. You know…

“I am who I am today because of my father.” (Positive)

“I am who I am today because of my father.” (Negative)

“My father’s example was one I wanted to emulate.”

“My father’s example was not one I wanted to emulate.”

“I desire to raise my children the same way my father raised me.”

“I desire to raise my children differently than my father raised me.”

I could go on and on. Many people who are much smarter and wiser than me have said, “Your view of God is very often tied to your view of your earthly father.” In my case, I concur. Conditional love and acceptance. AWOL at times. Preoccupied with other things. I could go on but this is not a body slam on my late father.

I know some, many who have come to see me in my office or at a meal, who have screamed for a father who loved them. “What was wrong with me?” “Why couldn’t he just love me the way I was?” “Why did he try to live his life through me?” The litany goes on. Little girls especially need their father to be more than a biological necessity.

During Pastor Appreciation Month (which is also my birthday month) our worship leaders had this wood hanging made for me. I treasure it. I have it displayed on a table in my office. It just might be the first thing people see when they walk by or enter.

The song I’m highlighting today is one of my favorites from which this plague comes. Hope you enjoy it.

 

Religion

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

One of the values of my new blog, Be Transformed,  is the emphasis it places on grace. Actually, since it focuses on the daily devotions found in New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp, it is really only fair to say NMM places an emphasis on grace. I do invite you to join me there-not only in the discussion but also in the daily reading.

But this post is not a plug for Be Transformed.  It may appear that way, but it really isn’t. However…  🙂  Back in October I read a devotion by Derwin Gray called A Never-Ending Climb. I thought it was really good so I clipped it for future use. I saw it again today and decided it was a good one to use today:

Religion, or works-based righteousness, paints a picture of a god sitting atop a high peak, waiting for us to scale the mountain through our good behavior or adherence to religious principles. The more “good” we do the closer we come to approaching our god. If we do something bad, however, the god on top of the mountain turns Zeus-like and throws a lightning bolt to strike us and knock us back down the mountain. After the electric shock wears off and our singed hair stops smoking, we dust ourselves off, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, and start the long trek all over again.

Long story short: the trek of works-based righteousness is a never-ending hill climb. One step up and two back. That to me is what religion is like. To give another picture it is like the hamster in the wheel. “‘Round and ’round it goes, where it stop nobody knows.”

Get off the treadmill. Be done with works-based religion. Get on the GRACE track.

Sea

Sunday, January 21st, 2018

It is easy to feel somewhat insignificant. I believe it is often at the root of much of what ails people, even to the point of taking their own lives. It is sad so many have gotten to the point of not caring. I ache each time I hear of someone who finds their life so overwhelming or so trivial or so uninspiring that they decide it isn’t worth living. Frankly, we haven’t helped that out very much. We idolize people who shouldn’t (like no one should be). We cast aside those who appear to be “less than worthy” of our attention. We lose sight of people being important, no matter who they are. We use people and then wonder why in the world they end up lost and in a world of hurt.

The Christ-follower has the greatest message in the world…the message of a loving God who gave His only Son to give meaning and purpose to life-to lives deemed insignificant. Sometimes I want to shout it from the housetops or take someone by the collar (in love of course… 🙂 ) or look someone straight in the face and say, “You don’t have to do this. You don’t have to feel this way. I know Someone who loves your brokenness and has a way to make you whole.”

For my song this week I want to share an old one from around 2003. I’m on a Kutless kick right now and if I was to choose my favorite song by them it would be the one I’m asking you to listen to. I hope you will take a moment to listen to and read the lyrics. YOU MATTER! YOU ARE IMPORTANT! BUT SO ARE ALL THOSE OTHERS IN THE SEA OF FACES.

Run

Sunday, January 7th, 2018

In my message Sunday I talked about God bringing dead men back to life (spiritually). One of the essentials of that is allowing God to “breathe” into us. Ezekiel 36 talks about how God wants to take away our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh. Then in chapter 37 we find the amazing story of dead men’s bones coming to life.

It is not easy to stay strong. It is not easy staying committed. It is not easy making time for the Father. That is one of the reasons why I am doing my other blog Be Transformed. Being transformed takes place on a daily basis. It is not a once-in-a-lifetime hyper-jacked event. It is not an emotional experience. To be candid I see it as a “daily plodding.” Not that I see having a relationship with Jesus as a daily plod, but that I see a relationship as a daily “work in progress.” “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” the Bible says. That is not a works-based salvation; it is an awareness of the need for awe and respect and reverence for God.

Since I have my other blog to write some serious thoughts, I want to be a little creative with Cycleguy’s Spin. I’m thinking of calling Monday’s entries “Music Monday” where I share a song that “speaks” to me. Given my state of mind right now spiritually; my focus in my sermons and blog; I’d like to ask you to listen to this song.  The lesson is “pointed.”

I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Breath

Monday, December 18th, 2017

One of our teenagers sang a couple years ago. Scared. Nervous. Fairly new to singing, at least outside her home. She has grown up into a beautiful young lady with a lovely smile, a more “open” personality, and more active singing role in the school choir.

Two years ago she sang Breath of Heaven and did a lovely job. After two years of more public singing and some voice lessons (from Hanna), Kaedence will be singing this Christmas Eve morning. I have asked her to sing Breath of Heaven again. I’m looking forward to it!  Here is the song she will be singing in case you haven’t heard it before.

What a difference a breath makes!

Messiah

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

In an effort to slow down some last week and over the next couple of weeks, I’m continuing my “musical” posts. No, it is not me singing. You DON’T want that. 🙂

One of our young ladies, Hanna, has already been featured in the post Noel. She will be singing that as a solo. She will also be leading our worship team in another song which has become a favorite of ours. It is called Messiah. Personally, I like Hanna’s version better than this one, but this is the original.

Messiah: Long-awaited. Longed for. Desperately needed. Here for all.

Plans

Friday, November 24th, 2017

My take on the old adage of “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” is simple: “The best laid plans of men often go down the tubes.”  I can’t even begin to count (I only have 10 fingers and 10 toes) how many times I have made plans only to watch them fall apart {translated: blow apart}. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against making plans. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants a lot on a daily basis, but I also know there are times planning definitely needs to happen!

Being a nomad in ministry was never my plan. But it happened. We moved from Grayson, KY (college) to Akron, OH, to Kirkpatrick (Marion),OH, to Massillon, OH, to Fortville, IN, to Danville, OH, to Terre Haute, IN, to Sandusky, OH, to W. Market St in Spencer, IN, to our current address of 563 E. North St to ???? (Well, I hope nowhere else).  🙂 It seems like in a couple of them we no sooner put our stakes down than we were moving our tent again.

There are times God’s plan is clear as a bell, but often it is cloudy at best. Seeing mud would sometimes be clearer. But I do know this: no matter the circumstance, I know God ALWAYS has my best in mind. Always.  Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way.”

My sermon Sunday concludes my short 3 sermon series on “I am Thankful” by being thankful for His Plan. I’m having a special guest Sunday, a dear friend. I don’t want to say “old friend” because he may take that wrong and since he is a Black Belt in TKD…I don’t think so. 🙂  He has some interesting stories to tell about God’s leading when he and his wife moved like a nomad as He opened doors in really amazing ways. Opening one of those doors gave me the privilege of meeting he and his family in 2007. Say a prayer for Ryan (techgeek) Sunday.  Thanks.

Patience

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

Okay…before you think I’m going to go from being a friend to meddling 🙂  I want to put you at ease. I’m not going to rehash the age old adage of “patience is a virtue” and stuff like that.

Let me take it another direction.

Several words are used to describe or define what characteristic of God I am speaking about Sunday: longsuffering (the old King Jimmy word) or patience. We like to talk about God’s patience because it speaks of longevity. You know…I can keep doing and doing wrong and God is patient with me. People keep putting off salvation because they want to believe God is patient and even after death His patience will be experienced.

God is a god of perfect love, one with an incredible amount of patience. I should know: I’m typing this. I used to think God was this demanding judge, standing with a paddle in His hand. Psalm 103 paints a totally different picture of God.  That does not sound at all like a God who just can’t wait to get His hands around your throat! Nor does it sound like a God who can’t wait to throw darts at your picture. God’s love for His people knows no limits. And I am thankful for that!

But don’t be fooled. There will come a day when God’s patience will run out and a less favorite attribute will become a reality: His wrath. That is another subject for another day.

I would appreciate your prayers for this Sunday’s worship. Thanks.

Dubious

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Some memories are, shall we say, dubious. My post today is in memory of one of those dubious anniversaries-ones that remind you of something you are not so fond of.

One year ago today this happened to me.  The date is today. The day is yesterday. So I guess it depends on how you look at anniversary’s as to how you will see this. Doesn’t matter though. It happened and it began a spiral downward in the health department but it also began a very, very slow process of spiritual awakening and renewal (which actually took on a more earnest effort in February.

I wanted to ride yesterday and today but the weather has not cooperated (nor has my life). I was busy from the time I got up to the time I laid my head on the pillow yesterday. Today, we host Dine with a Doc and then Jo and I are taking off for Sandusky, OH to visit her sister. Things are really improving there and we need to help her get a new washer/dryer (and be there for the delivery) and get her duplex ready for when she comes home.

I wanted to ride past the scene and stop for a moment of gratitude for God’s protection. I realize some will say, “Well, if God protected you why did He allow it to start with?” Fair question and all I can say is, “I don’t know. He could have but chose not to.” But I also don’t think He put His finger on the driver and said, “Hit him!” Some people are either just evil or distracted. I consider His protection because it could have been worse. He missed my spine by two inches. I shiver at what the two possibilities are with that. Yes, I just had surgery in July which was required due to a bone fragment laying on a nerve in my spine, but the reality is I could have been paralyzed with 2 more inches. So, in my case, I relish God’s protection.

The saga is ongoing. I suspect they will never find who did it. I am okay with that. He/she has to live with it. Will I ever be back to the way I was? No. Physically, I now have limitations. Mentally, I sometimes relive it and realize how close I came. Spiritually, it began a good process. It still has not been settled with the insurance company (and who knows when that will be? I refuse to get a lawyer.) So it is before me. Or is that behind me?

No matter how you look at it though, it is a dubious anniversary. One I’m grateful to be celebrating. And I can also say I love Jo more today than I ever have. She’s my “knight” in shining armor. I put her through the wringer this past year and she stood solid as a rock. Cried a bit. Okay…a lot. But she stood strong next to me. For that, I will always be grateful.

Jo’s sister does not have wifi so I may be out of the loop for the next couple of days. I’ll use my phone to approve comments but I despise using it to make comments. Please be patient. And thanks for your prayers.