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Sunday, February 12th, 2017

Random thoughts from Sunday:

Any time I have gone away, I have always tried to come home either later Sunday or sometime Monday or Tuesday. I was reminded again of why. We went away from Wednesday through Friday. I made it home in time (45 minutes to spare) to take tickets at the high school basketball game. I slogged through Saturday’s preparation for my sermon. While the sermon was done physically, the spiritual part of me needs Saturday to get it in gear. Nope…didn’t happen. I like coming home the early part of the week since it means I will have time to prepare myself. Today was one of those days when it was a “little bit of me and a whole lot of God.”

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A few thoughts from Sunday’s message are pertinent to Christ-followers:

“Our salvation is the most important thing about us. If we have it, we are wealthy beyond belief. If we don’t, we are most to be pitied.” James McDonald

An unchanged life is a sign of an unchanged heart.  (Me)  This debunks the myth that I can live anyway I want and still call myself a Christian.

Real knowledge is not knowing something; it is in knowing Someone, a Person…Jesus Christ. (Me)  All the knowledge in the world will amount to nothing without a personal knowledge of Jesus.

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I have been asked to consider something wa-a-a-a-a-y out of my comfort zone or even my “desire” zone. I’m not at liberty to say what it is, but if you wouldn’t mind saying a prayer, God knows what it is about. Interestingly enough, Tami (my daughter), has approached me with an opportunity she has which will require stretching. You might want to include her. I hope to link to her blog this week as she writes about it. Thanks ahead of time.

There is some Sunday meandering for you. Random I know.

Update

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

My presence on my blog and anyone else’s for that matter is not disinterest…trust me. I have taken the time to read other blogs but not comment. There is a reason.

Just read this post.

I thought I would give an update on my status with a comment from my sermon. It is still surreal at times when I allow myself to think about it, how close I came to having a total life change. I’ve calculated that change to be about 2-3″ in length. His mirror hit me on my left butt cheek (sorry if that offends you) and spun me up and then down. The injuries were bad enough to give me a huge hematoma on my left hip and blacken my whole left leg and thigh down to my knee and cause swelling to my foot. (I have pictures!  🙂 )  The reality I have faced it this: 2-3″ to the right and I am either paralyzed or dead.  So, I tell people I am bruised and sore but alive. I took one day away from work and God has given me the strength to get through the rest of my tasks: office work; a wedding rehearsal/event; preaching twice; attending White Christmas, a musical we had bought tickets for in the summer at the IU Auditorium with some friends; and continuing this week with all my work and another wedding coming this weekend.

I still believe God’s hand was on me. Some have asked about that. Sunday, I said this: “God’s love is not a pampering love; it is a perfecting love.” God doesn’t get up every day asking, “How can I make Bill happy today?” I didn’t do that with my children; He doesn’t do that with His. I do believe His is a transforming love. I will not always understand the “why” of an event. That really is not my place anyway. According to Romans 8:29 His purpose is “to conform me to the image of His Son.” No matter what that takes…that is what I long for. This, as I see it, is just one more step in my adventure through life.

So there’s the update. Please understand that I am reading but have very little time to comment. But I do thank you from the bottom of my heart for your words of encouragement and prayer. I’m not ignoring anyone. it is where I find myself right now. 

LIFE

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

I had planned on giving you an update of our Day of Service but LIFE has a way of throwing Clayton Kershaw curve balls at you. Yesterday (Monday) I was riding my bike about 2:30 in the afternoon. I had gotten a late start due to thngs at the office. I was a little over 4 miles away from the church building (where I keep my bike) when out of nowhere a speeding early model Ford Escape-like SUV decided to use me as a bumper car. It is so surreal-terrifying; anger for being hit and left; not sure what or if anything is broken; searching for your phone to take a picture then call 911; to watching a hematoma blow up to ungodly proportions on your hip; to spending 6 hours in an ER waiting for X-rays ; to being so sore & knowing tomorrow is going to hurt worse; to gratitude for friends close by & those far away (people you don’t even know) telling your daughters they are praying for their dad; to unlimited thanks to a good, good Father it was not worse-all go through my mind even as I write this.

I am grateful for the outpouring of support I have received. This is one of a cyclist’s worst nightmare (paralysis being the worst) and tears roll down my cheeks as I write this out of gratitude for God’s grace & protection. I do hope they find the perpetrator-not for the purpose of revenge or medical bills help-but so he/she will NEVER do this again. People who leave scenes like this are cowards of the highest order. Did they do it on purpose? Did they hit me then realize it and run? Were they texting or playing with their phone or looking down? Did they realize what they did & run? Are they even aware of what they did? Questions which will probably go unanswered.

I may never know the answers to those questions. It bugs me but I am more concerned now with fellow cyclists who face the same cowardice & recklessness.

In the end, I’d appreciate your prayers for a full & complete recovery. Share the road folks. Cyclists have as much right to be on it as cars do. Stay alert while driving.

12

Monday, October 17th, 2016

This coming Sunday we will celebrate our 12th anniversary as a church community. I shared the following this past Sunday. I realize many of you who read this are not part of OVCF, but there are some who do, some of whom were not here Sunday to hear this. So I thought I would include it here, especially for them.

“Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power. Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness.” Psalm 145:4,7

I want to ask you a personal favor. Would you email me at pastor@ovcf.org a paragraph or two about a time when God has used the ministry of Owen Valley Christian Fellowship to bless or help you? You might share about an individual who helped you, a conversation you had, a youth group event, mission trip, Bible Study, or a sermon. If you choose, you can ask to keep it anonymous. The best reflection we could have for our 12th Anniversary is our church family sharing stories of God’s wonderful goodness being lived out by His people through OVCF over the last 12 years.

The plan is to share some of your responses this Sunday, but also to share throughout the whole month of November about God’s goodness and our gratitude for His goodness. Your responses will also be an added bonus during our prayer time when we pray for the Educator, college student, etc.  It will be a great way to say thanks.

Perhaps you are reading but are not a part of the OVCF family in Spencer. Why not do this for your church/pastor and let him know of your gratitude? Why not start here and tell me what you are thankful for?

Roads

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

LifeAsAnAdventure2

“Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.”  (Doc Brown in Back to the Future)

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost in “The Road Not Taken.”

When I started working on this sermon a couple of months ago, I had the Scripture (Psalm 1), came up with the title, then allowed my mind to drift (that happens quite often actually) when a song came to my mind: “Life in the Fast Lane” by the Eagles. I hadn’t heard it in a number of years and thought maybe I could use it. Aaaaah no. The morals and language are atrocious so while I stuck with the title I made the wise (but easy) decision not to include the song. 🙂  My title? “Life in Which Lane?”

Psalm 1 gives two very distinct and two very divergent lanes to choose to walk. I’m not sure there is a clearer distinction made anywhere else in Scripture with this clear-as-a-bell comparison. Simply put: Righteous vs. Unrighteous. Godly vs. Ungodly.

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Update: the group in New Orleans has had a hot, sweaty, and sometimes very wet week. They were able to finish the shed which another group had started for the 2nd Rose of Sharon Church. Half of today and all of Friday is a free day to visit and look around. They will be making the long trip home on Saturday.

Please pray for both the sermon and their safety. Thanks.

Update

Monday, July 25th, 2016

When I wrote yesterday’s post I knew very little about the mission Jo and all the others were going to work at.

After (if my calculations are correct…and they may be off an hour or two) a 14 hour trip on Saturday and another 6-7 on Sunday they arrived at the Team Effort base. They stayed in dorms the Methodist church built for groups such as ours. There is one other group there.

Today (Monday) they have been working at 2nd Rose of Sharon Church, an African American church (I am guessing). The pastor is A-A. They have been building a shed for them. Jo says the church building itself needs work but their group is tasked with the shed. She sent me pictures and they showed everyone pitching in. She said the young people who went are amazing. That is so cool to hear!

We texted back and forth and one of the things she said was this area was hit hard by Katrina (as was all of Louisiana). The water was over the roofs of the houses. You know…pictures can tell a story but until you see it up close, I’m not really sure the picture is accurate.

The work has been hard. It has been crazy, steamy hot. But there is also a sense of satisfaction of a job well done. Plus the whole idea of serving Jesus by helping others. So please continue praying for the 9 I mentioned in yesterday’s post. Thanks.

Asking

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

Not much to write this particular post. That is not saying I have nothing to say.

Just ask those who know me.

“Bill? Nothing to say? Are we talking about the same Bill?”

I’m just asking for prayers this particular post. Not for me.

Yesterday (Saturday) 9 people in two vehicles took off for New Orleans (NO) to do some mission work with an organization called Team Effort. NO is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. It was unclear exactly what the group would be doing. Building. Clean up. Landscaping. Just don’t know.

However, included in that group of 9 was some very precious cargo…Jo (my wife to you who are uninitiated). When Amanda, a wife of the father and two children on the trip was unable to go due to her mother’s health crisis, Ryan E. asked Jo to go as a chaperone for the 3 girls. So they took a Ford Excursion and my Frontier. It will be hot and humid and stinky and dirty then be followed up with a long, long trip home Saturday. Here is the list of people:

Jo

Ryan East (our youth pastor)

Ryan S with two of his teens, Keegan and Aleah.

Donnie and MaryRose (step siblings)

Elizabeth (a Freshman girl & friend of MR)

Josiah (a Taylor University sophomore who has been helping Ryan this summer)

It will be a challenge for all. Thanks for praying.

FewWords

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Were you born under a rock?

“Of course not,” you say. And that would be true (unless you are a worm or a snake).

I ask that because only if you were born under a rock are you oblivious to the ugly scene which has taken place in this town I have come to love. Spencer, IN. Yes, that Spencer.

The horrendous details which every newscast and every newspaper carried this past week, weekend and into the first of this week tell of one of most heinous crimes one could imagine. I was in town for the first day of it but in Ohio for the next couple days. But I was here when all the gory details emerged. I sat in a hospital waiting room with a lady whose husband was having surgery Monday and watched as it flashed across the screen-not once but multiple times. I commented. I cried for a little girl’s pain. I finally shut off all exposure to the story. NO MORE!

I hate to admit I had little sympathy for the perpetrator and struggle with it for the little girl’s family. How could he? Why did he? How could the family…?  Lots of questions.

Then God showed me my sin (which is huge in its own right). My judgmentalism. My desire for vengeance.  My definite lack of grace. Hmmmm…something I preach and talk about so often. The perpetrator is redeemable by the blood of Jesus. The consequences of his actions must be dealt with judicially. The consequences of his sin have already been dealt with…on a cross over 2000 years ago.

“Forgive me Father for forgetting my sin is heinous in Your eyes. It took Your Son’s life to take care of mine. Let me remember it did so for him also.”

Few words can describe what took place last week. Even fewer words can describe what took place on a cross. One more word: would you mind praying for our community and the church as we sift through all of this? Thanks.

Squandered Resources

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

 

itiswritten

This post is not about the environment or the government or any other “ment.”

I suspect most of us have heard stories like this somewhere along the line:

An old woman, known as “Garbage Mary,” lived in a small town in Florida. Every day she would be seen dressed in her rags, walking the streets, scavenging through garbage cans for food, which she hoarded in her car or in her tiny two-room apartment. She was a recluse with no friends, and while she scrounged cigarettes and ice cubes from anyone available, it was logical to assume she was an old woman losing her mind and on the verge of destitution.

She was picked up by police and confined in an institution. When some officials went to her apartment, they were amazed to find out there was money everywhere. Bank books, securities, oil-drilling rights, real estate documents, and cash, all which indicated she was worth more than 1 million dollars! They also indicated she was not an old woman but a 48 year old college graduate who had inherited a great deal of money when her father died in 1974.

Various reasons for her actions were given, but the tragedy remains that Garbage Mary is a story of squandered resources. She had “value” she didn’t even take advantage of.

In the OT there is a man who “lives” as one who squandered his resources. His name? Samson. And boy did he squander his resources!! Given the leadership of the people of Israel during the time of the judges, Samson had great potential. But he kept squandering it because he had a weakness. Chuck Swindoll called him “a he-man with a she-weakness.” That about sums it up.

This Sunday my sermon is on Samson. In keeping with the series theme of “Second Chance,” I am calling this “Second Chance after Falling.”

If you are like me, your weekends don’t give you much time to read or comment on blogs. I will read but very seldom comment. Because I believe people praying is so important, I have decided to move my weekend post to early Thursday instead of posting it late Thursday/early Friday. I hope it prompts you to pray for me and the church this weekend. You have no idea how much I appreciate it. Thanks ahead of time. 

Blessings

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Life is confusing. Life is wild. Life is unpredictable. Life is (fill in the blank).

One thing I know is the same can be said about God. I have people who text or email or talk directly to me about what they have been asking and praying for and God “just isn’t showing up.”

Yeah…been there done that gig.

But then God just shows up. Blowing me away in the process. Showing me once again He is seldom early but never late. Showing me once again “He’s got this.”

I’m reminded from time to time that “He is able to do far more than I can ask, think, or imagine (my editorial addition).” Eph. 3:20. I find it is easy to get frustrated at times when God doesn’t act as quickly as I would like or in the way I think He should. After all, I have played different scenarios out in my mind over and over. Surely God sees the wisdom of “my ways.”

But no. I sit and stew fret nervously twitch. Oops I mean wait. It never ceases to amaze me how God knows my needs even before I do (and especially after I do). Then He steps in…big time. Bigger than I ever imagined. It happened last night. Blew me away!!!

Unexpected blessings are the best kind because they are…well…unexpected. But it is just like God to step in and say, “Bill, I got this.”

I’m not a fan of this style of music but my wife loves this song. It says what I want to say.