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Wonderful

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

I was getting out of my truck the other day to lock a door and had my music blaring loud playing. I honestly wasn’t thinking anything about it since I tend to listen to my music a lot little louder than Jo likes it.  But she wasn’t with me; I was heading for the gym to work out; so I opened my door to get something at the church building and left the door open. Two people were talking and all of a sudden, the man who is close to my age said, “I love your choice of music Bill!” Say what? Someone else likes my choice of music? So I made a comment about the artist being from the ’70s and all of a sudden he shouted out the words to part of the chorus which came on that moment. I cracked up! I think the young lady who was there had to be wondering what is wrong with these two old codgers. 🙂

My song this week is NOT a Christian song, unless you look at it as a man’s thoughts about his wife. I do.  After 45 years I still feel this way about Jo. We have both changed. Wrinkles have replaced smooth skin. There is a bit more weight on both of us. There is less hair on our heads. We aren’t as active and energetic as we used to be.  I have put her through the wringer-moving more than we should have (much of it due to my arrogance). We have had our emotional ups and downs. She has put up with my bike wrecks and surgeries as a result. But she still loves me. Go figure!

She’s some kind of wonderful. These past two years have shown me more than ever how much she loves me. And have shown me how much I love her and how valuable she is to me.

My song this week is a feel-good song.  It is a good toe-tapping song. Maybe even one which will take you down memory lane. The only “Christian” part of this besides love for your mate, is Mark Farner gave his life to Christ and sang about the “sweet loving Savior” when he redid it.

Lonely???

Sunday, August 5th, 2018

Back in the 1970s a group which seemed totally out of left field made an impact on the music world. In a world of heavy and hard music came a threesome who played mostly acoustic music. No blaring guitar riffs which went on and on. No double kick bass on the drums. No speed drumming. No thumping bass guitar beating out a low end rhythm and sound. Even some of the lyrics were strange or seemingly incomplete/incoherent:

“I’ve been to a desert on a horse with no name it felt good to be out of the rain.” Some speculated it was about heroin.

“Oz never did give nothing to the tin man that he didn’t, didn’t already have/ And  cause never was the reason for the tropic of Sir Galahad.” Say what?

Others were fun songs. Ventura Highway. Muskrat Love.

Some were philosophical. “Don’t cross the river if you can’t swim the tide.” Makes sense to me.

But there was one which struck a chord for many. It is my song for the week. The late Dan Peek, was a member of America for years but left all the fame and fortune behind to follow Jesus.  I still have his vinyl album called “All Things are Possible,” his first release to the Christian market. Same signature sound. Smooth. Acoustic. Mellow. But the one song America did is the one I’m highlighting this week. I’ve got Dan’s music (as well as America’s) on my Spotify playlist and this song came buzzing by me this week. I’m going to put Dan’s version first here and then America’s version here. You can hear the difference because Dan found the answer.

MSagain

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

This early Thursday morning finds me driving to Methodist Hospital in Indy for a lady in the church who is having a very delicate brain surgery for what is called AVM. It is way too complicated for me to tell you about it so I have given you the link. Her name is Karen and I know she would appreciate your prayers.

So rather than write a new post, I thought I would ask you to pray for her.

But I’d also like to draw your attention to my MS post. I received an email yesterday (Wednesday) telling me I had reached my fundraising goal. But I want to keep going!! If you haven’t already done so and would consider helping out, please follow the prompts from the MS post.

I sure do appreciate your help. Oh…one of the comments to the post is from a woman named Amanda. She attended the church I pastored in Terre Haute (I left in 2000) and I had the privilege of performing the marriage of her dad and his wife. Please take the time to read her comment. I’m making a donation in her name to MS.

Thanks again.

MS

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

No, I am not writing this post to announce that I have MS. It is an announcement…an announcement of a different kind. It is actually an announcement welding together two parts of my life-one a passion; one a concern.

Anyone who knows me knows of my passion. Hint: take a look at my header. I have a two-headed passion. No, I am not two-headed. 🙂 I am a cyclist and I heavily support 3 Feet Please.

But I also have a concern, made more important because I have some friends who are sufferers. MS or Multiple Sclerosis. Marge is a vital part of OVCF, the church I pastor. Marge is involved in our worship team; her husband, Ray, is the primary “runner” of our soundboard. I have grown to love them both. Marge was diagnosed in 2000 with MS and was told it would be just months before she would be in a nursing home and to get a wheelchair. She refused to then; she still refuses to. She recently changed to a much less stressful job so that should help even more.  Her MS flares up upon occasion which makes it difficult for balance, but other than that no one would know.

Kirby Stogsdill is a well-known individual in our community. I’ve come to know Kirby through my involvement with the community in various ways. His two children graduated from Owen Valley with some of the kids from OVCF. Kirby and his family attend the local Methodist church in town. Super nice guy. I noticed him having trouble walking one day and a few days later I saw his daughter and asked her if her dad was okay. She said, “It is just his MS.” Well, knock me over with a feather. He was diagnosed in 2006 (shortly after I moved here and before I knew him). Every 6 months he receives an infusion (basically chemo he said) to hold his MS at bay.

On September 8th I am molding my passion for cycling and 3 Feet Please with my love for Marge and Kirby and others like them to take part in the MS150 ride in Lebanon, IN. Dave (from 3 Feet Please) and I formed a team…oddly enough 3 Feet Please…to ride in the MS150. He is making the trip from Arizona to do so.  A young lady, Cassie, who is Marge’s daughter, has also signed up to ride with us.

HERE IS WHERE YOU COME IN!  The team has committed $600 and we have already reached that goal. I have committed to raise $300 and am 1/3 there. I would be honored if you would donate to MS in my name. Here’s how you do it. Go to the MS150 site. Go to the Donate tab and type in my name: Bill Grandi. It will show you my name and click on View. Yeah…you get a picture of me and Dave. I’m the good looking one. 🙂 Above the picture is DONATE TO BILL. Click there and follow the directions. And just to be clear: I receive nothing from this except the satisfaction of riding for a good cause. All donations go to MS Research.

Marge says thanks. Kirby says thanks. All the MS folks say thanks. And I say thanks. I’d like to blow the lid off the donation box. (Note: I received permission from both Marge and Kirby to share their story).

GRACE

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

I recently shared this on my other blog, Be Transformed, and decided it needed to be “heard” by more. It had so much power, so much oomph, that I could not pass it by. I wrote it in my journal so I would have it, then used it in my post on Be Transformed.

My worst days are never so bad that I am beyond the reach of His grace. And my best days are never so good that I am beyond the need of God’s grace. Every day should be a day of relating to God on the basis of His grace alone. Jerry Bridges

WOW! Is that good or what?

I’m ashamed to admit this but there are times I take grace for granted. Not the “I can sin because I know God will forgive me” taking for granted. I just forget it is there for me. Days are tough and I forget because I am preoccupied. Days are good and I forget because I’m not hurting.

So…let’s make a vow together to live each day in grace. Up or down…Grace.

My song this week is from a man who knows grace…big time.  It is very upbeat and is a great way to start and then continue your week. Here’s your song for the week.

AdditionUpdate

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Okay…so we have been working on a building addition for over a year now.  Let me rephrase that: we have been physically working on the building addition for over a year. We have been working (translated: saving) on this addition for probably close to 3 or 4 years. We made a commitment we would not borrow money for it. We saved until we had enough to put it all under roof. We then continued as we had the money. Funny: work never stopped. God was so-o-o-o-o faithful and so were His people.  Three Sunday’s ago the Preschool class meet in their room because of the need to renovate the check in room and what will become Ryan’s office. This past week the Elementary kids made the transition. I thought I’d have a little fun with this post and show you what was and what is now.  My computer crashed several months ago and I lost everything, including pictures. So I painstakingly went back in time (where is Doc Brown’s DeLorean when I need it?) to find the post where I showed some early inside photos. You can see that here:

http://billgrandi.ovcf.org/wordpress/?p=14180

Below are some photos I took today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From top left to right: (1) What the room looks like as you walk down the short entry hall past the bathrooms.  (2) Inside Jo’s classroom from the door. it is the door on the right in the first picture.  (3) Middle left: Another look inside Jo’s classroom.  She chose to have vinyl flooring laid for ease of movement and cleaning. Each classroom has a TV (Wifi accessible) and a white board. (4)  The stage area (which is not quite done yet. (5) Looking across the from Jo’s classroom. Classroom on right. Mechanical/storage on left. (6) Girl’s bathroom.

Pictures don’t tell the whole story but if you take a look at what was and what now is, we have come a long way. God has been so faithful and so good! I honestly believe He honored our “no borrowing money” policy. We were the recipients of some anonymous gifts which greatly blessed us. A lady left some money so we took 10% for missions; paid off the remaining mortgage; and put the rest toward the addition. It allowed us to start construction. The folks at OVCF were so faithful in their giving and even in offering some physical labor but, to be honest, we went with professionals to do most of the work. In the long run, it saved time and money.

I’m going to share some more pictures of renovation we are doing in my next post.  Hope you enjoy rejoicing with us.

Surrender

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

I spoke today about Joshua’s last words to the people of Israel before “he went the way of all men.” (23: 14) Included in his last words is the very familiar challenge of 24:15:

CHOOSE THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE

That phrase is more, and has to be more, than a cutesy little plaque we put on our living room wall or on the door which enters our home. I found something as I was studying which I never knew before.  The Hebrew construction of this verse (and I know no Hebrew so I take it the scholars are right) indicates what Joshua is saying is “I have chosen; I am choosing; and will go on choosing.”

Is that not cool or what?

That sort of lays to rest the cutesy plaque. That also puts to rest that coming to Jesus is a one-time deal. It is more than saying a prayer; signing on the dotted line; being baptized; making a public confession or any other form of admission to following Jesus. The life of following Jesus is one of surrender.

My video today is here. The lyrics are pretty clear as you listen. May it be your anthem for this week.

Blind

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

I was just listening to a song by Styx called “Snowblind,” about the dangers of cocaine. One of the refrains says, “Mirror, mirror on the wall/The face you show me scares me so…” That describes my morning look into the mirror!

Reality has set in for me. Well, it has for quite awhile but there are some things I cannot deny. Long hair to no hair. Dark beard/goatee to gray. Joints which creak. 🙂 Joints that don’t want to work anymore, or at least very crankily. There is other visible evidence which I cannot deny. The mirror just does not lie.

While reading Caleb’s new book (I talk about it here) I ran across a great story! It comes from the movie Creed, where Rocky is training Adonis, Apollo Creed’s son. (Watch the first 100 Rocky’s to know who he is. Actually the first 4).

During one scene, Rocky and Adonis are standing in front of a mirror in the gym during their training session. Rocky teaches Adonis a brilliant lesson about self-perception. Pointing at Adonis in the mirror,  Rocky says, “You see this guy here staring back at you?”

“Yeah,” Adonis answers.

“That’s your toughest opponent. Every time you get into the ring, that’s who you’re going against. I believe that in boxing, and I do believe that in life.”

Who knew? Rocky the boxing philosopher! I agree with him actually.  I have tough times, seemingly on a daily basis (although that would be an exaggeration), but no battle I face is bigger than the one I have with the dude looking back at me in the mirror.  It is not a physical battle (although it is looking like 65), but an inside job. Who am I? Do I have what it takes to serve Jesus? Am I His or just playing a game? Am I ready for today’s battle?

P.S. My heart breaks as I watch pictures of the video and know there are thousands prisoner to a “false paradise.”

Think

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

Paul says in Philippians 4:8- “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things.”

Over the past week or so I have been reading God of Tomorrow, Caleb Kaltenbach’s new book.  A normal review will give the pros and cons , good points and bad points, and whether it is worth your while to read it.  I’m going to take a different approach in this post. I want to highlight several of his included quotes and thoughts. Then let you decide at the end if it is a book you want to invest your time in.

God of Tomorrow: How to Overcome the Fears of Today and Renew Your Hope for the Future

First, an explanation. Caleb’s book’s premise is focused around hope for tomorrow being the solution to the fears of today. He analyzes the culture pretty well and what should be the Christ-follower’s approach to the people who are the culture. Change is inevitable. It is how we react to that change which gives us our approach to people.  (My comments appear after)

“Combativeness without compassion is always going to be counterproductive.”  We need to have our beliefs but we don’t have to cram them down someone’s throat nor do we need to be militant.

“Our differences with people should drive us to them, not from them.” This is sure opposite of our “hunker down” attitude.

“Our fear is no match for the unlimited power and uncontested reign of God.  When will we learn this? Instead of fearing change, let’s hold to our beliefs but not shy away in fear.

“Hope reminds us that our best days are ahead, not behind us.”  And I might add not right now either. No apologies to Joel for that.

“Out-of-place people always have a place with God.”  I seem to remember someone telling a story about going to the highways and bi-ways to bring people into a meal. Hmmmm.  Maybe this would change our approach toward “unlovely” and “unacceptable, despicable” people we often have.

There are plenty more and I plan to use them during the next week as I post some thoughts. But the coup de grace for me was this one:

When people look at your (my) life, it should be so easy for them to see Jesus in how you (I) treat them, love them, and share truth with them. (p.201)

What do you think of those quotes? Think you might get this book?

 

Giants

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

You cannot read the story of Joshua and Caleb and not be impressed.

They were different.  They saw life differently. They were leaders par excellence.

During my recent study of the book of Joshua, and in particular this past Sunday’s sermon which directly involved Caleb, I saw something I had seen before but could not delineate it. As you probably know, along with 10 other spies, Joshua and Caleb were sent into the land of Canaan to spy out the land.  They all came back with glowing reports of the land.

With one difference. Joshua and Caleb’s ideas of submission were different. The 10 convinced the people they could benefit from the land but it was too dangerous. The people were too big. Joshua and Caleb agreed on all counts EXCEPT it being too dangerous. Here’s why:

The 10 spies measured the giants against their own strength; Joshua and Caleb measured the giants against God’s strength. The 10 trembled; the 2 triumphed. The majority had big giants and a little God; the two had a great God and little giants.

What about you? What are you facing today that seems insurmountable? Are the giants you are facing today huge in your eyes? Remember to follow Caleb’s lead: “follow the Lord wholeheartedly.” I would add “Don’t lose heart.”

Here is a song for you to sing in your head this week. Have a great giant-slaying week.