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FollowUp

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Like many churches we had a big day on Resurrection Sunday. We had our service at our building and asked folks to consider coming to the first service if they could. These people here are fantastic! We had 131 in our first service; 145 in our second. Yeah…I’d say that was pretty evenly rounded. Good thing we did it that way though. No way could we have ever fit that many in one service. It was a good day. A fun day. It was also the first time in 3 years we were in our own building.

I told this story:

Dr. Donald Barnhouse was a pastor at the 10th Avenue Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia from 1927-1960 when he died one month after being diagnosed with a large brain tumor. When he was in his 30s his first wife died of cancer, leaving him with 3 children. Grieving as he drove to the memorial service with the children in the back seat he watched a truck pass by and cast its shadow across the car.

He turned to his oldest and asked her if she would rather be run over by a truck or its shadow. She guessed the shadow because it couldn’t hurt her. “Your mother has not been run over by death,” he replied, “but by the shadow of death.”

Death is not an enemy anymore. Check out this verse, especially the last phrase. The Greek word for “abolish” means “to render inoperative.” Death has lost its victory; death has lost its sting. Here’s a video I showed Sunday. Enjoy!

Potpourri

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Every once in awhile I have multiple things going through my thought process for writing, but each one seems to be not quite enough to write a blog about. So I combine them into one. Today is one of those days.

In the “I just read this” department:

I’m reading a book called An Unquiet Mind-a book about manic depressive/bi-polar people. Thankfully I am neither but it was recommended by Linda Stoll so I thought I would check it out. The author writes this:

Spending a lot of money that you don’t have-or, as the formal diagnostic criteria so quaintly puts it, “engaging in unrestrained buying sprees”-is a classic part of mania.ย  (p.74)

Yikes! I sarcastically thought there must be a lot of people who are fitting into this category. Truth is many of us-although certainly not bi-polar or manic-spend way beyond our means. The reasons for that vary, but it is a sign of a “divided heart.”

In the “for the pastor/church” department:

I’d like to suggest you read this and tell your pastor/leaders about it. I’m pretty sure Jared is dead on. Least for me he was.

In the “you know there would be music in this post” department:

I have been fascinated with this singer for the past month or so. She has given me a new appreciation for Celtic music, as well as female singers. Check out this song (includes lyrics on screen) and this one. And for a completely different tune.

Okay…that’s enough rambling. After reading…and listening…you are now allowed to get back to work. ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

TheEnd

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

Or is it? Seriously, it is the end or the beginning? Reality: both

The end of 2015. The beginning of 2016.

I’m traveling tomorrow (New Year’s Eve day) and wanted to get a head start on the end…or the beginning…of the year. Like everyone else I’d have to say I do take a look back (a very quick one) and ponder what is ahead (a very quick one). I think it is good to learn from the past but not to dwell on it. I also think it is good to make plans and goals for the future but not to obsess over it.

My last post of the year ever since I started my blog has been a song. It is one of those “hair band” songs which 1) some of you don’t care for; 2) some of you are too young to know; 3) some of you will roll your eyes and say, “Bill…what in the world possesses you?” or 4) you’re gonna like it.

This is the 2011 live version of Europe doing the song at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Auditorium.

For a little bit of nostalgia and humor here is the original from 1986. The voice has lowered. The hair has changed. The drummer has lost his hair (know the feeling).

For those who are not too faint of heart, here is the newest version I have heard (not by Europe)

I know…this post is pure fluff. But if it made you chuckle, reminisce, or be grateful we are not in that era anymore…then I guess you can say I succeeded.

Have a safe New Year’s Eve. Start the countdown!!

 

Chestnuts

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”

Some songs become “fade-aways.” We call them one-hit wonders. Others become classics. Along with White Christmas, The Christmas Song may be the most recognizable song of the holidays. Have you ever heard the story behind it and how it broke down barriers?

Mel Torme was a jazz singer who earned the reputation as “the only white man who sings with the soul of a black man.” (Ethel Waters). Mel was an incredible musician and showman, but also a songwriter. (My parents used to listen to him and other “lounge” singers so I have heard his voice/music). Strangely, if he had not taken a trip across LA on a smoldering hot July day, the song he is most remembered for may have never been.

Nat “King” Cole was a silky smooth baritone who voice fit him like a glove (I also remember my parents listening to him). He earned the name “King” because of his voice and stage presence. He is known for “Unforgettable,” a song his daughter, Natalie, turned into a posthumous duet. He may have never been known for “Chestnuts” if it had not been for a visit from his friend, Mel Torme. After hearing the song in his house on a hot July day, he laid claim to it, made changes to fit his voice, and the rest is, as they say, history.

Mel wrote the song based on the musings of a friend, Robert Wells, one blistering hot summer day. He was trying to keep cool by writing down positive things: “chestnuts roasting…Jack Frost nipping…yuletide carols…folks dressed up like Eskimos.”

One writer + one set of good lyrics + one silky smooth singer = a hit which outlives both writer and singer. The “King” succumbed to cancer in his 40s. Torme lived into his 70s.ย  The moment for which they are known lives on. Another fact: Cole’s cut of that song became the first American Christmas standard introduced by an African American. Its success opened the door for others to put their spin on holiday classics.ย  Here is Nat King Cole’s version.

Here is the version I’m listening to.

So ends your music history lesson for today. ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy! Some material came from the book pictured.

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Traditions

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

Well…so far we haven’t had to deal with that “white stuff” covering our lawns and roads. We had an original “fall” but it didn’t last very long, except in the shadows. But it has rained! Instead of a shovel I think I’m going to get a boat. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I’m not complaining.

I have several traditions I observe during the Christmas season.

Thanksgiving Day I watch It’s a Wonderful Life (except for this year) and The Santa Clause. I don’t have a TV in my “ManCave” since it went on the fritz last Spring so I have to “beg/borrow/steal” the use of Jo’s TV in the living room. She let me watch The Santa Clause on Thanksgiving Day. I didn’t watch “Wonderful Life” because our local theater is showing it free of charge tonight (Sunday). Small screen vs. humongous screen. The latter wins!

I have other movies I watch during the season. Santa Clause 2. Polar Express. White Christmas.

Jo put the tree up. (Artificial with lights on it).ย  Sorry all you purists. Allergies of some family members doomed a real tree and then the kids moved away. Although….

I set up a small village which includes a clock tower (BTTF); a church building (Duh!); a train station (I like to do 1000 piece train puzzles); a bike store (another Duh!) and several families enjoying time together (one in a gazebo and one singing). My girls bought them for me over the years (except for the bike store).

The staff decorated the inside of the auditorium for the first time. I’ll try to upload a picture.

Sadly, one of the traditions is contributing to my waist line (lots of chocolate) which makes me ride inside more.

Listening to my favorite Christmas album. And here is the first song off that CD.

Celebrating with the greatest people in the world.

What traditions do you have?

IAm

Monday, August 17th, 2015

I am helping one of our young people move his “stuff” to Purdue University where he begins his Freshman year possibly pursuing a career in Pharmacy, so I will be out of the office most of the day. With that in mind, and since I am at home without the book I needed to write this post, I have decided to put my blog and “reputation” on the line.

I have in the past written about being an old school “rocker” in my listening pleasure. That is not to say I don’t listen to other types of music. I do. Well…except for country, rap, R&B, and opera. I will admit to listening to more of the arena rock and “hair” band style. I like worship music as long as it has some beat to it and does not drag.ย  Right now my headphones are playing Neal Morse worship sessions. Neal is also a prolific singer/songwriter. People who know me know I like Stryper and other music that makes me move and “play and sing” in the truck.

Recently I have renewed a “love affair” with what is called ProgRock. Think Kansas (Carry on Wayward Son and earlier). One of my favorite groups is called Theocracy. I became aware of them this past winter while working jigsaw puzzles and my DVD player was on the fritz. Matt Smith, their singer/main songwriter, is a creative genius. One song which is head and shoulders above others is called I Am. I’m not even going to discuss it. I’ll just ask you to listen to it here. Before you go there, I know it is not many, if not most of your cup of tea. I know that.ย  If you don’t like it, at least go to the 5:40 mark and listen to 7:08.

I realize it is not a preacher’s normal type of music. But rumor has it I am not normal. ๐Ÿ™‚ Just sayin’. I’ll be back tomorrow with a more palatable post for most of you. Meanwhile, please don’t brand me a heretic.

More

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

I wasn’t going to post anything just for the sake of posting. However, I have this song (among other things) running through my head this Monday morning.

I was first made aware of this song by one of our worship leaders, Peter, who has had to take a hiatus from our band due to temporarily moving to Nashville, TN for his wife, Stephanie, to take care of her ailing mother. Her mother went to be with Jesus a couple of weeks ago but sinceย  Peter does tile work and had made commitments to people through April, he/they will be staying there until his projects are finished. He most certainly will be welcomed back. He/they are missed.

If you prefer something with a bit more pep, check out this Martin Smith song.

There. A song to make you think. Pray. Long for.

A song to tap your feet to. Enjoy!

Missing

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

I’m posting this Sunday night like I always do. (I post at 8:00 the night before and posts run all day).ย  But this post comes with something different.

Monday, Ryan (our youth pastor) and I head to Catalyst OneDay in Lexington, KY with four other guys for a one day lesson in Leadership on Tuesday. Craig Groeschel and Andy Stanley are the featured speakers. I have attended 4 OneDays so far and have come away enriched in leadership each time. I look forward to it this time and what makes it better is five other guys will be going with me.

The difference? I will be unable to respond to this post past 10:00 Monday morning and none at all on Tuesday. So rather than just post something for the sake of posting something, I will be missing in your inbox on Tuesday. I know that makes you extremely disappointed.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I will post something Tuesday night which will run all day Wednesday (which I will be able to respond to).

So I give you this video to watch, listen to, and be inspired by.

Waiting

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Waiting is on my short list. I am generally a pretty patient person, except when I want something now yesterday.ย  I can look back over my 40+ years as a pastor and see so many times I would have been so much better off waiting rather than pushing the envelope.

Personal decisions (especially financial) influenced by my failure to wait. Cars, trucks, credit cards all translate to UGH!

Church leadership decisions pushed because of a failure to wait.

The list can go on but I really don’t need to air my dirty laundry to get the point across.

They say patience is a virtue. Well, all I can say is in many cases I was a very un-virtuous man. ๐Ÿ™‚

Case in point of lack of waiting: right now. I mentioned in this post that I sensed God calling me to a time of drawing near to Him. But you know what? I don’t want to wait! I want it NOW! I don’t want to wait until tomorrow. I don’t want to wait until next week. I don’t want to wait for a month. I want it now yesterday.

Funny thing: I’ve heard patience is a virtue. I’ve heard “Good things come to those who wait.” I’ve also read patience is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5: 22). I’m not sure there is any significance but patience comes right after the big three of “love, joy, and peace.” There are others who learned waiting was essential: Abraham. Elijah. Job. David.ย  Reckon I ought to throw my hat in that ring.

As I have thought about waiting, a song hits home. Hope you will take the time to listen here. So, wait I will because even though it may be uncomfortable, it is best.

Do you have trouble waiting?