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AFather’sPride

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

It was sort of hard to keep up with the one word titles I have been using for close to three years now so I had to put three words together.  Ha. But I figure it is my blog and I can do whatever I want.  🙂

I have two daughters as many of you know. The youngest has been married for almost 13 years now and is the mother of the greatest grandson in the world. Our oldest, Tami, lives with us for now. After 15 years teaching in mostly inner city schools in Knoxville, she decided a change was needed and moved closer to us. Real close. I mean, like in the same house close. 🙂 She took a huge pay cut ($20,000) to move back and to teach K students in a Bloomington, IN school. Ironically, it was like the previous 15 years were preparing her for the past two years at Bloomington. She is “falling in love” with teaching again, which is thrilling to see. She loves her kids and is a really good teacher.

Tami has battled some health issues over the years, some we were told she had as a child and possibly was born with. We never knew. But she has put her trust in Jesus and relies on Him to help her deal with the pain of those illnesses. She has refused to give up.

All that to say I would be honored if you would read the newest post on her blog. You can link to it here.

Counterfeits

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Last week I ran out of time in my consideration of idols. My last post, in fact, stated that I would list some idols we have today. Then time slipped by, life got hectic and I failed to finish my thought. (That happens a lot lately. Is that a sign of old age?) 🙂

So…what are some idols we have. Pastor Timothy Keller calls our idols “counterfeit gods.” He calls them “anything more important to us than God, anything that absorbs our heart and mind more than God, anything we seek to give us what only God can give.” So here is a list…albeit a short one…and an incomplete one.

Idol #1: Stuff. We live in a materialistic society. We like our stuff. But is it necessary? What place does it have in our lives? Questions to ask: do I really need all this stuff? If God asked me to let it go, could I?

Idol #2: Money. J.D. Rockefeller was once asked, “How much does it take to make me rich?” His answer: “Just a little bit more.” Tragically, our society has bought into this trap. I’m sorry to say many televangelists live off the pockets of others and become wealthy.

Idol #3: Sex. The statistics of internet use of pornography are staggering. It is more toxic and addictive than any other drug. Men and (more and more) women who would never think of taking meth, heroine, coke, or some other drug, find themselves enslaved by this drug.

My next post will list the next three. Absorb what you read here. Then ask yourself some hard questions. I already have and will continue doing so.

Christmas2016

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

godsgiftofchristmas

I have been virtually absent from this blog and others’ blogs as well. A comment here or there. A post here or there. I’ve had some time to re-evaluate how I feel about a lot of things, but in this case, Cycleguy’s Spin. Curiously, instead of slowing down, life picked up speed. Things which seemed second nature to me suddenly became more laborious. I chalk it up to the wreck on November 7th and the life-pace change which took place as a result. I have not been able to sleep horizontally (in my bed) since November 7th. My recliner has become my favorite place to spend my restless evenings trying to grab some uncomfortable sleep. That has lessened pretty much (for which I am grateful) but I still haven’t been horizontal.

The wreck. 6 hours in an ER getting x-rays. A huge dark purple hematoma developing on my hip which eventually moved down my leg to blow up my knee, then my calf and lower leg, and then finally my ankle/foot.  A visit to an Urgent Care Clinic. An ultrasound to make sure of no blood clots. Finally a reference from a PCP to a general surgeon for a possible slice and drain of the hematoma. After two weeks of Lasix and heat compresses and God’s amazing machine called the body, the surgeon has said no surgery will be required. YES!!!My body is absorbing it.

Add to that mix two weddings, a funeral, a growing & involved church in the community and the recipe is for busyness. The church is preparing for a Christmas breakfast for our community, plus a Christmas Eve service and one on Sunday morning. Fortunately, they are identical. I had planned on taking a Tuesday and going off to a retreat center for some solitude but even that blew apart.

My grandson is now with us for a few days. (Yeah, that brings peace and quiet). 🙂 But he is a joy to have around. And joy is something we all need. That, after all, was the message the angels carried to the shepherds that first night: “I bring you good news of great joy.”

So that is what I wish for you this Christmas season. A season of JOY.  My next post will be after Christmas so please have a blessed and joy-filled Christmas. And thanks for hanging in there with me.

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. 

Retreat

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

There has been a lot said over the past couple of weeks in the blogs I read about needing a rest. Some are taking a hiatus from blogging. Some from their phone. Some from all media (not a bad idea actually). Some would like to take a hiatus from their job but find that sort of impossible to do. 🙂  You know…no work=no eat. Small things like that.

Monday afternoon Ryan, our youth pastor, and I took a hiatus. We got away for the afternoon. We prayed, We talked. We planned a sermon we are presenting together. We talked some more. It was a well-spent 5 hour hiatus.

Several things were captured in my brain:

  1. Hiring Ryan 3 years ago was absolutely the best thing we did. His heart and spirit are continually pursuing God. His love for the young people of the church is evident and they are responding to it. We are a great team (all three of us) and I love and love working with Ryan and Diana (our church secretary).
  2. Getting away was absolutely essential. I needed it. We needed it. Church life has been at breakneck speed and it is taking its toll on our time as staff. It was the first uninterrupted 4-5 hours we have had in a long time.
  3. I need a personal get away. I realize I am not as young as I used to be and can’t keep up the same pace I once did. But this is ridiculous. The “backburner” has become all too often the go-to for me. I have 4 books on sex trafficking I need to read plus some others I need to review. That issue is front and center for me right now. No time=no reading. Bill is not a happy camper with that scenario. I do get to leave this Saturday for Ohio to watch my grandson play football but that will be go-go-go all weekend. He plays on Sunday…my 64th birthday. I told him has to play well and win for my present. 🙂

It is not good to stay “strung tightly.” I need to heed my own advice. Here are some pictures from the Retreat Center in Quincy, IN we went to. The second picture is Ryan with our friendly visitor who spent most of his time outside on the porch doing what most of us desperately need to do: taking a nap. 🙂

retreat-1

retreat-2

retreat-3

 retreat-5

retreat-4

DEAD

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

One of my wife’s favorite movie quotes is

They’re dead. They’re all dead.

Can you name that movie? A virtual high five and shout out will go your way if you can. I’ll give the answer in my next post.

So…this is a follow-up to the previous post about today’s sermon.

Sardis was a town that once had a high level of importance. Then an earthquake brought it to its knees and it never regained that same level again. Not that they didn’t want to. But living on past laurels is certainly not a way to get it done.

Sort of like many churches who live on past laurels and shine the reflected light of a brilliant past. But it is just an illusion. Jesus put it bluntly: “I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” With that thought in mind, I asked the folks a question: “When is a church dead?” Here are the four thoughts I shared. See if you can relate. And even better: can you add any?

  1. A church is dead when it is content to rest on its past laurels. A level of distinction in the past can often lead to a state of death in the future.
  2. A church is dead when it is more concerned with form than spiritual reality. We can’t go too long in the worship singing or the preaching because we want to beat the other churches to lunch.
  3. A church is dead when it focuses more on social ills and politics than changing peoples’ hearts and lives through the preaching and life-giving message of Jesus. I’m not saying to neglect social ills (I am getting involved in investigating and hopefully stopping the sex trafficking in Owen County; the church reaches out to the less fortunate). No politics will ever be preached from the pulpit. NONE.
  4. A church is dead when it is more concerned with material things than spiritual things. No commentary is needed.

So…what do you think? Any I need to add? Where would you put your church? Just curious.

BeingThere

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

One of my favorite quotes by Jim Elliot, the martyred missionary to the Auca Indians, is “Wherever you are be all there.” Lately I have had trouble being here. Shoot, I’ve had trouble being anywhere. It seems like I’ve been going a thousand different directions lately. Then I read this:

“When George Mallory was once asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, he famously answered, ‘Because it is there.’ But in a personal letter to his wife, Ruth, he revealed even more about what drove him to climb the mountain. ‘Dearest,’ he wrote, ‘…you must know that the spur to do my best is you and you again…I want more than anything to prove worthy of you.’ George left a meaningful legacy that proved worthy of history’s remembrance. But George’s son John wrote something that has challenged me. Proud of his father but sad too, John wrote, ‘I would so much rather have known my father than to have grown up in the shadow of a legend, a hero, as some people perceive him to be.'” (The Imperfect Pastor by Zack Eswine-p.78)

I’ve noticed (as I’m sure you have also) life goes in seasons. Busy. Not busy. Crazy busy. Not so busy. Steady. Lull. You get the point. Today is one of those crazy busy seasons. My mind has wandered. I stopped and got both Jo and me a Polar Pop (yeah I know it isn’t good for me) and almost made it to the office before I remembered I had her pop. Sheesh!

So this small section out of this excellent book stopped me dead in my tracks. As Tim Hawkins says in his video, “I need to be centered.” Watch him. He is a hoot.

I’m preaching to myself here. Maybe you too?

Seasons

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

I started reading this book about a week or so ago but put it aside for this one. I have a bad habit of doing that sometimes but in this case I needed to. The Grace Effect is by the same man who wrote “Hitch” and it talks about his adopted daughter, Sasha, from Ukraine. Now that I have finished a puzzle for a teacher-friend who is teaching a whole unit on it, I can spend some time reading.  (Yeah…Jo says I get obsessed when I am working a puzzle. I don’t agree. Just because I did this one in less than 5 days does not prove she is right).

Anyway, back to When Trouble Comes (the book I put down). The author, Philip Ryken, says some things just in the Prologue which I know will draw me back to this book when I’m done with the other.

“Would you like to know some of the things that helped me? The first was this: I knew that what I was going through was totally and completely normal.” (p.15) 

Oftentimes when we are going through something, we feel alone. No one understands. No one else has experienced what I’m experiencing. Not true!

Here was a gem: All of this leads to seasons of doubt, discouragement, and depression as a normal part of life in a fallen world. When trouble comes, this does not mean that I am a bad Christian. Nor does it mean that God is against me, although sometimes it may feel that way. (p.16)

I have spent time recently with several people who are suffering in various ways. I try hard to show them they are not alone. They are not bad Christians. They are not being rejected by God for some sin in the past. God doesn’t hold grudges.

If you are going through a tough time right now, don’t give up. You are not alone. This is a season of growth (if you let it). Be encouraged by a loving Father.

I’m also going through a season of not having much time to write. I apologize for that. Hopefully this season will be over soon.

TraveloguePictures

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Rather than try to insert these into the post I thought I would just start a new one. Here is the one from the Pirate baseball game at PNC Park. It was a beautiful night for baseball and was even better when the Buccos won 12-1. We left in the 8th inning. Rob said, “If they lose with this lead, I don’t think I want to be here.” I laughed. The man is also wearing my favorite player’s jersey.

ballgame1

When I rode the trail I hit a little burg called Whitesett. I decided to get off the hard-packed trail and get on asphalt. I turned left I came across this log home (a dream of mine & Jo’s only not this big). It was a gorgeous home!

log home1loghome2

Riding on a little further I needed to find a place to stop. (‘Nuff said). I came upon this field in Whitesett built-as you can see-by Pirate Charities. It was a fantastic baseball diamond, well-maintained, and spacious. It also included a really cool picnic pavilion and area. Way to go Pirate charities! Many small communities are left out of adequate facilities due to finances. They made it happen for this community.

Piratecharity

I rode early Saturday morning while in Ohio. I have ridden this route frequently before and have always passed this park/haven. I needed to stop this time and decided to take a picture.

bikehaven

26 miles later I pulled up alongside my other steed (2012 Nissan Frontier). One requires my effort; one requires none at all. Can you guess which is which?

2 steeds

And here…ladies and gents…is the dude. He is a never-stopping whirl of activity. He is also an exceptional young man who takes after his grandpa. (Yeah, I had to say that). He had his summer haircut (a fresh Mohawk) done the day before, but as you can tell it will lay flat. He is not into gel. 🙂

dude's mohawk

Sorry I wasn’t able to include the pictures in the other post. Taking pictures is sort of new to me. I forget to take them because I get wrapped up in what I am doing. Besides, it took Tami (my oldest daughter) to show me how to make this happen. Maybe I will remember how to do it myself next time. (But don’t hold your breath).

Envy

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Can envy be sinful?

Can envy be not sinful?

The answer…I think…is yes to both. Depending, of course, on the attitude in which it manifests itself.  Please stick with me as I do some thinking out loud. Then you can castigate agree with me.  🙂

I was speaking with someone recently and I said, “I want to say this carefully lest you misunderstand me. I envy your husband.” Relax…it wasn’t a sexual talk. Not even close. I stated I am envious because he has accomplished far more in his short years than I have in my long years. Where he is at his age, I wasn’t even close. In fact, at 63, I’m still not close…and never will be!

My brother, Rob, has a fantastic voice. While I was the athlete and excelled in my chosen sport, Rob excelled in music. Guess who is still singing and who is no longer playing? If your answers were Rob and me (in that order) give yourself a virtual high five. I am envious of his ability.

As stated I am envious. But I rejoice in their success. Jealous? No.  (Okay just a little). I can honestly say I agree with what the Bible says about this: “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” I rejoice in my friend’s success and I cannot tell you how proud I am of my brother.  (Beyond proud actually).

I do think it is high time for many of us to quit “wishing and hoping” for more of what someone else has and be content with what God has given us. I think we can be envious without being sinful. It is when it becomes a driving force, begins to cloud our vision, and leads to comparison that we need to check our emotions at the door and straighten some things out.

Your thoughts?