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Difference

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

We often hear people talking about “making a difference.” Their desire to make a difference will have one of two affects. One, they will think about it; stew over it; lament over the state of things; cry over it; even speak about it; but do nothing about it!

There are also those who want to make a difference and it will change them. No longer satisfied to sit on the sidelines, they will become advocates and fight for something.

That is not a political statement. I despise politics-government, home, church, sports, and anywhere else where there are people who think they can throw their weight around and get what think is theirs. Even if it means lying, cheating, slandering, gossiping, and a host of other ugly things.

Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25 was not a political statement. Sheep on the right; goats on the left. Nope, not a political statement whatsoever. But it was a statement pertaining to following Jesus by caring for others. You have seen them: the hungry, naked, thirsty, lonely, in prison, homeless.  Making a difference in their lives is what Jesus is talking about. I asked a question Sunday: How do I make a difference?  How do I show compassion? I answered it this way:

Allow our heart to break.  Someone once said, “Break my heart with the things that break the heart of God.”  Melinda Gates, Bill’s wife, once said, “If you want to make a difference, you have to let your heart break.”

Ask God for a mission. Many missions are started because of personal experience. I’ve dreamed for years of opening a home for abused or “lost” woman. Our little community does not have the sex trafficking issue a big city does (at least that I know of) but alcohol and opioids have played havoc with families. Seems like daily I read of another bust or broken home and children finding their way to DCS. Scary thought that.

Making a difference starts with me. With you. And one person at a time. But we have to start.

ReturningtoReclaim

Friday, October 26th, 2018

Every year the church I pastor, Owen Valley Christian Fellowship, has an anniversary. (I’m sure that is news. But it is good news!)

Every year Ryan (our youth pastor) and I give a “State of the Church” address. We reiterate our Mission and Vision to the people in order to keep it in front of them.

Every year we follow that with a celebration. A Pitch-in dinner and some good old laughing and talking…and, of course, good old eating some good old food.

This year is no different. Only this year there is a twist…or two. About 2-3 months ago, at the request of the other leaders,  I was asked to keep the growth of the church in front of the people. So I developed what I called FIT. No, it is not a fitness group. FIT stands for Future Initiative Team. We have met twice now and have pinpointed some future ideas of what we need/should/could possibly do down the road. We then delineated them into “Big Ticket Items”; “Items which need our attention but in time”; and “Items which require immediate attention.”  We brainstormed quite an extensive list and this past meeting I “assigned” and asked for volunteers to follow up on the items, especially the immediate ones.  Long story short: following the message this Sunday, I’ll be giving a brief presentation of what we have come up with.

The other twist is the Dedication of our new Youth Addition. I’m excited the Chamber of Commerce is coming to have a ribbon-cutting for us, along with Ryan talking (briefly) about what all is going on in the addition and I’ll close in prayer.

It will make for an exciting day. I’d certainly appreciate your prayers for us. Please ask God to put His hand on our young people and that we be wise in how our building is used. It was never intended to be used for us alone. Twice a week, for example, WRE (Weekly Religious Education), a totally voluntary program for the local school kids uses our building. The kids give up a free class time to attend. Ryan is heavily involved in it.

And lest I forget: Our Mission and Vision is as follows:

Mission: To Connect People to Jesus

Vision:

  • To be Passionate Pursuers of Jesus
  • To be models of Truth and Love
  • To be involved in our Community

I would appreciate your prayers for us this Sunday. A lot of people have had a hand in making this addition a reality. Youth Addition or not, the church (OVCF and as a whole) needs to do more celebrating. We intend to do just that.

Tips

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

Not restaurant tips but helpful tips. Further explanation: I just finished a book by David Furman entitled Being There. David lives with a chronic nerve disease so he was passing along what it was like and also how we as friends and followers of Christ can just “be there” for people. One chapter was titled Whatever You Do, Don’t Do These Things.  He gave a list of 10 infamous things to remember when trying to help/minister to those who are hurting.

He introduces the tips with a story. I’ll abbreviate it. Two pilots were landing in a small city and accidentally touched down at a much smaller private airport seven miles away from their intended destination. They barely survived a crash landing. During their approach they were in touch with the control tower and were told they were 15 miles away from their target.  They responded they had their target in sight and were going to land.

Upon landing they had to stomp on their brakes extra hard to avoid going over a ledge, and nearly crashed the plane. They admitted to being shocked at their mistake and told investigators that they saw the lights of the airport in front of them and so they landed there. They honestly thought it was the right airport!

How crazy is that story? But it lends itself to what David is about to tell us.  It doesn’t matter how sincere you are if you are landing in the wrong place. We can be really sincere in trying to help people but saying and doing the wrong thing can be (or should I say “is?”) bad. It can be devastating to the hurting person. Okay…so what are his 10 “laws?” I’m going to split the 10 into 2 posts so as not to overwhelm or go too long.

#1. Don’t be the Fix-it Person.  Don’t be the person who offers unsolicited advice or unsolicited medical “miracles” to the person who is hurting. Don’t you think they have tried about everything already? I’m sure if they are seeking to be free from the chronic pain they have gone to a ton of doctors and have probably tried every homegrown recipe there is. Instead of advice, ask questions to understand them and their situation better.

#2. Don’t Play the Comparison Game.  When you talk to people don’t try to compare their sickness, pain, illness to yours or someone else. Your occasional gout flare-up is nothing like the pain from chemo. Your granny’s (from your third cousin removed) illness is not the same. Don’t compare the person with yours or anyone else.  Above all…don’t start with “At least”…they are better off or something cockeyed like that.

#3.  Don’t Make it Their Identity.  In other words, every time you see or talk to that person don’t ask them about their illness or their bank account or whatever it is that has them in pain. Don’t make that their identity. In fact, sometimes it is best just not to bring it up. Maybe a slight mention when it arises but stay away from identifying them with the illness or pain.

Okay…I’m going to stop there. This is getting way too long. I’ll continue with the next post. Hope these help.

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).

Relief

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

Welcome to my Sunday meanderings.

Have you ever noticed how sometimes things just seem to pile up?  We have those seasons when stuff happens, in spades. Not every once in awhile but what seems like an onslaught. As many of you have experienced, it isn’t just one thing; it is a myriad of things.

Cancer diagnosis in friends. (A complication in one came in while I was showering this morning).

Marriages falling apart.

Deaths of friends and the funerals which follow (3 in the last month).

A three-week old baby requiring open heart surgery.

A host of other “beat downs.”

Plus one very tired pastor who needs a break (which is coming).

I’m preaching about HOPE this morning. Hope in a forever home. Good thing I believe in that. If my hope is not connected to forever, my hope will somehow die.  For hope to be hope it must carry with it the promise that all which is broken will be repaired, and that it will remain repaired forever.

I’m glad I have Someone to lean on. If I didn’t I don’t know how I would handle this onslaught right now.  Maybe that is why I have chosen two songs for this week. They are throwbacks. The singer is Mark Farner, former lead singer for Grand Funk. His conversion is a great story but his music is timeless. His lyrics are clear so you shouldn’t have any trouble listening and understanding. So check out this song then go to this one.

Have a great week bolstered (as I am and will be) by the truth I serve an amazing God who understands.

Image

Sunday, April 8th, 2018

There is no doubt we live in an image-conscious world. Fat-shaming. Body-shaming. All kinds of shaming going on. Cyber bullying has become a pastime for many. Plastic surgeons are in high demand to fix this, tuck this, remove this, do this, do that.

Whatever happened to Psalm 139: 13-16 and the reality it teaches? Before you jump all over me, I agree we ought to take care of ourselves. I don’t cycle and lift weights for nothing. But to body-shame someone because they don’t meet “our standard” of loveliness is just downright wrong. Sinful even. And to feel less than beautiful because of someone else’s standards is not right either.  Because of back surgery I am limited in what I can do for my core muscles. I was not allowed to do anything for almost 3 months. My stomach is not as flat, toned and defined as it once was. But that hasn’t stopped someone from commenting about it. I laugh it off but what would that do to someone who was less confident or didn’t know the uphill battle I face trying to find ways to exercise?

That is why this song was so insightful to me this past week.  If you have trouble with the lyrics I have included the lyric video of the song here.  I hope this helps set your week on a good path.

Contentment

Friday, March 9th, 2018

On July 28, 1982, Christian singer Keith Green, and 10 others died in a plan crash while showing the property of Last Day Ministries to friends. Cause of death leaves no doubt: the plane was overloaded. The pilot, a former Marine Corps aviator, had very little experience in the small Cessna 414 and certainly would not have been familiar with the weight load restrictions. Keith and two of his children, Josiah and Bethany, were 3 of the victims.

Have you ever heard of the Plimsoll Line? Neither had I until I began to study for this message. In 1873 Samuel Plimsoll became very concerned about the number of sailors who were dying. An astonishing 411 ships sank, taking hundreds of men to their watery graves, because of the disregard for safety. They overloaded the ships. Eventually, Plimsoll was able to get a law passed (14 years later) establishing the Plimsoll Line.

It’s too bad there is not a Plimsoll Line for people. Covetousness is not limited to non-believers. Greed is not limited to non-believers. Nor are the positives-contentment and character-limited to followers of Christ. There are so many distractions when choosing to be a follower of Christ. A lot of them are tied to “stuff.” When is enough enough? When is too much too much? How much money do we really need? How much public glory do we need to satisfy our ego?

I’ve titled my sermon for Sunday Traveling Light. I think you can see why.  I needed this one. Maybe you do also. If you can’t make it the sermon will be on the church’s website. Thanks for your prayers.

Lies

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

The past week or so I have been reading a book called Defining Deception by Costi Hinn (Benny’s saved nephew) and Anthony G. Wood. To say it has been an eye-opener would be an understatement. I am reading it as part of my desire to further my study on what is called the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) which “stars” Bill Johnson, Bethel Redding and Jesus Culture.   I’ll write more on that later in another post.

One of the most blatant lies of the NAR and what is commonly called the Health/Wealth (Un)gospel and which has been around for years is the guaranteed healing in the Atonement. If healing doesn’t come then it is a sign of a lack of faith. Can I say one word? GARBAGE! Stronger words come to mind but I don’t use those kinds of words.  I introduce this song with that caveat as my song of the week.

Too bad the false teachers (heretics) of the above mentioned garbage haven’t listened to the truth of this song. Then again, it doesn’t fit their lies so they would probably discount it.

Refreshing

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

This past Friday night I honored Jo.

Now…before you get to thinking, “My. my, what a great husband,” let me tell you how I did. You may also change your mind from “what a great husband” to “what a cad.” Okay…maybe not that bad, but you may change your mind.

Friday is my day off. It was anything but a day off as we had a chiropractor appointment, had time to eat lunch and then headed to Terre Haute (almost an hour away) for a funeral visitation of a fine, godly man who died quickly from cancer. His son owns the Nissan dealership where I buy my vehicles. Anyway, we rushed back after that to go to the local theater to see a movie.

A movie I had no desire to see whatsoever. But one she wanted to see. I wanted to honor her so I went.

How was I supposed to know I would come away refreshed? Laughing? Feeling good? And wanting to see it again?  Yeah…I wanted to honor her with the wrong attitude.  But I am so glad I did!!! Some of her movies/musicals I cringe at seeing (like Beauty and the Beast) but this is one time I chose to go.

The movie?  Actually a musical. Here’s the big moment… The Greatest Showman. Exceptional movie with fantastic music. The core meaning of the movie stands out: All lives matter.  Hmmm seems like I know SOMEONE who taught us that.

My song for today? Here is one of them from the movie. Please take the time to listen and read the lyrics as you do.  In the movie the character she plays has PCOS. Hers manifested itself in a full beard. The lyrics speak even louder when you know that.

We might actually go see it again this afternoon. Hard to beat a free movie.