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Victory!

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

Some of the thoughts I plan to share Sunday:

Sooner or later death comes. The statistics are staggering: 1/1!!

Science has done nothing to deal with death. It may be prolonging life in some cases. It has definitely helped alleviate pain. But it hasn’t solved the problem of death.

Death is our enemy. But to followers of Jesus death is a stepping stone to something much better.

Jesus abolished death. His resurrection which we celebrate today conquered it. It is because of the cross where forgiveness of sins was paid for, and because of the resurrection where victory was won, that we have and can talk about hope today.

Praying you have a great Resurrection Sunday!

CQD

Friday, March 8th, 2019

There are a number of international calls for disaster on the sea. The Germans used SOE. The Italians used SSSDDD. Marconi, who was a leader in wireless technology, proposed CQD, which actually came from an earlier one “CQ” and by adding the “D” for distress it was to represent extreme danger. According to him the letters meant absolutely nothing. In 1906 it was proposed by the second International Radio Telegraphic Conference that the letters “SOS” be adopted. Not because it means “Save our Souls” or “Save our Ship” but because of the ease to transmit- 3 dots, 3 dashes, 3 dots. By 1908 it had been accepted by all except the United States.

That all changed April 14, 1912 when Titanic sunk. Senior operator Jack Phillips was using CQD when junior operator Harold Bride joked to Phillips that he ought to use the new one (SOS) because it might be the last chance to use it. Sadly, it was because Phillips never left his station until there was no more power. By then all the lifeboats were gone.

Psalm 51 as a whole is a powerful psalm of sin and rescue. That was last week’s message. This week’s message takes it further and finishes it as this psalm becomes a psalm of renewal.  I’ll be concentrating on verses 10-19 this week after a brief review of last week’s lesson of grace and mercy.

I’d appreciate your prayers for us this week. Attendance may be slim due to Spring Break for our local school system, but I’m convinced someone there will need to hear its message.

Heroes

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

I’ve been absent from this blog all week. Along with daily ministry life, I conducted a funeral yesterday (Tuesday) of a lovely lady. It has got me thinking of heroes. Not the fake Marvel kind. The real kind.

The funeral was for a beautiful lady named Carolyn. She has fought Parkinson’s for 10 years. She was a vibrant lady up until the end, even after her diagnosis. She refused to allow this ugly disease to stop her from enjoying life. As was stated by several members of her family (son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren) she refused to give up and give in to the disease. The last couple of years it began catching up to her, but the anesthesia for a knee replacement is what really took her down. Carolyn is a hero because she refused to quit. Her family are heroes because they loved her well. All of them. Three boys who adored her. Their wives. The grandchildren and sadly, great-grandchildren (3) who will never really get to enjoy her arms.

I spoke at length with one of my family members yesterday afternoon.  His wife has had had Alzheimers since 2010. She can no longer talk or walk but he continues to take her to the mall to walk (she rides while he pushes) and to care for her at home. They will be married 59 years this June. Not only is that love, my uncle is my hero. He loves her well.

I spoke with a brother of mine last week. Just shy of their 18th anniversary she suffered a stroke that has left her unable to play music, among other things.  He has had to move them from San Diego to Washington state due to finances. He also is care-giver for her Down syndrome son, who is probably 30 something I’m guessing. My brother is my hero. He is loving her and him well, even two years into this ordeal.

Kirby and Marge have been living with MS (Kirby for over 10 years; Marge even longer). They refuse to give up. Even flare ups are seen as “blips” in their full life. They are examples of “the rain falls on the just and the unjust,” but also of those followers of Christ who refuse to quit. They are the inspiration for me riding in the MS150 in August.  Heroes both.

Real heroes don’t wear capes; have indestructible shields; fly at the speed of light; smash when green; wear a suit of armor that talks to you; shrink or grow in size; or any of the other characteristics we associate with a superhero. My heroes are real people.  Real people who put their pants on the same way I do, but show extraordinary love and grace. Real heroes are people who love well. They live well by giving their lives away.

How about you? Know any heroes you need to tell?

SOS

Friday, March 1st, 2019

First off: SOS did not stand for “Save Our Souls.”  It was actually chosen because of its ease to use in Morse Code. (…—…)  What it did mean is “We are in trouble and need immediate help.”

The story Sunday started with a sleepless night then exploded into a story of lust, adultery, deception, and murder. If it was a movie at the theater or a book we were asked to read we would (probably) avoid it. The story is, of course, the story of David and Bathsheba. It is a story most are familiar with-in the church or outside the church. Why include it in the Bible? I mean, why not whitewash everything and leave this type of story out? Maybe this verse of Scripture might answer the question:

“Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did…Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come…Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” I Cor.10: 6, 11-12

The story of David and Bathsheba is the story of me. It is the story of you. We are prone to stand off and say, “I’m not that David” and feel pretty smug. But the reality is that we are that David because David’s enemy is our enemy: sin. Gratefully, the Scripture for Sunday’s sermon, Psalm 51 has the theme of grace not sin. This is actually going to be in two parts: Verses 1-9 this week; verses 10-19 the next.

I’d appreciate your prayers for this weekend. Thanks.

DrawingPeople

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

My last post was sort of snarky in that it was tongue-in-cheek. It was either not read much or people just chose not to comment. (Can I hope for the latter?)

Anyway, I thought I would use a quote I read from Scott Sauls’ book from Weakness to Strength. I highly recommend it especially for anyone in leadership. In a chapter he called Opposition: The Unlikely Pathway to Neighbor Love, Scott used this quote:

We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it. Madeline L’Engle

There are some people who see it as their mission in life to tear down other people. I know there is a need for discernment when it comes to cults, false teachers, etc. But I’m not sure there is value in name-calling and “demonizing” someone due to their choice of lifestyle. Please don’t misunderstand me here: I believe the so-called “alternate lifestyle” is sinful, but they are still people. I used to be one of those preachers who said “I tell it like it is and if you don’t like it argue with the Bible not me.” I now realize that was and is the wrong approach.

Scott summed up Madeline’s words with these:  “No amount of cultural opposition stopped Jesus from working to change the world through love.” I can’t argue with him.

All that to say this: perhaps instead of being hateful and judgmental toward those who oppose us, maybe we can take the position of lovingly disagreeing while maintaining our Biblical stance. It doesn’t mean I am compromising; it means I am trying to reach people with the message of the love of Jesus with honey instead of vinegar.

What are your thoughts?

 

Anniversary

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

Oh, for the ease of emojis. It is not as easy putting pictures on a blog as it is to use an emoji while texting. If so I would find one that pictures a celebration.

Today is the anniversary of me starting Cycleguy’s Spin. February 20, 2008. This is post #2,837.

It is hard for me to believe I have been at this for so long. A lot has changed. A lot has happened. I have seen people come and go. Some who used to blog don’t any more. For what reason, I don’t know. Blogging used to be “the thing” but FB, Twitter, Instagram and all the other newer, shinier models have stepped in. I’ve stuck with blogging because I am not into social media. It used to be a joke in our house that Jo got to do FB because I had my blog. She originally connected to it to keep up with the girls, but she is hooked. Me? I am glad I never got involved. They say it would be better for blog traffic but I’m okay with that. They also say I would be able to keep better track of “my people.” That’s alright. They don’t need a hound dog. Besides, I have spies all over the place! 🙂

A lot has happened. The church moved its location from the sports complex to our own building (we bought an already existing one). That was in 2010. In January of 2011 I found out we were being embezzled. But God was more than sufficient.  In 2009 I was riding with a friend and a dog came out of the yard and took me down. I was hit by a hit and run driver in 2016 and in 2017 I had a horrific crash (which Tami was kind enough to remind me that this past Sunday was the date of my two year anniversary). I became a board member of the Owen County Chamber of Commerce about 6 years ago. The church has seen its ups and downs but God has been good. We paid cash for a renovation in 2012 and for a much-needed youth addition in 2017-2018.  Our sights are set on an adult worship center now.  We had our first Day of Service in 2009 and now partner with The Connection church for a semi-annual Day of Service (Spring and Fall).  Our 2009 launch of a now annual Thanksgiving Dinner was one of the best things we have done and it has morphed into a Christmas breakfast as well.

I started another blog, more of a devotional one, in 2018.  It was called Be Transformed and was focused around New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp. I changed its name to Living in the Shadow at the beginning of this year and also changed my focus. I invite you to check it out here.

But through all of this and more, God has been the mainstay.  He has given me a love for the people of OVCF and for the community I never thought possible. I love living and serving here and honestly see myself nowhere else.

This is getting way too long so let me wrap it up. I thank you for being one of my readers. I appreciate it more than I can express. I know some of you are praying for me. That means even more. I’ll keep writing as long as I feel I have something to say. From the very beginning my guiding theme has been Live the Adventure.  I have received a few momentos along the way:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My firm belief and guiding principle:

And finally: I was listening to Switchfoot while working out yesterday and heard this song for the first time. It has been on repeat since then. It sums up my theme for my life.

Thanks for being a part of my life.  Live life well. It is an adventure.

Waiting

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

Confession time: I am not a fan of waiting. I don’t like to use the word “hate” but I do hate waiting. Waiting in line at a grocery store is tiring. Waiting in line at a store that does not have enough registers open is frustrating. Waiting in line at a stop light, especially when a person won’t move up, is maddening. Waiting to be waited on and served is annoying.

Worse still is waiting on God. I know what the Scripture says; I’ve quoted them enough. “Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.” There are tons more. But sometimes waiting on God is just plain…frustrating. Maddening. Annoying. Tiring. Waiting for an answer. Waiting for God to move. Waiting to die. Waiting for change. Waiting for God to “show” Himself.

Been there? I’d like to invite you to my other blog, LivingintheShadow, to see the rest of this post. While you are there, how about subscribing and getting them in your email?

For another “take” on waiting why not visit Martha’s bl0g here?

Fear

Saturday, January 5th, 2019

I’m a little late to the party this weekend.  It has been a crazy, busy weekend with Tami’s surgery as well as some others having cancer treatment. But I guess better late than never!

My theme for 2019 is Unsinkable. My thanks to Ryan (techgeek) for the banner. I am a typical Sanguine. I have great ideas but my ability to follow through on some things is limited. Ryan, on the other hand, is fantastic!  Okay…that’s enough of that. I’ll blow his head up so big even his wife won’t recognize him. But then again, Amanda will bring him back to earth. 🙂

It was March 4, 1933 while the country was in the terrifying clutches of the Great Depression that newly elected president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, made his famous one liner that is often quoted by others. Believing the greatest problem was not the absence of finances but the presence of fear, he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

There is no question we live in a fallen world. Look around if you doubt my words. At the same time we live in the fallen world, we also have a God of grace who meets his children in moments of darkness and difficulty.  I’m going to be in Psalm 27 for 3 of the 4 Sundays this month. Psalm 27 is a rock in an unsure world. It is a lifesaver thrown out to a drowning man. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” 

I’ll also be showing this video of CityAlight before I preach.

Prayers would be appreciated as I lay the groundwork for the rest of 2019 with this beginning message. Thanks.

QuietRoar

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

A Quiet Roar: Sometimes Disruption Is Overdue

Over the years I have read a ton-and I mean a ton!- of books. As you might imagine, most are of the non-fiction type. After all, my work as a pastor requires I read, read, and read some more.

But every once in awhile I come across a fiction book that grips me and won’t let me go. Back in 1994 I read the very first book by Randall Arthur called Wisdom Hunter (WH). I read it one year later on a personal fasting retreat and wept through most of it because it was like looking into a mirror-seeing what I didn’t like-but wanting so badly to be what I read. WH was the final nail in my coffin of legalism. The follow up to that book was titled Betrayal, and once again I was filleted. Jason Faircloth, the pastor from WH made a very pointed appearance in Betrayal and once again pointed out the dangers of legalism. In between Mr. Arthur wrote Jordan’s Crossing, another Jason Faircloth book, only this time dealing with Jordan’s emptiness caused by liberalism. The final installment (or so I thought) was Forgotten Road, a novel dealing with the emptiness of the health/wealth (un)gospel. Jason made an appearance in that book as well.

Imagine my surprise and excitement when Randall Arthur’s publishing company announced a new novel! Man, I jumped on that like bugs on a night light. As it was I was #102 of 120 signed copies. I gotta tell ya! If you read no other novel this coming year, please please please read Quiet Roar. The main character is like a female version of Jason Faircloth. Take a hot topic (female pastors…which I am saying neither yay or nay to here); add in a lot of small town church drama; a mysterious woman; and even more mysterious benefactor; a dash of contemporary culture and world events (Muslims, the church not staying so “white”, and some other events); and I kid you not, you have a recipe for a lot of sleepless nights (or at least staying up past your normal bed time).  Right now it is only available from Amazon on Kindle. HOWEVER, you can purchase it directly from Randall’s website.  I personally know Randy and he is the real deal.

May I also suggest reading Wisdom Hunter and Betrayal (since renamed Brotherhood of Betrayal) as companion volumes? You can find all his other books on Amazon as well as his website. I GUARANTEE your life and faith will no longer be the same.

LeafTurning

Sunday, December 30th, 2018

The new year is about here and there will be a lot of talk about “turning over a new leaf.” I personally hope my life is more exciting than a leaf blowing in the wind.  🙂  Every year I post this video and want to do that again.  It’s one of those “traditions” you know? Besides, I have a much more important one to show later so I want to get the frivolous out of the way.  Click here to see the video.

I have never been one to go over the past year and relive good and bad memories. I came to realize that I couldn’t change what happened so why do that? In some cases it would be like torturing myself and in other cases it might be hard not to gloat or “wish for again.” I believe there are lessons to be learned if I look, but too much reflection can sometimes be detrimental. So I don’t take longing looks at the past.

I also take longing looks at the future. Jesus said in Matthew 6:34: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” I take that to mean not to worry about tomorrow. Why should I when I can’t change things anyway? I have no control over them. But I know the ONE who does. 2019 is going to happen (unless Jesus returns first) so I can only prepare myself the best way I know how: spiritually.

I’m not a resolution-setter.  (Nor am I an Irish one). 🙂  I basically have one idea: How can I live my life with grace and honor God doing it? After spending two years going through New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp and all of 2018 blogging about it at Be Transformed, my heart and eyes have been opened and softened. The journey was not always easy. It was time-consuming and at times, inconvenient. But daily blogging was a discipline I am glad I did. My next attempt will be called Living in the Shadow and will take the place of Be Transformed in name and content only. It will be hosted on the same site but I do not plan on posting every day. I’m thinking maybe 2-3 days a week. I’ll tell you more when it gets underway.

But I want to close this post and 2018 with a song that has become a favorite and will be my focus for 2019. I hope you will join me in making this a reality.  Click here to listen to the song.

HAVE A SAFE AND ENJOYABLE END TO YOUR 2018 AND  A STELLAR BEGINNING TO YOUR 2019.