June, 2019

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#I’mHere#InthePit

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

After being gone all week to Ohio to help Jo take care of her sister’s things and apartment, I am here for one day.  Her sister was back in the hospital this past week and Jo took care of some legal stuff while I worked a lot at her apartment. I think we made some good progress and with some hard work should be able to finish the labor-intensive part of the clean-up. We were able to have several large items hauled off this past Friday (which included a stove and refrigerator).  The dumpster comes tomorrow (Monday) at 9:00 and then I suspect we will really notice a difference.  I haven’t minded too much doing the work. I know it is helping Jo and it is giving me time to listen to music and work alone but the worst part is her apartment has no A/C. Yeah. You heard that right. NO A/C.  The temps hit the high ’80s this past week and no air was moving so it was quite sweltering. The worst part was at night. We so looked forward to sleeping in air conditioning Friday and last night. We head back today for another week of the same conditions but hopefully it will bring some closure for Jo. By the way: Vicki has been released and is back in the long-term facility.

My sermon today is a follow up to last week’s on the Marks of Integrity.  This one is about the story we have probably heard since we were children.  But there is so much more than Daniel in the lion’s den.  It seems unjust for Daniel to suffer as he did. It seems unjust for people today to suffer for doing good. Or to suffer needlessly (children, sex trafficking, etc). But Daniel serves as a great example to us of how we can survive in a pit with lions.

I know you are probably getting this after the fact but I’d still like to ask you to pray. I pray each week my sermons will last longer than my breath on Sunday. Please pray for that today. And while you are at it, please pray for me and Jo this week. Travel. Working. Her state of mind as she works through all this…aaaah…garbage that keeps getting thrown in her face.  Thanks.

#MarksofIntegrity#Follow#Absent

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

I find myself in a precarious situation these days. I’m trying to balance being the pastor of OVCF and being a supportive husband to Jo.  In this post about our trip to PA I also mentioned that we would be taking a side trip to Ohio to see Jo’s sister who was put in the hospital.  She has since been placed in a long-term facility and just this past Thursday was placed back in the hospital as the doctor was concerned about her kidney function.  Meanwhile, we found out on that side excursion that she did not have an apartment to go back to. So it falls on me and Jo to clean it and “divest it” of clutter and other items.  So we leaving today (Sunday after worship) and planning to stay the week to get as much done as we can.  On Friday we are heading to Columbus to watch our grandson play baseball then coming home Saturday morning. On Sunday we plan to repeat everything (except watching him play). We have no clue how long it will take to empty her place.  She has no TV, no phone, no internet so I am going to be out of commission unless I can find a Wifi somewhere close by.  So I will be absent from this blog (and possibly my other one) for the week.  So I leave you with this:

Daniel lived a life of integrity. In Daniel 6 there are 4 marks of integrity we find:

  1. His attitude. [Verse 3].  Psalm 75:7 is a good verse to go along with that.
  2. He was faithful at work. [Verse 4]. They could find no grounds for complaint against him.  Pr.20:6-7  is important for us.
  3. His personal purity. [Verse 4b].  Isn’t that interesting? “They could find no complaint against him.”
  4. A consistent walk with God. [Verse 10].  Daniel knew it meant trouble to do what he always did but guess what? He did what he always did!! 🙂

Living a life of integrity is no guarantee things will go well. But we are not here to gain man’s approval. We are to please an audience of One.

Have a great week if I don’t see you here sooner!

#IntegrityMatters

Friday, June 21st, 2019

Having gone through more than any man should ever go through and possibly more than I have ever known anyone to endure, he said something to me I have never forgotten. He had been a full-time and now was a weekend warrior Marine.  He had been falsely accused of a crime, proven innocent 3 times but his wife ran to another state against court orders.  Her state refused to honor the Indiana court order. He spent all he had. Cashed in all he could. All to fight for his girls. One day we were spending some time walking and talking and he said, “Bill, I would live with a barrel around my waist if it meant I had my girls with me.”

He wanted to live a life of integrity. A father’s group told him to take his girls and run. He didn’t. Her lawyer couldn’t believe his story never changed. Truth-tellers don’t have to worry about that. Only liars do (and hers changed a lot).

Integrity is missing today. Corporations. Schools. Organizations. TV preachers. Pastors. Churches. Say what? Yep, those last two hurt to type. Used to be the pastor was the one most respected in the community. Not any more. And can you blame them?

Daniel was a man of integrity. My sermon this week is called Integrity Matters. I’ll be looking at Daniel 6:1-17 this week. I’d appreciate your prayers for dry weather and for our gathering.

#Shepherd#Platform#Integrity

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

In Psalm 78:72 it says of David “With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with skillful hands.”  Some translations use the word “integrity” for upright.  This verse is talking about David’s approach toward the people of Israel. David served the people as their shepherd with integrity. That verse has always been at the forefront of my brain ever since I read it years ago.  It serves as a challenge to me to shepherd the people i serve with integrity.

Maybe that is why I have not cared whether I became “known” or not.  Oh…wait a minute. That’s not true. There was a time I cared a lot…an awful lot. I would hear of friends of mine who were preaching at large churches or conducting meetings in other churches and the “J” word would kick in. (That would be “J”ealousy for those who are unsure).  But then I began to think about time and schedule. I began to be involved in watching my daughters play ball. I wondered about sermon prep. When did they have the time to do that while jetsetting all over the globe? (Then I found out many of them have assistants who do all the research and sometimes even write the sermons).  I thought about the one thing I really like to do as an aside (cycle) and wondered when could I do that? Certainly not on a plane or in a hotel (stationary bikes are another word for B-O-O-O-R-I-N-G!).  Perhaps the biggest revelation in all this was “finding” the verse from Psalm 78. When would I have the time to be a shepherd?  Now, if I wanted to be a CEO-type  then, by all means, have at it! But I wasn’t called to be a CEO. I was called to be a pastor, a shepherd. The day I realized that was the day I quit worrying about what others thought; how big I could get; how “known” I could be; and became satisfied with being a shepherd of the church God gave me to serve.  Amazing how the perspective changes.  My worst enemy (ME) was put to death that day.

I’d rather be found faithful shepherding my sheep in an obscure, out-of-the-way little town than be serving an image of myself being applauded.  I’d rather be here than anywhere else.

#Different#WildandWooly#AllOkay

Monday, June 17th, 2019

If you read my post June 16-Weekend Extra from my other blog, you will know the general basis for this post.  Saturday afternoon and evening we had storms rumble through our area. Okay so they did more than just rumble. Some touched down. Yeah, we were “blessed” with the presence of tornadoes. The town proper of Spencer was spared but some of the outlying areas were not so fortunate. A little town a few miles southwest of Spencer called Freedom had a tornado touch down but fortunately it was not deadly. Downed power lines and mangled trees was about all I think. Several others touched down as well. One did some major damage to some barns and houses and a power substation (REMC). The substation which supplies power to the church building. Our house provider is Duke Energy and they had our power back on around 3:00 am Sunday morning.

The church building was another story. When I got there yesterday (Sunday) at 3:45 it was pitch black. I am writing this at 5:25 am on Monday and as far as I know it it is still pitch black. I’m at home so I have power. I’ll check it when I am done working on my sermon. But my purpose of this post is to tell you about our Sunday worship.

OVCF and its leaders have always “prided” themselves in their ability to adapt. Now, as I say that, I am not referring to the attractional church idea of adapting to culture. We have tried to stay “fluid” in our thinking about ways to do things. That was on full display yesterday. I contacted a few folks (Youth pastor, secretary, and Worship Team leaders) and told them about not having any power and can we do an Unplugged service. EVERYTHING, and I mean everything, was unplugged. No lights. No A/C. No plugged in instruments. No cordless mic to speak with. No fans. Well…you get the idea. Diana, the church secretary, sent out a mass email and posted it on the church’s FB page about the time change: one service at 10:45 instead of two (9 and 10:45). Then we waited and wondered if anyone would show up. Over 100 people showed up! Some had lost power for a short period of time. Some had lost it for most of the night. Some still had none. But they came.  We opened blinds for light. The front doors were left open. We put some lanterns in the bathrooms. We did the same in the children’s wing. Those teachers and kids were troopers. We sang. We had communion. We gave. I preached (the weak link in the whole morning). We prayed. We laughed (especially when someone’s phone went off with an emergency signal for flash flooding).  I referenced believers in other countries who meet like this every week due to economics or due to government interference.

It was a good day. I was proud of the folks who make up OVCF. I am honored to be their pastor.  I thank them for their willingness to adapt (in a good way). And I thank God for showing us we don’t bells and whistles to worship Him. All we need are hearts open to Him and willing to meet Him anywhere, anytime, and in any circumstance.

#Stand!#Don’tBowDown!

Saturday, June 15th, 2019

With traveling to PA and then to Ohio my week definitely got away from me as did posting about Sunday’s sermon. Let me put it this way: I started a new series last week that will go through the whole summer. I am calling it Heroes. The first one last week was from Daniel 1. If you read that chapter you know it is the story of Daniel and his 3 friends: Rack, Shack and Benny (as Veggie Tales puts it).  It was titled Cooperation without Compromise. Daniel and his 3 friends had the choice all of us have when confronted by a “test.”

  1. The first option is Absorption. This person basically is absorbed and assimilated into the culture.
  2. The second option is Withdrawal. This is commonly seen in cults and, in the days of the early church, the Essenes. We see this now in the Amish people who believe withdrawal is the best way to avoid evil. (Have I got news for them!)
  3. The third is Cooperation without Compromise. This is the Daniel way. I’d like to encourage you to read Daniel 1 to find out how that happens.

This week’s sermon is called We Won’t Bow Down! Bet you can’t guess what that story is about!! 🙂  If you guessed Daniel’s three friends give yourself a virtual high-five. Daniel 3 is where the story is.  I’m not going to say much more about it here except this- Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego made a choice not to bow down to the image. They were about to be thrown into the fiery furnace when they were given one last chance to change their minds. I love their words: “We believe our God will deliver us but even if not we will not bow down!” WOW!!

So Sunday I’m going to take that very familiar story and try to breathe some life into it so that we can all walk away, especially the dads, with a resolve to stand not bow. Your prayers would be appreciated. Thanks.

#TryAgain#EarlyBird#NeedyourHelp

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Back on January 30th I wrote the following post:

http://billgrandi.ovcf.org/wordpress/?p=15108

I’m here to ask you for your help again. I’m not much of a fundraiser to be honest.  I would have a hard time making it as a missionary who had to raise his own support and had to go around seeking donations or support. So this is definitely out of my comfort zone.

I’m not going to give you a great big “snow job” about this. I’m not going to beg.  Okay…I would do that if necessary.  🙂  (Picture a dog on hind legs begging. That would be me.)  But only because I believe so strongly in helping those with MS (Multiple Sclerosis). I know of two folks here in Spencer-Marge and Kirby. Marge has had MS since 2000 and they told her she would be in a wheelchair and a home in 6 months. She has had her struggles but she is still walking. Kirby was diagnosed in 2006 and I just found out about it a little over a year ago (so don’t forget that you never know who might be impacted by the work that you do).  Marge has been part of our worship team for several years and Kirby and Ronda have been attending OVCF (Owen Valley Christian Fellowship…the church I pastor) since Easter. Their son, Hunter, is now playing guitar in our worship band.  I know there are more that I am not aware of. In Indiana alone, the MS Society reaches 9000 individuals but based on the most recent prevalence study, there could be another 10,000 people that the Society hasn’t even reached yet!

Like most diseases, MS strikes each person differently. The meds they take affect each one differently as well. The Bike MS or Cruisin’ the Crossroads (as it is called) ride I am taking part in will help raise money to reach a common goal: to end MS forever.  Your contributions will go directly to MS research, outreach, and assistance for those living with MS. For more information on how the society helps people living with MS, you can follow this link to the Navigator program website.   It is a “flat pledge.” In other words, there is no “I’ll pledge 50 cents a mile.” Whatever you pledge is your pledge and you do it directly to the National MS Soceity. I would be honored if you would do it under my name as I try to raise at least $800 for the ride.  Go to that page and hit donate. It is pretty self-explanatory. To date I am at $745. I would consider it a big deal to hit the $1000 mark.

Here is part of what your donation will help happen.

All that to say…if you are able to donate in my name I would be honored. Thanks for reading and donating.

{Note: this post was edited with the help from the MS Society to better explain their mission}.

#Whirlwind#FunTime

Monday, June 10th, 2019

As I mentioned in my one and only post from last week I would be absent from this blog. It was a whirlwind week. We left Sunday after church for Ohio where we promptly got detoured in Indianapolis which took us out of our way.  The state bird of Indiana (the orange barrels used for construction) was clearly evident. They took us about 20-30 miles out of the way.  Monday we took off for PA and enjoyed a great time (Rob did an excellent grille job) with 2 of my younger brothers (I have 3). We laughed a lot. Tami rolled her eyes a lot as she watched the 3 brothers “show off” their humorous tendencies.  Tuesday we drove to my old hometown and saw the house I grew up in, the high school I attended  (which has totally changed), the “projects” where I spent the first 12 1/2 years of my life, where my grandparents lived, and where my mother was living when she went to see Jesus.  What Tommy James sang about in his song Smokey Roads is true. Braden was not impressed at all.  I guess I should have expected that. What 12 1/2 year old boy wants to spend time in a truck looking at relics?  🙂  The house I moved to in the middle of 7th grade and graduated from high school living in. My mom lived here for a few years after my dad left her and now my brother, Garry and his wife and daughter live there.

Eventually we got to our destination after some other stops along the way.  Here is one of our stops. It is called Mount Washington and it overlooks the Three Rivers area.

Finally, our destination.

The Pirates lost 12-5 but we were not there to see the end. After the Braves were ahead in the 8th inning Tami was content to leave. She was bummed, I think, because she missed the Freddie Freeman Home Run in the top of the 9th. I’m glad they won for her birthday present. The Pirates won the next two.  🙂  She left PNC park a happy girl.  I made her ride hooked to my bike rack on the way back to Rob’s.  J/K.  We did make national TV though.

We drove back to Ohio on Wednesday, stayed the night, then drove to Sandusky for the less thrilling part of our trip. Jo’s sister was in the hospital so that is never fun. But we saw she was taken care of and returned on Friday about 7:00.  I was ready for bed for sure!

Our “adventure” in Sandusky isn’t over because there is so much to do now that she is in a long-term facility. So my next few weeks are up in the air. Your prayers would be much appreciated.

 

#Absent

Sunday, June 2nd, 2019

I may be absent from my blogs for a couple of days. Not sure.  Tami’s 44th birthday (and yes I gave her age) is Monday. She has always wanted to go to PNC Park in Pittsburgh to see my Pirates play. Actually it would be more accurate to say “her Braves” play my Pirates but this is my blog. 🙂  So for her birthday we are taking her since they are playing each other on Tuesday.

We plan to leave after 2nd service today and head to Ohio. Spend the night and take Braden (our grandson) with us to the game.  I asked him “If you had a chance to watch the Pirates play the Giants who would you root for?” Without hesitation he said, “Giants because the Pirates are in the same division as the Reds.” Same with the Dodgers. Then I asked him if the Pirates were playing the Braves who would you root for? He said, “Neither.” Hmmm. I’m going to have to teach that boy a lesson in grandfatherly-love.  Anyway, we will be staying with my brother, Rob, and his wife Joy, and also have a chance to visit with one of my other brothers and his family on Monday night.

We had planned on returning home on Wednesday but Jo’s sister was taken to the hospital on Friday night so we will drop Braden off then head up to Sandusky to stay for a day or two.  I’m not really sure about posting here or on my other blog. Guess I’ll have to see what transpires as well as internet connection.

I’d appreciate your prayers for safe travel, a good time, and for Jo’s sister.  Thanks.