Wednesday, April 30, 2008

5 Things, Finally ...

Some time back my buddy Rob, or Robbie-pooh to some, tagged me on his blog to write a post about the 5 Things I Want My Kids to Know Before They Grow Up. He has since posted a couple of reminders, called me out and tried to shame me into do this, since I am about to I guess it worked.

Part of my hesitation is that my kids are already grown and on their own. Notice that I didn't say grown up, that is more of a judgement thing. Another part of my hesitation is that so many people wrote about it that I wasn't sure what I could add and their stuff was so good.

Enough with the excuses. Here is my list, that guess is for my grandkids and for my kids because we can never be to old to learn.

1. That they are intimately known and passionately love by God.
2. That God has a plan for their life. If they will follow his plan it will be the most exciting ride they can possibly imagine.
3. Be a people person, build relationships, care about and serve others. Relationships are a big key to a successful life, starting with a relationship with Christ.
4. Have fun and enjoy life as you go. There will be some difficult times but don't dwell on those, instead look for the possibilities and enjoy your life.
5. Know that you are loved. By God as I have already mentioned, but also by your family (even your brothers and sisters) and more than I can ever express you are loved my me.
5b. (Hey it is my list) Be an encourager. Everyone can use it and people will look to you because they are not likely getting encouragement from too many others.

Okay Rob I have done it. SO BACK OFF and I mean that in Christian love.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What's Your Sign?

No, I am not asking what your astrological sign is, but rather what is your obvious yet unwritten sign? What would people who encounter hang around your neck to warn others? If people who deal with you were allowed to place a sign on you to help others recognize how you act or live, or maybe what your mood is lately, what would that sign say?

That thought hit me because my wife has asked at least a couple of times in the past few days a question as if I had a sign around my neck. You see her question made me wonder "why is she asking me that?". I realized that I might as well have been wearing a sign, because evidently it was rather obvious.

So what is your sign? What would others have labeled you according to their encounters with you recently?

My sign? Are you wondering what my sign has been recently? I might tell you, later, think about your sign. If you are courageous enough to let others know leave me a comment, if not just think about it. If you are not sure what your sign has been recently, ask those who spend the most time with you.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday Morning Musings

This is a different Monday Morning because I didn't preach yesterday but I was at my church. We began Revival Services yesterday, so I had the rare chance to attend my church and not preach. It felt weird, but it was a chance to relax a bit. It has been a while since I went 2 consecutive Sundays without preaching (remember I was on vacation last Sunday).

The service went okay, the style of the Revival ministers is different from our normal style but that can be a good thing occasionally. We had reasonable attendance given all of the other happenings this weekend and our attendance in the evening was very good.

My wife and I took the evangelists, both of them lead in the music and but only one of them preaches, out to lunch yesterday. We are familiar with them, but it was really good to spend some casual time with them. I wish everyone had that chance so they could really hear their hearts and see them as "regular folks", there just isn't time for that opportunity.

We have services for the next 3 evenings as well. We are really praying for some real depth of impact among our own people. That is what will really prompt us to keep growing in our relationship with Christ and to continue to have the compassion to keep making a difference in our community.

It is different, and sometimes difficult, to sit through so many services without preaching in any of them, but I am really asking God to speak to me in a special way this week.

Here's hoping you realize how much you are loved by God this week.

What is with the weather? After temps in the 70's we might get some snow flurries and the low will 31 tomorrow? That is just wrong.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I'm Back ...

I took a few vacation days, from Sunday morning to Friday night, and did not have computer access therefore I couldn't blog. Did you miss me? We went camping, well it was in a friend's camper and it was a very nice get away. We were just a hundred yards from a lake and we could fish from shore. We fished every day and caught very little. We still enjoyed it and I did make one huge catch, unfortunately it was a Carp so no meal involved. The weather was surprisingly good for this time of year.

We read a lot, played some games, ate way too much, fished a lot, got some good rest and enjoyed time with each other and away from everything. I didn't leave the campground from Sunday afternoon until Friday afternoon. I still worried about a lot of things, but that is a personal hang up of mine.

We took advantage of the Sunday away to visit a church we had heard a lot about. It is a large church with 3 locations linked on Sundays through satellite teaching from one of the sites. It was a good experience to see something different than us. There were some great things about it and some that didn't connect with me, but a very positive experience. Pastors rarely get a chance to see another church on a Sunday so we really enjoyed the opportunity. We have been known to hit 2 or 3 churches in a single Sunday morning to have many different experience. We didn't have the energy to do that this time.

I returned to find 260 or so emails waiting for me, and that is with a filter. So guess what I have been doing for a few hours.

I will try to post a few more things from vacation and other thoughts in the next few days. Have a good day and relax, I am back.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Great Lesson

Last evening my wife and I went to watch our local high school boys and girls in a track meet against a rival school. This is one of those schools that no matter what you want to beat them in any sport. We went because we enjoy watching track, the effort, the fact that you can encourage (yell at) the athletes and they can actually hear you and you can interact with the athletes during and after the meet. We also went because we wanted to see and encourage some of the students who attend our church, some we have just gotten to know and some of the girls I coached in volleyball last fall.

Bottom line is the boys won, the girls lost so as far as our rival was concerned it was a mixed bag. As of interacting and encouraging it was very positive. But the coolest thing was a powerful lesson that one of the young men taught during the meet. A young man who attends our youth group is a very good runner and he dominated the first two races he ran and the relay he was in as well. Then the 3200 meter run came (that is about 2 miles for the uninformed), you knew he would dominate again. But instead he hung back and ran with the next 2 runners from our school. He was talking to them the whole way, encouraging them and urging them to run harder and faster than they normally do. The 3 of them were running together, and away from the other school as the race continued. Even the starter and race official asked them after several laps if they were going to run as a pack the whole way, there answer was "we are a team". Sure enough when the last lap came the pace picked up put the faster runner stayed with the group pushing them forward. As they came down the last stretch he allowed one of the other two to go ahead and he kept urging him to run faster and allowed him to win the race. The three of them finished 1,2,3 and well ahead of the other school.

What a picture of teamwork and of sacrificing self for the sake of the whole. Another note, the boys were only ahead by 2 points going into that race, so this action sealed the team victory.

Here's hoping I can encourage and urge someone forward to more than they thought possible.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wednesday's Wonderings

Sorry about the title, but it was the best I could come up with today. I didn't do my normal Monday Morning Musings because I was at the annual assembly of churches on my jurisdictional district. How was that for a formal way to say "District Assembly"?

Sunday was a day. My mike went out about 2 minutes into the sermon, actually the battery went out. Mind you, I replaced the batteries just before the service from what I thought was a group of new batteries. Why would someone put old batteries in with new ones? Now I am suspcious of all batteries in that group. So I had to preach holding a mike, that severely limits my style. We had decent attendance. The whole thing seemed a bit tame and sterile, at least that's how I felt. Maybe it was the fact that it was snowing on April 13! Maybe it was how many regular attenders were absent, several still sick with this junk that won't go away. Maybe it was just me. The great news is that God is still God and he still ministered where we faltered. There were still people who were impacted and encouraged. Aren't you glad that God is not limited by our limitations?

Our District Assembly had some great moments, some okay moments and some down right boring moments. I came away encouraged by what God is doing in many churches under difficult circumstances. I was further impressed by what is happening in many of the countries around the world where our denomination is ministering. I was encouraged by the passion that most of my brother pastors have for their ministry, their church and our God.

Gotta go to a meeting. Have a great day.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Stinkin' Snow

That's right, I said snow ... well actually I typed snow and even if I said it you wouldn't have heard it. Come to think of it I wonder when we will have talking blogs? But I digress. Back to the snow. Today is April 13 and it snowed, and it kept snowing and snowing. It didn't stick since it has been in the 60's earlier this past week. But the point is that it shouldn't snow on April 13. Don't you agree?

I am at my District Assembly and Mission's convention. This an annual time when all the churches on our District gather to share reports from the past year and elect people to positions of leadership within our District. I have internet in my hotel room so maybe I will be able to post couple of times while I am here.

It appears that I may lose my Fantasy game this week, I am currently tied with just a few innings of the last game to go.

Here's hoping the snow is done.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Hail to the Victor

Well it is over, the NCAA men's basketball tournament, and the champion has been crowned. Actually, two champions Kansas and my youngest child K2 (Kindra). That's right, K2 won our family's annual NCAA brackett challenge. She won it by a whopping margin of 1 point over yours truly and 3 points over her 7 year old nephew. In fact had Mario Chalmers missed that desperation 3 pointer with 2.1 seconds to go crushing Memphis' dreams then my 7 year old grandson would have won the challenge. But this is about the victor, K2 no matter how close her victory.

That's right my amazing daughter beat us all this year. This is a big deal because she has been trying to do this since she was her nephew's age. But back to the winner. She won it with her picks up until the Final Four. It was obvious that my 7 year old grandson was the only one who pass her because he was the only one who had picked Memphis to win it all and he had Kansas as the other team. But this is about the victor, K2.

You see every year we have some kind of prize for the winner of our challenge. Most year's it was that the winner got to choose where we would all go out to eat. Of course that usually cost me a lot of money whether I won or not. But this year my wife came up with the idea that all of us write a tribute to the winner on our blogs or facebook pages, since we all have one of those with the exception of my two grandsons, ages 10 and 7,who partcipated. This is also made more sense because K2, hubby and son moved to Arizona just before the tournament started, thus making a meal together very difficult.

K2 is an avid sports fan, much to the delight of my son-in-law. She has been since her big brother introduced her to the joys of the old WWF and Wrestlemania. She and her sister, K1 (see how that works) would call each other during football season and analyze the lastest Colts game.

K2 is a great mom and about to really understand the adventure since her son, (my youngest grandchild) just turned 1 and beginning to explore the world in an upright position (as opposed to only crawling in case you weren't quick enough to follow that one). She is active in her church and loves the Lord, which means the most to me. She is now a pastor's wife, which never really imagined, but my wife and I kept telling her was a distinct possibility.

So here's to the Victor, K2 this year you are unequaled (by only 1 and 3 points) in our family at picking the NCAA men's tournament. The day is yours enjoy a special drink from Starbucks today.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Monday Morning Musings ...

Yesterday was a difficult one to evaluate. We had our full worship band back for the first time in 3 or 4 weeks and they sounded good. Our worship leader was back for the first time in 4 weeks, but our subs did well the last 3 weeks. Our attendance jumped back up, it wasn't good but it was at least respectable for worship. We had a new family that returned for their third time, that is a very good sign. The weather was outstanding, one of the best days we have had in over 5 months.

The difficult part of the evaluation is that it was a tough day to really get a handle on the atmosphere. It seemed to fluctuate during the service and certainly during the message. It could have just been me. I know that I am tired and need some vacation time. I know that I have really been wrestling with some big stuff in leadership and in people's lives. I also know that the Lord was really working on me about the content of yesterday's sermon. It was from Malachi 1 and dealt with not giving God our best, of just trying to get by. It seemed to fall on mainly deaf ears, but then again it may have been that God was talking to me and few other people. I went to the altar myself at the conclusion of the message, because I knew that I had not been giving God my best recently. A couple of lines from Craig Groeschel's book "Confessions of a Pastor" hit me hard. "I forgot that God didn't call me to be like a Pastor but to be like Christ." Ouch in capital letters. The other line was "somewhere along the way I became a full-time Pastor and part-time follower of Christ".

I shared that I felt the difference for many of us in how we serve, live and give as believers is similar to the difference between a garage sale and an estate sale. At an estate sale they everything is available including the best they have to offer. At a garage sale you know that they are only offering their leftovers, the things they have outgrown, worn out or those bunny slippers that no one would ever wear. Too often we invite God to our garage sale instead of offering him our whole estate.

Here's hoping you will give God your best this week.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Random Thoughts ..

I have had trouble this week staying focused and on task, therefore the only thoughts I have had are random:

The snow is gone in all the yards around here, finally.

Baseball season has started which means my Fantasy Baseball league has started, that is a very good thing.

As of this afternoon I was leading in my head-to-head fantasy game for this week, that is a very, very good thing.

"The danger of eating is that we fall in love with the gift; the danger of fasting is that we belittle the gift and glory in our willpower." This is from John Piper's "A Hunger For God".

I am so pitiful this week that I couldn't even finish a list of random thoughts, I started this post 2 days ago.

I am still leading in my head to head fantasy baseball game this week.

My day off got interrupted again yesterday with church stuff.

Today is a beautiful day. Sunny and temperatures in the high 50's or low 60's. The snow is gone.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes those who claim to be followers of Christ argue over the stupidest stuff?

I love my wife.

I went bowling a week ago, it was not a pretty picture and I have finger that is still swollen and doesn't bend as far as it should.

Why don't they make mouse flavored cat food?

A "New Kids on the Block" comeback? You have got to be kidding me.

It appears that my youngest child or my second oldest grandchild are going to win our annual family bracket challenge. (NCAA men's basketball for the uninformed. How could not know this?)

My Cubs finally won a game.

Just started a good book, "Confessions of a Pastor" by Craig Groeschel.

Got go I too much to get done today to keep being this random.