God is Security

security

Late one night a burglar broke into a house. He froze when he heard a loud voice say, “Jesus is watching you!” Silence returned to the house so the burglar crept forward. “Jesus is watching you!” the voice boomed again. The robber stopped dead in his tracks and looked all around. He spotted a parrot in a cage. “Was that you?” asked the burglar? “Yes,” answered the parrot. The criminal sighed in relief and asked, “What’s your name?” “Moses,” said the bird. “That’s a dumb name for a parrot,” sneered the burglar. “What idiot named you Moses?” “The same idiot who named the
Rottweiler Jesus!”

Today we look at a “one and done” sermon, God Is Security. Dictionary.com defines security as: “freedom from danger, risk, anxiety, or doubt; well-founded confidence.”Actor Richard Dreyfuss, star of such movies as “Jaws” and “Mr. Holland’s
Opus”, was being interviewed by Barbara Walters. She asked him: “Richard, if you could have one wish, what would that wish be?” Dreyfuss pondered for a few seconds, then said, “If I could only have one wish- I would wish for inner security.”

Security is big business. Burglar and  smoke alarms are wired directly from our houses to police and fire stations. Cars make loud noises in parking lots when somebody pushes the wrong button on their key pad. High school students walk through metal detectors as they’re buzzed into their school buildings. There are multi-colored alerts regarding
the threat of terrorism. 10’s of thousands of troops are in harm’s way. North Korea has nuclear warheads and a restarted plutonium-producing reactor. Never have so many experienced such chronic anxiety about the state of the world as now. In an endless search for security, early humans learned how to use a club in self-defense. As we continuously upgraded our destructive capacity, we transitioned from the club to the bow and arrow, then to gun powder, through the gasoline engine to the jet engine and the atomic bomb. And to keep from simply bringing about the ruin of the human race, we have to find ways to match our nearly frightening ability to make “bigger and better” with an equally
amazing spiritual and moral maturity.

Security can be hard to see…even when you are in the middle of it. We live in nerve-wracking times. Our mountains are very real. We’re constantly trying to climb over obstacles like a bad personal history, a poor education, a short temper, illness, addiction, depression. And how does Jesus respond to all of this gloom despair and agony on me?
“Don’t worry!” And yet…we worry. 20th Century theologian Paul Tillich said, “Worry is the state in which a being is aware of its possible non-being. Worry is experienced as one’s own finitude.” Saturated by a world of worry, it’s no wonder we respond irrationally- devising careful plans about where and how we will meet up with our loved ones when the world blows up. And we wonder if, perhaps…just perhaps…Jesus is a bit…well…naive. “Don’t worry,” he says, as if THAT’S really possible. He might as well say, “Don’t breath.” It’s NEARLY impossible not to worry. In fact, the only cure for worry is trust. The only
answer to despair is hope.

Would you bring along a sack lunch along when invited to dinner at someone’s house? No! Would you invite 20 people to a party and only make enough food for 10? Of course not! Would you send your kid out into a snowstorm in a swimsuit? Not on a dare! As rude
and self-centered and uncaring as we humans can be sometimes, we still adhere to a few basics of good behavior and common sense. So why do we think Jesus wouldn’t? Jesus wants to offer us not just a life of sustenance, but of abundance. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. Let’s see what else Jesus has to say on the subject.

Matthew 6:25-34- “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

A man was always bragging about his love for children. He bragged all over the neighborhood about how special children were to him and how much he loved them. One Saturday he worked all day pouring a new cement driveway, then went into the house. While he was inside, the neighborhood kids got into the concrete- they walked all through it, wrote their initials in it, even put some of their toys in it…and it hardened that way! When the man came out of his house, he exploded. And every time he saw the
neighborhood kids, he’d scream at them and run them away. After awhile, one of his neighbors said, “I thought you loved children?” The man said, “Well, I love them in the abstract…but not in the concrete!” God, on the other hand, loves us EITHER way.

Birds may not sow, reap, or store…but they DO scavenge for seeds, unearth grubs and scoop up insects. The lilies of the field might not labor or spin, but they DO know how to put down roots, take in nutrients, reach for the sun and move with the wind. In order to teach us how to give our worries over to God, Jesus encourages us to do two things. 1st,
we are to look to the lilies of the field, which, as weapons of mass destruction cast a shadow over everything, seems…well…a bit preposterous. But Jesus isn’t describing some kind of mythical bliss. Instead, He encourages us to study the patterns of nature around us- look and learn. The lilies He refers flourish for just one day and then are burned as fuel. These flowers have one spectacular shot at life, and in that brief flash there is beauty and meaning and joy. Each flower is unique and irreplaceable, but also part of something
bigger than themselves. In other words, Jesus is suggesting that by comparing
ourselves to the lilies of the field, we are facing our fears, and moving through them. And as we do that, our worry will begin to lose its power over us.

2nd, Jesus asks us to live…but to live in a particular way. He asks us, in the midst of our worry, to live FOR God and LIKE God. He asks us to strive, first and foremost, for the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then, He promises, all the things we worry about will be taken care of as well. Jesus reminds us that we need to get our priorities
straight. Jesus reminds us of how divinely graced and gifted we are. He insists that there is so much more to our lives than the quest for physical essentials. As children of God, our first priority is to strive “for the kingdom of God and His righteousness”. We aren’t called to be mere consumers of stuff — the “goods and services” that keep our economy afloat. We are called to keep discovering God’s righteousness, God’s intentions for us- in everything we do, say, and experience.

New Testament scholar Helmut Koester was serving as guest preacher. Prior to the sermon, there was a baptism scheduled. During the ceremony, 5-year old Benji, the brother of the infant being baptized, got scared and crawled under the altar, which had a large cross on top of it. Despite the plaintive cries of his parents, the church’s pastor, and
assorted members, Benji would NOT come out. Finally the pastor shrugged his shoulders and continued with the service. When it came time for Koester to preach, Benji was still under the altar with the big cross on it. As he stepped into the pulpit, he turned and spoke to the table…under which the boy had found his security: “That’s all right, Benji, for centuries people have taken refuge under the cross. You’re not the first, and you won’t be the last.”

Jesus chides his listeners for worrying- about food, about drink, about clothing…all the things necessary to make life livable. Sustenance and shelter were a daily challenge for the average Joe 6-Pack of 1st Century Palestine- as they are for the average Joe 6-Pack in 21st
Century America. It’s hard to make ends meet…and Jesus knows that. But He wants us to live a life that reaches beyond the struggles for everyday existence.He invites us to come along, to join Him in a lifelong journey to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. And the journey Jesus invites us on feeds our soul, clothes our mind, and fills our heart. Helen Keller says, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

I read a story about security I wanted to share with you. It was an unusually cold day in May. Spring had arrived and everything was alive with color but a cold front from the North had brought winter’s chill back. I sat in the picture window of a quaint restaurant on the town-square. As I sat, my attention was drawn across the street. There was a man, walking into town, carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He also carried a well-worn sign that read, ‘I will work for food.’ My heart sank. I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square, looking for the strange visitor; I saw nothing of him. I stopped at a store and then got back in my car, but deep inside, the Spirit of God kept saying: ‘At least drive once more around the square.’ So…I headed back into town. As I turned the corner, I saw him, standing on the steps of a store front church,
going through his sack. I pulled in, got out and approached the town’s newest visitor. ‘Looking for the pastor? ‘Not really, just resting.’ ‘Have you eaten today?’ ‘Oh, I ate something early this morning.’ ‘Would you like to have lunch with me?’ ‘Sure!’ As he began to gather his things, I asked some surface questions. ‘Where you headed?’ ‘St. Louis.’ ‘Where you from?’ ‘All over; mostly Florida.’ ‘How long you been walking?’ ’14 years.’ I knew I had met someone unusual. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, ‘Jesus is The Never Ending Story.’ Then, Daniel’s story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in life. He’d made some wrong choices and reaped the
consequences. 14 years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had
stopped on the beach in Daytona. He got a job with some men who were putting up
a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought. But the tent didn’t house a concert…but a revival, and from that service he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God. ‘Nothing’s been the same since,’ he said, ‘I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now.’ ‘Ever think of stopping?’ ‘Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me.  But God’s given me this calling. I give out Bibles, that’s what’s in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles.’ I was amazed. My homeless friend…wasn’t homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked: ‘What’s it like?’ ‘What?’ ‘To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?’ ‘Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people’s concepts of people like me.’ We finished our lunch and walked out. Just outside the door, he paused, turned to me and said, ‘Come Ye blessed of my Father and inherit the kingdom I’ve prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in.’ I felt as if I was suddenly on holy ground. ‘Could you use another Bible?’ I
asked. We stopped by my church and I was able to find my new friend a Bible- he
seemed very grateful. ‘Where are you headed?’ I asked. ‘Well, I found a map on the back of this amusement park coupon.’ ‘Are you hoping to get a job there?’ ‘No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone there needs a Bible, so that’s where I’m going next.’ He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission. I drove him back to the town-square where we’d met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things. ‘Would you sign my autograph book?’ he asked. ‘I like to keep messages from folks I meet.’ I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture from Jeremiah, ‘I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you; Plans to give you a future and a hope.’ ‘Thanks. I know we just met and we’re just strangers, but I love you.’ ‘I know,’ I said, ‘I love you, too.’ How long’s it been since someone hugged you?’ I asked. A long time,’ he replied And so on the
busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put his pack on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, ‘See you in the New Jerusalem.’ ‘I’ll be there!’ was my reply. He headed off with his sign, his bedroll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, ‘When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?’ ‘You bet,’ I shouted back, ‘God bless you, Daniel, wherever your feet take you.’ ‘God bless,’ he said. And that was the last I saw of him. Late that evening, the wind blew strong and I bundled up and hurried to
my car. As I sat back, I saw them…. a pair of well-worn brown work gloves sitting on the seat. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them. Then I remembered his words; “If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?” Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember to pray for my unique friend and his ministry.

When we humans are faced with mounting security concerns, some tend toward the “cabin in the wilds of Idaho” approach. But to the contrary, as Christians we’re called to reflect God…and live IN the world. But to do that, we need protection from the evil forces of the world- because the Church wasn’t meant to hibernate its way into the future. We
can’t water down the teachings of Jesus to encourage passivity and meekness. There is no greater security than that which is found in Jesus Christ. It’s the security that allows us to walk with grace and reverence under all circumstances. I think everybody ultimately wants security. But it only comes when we realize that Jesus Christ paid for our sins- when we put our faith in Him…trust in Him. Then we can truly say we have security.

Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day! Please make sure and come back tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!

July 30? REALLY?

 I SWEARcalendar-RevMark-PC I just looked at the calendar yesterday and it was January. I mean, we JUST started 2016…didn’t we? In fact, I’m still writing 2015 on my checks half the time, for goodness sake! (Even thought I don’t actually write checks anymore!) I remember when I was a kid- time just CREPT by! Especially the school year- once late  August/early September showed up, it felt like YEARS before May came around. (The summer months, on quite the other hand, made me feel like I had gotten the DeLorean up to 88 MPH and simply “zapped” straight from June 1 to  August 31! That darn flux capacitor!) 

     You know what I mean- waiting for Christmas when you are a kid was like waiting for Judgment Day…you KNEW it was coming but you couldn’t imagine when. You have ALL the time in the world when you’re young. There is NO hurry, no worry. 
     Then…you grow up. Things start to happen- you get out of college, you get a job, you get married…you have kids. And once those things happen, life becomes a snowball rolling down a hill, gathering speed, size and momentum. Life becomes that train from the movie that was out recently- racing toward the station with absolutely no way to slow down. A white knuckle flight, going so fast you don’t even have time to think…you can BARELY even catch your breath.
     Now that I have your attention- do YOU ever feel that way? If you said, “No”, you’re either…fibbing…or you have the secret that BILLIONS of people would like to know. Of course you feel that way sometimes- we all do. That’s the way life is. And I am convinced that there is NO way around that. Despite what some of the more optimistic theologians might say, we cannot completely avoid the craziness of life simply by being a follower of Jesus. While we are encourage to not be OF the world, we HAVE to be IN the world. BUT…and this is a pretty big but (if you will pardon the image!)…you CAN learn to deal with it better!
     I have learned (the hard way) that the world is going to keep on flying by, regardless of what I do. So, I have a choice to make- I can stay on the train, clinging desperately to the handholds, praying I won’t fall off, watching much of what is important to me fly by…OR…I can choose to better monitor my time, electing to step off the train occasionally, let it go on if necessary, knowing I can either get on another car farther back or simply wait for the next train! After years of beating my head against the wall, clinging to the train, missing so many important things in my personal life, I finally came to the understanding that there IS a balance to be had between a successful career AND a healthy family…if you’re willing to make some concessions along the way. 
     What is YOUR life like? Do you feel you have a good balance, or do you feel trapped on that runaway train, unable to get off…trapped? If you feel trapped- take heart. A. You are NOT alone. And B. Jesus cares about that…about you. Turn to Him. Pray to Him. Seek His presence in your life. Ask Him to help you find that much-needed balance. If you do those things…He will intervene. He will make a difference. You will find a better balance for your life. And the journey will be such a joy! Now, if you’ll excuse me…I’m late for an appointment!!
     Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day! Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!

 

Kids Are Funny

kid

Kids make me laugh. They are innocent, wide-eyed, smart, quick-witted and often brutally honest. There is simply NOT much sugar-coating when it comes to a kid- they lay it all out there and tell it like it is. They haven’t yet perfected the “filters” that we seasoned adults have…and I don’t always know if that is a good or bad thing! 

     I have spent a LOT of time recently with kids. And they have done…and said…some pretty funny things! One night at Vacation Bible School some years ago, one group of kids was in the sanctuary, learning a new song. The woman leading them set up the song in advance and then said, “OK…let’s listen to it.” That was my cue to hit “play” in Windows Media Player to start that particular portion of the DVD. There is a momentary pause as the player finds the right spot on the DVD…and then it starts. Only…it wasn’t making any sound! And it just HAD made sound 4 minutes ago! So I’m trying to figure out what the problem was, and JUST as I figured it out (I had “faded” the sound from the previous video clip and had not brought the volume back up…a simple fix) and was in the process of fixing it, one of the kids shouts up to me, “If you’d START the video…we could HEAR the song!” I near fell out of the organ loft- I was in…laughing!
     Later that same evening, a different group of kids was in the sanctuary practicing. The leader again prepped them for the next song, and just as I thought she was about to say, “Let’s listen to it.”, one of the kids called up to me. “Mark…you ready?” He then flashed the “thumbs up” sign to me. I thought he was asking me if I was ready to play the video clip, so I smiled big and flashed him the “thumbs up” sign back. Then, to my amazement AND amusement, he proceeded to put both hands on the back of his head, with his elbows sticking out, and then gyrate his hips in a full and wide circle! He looked like a young Chippendale wanna-be! Again, I had to brace myself to keep from falling out!
     Later, the brother of the kid who informed me that, if I would start the video, they could hear the song, was talking to me before the “main event” started. He noticed the shirt I was wearing- it was a Hawaiian-like shirt, bright and LOUD, covered in St. Louis Cardinal Baseball-related images. (The theme this year is tropical islands and I am a HUGE Cardinal fan!) I pointed out that it was a Cardinals shirt…and at that precise moment I remembered that he, his brother and his dad are BIG Chicago Cubs fans. (In case you don’t know, the Cubs/Cardinals rivalry is one of the biggest in all of sports!) He looked at me, his eyed narrowed, he pointed his finger, got a BIG mischievous smile on his face, and yelled, “You’re a traitor!” Whatcha gonna do?!

     Working with kids reminds me that Jesus calls us to have faith like a child. NOT childish faith, but child-like faith- wide-eyed, trusting, sincere, awestruck. That’s hard to pull off some days in the materialistic, cynical world in which we live. But I have found that, if you CAN manage it, it literally changes the way you view the world, yourself, your faith. Here’s my challenge for the rest of the week- try and exhibit a child-like faith. Try to set aside the cynicism and the distrust. Live life moment to moment. Appreciate the flowers, the birds, the trees, the breeze. Thanks God for all of it. See the world through new, younger eyes!
     Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day! Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!

Carpet Stains

carpet stains

I have mentioned Vacation Bible School many times. The Craft Station is always in one particular room on the main floor of the church. Why? Because that’s the way we’ve always done it! (And it IS the best spot for it!) About 10 years ago, at a church I used to serve, we re-carpeted the entire main floor of the church (except the sanctuary, which had already been done). It was an  attractive, yet appropriately neutral, variegated blue/dark tan, maroon sort of deal- quite nice…as carpet goes. During VBS that year, the woman who was running the Craft Station texted me (I was in the sanctuary being Tech Guy!) to tell me that the kids had gotten paint on the carpet and she would come with a steamer and get it clean. I could tell from the tone of the text that she was concerned.

     I was not in a position to go and talk to her at that particular moment and I didn’t want to respond in a text (you know how hard it is to convey intent and feeling in a written communication!), but when I had a second, I dashed out of the sanctuary (OK…perhaps I didn’t “dash” so much as I sauntered. There was certainly no gamboling going on!) and into the room where she was. I could see the look on her face- she was concerned that I would be upset. We made eye contact and I said, “I got your text. Let me tell you a quick story!”
     I proceeded to tell her about an experience I had with a United Methodist Pastor in Caseville,  Michigan. I had taken a group there on a Mission Trip, and we were living in his church for the week. Some of work was done directly for the church and some of it was done for both other ministries and the community at large. There were so many of us that we slept EVERYWHERE in that church. (And I mean everywhere!) Partway through the week, I was talking to the pastor and he was asking me how we were getting along with sleeping arrangements. I assured him that everything was great- we were quite used to Spartan accommodations while on Mission Trips, so sleeping bags and cots in a perfectly comfortable church was just fine!
     He then proceeded to tell me about several conversations he had with parishioners. It seemed that A. the church had JUST re-carpeted the entire building about a month before we came and B. some members of the church were…less than excited…about the fact that 52 strangers were…GASP!…sleeping…and LIVING…on said carpet! I asked him what he said in response to that. He said, “I told them that, when I stand before my Maker on Judgment Day, I want to be able to say more than ‘I kept the carpets clean’!”
     How many churches fail to do active, vital, transformative ministry because…well…they don’t want to get the carpet dirty? In a perfect world- none! In the world in which we live, however- a bunch! And that’s such a shame, because I am convinced that God is MUCH more concerned about us going out and making disciples than He is about us maintaining the status quo…or keeping the carpets clean! As Christians, we need to understand that our buildings, our grounds, our church vehicles, our…whatever…are ministry tools. Should we do our best to be good stewards of them? Absolutely! But NOT to the detriment of real, life-changing ministry. We need to live a little, let our hair down (metaphorically speaking, in my case!) and think outside the box…and the building…as we endeavor to be God’s hands and feet, eyes and ears in this world!
     Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day! Please make sure and come back tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!

28 Days to a Better YOU!

28 Days

I was watching one of my favorite movies recently…Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. (I must confess, the first time I saw it, I thought, “What a stupid movie!” But something compelled me to watch it again the next time the opportunity arose. THAT time I got it…and loved it!) In the movie, Murray plays Phil Connor, a self-absorbed Pittsburgh weatherman who gets “stuck” on Groundhog’s Day, forced to re-live that same day over and over…until he “gets it right”. (SPOILER ALERT!) He finally DOES get it right in the end.

     I have probably seen the movie, or at least part of it, 10 times or more. (Hey, give me a break! I said I loved the movie!) But THIS time I realized something I hadn’t quite thought of before. In the movie, Phil goes through nearly every emotion possible, trying to win the love of Andie MacDowell. And in the meantime, he figures out a great deal about life. He starts out a jerk and ends up a pretty decent guy. (He SHOULD have- I’ve heard that the the author who wrote the book upon which the movie is based envisioned that the character of Phil spends…ready?…10,000 years stuck in that one day!)
     As I thought about WHY he changed…or perhaps the better word is HOW he changed, it dawned on me that the WAY he changed was by repeating specific behaviors over…and over…and over again. ONLY by doing that was he able to become something different…something new. In other words…he formed new habits. Most statistics say it takes between 21 and 28 days to form or change a habit. (He had the…what?…benefit?…of 10,000 years.) And that’s exactly what he did- by repeating specific behavior over a period time, he was able to change his habits…change himself.
     What are things about YOU that you would like to change? Come on now…we ALL have things we would like to change. Maybe you want to quit smoking. maybe you want to exercise more. Maybe you want to cut back on your caffeine. Or maybe…you want to become a more Godly person, a stronger Christian. How do you do that? By changing your habits. Figure out what it is you do that you feel keeps you from a deeper relationship with God. Maybe you are a bit too judgmental. Perhaps you tend to gossip. Maybe you aren’t very friendly and open to others. Maybe there are behaviors that you exhibit that you are not so proud of. Whatever it is, the bottom line is this- the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. If you want things to change, you HAVE to do something different…and you can’t just do it for a day or two. You have to do it over an extended time…say…28 days! (Hey…it’s a LOT less than 10,000 years, right?!)
     If you are willing to try this, I guarantee two things: 1. it WON’T be easy! And 2. God will walk every step of the journey with you. And I don’t know about you, but I always find that a great  comfort! Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day! Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!

Fun With Extreme Weather

melting-man1

   People say I’m fun…but if they ONLY knew! I am merely the giant head on the screen, babbling on and on, trying to keep people’s attention! My wife, on quite the other hand, is the wizard behind the screen, making everything happen! Let me explain.
     I have shared before that my wife is the fun one- thinking up fun things to do with the kids, building lasting memories. (She’s the one who convinced me to loosen up a bit and join her and the boys playing Frisbee in the pouring rain! They STILL talk about it!) Once, when our older son was a kid, we had a few winter days that were beyond cold- I’m talking WELL below zero with a wind chill of somewhere south of -40! Those are days when “normal” people would stay in at nearly any cost. But not us! My wife had read about soap bubbles freezing in that kind of weather…and wanted to try it! So we bundled up and trudged out in the arctic winter. It was SO cold that it hurt to breath. Your face hurt, your legs hurt (regardless of how much clothing you were wearing)…it was just flat cold! And there we were in the driveway…blowing bubbles! (We MUST have looked a sight!) And it was SO cool. They DID freeze, and depending on how much water was in the particular bubble, they either shattered when the hit the ground or the rolled down the driveway! We stayed out for a few minutes, then ran back in and had hot chocolate!
     Well, a few years ago, we were living in central Illinois, and it is hotter than smoke! The air temperature was 97 and the heat index was 118! So my wife said, “I wonder if you could bake cookies in the car on a day like today?” To which my then 10-year old replied, “Let’s try!” They dutifully made cookie dough and portioned it out on a cookie sheet. meanwhile, I moved the “old” van out of the driveway and along the street…where it would get the MOST sun and get NICE and hot! Then we put the cookie sheet on the dashboard…and waited. At the hour mark, there was no real change. But at the 3-hour mark, they were clearly beginning to bake! We decided at that point to take them in and finish baking the traditional (i.e. boring) way. They were delicious!
     Sometimes you just have to let your hair down (metaphorically speaking for me!) and do something a bit off the wall! And I will admit, that’s sometimes hard for me. That’s one of many reasons why I’m so glad to have my wife in my life. What do YOU do to just let go and have some fun sometimes? Is that easy for you? Hard? It IS very therapeutic, so if you don’t do that now…try it. You won’t be disappointed! Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day! Please make sure and stop by again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!

Another Day in the Life

day in the life sheet music

Every so often, I like to take a Monday blog to review what yesterday was like and how it points to the fact that I have the best job in the world. (If you are reading this and thinking to yourself, “You CAN’T have the best job, Pastor, because I do!” That’s OK- you go ahead and tell yourself that. But you would be…you know…wrong! Because I do!) Yesterday would be good one to look back at!

The day started with a GREAT cup of coffee. (And, just in case you aren’t sure…that is an incredibly important part of EVERY day!) After some time spent unlocking, turning on lights, printing a few things and going over my serand going over my sermon again, it was time to practice with the 8AM Praise Band. So I got to spend about 45 minutes playing the drums.

Then, after 15 minutes of visiting folks, it was time to start the 8AM worship service. In that hour, I got to lead worship, pray, invite people to the altar, lay the drums and present the sermon, which was in a monologue format.

Next, it was grab some breakfast at the Fellowship Café…and some more coffee…and head to Sunday School, where I got to spend an hour teaching and being in conversation with the folks who are part of the class.

After that, it was on to the 10:15AM worship service, where I got to…wait for it…lead worship, pray, invite people to the altar, lay the drums and present the sermon, which was in a monologue format. (That sounds vaguely familiar!)

Then it was downstairs to the dining room to help serve a lunch for our CIA (Caring Individual Adults) group- folks who often find themselves eating alone. We do a once-a-month lunch that provides an opportunity for fellowship. It is well received!

Then it was 2 WHOLE hours of…nothing. After that, it was back to church to…play drums! The new praise band for the new 9:15AM worship service practiced. So it was another two hours of playing the drums. It was great!

Then it was back home for a whole 90 minutes for dinner. (We wimped out and drove through McDonalds!) After that, it was back to church for the monthly Administrative Council meeting. And while NOBODY puts meetings at the top of their “what I love to do” list, this was a GOOD meeting!

So, for those of you keeping score, I got play drums for…like…3½-4 hours. I got to use my Bachelor’s Degree in Acting to present the sermon in a unique way. I got to lead worship…twice. I got to pray with…and for…people. I got to help serve…and eat…a good lunch. I got to promote the new service. I got to participate in a meeting that focused on celebrating the good things that are happening at the church. Long day. Busy day. All in all..GREAT day!

Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day! Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!