Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sharing (or not sharing!)

Today I decided to buy the dogs a treat, so I bought them each a soup bone (with the marrow). I large one for Sig and a smaller one for Kizzy. For a while everything was dandy. Each dog took his/her bone away and began to contentedly gnaw on it. After about 20 minutes or so, Kizzy had the marrow gone and was tired of the bone. Sig worked on his for 45 minutes (and then took the next 15 minutes to "hide" it.)

Then the trouble started. Kizzy (who was tired of bones) decided that if Sig was done with his, she should try it out. So, into Sig's crate and out with the bone! I saw what she was doing and took it away and put it back in the crate. Sig then decided that his bone was not safe, so he took it and "buried" it in front of the couch. Kizzy saw it and went for it. Sig saw her and went to stop her when Kizzy growled and sent Sig running! Again, I told Kizzy, that this was Sig's bone and put it back in his crate.

Later on, I was talking to Rachel on the phone when I heard Sig crunching on a bone. I looked and yep, it was Kizzy's! If fact, Sig had "hidden" his bone in Kizzy's crate when he decided to take hers!

Isn't that a lot like people? They never seem to be content with what they have...someone elses looks better. It doesn't matter if it is a car, a house, or a job. We tend not to be content. We need to remember what Paul told us in Phillipians 4:11-12,
"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."
So, with the economy in a slide, isn't it about time to be content with what we have? I think so!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Two dogs = 3 times the work!

Amy has left Sig (and Eddie) with me while she attends a retreat at Holy Cross Monastery. You would think that adding one dog to the mix would be no big deal. You would be so very wrong! Kizzy wants to eat Sig's food. Sig wants to eat Kizzy's food. Kizzy wants to take a long walk. Sig wants to get his "business" done and go back in! I am doing my best to adjust, but I have to admit I am glad that I don't have Bible Study and a Sunday School lesson to prepare for this week!

I am beginning to understand why women who have a second child seem to have an astronomical increase in stress. It seems that in dogs (and babies) one plus one is definitely much more than two!

On a separate note, the healing service went well on Sunday. No one threw away their crutches and no blind people regained their sight, but many came forward to recieve prayer and a special blessing. How God will act in each of these people's lives is yet to be determined, but whatever the case may be, to God be the glory, great things He3 has done!

I figure if Paul had to live with a "thorn in the flesh" and Paul was unable to heal Timothy's tummy problems, it is OK for me to claim the same promise given to Paul--My grace is suffiecient for you. May the God who heals be with you and give you rest!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What do you Light first?

If you are in a dark room with a candle, a wood stove and a gas lamp. You only have one match, so what do you light first? The answer, of course, is the match! Many times we have puzzles in life that seem to test us. We are trying so hard to find the "right" answer that we forget the obvious!

If you are struggling with any problem right now, where do you need to turn? To God! The simplest answer is also the right answer. People all over are searching for the answers in self-help books, seminars, and other various ways, but the simple fact is that God is the answer.

Are you sick? Pray. Are you frustrated? Pray. Are you happy? Pray! Don't get so caught up in the minutia that you forget God!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Today begins an exciting few weeks for me. Sean (my youngest son) and a friend of his will be coming to Stillwater to visit for almost a week (then they will head further East as they explore the country). Then, on June 2nd, Rachel will get back in New Jersey and will have her Gran and Grand Dad with her! I look forward to getting to spend some time with the family.

We live in a day and age where most people move away from where they grew up (like me!) and families are becoming more and more spread out. While it is great to have families visit, it also reinforces the changes in our society. No longer are families of several generations living together in the same town (or even in the same state!) I believe this change (though I understand the reason for it) has hurt the family. Grandparents are no longer close to act as a "buffer" at times of strife. Kids are no longer close enough to help with elder care. While I understand the reasons for the change, I can't help but wish I was born fifty to seventy-five years earlier!

Because of this change, I believe it is high time the church began to "step in the gap." We should be able to find the family feeling and family help in our churches for those families that no longer live close together. After all, we ARE a family! I, for one. am going to do my best to make sure I act like a good father/son/sibling in this family we call church. How about you?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Maranatha Gardens

My mother-in -law wrote in a recent blog about the Victory Gardens that were planted during the second World War. It got me to thinking that the concept (especially in these troubled economic times) is still a sound one. Planting a garden to help us with our food budgets is one way to get through these tough times (that is if I can keep the deer out of my garden!)

But I think we can (and should) take it further. Let's plant Maranatha Gardens. Maranatha is the Greek word for "our Lord has come." We can plant a few extra plants so that we can share the bounty with those people who are struggling. Wouldn't it be a wonderful witness come this fall to have a table set out in front of the church with the vegtables available for thiose in need? Now I am not trying to run the fruit and vegatable stands out of business, but I do think that it is a visable way that we can share with our communities some of the blessings that the Lord has provided us.

I challenged my congregation on Sunday to do this. While I certainly have no idea how many will actually participate in the project, I can assure you that I will do my best to provide all the jalapeno and habenero peppers that we need! OK, I have other thinks planted as well and will share them as well!

So, go get you hands dirty and make a difference in your community!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bearing Your Cross

I am paying today for my work yesterday. One of the Members of the congregation and I are making a 14 foot cross out of ironwood to put outside of the church. It is heavy, and awkward to work with. After we got the pieces prepared, I started sanding the cross before the final assembly. Unfortunately for me, the skids I had under the pieces were a little to short for me to work comfortably and today my back is hurting! When the job is completed, the pain will be worth it.

Jesus tells us to take up our cross and follow Him. It may be heavy and it may cause you some pain at times, but in the end it will be worth it! What are you doing for Jesus today that takes some effort? Isn't working for Jesus worth a little discomfort?

We have grown complacent in our service. We want all the blessings without any of the work. The world is full of people who need Jesus and we are satisfied to sit back and let someone else to the work! It is time for us to use our minds and muscles for Jesus! Remember, we are Jesus hands and feet. It is up to each of us to our part if we expect to see change happen.

So...what are you going to do TODAY for Jesus?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Inspiration From Music

Those who know me, know that I like to listen to "Praise Music." This morning, I decided to listen to some "old-time Gospel" instead. I like Gospel music, I just sometimes forget that I do! One song that I was listening to is called "Keep on the Sunny Side." The message is an important one for all of us:
There's a dark & a troubled side of life
There's a bright, there's a sunny side, too
Tho' we meet with the darkness and strife
The sunny side we also may view

[chorus:] Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life
It will help us ev'ry day, it will brighten all the way
If we'll keep on the sunny side of life

The storm and its fury broke today,
Crushing hopes that we cherish so dear;
Clouds and storms will, in time, pass away
The sun again will shine bright and clear.
Let us greet with the song of hope each day
Tho' the moment be cloudy or fair
Let us trust in our Savior away
Who keepeth everyone in His care
We all have troubles and days that seem to be too hard to bear. That is when we need to "keep on the sunny side of life!" Remember, "greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world!"

Another way to look at it is from my desk calendar today--God promised a safe landing, not smooth sailing." Let us all do our best to find off the things that try to bring us down. There will be dark days, but always do you best to "keep on the sunny side of life!"

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Kizzy is beginning to do much better with the "stay" command. When I am alone at the church, I can leave the office door open and make a trip to the other office, or to the "facilities" and she will be waiting for me (near the door, but still inside!) However, should I give her the "stay" command, go to do an errand in the building and someone happens to come to the church, all bets are off! She loves people and that (in her mind) still overrules the "stay" directive that I gave her!

Isn't that a lot like us? God gives us plain rules to follow and tells us to "stay away from trouble" (that would be my paraphrase of 1 Thessalonians 5:22). Yet, we find the sin so enticing that we just want to try to "stay at the door" looking out, but then something happens and we rush right out of the door! Kizzy is learning (with the help of positive reinforcement in the form of praise, hugs, and of course dehydrated chicken chips!

God is there to praise us when we stay "out of trouble" and to one day give us that hug (I don't know about the dehydrated chicken chips, but I think I'll pass on those!). All we have to do is follow the outline given to us in Philippians 4:4-8 (especially verse 8):
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

So, what do you say? Isn't about time we did our best to stay away from evil and think on the positive things? I do!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

To Tweet or Not To Tweet

Twitter seems to be all the rage. 140 characters to tell the world what you are currently doing. I'm torn between the novelty of it and the absurdity of it! Do people really need to know that I am drinking coffee and reading the paper (and do they really care!)

I know that I tend to be on the side of new technology, but I just don't know. Are we getting to the point where will never even bother to pick up the phone and call someone we care about?

I see some interesting possibilities on the other hand for the church, but only with the people who are willing to embrace the technology. What if all the shut-ins were able to "tweet" that they are OK? It would be a way to make sure everyone was accounted for in pastoral care. But is that really pastoral care? People need people, not just 140 character messages. Tweeting is fine, but when was the last time a phone, PDA, or computer gave you a hug?

I guess all I am trying to say is this. The decision to "tweet" or not to "tweet" is a personal decision based on how you look at the world. For me, I'm still undecided as to whether to embrace the technology (and find a way to make it work in ministry) or just to say, enough is enough!