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Showing posts from August, 2010

The Pain After Childbirth

Parents will understand when I say that if it were not for bedtime, my wife and I might never have a conversation uninterrupted. Even then it is not a guarantee. I remember when I was the only one clamoring for my wife's attention. And like a fool, she gave me her undivided attention. It was only foolish because it developed into a habit wherein I believed I could always have her focus.

I haven't had that sort of attention in about 9 years. Sometimes, in the wee hours of the night, after our personal collection of little needy people are asleep, we sometimes ask ourselves, "Selves, what did we do with all our time before children?" I must be honest and say this lack of attention is somewhat painful and hard to bear.

I don't wish to complain when so many wish they could have children. I could segue and talk about how incredibly busy I am with ministry right now. But that also seems foolish, given how many would like to be busy with a job. But this is the life I have…

Unsuspecting Volunteers

Busy, busy, busy. Everyone is busy. Always busy. Do you remember when there was a time when it seemed like you had busy seasons but you also had slower seasons? I’m sure I did, but I haven’t had time to go back and see when that was.

Now it seems as though busy seasons only lead into other busy seasons. And to trump them all is the SUPER-busy season of fall. I’m wondering if someone looked at the church calendar and had the following conversation.

Someone: I have a great idea.
Unsuspecting Volunteer: What’s that?
Someone: Do you know how school is about to start and days are getting shorter?
Unsuspecting Volunteer: Ummm….yeah.
Someone: I think we should kick off all of our ministries at once during that same month. And I’m so grateful that you love God and children enough to help me.

There’s no out for the unsuspecting volunteer who just had the Love God & Children card played on them. So, with summertime waving goodbye, I give you my top 4 ways not to view this Fall’s ministry schedule…

Flipped

Have you ever felt like something just wasn’t right? You’re not sure what, but something felt...wrong. Perhaps it was the way a friend treated you. Maybe it was an exchange between people that you couldn’t believe was happening. Or it could be the Mexican food you just ate. Whatever it was, something was backwards about the whole thing.

Flipped.

Sometimes we come across a book or a teacher that just blows our mind away. KABOOM! Call it a case of perfect timing, but you were ready and open for new information. And when they delivered, your life was changed.

Flipped.

In a very real sense, that is why Jess came. Jesus was all about making things that weren’t as if they were. Take blind people for example. Jesus helped them to see. The deaf could hear. Those who were dead were brought to life. Check it out in Matthew 11. Jesus tells people exactly what He’s doing.

But Jesus didn’t stop there. He came to deal with our hearts as well.
I think this is a large part of why many people had a prob…

Ellen Degeneres as a Role Model?

I think she was serious when she said it. And what's more, I think she believed it. Whatever you think of Ellen Degeneres, I believe her comments have to tell us a little something about where we are as a society. She was recently at the Teen Choice Awards, a wonderful use of two hours. Here's what she said;

"I hope to not only be a comedian, but also to be a role model, because I feel that there are not too many women who are role models to teens, and I am talking about one woman ... Betty White. I would like to impart some wisdom on you: stay in school — I know, it’s hard, to listen to your parents and don’t pierce that."

Ok, let me be honest. I find Ellen humorous. I think she made American Idol bearable. But...a role model? I suppose I should ask, what if she is a good role model? Understand that I know nothing about her except the obvious. She has chosen an alternative lifestyle, to use society's terminology. 'Sinful' is the word I would use. But that…

Happy Birthday Free Methodist Church!

It was August 23, 1860 when the Free Methodist Church was born. She was 9 pounds, 8 ounces....wait, no she wasn't. She was a young upstart, founded by Benjamin Titus Roberts, proud owner of a neck-beard. (Link to FB group)

It was on this day in history that the FMC adopted a Discipline and elected B.T. Roberts as the general superintendent. This happened in Chesbrough Farm, Pekin, New York. A month later a second FMC was founded in Buffalo. A month after that, the Genesee Conference was organized with two districts.

From there they spread across the United States. North and East and South and West, much like a contemporary praise and worship song. Then they went Southeast to the Sunshine State.

In the 1970's a young pastor and his family moved to Cape Coral, Florida and began a community church connected with the FMC. Though somewhat hidden, this church grew and extended its arms to families through youth and children's programs. It was somewhere in 1986 that a young girl in…

Why We All Suffer

My wife isn't one to hold grudges. It's a good thing, too, because otherwise I would not be in good standing in her eyes. But 14 years later, she loves me. This despite my many imperfections.

But mention running in gym class and she remembers. She remembers the stupid boyfriend of her gal-pal who said the wrong thing to the wrong gym teacher. This gym teacher was not to be trifled with. But instead of merely correcting the offending party, the gym teacher made everyone run laps.

You've no doubt seen this kind of correction take place. Punish everyone for one person's bad deeds. This way you turn a whole class into a miniature version of vigilantes ensuring justice is brought down.

It just goes to show that gym teachers are reading the Bible for disciplinary techniques. What, you ask? Oh yeah, this is a technique Nebuchadnezzer perfected back in Daniel's day. Dan asks if he could have the vegan special instead of all that fatty food. I've thought about doing tha…

Can God Hear Us Now?

Without hope. It is a very scary feeling. Ever felt it? Ever seen it in someone else?

I used to think that 2 Kings 25 was the most depressing chapter of the Bible. It details the last days of Jerusalem before falling to Babylon. It is depressing. After all, with different kings coming and going, the people had probably still held on to hope. Hope that this king might be different. Hope that people would start to reform their ways. Hope that God would once again bless their nation.

But I think hope left the building a bit sooner than that. I'm reading through the prophet Ezekiel, who was one of the first to be deported, before the fall of Jerusalem. It doesn't take all that long for God to begin giving him the bad news. Just 8 chapters in, Zeke proclaims God's judgment on the wickedness happening in His own temple. "Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them." …

My 8-Year Old Gets It

I can remember when I first started watching sports. I was around 14 years old and it was all so new. I became enthralled with basketball, football and baseball. The competition was fierce and so real, unlike the ‘sport’ of professional wrestling, which I had been engrossed with before then. Go ahead, judge me.

Anyway, I have noticed over two decades what some of you have probably noticed over more or less time. Some things change. Champions come and go. But many things stay the same. The winner is still the team with the higher score, interviewing athletes reveals why they play sports and Brett Favre is still considering retirement. Perhaps the saddest aspect that never changes is the clamor for more money.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to rail against players receiving huge contracts. They do what they love and the business affords them that money. I do what I love. If someone wanted to pay me a million dollars to do youth ministry, I would find a way to spend the money, after my tithe…

Look What I Found!

As people gathered for worship they noticed that the pastor had a very different look on his face. He seemed more excited than usual. Perhaps more excited than he had been for several years. The mystery of his excitement was contagious and would not be contained for long.

After everyone was together and ready to begin, the pastor made this announcement, 'I was cleaning through the church yesterday, perusing old files and organizing stacks of books. That's when I found it, underneath layers of dust. It's the Bible!'

I don't know about you, but if this story were true and I were sitting in that group, a few questions would pop into my head. When did you lose the Bible? How have you been teaching us for however long it's been lost? And none the least of the questions would be how you lose THE BOOK that is supposedly most sacred, most important and most needed in our lives?

Hard as it may be to believe, this is exactly what happened in 2 Kings 22:8. It seems as King…

Tree Ball 2.0

How much do you want Jesus?

Stop. Go back and read that question again. Read it a few times if you need. (I'll wait here before I go on.)

How much do you really want Jesus? I posed this question last week in the ridiculousness that was Tree Ball. I referenced Zac the tax collector who climbed a tree to be noticed by Jesus. It paid off. He got a dinner invite. Actually, Jesus invited Himself to Zac's house. I wonder if I could pull that off. Can you imagine a pastor ending a Sunday service by looking around and just picking someone? "Mrs. Jones, I hope you made extra. I'm coming over."

But this doesn't seem to be a problem for Jesus as many were honored to have Him in their home. Stories abound in the Bible of people who clamored for Jesus' attention and touch. They yelled and screamed, tore roofs off houses and pushed and shoved to be near Him.

Do you want Jesus enough to cause a scene?

Life on the Sea

Twice in my life I have been on a cruise. Both times were on the dime of my sugar-grand-momma. Both times were awesome. Very awesome. What can be better than sailing the open sea, not getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle, eating a lot and eating some more. It’s been 20 years since I last went, but I can still feel the rocking of the boat. (By the way, I still have my Cabana-wear for any sugar-grand-mommas that would like to take me on another cruise.)

I think I just got lost in thought on an endless buffet. Where was I going with this? Oh yes, I remember! Taking a cruise. I learned a lot of lessons on those cruises, number one being that I am super white and 3 layers of sunscreen (SPF 5000) is not too much. Here are some others…

Turning left on a ski-do
While docked in Cozumel, Mexico my dad afforded each of us children a choice of one activity. I chose to take my sister out on a jet ski. I was not old enough yet to drive a car in the US, but my dad agreed to let me drive my sister and I…