Thursday, December 25, 2008
Dean was one of the most humble and godly men I have ever known. He was the consummate quiet servant, helping hundreds of people in hundreds of ways and mostly without anyone else ever knowing about it. He loved simplicity, hard work, his family, and his church family. He was a man of integrity. I know there were plenty of times when he and Gleneve wondered what in the world their first son-in-law was doing, but they would choke to death before they ever did anything to criticise or be negative to any of us. Their example of love, sacrifice, service, and hospitality are unmatched by anyone I've ever known. I am thankful for every memory I have of time we spent together and for the godly daughter he raised who has made such a difference in my life. I am truly looking forward to seeing him again - and I will. I just hope there's rabbit hunting in heaven.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
The cable man did his thing - put a new cable box on our machine and it worked like a charm. It seemed good to me (sounds biblical doesn't it?) to ask, "Hey, while you're here. Can you change out our DVR? It's really been acting up lately and I thinks it's bout to go out." He was more than happy to do that. Nice guy! BUT - I forgot how EVERY cable fixer-upper has a terrible time trying to figure out how to hook things up to our TV. It took him much longer than he had planned. I almost invited him to stay for a microwaved soup dinner. He finally got it up and running and the new DVR is great. I just had to program all the shows I usually have recorded into the new box - Jeopardy was first. BUT - I noticed that the wide screen picture had three inch black borders top and bottom - like watching a movie, except it was regular TV programs. Ha-ha! This happened before and I knew I could figure it out. Wrong. Two hours of reading every word on every page of our giant TV manual and pushing every button on everything and even a few things that weren't buttons - no luck. What was wrong with our crazy TV? Exhausted and frustrated, I picked up the control to the cable box and began scrolling through some of it's index of capabilities. One said Wide Screen Set Up. I clicked on Extended Wide Screen and presto - I had a full wide screen. Who knew it was a cable thing and not a TV thing?
Okay - there's a great lesson there somewhere, but it took too long to tell the story. So come up with your own. For now 1) I'm a techo-idiot; 2) User-friendly is a relative concept (my relatives can do it but I can't); and 3) Maybe machines will one day take over the world - they certainly know how to push my buttons.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
For some reason, this morning I was reflecting on the reasons why some people are so unhappy. Why are so many folks perpetually unhappy, sad, discontented, or just plan miserable? Why do so many teenagers bounce in and out of contentment and seem to be manic-depressive as an age group? I remember being that way - especially in my mid-teens. So, okay, I'll quit asking about everyone else and just get a little personal here. When I've been unhappy, why did I feel that way? I say "when" because it doesn't happen much at that point in my life. I know a little more about peace, contentment, and priorities now than I have in the past. So, I get to reflect and ask why. When I do that, I find everything boils down to the same reason - every time.
Here is what I wrote down on a piece of paper this morning. It's on a sticky-note, and yes, it will probably be something that will show up in a sermon in the near future.
You are only as happy as your ability to think about others rather than yourself.
I truly believe that the most miserable people in the world are the people who spend most of their time thinking about themselves. So now you know why teenagers are so miserable so much of the time. The more you focus on yourself, the more you feed the need for attention, for approval, for things that feel good, for things that will build your ego, and the more you resent anything or anyone that competes with any or all of these things. If we don't learn the lesson of unselfishness as teenagers, which most of us don't, we tend to struggle with the chase for happiness for a lot of years, and in the meantime, we can lose friends, destroy marriages, alienate loved ones, and postpone seeking God.
There is a reason why Paul connected godliness with contentment. Godliness (God-like-ness) is love or thinking of others! Contentment is finally finding happiness.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Okay, maybe he was incapable of being depressed, feeling hopeless, and even regretting his mistake. Maybe he was just being led by his instincts. Still, the analogy is appropriate for us. How many of us chase after something that will never satisfy, fulfill, or sustain us? How many people fly into the open door of easy opportunities and sensual possibilities only to find a new prison, and for some, death? Isn't that letting our instincts lead and control us? Satan loves to use our desires as leashes to lead us where he wants us to go. Maybe the real difference between us and the house fly is that our ability to think is used to rationalize our actions rather than keeping us from flying into something that can destroy us.
I probably won't ever us this as a sermon illustration, but I kind of like the idea that even a dead fly can make me think. That doesn't mean I'm throwing away my fly swatter.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Last Sunday I offered this premise: Our willingness to fight & sacrifice is directly related to the VALUE we give to what we are fighting for. This was to help us understand why Paul told Timothy, and us, to "fight the good fight of faith." If there is no clear sense of value - there is no willingness to fight. His point, which is incredibly important, is that grace gives us the clear sense of value! "The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." Paul points out that this happened to him "the worst of sinners," declaring that he was "a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man" yet he "was shown mercy". So Timothy, how can I not fight the good fight of faith! How about you?(1 Tim.2:12-20)
You see, if we don't understand how amazing His grace is - we lose the value behind the fight! Maybe, no - not maybe, this is why we find it so hard to fight the good fight of faith. It's impossible to really understand His grace and not be motivated to truly be a "living sacrifice" to him.
His love = grace = value = faithfulness! We need to stop thinking of faithfulness as "doing what's right" and start thinking of it as responding to grace!
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Anyone who knows me knows that I talk a lot about being thankful. It's not just something to think about because you're a Christian. Because you're a Christian - it's what you are - a thankful person. Thankfulness may be the single most important element in our walk with God. I know - you're shouting, "What about love?" That truly is the bottom line of our whole journey to God, but I would simply ask, can you learn to love without being thankful? Thankfulness is the foundation of every spiritual quality that we need to grow in. As I've said many times, we can't grow any higher spiritually, than our level of thankfulness. It's the foundation of our relationship with God (and any growing relationship for that matter). Thankfulness toward God means seeing His hand in everything that happens around us and to us. It gives us the sense of His presence that we must have in a relationship of faith. It's the cornerstone of our communication with Him as we thank Him for so much each day. In one sense, thankfulness is communication with God. Who are you thanking if you're thankful for something. Thankfulness is the secret to dealing with life's hardships and problems. Only a thankful life can see the big picture of how much the blessings have over-powered the problems. A thankful life doesn't expect more, demand "why?", or feel like God "owes" them anything. A thankful life treasures every day, enjoys it, lives in peace, and longs to be with the Father for eternity - whether that day comes sooner or later.
Here's that challenge. Most of us think we are thankful people, but we're really not. We are, what I call, situationally thankful and not attitudinally thankful. We appreciate it when good things happen, but we haven't made the decision to see the thousand daily little things that God does that we need to be thankful for. It's a choice. We can start right now to be thankful for everything that's around us, and we will immediately start looking at life, at relationships, and at eternity completely different. Then we will have Thanksgiving 365 days a year.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I love discovering a new author to read. Randy Alcorn isn't new, but he is to me, and I need to thank David Judd for bringing me the above book to read. I generally prefer for someone to just recommend a book. When they hand it to you, you feel a greater obligation to make sure you read it. As it happened, I was just finishing up reading through The Shack for the second time so I could mark it up, and I was ready for another night time book. I immediately enjoyed Alcorn's writing style, and I especially loved his main character in the book, who is telling the story. His sarcasm, comedic cynicism, and quick wit are a joy to read. Those of you who enjoy such things, and see yourselves being described in like manner, will love this. It is one of the best murder mysteries I've ever read, and it all involves cops - at least one of whom seems to be the killer (I don't want to give anything away). It has all the excitement, turns and twists, of a Grisham novel, with the humorous flow of a Nelson DeMille work like The Gold Coast. There is a nicely done sub-plot of his friends talking to him about God, Jesus, the problem of pain and suffering, and some interesting comments from loved ones watching from heaven. It's not heavy discussions, but just an ongoing friend to friend debate, and concern for his emotional and psychological well-being as he blames God for taking his wife and others. He is a riveting character. Part redneck, part scholar, lover of dime detective novels and Sherlock Holmes. His family consists of a huge dog that eats everything he eats, and a large collection of firearms that he has stashed everywhere. You've never read a murder mystery with as many unexpected twists, potential suspects, and pure surprises at this. It's a wonderful page-turner, beautifully written, with clean language, no sex scenes, and some interesting characters that you will want to know more about.
Deception follows two earlier novels that are about the two close friends the main character has in the book. I can't wait to get them. So check it out of the library, buy a copy, or borrow this one from David. You'll love it. Just be ready to have a hard time putting it down.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Most of my reflection in the class has to do with what kind of dad I WAS not what kind of dad I missed out on. Dr. Lewis has been strongly making the point that there are three essential things that every child needs to hear from their dad. 1) I love you; 2) I'm proud of you; and 3) You're good at... (some strength or affirmation). I love tight - three point lessons, but this is one I learned before our first child was born. Our children heard all three of these often from both of us, and the truth is, we've never stopped saying it - we've just added grand children to the mix.
So maybe, when my three adult kids sit in a class some day and are challenged to confront their "Father Wounds" - they'll feel free to reflect on something else, unless you count making them listen to "Oldies" music all the time as psychological abuse.
If you haven't heard of those three "essentials" for every child to hear from their dad, jot them down somewhere and use them - and share them.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
In tomorrows lesson on 2 Thessalonians 3:6-18, where Paul warns them about idleness and how to deal with brethren who are guilty, I was impressed with his unspoken Bottom Line. I wonder if it was on Paul's outline somewhere. The reason it's unspoken is because it's the foundation Bottom Line for most of what our spiritual journey is all about. Be a giver not a taker.
Those who were idle at Thessalonica, or anywhere for that matter, are takers. They want everyone else to take care of their needs, make them feel good, give them what they want, sing their kind of songs, pay for all the costs, and demand nothing in return. They probably even used some doctrinal arguments about the Lord coming back at any moment to justify their non-actions.
Look at that description again. Not only does that describe a lot of folks in the church today, but because of our obsession with, and elevation of, the assembly, it's why so many congregations are having worship wars all across the country. When you put a bunch of takers together, the goal becomes comfort, predictability, and security. They don't want to hear about relationships, giving, love, truth, and transformation. Their Bottom Line: "If I don't get what I want, I'll find a place that will give me what I want. And I can even quote you some verses from the Bible to prove my point!"
Paul's command to the church was to quit enabling those idle brethren. If they don't work, they don't eat! I think his Bottom Line was - do what you have to do to help them go from being takers to becoming givers.
I wonder...how many congregations are run by the takers rather than the givers? Givers see opportunities to give. Takers are all about receiving. Remember which one Jesus said was "blessed"?
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
It was a cold, but still, 27 degrees when I began walking to my stand. I could tell it was going to be a beautiful morning even though it was still dark. I did, however, make a big mistake by hiking with my heavy coat and coveralls on instead of carrying them to the stand and then putting them on. I was dripping with sweat by the time I climbed into my stand and that's a good way to insure getting cold real quick. Within thirty minutes, I was cool, but a little buck coming down the hill to my left got the blood pumping again and it never had a chance to slow down. He was a little 1x2 and he ate down the hill on my left, stopping for long minutes to look all around, circled below me, grazed off to my right, only to reappear a few minutes later and come up the hill on my right. Thirty minutes of close deer watching and I wasn't busted. Ten minutes later, a small spike came up the hill on my left - oh so slowly - and just stood ten yards away looking all around. Another fun watch w/o being seen. I was spoiled by then so when 45 minutes went by with no sightings, I decided to try some "hunting stuff". I used my doe bleat and grunt tube to simulate a buck chasing a doe in heat. I barely put it back into my back pack when the BIG BOY came trotting in. I mean big! Not a "nice buck" like you say about a good 8 or ten pointer. This guy was "nice" like Bill Gates "has some money". He was standing 45 yards away before I could react. I grabbed my bow, though I wanted desperately to use my binoculars, but I didn't dare. He stood tall and proud, looking all around for the noise makers, and when he didn't see them, he immediately turned and trotted away. That's how big bucks get to be big bucks. He knew that if he didn't see what he thought he heard, something was wrong.
BE STILL MY HEART! He was the kind of buck you dream about but never see live in your life time.
Two more little bucks entertained me for awhile after that. A really tiny spike and a little 7 pointer, both stood ten yards away eyeing all around - including my tree and - in 15 minutes - never saw me. I literally had my left hand up over my face to break up the white showing between my nose and hat. Later, when I hiked out, I found over a dozen fresh buck rubs. Ah - what works of art.
Before I got out of my car as I pulled into my garage, the IL landowner called me to tell me he saw a huge buck run through the field behind his house at 12:30 in the afternoon. In the house, there was a phone message from Danny Younger saying he had a huge 8 pointer standing in his driveway when he came home for lunch.
"Did you get anything?"
A day in God's outdoors and loads of memories? Yes, I got something.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
With Donna down visiting her folks, after finding out that her Dad's cancer has returned, this picture made me think about her. I miss seeing her at this computer playing her favorite game - Solitaire. I know that they are glad to have her there for a few days, but that is one of the things that makes Donna so special. Everyone likes to have her around. I've known a lot of people in my fifty-seven years, but I know no one who is as genuinely positive and chronically happy as Donna Sue Root. A big part of that comes from her genes. So, while I pray for her to have a safe trip and to return soon, I continue to pray for her parents. I couldn't have had better in-laws if I'd picked them out of a catalogue. They are dearly loved by children, grand children, and great grand children, and all of us who came into the family after a marriage ceremony. I've been blessed so much to be part of the Curtis family for nearly thirty-six years now - and God "aint done yet"!
Thursday, November 06, 2008
He will be my President - not a party leader, but my President! And I wish him success, because I want our country to have success. I will pray for him, like I have for every one of my Presidents since I started praying. I pray that as he helps to build national and international pride in America, he will help our nation rebuild a strong sense of values and integrity.
I am thankful for President Bush. I truly believe that he is a good man and that history will show him to be a far more effective President than the popular polls do now. I personally believe that his biggest mistake was poor public relations more than poor leadership. Nevertheless, if Obama can help heal our nation and unite the divisive partisanship that has been growing for twenty years - may God help and bless him, and may all of us support him.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008
I've been studying 2 Thessalonians 2 all week and trying to decide how to preach it Sunday morning. This is one of the toughest passages in all the New Testament to understand. It talks about the Second Coming not happening until after the great rebellion or apostasy and it has a long condemnation of the "man of lawlessness" Who is, or was, that guy? The opinions are Legion, and there's more comparisons there than I have time to make. I've heard plenty of Bible teachers (especially from my early years as a young Christian) declare that it was the Pope. Others say it was a Caesar, or all of them. There are many ideas - most, like the way Revelation is interpreted, are conclusions based on the "it fits" approach to figuring out the Bible. It fits? How many JFK theories are based on "It fits"?
Paul clearly says this was a subject they had talked about when he was with them. Since it's a personal letter to the same people, there is no need to explain who and what he is talking about. So here's a novel theory - we don't know! Why is that so hard for us to live with? This speaks to how and why we study God's Word. It's not about figuring out puzzles but seeking the spiritual principles. Paul's principle is: quit trying to be in control of the future. Trust God! I've got four education degrees and thirty-five years of preaching/teaching/studying experience and I'm totally comfortable saying "I don't know." It sure makes for a short discussion of Revelation, Ezekiel, and 2 Thessalonians 2.
That being said - the "Man of Sin," the "Man of Lawlessness," and the "Anti-Christ" is Darth Vader. It fits.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I presented the next Bible Action musical at our Homecoming two weeks ago because we had a lot of visitors and I wanted them to make plans to come back for the play. So here it is! I actually decided on the subject and title long before I found out that the new Transformers movie is coming out in the Summer of '09. Oops - what a fortuitous coincidence - or providence? Our June 4-7 musical will begin with the martyrdom of Steven, which introduced the coat-carrier Saul and will take the story through his conversion and his beginning life as an apostle. I have seventeen pieces of music already picked out and all the lyrics that need to be rewritten are already rewritten. I started in July, in my spare thinking time, to collect ideas for music. The list was long, but I finalized the 17 by the end of September and I've been listening to them over and over throughout October. Folks are surprised at how early I start on this, but you need to remember that 1) it's a fun hobby done in my spare time, of which there isn't just tons of, and 2) there are loads of things that have to be figured out LONG before I start writing the script. November starts day after tomorrow and I need to write the script in December. That leaves early January for rewrites and changes, it's introduced to all interested parties the last Sunday in January, casting is mid February, and the first read-through with the cast is the third Sunday in February. Rehearsals begin March 4th. I'm not early, just avoiding a crunch later on. Plus, I want it to be good, fun, and true to our desire to glorify God by telling a story from His Word. I can't wait to share the music with everyone! We have a few more praise songs, since it's a New Testament story, and some great Broadway and R&R songs with lyrics apropos to the story.
Mark you calenders and plan to be with us for one or more nights of the play. Watch Saul become Transformed into the great apostle Paul - do-da-do-da!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Calling God only during emergencies - when all else fails! There is no communication, just reaching out to the great Santa in the skies when you need a miracle. How odd to demand a miracle without a relationship!
This is a little better communication with God, at least enough to feel like it's okay to start bargaining with Him. After all, don't you have a better idea about how things should happen in your life? So you bargain good behaviour or righteousness. His offer is already on the table.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Some things that nearly always makes me teary eyed are...
1. Seeing unapologetic but humble passion for God.
2. Amazing Grace being played on a bagpipe.
3. The closing scenes of Saving Private Ryan - "Did I earn it?"
4. Hearing or reading how much some one in my family loves God.
5. The Shack (I can't wait to skip stones with Jesus.)
6. Singing Faithful Love and remembering my grandson singing it at Pepperdine.
7. Military funerals with Taps playing in the background.
8. Loyalty from friends.
9. Hearing my grandchildren pray.
10. A ten-point buck just out of bow range.
* Getting to say "Happy Birthday" to the love of my life one more time!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DONNA!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
These are classic sowing and reaping examples. But as I get older, I see the effect of accumulated poor decisions as a much broader thing than chemical or culinary abuse. What you sow through the years WILL eventually be reaped in your older years - the years that should be the most enjoyable, giving, wise, and thankful years of our lives. I have said on many occasions that I don't want to grow up and become a grumpy old man. I use to wonder how and why anyone could let that happen! I know how and I know why. It's from a lifetime of being negative, critical, selfish, and therefore, unhappy. There are no instant grouches, only self-made men and women who missed out on where joy in life comes from. It comes from giving. It comes from loving and being loved by people that God put in your life. When you realize that early enough, and you sow thankfulness and loving relationships, you reap a peace and joy in later years that your career, the shiny things, and the praise of man can never give you.
When you see a man or woman who has been around for over five, six, seven, or more decades, who can't even talk about how special their family and friends are without getting choked up and teary eyed, don't think of them as blubbery, maudlin, old folks living in the past. The truth is just the opposite. They are blessed in the present and thankful in their hearts that God helped them see what really counts in life - so now they can face the future - even if that future may not be much longer.
I've been in the same room with Grumpy and Happy. Not Snow White's mini-men, but brothers in Christ, who were reaping what they had sown in the earlier years of their lives. What are you sowing? Are you interested in lung cancer, cirrhosis, or heart attack? You will reap what you sow. Are you interested in being a blessing to those around you, spreading joy and love, and living close to God because of a thankful heart? You will reap what you sow.
As for me, I don't apologize for blubbering when I try to talk about family and friends. God's goodness overwhelms me and I can't help but be touched by the fact that "He's especially fond of me."
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
That having been said, some friends of ours, while we were discussing The Shack, recommended to us two books by Anne Rice. Yes, the same Anne Rice of Vampire fame. She has had a conversion of sorts and has written two incredible books about Jesus that have really blessed me greatly. The first is Christ The Lord: Out of Egypt and covers the early years of Jesus' life in Egypt and goes with Him and His family as they return to Nazareth. The rich historical material makes it worth the read if there was nothing else, but there is so much more. It gives a sense of the culture and times of Jesus like nothing I've ever read. And then the story is picked up with Christ The Lord: Road To Cana, that covers the last couple years of Jesus' life prior to the wedding at Cana when He turned the water to wine. It's full of all the drama and discovery that you'd expect from a thirty something Jewish man in a small town who is unmarried and is known to be "sinless". It's incredibly fascinating. You will know why He went to that wedding, who was getting married, and why He performed the miracle. It's like reading another Gospel.
The cool part is that both books are in the first person. Yes, Jesus is telling the story. She does a marvelous job of being true to His character and His deity. Sure it's full of speculation and imagination. It's fiction, but you don't feel like it is as you read it. You will have mental pictures in your head about what it was like living in those times that you will never get from a Bible class or a sermon. Treat yourself to some fun and inspiration. I even enjoyed her explanation at the end of the first book for why she wrote it. She is a true apologist for the historical accuracy of the Gospels. Check it out of the library. I listened to the first book on CD's from the library and loved it. I read the second while hunting in Colorado and finished it much faster than I wanted. (Large print version helped)
Hope you're blessed by it like I was.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
There is a volume of stuff to think about just with the idea of testifying to the resurrection of Jesus. That's real witnessing! That's real sharing of the gospel - not correcting those who have a "worship style" doctrine that doesn't match ours! But again, the thing that intrigues me the most is that final phrase "and much grace was upon them all." What does that mean? Are there degrees of grace? How do people act who have "much grace" on them? Is there such a thing as too much grace? Are we missing out on something God wants us to have?
Here's what I think. The "much grace" that "was upon them all" is the joy and peace that comes from being fulling in tune with God. As I told my church family Sunday, they "got it." When you "get it" - understand what God wants and are seeking a deeper relationship with him - and when you sense his presence, his help, his strength, and trust his promise - YOU FEEL HIS GRACE LIKE NEVER BEFORE AND YOU CAN'T HELP BUT GIVE IT AWAY TO OTHERS!
I want it! I want his church to feel that! I want to see what happens when a family of God is awash in his grace, overwhelmed by his love, and driven to love one another in such a way that everyone will know that we are His disciples. Witnessing becomes explaining! Commitment becomes a way of life! Fear is replaced by love!
Can you imagine what would happen to a church where "much grace was upon them all"?
Friday, October 10, 2008
This is the oldest picture I know of that depicts me preaching. The reason I share it is because I remembered last night, while attending a funeral, that I preached my first sermon ever in October of 1968. That can't be forty years ago? Unfortunately, my usually suspect mathematical skills are correct this time. Forty years ago? Yes, when Cokes and candy bars where still a dime and movies cost under a dollar to attend. The little church was in Morvan, Georgia, about 45 minutes from Georgia Christian School where I lived in the dorm. My old friend Tony Black had to give me a ride to my first preaching appointment. I was scarred to death. Five minutes into my lesson, a little boy off to my right stood up, looked bug-eyed and pale, and then projectile vomited all over the pew and hard wood floor. I'm sure it was not a commentary on the quality of the preaching he was hearing at the time.
Back then, I still thought I would be a lawyer, or a psychologist, or a soldier. Becoming a preacher for the rest of my life was still something God hadn't revealed to me then. It took a lot of people encouraging me, giving me opportunities to speak, and probably some gracious lying about the undeveloped talent they were witnessing in me.
God has been incredibly good to me. I love how He was worked in my life. I love every blessing and every opportunity to learn - both good and bad. And, forty years later, I have absolutely no regrets about following His lead that took me through many things to place me where I am right now. If I don't get forty more hours, it's okay. It's all been good. Thank you Father!
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Now I see things that I never noticed before. Like how often the Bible talks about being thankful, and how much it challenges us to seek Him, and how His grace permeates every passage. When you're looking for what His Spirit is trying to say to you instead of pulling things out of context to back up your preconceived theology - it's the most simple, but deep book every to exist. When you think about it, is there anything that is MORE simple or MORE deep than love? The Word is the greatest love book ever read by man.
Isn't God good?
Monday, October 06, 2008
It was a beautiful wedding in a beautiful place. It was at Deer Park Lodge in Buckhannon, WV about an hour plus south of Fairmont. The weather was perfect and the fall colors were just starting to touch the trees. We had a wonderful time being a part of the whole thing, and we wish them both God's blessings.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
We had a shepherd's retreat all day Saturday. All nineteen shepherds, along with Jerry and I, met to map out how we can best function as a leadership to get the job done at Florissant. We ended the day with everyone coming to our house for dinner and some special sharing time. (Yes, that's 42 for dinner. See previous blogs ref. finished basement. PTL!)
When I told friends that we were installing twelve additional elders, they grimaced and couldn't believe we'd do such a thing. When I explained that we installed shepherds not CEO's, they understood. I am so thrilled to work with this wonderful group of men. They are humble, people oriented, sensitive, loving, and passionate about helping people develop a deeper relationship with Jesus. I am absolutely excited about what God is going to do through this wonderful group of spiritual leaders.
To those of you who read this and have sour feelings about past church leadership (or present), please be encouraged to know that there are men out there who just want to serve God and help his people grow. With nineteen godly men purposefully encouraging, guiding, and connecting with EVERY member - HOW CAN GREAT THINGS NOT HAPPEN? I can't wait to see what he's going to do! What I pray about for our church family more than anything else is that we will look for spiritual maturing - people growing in Jesus - and quit looking for the things that the world says is "church growth". With this many men and women, committed to changing lives, God will give the increase as more and more members develop a passion for being like Jesus and sharing him with others. After all, He is the Door!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
That being said, I still can't help but wonder why so many things seem to consistently "go wrong" on a hunting trip. For instance, why did I KNOW that if I bought a "cow elk only" hunting tag, I'd be surrounded by giant bull elks? I wonder...
Here are some additional HUNTING WONDERS: (penned in my journal while in Colorado)
* Why do I glass the same rocks every year? (To the ignorant, mule deer have bright tan tails that show up long before the rest of the deer can be seen.)
* Why is there a bird that makes a call that sounds, especially while your walking, an awful lot like a cow elk mew? (You must stop, listen carefully, w/ heart racing, only to find out...)
* Why do cows (beef type) always see me when I'm totally camouflaged in a blind or stand?
* Why does the pond I'm hunting always seem to be a cow hang out?
* Why can't they make insulated underwear that disappears when you start climbing the first mountain of the morning?
* Why can't the herd of elk you're stalking all face the same direction?
* Why is there no strait trails through sage brush?
* Why does Nature have to call at 7:30 A.M. during an uphill dash to get ahead of some elk?
* Why do barbed wire gates shrink from the time you open them and when you close them?
* Why do I have more T-shirts with Meeker, Colorado on them then I do pictures of arrowed animals?
* Why so many whys?
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
It took the three of us a long time to muscle her into the back of Darryl's Polaris. She was, I guess, about 400 pounds pre-field dressing. Praise the Lord, we have a freezer full of awesome meat. Elk is soooo much sweeter than venison and even has less fat per grams than venison - like I care!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
This is part of the group that delivered the basin and towel.
This was a total surprise to the shepherds and there were a lot of tears, smiles, and hugs.
I asked the congregation to come down and lay their hands on the men who will be laying hands on them in the future. I don't understand all the reasons why they did it in Bible times, but I believe there is something special about touching and praying as you call on God's help and guidance.