Thursday, September 28, 2006

Some days you've got to laugh

As I've stated before, I work as a Foreman for a Tractor Implement Warehouse. I have a crew of about 16 people, the majority of which are between the ages of 21 and 24. Some days I understand more fully why some did not go to College. Last night, Wednesday, was one of those days. It was near the end of our shift when one of the third shift people came in and asked if one of my people drove a particular type car. When I answered yes, they informed me that the individual had a flat tire. It had been a slow night with about a half hour to go and the Individual, (who we will now call "Bill"), was finished with his work so I decided to page him to inform him about his flat and let him go out and change it before the end of the shift. The following is a very close approximation of the phone conversation that took place:

Bill: Yeah, boss, what can I do for you?

Me: I just wanted to let you know that third shift informed me that you have a flat tire and you can go out and change the tire now, if you like.

(here it comes----------)

Bill: How did that happen?

Me: Well, I'm assuming that all of the air went out of it.

When he realized what he had asked, there was one of those moments where I could almost see him hitting himself in the head with the phone.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Anyone around here that has been following Chicago news will know about the uproar concerning the banning of Frois Gras.

Frois Gras, basically is Goose liver and is considered a delicacy. The uproar is over the manipulation of the Geese in order to produce larger livers. They force feed the Geece a special diet, literally gorging them so that they livers will grow abnormally large. It is. WITHOUT A DOUBT, a horrendous crime against one of God's creatures.

The Chicago city Council recently passed a law making it illegal to serve Frois Gras in our restaurants but others have been working feverishly to get that law overturned. It has become quite the firestorm in Chicago politics. People are picketing and protesting over the rights of these abused Geese.

The reason that I dubbed this entry, "Our twisted world", is because some of these same passionate prostesters would not think twice about the ending of a human life through the means of abortion. While I am appalled and disgusted over the way in which Frois Gras is made, it pales in comparison to ripping a life that is just beginning from it's Mothers womb.

In fact, let's apply the same arguments to the Goose as we do the destruction of human life. It's all about choice. The goose had the right to choose not to land in an area where it would be caught? People have the right to choose not to eat Frois Gras? Maybe the Geese should garner a goose lobby and enter the political arena?

I know that all of that sounds and is rediculous but the fact remains that as a society we have more respect for the life and treatment of a wild animal then we do the greatest of all of God's earthly creations. As a society, where is our passion for human life?

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Many times we go out of our way to portray ourselves as we want others to see us. I read a "funny" the other day about the differences between women and men that really sums our facades up.
"Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy."

OK, all funning aside, that is one of the things that I love most about God. He sees me as I am, (not as I might try to get others to think I am), and He loves me.

I counseled with someone recently that had come out of a very strict, religious background and this individual was telling me why they were angry with God. They were quite shocked when my reply to them was, "have you told God about it?" Shocked, because they had been told that it was sin to be angry with God.

I think that the sin in it comes when we keep it all bottled up and live the "facade, everything is perfect life" until we just can't handle it anymore.

God is perfect! Sometimes that might seem to be a burdensome thing to us but when it is really understood, I think it is a pretty cool thing. Here is what I mean. I'll use myself for an example. Most times I'm a pretty level headed, in control, individual. (at least that's what I let others see ;<) But I've never been one to stand in line for criticism. Want to know why? Because I know that I'm not perfect. If you criticize me about the right things, I might prove that I'm not perfect. I may feel the need to defend myself or my actions. How many "friendships" have been damaged or undone over one party being critical or mad at the other? It's a HUMAN thing!

But God is perfect! He has no need to defend Himself. He will never become emotionally unbalanced because of ANYTHING I might say to Him. As a result of that I CAN TELL HIM ANYTHING. He won't get mad and walk away, He won't pout and best of all, because He is perfect, God never holds a grudge. Try that with your closest friends and family. :<0>

When you think about it, that is usually the reason we put up facades in the first place. We worry about what others will think if we show our true selves or feelings. The cool thing is that God already knows. You aren't telling Him anything new if you share your true feelings, you are simply showing your trust in someone who loves you unconditionally.

Oh yes, one last little caveat. When you finally decide that you can trust God enough to tell Him what you are feeling, be sure to realize that He loves you enough to perfectly tell you why you are wrong. Trust me, it's better than carrying it around, all bottled up. Besides, if it were sin to be angry with God, I'm convinced we wouldn't have 150 Psalms.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

What an awesome God!

Thought I would give you a bigger view of an eight year old picture! If you can't tell, I am a proud Papa.

We often take many things in life for granted. It's easy to do. We get caught up in what "needs to be done" and pretty soon that is all that we can see. It drives us, pushes us and sometimes, consumes us. Pretty soon, if we aren't watchful we get caught up in extremes. I have learned that the majority of "sheer panic, gotta get this done now!" issues in life, really aren't that important when measured against the things that really matter.

I have a saying that I "preach" pretty often. I would like to take credit for it but I probably read it somewhere and just can't remember but anyway, it is this: "God lives in the balance of life." Many "religious" people get caught up in having to have things their way. Some go to extremes on the far fringes of reasonableness and some go extremely conservative in their pursuit of God. I believe God dwells in the balance in between. Yes, I have faith that I can speak to the mountain in my life and it will move but I also have the assurance that God is still there even when the mountain hasn't budged. I have found that it is a pretty good way to live. Balanced.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I despise being sick

The weather around here recently has been pretty much of a roller coaster. It is often said around here that, "if you don't like the weather in Chicago, wait a minute."

Well now it has hit me. I've got cold/flu like symptoms and it has been a pretty miserable beginning of the week. I guess I should be more like the preacher dudes on TV that claim they are so close to God that they never get sick. Oh well, missed again!

The good news is that this has given me time to do some things that I had been putting off until I had more time. (I can hear God snickering) Last July I had received a letter from an inmate at the prison in Moline. I've been meaning to write him back but with all of the busyness of this summer I had yet to do so. Today I was able to sit down and write him a letter and hopefully, open up more communication with him. He made contact with me through an individual in my Church. He has served nearly 10 years for a tragic mistake in his youth and is due to be released in May of 07. Naturally, after nearly 10 years of incarceration he is apprehensive about his return to society. The good news is that he has accepted Christ as his Savior and he longs to help others avoid his mistakes.

Whisper a prayer for David in the coming weeks and months ahead. I have a really good feeling about David's contact with me. I think that God is up to something and I like that.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Mrs. & I

Twenty years of marriage and we still have that sparkle in our eyes. Of course my eyes will probably be black and blue now, when Deb finds out that I posted her picture but in my eyes she is still the most beautiful woman I know. Sammy keeps us young and the sheer grace of God keeps us somewhat sane.

In a world of uncertainty and confusion there is always one place that things make perfect sense. Home isn't a structure or building of any kind but I believe that home is always in the relationship that you build together. We have made Christ the head of our home and we have committed to Him and to each other that we grow closer to God. In doing so we grow closer together every day. I don't know if I will ever accumulate much wealth as far as material things go, but I'm convinced that I am the richest man in the world in the things that truly matter.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Ministry that I am excited about

A couple of years back, I was able to connect with a young Evangelist that I immediately took a liking to. This past April I was able to bring him and his family to Chicago for a Revival and it was one of the best that we've had in my five years at Narragansett.

It's difficult these days for Evangelist. There are enough of the ones that are flaky to discourage Pastors from having any come into their Churches. In the North, revivals are becoming more and more rare and those that do have them generally have another Pastor come in to do one.

Heath Tinker is an Evangelist that I would highly recommend. He and his family travel with their own accomodations and he is as humble of an individual as you will ever meet. In our revival it was obvious that he had spent time in prayer for our Church and it was also obvious that he didn't "open up the can" of usual sermons. We recieved fresh Word with a fresh anointing.

I will be having them back this spring and I'm going to push for some more Pastors in this area to book him as well. I urge you to click the link below, whether you are a Pastor or not, and check out what God is doing with a young family that has given themselves to Him.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dad's pride and joy

Here is one of my favorite pictures. Sam came along when I was 35. I often joke that at his graduation I will be the one with a walker! He certainly has brought a freshness to life and he has grown into quite the young man. In my lifetime I have been called many things. Some good, some not so good but being called, "Daddy" certainly is one of the best.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

How do you like my new rug?

Yes, bald is beautiful but this is hair to die from, uh, I mean for. OK, OK, it's not me. It's record guru, Phil Specter, on trial for murder last year. I just couldn't pass on the picture though!

We had a good Sunday. Pretty decent crowd considering the rain. I'm tired and worn out from preaching. This was a two service Sunday. We have gone to having Sunday night service just once a month. I know it isn't "traditional" and I really don't care. We didn't have support for it and it was discouraging to have one with little support. Plus, I've never read where Jesus or the Apostles in the New Testament Church had Sunday night service. If it works where you are at then more power to you and keep it up. I just choose not to live in that box that we are all traditionally supposed to fit into. If that makes me "liberal" or whatever other label some may what to throw on me, that's OK too. Life's too short to worry about labels. My main concern is what God calls me and so far we are good!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

What are celebrities thinking?

I read yesterday where Brad Pitt stated that he would not marry Angelina Jolie until everyone in the U.S. was able to marry.

Hey, Pretty boy! Guess what? Everyone that is of legal age can marry. Now, if you are referring to sexual orientation then that is another matter but everyone is free to marry within the context of what marriage actually is.

This bothers me on many levels. First of all, who does Brad think he is kidding? Angelina, apparently! If one doesn't have the intestinal fortitude to be man enough to marry the woman that he has fathered a child with then please, please, PLEASE, don't try to cover up your cowardice by making a social "statement." Secondly, how does a man with no moral character propose to speak to moral issues? And last but not least, Why do Hollywood types think that their opinions matter to people who WORK for a living? (I'm still waiting for Striesand and Baldwin to move to Canada as promised) Note to Brad: Come talk to me about marriage after you have over twenty years in one.

I don't hate anyone. I welcome homo-sexuals into my Church in the same manner that I would welcome anyone else and yes, I have preached to them on several occasions. I've never used that opportunity to target them in any way but I don't hide my stand either. If the gospel of Jesus Christ cannot convict of sin then my opinion matters little. I still trust the gospel to change lives. My goal is a pretty simple one, preach the gospel and show the sinner the love of God. I believe in holding to standards. But I don't believe in using them as battering rams. To me, the saddest Christians in the world are the ones who have forgotten that we are all in need of a Savior.

But Brad, Brad, Brad, please leave the idea and the sanctity of marriage to those that aren't afraid of it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Never enough time

I realize that we all live in a world that is consumed with a "one more dollar" mentality but the thing I would wish for more than money would be more time. (Or at least the ability to be in two places at once)

For those that don't know, I am a bi-vocational Pastor. I work a 40+ hour week for a Farm Implement Company called AGCO. I serve there as a Foreman on second shift. Sometimes the two worlds collide but I was up front with my Employer about pastoring and to this point they have been accomodating to any special needs that arise. I have a great Church. They are understanding of my need to support my family with secondary employment and they are forgiving when my thoughts are a little scattered as a result of being overly tired. (three years ago in May I had a traffic accident which resulted in a slight brain hemmorage and when I don't get enough rest I do have some difficulties)

Today has brought a virtual pot-pourri of items that I wish I had more time for or the ability to be in two places at once. My Mom called this morning stating that the power steering in the wheelchair Van had quit working. Ended up that the serpentine belt had fallen off and from the symptoms Mom described, I suspect that the Harmonic Balance was the reason why. Unfortunately, she is 380 miles away from me so I will have to trust someone else to fix it. (that goes against my nature because I am a "fixer" at heart) The good news is that my Dad is being released from the Hospital today, the bad news is that Mom won't be able to use the Van.

I have enquired of my Church denomination about starting a Ministerial Internship Program so that I can further my Ministerial credentials. The problem is that the program runs on Friday night and Saturday morning and while my job is accomodating to special needs, I'm sure they won't be accomodating to a regularly scheduled Friday night off so I am waiting to hear if an exception will be made for the Friday night class. I expect it will be so my already full schedule will have to be adjusted for a period of time.

Also, today, I am in consultaton with a precious family about the immenent passing of a loved one. Whisper a prayer today for Violet Gwaltney. She is one of Narragansett's "daughters. Years of Alzhiemers Disease and Cancer have taken there toll and by Hospice's best guess, this will be her last week on this earth. She has a wonderful family that has suffered with her for all of these years so I also ask you to pray for me that God gives the right words to say to them and for Violet.

I did get to take my beautiful wife, Debbie, to breakfast this morning. I guess we are out and out, downright theives because we sure like to steal some time together occasionally. It is something that I regularly recommend to all married couples. More than likely, you won each others hearts by the dating process so why should it stop at marriage? Food for thought.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

So this is blogging?

OK, so I've decided to enter into a new phase of the Cyber world. It may end up being a sounding board for myself but that's alright too, I've never trusted people that don't talk to themselves occasionally. I mean what are they trying to hide?

I believe the desire to start doing this has grown out of an Motorcycle accident that my Father had on May 26th. We were told he would not survive but by God's power he has and is doing quite well. The process of time in between has been a time of soul searching for me. Questioning God, my faith and my purpose in life. As always, God has been faithful and as a result my faith has grown by the process of going through the ordeal.

Often times we want God just to take us out of those type of situations, deliver us from them. But I have found that He always has a purpose in the process of "through" and unless we are willing to keep walking we will never learn what that purpose is. What I have learned in the midst of "through" is how little I actually know about God. (and I thought I had Him pretty well figured out) I also realized how deeply I want to know Him more. Often times we settle for an "experience" of God but what we need and what truly will change our lives is when we "Encounter" Him. I don't want to settle for anything less than ALL.