Peace be with you

feet of JesusThe “Butt-inski”

As two of Jesus’ disciples walked along on that very first easter day, they were met by a traveler. A guy. A man headed in the same direction they were going. He walked along with them for  a while as they were headed to a town named Emmaus. This man walked up into a conversation they were having about Jesus himself. They were disturbed by some things that the ladies had said to them, and honestly, based upon this description of the conversation, I would say they appeared to have serious doubts.

He hears their doubts and challenges them

As the stranger interacts with them, they end up kind of incredulous that he appeared to be uninformed about the weekend events. In true hospitable fashion they take it upon themselves to inform him. So they tell him all about Jesus, what he did, the miracles, how he was arrested and killed, then buried. I’m sure they told him what Jesus meant to them personally. This guy, this stranger that walked with them, listened, interacted, asked questions and heard them. The stranger hears their doubts. He then challenges their doubts and unfolds the scriptures for them. When it is all said and done, He ends up at their supper, breaking bread with them, and it is only then that they realize Jesus has been walking with them all along. Immediately Jesus disappears.

Out of their element …

They were walking and lamenting the loss of their leader, their lord, their friend, and there was no way that they were going to believe he was right there. I have often asked myself why Mary at the tomb, and these guys here on the road, didn’t recognize Jesus? Then I remember all the times that I have been somewhere and someone comes up to me, or I go up to someone, and realize who they are.  Out of their normal element or relationship, I do not recognize them. Then it hits me, this is “Bill!”

I think that is exactly what is going on here. They saw Jesus buried, he cannot be here, so that doesn’t even enter their minds. I don’t know what a post burial, resurrected, but pre-ascension body looks like, but they certainly saw him when he broke the bread, when he was “In his element.” Handing out communion he was Jesus again, and Jesus alive!!

What about you?

I wonder how many times we miss God in our lives, miss Jesus doing a work, miss the Holy spirit because he belongs in Church on Sunday morning. Here we are going through our week, maybe we have a spouse and we are doing our daily thing, chasing kids, a quick kiss before we leave for work, maybe a fight and we are immediately in a tension. A flat tire and the day feels wrecked, or work is just piling up and we don’t feel appreciated, no one cares so we melt into the old pit of wallowing; no one likes me, no one notices, I’ll never get ahead. God where are you?

“… and I know that there are angels all around …”

It is at times like these that we miss seeing God in our lives. We end up so focused on our want, our need or our loss, or our problems, that we don’t lift our eyes up and look at who is walking around us. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

Look!

The Kingdom of God is here. Jesus said it is near, it is coming and it is in you. Jesus is in the Kingdom, so Jesus IS here. The Holy Spirit is in the Kingdom, so the Holy Spirit IS here. Angels are in the kingdom, so angels ARE here. I want to encourage you to lift your chin and look around. God is here in your midst. In the middle of your daily struggle, in the middle of your need to make a decision, in the middle of your fight with your spouse. He is here at work. He is here in your doubt and despair.  He will never leave you alone, but we may be choosing not to believe he could be here.
Cry for nigeriaAs you travel on this road to your Emmaus, that stranger, that song, that group pf people, that church, that co-worker, God is using them to speak to you, to support you, to love you, but you have to open your eyes and believe. Stop what you are doing right now and ask God to open your eyes.

 

TRASH, they say your children are TRASH?

We live in a time where babies are not considered living beings until they actually come out of the womb and breath air. Even then some have been reported as having been “dispatched” after being born alive. Then the same government that allows for human children to be cut to pieces to be removed from their mothers womb, or, to be removed and reported as dead so that they can be harvested and sold for profit like a bad Frankenstein movie. Trash. The government wants you to believe they are nothing but yesterday’s trash to be taken to the curb so that Planned Parenthood can collect them and use them for profit. Truly we live in a disposable society when our babies can be seen as refuse. Then again, most of our lives are “instant” and going 100 miles an hour.

We Have Drive-Thru’s For That!!

We have a Drive-thru for food because we do not have time to cook meals and to some degree, we are losing the skills necessary to cook meals.Drive Thru
We have a drive through for coffee and donuts because we don’t have time for breakfast; we want to sleep more.

We have a Drive-thru to pick up our prescriptions because getting out of the car Drive thru pandemic screeningand walking into the store takes too much time. This is a “Drive-thru for Pandemic screening” because we can’t be bothered to get out of our cars to save our own lives.

Abortion and Planned Parenthood has become our “Drive-thru” for taking care of a bad decision to have a fun night. And before you jump mad and tell me they provide other services beside abortion, killing innocent children is not acceptable just because they provide services that are provided through other more reputable avenues. Get a grip if that is your argument.

TRASH

Trash is what is left over when we buy something that needs to be in an overly decorated package. A package that we might not buy without all the frilly, artsy, Fast foo dtrashpackage that makes us believe we “Need” it.

You open up your Big Mac and have to do something with the wrapper. The fries are great, they have a 15-minute lifespan, but then you have to throw way the little Fry-cup. Then you down your supersized drink that you didn’t need and you are left with trash: a waxed cup with a plastic lid. Now I’m not just picking on one restaurant, go to the grocery and you end up with groceries in plastic bags. Then everything you bought at the grocery is wrapped in a container that was designed to hold food for long periods of time.

It’s Still Here

So, when we eat, play, buy, sell, we create more and more trash that we just throw away without regard for it. We are creating so much trash that we just throw away, or put it to the curb without any thought about it at all. It goes somewhere. It goes to thedumps dump. The dump is a property that is set aside and managed by a company, but it soon is a mountain, very quickly it becomes a mountain. When I go to Columbus from Central Kentucky I see a dump like I am describing on the side of the highway. You can actually smell it before you ever get to it depending on the day. It is where the trash goes. Monitoring wells, trucks, bulldozers, earthmovers, EPA, all of this plays into us tossing our trash into the wastebasket: we have created a culture that has a disposable, throw away, mindset. If it is leftover or unwanted, it is trash.

Freedom from consequences, not choice

That very mindset is what allows our culture to apply this to children. We don’t want the responsibility. Let’s admit it, the Planned Parenthood’s admissions on the videos posted on Social Media, is the proof that they truly believe that our unborn children are trash: Disposable refuse, left over from a high-speed lifestyle lived because we have to do more faster. It is also because we do not want the consequences of our actions.

We want to discard our bad, unhealthy choices,Trash at the curb like fast-food trash. We do not want to “See” the consequences; we want to believe it isn’t ours to deal with. We want to believe that we are not accountable for the leftovers of our decisions. Just like the trash we put out on Thursday night, we want someone else to haul our bad choices away and dispose of them so we do not have to deal with them. Pretty soon we will be driving by the piles of consequences and it will stink and it will break our hearts and ruin the landscape of our lives.

Cash for Trash

We have an opportunity. We are raising support for the “Pregnancy Help Center of Richmond Kentucky” to purchase and set up an Ultrasound Clinic. When we started pushing this, they needed $13,000 more dollars; they are down to $8,000. So, we are signing up to clean the byways around Richmond: Barnesmill, Tatescreek and Ultrasoundothers. We will pick up the trash and turn it into cash for the Pregnancy Help Center. We will gather at the Vineyard at 9am on October 17th and go out for 3-4 hours depending upon the number of people. We can raise $2000 in that amount of time if we all work together. That will take the PHC need down to $6,000. We can have this paid for before Christmas of this year, I know we can. We can show the world that our children, unborn children, are not trash. God is in the business of turning broken lives that the world has marginalized into Children of the King. Through giving your time on October 17th, you can show the world that they can call these children trash, but we see them as viable, living, loving human beings: PEOPLE that deserve a chance to be something other than parts for the body mill called Planned Parenthood. People that deserve the same chance the parents aborting them had.

Do You Have an Hour or Two For Our Children?

If you can give an hour or two or three or even four on October 17th, join us and help us help our children and their parents. Let us know you will be there by calling 859 779 5615 and leaving your contact information. Then, when you have signed up, show up. Let’s not talk about it; let’s do something about it.

You can donate your self

You can also donate to this cause by following the link below:
http://www.phccares.org/#!operation-ultrasound/csop

Do You Suck?

DREAMS MEAN SOMETHING

DREAMSSo I had a dream the other night. I really believe that people should pay more attention to their dreams. Dreams mean something. I for one believe the God speaks to people through their dreams. We write them off too much. Now I will say that you need to learn the difference between what is God speaking and what is last night’s pizza speaking. Maybe if you would choose to write down your dreams when you wake up and then after a week, read through them and begin to hear God speak to you.

THE DREAM

So I had a dream the other night and it didn’t make any sense to me at all. It was a bit funny and weird and I wrote it off until God sparked it the next day. So here it is. I was some place, who knows where it was a theatre though; I do know that. I do know that it was an important production of something. I’m aware that a young man was the star. He was the guy that was the center of all the attention. I was there with some people. Don’t know why, don’t know who. Somewhere during this production, I was asked to jump up and play a part. I apparently was good with it because I did. I jumped up delivered my lines and then came back to my seat with my friends and it was cool. When the show was over the waiter (where’d that come from) came over to my table, (what happened to the seats we were sitting in?) and brought me a large, beautiful piece of Coconut Cream Pie. (I knew this was a dream about heaven.) I can still see the Coconut Cream Pie, the rest of the dream is fading, but not that pie, What does that say about me? When I asked why I was getting a pie I was told that I did a good job and that all the cast gets pie. They said that, though my part was small, it was important. The pie was great. I woke up and the dream was over, the day began. I remember thinking, “What a weird little dream.” It meant nothing.

EASTER SATURDAY NIGHT

Fast forward to the next day. It was the Saturday before Easter: the very day before the biggest celebration in the Christian calendar. We were busy and things were hopping at the Church. This was going to be our first Saturday night service. The church has grown to the place of needing this service just to make room. Everything was set. The anticipation was palpable! Who would come? And they came in masses. It was overwhelming.

WORSHIP TEAMAs Jessie (worship leader) led us in worship I was so aware of God in my personal relationship. That isn’t always the case; sometimes it is hard to get out of the “job” aspect and into the spiritual aspect of a worship service when you are playing a part in it. Just being honest there. Not this time. I was crying. The music sounded like a resonance from heaven. The voices blended then harmonized and it was loud. People were lifting up their anticipation, expectations, dreams and hurts to God in heaven.

I GET PIE

Whaaaaaaam just like that and I was aware of the dream from last night. God was letting me know that, I jump up in the scheme of time to play a small part, but that he has coconut pie for me to tell me, “well done good and faithful servant.” I cried more. It was just God letting me know that this was the right thing to do. Just a small affirmation that Saturday night IS his will for us. He was simply reminding me that it’s not about me, I just play a little part, but that we share in the whole. Thank you God.

DO YOU SUCK?

Are you a sucker or are you a server? I mean, do you play a part in the kingdom of God or are you just here to perpetuate a self-gratifying experience? Is your life about Jesus or is it about you?

I think a lot of people go to church but never understand the concept of BEING the church. Instead they come to the church and get what they can: ministry, duty, guilt, endurance, singing, you know, check attendance off the list of weekend activities.

LAPREYThey come in, suck in what they can, and then head out. They enjoy the production, but don’t play a part. Kind of like a Lamprey that attaches to the side of a fish and then just sucks the life out of it. They take what they can, but don’t seriously contribute anything.

YOU GET PIE!

God has more for you than being a sucker. He wants to employ you in this production called life. He has a mission that is unfolding daily and his plan is not for you to sit on the sidelines. He wants you involved, plugged in; he has an important part for you to play. You get PIE!cocnut cream pie

When you think about being a part of a church, do you think of an institution or a gathering? Do you think of attending or investing in this gathering? The church moves forward through the giving, not the sucking, of the gathered believers. We come to GIVE worship to God: through financial offerings, service to the community, energy and time to the body of believers and not yet believers.

So, do you suck or do you serve?

IS IT DARK WHERE YOU ARE?

“Why are you crying? Who is it that you are looking for?”

unworthy tearSome times when we are sad, depressed and can’t seem to gather our courage, we just stop moving. We don’t look for God.

Mary had no reason in her mind to look for Jesus. She saw the stone rolled away. She saw the empty tomb. She saw the morning come. And she saw the gardener; that guy standing over there behind her, or beside her. She maybe saw him out of the corner of her eye. When he came to comfort her she was willing to interact, she was willing to allow him to touch her pain. She let him in, just a little bit. “Why are you crying, who is it that you are looking for?”

People 

I get to interact with people everyday. Some people are having a great day. Some people are facing very scary circumstances. Shoot, sometimes I‘m facing giants in my own life. I’m going to shoot straight with you, this “life of the pastor thing” sometimes, is way too much fun and then sometimes it is not all sunshine and lollipops. No sirrreeee, sometimes it is down right scary!!

Do you know what to do?
Do you know what to say?
and do you know where to go?
God are you listening?
God they are mean.
God they are stingy.
and God they are scaring me to death.

And then there is the occasional, “Man this has got to be a great gig, I’m feeling called to the ministry” or “So what, you work an hour a week on Sunday, two if you have multiple services? I need me some of this.” “What do you do all day?” Pastors are not immune to depression, self loathing, and struggling with life. Hahahahahahahaha, Sometimes it’s even crazy here at the church and if you came in you would see that the crazies are running the show. Heeeelllllppppp!

Really though, what do you do when life is just on hold?
What do you do when the darkness seems a little too dark for you to step out into the light?

 MARY M and Mary MOJ

Mary was having that kind of day. This is Mary Magdalene, not Mary the Mother of Jesus. Can you imagine Mary the Mother of Jesus’ weekend? Her very first Easter and what a downer it was. Seriously now, I cannot comprehend the tragedy of losing a child, even an adult child. And then for it to be the Son of God you lost to murder. Here you are, 33 years after you tried to convince people that this pregnancy was an act of God, just when things were looking like the community was believing that he was the Son of God, or at least that he was someone special to God, this happens.

What an Easter this is turning into. 

Those stinking Romans! Big mean nasty warriors and fighters that think they can do what ever they like! THEY HAD NO CAUSE. What about those religious leaders? Hauling her son into the Romans; couldn’t even do their own dirty work, and it WAS DIRTY WORK!!!! Yeah, who did they think they were? What an Easter this was turning into.

Oh it WAS a special week. People may not have recognized that it was the first Easter, but it was still special. It was a couple days after the Passover. BIG holiday for the Jewish people: BIG. Now it was the week of the Feast of Unleavened bread. It was time to remember how faithful God had been to Moses and the gang. God didn’t appear to be faithful to the followers of Jesus. People were celebrating, not this small group of Jesus followers. Small may be an inappropriate term, they were a group bigger than 80% of the churches in America if my understanding is right about 80% of the churches in America.

 Mary M again

Back to Mary Magdalene, It was dark. It was dark for everyone that weekend. At this moment in time Mary is standing, in the morning, at the tomb, with a gardener. At Mary’s darkest hour at the time, she didn’t see Jesus standing there.

God is standing next to Mary. The apple of her eye, the reason for her concern, the answer to her pain, is standing right next to her. Sometimes we are so hurt, the pain is so much, we are so dejected, that we miss that God is right there. Could we but lift our eyes and ask a question, we would hear Jesus call our name. The pain may not go away, the hurting may not stop, but we would realize in that moment that we are not alone.

 GOD

You are not alone.
God said he would never leave you,
nor would he forsake you.
In your darkest moment he is right there with you.
You will grieve, you will ache, you will be in pain,
but God wants to walk with you.
He wants to meet you at the point of your deepest grief,
at the place of your biggest fear,
at the depth of your loneliest moment
and the height of greatest trial.

God is standing right there. Lift your chin and look a round. He may look like someone you don’t know. He may be a song whispering in your ear. He maybe a Word that you read in the Scripture. He could be anywhere but he is there with you. You don’t see him because you don’t expect him. Let him surprise you, lift your chin.

Look around, He is RISEN indeed.

The sun is coming up, it is Easter in your life, He is risen, look for the Lord.

I HAVE TWO DOGS BUT ONLY ONE GOD

I HAVE TWO DOGS BUT ONLY ONE GOD

Anyone that knows me has to know I have two dogs. I love my dogs, they are amazing creatures and loyal friends. They are funny and fun, crazy and at times they can be very frustrating, but they are always there for me.

Birthday love 3

AVA and BOOMER

My female Rottweiler’s name is Ava and my male is named Boomer. They both came from a wonderful kennel out in California. Not litter mates but kennel mates two years apart. Bred for disposition, beautifully encompassing the AKC standard of a “Rottie,” they are an incredibly misunderstood breed. They are great family members and very friendly dogs. Ava has attained her Canine God Citizen Certificate and Therapy Dog would be next, she also pulls a cart for exercise and fun. My grandchildren love to ride in the cart up and down the street. Boomer, the big goober, is one good left turn from completing all the requirements for the “CGC” certificate. He is young and that’s another topic we can learn about, but later.

Ava Carting

I can learn a lot about God from my dogs.

Through the years I have learned a lot about God through my relationship to dogs. Like the time I was trying to process hearing the voice of God. Like a puppy, we run to our master and we are excited to be near him in worship, prayer time, but we don’t really have a clue what he is saying or what he means. Then over the years of being in his presence, we come to an understanding: his voice, his unction, and his gesture. You can talk to a grown dog of yours and based upon your gestures he will respond. Based upon your voice inflections the dog will or won’t respond. Based upon volume your dog will or won’t respond. Our relationship to God is like that. The more we get to know him, the more the little nuances of his person communicate his intention to us. The easier it is to understand the voice we have been seeking. As a puppy, not so much.

When I am trying to understand obedience.

IMG_2086

Ava likes to chase a red rubber ring, Boomer on the other hand only chases Ava. Boomer will chase a green tennis ball, but Ava will only chase Boomer after he gets to it. Eventually they both will bring me their individual toy with the other in tow. The nonsense starts when they go racing to the bottom of the hill full tilt and then smell a rabbit, or have to pee or what ever and then they forget where the toy went. They are dogs, I throw the ball, and they fetch it, that’s how it works. It all falls apart when they don’t listen. When they won’t bring me the ball or the ring. I do that to God sometimes too. He sends me to do something and I get distracted by the world, fame, importance, and material possessions, really I am as susceptible as anyone else to the things of this world. I get distracted and forget what he sent me to do or fail to remember where I put God’s ball. Then one time Boomer went after the ball, got half way back and remembered he had to pee again. So he dropped the ball, which rolled down hill and he promptly peed on the ball. Well I can assure you he wasn’t going to do his job with a soiled ball in his mouth. How many times have I peed on God’s ball and then complained to God?

If they aren’t going to be obedient then the party is over

Dogs are pack animals and they need to be family members. They understand the concept of hierarchy but they will fight for position. They can learn quickly where they fit and what their role is, but if they aren’t going to engage, then the party is over. They will thrive when they are encouraged and praised and feel a deep sense of accomplishment. The very first time I put Ava in a harness and hooked her up to the cart it terrified her. That thing behind her was rattling and bouncing and following real close. But once she realized that I put it there and it was a good thing she pulled it famously. When we were all done ( 20 minutes worth) I praised her lavishly and she was beaming. She did it. She was so proud! That obedience, even when I don’t understand the new thing God is doing, that’s the party! Disobedience means the party is over. We need to understand that with God obedience is not an option. He expects us to bring back the ball. He expects us to pull the cart. He expects us to do our part and when we do, life is in rhythm.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

God is the master; he isn’t yielding his throne to anyone else. God and God alone. So, what is it that God is asking of you? Did you drop the rubber ring? Did the world distract you? Did you pee on God’s ball? You are not too old, too young, too short, too tall, too male, too female, to be in the game with God. I want to encourage you to reengage.

CAN I GET A BREAK?

Man what a day this week is turning out to be.

The truck is in the shop so my wife and I have been carpooling. It’s amazing how much we do not do together that I wasn’t aware of. She doesn’t go to the City council Meetings with me. She didn’t use to go to the coffee shop with me on Wednesday mornings because I go so early. And she certainly doesn’t go to Indianapolis with me when I go to get Ava. Thankfully my son in law was available and has a truck. Also good because my dog doesn’t fit in my wife’s Miata and even more so when I also am in the car with my wife. So, a 7-hour trip later and my Ava is home from the kennel, a little worse for the wear but she will heal.

What about you, how has your week been going?

At church a couple weeks ago the message was about SOARing. 2015 is for SOARing. But in order to SOAR there has to be some flapping. You certainly don’t get to fly let alone SOAR if you aren’t willing to flap.

Flapping isn’t for sissies,

FLAP

it’s hard and frankly we don’t like it. Trucks break, people let you down, money has to be spent, relationships are strained, jobs are lost, and marriages end, children struggle and you have to keep flapping if you want to SOAR. Frankly sometimes we don’t want to flap do we? We just want to lie down and scream and yell and ask God if he has a clue. Even as a pastor sometimes I just have to walk around and ask God, loudly and vehemently but respectfully, if he is aware of what the heck is going on!

We don’t like to be inconvenienced as a humanity. We have a drive-through for hamburgers, for medicines, for tobacco, for snow cones, for alcohol; shoot we even have drive through for our donuts now. We just don’t have time to flap do we? And yet, that is where strength comes from, from the struggle.

I have a friend that used to have a bazillion ostriches, maybe not quite that many, I could be off by a kazillion. He had a lot of big awkward birds that laid “community omelet sized” eggs. Inside that egg at one time, was what was considered a very expensive baby ostrich. Sometimes they had a hard time hatching. I asked him if it didn’t make sense to him, to help the little guy out. I mean, can someone help a fella’ out, literally, of his shell? My friend told me that the struggle of the little ostrich to hatch, to peck his way out, was crucial to his existence. He told me that in the breaking free process was the conditioning that would allow the ostrich to strengthen and stand, to move around, to live.

God designed that ostrich. He designed it to struggle to hatch so that when it did, it could live. Our struggles are important to our survival whether we know it or not. When I stop whining and get to the flapping part. When I know that the flapping is important to the SOARing process, then the flapping isn’t as evil as I thought. Maybe, I think, SOARing will be a little bit easier and more glorious, because God was with me in the flapping; teaching me, watching over me and even shaping me, to be all I can be so that I can live.

Go ahead, thank God for the flapping, ask him to help you flap better, but FLAP.