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.

 

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Your Marriage doesn’t SUCK, but you might suck at marriage.

1967 Mercury Cougar, that’s HOT!

1967 CougarAs much as I talk about owning a Corvette, my real dream is a 67′ Cougar, 289 with a three speed. I believe the color is called “Cinnamon Toast with a chocolate vinyl top. My parents owned one when I was very small. I have since owned three 67′ Cougars in my life: 1 was an XR7, one had a 427 and a 4 speed, and one was the classic 289 with a three speed.

Just Rusting away

I noticed there is one over in Irvine, Ky on St Rt 89 North on the left, setting up in the weeds. As I pass it by occasionally I am reminded that, when we have something precious and just ignore it, don’t pay attention to it, or abandon it, the precious thing will decay; slowly at first and then it will escalate. That was a magnificent car at one time. It was cool, and fun, and probably exciting to drive.

If you ignore what you bought, you’ll hate what you got!

Marriage is a lot like that car. It is fun, and exciting, and cool, and we loved it when we began. Then time goes by, jobs change, maybe a couple kids come and you begin to neglect it a little. The paint fades and we begin to wonder, “What happened to the shine, the sparkle?” And the truth is not that the car stopped being the car, it’s that you stopped paying attention to it, you got too busy. Then the rust sets in and when you look at your marriage, you begin to see the faults rather then the shine. Soon, with no care, and disdain rising, it won’t run right, and it leaves you setting, leaves you completely broken down.

It’s the little things that keep it shiny

That’s what happens when you stop doing the little things in your marriage that value and support your partner. You know, when you were young, in love and enthralled with that Cougar, you didn’t see a one of its faults, and when people pointed them out, you quickly wrote them off by directing the conversation to the positives. You could expound for hours on how this was the greatest car in the world. Same is true with your spouse. You used to see all the good and CHOSE not to see the flaws. So let me ask a question, why not go back to that kind of relationship?

There are newer models out there

2015-Toyota-Supra-side-e1411579898600
Let’s be honest, there are some newer and faster cars out now. The 67′ Cougar pales in comparison to them; The toyote Supra (above), the R7 Audi, the 07′ Corvette (not being greedy), I’m not even looking at the “supercars” yet. But here’s a point, why compare mine to the new models? Why not instead invest in the Cougar and enjoy the ride?
When the Cougar came out it was amazing. It was only about $2500 dollars. I recently priced one in immaculate condition, low miles, shiny, you get it right, well cared for; $28,000.00! more than ten times the value of when it was first produced. Ten times!

Keep doing what you used to do

This is why I will always try to keep doing the things I did for my wife before we married. I’m not blind, there are “newer models” out there, (see how I threw in the double entendres?), and let’s not pretend they aren’t pretty hot. But the value of my marriage grows every time I invest a moment, a kiss, a date, a dusting of the living room, or make the bed, our bed. Every encouragement, every inspiration just shines
our marriage that much more, why stop? Oh, I get she doesn’t look exactly like the girl I married, but she at least respects herself enough to care for herself while I do as well. She sees my faults, my struggle, my sin, and she loves me and makes me feel new. She invests in the relationship in little ways that are important and at the same time, might seem insignificant. She values the marriage. I work to keep it running, I work at making sure it doesn’t let her down or leave her setting. I invest. I may have a flat tire one day, need an oil change, maybe even a new part, but I won’t let it decay from lack of attention.

Why am I writing this today?

I’m sitting in my favorite spot in Richmond, Ky, pondering my marriage. I opened my Bible and there is a note from my wife. It’s PG but the sentiment is beyond. It was a very simple thing to do, and yet a very powerful way to shine the “car.” I cried, I’m not
The little thingsafraid to admit it. It is the little, inexpensive, things that you do now that keep it running through all the “laters.”
So, what are you going to do today to maintain the joy, the lust-er, the longing, and the adventure in your marriage? If you don’t, you will come to hate it and you can blame whoever you want, but at the end of the day YOU stopped caring for it.

Do that one thing today that will value, or say “I love you,” to your spouse!

#changetheworldchangeyourownlife

I’m sick of doing NOTHING about Planned Parenthood!!!!

This morning I saw a post from someone that encouraged us all to do something, to make a difference. Have you ever actually decided to look for an opportunity to make a difference? I mean have you ever stopped your “so-very-important” busy life? I’m talking about right now stand on the brake and bring your day to a screeching halt! You ever done that so that you could intentionally, with great purpose, change the world?

MY ORDER MY WAY

latte artMy barista does that every time I show up at the coffee shop. He or she, depending upon the day, takes MY order, makes it the way I LIKE it. For the time that I am at the coffee sop I get to stop and these people help me to regain my mind so I can go out and hopefully make a difference.

LIKE A ROTTWEILER IN A CAT POUND

I was down in Orlando one time and I’m telling you!! Three lanes of traffic and the “elderly person” in the far left, high speed, “what-the-heck-are-you-doing-in-this-lane-lady?” lane, realized at the last second, that she was AT her exit!!! She slammed on the brake and completely stopped in order to let traffic stop, or thin out, or dissipate, so she could drive laterally across three lanes of traffic to that exit. I’m telling you all those tires sounded like a Rottweiler in a cat pound! Boomer and AvaThere was more squalling, bawling, and screeching then a Haunted house at Halloween full of middle school girls. In my mind, every one spilled their morning coffee in their laps. I can only imagine that even the most pious of drivers was inflicting this person with thoughts and descriptions, as well as questions, concerning the Underworld, and the legitimacy of someone’s birth.

That lady stopped, for all the wrong reasons she stopped. All the world, that was on that highway, at that moment, had no choice, they stopped with her! (you are making stopping and screeching noises in your head right now aren’t you, come on, admit it!!)

DON’T BELIEVE THE LIE

We often are sold into the lie that there is nothing we can do, or we are too busy, or it won’t matter. I want to assure you that it is a lie. Just like that lady in Orlando, if you do in fact choose to stop, I promise you that you will affect the lives of the people around you.

I felt the same way about the whole Planned Parenthood video debacle. Inside my heart I want to scathe, flay, and/ or eviscerate this organization. Not the people, that would be un-Christian: the organization and the activity, definitely. That desire coupled with social media can raise awareness, but sooner or later we have to actually DO something. I mean, stop complaining, stop shaking our fists at the computer screen, stop screaming for all in our cubicles to hear, and actually do something.

I had an epiphany a couple weeks ago. (when I was little I used to think an epiphany was like a symphony, some kind of orchestra thing) Sitting at my computer with my blood boiling, my sarcasm working it’s way up my throat, going back and forth with some of my own family even, I believe the Lord spoke to me, to my heart. He didn’t speak to me like he did to Charlton Heston in 1956 when he said, “Let my people go!” No, he simply spoke to me and asked me what I was going to DO about it. I did the usually dance; “There is nothing I can do but keep it in the forefront Lord.” He pushed me and pushed me. I ended up going down to the Pregnancy Help Center in Richmond Kentucky and talking to the Director there, her name is Heather and she has an excellent staff.

They are trying to open a clinic with an ultra sound machine so they can help care for pregnant, wed and unwed mothers. They are training parents together and separate on parenting, and the skills needed to raise a child. They provide care, material care, and support for these people. They are showing them the life giving, sparing, and life saving options that are available, other than to end the child’s life. They are making a difference.

clear-vue-350-clearvue-350-clearvue350So, they are making a difference, I want to make a difference, our church wants to make a difference. EPHIPHANY!! We could do something together, like get this clinic up and running. $13,000.00 is all they have left to raise for this project. One the one had, you stop and say, “Whoa, $13,000.00, that’s a ton of money. It would in fact buy a real nice car, I’m not gonna lie. And maybe you are saying, “I don’t have that much money to give.” I think it needs to happen, but we can all own it. I think that our community can get together across denominational, religious or societal lines and we can make this happen. Think about it, this is your chance to DO something instead of TALK ABOUT something. I’m talking about each of us in our community stretching ourselves for $25 each. (More if you can, but no pressure)

What if we all came together and knew that because we chose to stop and do something, lives were spared, lives were made whole and wholesome, families were cared for and loved on. What if you were to look at the picture and realize that your gift, regardless of size, helped get that tool into the hands of people on the front lines of saving little people’s lives. You CAN do THAT!!

GIVE A LITTLE BIT, GIVE A LITTLE BIT OF YOUR LOVE …

Go to this site, click on what ever sized gift you would like to give and then designate it to the “Operation Ultra Sound.”

https://connect.egiving.com/operation-ultrasound/madison-county-pregnancy-help-center-inc

Today, when you think there is nothing you can do, go ahead and stop what you aer doing, where you are going and make a difference. It may be something entirely different that this particular project. Maybe you just need to love on some one, pray for someone, encourage someone, buy a meal, a tank of gas, what ever.

If you will STOP, we can change the world. BE intentional!

#changetheworld

AN INVITATION FROM GOD

Eagle Landing at Nest LRPP1

Psalm 36 (NIV)
For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord.
1 I have a message from God in my heart
concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God
before their eyes.
2 In their own eyes they flatter themselves
too much to detect or hate their sin.
3 The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful;
they fail to act wisely or do good.
4 Even on their beds they plot evil;
they commit themselves to a sinful course
and do not reject what is wrong.

As we read this Psalm David speaks of evil persons in the world: “The Wicked” he calls them. They appear to be marked in this particular Psalm by a number of characteristics:

-There is no fear of God in their eyes.
-A narcissism that causes blandness to his own sin
-A filthy pattern of speech and lies
-A failure to act wisely or do good
-He is committed to an active sinful course
-Finally, he does not reject what is wrong.

Admit it, the world isn’t getting better

Let’s admit it, this world isn’t getting better. When you look at corporate greed, self-actualization, narcissism, violence, abuse, racism, sexism, this list can keep going for say, about a week? What humanity chooses to do to each other is very sad. The manner in which we can hurt one another and the reasons we have for doing so are heartbreaking. We haven’t even begun to describe what our humanity is doing to the Earth.

The “Wicked”

David initially describes the “wicked” as those who do not fear God. He is speaking of a very proud man. Notice it doesn’t say that there is no knowledge of God, nor does he say that the man doesn’t believe in God. What David says is that the man does not have a respect or honor for God. He very well may believe in him, the point is that he shakes his fist in the face of God. He will not bow down, or yield to God as ruler.

That is a tough place to be, but let’s not be too proud to admit that we may have been there ourselves a time or two. You may be reading this and find yourself mad, or shaking your fist in the face of God right now. Take a breath and ask him to be your God and then let him be your God.

Love is a great answer to the evil around you

David ends this part of the passage by describing the wicked as “not rejecting what is wrong.” David is saying he doesn’t do anything about the problems, the sin, in his life. It can also be understood that he is speaking of the fact that a wicked man doesn’t do anything about the evil and sin around him.

Love is a great answer to the evil around you. Love is the nemesis of the evil around you, the archenemy of all that is bad in the world. In an entertainment world ripe with superheroes, Jesus is my superhero of Love. Love is a verb; an action; a movement. It is what you DO not what you say.passion-of-the-christ-nail

David describes God love as unfailing. He can do that because God IS love. He is not loving, or lovely, rather he is love. Christ proved that when he went to die on the cross for you and my sins.

If love is an action that is taken on your behalf, then Calvary was the greatest. When someone who owed nothing died for people who owed everything, well, you get it.

Look at what David goes on to say in Psalm 36:

Psalm 36:7-9 (NIV)
7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

David says we feast on the abundance of God’s house. I don’t know what you think of when you think about the abundance of God’s house, I think of abundantly abundant. For some reason my mind goes to leftovers, but that isn’t what it says, it says it is the abundance.

There is plenty of food iKings feastn my house. Sometimes we come in and there is enough food that we cannot decide what to eat. Other times there is food but not what we want. In both cases there is ample food. God has ABUNDANCE to feast upon. That word abundance is “midesen” and it refers to the “fatness” of God’s possession and provision.

Today I want you to focus on a God who himself, through the Prophet King David, Says you get to eat his abundance and drink from his RIVER OF DELIGHTS. Bring it on Tuesday, you are mine!!!

WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO NEGATIVE?

negative attitudesI found this meme on Facebook today and I had to stop and process it. There is so much truth here. I interact with people that would rather keep doing the very same toxic things, interact with the same toxic people and spew the same toxic rhetoric and then try to sell me on the idea that they are not being negative.

  1. Do you always start your answer with why something cannot be done, or why you can’t do it, or all the problems that have to be met; therefore it is impossible?

With all due respect, you are a negative person.

  1. Do you see someone’s faults before you see their value? You are a negative person.
  2. Do you find yourself throwing jabs at people that succeed? You may be a negative person.
  3. Is it easier to talk about someone in a derogatory manner than to inspire and encourage him or her? You may find that you are a negative person.
  4. When things don’t go the way you want them to go, or when people don’t do what you want them to do, do you walk out? You are a negative person.
  5. When you don’t get the spotlight or the microphone do you talk to other people about other people? You are a negative person.
  6. Do you threaten and intimidate people to get them to do the things that you think are good for them, right for them? You are not just negative, you are toxic.

It is crazy how much negativity is out there in our world today. I see the fear mongering, and hate mongering and race mongering all over social media. Every day we get up and we read toxic reports and watch toxic media about how bad things really are and it breeds to life this little cloud that follows you around all day and then we wonder why we are so depressed.

DON’T BELIEVE SOCIAL MEDIA!

Shoot, if I am to believe what I see in social media:

– Texas is about to become the proving ground for a new world order when President Obama launches the military against the nation.
– There is nothing more important in the news today than a man who chose to be a woman.
– You are about to get carjacked for stopping to see what’s in the middle of the road.
– Everyone, I mean everyone, is after your electronic identity.
– Apparently the absolute worst thing that could happen to you is that your testosterone level could fall out the bottom and you might not be interested in sex like an 18 year old at college.
– Everyone needs a handgun strapped because everyone is about to have their handgun taken away.
– The sky is falling.

How much negativity can you take? I wonder when it is that we begin to see the truth and choose to make a difference. There is a lot of good going on in the world.

THERE REALLY IS A LOT OF GOOD.

There are many stories like this that need to be pushed to show the world that great things are in fact happening.

Globally:

Ocean _ Cleanup 2I read an article about a young man that is trying to clean up the ocean and has a way that the ocean can do almost all the work. It is a joy to see that this young man, only 19 years of age, has come up with this and people are getting behind it. It is very sad that it is not all over social media.

Locally:

Police helpThere are countless articles from all over small town America of Police officers making a difference in people’s lives: from playing basketball with young people, to bringing food to the home of a person suffering dementia and everything in between. No one is lauding this very loudly. Too positive?

On Facebook:

Don’t even get me started on the dogs that choose to love on little kittens, pitbulls loving on catseven the dogs are being positive!!

Look around you for the positive that is going on.

Change your mindset and you will change your world. Let “YES” be the word that leads you, let “Yes I can” be the phrase that carries you to new heights. When people believe that they can, they don’t stop trying. When people are encouraged, they try harder.

Today choose to be an encourager. Listen you the words coming out of your mouth and choose to be positive.

I’M NOT TRYING TO TEACH YOU NOT TO SIN

There are just a lot of broken, messed up people around me IN THIS WORLD and it is crazy. I watch the news and I’m telling you it almost depresses me into going to Walmart the first Saturday of the month. At 9 am. I’m not kidding.

 CHLORINE BLEACH?

I just saw a story on the news that a 12 year old tried to poison her mama with chlorine bleach because her iPhone was taken away. I mean seriously? Are you kidding me? If I tried a stunt like that growing up you wouldn’t know me. You wouldn’t have to waste anymore of your time reading this because it wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be here.

 I’ll kill you and tell God you died.

If my dad said anything that I remembered, and I tried not to remember much as a youth, he told me “So help me, I’ll kill you and tell God you died.” You know I knew growing up that he meant it. It was just that kind of upbringing.

RugerThere was always a gun hanging on his bedpost, a Ruger 44 magnum Super Blackhawk. As a child I knew how it worked. I knew that if I touched it I better be shooting it. I’m not a real big fan of handguns, but I’m not trying to take away your constitutional rights so relax, I’m just not into handguns. I’m really not interested in hanging one that is always loaded in a place where a 4-6 year old could pull it out and shoot it, like the bedpost. That’s just straight up irresponsible parenting and bad handgun ownership.

 It is our NATURE to SIN

The reason there is so much sickness in the world and so much hurt and pain in the world, is because there is so much sin in the world. The Bible says that every one in the world that has ever existed or will ever exist is a sinner. I’m not sure how that makes you feel, but you are a sinner. I know that because I am a filthy rotten sinner who gave his sin to Jesus. As sinners, guess what we do best? We sin. We just can’t seem to stop. It’s like it’s in our nature. Wait, it is our nature.

 I, ME, MINE

My wife and I have 5 children. Five, cinco, Funf, yup, 5. We didn’t have them all at once, they came one at a time except for the last two; they came as a matched set. As babies they are born into the world they are born with a very self-centered nature and that is ok. They cry when they want to be held, they cry when they want to be fed, they cry when they want to be changed. Shoot, they even cry when they want to go to sleep but refuse to. And what’s up with that any way? If you want to go to sleep little baby go to sleep. Stop crying about it and sleep.

Babies are supposed to act like that that. It ok for a baby to be self-centered, it’s how they communicate to us until they have words. The problem is they are supposed to grow out of it. Have you grown out of it? There is nothing worse than a 33 year old that still acts like a 3 month old. But the bottom line is, that self-centeredness IS our human nature: that is sin.

Sin: I want, what I want, when I want it, and how I want it and I want it NOW!!! HA, that pretty much describes our whole culture.

nail-i10

The answer to selfishness is a savior, Jesus. As our Savior he has taken all the sin, of all the world, for all time, even the future, and has borne it so we do not have to be punished for it. EVER! I love him for that. It makes me want to be good. I love him so much for what he did that I want to live like he did. Alas I fail. I sin. (You should know that I’m a pastor and I sin. You should not go to a church where the pastor does not sin: he’s a liar)

You should know that I’m a pastor and I sin.
You should not go to a church where the pastor does not sin:
he’s a liar

As a pastor I am not trying to teach people not to sin, but I think a lot of people and pastors are trying to do that. To me that is the craziest thing is the world. It would be like trying to teach elephants to fly because you really want a bird. It isn’t going to happen.

 YOU ARE A SINNER

Before you go all Charles Manson on me, (see how I avoided using a derisive Government employee parcel delivery illustration?) I mean that Jesus died for my sins so I could live in HIS victory, not create a victory of my own. My human nature says I am going to sin. I’m not giving you permission to sin; I’m just saying why does it surprise you that, after surrendering to Jesus you still do? You are a sinner whose sin has been paid for, not try not to sin.

baby walkingI liken this to a baby that is learning to walk. They pull themselves up on the table. And stand there with their little fat legs bouncing up and down and happy as a lark. They grin and smile and babble. Then you, the parent, start coaxing them to let go. “You can do it,” you say. They get courageous and let go and take a step and you snatch them up and praise them, and encourage them, and it is awesome. Then you set them down and tell them to walk to you. They take one step, two steps: you are so proud that this clearly is the smartest baby in the world, has walked earlier than any other baby in the history of the world, and even Moses who was “no ordinary child” wasn’t this cool. Then your little messiah falls down. As a parent you don’t grab them up and beat them and scream that you told them to walk. You hold them, comfort them, and encourage them to try again.

That is a great picture of God the Father encouraging you to live a sinless life. He knows you’re going to fall again. Want me to show you how I know that? Look at these verses:

1 John 1:8-10 New King James Version (NKJV)

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

1 John 2:1 (NIV)

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

We will sin. The odds are in my favor and I would bet the house on it. I know that some of you will take exception to this like I know you are a sinner. But the truth is, my goal as a pastor is to teach you to get back up. Like the illustration of the baby, if I can teach you to get back up, and teach you to focus on Jesus and the doing of the things he told us to do, you will have a serendipitously wonderful life. You will straight up be surprised at it.

 God wants to own your sin

What has you down? What sin is it that makes you think God hates you? “For God so loved the world …” the Bible says, that he sent his son to love you to death. On Easter. At Calvary.
Get back up you can do this. God loves you.