Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Betrayal

I mentioned yesterday about the teaching from this past Sunday on healing. Paul did a great job of explaining a solid, biblical understanding of healing and its place in the church/world today.

So at the end of the service, as we have done many times, he asked anyone who felt they needed healing in an area of their life to stand up. Then he asked for others who weren't standing to gather around those who were, and pray for their healing. It's not something done by one or two "up-front" people, we all share in this.

However, before we did this, he had a woman come and share some stories of what happened in the first service. She then added that several people were praying between services, and they felt God laying some words out for them. For instance, they sensed someone needed healing for a pain in their nose, another with a back problem, and several other things. Then she said, "And we feel like someone really needs healing for betrayal; someone who feels really betrayed by their friends (or people they thought were their friends)." That got my attention in itself, but when she said it she actually turned around, and in this room full of hundreds of people, she looked RIGHT AT us! It was weird because we have no idea who this woman even is, and she has no idea who we are. It was unmistakably eerie.

I wish I could say we stood and asked for healing for our wounded hearts and feelings of being betrayed... but we didn't. We just sat there. So I guess this is my confession. I betrayed myself.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Kingdom come

One thing we really like about the church we have been attending on Sundays is the teaching. We are being treated to a really good sermon series right now. Paul M. moved here this summer to work part-time at GG and also serve as the US representative for 3dm. I am really enjoying his teaching and influence. Each week seems to get better and inspire me more.

The series - which you can listen to HERE - is Kingdom Come. Sort of a 'what does it look like for God's Kingdom to break in here on earth?' I wish I'd taken better notes (I quit bringing my notebook some months ago), but I have jotted a few things down on my phone.

One of the over-arching ideas is... "The rule of God means the removal of sin, sickness, sadness, and satan, and a restoration of right relationship with God." So how does that happen?

The spiritual battle we face (or the battle in general) is how do we get from our human experience (the earthly realm), to what God's Word says (the heavenly realm)? Paul suggests it begins with:

1. HOPE
2. Then we REPENT AND BELIEVE (we change based on our hope)
3. PERSEVERE (we 'ask, seek, and knock')
4. And finally we have FAITH

As I said, each week has gotten better. It started with 'Hearing God,' then 'God's Provision.' Yesterday was on Healing. It was some innaresting stuff. He has a lot of good, real-life examples from his time serving in Sheffield, England.

So, in spite of all the stuff that goes on in my mind about what I am or what I should do and all that stuff... it is nice to get to be a part of teaching like this. I wish I could share more about it, or remember more about it, but this is what I've got in my phone right now.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Dinner party

We had some friends over for dinner last night. Jane made this superb Guinness Beef Stew and Beer Bread (you pour the stew over the bread), and we invited Mike, Kenny and Dr. John over to help put it away. She also made an incredible chocolate cheesecake dessert. It was pretty good if I do say so myself. Afterward we all ventured downstairs and played pool and chatted into the night.

Mike actually paid for all the food, Dr. John brought some beer, Kenny brought a centerpiece for the table and a giant bottle of Merlot, and I supplied some Guinness for drinking. It's always nice having a good home-cooked meal with good friends.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Isaac to san diego; oven repaired

Son Isaac is in San Diego, CA this weekend for some kind of conference. I don't remember what it's for but I know it's through his school, so I'm guessing it has something to do with theology or justice issues since he is meeting up with a friend who attends another seminary. Anyway, glad he still gets to do things like this - or gets to do them again.

On the home front... our oven quit working the other day. We just bought it in May of this year, and when I got home from work the other night Jane said it wouldn't light (it is gas). So I took some things apart and jiggled this and that and put it back together, and it worked! But it wouldn't light again the next day. So she called the place we bought it from (just down the street) and they had a guy come fix it the next day. I am guessing it was the igniter or something similar. Apparently it only took about 10 minutes, and they didn't charge us anything. Still, you wouldn't think a stove that is only 6 months old should need repaired. I wanted to keep a record that this took place - in case it quits working again.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Right, reason, receptive

Lately I keep hearing that verse from the Bible about the folly of doing things that seem right "in our own eyes." In the book of Judges there are two instances (17:6 and 21:25) where it says, "In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes." There is also a Proverb (21:2) that says, "A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart."

As I see it, the idea is... just because something makes sense to us, that doesn't necessarily mean it is what God wants us to do. Being right in MY eyes, and right in God's eyes may or may not be the same thing. What seems reasonable to me is going to be skewed by my humanity. My point is that for someone who wants to follow God/Jesus/HS, we need to be more open and receptive to what we might be told or led to do by God - through Scripture, prayer, or Godly voices in our life - rather than merely trying to make sense of things ourselves. Living by FAITH can sometimes be quite radical, and sometimes make very little sense.

It made no sense to march around the walls of Jericho, to cross the Red Sea, to put mud on blind eyes, and a whole host of other things that happened in the Bible. It made no sense for me and my family to quit our jobs and sell our possessions to follow what we believed to be God's leading and go to Findlay. It makes no reasonable sense for missionaries to uproot their families, for people to give money to people in need; shoot, it makes no sense to forgive people who have wronged us or to love our neighbors most of the time! It makes no human sense anyway. But God's ways are higher than our ways.

So... I don't know what all this means, but it's been in my head for awhile now. Maybe God is trying to tell me/us it's time to follow him in a way that makes little human sense. Maybe not. We will see. I want to be receptive though. I don't want to miss out.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Simple lessons to improve your writing

I am not a "writer"... but someday I would like to be. Not necessarily on a professional level, but just as a "dabbler." You know, so I could write something worth reading. I could be better than I am. I would need to spend more time working at it though. Maybe someday.

Anyway, I ran across this in my list of drafts I'd never posted. I should probably read it again. 10 Simple Lessons to Improve Your Writing. http://ajjuliani.com/10-lessons-improve-your-writing/

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Retirement

I was thinking today... When I was a pastor I used to never think about retiring. In fact, I kind of just thought I would do it forever. For some odd reason, now I think about it all the time. Unfortunately it's quite a few years away. I'm kind of 'over' thinking my present job is fun.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Reading or not, here I come

Every now and then I like to take a gander back through some of my old posts and see what I was thinking/doing oh-so-long ago. I actually used to write something worthwhile every now and then - especially things I would find in books I was reading at the time.

I used to read quite a bit, and I enjoyed it. Now... not so much. Sure, I'll grab a book now and then, but aside from a couple, I haven't finished a book in quite some time. Yes, I still read a little on blogs, Facebook and elsewhere, but I wouldn't say I'm a "reader" anymore.

It got me thinking one day... I saw a couple places where people posted "Recommended Reading Lists," and I started counting off the books I had read. Then I started thinking about needing/wanting to read more again. But, then, I started to wonder.... was I really better off when I was reading a lot? I mean, certainly I knew more.... But did it help? I don't know. I could probably argue both ways.

One thing I like about the church we are kinda sorta attending right now - they have this saying, "We're not a perfect example, but at least we're a living example." They have these things they call 'pilgrimages' where they invite other churches to come and see how they do the whole 3dm/missional sorta stuff. They admit up front that they struggle in a LOT of areas, but they're willing to offer what they do have for others to see/experience.

It struck me that this is basically all my blog is. I am not a perfect example of a follower of Jesus (or a person, for that matter), but at least I'm a living example. At least I'm willing to put my shit out there for people to see. You can criticize me if you like for being too open, or sharing too much, or... whatever...... But I am who I am, and I'm willing to live my life in front of you and God and everybody else (as much as you can do that through the interwebs).

So, that seems like a lot of stuff that just puked out through my fingers. I'll just stop there. I don't think I'm even going to re-read it. Life... hmm.

Monday, November 17, 2014

First significant snow, and other randomlies

We received our first significant snow of the year yesterday afternoon and last night. It was just a couple inches, but the ground is now covered and the streets are slick. Today/tonight we're supposed to get an "arctic blast" of cold air too. I think that means 20's during the day and possibly single digits tonight. I hate winter.

We had a pleasant surprise in church yesterday morning when I looked up and one of our bartenders was sitting in front of us. We ended up moving to a table with some other friends and she came along. Her daughter (Riley) is the same age as Anna, and it turns out she goes to the same preschool as the daughter of the friends we were sitting with. We also got a nice message from Paul M.

I switched my daily breakfast food today from peanut butter and jelly on toast - which it's been for several months - back to egg beaters. I also put a dab of ketchup on them. I need to get to work on this gut.

I also have a garbage bag full of old dress shirts I'm planning to drop off for Good Will today. Yesterday I was swapping out summer shirts for winter shirts in my closet, and I determined that I don't really need so many dress shirts anymore. Some of them had been my dad's, some were way too big, some were just out of style or were shirts I didn't really like anyway. I could probably go through and get another garbage bag full if I wanted. I never wear dress shirts anymore.

I am not ready for winter. I hope the Escape is at least good on the snow and ice. I don't know, though. It took me two tries to get up the driveway with it last night when I got home. Ugh. I hate winter.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

St. vincent movie

We saw the movie St. Vincent yesterday. It turned out to be a great way to spend a chilly Fall afternoon. I liked it a lot.

I've always been a fan of Bill Murray, but not so much Melissa McCarthy. I was a little worried how they would go together, but it worked. I think she is better in serious roles than comedy.

Perhaps better than that was the point of the film. McCarthy's son is learning about Saints at his parochial school. What exactly is a Saint? I believe many people mistakenly believe they are/were just really nice and pure people. In reality, most people who spend their lives really helping others often aren't that 'nice', and they for sure have a lot of flaws themselves. Anyway, it was a good case-study on how to love your neighbor.

I liked this movie. It is under 2 hours and a worthwhile watch.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A listening session and the new guy

I stuck my toes in the water again last night and attended a meeting with some of the regional leaders in the denomination that holds my ordination. It was called a "listening session." I don't know that I was invited, but it was just down the street from where I live, and I AM still an ordained pastor, so I thought this might be a good opportunity to sort of let people know I'm still alive and that I don't hate anybody. I was also curious as to exactly what a Listening Session is.

As far as the LS... I thought it a noble endeavor, and maybe a good idea, but... you know... it was basically on par with 2 hours of gouging my eyeballs out with a spoon. There were two older gentlemen who seemed to think they needed to do most of the talking. Ugh. In a way it made me happy I'm not involved with this sort of thing anymore. But I felt totally bad for the guy who was trying to run the meeting, as well as most of the other people there. It is amazing how inept some people are at actually sticking with a point and responding to the question that is being asked.

Other than that, though, it was a really good night for me personally. I was glad that I was able to walk into this room of former friends and associates and have a clear conscience and a pretty soft heart. I talked to the Director and we were able to have a nice discussion.

I also met the 'new guy' who took over as pastor at my former church. We had a brief chat and it went well. He seems like a good guy. I know it is hard for some people to believe, but I am really glad about that. I still care about that church community a great deal. For cryin' out loud, I lived and died with those people for 14 years! I didn't want some idiot jerk going there.

Anyway, he actually extended his hand before I was able to mine, and it was "a moment" for me. I was very relieved. Who knows what he's been told. It may not have been much, but for me it broke through a lot of ice. It's amazing how much healing can sometimes take place simply by meeting together with someone.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Snow start

Ugh. I woke up this morning and shuffled into the living room only to look out the window and see cars and rooftops covered with snow. It seems much too early for that. It has been colder than heck too. I just read that it may not get out of the 20's today, and the average temperature for this time of year is in the 50's! And, like that's not bad enough, they're predicting a couple inches of accumulation this weekend possibly. Egads!

I like seasons, but I do not like winter so much. I could go without snow - even on Christmas. I broke out my winter coat last night...