Saturday, March 31, 2012

Weekend Wanderings

Weekend Wanderings will be taking a break this week. This weekend has turned out to be crazy  busy.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

One of God's Servants Goes Home

This afternoon, one of God's servants went home to be with his Savior. He was not a pastor of the largest church in the country. He was not even the pastor of the largest church in our small town. He didn't have a radio program, nor did he have a television "ministry" that brought him fame and fortune. He simply was a faithful pastor of a church for over forty years, who loved the people God gave him to shepherd.

He was one of the most engaging personalities I have ever met, always having a kind word for everyone. A consummate kidder, he had a way of brightening your day with a "Good evening" when it was morning, and a "Good morning" at night. He also never seemed to be able to keep holidays straight. He was a loving father and grandfather. I had the privilege of teaching and coaching two of his granddaughters. His love for them, and their love for him was evident.

He was an old school pastor, and there things with which I disagreed. Regardless of the times I might not agree with what he said in a sermon, or some point regarding how to live as a follower of Jesus, I was able to learn a great deal from him. One thing that I definitely knew was the love he had for Jesus, and the joy he found in being a child of the Father. He was one of the most godly men I have known, and was a preacher who was also a pastor to the church where he ministered.

Pastor George Schultz, it was a pleasure knowing you and learning from you. I know you're happy to be with your Savior. It wouldn't surprise me if the first thing you said to Jesus was, "Happy New Year." You were one of God's great servants, and I know the Father has already said to you, "Well done!"

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

World Vision Wednesday

See how the gift of a cow changed the lives of a family in Sri Lanka

To find out more about giving to help the least of these around the world, see this.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Weekend Wanderings

My two weeks of "forced vacation" are coming to an end. It's back to work tomorrow. While it will be a bit of a shock to get up earlier in the morning, I am looking forward to getting back to the kids I work with and the softball team. March Madness continues, although the teams I cheer for the most are all out. My Musketeers made it to the Sweet Sixteen for the fourth time in the last five years, but ran into a very good Baylor team. Maybe next year. The trees are almost completely leafed out here in the sunny South. Thankfully the yellow pollen that covers everything will be gone in just a little while. Everything is about two weeks ahead here, so the festival our town holds every year will happen this year after a lot of the flowers have bloomed.

Here are the links for the week:

Frank Viola on our audience.
M. Morford says being a Christian is easy.
Ronnie McBrayer on faith.
Derek Leman on hesed in the Bible (HT: Scot McKnight).
The Mad Theologian on blaming Satan.

God talk.
Lost in Gethsemani.
Pastor as bouncer...
Book review: The Power of Weakness.
Impacted by others?

Matt posts about the best investment.
Nate on crashing.
Anna on lessons from a dog.
Julie on The Hunger Games.
Chaplain Mike reviews How God Became King.

Tats for tatfans.
Christian celebrities.
Waving the white flag.
How-to guide for spontaneous meal prayers.

Rachel Held Evans on why she left the church (small c), and why she returned to the Church (capital C).
The last loaf of bread.
Alan Knox has a series on the church that perseveres. Part 1 is here.
Arthur Sido on the bigness of the Gospel.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lessons Learned From a Cat

Keith Giles at subversive1 has a guest post written by his wife Wendy titled Lessons Learned from Tiger. The post is about their cat Tiger, and the lessons she learned from caring for him after he was injured in a fight. I think the lessons she learned are lessons that we all can take to heart in our lives, especially in our relationships with others and with God. God spoke to me through these lessons. Maybe there is something here for you as well.
  • Feeling trapped can make you destructive.
  • Sometimes help can look a lot like punishment.
  • We can mistake family for strangers because of smell/appearance.
  • It's hard to eat and drink on your own when you're wearing the "cone of shame."
  • That's when you step in and feed them by hand.
  • Medicine that's hidden in food goes down more easily.
  • The treatment against infection is sometimes painful.
  • The one stuck outside wants desperately to be inside. The one inside desperately wants to be outside.
  • We can't always see the big picture.
  • Two weeks seems like an eternity.
  • It's awful to not be able to scratch your own itch, and such a relief when someone comes to help.
  • It's easier when you don't fight it.
  • Wounds require a great deal of care to heal properly.
  • Fighting can be quite costly and painful.
She goes on to list four more lessons that she found "much more touching and beautiful."
  • God didn't set a limit on how much He was willing to pay for my sake.
  • He understand the groaning of my heart which are much too deep for words.
  • He is patient and attentive to detail in caring for my needs which continue throughout my life, and not just two weeks.
  • He is compassionate even when I am frustrating.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

World Vision Wednesday

Tomorrow is World Water Day. Water is something most of us take for granted, but clean water is in short supply in many parts of the world.

From World Vision:
"It’s a reality faced by children and entire communities in places like rural Zambia. The absence of clean, safe water can undermine all other efforts to fight poverty in a region. This World Water Day, March 22, we remember the pain that many children face because they don’t have clean water — and how we can help change their situation."

To find out more, go here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Weekend Wanderings

As you may have read in my last post, I've been off work most of this week. It was nice sleeping in a bit, and I was able to catch up on some things that needed to be done around the house and in the yard. Don't worry. I was careful and didn't further strain anything. I have found that I would rather be on the field coaching than in the stands watching. It has been warm and sunny this week, even though Spring doesn't officially begin until Wednesday. The groundhog missed it this year, at least here in the sunny South. It remains to be seen if this is a preview of a hot summer.

Anyway, here are the links:

What would St. Patrick do?
Nate is going home.
Fishing for men.
Lent and mud season.
This is not too far from how some see Jesus and the Bible

Unity as witness?
Good post from Alan Knox.
A good idea, or not? (HT: iMonk)
Good question.
Goldman Sachs and church.

Grown-cold love.
Messing up the lyrics
Lent and forgiveness.
Sinner saved by grace?

Jared Wilson on grace.
Becoming spiritual community.
Good question from Jon Acuff.
Extreme hovering.

A Gospel of unity.
Living Water.
Getting to know Patrick.
A refuge in the wilderness.
Is anyone else afflicted by this?

Have a blessed week!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Letting Go Part 2

I think I must be hardheaded or something. It seems that God had to slow me down a bit more in order to teach me that I am not the one in charge here. A week ago, I lifted a box containing softball uniforms and felt something pop in my lower abdomen where I had hernia surgery about 12 years ago. I went to the doctor on Friday and was informed that it was a strain. Needless to say, I was relieved. Unfortunately the story doesn't end there.

On Monday, I was informed by the personnel office of the school district that I was not supposed to work for two weeks. The doctor had written on the report that I was not allowed to do any heavy lifting, bending, stooping, etc. for two weeks. I figured it wouldn't be a problem because I don't do any of those things in my job. Unfortunately, because I work in special ed., there is the slight (read miniscule) possibility that I might have to do something like that. So, I was sent home until I was cleared by the doctor to come back. Normally, I wouldn't complain too loudly about a two week vacation in March, except for the fact that I also am not allowed to coach my softball team during that time. There is another teacher in the school who was able to step in and take the team, along with my two assistants, and I am grateful for that.

The hard part for me is letting go of the team for two weeks. There are all kinds of scenarios that I can come up with while I am not there. I went to the game on Tuesday to show my support for the girls, and it was hard to sit and watch. Between that and being at home without being able to do a whole lot, it's hard. I'm able to do a bit of work around the house and in the yard, but it's not quite the same as doing what I get paid to do. I've had to slow down at a time when I'm usually pretty busy, and my temptation is to complain about it and then waste the time. I'm trying to relax and listen to the voice of my Shepherd in all of this, and trust his will. It's not an easy thing to do, but hopefully I will learn more about letting my Father lead me and show me what he wants me to do.

There is definitely on good thing in all this. I get to watch all of the NCAA Tournament. :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

World Vision Wednesday

Emmaculate Musheini, known as Mama Emma in her village, has five children and is a World Vision community volunteer. To find out more about Mama Emma's work, read this.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Grace and Self-Righteousness

One of the things God is teaching me is that any righteousness I might have comes from him alone. If I think that I am better than anyone else, then I am greatly mistaken.

Frank Viola has a post titled A Farewell to Self Righteousness, that is a reminder that no one's sins are really worse than mine and that we are all in desperate need of God's grace.

Here are a couple of quotes from the post, but you really need to read the whole thing for yourself:

Now let’s put a modern Christian in that room with Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the Pharisees. A self-righteous Christian, mind you.

“Um [cough] … Lord Jesus, did she ask You to forgive her? I didn’t hear her say she was sorry for living as a prostitute. How do we know if she has really repented, Lord? Do You mind if I interrogate her for a bit, please?”

Such is the spirit of a Pharisee. And we have not so learned Jesus Christ.

If Mary of Magdala could love her Lord and enjoy His presence boldly, flagrantly, extravagantly, shamelessly, and without inhibition, then so can you. And so can I.

Therefore, the next time you feel condemnation over your past, please remember this one thing: The first person to lay eyes upon the resurrected Lord was a former prostitute.

It's easy for us to look at what other people do and judge them, especially if we feel they have wronged us. Many times we are kept from extravagantly loving Jesus because we look at others rather than allowing the Spirit to show us where we have sinned, and just how much grace the Father has given us.

God help us to extend to others the same grace that God has shown us.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Weekend Wanderings

It has been an interesting week. Softball season kicked of with a tournament this weekend. My girls lost three games, but they improved in each one. There is some potential there and we may have a pretty decent season. We'll see. The weather is beginning to be consistently springlike, and I think the chance of any more winter weather is gone. God continues to remind me gently that he is the one in charge, and I'm learning to trust more.

On to the links of the week:

This is getting to be a problem.
The Forgotten Beatitude Part II.
Many have been guilty of this.
This is kind of expensive.
Becca Nelson is under construction.

Boy, I needed to read this.
This is sad.
John Armstrong on John Piper and tornadoes.
An interview with Ronnie McBrayer about his book.
Nate Pruitt is dreaming.

Good words from Jon Acuff.
Constantly crucified.
Arthur Sido on tithing.
Edification as worship.
Learning to lose.

Just a reminder.
Have you ever been lost?
Hopefully, this doesn't surprise anyone.
Thoughts on shepherding.
Carol Smith Turner writes about her favorite mistake.

That's all for this week. May the Father bless you!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Letting Go

During one of the preliminary races before the Daytona 500, Danica Patrick found herself heading into the wall. Just before she hit, Patrick took her hands off the steering wheel. It was a smart move, and possibly kept her wrists from being broken. Her Indy Car experience may have contributed to the action, as she also covered her head with her hands like she was in an open wheel car. If I had been in that situation, I would have held on to that wheel with every ounce of my strength, trying to keep control of the car. The results would have been painful.

I am learning just how much I hate letting go of control in my life. As a recovering perfectionist, I want everything to turn out right. Of course, "right" means what I want. So, in order to make sure that things turn out right, I try to be in control. At the very least, I attempt to keep my hand in what is going on. Now, this method works pretty well when you're coaching, at least until the players get into the games. Then, the illusion of control sometimes quickly disappears. When you're dealing with people, especially in discipleship, trying to control another person doesn't work. Actually, trying to be the one in charge doesn't really work in most areas of our lives.

One of the things God is teaching me is that my control of my life and the lives of others is ultimately an illusion. God is the one in control. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating a fuzzy "let go and let God" thinking. Nor am I saying that we bear no responsibility for our actions and the consequences of those actions. I do believe that there is much of our lives that is simply out of our control.

This not a reason for despair, however. For the follower of Jesus, the fact that we are ultimately not in control is actually comforting and freeing. Much of the time we worry about making sure that we say and do just the right thing so our efforts will be "successful." If we are listening to our Shepherd and doing what he wants us to do, we can rest and leave the results up to him. We must remember that we cannot fix anyone, we cannot heal, but God can. We can be privileged to be the vessels through which God channels that healing, but even that is out of our control. We must remember that it is not up to us to make things happen. It is simply our calling to be faithful to what Jesus calls us to do.

God helps us to hear his voice, to be about doing what he calls us to do, and to leave the results in his hands.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

World Vision Wednesday

March 8 is International Women's Day. Here is an inspiring story of a woman who went from baby refugee to wife, mother, and World Vision staffer.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Weekend Wanderings

February has passed. March came in like a lamb here in the sunny South, with a high temperature of 80. We'll see if March goes out calm or ferocious. Pray for the folks who have lost homes and loved ones in the storms the last couple of days. The devastation in some areas is incredible. Hopefully, this is not a harbinger of things to come.

On to the links:

Eric Carpenter on tension.
This encouraged and challenged me.
Bobby Auner has a story of restoration.
The dance toward God.

The wilderness of life under the Law.
Alan Knox on communication.
Grazing on Astroturf.
Ronnie McBrayer says, "Don't waste it."
Good question at More Than Cake.

Eat pray love.
Storm at sea.
A nice bit of poetry.
Skye Jethani interviews Rob Bell.

"This is all we can do."
The wilderness of falsity.
Did you sign up for this?
What are we fired up about?

Have a blessed weekend!

Moving On

It's been a while since I've written here. Life has been happening the past few months. I have decided to start fresh, so I'm mo...