Archive for October, 2011


October 20, 2011

I have participated in roofing houses since I was a young teenager.  My father was gifted in many areas of home repair and did all the work on his own properties.  He also would help friends or family with projects from time to time.  I would frequently tag along.  In the early days I stayed on the ground and picked up trash or acted as a gopher…you know… go for this, or go for that.  In time I was promoted to going on the roof, passing shingles, getting nails, etc.  When I was finally trusted to nail down shingles, or cut them to size, it was big stuff.  By the time I was twenty, I was fairly accomplished, not professional, but good enough that I got job offers.

In my adult years, I have maintained my own roof and helped out others from time to time.  I have a section of roof that currently needs work, and I was going to do it last fall.

Last fall I had some heart issues.  It turns out that something triggered an electrical disruption of my heart causing symptoms similar to a heart attack.  It was scary.  Especially since my maternal uncles all had heart trouble.   I was certainly not going on the roof with heart problems.

Thank God, and modern medicine, after being carefully checked out, I was placed on some medication which allowed my heart’s rhythm to be restored.  I am no longer on medicine, nor do I have any symptoms.  I am cleared for all activity..including roofing, which is what I will be doing this Saturday.   I will probably move a little slower.  It might be a little harder than it was thirty years ago, but I think I still remember how to swing a hammer and use a knife.

Wisdom and Strength

October 18, 2011

I am a firm believer that God is able to direct our lives.  I do not mean that God controls us.  I do believe in the freedom of human will.  However, if a person is a Christian, and regularly asks God for direction then I believe that God will grant that person wisdom to know what they should be doing with their lives.   I also believe that God will give us strength to do what He has directed us to do.

Sometimes we err,  and try to do too much, or do the wrong things.  I believe that each day is a new day, that God can give us the direction that we need for that day.  This is an area that I am still growing in myself.  I have a tendency to do more than I should do.  This creates unnecessary stress on myself and on my family.  Rather than regretting past decisions, I trust that God will guide the decisions that I make today.

We learn from the past.  We look forward to the future, but we live today.  This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.  I trust that God will give us wisdom and strength for this day.

Are You True?

October 17, 2011

Here are the notes from Sunday’s sermon.

I.  Read Amos 5:14-15

Seek good and not evil.  In order to do that we need the guidance of the Word and of the Holy Spirit.  They will work together to help us identify what is good.

We should also seek justice.  There are two kinds of justice, criminal and distributive.  As Christians we should seek to influence society to be just for all.

II.  Read Amos 5:16-24

A.  The day of the Lord will be a day of judgment for many.

B.  God is not pleased with an appearance of godliness.  Empty religious expressions anger Him.

C.  Our faith in God should inspire righteousness and justice.

Far too often we are only concerned about justice for ourselves and quick to point out unrighteousness in others.  It should be the other way around.  We should seek for righteousness in our own lives and justice for others.

III.  Read Amos 7:7-9

A plumb line is a string with a weight attached.  It is used in construction to verify a true vertical ascent.  If God checks our lives, are we true, or are we starting to veer away from the ideal?

IV.  Read Revelations 3:1-6

In chapters two and three of Revelations, God writes to the churches.  In those letters are commendations for doing well, and warnings about things that need to change.  I would encourage you to read all of the letters and ask yourself what would God write to you?

V.  Read Matthew 16:24-27

Our relationship with God is not a get-out-of-hell-free card.  It is meant to be a new life, a life that we live for God, and with God.  Have we truly let go of the old life?  Have we taken up the life that God has for us?  Are we living for Him, or for ourselves?

What would God write to us?

Music With Mallets

October 13, 2011

Last night, after church,  we had band practice with a new drummer.  The addition of another drummer meant that I will be able to focus on the mallet instruments.   I have a marimba, vibraharp, and orchestra bells that have been only occasionally used for years.  Last night we had the new guy on drums, another person on hand drums and various percussion pieces, and that left me free to play the mallet instruments.

It was fun.

Over twenty years ago, I played the mallet instruments exclusively on a couple of worship teams.  I had forgotten how much fun it was to focus on those instruments.  I am looking forward to becoming reacquainted.

Christian Growth

October 11, 2011

Here are the sermon notes from Sunday October 9th.


We were camping recently and behind the counter of the camp store is a picture of a man holding a large northern pike.  By large, I mean 28 lbs.  I was surprised to learn that it had been caught right near the campsite in the shallow waters.   I suspect that it would take a long time for a fish to reach that size.

I.  Read Hosea 6:1-3

A.  First of all we recognize these verses as a reference to the death and resurrection of Christ.

B.  In their first hearing, they were a call to repentance.  If we are aware of sin in our life, we too, should repent.

C.  There is an encouragement to “pursue the knowledge of the Lord”.  This is my primary focus for today.  We should seek to know God through spending time in the Word, in prayer, and in worship.

II.  Read III John 1-8

A.  Please recognize that verse 2 does not say that all Christians will prosper.  It says “I pray that you will prosper…”  That is not the same thing.

B.  One of the perks of pastoring in a community for a long time is that I have been able to see people grow, both literally and spiritually, from infants to adulthood.  I can understand how John was thrilled to know that his children were “walking in the truth”.

C.  They also had a reputation for love.  Truly we are called to walk in truth and in love.  Sometimes that is not easy to do.

D.  They were also commended for their support of those who were traveling, sharing the gospel.  We too, should support those who leave their homes, going wherever God sends them, to preach the gospel.

III.  Read Joel 2: 28-29

The Spirit of God is available to us today.  By the Word of God and the Spirit of God we are transformed.  We should daily seek the presence of the Lord and request that He will “pour out His Spirit” on us all.

Fish in the wild will continue to grow throughout their lives.  Christians too, should grow throughout our lives.  We should pursue the knowledge of the Lord, we should walk in truth and in love, and we should seek the pouring out of the Spirit of God.

Dodgeball at 50?

October 3, 2011

I used to be pretty good at dodge-ball.  I was reasonably quick and agile in my youth.  This past weekend I attended a Chi Alpha Iowa retreat.  One of the events on Friday night was black-light dodge-ball.  I was a little hesitant because I was concerned that it might not be a good idea for a 50-something to play dodge-ball with college kids.

I shouldn’t have been worried about it.

My reflexes have slowed down considerably since I last played.  I was eliminated very early.  Hey, at least the only injury suffered, was to my pride.

I have begun to think that it might be time to ease off the throttle in other areas of my life as well.  That slowing down, just a little, might be a good idea.  This means that I will have to trust that God will give me wisdom as to what is important, that I will use my time and energy on the things that really matter.

Hopefully, along with the gray hairs, and the slower reflexes, will come the necessary wisdom to live the life that God has intended for me.