December 31, 2003

hello

I am not dead

December 16, 2003

December 15, 2003

Preaching

This Sunday I had the privelege of filling pulpit at the United Church of Morocco.

For those of you who don't know, this is something that I do every time I get a chance. It started several years ago, when I started preaching at the Rescue Mission in Danville, IL every Thursday night. I did that for nearly a year, and then I got married, and my job changed starting times, so I had to quit.

Since then I have filled pulpit at Edgewood Baptist Church in Danville, IL, First Baptist Church in Covington, IN, Central Baptist Church in Iron Mountain, MI, and now The United Church of Morocco in Morocco, IN. I have to say that of all the things that I enjoy, preaching is the one that I enjoy the most. There are no other times in my life that I am as emptied of myself as when I am preaching. I absolutely love it!

I have even considered on many occasions becoming a youth Pastor. But I don't know about that! Alot of things would have to fall into place before that happens! But never-the-less, I think that I would enjoy it immensely!!

December 13, 2003

Lonely

When your wife is out of town for 10 days it is easy to get a little lonely.

In fact, I have been so lonely that I have found reasons to stay at the school as late as I can. The earliest that I have been home is 8:00. And at least three weekdays I have been the last person to leave the building.

But I have to be honest, It is less about going home to an empty house, and more about going home to Willow! Willow, my hairless cat, is pregnant. She is very lonely right now, too! I can hear her before I open the door. She is in there crying for me! The first couple of days it was ok. I would pet her for awhile, but then she wouldn't leave me alone. She is driving me crazy!

My family is coming back either today or tomorrow, depending on the weather. And once they are here, I will be whole again! (And I won't have to pet that stupid cat anymore!)

December 10, 2003

Your Ambition!

Sometimes it is easy to wonder what you should do with your life.

Well, let me give you a good starting place. (Actually, let Paul give you a good starting place.)


"Make it your ambition
to lead a quiet life,
to mind your own business
and to work with your hands,
just as we told you,
so that your daily life
may win the respect of outsiders
and so that you will not
be dependent on anybody."
- I Thess. 4:11-12


This by no means answers it all, but if you are not doing these things, then you are not even close!

December 8, 2003

Chosen

I can still remember it like it was yesterday... PE class -- Picking teams for Basketball or Football (or any other sport for that matter). We would begin by doing the typical lineup. First the captains would be chosen by the teacher. And then the elimination process would begin.

The captains would begin by choosing the obvious ones. This is the most crucial part of the team picking process. These first-chosen-ones were the real determiners of the outcome of whatever the competition of the day was. They were those elite few that could perform dazzling miracles with their athletic prowess. These few would be snatched up at lightning speed -- Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! They are all picked, leaving the rest of us in bewildered amazement. Then the excitement would begin to build as we eagerly anticipated the possibilities of the forming teams. While the elite were being picked, you could hear different vocal sounds of "yes!" and "oh yeah, baby!" or "dude!" by the new fellow teammates. At the same time there are exclaimations of "aw, man!" and "crud!" or "dude!" coming from the other team. ("Dude!" is an exclaimation that has many possibilities. Depending on the how the emphasis is placed on the different vowels or consanants.)

And then there would be the other athletes. These do not fall into the elite category, but they are still able to perform their required function. These team members are chosen with a little more hesitation, as the captains confer with their chosen elite force. One by one, the rest are picked away. Finally the picking is done... or is it?

Every player is ready to start the game. They are wanting to walk away and get set up, deciding who is going to guard who, and what plays need to be run. The strategies are being set into motion based on the opposition. But wait! There are still a few players standing there.

Now if any of you readers have ever been in this position, you know that there is almost nothing that feels worse than being chosen last. Being chosen last is hurtful and humiliating. I think though that the hurt what hurts is less about the order of choosing, and more about the motive of the choosing. And when you know that someone chose you out of obligation, it is not a pleasant feeling.

Like when you are getting a lab partner, and you see the look on your new partner's face when they find out it will be you they are working with for the durartion of the project... not a good feeling!

Now don't get me wrong, in and of itself, there is nothing wrong with obligation. What makes the obligation bad is when it is not received with open arms! Let me give you an example: I have two sons -- I had no idea what I was going to get when they came along. I did not get to see a line-up of children and get to pick the ones on my team. They were stuck there. There is without a doubt an obligation to take care of and love these children. In the case with children, the obligation doesn't diminish the value of the love, especially when the parent treats the child like they were a gift that they didn't deserve to receive.

I have observed this in my classes. There is always that one sweet girl, or that one kind-hearted guy, that will be excited no matter who they are put with! They receive each new person in their lives like they are the most valued player on the team! People like that are rare, and I believe that there is a great reward awaiting them.

But I still can't get away from my past. Most of the time, I found myself in that last group. Standing around, looking down at my feet. Fortunately, I was buddies with all of the elite, so they wouldn't leave me to the very end, unless they were mad at me for something. But that "chosen solely out of obligation" feeling has always lingered.

I don't like those situations where I am only there because of someone's supposed obligation. If you don't really, really want me there, don't invite me! And especially don't act like you want me around, when you really don't. I can see right through that, just like most other people. Social settings when people invite you because they don't want to offend you, ugh! That just puts a bad taste in my mouth!

But man, it feels good to get chosen. When students come to me because they feel that I will be understanding. When coworkers want me to be their partner, because they know that I will give my best, while making the work a little easier to bear. When I am asked to do something silly because the students think that I am funny. When my boss chooses me to take the heavy responsibility, be the crew leader or the driver, because they know that I will do a good job, and will give it my best. When students or others come to me for spiritual advice or Biblical wisdom, because they have trust that God is working in my life, and they know they will get a truthful, practical answer. When When my boys isolate me in a crowd, and yell "daddy!" When my family gets excited to hear when I am coming home for the day, because to them, I make the day! When my wife chooses me above all others, prefers my company, my personality... To know that there is a this person that would, regardless of obligation, want to spend her time, life, and energy with me -- now that's good! Nothing feels better than to be chosen!

Honey, I choose you, and thanks for continuing to choose me, even when you don't have to.

December 4, 2003

I Pledge My Head To Heaven

Well, I pledge my head to heaven for the Gospel,
And I ask no man on Earth to fill my needs.
Like the sparrow up above, I am enveloped in His love,
And I trust Him like those little ones, He feeds.

Well I pledge my wife to heaven, for the Gospel,
Though our love each passing day just seems to grow.
As I told her when we wed, I'd surely rather be found dead,
Than to love her more than the one who saved my soul.

I'm your child, and I want to be in your family forever.
I'm your child, and I'm going to follow you,
No matter whatever the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost.

Well I pledge my sons to heaven for the gospel.
Though they're kicked and beaten, ridiculed and scorned.
I will teach them to rejoice, and lift a thankful praising voice,
And to be like Him who bore the nails and crown of thorns.

I'm your child, and I want to be in your family forever.
I'm your child, and I'm going to follow you,
No matter whatever the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost.
Oh no matter whatever the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost.
Well I've had the chance to gain the world, and to live just like a king,
But without your love, it doesn't mean a thing.

Oh no matter whatever the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost,
Oh no matter whatever the cost, I'm gonna count all things lost.
Well I pledge my sons, I pledge my wife, I pledge my head to heaven,
I pledge my sons, I pledge my wife,
I pledge my head to heaven, for the gospel.

--Keith Green