November 28, 2008

Unexpected Thanksgiving

When my mother was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer two years ago, no one was thinking of Thanksgiving 2008. She was only supposed to live for a few months.

But MOM is down from Seattle and celebrating Thanksgiving with us and we are expecting to do the same thing in 2009! Can you imagine how thankful my mom is this Thanksgiving?

But DAD is giving thanks from HEAVEN this year. Everyone expected him to be here for a long time but this Thanksgiving he's gone having died suddenly in May.

My point in relating this personal piece of news is that you never know how many chances you will get to look UP and look AROUND and say, THANKS! Won't you take advantage of your chance to tell God, THANK YOU.

Every good gift comes from God above, the God of mercy, the God of love!

November 24, 2008

The Grateful DEAD OR LIVE?

I never understood the name of the band "The Grateful Dead"....When I am dead I am going to be grateful that I lived, and grateful to have died in Christ, and grateful that my earth stay is finished so I can get home to heaven.

But while I am ALIVE I want to be "The Grateful LIVING"...the man who lives with a profound awareness of how good God has been, is, and will be to me....the man who lives with an awe of how beautiful people are, how rich life is, how stunning magnificent creation is, how amazing a child's smile is, how sweet a juicy apple really tastes, how mysterious and grand sex inside of marriage is, how splendid the sound of a great band is, how miraculous the body I live in is, how blessed a sunrise makes me feel, how a flower rings with the laughter of God....I want to be the GRATEFUL LIVING.

"He who is content with little has a continual feast!"

This week is a great week to be grateful...I want to engage in ThanksLIVING today, this week, and this life!

November 20, 2008

Counting Sheep In the Night

After 3 months of going to bed and sleeping like a baby, I am back in the real life of pastoring. Many of my nights since my sabbatical have been filled with “counting sheep”.

Who left while I was gone?

Who’s marriage is struggling?

Who’s developed a disease?

Who’s lost a family member?

Who’s lost their job? Their house?

Who’s mom got Alzheimer’s?

Who’s son was arrested?

Who’s gotten mad at someone?

Who’s had an affair?

Who’s family member was shot?

Who’s upset with the church?

Who’s mad at me about our position on homosexuality?

Who’s left their ministry position?

Who’s stopped volunteering?

Who’s dropped down to attending once a month?

Who moved?

I could fill names into these questions, in many cases, I can give you multiple names.

I have been back 20 days and all of these questions and all of these faces plow through my mind in the middle of the night.

When 1200 people call our church their home and you have been gone for 3 months…there is lots of counting to do.

That doesn’t include the corporate questions…

What staff have been underperforming?

What staff have gotten less motivated or a bit misdirected?

How do we address the economic realities we are facing?

When are the offerings going to start rebounding?

How do I restructure the staff for optimal efficiency?

How do we get the Community Center finished and operational when the bills just doubled and the City is being a huge hurdle?

So while I sleep well for 5 or 6 hours, then I awaken to count sheep.

Pastoring is a high privilege…but it’s really a hard calling.

Counting sheep is supposed to put you asleep…mine keeps me from sleep.

November 06, 2008

51 Whoo Hoo!!

51 years young today!! Some random thoughts below:

My life mission is by the power of God and to His glory to LIVE fully, LOVE sacrificially, LEARN continually, LEAD wisely, and LAUGH frequently!

How about some "51" rhymes?
51 and having fun....51 and living for One...51 and only half done...51 and loving my hon...

"Change" is the word of the hour and it's good word if you are changing forward and not backward.
I look forward to the changes God has for me this year...if you are not changing you are dying!

One of my favorite quotes for a birthday,
"Life is not a journey to the grave
With the intention of
Arriving safely in a pretty
And well preserved body,
But rather to skid in broadside,
Thoroughly used up,
Totally worn out,
And loudly proclaiming,
WOW !!!! What a ride!"

My Life Verse: For I have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me! Galatians 2:20

As I walked barefoot on the beach at sunrise singing, Agnus Dei (Alleluia) I was praising God for the incredible joy of living, loving, and dancing in the ocean surf! Asking Him give me 51 more years like these and then swoop me home to dance forever!

November 03, 2008

Do We Burn Witches?

My heart is broken in many ways over the election tomorrow. I will discuss only one.

Here is a quote from an influential homosexual about Proposition 8, "..."Christians used to burn witches, now they legislate against homosexuals. Everyone needs a hobby".

For 5,000 years in every country, in every religion, in every culture, in every generation, marriage has been defined as being between a male and female. This is the definition of marriage. Proposition 8 only affirms what is natural, historical, and Biblical.

I have been called a "hate-monger" because I believe this to be true. The truth is I love homosexuals and have dear friends who are gay.

I respect the rights of homosexuals, and homosexual couples. They have those rights in "civil unions". But marriage is a "God-Word" not a "constitutional word", not a political "word".
Marriage will always only be between a man and a woman, regardless of what laws people pass.

My "hobby" as a Bible-believing, Christ following person of conviction is not "hunting witches" but serving broken people with love...and we are all broken in some way. My gay friends feel that love.

But Californians (being fed the imaginative lies of a grossly liberal media) are getting a big dose of "Christians are witch hunters who hate gays".

How can we compete against such lies? We can't outshout them, we can't "out-clout" them, we can't "out-spend" them, we can't out-argue them (although our logic is sound and in my opinion higher), SO we MUST "OUT-LOVE" them to break through the lies.

I have had many homosexual friends come out of the lifestyle and praise God and thank me that their brokenness has been healed. They were loved into truth.

Maybe a few misguided Christians burnt witches...some will burn gays today...but if we always judge a group by the worst of its history or the most radical fringe of its label...we will always miss the truth.

Real Christians don't burn witches but we burn with love FOR witches.
I pray that love displaces lies in the days ahead.