Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Long Week Ahead

A team of about a five spent nearly three hours today putting together the stage for our Vacation Bible School that starts Monday. Hopefully we didn't go too "over the top." I don't think so. In fact, I wish we could have done more.

Kids are a lot more difficult to impress these days. I used to love coming through the door at the little Methodist Church down the street during VBS to find a colorful banner and a few balloons in the sanctuary. I was thinking about a song we used to sing nearly every year. It was handwritten in black marker on a white poster board, with red "X's" where we were supposed to clap.

Sing and shout out X Hallelujah
Lift your voice and X praise the Lord
Give Him ear now X all ye people
Listen to His X Holy Word

God's salvation free from tribulation
Unto every nation be His love proclaimed
We are brothers, let us tell to others
Of the wonderful power of Jesus' name XX

I would trade one of my most valuable antiques just to have that poster board. That's how clear the picture is in my mind, and how warm and wonderful the memory of Vacation Bible School is to me. I can see Mrs. Breakie sitting at the piano, Marge (Mrs. T.) leading the children in the prayer of salvation, and the wonderful lady whose name I can't recall, who poured the Kool-Aid every year.

So this week, here's hoping and praying we can create the same kind of memories for our children. It's kicked up a few notches from all those years ago. I doubt they'll remember the Kool-Aid lady, but I hope they'll remember at least a little something they learn, and that the decisions they make in the week ahead for Jesus will last a lifetime.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Break Out the Skinny Jeans

1. giving of reason to act: the act of giving somebody a reason or incentive to do something
2. enthusiasm: a feeling of enthusiasm, interest, or commitment that makes somebody want to do something, or something that causes such a feeling
3. reason: a reason for doing something or behaving in a particular way

I finally got motivated to do something about my #1 New Year's Resolution, just in time for August. Over the past two months, I've managed to finally drop ten pounds. It's been nine years since I started my weight loss journey, and dropped 125 pounds in 23 months. After a tummy tuck took off another ten pounds, I had lost a total of 135. I kept it off for a long time, but slowly put about 36 pounds back on.

Turns out, that was my motivation. I watched the scales slowly creep back up, but couldn't seem to get myself back on track. But 36, as it turns out, was the magic number. That meant that I was only 99 pounds lower than my highest weight. There's something about being able to say, "I lost a hundred pounds" that just makes jaws drop. 99 doesn't seem like such a big deal.

And so I have 26 pounds to go. At 5 pounds a month, I could easily be back at my target weight by the New Year. We'll see. If anything, I've learned that this journey is one that I can only take a day at a time.

Now. Where are the rice cakes?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Random Posting!

Ten Random Facts about me and my summer:

1. I don't know where my cell phone is, and I don't care.

2. I ordered Cranberry Pancakes at a Mackinaw City Restaurant and ate them all.

3. Highlight of the summer (so far): Baptizing a 94 year old World War II Vet in the lake.

4. No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to get a decent tan.

5. It seems everyone noticed I got my hair cut, but only two people noticed that I shaved off my beard. My wife was not among them.

6. Our family vacation lasted all of about 16 hours.

7. I saved up enough to buy a Nook from Barnes & Noble, but I'm not really sure why.

8. Most annoying part of the summer: Adults begging me to throw them candy along the parade route. Do you go trick or treating, too?

9. Black flies are worse when you walk along the railroad tracks. I don't know why.

10. I've totally avoided eating at the Dairy Queen down the road all year.

There you have it. 60 seconds of your life you'll never get back again. Aren't you glad you stopped by?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Yesterday, Today, and Forever

God hasn't changed. If He said that something was detestable "back then," He still finds it detestable today. Our twisted opinions don't change His. Our "enlightened" attitudes don't change His laws. We're under New Testament grace, but still expected to uphold Old Testament laws of morality, goodness and decency.

Lev 18:22-23 "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination."

Lev 20:13 "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death."

1 Cor 6:9 "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

Rom 1:26-27 "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error."

Rev. 21:18 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.

Jude 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

If God doesn't care, then I suppose he owes an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah.

I don't know which makes me more sick to my stomach... the fact that New York State has legalized homosexual marriage, or the fact that businesses are now clamoring to make a buck over this moral scourge. If there is any good in all of this, it's that the end times are unraveling just as Christ told us they would. "As it was in the days of Noah?" Yeah. We're getting there fast. Fortunately, Jude goes on to say that, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit." It gives me hope that this will all be over soon. Unfortunately, those of us who do follow the Spirit, who know the truth are labeled haters and bigots. What a lie. If I hated homosexuals, I wouldn't pray for them, I wouldn't care for them, my heart wouldn't hurt for them. I wouldn't care that my friends living this lie are out of God's will. But I do care. I do pray. I do hurt.

And I'm not going to keep quiet any longer.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Oatmeal, Egg Beaters, and Vicodin

"You're a good patient."

Really, Doc? What choice do I have now that we're back at ground zero? There's really no word in the English language that captures how I'm feeling after my latest trip to the oral surgeon. "Frustrating" just doesn't cut it. I won't rehash the entire saga, but last December I had an infected front tooth pulled. They began the procedure right away to replace it, which takes several months. The latest saga ended poorly, with a screw sticking out of my gums. Not exactly the way it was supposed to go. Today, they took the screw out and started all over again. To summarize: We're right back where we were in December. By my estimation, my 8 to 9 month long ordeal will end up taking closer to a year and a half, if all goes well from here. That's several more 120 mile round trips to Gaylord, more numbing shots, more pain, more pain pills and antibiotics, yadda yadda yadda. I could cry. In fact, I did.

I had an operation six years ago to repair the damage caused by years of obesity. Never mind that the doctor had performed the same operation 3 hundred times. I was the first one to start internal bleeding. He had to open me back up just a few hours later. Lovely. It's so easy to wonder, "Why me all the time, Lord? What's the purpose?" I learned patience through 15 years of sitting through extremely boring City Council, School Board, County Commission and other meetings. Being a reporter taught me to wait. I'm not easily frustrated. I've even given up on some of my dreams after waiting more than two decades, only to have empty promises broken time and time again.

But this time, I've about reached my breaking point. I'm trying to internalize all of this; trying to find some sort of object lesson or greater good. But frankly, I'm coming up empty. You know what? It's eventually going to be okay. It really is. Sometimes, life just happens. The devil isn't out to "get me" just because a dental procedure didn't go the way it was supposed to. God didn't suddenly disappear because I have to get another set of numbing shots. Life won't end because I had oatmeal and eggs for dinner to protect the stitches in my mouth. The barbequed chicken can wait until later.

We're getting pretty good at waiting around here.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Great Quote

I don't know who originally said this, but I like it.
"There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living."