FIRST TEN IS THE EASIEST

scale

The first cut is the deepest. First love lost is the hardest. First camp conversion is the easiest to forget.

First ten pounds lost in a weight change is the easiest. I know how to lose weight. I have done it many times. I have lost more weight than you will ever gain. It seems each time I lose weight, I finally get down to the weight I was at the last time I set out to lose weight. The bar goes lower as the scale goes higher.

I have a goal that I want to be at by the time my birthday rolls around this year. I won’t say what I started out at last week and I won’t say what my goal is.

All I know is that for the umpteenth time, I lost over 10 pounds in a week. I planned on heading out to the buffet to celebrate. But Jean somehow has other plans. So, the idea is to work as hard as I can to keep this going……this time.

Good luck to you too.

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ADD TEN POINTS IF YOU HAVE BEEN IN AN AMBULANCE

ambulanceYou know those games where you get points for doing stuff? Like have you ever been in a helicopter, jail, been to Neptune? I usually score pretty high except for the one about ever being in an ambulance. Well, as of last Friday, I can add that too. I have had something that feels like the flu for almost two weeks. Except, my doctor told me I didn’t have the flu. Just flu-like symptoms. So I left the doctor office on Thursday thinking I was on my way to recovery. He gave me some cough medicine with codeine. Told me it would help me sleep. It kept me awake on Thursday night. Then, on Friday, I went to the store and by the time I got home, I was shivering so bad, my brother called emergency and I was transported to the hospital.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is not one of those “I need to be better to every one in case I die” posts. But I was really concerned about the way I felt. I have never felt as bad as I did that evening. I was scared. They did  tests on me and figured out I was not having a heart attack and wasn’t having other terrible attacks. What they figured out was that I had a bad case of “Influenza-type” symptoms. It scared Jean too. She didn’t know was happening with me. It gave me a scare. After two weeks, I still feel pretty bad. But I am better off than others I have read about on Facebook.

And, now when someone asks me if I have ever been in an ambulance, I can say yes. I wrote it to Neptune.

 

I IDENTIFY WITH THAT

I have not been able to put my finger on what has been bugging about titles and labels. Like how people identify themselves. I remember reading interviews on http://www.tomorrowsreflection.com/ a blog by Jeremy Jernigan. One of the questions to each interviewee was something about thinking we need a new term besides Christian to call ourselves. I thought then, and am convinced now, it really doesn’t matter what someone calls themselves, it is in the actions.

They will know we are Christians by our was a song we loved to sing awhile back. Being one in the Spirit, one in His Love. But we didn’t know how to show that love. I have told people I have been a Christian since high school, a believer for a few years and only recently became a follower of Christ, a little Jesus, so to speak. But those are just terms.

Michael Frost posted on his blog, http://mikefrost.net/  that he wants to do away with the term Patriarchy. He made the word sound bad. He wants to do away with the “male dominated” world we live in. To be sure, there are negative aspects of this world. But I thought that is how the families were set up in the Old Testament and the husband being the head of the family is foremost in positive family life in the New Testament. So that is just a term.

I have been working with the senior pastor at our small fellowship of believers, another just a term, to move our small group, life group, growth group, Wednesday-night Sunday school class program into becoming a church of connection groups and striving to be more missional. But the Missional folks, Mr. Frost and the rest, present their way of doing church as the only way and give a very negative impression on those who do not agree with them. They new “real” way of doing things is so far superior to the old, tired way of the past. So how do I apply what I feel will work from column C and mix it with column B to make a column G? By not worrying about the terms. Because, they are just terms.

This is just a saying, a term so to speak, but if we apply Loving God, Honoring Him by Serving Others, it doesn’t really matter if you are a Christian, a follower of Christ, missional or even evangelical.

#LoveGodandHonorHimbyServingOthers

 

WHY CHOOSE DAYS TO PRAY

prayer

Some have wondered why I chose certain days to suggest to pray for certain areas and why I find it so important to think about it and change it. First, these are not rules on when and how to pray. They are not up for debate. People who have much better prayer lives than I have their techniques and they do very well with the way they pray. I will say this about prayer. Take time to pray. Don’t compare yourself with someone who tells you they pray three hours a day. It is an individual thing between you and God and if you do not have a set time to pray and you find yourself praying as you drive into work or right before begin your work day or class, good for you. Pray when you can, how you can and ask God to show you ways to grow your prayer life.

Monday is for work and school. Most of us either have a job or are going to school. At the beginning of each week, give your work schedule or your studies to God.

Tuesday  is for Neighborhood, Community, Government. This is not a time to complain to God about the neighbor’s dog or the president. It is a time that we can pray that God will touch the hearts of our elected leaders and turn them to a relationship with Christ. We can also pray for opportunities to build a relationship with our neighbors.

Wednesday is a day we can pray for our local church leaders. If something between Sundays is going to happen in a church’s life, it will probably be on a Wednesday. Some staffs don’t see each other except Sunday and Wednesday. Take time to pray for your church leaders for protection, health and that they follow God in how they lead.

Thursday is for individual missions. Pray for missionaries your church supports. Pray for those who are involved in local organizations and, most importantly, pray that God has given you a personal outreach, someone to disciple. Ask God, WHO IS MY MISSION?

Friday is for family. Pray for each member of your family, in your house or in other cities. This may be the only day you see your family for the week. At any rate, pray that God shows them the distraction they need to remove in order to take the next step towards Jesus.

Saturday is a day you can pray for your church gathering on Sunday. Pray that everyone makes it that one hour of the week that the one who is hurting can see that God really cares, the one who is searching can find direction, the one who is lost, can be found.

That’s why I chose each day. If not this format, what does prayer look like to you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRICK AND STONE

THERE WERE TWO FRIENDS NAMED BRICK AND SPONGE. THEY WERE VERY GOOD FRIENDS. THEIR FAMILIES PLAYED TOGETHER. THEY SPENT MANY EVENINGS IN THE BACKYARD, WATCHING THE STARS IN THE SKY, THE MOON OVERHEAD, SIPPING THE WINE OF CHOICE FOR THAT EVENING, DISCUSSING THE EVENTS OF THE DAY. THEY AGREED ON ALMOST EVERYTHING. THEY OFTEN TALKED ABOUT THEIR CHILDREN GROWING UP AND MARRYING SO THEY WOULD NOT ONLY BE FRIENDS, BUT IN-LAWS.

ONE NIGHT, STORM CLOUDS, SO TO SPEAK, WERE GATHERING. A DISCUSSION CAME UP AND SPONGE AND BRICK TOOK ON DIFFERENT OPINIONS. IT SEEMS BRICK WANTED NO PART OF THE ENSUING STORM. HE WOULD TURN AWAY ANY ATTEMPT AT MAKING CHANGES AND ALLOWING THE CAUSE OF THE STORMS TO ENTER HIS WORLD. HE JUST DIDN’T LIKE THINGS TO GET MESSY. SPONGE, HOWEVER, WANTED TO JUMP AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO ABSORB ANYTHING COMING HIS WAY. EVEN IF IT MEAN’T MAKING CHANGES TO HIS SURROUNDINGS OR HIS VERY BEING. BRICK ARGUED SOME CHANGES MAY CAUSE PROBLEMS TO SPONGE. COULD HE REALLY WITHSTAND THE MANY CHANGES ACCEPTING ANYTHING JUST TO BE LIKED WOULD BRING.

SEE, UNLESS BRICK ADDS A FEW MORE FRIENDS TO HIS EXPERIENCE, HE WILL NEVER GROW. HE NEEDS OTHER ROUGH, HARD HEADED BRICKS AND SOME MESSY MORTAR TO BUILD UP THE CHURCH THAT CHRIST HAS ALREADY SAID HE WOULD BUILD.

NOW SPONGE NEEDS TO BE CAREFUL THAT HE TAKE EVERYTHING JUST TO GROW. THE THRILL OF ADDING TO THE FOLD AT THE EXPENSE OF THE KINGDOM IS A DANGER. SOAKING IN EVERYTHING MAY CAUSE SPONGE TO BE OVER DILUTED AND NOT WHAT CHRIST WANTS FOR HIS CHURCH.

IT SEEMS BRICK AND STONE HAVE SOME MORE DISCUSSIONS DOWN THE ROAD. LET’S HOPE THE WINE OF CHOICE BRINGS THEM TOGETHER FOR MANY MORE NIGHTS. THEY DO LOVE EACH OTHER.

Glad I’m Not You

downloadI remember in the late 60s in San Fernando Valley, there was a new phenomenon in churches. The non-denominational. A couple girls we knew told us with pride that they attended Hillcrest Christian Church. It’s non denonminational, that makes it christian. Others went to Grace Community Church. same sense of pride. My friend Fred told them they, in fact, attended a church in a denomination. He told them that their denomination was called, ready?, non-denominational.

John MacArthur tells a story that while visiting white house staff during the Bush presidency, he asked the staff if they looked upon liberals and democrats as the enemy or the mission field. It was eye opening, and heart breaking to many of them. For they did look at the other side as the enemy. And don’t they still do that, only worse?

Today, politicians, can not agree with someone across the aisle because they are the enemy. Today, churches can not look outside their walls to work together to reach the lost in their communities. They have trouble going between, to paraphrase Luther, the glory of the congregation and the Glory of the Gospel. I am looking forward to Movement Day AZ in September to see if something can be done to bring churches together. http://movementdayarizona.com/

Most tragic is the fact that old wounds are being opened up concerning race and ethnic divides. I know that many will want to lecture me that the problems never went away. For that, I am very aware.

My friend Fred had a joke that went like, life is the sentence you pay for the crime of being born. It was a joke. But my prayer is that people will know the joy of being born different in terms of location, color, ethnicity and the acceptance that God demands. That life is a wonderful reward for being born, no matter where.

The title of this post is a joke. I am exactly like you, and loving it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RICK AND ME

April is birthday month for me and my friend Ricky. He was always older than me. He could always throw harder than me. He could run faster than me. He was stronger than me. I always could sing better than him though. Or at least that is what Marcel said. Marcel would put his finger in the ear on he side that Rick was on when we sang in choir. I figured that meant he didn’t need to drown me out.

Our greatest times were during our high school days at San Fernando First Baptist. They were perhaps my overall favorite days. The days were filled with fun, joy, learning, growth. Some of us did not grow as quickly as the others. But we all did okay.

This time of year, April, especially today, April 3, is the time I think about Ricky and all my friends from San Fernando and all of the others I met as a member of that group. It truly was the Innocent Age. Happy Birthday, Greg. Happy Birthday Ricky. Happy Memories my friends.