Saturday, October 31, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
This is one holiday that elicits a wide variety of responses from followers of Jesus. On one end of the polarity is the belief that the whole earth is the Lord's and that the bodily resurrection of Jesus makes every day the day the Lord has made including Halloween. On the other end is that there is a belief that it is a satanic day, and that any recognition or participation in the day, means that you are worshiping Satan. I have both gained and lost church members over this issue. I land on the belief that the bodily resurrection of Jesus makes any and every day, the Day the Lord has made. I land on the belief that the whole earth belongs to the Lord and that no day is set apart from His rule and reign, including Halloween.
For 22 years now, Vienna Assembly of God reaches out to our community in various ways for the annual Halloween Parade. The years we spent weeks making a float and entering it as a witness, also received multiple complaints from the Christian community. with such responses as, "what scriptural right do you have to enter a float in the day of the devil's parade", "don't you know this is the devils day?" On that particular day, I was suffering from a migraine headache, was tired from the labor, driving the truck pulling the float was a hassle in itself, and I didn't have the grace to extend to the man's ignorance. So, I responded with a "get out of my face, in Jesus name". I am not proud of my response, and I admit to having little patience with aggressive followers of Jesus who are in the attack mode. We are currently doing an outreach plus having some fun for our own children by making a cardboard maze, offering ATV/trailer rides, grilled hotdogs, hot chocolate, etc,etc. We will have people on standby to answer any spiritual seekers and spread kindness and some free food and fun to the community. We will host multiple people who will use our parking lot, and they will be greeted by smiling Brenda, and giving them a brief welcome to our ministries.
This year, I hope to not lose another attender, because of an outreach to the community, but I do hope to gain a member of our communities favor with the hope of them becoming an active participant in our ministries. My main hope is that someone will grow closer to making a decision to follow Jesus. My Gigantic, Big Hairy, Humongous Goal would be that someone would cross the line of faith, and say yes to Jesus. That would make my day.
Lord forgive me and others who have little patience with your followers who are in the attack mode. Lord, for the Christians who are on the attack, looking for people to correct, I ask you to show them a more excellent way. I ask for your grace and love to be extended to those spiritual seekers tonight who will use our parking lot. May they be drawn closer to you, as a direct result of our ministry.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
A static life can quickly become stagnant. Those of us who are overcoming health issue after health issue live with constant pain, which makes it so easy to stop moving. I find it difficult to move because I have the memory of how easy movement used to be. With a sunny afternoon on Monday, I laced up some boots and took a fast walk into the woods near my house. No euphoria, no high, and afterwards I was very stiff, but I know if movement continues, one day, a breakthrough will occur. Moving by faith will one day be rewarded with feeling good. Small insignificant steps forward seem like a waste of time, compared to what once was accomplished. Transformation occurs as our daily routines transform. Movement forward even if it is taking a different form still carries one towards the goal. Changing, or even going back to an old routine that worked helps transform us into moving human beings. It may be a totally new routine guided by a physical or spiritual therapist, or an old one guided by pleasant memories of a 'first love' or 'first breakthrough', or a pleasant season of life. Mine is a combination of both, as I follow a physical therapist's new exercises, in a familiar place(my basement) and time (early morning), while listening to spiritual teachers. Re-reading my first book, "Constant Forward Motion, the running of the Lymphoma Ultra Series", is helping me get moving again and I think it will help you as well. Let me know if you want a copy and/or a case as I determine how many to print.
Lord, help us move forward into your promised land. Help us not look back except to remember spiritual and physical routines that once moved us forward.
Monday, October 26, 2009
First book soon to be published. I unashamedly ask for prayer and help. During the cancer diagnosis phase in 2004 -2006 and into the Faith Promise runs of 2007 and beyond I journaled the journey and have accumulated the series of short stories into a book entitled "Constant Forward Motion, the Running of the Lymphoma Ultra Series". I have forewords from Mark Batterson, David Grant, David Horton, Rebekah Trittipoe and Bradley Mongold, and the book is full of acts of grace that would be inspirational to cancer survivors, runners, family/friends of cancer survivors, missions-minded people, anyone going through a tough spot in life, and anyone interested in the sub-culture of ultra marathoners. It will be an excellent book for mission's services as gifts for those making faith promises for missions. Every time I re-read in the editing process I still am amazed, even though it was me that did the faith promise runs of 40 and 50 miles in a body that was being weakened by Lymphoma. This past weekend, Brenda and I visited sites along the Blue Ridge parkway where two of the runs had crossed, and our heart was stirred to realize the grace of God extended during the runs through the Virginia and West Virginia Mountains. Everyone who has read it says, "It's a miracle, really", "amazing", "inspirational", and others.
Self publishing and promotion is new territory for me. Unless a miracle occurs it won't be available in book stores, so I will offer much discounted rates to those who want a case (24) for distribution. The most important steps were taken early on as the Lord spoke to Brenda. This and numerous insights will be well worth the cost. I am in process of determining the quantity to publish. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org if willing to help distribute a book filled with hope and numerous acts of grace. By God's grace it will be available in time for Christmas.
Sensing the Lord was transitioning me into another season of life included a transition of the devotional study of the bible. The I Phone bible was too slow one morning so I opened an old school, paper version, and it was bookmarked to the Revelation of Jesus Christ. My heart both leaped and sank at the same time. As I read the Word I was reminded of the Revelation of Jesus Christ's love, his death that freed from sins and his resurrection that has made me a member of a community of spiritually minded people. This past weekend's fall foliage tour with Brenda reminded me that as beautiful as a leaf is as it is transitioning, it eventually will fall off the tree. The new has come, and the old has gone, and with it comes seasons of transitional transformations.
I wonder what the Lord is speaking to you about. To transform will require new adjustments to daily routines, and I and others would benefit from hearing what daily routines are helping you move to the next season of life.
Lord, with joy, reverential fear and trembling we look to you for seasonal transformation. Help us move out of stagnancy into a new season of life.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Congratulations to everyone who trained for and completed the Marine Corps Marathon. May you have a speedy recovery, and may your friends and family not give you much grief tomorrow when it is a bit difficult to use steps. My physical therapist hasn't released me to run yet, but I was able to enjoy the joy of the race vicariously through those who were able and willing to run.
Lord, bless everyone who ran, and especially those who ran for causes greater than themselves. Give them grace to continue running.
Last night I was again reminded by Rev. Mike Godzwa, with DC Chi Alpha, to invest into the Kingdom of God. Supporting campus missionaries is a joy and privilege. It is Faith Promise time at Vienna Assembly of God, and Brenda and I had a good discussion on giving to missions for 2010. Investing in 31 plus missionaries and missions projects, plus tithing is and has been our wisest investment strategy.
If you are looking for a wise investment strategy, contact your pastor about the missions opportunities in your congregation, and/or go to viennaag.com and click the donate now button to put your money into an excellent family of missionaries.
Lord, help us always to put you and your Kingdom first in everything, including our financial investments.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
The Lord builds us up and our sphere of influence grows. That success requires development of an important fruit of the Spirit. A brief moment of harshness with an outburst of anger can tear down much that the Lord has built up. One fruit of a life filled with the Holy Spirit is gentleness. Spiritual leaders are to deal gently, not harshly or angrily, especially following seasons of success. Powerful words spoken softly with gentleness have profound positive effects.
This understanding has come after a season of repentance for not being gentle. Repentance precedes transformation.
Lord, forgive me and others for not bearing the spiritual fruit of gentleness all the time, in every situation, in every essence of every word. Forgive us for tearing down, what you have built up.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Lord, thank you for helping me and others facing apprehension about today. Grant us grace to see and receive Your wonderful plan.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tomorrow, I begin the maintenance regimen of chemotherapy, using the drug called Rituxan. It was discovered a few years ago, and targets the affected b cells of those of us who are overcoming lymphoma. Every three months for a long time, I will receive this targeted therapy. It is a discovery that is an answer to many people's prayer for the cure for cancer. Miracle drugs and doctors can only do what they can do, and the words that come from one's mouth affect one's health as much if not more so than this amazing drug. Just by guarding what comes out of one's mouth keeps one's health, whereas opening wide one's mouth and saying whatever one wants to say, will bring it to ruin, according to Proverbs 13:3.
Lord, forgive me and others who say and who have said things in the heat of a moment that ruins the abundant life you have for us. Grant us spiritual discipline to use our mouth to say things that are birthed of love, agree with your word, and contribute to making everyone and everything around us better.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Waking up to the song, "You make all things beautiful", sung in the first person, by the Holy Spirit into my spirit, is a beautiful thing. God's Word confirms the song was sung by the Holy Spirit for it agrees with many scriptures, of which Romans 8:28 is my favorite. Many less than positive things happen, because "at present we do not see everything subject to him" (Heb. 1:8). The beauty of God is that in our relational covenant, by faith in His Word, all things can be made beautiful, and are being made beautiful.
Hair grows back, bodily functions recover, broken bones heal, mental clarity returns, financial setbacks are reversed, stolen things are recovered, thieves are brought to justice, children get and will soon get even more fabulous jobs, new families come to the Lord and become active in church, old signs are replaced, decaying doors are soon to become new, marriage is thriving, cars are working, computers are functioning, the day is dawning, first win in fantasy football, etc, etc, etc.
Lord, thank you that in you, all things are possible, including making all things beautiful. We receive all you promise, and love you with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Two hour workout including a 1 mile jog, breakfast, devotions, blogging, cleaning aquariums, arranging fantasy football team, see picture of my future granddaughter, etc. Hope to do some clean up of the yard, load for a trip, help clean the house, church admin., and enjoy this Columbus Day week end.
Proverbs 9 says "the name of the wicked shall rot". Humans were not made for the eternal compost bin. The devil was and will one day be composted throughout eternity. A loving relationship with God , through Jesus Christ ensures entrance into God's heaven and rescued from being put in the compost bin.
Lord, remind us that a good name is a great, renewable resource and treasure. Help us always choose the most righteous option. Deliver us from the wicked one.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Not the best words to hear after arriving at a doctor appointment. A call to the insurance company confirmed that I had been terminated. I graciously thanked the appointment nurse and peacefully walked out to make another call. I had full assurance and faith, that after this call, that all would be well. The call was to a long time friend, book keeper, administrator, office manager, etc, etc., who is a master at efficiency who oversees this issue. I really, wasn't shaken, because I had such faith in her. Just one call to her and all was made well.
Overcoming some major issues in life have prompted some well meaning friends to advise me with their wisdom, and it has necessitated settling some foundational concepts about God. The main one is that "God loves me, and has a wonderful plan for my life." Nothing or no one can shake that one, though many have tried. Differentiating between an attack that is to kill, or a test to reveal, has depended on knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life. Absolute faith in a loving God, and an administrator that also loves me, eliminates and eliminated 100% of worry, anxiety, anger, frustration, etc. etc.
Lord, remind us all, that you love us, and your plan is wonderful for all of us. We resist attacks designed to kill, and welcome tests that reveal your love. Thank you for placing loving, skilled people into places of authority in our lives.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Some of my best friends are members of the Vienna Tyson's' Regional Chamber of Commerce. They graciously allowed me to continue offering the invocation all during the hairless days of chemotherapy. Today, my heart was filled with thankfulness as many of my friends made positive comments about my growing hair and increasing health. It is the third day without any pain medication, and it's good to feel good again after chemo and two back surgeries. I am thankful for friends who encouraged me during the hairless, pain filled days.
Lord, thank you for increasing health and friends.
"like a dog enticed by food" is the metaphor used to describe a human being that is drawn away from a marriage bond into a secret relationship (Pro. 7:22). It is fairly easy to entice a dog and according to some statistics on marriage and family life, it appears that it is just as easy for humans to be drawn away from the marriage bond.
Hmmmmm. Maybe a Christ follower is to exercise self control, temperance, and moderation, with every God given appetite. This morning by God's graces I was able to complete another .5 mile run, after some extensive stretching and completion of specific back exercises. Returning to exercise is very, very difficult, but doable. Slow, incremental, but steady exercise in every part of life will eventually, over time bring results.
Lord, thank you for the twin towers of health and healing, and by your graces help us exercise self control so we do not make 'dog like' mistakes.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Most times I don't really count it a blessing to be normal, but in the case of bone density, I will. Plus, I ran .5 miles along the Atlantic Ocean this afternoon, after a two mile walk along the boardwalk. It is 1/100 of my longest distance, but it is a fabulous moment of victory. The surgeon has released me to do whatever I feel able to do. The oncologist has released me to begin weight bearing exercises, and I am in the capable hands of some physical therapists. Slowly, steadily, I am returning to running with patience the race set before me.
Lord, thank you for the advancements in modern medicine, and the joy of being tested. Help me and others keep moving forward and running the race set before us.
Overestimating oneself and underestimating others is one of the six things the Lord hates (Pro. 6:17). Last night's MNF was the only time, my wife and I stayed up till the end of a MNF game, and it was worth every moment. (Suffering now, though). The line between the proud look the Lord hates and the determination necessary to keep pressing on in the face of impossibilities can often be blurred. The big story for me was not Brett Favre, but Aaron Rodgers who just kept battling back, though he was sacked a record times. The Packers never gave up, and to both teams credit, was one of the best games ever. I appreciated the spirit of both teams, who, after the game, showed excellent sportsmanship and congratulated each other.
Humility isn't giving up, and evil pride isn't fighting back against insurmountable odds.
Lord, give us the character to be humble without the baggage of a quitter, free us from evil pride and fill us with the spiritual determination to keep moving forward.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Lord , the life you have given is very, very, very much appreciated.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Holding onto the dual promise of healing and health (Pro. 4.22) while ministering to the friends and family who lost loved ones is a benefit of following the Lord.
It was a beautiful day and afterwards shared a nice dinner with the birthday girl.
This morning at VAOG we will also have a remembrance ceremony for the One who died in our place.
Lord, thank you for providing both healing and health, by your life, death and resurrection.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
This world and the world to come is enriched by the life of Brenda Burns.
Lord, thank you for the gift of the life of Brenda. Continue to bless her with more and more of your abundant life.
Friday, October 2, 2009
A sign of difficult economic times is when a burglar steals two laptops dedicated to the Lord's work (from my office!!!!). One act puts into motion multiple avenues of response from the spiritual, legal, law enforcement, budgets, insurance, etc. etc. etc. Good things, must be about to pour out upon our congregation and family. It is a good day, and better days are ahead. It is the thief who steals kills and destroys. It is Jesus who brings life and life more abundantly, and it is up to us who will influence our day. It is Jesus who influences us to 'save' our data. Some days, are more difficult than others, and it is one of those days. It is also the day the Lord made, so let us (me) rejoice in it.
Lord, grant us (me) grace to rejoice in every day, for you have made every day, and every one. Thank you that most everything was backed up, and like you have done for us, 'saved'.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
I am restricted to a maximum of 10 lbs, to uphold or lift. Even the strongest human being, could not hold a pound of weight, above their heads for days, yet, our Lord carries, bears and upholds the physical, emotional, spiritual, material, unseen worlds by His Word, for days and all eternity.
Lord, thank you for your sustaining, upholding power(Heb. 1:3). It is amazing to experience.