Monday, November 30, 2009

So I will protect you from the time of testing that everyone in all the world must go through. (Rev. 3:10 CEV)

What is required to receive this protection? "You obeyed my message and endured" (Rev. 3:10 CEV). Let's remember the KISS rule, Keep it short saint. Just a few things we must do to receive the gift of protection.

Last night and this morning I began my journey back to endurance. It was a very humble start of the journey back. We can both build up our obedience and endurance physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Growing, by going in the right direction can be incremental especially in a journey back to someone or something you once had. I find it is a very difficult process to begin again to recapture what was once had. Establishing a goal, and remembering the rewards are but one of many mental toys of encouragement. Protection is a reward of obedience and endurance.

Lord, help me and others focus on what we can do and thank you for what you can do. Help us obey your message and build up our endurance. We pray for the reward of protection and humbly ask for this gift and the ability to recognize areas we can improve upon.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Met the neighbors...

and the members of two volunteer fire departments, and the inspector for the Forestry Service. The Lord is good….
Lord, thank you for exchanging miracles for mistakes, and the opportunity to meet some very nice people.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lots of Police Activity

Saturday evening on Virginia roads is full of Police Activity. Glad I attended a class many years ago, after getting three speeding tickets in my first month in OKC. Driving the speed limit saves a lot of stress and tickets. Constant forward motion doesn't require speeding. Good to be home after a very, near perfect Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Casseroles

Brenda, Catherine and Robyn were all day in the kitchen, preparing our feast. Casseroles of sweet potatoes, green beans, and corn filled the table. A huge, (made us laugh) spinach salad, gravy, cranberry filled stuffing, rolls, and crowned with a fabulous fresh turkey was set upon the well decorated table. Dessert was an apple pie (hand picked apples from our fall trip) and grasshopper pie topped with whipped cream. There were multiple returns and all this followed everyone giving thanks to God. All my children are now married to wonderful spouses, and there is peace among us. For some reason I have a memory of great stress surrounding many of my childhood Thanksgivings (maybe that is why we started going to hunting camp at Thanksgiving), and I really pray we can continue having peaceful Thanksgivings. We burned off calories, with yard work and cleaning the basement. We strolled down to the water after watching "It's a Wonderful Life", and discovered I had caught a medium carp on my catfish rig, which was immediately attacked by my cairn terrier upon its landing. The fire that took me forever to start now needed dousing as the wind began to gust, so my son and I stretched out the hose and ended its life. We played Bible Mad Gab and sat around and talked until it became obvious it was time for sleep.

Lord, you have made us all better by bringing spouses to my children. You have formed us into a wonderful casserole that is much improved with my children's spouses. Thank you for every ingredient that keeps making our family better. Thank you for forming us into an ever growing and ever better community.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Near Perfect Day

Wednesday was another near perfect day. Waking up with all the children and grandchildren safe and snug in their beds, in our house at Smith Mountain Lake is beyond beautiful. Sat on the deck sipping coffee watching and listening as nature comes alive with the dawn while reading devotionally. Fish swirling, turkey’s cackling in the trees, squirrels imitating deer, no deer, and wood peckers near and far. A huge pancake breakfast, by Catherine, Brenda, Robyn and Rachel. My neighbor Ralph and Wes, giving up their morning to direct the removal of a dead hickory tree and beech tree. Daniel, Jakob, David, and Tom giving up their days off to help guide the falling trees and cart them off to be burned. Daniel cleaning the gutters. Everyone moving the tons of leaves. Lunch of venison chili and electronically uploading and downloading sermons and power points, connecting with Susan in the church office. Naptimes. Lydia catching her first unassisted fish. Catching a catfish while conversing with Brenda. Grilling fresh meat while conversing with Daniel on big picture things. Feasting on venison tenderloin and catfish, with salad, rice, etc. lovingly prepared by everyone while free flowing conversation around the huge table generously donated by John Brook. Watching grand children videos, playing Scrabble Slam, eating fabulous pumpkin dessert bread by Robyn and watching Muppet Christmas Carol, and an end to a near perfect day. This morning holds the promise of another one.
Lord, I and others are so thankful for what has been, and is, and by faith, we are thankful for what will be. For everyone less fortunate and unable to be with family, may your grace strengthen, sustain and protect, especially those who serve our countries military forces. Help those who are in the middle of chemotherapy and may there very soon be an end to all cancers. Thank You.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

First Sunday of Advent

This Sunday begins the Advent Season, with readings from scripture regarding the Second Advent. The theme for this Sunday will be preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The passage of scripture I will be sharing from is from Luke 21:25-36. It is funny and it isn't funny the various translations of the passage. Most all of them say something similar to the NIV, "there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea" (NIV). Then I checked the Message and I cracked up laughing, "it will seem like all hell has broken loose" (the Message). It isn't funny, but I couldn't help laughing. It sounds much more like the way my dad would have described something, than a theologian. What I get, is that there is some kind of advance warning system given to help people prepare for the Second Advent. Preparation isn't a last minute discipline, but a lifelong quest.

Last night I joined my wife on a romantic jaunt into the grocery store to pick up Thanksgiving groceries. We were nearly alone, in a huge store, and found among other things in the almost $200.00 worth of food was a turkey at .39 a lb. We already had a turkey, but that was inexpensive meat to keep on hand just in case we need it. Preparation can be and should be a positive experience, not one motivated by fear. My wife and I are positively excited as we prepare for the coming of our children. There will certainly be some last minute things to do, but the big items have been secured.

When I have heard the Luke passage preached by others, it always seemed to imply a fearful preparation for Christ's Second Coming, and so I never felt drawn to view positively the coming of the Lord. However and whatever will precede the coming of the Lord, there are hints in the passage that the community of God's people will be taken care of, and are instructed, to "stand tall with your heads high" (the Message). That is a positive description of how the community of God's people (the Church) is to be at the Second Coming. It is also the description of how most households will be on Christmas morning as they have all properly prepared for that glorious morning when we celebrate the first coming of Jesus. I am beginning to see, that the same positive anticipation that we all have early Christmas morning, is what the Luke passage is attempting for us to discipline ourselves into for the Second Coming of Jesus.

If you are interested in a positive message on the First Sunday of Advent, be more than welcomed at Vienna Assembly of God (viennaag.com for directions).

Lord, help me and others, be so prepared for your coming, that though "all hell has broken loose" that we can stand boldly and joyfully as you visibly appear the Second Time. Help me and others see it more like Christmas morning.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I feel like drinkin'.

Drinking free, lifegiving water is a promised gift to every human being.(Rev. 22:17). This specialized water flows from the throne of God. If a person dethroned selfishness and sin, and enthroned God, this same lifegiving water is promised to flow like a river out of one's innermost being. 

My imperfectness subjects me to enthroning selfishness and sin, and has left me less than life giving at times. Restoration and renewal with this flow of lifegiving water comes rushing back after apologies to God, others and self.  I find myself in great need of this specialized life giving water flowing from the throne of God.  I think I am going to make some adjustments so the water can flow freely again.

Lord, I apologize to you, you know who, and to me for not fully enthroning you over every thing.  I freely drink of your lifegiving water and invite others to "come" and drink also.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My children married well!

I am blessed with very smart and spiritual sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. Thanksgiving is easy, as I have so much to give thanks for.

Lord, thank you for Tom, Jakob and Robyn.

Not every day is a sprint. Some days are just a shuffle.

Waking up with not much energy, vision for the future, fresh revelation of God's word, or life changing inspirational words, makes me glad it is Saturday morning. But still there are little insignificant things to do, that keeps a family moving forward. Watching hunting shows with grand kids instead of hunting was okay. Experimenting with a venison sausage recipe and then an awesome breakfast with Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes was pretty nice. Bagging up some organic ground meat for the kids was also positive. Sweeping up the daily death count of ants is always interesting. It is cloudy, cool, and nice to just hang out with my favorite people.

Lord, thank you for low key days, and the grace to keep moving forward, even if it is a slow shuffle.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Death will also die, twice.

Death and its kingdom were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (Rev. 20:14 CEV) Experiencing firsthand the effects of an incurable cancer and seeing the effects of cancer on way too many people, it is nice to know that cancer and all other death producing disease will not just die once, but twice. I don't need to understand how this will happen or why this will happen. I have lost some really good friends, and close family members to cancer, so I will not shed a tear when cancer dies, twice.

Lord, we look forward to your preferred future that does not include death and all disease that produce death. Help us, by faith receive all your promised protection until that day dawns.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A fun youth service!

Last night, our small youth group, continued our production of Christmas songs. We are our own version of the Vienna boy's choir and are blessed with extremely talented guys. Lyrics are meaningful, but funny and the music is original. We have blues, jazz and rap genre Christmas songs preparing for the "Blessing of the Carols" on December 13, 10:30 a.m. at Vienna Assembly of God. If you are looking for an authentic, original, raw and flawed Christmas program, make your plans now.

Lord, thank you for creative youth. I appreciate the privilege to minister with them. And, forgive us if we got a little carried away.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Anyone ever left a grocery cart full of food outside the store forgetting to load it and drive home?

Two weeks into some type of upper respiratory thing, I am feeling like maybe I need to brush up on health and healing scriptural affirmations. Waking up every day, moaning, groaning, and uttering less than positive affirmations, reminded me a little review was in order. First it was thought to be the flu, and now it is thought to be bronchitis. The last two days have focused devotions on this topic, and I feel a bit better. Antibiotics, cough syrup, vitamins, rest, etc, etc. also converged on the sickness. Yesterday was my three month checkup with my oncologist and port flush. I also got an H1N1 vaccination.

Funny story afterwards. I went to the grocery store to pick up food for a church small group last night, and after checking out parked the cart outside the store and walked to the car to bring it closer. (Back issues are still present.) As I am walking out to the car, I reminded myself. "Do not forget the cart full of food". I was also fighting through a migraine headache and had lots and lots going through my head after the oncology appointment. I make it home, and unload other things, and then when I go to unload the groceries, remember that I had left them outside the store, and drove home without thinking about it. After a good laugh at myself, I headed back, and they were still there, patiently waiting for me.

Sickness leaves us not at our best, and prone to mistakes. I land on the side of the belief that God wants us well, and desires to help us be our best. So, this two day review may last a while longer, and I hope to be motivated to groan and moan less and affirm God's Word more.

Lord, thank you for being full of mercy with every mistake and for providing everyone and everything we need for good health.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Outdoors Person Fellowship

We have a unique small group at Vienna Assembly of God. Those who enjoy the outdoors, assembled together over a pot of Brenda cooked venison chili. Tonight we were treated to devotion by Laura Norcutt on Soaring, and we learned it requires hope, obedience and revering the Name of the Lord. We were then treated to a demonstration of remote control model airplanes complete with simulator. It was fabulous as our hearts were opened by the Word, and connected together by our shared enjoyment of the outdoors. We all were blessed and had the opportunity to tell stories of our experiences.

Lord, thank you that like minded people can assemble around your Word.

Belly laughter

Last night, Brenda and I had dinner with David and Lori Callahan. I was Dave's youth pastor in OKC, many years ago, and we belly laughed our way through a wonderful dinner. It is amazing, how things that were so painful, at the moment, can now be laughed at, and rejoiced over how God turns all things for our good and His glory! I knew that at sixteen years old, Dave had great potential and he made me look really good in every ministry we teamed up together on. Together with others we produced many TV programs, drama productions, radio programs, innumerable ministries and even handed out tracs at Rock concerts in OKC, including a KISS concert. Today, Dave is co-owner of Critical Mass Productions (www.CMPedge.com), and I am very pleased to be 'blamed' for his career in media production. If you want a quality product give them a try.

Lord, thank you for all things, including the painful things, for you really do turn them around for opportunities to belly laugh.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thank you!

Many thanks to the community of Vienna Assembly of God. Serving this congregation for 22 years is one of the highlights of my life. Thank you for the great day you gave Brenda and me yesterday.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Faith for the Future!

Jesus said many things about the future that we cannot do anything about except to deepen our love relationship with Him and pray. Let's not put energies into things that we have no power over. Let's put our energies into our relationship with God, for out of that, we will be better off. We cannot change others, weather, earthquakes, wars, choices of other people, and countless other things but we can change for the better our relationship with God, others and ourselves.

Lord, whatever the future holds, help us all know that you can hold us and carry us through it, all the while loving you, others and life.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Haiku

Undetected doe,
slipped in below me feeding
Leaf brown, perfect match.

Haiku

Hawks silent hunting.
Wing flurry! Narrow escape.
Squirrels chattering.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Redeem this day!

Friday the 13th is another day the Lord has made, so let us rejoice in it, and thereby redeem it. It could be someone's birthday, or it could be an anniversary of a significant event, or it could be the day of new beginnings, or…. Whether the day is Halloween, or Friday the 13th, or Christmas Eve, every day is the Lord's Day.

Lord, forgive those who set aside certain days as evil days, or unlucky days, or superstitious days, or even holy days. Help us do away with elevating one day above another, or lowering esteem towards one day over another. Your bodily resurrection and ascension to the Father's place of authority has made every day a day of blessing.

You (God) had the right to judge in this way. Rev. 16:6 CEV

But we don't, because we do not know or see the big picture. Situations and people are not to be judged (Mt. 7:1). Some of the most difficult situations and people, have become a blessing (Ro. 8:28). Only those in position or office of judge, who have been well trained in the ways of the Lord and the Law, can come close to able to judge a person or a situation.

Lord, help us, not usurp your authority, by doing that which you have the right to do. Bless those who by reason of office and/or position are called upon to make a judgment call.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

God’s people must learn to endure. Rev. 14:12 CEV

Long distance running was the mechanism the Lord used to spiritually develop what I was already naturally gifted with. The soon to be printed book, "Constant Forward Motion-the running of the Lymphoma Ultra series", is a compilation of long distance runs completed as a promise of faith to the Lord. The endurance learned during that season of life, carried me through the season of chemotherapy. (By God's grace a sequel is coming, entitled, "Constant Forward Motion- the season of Chemotherapy". The endurance learned helped me press through things, and I didn't miss a full day of work, and was always able and willing to do all the Sunday morning things a lead pastor is called upon to do, during that season. The endurance learned also helped me enjoy life all through the chemotherapy season. I was able to enjoy fully my son's wedding, my daughter's graduation from college and her wedding. Endurance learned also helped me continue all aspects of ministry, including staying connected to my community through involvement in the Vienna Tyson's Regional Chamber of Commerce (VTRCC). By endurance learned, I was also able to do the insignificant things around the house that can really stress a family if left undone. My wife also, through endurance learned, was able to prosper and thrive during the chemotherapy season, and was able to produce and create multiple publications and help with events that have blessed countless people, as well as lead our congregation in worship every Sunday.

I don't know what mechanism the Lord desires to use, for everyone to 'learn endurance', I only know He wants to be our Teacher of endurance.

Today, our nation honors our Veterans, and I am positive, that the Lord has used service in our armed forces to teach endurance to the Veteran and their families. I pray every person and their family receive affirmation of their service by a personal compliment and by the voice of God spoken to their inner spirit.

Lord, strong training and discipline are not enjoyable experiences, but the results are. I ask for myself and others, to continue learning endurance in whatever form you desire to coach us into.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blessed!

Thankful to be a monogamous married man, active in Pastoral ministry, grand father, father, who has passed through his mid life crisis and is on my way to another really blessed 55 more years with the wife of my youth.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Teamwork

By God's graces I am blessed to have smart and spiritual people who serve on our congregation's leadership team. One of which is a huge Denver fan and has put the work of the ministry ahead of MNF.

How are you?

Is a loaded question.  She was in a wheelchair with her head wrpped in the chemo patient look and I had a facemask and was coughing.  She said " I am fine, how about you?", then we both cracked up laughing.  Oh yeah we are great that  is why we are here.  I notice that many people retain their sense of humor whle overcoming major illnesses.  Try talking to fellow patients.  Great people can be discovered that way.

Power over the calendar

Throughout our 31 years of marriage we have had to exercise power over the calendar. Today, we take power, and move it forward 5 days and are about to enjoy a birthday lunch. A busy life necessitates such power.

Lord, thank you for power to move the calendar forward or backward as necessity demands.

308,888

Character counts are more important information to a publisher, than are word counts. My upcoming book, "Constant Forward Motion- the Running of the Lymphoma Ultra Series has 48k words, and 308,888 characters. Trivial, but vital information.

Lord, help us in our character, for out of the abundance of our 'character' do we make words.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I love community of God's people (the church)

Today is an "equipping conference". We will 'be equipped' to do the 'work of the ministry' which is diverse, multifaceted , ever adapting, opportunity abounding requiring life long learning. I am outside watching the community of God's people assemble, who are diverse and multifaceted. I feel humble thanks for being purchased out of the community of the 'world' and placed into God's community (the church).

Lord, Thank you for your church.

Secrets

Another revelation in Revelations is that God shared secrets with those whose assignment was 'prophet'.

Lord, help us to be faithful to your assignment and respectful toward those whose assignment is vastly different from our own.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Revelation of The Lord

Very powerful, indescribable events and creatures in the book of Revelation are all submitted to and are under the authority of the Lord. It reminds me of how vast and powerful, yet gentle our Lord and Savior is.

Lord, 'reveal' to me and others the gentle , patient power of your Person. May no earthly event shake or move us away from You.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

22 years in one place.

I really love the people of the town I live in. Vienna, Virginia has become our families' home and by God's graces remains the place the Lord continues to send us to. After offering the invocation at Monday's Town Council, an old friend stopped me and said some positive words of encouragement to me. He had once sat on the Board of Zoning Appeals and we came to know each other from a zoning issue 21 years ago. I am thankful to the Lord for allowing me to stay in one place this long and develop long lasting friendships with the people in the community. Last week, while in a local hardware store, I was asked to minister to an employee's aunt. At the counter, he called his aunt, handed me the phone, and allowed me the opportunity to share the love of God to someone who is struggling with cancer, while standing at the counter of the store. It was as normal and natural as can be, and done in the presence of friends with no pressure or stress.

Just as in running long distances, it is only after the 20 mile marker that deep conditioning begins to take place in one's body. It is also the distance many people hit a wall. Through trial and error, and research I found that the 20 mile wall can be avoided with taking nutrition every hour of a long run. It is an excellent feeling to be refreshed in the place of ministry after 22 years, and still feel the excitement each day holds of the possibilities of ministry. I am thankful, for the very distinct privileges God has allowed me to enjoy; just one is the blessing of a long term ministry in a town I love.

Lord, my heart is full of thanks for sending me to this town, and for your continued sending to this wonderful community. May your hand of refreshing be upon any who are struggling with the place they have been sent. May they find your grace to fall in love with the place of your sending.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

First Glance at Formatted Chapters

Great news this morning! Three chapters of "Constant Forward Motion: The Running of the Lymphoma Ultra Series", is formatted and it looks and reads great. (Thank you Emily). The chapters reminded me of God's grace extended, which is a good thing. Having recently visited the sites of the Promise Land 50 K and the Mountain Masochist 50 miler it was very encouraging to remember the multiple acts of God's grace that had been given. I can't wait to be able to distribute the compiled series of short stories that will most definitely bring encouragement to anyone facing any level of struggle or difficulty.

Lord, thank you that we can look back and remember the grace You have extended and superimpose that over our future, knowing that "all is well". Thank you, that your grace never depletes, rather increases with use.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Invocations

So blessed to live in the Town of Vienna.  Tonight I have the privilege of invoking God's blessings' upon the Town Council meeting.  What is significant is that on purpose they put the Invocation prior to everything, even the flag salute.   Thank you, officials of the Town of Vienna for putting God first in every meeting.

Rendered Speechless

Only a few times in my life, have I been rendered speechless. One occurred four summers ago as my daughter Catherine and I, after setting up our tents at the Grand Canyon campsite, walked to the rim and saw our first view of the Grand Canyon. It was late in the afternoon and I had the video camera rolling. We both said some one word exclamations of wow, OMG, mmmmm, amazing. We then just sat down, after looking at each other with this 'look' and just sat in stunned silence. There was a thunderstorm to the west of us, and the rain and lightning echoing through the canyon was a display of power I hope I never forget. We sat with others soon having lightning striking all around us, with the thunder rolls echoing up and down the canyon. We had a front row seat witnessing nature's power and it rendered us speechless except for short one word exclamations.

This morning as I read Revelation 7 I read of an entire group of people who were rendered speechless as they had a front row seat before the throne of God. This entire group was before the throne of God and all that came out of their mouth was their version of wow! amazing!, OMG. The actual words were "Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen." Rev. 7:12 ESV

Lord, render us speechless, so all that comes forth from our lips are one word exclamations!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Transformation

To cooperate with God on transformation, we must develop some daily routines, not around whom we are but who we want to become.