Friday, September 23, 2011

A Blessed Life - Year 3

One of my most vivid memories from my young years was spending time at my babysitter's house. Mrs. Hensley lived less than a mile away and as I got older my brother found ourselves playing there quite a bit. My love for a certain food goes all the way back to Mrs. Hensley's house. ----Cold Biscuits.

My mother and father both worked day shift at the time and I was dropped off at Mrs. Hensley's house early morning. The Hensley's had a farm and so they had always eaten breakfast before I got there, but there were always biscuits left on the stove and I was always offered one. To this day I still love cold biscuits. I guess to me it is a comfort food that takes me back to childhood.

The other memory from Mrs. Hensley's is helping her daughter Elizabeth learn to walk. Elizabeth was only one I guess, but I held her hand and walked and walked around the house.

I had many memories from my time at the Hensley's - farm life, riding a horse, apple trees and lots and lots of love. I am so appreciative for a loving place to go when I was so young.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Strangely Warm Theology

I have called myself a Christian most of my life. I had a salvation experience when I was 13 at a revival at my home church in Nicholasville, Ky. That being said, it didn't become real to me until the next day or two when I realized what I had done. I feel my faith has ebbed and flowed quite a bit in my 45 years. There have been times that I have felt far away from God and times that I felt I could almost audibly hear him speaking to me. I would say I have been a believer all of my life...i would also say I have sometimes been a doubter and a skeptic.

My personal belief system is in line with most basic Christian beliefs. I think the Apostles Creed is a good statement of what I believe. I also fall pretty closely in line with a quote by Augustine an early church father.

"In Essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, love" - Augustine (354-430 AD)

There have been times in my life I have been ultra conservative, times I have been liberal and currently I would call myself middle of the road. I don't get to worked up over issues on either side. Some would say that I am not taking a stand on important issues, but I see it that I am taking a stand on neutral ground.

I also try not to worry about what I would call "minor' differences in beliefs among Christians. I have preferences and I have at times voiced those preferences, but I am not going to argue over something I consider "non-essential".

So, this brings up a question. What am I willing to argue about? Argue is a strong word, so what would I be willing to address? I would say injustice and unwillingness to see the "big" picture. It truly aggravates me when people get so wrapped up in their "idea" of what church should be like, that they cannot see beyond that. I also cannot stand for others to be used, abused, ridiculed, etc.

Why am I sharing this? It is all part of my pulling back the layers of who I am and what makes me tick. The disclaimer here would be that as I do this, I may uncover other layers that I need to address. Thanks for staying for all the fun! :)

Saturday, September 03, 2011

A Blessed Life - Year 2

One of my earliest memories happened when I was 2-3 years old. My mother was putting clothes in our washing machine (which was in our unfinished basement), and I was sitting at the top of the stairs leading down to the basement. I remember talking to her (not sure what about, but I'm sure it was very important to my 2 yr old self). I apparently leaned over to far and went tumbling down the stairs.

I remember the big knot on my head and laying on our couch with an icepack. This was the first of many hits to my head through the years. Not sure what this explains or says about me.

As I think back on that (and many other similar experiences) I realize how even at an early age it could have been much worse. I don't understand being spared a much worse accident, but I guess I would just sum it up by saying I am blessed.

I have a friend that when asked, "How are you?" his response is always, "I am blessed". I guess truly we all are blessed in one way or another. It just all depends on how we look at life.

Friday, September 02, 2011

From Friday Night Lights to Sunday Morning

Tonight is the first Home football game of the season, I really haven't had a whole lot invested in High School Football for a couple of years, since I haven't had a child in high school since 2008. Tonight I am back to the Friday Night Lights, the crowd, the cheers, the excitement.

I love football, I wish at some point in my youth that I had played. To me, it is much more exciting than 9 innings of baseball or even 4 quarters of basketball.

On Friday nights there are people that I come into contact with, that have a common goal. People from all walks of life, coming to cheer on their team. It doesn't matter at that point if a person is a Doctor, a Lawyer, jobless or even homeless. Heck, you can even be a preacher! At that point, there is a common goal, to cheer on your team. There is excitement when that crowd gathers together.

I think church should be very much like a football game with one exception. We should be excited, we should have a common goal, we should be supporting others, we should have everything in common. The one BIG exception is that there should be involvement. In a sense, instead of just observing, we should be INVOLVED by either playing or coaching.

There are too many churches and christians that have created an atmosphere of observing instead of participating. What would the church look like if we all got a little dirty and got busy? Is it time for some Sunday Morning Lights?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Blessed Life - Year 1

Year 1

See the hospital up there?

I was born there. At least I think I was (I can't really remember...I mean c'mon I was a wee lil' lad).

We lived for a few months in Lexington, Ky but then moved to Nicholasville, Ky in a rural area (which by the way is not really much of a rural area today).

My interests at this time were eating and sleeping...that is pretty much it.

In my first year I got to know my older brother Dale (who is 5 years older) and apparently had a dog which I do not remember. All in all it was a good 1st year of life (but then again, what do I know...I had just been born!)

I plan on periodically posting my life on here...that will be good for at least 4osomething posts. I guess it would be good if I researched those early years a little more. When I post year 80something I can go back and remember what the old days were like. Who am I kidding? We will probably be using something unique and new...I hear there is this new concept called paper...where you actually use some kind of writing utensil to post things. That sounds awesome!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

School Days

Our school system is now in its 2nd full week of school. New teachers, new classes, purchase of supplies, figuring out bus stops, etc. Our family finds itself in a unique situation. We live in the far reaches of one county (which the closest school is about 25 miles) we are near another county ( in which other schools are 10-12 miles from us) and also near a 3rd county (which the elementary and middle schools are 10-12 miles from us and the high school is about 20 miles away). Last year when we moved here we chose the 3rd county because there were several kids from church that our kids would know.

That was fine last year, because all of our kids were in the same school, but our son Bailey is in 8th grade and in their school system that is considered High School. In addition to this, he is in High School Band and it is Marching Band season. Needless to say we are traveling quite a bit between bus stops, picking Bailey up after afternoon band practice, other school activities etc.

Because of all of this travel and the need to conserve gas I am practicing the art of multi-tasking while in the vehicle. As a pastor I have been visiting on some of these afternoons and also I have been using some of the time to read or work on sermons. The best thing is that I have some quiet time to spend in prayer. It's not that I can't find other quiet time, but it seems that when I am going to and from places by myself that I have some of my best prayer time.

I just think it is interesting that sometimes in the midst of chaos such as figuring out schedules and wading through the start of school, that God still shines through. Sometimes in the midst of busyness, I find myself stressed. Unless I am careful, I don't take that time, or even worse waste it doing something useless. As often as possible I think we should quietly listen for God as he speaks through all that is going on around us.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

I've got to stop doing this

I have got to stop stopping my blogging. I got a little frustrated with blogging, mainly because I didn't feel that I had any readers. Thank you Bex for reminding me that I need to continue and that just because nobody is commenting, doesn't mean that nobody is reading. (After all there are several blogs that I follow and I rarely comment). I guess this is a lesson that I both need to blog more and that I need to comment more on others blogs. Lesson learned. Thanks Bex!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Whatever happened to worship wars?

I was thinking today about how churches have gone through worship wars for years over Contemporary vs. Traditional worship. In recent years as contemporary worship music has become more and more accepted, it seems that many churches have at least incorporated "some" contemporary music into worship (albeit at times begrudgingly).

I have thought for years that the problem is not the music, it is authenticity and how well we worship. I have been in churches of all types that worship "well". However, I have also been in churches that really don't seem to want to be in worship at all. In my opinion, musical style matters less than being authentic. Are we leading people into the presence of God through what we do? Is our worship pleasing to God? Truly worship should be our "offering" to God. In this way, Worship should be more of a way of life than just what we do once or twice a week.

I started college as a music major with the intention of being a church music minister. I am so glad that God had other plans for me. I love music, and I love music of all types; however, many times the arguments over music become such a distraction that it is taking our focus off of God. No matter what type of music we use, we should do it well.

The other idea that comes to mind is that there are other types of creative worship that we in many ways ignore, while putting music on a pedestal. What about visual art? Drama? Dance? We need to expand our horizons!
Ralph Mahoney says it well:

"Whenever His people gather and worship Him, God promises He will make His
presence known in their midst. On the other hand, where God's people consistently
neglect true spiritual worship, His manifest presence is rarely experienced."

Are we truly worshiping God? If our worship seems to lack something (either personal or corporate worship) then we need to examine what is distracting us. Let us go and worship the one true God!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Upgrading myself

That's right people, I have given myself an upgrade! In just the last few days I have ramped up my digital presence. I have restarted this blog, I have actually started using Twitter, and I am thinking more intentionally about my Facebook posts.

I have fallen off from all of this in the last few years due to computer issues, internet issues and just being plain busy. I have a renewed interest in using these tools, I have a better connection, and I have done some diagnostics on my laptop and it is running much smoother.

Hopefully, my followers on this blog will pick up. Nothing against Keith and Stan, but they are my only followers at the moment. If you see this on Facebook, come and follow my blog. Same with Twitter.

Thanks to all one of you for following me.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

This Blog is Strangely Warm

I have had this Blog for quite a while, but have not blogged consistently since 2008. Other Social media such as Facebook had taken the place of the blog. I recently have had renewed interest in blogging as a tool for ministry, communication and just general fun. Why Strangely Warm? I have been United Methodist my whole life...let me rephrase that, I have been a Christian since I was a youth, and I have attended various United Methodist churches my entire life. Here is a quote from John Wesley, the Father of Methodism.

In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while the leader was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.
from The Journal of John Wesley, May 24, 1738

When I was 13 I made a commitment to Christ, as my faith has had an ebb and flow through life, I have at times been strangely warmed by the spirit working in my life. No matter what struggles I have had in life, I have always turned to my faith to pull me through. This blog is about many things: faith, family, youth ministry, church, fun, and basically other things that interest me. I have deleted my old posts from a few years back, because I plan on being more intentional in using this blog. So welcome to the journey and I hope that at times your heart also will be "strangely warmed."