Tag Archive: 2019


Here I was all gung-ho ready to go into 2019.  Conquer the world was #1 priority.  Change was in the air.  I was ready to hit the ground running.  Till yesterday!  It’s amazing how a little bit of illness and tiredness can knock the stuffing right out of us.  My wife asked me what was wrong with me.  I grouchily replied, “Nothing is necessarily wrong, but nothing is necessarily right either.”  I just felt bad.  

On top of feeling a bit under the weather, I made a commitment that forced me to rise at the wonderful 4:00 a.m. hour.  Did you know the sun is nowhere near being up at that hour?  It is the hour the deer decide the flowers in your garden are better than the delicacies in the woods.  So now, I’m dogged tired and feeling about 70%.  Conquer the world?  Forget it; the world won.  Change in the air?  No possible way am I dealing with change today.  Hit the ground running?  Crawling would be a better description.  Gung-ho ready to go?  Gung-ho ready to stay in bed!  Can you relate?  

I come across a lot of people who think faith means we believe in God but are going to focus on man.  You know the old saying, “God helps those who help themselves.”  Sorry to disappoint ,but it isn’t in the Bible.  I’ve also heard the one, “Give God your best; he demands it.”  Again, it’s not there.  Jesus never said it.  There is a reference in Malachi about giving God the side dishes instead of the best ones, but, in the end, it’s open to a matter of interpretation.  He desires the best, but he doesn’t demand it.  He would never demand I run the 100 yard dash in under 10 seconds.  Why?  I can’t.  I can’t even using Philippians 4:13 as my motivation.  It reads, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Again, open to interpretation.  I rest that Jesus knows we are limited.

That’s my point today.  We are limited.  Just a little bug and lack of sleep can throw off the best of us.  I haven’t even mentioned chronic conditions that can take the edge off of us one little bit.  What is it about our human nature that makes us think we can be Super Christian?  Sermon after sermon tells me I’ve got something wrong.  Jesus saves me, and now it’s up to me to get everything right.  No kidding, and you have to be kidding.  

I don’t believe in Jesus just to make a bad day good.  I don’t believe Jesus expects me to do some things I really can’t.  I believe in Jesus because I know I can’t.  I can’t get it all right.  Some days I don’t get much right at all.  I believe in Jesus because he came to take my place because there is no way I’m going to come close to heaven.

I used to talk about a person being a paper width away from God; they still are not capable of being with God.  I’ve now lived long enough to know even on our best days no one on this earth even comes a paper width away from God.  Nobody! 

That’s the whole idea about faith.  Faith boils down to three positions.  If you think today’s article is a downer, position #1 is worse.  The first option says there is no God and man has to make the best of it.  Ummm, that one hasn’t worked since man could communicate, so I don’t think we will ever make it.  

Option #2 is there is a God, but he only takes the good ones.  That might make some sense but where can we find the definition of “good.”  There isn’t one.  For those that make a list, it’s not a list of things that make you good, but rather a list of what makes one bad.  So, maybe God takes those who are somewhat good.  Who determines that one?  Which list of goodness?  For eternity at stake, this one is way too arbitrary.

Option 3 is the foundation of belief in Christ.  I can’t.  I have no chance.  If I can’t, I have to depend on something or someone else.  No different than when I get sick and cannot seem to get well.  I go to a doctor.  Why?  He knows how to make me well.  In this option, we put our trust in Jesus.  That’s it.  No additions.  No subtractions.  The Scripture says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.”  Trust.  Believe.  Follow.  And on days you can’t follow, don’t lose heart.  He died for those days too.  In fact, those are every day.  

So I don’t feel too good; I’m tired and grouchy.  No worry and no fear.  I don’t rest on my ability to have a good day.  I rest in Jesus who invites the sick, the tired and grouchy to come to him.  What did he promise?  Rest.  Rest from trying to make it on my own.  Got to go.  A nap is calling me.

 

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Here I sit on December 26th wondering if Christmas can speed by any faster than it did this year.  We even notched it back a few degrees from years past.  I have a hard time believing there are 24 hours in every day of the year.  Maybe, just maybe we lose a few after Thanksgiving.  We can request a federal grant to study that one.  I think about a million dollars would make the study feasible.  I could use some research assistants.  

Anyway, now that I’ve woken up from the Christmas hangover (I didn’t imbibe in the occasional spirits), I turn my attention to New Years.  The time of year we make resolutions, over 80% if which will be broken by February 1st.  That’s because most of them have to do with our diet.  A diet is not successful unless it is a lifestyle change.  Who wants to change their lifestyle?  I didn’t think so.  So, we say goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019.

I hope 2019 is as good as 2018 was.  Seriously, I personally had a decent 2018.  The first thing I did was get my life under control.  I turned a 55-hour a week work schedule down to about 48.  Not bad!  I’m generally out only one night of the week.  That is down from three.  Amazingly, I enjoy life a bit more now and I have more time for family as well as reading books.  Not bad at all!

The second thing was I adopted a dog.  I knew he was going to be a lot of work.  Half lab and half hound makes an interesting combination.  He looks like a lab and acts like a hound.  Did you know hounds are hard headed?  Just like me! He has forced me to make changes that have been very good.  I get up at 5:00 every morning now. It has improved my prayer life.  Walking a dog at 5:45 a.m. for 1.3 miles a trip gives me plenty of time to ask God if I am crazy or not.  Somedays He reminds me that, indeed, I am crazy, and it’s the nature of man.  It’s then I ask for help and a lot of it.  

The dog, Vader (yes, after Darth Vader), has forced me to address my weight.  I have lost 27 pounds since he came into my life.  A lengthly dog walk twice a day has helped.  I have also cut back on my sugar intake and red meat intake.  The last change that my wife and I decided to work on not eating heavy late meals.  I’ve got a ways to go (I would love to lose another 22 pounds), but overall I feel better.   

I’ve also been able to spend a lot of time watching my grandchildren.  They keep me young.  We like to call our time together, “Poppie Adventures.”  It’s fun!  There will be a day they will not want me around.  So…I’ll take advantage of the time they give me now.  We discovered rock painting in 2018.  We paint rocks and hide them around the neighborhood and around town.  You can find pictures of them on the Bluffton Rocks Facebook page.  We like to bring smiles to other’s faces, and a little joy to their lives. 

As I sit and think about 2019, I’m thinking about what kind of person I want to be heading into the new year.  I’m sure my 2018 adventures won’t be topped even though I need to get back into the kayak now that my knees are feeling much better.  So, my thoughts are about what God wants of me in 2019.

I was talking to my dear friend Dwayne from Maryland about this while he visited right before the holidays.  We were actually talking about the modern day church and how to reach the next generation for Jesus.  We like to philosophize around topics like this.  As he got up toward the end of the conversation he happened to say, “I don’t really care what happens, I just need to heal.”  It was like God was speaking!   Literally!  

I enthusiastically told him he had given me my mission for 2019.  Not only was it my personal mission I want it to define my ministry and my church.  The calling is to be a person, a ministry and a church of healing.  I don’t mean physical healing.  I mean relational and emotional healing.  We look at all the physical healing Jesus performed and miss the point.  Those Jesus touched physically were emotionally and relationally scared.  In their judgment filled world if they had a defect they were outcast and often declared “UNCLEAN.”  When Jesus healed them, he restored them to their community.  I wish I had a whole page to write about this.  You will get bits and pieces of it all year long.

What does it mean to be a healing person and ministry?  I’m not sure yet.  I asked Dwayne what a healing church would look like to him.  He said, “I haven’t experienced one so I don’t know.”  We are going to talk on January 1st about being a healing church.  Before a healing church I have to be healing person.  

I know one thing.  Grace, God’s grace, has to be the driving force to be a participant in emotional, relational and spiritual (I added one) healing.  It starts with grace and ends with great grace.  I just got to figure out what is in-between.  Anybody want to come along?