My random, sometimes insightful thoughts on life, God, family, and everything else

Random thoughts

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What I Hate Most About Going on Sabbatical

Well, I’m sitting at the Indy airport and waiting for our first flight out of the US through New York. As usual the plane is running behind, but I know that the flight will be easy and relatively painless. As we think about this incredible opportunity that you and God have afforded us we have talked a lot as a family about what we will enjoy most:
– The beautiful Greek Islands
– The gorgeous cathedrals of Rome
– Walking into buildings that have stood (or kinda stood) for thousands and thousands of years
– Relaxing as a family, and just enjoying each others company
– Being able to read books just for fun and not for school or a sermon

All of these we have truly looked forward to, but we did recently ask the question, “What will you like least about our sabbatical”. After a couple of quiet moments, we all agreed what we’d miss most are the people in our lives.
– Friends who we’ve spent hours hanging out with
– People who we’ve loved and invested in
– People who love and have invested in us
– Celebrating each week with Friendship Church
– Hearing all about what is going on in your lives

I’ve heard it said, usually by a very grumpy pastor, that ministry would be great if it weren’t for all the people. To be honest, I think that statement is just STUPID!! Was that honest enough? Yes, ministry to people can sometimes be tough, draining, and downright frustrating some times…BUT the reward is you get to see people make life altering decisions to follow Christ, help a family get back together, assist people in getting their broken lives put back together. No, ministry is great BECAUSE of the people!

We love you all, and keep checking back as we’ll try to keep this as updated as possible.


I’m not a Catholic, but…

Religious freedom is never taken away in large fail swoops, it’s taken away crumb by crumb until all you have left are, well, crumbs.  When Hitler began his attack on freedoms at the beginning of his totaletarian dictatorship he did not give a grandiose speech telling everyone in Germany that he was taking away their freedoms, no one would have voted for him.  Instead, he slowly made a group of people that were already looked upon with suspicion into enemies of the state, the Socialists.  Once he had them out of the way, he went to the next group, and the next, and the next, and so on, until he had no opposition left; several million Jews had been slaughtered, along with countless Christians, not to mention the millions of young men who lost their lives because of WWII.

I believe that German pastor Martin Niemoeller, describes the danger best in his reflections during this time:

First they came for the Socialists, and I
did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists,
and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did
not speak out — Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was
no one left to speak for me.

I’m not a Catholic, nor do I believe as Catholics do that contraception is wrong, however, I see a very dangerous and destructive pattern beginning to emerge.  If you listen carefully you will hear certain groups of people within the US being marginalize, criticized, and even demonized because of their beliefs, whether they are orthodox or not.  Now, we see our own government telling us what we can or cannot believe and therefore behave like, that is not okay, that is flat out wrong!

I’m not a Catholic, but I will stand up for their right to not be forced to fund that which is against their beliefs.  Primarily because one day it may be us Evangelical Christians who are being told that we must now fund “X” which violates our core beliefs or face fines/imprisonment, and I for one would like others to be there standing with us!


Week 2 Playoff Predictions (let the bashing begin)

I sat on the sidelines last week, still licking my wounds for being a Colts fan.  I haven’t felt this uncertain about my team since I was back in High School and Captain Comeback (aka Jim Harbaugh) was our quarterback.  I wasn’t a fan of the coach then (Jim Mora aka Playoffs?) and I’m not a fan of the coach now (Jim Caldwell)…hmmm maybe I just don’t like Jim’s?

Okay, so here are my predictions and my reasons:

Saints & 49ers: This is going to be the game of the weekend.  These two teams which are the yin to each other’s yang when it comes to style, will bludgeon it out.  The Saints will come out of this with the victory but, will not come out unscathed.  Winner: Saints

Broncos & Patriots: I hate the Patriots!  As a loyal Colts fan, it is a test of faith.  The Broncos defense is finally healthy again, and I believe that they will make enough plays (turnovers, sacks, tackles for loss) that will turn the tide for them.  The Patriots (Oh, how I hate them) will keep it very close  but Tim Tebow will have a game ending drive setting it up for a winning field goal in the closing seconds.  Winner: Broncos (did I mention I hate the Patriots?)

Texans & Ravens: I think that the Ravens are going to come out flat, and show their age in this game.  Texans will come out quickly and put up a two touchdown lead on them and never look back, which means that Ray Rice, there only hope for winning, becomes a non-factor. Winner: Texans

Giants & Packer: Okay, this game I could legitimately go either way.  I like the Packers because they went after history and made no bones about it (16-0), Rodgers has been playing lights out, and the defense often does just enough to secure the win.  On the other hand, the Giants have turned it on over the last few weeks, Manning has been playing near perfect in the 4th quarter, and the defense has looked like the 2007 defense that won them a Super Bowl.  In the end I think it comes down to which defense makes the biggest play, and in this I trepidatiously  pick the Giants to do just enough.  Winner: Giants

I’d love to hear both your thoughts and your picks!

Turn out the lights, the party’s over!

As I was driving the other day in the car I heard a familiar refrain from my teenage years come across the airwaves.  No, it wasn’t Bon Jovi or Huey Lewis crooning out some rock ballad, it was one of my favorite sports announcers poorly singing, “Turn out the lights the party’s over!”

Now, he was singing it as a close to a game that the home team had solidified with a winning basket, but my mind immediately connected a whole bunch of thoughts (minds tend to do that) and began to think about when I checked out of this life and entered into eternity.  Not in a morbid, brooding, foreboding way, but more of a I wonder what that will be like?  My mind then shifted to those I would leave behind, and I began to wonder what they might say or think about me.  Will they miss me?  Will they say I was a good man, a great man…just a man?  Then I realized that at that point not only would it not matter to me what they thought, but even if it did there wasn’t anything I could do to change it.  This next thought is what really made my mind come alive,

“What if I lived my life in reverse?  Start with what I want people to think about me, remember me for, and miss me for; and then live in such a way to achieve that end result!”

In other words, if you want people to remember you as a great husband/wife, start doing things that will make you a great husband/wife.  If you want to be idolized as the dad of all dads or mom of all moms, you better start spending a whole lot more time with your kids.  If you want to be remembered as a great spiritual mentor, you better start mentoring people…I think you get the picture.

The bottom line: Once the lights are out, the party is truly over.  And whatever people think about you won’t change, but as long as the lights are on there’s still time!

What is wrong with my car?

Several weeks ago I parked my car for a few days over the weekend. When I went to start it, it sputtered and died. I tried several times to no avail. My father I law, who is a shade tree mechanic, listened to it and came to a similar conclusion I had made, I had water in the gas tank.

I immediately went to my favorite auto parts store (they smile when they see me coming) and purchased two bottles of dry gas. I put them in my engine confidently believing that I had conquered my problem. I had not.

So, I asked my buddy John, he’s an engineer for Cummins, we both looked at the car and listened. We plugged in a cool little computer that is supposed to tell you what’s wrong. It said I should replace my engine coolant sensor. So, for a second time I confidently strode to my seat anticipating my work would pay off…nope!

Now, I went to the Internet and searched my tail off. This lead me to replacing the fuel filter, no change. Then the air flow sensor, bupkiss!

I say all this to encourage you (I’m getting there be patient) just because your first few attempts at fixing a problem are fruitless don’t stop trying. A measure of a great person is not what it takes to knock them down but what it takes to keep them down. Maybe you’ve given up on trying, try again. What’s the worst that could happen? You could eliminate another thing that won’t fix the problem which means your closer to finding the solution.

Oh by the way, I’m pulling my catalytic converter tonight..fingers crossed!


When It all comes together!

“I Love it when a plan comes together” – Colonel Hannibal Smith

Yep, I’m happy to admit that as a kid I was an avid, possibly rabid, follower of the A-Team!  I always loved how each week they would go up againstunnumbered foes, drastically out-manned and under-gunned.  They would deal the bad guy a blow, then the bad guy would capture them, or trap them, or take a prisoner and threaten to kill them.  But, in the end you always knew a couple of things:

  • No good guys ever die
  • The underdog would always win
  • Hannibal would get to say his favorite line, often while chomping on an unlit cigar (way cool!)

Now, knowing these things was part of the reason I loved watching the show, I didn’t know how all these things were going to happen, but I knew they would.  What if you could go through life like this?  Knowing that no matter how hard it got, that in the end it would all work out.  Certainly you’d be a little worse for wear, but still it would end the right way.  Well take a ‘listen’ to what the Bible says about those who love God and follow his will:

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. – Romans 8:28