Monday, October 31, 2011

The Masters Touch

The Master's Touch 
When the house lights dimmed and the concert  was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing
Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little
boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy's ear, "Don't quit." "Keep playing."  Then, leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child, and he added a running obbligato.  Together, the old master and the young novice transformed what could have been a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience.  The audience was so mesmerized that they couldn't recall what else the great master played.
Only the classic,
“Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
Perhaps that's the way it is with God. What we can accomplish on
our own is hardly noteworthy. We try our best, but the results aren't always graceful flowing music.  However, with the hand of the Master, our life's work can truly be beautiful. 
 The next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully.  You may hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear, "Don't quit." "Keep playing."  May you feel His arms around you and know that His hands are there, helping you turn your feeble attempts into true masterpieces. Remember, God doesn't seem to call the equipped, rather, He equips the 'called.'

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Testimony Part 2: Where I'm At Now

Having been through a lot in my life and being a victor in conquering things that could have and maybe even should have been the end of me, I am ready more than ever to lead a congregation to what should be it's ultimate purpose: True Worship.

My health has never been better. I take some vitamins to make sure my body gets all of the nutrients it needs, but otherwise I'm in great health, both mentally and physically. I have an appreciation for being able to go and do on my own but I can understand the lives of others who are not as fortunate as me and hopefully I can be an encourager to them.

My faith is also at it's strongest. My adversities have played a big part in that, but my wife also a LARGE part. She is an encourager, a believer; both in God and me. As I wrote in an earlier blog, To Sheri, With Love, she has been an important part of my life and she will continue to be. There is nothing better than a godly wife who has a dedicated prayer life and can recognize the voice of God, spoken through the Holy Spirit.

All of the years of experience that I have gained by serving on various committees, as well as having been an integral part in starting and building music ministries and churches that were ready to close their doors has given me an insight that I feel few others have who have just entered the ministry or have only served in a staff position. God has equipped me to be able to serve Him, and I am looking forward to where He would send us next.

I have not hid nor will I ever hide my past. As one person recently put it, "Everyone has a past, it's what they do with the future that is most important." I agree, but you also have to learn from your past and not repeat any mistakes you made along the way.

I also have learned that old dogs can learn new tricks. I like to try things and I'm not afraid to go in a new direction after prayer and consideration. Such was the case 3 months ago when I taught myself the bass guitar. I have played piano for 40 years and for many years I wanted to learn the bass guitar. But because that goes from one type of instrument to the other, I was never sure if I could do it. Well, I have and in 3 months I've already completed a lesson book, I play weekly in the praise band and I look forward to being able to find new ways to use my new found skill in the future. It makes me especially proud of the fact that I went from not being able to stand for more than a few minutes back in the 90's to being able to stand on stage for hours with no problems. To God Be The Glory For The Great Things HE Has Done! (I'll always love that old hymn!)

So I'm proclaiming to the world and to God, Here I Am, Send Me. Let me be an example of what God's love and grace can be for anyone out there who will only seek Him.

Thanks for stopping by to read this blog and may God bless you richly in your life!

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Testimony

I was raised in church all of my life. My family attended church so many times in one week, that if the Janitor left the door open while he/she was cleaning, we sat in the pews and watched. (well, not really, but you get the idea! LOL)
I believed that you went to church because that was what you were supposed to do. The other days my family read the bible and had devotionals each morning with breakfast.
I learned about all of the people in the bible, and all of the things that happened long ago. I would sit there saying to myself, "Well, that's nice." I looked at it the same way as I looked at learning history in school. I was sure I would need to know it at some point, and if not, it was possible useful trivia for down the road.
NO ONE explained that the events could still happen today. NO ONE explained that I could put to use in my daily life the lessons learned. Salvation was just that. Being saved from burning in Hell for eternity. Once saved, I just needed to attend church and act my part, and everything would be fine.

What started out as being a way of life for me became how I didn’t want to live my life. I started working in the cotton mill when I was 16, cleaning the air units for the different floors, and turning pic clocks on Sundays. Mom insisted that I take the job, and after I found out that I would be working on Sunday mornings, I didn’t argue. Finally, a break from having to listen to the same things I had been taught all my life. Or had I? If I had been taught, then wouldn’t I have a better understanding of what Christianity meant? Some would say yes. I probably would agree, especially now that I have thought more closely about it.
For 2 years I enjoyed having at least one service that I didn’t have to attend. Besides, Sunday nights were usually more casual, and I didn’t have to dress up to go then. Nevertheless, I was still expected to attend every service when I wasn’t working. I lived with my mom and grandparents, and as long as I lived under their roof, that would be the way that it was.
I couldn’t wait to escape to the next level: not having to attend at all.
When I was a senior in high school, the pastor talked me into taking a day off from work near graduation, and participating in “Youth Day” at the church. The youth of the church would take over all of the responsibilities for a Sunday, and usually a senior would be the one to deliver the sermon. Guess who was picked? 3 Guesses and the first 4 don’t count!
After the service, the preacher walked up to me and said, “You’ve found your calling. You’ll make a fine preacher one day.”
“Oh my gosh, get me outta here,” was all I could think. Church people … Jesus Freaks … Stuff Shirt Preachers … HELP!
I graduated from High School, and turned down a scholarship and went in the Army. I wanted to be as far away from home as I could be. I succeeded. West Germany would be my home for the next 2 years. I was happy, with very little complaints.
I moved up in rank as I became eligible, but I was injured while on maneuvers, and so I was discharged on an Honorable, Service Connected Disability discharge.
The back injury brought a lot of pain, but it posed no problem, as I knew how to deal with the pain. Alcohol was cheap; Drugs were easily obtained while I was in service. When I got out, I found out that the same was true in civilian life. People who sat beside me in church were the same ones sitting beside me now that I was back home getting drunk, stoned or a raucous combination. And we wonder why the “outside” people view us as hypocrite’s?
I came home, traveled around the states for a while, and then settled down on one spot. However, my life was not settled. A beer put me to sleep, and a beer woke me up so that I could go to work. Or school. Yep, I had signed up for college, using my service benefits. I figured that it might not hurt to find another line of work that paid better (security pays minimum), plus at a college there was always a chance of meeting some hot chick and hopefully getting laid at least on the weekends.
I think God has a sense of humor. I met a girl. Not a specifically hot chick. But a girl. We had a lot in common, except that she had been married twice, and I hadn’t made it to the altar once. She had two wonderful daughters, who would later become my stepchildren.
Anyway, I should have had a warning on our first date. Well, 2nd date. First one was to take everyone to McD’s. We won’t count that one. Second one went like this. Picked her up, we dropped the 2 girls off at her mom’s house to babysit, announcing that we’re going out to eat and then go bowling. (Bowling has always been in my blood, and it always will!
A great time was had by both of us, and we arrived back at her mom’s house at 9:30 that evening. As we were walking up to the door, her mom met us, bible in hand. I thought to myself, “Oh crap, this can not be good.”
After having railed on us for 10 minutes, I finally found a way to exit, and exit stage “I’m Outta Here” is exactly what I did. If I were smart, I would have kept running. However, I didn’t.
We wound up getting married a year later, and our mom’s kept harping on us that we needed to get in church. “The children need to be brought up in church.”
Been there. Done that. We both had.
Finally we gave in. I didn’t want to go back to my old church. (didn’t want those little bitties to run their mouth about me walking in to their sanctimonious place. Another story, another day.)
Therefore, I agreed to go to my wife’s old church. I had only been to a Baptist church. The order of worship was the way that I thought it was supposed to be. WRONG.
‘Assembly of God’ is what it said on the sign out front. I silently wondered to myself if God ever assembled in this or any church. But I was determined to find out.
Hmmmmm… just what I expected. Stuff shirts. Haughty Taughty women with enough makeup to paint the Sistine Chapel painting by Michelangelo again. Nothing new here.
“Okay, just sit and be quiet for an hour. Make everyone happy. I can do this.”
When I climbed back onto the pew from the floor beneath it, I wondered if I would ever escape from the “Hotel Didn’t I Warn Ya” that I had found myself in.
Have you ever seen the video by Ray Stevens “The Mississippi Squirrel Revival” that was popular a long time ago? Women are shouting, hands are raised in the air (along with other items) and a general commotion has struck the congregation of this poor little church.
Well, this church wasn’t little. People were shouting, hands were raised in the air (along with some other items that I won’t mention here) and I was sure that there was a squirrel somewhere nearby. And to top it off, I don’t think he spoke any English, because they were all hollering in some language that I had never heard of before.
So I sat back down among all of the hulla-balub and watched for the squirrel to pass by. My grandfather had taught me to love to eat wild squirrels, and if no one else was going to help themselves to him, I figured I would.
Hmph, it seems that there was no squirrel. Things sure were squirrelly all right. Mom-in-law was turning red and bouncing up and down, Wifey looked like she was a deer in the headlights of an oncoming car, and the girls were cringing and eyes darting, looking for a route of escape. Of the 3 options, I had just about decided that the last one was my recourse too. However, it settled down, and the preacher got up and started preaching. He kept thanking and welcoming the “Holy Ghost.” I kept looking around, trying to figure out how Halloween had got here so fast. I thought that Easter was still a few weeks away.
Holy Ghost. Wait a minute. We used to sing something about the Holy Ghost. Oh yeah, I remember now. Okay, I guess this is just a different version of our Holy Ghost song, “Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” All right, back to listening to the message. Yada, Yada, Yada. Same poop, different church. Finally, we get to leave.
“Run Forrest Run” is what would have been in my head if the Gump movie had been out then. Instead, something intrigued me. At least these people didn’t sit stone faced for an hour. All of that jumping and hollering surely meant that someone was going to get hurt (and I hoped it wasn’t me), but at least it made it interesting to watch.
So from time to time, especially on holidays (don’t you know, it is mandatory in the south to show up at church on Easter and Christmas, whether you really wanted to or not… at least the wife can show off all of the new clothes that she picked out for her family.)
So, our Check In/Check Out was pretty easy, except for the time that Daylight Savings Time started and we arrived at the service for Easter as it was ending. Embarrassing.
My life had changed somewhat. I didn’t party as much anymore. I still drank on the weekends, although not until I had gone to church and come back home on Sundays. Now that I was sober most of the time, I started wanting more. Our mom’s never quit harping on us to attend church, and finally, a radio show convinced me that maybe I should.
“Welcome to the Sound of Light, with Brett Dillard” came a voice on my radio as I scanned through the channels. Taking college courses at a rate of 18 cu each semester left little time for a regular job, so I started delivering pizzas for a national chain. My Pontiac T-1000 (another version of Chevy’s Chevette) was a basic car, and contained only an AM/FM radio. Rock 101, WCKN, Your Classic Rock Station was playing some music from the 60’s that I didn’t want to listen to. So I hit the “seek” button on the Radio, and this is what came out of the speakers in just a few pushes. Rock music started blaring, so I settled in to listen to their tunes. He said the first band was called “Petra.” Some pretty kick-butt music, so I continued to listen. Ten minutes later, Brett cuts in and mentions Jesus. Oh man, you had to go and ruin some good music. (I discovered later that if I had been listening to the words, and not just head banging to the music, I probably would have realized what “light” that this “sound” was directed at.)
Quick, try 101 again. Crap, same stupid music. Okay, music was still rocking on the new station, “I’ll just ignore the words and turn it back to the other station.” I left it there the whole evening, listening to it as I rode around town trying to make bucks from stoned guys who had the munchies, and drunks who knew they shouldn’t be anywhere near a steering wheel or a stove.
The next Saturday, 7 o’clock in the evening, I turned the radio back over to that station. I had tried it out earlier that week, but the music put me to sleep. Bam-a-lamma Ding-Dong. There was that jamming music again. These guys could really rock the house. Of course, there were a few chick songs that tried to make people teary-eyed. Thank goodness, they seemed to occur that night when I was either knocking on someone’s door, or in the shop setting up my next run.
I repeated this several weekends, and then they announced that one of the groups that they played on the radio was going to be at a local church. And not just any church. An Assembly of God church. Hmmmm… okay, I know how they operate. If they are cool enough to have this group come perform, I want to check this church out. The concert was not for a few months, but I went ahead and started attending anyway. Wow, this church seemed different. The pastor seemed different. The music seemed different. Granted, there was still a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth, and a few people flopping on the floors like almost dead fish, but I decided I could overlook that. Little did I know that the enemy is often on the home front.
Sometimes you lose. Sometimes you quit trying. Sometimes you quit trying to lose. Maybe that was what I was doing. Trying to lose. I certainly wasn’t trying to win. My wife was not supportive of my actions with me going to church. She didn’t do church, and she couldn’t understand why I wanted to. Especially at another AOG church, of all things.
We only had one car for quite some time, and she would have it to drive to work. I drove the work truck home (I worked for Allied Van Lines at the time) when I could, but I couldn’t go parking a moving van in the church parking lot. That would have probably put too many people over the edge.
Several times people would give me a ride home while I was walking, and even offer to come pick me up. But my schedule was hectic, especially on Wednesday’s, and I never knew from one week to the next if I would be home or not.
Eventually the weather turned bad, and I found too many excuses to go. I still listened to the radio show every Saturday night. I counted myself as a good person. I wasn’t out raping, killing or stealing from anyone. Sure, I indulged in the ‘spirits’ occasionally, especially Crown Royal or Bacardi. But I wasn’t a drunk anymore. I could remember what happened before and after I started drinking now. So I couldn’t be a bad person. RIGHT?!? NOT!
I still wasn’t really saved. I had bought the fire insurance when I was 8 years old. But that was still all it was to me. Fire Insurance.
Then we moved back to the home county where I grew up. Walked in a Baptist church, and this is no lie, a lady recognized me, grabbed her kid, and said, “Don’t go anywhere near that man. He’s trouble.”
I never went back. If that woman ever reads this, be glad that I came to my senses; otherwise, you would have a rough day at the throne down the road.
My girls had started listening to the music too, and they wanted to get active in church. We found a church, and they had an awesome drummer. We quickly became friends and started up a Christian Rock Band. (Heads up, I still wasn’t living that life that I sang about). For 2 years we had a blast. I eventually became the choir director for the church. Then tragedy struck.
(1)        Stroke
(2)        Multiple Sclerosis
Wheelchair bound. The pastor came to see me a couple of times. But no one else ever did. It wasn’t long before I never heard from him again. See there. Just what I thought. Christians only care about you when you’re in a position to help them. “To serve God.”
Still in a wheelchair, I started playing for another group, and before long, I was out of the wheelchair and now found myself serving as choir director at another local church. Methodist Denomination.
But after surviving much gnashing and wailing, this was a change. In addition, I fell in love (platonically/spiritually!) with the pastor. She helped me to see that Christianity was so much more. I even started to understand some of the words that they had been playing and talking on the radio, and how the bible could apply to my life.
Several different churches later, I wound up serving in another Methodist church. This time I found out about a program called, “Lay Speaking.”
Nope, it doesn’t mean to recline while you’re preaching, although I think I may try that sometime and see what the church reaction is. It means that ordinary people could be trained to help in different areas of the church and its worship services. I went to the “Basic” class out of curiosity, and I was hooked. I bought every “line” and weighed every “sinker.”
One thing led to another, and I wound up in Seminary, and eventually to my own church. Methodist, in case you were wondering. A small country church. I had learned a lot while serving in the ministry, but being a pastor was quite a revelation.
People can be cruel, weird, supportive and just down right strange. I’ve had people call me or stop me before I left church and tell me that they really got something from my message. They also told me how appreciative they were that I had given them something that they could apply in their daily lives.
I’ve had people call me to the side and bless me out. “How dare you talk about me like that? I didn’t think my wife would go through with her threat to tell you what I did!” (I’m scratching my head trying to figure out what they are talking about. Evidently, they were caught with their hand in the cookie jar.) I just preached what I felt was laid on my heart, and I said what needed to be said. Truth was, most of the women told me nothing, and supplied me with lots of treats and goodies to eat when I came to visit.
Have you ever noticed that people come to church to socialize? I’ve had people tell me that I needed to bust up someone’s “clic,” while theirs was truthfully causing more harm than the aforementioned one. However, since it was their clic that was okay. Everyone wants to meet all of the other “important” people who attend, desperately hoping to gain their favor and “get ahead” in life. Somehow, no one ever shows up expecting to meet the one person who matters the most! ME! No…. just kidding….
Do you know whom I’m talking about? Whom do you go to church to meet? The lawyer who you heard is hiring, and your son is about to graduate and hopefully will give him a job when he passes the bar? The contractor who has broad shoulders, tanned lines, and a chest you could sink your face into. The girl from the grocery store. You know, the one who always wears low cut tops, and when she bends over to bag your groceries, her “ample wares” are displayed for your viewing pleasure?
GOD…. 3 Letters… Count them G  O  D. He is always there, waiting on us to come and worship Him. Not just sing “I Love You Lord” in a praise song and go back home and exclaim GD the first five minutes that you’re in the house.
Worship God, the one who can deliver you from the load that has you tilted at a 45-degree angle. 

Come back Wednesday for Part Two: Where I'm At Now

Monday, October 17, 2011

Why churches still don't have it right

In today's church you'll find a multitude of things that will either catch your eye or turn your head in disgust. Walk into some churches and you'll find big screens up on the wall behind the podium and possibly big screen TV's to the side of that. In churches where "contemporary" or "celebration" services are held, you'll likely find instruments that would be found in most any secular band today. In these churches, a time of "Praise and Worship" will be a main focus, lasting sometimes up to an hour before the rest of the service begins. Then you'll find a meager 15 minute sermon or "word for the day" from the pastor before the service is dismissed.
While in other churches that consider themselves more "traditional" you will find an organ and a piano, and possibly a choir in the elevation behind the podium, semi hidden by a modesty rail. In this church you'll have some sort of song sang as a Call To Worship, Announcements, possibly today's sermon scripture, a few hymns and a choir special, followed by the sermon.
And here is the part that blows my mind. In some churches of either style, you won't find an altar call at the end. No chance to get the person who might have been moved to finally accept Christ down in front to be talked to and prayed with. More and more in churches I visit this is becoming the norm. When I ask pastors about it, they say: "Well, it ties up the service at the end when people are wanting to go home," or "If people need to talk further about something, they know where the altar is or they can find me or an elder after the service."
How many people have we lost doing this? I read on a popular site for pastors about the argument of whether we should even have invitations as there is no such notice of any when Jesus was speaking to the crowds. WHAT? How many times did he speak of the people believing in Him, coming to Him, and following Him? If that wasn't an invitation, what are you expecting? Then some pastors have said, "Jesus didn't have church, so there is no set structure. I can add or omit as I like."
What ever happened to the house of worship? That is what they used to call a church years ago. They still weren't really a "house of worship" even then, but at least some still thought of them in that way.
I grew up Baptist, Southern Baptist at that. There was one way church was done, no matter which church you were in. There was a "Call To Worship" usually sang by the choir, then the opening hymn, followed by announcements. Another hymn would be sung, followed by a time of organ and piano music while the offering was taken up. Then a choir special, the sermon, and a time of invitation. No matter which Southern Baptist church you were in, this is how it was. Then a service quite similar to the morning service was done in the evening though dress would be more casual (suits and dresses only at the first one.) and then another time of bible study would be given on Wednesday nights. The crowds usually diminished for the Sunday Evening service, and then diminished greatly for the Wednesday night service.
Preaching was usually done with a fervor. The pastor would build the sermon in intensity until at the very end when he would convince you that if you didn't come down to the altar and accept Christ today, you would surely go to Hell. Now I have no problem with this, but I do have a problem when this is the only message week after week.
I was raised in church (read my early blogs from March and April 2011) and by the time I graduated High School, church only meant a place that you had to go 3 times a week or people would talk about you. The only thing it was far was to keep people from going to Hell (still a very important point!) but there was never any talk about a relationship with Christ.
A preacher was usually rated on how many heads bobbled to their 30 minute nap and the choir was talked about and rated on how they sung the song this week vs the last time they sang it, or if they had finally learned a new song after all this time.
And from what I've seen, the Baptists are not the only ones. Methodists do this too. As a matter of a fact, most churches are still doing this. There may be "hell, fire and damnation only" being preached all over America's churches. Sadly, I have seen many churches where nothing is preached. There is some screaming, yelling, wailing and flailing, but nothing that you can take from the sermon and apply to your life.
While we do need to be reminded of what does lay ahead if we choose not to follow Christ, we need more in our churches. We Need Teaching as well as Preaching.
Quit worrying about how the choir and/or band/musicians sounded. Quit worrying about having an "Order of Service." It is good to have an outline so that the staff knows what to generally expect, but don't be afraid to break it once in awhile. I have started a service, felt led to call out to someone hurting, and wind up with an altar call that needed nothing more afterwards with the way the Holy Spirit had moved at that service.
I'm talking about people genuinely crying their hearts out, not like some people who I have seen in some pentecostal churches who wail and flail on the floor, stop and look to see who is watching, then start back again. You know who you are!!!! I'm talking about people genuinely tired of their lives and the way that they are living, realizing that they can't do it anymore. This is what Jesus wanted from the crowds. He wanted people healed, demons cast out and for people to know that someone was there to care about them.
Too many times the only people who care about anyone at church, especially someone new is the staff, and too often that isn't going to happen either. Too many times the pastor is worried about closing up the building and the deacons/elders are worried about getting the money counted. To that I say, "LEAVE THE MONEY IN THE SAFE, GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF THE DOORS, AND GET IN THE CROWD." Talk to the people you don't recognize. You may have someone there who is considering doing something drastic in their lives such as suicide, leaving a spouse or other even worse things. They look around and it seems everyone is running for the doors. What doors that aren't being used are being locked, and they feel that they are being pushed to leave the building. Maybe they wanted to talk. Not just have someone greet them, hand them a bulletin and a card to fill out. If you are sensitive to the Holy Spirit, you will know these people immediately! You will be led and/or drawn to them. You will want to pull them to the side where you can talk more about what is troubling them. Then you will be actually reaching out to people.
I didn't start this blog to bash anybody or any denominations. I started this blog to get people to realize where we are going wrong as Christians and to shake things up, turn things Upside Down, and get back to where the church can do something good. If you do feel that you or your denomination is or has been bashed, well, maybe you need to look at why you're feeling that way. Is the Holy Spirit trying to wake you up before it is too late with an urging to reconsider how you've always done things?
Quit worrying about how the choir sang, how the musicians played, what songs were used, how much money was given. Let's start putting people first. God will take care of the rest. I've heard some of the gosh darn awfullest choirs that sang with their hearts tuned to God, and they brought me closer to worship than a polished 100 member unit that could sing all of the 4 part harmony written in the musical scores before them. These productions might have sounded good, but in the end, they left me empty, still hoping that the sermon could salvage something out of the service.
And PLEASE quit worrying about being a "contemporary" or a "traditional" church.
That is something that I don't see anymore. I once read a joke where a bum was sitting on the church step, everyone was ignoring him, some even making suggestive remarks toward him that he should leave the property. Finally a kind face approaches him and sits down beside him, looking a little dejected, though dressed "the part" that one would expect to the welcomed into the sanctuary. The bum looks up at the gentleman and says, "Hi, I'm Frank, they won't let me in because of who I am, so I'm sitting here resting before I move on." The other guy looks at him with tears in his eyes, and says, "Hi, I'm Jesus, and don't feel bad, they won't let me in either!"
Will you let Jesus in today? I'm talking into your heart, your life, your church! It's time we get back to the real reason Jesus came here on earth and died for our sins. He wanted us to learn to have a better life through his teachings of how we are to live, and He wanted us to be able to live with Him for eternity and not have to perish in a place that words can not describe how horrific it is.
Preachers, start preaching and inviting people to accept Christ. Quit worrying about your congregation learning the bible, and have them learn how to use what is in the bible to better themselves. Knowing the book in your head does not constitute knowing the book in your heart and being able to use that knowledge.
Take Bible Study to Life Study and teach them how your congregation today can learn by the men and women of the bible of yesterday. Stop the history lessons!
And when you've poured your heart out on Sunday morning, give an altar call and then stick around and seek out those who were too timid or scared to come forward but who still need someone to talk to RIGHT NOW!
Be an example! Then you can truly lead others in the path that they should go.
Thanks for reading this and come back and visit Wednesday when I talk some more about things that should and shouldn't be happening in churches right now.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thank Goodness For My God and (Step)son

I know this is a day late (and I'm a dollar short! lol), but my computer finally had sunken to it's lowest of lows. It was taking 20 minutes from the time I pushed the power button until it was booted and online. Now granted, it is over 4 years old and still had the original install, but it was time to do something. Error messages had became the norm for the day.
(side note): Shawn is Sheri's son by a previous marriage, making him my step son legally. But! To me, he is my son. Therefore, he will no longer be referred to as "step".
So my youngest son is a computer guru. He knows how to change out parts, rewire, and replace. He also understands how to tweak a computer.
Tuesday during the day I backed up all of the info I wanted to keep (20 gigs worth) and I let him have the laptop that night after he arrived home from work. He reformatted, reinstalled windows and then set about putting all of the programs that I wanted back onto the hard drive. Needless to say, it took awhile. But now I only have 12 gigs being used on my 52 gig hard drive as opposed to 40 gigs and a really slow computer. I left the 20 gigs on disks and I'll just pull from them as needed. Now in just over a minute I'm go from off to online and I love it. Now it acts like it did back when I first bought the thing.
Then it hit me last night as we were finishing up.
This is a lot like salvation/forgiveness.
We get so bogged down and it takes forever to do anything that we want to accomplish. Error messages are everywhere in front of us and we begin to think that our lives are not worth much. We're bogged down by sin and it keeps us on the brink of having a fatal error.
Then we ask God to forgive us and cleanse us and make us whole again. He reformats our brain and helps us see anew again. We start to be able to make decisions clearly, think clearly and we act like we're supposed to act.
So, thank you Shawn (no, you're not God! lol) for fixing my computer and thank you God (yes, you are the one true God!) for saving me and cleaning me up and helping me to run a lot better!
Thanks for stopping by and come back again tomorrow!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Is it Christmas Yet?

Wow, what a weekend. The temps dropped like a rock from what they have been and it was so nice outside during the day and during the evenings we sat on the deck with the torches lit and the chiminea flaming to keep us warm. I love fall and the things that come with it. Cooler temp's, leaves turning all sorts of colors and football! And thanksgiving! Boy can my wife cook. I'm just waiting to have a big meal that day. But now is my dilemna.
My wife and I both enjoy Christmas. I leave decorations up for months, even the tree. It has to start to look like spring before I will take it all down. (I know the neighbors are glad to see the lighted reindeer go! lol)
But I'm ready for Christmas! I love the lights and the sounds and the songs. SO I'm ready to put them up now. But to do that presents two problems;
(1) I will have to use a fake tree again and we've talked about having a live one this year
(2) I don't have anything bought and wrapped to put under the tree yet.

To answer another question, I do know the real reason for Christmas. And we always make it our focus. But we celebrate Christ all year. I'm not just happy for him one month a year. We love him the other 11 too!

What are your christmas habits? When you do put up/tear down at your house? I would like to hear from others about when they decide to decorate and tear down and why? Is there a special reason, or perhaps you've just always done it this way?

And most of all, just celebrate Christ every day!

God bless you all!