PACKER FAN, PASTOR

I really want it to be done on Wednesday…but it probably won’t.  Sure the political ads may end, but the disgust that comes from people who disagree with my views won’t be done.  I dislike that more than the political ads.  Our country is extremely polarized right now, but it’s not so much that we disagree with each other, but we attack each other, and at times it can be pretty hateful.  This situation doesn’t deter me from voting, but it also doesn’t encourage me to vote all the more.  I don’t vote to “stick it” to someone.  I vote because I enjoy the opportunity to have some kind of input into what is going on in my local, state and federal government…no matter how “minor” that input may seem.  I also have a dad who is a veteran, and there’s a piece of me that feels I shouldn’t waste something that men have given their lives to defend.

Back to my original point…I’ve seen a few comments about how pathetic or stupid or ignorant we evangelical Christians are for voting based on our morals, especially when based on Biblical principles.  I’ve seen people go as far to say something to the tune of, “If you vote based on moral conviction, you probably would have voted for Hitler back in the day because he stood for many of our moral convictions during his campaign.”  Nice…see part of what I’m talking about, though?

I don’t hate women, but I feel compelled to stand up for those who can’t stand for themselves, like unborn babies, hence the reason I’m pro-life.  I don’t hate homosexuals, but if you’re going to give me the opportunity to choose whether or not they should be allowed to get married, I’m going to choose to not allow it (by the way, check out this for what I think is a great message on this issue and this for my favorite political ad).  And though I don’t think everything Israel does is good or correct, I’m not about to support someone who wants to attack it or encourage Israel to shrink back from promises that God made to them (like land, go to page 4 to see how big Israel should be).  I’m compelled to vote on these things because of my convictions that I have based on my relationship with God and His word.

His word also gives me the boldness to not worry so much about the economy, jobs, healthcare and taxes.  It’s not that I don’t think those things matter, they’re just not at the top of my priority list based on my convictions.

And therein lies the problem.  A lack of respect for others convictions.  We can disagree until we’re blue in the face on various issues, but to be hateful to each other because we think differently and choose different paths…that’s uncalled for.  So I encourage you to vote tomorrow…and vote based on your God-given convictions and don’t allow man to intimidate you in your decisions.

PACKER FAN, PASTOR

My goodness, I was just complaining about the very issue I struggle with when it came to the Packers’ loss to the Colts  a week ago…inconsistency!  I think it’s been a month since I’ve written in my blog.  I broke what I think is the cardinal rule for “making sure people read your blog”, and that is blogging consistently.  My bad and my apologies.

Speaking of the Packers though, did you see that amazing game the other night?  If not, here are the highlights (feel free to mute the commentary).  I was very pleased to see the Pack play 60 minutes of solid football.  I’ll be really happy if they can do it again next week, and the week after that, and the week after that…and so on all the way up through the Super Bowl.  Why?  Because I love it when my team is consistently winning.  I love positive consistency.  And I don’t think I’m much different from any other human being.

We all love positive consistency.We want relationships with our loved ones to consistently be loving, nurturing and strong.  We want our physical bodies to be consistently healthy, lacking in sickness and disease.  We want our jobs to at least be there consistently providing consistent income.

I’ve heard many people, and you may be one of them, say, “I work better in chaos.”  Truth be told, if we took a step back and looked at how “well” we work in chaos, we’d probably see more broken relationships than we’d like to admit and work that might be done, but also substandard.  The heart of the issue is chaos really isn’t all that great.

When we have positive consistency, things get done and usually done well.  When you continue at something, you tend to get better at it and have better results.  Mike McCarthy, coach of the Green Bay Packers, calls it “stacking successes”.  You have one positive, and you build on that creating positive consistency.  The Packers hope they can win this upcoming week, stacking successes creating positive consistency…a plus for his team and the fans of that team.

This same principle can happen in your life.  If you consistently  change the oil in your vehicle, it will run better.  If you consistently exercise and eat right, you body will be healthy.  If you are consistent with positive communication, your relationships will get better.  If you consistently pray, read your Bible, step out in acts of faith (tithing, sharing the gospel, giving to those in need) and hang out with other Christians, your relationship with God will get better and you’ll start seeing miraculous things happen.

Now off to think about my next blog post so I can be consistent with it and hopefully see more readers. 🙂

PASTOR

When I was in college, they had an annual job fair for all us students.  All sorts of companies and “mom and pop” shops would gather in the gymnasium, set up booths and hand out applications.  I went to it once.  The first company at the door was a hardware store.  For some odd reason, I remember this interaction really well…I walk in and the two guys standing there said to me, “Now there’s a guy that needs to be working in a hardware store.”  I smiled politely and kept on walking thinking to myself, “You don’t want me anywhere near a tool chest because I have no clue what to do with half of those things.”  It didn’t help that I was wearing jeans, boots and a long sleeve flannel shirt at the time.

However, about two weeks ago I might have been mistaken for the handy-man type again…and no, not because of my lack of fashion.  I actually had to repair two eye sores.  One was the rail on the “deck” connected to our front enclosed porch.  Somehow the rail busted off of the post and I needed to reconnect it along with “patching” the post.  The other thing was a hole in the ceiling over the entry way to the church.  Apparently the last fix wasn’t permanent, and pieces of the ceiling were on the floor.  I patched it up.  Both items are now fixed…they don’t look great, but they’re fixed.  However, I still don’t consider myself a handyman.  Have you ever heard the saying, “Standing in a garage doesn’t make you a car”?  Yeah, just because I was able to fix a few things definitely doesn’t make me a handy-man.

This last week I started a message series on stewardship.  Most people’s thoughts turn straight to money when this is brought up, but I’m challenging the folks in my church to go beyond that and look at their entire lives.  After all the definition I gave them for stewardship was, “The careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care” (I got that from Merriam-Webster.com).

What does this have to do with my story?  I’ve met plenty of people who say they’re not sure “who they are” or “what they’re supposed to do”.  Some absolutely desire to be someone else and work really hard to be something they’re not.  They stand in a garage and try their best to be a car…but it just isn’t going to work.

In the first message in this series, part of the challenge to people in the church was to make the most of what God has given you.  I used the story Christ told in Matthew 25:14-30 about the master who gave money to three of his servants to watch over while he was away.  The first two servants double the money, while the third hid his, not losing any of the money, but also not gaining anything.  The first two were commended and rewarded while the third was condemned and banished from the household.

Friends, God has given you various gifts and talents to be used for His purposes.  You need to use those to the best of your ability.  If you’re in a funk not sure of who you are, or what you’re supposed to do in this life, you need to talk to God who owns all of it and find out what He has for you.

I’m not a handy-man, I’m a husband, father, pastor and Packer fan! 🙂

HUSBAND, PASTOR

It’s been a while since my last post.  My apologies to my faithful followers (all two of you, mom and Stevie :-)).  Just kidding!

Today is September 11th, and of course, a ton of memories of what happened on this day 11 years ago flooded my brain.  Stevie and I had been married a whole 8 months and 10 days.  I just got out of the shower and Stevie called me telling me to turn on the news.  As soon as the tv warmed up, there it was…a picture of smoke billowing out of one of the towers and then a second plane crashing into the second tower.  I remember feeling shocked and wondering what was happening as the news reporters were somewhat hysterical trying to report what was going on.  Then when the towers came crashing down, the emotions flooded over me and I started crying and praying for those who had loved ones in those buildings.  I remember not being very “fearful” of where my family was…Stevie had just called me and we didn’t have any kids yet.  None of my extended family (parents, siblings, in-laws, etc.) worked in any tall buildings, so I just figured they were safe and feeling the same emotions I was feeling.  I did go to work that day and had plenty of discussions with co-workers about what was going on with the towers, the plane in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.  Needless to say, not much “normal” work got done in the group home that day.  When I got home, I remember feeling really odd when Stevie and I heard a plane flying over head, and then feeling somewhat comforted when the news reporter stated that if anyone heard any planes or helicopters flying it was military aircraft…but not completely comforted because I wasn’t sure if that military plane was about to shoot something down.

Plenty of mixed emotions were felt that day…a little fear, a little anger, a little patriotism, a little sadness, a little shock…but at the same time, a quite a bit of peace.  I realize that may come off a bit oxymoronic, if not rude.  I mean quite a few people just lost quite a few loved ones…how could one feel any sense of peace in the midst of such tragedy?  But that’s what is promised in Philippians 4:7 for those that follow Christ.  Interestingly enough, church attendance sky rocketed the Sunday following September 11, 2001.  Many wanted to grab at that peace that God so freely gives, and many received it.

I saw many tributes and remembrances on Facebook today, as there should be.  But the real tragedy coming out of 9/11, if I may be so bold to say, is that though many will remember what happened and the lives lost that day, too many will forget the God that they turned to that day or September 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17, 2001 as they cried out for peace and comfort in a time of tragedy.

There’s a saying that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it…we may never repeat the tragic events of 9/11, but too many repeatedly fall into a pit of despair and restlessness because they’ve forgotten God.  If that’s you friend, turn back to God and regain peace in your life!