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!

PACKER FAN

Here it goes, my bogus and bold predictions for the NFL.  You could say I’m living somewhat vicariously through this blog.  I’ve always had jobs in the back of my mind I would be doing if I wasn’t in ministry.  One of those jobs would be a sports reporter (others would include being the general manager of a team in the NFL or a truck driver…maybe I’ll explain these choices in future blogs).  So out comes the sports reporter in me.  

They’re “bogus” because I have absolutely no inside knowledge of any team in the NFL.  All selections are mainly based on my gut instinct.  They’re “bold” because I did something a little different this season…I went through the entire NFL schedule and picked the winners.  That makes it very interesting when predicting how the season will end up (especially when teams are in the playoffs who I thought wouldn’t be, i.e. the Saints, and teams that I thought would make the playoffs but won’t, i.e. the Eagles).  I will give you my weekly picks through out the NFL season so you can see how great…no, probably how horribly this will end up. 

So here goes, each division with each teams overall record and the teams above .500 (a record of 9-7 or better), they’re conference record so you can see how I think the seeds play out…although most of them don’t matter because the head-to-head matchups settle most of the seedings (Packers v. 49ers, Falcons v. Cowboys, Saints v. Eagles and Ravens v. Patriots…you can tell who I picked in those games based on the playoff seedings).

AFC

EAST                           NORTH                     SOUTH                        WEST
Patriots (13-3, 9-3)         Ravens (13-3, 9-3)          Texans (12-4, 10-2)           Chargers (11-5, 8-4)
Jets (10-6, 8-4)               Steelers (12-4, 9-3)          Jaguars (4-12)                  Broncos (8-8)
Bills (6-10)                    Bengals (7-9)                  Colts (4-12)                      Raiders (6-10)
Dolphins (4-12)            Browns (2-14)                Titans (3-13)                      Chiefs (5-11)

NFC

EAST                              NORTH                        SOUTH                   WEST
Cowboys (12-4, 9-3)        Packers (13-3, 10-2)            Falcons (12-4, 9-3)        49ers (13-3, 10-2)
Eagles (9-7, 8-4)               Lions (11-5, 8-4)                Saints (9-7, 6-6)             Seahawks (7-9)
Giants (8-8)                     Bears (9-7, 5-7)                 Panthers (7-9)               Rams (5-11)
Redskins (4-12)                Vikings (4-12)                   Buccaneers (6-10)          Cardinals (2-14)

PLAYOFFS:                   AFC                                                 NFC
WILDCARD–                 (3) Texans over (6) Jets                       (3) Falcons over (6) Saints
                                       (5) Steelers over (4) Chargers               (4) Cowboys over (5) Lions

DIVISIONAL–              (1) Ravens over (5) Steelers                 (1) Packers over (4) Cowboys
                                       (3) Texans over (2) Patriots                 (2) 49ers over (3) Falcons

CHAMPIONSHIP–       (1) Ravens over (3) Texans                  (1) Packers over (2) 49ers

                                                  SUPERBOWL– Packers over Ravens

                                    

AWARDS:
MVP- Aaron Rodgers, QB Packers
Offensive Player of the Year-  Aaron Rodgers, QB Packers
Defensive Player of the Year- Clay Matthews, OLB Packers
Offensive Rookie of the Year- Russell Wilson, QB Seahawks
Defensive Rookie of the Year- Morris Claiborne, CB Cowboys