Weather Wars

Weather Wars

Winter is here with a vengeance. I do not think I have experienced a winter where there is such a roller coaster of a temperature ride. We have just experienced arctic temperatures that are dangerous. Then we race into the 50’s with a warming trend. We had snow last week which was 3 inches or so, plowed that out and the next day it rains with warm air. What a war of weather fronts!

Our granddaughter was married Saturday the 26th in the middle of snowing. It made for beautiful pictures and a chilling recessional. Yet, those pictures and memories will last their whole life. Sometimes adversity is difficult in the moment, but yields great memories and stories in the long run.

We have been somewhat in that arena for years now. However, being forged on this anvil of stress has yielded some really good things. When you are in the furnace of affliction you soon find what is of value and essential. 

The Holy Spirit works with all of us. He is patient and kind. He gives time for change. While I am wanting change NOW, he works things around so that all involved can benefit if they will. I have thought at times, why are they not changing, or why do they not see this truth or that way? In those moments there are interpersonal conflicts. Believer is struggling with another believer. We want to form sides. Sometimes people want to win, defeat the other person or group, gather folks to their side and win. Some even go so far as to want the other side to die, fail, vanish. However, I have been surprised at God. He works with all. He lovingly guides each. For the one may have felt the leading of the Spirit in one direction and the other does not. They both may be right and the interpersonal conflict is necessary to free both to follow the Spirit’s leading for their lives.

To want to win at the expense of the others is human nature, but not godly. We all have been there until we are corrected by the Lord. The Lord will win in both cases. And each will have to spend eternity with one another. I do not believe we will hide in our corner and refuse to talk to the folks in the throne room. I do not think we will refuse to speak when we bump into them on the streets of New Jerusalem.

Like the weather our lives can be balmy, peaceful, and tranquil and then suddenly, there is a storm and a drop in temperature that is soul chilling. The illusion of life always being under control is shattered regularly. We, like the thermometer, can set new record lows and highs although we long for a steady 72 degrees.

What really matters is maintaining a sense of value, integrity, love for one another, and the knowledge of constantly growing in the direction of conforming to the image of  Jesus.

  • Pastor Bill

Sudden Life Change

Sudden Life Change

Last Sunday was very weird for me. Not having church threw my whole sense of what day it is off. I kept thinking it was Monday. It messed up my normal routine. I missed the fellowship, the worship, the after church chats, going to lunch with someone, and my afternoon nap after preaching. Oh well, the weather changed all that. I understand that was the most snow in one event we have had in a number of years possibly as far back as 2005.

Mary, my daughter, texted me and said it must be really bad, dad canceled church. I really dislike having to cancel church, but this event was serious enough that it could endanger anyone who tried to make it.

Life lessons teach us that life can change drastically in a moment. You can be going along with plans that are good, everything in place, the day laid out, and suddenly it changes and forces everything to go another direction. Monday we were driving along, coming from Canton area back to the house. The roads had cleared up and were mostly dry. We were within a mile of the Hayesville exit on Rt. 30. I had the cruise control on and was passing a business van. I got to the place where my passenger side mirror was straight across from his when he drifted my way. I moved the truck as far left as possible and honked my horn and then suddenly “bang” he hit just behind the rear passenger side door. The impact sent my truck spinning. I think he hit us again as we spun in front of his van and then went straight into the guardrail. We hit the guardrail hard and spun to the left and ended up facing the way we came. The seatbelts kept us from being thrown forward into the windshield. We just sat there, stunned. We were all right. 

There is no time to think or correct. It happens so fast that there is no control, no reaction time. You are totally at the mercy of time, space, and the laws of inertia. Where will this stop? My mind went to “Will we be hurt? Could this be the end?” “Will Cathy be all right?” There was no time to pray, repent, check in with God. As we sat there waiting on the State Patrol, we thanked the Lord for taking care of us, we called the kids. We kind of checked ourselves. “Are you hurt? Are you all right?” “You sure?!”

This morning I am all right. But the truck is damaged heavily, but still is slightly drivable. No engine damage etc. We were thankful to be in a large vehicle and sturdy. It can be repaired. The real blessing is we were not hurt, nor the driver of the van.

But the lesson, once again, is that things can change so rapidly. I have thought through the years that people who say they have time, really do not. Those who think that they will have time just before they die, it probably won’t happen. Either you take care of those things now or you will most likely not have time to care about it at the moment. “Today is the day of salvation.” This rings so true. The writers of the New Testament call out to us to make today the day. Do not hesitate, do not procrastinate, do not think that you will be afforded a long moment to repent.

I can think of so many cases through the years where someone’s life was snuffed out in a moment and others whose lives were drastically changed in a moment. Today is the day.

  • Pastor Bill

Go For the Rebound

GO FOR THE REBOUND

Pastor Doug Duble sent these quotes out to his church in Columbus. He, most often, sends his thoughts along to me as well. Often quoted too is falling down is not defeat unless you refuse to get up. Quitting is when you are defeated. Just as Duane was speaking last week about worry and how it can be debilitating, we can become overwhelmed with scenarios of defeat, failure, self recrimination, and even disgust.

These many quotes from famous people who have known the ups and downs of life and maybe spent a large amount of time in difficulty such as Winston Churchill are important because they are birthed out of the experience. Take a look:

“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.”– Napoleon Hill

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”

– Winston Churchill

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” – Elbert Hubbard

“You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”– Wayne Gretzky

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”– Jack Canfield

“Remember that failure is an event, not a person.”– Zig Ziglar

“A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”– John C. Maxwell

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.”– George Bernard Shaw

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”– Henry Ford

Reading the lives of the various apostles, there were so many experiences recorded that could have met failure and quit. The most famous one may be the denials of Peter on the night of the betrayal, the court cases, and the crucifixion. Riding high on the power of relationship with Jesus and his obvious leadership qualities, Peter would have never thought of failing, denying, repudiating his relationship. Wow, how quick things can change. Once the rooster crowed and Jesus glanced over to Peter, he was devastated, broken, personally disgusted with himself. He probably felt that it was all over. He was the biggest loser in the world and probably hated himself.

I think that he would never be, ever again, in the graces of God. When death came to Jesus, there was, in his mind, no way he could ever make it up, correct it. Possibly he thought he was out, no longer worthy to be a disciple, let alone a leader. Jesus knew this. Jesus purposely invited him to breakfast after the resurrection. As they were eating, the thrice denial was turned into a thrice confession of love. With each confession, Jesus renews the call, the commission, the forgiveness. The prophecies of Jesus came to pass. He did become the one to open the doors and lay the foundation of the church and yes, the prophecy of his denial came true was well. Two prophecies at opposite ends of the spectrum, both fulfilled.

Failure was turned into success. Peter lead the church into world changing power and influence. 

Rebound!!!

  • Pastor Bill

Transitions

Transitions

Transitions are not easy, but they are necessary. Life has a number of them. We transition from being an infant to a toddler. Bumps and bruises happen as we learn to walk and navigate. While we are struggling getting from one point to another, mom and dad are cheering us on. We transition from early childhood to school age. Now we are thrown in with all kinds of other kids. We are not the only ones in a small circle of care. We have to adjust and adapt to various personalities and schedules and study. Another significant transition is from childhood to puberty. All kinds of physical and hormonal changes are taking place. Some body parts are too big or too small, feet growing, limbs growing, turning us into gangly, uncoordinated messes at times. Hormonal changes are bringing acne, facial hair, moods, and strife with parents. Trying to grow up faster than the brain will allow. Another huge transition is the one from middle school to high school. Most freshman enter as still kids and are thrown in with guys with beards, fully developed muscles, many at their final height and you feel like a dwarf in an adult world, but it isn’t. The one from high school to college or the military will be just as huge as that first day in high school as a freshman.

Oh, then there is the transition from single to married. Lookout! The change from being married to having a kid in the mix is tantamount to a major earthquake. Down the road, there is the parenting job of raising teenagers, most difficult. But after the high energy of teens in the house, you tend to collapse into the empty nest which is a major shock to mothers. Then comes the transition to becoming a grandparent. For most, this is a welcome phase. However, for some, it is hard because they are not ready for the word, “grandma, or grandpa.” 

Age transitions continue. These come at various ages later in life. Some can continue to function lively into the 80’s and 90’s; while others are physically old in their late 50’s or early 60’s. But the transitions are there and what you able to do changes. This transition affects the children since the middle aged children now become concerned and caring for the older parent.

Transitions. Hard, necessary, unavoidable. 

There are transitions in the faith as well. They tend to parallel the pattern of life too. In our spiritual infancy, things are easy, exciting. As we grow, we learn, we struggle, and persevere. As we age in the faith it is too easy to fall into a dull routine. The relationship with Jesus can stagnate or it can prosper. It takes attention and work.

I sense, I know. We are in a period of transition. Not only us. I believe there is a birthing of a movement of God happening. It is in its beginning phase, but it is here. It is not full blown. It is the early, small tremors of the movement, but a shaking is in progress. God is speaking to many of his people. I have been sensing this for several years and am now getting a handle on it. We are transitioning. The ways of the past several decades are coming to an end. There is a fresh breath of God beginning to blow. We are about to discover the dynamic of the “Jesus Movement.” “The Way” that Saul was persecuting and “The Way” that Paul preached after the transition on the road to Damascus.

Transitions…

  • Pastor Bill