Friday, October 31, 2008

I can barely remember


the emotion and excitement of 1980. I just can't. I did remember the pain of 1983 and 1993. I did remember the lost Super bowl and the NFC Championship games. I did remember being manhandled by the Lakers with Shaq and Kobe. I did remember being humiliated in the Stanley Cup.

But as I sit in my office this morning, all I remember is Wednesday night. I remember a team that flew through the playoffs with just three losses. I remember Shane, Brad, Ryan, Chase, Carlos, Cole, Jimmy, and Pat (o glorious Pat).

I simply remember the joy of watching that 0-2 pitch that dropped off the table and Eric Hinske swinging over it. Oh my, what a moment.

What a moment.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We live in an impatient world

We want things when we want them. Soon is simply not soon enough for us. I was reminded of this fact as I watched the Phillies game last night. MLB wanted the game now, the fans wanted the game now, Fox network wanted the game now. It was not to be. It was instead a night to learn about patience all over again.

Patience. According to something that I read today; For many of us, patience is a quality more admired than desired. And I say amen! I admire all those people who have the patience to wait and to seek out things in life. There are people that I know who continue to run up against it in life but have the patience to keep plugging along as they wait for God to direct them in a new way.

I admire them, but boy I don't want to be them. I want answers now. I want God's direction now. I want every program we start at church to succeed now. I want every meeting to be beneficial now. I want every Bible study to be fruitful now. I want all sermons to be rich and dynamic now.

When do I realize that God just doesn't work like that?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Where is Bottom?


I have talked to a financial adviser recently that has told me that things will be looking up by the end of next year. I listened to another adviser on the radio this morning that said not so fast. Of course Glen Beck, who is quite the "optimist", said yesterday we are modeling the Great Depression.

So which way is up? How far is down? Does anyone really know?
According to Business Week it should be over in May. May?
Well in the meantime, let the financial experts figure this all out and let us think about people.

Not money but people, crazy huh? The reality is that in a climate like this people are going to be fearful, and when they are fearful they tighten up the purse strings. The people that are most effected by this are the people that can least afford it. So that is where we come in.

We need to get out there to our churches, employers, businesses, communities and let everyone know that there are people who need help. They are hungry, tired, sick and they need our help. If we think the economy is tough on us, how do you think they feel.

Don't forget the people. They need us.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

So let's just say



We elected all the correct people this year. We got it all correct, all the way from President down to dog catcher. Let's take it one step further and say that all those correct people implemented all the correct legislation and we all voted correctly for all the right referendums.

Will that usher in God's Kingdom? Will it make us better parents? Will it makes our hearts less hard towards God's will for us? Will it eliminate poverty and disease and natural disasters? This was the premise of an article I read this week from Leadership magazine. I was talking to a friend of mine and working on my sermon for this week. Which coincidentally(yea right) had to do with church and state issues.

So what do you think? Politics are so very important it seems in our lives these days. The economy is in trouble and our national confidence is shaken. The church that is called to be bold and courageous is eerily quiet.

So is there a "correct" candidate? Is there a "correct" set of legislation? For me personally I would think there are some candidates who are better than others and some policies that are better than others. In the end though you can't legislate someones heart. In the end we need to trust in Jesus and not politics to bring real hope and real change and the real light to the world.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

World Series


I guess if I was a "good citizen" I would have watched a little of the debate tonight. So maybe I am not a good citizen, but I am one happy Phillies fan.
It happened, it finally happened! We are on the way to the World Series.

It has been a long time coming and lots of pain and anger and disappointment. All that is behind me now and all I see is the World Series starting next week.

It started tonight with a blast off the bat of Jimmy Rollins and the Phillies never looked back. Sure Manny was Manny and drove one into the right field bleachers but it was not nearly enough. Cole Hamels looked fantastic and the rest of the team scratched and clawed and did enough to get ready for Tampa Bay (or Boston if a miracle happens).

Watch out for those Fighting Phils. So tonight maybe I am not a good American citizen for missing the debate, but I am a proud citizen of Phillies nation!

Friday, October 10, 2008

I love this game!


So much emotion and so many breathtaking moments. 24 hours ago, I was winding down after the first Phillies win and now I have two wins to enjoy.

Brett Myers did not pitch his best game ever, but it could be that we just flat out exhausted after getting three RBI's and scoring two other runs. Unbelievable performance. It is looking more and more like this could be the year. The World Series is so close....so close.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

What a game


Cole Hamels was very good and Derek Lowe just as good. Pitch for pitch they went at it and it was Hamels and the Phillies who ended up on the winning side.

It was definitely not an easy win but it was a fun game to watch. Good defense, great pitching and just enough offense. It is hard to believe that it is starting to be a relief to see Ryan Madson come into a game. He has been fantastic.
Well, game one is over and the Phillies are off to a fast start. Buckle your seat belts it is going to be a fun ride.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sometimes I feel like a rowboat

When we went through the Panama Canal this summer, I saw several of these tiny rowboats. Inside each rowboat was one man who would row himself out right next to the big ships passing through the canal. The rowboats would take a cord from the ship and bring it back to the middle of the canal where it would be hooked up to powerful machines that would then lead the ships through the canal. The liner that we were on was hooked up to 4 of these machines, each machine cost about 1.5 million dollars.

As I was looking at this picture, I couldn't help but feel as if sometimes, I feel as isolated as this man did that day. I am forced to row my boat at big ships(economy, fear, tradition, anger, selfishness, poverty) and try to connect those feelings to something that is going to help guide us through(the Gospel).

Sometimes the trip is easy, but at other times it feels as if I am rowing against the currents of society. I am rowing against all those doubts that I have of whether I am the man for the job. I feel as if my vision might be a little suspect and I need some help.

Sometimes though the trip is so much easier. I feel as if the waves are carrying me in safely. It is like all opposition to the changes needed have been removed. I see clearly all the obstacles in my way and am able to steer around them.

Why the differences? I am not totally sure. I know sometimes those differences are due to my own foolishness and pride. I realize that I am the current I am rowing against. Other times it is not so easy to figure out what the problems are.

Have you ever felt like that?

What do you do?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

One more Step


One more step was taken today. Joe Blanton pitched a gem, and Pat Burrell continues to make his case for staying a Phillie. So it is time to face the Dodgers with home field belonging to the Phillies.

Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake, Matt Kemp and company are all that is standing between us and the World Series. The World Series, who would have thunk it! I am so excited.

The Dog days


I want to introduce you to my "sister", Winnie. This is my parent's dog. She is visiting me this afternoon, well her and my parents are visiting.

It is a really nice thing to be able to relax with family on a Sunday afternoon and today we get to watch the Eagles and the Phillies.

Winnie doesn't know anything about the Phillies or the Eagles she just knows that every once in a while she is going to hear me yelling and carrying on. It won't effect her too much, she will continue on with her day oblivious to the world around her.

The Dog Days for her are just days filled with eating and walking and playing with other dogs, not letting things she doesn't control, get her upset. Not a bad way to live really. Just focus in on today and let the other stuff take care of itself.

So be like Winnie, enjoy your very own Dog Day today.

Friday, October 03, 2008

I am afraid


Some days this really feels like a job. When the paperwork is due and there is meeting after meeting on the calendar it just seems like an occupation. So on those days I tend to get a little afraid, that this will simply become something I have to do each day.

The great news is that those feelings do not last long. Most days are like today when I got to get out and visit some people and just talk. Talk to them about their lives and their fears and their joys. On days like these, I can't imagine a better way to spend my day or my life.

When I started in ministry, I had two girls who came into church each Sunday and asked if they could wear pajamas to church, I of course said no. As time went on they began to ask why and I just told them we were not "allowed". They said why again, and I realized that there was no reason other then I was afraid of what people might think if I let people wear pjs to church.

I quickly made an "executive" decision and made one upcoming Sunday, PJ Sunday. So when the early Sunday Contemporary service was about to begin I was worried that no one would come in pjs. Finally as people began to walk in the door, one by one they all were wearing them!
So the picture you see is me standing up by the altar in my pjs. What a great Sunday that was, it taught me a lot and it is a feeling that I remind myself of time to time when things get serious and busy and I worry that this might just be a job.

I remind myself that I worship a God of creation. A God of love and excitement, newness, and FUN!!! The God I preach about on Sundays is not boring and does not want us to be either. So today I am reminded that this is not a job and this is not something that I am "stuck" doing, my calling is a blessing and a joy and I can't wait until my next PJ Sunday!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

1993

In 1993 the cost of a :
gallon of milk was $2.86
a stamp was $.29
gallon of gas was $1.11

Why do we care about that? Well it was in the year 1993 that the Philadelphia Phillies last one a playoff game. It was in the 5th game against the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series. Who would have thought it would be 15 years before it happened again?

Well Game one is over and they finally did it, Cole Hamels reminded us of the Last great left handed starter the Phillies had, Steve Carlton. Of course Brad Lidge brought back flashbacks to Mitch Williams, but that is a whine for another day. They won game one and the odds are now in our favor of moving on to Round Two. But before I get to far ahead of myself, let's just relax and enjoy this victory! .....edited due to brain lock!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Confidence and Power


Listening to the news the past few weeks, you can't help but feel a little worried of what the future may hold. We have so many pulls on our economic situation.

People are talking about hundreds of Billions of dollars like it is nothing. People are starting to lose confidence that their money is safe. They feel that they have lost power over their future. I got tired of being worried about those things so I began to look at some pictures. I saw lots of great pictures that my wife has taken over the years and then I came upon this one.

Ginny and I went to the Niagara Falls a few years ago. What a magnificent experience. I think that this was one of the first places that I have been to where I really was struck by the sights. On vacation, I am more of just a relaxation kind of guy, however some of the last vacations I have been on have changed that. I have begun to really look at the world around me and marvel at it in a new way.

The trip to Niagara Falls was the tipping point for that change. To stand and look out at that vast amount of water and the power that it had was simply breathtaking. What this picture and others like it remind me of is that we don't really have that much power and it is okay. The God who created the Niagara Falls and all the other beauty in this world has all the power and we need to have confidence in him.

The future may not look like we envision it, however that does not mean we need to worry so much about it. So spend less time worrying and more time seeking God. Let's spend more time in prayer and fellowship and reading God's word.

In the end it comes down to who we have confidence in God or man. I choose God.