Deja Vu

Pam is planning on sharing more about today’s adventures in more detail.  It’s interesting how we don’t learn the lessons that God is trying to teach us the first time.  Again God reminded me, that there is no need in worrying and getting all stressed about it.  We had (like many in VA, WV, and OH) a massive wind/thunderstorm roll through here yesterday.  Many are still without power (including a part of Staunton) and yet we are blessed this evening.  I was worried that the food in the freezer would spoil – it didn’t.  The traffic was crazy on the road today – and yet God protected us.  Apparently my lesson learned hasn’t quite been learned yet 😦  I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to worshiping with our church family in the morning and sharing with them, just how good God is.

On Your Mark…Get Set

As you can probably guess I am getting a little antsy about getting back out and running again.  Since Sunday I have been out walking.  Sunday, I walked a very slow 1.7 miles and each day, I have been increasing the distance and this morning, despite the 70+ degree heat, even at 6 AM, I walked 4.08 miles with Pam.  Not only have I increased the distance each day, but I have increased the speed.  This morning we went out at our normal pace, clocking in around a 14:15 mile.  Which if you’ve ever walked is a pretty good clip.  Following the walk I felt great and remained feeling good the rest of the day. I even went out for another walk this morning.

The plan is to continue to go out for brisk walks until Thursday, when I go see the surgeon for my follow-up visit.  Friday, depending on when I need to go to work, I plan on my first post-op run – just a short and easy 3 miler.  I really can’t wait to get back out there and hit the pavement and run pain free – at least from the hernia.  I’m sure there will be other aches and pains.  I should get enough workouts in to run the Sweet Dreams 5K in about 4 weeks.  It won’t be a PR, but it will be a summer PR more than likely.  I’m hoping to be back to my regular running lengths by mid-August.

The good news in all of this, is that I have been able to continue to lose weight and as of today I am within 6 to 10 pounds of my goal weight.  I am excited to be at this point and look forward to reaching my goal by the third anniversary of running, which is August 31st.   As always, I am Pressing On!

Lesson Learned

Today was an interesting day – to say the least.  June happens to be the month that our van has to been inspected.  I was dreading this moment and put it off and put it off.  Yes, in some things I am a procrastinator.  One of the reasons, I procrastinated was because I was sure that we would need not only new tires, but brakes.  The last time we put tires on our van, they were expensive.  It seems everything is expensive for this van.  Being that the end of the month was coming in a hurry – it ends tomorrow – that was the first thing on the agenda following a morning walk.

There is very little need to say that I was stressed.  There were several in line for inspections because in Virginia, the auto car care places are not allowed to schedule appointments.  After about an hour, the mechanic came back and said we were finished.  I asked if it passed and he said, “Yes,” at first and then double-checked. No it didn’t pass, but the brakes were fine but the tires would need to be replaced along with the license plate lights.  They didn’t have tires in stock, so I checked a couple of places and finally found a place that would give me a great deal.  I was a little less stressed until I checked our bank account and found out that for some reason our deposit from yesterday didn’t show.  I called the bank, but they didn’t offer me an adequate explanation.  So we headed down to the bank.  After a little bit of detective work, we found out the check had been deposited in one of our daughter’s accounts instead of ours.  At this point, God was reminding me to count my blessings instead of worry.

While we did get a great deal on the tires, the tire place was a little out of the way, but more than paid for itself because the price was so good.  I actually drove right past the place and at the bottom of the hill found a short little cul-de-sac to turn around – my third blessing.  God really wanted to remind me that he was in control and that I didn’t need to worry.

The lesson learned is that God had it all under control in the first place – there was no need to worry.  As I began to think about that, the Lord reminded me of one of the scriptures that will be in this week’s sermon – So I got an early sermon this week. So here what the Lord taught me:

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Matthew 6:25-33 (New Living Translation)

Turns out that I procrastinated and worried and made much to do about nothing.  The Lord worked out everything that I was stressed about.  What are you stressing about today – what can you give to Jesus – what burden can you lay down?

Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen

Proper 8 (13)
(July 1, 2012)

2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 8:7-15; Mark 5:21-43

After the death of Saul, David returned from his victory over the Amalekites and spent two days in Ziklag.

17 Then David composed a funeral song for Saul and Jonathan, 18 and he commanded that it be taught to the people of Judah. It is known as the Song of the Bow, and it is recorded in The Book of Jashar.

19 Your pride and joy, O Israel, lies dead on the hills!
    Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen!
20 Don’t announce the news in Gath,
    don’t proclaim it in the streets of Ashkelon,
or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice
    and the pagans will laugh in triumph.

21 O mountains of Gilboa,
    let there be no dew or rain upon you,
    nor fruitful fields producing offerings of grain.
For there the shield of the mighty heroes was defiled;
    the shield of Saul will no longer be anointed with oil.
22 The bow of Jonathan was powerful,
    and the sword of Saul did its mighty work.
They shed the blood of their enemies
    and pierced the bodies of mighty heroes.

23 How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan!
    They were together in life and in death.
They were swifter than eagles,
    stronger than lions.
24 O women of Israel, weep for Saul,
for he dressed you in luxurious scarlet clothing,
    in garments decorated with gold.

25 Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen in battle!
    Jonathan lies dead on the hills.
26 How I weep for you, my brother Jonathan!
    Oh, how much I loved you!
And your love for me was deep,
    deeper than the love of women!

27 Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen!
    Stripped of their weapons, they lie dead.

As I first looked at this I thought, Wow, this is an encouraging way to start a Friday afternoon 🙂  This scripture really brings to close the chapter of Saul and of his son Jonathan.  At first Saul and David were close, especially after David defeated Goliath, but over time, Saul became jealous of David. The song was sung, “Saul has killed his thousands, but David his thousands of thousands.”  This was one of the things that came between Saul and David.  Saul spent most of his later life pursuing and trying to kill David.  What is interesting is that David had multiple opportunities to take out Saul to end the threat, but he didn’t.  The Lord even convicted him of one particular incident.

What we have here is the end of Saul and Jonathan’s life – great men – Saul was a great king and yet they met a tragic end – Oh how the mighty have fallen. It really is amazing, because Saul began as a God-fearing king and by the end of his life wanted little to do with God.

This really speaks to me, especially for those of us who are in ministry “careers.”  I’ve known so many who started well, who didn’t finish well.  I’ve known those who could have had any church they wanted, but after time, they decided not to follow after God and their careers came tumbling down.

Today’s reading is a reminder to all of us – are you continuing to fight the battle well – are you going to finish well, or we we say of you, Oh how the mighty have fallen?


Worship Defined

Worship is true intimacy between God and man.  It is the ultimate act of reverencing our Creator with adoration and submission.  True worship reveals man’s inadequate sate of being and his dependency on the one who holds the keys to life and death.  Worship is both inward and outward starting in the heart (personal) and yielding an outward demonstration (corporate.) Worship is the ultimate lifestyle.  Any human being can experience the relationship Adam enjoyed with God if they live in true holiness and righteousness offered by God. 

Perfection vs. Feeling

It’s been a while since I visited this little series “The Nuts and Bolts of Worship.”  Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve wanted to get back to writing more of my own stuff for Worshiping… It seems I do really well with quotes and links to other good stuff about worship, but haven’t written much lately on the subject.

Over the years, especially when it comes to music, people would consider me a perfectionist.  I would be guilty as charged.  I was having an interesting conversation with a member of the team on Sunday about this idea of creating music that is technically perfect.  This is really where the creative comes out in me.  Somewhere we have to create a balance – and it really is a fine line at times – between getting it perfect or having it feel good.

Many years ago I heard this comment about singing in the choir. “Always trust the director when it comes to the sound, because you hear the warts and all and don’t have the perspective of the director who is out in front of the choir hearing the voices blended together.”  It really is amazing what a few feet can do.  In the choir, you can hear all those bumps and bruises, but out where I normally stand anymore, you can’t hear those – especially when the choir is concentrating on blend.

One of the things that has happened, as I have gotten older, is that I want things to feel right.  I can’t remember which song we were working on this past Sunday, but we went back over a trouble spot.  It was me and the keyboardist and we were making sure that we were playing the same chords.  (I usually don’t have a printed score or chord charts in front of me – there are times especially on hymns where the chord changes on every beat.) Our keyboardist double checked me on a chord progression and after that it sounded much better.

I loved her attitude, because it was this – she didn’t want our playing to become a distraction.  There perhaps is the distinction.  We want to know/play our music to the best of our ability – we want to play our music or sing so that we don’t become a distraction and take away from the congregation entering in worship.  That’s what we need to shoot for as we rehearse each week.  Sometimes we feel that we need to have it all perfect and if it’s not perfect, we haven’t done our best or we have disappointed God with our sacrifice of praise.

Sunday morning was a perfect example of a service, while not technically perfect, was a Spirit-led service where God moved among his people.  Sure, we had a small technical glitch with Skype, but that didn’t detract or distract – something I consider very important. Yes, I feel that we need to make sure that we are executing the music well – because when we don’t we become a distraction, but there are times we focus so hard on executing the music well that we become distracted and lose our focus on worshiping our great God.

Praying With A Prayer

“Praying earnestly literally means ‘praying with a prayer.’ It’s more than words. It means acting on your prayers because you expect an answer. One reason many of us never get an answer to our prayers is that all we do is pray. You can’t just pray like Elijah; you have to act like Elijah. He didn’t just pray against the prophets of Baal; he challenged them to a sacrifice showdown. Elijah didn’t just pray for God to part the Jordan River; he struck it with his rolled-up cloak and walked through on dry ground.”

Mark Batterson in The Circle Maker

Reaching the Unplugged

The rise of the Internet, new media and mobile technology has ushered church communications into a new digital era. As a result, churches have worked hard to create a flawless user experience, engaged social networks and search engine optimized websites. We’ve come far but I fear we’ve left people behind. Meet the “unplugged.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Great points in order to make sure we are reaching our entire congregation.

Sunday Night Thoughts

Post #3197

Good evening blogging world.  It is Sunday night and it has been an interesting week to say the least.  Summer began this week at 7:09 PM on Wednesday. I have a funny story about that.  Wednesday was also the day I had my surgery.  I was told to be at the hospital at 6:30 AM to start the procedure for my surgery.  I like to be early, so we were there before they even opened the main doors.  Surprisingly, we weren’t the first to arrive.  We waited for the first person in line to be processed and then it was my turn.  They processed me quickly and before I had a chance to catch my breath, they were preparing me for surgery.  After what seemed like a million questions – which I am very glad for – making sure I’m the right person – what surgery I am having and so on — the nurse showed me the television and I turned on Good Morning America. It was just after 7 and they were doing the weather and mention that summer solstice was arriving at 7:09 PM.  It wasn’t long after that the anesthesiologist and the surgeon arrived.  The surgeon mentioned something about the first day of summer and I said “Yes, it arrives at 7:09 PM!”  He looked at me like, “What are you, a weather geek?”  I explained that I just saw that factoid on GMA, but didn’t mention that I really am a weather geek.  We have had some warm days – Wednesday was really warm.  We’ve even had some rain which helps the grass grow and fortunately someone is helping me with the grass over the next few weeks.  We have had cool mornings, but by the time the afternoon rolls around, the sun is hot – but it is June.  The early part of the week will be cool and later it will be warm again.

The surgery went well – except for a little gas pain now.  By Friday, I was starting to climb the walls.  Yesterday, I went out with Pam and James to the Staunton farmers market.  Then we walked around Wal-Mart for a while and then to the mall (which isn’t very big) just to walk around and get out of the house.  Last night, we went to Chick-Fil-A Unplugged.  We were able to hear several acoustic performers.  I am planning in participating in the next one in July.  It was a great evening of music on the patio of Chick-Fil-A.

This morning Pam and I got up and both went for a walk – Pam at a much faster pace than I.  I walked a little over a mile at a very easy pace.  I plan on taking another walk tomorrow morning at the same slow pace.  It was nice to get back out in the park again and I saw several familiar faces.  One of the cool things at the hospital was that several of the nurses were runners, so we had that to talk about.  Post-op the nurses had to keep reminding each other that the reason my pulse was so slow was that I was a runner.  My pulse was 45 post-op.  It was even that at one point on yesterday.  The anesthesiologist was also happy to hear that I was in good physical shape because he said that would facilitate my recovery – I think he was right.

Today we had a good service at Parkway.  It was good to worship with everyone today.  We tried something new this morning.  Our church is very missions-oriented and so we try to highlight one of the ministries that we support each month.  We thought it would be a great idea to start doing live interviews and today was the first.  At first, I was a little stressed because I couldn’t get the audio from the sound system into the laptop, so that they could hear me clearly.  It took some doing, but we finally got it.  We interviewed the missionary via Skype and that worked awesome.  It was a high-risk venture, but it was also high-reward.  I heard many complimentary comments regarding the interview.  The praise team did a great job, especially since we only rehearsed one time this morning.

This afternoon we just goofed-off.  Anna went on a trip with the young adults from church, so we just hung out and watched NASCAR.  Well that about covers it for this week.  I am looking forward to continuing to feel better.  This Thursday I get to rehearse with the district praise team for district conference.  I’ll be playing guitar.  I am looking forward to what God has in store for this week.

Seize the Day!