I, Me, Mine
March 10, 2016

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I’m self evaluating. Not sure why now, not sure what brought this on, but that’s what I’m doing now.

I find myself questioning my motives on all things lately. Why do I share certain things with others? Is it for their approval/disapproval? Why do I do the things I do? To please myself, others, God, none of the above?

Why do I put expectations on myself but not on other people? Do I feel I have to “be” a certain way or “act” a certain way? So bear with me while I figure this out.

As a pastor, who loves Jesus, I find that my behaviors and actions are at times more that I “like” Jesus more than love Him. I have attitudes, behaviors, thoughts, etc., that certainly wouldn’t be pleasing to Him. I feel shame with some of this, but as I evaluate, do I really feel shame or is it that I’m “supposed” to feel shame?

Do I write these blogs to get noticed, or do I write them for me? Do I have a need to be noticed, and if so, why? Am I that self absorbed?

I’m remarkably flawed, and it astounds me that God would ever want to use me in the pulpit. I tell Him, “You are one desperate Deity”. But yet He does. And He never lets go. Subtle changes have taken place, and other changes are yet to come, so let’s just put it out there. This is me.

I love Bob Dylan ( I have 35 of his CDs and have seen him twice in concert) and the Beatles. I find that the music moves me. There’s a show that is called “House of Cards”. It’s not a nice show, it’s a political show that I would not recommend to other Christians, but I like it very much. I am a very strong New York Yankee fan, I’m passionate about them and the Cleveland Browns. Win or lose, they are just a part of me. I get angry when they lose. But, as I’ve aged, the anger leaves quickly.

I’m a conservative Independent from a liberal democrat family. I will probably vote for Donald Trump. Everyone says if you’re a Christian, you shouldn’t vote for him. I don’t care, I probably will because I like the changes he wants to make. He’s vulgar, verbally abusive and can be mean. I’m not voting for his bedside manner.

I remember when my daughter had to go to a specialist and the doctor was very mean and ill mannered. I didn’t care because I hired her for her expertise, not her chumminess.

I loved my mother deeply and liked my dad. I get angry I see my dad in other people but I get madder when I see my dad in me.

Did I mention I love Bob Dylan?

I think our current president is one of the most ungodly presidents ever put in the White House. Then I remember that the Lord puts rulers in their places, and sometimes gives the people what they want.

I have a wickedly sometimes warped sense of humor. Morbid at times, inappropriate at times, but I always go for the laugh. I’m told I’m not supposed to. I’m working on it. But obviously, not very hard. I’m 60, not sure how much longer it’s going to take.

I’m greatly overweight, or I’m undersized, depending how you look at it. If I was 6′ 8″, I’d be the perfect weight. I’m undisciplined in my eating, but I do enjoy my walking to 199. I love it. I’m bald, and I am so ok with it. People think I shouldn’t be, but I am. And as I’ve gotten older, I care less and less about what people think of me. Although I care deeply what my wife and children think, and more so for my grandchildren.

But, I love all people. Christian, atheist, whatever. I love people who like the Pittsburgh Steelers (even though for the life of me I can’t figure out why they do). I love people who love the Boston Red Sox, although I believe a mental disorder is present. I realize if it wasn’t for Christ, I would not be very likable.

I love my church people, but some I love more than others. I’m like that with a lot of people. People tell me “I love them in Christ” but they don’t like them. My response is that if you love them in Christ then you’ll die for them. Outside of my wife, kids, and grandchildren, there aren’t many I’d die for.

I think I am a very good preacher, not by my doing, but by God’s. I don’t think I’m a very good pastor, however. I can get distracted and be lazy. I can put myself first at times, and that truly bothers me that I can do that.

I don’t want my flaws to be a stumbling block for someone coming to Christ. My political or sports or music views should not cause one to stumble. I wouldn’t want that.

Nobody knows how many prayers I’ve prayed for the Lord to change me more like Him. Struggles with thoughts and actions, confusion about “what is a Christian?” or “how does a Christian act?”. I look through the Scriptures and see David, a murderer, Jacob, a liar, Peter, a denier of Christ. Yet the Lord used them, as He uses me.

So my reflection has taught me this: I am a Christian pastor. I am also a human being sanctified daily.

 

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Facebook
January 14, 2016

When I was off Facebook, I missed my friends. Those around the country, even different countries, I missed pictures of them and grandkids, family, and their travels. My youngest Ben  thinks old people should be off Facebook. I was for awhile and I’m back, so let me tell you why.

I needed to get off for awhile to refocus. Not focus so much on politics and disagreements or arguments regarding it, but instead gleaning from the posts and maybe striking a chord with someone over mine.

Too many disagreements and arguments over sports, also. It, just like the politics, would start off joking, then turn in to a free for all. So through this time off, I learned who not to argue with because they are unreasonable.

First, liberals. They are so hell bent in going their way that not only do they disagree with you, but also demean you with snide comments about them feeling they are smarter and wiser than you. Their motto seems to be “If you don’t agree with me, you must be an idiot”.

Second, Steeler fans. They are determined to remind you they have six Superbowl wins, with 4 of them before they were even born. They are demeaning to all other teams, feel that all other teams play “dirty”, cheat, and when they do lose, they still think the other team is inferior and were “lucky”. They also believe that the NFL started in the 70’s, thus the Packers having the most titles doesn’t count.

Third, atheists. I’ve never had a “discussion” with an atheist. It’s always an argument. They want you to prove God exists, yet when you ask them if all the laws of physics and human nature are designed and they agree, they ignore the fact that there must be a designer. They mock your belief (see liberals above), and say that science proves that evolution  and the Big Bang Theory are facts. They are not. They are theories. At that point, they cease being scientists, but become philosophers. This is what they think.

Fourth, people who “have a cause” and do nothing to help it. Bruce Jenner supporters who get all flustered because he is called Bruce Jenner instead of his feminine name. Rich people that will protest for minority rights, yet not lift a finger to help. People that will save an Eagle’s egg and have you arrested, yet let millions of babies aborted. People who disrupt traffic, invade shopping malls, close bridges to point to their “cause”. It’s not a “cause” they point to but a pointing to themselves.

Fifthly, People who change the names so it’s more palatable, for example “illegal aliens” are now “undocumented workers”. There’s no longer a “Global War on Terror”, its an “Overseas Contingency Operation”.

I am finding that avoiding arguments with these people make Facebook so much more enjoyable (yet, Steelers fans continue their obnoxious baiting, however, I am not taking the bait). I get to see people I haven’t seen in years and show off my kids. And my grandkids.

So, much to Ben’s chagrin, I am back on Facebook. You can “friend” me if you wish, but, I won’t argue the point if you don’t.

Angry Young Man
March 8, 2014

Well, another week under the belt (that’s a sick expression for a guy trying to lose weight).

It’s been a weird week, eating habits were out of whack (amazing how old habits can come back like a pimple). So, on the good side, I worked out 3 times this week. So that’s good. But the weight this morning is 149.4.  Up 1.4 pounds. (I was upset, until I remembered, “I’m in the 240’s).  So, I figure I’ll have weeks like that. Good advice from my son Ben and my good friend, Vinny in regards to weight training. I got this!

I’m really excited spiritually, which leads to excitement physically. If I’m good spiritually, I’m good physically. I’ve begun to memorize Scriptures, a hearty task I might add. I read this book by Jerry Bridges and he said about memorization, so I thought I’d try it. He said to figure an area you need to work on (I narrowed it down to 15), and came up with anger.

I’ve always had an anger problem. I tell everyone that I can beat anyone in a “chainsaw throw”. I’ve thrown mine many times, and with quite accuracy and a distance of many yards. There’s also the “lawnmower kick”, but that doesn’t make the lawnmower go  very far.  Then there’s the “rip up the outside Christmas lights”, where they become so tangled, you just start ripping them apart and then throwing them away. More expensive than tearing up a phone book.

So, anger it is. We all have issues, don’t we? Overeating, swearing, anger, lust, hate, bitterness, prejudices, being a Steelers fan. We all do. It’s funny how we can easily point the finger at someone else, but not take to heart what we do. I guess it’s that sinful, human, nature we inherited. Stupid Adam and Eve.

But it can be overcome. The problem is that nobody wants to fight for it. Nobody wants to change. We become used to it, befriend it, and declare, “It’s just how I am! My daddy was this way, his daddy was this way, so it’s in the genes.” But it doesn’t have to be. Scripture tells us, for those who believe, “sin shall not be master over you  because you are no longer under sin but under grace”. (Romans 6:14).   That’s pretty thrilling.

I used to be a drunk, but not anymore. I used to do drugs. But not anymore. It’s because of God’s mercy and grace, and that very grace that brought me out from under the stronghold.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m still an idiot. In many ways. Too many to list. But I find that I make smarter decisions, better choices. Because of God. Yet, I’m still fat.

But I’m defeating this giant of weight. It’s being knocked down. I no longer live to eat, but eat to live. It’s because we, if we’re believers, we are more than conquerors. Able to do all things.

So how you doing with your giants? You can slay it, you know. I believe it. Do you?

Weight 249.4