Gee, That Went Well
January 23, 2017

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Well here we are, 3 days into the new presidency and the country has gone mad. Wait, the world has gone mad. I’m 61, and I’ve never seen anything like this.

Protestors, which aren’t protestors when they don’t know what they are protesting about, are out on the streets because the democratic process of electing a president was upheld. Let that sink in.

There is nothing wrong in disliking your government. Jesus’ followers hated the government they had. They were under bondage. They were under oppression. They waited for a savior, someone to get them out from all of this. That is what they expected Jesus to do.

They wanted a revolution. Change things, and they were certain Jesus was the one that would change it all. He would restore a government for the Jews where they would rule. But that wasn’t why He came.

He paid taxes. Remember the story where He sent Peter fishing to get a coin from the fish’s mouth to pay? Or how about the time the Pharisees tried to trick Him about paying taxes, and Jesus’ response was “render unto Caesar what is Caesars and render unto God what is God’s”? (Mark 12:17)

Prior to Jesus coming to earth, there were many uprisings that were squelched by the Romans. Many times they tried to overthrow the government. But Jesus and His followers told them otherwise.

Paul said, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,“. (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

He didn’t tell them to hold up signs, break windows (if they had windows there), call names, and swear at them. He didn’t say overthrow the government, punch people, assassinate them, or belittle them.

Romans 13:1 Paul says, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

So God gives us the leaders we need. Some He uses to bless us and others to punish us. When He blesses us we thank Him, when He punishes us, we repent. The Old Testament is filled with those situations. So basically, when we fight against the government, we are fighting against God.

But people will continue to be people. They will continue to fight and all the things we shouldn’t. And that is where we rise up as a Chosen people to fight back with the best weapons that God has given us.

Pray.

 

 

Changing of the Guard
January 11, 2017

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Well here we go, the changing of the guard.

America changes every 4 or 8 years and we are in for another change for president. Whether you love him or hate him, too bad. He will be president in 10 days. President of the United States.

Such hatred during elections. Name calling, losing friends, losing customers, jobs, all because of differences of opinions and tastes. We need to tolerate other views.

For example, I have many, many friends that are Pittsburgh Steeler fans. Am I still friends with them? Of course. It’s differences.

I wonder, what would happen if we could disagree and be ok with each other? Let the other person have their opinion without dismissing them from our lives, or calling them names. I notice both sides of the political spectrum that each side called each other the same name: Hitler, fascist, stupid, and other things that are very hurtful.

If you’re a Christian I want to remind you of something. If you’re not a Christian, then I want to enlighten you with something.

Romans 13:1- “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Yep, think about it.

Barrack Obama? Yep, placed there by God. Donald Trump? Yep. Placed there by God. So when we argue or name call  the president ( or president-elect), then your argument is really with God. Not that dirty, rotten, so and so that doesn’t agree with you!

Without getting into a discussion or argument, the Bible shows us that He puts people in power to bless or punish a people. So you can look at the president and decide which one it is.

We are a peculiar people, aren’t we? We take things personal and we try to demean people that don’t think like us. They’re uninformed, uneducated, even “deplorables”. And doggone it, we are right! Right?

Look at the crazy world we live in. Just think if we all could live together in peace. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

So as a Christian to other Christians I challenge you. Follow what Paul told the Romans in Chapter 12:14- “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

If all my brothers and sisters in Christ did this, no matter what the response is from those around you, we may not have peace on earth, but we will have peace with God.

He Ain’t Heavy……Well, Yeah, He Is
March 16, 2016

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So I went to the doctor’s last Friday for a follow up appointment from when I had my urinary tract infection. Listen to this wonderful story about my health insurance.

Before I took the insurance, we called to see if our doctor was covered, and was told she was. I then asked what hospital I was to use, as my doctor is associated with the one at the end of my street, called Sharon Regional. So they said it wasn’t on the list, but I was “probably” covered. I don’t trust any of them.

Let me back up. In February, I ended going in to see an associate of my doctor, as my doctor wasn’t in, and told him my complaints. He gives me a urine test and says there is an infection. Antibiotics and if there are still problems then I should go to the ER.

That night, I couldn’t breathe. Bonnie was at work, she calls the insurance and says what’s going on and what hospital should I go to. The lady said Sharon Regional wasn’t covered and I had to go to UPMC (which I preferred as I believe it’s a better hospital. I’m so glad Bonnie called, because this gets better). So off I go and all sorts of tests, x-rays, etc., and I go home.

Now I like my doctor and I’m deciding do I find a doc associated with UPMC? After all, if I’m hospitalized, she can’t come see me. So, as I like the doctor, I’m keeping her.

Ok, back to the present. Before I go to the doctor’s on Friday, Bonnie opens the mail and we get a bill for my urine test. My doctor’s associate, apparently, sent it in for testing TO SHARON REGIONAL, and I got a bill for $500! I’m going to sell my urine if it’s that valuable! Chanel No. 5, look out.

Now my doctor who I saw last Friday is a sweetheart. I like her personality and her medical skills. So she tells me my blood work is good and I’m in “great shape”. (I love this doctor). Other than my sugar which was 8 on my hemoglobin A1C. It should be 6 or lower. So, back to walking and watching what I eat. I also have a cyst on my kidney that they will monitor.

I’ve discovered something about me during this aging process. I’ve said this before, I don’t care much what other people think. They want me to get on the scale, and normally I empty pockets, wear shorts, no socks, take off coats, and trim my nails and eyebrows to get my weight taken and tell myself that the kidney cyst must weigh 5 pounds AT LEAST. Not anymore. Jeans, hoodie sweatshirt, socks, jacket, pockets full of keys and a wallet. It didn’t matter. I am what I am.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m going to try to lose weight, and normally I weigh myself in the morning with just my gutchies on (sorry for the visual there), and weigh myself before and after my shower and take my lowest number. However, I’m no longer stressing about it. I’ll try my best and weigh myself occasionally. I’ll exercise and attempt to lower my A1C, but that’s it. No fad diets, but will try to get off the diabetic med.

Now, I realize I am in “great shape” because of medicine. So I will try my best to get off the meds for blood pressure (maybe just quit following the Browns, that should lower it) and keep the cholesterol low. I’ve incorporated oatmeal with all natural peanut butter and add fruit. Actually, it’s my favorite meal, at least for now.

I want to be around for my grandchildren and dance at their weddings. (When I dance now, I realize I move like a drunk rhino or Elaine on Seinfeld). So I’m not making light of it. I want to encourage everyone to do what you can to lose the weight you need, strengthen the muscles you need, and don’t give up.

In the meantime, I cut my portions, have an occasional piece of Philadelphia Candies chocolate, share mini M&Ms with Haniah, but try to focus on more balanced meals. Ok, yesterday we had Olive Garden and I ate enough bread sticks to build Trump’s wall, but that wasn’t the norm. I wish it could be. When I’m home I eat wheat pasta, and I hear my mother’s voice saying, “Joey, I raised you better than that”. But, she died at 68 from complications from her diabetes and heart. So, Mama, I gotta do what I got to do. With the help of Christ, through prayer.

I hate on Facebook when people say, “I’m going to do this” or “I’m going to do that”. Just do it. After you’re done, let us know what you did. That’s my plan. An occasional update. Today I weigh 273.6, fully clothed, as I don’t want to have you visualize me, you know, the other way.

 

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.