Archive | March, 2008

A Discouraged Encourager

19 Mar

What do you do when your encourager becomes discouraged?? When the one who keeps gas in YOUR tank runs out of gas?

I fancy myself an encourager. At least, I hope people see that and hear that from me in a genuine way. I guess every pastor is required to be somewhat of an encourager, but I would like to think I do it a little better than some . . . Especially to those around me. ESPECIALLY to my staff and family.

These days, I am finding that there ARE some things that are not as black and white as they might seem. There are times when I encourage those I love to go on and do what we all think to be right, and then step away and wonder if I am doing the RIGHT THING. Not about biblical or ethical issues, mind you, but I am finding some things in life to be very hard to understand and a little harder to categorize. And when you care about someone, that adds another element to the mix that clouds things up.

Sometimes it gets harder and harder to pump people up when they are seeing no return from their passions and abilities. I wonder if I am setting them up for a harder fall, or should they just play through the pain? Yes, there are only so many team cliches in my database. What happens when I run out???

This morning I realize it is time to pray, pray hard, and trust God to give me the right answer. AND, I know I need to be willing to follow Him, even if the right answer is not the one I expected.

Who removed my signs???

19 Mar

Yesterday, in preparation for the softball game, I had to go by the field after picking Drew up and take care of something. As I get there, I discover two of our outfield signs are GONE. The “Sonic” sign (which is really cool and is probably hanging up in someone’s room now) and the Cale Yarborough Honda sign (which had a lot of detail on it, so I cannot imagine why they took that one). WHY????

I would only imagine it to be vandalism . . . Several items have been stolen lately, or so I am told, but those would have no value to anyone but US. And, it will cost us $80 per sign to replace (which we sell as a fundraiser, so it is money we really do not have).

So, if you see a 4 foot x 8 foot Sonic OR Cale Yarborough sign floating around Florence, please let me know.

Holy Week

18 Mar

Holy Week, for any Christian, is a time to slow down and reflect on what our faith is really all about. NOT JUST a time to think about Easter, but a time to really look at the earthly life of Christ and the events that led to that old rugged cross we sing of . . . And, think about all of this for a moment.

This week began on what we traditionally call Palm Sunday, a time when many, many people lined the road coming into Jerusalem for the triumphant entry: Jesus, saddled on a donkey, slowly riding through the praise and palms. People giving him the coronation-style parade and shouting praises to Him. Some of those same people would, in less than five days, yell “CRUCIFY HIM!” when asked what to do with Jesus over Barabbas, a hardened criminal they asked to be released.

You think YOU could have a bad week?? Nothing compares to what Jesus faced that week. Around the church, Easter is the pinnacle of what we do. And we take it seriously. And the devil knows that, and tries to make this week the most difficult.

We cannot let him win this battle, because we know Who wins the war!!

Sometimes the dance is not fair . . .

17 Mar

How did Miami make it to the dance and Virginia Tech did not?? Yes, I know the “experts” have their opinions, but watching them both play often, I don’t understand that one at all. No offence to the Hurricanes . . . I think they BOTH should have made it. But the facts are, there are only 34 at-large bids. The best way to KNOW you are going to the dance is to win your conference tournament.

Who’s gonna win?? Anyone who knows me (or will look below this post OR to the right) knows who I am cheering for, but at this point, it is anyone’s dance. One of the great things about this tournament is that anyone can win. Giants will fall and underdogs will prosper.

It is the most wonderful time of the year!!!!

16 Mar

Today’s sermon

16 Mar

A Building of Character

A Team MUST have a leader

14 Mar

That is a statement that perhaps can only be understood if you have ever been part of a team. And, I am NOT talking about coaching . . . Coaching must be there, too, but for a team to function properly, leaders must lead it in the right way. Believe it or not, I played four sports in high school, and the love of my high school life was basketball. I was probably not quite as good as I would like to think, but I loved it. I worked at it. And it taught me so much about life to be on that team.

Throughout my high school career, I learned to valuable lessons: How to win and how to lose. The second one, maybe a little more often than the first. And I would like to think it built character. But what I want to write here today is that where the coach had a great impact, the greatest impact was from the team leaders. The peers that stepped up and taught us younger guys about all of this. Without them, I would not have been able to step up when I was a senior and do the same for the younger guys I played with. Without them, I probably would not have gone into coaching basketball, something I have done since I graduated in 1984 up until about three weeks ago when my guys won their league in the church league.

In varsity sports, seniors carry the weight of this. Because, like it or not, people ARE listening, watching, and they will follow (good or bad). And when those who should lead do not, it is a painful thing to watch. And when you see one stepping up, even in the face of adversity, you need to recognize it and ENCOURAGE them. That is something I think I will do today.

Because, a team also needs ENCOURAGEMENT.

I think all of this really does tie back into the church as well. A pastor can only coach so much . . . It takes LEADERS to motivate and move. Peers who buy into the common vision (which, in our case, is the KINGDOM OF GOD) and are willing to do what it takes: Even if it means sacrificing self for the greater good. That is something foreign to our nature and difficult to do, but it is EXACTLY what Jesus did for us.

Will YOU step up and lead today?

Bob Knight on ESPN??

13 Mar

NO . . . That didn’t work for me at all. Not that it matters, but I started to change the channel when he came on and could not immediately find the remote. So, I watched and listened.

NO. That is not gonna work at all. Not that he was obnoxious or spewing the kind of four-letter words that he usually spews (and, like his disciples spew also), but he really looked uncomfortable and added nothing to the clip I saw. In fact, he looked angry to be there. I thought he was gonna start chewing Digger Phelps (another long time old coach who DOES do a great job in the chair). Maybe he will start throwing chairs through the HD monitors or slapping the cameras.


12 Mar

In honor of this, the 400th post to this blog, I will award the coveted Commerical of the Day award.

The COTD goes to Dunkin Donuts, for their total dis of Starbucks in a commerical on ESPN today. Dunkin spoofs the French/Italian words on the Starbucks menu, finally deciding that it is not really french or italian, but “Fretalian.” GOOD ONE, GUYS!

Now, if you REALLY want to get them, build a DD in Florence!

Grace under pressure

11 Mar

So easy to talk about, so hard to accomplish . . . To exhibit grace when things do NOT go your way. Yep, that is a tough one, and yet we are called to do it. Too many Christians are syrupy-sweet when it comes to daily living UNTIL the tide turns and something doesn’t go their way. Then we see their teeth. Then, as if from a Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde movie clip, things go from zero to ugly in 2 seconds.

WHY? Why do we feel like we need to behave this way? WHY do we feel like we have the RIGHT to behave this way? I will tell you why . . . Because we do listen to and ascribe to the teachings of Jesus, but WE STILL LISTEN TO THE WORLD WHEN IT SAYS “Don’t put up with ANY JUNK!” Let me say that another way . . . It is because we have one foot in the kingdom of God and ONE FOOT IN THE WORLD. Yep, I wrote it.

It is wrong for ANYONE to conduct themselves with the grace of God ONLY WHEN THINGS ARE GOING THEIR WAY. Guess what?? The tide WILL TURN and there will always be times in life when things are not going your way.

And, those times tell the story of YOUR CHARACTER. How about a litte grace under pressure???