Archive | December, 2010

The Last Day of 2010

31 Dec

Man … hard to believe!  The last day of 2010.

I remember, as a kid, thinking about the year 2000.  Realizing that I would turn 34 in the year 2000.  I thought surely it would never come.  I would never live that long …  (I have no idea WHY I thought that.  I didn’t have a death wish, just thought it would be a lifetime away!!)

Those days seem like yesterday now.  My children are young adults (well, Drew is 15 so almost).  Every year flies by faster and faster.  Life does have its ups and its downs.

I now find myself joining many adults in that middle zone … I’ve raised my children, and now with Dad and his NPH I am helping to ease he and mom through the next few years.  Physically and emotionally, its a tough spot to be in …

But today is the last day of 2010.  I am thankful to have lived another year.  This afternoon I will perform a wedding for a young couple … He is in the Marine Corp and stationed in Hawaii.  Praying for them and for all of the weddings I did in 2010.  Praying for the families of the funerals of 2010.  Praying today for my fellow Ebenezerites, that 2011 will be a great year to serve and build the Kingdom of God however He leads.  Praying for the Wike family, that God will reign supreme in EVERYTHING this year!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!  (almost!)

Christmas 2010

30 Dec

Deep down inside there was this fear … Looking back I realize how bad last Christmas was for the Wikes.  On Christmas night, 2009, Dad’s downhill slide began.  He entered Greenville Memorial Hospital not to be discharged February.  From there, he was at the Cottages of Brushy Creek (which is a GHS rehab facility) until the end of April.  So, in other words, Dad left his house on Christmas night 2009 and did not return until the end of April, 2010.  As Christmas came closer, there was this fear.  I felt it most when we left to go to my mother-in-law’s house for Christmas, which was where I was last year when all of this began to unfold.

Although it was a short trip, it was a good one.  I am so thankful for another Christmas WITH Dad.  Physically he is doing okay.  There will always be mental challenges, due to the nature of his disease (NPH).  These challenges mostly revolve around his memory and physical abilities.  But, again, I’m just glad we had a good, uneventful Christmas.

We had to rush back for Krissy’s surgery.  She broke her nose at least three times in her childhood.  Years ago, the doctor told us we had to wait until she was 19 or so to fix it because of growth plate issues.  Her number came up on that one this past Tuesday.  Unlike Diana’s surgery, we didn’t keep this one a secret.  We didn’t buy a billboard and broadcast it, either.  She is doing well … still in a considerable amount of pain, but she is making it.  Before the surgery, her septum was blocked 100% on one side and 90% on the other — NO WONDER SHE DOESN’T SLEEP!!!

CV Boots

24 Dec

“All I want for Christmas is CV BOOTS THAT DON’T SPRAY GREASE!!”  (Imagine a little kid with no front teeth singing that for full effect)

The CV Boot saga started on December 11.  We drove the Passport to Easley the weekend of my niece’s college graduation.  I was checking something under the car when I noticed grease sprayed on the inside of the right tire.  The left tire was clean, but the right tire had spray on the rubber AND inside the wheel.  Further inspection (AND texting two pictures from my iPhone to Paul Frazier’s iPhone) confirmed the outer CV boot was leaking.  A little.  Paul told me it looked to him like it was safe to drive home.  No popping or grinding.  So we brought it home, knowing it would be better to let the guys at Creel look at it OR to do it myself if possible HERE.  If I did it in Easley, it would drive Dad crazy.

So we drove it home.  I talked to the guys at Creel.  It wouldn’t be a terribly expensive repair, but would cost more than I have available at Christmastime.  Another option was a Quick-boot, sold at most auto parts stores.  That one was the $20.00 option, and even if it got me through six months that would be better than putting a lot more money out right now.  So, after talking it over with a couple of experts, that is the route I took.

I bought the boot and waited for a warm day.  IT NEVER CAME!  These boots are made of a rubber/plastic and have to be glued on TWO seams, and require a relatively warm area to work in.  My garage is too full of …. shall I say “stuff!”  I’d been keeping a close eye to see if the spray was getting worse when I suddenly noticed THE OTHER SIDE was spraying, too!!  The left front assembly was doing the same thing!!  I bought a second boot and waited for a good day to do both.

That day came this past Wednesday.  I took the day off and Drew and I set out to do the deed.  And, WOW, what a deed it was!!  We cut the first boot off and proceeded with the repair.  There was plenty of grease still in the joint and didn’t seem to be ANY contamination, so we repacked it and started putting the new boot back on.  To make a long story short, the kit had steel bands with which to clamp the boot.  They didn’t work great, so we opted to put hose clamps on (making sure they had plenty of clearance).  There was a spacing wedge that came in the kit.  It was also in two halves with fingers that interlocked.  It really didn’t fit the axle and kept pushing out when I would tighten the clamp.  I called their technical support, who seemed very knowledgable and helpful, and he recommended I reglue it and allow it to dry.  That didn’t work.  We ended up cutting a small piece of heater hose and using it as a shim.  So far, it is working like a champ!

The first boot took three hours to complete.  The second (minus drying time) took about an hour.  The ONLY other problem (so far) is there is one fold in the boot on the driver’s side that apparently didn’t seal with glue.  It is kind of like a pinhole leak.  The tech team at Dorman Industries (makers of the Quick Boot) is sending something to help me fix it.

The car went up on the jack at 8:30 am and came off around 2:30 pm.  And I have a great appreciation for auto mechanics now!!!  If I’d had the cash, I DEFINITELY would’ve taken it to the shop!!  Drew and I still have grease residue in our cuticles.  The one up side to all of this is we did the repair together, and I think he could do this someday when he has to!!!

For Good OR For Bad?

16 Dec

This entry is SPECIFICALLY for parents, especially those who still have children at home.  This entry is for grandparents.  This entry is for ANYONE who influences a child!!!

At one time (many moons ago), I thought basketball was my life.  Played it since I could stand up.  Played AND coached for YEARS and YEARS!!  So, you might understand why I love this game and the church basketball league has a special place in my heart.  I am thankful for Andrew Parker and the HARD WORK (and THANKLESS WORK) he puts in every year to make this thing happen.  If I told you some of the things he’s had to endure, they would make you blush!!  (Some of them make ME blush!)

With that understood, I don’t think ANYONE can understand how hard it is to run that league unless you’ve done it.  I’ve done it.  Sidney Rainwater did it.  Wes Andrews did it.  Robin Miller did it.  Adam Swindler did it.  Goin back old school, Craig Goss did it.  AND IT AIN’T EASY!!!!

And most of the problems are from ….  you guessed it … PARENTS!  Not too long ago I was sitting at a game and a kid … a YOUNG kid … was sitting in the bleachers near me.  I couldn’t believe the bile that was coming from that kid’s mouth!  It was venom.  It made me wonder if he hates this league so much, WHY DOES HE PLAY??  Sadly, I know there is some influence coming from his folks.  It made me stop and wonder how his life will turn out??

Parents, PLEASE BE CAREFUL TO PREPARE YOUR CHILDREN FOR LIFE!!!  If they grow up thinking everything is everyone else’s fault, they will never learn to function in this world!  And, rest assured, you will be paying bail and lawyer fees well into their adulthood.  I’ve seen it happen 100 times.  It all starts RIGHT NOW!  Watch what you say TO THEM and what you say AROUND THEM!!  YOU ARE MOLDING THEIR LIVES RIGHT NOW!!

Will you do it for GOOD or for BAD??  Jesus asked what parent would ever give his child a ROCK when that child needs BREAD??  Use some common sense and DO THE RIGHT THING!! For their sake!!!

And by the way … IT’S JUST BASKETBALL!  IT IS NOT A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH!!  If you set your kid in the life and death mode for CHURCH BASKETBALL, you are only investing in a future ulcer!!

Had to post these Christmas quotes

15 Dec

(TODAY’S ENTRY from Mikey’s Funnies.  You can subscribe at http://www.mikeysfunnies.com)
MERRY CHRISTMAS QUOTATIONS
Compiled by James Watkins

When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things — not the great occasions — give off the greatest glow of happiness.
Bob Hope

Mail your packages early so the post office can lose them in time for Christmas.
Johnny Carson

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.
Hamilton Wright Mabie

Christmas is a time when you get homesick — even when you’re home.
Carol Nelson

Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.
Eric Sevareid

Christmas is a time when everybody wants his past forgotten and his present remembered.
Phylllis Diller

Mankind is a great, an immense family… This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas.
Pope John XXIII

Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.
Oren Arnold

Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it “white.”
Bing Crosby

The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing others’ loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.
W. C. Jones

The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart.
Helen Keller

There is no ideal Christmas; only the one Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections, traditions.
Bill McKibben

He who has no Christmas in his heart will never find Christmas under a tree.
Sunshine Magazine

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.”
The Grinch from How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

Christmas began in the heart of God. It is complete only when it reaches the heart of man.
Unknown

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:9-14

There has been only one Christmas — the rest are anniversaries.
W.J. Cameron

Celebrating Christmas without Christ is like celebrating George Washington’s birthday without mentioning the first president.
James N. Watkins

Christmas without Christ is a mess.
Jose B. Cabajar

. . . for it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself.
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ.
Frank McKibben

When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?
Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Christmas is the day that holds all time together.
Alexander Smith

Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit.
Kin Hubbard

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
Calvin Coolidge

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
Ebeneezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays — let them overtake me unexpectedly — waking up some find morning and suddenly saying to myself: “Why, this is Christmas Day!”
David Grayson

The implications of the name ‘Immanuel’ are both comforting and unsettling. Comforting, because He has come to share the danger as well as the drudgery of our everyday lives. He desires to weep with us and to wipe away our tears. And what seems most bizarre, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, longs to share in and to be the source of the laughter and the joy we all too rarely know.
Michael Card

I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the word seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.
Taylor Caldwell

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7

Why we do this …

15 Dec

I’ve got to be honest about this:  There are times when it is difficult to push ahead.  But I can’t say I wasn’t warned!  I remember when I took my first job in ministry, and one of the pastors of this church looked at me and said:  “If you can be happy doing anything else, do it.”  I was puzzled by that remark, full of excitement and ready to charge Hell with a waterpistol.  Now I know EXACTLY what he was talking about.

Sometimes it really is hard to deal with what Dean Lisenby calls the 5% rule … at any given time, 5% of the people will think you can do no wrong, and ANOTHER 5% will think you can do NOTHING RIGHT.  All churches have this, whether they will admit it or not.  Ebenezer is no exception.

I remember my statistics days, and think of it as a Bell Curve:

Budget time is a very stressful time at any church.  Especially stressful when we are not meeting our yearly budget.  Honestly, we are not doing as bad as some I know (in relation to how far behind we are).  And we are not doing as well as some, who are exceeding their budget requirements.  I’ve been convinced for some time now that MONEY is not the problem:  Our problem (and the problem at many churches) is an issue of SPIRITUAL HEALTH, and once we get that started on the healing track, our financial support will fall in line where God wants it.

Getting back to the 5%, it gets a little long in the tooth when the same people say the same old things over and over, many of these things NOT favorable towards me, as a pastor, or my staff.  We are not a bunch of lazy folks who sit around all day drinking coffee and gossiping.  We each stretch to the max in our work efforts and don’t complain about it.  There are so many things unseen that are done in a week it would make your head spin!!  And we are not flamboyant about it, trying to draw attention to all of our hard work …  And sometimes, that burns us.  And we are not a bunch of money-hungry wild spenders who do nothing but spend the churches’ money with no regard for common sense or stewardship to the Lord.  In fact, you would find your church staff to be quite the opposite.  And, although there IS a 5% that loves us quite unconditionally and thinks we do no wrong (by the way, we DO make mistakes), its the other 5% and the things they say that motivated this post.

I’ve been thinking ALOT about this in the past couple of days.  And here is the truth about where we are:

We don’t do this for recognition.

We don’t do this so the 5% will get off our backs.

We don’t do this to be the most popular people in church.

We don’t seek power, control, or influence.

We don’t do this because it is easy.

We don’t do this because we couldn’t do anything else in life.

WE DO THIS BECAUSE GOD CALLED US TO IT.  WE DO THIS FOR HIM.  And, remembering those two things help me endure the barbs that come with sitting behind my desk.  They help me when I want to react angrily when someone says something ugly about my staff.  They help me when I want to be angry because someone was very ugly to a family member because of MY JOB!!

GOD helps toughen our skin and gives us a goal to focus on, so we don’t have to slow down and think about all of the junk.  So make NO mistake about this:  We are HIS, and are doing our best to FOLLOW HIM in everything we do.  And I am thankful He called me to this place!!!!

1007

14 Dec

Okay, so I missed my 1000 post.  I posted it, but it had nothing to do with the occasion of 1000 posts on this blog.  So, in honor of my 1007 posts, I am going to list 1,007 things that ANNOY ME!!!!  Here goes (in no certain order):

 

1.  Unicorns

2.  People who don’t know how to drive a car and end up in front of me.

3.  Dogs barking after midnight.

4.  Denzel Crocker

5.  People who cause pain to my family, my staff, and my church (especially those who are supposedly PART of the family)

6.  Three Stooges films without Curly

7.  The Road Runner (yes … I am a Wile E. Coyote FAN!!)

8.  That lady at the Y … you know the one …

9.  Splinters

10.  Brussel Sprouts

(Ok … that’s ten.  I’m tired.  Maybe I’ll add more later)