Archive | November, 2011

Bailey’s Rules

28 Nov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s all about HER!!  Bailey is a four-month-old puppy we rescued in August.  We believe she is a mix between a Chihuahua and a Poodle.  She belongs to Krissy and normally lives with her in Clemson.  However, since final exams are coming up, she came home with us at Thanksgiving.  She has used this weekend to teach us her rules.  She wants me to post about them, so here goes!!!

1.  It’s all about BAILEY.  All the time.  Every day.

2.  Bailey is fast as lightening.  If you don’t believe her, just TRY to catch her when you really need to.

3.  If Krissy is in the room, she is the most important.  If not, Drew is next.  If not, then David (me).  If not, then Diana.  UNLESS one of the above has food, then they automatically become most important.

4.  When she is excited, she WILL jump in your lap and bite your ear.

5.  She doesn’t like it when ANYONE leaves the room.  She REALLY doesn’t like it when anyone leaves the HOUSE!!

6.  Her relationship with Ralphie, the stuffed lion, is her business.  Don’t ask, don’t tell (that one is for Suzy).

7.  When she goes to the bathroom outside, she DOES expect a treat.  You’d better provide … or you’ll be sorry!

8.  If you enter a bedroom and wake her up, you will endure a little wrath.

9.  She believes herself to be as big as a full-grown labrador retriever and WILL charge a big dog if necessary.  (She weighed 1 pound when we got her, and actually weighs 5 pounds now)

10.  She can change the rules at any time without previous notice.  After all, it is ALL ABOUT HER … all the time!!

Today’s sermon

27 Nov

Cooooolllllldddddd Water

21 Nov

We had a baptism service at Ebenezer yesterday.  The happenings at our baptisms themselves could compose a book.  At every wedding I let the bride and groom know that something little WILL go wrong, and that’s okay!  That really is true about baptisms, too!!

Yesterday during Sunday School, I went to retrieve my waders and white robe from the baptistry.  When I opened the door into the little hallway, I heard it:  SILENCE.  I then knew something was really wrong, since there is usually a slight hum from the circulation pump.  Our baptistry is equipped with an in-line water heater that does a good job of keeping the water at the set temperature.  Sometimes the temp is set a little too high … then I feel like a lobster by the end of the service.  Sometimes a little too low, then it doesn’t really bother me but the candidates all turn blue.

And then there was yesterday.  Not only was the pump off … and the water heater off … There was NO WATER in the baptistry!!  Our ancestors would’ve said “So what!!  Go down to the lovely waters of Jeffries Creek!!!!”  Uh … no.  It’s so murky and dark down there the GATORS won’t even go in.

Ed and I decided to sprint to the finish.  Ed turned it all on and I prayed … HARD … that it would fill up.  After 30 minutes, it was up about 18 inches.  I was estimating that it might get up to three feet before time to baptize, due to the fact that the area gets wider as it goes up.  And I prayed.  I asked God, “Please increase that water pressure!!!”  Geometrically, there seemed to be no way it could fill up before we would need it (estimating based on the first 30 minutes of filling).

Right before I got up to preach, I heard someone turn the water down.  I almost went back there to tell whomever did that to leave it running, but questioned “what difference would that really make?”  I figured it was what it was, so I got up and preached.  And hustled back to change.  When I finally got to the baptistry, I asked “How full did it get??”  Billy Rolfe answered “It’s full!!”

I had warned the candidates in advance that it would be cold.  And that we might have to really work with  the small amount of water we would have.  And God did TWO things with it:  HE FILLED IT UP … and HE MADE IT TOLERABLE (or, maybe I went numb).   He answered my prayer and then some!!!

And we baptized nine people into our family yesterday.  My first baptism since the great accident of 2011.  With the state of my arms, I wondered if I’d ever be able to baptize again.  God does it again!!

And I’ve never been so thankful for a pool full of cold water!

Today’s sermon

20 Nov

Accepting the gift

16 Nov

Why do we have such a hard time accepting God’s grace??  In this world where, for the most part, hard work and smart navigation are what we have to do to attain any level of success (in the eyes of the world), why is it so hard to accept God’s grace?

Is it hard to believe that God could love us so much that He would send His Son to die on a cross for us??  That He could possibly forgive us, when, in the backs of our minds we wonder how we could EVER forgive anyone if in His shoes??  What’s the deal with all of this?

I’ll tell you what I think … It’s biblical … Ephesians 2  says it is by grace that we’ve been saved, through faith.  It’s not something we could have possibly done for ourselves.  It is a gift from God.  Not by our works, so that we cannot boast.  The challenge for us is having enough faith in God to KNOW that He is good on His word.  That He DOES love us.  His grace is a gift that we cannot possibly earn or deserve … and, yet, it is NECESSARY to accept and believe in order to be saved!!

The bottom line is this:  God loves YOU enough!!!  MORE than enough!!  His grace is big enough to welcome you in!!  And, by the way … He ALREADY knows what you’ve done.

Accept the gift!!  And, love and forgive the way He does!!

Why so serious???

15 Nov

We are now at the end of another home football season for Clemson.  Honestly, I’m glad … This one has worn me out!!  It’s really difficult to run up and down the road on a weekend and then be in the pulpit on Sunday morning for business as usual.

Something happened this weekend that just confirms some of my theories about life and football.  Theories that believe people take all of this WAYYY too seriously.  Theories confirmed in responses about the Penn State scandal and reactions to Joe Paterno’s release from that school.  People, WHY are you so serious about football??  Would you really allow 22 college kids the opportunity to “ruin your life???”

All season, there has been this guy behind us.  He has been so unhappy to be there I’ve wondered why he pays money for tickets, because if I hated it that much I wouldn’t be there.  He is the guy who “could beat this team with a bunch of junior highers!”  He is the guy who was FURIOUS with our coach for clearing the bench in one of the home blowouts, hoping Dabo would “learn his lesson about the BCS and running the score up.”  Obviously, he knows more about football than anyone else in Pickens County.  (And before you Gamecocks laugh too loudly at this, I personally know SEVERAL of your fans who are just like this guy, too!!)

The Wake Forest game was different.  An ACC division title on the line.  You would hope Clemson would step up there game.  This guy sure did.  He was wound tighter than any other time this season.  He was belting a variety of profanity that made you want to ask, “Do you kiss your momma with that mouth??”  And he was doing it with maximum volume.  Right in our ears.

Diana and I began to discuss it during the game.  She told me she was going to say something before the day was over.  So, sure enough, at one point when the Tigers made a mistake and he started yelling at the top of his lungs, “You’re KILLING me!!!”  Diana turned around and politely said to him, Well, you’re killing me.”  He was STUNNED.  Just looked at her with saucer eyes.  I added, “Its the cussing, man.”  His wife poked him with what seemed to be an “I told you so.”  He shut down.  I wondered if I was about to get punched.  For the rest of the game, he behaved and we quietly thanked him afterward.

But, it brings me to this one question for all of us today …. WHY ARE WE SO SERIOUS ABOUT THINGS THAT REALLY DON’T MATTER????  Jesus told His disciples after His encounter with the Samaritan woman that the bread He had was to do the will of the Father.  That IS ENOUGH to satisfy life.  And I can assure you, Tigers, Gamecocks, and every other school represented that reads this, that sports CAN NOT FILL THE VOID IN YOUR LIFE that will only be filled by DOING GOD’S WILL.  PERIOD.

Think about it …

Hard to believe

14 Nov

Twenty-one years ago … TODAY … Kristin Elaine Wike graced the world with her presence for the first time.  And the world, as we knew it, would never be the same!!

Yes, I am bragging about my oldest today.  I can’t believe she is 21.  It seems like only yesterday when Diana told me we were expecting our first child.  I went a little numb.  Suddenly, there was a lot more at stake and we were going to be responsible for much more than we’d ever been …  Honestly, it seems like only yesterday when I held her for the first time in Greenville Memorial Hospital.  It seems like only yesterday when I would come home from work and she would hear me and yell “Daddy!!” and come running from wherever she was in our tiny apartment in New Orleans to jump into my arms.  And, it didn’t matter what I might’ve had in my hands.  She would be airborne and I’d better catch her.  And I did!

I often remind my friends who are parents of young children to enjoy every minute of it, because it will be over before you know it!!  It seems like only yesterday when I dropped her off at Delmae Heights Elementary School for the first time … then Moore Intermediate …. then Sneed Middle … then West Florence High … then I watched her drive off for the first time … then (gulp) we left her at Clemson University.  And it all went by like a flash of light!

I’ll never regret the hours I spent catching for her as she practiced pitching.  Times when the ball would jump and hit me in the leg … in the chest … even a time or two in the face.  Oh, how those hurt.  And, oh, the words she heard her preacher-daddy say.  And I’d love to be back on that bucket right now.

Now I find myself with gray hair, a daughter who is a pre-med student in her junior year at Clemson, a son who is a junior at West Florence (he was 1 month old when we moved to Florence), and a wife who apparently made a deal with the devil because the years have changed her very little.

Life is a precious gift.  Enjoy every minute!!  Happy birthday, Sweetheart!!!  But, it is hard to believe …