Archive | April, 2012

Remember where you were …

30 Apr

I discovered something this weekend.  Something I do not like, yet it will possibly be a fact of life for me for the rest of my days:  If Diana sits on my left side in church, I cannot put my arm around here.  It’s amazing that it took over a year to discover that, but one of those little things no one ever thinks about is the fact that I RARELY am able to sit with her in church!

But, don’t get me wrong here … I am THANKFUL for where things are right now.  Because I remember where they were not too long ago.  I remember going to an FLT production of “Into the Woods” some time last spring or summer.  I was still hyped up on medication and I remember having to take my little pillow into the theater with me (because there was a day when I thought I would never be able to sit around without my left forearm propped up).  But that no longer seems to be an issue, and I will test that theory tomorrow evening as I attend “Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming” at the FLT and make sure Diana sits on my RIGHT side!!

It’s true, I still cannot straighten my arm out.  I tried on a sportscoat not too long ago that was two sizes larger than I normally wear and it STILL doesn’t hang right.  Doesn’t look right.  It makes me look like more of a Picasso than I really am!  And almost 14 months have passed and there are still many things I am unable to do.  But when I remember where I was this time last year, I see how far God has brought me.  He has been really good to me and this injury and recovery could’ve been much worse.

And, every week I find myself doing things I thought impossible last year.  And that, my friends, is why I am thankful.  God is good ALL THE TIME!!

Twelve-hundred

26 Apr

THIS is the 1,200 post of my blog!!  At least, since we moved it off of the church website and onto blogger.com and then to WordPress (which I LOVE!!)  When I think about this blog and what it means to me, it’s quite therapeutic.  I write about things that are on my heart.  Sometimes it gets me in trouble.  I’ve occasionally had people come to me, offended by the words written.  And, then again, I’ve had some come to me in tears, telling me I wrote that “just for them.”

Rest assured that I write these things from MY HEART.  They are not the official views or opinions of Ebenezer Baptist Church, although I’d like to think they line up pretty close to those views 99% of the time.  With all of that written, here is something that might be useful in life:

I recently blogged about the value I place on trustworthiness.  I think most of us feel that way.  We want to surround ourselves with people we can trust.  Inversely, when someone proves to be untrustworthy over and over again, we tend to migrate our lives away from them.  Several months ago, I found myself in a personal conflict with a local business man.  He told me what I wanted to hear and I was content to continue doing business with him.  Then the truth came to light.  I tried to continue but it just didn’t work out.  When I find myself engaged with people I know I cannot trust (and they make no effort to rebuild that broken trust), it REALLY stresses me out.  Best thing I ever did in that situation was find a new place to do that business.  I am much happier now, and I am sure he is, too!

Walking away from situations like that, there are two lessons to be learned:

1.  Did you do EVERYTHING you possibly could to repair that relationship??

2.  Are YOU being transparent and trustworthy in the relationship, be it personal, business, church-related, or whatever??

None of us are perfect.  And we are all recipients of the Grace of God Almighty.  And we need to do everything we can to give that grace away in our lives, TOO!!  That convicts me and reminds me that no one is perfect, and neither am I.  Yes, I place a premium on trustworthiness and there is a point in time when a relationship moves beyond it.  But I must do everything I can to keep it from getting to that point.

And THAT, my friends, is post #1,200!

Misrepresented and insulted by The State

25 Apr

A friend mailed an article to me yesterday.  It was published in The State newspaper and, to be fair, I have included a link to the article:

http://www.thestate.com/2012/04/18/2239108/jones-the-jesus-of-christianity.html#storylink=misearch

In this article, a Unitarian Universalist pastor in Columbia (SC) decided to take on Christianity … particularly Christians in the South.  Specifically, he was talking to you and me if Christ is our Savior and we believe the Bible is true!  (Which, in his article, he implies that he doesn’t believe in the “Mystical” parts)

I read this and was very disappointed that The State would publish such words that insult me because of my beliefs.  If I were of another faith, I don’t think they would have dared to do this.

In his article, this pastor stated Christianity is possessed by two demons:  The first is that of right-wing politics.  I do consider myself conservative, but not a right-winger.  One thing I’ve learned over the years is “right and left wing” definitions are ALWAYS relative to those defining them.  He called several political issues out and assumed exactly how we all feel about them.

When you assume … well, you know the rest.  He has no idea about me and what I believe.  I bet he wouldn’t believe that I do not vote a party line … I am convicted to vote for individual candidates.  I look for those who share my beliefs and values, and I take into account past histories and voting records.  In other words, I do my homework.  In regard to the political issues, I always try to find the biblical answer to those and that is how I roll because I do believe, as foolish as some might think it, that God DOES have a better plan for my life than I could possibly have.  And that God has a better plan FOR THIS WORLD than WE could possibly develop.

Honestly, though, what disturbed me even more was the “second demon” to which he referred:  Supernaturalism.  He stated this as a primitive, pre-scientific worldview that no educated, thinking person could possibly hold as credible.  I will try not to mislead or misquote on this, so I urge you to go read his article.  But, we have great differences here:

I believe in Heaven.

I believe in Hell.

I believe Jesus was born of a virgin.

I believe He ROSE AGAIN on the THIRD DAY and HE IS ALIVE!!!!

And, I do not believe this is merely “magical thinking” that gets me through life.  I KNOW all of this to be true because HE LIVES WITHIN MY HEART!!  And, I take pity on a pastor and people who are misled into believing the only possible explanation of God is one that fits with OUR powers of reasoning.  Yes, I pity those who do not know the Holy Spirit because they would never let Him in.

Why did I write this today?  Because I believe God is far beyond any explanation we can give for Him, any reasoning that we can develop, and any definition we can understand.  Because, if He were not, wouldn’t we all be gods???

Standing in the need

23 Apr

Yes, it’s me.  Actually, the Wikes.  Standing in the need of prayer.

Several big things going on right now.  Some that God knows, and that is enough.  Some difficult needs.  Nothing that prayer won’t handle, though!!

I called Mom last night to find her in tough shape.  It seems Dad has progressed to the point where he talks about going home a lot.  Home, right now, is a house they owned in Berea when I was little.  In fact, I think the bought it before I was born and we lived there until I was 10.  So, they sold it over 35 years ago when we moved to Easley.  But for some reason, Dad is convinced that is home and the house he built with his own hands is just some kind of hotel or therapy center.  And its wearing Mom down terribly.  For the past few months, when people ask me how Dad is doing my answer has been:  “Physically, not bad.  Mentally, however, he is losing ground.”  Please pray for them … Especially for my Mom.

I really wish they would move down here.  For now, all I can do is pray!!  For this, and a couple of other “unspokens.”  If you feel led to join me, that would be greatly appreciated!!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Today’s sermon

22 Apr

Trust

20 Apr

If you start looking for the greatest character flaws of David R. Wike, you’ll find TRUST to play an interesting role:  I think it has something to do with being an introvert, but I place a HIGH, HIGH PREMIUM on TRUST.  Trust governs much of what I do in life … I use it to filter true friendships, to decide with whom I will do personal business (and, consequently, business for the church), to decide for whom I will vote, etc.  And sometimes it hard to remember that we are not perfect!!

We are human … We WILL make mistakes.  The Lord knows I MAKE them all the time!  Sometimes I have a hard time with that one!!  When you think about it, GOD IS PERFECT and in Him we CAN place our ultimate and total trust!!  AND, we can trust our fellow believers, as long as we remember that no one is perfect!!  We all DO make mistakes from time to time and we ALL need to remember that!!  And there is a difference between making mistakes and continually proving to be untrustworthy.

In Matthew 7:2, Jesus said ” … in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  What does that really mean??  The WAY you judge others WILL BE the way you are judged!!

I’m praying for my ability to trust today!!  Hope you will pray for me too!  And, I’ll pray for yours!

A REAL God-thing!!!

18 Apr

I had not planned to write anything today.  Honestly, I haven’t written much over the last couple of months.  Sometimes there are things a pastor cannot write about, especially under his own name.  This has been a few weeks of those kinds of things stirring my heart and mind.

Today started out particularly tough.  Several things on my heart with which I am struggling.  And, honestly, there are only a couple of people to whom I can turn with stuff like this.  But I wasn’t about to do that.

So, I am sitting here at my desk a few minutes ago, working on my sermon, and I go to retrieve an email I sent to myself yesterday (yeah, I’m weird like that) with some research for the sermon and I see this email from an good friend (who I haven’t talked to in a while), who is several hundred miles away and several states away!!  It says:

“You are really on my mind this morning.  Praying for you and your family.”

WOW!!  God had him praying for me at 7:30!!  And that is about the time I really started grappling with this!  I sent him an email back, telling him this was a “God-thing” because I’ve got some stuff in my heart.  I thanked him.  He responded:

Well just know that you are being lifted up!  I was reading my devotion at my desk here at work, and all of a sudden just got this real sense of “Pray for David”.  It was very strong.  And who am I to argue?

Really miss all the folks in SC!  We have to get down there soon, but have so much going on right now.  But it is definitely on the list of things to do!
Take shelter under His wings today.”
All of these wise and encouraging words came from my good friend, Mark Plunkett.  Ebenezerites know him as Kristina’s dad.  I miss that dude, and sure hope he WILL come see us soon!  But he made a HUGE visit to me today over email!!!
God knew what I was facing.  And, once again, He looks out for His children.
Today, I am thankful for people of God who are obedient!!  Hope you have a great one!