Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November 30 – “Washateria”


I had one of those late-night phone calls last night.  That's not so uncommon in the life of a pastor.  This one wasn't a church call, though.  It was one of the parents of a student at Seaside Christian Academy.  She had some concerns and wanted to be sure someone heard them.  It was basically school board business, so I just listened and will let them know what she said.


I heard on the radio this morning that today is the official end of hurricane season in Galveston.  We had something like 12 named storms this year.  None of them visited us, though.  That's a serious answer to prayer.  I know there's never a good time to get hit by a storm.  But even though it's been two years since Ike, people are just not recovered yet.


This morning I took the truck over to Home Depot to help Kel pick up a washing machine.  Theirs went caput a few days ago, and I guess Christina was tired of coming over to our Vaughan Family Washateria.   They had some problems with Bank of America, but we got enough of the mixup settled that we could pick up the machine.  It looked like a nice one, too.  Maytag.  Best part of the whole experience for me was not having to help lift it into the truck.  We wheeled it out and a guy who works there just happened to be walking by, and he asked if we needed any help.  For a second or two I was afraid that Kel would tell him we were fine, but he didn't.  He graciously accepted the offer.  Installing it was fairly easy even if we didn't check the directions before we started.  Happy for them, but sad that the kids won't be here as much.

Cailyn hung out with us for awhile today.  April has 3 tests and a project due this week.  That meant we had to decide what's for lunch – always a feat for us around here.  The options were Golden Corral vs. chili (not Chili's – Chris' homemade chili).  Chris's chili won.  Why?  Because it was cold outside (50 degrees – winter in Galveston), because Chris doesn't really like Golden Corral, and finally, because Chris wanted chili.  Whatever makes Momma Chris happy makes me happy.



Rom 8:31-32 says, "What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?"


Father, I'm very tired right now and it's not even three o'clock.  I sure didn't get ten hours of sleep last night.  Can I look for you at work when I wake up?  Amen.

Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29 – “Cooties”


We took a trip out to Seaside the other day before Josh and Christi and the boys left for San Antonio.  Josh had never seen the new building.  I think he still feels a sense of connection with Seaside since he did kind of grow up spiritually there.  He was impressed.  He said it was "obviously great for ministry, and the walls are made so that they can easily be adjusted for growth" as we need it.  It was good to get a fresh perspective. 


I thought of another funny grandkid thing that happened.  Chris decided that she wanted a new picture of all the grandchildren together – five boys and one girl, the oldest of which is six.  Even when they were younger it was almost impossible to get them to sit still long enough for a picture, so the idea had all the makings of a disaster – or in our case a hilarious situation. 


We decided to put them on our smaller couch.  Jachin sat down with Josiah in his lap.  Micah was next to him.  Then came Zakary and Caleb.  And then … where was Cailyn?  Her Dad finally found her and brought her over to her designated space.  Meanwhile, the boys were doing great.  Very cooperative.  They were being very still.  I think the fact that Josiah was there gave them a sense that they had to be extremely careful. 


Nathan bent down to put Cailyn on the couch.  Two cameras were poised to start shooting.  But Cailyn took one look at the collection of cousins – all boys – on the couch, and she decided that she would rather be elsewhere.  "No!" was her very clear response to every effort to place her.  She finally settled down for a few brief seconds on the arm of the couch – not touching the nearest boy.  I didn't think the "cooties" thing started this young.  We did get a few pictures.  She wasn't very happy in any of them, though.   


Romans 12:9-13 says, "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality."


Father, thank you for Hutch's positive spirit in the midst of his heart surgery turmoil.  Grant him your peace and help him to rest.  Amen.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

November 28 – “Trimming the Tree”


One other thing that we did get started on while The Josh Family was here.  We got the tree set up and ready to decorate.  We bought an artificial tree again after the Hurricane because I don't do so well allergy wise with real trees.  We used to get a real tree and I would carve something for Chris out of that little piece they cut off the bottom of the trunk so it can soak up enough water to keep it from dying until sometime in January.  


Nathan and April and Josh and Christi did most of the assembling work, although I did see the receiving some "help" now and then from Caleb and Cailyn.  It's amazing how much help two almost-two-year-olds can be.  Oh, and Josh and Nathan entertained us all afternoon with their new telephones.  Josh has an I-Phone and Nathan has a clone of some kind.  Someone would ask a question, and they would race to see who could get the answer first.  I think Nathan won most of the battles, because he has an app where he can talk into the phone and it translates it into text.  Nathan figured out a way to get his phone to play the Christmas songs that we traditionally listen to while decorating – The Beach Boys Christmas Album and of course The Chipmunks.  Chris liked both phones, because she has always wanted a phone that would respond when you touch the screen.  I have to admit, I think that is pretty cool, too.  It reminds me of that life-sized computer screen on NCIS Los Angeles.


Once they got the tree set up, they went right into putting lights on it.  Chris likes lots of lights, so they had their work cut out for them.  Only two could work at a time, so they had to figure out a tag team approach.  It seemed to work well, though.  Chris gave it her seal of approval and we all took a break.


After Nathan and April left to get Cailyn to bed, we moved on to putting the ornaments on.  One glass ornament that "lived" through Ike didn't make it.  The top had rusted badly, so when it was lifted up, it simply fell apart and crashed to the ground, exploding into a million pieces.  Caleb was great with the "balls" as long as his Daddy could keep him from tossing them across the room.


My favorite part of the decorating time was when they put the crocheted angel on top.  Zak discovered it, so we told him to get his Daddy to help him put it up.  Josh knelt down and Zak crawled on his shoulders.  And up they went.  But Zak wouldn't let go of Josh long enough to get the angel on, though he did get it close.  When Josh lifted him off, of course his little brother wanted a turn.  Caleb had no idea what we were trying to accomplish, but he crawled up there in Josh's shoulders and rode around for a few minutes.  But alas, we still had no tree topper in place.  But Zakary had the obvious answer.  "Mommy, you do it."  Well, that's all it took for me to get in on the cheering squad for that one.  After a few minutes of "encouragement," Christi climbed up on Josh's shoulders and finished the job.  I sure hope those pictures turned out good.


Oh.  I never did find a copy of Antz.  I solved the problem, though.  I treated everybody to my own personal acapella rendition.  I figured if they could get away with it on Laverne and Shirley, then I could too.


Romans 14:9 says, "For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living."


Father, right now thank you for being active on the "Living" part of that verse.  Pleas stick around longer.  Amen.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

November 27 – “The Battle of Planet Nana”


Ah, the joys of grandchildren.  Each in his or her own particular way making a mark on the world around them.  Our little guys were all together yesterday and made a day of being cousins.  One of my favorite events was, in their own words, "The Battle of Planet Nana."  I'm not sure if that meant Chris was the ruler of Planet Nana or if she was, indeed, Planet Nana itself.  And she didn't want to know.  We just went with the battle as it flowed in our respective arenas.  At one point I was asked to declare loyalties.  "Whose team are you on?" demanded Jachin.  As the oldest, it was his responsibility, I'm sure, to enforce the rules and regulations of war.  I grabbed Caleb as he walked by and said he was my team.  That being settled, we moved on to an explanation of armaments.  They had each fashioned a weapon of sorts from some of the plastic lego-type toys.  Jachin was convinced, of course, that his obviously the best weapon of the lot.  He showed it to me.  "It's a gun and a walkie-talkie, he explained, demonstrating the proper use of each."  Micah happened by at that moment and declared, "My gun is also a bomb … and a Walkie Talkie."  I thought I was trapped at a Maxwell Smart convention.  


After lunch we began the process of putting up Christmas decorations.  Now, this will take awhile.  Chris has to really be in the spirit of things for it to work just right.  But we had Nathan and Josh both still here, so she asked them to get the stuff down from the attic.  I didn't argue with that request.  If they didn't get it I would have to, and that is not a creator of pain that I wanted to get into.  They pulled down the stairs and Nathan disappeared into the dark hole of Upper Space.  Josh was providing ground control just a step or two up on the ladder when Cailyn walked in looking for her Dad.  She spotted Uncle Josh and the staircase.  With her hands on her hips she moved forward toward Josh.  Suddenly she let loose with a tirade of unintelligible syllables directed at Josh.  Her little hands were waving back and forth, side to side as she ranted, "Bah twah gom tee shie wom bah lut mah ma co dee"  Followed by a very clear, "Daddy."  Josh was stunned speechless.  Nathan stuck his head out of the attic and cheered her on.  Apparently satisfied that her complaint was filed and her voice heard, Cailyn turned on her heels and walked away, laughing that hilarious laugh of hers.  I have no idea what she told him, but whatever it was … she told him.


Romans 15:5-6 says, "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."


Father, it sounds like unity takes at the least endurance and encouragement.  If you'll help with the former, I'll do what I can with the latter.  Amen.

Friday, November 26, 2010

November 26 – “Black Friday”


Black Friday.  What a strange way to talk about what amounts to a huge sale.  I know it's all about "being in the black" and making all that money.  But I found out there is quite another side to it.  


We had a big Thanksgiving meal last night.  All our kids were here, except for Christina and Josiah.  The littlest grandson has been running fever for the last few days.  The doc says it's a virus, so he just has to gut it out.  Tough on Mom.  He won't remember any of it.  His Dad was nice last night, though.  He left a little early and took over the Josiah shift so Christina could come get a plate to eat and see the cousins and inlaws.  


After she got here the planning began.  All three daughters-in-law began poring over the newspaper advertisements.  They were making out Christmas shopping lists and developing a plan of action for the shopping extravaganzas.  


April was more focused on a task than I have seen her since she was preparing for her nursing school entrance exam a few weeks ago.  She was determined to hit the sales running as soon as she could.  The dilemma was whether to go to sleep at all or just start with the sale that began at ten p.m. and work her way up to the 4 a.m. nightmares (my words, not hers).  I'm still not sure which won out, but they are supposed to be here for the big leftover lunch, so I guess we'll see then.  


Josh and Christi took off for WalMart around 11 last night.  They were looking for some specific things for their kids, and they did ask what Chris wanted for Christmas.  I have no idea how that excursion went, either.  I went to sleep. 


This morning I left the house at 6 a.m. to pray with Hutch before his bypass surgery.  He'll be busy for quite a while.  On the way there and home I noticed the parking lots of places like WalMart in LaMarque, Best Buy, and Fry Electronics were packed to the gills.  I decided to do a little research.  I enjoy people watching anyway, so I stopped at Galveston's Target.  I figured if it wasn't too bad I could see if they had that Antz movie.  If it was really packed I could just take a walk and look at the people.  Honestly, I was disappointed on both counts.  They didn't have the movie.  And they didn't really have all that many people.  Maybe everyone had already been there.  After all, it was already almost 8 a.m.  


So, Black Friday.  Great fun for thousands of shoppers.  Great profit for businesses.  I still can't help but have a different image in my head when I hear that.  I picture the real Black Friday.  Couple of days before Easter.  Not so much fun.  But way greater profit.  Eternal profit.


Romans 15:7 says, "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."


Father, thank you for that real Black Friday.  Amen.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

November 25 – “Thanksgiving Day”


I stopped for a minute this morning and realized that there were a lot of final preparations going on around here today.


For Thanksgiving – Chris had me help her move the tables around so they made one really long one.  It's fun to have everybody sit at the same table.  But she did mention getting Kel to bring their little table for the little guys.  Chris has spent the morning sweeping and vacuuming and mopping the floors.  I heard her tell Christina on the phone earlier that she at least wants to start the day out with clean floors.  We have also been helping Mom get ready for my brother to pick her up for her afternoon and evening in Houston. 


For Sunday – I think I finished the lesson plan for Experiencing God on Sunday afternoon.  Haven't heard how many will be there.  I still want to preview the video and see if I want to use it.  I am also still searching for a copy of the movie Antz to use Sunday morning in the sermon.  I still can't find one, so I can't check it off my list yet. 


For our next evacuation – That sounds weird, but I didn't know what other category to put this one in.  I need to print out some pictures Chris wants replaced of Josh and Christi's wedding.  We lost several of them in the storm. 


For the month's end – Pay the bills.  Can't forget that one.


For Christmas shopping – Chris spent a long time "shopping" in the newspapers this morning.  I am FaceBook friends with  the editor of the Galveston Daily News, and he posted that today's paper would be the biggest one of the year – so big they would start delivering it last night.  I'm not sure when ours got here, but it beat the Chronicle.  That one didn't arrive until almost 8.  Anyway, the paper was pretty thick with ads, and Chris went through them all.  She said when she finished, "Well, I saw some things that would be nice, but nothing that makes me feel like I have to be there at 4 a.m."  Thank you. Thank you.  Thank you.


For pastoring – Some time today I need to find out what time Hutch's surgery is in the morning, so I can try to be there to pray with them as well as put the word out on our prayer chain.


For waiting – Stan will be here to get Mom around 11:30.  Josh and Christi will be here around 4:30.  Don't even know when Nathan and April and Cailyn will be here.  Josiah is still running fever, so we probably won't get to see him or his Mom at all.  The rest of their family should be here sometime this afternoon, I guess.  Maybe after naptime. 


For fretting – Just being honest here.  I think I finished Christmas shopping for Chris.  I still have to carve something for her, though.  I started it, but working with the knife and twisting the Dremel around does a number on my finger and wrist joints.  Hope I can get it done. 


Final preparations.  Sounds so foreboding.  I guess there's really only one truly "final" preparation.  Jesus.  I know I have that one covered.  Everything else is just gravy.


Galatians 5:6 says, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."


Father, thank you for the gravy.  Amen.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November 24 – “Antz”


One of our families at Seaside got some tough news this morning.  Hutch is the one who almost single-handedly saw to it that our school got built. He had an angiogram and they discovered some pretty significant blockages.  Enough that he is now scheduled for open heart surgery to do at least four bypasses Friday morning.  He was hoping to go home for a Thanksgiving meal tomorrow, but they told him to get comfortable.  The soonest he can get out is next Friday if all goes well.  Lots of prayer will be going up for that good guy. 


I stopped in at Lifeway after I left the hospital.  I am out of anniversary cards.  I like to send one to the couples whose wedding ceremonies I perform.  While "in the area" I did some Christmas shopping for Chris.  I love that girl.


I did some computer work this afternoon, but about 3:00 I got one of the worst headaches I have had in a long time.  I'm not allowed to take Tylenol or Motrin or anything like that, so I just went to bed for about thirty minutes.  It helped some.  When I came back to the desk, Chris remembered that Mom had a new medication to be picked up at Randall's, so she asked if I could do the honors.  Chris has been cleaning and cooking all day to prepare for the grandchildren onslaught tomorrow.  She can't wait.  I can't wait.


I stopped at WalMart to search for a DVD.  I have been looking for the kids' movie Antz to use for a sermon illustration this Sunday.  So far no luck anywhere.  Anybody got a copy I can borrow?  I want to play the scene where they sing "High Hopes."


Then when I got home, I found an email notifying me that our virus protection was about to run out.  That meant I had to figure out how to switch it over to this computer first, since our other one in unusable.  That took almost two hours.  I finally pieced together that we have two different Norton programs on our two computers.  The desktop has a simple antivirus program.  The laptop has a fuller version of internet security.  It was on an automatic renewal, but I changed that to have them notify me so I can know when it will be entered on the credit card.  I think I have a handle on it now.  Ah, computers. 


Jachin and Micah stopped by tonight.  Kel came over to help me empty out the grease we used to fry the turkeys.  They are frying one Saturday and they are going to strain out the gunk and reuse it.  It actually looked pretty clean.  They use the same seasoning rub we do anyway, so it should be fine.  


Galatians 5:13-14 says, "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.  The entire law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"


Father, take care of Hutch over the next few weeks.  Amen.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November 23 – “Frying turkeys”


We got a new turkey fryer today.  We still have one of our old ones.  The other one went the way of Ike things.  It took me about 30 minutes to figure out how the silly thing fit together.  It is way more complicated than the old one.  The new one even has a failsafe timer on it.  Every 20 minutes it shuts off unless you turn the timer again.  If it shuts off you have to start the lighting process over again from scratch.  Kind of like when you get away from God in your life.  You pretty much have to return to the last place you knew you were close to Him and start over again from there.


Some good friends of ours gave us a great recipe for rubbing on the turkeys before frying.  Chris puts the rub on each turkey a day or two before we cook.  That's so it can soak in and have the same flavor all the way through, instead of tasting really good near the outside and getting blander and blander the deeper you go.  Like the way you need a strong foundation in your Christian walk early on so that later when God has a job for you, or when you are challenged to defend your faith, you can dig deep for an answer.  Or how in a church it is important to have more than just a polished performance.  Being the church is about people's lives being changed.


The actual process of frying the turkeys is simple.  Pour in one of those big boxes of 3 gallons of peanut oil and turn on the fire.  When it heats up to 300 degrees on the nifty little thermometer included with the kit, it's time to dump one in.  The problem is, it's supposed to stay at 300 degrees and never get lower.  But when I put the turkey in, the grease cools down really quickly.  Then I have to turn up the heat to get it back to 300 degrees.  No matter what I do, it won't stay hot, and that's frustrating.  Mainly because then it has to stay in the grease longer.  OK.  I get it.  I have a problem staying "hot" in my relationship with God, too.  And that just means I have to stay in the throes of circumstances that much longer until I "get it."


It sure feels good after each stage of "finished."  Finished buying all the turkeys.  Finished rubbing on the stuff.  Finished heating up the oil.  Finished cooking turkey number one, then two, then three, then however many we have.  Finished cutting the up.  Finished cooling down the oil and pouring it back into the plastic jars to throw away.  Finished washing the thermometers and knives and lifting paraphernalia and pots and lids.  I guess there are "finished" layers of Christian maturity, too.  I'm afraid I'm still back in one of the earlier ones, though,


Now I'm back to waiting again.  For Thursday.  For the feast. And in life?  For God's timing.  For heaven.


Ephesians 3:20-21 says, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."


Father, thanks for the circumstances, whether it be the pain or the waiting or even the joys.  Guess it shows that I'm not done yet.  Amen.

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22 – “Dream prayer”


What a night.  For some reason I just couldn't get sleepy when we first went to bed.  I must have worked six or eight crossword puzzles trying to doze off.  I finally gave up around one and turned off the light.  That's when it hit me what was nagging at me.  My hip hurt.  Not an overpowering, sharp, debilitating pain.  Just a constant, typical of my rheumatiz' ache.  I tried pretty much every position possible searching for one that would make it go away, but alas, none could be found.  So around two I got up and moved to the couch so I wouldn't keep Chris up.  I did some more crosswords, and finally just determined to turn off the light and be as still as possible. 


That's when the interesting stuff began.  Now, one of the things Chris and I both have committed to do is whenever we have a dream and we are able to recognize a specific person in it and remember enough of the dream when we wake up to remember the person – no matter how weird the dream was or how strange the context of the dream was – we will pray for that person.  The last time I looked at the clock was around 3:45.  That's when I got up and took another one of the pain pills the doc gave me.  From that point on until 5:30 I had a series of dream after wildly strange dream. 


Each one was about someone different involved in totally different settings and dilemmas.  And though I can't remember the specifics of the settings or dilemmas, I remember being aware enough of what was going on to actually hear myself praying for the person.  I don't think I ever totally woke up at any point, and now I can't even remember all the people I prayed for last night, but I know that a lot of folks got lifted up in a highly unusual way last night and into the wee hours of this morning.  Hope it helped.


Ephesians 6:18 says, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."


Father, please hear those prayers even if they were called up by some unusual means.  Amen.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

November 21 – “Pointy Setters”


Chris had a classic preschooler moment in the nursery today at church.  One of the little ones informed her that he got to go with his Mommy to get some "pointy setters."  The images that came to my mind when she told me were hilarious.  First I thought of one of those hunting dogs with his hair all moosed up in every direction.  Pointy Irish Setters.  Then they kind of morphed into people – still with their hair all moosed up in porcupine-looking spikes – placing spoons and forks and knives on a table at Chili's.  Pointy Table Setters.  Then my sports background kicked in.  I saw volleyball players with that same hairdo slapping the ball up close to the net so someone else could smash it down on the other side.  Pointy Volleyball Setters.  By then my imagination was in overdrive.  "Maybe he left out a letter," I thought to myself.  Maybe he meant people in the 1800's who were traveling out West in covered wagons with their hair all blowing in the wind so it looked like it was moosed into spikes.  Pointy Settlers.  If that was the case, then the ones with the moosed hair could be legal representatives of a large corporation empowered to make deals with people who bring frivolous lawsuits against the company.  Pointy Case Settlers.  Or keeping it simple, maybe it was just your average guys with hair moosed into spikes who were willing to accept less that what would have been best for themselves.  Pointy Less Settlers.  There could be articles of furniture in that category that have had a bucket of nails accidentally spilled in the seat.  Pointy Settees. 


One other thing did cross my mind, albeit fleetingly.  You know that plant that has green leaves most of the year, but around Christmas time they turn red?  Nah.  Couldn't be.  Besides, I never could spell that.


2 Peter 1:3 says, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness."


Father, thank you for those red flowers, whatever they are called.  They mean it's getting close to one pretty special time of year.  Amen.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

November 20 – “Fun Day … Tomorrow”


I can't wait until tomorrow.  We had a workday at church today.  The plan was to get as much done as we could to clean up and organize the lower building to make it as usable as possible for community groups and later on for a larger worship space.  In preparation for the day I wrote up some suggested jobs.  Things like clean the bathrooms, wash the windows, sweep and mop, organize the kitchen.  I'm not sure how many were there, but everyone who came seemed to dig in and do some work.  I was consigned to my office.  I still have a lot of books and some files in there, so that became my job from the start.  


Now one of my brainstorm ideas was the result of a few comments made the other night by two of the ladies.  They were wondering out loud why we configure our worship space the way we do.  They had all sorts of ideas for reorienting the space so the congregation would face an entirely different direction. So I told them to change it.  And I never went up there to see the end result.  Tomorrow will be a fun day. 


We didn't get home in time to make Jachin or Micah's baseball game.  They are already talking about the Spring league, though.  We did get back in time to hang out with Cailyn for a few hours so her Dad could clean some swimming pools.  She was really on, too.  She had not had a nap, but she sure didn't have time for one after she got here.  She didn't slow down enough to even look tired.  Kids are great like that.  Just when the adult is reaching point zero on the energy scale, their booster rockets kick in.  


We got our first official Christmas card of the season today.  It had a sad looking dog and a grinning cat on the front.  I think the poor old dog was sad because he had to sit next to the obviously much younger and friskier cat.  Cute card.  But it was from the Houston SPCA.  Why they sent it to us I have no idea.  But it entertained Cailyn for a few minutes.


I got a call this afternoon from a lady who wanted to know why I called her daughter.  I told her I had no idea what she was talking about; she called me.  I could hear the kid in the background say it was a text, but the lady hung up.  Earlier in the week I sent out a text to our home group, and one of the phone numbers was apparently a wrong one.  At the time a kid called and asked why I texted her.  At first I thought it was the daughter of one of our group members, but I finally apologized and said it must be a wrong number.  I'm guessing this was the Mom following up.  Sorry about that, Mom, wherever you are.  


2 Peter 1:5-9 says, "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins."


Father, the perseverance part I'm getting.  It would be nice to have a break or two from the joint pain.  Amen.

Friday, November 19, 2010

November 19 – “Soft Landing”


We were hanging up some pictures today.  Chris is transforming the yellow bedroom into kind of a kids' shrine motif.  We already have Nathan's skimboard mounted on one wall.  Josh's baseball glove and bat are on another.  On a shelf over the bed are some old hats and balls the boys used to wear.  Now it's time for pictures.  I was holding one up so Chris could see where she wanted it.  And for no apparent reason, I lost my balance.  Not a good thing to do with sore knees.  I got to the point where all my weight was on the knee, and over I went.  Luckily, however, I was standing on the bed.  I did have to twist around to avoid some picture frames, but it turned out to be a soft landing.  It made me feel silly.  It made me wonder, too.  Something is causing the dizziness, but we're not sure what.  Could be medication related.  Could be something totally unrelated to everything else.


We went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this morning.  First showing of the day.  I expected more of a crowd from Galveston College or Texas A&M Galveston students.  There were obviously some there, but the median age was not that far from us.  Guess old Harry has gotten to an unexpected generation.  The movie pretty much matched what I have heard.  It was very close to the book, so this particular segment was slow moving.  It was obviously designed to set the stage for the inevitable confrontation between Harry and Voldemort in the last movie that comes out this summer.  That was the problem.  It ended quite abruptly.  Few conflicts were resolved.  I couldn't even use my favorite movie spoiler line, "They all died."  They haven't yet.  Only some of them.  I did like the injuries, though.  Arm nearly ripped off.  Hole blasted in someone's head.  Knife in the gut.  Bloody messes.  Good vs. evil stands in favor of evil at this point, but the good guys haven't given up.  It did make me want to read the book again.  The book is always better than the movie anyway.   But our copy was drowned in the flood.  Maybe WalMart has a cheap paperback. 


We stopped by the Moody Methodist craft show on the way home.  It didn't seem as big as last year's.  Of course we were there on Friday afternoon rather than Saturday when the real crowds kick in.  We saw a few friends.  I think Chris wants to go back tomorrow after our church workday.  That would be OK.  She wants to shop.  I like to look for friends and watch people.


1 John 3:1-2 says, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."


Father, bring a real revival to Seaside and to Galveston.  Really.  Amen.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

November 18 – “The Graduation”


Quite the busy day.  Not at my desk, though.  It started out at Mod's Coffee Shop in Beautiful Downtown Galveston.  A group of four guys met together (one of them was me) to get to know each other better and to pray together for each other and for Galveston.  Two of us were pastors, one was a church staff member and one was in the process of starting a social ministry here in town.  It was great to get to know something about the heart we all have for the city.  It was even better hearing each other pray for it.  I'm looking forward to the next time we can do it, which looks like the week after Thanksgiving.


After the meeting I realized I was just thee or four blocks away from the Seaport Museum.  They have a real drilling rig set up that can be toured, so our kids from Seaside Christian Academy went on a field trip there today.  I went by and met up with them for the last half of their tour.  It was fun to hang out with the kids, and I was really surprised at how impressive the exhibits were.


This afternoon I went to a funeral for a man younger than I am – in his forties.  That's always a sobering experience.  Makes the reality of death hit closer tro home.  I didn't really know the guy, but his sons have come to Seaside youth events before.  They are really good kids.  I spent some time after the service talking to the pastor who led it.  The actual pastor of the church was there, but he just did one small part.  The guy I knew, Ray, then finished out with the majority.  I've known Ray for some time.  He has been active in ministering to senior adults on the Island for years.  I think he used to be a missionary somewhere in South America, too.  He was quite often at the nursing home where my Dad was, just hanging out with the people.  


Ray told me this particular memorial service was difficult for him.  Not because it was a cremation or even because he was particularly close to the family.  His comment was, "The funerals I usually do are for people 80 and 90 years old.  They are more like a graduation."  I like that.  Death for Christians is graduating and heading on to the next phase of life.  No matter how old you are. 


Revelation 21:3-4 says, "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'"


Father, That family is getting a lot of hugs right now.  Would you save one for when everybody is gone and give them one of yours?  They're gonna need it.  Amen.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November 17 – “Pictures on the wall”


Watching Chris play on Facebook is really a fun thing to behold.  She went for so long without a page that she is just now catching up on learning how to navigate her own page as well as to other people's walls.  We uploaded some pictures from a big family get together that we went to, so now she has the potential of getting some feedback.  I don't think she has ever put anything into her status update, though.  Maybe I can talk her into trying that next. 


She has finally decided to start putting pictures up on the walls and one shelves and wherever there is an appropriate space.  Since she found all the old photos from when she was a kid, she started developing collages of baby pictures starting with hers and mine and tracking through the grandkids.  That one should be fun when she gets done.  She experimented with a wedding photo collection of my grandmother and grandfather, my Mom and Dad, and us.  We had to reprint the one of us for the computer scans we made before the storm.  I did one in color and one in black and white, since the others were both in black and white.  As it turned out it didn't matter.  That particular combination didn't make it.  Yesterday she was going to put up the underwater photos we have from when the boys took swimming lessons.  There was a diver with a camera under the water, and he took the pictures as the kids dove to recover plastic rings.  Really amazing pictures.  She wanted to put them up in the "yellow room" next to the colorful skimboard already on the wall, but once we held them up, she didn't like the way they looked.  Back to the drawing board. 


One thing that did make it on the wall (and looks really good, by the way), was a quilt holder / shelf combination.  It is at the end of our hallway, and the quilt she hung up really adds a lot of color.  Of course the shelf on top made for more decisions about what pictures to put up there.  Right now the leaders in that sweepstakes are 8 X 10's of each of us when we were about four years old.  That's some cute children.  Really shows how little we have changed over the last fifty plus years (Sure …).


I guess all this activity means we have completed another step in our Hurricane Ike recovery.  Pictures on the wall.  What's next?

Colossians 1:15-17 says, "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."


Father, thanks for progress.  Little steps.  One day at a time.  Amen.