May 22, 2016

Holy Mysteries and Holy Cats!

"God works in mysterious ways!"

Maybe you've heard that saying once or twice.
Maybe you've said it when you've seen God work things out in a way you didn't see coming.

There are a lot of things about God and the way he works that can be hard to understand. For instance, Christians declare that God exists as a holy Trinity. That is, there's the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and all three are God, but there is only one God. "God in three persons," we sing in one of the classic hymns. Each of the three is not "part" of God, and they don't represent varying aspects of God, but all three are in fact God in his fullness... and there is only one God. People have tried to use various analogies to explain this, but every analogy eventually falls short.

When we receive the Lord's Supper, we believe Christ is present, but how and what happens is the subject of debate. Different faith traditions explain it in different ways, but in the UMC, we explain what we can the best we can, and we say it is a "Holy Mystery". Personally, I love this expression, because you don't have to understand everything about something in order to accept and believe it.

There are many things we don't understand about God, but that's OK.

I was thinking about this over the past week as I've been watching the kittens play.

Bruce & Wayne are a handful!
This past week, Amber brought home two kittens,
     and they're very small,
          and they're very curious,
               and they're very energetic, to say the least!

April 21, 2015

The Great Gardener

I am not a gardener by any stretch of the imagination.

I don't have a green thumb - I have a black thumb...

The "flower bed" around our house is mostly dirt with some sorry looking green things sporadically growing here and there. They're supposed to be rose bushes, but we don't see roses very often...

Trees and bushes in our yard look pretty pitiful most of the time...

I once killed a cactus because I didn't water it often enough!


I like flowers enough to keep blogging about them - EXAMPLE 1, EXAMPLE 2 - but I guess some people were meant to cultivate, and others were meant to just stand back and admire!

That said, Amber and I have an ongoing argument every Spring. She insists that whenever dandelions start coming up, that means it's time to cut the grass. I, on the other hand, feel like it's a shame to cut these beautiful blooms down in the prime of their lives!

April 12, 2015

Training the Cat

Did you know you can train a cat?

Me and my Buddy
He's a bit of a Daddy's boy :)
If you're like most people, you're probably thinking, "You don't train a cat - a cat trains you!" Well, in many cases, this may be true, but I want to share with you the story about how I trained my outside cat, Buddy, and what I learned about myself in the process.

Buddy is a yellow tabby, and we've had him since he was a kitten. He's pretty well-behaved, I'd say... at least most of the time...

Buddy has actually developed somewhat of a reputation in the neighborhood as a pretty adept hunter, even though we do feed him cat food every evening. One of my co-workers, Jacque, told her parents about our rabbit-hunting cat one day, and her parents decided to come out and see him for themselves. When they asked to see Buddy, I said OK, stepped outside, and hollered his name...

February 14, 2014

Marital Spats

Maybe this seems like an odd post for Valentine's Day, but let's face the facts: If you get married, you will have arguments with your spouse. That shouldn't come as a shock to anyone.

What shocks me is the number of people I've heard who use this as an excuse to move in with their partner without ever making it official. They think, for some reason, that if they don't get married, they won't fight - or better yet, they think that by not getting married, this will be a good thing because it will allow them to walk away when the fights come... and the fighting does come, whether you're married or not! Any time you have two or more individuals who spend enough time together, there will be conflicts and misunderstandings, at least from time to time. It's natural, and I would even say it can be healthy if it's handled in the right way.

December 23, 2013

"Happy Holidays"

Over the past few years, it seems, I've heard more and more people complaining about the so-called "War on Christmas". Atheist groups would like to remove Nativity scenes (among other religious symbols) from public spaces, and children in public schools are being asked not to sing religious songs as part of their school pageants. These and other things have caused quite a stir among Christians who fear that our nation is being "de-Christianized" because their traditions are being laid aside in favor of those that are more inclusive to other faiths.

One of the biggest complaints I've seen is from those who are offended that many people working in stores are being asked to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" to their customers.

I've heard some Christians make this into a big deal because they believe this is somehow infringing on their freedom to express their beliefs. And I have to admit that, at first, I was a little put off when I heard or saw the alternate greeting because I bought the line that this was some form of religious persecution...

But the more I've thought about it, the more I like the "Happy Holidays" greeting (or at least I've come to peace with it) and I'd like to share with you my reasons why.

October 18, 2013

The Right Words at the Right Time

Earlier today, Dad e-mailed me a devotion from Max Lucado about being thankful in the midst of difficult things. Lucado referred to 1 Corinthians 11, where Paul says of Jesus: "On the night in which he was betrayed, he took the bread and gave thanks..." - What an amazing example!

Dad sent it to me just because he said it was what he needed to hear today, and he thought it was good. I thought it was good, too, so I turned around and actually read it and talked about it briefly on the air on Walk-FM. But what neither of us knew yet is that it was exactly what I needed to hear today, too. I continued to think about it and shared it with Amber, and - without getting into all the details - this devotion ended up being an encouragement to us later on, when our afternoon took an unexpected turn!

All this to say, first of all, that yes, you can still be thankful in the middle of trying times.

In addition to that, it just reminded me of the truth that one word can inspire people you may never even realize. I'm sure that, when Max Lucado wrote his devotion, he didn't know that Dad or Amber or me would need to hear it today, just like I have no idea who might've been listening to Walk FM or who will be reading this blog and needed to be encouraged, too - but God put the right words in the right place for the right people to hear them at the right time, and that's pretty awesome, if you ask me!

So if you're struggling through something right now, I want to encourage you to still be thankful. Thank God for the blessings you know he's already given you. Thank him for the blessings that lie ahead because you know that he has promised good things! "Rejoince in the Lord always," Paul said (Philippians 4:4).

And don't be afraid to speak up when you see God's blessings. Don't be afraid to share the encouragement you've received with others, because you never know who might be listening, who might be reading, or who might hear it from a friend who told a friend what you said. You never know, but somebody might be strengthened, encouraged, or have their whole life changed just because you were willing to let God speak the right words through you to someone in need!

Tonight, I had to go back over to the radio station to finish up some work before the weekend. While I was working, Chris Tomlin came on the radio, singing "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)", and I had to just stop what I was doing for a minute and listen. I was thinking back about how this day had been a day of big ups and downs. And I just had to praise God for his wonderful amazing grace that went ahead of me and brought just the right words at just the right time to sustain me!

Our God truly is an awesome God!

October 15, 2013

Changing Seasons

"For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven..."
- Ecclesiastes 3:1

When I was a kid, my favorite season was Summer, because that meant we were out on vacation from school. I know many of my classmates were thrilled in the Winter when we would have snow days. As I've gotten older, I've found more pleasure in the flowers and new life visible in the Springtime. Meanwhile, my wife always loves the changing colors of leaves in the Autumn.

There is beauty in every season
Whether you prefer to look forward to the holidays that come in the Winter or the warmer temperatures that come once it's past, there's really something to love about every season - different as each one might be from the rest!

The same thing might be said for the seasons of our lives.