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Showing posts from March, 2010

Birthing a Sermon

It's not easy! As much as you might think, "I could do that" when you hear your pastor preach, it is a lot more work than you can imagine. Oh, occasionally there will be a sermon that will just "pop" out and come together in a matter of minutes, but that is not the norm. Just as in a pregnancy, there is conception (getting an idea from God) gestation (studying) maturation (ironing out the wrinkles) and finally, birth. When you're faced with a holiday, like Easter, the challenge is to present the material in a fresh mode that is in the vernacular of the people to whom you're preaching and yet is challenging. The ratio of preparation to delivery, in my experience has been almost 3-1. That is, 3 hours study and prep time for each hour of preaching.I remember hearing of a pastor being interviewed by a search committee who asked them, "Do you want my head or my feet?" The committee puzzled over that and asked, "What do you mean?" …

Bittersweet

Interesting word, bittersweet. It really is descriptive of many events in life. Today I'm in a bittersweet mood. After a week of spring break, my three grandkids from AL headed out with their Nana to meet up with their parents some six hours up the road. I'm conflicted because, as interim pastor of a church with planned activities today, I can't go with them. Also, I'm conflicted because, although I enjoyed having them here, I clearly realized why God gives children to the young. My patience was tried daily, and my responses were more often reactions. I remember hearing Fred Smith, founder of FedEx, say one time "The second greatest sight in the world is seeing your grandkids come up the walk from the car to your house. The greatest sight is seeing them go down the walk, back to the car." As much as I wanted to make a positive impression on them, I'm afraid that I missed the mark because of constantly correcting or disciplining them. Having grown…

I Must be Getting Old

We just returned from a quick trip to Alabama. Left on Monday and returned on Friday, both days were occupied with 11+ hours driving. In between we were in rainy, cool to cold weather. Got to see our granddaughter star in their school production of Willy Wonka, Jr. She played the part of Charlie and was brilliant. The return trip to Sebring was with the three Alabama "grandies" who are spending spring break with us. Already I've discovered that I'm not a patient nor as energetic as I once was. This morning's trip to the church, the bank and McDonald's with the boys exposed me as an old guy. One older gentleman at McD's said quietly to me as I was getting some tea "You have your hands full." Another came to the rescue when one of the boys went scurrying after ketchup by offering us a couple of packets he had left over.I'm also discovering that I have hearing problems I didn't know I had. On the one hand, the decibels are hurting…

Living Off-balanced

Just about the time I think I've got life by the tail, I find myself face to face with the snarling other end. Circumstances always get in the way of my carefully laid out plans for life. Weather (earthquakes, tsnamis) illness, the economy, loss of a loved one, you name it; any one or a combination of those can throw me off-balance in the blink of an eye. All of which brings me to the question, "Is it really such a bad thing to live an off-balanced life? I realize that all the self-help gurus would respond in chorus "Yes! You must learn to live a balanced life!" Let me see if I can validate my point.When I'm living off-balanced, my senses are more alive because I don't know what is coming next.When I'm living off-balanced I'm more open to a hand from an outside helper.When I'm living off-balanced I'm more likely to discover new abilities I didn't know that I had.When I'm living off-balanced I'm more tuned in to God and more …