I have often dreamt of saying those words… especially recently as the lottery jackpot totaled 1.6 BILLION dollars. B.I.L.L.I.O.N. I found myself thinking, “Lord, I know I am not going to play the lottery but maybe a close relative or friend could win; just the relative or friend that would share😉. I’ve thought about what I would do with all the money…buy a new home…new car…pay off debts…kids’ college…weddings…and of course give to the church and other deserving ministries. What would you do with a winning that size? Let me ask another question, “Why do we even take time to dwell on this?” “Why play the lottery?”
With my eyes closed and my memory engaged, I can almost smell the Sunday dinner that my grandmother used to cook; fried chicken smothered in dark gravy, collard greens, sweet potatoes swimming in butter and Brown n’ Serve rolls. Not the traditional meal for our health conscience world today 😊. Nevertheless, this memory and many more are tucked away in my heart, ready for retrieval at a moment’s notice…
As I have been studying and reading through the book of Acts, my life is truly being challenged. I am in a state of unrest. Good unrest. Questions like, “Where is the power of God displayed in my life?” “Am I living an ordinary life?” “Am I living an explainable life?” are all ruminating through my heart and mind. And these questions are wreaking havoc!
I recently had breakfast with Hunter, a young man who attends our church. We met at a trendy, house converted coffee shop in downtown Franklin. I ordered a healthy hipster breakfast…NOT.
You cannot imagine the excitement of an inner city kid, who’s single Mom just informed him of the incredible news that they would be going to the local amusement park in the morning. The place he hardly ever went to because African Americans weren’t allowed in the park unless they were employees or had a private party after hours. But now in the early seventies, times had changed. They could freely attend the park. There certainly would be no sleeping that night! Dreams filled with a kid’s imagination of all that would take place; mapping out in his mind the rides he would experience AND the rollercoasters he would ride…Oh, the rollercoasters!
Anyone who has spent time in my presence has heard me say that I love mornings, (provided
I‘ve had a good night’s rest) :) . Especially if everyone’s still asleep, the morning is even better;
the freshness, the newness. I have no trouble getting out of bed, holding a conversation,
listening to music, first thing in the morning. I don’t really need time to warm up or to get
going. One of my daughters, who will remain nameless, is NOT a morning person. She doesn’t
want to talk, engage in conversation or be greeted with enthusiasm, in the mornings. She says
that is rude and annoying. I’ve heard her often say, “Just give me a moment.” “Let me get my
coffee.” ; It seems that it takes her an hour or two to really feel like herself.
Have you ever had someone ask you, “If you had an opportunity to go back and talk to the younger you, what would you tell yourself?” What an intriguing thought and question. Have you ever pondered that? What would you say to “yourself”. Of course we know this is not a possibility but it does give way to thinking about life’s lessons and the things that we have learned. As I alluded to in part 1 of this blog, the older you get, the more life you have to look back on. And with 56 ½ years behind me, there seems to be many lessons learned and a lot to talk about ☺
God does all things good in His time. Not ours. 6 and half years ago we started what was then the Church at Antioch. And I had a young man jump in the waters with me and serve full-time as the associate pastor…being interpreted, do whatever the Pastor cannot do or do whatever needs to be done. Logan, had to become a jack of all trades. But his heart and his wife’s heart were in Portugal. As you know they left about three years ago, to go and serve there…
I woke up on July 9th , walked into our kitchen and announced to my kids, Rhesa and Ryland, “Today is my ½ birthday, where’s my celebration?” “Come on…I’m 56 and a half and I want a party.” They looked at me as if I was “one fry short of a Happy Meal”. ☺ I sounded, like a little kid, I’m sure.
Legendary NFL Head Coach Vince Lombardi, was known for his motivational quips and quotes:
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” Another one,
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will”. So true! But the one I believe to be the most notable is his statement that , “Winners never quit and quitters never win”. I actually grew up hearing that quote, from teachers, my step-dad, even my band teacher.
It was just one of those mornings. Not a bad, “just one of those mornings”…but a good one. I woke up earlier than I had planned and decided to go workout; something that I had really neglected to do faithfully these past few months. I don’t know what it was but I just felt like it was going to be a great day. I rolled down the windows in my Buick Lesabre, turned up the radio and was on my way to Planet Fitness.
If you find me in a freshly cleaned room, dimly lit lights with instrumental music quietly playing in the background, while drinking my favorite beverage (any guesses), reading a book, you know that I’m in a VERY.GOOD.PLACE. A place somewhere deep inside my thoughts and reflections. A place where “God is”. A place of comfort and refuge.
I am like a desert owl of the wilderness,
like an owl of the waste places;
I lie awake;
I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.
Psalm 102:6-7 (ESV)
It seems to me that we are the most connected yet disconnected generation ever. We have so many avenues and tools to keep us “in the know” about the affairs of other people and yet we ourselves are not known. We are strangers many times in a crowd.
God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above
From the mountains to the prairies
To the oceans white with foam
God bless America, my home sweet home
Every now and then when I am reading about the Israelites in the Old Testament, I get a little
frustrated with them. Reading story after story of how God showed up and showed out in their
lives. Deliverance from slavery in Egypt via the Red Sea! Water from a rock! Food raining down
from heaven (no need to grocery shop)! Personal guidance and protection from God Himself!
“Come on People, what more do you need?!” “How dumb, (sorry kids) can you be?” I think to
myself, “If I had all THAT…all the miracles and power and stuff…I would totally trust in the
I was preparing to wash our family van…not the little mini-van but our big 15 passenger van
that has the duty of driving us all over the United States. I grabbed my bucket, soap, towels and
glass cleaner. I knew that I was in for a looong process of scrubbing off smeared bug juice and
cleaning up petrified French fries and old soda pop spills.
I was on my computer looking up a sermon by one of my favorite preachers. I clicked on the
YouTube picture and waited for the sermon to load but soon realized it was a sermon about
this preacher. It was another preacher railing on him and misrepresenting in so many ways.
A couple of weeks ago at our church Gathering, in a sermon on Generous Living, I mentioned
that fear/anxiety is the enemy of generosity. It really got me to thinking about anxiety and
worry in general. I’d like to think of myself as a person of faith and trust in God but I have to
admit, there are a lot of things that have been causing me anxiety these days. I find my
thoughts wandering and my heart racing as I call to mind, things out of my control.