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Archive | Musings

A Bald Eagle Sighting

Ran across this picture and thought I’d share it with you.

It was taken back in February at Senior’s Night for my son Jamey’s basketball team called the Eagles. Miriam and I were supposed to walk out with Jamey before the game, hear some nice words read about Jamey and his future, and then have Jamey present his mother with a rose. I had even donned a tie for the occasion. Simple, right?

The only problem was that the other team did not show up.

We called the other team, but seems that there was a scheduling problem. They did not even have us down. So with a rented gym, referees, all that money spent on roses, and three seniors looking forward to being honored, we figured we better get an opposing team together quick. So some dads and alumni ran home, grabbed some gym shorts, and cobbled together a team. What fun we had that night! We even gave the Eagles a good game, though they came through with the victory at the end.

By the way, if you decide to form a home school team, don’t choose Eagles as your mascot. It is the most popular high school team name, and […]

Youth Groupee

Telemarketers can be annoying, but they can also be a source of mild entertainment. Especially the ones who call the church hawking the latest Christian trinket. I particularly enjoy this type of conversation, which happens once a month or so:

“Hello, Sycamore Reformed Presbyterian Church.”

“Yes, this is Christy from Teen Rage with an exciting offer that will help your youth love Jesus! May I speak to the director of your youth group, please?”

“We don’t have a youth group.”

“Oh,” followed by the long pause of a telemarketer who doesn’t have that response on her script. “Ok, well, thank you,” spoken with the voice of one who has mistakenly dialed up a leper colony.

Our congregation really doesn’t have a youth group, but this blog is not an anti-youth group rant. Rather, I wanted to tell you that I’ve just enjoyed a great summer hanging out with youth, be it my own youth group of six kids at my house, the young people in the congregation, or those at church camps and conferences. The highlights:

1) Monday through Wednesday of this week we had our second annual Youth Summer Service Project (YSSP) at the church. Fifteen teenagers attended. The three days started with devotions, ended […]

Obedience: A Learned Behavior

Recently a friend going through a tough time asked me for a copy of the following that I wrote quite a number of years ago. The title makes it self-explanatory. Perhaps a thought or two may be helpful to you.

Learning Obedience through SufferingWhat the Lord Taught a Pastor as the Congregation He Served Struggled through Division that Threatened Its Existence

If my perfect Lord learned obedience through suffering, so must all who follow Him.
Nothing helps like dry and thirsty times to bring out the sweet taste of the Psalms.
The best prayers are often offered with a libation of tears.
God provides an oasis in our deserts. They are called friends.
If God destroyed a whole generation for grumbling and complaining before they entered the land of promise, what will He do to those who grumble who are in Christ and His church?
In backyard basketball, we say, “No blood – no foul.” In other words, quit complaining about every infraction and just keep playing. That makes for a loose but good paraphrase of Hebrews 12:4-5, “If you have not started bleeding yet, then your trial isn’t nearly as bad as it could be. Accept the discipline of the Lord and press on.”
Often silence […]

Do What You Cannot Do

He came banging in through the church door last Saturday, calling out with his thick tongue, “Hel-wo! Pas-ta!” As this “pas-ta” came out of his study and walked down the hall toward him, I recognized the form swaying unsteadily inside the door. He is a local fixture in this neighborhood, a middle-aged man whose body is twisted with cerebral palsy that makes his words and steps jerky and disjointed. The only time he moves about fairly freely is when he is seated upon his three-wheeled bike with the basket as he tools along the streets. One looking upon him instantly feels sorry for him.

He asked for five bucks because he said he was hungry. Jason, who was with me, asked if he had gone to the Mission, which offers two free meals a day, every day. He said people there made fun of him and asked for five bucks again. We flat-out said no. He said he would come to church if we gave it to him. We told him to come to church the next day then we would start talking about it. Without another word he turned and stumbled out the door in disgust.

Were we cruel?

Well, before I […]

VBS for Pastors

Usually Vacation Bible Schools are held during the summer so squirmy little kids can learn what they did not know about the Bible.

Last month, this preacher felt like he went to VBS for Pastors, though my squirming was due to paying attention to the lesson rather than trying to escape it.

My family had the privilege of attending our presbytery’s family conference called Covfamikoi (a name derived by combining the words “covenant” and “family” with the first letters of the states represented at the conference). I had the opportunity to sit under the mature, masterful preaching of Pastor Ted Donnelly from Ireland as he brought messages to us from the book of Jeremiah. As I listened to the warm, probing sermons, one lesson I learned is how much I am still learning about the Bible. To be honest, having never done an in-depth study of this book myself, I learned such things as:

The theme God gave to Jeremiah’s ministry is contained in the six verbs of Jer. 1:10, “to pluck up and break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” This theme is repeated throughout the book (for instance, see Jeremiah 18:7-10 and 31:38).
The phrase “a new […]

Summer Ramblings

Between attending denominational meetings, packing to leave for a family conference, sending a family to Scotland, caring for my mom and trying to do my necessary work, little time is left for the leisurely sport of blogging. So here are a few “bloggettes” rolling around in my mind:

1) Synod went well last week, as much wisdom and unity was displayed. The humorous comments made on the floor offered some very practical wisdom to us that I’ll attempt to “proverbialize,” such as…

“Some of our current tunes require going through four time zone changes to get to the end.” -A deliberately humorous remark made to the Psalter Revision Committee. Proverb #1 – If a Covie-chord cannot sing it, do not put it in the Psalm book.
“Sir, you do not need to respond to every comment on your report.” -Spoken by the moderator to a zealous young man defending his report from criticisms. Proverb #2 – Moderate your own mouth or it shall be done for you.
“Please, let us end this agony.” -Made after a rather lengthy debate, immediately after which a vote was taken and the discussion was ended. Proverb #3 – Better say nothing than speak […]

Crawlfish Caper

Sneaking up to the corner of the house, the scrawny eight year-old boy carefully peered around it into the carport. His lips, perpetually separated by buckteeth, broke into a grin as he saw the car was gone and the object of his desire was where he knew it would be. Sitting there on the step by the door, magnified into lobster-sized proportions by both the afternoon sun shining through the water in the mayonnaise jar and his own imagination, was the crawlfish. His barefeet slapped across the concrete as he hurried over to the jar, picked it up with its glorious contents, and replaced it with a jam jar bearing a crawlfish less than half its size. The guilty pangs that arose as he took off around the corner were surpressed by the thought of how Terry had practically stolen it from him in the first place.

The thin boy had caught the crawlfish earlier that day. He and his older friend by four years, Terry, had spent that morning as they often did, hunting for crawlfish in the two creeks that ran down the borders of the boy’s yard and joined into a Y to form a larger creek as […]

The Question

Over the past several years I have run into “the question” ever so often, just infrequently enough to forget it is there. The experience is much like the one I have when I run into my mother-in-law’s sliding glass door, her dedication to cleanliness causing me to forget that there is a piece of thick glass between me and the great outdoors. “So how is the controversy in your congregation going?” one pastor friend or another from across the nation asks me when I see them after a long period of time. WHAM! I stand there momentarily stunned, a dumb look on my face, rubbing my forehead, feeling remarkably similar to my encounters with the sliding door. “What controversy?” I’m thinking. Then just like I start to laugh when I see my face print on the glass, a knowing smile comes over me as I realize to what they are referring. Oh, yeah, the wine.

Several years ago some godly members of our church, their consciences bothering them, asked our elders to study whether wine should be used in communion or not. Their reasoning to us was that it seemed to be the temperance movement in the history of our church, […]

Reformation Society of Men

Last night, June 7th, the first Reformation Society of Men’s meeting in Kokomo was held in the Fellowship Hall of the Sycamore RPC. We had 17 men in attendance. The men were told that these type of meetings were held during the time of the Reformation, and in recent years, primarily through the ministry of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Reformation Societies have been popping up around the nation. One of the strongest of these is located in Indianapolis which our “grandmother” congregation of Second RPC has been fundamental in founding and supporting. Our “mother” congregation in Lafayette was also instrumental in beginning one in their city two years ago. Good fruit has been developing from these ministries as a result.

The RSM here is slightly different in that it was designed to help us meet a need that exists in our own congregation of discipling the men. Thus, we are focusing currently on developing our men’s ability to hear the Lord speaking to them through the studied and preached Word of God from our worship the Lord’s Day prior to the meeting, as well as building mentoring and accountability relationships. We pray, however, that others will be led to join […]

The Coming of Gowf

Well over four hundred shots rang out on the Deer Track Golf Course located near Frankfort, Indiana, on Tuesday as three other men ventured out on the golf course with moi for my semi-annual golfing outing. I call it semi-annual because I usually only go twice a year, once in late spring and another time in early fall. Golf is too expensive and my playing too erratic to give much more time to it than that, but I do relish it when I can play. What can be more therapeutic for a pastor who has to be in the study quite a bit than strolling along green fairways (in my case it is across them as I go side-to-side looking for balls with a mind of their own), seeing woods and water beautifully placed (and spending a great deal of time in both of them), and enjoying the wildlife (we did not see any deer tracks, but the deer flies kept biting our necks, leading us to consider a new name for this particular course)?

Anyway, my blog title comes from a story by the English humorist P.G. Wodehouse, who tells a funny tale of a king who has a strange […]