Pastor's Blog
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November 18, 2015, 12:00 AM

The Power in Being Reminded....

Reminders…… I received two of them from the same person today - a member of our staff. I'll highlight the second one first: “it's been awhile since you've posted on the Pastor's blog.” And she is right. Every week writing a blog entry appears on my list of things to accomplish. As you can see from the date of the last entry, it's been a while since I got to that part of my list. I always want to - I have lots of ideas to write about - a journal or two, actually. It just seems that I choose other things over the blog entry. The reminder from my teammate pushed me to write this.

 

Now the first reminder - it came through the devotional thoughts she shared at our weekly staff prayer time this morning. She directed us to Acts 28. Paul was on his way to Rome under arrest as a criminal. As he approached the city, believers from Rome ran out to meet him, and verse 15 says when he saw them, he gave thanks and was encouraged. Connection to others on the journey of following Jesus gave Paul courage and a reason for joy. My friend reminded me - from Scripture - that we need each other and that God gives us each other as gifts for the journey.

 

I needed the reminders I received today - God provided them through a person who is walking the road of following Jesus just like I am. I am a person on the road of following Jesus with you as you read this post. What could I remind you of today? Maybe something about God still being in charge, even when things like “Paris” happens? Maybe something about Jesus being Lord over the storm that might be raging in your life right now? Maybe something about finding time in the next week or so to really take stock of the blessings in your life, and give thanks to the Source of all good things?

 

And reminders…. give thanks for the ways…...and the people......God uses to push us a little…….

 

One more reminder……

 

Keep Lookin’ Up!

Pastor D.

 



Comments

11-25-2015 at 11:51 AM
DeWayne & Joyce Greenlee
Happy Thanksgiving! Blessing to you and your family.
11-19-2015 at 8:28 AM
Traci
Thank you!
11-18-2015 at 10:17 AM
Pat Mann
An hour or so ago, I read this and as I've reflected on what you wrote, here is what the Lord brought to my mind. Accountability and responsibility and partnering with another, as "iron sharpen's iron." I am blessed to have someone as such sharing the journey with me. Thanks for sharing. Be blessed.
11-18-2015 at 8:48 AM
Beth Stanish
Much needed today😢
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September 25, 2015, 12:00 AM

Back Surgery Chronicles: Passenger's Perspective

So who, primarily, does the driving in your family? In our family, I am the primary driver. Except, that is, for the last two weeks or so. Because of the pain medication I’ve been on while recovering from back surgery, I’ve not been permitted to drive. That has relegated me to the passenger’s seat while Betsy does the driving. 

The passenger seat is not a place I am very familiar with. I am used to controlling the speed and the direction and the route taken for where ever we happen to be going. In the passenger’s seat, that control is gone. I must sit and trust the one who is driving to get me where I need to go. And I’ve discovered that what one sees while on a particular journey is quite different in the passengers seat. We were traveling down Pone Lane several days ago and from the passenger’s  seat I saw houses along the road that I didn’t even know were there, and I’ve lived here in Franklin and traveled that road for nine years now! When one is driving, one is looking at different things – road signs and traffic and berms and pedestrians and the next turn and… - there just isn’t time or space to look beyond those things if one is trying to drive safely. I have realized that driving does give a person a greater sense of control over where they’re going, but it also limits their ability to fully appreciate and experience the journey.

A preacher I know would underline that last sentence and say, “That’ll preach.” When you and I are in the drivers seat of our lives – relying  on our own resources to negotiate life – we may feel like we have more control over what to do with what life hands us. “I know me,” we say to ourselves. “I know my tendencies. I know what I can and can’t do. I know what I like and what I don’t like, what I believe and don’t believe. I know I’m right about these things, and uncertain about those things.” (Notice I didn’t say “wrong” about those things… 😉)  Given what we know about us, we restrict our interaction with the circumstances of life to what we know we can figure out for ourselves – kind of like the narrow view one is forced to take when driving. We worry about avoiding accidents and getting the turns right and stopping when we’re supposed to and controlling our speed and…life becomes all about management, with very little room for awe and wonder and “Wow!” moments. 

But when we surrender the drivers seat of our lives to the real and active presence of God – when we allow God to determine destination and route taken and speed, trusting Him to get us where we need to go – there is freedom from managing life, and freedom for watching God at work in the circumstances that life hands us. From the passengers seat, we have more time and space to see the wonder of life – more room to observe what’s unfolding around us – more chances to experience “Wow!” moments – because we have trusted the driving to the One who knows us far better than we will ever know ourselves. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,” Proverbs 3 says, “and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path.” (vs. 5-6) From the driver’s seat we interact with life with the question, “what am I gonna do now?” From the passenger’s seat we interact with life and ask “wonder what God’s gonna do with this?” 

As I type these words my permission to drive has been restored.  But time spent in the passengers seat these past few weeks makes me think I’ll be handing over the keys a bit more often in the weeks to come……….

 As always…

Keep Lookin’ Up!

Pastor D.

 



Comments

09-25-2015 at 3:45 PM
Mikki Chmiel
So happy you are still shepherding us through these blogs. Tho shorter than your sermons and not as animated they still give us great things to think about. Prayers for patience and healing in these next few weeks. Just remember there is no brake on the passenger side either.
09-25-2015 at 2:58 PM
Dick Shaner
Looking forward to you next chapter in Back Surgery Chronicles. Catchy Title you gave it! God bless your quick recovery.
09-25-2015 at 12:25 PM
Pat Mann
I'm not a country western music fan; but, do you remember the song about: "Jesus take the wheel?" Country or not, makes sense, doesn't it? Glad you're making wonderful progress. Faithful prayers continue on your behalf.
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September 17, 2015, 12:00 AM

BACK SURGERY CHRONICLES: Hurry Up and Wait…

If you’ve listened to me preach for a week or two or read anything I’ve written through the years, you know that one of the places God shows up for me is in the ordinary experiences of life. Whether I’m at the beach, or in the woods, or in my office talking with a friend on the journey, I see and hear God’s presence in the breath by breath moments of life.  With that in mind, God has revealed himself over the past 10 days as I’ve gone through back surgery and recovery from that procedure. Let me share some of the things the Lord has shown me through this experience, beginning with the dominant theme of my life right now: waiting…

This back surgery journey began the week before Labor Day with a visit to Dr. Raymond Sekula, who looked at some recent MRI’s of my lower back, identified the problem, and then said, “I can help you, and here’s how.” He proceeded to describe the surgical option that would eliminate my pain and restore my mobility. It seemed like the best way to go, so I said yes and surgery was scheduled. Tuesday, September 8th arrived. I “surrendered” to anesthesiologists, nurses, surgeons, pain medications, and sleep. The next day – September 9 – reports from the day before suggested surgery was a great success, and that now we simply had to wait for healing to happen. Certain parts of that healing happened pretty rapidly: release from the chronic pain I was in, standing tall again, walking normally, management of the pain related to the surgery. But healing came – and continues to arrive - much more slowly in some other areas of my life: “internal plumbing” returning to normal function (understand?), getting up and down from a chair or the bed without some real pain, and most significantly, simple energy to function – the smallest things wear me out. I’ve been assured that healing in these places will come, but they cannot be rushed. They are systems of the body that just have to heal on their own schedule – in their time. All I can do is rest and move, move and rest as Andy (physical therapist) has directed, and wait for healing to happen.

Waiting for anything to happen has always been a challenge for me. My brother says my mother and I both have the patience of a gnat. That has proven true in this journey of recovery, especially as my mind and spirit are ready to reengage life and ministry, but my body says, No Way! I must simply wait for physical strength to catch up with mental and spiritual energy. When my mind and spirit say, “Let’s go!” but my body says “Sleep!” I crown the winner when I wake up from a nap. Sleep will not be denied these days. And all I can do is wait for the healing to happen.

As my frustration builds about waiting, God has reminded me that waiting is a good thing – something He has designed. Psalm 27:13-14 (NIV) says: II remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the lord.” And the New King James Version of one of my life verses reads this way: But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) The truth here? Waiting is not wasted time. It is, rather, trusting that in time God will act. Blessing will come, strength will be renewed, and weariness will be overcome. But God does the blessing, and the renewing, and the overcoming. My job – our job – is to wait. But waiting is not idle twiddling of our thumbs. Waiting exercises faith and chooses to trust that God will act in his time – in the right time – and the outcome will be far better than anything I or we try to create by rushing through things.

So, pray with me: “Teach me, Lord, to wait……” And as always…

Keep Lookin’ Up!
Pastor D.



Comments

09-18-2015 at 11:01 AM
Pat Mann
J. I, Packer, "Knowing God" wrote the following: "Wait on The Lord" is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time.
So as I agree with this, I'd say, wait, rest, reflect and may the Spirit of God continue to make known to you, his will, his word and his presence. Be blessed.
09-18-2015 at 8:18 AM
Stephanie Mills
Morning Pastor David! So true! I feel your frustration about just waiting. God gave Tracy Burkhart the verse, "Be still and know that I am God" a long time ago. I heard that loud and clear during my four weeks of no walking. How "funny" that when we had a painting party for Mary's birthday a few weeks ago, the picture was of a cross and that verse. Hmm. Even now though walking is great with a boot, I'm frustrated by not being able to do everything I want to do. Three more weeks of this boot and then a month of therapy. It will be well worth it, but the patience required is monumental. I've learned to not push too hard or you get setbacks. So, try to enjoy the small things, take it easy, and do what your doctors and body tell you to do. You are a man who rarely rests, so take this time to heal and spend time with your family. Praying for you!
09-18-2015 at 5:18 AM
Tom Young
David
While I hear what you are saying, my experience in "waiting" for the body to heal has always been a time for me to reflect and move forward with my mind. I has with GOD"S help come up with ideas change how I/ we will handle financial, family, organizational, and personal issues. I believe HE has planned for that to happen for me, and perhaps for you also. Take advantage of the opportunity, as once you are back into the swing of things, the window will have closed.
Tom Y..
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July 19, 2015, 12:00 AM

Nicole's Song...

Nicole sang today in worship – a song called “Lord, I Need You” with orchestral accompaniment via CD. Her voice was pure, on pitch, strong and faith-filled. The song she shared had become such a part of her that it flowed from the depths of her soul. The Lord spoke the message of encouragement and grace through her words and her worship.

It was not always so. Six or seven years ago, Nicole stood for the first time on the chancel of Christ Church with microphone in hand. Like most who use a gift the first time, she was trembling – in voice and body.  John  - our organist and her teacher – accompanied her on the piano – more like “led” her from the keyboard.  She was willing, but unsure. Sound was produced when she opened her mouth, but it was not always on pitch, and its strength was barely enough to move a feather. She knew of the Lord she sang about, but she, like a boy named Samuel (I Samuel 3), was not fluent in discerning the voice of God. That was then – today was now. An insecure and uncertain young girl from years ago had morphed into a confident young woman – a senior in high school - who is prayerfully listening for God’s direction about His will for her future.

As I listened to Nicole sing this morning, I thought about her journey to this moment – the place where she started and the years that have passed, the lessons she’s received and learned, the hours she spent practicing, the patience of her teachers, the constant encouraging voices of her parents and family, the gentle hand of God present in every note and word. And I gave God thanks for the way He works through the passage of time. We seem to be fixated on the now – on getting everything we want or think we need in an instant. We want to go from trembling child to Grammy winner in the blink of an eye.  But scripture suggests God works differently. “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”  Psalm 90:4 says. God’s look is beyond where we happen to be at any given moment. God’s LOOK is LONG. God is working in and with and through the present moments, unfolding a purpose and design that began before we were born (Jeremiah 1:5) and stretches way beyond the end of our days here (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

That first morning when Nicole stood to sing? God saw today on that day. God has been working through her life experiences to bring her to now, and God already sees the ways her life may unfold from today onward. And you know what? So goes God’s work in your life and mine as well………thanks be to God!

Think on these things, and remember…

Keep Lookin’ Up!
Pastor David



Comments

07-22-2015 at 9:54 AM
DeWayne B. Greenlee
Amen.......Pure Joy!
07-19-2015 at 8:38 PM
Pat Mann
I've observed the Beauty O Christ in Nicole throughout this past year, and I've made it a point to send her a note to let her know how she has blessed my heart with her voice for the Lord. In speaking with Nicole, you have her undivided attention, and she is warm, pleasant, polite and compassionate. She takes compliments with humility, and just today sharing lunch with 3 of the Lord's chosen women in my life, when we spoke of Nicole, I had to say, I simply love her, "Thank You" and radiant smile that accompanies it. God Bless her in what He has for her future.
07-19-2015 at 6:52 PM
Lois
I remember a day a few years back when Nicole sang. And it was as Pastor Janz stated. She was young, unsure. But she certainly morphed into a young woman confident in her beautiful voice. Was a beautifully sung song today.
07-19-2015 at 6:44 PM
Mikki
Was truly blessed to hear Nicole this am. When I walked into my classroom and she was practicing I truly thought we had a new cd on prior to the service. What a gift and what a blessing she is.
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June 25, 2015, 4:13 PM

What If?

I am sitting at my desk thinking about a blog entry. What shall I write about? The first thing that pops into my mind is the shootings in Charleston, South Carolina. “But so many others have written profoundly about this event.” I think to myself. People – thinkers much deeper than me, and communicators much clearer than me – have provided a wide variety of perspectives on this tragedy. What else, Lord – if anything – could I say about it? The “Praise and Worship” station on my Pandora radio is on in the background, and a song from “Mercy Me” comes on:  “I'm finding myself at a loss for words. And the funny thing is its okay. The last thing I need is to be heard, but to hear what you would say.”  It’s the first line from a song called “Word of God Speak.” (Seriously, I’m NOT making this up!)

The lyrics caused me to sit up straight and listen more closely to the Spirit. “Wonder what God has to say about Charleston?” Not saying the others that have written about last week’s shootings have missed what God has said. Not saying if I listen closely God will give me the inside story about the mind and heart of God as they relate to last Wednesday’s events. Simply a simple question about what God would say about what happened, and the racially charged conversations that have occurred since.  As I pondered those questions, I remembered seeing a quote on Facebook from Sam Emory, an African American pastor: “There’s no such thing for me as a black church. There’s no such thing for me as a white church. The church don’t have no color. The only color the church is is red because of the blood of Jesus Christ.”  

Hmmmmmmm, what if that’s what God would say in response to Charleston? Not saying racism – individual and systemic – is not a real thing. Not trying to “water down” the racism that exists in ALL of us, more than ANY of us realize or want to admit. Not suggesting we should stop trying to eradicate ANY and ALL practices that give “privileged” status to any group over another.  I am simply saying Pastor Emory’s words strike a chord in my spirit. What if God really doesn’t see multiple groups when he looks at humankind? Groups that are formed based on the categories we have developed over the years? What if God sees only ALL of us standing in need of the grace of Jesus Christ, no matter what color or creed or ancestry or background or past mistakes or present struggles that stand there with us? What if the ground at the foot of the cross REALLY IS level, and we ALL stand shoulder to shoulder with each other seeking, praying for, and receiving the mercy and love that hangs there in the God-man Jesus Christ

And then………..

What if we – by the inspiration and power of God’s Spirit – worked at seeing each other – ALL OTHERS – as God sees us: as souls – persons for whom Jesus Christ died? What if there was no such thing as a black or white or Hispanic or Korean or……… church? What if there was simply THE CHURCH, redeemed by the obedience, faithfulness, grace and blood of Jesus Christ? What if Galatians 3:28 REALLY IS truth: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

What if?

Think on these things, and remember…

Keep Lookin’ Up!
Pastor D.



Comments

06-25-2015 at 7:51 PM
Robyn Ohmer
What if? A great place to start! Thank you, Pastor, for keeping us thinking!
06-25-2015 at 5:52 PM
Laura Moore
Amen seems like the only fitting response.
06-25-2015 at 4:21 PM
Pat Mann
and......"What if" ..... we "all" just add our .....AMEN!!
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