O Holy Night – Part 1

On the early morning of this new year I find myself awake early. The past week has been a bumpy ride, literally. Following Christmas day there were errands to run and  the decompression after the buildup to Christmas Day. Upon settling in my old easy chair to watch a little TV, little did I know that silent night was about to become anything but silent.

The networks were being preempted by the weather on this warm and sticky December Texas evening. We knew we had a cold front on it’s way and heavy rain coming the next day. Texas weather is a crazy thing. We laugh, but all four seasons can happen in a single day.

As I watched the weather guy track a heavy thunderstorm, that was starting to turn ugly, little did I know that weather front had a late Christmas present for us.

One storm had produced a tornado south of Dallas and it had tracked almost to the downtown area of Big D. As I watched the trajectory of that storm, I told my bride that I was more concerned about the eastern side of the track because that is where we were sitting.

A few minutes later I lost satellite signal. Usually when this occurs it will rain pretty heavily within a short time. I waited for the sound of rain on my chimney. Nothing.

As I sat in my recliner looking out through my patio door I could see some flashes of light that were most likely lightning strikes from an approaching new storm. Being the constant weather watcher that I am, I stood and looked out to the southwest to see in the back-lit sky what surely looked like what they call a wall cloud.

I summoned my better half for a look. She saw what I saw. It was a cloud hanging lower than the surrounding clouds. And there were flashes of light that made it evident it was more than a wall cloud.

I opened the door and stepped on the patio for a better view. That’s when I heard “that” sound. It was a roar with a loud motor grinding pulsating. It appeared several blocks from us. I quickly tried to determine if it was headed left or right. It was neither. It was coming our way.

I loudly called out to my wife that we needed to head to the main bathroom. I’ve always been a scoffer at the warnings to get in the tub. This time I knew better than to question what my ears and eyes had seen.

So with pillows in place and Miss Sadie in (our dog) we closed the door and waited. A mere 60 seconds had passed when we heard a couple of loud “booms” and a little vibration. Then quiet. I said it’s over. And it was.

The “easy” part was now over.

 

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Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You – Illness

 

Like any communicable disease, there are limited but effective ways to stop whatever illness is knocking at your door. One solution is isolation – stay away from others who might infect you and your kin. At times a virus may come to us when we least expect it. An accepted way to combat the potential of an invading bug is to see if there is a serum or vaccination available to prevent infection. We go for an injection in hopes that we can build up immunity and avoid catching the invader. Some viruses are very resistant to elimination and require stringent and often serious isolation and might even require a different kind of protocol to stop the spread. As you know, we faced such a threat with the Ebola virus that came unexpectedly to our shores in 2014. Some people got sick, and some even died. But with fast action and certain isolation we were able to stop its spread and the ultimate destruction of thousands.

We have a subtle yet deadly virus that’s already made landfall in the U.S. quite some time ago. It is spreading like wildfire in many communities. We’ve not been sufficiently inoculated ourselves to keep this virus from invading and destroying us. The really scary part is that we’ve allowed the germ to grow pretty much unchecked so far. Thousands more that are already infected by this deadly virus are seeking entry into our land, and are actually being encouraged to come. They carry with them the potential of destroying us all if left unchecked. They already freely walk among us with the destructor in tow. In case you haven’t realized what threat I’m talking about, it is called Islam.

If we think North Korea is a problem or if Russia or China are serious threats, then we are fooling ourselves when those worries compare to the worldwide spread of Islam. This false religion will bring us all to our knees and ultimately destroy the civilized world. Its mission is to overtake, control and eliminate the Judeo/Christian message. If we fail to take decisive, serious and immediate action to limit the spread of the carriers of this plague we will face certain and complete destruction.

Fortunately there is a vaccine. It’s called the gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith in Him is the only hope. He is the one and only God. He can protect you from any invading virus or ideology. He can remove each and every strain of disease being perpetrated and promoted upon our society. It’s not too late to be protected. Immunization requires action on your part, as it’s not an automatic prevention. You have to go to the source of the maker of the vaccine.

Ask the one and only true God to redeem and protect you from the spread of the invader with a complete dose of the vaccine that gives life. A good  place to find the answers is by taking a stroll into the pages of The Gospel of John in the New Testament. It’s a simple and forthright read.

 

Light Bulb Moment today

I had one of those light bulb moments early this morning.
It came to me as a single word – Mission.
What does Mission mean?
Webster defines this as: an important goal or purpose that is accompanied by strong conviction; a calling or vocation, or an important task or duty that is assigned, allotted, or self-imposed: or sending or being sent for some duty or purpose.
 
For a number of years I felt like I had several missions in life. Among those were to be the provider for my family and to be the man God called me to be, for the protection and nurture of the wife  and brood he blessed me with. Another mission was to raise our kids in the “right” way. That mission was a joyous and rewarding endeavor.
 
A little later in my adult time I had a mission to be a leader among, and with, men of faith. That became a passion that was shared with other like minded guys who were in various stages of their lives. It was also a rewarding and fruitful experience and watch as God blessed and prospered that deepening faith experience. 
 
All the kids are gone now. They are pursuing their own missions now. So, for the most part my fathering mission is pretty much accomplished. My provider mission and role of provider has changed to being the provider for my wife and myself. The men’s ministry mission waned in recent years, as some of my closest allies and comrades left this place for a better land.
 
A discussion began last evening with my bride about the frustration we feel as believers in that the population at large are very much different than we are. Our society is very much “into themselves” and searching for happiness in things and events that we personally find no joy or purpose in. We sort of feel out of touch with the mainstream. We want to be and attempt to be relevant and “part of the crowd” yet we just can’t embrace many of the activities and attitudes that make the multitudes happy nowadays.
 
So, as often happens early in the morning, the Holy Spirit speaks. Not with great detail but with single words like MISSION. In the “mature age” of our lives I think we need a new mission. We need something that we are jazzed about. We need to throw ourselves into something that makes a difference in the lives of other people. And we need to be on the same page as a team for this mission. At this point I have not a clue what that might look like or be? But the same spirit that injected this new word into my thoughts, will also bring something to us that will energize our batteries and give us new meaning and purpose.
As we allow our spiritual gifts to be employed openly in the mighty hand of God, there will be purpose and drive and success. There will also come with that the fulfillment of knowing that what we are about is something that makes our creator smile.
I’m ready to find my new calling, whatever that might be. Stay tuned for further mission news!   

The Compelling Days of Easter

 

I have days when I am compelled to write. Writing is simply a revelation of what is going on in one’s mind. Today is one such day for me.

 

Driving back from lunch it dawned on me that this is Easter week. It usually slips up on me. For those of you who’ve seen what I say on here, I am someone who believes in traditional values. I lean pretty far to the right on most social and political issues and I don’t apologize for that. I’ve a passion for life and liberty and justice. I enjoy simple pleasures. I enjoy humor. I relish passionate spiritual music from another era (crazy I know). I get jazzed and motivated serving others. That’s my calling.

 

But this week of the year pulls from me something that is from the depths of who I am. I know I’m a husband and a son and a father, and now I’m also a Pops. But who I really am is one who believes in the power of the cross of Christ. Yes, I realize it was a cruel and bloody event a long time ago in history that some people cringe and want to ignore. But the event of the cross was the pivotal point in all of human history. God made a bridge to himself with the horrible and brutal death of the God/man Jesus Christ. I’ve learned about him, I’ve prayed to God in his name. I’ve relied on him to carry me when I had no more strength. I’ve seen his hand and I’ve seen his heart. No human reasoning could ever change my mind about who I KNOW he is.

 

So as I ponder this week and the junk He was given to endure, it puts a big lump in my throat. I realize he did what he did to pay a debt for me, that I was incapable of honoring. Whatever you’re doing this week I urge you to stop and ponder the Christ who laid it down for us all. Embrace and accept him. Take the gift that is being freely offered to you, and don’t look back. If you do, you will realize and experience something called resurrection. That word means that something was dead and had new life breathed into it. You’ve heard that story. He died and went to a grave. His detractors thought they had snuffed him out. But he had new breath pumped into him a couple of days later. He stood up and walked out of his place of defeat and displayed God’s power one early morning. That is the story of Easter. I hope you see it and experience it like I have.                   

Charting Unknown Waters

OK. I just started my journey into the unknown. The uncharted waters of life in my sixties began yesterday. I guess I must have thought that yesterday I would have somehow “felt older” or that my memory would suddenly disappear into the abyss or something else drastic might happen. Well I’m still here today and alive and relatively well (for my age!).

I’m really enjoying life these days. In some ways I’m coasting down life’s highway. But in other regards I am still squeezing out from my resources of memory and experience to eek out a survival in the corporate world. Most days it is still an adventure for me. And other days it seems to have the word “drudgery” attached. But all in all, I’m still having the time of my life and getting the job done in the best way that I can.

I treat my own job and duties with the same sense of drive and determination as if it were my own personal business to care for. And it really is. Perhaps it’s just me, or my generation, or my upbringing. I am hoping it is not just a generational thing that will someday be gone forever. Having this type of mindset should really be the norm and not the exception. Some day I really do hope that someone else will pick up my mantle and carry forward with the same sense of pride and care that I’ve come to enjoy and expect from myself. My faith has played a crucial role. 

Sometimes we sell short the generations behind us as being uncaring or lazy. As with any generation I’m sure there is some of that at play. But I see a bright future in the midst of some shaky and dark things in this world when I see innovators and those that are “up and coming”. Our followers will certainly face new and different challenges in every aspect of life. But I look forward to seeing if what my generation modeled will be repeated or built upon, in new and exciting ways of innovation.

As I begin the fall of my life, my calendar and some days my body still screams that it really spring time. Away with the dead of winter. With anticipation we watch the explosion of newness in everything around us as the plants wake up and start singing. And with the new chorus comes color and beauty and tons more oxygen to fill our lungs again. The whole process is refreshing. Seasonal change is one of the wonders of life (and death). It’s a stark reminder that out of death can spring forth new life.

So even though my driver license now says I’m older, I refuse to fall prey to the dullness and negativity of getting old. I choose to be happy and fulfilled and complete. And out of my own “deadness” I look for new and green and colorful life as I travel toward the winter of my days.