Saturday, June 28, 2008

Vanity Plates

Do you have a personalized license plate? If you do, what does it say? Chances are it say's something about who you are or what you love.

Imagine if they had personalized license plates in the first century. If they did, what do you think the apostle Paul's would say? Well I don’t think it would say anything about his position as an apostle, nor do I think it would say anything about him being the first missionary. Instead I think it would say something like. . .“4me2live.” That’s because of what he said in Philippians 1:21, “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain." This was more or less his life’s motto or purpose as well as the secret to his joy.

What are you living for? Well if it is anything other than Jesus then to die is not gain but loss.

  • "For me to live is money, and to die is to leave it all behind."
  • "For me to live is fame, and to die is to be forgotten."
  • "For me to live is power, and to die is to lose it all."
  • "For me to live is possessions, and to die is to take none of them with me."

The apostle Paul on the other hand made Jesus his focus. That allowed him to have joy whether he lived or died, because dying only brought him more of what he loved, Jesus (John 14:3).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wild at Heart

Tim, our third son, is a “wild at heart” kind of guy. He’s been that way since he was born. He’s the kind of guy who on his first time skiing went straight down the hill instead of zigzagging like most skiers do. That made him the perfect choice to be the “skipper” of the solar powered boat that won the Solar Splash 2008.

Solar Splash is the World Championship of Intercollegiate Solar Boating, hosted by the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The solar boats are built and raced by the engineering students of their respective universities. Universities from as far away as Turkey and as large and respected as the University of Arkansas and Carnegie Mellon entered this year's competition.

Cedarville entered the Solar Splash competition for the first time in 1997. Since 2004 they have won the competition every year but one (they came in 2nd that year). Points are earned in 7 categories: Technical report, Visual Display, Workmanship, Sprints, Maneuverability, Solar Slalom & Endurance. Tim said the Endurance race was like Diddy Kong Racing (we knew playing all those video games would pay off some day!)

It proved to be a close race between Cedarville University and Istanbul Technical University with the University of Arkansas placing third. Congratulations to Cedarville University and the entire team of engineering students including Dr. Tim Dewhurst, professor of Mechanical Engineering, for a job well done!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stop & Smell the Roses

Last weekend on our "Destination Walking" we stopped to smell the roses at the Park of Roses in Clintonville. It was the weekend of the annual Festival of Roses. Before going on our walk we ate breakfast at Jack & Benny’s, a favorite breakfast spot near the OSU Campus. It was so crowded that we ate at the counter, right by the grill. Jack & Benny’s has been rated a Citysearch Best breakfast restaurant with serving breakfast all day. I would only give it a 3 ½ on a scale of 5. (My personal favorite is Tommy's Diner)

I like going to the Festival of Roses because it reminds me of my dad. Every Saturday I helped dad work in the yard which included tending a special rose bed by the garage. After we trimmed the roses we would have to put peat moss around them. Peat moss enriched the soil and made the beds more attractive (those were the days before mulch). Walking through the Park of Roses made for a nice way to remember my dad on Father’s Day.

Nearby the Park of Roses is what must be a 12,000 – 15,000 square foot home. Someone bought three houses and remodeled them into one big one. It’s not for sale, but I thought about buying it. Well, maybe not. The house across the street is for sale but it’s only 5,200 square ft. for only $585,000. I guess I’ll have to be content to just stop and smell the roses, which is a pretty good idea after all.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Power of Prayer

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. Philippians 1:18,19

I just got done praying for a friend of mine. I was supposed to pray from 11:30 to 12:00. His name is Stef Tarapchak. We prayed for him before. He is having his second surgery since being diagnosed with cancer almost a year ago. I’m just one of 45 others who have signed up to pray for him throughout the day. I’m sure there are many more praying for him both here and all across the country.

The apostle Paul knew the importance of prayer. He said it, along with the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, was critical for his joy and deliverance, (Philippians 1:18,19). If it was critical for Paul in the first century it is critical for us in the 21st century. I hope then you will take a moment to pray for Stef and Sandi and for the rest of their family and friends as we “wait upon the Lord.” Thanks.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Top 10 Things We’d Like to Hear DAD'S Say.

The boys get me a Father’s Day card every year. I suppose their mom makes them! One year they gave me an especially humorous one. I suppose it’s because it’s partly true. That’s what makes for good humor. Anyway, it was titled “10 things we’d like to hear Dad’s say.” I don’t know if it was a Hallmark Card or what, but here it is.

Top 10 Things We’d Like to Hear DAD’S Say.

10 Could you turn your music up LOUDER so I can enjoy it, too?

9 Curfew is just a general time to shoot for. I’m not running a PRISON.

8 I don’t mind air-conditioning the whole neighborhood! Leave the door OPEN!

7 Holding this REMOTE is such a burden. Somebody else take it for awhile.

6 Look’s like we’re lost. I’d better ASK for directions.

5 Make all the RACKET you want. I can sleep through anything.

4 My tools are YOUR tools. Help yourself.

3 Your taste in clothes is quite REMARKABLE.

2. While I’m gone please feel free to invite all your FRIENDS over.

1. Your chores can wait. Go have FUN.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Road Trip to Joy

Are you planning on taking a vacation or “road trip” this year? Well, we are. We’re going back to Holden Beach, North Carolina. We’ve been going there for at least 15 years. Prior to that we went to Atlantic Beach for 6 or 7 years and once or twice to Myrtle Beach.

The beach holds a lot of special memories for us. It’s a time for us to reconnect as a family and even as a couple. There are no distractions for us or the kids. All we have is each other and it’s great. Carol loves to sit at the beach and read. The boys love to surf in the ocean and play soccer on the beach and I love doing both.

But not all of our memories at the beach are “good.” Some of them are sort of scary. One of the scary memories is the time I got stuck in the middle of a school of jelly fish. They were swimming all around me. The crazy thing was I was on an old inner tube. I had fallen asleep and drifted out a little too far. Carol was afraid she was going to have to call the Coast Guard to come and get me. I didn’t want to get stung so I got up on my hands and knees to get out of the water. Have you ever tried balancing yourself on an inner tube in the middle of the ocean? Well, that didn’t work too well for me either so I finally got back on the inner tube and swam away as fast and as hard as I could.

Another almost tragic memory is the time my sister-in-law nearly drown. My brother had gone out to “rescue the boys”, he has three and I have four, from going out too far. They were out on a sand bar and the tide was coming in. It got too deep for her so he sent her in while he went on to get the boys. She fell off the sand bar and got caught in the incoming tide. I was further up on the shore and didn’t realize there was a problem until I heard her calling my name. I thought she was just kidding around until I saw her go under. Finally I realized she was in trouble, so I grabbed one of the boy’s boogey boards which I brought out “just in case,” and swam out to her. We both hung on to the board and “swam” in together. The boys and Dale made it in safely too for which we are all grateful. In spite of all that, the beach is still a place that holds great memories.

I wonder then if that isn’t the way the apostle Paul felt when he said to the Philippians, in spite of everything that happened in Philippi, “I thank my God every time I remember you” Philippians 1:6. Truth is not everything that happened to Paul in Philippi was "good," at least not on the surface or at the moment. First, Paul never wanted to go to Philippi. His plan was to go to Asia. But God prohibited him from going where he wanted to go and sent him instead to Macedonia and ultimately to Philipi. Acts 16:6-12

Second, once he got there, it wasn’t what he thought it was. How many times has that happened to you? Plenty, I bet. Anyway, in a dream used by God to direct Paul, he saw a man begging him to come to Macedonia, but when he got there he didn’t find a man, instead he met a woman. Her name was Lydia. Scripture describes her as “. . .a worshipper of God.” She then became his first convert.

More tragic than all that is the fact that Philippi is also the place where Paul and his missionary companion, Silas were beaten and thrown into jail. Paul had cast out a demon in a slave girl which incensed her owners. Consequently, they had Paul and Silas arrested, beaten and thrown in jail. Yet, in spite of it all, Paul said, “I thank my God every time I remember you

The reason is found in verse 12 of Philippians 1. Paul didn’t look at what happened to him in the past or the present as an obstacle but as an opportunity. He didn’t see the cup half empty but half full. Look what he said in this verse. He said, Now I want you to know brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel.” Paul and Silas, BECAUSE they were beaten and thrown into jail, were put in a place where they could save both the physical and spiritual life of the Philippian jailer, Acts 16:29-34.

Let me ask you (and myself for that matter) a question. What closed doors in life have you experienced that though at the moment were disappointing, resulted in you doing something else or going somewhere else for which you are grateful today? Maybe a better question is what closed doors are you experiencing right now that if you knew God was at work directing and redirecting for His purpose and your good, would help to restore your joy? Well, I want to remind you (and myself) that God is at work in your life both opening and closing doors in order to direct your steps and you can and will someday look back and be able to thank God “every time I remember. . .” even the closed doors of life.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Destination Walking

A little over a year ago, Carol read
an article that referred to “Destination Walking.” In other words, add variety to your walking routine by going to another neighborhood, park, or even town. We began trying this on Saturday mornings to add to our “breakfast date” routine. We would find an unusual breakfast place in an area that would make an interesting walk.

Today, Carol & I ate at Tasi, a great cafe in the Short North. Then we took a walk around the Short North which provided us with varied scenes of eclectic houses, historical landmarks and a beautiful park (Goodale). One of the historical landmarks was Russell Baptist Church which is now a law office on Russell Street. Actually, as a teenager, Carol used to attend "youth rallies" there when it was called Central Baptist Church. We captured some photos from our Saturday walk. Check them out above. There is a picture of the bricks on the street that have the location of the town where they were made. I found it interesting some of these bricks came from Nelsonville, the town where my mom grew up and where my grandpa pastored.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

We're Grandparents!

Well not exactly, but our son, Jonathan just called to say that their dog, a Labador Retriver, is having puppies. She's had eleven so far! I suppose that would actually make us great-grandparents, but we're too young for that. Anyway I wanted to write to let you know that we are not "real" grandparents, but we are in a sense "spiritual" grandparents. What I mean is our original house church has now given birth to two house churches. The first was born in April. The second will be born next Thursday, June 12th.

This is exciting because we are doing exactly what Paul told Timothy to do in 2 Timothy 2:2. Paul told Timothy to, "take the things he (Paul) had taught him, and in turn teach them to reliable men who would in turn teach the same thing to others." That's our vision for house churches at journey, to have them grow and reproduce themselves over and over again.

House Church is where the proverbial "rubber meets the road." It's where we live out the commands of Christ to love God by obeying his commands to love our neighbor as ourselves and to reach out and serve those around us. In the meantime if you see Carol be sure to tell her she's looks to young to be a "great grandmother."