Monday, February 02, 2015

Mixing Actions & Words

Tomorrow they will play the Super Bowl. As a Packer fan, I am still licking my wounds from two weeks ago when the boys let us down and failed to put us in the final game. OK, I have nothing to do with it, but that’s how it makes me feel!

            At the end of the game between the Packers and the Seahawks, a bad thing happened. The media rushed over to interview the winning quarterback. The quarterback had a terrible game. He threw 4 interceptions! However, in overtime, he threw 3 perfect passes to win the game. Through the highs and lows of the 60 minute monumental struggle, through the poor performance, through the peaking in the extra time period, this young man emerged victorious…and emotional. With all his fiber, I believe what he had to say to the media. With tears rolling down his face and not caring who was around him…totally uninhibited… he said, “God is good.”

            I am proud of him for publically living his faith. HOWEVER…to others watching, in one failed swoop the quarterback told millions that God chose him and his team over the other team. Others heard, because we won, God is good. I don’t believe that this is what he meant…but it is what he said. I believe he meant to thank God for His help to achieve a goal and to recognize that it was God who gave him the strength to do it…but that’s not what he said.

            This is no different than when we (yes, I am including myself) have conversations and say things to others like “…good luck….” There is no such thing as luck. There are too many scriptures that tell us otherwise. So why do we do it? For the most part, I believe the answer is twofold. First, I believe that many Christians are simply ignorant of truth and therefore do not have a prepared response. Put this together with the idea that we are merely regurgitating the diet of what we are listening to.

            So, I would like to believe that this young quarterback was praising God for the righteous reasons. If the Packers would have won, I hope the young quarterback would not believe that God chose the Packers team over his team. That would not be “goodness”. Can you imagine, “God likes the Packers more than the Seahawks!” I would imagine there are fanatics who think this way…but that’s just sacrilege. God loves us all the same! If he would have lost the game, I hope that the young quarterback would still believe that “God is good”.

Thus, in a moment, a powerful Christian teaching was presented to millions through actions and words. All that we can interpret is what transpired. After winning the game, the young quarterback said, “God is good”.

How do you translate that?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Reflections of 2014

             So, we are drawing to an end of the first month of 2015. I was sitting in the steam room at the Y.M.C.A. reflecting on 2014. The year has kind of been a blur to me. As I started recounting the year, there is little wonder to why.
            I guess I would have to start with the 16 basketball games that I officiated in January and February…that’s about 2 a week. Then also in February, my band (B. Andrews) did a fundraiser for their ministry. Boy, was that a lot of work, and a lot of fun! That’s when we found out that we were selected for a “battle of the bands” at a Universal Water Park in Orlando, Florida. So, we began booking a band tour to Florida!
            It was a long and snowy winter last year. The last day I saw snow in the ditches was April 14th!  We do a unique Lenten Ministry at my church. On Wednesday evenings, we get together for a family dinner and have an in depth bible study. We capped it off last year by having a representative from Jews For Jesus with us. That was awesome! I was involved in the Community Good Friday Service and for Easter Sunday, the men of our Church host a breakfast in between our early morning service and the regular morning worship! Whew! That was Easter!
            In less than two weeks after Easter Sunday, we were in Florida and played in 8 churches, 1 coffeehouse, and 1 water park in 14 days. While we were there, one of my sons, also a band member, was offered and internship as a children’s pastor at a Nazarene Church…and I’m Wesleyan! He took the offer and returned to Florida for the rest of the summer.
            I promised my sons that I would work on their house (with their help of course). So upon returning, I ripped out their bathroom. I wasn’t going to rip out their bathroom. I was just going to build them a custom shower. However, when I got into the job…well, let’s just say, I found a lot of water damage and pipes so plugged I was amazed they were getting any water at all! So, I tore out all the pipes too. I mean all the pipes…even to the kitchen!
            That is about the time that we did a tour into Michigan. We also have an annual “Pig Roast” that my Church hosts as a community outreach. Upon my return from Michigan, I found that the trustees of my Church had secured a mechanical lift so that I could paint the Church parsonage. So, I quit working at my boys’ house (with a ripped out bathroom and only running water to the kitchen) to paint the parsonage. Of course, when you paint there is more repair work than just painting! When I finished that job, the trustees were so excited, they asked, “Can we go ahead and paint the Church too…while we got the lift?” So, a couple of the men in the Church pressured washed the Church for me while I was gone to a camp for Abused and Neglected Foster Children.
            When I returned, I saw the pressure washing and it looked like some had scribbled on the Church. In fact, as I was checking it out, a lady passing by said, “It’s a crying shame that someone would vandalize a Church!” That was on Friday. Sunday the band left for a 14 trip that would take us out to Seattle, down to Los Angeles, back up to Sacramento, back up to Portland, over to Weippe, Idaho and end in Janesville, Wisconsin! When we got home, I decided to paint the Church!
            So, the race was on to finish painting the Church before fall settled in and you could not paint anymore in 2014. Instead of a painter, I became a paint “slinger”. I put it on as fast as I could. About this time, we took our final tour of the year out to North Dakota. We got to see Little Bighorn and the Fort where the 7th Cavalry was stationed. We also got to sing for Jesus!
            When we got home, I started working on the bathroom. I was summonsed to be a juror at a murder trial for 14 days. We had a big celebration for our veterans. My son came home from Florida, and got married! Basketball season started, so I started officiating games again. As the year closed out and the snow returned to Wisconsin, I closed the year, by holding the hand of an elderly person and the hand of a little 4 year old as they drew their last breath on earth. One week later, I tried to celebrate my Saviour’s birth.
            Trust me when I say that I have spared you a lot of details. There were more times that the band sang. There were other ministries performed that were not mentioned. There were other victories. There were some defeats.
            As I sat in the steam room, with faces, places, and memories meandering in and out of my thoughts, I searched for some meaning behind what I am trying to do. I mean, I don’t want all of this work, all of this stuff I do to be for nothing! I want to make a difference in people's lives! As I look back over the year of 2014, I ask myself, "Did I do that? Did I make a difference for Christ in someone's life?"

So now the Church looks real good. The parsonage looks sharp. The bathroom still isn’t finished. The band sounds better than ever! “Father, help me to remember that all of this stuff that I do is suppose to be about making a difference in people’s lives before they take that last breath. If this stuff that I do does not fit your purpose, then help me to get it out of my life…’cause I don’t have the time! In Jesus’ Name I ask…”

Saturday, January 17, 2015

“Silly Rabbit, Smart Phone’s are for Kids!”

I believe there is a conspiracy afoot! In this day and age of accepted political correctness, non-profiling and supposed fairness to all, I believe there is a dark and insidious plot against the “post 40” crowd to keep them away from mobile electronic devices! I did not recognize this dastardly thinking for some time. In fact, I gave it no thought until it began to affect me, personally!
Maybe you have been a victim of this conundrum too. If you observe closely, you will see the majority of the users on mobile devices are “pre 40” in age. Maybe you have witnessed commercials of “pre 40” people dancing, computing, communicating…enjoying life to the fullest? This is proof that the manufacturers of these devices are practicing…discrimination! That’s right…discrimination!
       For you see, I, too, wanted to be one of the happy people like in the commercials. I wanted to dance and sing and frolic with my mobile device while connecting to web on a whim. Then, my joy was stolen from me. I was robbed! For when I purchased my mobile device, I could not communicate fluidly. I could not surf the web consuming information and sharing selfies! What brought about my pain? What caused my joy to turn to sorrow? …
        The manufacturers of these devices have plotted against us by making the buttons to small! I have sausages for fingers (and so do a lot of other men over 40). Try typing out text messages, or URL’s or anything else! It takes 10 minutes to text my wife “I luv u”! If I can touch one letter at a time, it would be a miracle. And “Autocorrect”…don’t even go there! I’ve been embarrassed just to read some of the messages that it created for me. Thank God I didn’t send them!

        The “Bill of Rights” states that I have the right for the pursuit of happiness. Therefore it is my belief that until they manufacture mobile devices for my fat, little pudgy fingers….they are unconstitutional. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

(REPOST) Time Is a Funny Thing....

This is a piece that I posted in 2006. I thought it would be good to revisit this thought. Let me know what you think.....
                                                                                       Time is a funny thing....
I could start a thousand times with that phrase and come up with some different variation every time. I am amazed by time. Time…an intangible thing that we measure. Lets take a moment and consider the influence of the clock as it runs our society and our lives. Business and retail stores open and close by the measurement of time which in turn dictates working hours. It is how we set appointments and meetings. It runs our diets…i.e  when we have breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight snack etc. School classes are ran by the clock. The clock dictates when classes start and stop and even awards you a degree when you accumulate enough hours. Church services need to start on time. Woe unto the preacher that goes to long and causes their congregation to miss the brunch specials or the kickoff of their favorite team...which starts at a specific time!
We all have the same amount of time to work with, but there never seems to be enough it. I am always trying to find more time, of course I can’t. And neither can you. I go to bed tired a lot of the time. I wake up tired a lot of the time. While I am trying to go to sleep, my mind is reeling thinking about what I didn’t get accomplished, and how I’m going to make that fit into the next day that already has a time schedule of its own...know the feeling?
The older I get, the more I understand the old saying...
"A woman’s work is from sun to sun
But a man’s work is never done."
Now don’t go ballistic on me. I know I miss quoted that "old saying". However, it doesn’t matter. Man or woman, young adult or retired, once we enter into adulthood, as human beings, we are never done with our tasks.
I knew this guy, Carl, who absolutely amazed me. He laid off from his good, well-paying job. He packed up everything to go to bible college. That’s where I met him. He also attended my church where I met his family. He had a wife and two elementary age children. Carl carried a full load in school and was aggressive about it. I mean he was on his schoolwork like bulldog on a bone! He worked two jobs (I can’t remember if full-time or part-time) to make up for the lost wages of his other job, paying college tuition and supporting his family. He and his family never missed a Sunday in church. Carl was a straight A student. I was struggling to make B’s. He wasn’t any smarter than me, but being older, Carl was more mature and understood about this thing called time. He knew how to handle it much better than me. I remember he showed me some cards he made that had our New Testament Greek vocabulary. He punched holes in the cards on kept them on a ring. While he was driving he would have his wife or kids help him memorize his Greek vocabulary. I think Carl got better grades in New Testament Greek than I did too. I bet his wife and kids would have gotten better grades than me too!
So many things would be different in all our lives if we all would  learn to handle our time better. If you think about it, how we handle our time affects our finances, our diets, our accomplishments, our failures, our dreams and even our relationships, physical and spiritual. It is intentional that I don't give examples. I want you to use your imagination and think...."What would my life look like if I was better at utilizing the time that I have?"
So, instead of wishing for more time (‘cause that’ll never happen) I should learn from my friend Carl and learn how to handle the time I’ve got.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Daughter's Hero

Today’s blog comes in sections. I will attempt to write in a format so that my point makes sense. Actually, that’s the way I’m supposed to write every time. Anyway…


I have 5 kids…three boys (who came first) and two girls (on the end).  I try to be my kids’ hero.

With my boys, I have wrestled, played football, baseball, hacky sack and anything else to convey to my sons that their Dad is Mr. Macho, brave and strong. I have matched wits and consistently won. I have gone toe-to-toe with them and proved that my strong will endurance is greater than theirs.

My girls are different. My guess is… you already knew that.  My daughters are 15 and 11. I am not sure if they are keeping me young or making me old. My oldest daughter, Emmali (pronounced “Emma”-“Lee”) is trying her hand at writing. I would like to think I have inspired her. I don’t dare ask.

The baby is still the baby and I’m keeping her that way until she’s 30!


My daughter, Emmali, has gotten involved writing stories about comic book superheroes. She publishes her work in a blog-o-sphere where any superhero can meet up with any superhero at any place or time. The story is only limited to the writer’s imagination. I think she’s pretty good. I’m a little jealous. She has more readers than I do. I’ll give her a plug here. The name of the blog site is “Fan Fiction”. There, now she can add my 100 readers to her 2000. Did that sound petulant?

She really gets into her stories. Sometimes…a lot of the time, it dominates our conversation. She has quite the creative thinking process. I have been able to ascertain that my daughter’s favorite character to write about is Batman. I hear about Batman a lot. I hear Batman this and Batman that. I hear about Batman and Robin…Batman and Nightwing…Batman and Superman…Batman and Joker.  She is quite the aficionado. If I make a wrong or uneducated comment about Batman she is quick and confident enough to let me know. It doesn’t take an “Einstein” to know that writers write about what we’re passionate about!

So, one day, while Emmali was spewing her “Fan Fiction” ideas to the whole family, she divulged an interesting piece of information. She said, and I quote, “When I write my Batman character I base it on Dad.”…………I had to let that sink in…. I think I might be my daughter’s hero. My chest swelled with pride…until I realized that I don’t have all those cool gadgets. The next thought to hit me was, “Isn’t Bruce Wayne a multi-gazillionaire?” I probably shouldn’t complicate the situation with over-thinking and just be glad she didn’t say Superman!

Now, know this: At any regular moment, when nothing is happening and all is well in the world, I may be known as Pastor Eric, Eric, Dad, Ref or just “Hey You”. But at night, when the chips are down and things are going wrong….I’m BATMAN!

Actually, I’m in bed sleeping. But when my daughter thinks of Batman, she thinks of ME!