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!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Supporting The Truth

I have been seeing all kinds of advertisements about the History Channel showing a new series called “The Bible”. My immediate reaction was one of great skepticism. The reason for my opinion is built on my past experience with the History Channel and the accuracy in which they handle God’s Word.

Point in case, I used a video from the local library, produced by the History Channel, on Sodom and Gomorrah to show how modern culture will change or omit things from the Bible in order to prove their own point. I chose the video for inaccuracies and omissions. The video not only omitted the homosexual issue from the story, but also theorized that one possibility for the destruction of the great city could have been caused by aliens!

What puzzles me the most is the folks and entities that are promoting the mini-series.  If it is not accurate should we promote such a thing? For a fundamental disciple of Jesus, I would think this concept is a “no brainer”. “Don’t take part in anything that detracts from the Truth.” Jesus is the Truth! Yet so called Christians and Christian entities are promoting the event for the History Channel. To promote is to condone. I suspected the leopard would not change its stripes.

It just so happened that I was in a place to view the much hailed show. I watched to see if I was wrong. Sadly, I was not. In the 10 minutes I watched of the show the Biblical story was greatly altered. They made the story so fantastic that it was unbelievable…like something out of a movie.

The part I watched was, again, concerning Sodom. The angels that lead Lot (and his family) out of Sodom looked and acted like swordsmen from the movie “300”. This could have been applied to David and his mighty men, but not here. I guess the story wasn’t exciting enough by itself.

 We are already having a difficult time with getting the world to “believe” the Bible as it is written. The History Channel isn’t doing us any favors by deviating from the accurate history of the story and taking extreme liberty in artistic interpretation. I believe this is known as distorting the truth. God is Truth. Truth is God.  If this is the view of God that we are promoting, no wonder people have a “distorted” view of God.

So, when it comes to Truth, it is an “all or nothing” concept. To tell the truth you must give it all and give it “all” accurately…cause even my kids know what a half truth is. In conclusion, I believe that to promote this television event is to promote half truths about the Bible. Why would anyone do that? I believe that some think that getting “some of the Bible” on TV is better than getting “none of Bible” on the TV. This is totally wrong…because a half truth is still a lie…and my God doesn’t deal in lies. How can we participate in leading others to this conclusion?

At times…I feel…we are our own worst enemies!

Monday, February 18, 2013


It’s around zero to -5 degrees here in central Wisconsin. We have about 14 inches of snow still on the ground. It’s hard to tell because of how much we push the snow around and make giant piles of it.

I woke up this morning around 4:30 am. Writing this article was on my mind. I missed last week. I was busy…too busy to write. Can you believe that...too busy to write! Me and the guys in the band were preparing for a dinner concert that we were using as a fundraiser for our ministry this summer. We were doing songs that we don’t normally perform. So, we were rehearsing every evening…that we could. I had a couple of people in the hospital from my church so I made some hospital visits (which are a 45 minute drive one way). I officiated a couple of basketball games (that’s where the funds came from to put on the dinner). In the middle of all this the parsonage sewer line came to a complete and immediate halt. So, I took the time to rent a snake and try to clean it out myself… I broke the snake. If any of my parishioners are reading this, I paid for it out of my own pocket. And it wasn’t just a “simple job”. Because of the snow and ice outside, we had to take the toilet off the floor and go in from the inside. We eventually had to call in a professional due to my failure.

Let’s see…where was I? Oh yes, I started a “Lenten Family Bible Study”. That’s where we come together on Wednesday Nights. People bring a dish to pass, fellowship together, pray together and then break up by age group to study God’s Word together. I am one of those guys that develop his own curriculum for everything. So, I’ve been putting in a lot of late nights on that.

I still have my regular sermon prep to do. I’ve been working on getting the band booked for ministry (which is a whole other blog by itself). I also I performed a sweetheart wedding for an 84 year old man and his bride (which shall remain ageless).  And for the grand finale… drum roll please…my whole household has come down with a respiratory infection…everyone but me. This week isn’t looking any easier.

That’s the last 10 days. The purpose of this diatribe isn’t pity. In fact, it’s just the opposite. As I was lying awake and thinking about this article at 4:30 am, it dawned on me (pun intended) that one of the ladies from my Church was getting up and getting ready for work. I wouldn’t want to have to do that every day.

As I looked outside at the ice and snow, I was reminded of a couple of fellows from my Church that deliver LP gas and work outside all day in the cold. I wouldn’t want to do that either.

As I hear my kids and wife coughing in a symphony of hacks, I am reminded of the different ones I have visited in the hospitals with the flu so severe it almost cost them their lives. I am reminded of parishioners and family members with children that are battling cancer…fighting for their lives. I wouldn’t want to face that.

When I think about the time that I gave for that wedding, it also occurs to me the joy that the bride and groom are experiencing came at the price of sorrow. Both had lost their spouses in prolonged illnesses. I don’t want to face that!

So, you see it’s about perspective. My life maybe a little crazy, hectic and hard to manage, however, I would rather lose a little sleep and write this article (which I enjoy doing) than go through what some others are going through!

Thank you God for giving me what I can handle!

So I will tackle this day with God’s grace and help. I will praise Him because He promised He would never leave me alone. I will purposely live for Him because God promised that those who do will be so close that they will be in His shadow! (Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91: 1-2)

I will endeavor to learn how to manage my time so as not to miss being with you (my friends) on the “Front Porch”.

I must go. I have some friends I want to pray for today. I want to ask God to give them strength. Then, I have an elderly lady to take to the hospital which is an hour and a half away. I wouldn’t want to have the heart problems she’s having or face the surgery that she’s facing.

Monday, January 28, 2013

My World As I See It

The past couple of weeks have been a little crazy. I have performed 3 funerals and am in the process of planning a wedding that will be conducted on Valentine’s Day.  I have made 6 hospital visits (not including my own) which is quite a feat as most hospitals are an hour drive away. I am developing my freshman daughter’s Biology curriculum. I am developing a curriculum for my Church for the Lenten season. I have been refing quite a few basketball games. One tournament was for Special Olympics. My wife needed to be taken to the emergency room and early the next week had surgery. And to top it all off, the band I’m in is preparing for a major fundraiser, a dinner and a concert. Of course we are doing everything  ourselves…the advertising…the dinner….and the concert. It’s happening on February 9th and you are all invited! Oh, and I almost forgot…I became a grandpa.

That is a little “snapshot” into my world. There’s more, but I’m not going to bore you with the details of my world. However, that is part of the thought I wanted to share with you for just a few minutes while we’re together here on the “porch”. The “world” that each of us operates in shapes our thinking and ultimately, us. That’s important to remember. Let me explain.

I remember when my wife was teaching a teen Sunday School class. She got into a discussion (More like a debate) with a young man in her class. He was talking about the way things were in High School. The discussion got a little testy when my wife said, “But in the real world…”  To him, High School was the real world. Isn’t it amazing how we probably felt that way when we were in school, but now that we have lived outside of High School, it’s not the real world.

The same principal applies to a person who is a caregiver to an elderly parent or a parent to a child with disabilities. That job is so consuming that it is their world. The same principle applies to someone in the military, or someone working for a company. The job becomes your world.

In each one of these scenarios, the person in them may try to read books magazines or articles to expand their horizons. They may try to catch news, or have a hobby to break the monotony of the cycle they are in. I’m sure it helps. Nevertheless, they are still in their world. A world that shapes their thinking has a language and acceptable unacceptable protocols.

“So, what’s the point?” Well, it kind of simple really. When we interact with people, why don’t we meet them on their terms in their world? In general, we are a little selfish here. Most of us want to meet people in “our world” based on “our terms”. Let’s face it. It’s work to meet somebody in their world and have to speak their language and understand their culture. So, they can just come to my world.

How many relationships could be improved or even saved if one person in the relationship would move into the other person’s world. I think that this is something that God would want us to do. I mean I think it’s His will for us to do it. How do I know that? Well, Jesus is our great example, and He did it for us!