Monthly Archives: July 2011

Exploration

In February of 1962 our whole school was caught up in the wonder of space exploration. On February 10th the school’s speaker system was tuned to the NASA countdown as astronaut John Glenn was being launched into space. We all stood at the second story window of our Miami, Florida classroom hoping to get a glimpse of the rocket ship. Some of us thought we might have seen a little bit of it. It took nearly five hours for Glenn to orbit the earth three times then splash down in the Atlantic. It was a very tense five hours. John Glenn is now 90 years old. There is no such thing as exploration without risk.

In September of 1966 the first episode of the TV series Star Trek was aired. One of the lessons from that program, which is still referred to today: “Never wear a red shirt on an away mission; you will probably die.” The series about the multi-racial crew of the starship Enterprise was cancelled three years later. In early 1976 NASA announced it was completing a prototype space shuttle that would fit on the top of an airplane. This was done to practice shuttling the shuttle from the west coast to the east coast for alternative landings. A public letter writing campaign led to NASA naming that first space shuttle Enterprise. The Star Trek franchise is now 45 years old. There is no such thing as exploration without risk.

Most 35-year-olds can tell you where they were on January 28, 1986, even if they do not remember the date. That was the morning the space shuttle Challenger exploded on the screens they were watching as a school teacher was heading into space. It was my privilege to have a part in naming a brand new elementary school, with permission of her family and NASA, after Christa McAuliffe in 1989. The family even donated personal and very special items for permanent display at the school. Barbara Morgan actually became the first teacher in space aboard the space shuttle Endeavor in 2007, some 21 years later. There is no such thing as exploration without risk.

Now all of the NASA space shuttles have been retired. Before too long, private and/or corporate astronauts will head back out into space. There is a whole universe around us to explore.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Boldly go. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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Some Days

In the days when preachers wore suits, white shirts and ties, I accidentally came to church dressed wrong. I was wearing the regulation coat and tie but sometime during the morning worship service as I sat on the platform in front of God and the whole congregation, I noticed the problem. It was a simple problem that I could not fix.

Sunday mornings in a pastor’s home are when the ordinary must get done, time vanishes in an instant, and something will happen to try to mess with the spiritual significance of the day. I can remember back to a time when we had summer rains (it has been quite a while). One damp Sunday morning I went out into the yard to get the paper. I try to read most of the Sunday paper before church. It is always good for the pastor to know the local and national headlines, as well as check the obituaries before heading off to church. There’s a chance something important enough to influence Sunday morning church has hit the paper.

I was fully dressed in my Sunday suit that wet day when I went to get the paper. Sitting up front in church I realized that I was wearing my muddy yard shoes instead of dress shoes. That is an amazingly distracting event when you are soon to speak about the things of God.

The more I tried to hide my feet, the more self-conscious I became. These are the important things they never discuss in preacher school. “Press on” came to mind. How? “Just do what you are supposed to do. Press on.” So I did. I do not remember what the sermon was about that day, but I do know that everyone was very polite and said not a word about my shoes. All of that agonizing embarrassment and no one noticed! The next week I wore my yard shoes to church on purpose. I told the story as the morning children’s sermon. They giggled.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Press on. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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The Responsible Yes

The main difference between an encourager and a discourager is generosity. There are probably other factors that distinguish the two. From my unscientific viewpoint, generosity makes a world of difference in the dispositions of most people. Once when our daughters were young, I came to an understanding that I was very inconsistent with my “yeses.” For instance, they might ask permission to watch a certain TV program, but I might say “no” sometimes and “yes” at other times. Those were in the days before remote controls, so I would have to actually get up off of the couch to change the channel. Part of my “yes” or “no” depended on what mood I was in or whether it was convenient. I found that just saying “no” to most everything is an easy habit to learn. Then, in the voice of one of our children came the question, “Why do you always say ‘no’ to us but do whatever you want?”

My dilemma became, won’t I be spoiling them if I say “yes” to most of the inconsequential things they ask for? Probably, maybe, sometimes—but then this became a time for us all to learn the lessons of responsibility. I could not carry out of the mall all of the things that our daughters might want me to buy for them when they were teenagers. But the response became, “Yes, you can have the pink Guess jeans, if that is what you really want. We will pay for the jeans part, but you will pay for the Guess label.” It was a “yes” with a dose of personal responsibility. I found that this Principle of the Responsible Yes, as I came to call it, caused me to want to develop a more generous spirit, even if it was a bit inconvenient at times.

I have never known an encourager who was not generous with time, money or “yeses.” Encouragers want to be the first to support a person or an effort. Encouragers want to be the first to give of their money. Encouragers want to be the first to give the responsible yes. Discouragers, on the other hand, are content to be the first to say “You can’t.” “I won’t.” “N-O.”

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Be generous. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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A Little Personal Worship Remix

Sing the wondrous love of
Jesus, my
Jesus loves the little
Children of the heavenly Father
God is so
Good Christians All
Rejoice, the Lord is
King of my life I crown Thee
Now thank we all our
God of grace and God of
Glory be to the
Father, I adore
You are my all in
All to Jesus I
Surrender all.

My Savior first of
All hail the power of
Jesus, name above all names beautiful
Savior, Thy dying
Love divine, all loves excelling joy of
Heaven came
Down at the
Cross upon which Jesus died.

We are called to be God’s
People need the
Lord, lay some soul upon
My heart can sing when I pause to remember,
His name is
Wonderful Peace like a
River Glorious is Thy name O Lord, our
Lord, be glorified today.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Sing a new song. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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