Monday, September 26, 2011

you gotta laugh

Sometimes you gotta laugh...actually if you want to survive life, you need to laugh a lot. About 13 years ago, I wrote a youth ministry book called "How Teens Do Church" and one of the chapters was entitled "church should be fun". Well, I'm now doing church with people older than teen-agers and I still believe that church should be a fun place. One of the things that many friends have expressed when they come to Eastview is that they feel like we have fun. It may be the immaturity of the Sr. Pastor (although I'm very reserved compared to what is actually happening in my brain most of the time). I think it's something different than that though...I think laughing is spiritual.

Psalm 126:2 (part of a holiday praise song in Jerusalem) says that laughter is a part of worship - "our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy"! It makes complete sense to me that those who have the joy of the Lord in their hearts should laugh. Laughing is one of my favorite things to do. Proverbs 17:22 says that a cheerful heart (laughter) is good medicine. There are actually studies that show people who laugh more are healthier, but I don't care about's just fun (and I think very holy) to laugh. I'll say it stronger...I think laughing is a form of worship.

Love laughing with friends most, love laughing with strangers in a movie theatre or comedy club, love laughing at myself when I do or say dumb things (happens a lot to me), I love laughing when people are laughing with me or at me, I love laughing at the funny stuff we find in the Bible and I love it when I think I've said something funny in a sermon and the congregation laughs with me! And so, we made this funny video (on our website soon - to be the crazy dream sequence that led into our dream passage from Acts 10. It was funny, because as funny as I think I may be....our worship pastor Matt Ludwig is comedic genius! Seriously, maybe the funniest cat I've ever met. We laugh together a lot! And we laughed while we were filming this video...a lot. And when we showed it Sunday everyone was laughing. Church was fun.

So hope you laugh today...and when you do, I hope you think of me laughing and more importantly that you thank God for this incredible gift and that you can laugh because of the hope and joy you have in Him!

Monday, September 19, 2011


Well, we don't handle it too well. I heard a guy once say, "the only person who loves change is a baby with a dirty diaper." I can relate to the "baby" part. There are some things that change that I don't like and I usually just pout, but change is a part of life and here are some changes I look forward to:
1. The change of seasons is always perfect for me. Just about the time I'm done with sweating as I sit under a shade tree, we get these cool mornings and evenings that fill the chest with freshness. I love when seasons change..yes even when it's winter!
2. A change of scenery is another change I appreciate. I love when I get a chance to visit somewhere else and take in people or places that I usually can't. Of all people, I can say, Normal is boring sometimes, but when I get away for a bit, coming back to Normal is always welcomed.
3. A change of heart is a beautiful thing. This happens in my dad heart sometimes when I give a snap judgment to something my wife or boys have requested (usually with, "it costs too much money" or "I don't have the time" or "No, because I said so"). Then after a while, as I ponder it turns out that it's not such a bad idea after I have a change of heart. Of course, I love it when someone changes their heart for God most of all.
4. A change of age is something most people don't like, but something I look forward to. I've always wanted to be an old man. Just wise and not caught up with all the stuff we waste our time on in our youth. Plus a grey beard...awesome.

Change is inevitable so it's how we deal with it that matters. Just understand that most of it is in our best interest.

Monday, September 12, 2011


It occurred to me last Thursday as I sat in the waiting room at St. Joes that much of our lives are spent waiting. We wait in line for our favorite ride at the theme park or at the grocery store. We wait in traffic. We wait for someone to pick us up so that we can get a ride. We wait for a certain day to come (like a wedding, or vacation, or important meeting). we wait (impatiently)for someone to respond to our text. We wait for dinner. We wait for our brain to shut down long enough for us to go to sleep. And of course we wait in a hospital for the surgery to be done and for the Dr. to tell us how it went.

We spend a lot of time waiting and I'm guessing most of us think that waiting is a waste of time, but is it? Could it be that waiting is part of God's design for our lives to slow us down enough to see what's important around us. Last week, God himself knows that I really didn't have time to spend six hours in a waiting room while my "to do" list grew and grew...and yet, here I am and the world's still spinning! In that waiting time, I spent time talking with my brother, sister and sister-in-law - we dont get to do that much anymore. I spent time talking to a stranger whose son was in the hospital and was also waiting...turns out he's a Christian brother from Quincy. I spent time looking out a window and thinking about how blessed I am...worshipping God by staring. I spent time praying..thankful for my mom and asking for God to protect her. I waited and life slowed down and not much mattered except the waiting of it all and somehow that was what God wanted me to do.

Sometimes in waiting God speaks to us next time you are impatiently waiting, don't be so impatient, it may be the best time you have all day. Hopefully we can grow to a place in our faith where we don't have to be in a waiting room to actually wait.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

the beat is on

They have closed mom up and the surgery is complete and a success! Her heart is connected again after being on a heart machine during the surgery. She will be closely monitored and we're waiting to hear from the dr. In about an hour and a half, we should be able to go see her. I'm very grateful for my mom's new lease on life and for all of you who care so deeply for her.

one bypass per hour

Well, mom has been in surgery for about two hours. The nurse said they can normally do one bypass every hours so I figure they are about half way done with the bypasses. After two more of those (sounds so easy...huh?) they will begin the work on the valve replacement. This should take another two hours and sounded like it is more complicated. Thanks for all the responses and prayers. I know thousands are praying and that can't be bad! I'll update at least once more today. So far, so good

Monday, September 5, 2011


The heart is an organ and a place where we think of our emotional stuff. The heart pumps blood to the body's extremities and the heart is the place where our goodness, or evil, or sadness, or brokenness, etc... reside. Physically, you can't live without it and figuratively who you are comes from it. One can get it's arteries clogged with cholesterol and the other can get clogged with bad thoughts, images and experiences. Of course, the heart that pumps blood can have surgery done to repair it, and the spiritual heart can be repaired through time, counseling and the power of God.

Of course, I'm thinking about the heart this week especially because my mom is going in for heart surgery this Thursday morning (she has a good heart and a bad heart). Her good heart everyone knows. She is the face, the voice, the smile and the encouragement thousands have experienced at the receptionist area at Eastview. She is the unofficial grandma of the church and I can tell you from being around her for 46 years...she has a good heart. She loves people and naturally serves others and generally has a smile. Her outlook is normally positive. She has nurtured goodness in my heart.

But she has a bad heart. Not surprisingly, she didn't recognize some signs that others might have, but her "that's just me getting older" mentality kept her from taking it too seriously. She will have some bypasses and a valve replaced this Thursday and hopefully her physical heart will be good as new...then she'll have two good hearts...if you know what I mean.