Encouragement07 Jun 2006 09:35 am

I left for lunch yesterday in the heat of a 90 degree Mississippi day. Funny thing was, it just didn’t feel that hot. The first block was mostly shady, and there was a gentle breeze, which made it feel nice. The second block was not shaded, and it was noticeable as the sun bore down.

Life is like that too. Even in the hottest, and toughest of situations, there are shades, where we can refresh before we move back into the heat.

One of the more profound things that I found while running was when I was getting tired, or thinking about packing it up and turning in, there would be a breeze, or a burst of energy which would make the journey more manageable.

So in lifes storms today, look for, and enjoy a rest in the shade.

Encouragement16 Apr 2006 10:52 am

He is risen indeed.

5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

Matthew 28:5-7

Encouragement15 Mar 2006 03:01 pm

Look Rock Observation Point - Great Smoky Mountains
Going to the Smokies. It has been so long since I have been in the Smokies, and I cannot wait.

Encouragement and Tunes15 Mar 2006 02:51 pm

Going out of town tomorrow, and wanted to share a Friday tune. Faithfulness is a topic that I have trouble with from time to time. The music group 4Him had a song several years ago called “Where There is Faith”. This song has brought me encouragement from time to time, and I hope it will do the same for you..

I believe in faithfulness
I believe in giving to myself for someone else
I believe in peace and love
I believe in honesty and trust but it’s not enough
For all that I believe may never change the way it is
Unless I believe Jesus lives

Where there is faith
There is a calling, keep walking
You’re not alone in this world
Where there is faith
There is a peace like a child sleeping
Hope everlasting in He who is able to
Bear every Burden, to heal every hurt in my heart
It is a wonderful, powerful place
Where there is faith

There’s a man across the sea
Never heard the sound of freedom ring
Only in his dreams
There’s a lady dressed in black
In a motorcade of cadillacs
Daddy’s not coming back
Our hearts begin to fall
And our stability grows weak
But Jesus meets our needs if only we believe

Where there is faith
There is a calling, keep walking
You’re not alone in this world
Where there is faith
There is a peace like a child sleeping
Hope everlasting in He who is able to
Bear every Burden, to heal every hurt in my heart
It is a wonderful, powerful place
Where there is faith

Encouragement09 Mar 2006 08:51 am

at Adams Blog. Great posts on the church, as well as Lent and Easter. My post on servant leadership is mentioned.

Encouragement03 Mar 2006 04:49 pm

Remember the story of the autistic boy who hit 20 points off the bench. He was the team manager, deemed to small to play ball.

It turns out his 15 minutes of fame may last a little longer.

At school, he’s now signing autographs for just about everybody and their sister.

Hollywood is also hounding him to sign. McElwain’s mom, a dental hygienist, says they’ve already heard from Disney and Warner Brothers.

“We’ve got 25 right now,” Debbie McElwain says of the offers, adding “we’re gonna decide what to do.”

From CBS.

Encouragement02 Mar 2006 12:30 pm

Sorry Guys. I should not have written about the Vols yesterday. Went and Jinxed them. Oh well. What a great season though. I can remember a few years ago Kentucky coming into Knoxville and just flat out whipping them, so this is progress.

I had a great boss one time who was a great servant leader. He was always encouraging progress. He wanted the company going forward, yet he knew that we would sometimes hit failures. How you respond to those failures was the difference in whether you would be ultimately successful. By recognizing progress, and dedicating ourselves to hitting the target next time, we spent less time thinking about the failure.

Encouragement01 Mar 2006 11:16 am

When it comes to college sports, I bleed Orange, and this years incarnation of the mens basketball program has brought pride to a program which was temporarily humbled in football.  Bruce Pearl has brought an enthusiasm that is contagious to the campus.  From exhorting students in the cafeteria, to bringing his team into the stands on a road trip to thank the fans who came, Pearl is proving to be a fantastic coaching addition on the hill.

At the Orange and White game last spring, he made a point to come over and introduce himself to Thomas and Elisabeth.  We had heard about him before this  time, and I really didn’t know what to think.  For so long, Tennessee mens basketball fans have had little to cheer about.  When Thomas and I went for our annual Father/Son football game, Bruce was dancing the jitterbug on the sidelines at halftime with the Pride of the Southland Marching band.

Hopefully I have not jinxed the team as they take on Kentucky tonight in Knoxville.  They have the opportunity to sweep the Cats this year, which would be tremendous.  Regardless, Bruce Pearl with the extremely Orange Sports Coats, and Sweaty Suits has brought pride and enthusiasm and has been a blast to watch.  GO VOLS!

Business Thoughts and Encouragement28 Feb 2006 12:29 pm

Came across this christian podcast site today:
Bible Stories My Kids Like – Just what it says.

Encouragement25 Feb 2006 10:29 pm

That all changed last week for the team manager in the final home game of the season. The 17-year-old senior, who is autistic and usually sits on the bench in a white shirt and black tie, put on a uniform and entered the game with his team way ahead.

McElwain, 5-foot-6, was considered too small to make the junior varsity, so he signed on as team manager. He took up the same role with the varsity, doing anything to stay near the sport he loves. Coach Jim Johnson was impressed with his dedication, and thought about suiting up McElwain for the home finale.

His performance was jaw-dropping: 20 points in four minutes, making 6-of-10 3-point shots. The crowd went wild.

“It was as touching as any moment I have ever had in sports,” Johnson told the Daily Messenger of Canandaigua.  Full story here.

What a fantastic story.  Can’t you imagine how nervous his parents must have been when he entered the game, and their joy as the crowd went wild.   Good for him, and for those who have loved and supported him.

Encouragement21 Feb 2006 09:00 pm

The trumpets blare the first notes of the Olympic Anthem, and my pace quickens. I really enjoy the Olympics, and the Winter Olympics especially. Over the last weeks, I have watched with excitement as young men and women, have strived for Olympic Gold.

As I have watched, several things have stood out to me.

  • In so many events, the difference in Gold, and sixth place is only a fraction of a second.
  • The fervor for which each country cheers its athletes, and takes pride in their accomplishments, has encouraged me.
  • The sportsmanship with which these athletes compete is admirable. For example, in one of the Cross Country Skiing events, the skier who had won Gold in Salt Lake City fell down in the opening, and was back almost 14 seconds. His countrymen moved to the front of the pack, and slowed the pace down, while the rest of the field allowed the skier to pass towards the front.

As I watch these athletes compete, giving their all, I am forced to consider my own efforts. Am I giving my all. Can I work harder to make sure that the flag of my savior is lifted atop the flagpole.

Encouragement16 Feb 2006 01:45 pm

As the sound of the childrens laughter echoed through the camp, my heart snapped back to memories of my own days running up these hills. The wonder of topping a hill with a fresh possibility behind each mound, the thought that maybe, just maybe the ghost stories were real. The complete trust that no harm would come.How far gone those good times seem. I have struggled mightily with depression lately. I watch my life passing, as if looking into a snow globe. My legs ache from running injuries, and the strain of added weight. My bank account is bare each day, as I struggle to try to keep up. My spiritual life feels without energy or desire. Angrily, I ask God for the keys to fix these problems. Silently I listen for any response.

Yet still the children play, and the smoke from a nearby fire wafts through the clearing of pines, and in a small corner of my mind, God plants a seed, and that seed grows, watered by the serenity of the scene around. God is a compassionate God.

Jeremiah wrote an entire book of Lamentations. A book of sorrow and pain. The heartache of a nation crushed, enslaved, tortured and killed. Of generations lost. Yet in this small book that details such suffering and pain, hope remains.

Lord, As I face the blackness of this night, remind me that even in the darkest of nights, you are a compassionate and loving guide.

Originally written in March 2005.

Encouragement09 Feb 2006 03:41 pm

The latest Christian Carnival – (Edition CVIII for those of you keeping score at home) is up at Part Time Pundit.  Some great reading there.  Check it out.

Encouragement07 Feb 2006 11:36 am

Go Deep was the title of Sunday’s sermon by Pastor Scott. The Super Bowl provided plenty of metaphors for our Christian walk. Appropriately enough, the sermon started by having the congregation sing the second verse of the childrens song “Deep and Wide” – “mmmmm and Wide, mmmmm and Wide, there’s a fountain flowing mmmmm and wide”.

The scripture reference was Ephesians 4:11-13.

11) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12) to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13) until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

As Christians, we must seek to not only grow wide, but to also grow deep. Ephesians 4:13 gives a way to measure our depth. Specifically there were three ideas that came from the lesson:

  1. Unity of the Doctrine of Jesus Christ. The idea that we are all using the same playbook.
  2. Knowledge of Jesus Christ. More than knowing, having the relationship, and experience with Jesus.
  3. Spiritual Maturity in Christ Jesus. Our goal is to be mistaken for Jesus.

One of the illustrations from the sermon that really stuck with me was the idea of a fisherman cleaning his nets. Technically this is not fishing, but without cleaning the nets, you cannot fish. Pastor Scott noted that he had talked with a boy who was fishing with nets, and he indicated that he spent about 80-90% of his time cleaning his nets. I think about the time that I spend tying fly’s for the spring and summer fishing trips. 80% sounds about right.

Without the spiritual exercise of “cleaning our nets” – that is equipping for the journey, we cannot “fish” – that is win lost souls to the love of God. Ephesians 4:13 is a high standard that we should strive for in our lives.

Encouragement and Family Thoughts05 Feb 2006 01:12 pm

We have been working on a pinewood derby car, and when I say we, I mean of course me. It has been a frustrating experience, which when coupled with our previous pinewood derby history (we have mostly ran in the bottom 10% of the cars), left us with a general unease in the pursuit of this car. Rather than a bright, shiny finish, Thomas’s car would be a pale shade of green, which had been the color of a bathroom in a house some years ago. When I accidentally sliced a gash in the side of the car after it had been painted, it became character, not a mortal flaw for which it could not leave the house, nevertheless race. Our accepted motto this year had become – “Well, we can’t do much worse than last year”. But this was Thomas’s last race, and we still hoped that he would place.

Yet a funny thing happened on the way to the race. At the pre race weigh in, we had ran a respectable race, and the starter commented that the car looked fast. Like Charlie Brown waiting for Lucy to pull the football back, we took a careful wait and see attitude. On the way to the race, Thomas asked if he could pray, and he prayed a sweet prayer. Let his car do well, and he would love to place, and if he couldn’t then could one of his friends. No doubt there were lots of prayers being issued from cars yesterday by 8,9,10 and 11 year old boys.

I should point out that the other boys cars were amazing. Not only were they bright and shiny, but they looked like they were fast. It was as if they looked on the pale green wedge shaped car with disdain. “You cannot keep up with me, ugly green car” they seemed to say. We had our eggs solidly in the performance basket, for their would be no design prize today. Mom and Dad came, despite my Dad feeling sick. He must have felt as green inside, as Thomas’s car.

When Thomas’s car ran in the fourth race for the Webelos, he won first place. I liked to have fell out of my chair. Thomas meanwhile was estatic, but quick to compliment his fellow racers. After four years of slow cars, Thomas is a model sportsman when it came to losing. I was proud of how he showed himself as a winner. Thomas’s car raced 7 more times, and he won a total of four races, and placed second on four more occasions. Each time he raced though, his car was right in the thick of things, just barely getting inched out.

After the race when the finishers were being announced, Thomas was announced as Third place. We were thrilled. Long forgotten were the hurt feelings, as well as the piles of sawdust on the porch. Thomas had a winning car. His smile was worth every ounce of work we had put into the race. The years of slow cars, and disappointing finishes gave way to a smile that said in the end, it was worth the price.

A committe gathered at the scorers table, and immediately, I felt like Lucy had just yanked the football, and we were in that small sliver of time between knowing that we cannot miss, and coming to realize that in just a moment we are on our back with everyone laughing. Instead the committe had reviewed the scores, and Thomas had won second place. In the end, his car had been more consistent.

Reflecting on this day, I had so many glimpes of lessons from God. Hope to keep trusting Gods promises, the patience to be consistent in my daily walk, the joy God must feel at our happiness, and the true importance of our time were just a few of my observations.

Thank you God for loving me enough to teach me important lessons, and for the joy and love of a little boy, to share it with. Thank you God for loving parents who shared these same lessons with me years ago.

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