The Seeking Pastor

Seeking to live, laugh, and love like Jesus

And So I Rest

It’s 5pm last Friday.

The basketball team my two nine-year-old boys play for is warming up for their 5:30 game at the community center. Our head coach is talking to the opposing coach while our assistant coach is trying to get our players to do their lay-ups correctly. I’m the assistant coach and my efforts are proving to be mostly futile.

It’s 5:30pm last Friday.

The game is underway. Our team, Reno’s Sporting Goods, is playing the Knicks (the ones from Harriman, not New York). In spite of some early travelling calls, we start off strong. As the assistant coach my main responsibilities during the game are keeping up with how many fouls each player has and helping the head coach direct traffic from the sideline. I end up yelling  “get back” a lot.

It’s 6:25pm last Friday.

The game is over. In spite of some late travelling calls, we won. I have previously informed my kids (the two who have been playing and the three who have been spectating) to get to me quickly after the game. I have a funeral to preside over at 7pm and since my wife is working they all have to go with me. I wore suit pants, a dress shirt, and a sweater vest (which undoubtedly was the key to victory) during the game so all I will need to do once we get to the van is put on my tie and suit coat. My two boys who have been playing ball will have to take off their shorts and put on jeans. They aren’t too thrilled about this and, after smelling how they smelled, I wasn’t either.

It’s 7pm last Friday

The funeral is underway with the director leading me to a chair behind the casket. We arrived there around 6:45 giving me enough time to speak with the family and go over the order of service. After an opening song I stand at the podium and seek to speak words of comfort about life, death, and the gift of salvation offered by Jesus their deceased loved one had accepted many years prior. After my message, I sit while another song is played and then rise again to say a closing prayer. During the prayer I hear a distant sound of someone passing gas. I find out after the service that the accidental gas-passer was my 5-year-old. She doesn’t want to talk about it.

It’s 8:05pm last Friday.

We’re back at the community center. My oldest son has an 8:30 game and I am surprised we were able to be here early. The game being played when we arrive is a close one; there is much shouting. I resist the urge to yell “get back.” My son’s game begins on time, but ends late. It goes into overtime. Mr. Clean’s Car Wash, my son’s team, plays valiantly with their three top scorers on the bench after fouling out, but they go down in defeat. I collect my kids and trudge toward the van.

It’s 10:20pm last Friday

My kids are in bed and I’m sitting in a recliner thinking about whiplash of the emotional variety that nights like tonight have the ability to cause. From the excitement of two of my boys winning a basketball game to the sadness of mourning with those who mourn to the excitement of another of my boys almost winning a basketball game, it has been a strange evening.

But I am at peace; I don’t have whiplash. Jesus conquered death and brought life to all who trust Him. Even when it’s strange, it remains abundant and eternal. I can face days like last Friday because of Good Friday; I can face days full of stress because the tomb is empty.

And so I rest.

How to Save Squirrels

Squirrels have brains. I am stating this with almost complete certainty even though I am not an expert in squirrel physiology. My high school biology teachers forced us to dissect other animals, but never a squirrel. I would say dissecting a squirrel would be a little nuts, but that is too obvious. The best humorists, whom I admire and am seeking to learn from, are never so obvious. Nor do they ever state that they would say something obvious if it weren’t so obvious. So I guess I messed that all up.

Squirrels also have eyes; of this I am absolutely sure. I have seen a couple of taxidermied squirrels and they had eyes. Yes, I know taxidermied eyes are normally either glass or acrylic, but taxidermists would never put fake eyes where there were never real eyes. At least the reputable ones wouldn’t. Plus, I have looked into the eyes of living squirrels both while the squirrels where flitting around full of life and also right before meeting untimely deaths under the wheels of various vehicles. They have eyes, little squirrelly eyes.

So we have decided with complete certainty squirrels have eyes and with almost complete certainty they have brains. One of my children would be quick to point out that there had to have been a few squirrels in the history of squirrels without eyes and/or brains. I blame their contrariness on the doctrine of total depravity and too much television. Regardless, as a general rule squirrels have both eyes and brains.

Yet, in spite of their eyes and brains, squirrels are still dying on America’s roadways. Are they also dying on the roadways of other countries? I haven’t a clue. But I do know that it’s happening here. Every day an untold number of squirrels are flattened by cars, trucks, and vans driven mostly by people who would rather not kill them. Don’t squirrels know how dangerous it is trying to cross a road in front of metal machines of death?

Maybe the problem is that even with eyes and brains the squirrels lack what might be the most important thing: understanding. They don’t understand the terrible danger they are in when they choose to cross the road in front of a vehicle. They don’t understand that there is surely a better way. They don’t understand that they can choose to be different, that they can choose to rise above the fates of their doomed friends.

If only one of us with understanding could somehow become a squirrel for a short period of time so we could communicate with them in order to teach them, to show them this better way in order for some to be saved.

If only.

 

One Day

The days are long
but the years are
short

When you
raising a
family.

The days
are full of
aggravations,

The years
are full of
joy.

But it is
all good
and

It will all
be missed

one day.

 

If I Were a Garden Gnome

My kids all made me something for my birthday. They were all special and sweet.

This poem from my oldest daughter brought tears to my eyes.

Noelle's Poem

I’m glad your my dad,
I love you so much,
Sorry sometimes I’m bad,
but then you give a special touch.

I’m glad your my dad,
everything is gonna be ok,
even tho sometimes you seem mad,
you brighten up my day.

I’m so glad you adopted me,
And brought me into your home,
I love you so much
even if you were a garden gnome.

Because I have five kids, it  would be virtually impossible to keep everything they draw, write, or paint.

This one, though, is definitely a keeper–even if we might need to work on the difference between your and you’re.

After all, it’s not every day a person promises to love you even if you were a garden gnome.

What is a gift you have been given that you deeply cherish (other than salvation)?

Fun at the Dollar Movies

My family went to the “dollar movies” this past Friday night. Technically, it isn’t the dollar movies anymore since it now costs $2.50 per ticket. But old habits die-hard, so I still call it the dollar movies.

We saw Monsters University. I know–most people saw it during the Summer, but tickets weren’t $2.50 during the Summer. When you have 5 kids and like going to the movies, patience isn’t just a virtue–it is essential to keep you from going completely broke.

Getting there about 15 minutes early, we had to find ways to entertain ourselves. We talked about their day at school, but my kids soon became bored with that. We answered some of the trivia on the screen, but that didn’t entertain them long. Thankfully, the movie was getting close to starting.

That’s when my oldest daughter did this -

Okay–so this is a reenactment of what happened. At any rate, I ended up laughing about this the rest of the night.

I love that my kids love me. I love that they are growing and learning and becoming the people God created them to me.

And I love their silliness and how it can make me laugh and laugh.

Of all the blessings God has given me since salvation, my wife and kids are at the top of the list.

I am indeed a blessed man.

What have your kids (or grandkids or whoever) done recently to make you laugh?

Book Review – Otherworld by Jared C. Wilson

otherworld

I used to be a frequent reader of Christians novels of the supernatural/suspense variety. The “used to” part of that sentence is because of two things. One–I became more involved with reading theology and Christian non-fiction. And two–the theology in some of the Christian novels I otherwise enjoyed was somewhat smushy.

In regard to the novels mentioned, smushy theology (at least to me) is when what is being depicted is not quite biblically accurate or when it is biblically accurate, but terribly stated. These books, while interesting and mostly enjoyable, contained questionable material with the possibility of leading people either astray or into confusion. Because of this, for the most part, I quit ready these types of novels.

Then I learned that Jared C. Wilson had written Otherwold, a novel in the genre I had abandoned. This is the first novel for Wilson who is best known for his nonfiction works like Gospel Wakefulness and Gospel Deeps (among other books). Having read the former (as well as some of his articles/blog posts and following him on twitter), I knew his theology to be anything but smushy. So, I decided to give it a try.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

Otherworld is about strange occurrences in Houston and one of its suburbs, Trumbull. It begins with an event that sparks a tidal wave of speculation regarding UFO sightings and alien encounters. All of this, however, may not be as it appears as several of the characters gradually find out. Some of those characters make terrible decisions while others show themselves to be stronger than they realize, but they all seem believable even in a story born out of unbelievable happenings.

Of course, it is about more than any of that. It is also about faith, hope, and the belief that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

Is there anything negative to say about this novel? Sort of. At times, it felt as though it had too many subplots. However, as the story went along the number of subplots helped to increase both the tension and my concern for the characters and their well-being. Especially since this is Wilson’s first novel, this is completely forgivable.

It is my hope that this review has piqued your interest enough to encourage to purchase this book without giving away anything that might harm your enjoyment of it.

Otherworld is a gripping book with good lessons; I really believe it is worth both your money and your time.

To purchase this book from Amazon click HERE.

What novel(s) have you read lately?

 

 

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Help Me Build a Well for My Birthday

Today is my 36th birthday.

I know, I know–I look closer to 56. It’s okay if you think that–I do have a lot of gray hair.

When I was a kid, my birthday wish list was rather long filled mostly with GI Joe and He-Man toys. Things have change, though.

This year I only have one wish…

To help build a clean water well in Asia for the “least of these.”

There are millions of people around the world who are sick or dying because of a lack of clean drinking water. ActiveWater is trying to change this.

I have joined with Psalm 112 Men’s Ministry to try to raise money to build a well. The total amount needed is $4,000. My personal goal is $500.

Whether you can give a little or a lot–please consider donating.

We have been blessed to be a blessing—I encourage you to be a blessing to others.

Click HERE to donate!

About Home

To keep fighting and
going and marching,
he thinks about home.

Home, across the water,
is a continual reminder
of what will be.

When the war is over
and the battles cease he
knows what awaits him.

Rest will replace work,
peace will replace strife,
healing will replace pain.

While he waits he keeps
fighting, going, marching
and thinking

About home.

 

Five Things You Should Do at Catalyst

I am not at Catalyst Atlanta. I have never been to a Catalyst conference. But I have heard A LOT about them and I know several people who are there.

What is Catalyst? Here is what their website says:

“Catalyst Atlanta is a powerful gathering of young leaders, a movement of influencers and world changers who love Jesus, see things differently, and feel a burden for our generation. We seek to learn, worship and create together with a momentous energy passionately pursuing God.”

If you are at Catalyst, I hope you learn a lot and grow more in love with Jesus.

But while you’re doing that, I have a few things I would like you to do for me.

1. Give John Piper a bag of seashells. I have a feeling that he likes seashells, but he would never collect them for himself. However, he might accept some as a gift.

2. Ask Bob Goff to give you his wallet. When he refuses, say “But what would Love Do, Bob? WHAT WOULD LOVE DO?!?!

3. Pick Henry Cloud up, throw him over your shoulder, and shout, “I don’t believe in boundaries!”

4. Challenge Lecrae to a rap battle. When he starts, hand him a roll of wrapping paper.

5. Show Dave Ramsey an empty envelope labeled “Books.” Tell him you would have purchased one of his books, but…

And if you do any of these things, remember–pictures or it didn’t happen.

Really, though, if you are at Catalyst I hope you have a great time and I hope you get energized (or re-energized) to impact the world for the glory of God.

What are some other things people could do at Catalyst? What’s the last conference you attended?

I’m Suprised Teachers Don’t…

Last night was “Open House” at the elementary school four of my children attend. We were there for an hour and a half. In that time I came to a few conclusions. Here they are:

I’m surprised teachers don’t…

1. Quit. Every single day.

2. Slap someone. Every single day.

3. Go into the fetal position and cry for hours. Every single day.

4. Develop new twitches. Every single day.

5. Dream about having a less stressful job. Every single day.

Why am I surprised by all of this? Because of the noise.

To be honest, I think about this every time we eat lunch with one of our kids. The noise is deafening and the number of children all behaving in various shades of awful is jarring.

I’m not sure how much teachers get paid these days. Whatever it is, I don’t think it’s enough.

So, if you are a teacher who loves kids and does your best to teach and lead them….

THANK YOU!

What are you surprised that teachers don’t do? Who was your favorite teacher?

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