The Seeking Pastor

Seeking to live, laugh, and love like Jesus

Archive for the tag “faith”

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.

 

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?

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?

Ninety-Eight Socks

I love all the people in my family, but I’m not particularly fond of their feet. Let me explain.

There are seven people in my immediate family; me, my wife, and our five kids. I love all of them tremendously even on those days when they drive me slightly crazy.

However, having seven people in your family means there are fourteen feet. Don’t get me wrong–I’m glad everyone in my family has two feet. It is really our socks that cause the problem.

Having fourteen feet in my family means that we wear fourteen socks every day. Multiply that by the seven days in a week and you have….

98 SOCKS!!!

EVERY WEEK!!!

Guess who has two thumbs and hates washing that many socks and matching them every week? Anyone with two thumbs.

Which is why they rarely get matched. That’s right–we don’t normally match our socks.

So, what do we do instead? We put them in a basket. What’s this basket called? The sock basket.

Isn’t it aggravating to always have to get socks out of the sock basket? No more aggravating than it would be to match all of them.

Maybe you think this is weird and are silently judging me in your head. And if so, that is fine. Because no matter who you are, you do some weird stuff, too.

We’re all different to some degree.

Yet, we are all the same in some important ways.

We are all created in the image of God. We have all sinned and fallen short of His glory. We all need Jesus.

No matter how weird we are or whether we have sock baskets or even if you bite your toenails.

It’s a good thing Jesus loves weirdos–because that describes us all.

What do you do that is a little weird?

This and That — Vol. 5

*Remember how Monica Seles used to grunt whenever she hit a tennis ball? I think I’ll start doing that every time I use my stapler.

*You know how many times I have eaten pretzels and thought, “Man, I wish someone would make a hamburger buns out of these?” That’s right…never. I can’t wait until they make pizza crust out of rice cakes.

*I went to a conference on the Trinity that featured five of the leading scholars in the world on that particular topic. After hearing their presentations and their answers to the questions posed to them, it made me feel a little bit better about myself because even they had difficulty explaining it. But it was still amazing..

*Apparently Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade have gotten into a war of words/tweets about whether or not Wade deserves to be listed as one of the top ten players in the NBA. But if I were Wade, I would be more concerned with learning how to spell my first name the right way.

*A few days ago my wife said, “I made a new friend yesterday. I like making new friends.” It’s possible I married a character from Sesame Street. Really, though, I love her and her kind heart.

*My 5-year-old got in the van after school a few weeks ago and told me some terrible news–”I have a boyfriend.” Apparently he asked her to be his girlfriend in the cafeteria and she said, “Sure!” This just last a couple or weeks, or as I like to call it “too long.”

*Saying “I’ll never go to a church with hypocrites in it” is exactly like saying “I’m never going to church.” There are hypocrites everywhere you look–even in the mirror at times. Actually, it is good when hypocrites are in church because that is where they (and we) need to be.

What are some tidbits that have been on your mind?

More Appropriate Shampoo Names

I use Suave shampoo. Is it because I am suave? Um…no. Sometimes when I use it, I feel like a fraud. I’m not suave.

I use Suave because it is fairly inexpensive compared to other brands. And because it is the kind my wife buys.

What are some more appropriate shampoo names for me? Here are a few suggestions

1. Forever the Same. See that picture to the right? My hair has been that  way since birth. Maybe even before birth. It’s possible that my hair has been that way since conception.

2. Prematurely Gray. Wanna make a joke about my gray hair? Go ahead–I’ve been hearing them since my early twenties. And you’ve been ugly even longer. Sorry–that was the gray hair talking.

3. Dork. With celebrity spokesperson Bill Gates.

4. N.T.H. Not televangelist hair. Because I don’t have televangelist hair. Or teeth. Or fashion sense. Or bad theology (I kid, I kid–mostly).

5. Not Quite. As in: Do I have good hair? Not quite.

I doubt any shampoo will ever be named any of these. So I’ll keep using suave even though I’m not suave.

The thing is, I’ve never pretended to be suave.

There are some people, though, who do pretend.

Some pretend to be caring. Some pretend to be kind. Some pretend to be Christians.

There have been times I have pretended to be these things. Maybe you have, too.

Thankfully, God’s grace was sufficient for me to overcome those times, to become what I sometimes pretended to be.

And His grace will see me home.

What are some more appropriate names for your shampoo? How have you overcome the desire to be a pretender?

I’m No Perry Stone

It happened again last week. Someone said I look like Perry Stone.

Perry Stone

Perry Stone

Me

Me

 

This time it was an older gentleman at the gym I frequent who said, “When I saw you on that elliptical machine the other day, I thought you were Perry Stone.”

You might be thinking–who is Perry Stone?

According to his website (www.voe.org), Stone is “a fourth generation minister of the gospel, directs one of America’s fastest growing ministries – Voice of Evangelism.  From its 70,000 square foot International Ministry Center, Voice of Evangelism is striving to reach the world with the Gospel of Christ through revivals, television, audio/video media, printed material and missionary sponsorship.”

You may have seen him on television like me, possibly preaching/teaching using some kind of prop. You may have seen him on the cover of one of his books. You may have seen him preaching revival services near you.

Or you may have seen him at Waffle House. He lives in Cleveland, TN and since everyone I know from there likes Waffle House, I’m assuming he eats there sometimes, too.

But I’m no Perry Stone.

We are different ages; he’s in his fifties and I just look like I’m in my fifties. I’m really just a couple of weeks away from being thirty-six.

We have different ministries; he does mostly revivals and prophecy teaching and I am a pastor.

We have different levels of fame; he is very well-known in some circles and I know how to draw a circle.

We have different beliefs about certain theological issues.

I’m no Perry Stone. And that’s okay.

I am me–adopted by the Father through the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I’m no Perry Stone; I am Matt Cannon–child of God.

Who do people say you look like? Who else do you think I look like (besides Matthew McConaughey?)

 

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