Category: Pastor Paul’s Pen

BBQ TIME

Summer is “B” time! All the important B’s- B’s, Back yard, BBQ, and Bathing Suits. The problem, of course, is that too much of the other B’s tends to make the Bathing Suit look, not so Be-eautiful. I can’t help it; I love BBQ-ing in the summertime.

Thanks to George W and Mike H, I have been grilling all sorts of peppers and other veggies I never have before grilled. My hot dogs, burgers, sausages and such have been supplemented by Mike W’s contributions of fish and deer. Does it get any better?

So, I’ve been trying some new techniques, ingredients and recipes. And I have been having a lot of fun doing so. The saying, Variety Is The Spice Of Life, really is true. Mixing things up a bit, makes life exciting and interesting.

God loves variety. Look at the variety in the creation around you. It’s even more apparent during the summer time when we tend to spend a little more time “looking out from lofty grandeur” and “wandering through the woods and forest glades” and listening to “the birds sing sweetly in the trees”. The variety, uniqueness, and beauty add to the fullness of the human experience.

Hey, why not try something new this summer? Try camping, if you never have (I have and I prefer camping at the Holiday Inn, Daytona Beach, 7th floor looking out over the ocean waves rolling in). Or maybe try a concert in the park. Or laying on a blanket in the back yard at night looking at the stars.

Or, here’s a radical idea- if you go the Traditional service, why not try the Contemporary service? (or visa-versa). Hey, how about shaking hands on a Sunday morning with someone you’ve never (yet) met. OR, Super-Radical idea- bring someone to church with this Sunday.

Whatever it is, enjoy the variety!
Bar-B-Que-ing and loving it!

Pastor Paul

Enthusiastic Anticipation

So, the other day I slept in a bit. It was about 8AM, a little later than normal for me. Sue had gotten up some time earlier and was watching Windy City Live having her wake-up diet Cherry Pepsi. The dogs were in the kitchen, awaiting their breakfast, my coffee and Fox News; we (the dogs and I) prefer “fair and balanced”.

In any case, they were extremely happy to see me-tails wagging and lots of loud barking. This is how they greet me any time we’ve been apart; Like they are happy, surprised, overjoyed that I’m there and not laying dead in some ditch somewhere It gives me the sense that their world revolves around seeing me and spending time with me. I like that feeling.

While they were finishing their dessert (water drained off the top of each of their bowls), I went to touch base with Sue regarding the events of the day-Dr. appointments, meetings, etc… I was gone all of five minutes.

When I returned to the kitchen, the dogs acted like they had not seen me in hours, days, but not necessarily want early in the morning. My point is… they are always truly excited to see me and reserve nothing in their expression of that excitement/joy/love/etc…

God shows up on Sundays. Every Sunday when 2 or 3 of us gather together in Jesus’ name, He’s there. And what He brings through the Word and the Sacraments is a whole lot better than the breakfast I toss to my dogs.
So… how come I’m not as excited about Jesus as my dogs are about me? He suffered and died and rose again for me. That’s a lot more than what I do for my dogs. I guess I lack the good sense of a dog. Jesus loves me anyway.

Maybe this Sunday, I’ll get truly excited (tail-waggin’ excited) when Jesus shows up. So don’t be surprised if I’m clapping a little more vigorously, singing (some might call it barking) a little louder, looking a little more happy to be there; I’m just trying to react at least as good as a dog.

Barking and Wagging,

Pastor Paul

Moving Day

Today is moving day. It’s raining, so it’s not such a good day to move. On the other hand, the temperature has dropped, so heat is less of a factor. On the other-other hand, it we’re expecting hail this afternoon (according to the weather people… who are only right about 30% of the time… so…). Well, at least the truck is big so packing stuff in will not be so problematic; So big, in fact, it’s blocking half of my driveway, as well.

Today is moving day for my next door neighbors; I was informed over the fence, bright and early this morning. They said, “It’s bitter-sweet for us”, in response to me saying, “This is a sad day for me.” I am happy for them, but sad for us.

I’m a little sad because of the loss of a sense of protection; He, our (former) neighbor is a Streamwood police officer/ detective. And, I’m a little sad for the loss of dependability; She, our (former… just trying to get used to it) neighbor, handled the finances for our neighborhood association.

However, I’m glad for them. They are moving to a school district more favorable for their children, Ryan and Emma. I guess that’s really the larger sad part for me. The kids.

Over the fence I hear, “Hey Paul (they do not know me as “Pastor Paul”, just “Paul”)! I just got a new spider man! Do you want to see him?” Well, of course, I do. Over the fence, I hear, “Hey Paul (this is Emma in sweet little girl voice that reminds of my Meagan who was five, like yesterday).. Hey Paul, can I pet all your dogs? (Without waiting for my response) First, I want to pet that one… then that one…” As you can imagine, getting the dogs to cooperate to lift them, one at a time, over the fence for petting is challenging to say the least. I will miss those kids dearly.

Yet, I’m still happy for them. Happy and Sad at the same time. Isn’t a lot of life like that?…. Gain and Loss, Happiness and Sadness, Laughter and Tears… often seem to go hand in hand.
Maybe this apparent conflict/contrast gives us an opportunity to develop trust in God in ways we would have otherwise.

Change is inevitable. Conflict of emotions is inevitable. It all adds up to uncertainty. In the face of uncertainty, one thing is constant and certain-God is God and all things fall under His purview. This means that I can trust God to take care of my (former) neighbors. I can trust God to bring us new neighbors who we can bless and who will be a blessing to us. And I can trust God to help me deal with my feelings which often seem to be heading in different directions.

Moving day… mixed feelings… Trust God.

Pastor Paul

Flat Tires

Coming home from a brother’s house the other day, I noticed that my car was making a loud noise and driving in a very different way. I’m smart, so it only took me about 3 miles to figure out that I had a flat tire. An additional mile allowed me to figure that it was the passenger side, rear tire. Of course, that meant by the time I arrived at my domicile (smart word for “house”) the steel belts were blown out of my “steel-belted” tire. Now, I don’t know if the tire would have been completely ruined if I had noticed the flatness of my tire earlier… but maybe.
I kinda’ wonder if there are other things that may or may not suffer tragedy if I noticed them earlier.

  • I know my gutters are clogged; just not sure how clogged they are if there a consequences to not cleaning them.
  • I don’t always notice the dogs water bowl level; P-nut is a genius, so I’m sorta’ covered on that one.
  • My wife needs more hugs; I am often not paying attention, so she lets me know. Left to my own attentive awareness… well, I guess I’d probably mess things up even more than I do.
  • I know I need to take some time off this summer. Just realized the other day that I am not as inspired in ministry as usual and I probably need to recharge. I reckon you’ll suffer some if I don’t take care of this recharging.

My relationship with God gets a little dry at times; Distance develops between us. Of course, the Lord hasn’t gone anywhere. I just don’t pay attention sometimes. That’s dangerous, right?
So, check your tires; Before you drive.

Heading to the tire store,
Pastor Paul

Sensitivity Training

I was driving home from a fishing trip on Monday. My interest in Country Western music being revived by a new friend (thanks, Glenn), I tuned in to a radio station of that genre. I listened to one of my favorite songs of Tim McGraw, “Don’t Take The Girl”.

Johnny’s daddy was takin’ him fishin’, when he was eight years old. A little girl came through the front gate, holdin’ a fishin’ pole. Johnny’s daddy looked down and said, “we can’t leave her behind. Son, I know you don’t want her to go, but someday you won’t mind… and Johnny said, take Jimmy Johnson, take Tommy Thompson, take my best friend Beau. Take anyone that you want to take, as long as she don’t go. Take any boy in the world… but, please… don’t take the girl.

The second stanza has the “same sweet girl, same sweet boy”, ten years later, kissing in front of the movie theater. When a stranger shows up with a gun to mug them, Johnny offers his wallet, cash, credit cards, grandpa’s watch, and keys to his car, “Mister, give it a whirl… but please… don’t take the girl.”

Third stanza finds them (same sweet girl, same sweet boy) five years later, struggling with the birth of a baby. The baby’s going to be OK, but the mother’s life is in jeopardy, so Johnny hits his knees praying, for her life, offering his life in exchange, “… take me out of this world, but God please… don’t take the girl”. Typically sappy Country Western song.

So, it’s difficult to drive with tears filling your eyes and streaming down your face. It was more difficult ’cause I was trying to keep my emotions hidden from passing motorists. I guess I don’t want people thinking I’m a crying man, like Glenn Beck who used to cry on Fox TV every other day or so; Beck cries like a Pentecostal Preacher. We stoic, hardened Germans look down on such emotional outbursts.

So, I suppose at this point I should issue apologies to Glenn Beck (an American I truly admire),to Pentecostal Preachers (Pastor Lightbourne, my friend and partner in ministry and Pastor Cardenas, a collegue of great character) and to all people of Germanic background who do not wish to be characterized as “stoic” or hardened.

Sorry to all offended. But here’s my point-There are sensitivities that are helpful and there are sensitivities that truly get in the way of life.
It’s OK to be sensitive to your feelings and to be moved songs, poetry, art, events in life, etc… It’s even OK for (real) men to cry.

On the other hand, is there any way that we can stop being so “thin-skinned” and sensitive? We Americans tend to “take offense” incredibly easily these days. Can we at least take a look at that? Beck doesn’t know me nor I him, but I’ll bet he would laugh at what I wrote (for many reasons). Pastors Lightbourne and Cardenas know how to take and give a joke (you should hear what they say about Lutherans… just kidding!) and would never conjure up some claim of offense. As for the Germans, well, you (we) are a stoic bunch, are we not? C’mon, laugh.

One more point. Sensitivity has an important place in our lives. Especially and most importantly SENSITIVIY TO THE PROMPTINGS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. That’s what we need to develop as followers of Christ; sensitivity to His leading; sensitivity to his direction; sensitivity to His heart for the lost.

That’s all. By the way, I do like both kinds of music-Country and Western.

Sensitivity-Trained,
Pastor Paul

Rubbing Off On Others

I cut my lawn yesterday… again… for the second time this week… for the second week in a row. I’m not complaining, I’m just saying; The grass is growing while I’m writing this. I know it is. I believe I can see it growing.

Here’s what happens when I cut the lawn. I’m filled with great pride (regarding at least some of my lawn) and gratefulness to God for the blessing of “house and home”. And, the dogs (the little white chickens) end up with green paws and tracking grass clippings into the house. More work for me.

So , this morning one of the pups jumps up on my lap, sharing the green and the grass with me. I started thinking about this process. Each of us really does end up with some of what rubs off on us from others.
One of the sisters told me yesterday that she’s started to ask the question when facing difficult times and people at work (translate-complaining whining, etc…), “But , what good thing happened today?” It occurred to me that complaining and such is rather contagious. It also occurred to me that using a question to turn to the positive is also contagious. It “rubs off”.

You rub off on others. Others rub off on you as well. So 2 points-

  • Make sure you have enough positive, faith-filled people around to keep you from becoming negative, unproductive, or faith-less, and that you limit your exposure to the opposite kind of folks.
  • Make sure your faith is strong and your attitude positive so that as you rub off on others, you will be making a good (Godly) difference in this world.

Jesus rubbed off on His followers. Hey, if you hang out with Jesus, He will rub off on you. And then when you hang out with others… Jesus will rub off on them.

Looking at green paws,
Pastor Paul

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