Willohroots


odd man out
December 1, 2009, 13:03
Filed under: What would you do? | Tags: , , , ,

Have you ever felt like a square peg in the village of round holes?  You would think I would feel at home in a group of Baptisty  preachers and pastors, but I really do not.  There was a dinner at the mission, and i ended up sitting with the recovery people, I just felt more at home.

Then there is the music.  i really don’t enjoy listening to much country music.  I like Bebo Norman a lot,  but the live stuff quite often tosses me into rebellion.  There was a very talented man playing trumpet, guitar and singing to a recorded track, but he had that spikey short hair and one of those mustaches that slipped off the upper lip and landed just below his lower lip.  If i didn’t look, I could admit he was very talented.  I am that jaded.   The whole CCM scene has left me being judgmental to all CCM artists  and i am sure that is wrong.

They guys in the program told me they liked when I preached.  They said the last fellow gave a rousing dissertation on baptismal regeneration.  He stated that all “so-called Christians” that believe in baptismal regeneration are going to Hell.  He knew that because he had the Holy Spirit and that if you had the Holy Spirit and attended a church that believed in baptismal regeneration  you would immediately quit and join his denomination.   So much for Steve “theoldadam” and the lovely Church of Christ people who first befriended me.  Personally, I put a lot more faith in my Savior than in my denomination or my doctrine.

A lot of pastor meetings really depress me.  I was with a friend who was really struggling with a crisis in his ministry and life.  We were going to a pray in. On the way there he was rejoicing that he was going to confess and get support for a huge problem, it was so big that he needed the group to help.  We circled up and began to pray in order.  After one preacher prayed for God to guide the deacons to give him a raise, one prayed for  his flock to accept modern music, and another fervently, tearfully, prayed to God for his board to give him permission to rip up the pews, as we all know that souls are best saved by preaching in the round.  When it was my friends turn to pray, he said,”pass”.  Two months later he left his wife and his two churches and ran off with the gym teacher.  I don’t go to those meetings anymore.

I served on a regional board for about two years, we spent most of the time writing and adjusting the bylaws.  When i was an organizer I was taught that to take a group out of a coalition, get them working on their bylaws, it renders them useless.   I shared this, to no avail.  We finished the bylaws, and within a year the structure of the whole thing changed. Throw those bylaws out, start over. I don’t go there anymore.

I fit in at Dayspring!  Thank God he gave me a place to hang out and glorify The Lord!  I feel at home there.  We aren’t much, but we are real.

Advertisements


Finding Joy thru dark clouds
November 25, 2009, 13:55
Filed under: Bible study | Tags: , , , ,

Tomorrow is my favorite holiday.  Thanksgiving has a great theme, wonderful history, and none of the stress and less of the emotional baggage that Christmas brings for me.  No. 1 daughter will make a great meal, [I can put up with fruit in the stuffing, I guess],  we will have guests, all will be well. All except me.  I am dealing with a wave of depression. The best way to describe it is having the feeling of Satan standing on my chest.  Seriously, if you have been blessed to avoid depression ,  I will share,  it feels like waves, literal waves, and affects even the breathing.  To me it is the virus of the spirit, a head cold of the heart.

So I turn where I have learned to turn for solace and strength,  not my wonderful wife, I learned that is really not her job, although she helps, but to my God through His Word.  I seek His joy.

Proverbs 15:13

A joyful heart makes a cheerful face,But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.

I do not want to be the wet rag thrown on the party tomorrow.  My fake smile is horrible.  I would starve as an actor, or a poker player.  You can read me like a billboard.  The spirit that I need to have to serve the Lord and my family is wounded if sadness reigns.  I am broken, and need mending.

Acts 13:52
And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

So what is wrong with me?  Am I not a disciple? I am sorely lacking in the continually part.  There are times I am joyful, and I praise God for the times the Holy Spirit fills me to the brim,  but it is not continual.  I wonder just how long those early followers were continually filled. Didn’t they have a bad day?  A bad week?  I admit, I have a weak week once in a while. So I turn to the Psalms.

Psalm 51:8
Make me to hear joy and gladness,Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.

Make me hear it!  My flesh does not want to be filled with joy, it seems to like this cozy cave of gloom and self pity, so God, please, make me hear Joy and gladness!

3 John 1:4

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

How can i not be joyous?  My children are not perfect but they are a blessing.  My #1 daughter is an RN, and a great one!  I have been told she lights up a floor with her presence!  She is good hearted, though rough talking, lives with us, she and her husband paying utility bills i could not afford since my lay off. And her husband is a good hearted man, who plays too much playstation, but has been as a son to me.  #2 daughter last night was sharing about the Lord with a recovering addict who is living with us.  She is a musician, whose songs have moved many people,  She dropped out of colege to pursue her dream of writting and performing music.  She leads our praise band and loves God.  Children like this and I am depressed?  Forgive me lord.

Romans 14:17
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

The thanksgiving meal is not to bring joy, but to celebrate it!

Psalm 100:2

Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.

I forget that I, little old me, gets to serve Yahweh God!!!

Psalm 87:7
Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say,”All my springs of joy are in you.”

While I can not toot a flute, i strum a guitar. I look forward to an eternity of singing praises to God!  I like life, but death offers so much to me, a promise that I look forward to with joy.

Psalm 84:2
My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD;My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.

I take refuge in my God, it is more an act of His strength than of my weakness, for His strength far surpasses my weakness.

Psalm 30:5

For His anger is but for a moment,His favor is for a lifetime;Weeping may last for the night,But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

I know the morning is coming.  The night may be long and dark, but the morning always comes.

Nehemiah 8:10

Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

That is how I want to spend Thanksgiving,  giving to those who have not, having a holy day unto Him. I should not be grieved for the strength of the Lord does bring me joy.

Psalm 51:12
Restore to me the joy of Your salvationAnd sustain me with a willing spirit

The joy when He first touched me!  When i first realized, by the Holy Spirit, that He was my Father, I was a sinner, and that He forgave me through the blood of Jesus!  Indescribable joy!    Yes restore that joy to me Lord!  Sustain me.

Matthew 25:23

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

That’s what I live for, to hear those words from the mouth of God.  If I can be faithful  with His strength, not fail on my own, what a joyous reward awaits!

Hebrews 12:11

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

James 1:2
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,

So for now a trial, a dark moment.  morning will come showing me molded more in the image of my Savior,  brought a tad closer to His perfection, yet still miles away from it.

John 16:24

” Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.

So now I pray,  Lord God, in the name of Jesus I ask you to lift my heart from the pool of darkness.  Restore to me the joy of my salvation, let me sing Your praise, serve You, share You, and be faithful to you.  Lift the foot of my enemy from my chest and let me embrace my trials, as if i am in Your will, that is joy enough. Let me be joyously thankful in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Whew!  That is definitely better. Thank you God.  I hope this helps some of you too.



TV, 300 channels,
November 24, 2009, 12:34
Filed under: culture | Tags: ,

The last week I was useless.  While it wasn’t swine flu, something had a hold on me and would not let go.  My energy was drained.  Coincidentally,  the family moved the dish receiver downstairs.  Here at stately Willohroots Manor that is a big change.

My wife and i were never big fans of TV.  We moved here twenty-five years ago and did not have a TV.  This so upset some of our friends that there were occasions we would return home and find a TV left on the porch by family or friends.  We finally hooked one up to watch videos when the kids came along, but still had no connection to prime time.  My girls have told me that this made them outcast at their school.  The other children would discuss shows that my kids were ignorant of, and my oldest daughter was scarred by no seeing Travolta in “Grease”  until a late age.  at least that is what she said.

We had  a satellite dish   for a while, but it offended me.  We were painting No.1 daughter’s room, working late one night.  It was around 8 o’clock .  The wee bairn was watching Nickelodeon.  Seemed safe.  As we picked up our paint supplies and cleaned up, she appeared at the door. “Mom,  Dad,  I need to speak with you.  If you are going to have sex, please use a condom, as i do not want you to get sick.”   Drop the paint.

I should not have had to explain to my daughter that mommy and daddy were in an exclusive relationship for over a decade, and we would not get sick from making love, as  we were doing things by God’s design,  and His way is good.  I could not bring myself to pay $88 per month to have these little chats.

When the Son in law  and No.1 moved into the east wing, they brought TV back to the manor.  It was not in my area of the house and I could care less. Somehow it migrated downstairs, but I ignored it, as I am kind of   a busy guy. My wife Dawn, wanted to watch a couple football games.  yeah I know, we have a lot of role reversal issues, and so put her blessing on the box.   Being in no shape or mood to do much else this last week, I did the weak thing, and turned the thing on. I  sat down with my Gatorade and crackers and a handful of remotes to be entertained.

I grew up on TV.  As an only child TV was my friend.  My friend has changed.  I thought I would watch a show with Courtney Cox.  That nice girl from Friends.  I had to google  Cougar to find out what the show was about.  Not entertaining.  There were reality shows that made me very depressed with the shallowness of my culture.  About a third of the channels seemed to be infomercials.  There are about three TV preachers  can watch, but watching them is depressing, it just reminds me I should be doing sermon prep. The History channel had a couple good things, but most was old hat, and they only seem to have a few shows a day, and recycle them, so you can’t watch them all day.  The shows on bible related stories are way off the mark.

I like the cooking shows, but being a fat guy, that probably is not good for me.  Food porn.  And speaking of porn.  I am not a prude by any means.  I live in a rough world and grew up in a rougher one,  but in the 10 years of my absence from the viewers seat, things have really slid.

Thank God for healing!  I am up and able to do again.  My thought of this experience is this,  I get people’s attention 1 hour a week.  That thing is 24/7.  The battle is quite lop sided.  We had a child in Sunday school last week that was very upsetting.  He was about 5 or 6, and told the teacher that his heroes were Jason and Freddie, and that he loved to kill, and would like to kill himself one day.  This was very upsetting to the teacher, who shared with me.  I went to the adult who brought the child to inquire about this travesty.  I was told the boy’s dad watches slasher films almost exclusively, and when the child is in his custody that is what they do together.  How is that for quality time?

Back back depression!  I guess it is good I know what is out there, but I do not have to be pleased about it.  If we were judged by our broadcasts, what sinners we would be.  Praise God he looks at the heart not our watching history,  or does He?



Nerf Swords don’t cut
November 4, 2009, 09:40
Filed under: Church wrongs | Tags: , , , ,

 National Publishing and Jones Brothers, 187[?]                      Willohroots family bible from  my ‘s dad’s  side.New Illustrated Devotional and Practical Polyglot Bible [Cincinnati]: National Publishing and Jones Brothers, 187[?]   The Willohroots family bible on my father's side.Monday started off with rank disappointment, so instead of getting all down and blue, I thought I would listen to  Jeofurry sermon.  I like to hear Jeff preach, and thought that would be uplifting.  Just to continue the downward spiral of the day, I could not get any of his sermons to load.  At least the day was consistent.

 

I popped over to the church site of a friend of mine,  someone I had not checked in on in a long time.  I found an eight part series on The Beatitudes, at least that was the title, but they really weren’t.  A little googling and I found out that they were Rick Warren sermons, from one of Rick Warren’s sermon series.  I listened to most of them.  Now I was really depressed.

I heard a good man, a man with a loving servant’s heart become a shadow.  His sermon illustrations were not from his own life, they were from Rick Warrens life, and so the message I was getting was like a fax of a fax, a bit blurry, lacking the crisp detail needed to bring a message.  Seeing some one attempting to imitate anyone but Christ,  well it just isn’t Christian.

Armed with a cynical attitude and already filled with negatives, by the power granted to me by Google,  I set out to check out other web sermons.  I found way too many cheap imitations of the same thing.   Now I imitated Warren at a fancy dress party,  but never in the pulpit.  There are so many people going to Hell, so many of the saved that need the guidance of Holy Writ, and the exhorting that comes only from the Word,  that I take my post very seriously.  I can imitate no one.  I do not need to.  My God has worked in my life, He continues to do so, He does this so that I may share His Glory and point to Him.

To fight the Great War we are given the words of Moses and the Prophets, the Apostles, and even the words of the Messiah Yeshua!  These words have Power!

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edgedsword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Ephesians 6:17
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

I am afraid some of my brothers are using imperfect swords.  The power is not there,  because instead of reaching up to God for power in preaching, they are reaching out laterally to other preachers who have had success in their area.  They must forget that the success they are viewing  came from God,  not from the preacher whose church they are observing.  Instead of getting the message from the source, they are sitting in the shadow of a man, not the light of the Son.  If  you attempt to copy Warren, or Piper, or Keller, or MacArthur you will be such a shadow, wielding a shadow sword.  Reach High!  Attempt the unattainable, and seek to copy Christ, as did James, and Peter, and Paul, and all the rest.  You will fail, as I am sure they did, but it is a glorious failure, as the attempt is a victory, and fail to reach that hight the highest worship that we have.   The sword from this armory will have little effect in real war.

 

nerfswords0

Blades of sponge do not pierce to the heart.

I am not condemning Rich Warren, there are plenty of blogs for that,  but I am pleading for us all to use the great weapon we were given, the Sword of the Word.   Jeff , get First    Baptist  Langdon,  North Dakota site fixed,  and encourage your pastors to be themselves, as God has molded  them.  My wife has taught me much, but most of all to be me in the pulpit, just me.  If God put me there, [and He did] , why try to be someone else?  It is best to be a real little guy, standing in the Light of Jesus , wielding the true Sword,  than the shadow of a giant, holding a Nerf blade against the  Devil.  The bible has many stories of God using men and women, but I can only think of one where He used a Shadow.



Light at the end of the Tunnel
Tunnel through the rail road fill at 7 tubs.

Tunnel through the rail road fill at 7 tubs.

I have been going through some tunnel times.  I seem to be much better at getting a second interview than I am at getting a job.  I am sick of being broke, church giving is down, it rains a lot, my aches have aches, and I am generally miserable.  Worst of all i spent a lot of time this week with Johnny.  Johnny was my assistant Fire Chief for about 5 years back when i was Chief.  he saved my rear  in a figurative way a couple times, and I think God used him to save my life once.

The reason spending time with Johnny put the icing on my depression cake is that he has become a practicing alcoholic.  johnny is 7 years younger than I, but now he looks 10 years older.  his hands shake, his face is lined deeply, his legs can hardly hold him up.  His dad died of alcohol in 73, his pretty younger sister dies about six years ago, same thing.  I love this man, and just know he is on the way out.  I have tried praying, preaching, and invites to AA.  Without a Damascus  road experience he will go the way of his family.  I don’t see John often, but every once in a while, in the dead of night he will stop by, drunk as a skunk and smelling worse, to reminisce and wake me up.  It only happens two or three times a year.

I was with Johnny because he called me Wednesday,  his mom had passed away.   He needed his Chief.  I was with him as much as I could be.  We went to the funeral Mass at The Holy Redeemer.  His mom was a  strong Catholic, but it didn’t take for John.  They have a new priest, and I enjoyed[90%] of his homily. Their beautiful building with its vaulted ceilings is a lot different from, Dayspring’s drop ceiling plainness.  I hear they are going to sell it, and as much as I would love to preach there, i just don’t see that happening. Very Christ centered.  I stayed with him for the burial and the little dinner after. We sent over a ham and some buns, it is about all I can do.  I can’t reassure him, or promise reunion, he is not a believer.  he told me that this existence is Hell.  His theology is really wrong, but he is strong in his disbelief.

Anyway,  the Godlessness of the situation brought me to a dark spot.  I have to watch my self.  I have been really depressed in the past, and if I let my Gospel armor loosen, and if I do not take care of me and walk closer to God i can get so down i can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I took a hike with son in law Mark,  [Eutychus to us] , and took some pictures and walked the blues away.  It lifted me, may you enjoy.  These are from the Seven tubs Recreational area in my home County of Lucerne.

P1010095

P1010069

P1010097P1010070

The tree tops of north East Pa. The colors are coming in.

The tree tops of north East Pa. The colors are coming in.

Looking out to the Blue Ridge Mountains , across the Susquehanna valley

Looking out to the Blue Ridge Mountains , across the Susquehanna valley

One of the Seven tubs

One of the Seven tubs

Markus Eutychus, excellent hiking partner!

Markus Eutychus, excellent hiking partner!

P1010072

So how can you stay depressed with such natural glory around?  How can i be down when God has taken me through the tunnels of cancer, and pain, and paralysis?   Do I think God retired?  Am I silly or simple enough to think that He who started a good work in me will nor complete it?  Being around people who have shut out God really runs me down, being around God and His works is my prescription.  Hope you like the photos!