Thursday, May 26, 2016

Restructuring



Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)

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"They have eyes that don't see and ears that don't hear.
They have hearts that don't want to see and hear."

Word

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    Art Pace left a pastorate in Garwood, New Jersey to become a chaplain with the Army.

    Smart.

    Finally, he had a congregation that respected God as well as country.

    He's a triple-dipper by now.

    Anyway, he wrote a skit that I've used many times over the years.

    It's about restructuring.

    Funny/pathetic how things don't...

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The Meeting
(RSV)

    Pastor: "I call this meeting of the Brandex Presbyterian Church to order.  We've got a serious item on our docket.  Our money and membership are down."

    Church Lady 1: "We used to have 54 members and an endowment."

    Church Lady 2: "But we lost 50."

    Church Lady 3: "That leaves just us."

    Pastor: "I'm a member of presbytery."

    Church Ladies 1-3: "Ouch!"

    Pastor: "But, remember, wherever God is, there's a majority."

    Church Ladies 1-3: "Yes, it sure is refreshing that we're now the majority of the church."

    Pastor: "So how do you propose attracting more money and members?"

    Church Lady 1: "How about some preaching about Jesus and the Bible?"

    Church Lady 2: "I don't think so.  I like the sermons just like they are."

    Church Lady 3: "Absolutely!  Three irrelevant points and a poem by a dead guy!"

    Pastor: "Thank you.  The President has always been my favorite theologian; and I love books by those former professors from Fuller and Rebuke who..."

    Church Lady 2: "How about a movie night?"

    Church Lady 3: "How about fundraisers for people longing for the way things never were or maybe were but are no more?"

    Church Lady 1: "How about bringing in a preacher who loves Jesus by the book for some revival meetings?"

    No response from Pastor and Church Ladies 2-3.

    Pastor: "Let's hire an elephant and march it through town with a church banner on it?"

    Church Lady 2: "Neat!"

    Church Lady 3: "Awesome!"

    Church Lady 1: "Well, maybe that would encourage some of us to talk about the elephant in our..."

    Pastor: "Out of order!  You're being rude!  You're being unkind.  You're bullying us!"

    Church Lady 2: "I move the elephant!"

    Church Lady 3: "Second!"

    Pastor: "Let's vote!"

    Church Lady 1: "No."

    Church Lady 2: "Yes!!!"

    Church Lady 3: "Yes!!!"

    Pastor: "Onward Christian..."

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    If you have a problem with your watch, don't look at the hands.

    Structure.

    Look deeper!

    Substance.

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    While I may be wrong, any process/structure/polity can work...if the right people are in...

    I believe the right people are people who love Jesus as the foundation, focus, and filter of their creeds and deeds.

    Such people include mercy, grace, forgiveness, and agape in all of their decisions.

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    The Imperials remain right: "There will never be any peace until God is seated at the conference table."

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    Someone is missing in dying churches...and countries...and marriages...and families...and...

    It/He has nothing to do with restructuring; and as a faithful old church lady once said, "You can't give away what you ain't got for yourself!"

    The Church has always been about Jesus; and people are saved when it is.

    Dying churches are blind and deaf to that/Him; and that's why everything is going to...

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Blessings and Love!

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Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!
Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Plan B



Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)

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"God is doing something good through everything that happens in the lives of the faithful.
If it seems slow, don't panic.  You will see!  In whatever meantime this is for you,
trust Him.  He has something better than you could ever imagine.  Trust Him!"

Habakkuk and Paul

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    I'll be in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on May 30 - June 2.

    My mom's birthday is May 30.

    It's been 42 years since I was with my mom on her birthday.

    Come to think of it, I haven't been with my mom on Mother's Day for 42 years...or my mom, dad, and sister on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Easter Day or...for 42 years.

    Vocational hazard.

    Guys like me are supposed to make the season(s) "bright" for everybody else.

    We wouldn't think of missing...if we harbor any sense of job security.

    That's probably why I'll catch some flack for missing two last minute church calendar additions next week; though I've been planning to spend my mom's birthday with her for months...for the first time in 42 years.

    People say, in effect, to guys like me, "We want you to take care of your family; but you better not let any of their needs come before any of our needs."

    Yeah, I know lots of people will say that's not true; but it's true.

    Anybody doing what I do knows it's true.

    I'm not complaining; just reporting...and regretting.

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    I spent one Father's Day with my dad on June 19, 2008...in 42 years.

    I played golf with him on that day and got the only hole-in-one of my holy hacking career.

    Memorable.

    Treasured.

    I wonder how many...I've missed in the last 42 years.

    I'm not complaining.

    My home pastor - The Rev. Harold F. Mante (RIP) - explained all of this to me before college, seminary, ordination, and...

    I knew the script; and now I'm living it.

    I'm just reporting...and regretting.

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KU Law School L1 2016



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    I thought about that while helping Dan move from Coe to KU last week.

    Plan B.

    Law school.

    He had planned and worked so hard to become a professional football player.

    That ended on September 5, 2015.

    You can read more about the particulars by clicking on the September 6, 2015 edition of www.koppdisclosure.com.

    As Habakkuk and Paul predicted for everyone who trusts Jesus, Dan knows he is where he's supposed to be by God's providence.

    He's excited about Kansas University and becoming a lawyer.

    He believes he can honor God by being the best lawyer that he can become.

    He's not complaining about not becoming a professional football player.

    He knows God has something better in mind.

    He knows becoming a lawyer is God's best plan for him.

    Yet, he'd be lying if he said he doesn't muse every now and then about...

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    Regrets.

    Everybody's got 'em.

    When we drove with Dan to KU, some of mine came to mind.

    42 years of never spending any holiday or any...with my mom, dad, and sister.

    I talked about that with one of my newest and bestest friends over pseudo-Cubans not too long ago.

    I said I had...

    Then I said I wouldn't list my regrets for anyone because someone might be...

    After leaving Eugene and admitting I'm just scratching the surface of my relationship with God back in October 2011, I've lost the need to offend anyone anymore anytime about anything anywhere by intention.

    I'm saltier than ever before.

    I want to shine and leavenate for Jesus more than ever before.

    But I don't want to hurt anyone anymore anytime about anything anywhere.

    Winning and getting over and hurting by plan/lust/intention and the like have left me.

    So, for the most part, I'll keep the regrets to myself...or use 'em homiletically or therapeutically as needed/necessary.

    Too many regrets involve people who've been hurt by my omissions/commissions; and just mentioning 'em could tear at scabs and open old...

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    Eric Liddell comes to mind.

    He was an Olympic Gold Medallist at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris.

    The movie about his life and early years of ministry - the 1981 Oscar-winning Chariots of Fire - continues to inspire so many of us; and I weep whenever I watch the last scenes of that movie as Liddell overcomes enormous odds in the race of his life because God calls and empowers people to be/do what He has in mind for them.

    Indeed, his life incarnates Isaiah 40; like all lives - like Dan's - who trust God in a Habakkukian and Pauline kinda way.

    Rent the film.

    You won't, uh, regret it.

    Anyway, as Liddell was reflecting on his journey to gold and the sacrifices to get there with a foreboding of sacrifices to come as a missionary, a friend asked if he had any regrets.

    He said, "Regrets, aye; but no doubts."

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    I have regrets.

    Many.

    But no doubts.

    That's why I'm more excited for life and ministry than ever before.

    Dan has regrets.

    Not as many as me because I've lived a lot longer.

    But no doubts.

    That's why he's so excited about law school and...

    Everyone has regrets.

    More or less.

    Inescapable.

    Overcoming regrets to doubtless calm comes with trusting God's providence...more than less.

    That's good news.

    Trust Him.

    He always has something better for everyone.

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Blessings and Love!


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Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!
Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!
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