Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Up From the Ashes - part 2

"The Phoenix is a mythical sacred firebird. Said to live for 500 or 1461 years, the Phoenix is a bird with beautiful gold and red fiery plumage. At the end of its life-cycle the Phoenix builds itself a nest of cinnamon twigs that it then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young Phoenix arises. The bird was also said to regenerate when hurt or wounded by a foe (hence the expression rising Phoenix-like from ash or ruin), thus being almost immortal and invincible — a symbol of fire and divinity. Although it was also thought that it had tears that produced a healing power (as said in the Harry Potter books)."

There are so many instances of life from death and beauty from ashes. The Phoenix is one example. Another example near and dear to my heart is from my own hometown. I was raised in Exeter, CA where my great grand father, grandparents and later, my parents owned and operated a local Drug Store. It served for decades not only as a Drug Store but local gathering center with its Soda Fountain and hot lunches daily. After my parents retired they sold the building which remained a landmark in the center of town. However, in 1991 a fire destroyed the once beautiful brick building and left a horrendous scar in the middle of town. Shortly after this the town decided to build a park and paint a mural on the remaining brick wall. This was the beginning of what is now one of the most beautiful "painted cities" boasting several murals. Once again, beauty comes from ashes!

In my family's life right now we are experiencing death on several fronts. I fully expect there to be beauty from these ashes because God has promised to work all things together for the good of those who have been called by His name. He turns mourning into dancing. He gives strength for tears. He works everything together for His glory and our ultimate good.
Meanwhile we mourn and we wait, but we wait expectantly for beauty and strength and dancing.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Up From the Ashes

"Every bursted bubble has a glory!
Each abysmal failure makes a point!
Every glowing path that goes astray,
Shows you how to find a better way.
So every time you stumble never grumble.
Next time you'll bumble even less!
For up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success!
Grow the roses!
Grow the roses!
Grow the roses of success!
Oh yes!
Grow the roses!
Those rosy roses!
From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success!
(spoken)Yes I know but he wants it to float. It will!
For every big mistake you make be grateful!
Here, here!
That mistake you'll never make again!
No sir!
Every shiny dream that fades and dies,
Generates the steam for two more tries!
(Oh) There's magic in the wake of a fiasco!
It gives you that chance to second guess!
Oh yes!
Then up from the ashes, up from the ashes grow the roses of success!
Grow the roses!
Grow the roses!
Grow the roses of success!
Grow the roses!
Those rosy roses!
From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success!
Disaster didn't stymie Louis Pasteur!
No sir!
Edison took years to see the light!
Alexander Graham knew failure well; he took a lot of knocks to ring that
So when it gets distressing it's a blessing!
Onward and upward you must press!
Yes, Yes!
Till up from the ashes, up from the ashes grow the roses of success.

From the ashes of disaster, grow the roses of success!"

Who says you can't learn something from "Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang"?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Yeah - this is about right

Sometimes humor speaks louder than anything:

"Report from the Pastor Search Committee:

We do not have a happy report to give. We have not been able to find a
suitable candidate for this church, though we have one promising prospect.
Thank you for your suggestions. We have followed up on each one with
interviews or by calling at least three references. The following is our
confidential report.

ADAM: Good man but has problems with his wife. One reference told us how he and his wife enjoyed walking nude in the woods.

NOAH: Former pastorate of 120 years with no converts. Prone to unrealistic
building projects.

JOSEPH: A big thinker, but a braggart; believes in dream interpreting and
has a prison record.

MOSES: A modest and meek man, but poor communicator; even stutters at times.
Sometimes blows his stack and acts rashly in business meetings. Some say he
left an earlier church over a murder charge.

DEBORAH: One word --- Female.

DAVID: The most promising leader of all until we discovered the affair he
had with his neighbor's wife.

SOLOMON: Great preacher, but serious woman problem.

ELIJAH: Prone to depression; collapses under pressure.

HOSEA: A tender and loving pastor, but our people could never handle his
wife's occupation.

JONAH: Told us he was swallowed up by a great fish. He said the fish later
spit him out on the shore near here. We hung up.

AMOS: Too much of a country hick. Backward and unpolished. With some
seminary training, he might have promise; but he has a hang-up against
wealthy people.

JOHN: Says he is a Baptist, but doesn't dress like one. May be too
Pentecostal. Tends to lift both hands in the air to worship when he gets
excited. You know we limit to one hand. Sleeps in the outdoors, has a weird
diet, and provokes denominational leaders.

PETER: Too blue collar. Has a bad temper, even said to have cursed. He's a
loose cannon.

PAUL: Powerful CEO type and fascinating preacher. However, he's short on
tact, unforgiving with young ministers, harsh, and has been known to preach
all night.

TIMOTHY: Too young.

JESUS: Has had popular times, but once when his church grew to 5000, He
managed to offend them all; and his church dwindled down to twelve people.
Seldom stays in one place very long. And, of course, he is single.

JUDAS: His references are solid. A steady plodder. Conservative. Good
connections. Knows how to handle money. We're inviting him to preach this
Sunday in view of a call."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Now This is the Right Way to Do It

I just found this on another pastor's blog... seemed appropriate.

"Some time back, I heard about a church that had been trying to “get rid” of their pastor. Sadly, this is something that happens a lot in the American church scene. We get unhappy with the pastor or with something the church is doing; and then, instead of doing the biblical thing and prayerfully seeking to work out the differences, we choose up sides. Then, if there are enough votes to dismiss or to make things uncomfortable, out the pastor goes.

It’s tragic, not only because of what it does to that pastor, but because of the broken relationships left behind and the slow-healing wounds caused when the congregation took sides, sides that often remain long after the pastor departs. Frankly, there are simpler ways. If you ever want to get rid of your pastor, instead of looking for votes, try one of these five ideas.

Idea #1 During the Sunday morning message, listen closely and take notes. Look your pastor straight in the eye, and occasionally nod your head and say, "Amen!" Begin to make serious efforts to apply the life lessons you learn from the sermons. In six months, he'll preach himself to death.

Idea #2 Pat your pastor on the back and brag on his good points two or three times a month. Make a bunch of phone calls to your friends and neighbors and tell them all the good things about your pastor. In a little while, so many more people will start coming to your church, you’ll have to hire an associate pastor, and your senior pastor will be free to leave.

Idea #3 Next Sunday, in response to the sermon, go forward to the altar and rededicate your life to Christ. Then make an appointment with the pastor sometime next week. Ask him to give you some job you could do for the church, preferably some lost people you could go visit with a view to winning them to Christ. He'll likely die of heart failure on the spot.

Idea #4 Organize a ministry to call on the shut-ins and elderly members of the church, and encourage the pastor to devote more of his time to prayer and the study of God’s Word. Tell him you’ll take care of the widows if he’ll take care of the preaching. He’ll think the whole congregation has gone completely crazy and start looking for another church immediately.

Idea #5 Get a whole bunch of the church members to unite in earnest intercessory prayer for the pastor, his ministry and his family. Organize prayer meetings in which you pray for the growth of the church and blessing of the pastor. The pastor may become so effective in ministry that some larger church will take him off your hands.

One note of caution, however: if you try one of these methods, you may find that you don’t want to get rid of your pastor after all."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Be Still

It's funny how when you go through a death everything seems to come to a screeching halt. I have no choice right now but to be still. Some things come into a little sharper focus while other things are in a fog. All the world goes merrily on it's maddening pace while we stop and try to sort things out.

All of a sudden life has changed in many ways... home school has become public school. Life with Dad is now life without Dad. My children now have no grandparents. Staying at home (mostly) is now changed to working (almost) full time outside the home. Ministry is changing in ways we never dreamed... So many changes.

Thank God for music and particularly for hymns and songs that always seem to comfort me:

"Be still, my soul! The Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to Thy God to order and provide,
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul! Thy best, Thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways, leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul! Thy God doth undertake
to guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, Thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul! The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul! The hour is hastening on
when we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul! When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Robert Wilber Mixter
February 25, 1922 - August 4, 2009

Loving, faithful, honest, gentleman.
Dad, Grandfather and soon to be Great-Grandfather.

He will be oh so greatly missed.