"But music was his life, it was not his livelihood,and it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good. And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul. He did not know how well he sang; it just made him whole." - Harry Chapin - chorus of "Mr. Tanner."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It was a great day . . .

The tournament went off without a hitch. 81 great guys and 2 great ladies golfed 18 holes at Sky Creek Ranch in Keller, TX, which had just been overseeded, so the greens were pretty damp.

The team that won last year repeated their win this year! And one of the ladies won the longest drive contest, beating her nearest male challenger by over 40 feet!

I was offered the chance to putt for a birdie for the final group at the hole I was monitor of. It was the hole where you could win a new Chevy truck and set of Calloway clubs for a hole-in-one. Sank an 18 footer, with a break to the left! Sometimes I even amaze myself!

The tournament dinner and awards presentation is my favorite part of the day, because it is always a very good steak and chicken fajita dinner. I don't ever remember having better fajitas. The presentations for 1st and last place, closest to the hole, and longest drive are always fun . . . and should be. These fine golfers deserve the recognition.

Hats off to the staff at Sky Creek Ranch. These folks will always do you good.

Hats off to the Iron Men Golf Tournament leadership team. I am honored to be in ministry with them.

I'm better than I deserve! ><>

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Iron Men Golf Tournament . . .

The Iron Men Ministry of our church is sponsoring a great golf tournament tomorrow, Sunday, Sept. 23 at Sky Creek Ranch in Keller.

It all starts at 1:00 PM. If you have not had a chance to register yet, then come on, and we can probably put you with a team.

A great Mexican Buffet follows the golfing, and then the awards and door prizes start.

I will be around helping with registration, and taking pictures.

I'm better than I deserve!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I think when people eat, it is proof they are alive . . .

Just back from singing for about 50 minutes during lunch at the South Colleyvine Ranch retirement center here in Grapevine. A great place with great staff, a beautiful complex, and some pretty neat residents. I'm tired, and the fingers on my left hand are hurting something awful.

But I want to go back soon and do it again!

The people there applauded and cheered after each song. That is always good.

It beats them cutting my throat.

Pa-Da-Bing!!!!!

That reminds me of a great old joke. The singer says, "I've been having lots of throat trouble lately." Another person says, "Oh, why?" The singer answers, "Because when I finish, people start lining up to cut my throat!"

Double Pa-Da-Bing!!!!!

Anyway, South Colleyvine Ranch is very similar to the retirement center where my grandmother lives in Temple. In my visits there, and in my many pastoral trips to visit and sing in other retirment and nursing homes . . . I have made an observation.

For seniors, being able to eat is proof they are alive. When they start walking to the dining area from their room/apartments for breakfast, lunch or supper . . . they do so with such determination!!!

Heck, I think it is true for most people . . . that being able to eat is proof they are alive. It is for me sometimes.

One of our staff has been battling cancer in his esophogus, and lost a lot of weigh because he was unable to eat, mostly because he could not swallow. Lately, he has been able to eat and hold down some food . . . and he just looks better . . . not so much because he has new hope . . . but because eating itself is proof he is alive.

When Jesus raised the dead man at the funeral in Nain, he told the people to give the man something to eat. When the people saw the man eat . . . they new he wasn't a ghost. They knew he was alive through the power and grace of Christ.

I saw some "alive" people today. That's a good thing.

I'm better than I deserve! ><>

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Yes, it's true . . .

Without a doubt, I have very interesting friends. They are the best kind of friends to have.

Who wants a friend who isn't interesting? Figuring each other out is half the fun!

I'm better than I deserve! ><>

Another web site of interest from my friend, Floyd . . .

I meant to share this a few months ago. My friend, Floyd, sent me info on a neat site called The Rifleman's Rifle.

TV, during my childhood, provided many studies in character, especially the old black and white westerns. I liked The Rifleman because Lucas McCain usually won (the good vs. evil thing), but he had to work hard for it. He had to work hard on his ranch. He had to work hard at being a good father. He had to work hard at being a good hero.

Maybe the lesson here is that the good / honorable things in life require hard work and sacrifice.

If you enjoy the old westerns, check out this web site.

I'm better than I deserve! ><>

International Talk Like a Pirate Day . . .

My friend, Floyd, sent me a reminder that September 19th is "International Talk Like a Pirate Day."

Ya've been warned, matey! Arrrrrrrrrrrr!

I'm better than deserve! ><>

Monday, September 17, 2007

It is scary to say, "I believe!" . . .

Many who read the New Testament have read Mark 9:24 - "I believe," the man cried: "help my unbelief!"

From different books on theology, various authors have written lines like:

-We need to believe.
-We insist on believing.
-Believing is essential in order to have some certainty about life.
-To believe is as natural as eating, drinking and sleeping.
-To be human is to be a believer.

In the Christian Believer study, we read: "Believing also makes us nervous."

It should!

Believing is a very powerful and life-shaping thing. As a result, believing is very risky, because you could be betting your life when you say, "I believe!"

There are consequences one should consider when you say or write, "I believe!" Beliefs determine the direction and destination of our lives.

I think the most important question to ask about beliefs is this: "What difference will my believing in something make in me, and in my world?"

But so much about belief is subjective. Is it enough, at times, to simply say, "I believe; help my unbelief?"

I will be singing this Wednesday . . .

I am going to provide some musical entertainment during lunch at the South Colleyvine Ranch Retirement center in Grapevine this Wednesday, September 19th. It is located on Poole Road, about two blocks south of Hwy 26.

We have a large group of retired folk from our church who live there. They say it is a great place!

I'm better than I deserve! ><>

Why these words mean so much when driving in rush hour traffic . . .

Sometimes, for me, the pace just gets too fast. The white noise of life becomes so deafening. The sound of your tires on the road, the radio, the computer beeping "you have mail," the phone ringing.

No I wonder I find it hard sometimes to hear God.

So, I get away . . . down the the shore of the lake . . . or down a country road.

Whenever I need to leave it all behind
Or feel the need to get away
I find a quiet place, far from the human race
Out in the country

Before the breathin' air is gone
Before the sun is just a bright spot in the nighttime
Out where the rivers like to run
I stand alone and take back somethin' worth rememberin'

Out in the Country as sung by Three Dog Night
Lyrics available at the Three Dog Night web site.

I'm better than I deserve! ><>

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The first help for hurt . . . is comfort . . .

Although I have not written or spoken to him in several days, I know that a dear friend is hurting, as his father-in-law recently passed away. I know that his wife is grieving the loss of her father, whom she provided quite a bit of care for.

I know what my friend is going to do, because I think I know him very well . . . and what he will do will be the right thing to do.

My friend is going to provide his wife with comfort. He is going to listen to her when she wants to talk. He will dry her tears when she cries in front of him. He will hold her hand and just be there. And together, they are going to resolve the hurt to a more manageable level over time, and then one day, the sharp edge of the hurt will be gone. Eventually, as most hurts do, they will fade away . . . in part due the comfort they receive from others.

A blogger friend has experienced a lot of pain from a physical injury as the result of a car accident. I am many miles away and many states away, yet I can do something . . . I can promise to pray for her. That in and of itself is a source of comfort. If a lot of us pray for her . . . and we let her know that we are praying, then perhaps the knowledge of the comfort we want to offer can be a blessing to her in her journey.

Another dear friend is fighting cancer. He and his wife have no children, this has been their battle alone to share to a certain extent. I call him every week if possible, just to let him know I am thinking about him. He shares how it all hurts sometimes, how retirement is not supposed to be like this . . . how he wants to get things in order for his wife, in case the road he is on leads to a "dead" end.

By listening, I offer comfort to him. By praying, I offer comfort to him as well. "Follow up" on a regular basis is a source of comfort. It is also a great gift. Honor a friend who is hurting by "following up" with them on a regular basis.

I'm better than I deserve! ><>

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Disciple Bible Study - Christian Believer

Just started our Christian Believer course, a part of the Disciple Bible Study series. I am a certified facilitor for CB and for Jesus in the Gospels.

CB is a study of the basic doctrines of the Christian faith.

I may have forgotten, but isn't the local church supposed to teach doctrine?

Hmmm, I seem to remember being told in seminary to teach theology. Or was it to live good theology? Maybe I was asleep that day. Oh, I went to class, believe you me I went to class. But . . . I was known to take naps on occassion . . . And, seminary was a long time ago . . .

I just got down my old Dictionary of Theological Terms and reminded myself that:

Theology comes from the Latin words theos (God) and logos (Speech). It literally means the language we us to describe, or talk about God.

Doctrine comes from the Latin doctrina (teaching) and docere (to teach). Doctrine is that which is officially taught by the church.

Sometimes the Roman Catholic church uses the word dogma for doctrine.

Within general Christendom, the word doctrine is intended to mean "teaching approved by the church" (CB Study Manual, p. 10).

In conjuction with my daily readings for the CB study, I have begun to read again our UMC Doctrinal Standards from the 2004 Book of Discipline of the UMC. And I must admit that this is something I have not done in a very long time. I don't want to admiit how long it has been since I read my credo from seminary (I just did and threw it away . . . what immature narrowminded drivel!) and my paperwork for my elders orders (I am trying to find a copy somewhere in my office).

I think I could write a pretty good sermon series on the Doctrinal Standards. But would most of the people in the pew care? Would doing so draw people to worship. Would they understand how important, powerful and scary it is to utter the words from our mouth, "I Believe"?

I can't speak for anyone else, but I know I would enjoy it.

I think I am going to enjoy, or at the very least be challenged on this new road of reading and studying again our Doctrinal Standards and in facilitating the 30 week CB course. I have grown in my faith a lot since seminary and ordination. I want to see if I can appreciate doctrine through eyes that have lived life a while. I've made a lot of mistakes and I've celebrated a few successes as a Christian and pastor. Perhaps the foundational doctrines of my faith will have more and sweeter meaning.

I'm better than I deserve! ><>

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Found the author's name . . .

For years I have used the phrase (or similar wording) . . . Your life is the sum of your choices.

Finally, I know the authors name . . . Albert Camus.

I'm better than I deserve! ><>

I can do no wrong . . .

Looked again at the timer knob from the washer, with the intent on throwing it away.

Oh . . . that's how it works! It wasn't broken at all.

Washer is all fixed!!! My wife loves me.

I'm better than I deserve! ><>

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I love it when a plan comes together . . .

The new part to the washing machine went on in less than 5 minutes. It's working together like a champ.

Only one problem, I broke the control knob when I took it off the old timer.

Oh well, a lesson learned.

Methodist preachers are people of many talents!!!!! I can preach, teach, sing and play the guitar, paint a house, and do minor appliance repair!!!!

I'm in a very good mood right now.

I'm better than I deserve. ><>

If it matters, it is going to take some effort . . .

Rebuilding a blog takes a lot of work. Cutting and pasting links and web addresses, remembering who I like and who I don't. Or is that "what" I like and "what" I don't.

Whew! That was a close one!

This blog is kinda important to me. Funny, how all the things that are important to me take effort . . . my effort.

Relationships - take a lot of effort. Successful, enriching relationships are the visible definition of effort.

Faith - devotions, questions and answer time with Christians smarter and more experienced with me . . . putting my faith into practice . . . it all takes effort.

Health - losing weight, taking prescibed medications, exercise . . . feeling healthy takes a great deal of effort.

Home - I am leaving shortly to pick up a new timer switch for my Maytag washing machine. I haven't ever installed a timer switch on a Maytag washing machine before. But doing it myself will save me about $150. But, it will cost me some time, and a little bit of effort.

Life is a story about effort. Our lives are the sum of all our decisions.

When we make these necessary efforts . . . we do earn the right the ask a very important question afterwards . . .

What did I learn from all this?

I'm better than I deserve.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I hit the wrong delete button . . .

Well . . .

Hitting the wrong "delete" button on my Blogger Dashboard page was a complete accident. I was trying to delete my other two blogs, but instead . . . deleted "Better Than I Deserve."

The one good point . . . was the number of emails asking me what happened.

I appreciate you all.

Will build the blog back up as I have the time. Probably later this week.

Rick ><>