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Showing posts from February, 2013

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 14 - 2/28/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 8:42-59

Devotional Thought

"Who do you think you are?" - John 8:53

If you were to see a picture of my late father, and then see a picture of me when I was the same age, you would know pretty quickly whose son I was (except for my long hair!!)

If you knew my Mom, and observed how she spoke and addressed people in public, or watched her teach middle school Language Arts when she was a teacher . . . you would know who my Mom is.

I have some of the physical features of both my Dad and my Mom.  If you had known my Dad, or if you knew my Mom, you would know without a doubt what family I belonged to.

As I read our scripture for today, I am struck that again the crowd asks Jesus, "who do you think you are?"   Perhaps that is a way of also asking, "whose son are you?"

Jesus' answer is this question is really good.  If I may paraphrase here in my own words:

"If you really knew my Dad, then it would be obvious to you that I am h…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 13 - 2/27/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 8:1-41

Devotional Thought:

"Who are you?' they asked." - John 8:25

Here we go again . . . those in authority feel they are being questioned, challenged, perhaps even attacked.

Their response?  In my own words . . . "We know what God really wants! It's our way or the highway!  Who do YOU think you are to tell us otherwise?"

Read/listen to what Nathan Firmin once wrote about this text:

"The scribes and Pharisees pushed their authority, speaking without listening, demanding conformity or expulsion from fellowship.  Where are we tempted to do the same?"

Over the years since the appearances of the last prophets, and the eventual control of the region by Rome, many of the Jewish religious leaders had moved away from the authority of scripture and eventually held in higher regard their own "commentary" about, or "interpretation" of scripture.

In truth . . . the religious leaders started speaking for God.  In …

I'd like to hear/read your comments . . .

I've been noticing that about 8-12 people a day have been following our daily Lenten Devotional journey.

Awesome.

If you have comments, I'd love to hear them.  My email address is located at the top right of this blog.  Email is the quickest way of getting a response back.  I'd enjoy the conversation.

God's graces still amazes me . . . ><>

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 12 - 2/26/13

Devotional Scripture: John 7:30-52

Devotional Thought:

"Others said, 'He is the Christ.'  Still others said, 'How can the Christ come from Galilee?" - John 7:41

I am drawn to several things in our reading of John 7.

First . . . we begin to see a trend that will continue on through the rest of the John . . . the Pharisee's attempts to defend themselves through their veiled attempts at keeping order.

Something I've learned in life . . . that "power is as power does."

In other words, I seen throughout my life that people with power usually do what they can to keep it.

Politicians work hard to get re-elected over and over and over and over.

Supervisors in the business world doing what they do to keep "up-and-comers" in line.  Seems a lot of people who have the title "boss" seem preoccupied with supressing challengers to their authority.  Efforts such as this are, in my experience, usually a "lose - lose."

I was raised to…

Lenten Daily Devotion - Day 11 - 2/25/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 7:1-29

Devotional Thought:

"Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Christ?" - John 7:26

A friend from way back in my life once asked me a question.

"Rick, are you an incognito Christian?"

What a great question.   The asking of it implied many things.

-Was I willing to be public about my beliefs?

-Was I willing for others to see my faith through my life?

-Were there differences between my "private life of faith" and my "public life of faith?"

At that time (I think I was 18 or 19 years old) . . . there were differences between the two . . . big differences.  Mostly because I wasn't sure what I really believed.

Today . . . there are still a few differences, but maturity and a life as a pastor have taught me quite a few things about what I truly believe.  What I believe has become easier to live out in many ways becasue I know why I believe.…

2nd Sunday of Lent - 2/24/13

Today is the 2nd Sunday of Lent . . . the 40 day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter . . . but we don't count Sundays.

Why?

Sunday is our day set aside for the task of worship!

Worship God today in spirit and in truth. Let Him know in prayer that you are working hard to clear the path, to make the road straight so that Easter may arrive unobstructed in your life.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 10 - 2/23/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 6:23-71

Devotional Thought:

"Stop grumbling among yourselves." - John 6:43

Verses 23-71 of sixth chapter of John contain some difficult stuff. 

"I am the bread of life." - vs. 35

"I am the living bread." - vs. 51

"For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink." - vs. 55

"Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him." - vs. 56

"This is hard teaching. Who can accept it?" - vs. 60

"The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing." - vs. 63

If this had been a seminary lecture . . . we would have been hard pressed to have taken all the notes we needed to.  I remember lectures like that . . . some of us would meet after the class to compare and share notes.  Sometimes someone would have taped (with the professors permission) the lecture, and we would all listen to it again . . . and again . . . and again.

Often, clarity and understanding came after the last "an…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 9 - 2/22/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 6:1-22

Devotional Thought:

"Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up . . . " - John 5:8

Despite my best efforts to the contrary, I still find myself overcome by an "entire situation" rather than looking at what I can do about something at that time.

You know how it is . . . a situation arises in your life, and suddenly it overwhelms you because you are focused on a "final solution."   How much easier it is when you write out all that needs to be done, and then choose from the list what you can accomplish today.

Wars are fought and won in a series of individual battles.  Life is the same way.

Sometimes though, it is hard to see where to begin.  Thank goodness for people brave enough to offer suggestions, or ideas, even though they may not totally believe what good they might bring.

In today's scripture, Andrew is such a person.   Andrew "spoke up".  Thank goodness he did.

I would like to…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 8 - 2/21/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 5:31-47

Devotional Thought:

"If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid." - John 5:31

Do you like to brag?

Do you like to brag on yourself?

I guess, in theory, there is nothing really wrong with bragging about one's personal successes in life.   Self promotion seems to be something our current culture encourages.

However, there is one itty-bitty-little element to bragging that gets many into trouble . . . Human nature.

I don't know of anyone who doesn't like a good story.  And, I don't know anyone who doesn't add something unique to a story as they tell it.  

What's the harm, right?  We are only trying to make the story better, right?

Warning . . . if you keep reading, you may experience and "ouch!" or two.  I know I did.

What I believe I have learned over life is reflected in the words of Christ in today's scripture.  What I testify about myself isn't often to the level of testimony that comes fr…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 7 - 2/20/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 5:1-30

Devotional Thought:

"Do you want to get well?" - John 5:6

Time after time after time after time after time after time . . .

Sounds like a broken Cindy Lauper record.

Time after time, I've had to make a choice . . . at times a very difficult choice.

Do I ere on the side of grace and chose the needs of people around me in need of help . . . or do I ere on the side of law and chose to obey a rule or tradition?

I am going to be honest here . . . most of the time in my adult life, I chose to ere on the side of people.  Some of you know that I was a police officer in Fort Worth, TX back in the 1980's.  I have a healthy respect for law and order.  But that's not what I'm talking about here.  Let me try to explain further . . .

I remember as a teenager, our youth leader wanted to take us to minister in some of the barrio areas near my home/church in the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas. 

Did we go?

No, we didn't. 

Why?

Becaus…

I miss him . . .

Today is the 2nd year anniversary of Ken Diehm's death, the former senior pastor here at FUMC-Grapevine.

I'm farther along in the grief process.  No tears today . . . just good memories of how my friendship with him blessed me.

I miss you, Ken. 

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 6 - 2/19/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 4:39-54

Devotional Thought:

"This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee." - John 4:54

I guess it must be the mood I am in today.  I can't read this scripture lesson without focusing on the word "sign."  The word is used twice in the NIV translation, in verses 48 and 54. 

I also can't get the words of the chorus to the old rock song, "Signs" by the 5 Man Electric Band out of my mind  . . .

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blocking out the scenery, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that
Can't you read the sign?

I took my wife to DFW Airport this morning to catch a flight.  I had to get her there at 6 AM.  As I was driving out of terminal E, I started watching for the signs that would lead me back to the south airport exit so I could exit after the toll booths and get on Airport Drive to catch Mid-Cities Blvd back to my home.

I almost missed the exit . . . actually I so…

Free offer if you sing in nursing homes / senior care centers . . .

I've been singing and playing guitar at various nursing home / senior care centers since I was in my teens.  I've always enjoyed it.  And I wish I had the time to do it more often.  Lot's of folks who provide music to these places try to charge money for it.  Nothing wrong with that I guess, but it's not something I have ever done.

If you are considering volunteering to sing at hursing home / senior care centers, then please let me know.  I have lots of song sheets with words and guitar chords that I am glad to share with anyone who wants them.

I will send them to you as attachments to an email.  Warning, it may take several emails to do it.  I'll send what has worked for me over the years. 

Warning!  You need to want to be able to do some Elvis songs.  They love Elvis.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 5 - 2/18/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 4:1-38

Devotional Thought:

"The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" - John 4:9

We are all guitly at times of making so many varied judgements about people based on gender, age, race and religion.  In truth, most of our judgements are based on assumptions.  You've no doubt heard phrases like . . .

-"But the Baptist would never do that . . . "
-"The Methodists don't condone that . . . "
-"We believe this but the Catholics don't . . . "
-"Jews would never  allow that to happen . . . "

Seldom, if ever, are these statements backed by fact.

Over the course of my life, and on many occassions in my ministry, I've heard the phrase, "God wouldn't do that!" or "Jesus wouldn't like that!"

I've been guilty of thinking the same thing sometimes . . . guilty of saying it as well. 

The problem is . . . when w…

1st Sunday of Lent - 2/17/13

Today is the 1st Sunday of Lent.   Lent is the 40 day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter . . . but we don't count Sundays.

Why?

Sunday is our day set aside for the task of worship!

Worship God today in spirit and in truth.   Let Him know in prayer that you are working hard to clear the path, to make the road straight so that Easter may arrive unobstructed in your life.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

I had a guitar lesson yesterday

I was doing some straightening up yesterday during my day off at Grapevine Guitar Works.  Sean let's me hang guitars up, arrange things, etc.

Paul Reitz comes in most days for a while as well, and gives guitar lessons in the back of the store.  He walked up and said, "Rick, my lesson cancelled.  You want to come back for a lesson?"

Now, friends, I like to think I am a pretty good acousitc rhythm guitarist.  Paul is a classical style guitar player . . . one of my favorites to listen to . . . and I love to watch him play as well.

So . . . with nothing to lose, I grabbed a guitar off the wall and walked back with him to the lesson room.

I got worried pretty quickly when he said, "Rick, I've notice a couple of things when I watch you play that you could work on . . ."   And in the next 20 minutes, Paul proceeded to gift me with a weeks worth of lessons.

1)  Left hand placement, particularly the thumb
2)  How to more correctly hold a guitar pick
3)  Strumming th…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 4 - 2/16/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 3

Devotional Thought:

"How can this be?" - John 3:9

Just a few weeks ago, my wife and I took a short trip down to Waco.  As I was packing our car, I stepped back and said to myself, "Self, packing the car sure didn't take very long this time!"

But as I went back into the house, and then for almost the entire trip to Waco, I kept thinking, "did I miss something?  Was there something I forgot to pack?"

Turns out . . . I forgot my C-PAP machine, my toothbrush, my deodorant, and my pillow!!!

"But how can this be?  I'm an expert car packer!"

I did remember to pack all my perscriptions . . . go figure that one out.

In the 3rd chapter of John, we read about Nicodemus.  Nicodemus has come to Jesus at night, and that implies that he did not want to be seen by his fellow Pharisees.  He has come to talk to Jesus. 

Why?

I think he knew that something was missing in his life, or in his faith, and he had come to Jesus in hope…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 3 - 2/15/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 2

Devotional Thought:

"Do whatever he tells you." - John 2:5

Just like a mother.

My Mom is now in her 70's.  She is happy and in good health, very active in her church and in those things that she is interested in.

I remember during my teenage years, when she would say something like, "I don't really care how old your think you are . . . if I feel  that I need to tell you what to do, I will!"

Most of the time, my mom let me make my own decisions.  I usually chose right, because I knew what was at stake.  You see, my mom had that look (all mom's have "that look") . . . the look that would chill the blood in your body, and let you know deep down-in-depths of your soul that you had dissapointed her . . . or even worse, had violated the trust she had in you.

My mom's trust was something sacred.  I appreciated and valued it dearly.  I still do.

Mom trusted me with her car, trusted me with caring for my little sister, a…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 2 - 2/14/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 1:35-50

Devotional Thought:

"Can anything good come from there?" - John 1:46

Happy Valentines Day!  This daily devotional doesn't necessarily have anything to do with Valentines.  However, you may need a reminder in case you forgot!

I remember serving as pastor at the UMC in Godley, TX.   Our girls where in school, part of the marching and concert bands, and in theater arts.

Our chief football rivals were from the high school in Rio Vista, a few miles south.  Our chief rivals for basketball were from the little high school in Peaster, a few miles north.

Just mention how the football team from Rio Vista was doing . . . and you would be met with scowls.

In the winter, mention anything about the Peaster basketball team . . . and people would start telling you how awful that town and school were.

Funny . . . how we treat certain rivals as if they have no redeeming qualities or character at all.

Granted, I used to feel that way about the Washington …

Lenten Devotional - Day 1 - Feb. 13, 2013

Devotional Reading - John 1:1-34

Devotional Thought:

"Make straight the way of the Lord."

For many who read this story of the ministry of John the Baptist, the meaning of these words is unmistakable.  I can see John on a rock, or standing above the people on a low hill, within easy shouting distance.  I can hear him crying out, "Make straight the way of the Lord."

Some words have different meaning depending on the inflection or volume we use.  When we whisper sweetly in a loved one's ear, "I love you," we share in a tender moment of initmate communication.

Lean over and shout out "I love you," in someone's ear . . . and a fight is probably getting ready to start.  Same words . . . different outcome.

What John cries out has the same meaning if he were to have whispered it into someone ear as well.  John's message is that the King is coming!  The long awaited Messiah is near.  With that knowledge ought to come the desire to sweep and cl…

Daily Lenten Devotional . . .

God willing (along with my calendar) . . . I plan to "attempt" to write or record a daily Lenten season devotional through my blog beginning tomorrow, February 13, 2013 . . . Ash Wednesday.

Should I miss a day . . . I will endeavor to make it up in some way . . . so on occassion there might be more than one entry for a day. 

I will be filling in for Louis Carr at the Heritage Campus tomorrow night for Ash Wednesday services.  Louis is down with the flu, so please be in prayer for him and his family.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Working on a new "Happy Songs" set . . .

I'm working on a new song set I'm calling "Happy Songs" for want of a better name at this time . . .

I need this to be a set of 10 - 12 songs . . .

What I have so far is . . .

-Listen to the Music (Doobie Brothers)
-Give a Little Bit (Supertramp)
-Try a Little Kindness (Glen Campbell)
-C'Mon Get Happy (Partridge Family)

If you have any suggestions . . . let me know!

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

GGW has Guild Guitars in stock . . .

I meant to mention this last week . . .

Grapevine Guitar Works has a selection of new Guild Guitars, including the F-50R (jumbo rosewood) and F-512 (jumbo 12-string) that you see me play for the children during the Children's Time at FUMC-Grapevine, and when I play out in the public, especially when I can join my friends from Hugworks.org at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, or Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth.

They also carry some of the lower priced, but great sounding, GAD models as well.  They should be on the GGW website (www.grapevineguitarworks.com) soon, or contact the store to talk about these great guitars with Robb Kelly or Matt Ables.

I personally have Martin, Taylor and Guild guitars.  For professional use such as singing in the public (plugged into my PA) I will normally use on of the Taylor's.  For the many times I cannot plug into an amp or PA, or when just plain jamming with friends . . . I pull out the Guild's.  In a word(s) . . . t…

8th Annual Singing of "Drop Kick Me Jesus" ...

Over the past 8 years, on the Sunday after the Super Bowl, I have been able to lead the children and congregation (the greater FUMC-Grapevine / NE Tarrant County Community Choir) in the singing of "Drop Kick Me Jesus Through the Goal Posts of Life."

I love the song, but only do it one Sunday a year during worship, and that's during the Children's Time on the Sunday we preach about some of the commercials we saw during the Super Bowl.

One of the top 5 "fun" things I get to do every year.

I actually learned it at a Scout camp.  Don't remember which one . . . either Camp Perry down in the Rio Grande Valley, or at the old BSA Camp west of San Saba, Texas.  Both of those events took place a very long time ago.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>