Thursday, December 31, 2020

COVID Chronicles Quarantine Day 2 of 10

 

“So not saying you will...but if you die from COVID who will raise us?” This was the question raised by Emma yesterday when she found out I was positive. She knew it was a mild case but these are the things that go through an 11 year olds mind when the news is bombarding us with constantly with negativity. 


Fast forward to this morning and Tracy was met with the news that she tested positive. She has the fever, body aches, etc. Neither one of us really have experienced drastic symptoms and we pray it stays that way. Had I not known any better, I would have thought we caught the flu. 


We are blessed however with knowing some good folks. Within the time frame of a half hour this afternoon one person dropped off a tater tot casserole and another some homemade soup. There was even an extra portion made for my dad. Don’t worry...these folks set it on the bench outside my home and I spoke with them through the window. When they left, I went out to get the food. 


All in all things have been going as well as to be expected. I continue to monitor my dad’s health and check in often. 


I know we hear a lot of scary stories on the news about this and when you receive the diagnosis, it can take you by surprise but if you have a mild case (praying it stays that way) there is nothing really to be afraid of. If you can motor through a slight flu or cold bug (and yes I know for most men....it is a near impossibility lol) then you got this. At least for me, the fear comes in passing it to someone who's immune system is not so good. Thus the quarantine.


No matter what one deals with in life we should always know “if God be for us, who can be against us?”.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

COVID Chronicles Quarantine Day 1 of 10

 

Even though this is technically the third day with symptoms; today is the day that I was diagnosed positive. 


Honestly, I am not sure why I am blogging about this. Perhaps it is due to boredom or perhaps I want to let you know how I discovered it. Regardless, I will take you on a daily journey of what I am dealing with until January 7th. That is the last day of quarantine for me. Nothing like ringing in the new year Rona style!!


The way I found out I may have “The Rona” is that Monday night I began to cough. The cough was very similar to the cough I get when my asthma kicks in. My chest hurt a bit and so I hit my inhaler. In fact since I was to the doctor so much this year, I no longer had a deductible on meds so I got my albuterol inhaler refilled before the year ends. In all truth I only had 66 more puffs left on my current one. 


Tuesday hit and I was coughing a bit more. It is a dry cough but nagging one none the less. After talking with my dad on Monday night however and convincing him to get checked Tuesday morning, it was in the back of my head that I should probably get tested as well pending his outcome. I have had multiple COVID tests this year. After he called to let me know he was positive I knew it was the right thing to do. 


Can I just say COVID tests are not fun unless you need your brain itched but the rapid one really stinks. There is peace of mind in knowing that for $95.00 you can get a result within 20 minutes but wow...had I not known any better I would have thought Roto Rooter was doing the swab. 


I guess the takeaway from day one is if you think you might have it...go get checked. For me I never viewed this virus as political or anything like that. I will still wear my mask after quarantine but it is a little unsettling knowing that I (God willing) will get through this fine but this is something that many have passed away from or have had a more difficult time. Fact is the same can be said about flu, terminal illness, etc. Just humbling nonetheless.


Join me each day for a snippet into a day in the life of someone that has it. I had no intentions of restarting my blog until January 1st at which point I have challenged my self to blog daily (see previous blog) but...I happen to have some time on my hands. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Getting Ready for 2021


 It was 2010 when I decided to challenge myself to write one blog a day. I found the challenge to be daunting and relaxing. Both liberating and completely maddening. What came out of that series of blogs though came a book, speaking engagements and more. 

With 2020 being a royal dumpster fire, I have decided to make 2021 the year I return to the challenge of blogging each day. Some days will contain deep thoughts and other days not so much. What you will get are my transparent thoughts as a pastor of both a local church in Waupaca, WI. and as a pastor for Sanctuary International. 

This journey will begin on January 1, 2021 so be sure to stay tuned. You might laugh...you might cry. You may be edified or you may be deeply offended. Whatever the case may be remember, you came to this page. This page did not come to you. Welcome to the journey of what goes on in the mind of a pastor and what he sees. 

Since the launch of this page, I have had 186,212 visits. Let's see if that number goes up....because I hope it doesn't go down. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Well Go On Smarty And Do It!

 

This just in, when Sheryl Crow sang “If it makes you happy, it can't be that bad. If it makes you happy then why the hell are you so sad?” It ends up she was wrong. 


That song was written in 1996 which means it came out 7 years before MySpace and get this, 16 years before Facebook went public. Isn’t it funny how social media platforms can get us so rev’d up? It’s like watching my grandpa reading the evening newspaper only to see him stew in his chair while reading certain headlines. It happened every Thanksgiving and Christmas. 


There is a lot of talk on Facebook about people packing it up and leaving the social media platform behind. What I am finding out though is that very few are actually doing it. It does seem kind of trendy to start a MeWe account. If you are a hip young millennial then you already have an Instagram account. What intrigues me though are the ones that start a Parler account and are told by a certain political leaning demographic that you are wrong. Honestly, this is a big reason why I left Facebook. How can you tell someone your opinion is wrong? I don’t have the answer to that but apparently you can experience this in Facebook land. 


Here’s the deal…Facebook made me happy and it was bad. I was letting it eat away at me. I used to be a rebel on it and posted things which made people laugh and cringe. Many would friend me and many would unfriend me. I was a bull in a china shop. Over the past few years I toned down and realized I am tired of that. Call it age but I call it my own sanity.

So, for those of you fed up with politics, arguing and more that have threatened to start a MeWe or Instagram or Parler account….in the words of Flick from a Christmas Story while challenging Schwartz to stick his tongue to the light pole “Well go on smarty and do it!” Quit complaining about all of the problems with Facebook and leave.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Everyone Needs to Chill Out

It is no surprise that we live in very uncertain times. I tried to refrain from writing a blog but I just cannot help myself. Why would I want to address topics of today? Perhaps part of it is that I am a pastor and try to keep my finger on the pulse of culture. The other reason is that I have a brain which leads to questions. Common sense tells me that some things are just not adding up and so I did some SIMPLE research to arrive at my findings.

What I want to say first however is that people need to chill out. My goodness are we a frazzled mess. If we aren’t worrying about COVID19 then we are worrying about looters, if we are not worrying about looters then we are worried about Antifa. If we are not worried about Antifa then we are concerned about stocks, if we are not worried about stocks then we are worried about murder hornets. On and on this vicious cycle goes. These are trying times but let me talk to the Christians…for that matter let me talk to the others as well that have “Namaste” and other peaceful sayings on their bumper stickers yet act out in less than flattering ways. Why do you keep your self so incredibly stressed out? You come home from work and you are stressing about something else. If everything appears fine then you almost make it your hobby to find something to stress out about. You/we/me will end up like the pressure cooker world we live in and at some point explode. We are seeing it on a national level. On the home front it will result in kids being constantly yelled at, spouses arguing and more. Why? Because you cannot seem to wrangle yourself in and settle down. It's nobody's fault but your own that you cannot seem to settle down and breathe. Enjoy the day!

What about the civil unrest in our country? Hardly no one is disputing the fact that George Floyd’s death was uncalled for. The officers involved ought to be prosecuted. Those saying “we are protesting white supremacy” ought to to do a little digging. Honestly everyone from Rush Limbuagh to Rev. Al Sharpton were against this heinous act. Regarding the fight against white supremacists…a simple search revealed that only about 25,000 people in the USA consider themselves hardcore ideological activists according to people.missouristate.edu. One more simple search or rather question to Siri reveals that number only makes up 0.007617% of the United States population. Once again however, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Should anyone think the looting and rioting has something to do with George Floyd, you are sorely mistaken. It is my opinion that there is something much bigger going on. It's like COVID19, I don't doubt there is a legitimate disease but once again there is something much bigger going on. All of this ugliness has taken away from what we’re united about. We are united about the conduct where George’s life was taken by the heinous acts of 4 policemen.  Protest all you want…we have that right. Many who have gone on before us both in the United States and abroad have shown how this can be done with some shred of human decency. 

So how do I stick the landing on this one? Christians…why act so surprised? I assume you have read your Bible. I assume you have read how the story began in Genesis and what we are to expect. I assume you have read or heard it taught in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Even Job 5:7 reminds us that “Man is born to trouble as sparks fly upward.” If we think things are going go somehow get better…well…some fires may be put out here and there but there is always the question, what next?

Here’s the deal; pray for the Floyd family. Pray for all people groups involved. Do your part to make a difference in a Christ honoring way. Don’t be like the ostrich that hides its head in the sand. Be well aware of what is going on but for goodness sake remember the words in Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God”. I posted a meme yesterday of a lion that says “Aslan is on the move”. It is a reference to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. First comment posted was someone saying “Unfortunately he's going the wrong way”. This is how negative people have become. This is how biblically illiterate people are thinking God is somehow not in this. You and me can make things better and be a light right where we are but we have to CHILL OUT first. How about instead of coming home from work worrying about this or that…you come home from work and just be. Enjoy the rest of the day and be still and know that He is God. 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Time to Simplify

I have jokingly said to my wife and others that had I not married, I probably would have become one of those collectors that you see on American Pickers. You know the type where Frank and Mike pull up and the land owner is sitting on an old chair surrounded by acres of “junk”. 

Over the last year and a half I have changed my mind. I have a little wood letter cutout in my office that says “SIMPLIFY”. It’s ironic that a person like me with a velvet Elvis painting in my office would have those words on display. It has become a goal of mine however with each day that passes. Every time I open my garage door, I cringe because it is a hot mess. It is littered with old bikes (and when I say old, I am speaking from 1940’s to the mid 60’s). There are tons of odds and ends along with many other things. The great purge will begin when the days become warmer. 


When I walk into my home office, I have slimmed it down quite a bit but there is more that can be done. Looking at my hobbies, I realize that can be slimmed down as well because one can have to many hobbies and no time to do them. I find it interesting that comedian, George Carlin did an entire standup shtick on stuff. It’s crass but it is brilliant. It’s staggering what percentage of a house a family really uses regularly. If stuff was weeded out then there would be a lot more room and the mindset of bigger is better would begin to erode.So, you are going to begin seeing me weeding things out more and more. Perhaps I will talk about it, blog about it, etc. but I have to be honest...after my mom’s death and going through all of her stuff; at the end of the day what really matters are pictures, memories and a few trinkets. 


I know a lot of you reading this might be a minimalist so please feel free to comment on this blog. What is your rule for throwing things out? What about those storage bins downstairs? After two years of not using an item do you pitch/donate them? This will even reflect into my social networking presence. Facebook is going to get weeded out in order to simplify my online life. Instagram will remain open to anyone. 


Here’s to simplifying and making the most of what really matters...my faith, family and true friends.x

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Beware Small Business Owners

There is a small business trend that I see happening over and over again within the faith community. It is one that is not just isolated to the city I live in but happens all over. It’s a disturbing trend that truly makes me feel sorry for the business owner that experiences this. Let me share how it goes. 




  1. Person attends church. 
  2. Person meets with pastor to process decision to start new business. 
  3. A few meetings happen because they appreciate the input, guidance and prayer. 
  4. Person announces new business and builds customer base.
  5. Person gives faithfully to church/God. 
  6. Business begins to take off and church attendance begins to wane. 
  7. Business is doing really well and church attendance takes back seat along with giving.
  8. Business begins to struggle…owner left wondering why. 
  9. Person begins to come back to church or moves to another church to build more of a customer base and the cycle starts over.

Side-note: Regarding #9…Radiant Fellowship has been used over and over again by new business owners. They start a business…build a customer base and eventually settle in at a larger church. Not to many pastors would be wiling to talk about this but believe me behind close doors pastors recognize it. 

Looking at this list I realize it may sting a little to read. However, I guess the question I have is if A+B=C then why would anyone remove part of that equation? The successful business owners I have seen are the ones who keep all parts of the equation in tact. They know that God honors a cheerful giver and so they keep that up. This owner knows that their life may be very busy but it is important to be at church as much as possible to be fed spiritually. Let’s face it when you are a business owner you give of yourself all week. You must take time for yourself to be fed. The successful business owner also understands that though their only day to rest is Sunday…they make it a point to be at church for the sake of their own well being and their kids if that applies. One must be fed if they are going to feed.

After being a pastor for 24 years, 15 of which have been as a lead pastor, I can tell you first hand those who “honor God with their first fruits” (Proverbs 3:9) and wake up on a Sunday morning saying “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 122:1) are the ones who experience God’s ongoing blessing. It’s a simple business equation really….honor God and he will honor you. Hold back and well….you get it. 

I am not going to continue down a theological path with this blog. If you are a business owner and question this blog simply look at where you are at. If you are experiencing ongoing blessings, I bet you have kept all parts of the equation. On the other hand if family life is strained, business is struggling, you are constantly fighting to make it, etc. I am willing to bet a part of that simple equation has been removed. 


There is no doubt I am jazzed with knowing entrepreneurs. I love their pioneering spirit and I love when they are following God’s direction while chasing their dream. I do care enough though to send a reminder of how to stay on track. 


Please read: Some business owners may read this blog and wonder what authority a pastor has to speak on such a subject. They have a bunch of authority. There is a business side to all churches and if a pastor does not maintain a business mind alongside a pastoral attitude the church could fall apart quickly.