Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The best team I ever played on

I've been on lots of sports teams, playing high school, college and city league basketball.  I've also been involved in team ministries at four different churches.  I've been called to serve on denominational leadership teams and participated in team-teaching ventures in foreign countries.

Each of these to be successful requires a melding together of talents and abilities and a willingness to do whatever it takes to make the efforts of the team successful in attaining their goals and reaching their objectives.

Having just completed a special event at Grace Fellowship, the church where I currently pastor, I am prepared to say this is the best team I've been privileged to be partners with.  Here's why...

1.  Everyone shares the "glory", deflecting it to others who have helped carry the load.

2.  Each person does their job with excellence, with the highest level of professionalism.

3.  Everyone enjoys the task, jointly committed to the objective of reaching a common goal.

4.  Each person follows through in organizing, delegating and finishing up.

5.  Everyone serves as a volunteer, often donating their own resources to accomplish a task.

We just honored our pastor of seniors who is retiring.  The team I picked--that was my part of the responsibility!--went beyond the proverbial call of duty and provided for our honored guest an  afternoon to be remembered.

Good job team! I'm proud to have been one of you!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day

All four of my children called and left messages on Father's Day and, for me, it was enough.  I would have preferred to have them come from New York, Tennessee and Texas to deliver their greetings in person but that didn't happen for obvious reasons.

I look forward to Father's Day for a couple of reasons.

1.  My dad was significant in my life and his birthday falls around the time of Ftather's Day so I am gernerally predisposed to thinking about him anyway.  He's been gone for twenty-four years and would have been ninety years old June 10th.

2.  I take my role as a father seriously and I always am pretty self-deprecating in reviewing my performance for a variety of reasons, i.e. workaholism, perfectionsim, etc.--not great parenting traits.  But Father's Day messages remind me that I get a passing grade from my kids and affirms the fact that though my fathering was flawed my love for them was apparent and "love covers a multitude of sins".

3.  The evolutuion of my role as a grandfather is an exciting dimension of the whole fathering role.  Though it is vastly different there are some similarities in terms of imperfect performance yet mutual affection.  I also have the advantage of watching my two sons and step-sons perform well as fathers and am welcomed by them as time and space allow into my role as "grandpa"--one I relish.

4.  "Forefathers" also play into my Father's Day mindset--the early patriots who wrote the Deckaration of Indepoendnce and formulated the Constitution under the shadow of "In God we trust", as well as amed service men who stormed places like the beaches of Normandy in WW II at great personal risk toi preserve the freedom we celebrate today.

5.  Finally, I am directed to Romans 8:16 which talks about the unique privilege we celebrate in being a part of the family of God--adopted as sons having trusted in Christ's saving work,  We can call the Creator of the universe "Abba, Father", or in today's vernacular, "Daddy".  How amazing is it that we can have an intimate relationship with a tranmscendant God!

I am living in the afterglow of Father's Day--a conversation today with one of my son's, a message saying "I learned it from the best"...and a reminder that in spite of my flaws and imperfections my children love me, my grandchildren love me...and, most importantly, God  my Heavenly Father, loves me.

How good can it get?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

lessons from a baseball tournament

I returned from a week  camping at Pismo Beach in my trailer next to four of my grandchildren, one who was participating as an all star in a baseball tournament with teams from Central California.  He had four games--we saw all of them--and his team won the tournament.  Yeah, Zeke!

Here's some lessons I learned while "spectating"...

1.  Grandparents, for all of their oxygen deprivation, can scream loud when a grandchild is at bat.

2.  Grandchildren (mine) are the most skilled on the field.

3.  Grandchildren love it when grandparents notice what they are doing.

4.  Grandparents love to say, "That one belongs to me...", as if they had something to do with their grandchild's athletic prowess.

5.  Grandchildren are inconsolable when they lose, although sweets and dessert will go along way towards taking the edge off...

Here's my conclusion about the week.  Grandparenting is a special task to which grandparents are called--not just to admire their grandchildren's accomplishments on the field, but to walk alongside them in life, and to cheer them on in victory and defeat.

Winning a tournament is an occasional treat.  Living with disappointment may be a more common event.  Share the good and the bad.  It's life.


Monday, June 04, 2012

A meeting...by chance?

As I was walking to lunch last week a familiar face caught my attention, and within moments we were catching up and she was saying, "I can't believe I saw you today".

What followed was the sad story of her mother;s debilitating health and her recent placement with Hospice.  My friend;s father had died two years ago and I had the porivilege as a Hospice chaplain of walking with the family through his final months.

And now it was happening with her mother, who had been told she had from two weeks to six months to live.

For whatever reasons,we had not yet made ther Hospice conenction and now I was ushdered once again into the family's grieving process.

The next day I was at her mother's home and we prayed together, affirming her faith.  She was sitting up, in good spirits and responsive.  A week later she was dead.

It wa snot as meeting by chance.  I believe--and so does her daughter--it was God-ordained. 

When you're walking to lunch, keep your heart and eyes open.  God may have something or someone special in mind for you!