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After titling two posts within one week Signs of America’s Increasing Ignorance, I am a bit ashamed to say that I have a relatively empty brain this morning.  Nothing big and flashy floating around up top.

So, here are a few random thoughts about life . . .

1.  It is cold in Kentucky today and it is snowing outside right now.  I’m not big on winter, but I’m really in a “snow” mood.  It would be nice to just sit back and watch the weather.  It helps that my office windows look out on GCF’s 7 acres of meadow surrounded by trees 🙂

2.  I rearranged my office this week.  It feels much more like “home” now.  When I had it all finished yesterday, I realized how much I missed my office at the preschool.  It’s nice to have a place to work.  The best part of it all:  I was able to find a wooden desk about 50 years old at a local office supply store.  The guy told me that if I would come and get it, he’d let me have it for nothing.  I took him up on that offer.  It’s not a big, flashy desk, but being an antique, well, it’s got lots of character.  It even has the old fashioned pull-out writing boards above the top drawers on either side.  I’m typing this on my laptop on one of those writing boards right now.

3.  I am not preaching this Sunday.  The break has been nice and has given me some time to think about some upcoming sermons.  Sometime after Easter, we are going to focus on some teachings regarding spiritual gifts, based mostly out of I Corinthians 12-14.  In the fall of the year, we are probably going to do a series of sermons focused on Jesus’ “I am” statements from the John’s Gospel.

4.  The word of God is a powerful guide for the life of prayer.  I’ve been getting up at 5am and spending about an hour reading the word, journaling and praying.  As I journal about the scripture I have read, it is amazing to watch how God uses those scripture passages to guide my prayers.  Instead of praying out of my own angst or frustrations, I have been praying from the guidance of the Holy Spirit through the word of God.

5.  The passage that struck me this morning:  John 14.5-6:  Remain in me and I will remain in you, Jesus says.  What a powerful promise.  I’m going to be printing out this passage today and putting it up in my office as a reminder that the best fruit is born from an intimate relationship with Jesus.

6.  I can’t believe that the NY Giants are going to the Superbowl.  I know that they are most likely going to be pulverized by the Patriots (most sports sources already have them posted as losing by two touch-downs, but its cool to see another Manning playing in the championship.  As you might guess, being a Colt’s fan, I have experienced no loss of love for the Patriots so I’m pulling for Eli and the Giants.  On the other hand, if the 12-7 Giants beat the 19-0 Patriots, well, that will be a game to remember for the ages.

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If you’re interested in getting Christians to your blog, just write something up either slamming or defending mega-church pastors.  Christian pastors and Christian who aren’t pastors have an endless fascination with critiquing and discussing these “pop-icons” of the Christian world.  It’s like tabloid journalists outside of Brittney Spear’s home.  I wrote a few thoughts about mega-church guys this morning and have had more hits than I’ve had since the last time I talked about mega-church pastors back in the early summer of 2007.  Absolutely amazing – and maybe disturbing.

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I am hesitating on the title for this post.  I should probably use the words “coal mining” or “coal mining figurine” in it somewhere . . .

Back in early May I wrote a post called Workin’ in a Coal Mine.  The post was about my West Virginia heritage; especially my Dad and my grandfather (who was a coal miner).  As a graduation gift I had gotten my Dad a coal miner figurine carved out of a piece of coal.  It was a sentimental post and I did not expect many people to pay attention to it.  In fact, it was written mostly for my Dad who reads the blog pretty regularly each day.

At any rate that post has become my most widely-read post.  Every day it gets at least two to three hits and every day since I wrote that post at least one person has found my blog by typing in something related to “coal mining statues” or “coal mining figure” or some similar combination.

That particular post has seen quite a few hits this week (for the fifth week or so in a row, it is the most widely rest post at the blog) and I have gotten a bit of a chuckle out of it.  Who would ever have thought that there would be so much interest in coal miner figurines?

My personal tip:  if you want to draw people to your blog via search engines, get coal-mining or coal-miner figurine somewhere into your title . . .

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I have nothing to write about.  I don’t have any fascinating thoughts or controversial thoughts . . . no “preachy” thoughts.  No rants.  No raves.  Not even a happy story that I feel terribly compelled to write about.

For those who care, we had an awesome worship service on Sunday morning.  I always love how God seems to move more through the sermons that I feel less comfortable with than he does with the sermons I feel more confident about.  I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that.

We have home meetings this week to talk about the future of GCF.  So far, the RSVP’s are coming in slowly for the meetings, but it looks like each meeting will have a nice, intimate group of people who want to say more and hear more about what God might have in store for GCF and for the community around us.  The first one is tonight and I’m looking forward to it.

If anyone out there has any ideas about what an “idea-less” blogger might write about, let me know.  Otherwise, all is quiet on the western front 🙂

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I’ve been blogging, I think, for about 3 weeks.  I am sure that I have messed up more than once, but this week I really messed up.  In many ways blogging is about conversation.  Just two weeks ago I taught a workshop about how to have conversations with people that can really let the Holy Spirit do whatever he wants to do through those conversations with other people.  Well, I didn’t do such a great job at adhering to my own teachings this week.

 So, I think this falls into the “do as I say, don’t do as I do category.”  It’s important to make sure that most of our lives don’t fall into that category, but alas, my imperfections catch up with me pretty darn regularly 🙂

At any rate, I was reading posts and responded to a certain post.  My intent was to provide some support and encouragement because I really hated reading about what had happened to someone in this particular case.  But – as well intentioned as I was – that’s not what I did.  I ended up on a soap box about a distantly related (maybe not really related at all) issue and came off looking like a total jackass.  I went back and reread my comments ,as well intentioned as they all were, they were a mess.  Sometimes – as they say – the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

What disturbs me most about this is that I misrepresented myself and worst of all, I think I misrepresented Jesus and the Church.  And I just don’t like doing that!  As a matter of fact, I hate doing that.

But, in the spirit of trying to learn I took the other blogger’s really salient comments into consideration AND then sought out some wisdom from God.

Here’s what I learned . . . (and the sad thing is it’s all stuff I know and just didn’t practice!)

1.  Never jump onto your soapbox.  If you want to talk to someone and respect who they are and what happened to them, find out what happened first and probably stay off of your soap box altogether.

2.  Don’t presume anyone needs or wants your advice.  Give it only when it’s requested or seems totally, absolutely necessary.

3.  It’s far better to ask questions that will teach you something than to say things in an effort to teach someone something they may not want or need to know.  I think this might be one of the reasons Jesus asked so many questions.  Questions allow for mutual learning and not just a one-way discourse.

4.  Take time to find out if you should say anything at all.  This is as simple as saying, “should I take time to respond here.”  I am crazy enough to believe that the Holy Spirit gives us answers to those sorts of questions (and that we should listen to his instruction) and I’m also crazy enough to believe that it’s not my job to “convert” everyone I come into contact with.  Really, God is bigger than any one individual and he is especially bigger than me.

5.  Finally, when you do mess up examine what you did, apologize and move on.  This particular post is by way of an apology should that other blogger ever take notice of it.  There are times to eat your crow, confess your mistakes and get on with the rest of life.

One last thing.  I am not perfect.  Pastor or no pastor.  Ordination or no ordination.  I am not perfect.  My pants go on in the morning just the same way everyone else’s go on.  I use the toilet the same way and fret about bills and worry about my kids just like everyone else.  My life has its up and its downs; its good points and its bad points.  Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don’t get it so right and at other times I get it flat out wrong.  In this case I got it flat out wrong and so it’s important that I say that:  I was wrong and I apologize.

 Wow!  Black feathers don’t taste good, but they are chocked full of educational-spiritual-nutritional value!

I’m off to vacaction for a few days early next week with my family so the rest of this week will be given to wrapping up preparations for the next two Sundays, cleaning house and getting the old truck ready for the trip.  Be back to the blogosphere on Thursday!

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