Friday, December 01, 2006

Why Go to Church?

Ihave been thinking lately about why people should go to church. A friend of mine and I were discussing evangelism as well as getting folks to come back once they have dropped out and he asked the simple question, why should people go to church? Of course, I thought of lots of reasons only to realize that those were superficial reasons.

We can get our social needs met at a ball game or playing bingo at the Lions Club.
We can donate money to any charitable organization to help the poor.
We can volunteer at the hospital to help the sick.
We can tune into the PTL channel to get some preaching (although I am sure not as good as at our church - at least I hope so).
We can go on the Internet to read blogs or Bible study material and grow intellectually.

Let's see, why should people go to church? Afterall, we preachertypes are asking you to get up on the only morning you have to sleep in, get dressed up, drive to one location, sit on a padded pew and participate with other people, some of whom you may not even like. And that may only be the beginnning, because we are also going to ask you to volunteer, to give of your time, your talents and your service. You might also hear a sermon or a lesson which challenges your comfortable television theology.

Okay, why should people go to church? well, I have listed several good reasons from a CEO mentality, but let me offer you one that cannot be met anywhere else. At church, we offer hope to people who hurt. We offer comfort for those who suffer loss. We are not a hospital and we don't offer to fix your physical or mental ailments, but together, we do offer you a hand up to help you on your spiritual journey.

You can get a lot of the things we do at church other places, but I don't believe you can get the hope that we offer, because at church, we each offer it to one another. Do you go to church? Maybe you haven't been in a while because there are hypocrites at church. Okay, they are everywhere else too, but at church, at least we recognize that everyone is a sinner, even you. Okay, you may not have wanted to hear that but it is true.

I think, you and I both need the hope that can only come from a relationship with God and that comes from being in God's family of believers on Sunday or any other time we meet. Why not come by this Sunday and let's worship together. Allen

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thoughts on Getting Going

This week our church collected 314 pounds to "Match the Pastor's Weight" for our local food bank. Now I have never weighed that much so I am thankful that everyone exceeded our fun goal. Many hungry people will be fed because of your faithfulness. Thanks for helping. As I thought about that goal and about my real struggle with weight loss, I also realized that I seem to be at a standstill on losing weight. I work out regularly and eat good foods in moderation, yet I cannot seem to get beyond that first loss of 20 pounds. It's frustrating.

If I am to lose more weight, I need to do something different, yet it is so hard to get going on more exercise or eating less.

Then I thought that sometimes life throws some pretty bad curves in our path that keeps us from getting going in other areas. Financial difficulty, marriage problems, sudden ill health issues and many more often leave us wondering what do I need to do to just get going and make things better.

Of course, if we don't deal properly with these big issues of our lives, then they become worse. I have talked with many people during my ministry who just can't seem to get going on making their life better and they have suffered for so long that they now are in a real serious state of depression. When I began in the ministry, depression was thought of as a mental disorder that only needed a kick in the pants to get you going out of it. Wow, was that way off base. I pray that if you are suffering from some amount of depression over your life issues that you don't beat yourself up with those old bad words about this serious situation.

I am certain that many of us have periods when we are down and can pull ourselves out of that feeling, but that is not depression. Now, keep in mind that I am not a medical doctor,but it seems to me that depression is a serious challenge to many of us that needs some intervention. If you are just down a bit, then a brisk walk in the sunlight or a nap when you are tired may help. But if you suffer from long bouts of downess, then you may need some help. So here is what I would suggest if you just can't seem to get going:
1. Go to your family doctor for a complete physical. Some bouts of depression have phsyical causes and can be corrected.
2. Take charge of your life and go take a walk, drink more water and eat better today.
3. On Sunday morning, get up and go to church. It is amazing how many people think that staying in bed will make them better. But the contrary is a truer statement - going to church and being with people who will love you and help you will indeed make things better.
I would love to discuss your feelings and your faith so why not come by this Sunday morning and let's get to know one another. Take care of yourself, you are the best you that there is. Allen

Friday, November 03, 2006

Grace and Disgrace

I just saw the news that the leader of the Evangelical Association Dr. Ted Haggard has resigned in disgrace over publicly admitting to "some indiscretions." He had been accused of buying and using amphetamines and securing sex from a male prostitute. Obviously, there will be an investigation by his congregation and others. Rev. Jimmy Swaggart admitted to some immoral behavior a few years ago and his church basically disintegrated within a week. Jim and Tammy Faye Baker left in disgrace from the PTL network and he served some time in a penitentiary following a very public trial.

I mention these for a couple of reasons. Obviously it is news when a religious leader admits to conduct that is sinful and disgraceful. And yes, the actions make him or her seem to be a hypocrite. Makes you want to throw up when someone who is a moral leader - a role model - acts just like many others. It doesn't have to be a minister because we have all been mortified by the actions of other of our heroes too.

But here is my point: what the church is all about is forgiveness and grace. I don't know any of these men personally but what I do know is that they are human beings just like me and just like you. As a minister, we all struggle with various sins and yet we stand, week after week, in the pulpit and offer God's forgiveness and grace to others who struggle with sin. Can we not also offer forgiveness and grace to national religious leaders and ministers who sin?

I suppose that the problem has to do with our judging each other. Ministers often are held to a higher standard than other persons and probably should be. But that doesn't mean that they should not also receive God's grace and forgiveness as well as ours. We preach and teach about little David slaying Goliath with a stone and hold him up as a great example to our children,yet King David committed adultery and murder.

I suppose I am rambling and I don't mean to do that. What I do want to say is that God offers forgiveness to these national leaders. I hope we can. Would you like to talk about this? Come by on Sunday and let's visit. Allen

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Thanks for the Encouragement

I suppose this column and my blogspot are really for me to wax philosophical. I am not sure I am much of a philosopher. Besides, the only one I remember was Socrates and didn’t he drink poison? Ugh! Not my cup of tea, please. Well, I will try.

Over the past few weeks, I have been encouraged by your faithfulness. We have been urging people to step forward in faith financially and with their time and wow, it has been happening. I see that as God moving in our midst. But mainly, I see God moving in our midst when I see your concern for others. I see God moving in our midst when I hear you joyfully singing on Sunday morning or on Tuesday night. I see God moving in our midst when you let me help you struggle with the stuff of life.

So thanks. Thanks for being who you are. On my birthday, last year, I received a card from someone and the card said, “I thank God for the Day you were Born.” And it wasn’t from my mother either. Wow that card made me feel good. I want to pass that along to you.

I thank God for the day that you were born. You have made my life richer and fuller. I am a better person for knowing you. Now I want to ask you to do something today. After you read this article, find someone who needs a bit of encouragement and let them know you are glad that they were born and it doesn’t even have to be their birthday.

You have been an encouragement to me and I know that together, we can be a force of encouragement and hope for others this year. Remember, invite a friend to church and bring some food for the poor. But most of all, come to church and expect great things because God is going to be with us. Allen

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Stewardship Time

We are in the middle of our semi annual stewardship campaign. Well perhaps it is more of a bi-annual campaign. We don't do one every six months and only every other year or so. Well, anyway, October is Stewardship month at our church.

Okay, I know some of you don't like these kinds of things but I do. I like them because they remind me that I need to renew my commitment to Christ and the church every so often. I am reminded that Jesus spoke more about how we manage things than he did about a lot of other stuff. I am reminded that the ministry of the church depends on each one of us.

Do you remember the story about the stranger who rode his tired horse into town. It was late afternoon and the man was very tired and hungry. He knew no one in this town but thought that the townspeople might be willing to share a morsel of food for a weary traveler.

As he rode into town, he waved to the people but they only stopped to stare. He got off his horse and approached one of the villagers and asked for a bite to eat. "We have had a poor harvest here and there is barely enough food for our family. You won't find anything to eat here."

From house to house the story was the same. The stranger saw that the people were very disheartened and fearful. So he went to the village square where several folks were gathered. "Gentle folk of the village," he said, "I have in my hand a special stone that will help you make it through the long winter. this is a magic stone. With it we can make stone soup."

Well, by now you may remember the rest of the story. One by one, the villagers brought vegetables, seasonings and such to the fire to watch the man make soup out of the stone. And before long, everyone had a full belly and best of all, the stone soup had brought them all together.

That is the reason, we ask people for a commitment. We ask everyone to put something into the pot. God tells each one what to bring. And when we do, everyone gets filled, even the strangers, and we are all brought together.

I would love to visit with you this Sunday. Come by and let's have some coffee and who knows, maybe a pot of soup. Allen

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Some things I have learned...

I was thinking the other day (I do occasionally think you know) about what I have learned over the past many years in the ministry.
I have learned that:
a good cup of coffee revives the body in the afternoon.
people will talk about almost anything if the conversation is boring.
people are unpredictable (including me.
it feels good to see those you have taught begin to lead.
it's a good thing to say thank you every so often.
sugar free pie is as good as the real thing.
it is hard to say good-bye to an old friend.
plans cannot replace the Spirit.
the Spirit expects us to plan.
God still moves in mysterious ways.

I've learned a lot more but that is about all my mind can think of today. What have you learned recently? I would love to discuss your thoughts with you and your questions. But please keep in mind, I have about as many questions as you do. Why not come by on Sunday morning or on Tuesday evening and let's discuss the questions? We may not get to all of them but we can give it a shot. Allen

Friday, September 08, 2006

Why Bother Going To Church?

It has been a while again since I have written any words. I suppose it has been that I have not really had much to say. I know that is hard for some of my friends to accept but it is true. As I read over some other blogs out there in wherever it is that blogs come from and go, I just wasn't ready to write much about BBQ or the latest movie I had been to. And I don't want to use this column as a place to put forth my latest grips either. I suppose there really isn't anything wrong with those things, after all, we need to be able to grip or talk about movies or BBQ (Memphis style pulled pork with slaw on top really is the best so there shouldn't be much debate anyway).

Well, to get back to my question, I was thinking this week about why people don't come to church. We preacher types think about this question a lot. We are reminded a few times a year to turn in reports of our membership and average attendance and, well, it seems relevant to what we do. So why should people bother to come to church?


I suppose many of us would want to think that folks come to hear our wonderful sermons but after rereading some of mine, I think that surely there is a better reason. Then someone said to me, "Pastor, I really don't need church as much as those other people." I heard another version of that one Sunday when a member said to me following the late service, "Well, Pastor, if they had been here, you would have given it to them." Whatever "it" may be.

Then there are those who don't come to church because it isn't as exciting as a ball game or a movie. "We want action, preacher, you know, more hell,fire and brimstone." Or, "We want more modern songs." Whatever the reason, people can find some excuse not to come.

So I thought it might be important for me to list a few reasons why I like to go to church. 1. I want to go and worship God. 2. I want to be with people who want to become more like God. 3. I want to give my life more meaning. 4. I want to participate and be there to help someone else. 5. Did I mention that we usually have great food (spiritual and physical)?

Okay, I know I am supposed to think like that because I am a pastor. But is it really a stretch for you to think like that too? Even if we don't offer you something new and wonderful this week, your being at church helps someone else. You see, our calling as followers of Jesus Christ is to be a bridge. With one of our hands, we hold on to God and with the other, we reach out to our neighbor. Is that so hard? After all, what is more important in life than the relationships that we build?

I'd love to talk with you about it. some of us get together every week and discuss our relationship with God and our relationship with our neighbors. Why not come by and talk it over with us this week? See you Sunday, Allen

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The End of Times?

I have heard a lot lately about the end of times. It seems that the events in the Middle East has spawned yet another round of folks who believe they see signs of the end of history and the emminent return of Jesus. Now I want to give a bit of a disclaimer first; before I give my two cents worth, I want to say that all of those folks who are preaching that are good people. I do not want anyone to think that somehow my statements are meant to ridicule or defame anyone with that set of beliefs. I think that you are entitled to your opinion and that we are both entitled to be different.

Currently, as I understand it, most of the end times theology is based on John Nelson Darby's theology of the 19th century. Darby was a "Dispensationalist" who believed that all of human history is told or foretold in the Bible and can be divided into certain time periods, called dispensations. According to Darby's understanding, the end times can be understood by watching the events that happen around the world but especially in the land of Israel. Okay, his theology makes sense because he uses prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures as well as the New Testament scriptures.

But, he seems to forget one important bit of evidence. Jesus told his disciples that there would always be wars and rumors of wars but that would not be the end, yet. Then he added that even he did not know when that would be.

It just seems to me that the God of the New Testament is more of a God of grace and forgiveness than one who is violent. Will God really come back and send all of our enemies to hell? Besides, if you listen to those who follow other gods or even Allah, we are the enemies. The God that I have seen and felt is a God of forgiveness and starting over.

There is one more thing. Even if this is the end of times, my responsibility and perhaps yours is to continue living and doing what Jesus has called me to do. As another UM minister, Mike Ramsdale, said this week:

"If a border dispute in Israel is a sign of biblical prophecy or if it is just a continuation of a long-standing dispute over a piece of land, it changes little about my responsibilities as a Christian, or even the when and how of His return. He will still return when He is ready, as I will die and stand before Him also when He is ready.

I must still pray every day.
I must still love my neighbor.
I must still live as He teaches me.
I must still live out my faith in our faithful God.
I must still share Christ with others.
I must still serve the least, the last and the lost.
I must still give, worship and grow in my knowledge of Jesus Christ.
I must still follow Christ. " (www.pastormike's thoughts.com)

I don't know about you, but I think Mike has it right. Regardless of what is coming, I have a job to do - a calling to continue living. Would you like to discuss it? I'd love to meet you, so why not come by on Sunday? We meet every week. Now where is my coffee? Allen

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Problem with Words

I apologize to all who have missed my words of wit. (ha!) I have been gone on Mission trip and then spent some time getting better. Actually the trip was fine but the long drive home nearly killed me. I am better thanks to some good doctors and a wonderful wife.

I have been working with some of our Ministry Teams and last night during our Worship Team meeting, it dawned on me that we were all using the same words but we obviously had different meanings. So we spent some time working through what certain terms meant so our discussion would be meaningful for all of us. Here is what we decided about worship:

The word "Traditional" for some of us means a more liturgical, high church, type of service, but for some in the meeting the word was being used to refer to the way they did church thirty years ago. We discovered that what they were referring to was to my understanding a more "revival" type of service. You may remember that much of the early history of the UM's in this country was from the Camp Meeting days - a spiritual movement that swept over the new country and land.

We decided that some people like a more "contemporary" type of service and then quickly realized that even that term was difficult to understand. For us it will be used to describe a worship experience with more modern praise songs, usually accompanied by guitar or band music as opposed to a piano or organ. And we then realized that some of our worship services were often a "blend" of more than one style of music.

Isn't it strange how we use words and mean different things? In seminary, the argument of the day was over using gender-neutral language about God. We are past some of that discussion now, but we still need to pause everynow and then to understand our the other person is using the same words that we are using.

Well, I suppose I need to stop or this will turn into an academic paper. I don't mean to do that but if you have questions, we would love to discuss them with you. Why not meet us on Sunday and let's talk about what Jesus meant. Perhaps together we can begin to understand his words. See ya! Allen

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Coffee or the Cup?

I subscribe to several information sources on the Internet. One of them is Kirk Weisler's Thought for the Day (T4D), you can subscribe to Kirk's Thought for the day at Kirk@kirkweisler.com . The following comes from Kirk and apparently he shared it from one of his subscribers. While Kirk doesn't drink coffee, I do and really did enjoy this story.

"This next piece was shared with us by T4D subscriber Randal Rupert, and while I don’t drink coffee… I totally drank in this wonderful story and analogy!!

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal,
some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While, it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself, adds no quality to the coffee in most cases, just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink.

What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups... and then began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee, and the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee life has provided us."

Think about it. And if you would like to discuss the coffee of your life, come by and see me. We are gathering every Sunday morning to discuss life and how to live it the fullest. Allen

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Taking Inventory

This week, I returned from Mission trip to Coweta, OK and immediately began moving my office from one room to another at the church. I don't know how many times you may have moved your office, but it is really a chore to get that done. It is almost worse than moving into a new one on arrival at a new place to work. I discovered that I had become comfortable in my little office and when another room became available, it seemed like the thing to do. It is larger and quieter, so I thought I wouldn't have any trouble getting settled. Wrong! What I discovered was that moving required me to pack up and evaluate what to keep and what to store. I began to take inventory and then spent some time remembering what each item meant to me. Pictures, crosses, art work, not to mention files and books. Each of them has a story and those stories represent friends who have loved me. I suppose it is old hat so to speak to be reminded that it is a good thing to stop and take inventory of the things I own because that makes me take inventory of my life. You know, who I am and where I am going, that sort of thing. Mission trips do that for me too. When we travel to work for others, sleep in someone else's church and spend long hot days trying to make get the jobs done, life sometimes gets lost in the busyness and the things that we have and do. On arrival home, and after a good nap, there is time to reflect on what had just happened. And what happened in moving my office and working on a Mission trip is that my life is never the same for I am reminded that I am only here for a short period of time. So it isn't what I collect that makes me who I am, it is what I do with the time I have. What do you think? I'd love to talk with you about it, why not come by some Sunday and let's see if we can understand one another. Allen

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Longsuffering of Job

I use that title loosely because I don't really want to know what Job encountered in his experience. These past few weeks, I have been dealing with a case of the shingles. (does that make me a roofer?) I was diagnosed a couple of weeks before Mission Trip but after treatment by the Doctors, was able to attend Sr. High Mission Trip. I was thinking about my personal irritation with being sick this morning. I don't do sick very well. But then I don't know very many people who do. Being sick is not only an inconvenience it can be painful and downright uncomfortable. I haven't spent any time wondering why me or why now because sickness comes to everyone. We just have to endure it, make plans to get better and move on. But patience is not one of my virtues when it comes to being unable to do my work. However, I am reminded every time that the pain returns that I am human and that I am loved. My wife looks after me as best that she can. My co-workers on the Mission Trip looked after me as much as I let them. Members of the church have been praying for me and have sent cards and made calls. All-in-all I am aware of what love and support comes from a community of faith. I still don't like being sick but I know I am not going through this discomfort alone. They are even so kind as to say that the beard I have grown to cover up the spots on my face looks good. ( Some of these people need glasses!) Well, I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Well, given my nature, I'd rather be well. But perhaps being sick has its up side too. I have had some more time for a nap on occasion and I have had some time to think about my life and my work. If you have been sick and need to talk about it, why not come by the church. We meet every week and would love to share what God has done in our lives and who knows, you might get to share too. Have a beautiful week. Allen

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wonders

I have spent the past few days with some of God's special people. I am on a Mission Trip and have seen the hand of God move among teenagers, adults who work with teenagers, a community and the churches who are working together. We are in Coweta, OK and are participating in the Central Texas Conference Youth in Mission Senior High Mission trip. As Center Director, I get to work with all of the adults and youth who have come to serve Christ. I have seen youth give up a week of their precious summer time to come to a strange place to dig holes, build porches, cut hedges, paint walls and help those who could not help themselves. Then we also got to experience the presence of Christ through an elderly widower who needed a porch repaired and a disabled single woman trying to adopt four children. We met two young men, members of our host church who gave up their time off to make sure we were cared for as we served others. Wow! I'm not sure what you might expect on a blog site. I don't have anything controversial to discuss or any great revelations. I don't even have any provocative questions this week. All of us miss our families, some of us are sick, others are missing work,but each of us is experiencing the real meaning of serving where we are sent.
No great revelations, just a deep and abiding awareness of the grace of God. Look around and I'll just bet you will see the same thing around you too. I am grateful for the chance to serve our Lord. Amen.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Let Them Pray

Over the weekend, I watched a television worship service and then listened as the Pastor of the church explained about a problem he was aware of regarding US Chaplains. It seems that recently the Christian Chaplains had been instructed not to end their prayers "in Jesus' name." Apparently someone in the higher ranks was afraid that praying in Jesus' name might offend some other religions. Seems strange but the Christian Chaplains were told to pray Jewish prayers. Now the US military service has all sorts of chaplains, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and probably some other varieties. Each of them conducts services and ministers to all of their charges without trying to proselyte members. They simply offer pastoral care in their own tradition for persons who are hurting.

This article got my attention on a couple of levels. First, of course, is what would rankle most people's nerves, the singling out of Christian Chaplains for the wording of their prayers. Would not a Jewish prayer potentially offend a Christian? Or a Muslim prayer offend a Jew? The answer is obvious, of course that could happen. So why single out the Christian Chaplains? That wasn't made clear in the article. The Pastor was simply pointing out a new problem in our Military system and a new way of persecuting Christian ministers for doing their job.

On another level, I wondered if our prayers, to be in Jesus' name, needed to have those words at the end. I mean, doesn't prayer in Jesus' name have more to do with one's attitude and commitment than with the words at the end? Can a person who doesn't ever serve Jesus or pretend to have a relationship with Jesus, get further with God if he or she uses the "magic" words at the end of a prayer?

So, yes, I am concerned that someone would be so picky as to fire a US Navy Chaplain, who is a Christian, for praying "in Jesus' name." But I am also concerned by those who claim the name of Christian and never live as Jesus lived. What about you? Do you think being a Christian is about saying certain words or is it more about living as a disciple? I'd love to talk with you about it. Allen

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Da Vinci Code

Earlier this week someone asked me why a Christian would want to see a movie or read a book like "The Da Vinci Code" when it is so obviously anti-Christian. I thought about that question and why anyone might want to see or read something so contrary to what we believe.

My answer is that these works, the book and the movie, are first and foremost fiction. They are interesting stories that hold a person's attention. Basically the book is a good read. It is intriguing and sometimes thrilling. But, if you believe the theories behind the book, then you are believing something based on bad theology, bad history, and some literature that was just plain a hoax.

So why should I read it? Well, I can't tell you what you should do, but I read the book so I could intelligently talk with folks about what the world now thinks is important. Already, I have had several opportunities to discuss church history, theology, Christology and several other topics with some folks that otherwise would not have even asked me a question.

Mr. Brown may have an agenda against the church in general and the Catholic Church in particular, I don't know. What I do know is that even extra-biblical evidence points to the fact that the early church thought Jesus was divine long before the Council of Nicea. And, there has been no legitimate evidence found to corraborate any of the allegations that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married.

So here's the deal the way I see it. For two thousand years, the church has worked hard to open its books to the world and point to both the humanity and the divinity of Jesus. It doesn't make good sense for anyone to think that the church has worked so hard to bring people to the faith, only to then keep the "real" truth from them.

Well, that's my thoughts. What about yours? I'd love to talk with you about it. Why not come to church sometime and let's talk. We are a people who believe all are welcome and that the open discussion of ideas is important. What have you got to lose?
Allen

Saturday, May 27, 2006

It's a Start

Well, today, I am entering the world of Internet publishing. I hope that this blog site becomes useful for somebody. Like my friend Steve has said, if you already know everything, then you can stop reading now and do something useful, like take a nap.

But if you are like me then that has already been done since it's Saturday. Well, I ramble sometimes.

I was thinking about cutting my lawn. Acutally Darlene got up this morning and cut it while I worked on some other household projects. It always seems to amaze me how frustrated I get seeing grass grow so quickly here in Texas. I am sure it grew just as quick in Tennessee when I lived there but it seems to grow faster now that I am a bit older, having just celebrated the 29th anniversary of my 29th birthday.

I'm not sure why I get so frustrated with grass because grass is just like other parts of life. Life goes on, people get older, sometimes wiser and sometimes not. Life changes and we must adapt to those changes, like adapting to the taller grass and the change of the seasons.

Every so often I make some hospital visits and watch the heart monitor. When I have been with families, it seems that most of us want to watch that little line go up and down. That's the way we want to see it. We don't want to straight line because that really isn't good. Yet, we watch, helpless to do anything about it if the line goes straight or slows down. I suppose that I'm not very good at just watching life go by. I want to do something about it.

And yet, there are so many things that I cannot do anything about. Maybe that's why the Psalmist reminds us to "Commit our ways to the Lord and trust in Him..." Psalm 37:5 NRSV.

I just think that sometimes I don't trust God enough. How about you? I'd love to talk with you about it sometimes. Allen