The Sunday Message

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me. – Jim Valvano

Here is one of my previous columns about “Father’s Day” that I would like to share once again (with some edits).

Here’s a salute to all the “Dads” in the world. Thank you!

I remember the times I had with my dad very much. He’s been gone now for over 20 years. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t wish that I could talk to him, ask him for advice, or just discuss football, or something – just to hear his voice. I guess part of growing older is losing your parents. Also, part of growing older is learning that your parents were pretty wise. I was very lucky as my Dad and Mom were married for over 50 years.

My dad was a Union man. He lived for his Union (Operating Engineers) and he built roads and bridges across the Midwest. If you cross the Mississippi River near the Quad Cities in Illinois, then you’ve crossed a bridge my dad built. If you’ve traveled on almost any interstate in the Midwest, then you’ve traveled on a road my dad worked on. I remember as a young child getting to sit on one of the massive machines that my dad worked on sometimes 14-16 hours a day, six days a week. Needless to say, I lived all over the Midwest during my younger years and attended seven schools in eight years.

I remember the Union strikes he participated in. I attended some of the Union meetings when they decided to go out on strike. It gave me an idea that sometimes a person must fight for what they believe in. My Dad was a fighter. He fought for what he believed in.

I asked him one time when I was a teenager why his Union Magazines always supported the Democrats in the elections. He said, “The Democrats support the working man.” My Dad was a working man.

I so much enjoyed the stories from his childhood. His family did not have too much when he was growing up. He hunted and fished and did odd jobs. He wore hand-me-down clothes.

One of his first jobs, before he joined the Union, was to run his own digging service. He owned a backhoe, a couple of dump trucks, and a trailer. He hauled gravel for people and for small cities and towns. After a few months in business, he started digging graves. He said it was a good job because someone dies every day. I was a little scared when I went with him to dig graves. But, nothing weird ever happened (unless I’ve blocked it out).

But, one story he told me was about a new road that was being built, so they had to move a small cemetery to another location to make way for the new road. I was not there the day they removed a casket from the ground and it came open. I guess it pretty much freaked out the man who was working with my Dad that day.

My Dad was one of the first to own a Citizens Band (CB) radio. They became very big in the 1960s. He purchased a power amp so he could talk for hundreds of miles. There were CB postcards that you sent to people who you talked over the radio to and they sent you theirs. My Dad’s handle (the name he went by on the CB radio) was Groundhog. He picked this name because he was in the digging service. He had CB cards from almost every state. We lived in a small town and there were three stations on the black and white TV. When Dad turned the power amp on to give his CB more range, he would disrupt the TV signals in town. An older couple started telling people that my Dad was on Hee Haw or the Lawrence Welk show because they heard his voice on their TV. He was a celebrity!

When I joined the military, my Dad was not at all pleased. He called the recruiter and said if he screwed me over, then he would pay a “visit” to him. When I returned from boot camp, my Dad was proud and he continued to be proud of my commitment to my country until his death. My Dad taught me to support my kids and their dreams because if we stop dreaming, we might as well die.

Later in life, I watched my Dad suffer health problems and he could not operate heavy equipment like he did when he was healthy. I saw the glow go out of his eyes as he accepted the fact that his health prevented him from doing something he loved.

So take a minute today to say thanks to your Dad. Call him, send him an e-mail, or go visit him if he lives close. If he’s passed on like mine, take a minute to tell your wife and/or your kids some stories about your Dad and get out the photo album.

In the end, all we have is the memories.

 

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Published in: on June 17, 2018 at 2:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Sunday Message

Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control. – 1 Timothy 2:11-15 (NKJV)

There are a few news articles about the upcoming Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in Dallas this week (June 12-13).

NBC News reported this:

The Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest evangelical denomination, is headed for a showdown over its treatment of women that could not only have far-reaching ramifications for the church but also influence the broader secular #MeToo movement.

At its annual meeting next week in Dallas, delegates called “messengers” will decide whether to approve a resolution acknowledging that, throughout the church’s history, male leaders and members of the church “wronged women, abused women, silenced women, objectified women.”

The Associated Press reported it this way:

A series of sexual misconduct cases has prompted the Southern Baptist Convention’s socially conservative, all-male leadership to seek forgiveness for the ill treatment of women and vow to combat it. Hoping for more than rhetoric, women and some male allies plan a protest rally in Dallas when the two-day meeting opens on Tuesday.

I attended a Southern Baptist church for several years. It’s where I received my foundation in religion. I was never taught to think of a woman as second class or that women did not have as much to offer to the church as a man.

On the other hand, I’ve known people who believe that their wives are supposed to surrender authority to the man in the relationships. I have always thought that was hogwash.

The verse above is one of the confusing parts of the Bible for some. There are many confusing parts in the Bible that we must pray about to understand.

This is 2018, not the 1950s.

I hope that next week the members of the SBC get down on their knees and asked forgiveness for the way they have treated women over the years in their convention. It’s time that women took positions of leadership in the SBC.

 

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Published in: on June 10, 2018 at 2:00 am  Comments Off on The Sunday Message  
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The Sunday Message

For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.Ephesians 5:5 (NIV)

You may have said it and you probably heard your parents or grandparents say something like, “the world is becoming a terrible place,” or that they, “wished for the good old days.”

Gallup polling recently released a poll about morals in the United States. They found this:

Forty-nine percent of Americans say the state of moral values in the U.S. is “poor” — the highest percentage in Gallup’s trend on this measure since its inception in 2002. Meanwhile, 37% of U.S. adults say moral values are “only fair,” and 14% say they are “excellent” or “good.”

I would imagine the 49% are looking down their noses at the other 51% and being judgmental.

Many (many) years ago I heard a pastor talk about the straight path to God. He said in our lifetime we would see many things that would take us off course in our path and walk with God. By taking us off the path to God he meant that we would accept these “sins” as just part of life and not think that it was a big deal.

Back then he mentioned drugs, violence and sex in television programs, killing the unborn, etc., as becoming accepted in society. Today he could add to the list many more things that we have accepted as the norm and that many of us do not believe is a big thing.

He closed by showing a chart and the few degrees that each acceptance of sin took us. He said that by the time our lives were over and years went by, we were far from walking that straight and narrow path to God. Sadly, he said we probably would not even realize it.

Maybe mom and dad and grandpa and grandma were right about the good old days…

Have a great week!

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Published in: on June 3, 2018 at 2:00 am  Comments Off on The Sunday Message  
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The Sunday Message

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.John 15:13 (NIV)

Please take a moment this weekend to say a prayer for those who died while serving in the military. Pray for their family and friends, too. We owe them so much.

Memorial Day isn’t just about honoring veterans, its honoring those who lost their lives. Veterans had the fortune of coming home. For us, that’s a reminder of when we come home we still have a responsibility to serve. It’s a continuation of service that honors our country and those who fell defending it. – Pete Hegseth

Have a great week!

 

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Published in: on May 27, 2018 at 2:00 am  Comments Off on The Sunday Message  
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The Sunday Message

In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. – Psalm 95:4-5 (NIV)

Many years ago a couple friends and I went “shed hunting” in the Sun River Wildlife Management Area here in Montana. We planned to get our fair share of elk antlers!

That year the opening of shed hunting started at midnight. We were about five minutes late, and the game warden told us we were about the 45th vehicle through the gates. There were lights all over the mountains. It was quite a scene.

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Published in: on May 20, 2018 at 2:00 am  Comments Off on The Sunday Message  
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The Sunday Message

Happy Mother’s Day!

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:25-30 (NIV)

All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. – Abraham Lincoln

Have a great week!

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Published in: on May 13, 2018 at 2:00 am  Comments Off on The Sunday Message  
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The Sunday Message

Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is. – Mahatma Gandhi

Last week I wrote about the sudden resignation of the Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy. It was reported that Speaker Paul Ryan asked him to resign.

Some people believe it was a prayer that cost Father Conroy his job.

Here is the prayer:

As legislation on taxes continues to be debated this week and next, may all Members be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success while others continue to struggle. May their [the Members’] efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.

An aide for Speaker Paul Ryan contends a prayer was not the reason for the dismissal, although the New York Times reports that Father Conroy said that the speaker told him, “Padre, you just got to stay out of politics.”

The good news is that Father Conroy is back!

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Published in: on May 6, 2018 at 2:00 am  Comments Off on The Sunday Message  
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The Sunday Message

When religion and politics ride in the same cart, the whirlwind follows. – Frank Herbert

A story that received a little attention in media caught my attention this week. It was about Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, the U.S. House Chaplain.

The New York Times reported it this way:

The chaplain of the House said on Thursday that he was blindsided when Speaker Paul D. Ryan asked him to resign two weeks ago, a request that he complied with but was never given a reason for.

The sudden resignation of the chaplain, the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, shocked members of both parties. He had served in the role since he was nominated in 2011 by Speaker John A. Boehner, a fellow Catholic. In an interview, Father Conroy was categorical: His departure was not voluntary.
“I was asked to resign, that is clear,” Father Conroy said. As for why, he added, “that is unclear.”

Some people believe it was a prayer that cost Father Conroy his job. A prayer!

Here is the prayer:

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Published in: on April 29, 2018 at 2:00 am  Comments Off on The Sunday Message  
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The Sunday Message

Psalm 23 (NASB)
A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

According to Dr. Lawrence Wilson, one of the most healing prayers that we have ever found is the Twenty-Third Psalm of David found in the Old Testament of the Bible. Repeated often, it can help turn around negative thinking and assist a person with fears, as can few others, in our experience.

Read more commentary from Dr. Wilson about the Twenty-Third Psalm by clicking HERE.

Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

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Published in: on April 22, 2018 at 2:00 am  Comments Off on The Sunday Message  
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The Sunday Message

If I couldn’t handle not being good at something, then how could I consider myself a successful person? – Gerald Hodges

Four years ago, Gerald Hodges made his high school swim team — perhaps the only kid to ever make a high school swim team without a clue how to swim.

Hodges is pretty good in other sports, but not swimming.

“On the Road” with Steve Hartman has the rest of Gerald’s story by clicking HERE.

Have a great week!

 

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Published in: on April 15, 2018 at 2:00 am  Comments Off on The Sunday Message  
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