Are You Positive?

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Dear Readers:

I’ve got a PLAN and I hope you will join me.  See if you can agree with at least some of the sentiments in the next paragraph?

Life on Planet Earth can be difficult and challenging much of the time.  Many times, unexpectedly, disappointment creeps into our lives – along with regret, guilt, physical pain, emotional pain, disease, financial hardships, broken relationships, road rage and yes, even death.  These things (and many more) just show up uninvited and they tend to wreak havoc with us.  Can you agree with at least some of this?

I’ve got GREAT news!  We are in charge of our emotions.  The only way negativity can creep into our consciousness is if we ALLOW it to come in.  The problem is I think we somehow find comfort in our suffering.  We like to talk about it, we like to post about it on social media, we like to blog about it, we allow it to make us angry and all that working together can bring a big cloud of negativity over our head.  Ladies and Gentlemen:  This MUST not be!  Let’s not hold onto to all that (very real) pain and suffering any more!

Am I mad, you might ask?  Well not at the moment but give me a little time and I probably will be.  Am I going off the rails on the crazy train of denial?  No.  Well kinda.  Sort of.  All this difficulty and all these challenges are very REAL and I certainly am NOT in denial about that.  But why can’t we take the bull by the horn, why can’t we tell this hefty hippo to take a hike, why can’t we be more like Baloo?  Baloo the Bear.  From the Jungle Book – the Disney cartoon from waaay back in 1967 before most of you were born.  My favorite animated Disney movie.

If you have never watched The Jungle Book – the version I mentioned above – stop reading NOW and go find it and give it a watch!  Some of the characters are burdened by life in the jungle – and then Baloo the Bear sets them straight with a song and dance and more rhythm than I could possibly muster in a lifetime.  Here are just a small portion of the lyrics:

You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium…

From Accentuate The Positive, lyrics by Johnny Mercer

Got problems at home, problems at work, problems at church?  Is life kicking you in the butt and the weight of it all is weighing HEAVY?  Deal with it and then let it go!  Go watch Baloo sing this fun song and then sing along with him.   And then go spread your joy to the maximum.  Give your smiles away.

And the world will be a BETTER place.  For you and me.  I’m positive!

With a big ‘ole SMILE on my ugly face,

Terry 🙂

ps:  Count it ALL joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.  James 1:2

The Biggest Loser

Courage 

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. – Matthew 16:24-25

I’ve read two TRUE stories recently – allow me to paraphrase them for you:

First Story:  A missionary decided to surrender all to the Lord and go minister to some tribes in South America along with his family.  He had hopes of making a big impact for the Kingdom there.  But early on the missionary died. Years later his son came face to face with his father’s killer and had his spear just inches from the killer’s heart.  But instead of killing him, the son forgave his father’s killer.  The tribesman later gave his heart to Christ.  A life lost for his Lord, forgiveness granted,  a heart gained for the Kingdom.

Second Story:  A pastor in Charlotte NC was in court just yesterday.  He listened to the accused plead guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter for the death of the pastor’s two sons in a tragic car accident.  The accused was distracted and under the influence and caused the wreck that killed the pastor’s young son and causing the pastor’s wife to prematurely deliver their unborn son who did not survive.  In court the pastor said these words…”we know it was not your intention for them to die.  That’s important.  Mistakes were made. I sincerely forgive you.  Ultimately we would pray we see you in heaven.  We want you there.  Our sons would want you there.”  Two lives lost, forgiveness granted….rest of story to come.

Folks I needed to read these stories.  I needed to hear how other disciples have been the biggest loser while at the same time making huge gains for God’s Kingdom.  I needed to hear how these people surrendered all – like Jesus did.  And now I need to go wipe the tears from my eyes.

I truly do not know what else to say at this point but this:

Challenge:  Ponder on these stories and allow them to move you to a place of deeper surrender.

If given the circumstances and the opportunity, would I have the COURAGE to forgive like the folks in these two stories?

Would you?

Terry

All to Jesus I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

I surrender All.

–from I Surrender All, by J.W. VanDeventer, 1896

Family Fun

This past weekend part of my family went up to the Grandfather Mountain / Linville Falls area to camp, to hike, to play, to eat and to have some amazing FUN.  My daughter Alicia, my son Geoffrey and I went up on Saturday and came back about 28 hours later.  We had so much FUN that I wanted to share some of it with you – in no particular order:

  1. Camping for 1 night doesn’t make much sense unless that’s all the collective time that you have.  By the time you pack all the gear, unpack it, set it up, etc – it’s just as easy to stay an extra night but we couldn’t.
  2. Camping at Linville Falls Campground was beautiful and serene and it had everything we needed.
  3. We hiked at the Falls, we hiked 2 places on and around Grandfather and while doing so we took a ton of pictures – I have shared just a few of them with you below.
  4. I love my family.  Just being with them away from the responsibilities of home was such a pleasure and a treasure.
  5. We made up our own game of disc golf playing with Frisbees and throwing them through the upright fire rings in the campground – we had a blast with this.
  6. We cooked and ate some delicious meals.  Food just tastes better after a good hike and while eating it in the outdoors.
  7. Did I say I love my family?
  8. Alicia and Geoffrey were talking Sunday morning about sounds they heard in the night – and I didn’t hear any of them.  I think I passed out as soon as my tired head hit the pillow!  I certainly needed the beauty sleep! 🙂
  9. OK, I realize I am 58 years old but Selfies are just so much fun.  Most of them are with tongue out, weird poses, funny looks on our faces, etc.  #MemoryMaking
  10. Planning for a campout with the fam – and then reliving it afterwards by sharing pictures – well that is almost as good as the actual thing.  Almost.

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Picture Number 1 and the most important – Me, Alicia and Geoffrey in one of our Selfies with a crazy view behind us.  Faces pressed together.  I love these people.

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Picture Number 2 – me doing a balancing act on the wooden guardrail on the Blue Ridge Parkway with Grandfather Mtn in the background.  It was kinda like Karate Kid meets John Travolta!

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Picture Number 3 – this is what I do – I stand on my head most everywhere I go.  On a BIG rock on the side of Grandfather Mountain…while wearing a Darth Vader Casual Friday shirt that Alicia got me for Father’s Day a couple years ago.

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Picture Number 4 – Last but NOT Least – me doing my best Superman pose while hanging off the side of Grandfather Mtn.  The scary part was when I actually looked down and saw how high I was – I panicked and a wave of warm fear rushed over my body and I scooted back to safety. 🙂

If you have never been to Grandfather Mountain and Linville Falls NC – then what are you waiting on – GO!  Take your family along and enjoy the views and the selfies with each other.  You are guaranteed to make memories that you will cherish for the rest of your lifetime.  If you don’t like to camp – go anyway and you will be able to find lodging close by.  Life is just too short to miss out on some of it’s simple pleasures.  Until next time….

Terry

Ooooh Child!

Someday Things Are Gonna Get Brighter!
Someday Things Are Gonna Get Brighter!

This morning I got in the car and the CD in the player immediately began belting out this tune:

Ooh-oo Child, Things are gonna get easier
Ooh-oo Child, Things are gonna get brighter!
Some Day, We will walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
Some Day, When the world is much brighter.
  Ooh Child, by The Five Stairsteps

These lyrics are so simple – I guess that’s why this simple mind likes them – but they are uplifting and inspirational as well.  I am not sure exactly what The Five Stairsteps had in mind when they recorded these lyrics, but for me they have ETERNAL significance.  I frequently write about the challenges and trials of life on Planet Earth because I often find myself in one of them.  I’m guessing you have a few of them yourselves.  But for a follower of Jesus Christ things ARE gonna get easier and brighter, aren’t they!  We have this to look forward to:

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. – Revelation 21:23

John is describing the vision of heaven that he had been given.  Go read Revelation 21 [go ahead now – I will wait] and allow the imagery and the brightness and the light and the reality of YOUR future inheritance to brighten your soul.  Some Day..things are gonna get easier!  Yes there will be easy days on planet Earth, but our days in eternity will be easier and brighter as we walk in the rays of a Beautiful Son.

So if you are like me your day today [Wed Aug 26, 2015] will have challenges and trials and pain and sorrow.  Yes we Christians are not shielded from those things.  But we have HOPE.  Hope is a good thing – maybe the Best of things.  We get to read John’s vision of our future inheritance and know that our Hope is the confident expectation that someday things will be brighter because we will be in face to face fellowship with our Creator and our Savior – and that’s what we were made for.

I can hardly wait folks!  But until then I will be smiling because in my heart (and maybe even out loud) I will be singing:

Some Day!  Things are Gonna Get Easier….Some Day!  Things are Gonna Get Brighter!

Come join the chorus and sing it with me!

With love,

Terry

Comfortably Numb

Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb
Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb
  • Editor’s Note:  Terry wrote this over 5 years ago but had failed to post it to his blog.  He heard the Pink Floyd song “Comfortably Numb” this morning and was reminded of this.  Please give a read to some vintage #RandomWordsByTerry.
  • When I was a child
    I caught a fleeting glimpse
    Out of the corner of my eye.
    I turned to look but it was gone
    I cannot put my finger on it now
    The child is grown,
    The dream is gone.
    but I have become comfortably numb
  • ——–from Comfortably Numb, by Pink Floyd
  • This past Thursday all five of us were in the car coming back from Thanksgiving in S.C.  I was driving and my son Greg was riding shotgun.  Greg made a quick playlist on his ipod of music that he thought I would enjoy and started it off.  It was quite a list which included Peter Frampton, White Stripes, Matchbox 20, John Cougar Mellencamp, Pink Floyd and many others.  He and I had had a conversation about Contemporary Christian music – Greg said he liked the message but that you could always tell a Christian song by the sound of the singers voice, by the singer’s mood as reflected in his voice.  Well that generated some conversation back and forth and somewhere in there Greg said “you should look for Christian themes in all of the music that you listen to, Dad!”  Well, I never would have thought to do that!!!
  • The Pink Floyd song he chose was “Comfortably Numb” – a song that I haven’t heard in awhile, but it has been on my mind for some reason.  I’ve included some of the lyrics above.  Who knows what Roger Waters and David Gilmour had in mind when they penned these lyrics back in the 1970’s.  I’ve read some commentary that says that Roger Waters had a bad fever as a kid and took some medicine that helped him through it – the medicine made him “comfortably numb” to the point that he didn’t notice the fever too much.  There are times when I sit in “my chair”, TV tuned to Sunday afternoon football, somewhere between consciousness and sleep and I have to say that when I achieve that state of “comfortably numb” that I like it!  It’s better than sleep somehow because I am aware of my family around me, I am aware of the game and I am aware of the deep relaxation I am feeling at the moment.
  • In our Christian journey, I dare say that too many of us (myself included) have achieved a state of “comfortably numb“.  We go to church, we sit in the pews, we hear the message, we go to the covered dish supper, we sing in the choir – heck we even pray every once in a while and crack open the Holy Bible.  But if God is calling us to action, we must not be hearing it.  If the Holy Spirit is ringing our doorbell, we do not rise out of our chair to answer.  We are aware of all the Christian busyness going on around us and we participate in it, but we are not transformed by it.  We are not moved with passion to action.
  • Ephesians 4:11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
  • Guys I believe as Christians we are all called.  As the above verse states, some are called to preach, some to teach, some to serve in other ways.  All Christians are called.  I am afraid that too many of us have become comfortably numb to the point that either we don’t hear the call of God or we don’t care.  I can’t imagine that we are hearing the voice of God calling us to action, and that we don’t care.  I CAN’T IMAGINE that!  So I have to assume that we are not hearing God’s call.  We sit there in those comfortable pews and we have achieved a state of numbness – yes, we go through the motions of church and we stop right there.  How sad!  We are numbed by TV, politics, business, busyness, gadgets, overcommitment, fatigue.  We are numbed to the point that we actually don’t hear God’s call on our life.  Brothers, we cannot allow this to go on any longer!
  • Call To Action:  Get out of that chair, out of that pew, turn off the TV, forget politics and business and gadgets.  All of those idols that we have placed ahead of our Creator – let’s turn them off, put them on the back burner.  Let’s bring Almighty God into focus.  Let’s draw upon strength from the Holy Spirit.  Let’s ponder on the passion of Jesus Christ.  Let’s be moved to evangelize, to preach, to teach, to tithe, to unite, to love.  Guys, let’s shake off that numbness and score a touchdown for our savior.  Let’s go out this morning and make a difference.  Will you join me?
  • Guys, I am get so excited when I think how we can make a difference for our Lord.  I get pumped up when I think how we can make a stand for Jesus.  Imagine us, arm in arm, making a bold statement for our Creator.  In unity, with passion let’s go out into this awesome world and proclaim the Gospel.  Let us evangelize, let us teach, let us love – all in the name of Almighty God.  Amen!

ps:  sorry for the bullet “dots” above – formatting issues! 😦

State of Emergency!

Thursday, March 5, 2015…6:00am.  In my car heading out of Hickory for Statesville.  Pull into the parking lot at JRs in Statesville and a few moments later a black CR-v driven by my daughter pulls up.  She and I combine forces for our Assault on West Virginia – to conquer the ski slopes at Winterplace!

Conditions in Statesville – cloudy, dry and 65 degrees.

Conditions in Hillsville, Va about 1 hour later – snow and sleet – 33 degrees.

Conditions in Bluefield WV about 1 hour later – ice, snow, slippery roads – 26 degrees.

After we exited the last tunnel, this is what we saw:

Landstar
A CRAZY start to a CRAZY day of skiing!

At the ski rental place the man who helped me get fitted for skis and boots told us that the state of WV was in a State of Emergency.  He said the school systems in EVERY county in the state were shut down due to the weather.  We hustled to the slopes, put on our cold weather stuff, took care of business and hit the chair lift for our first run.  Alicia and I quickly realized we were going to need goggles because the snow was falling hard and it actually hurt hitting our faces as we flew down the slopes.

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On the lift with new goggles!

We quickly went through the various colors designating the difficulty of the slopes – We had our fun with green circle slopes – the easiest but it was still a good long run.  Next we went to the blue square slopes – tighter, a bit steeper, partly trails…the woods run proved to be Alicia’s favorite.  The black diamond slope looked intimidating…and inviting.  I eventually found myself on Nosedive (Black Diamond) and while the beginning part of the slope was very steep – the whole thing was quite manageable as long as I skied under control, which I did most of the time.  Alicia joined me there for a run or two and then we branched out all over the various terrain at Winterplace.  Meanwhile the snow continued to fall along with the temps and by 3pm it was 18 degrees and we called it a day.  A crazy day.  A FUN day for this old man and his daughter.

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About to take on NoseDive!

My daughter treated her dad to a FUN day of skiing for his 58th birthday!  The road conditions were challenging, and even though I told my daughter to “slow down” and “be careful” at least 100 times – she got us there and back safely.  I hate to invoke an over quoted commercial but this day with my daughter was PRICELESS.  The skiing was secondary, although a ton of fun.  With this fun way to celebrate my day of birth – I can hardly wait to be 59!

I have said before in this blog and also in front of hundreds of people these words:  “I am the most BLESSED man I know!”  That is even more true today.  For some reason Almighty God sees me and all my messiness, my disobedience, my impurities – and he looks past all that and sees my heart…and then he touches it and fills it with warmth and life.

Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow – Psalms 51:7

My day with my daughter on a CRAZY adventure in a State of Emergency gave me what I needed – a snow-filled day of cleansing and renewal.  Thank you God for providing me what I needed.  Thank you Jesus for washing me as white as snow.

Thank you Alicia for a day I could spend with the best daughter a man could ask for.

I love you all.

Terry

The Theory of Relativity

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“Every thing is related to every thing else.”  — Charles Brewer, PhD.

Way back when I was a rising senior in college I had a summer intern job that ended up in a “real” job once I graduated.  At that firm there was a typist there whose name I don’t remember; but I will never forget her.  She was chatty – you couldn’t walk by her workplace without getting some words from her.  She was a good typist – she seemed to me to get her job done with speed and accuracy.  But she was a downer – always complaining about things in the office, always saying how difficult people were and how unhappy she was with her workplace.  I ended up trying my best to avoid her because her attitude was like a cancer to the workplace – it tended to bring us all down.

That was 35 years ago folks – dang I must be getting on in years.  Just yesterday David mentioned the above quote in our small group and it got me to thinking about how simple those words are but how true they are.  Our words, our actions, our mood, our energy level – they all have an effect on those around us and they are all related in some way.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing”  – 1 Thessalonians 5:10

As citizens on Planet Earth we all have something in common – human beings on a planet orbiting the sun.  As disciples of Jesus Christ we all have something in common – the bond of Christian fellowship, grace, forgiveness…salvation.  Today we all will have a chance to encounter a fellow human being on this lonely planet.  How will our attitude and our actions and our words affect those other human beings?  Will we bring them down only to have them go on to their next encounter and pay it forward?  Or will be encourage, build up, smile, laugh and thereby fulfill the law of Christ to love our neighbors?  Every thing is related to every thing else.

Folks – think for a minute about the POWER we have.  As forgiven, saved followers of Jesus we have been infused with LOVE, JOY, HOPE and PEACE.  You have been infused with these things, right?  These are amazing gifts that we have been given and I think it would be wrong for us to hold those things inside ourselves.  Today let us go out into this world with this new found understanding of the Theory of Relativity – the knowledge that we and our actions are all related to everything else on this planet.  Let us relate to others today with pure LOVE and thereby cause a ripple effect through the universe.

Challenge:  Folks – forget Quantum Mechanics for awhile.  Relatively speaking – it doesn’t matter much for a Believer.  Today let us ascribe to the reality that we are interconnected and that our actions and words can cause a positive change in another soul.  Let us go spread some love, joy, hope and peace.  I think this would make Jesus smile.

Amen!

Terry

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. – Psalm 19:15

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