Packing Electrons

This morning early I began my pre-trip preparations. My wife, her sister and I are taking our grandson Nicky and granddaughter Samantha to Branson. It’s the kind of trip Rose and I have planned for years. It may be our only best shot of doing it. Nicky’s thirteen. Vacations with grand parents may not be high on his bucket list much longer. Sammy’s not far behind.

Packing emphasized something I knew but perhaps didn’t fully realize. The most important items that I dare not forget are not my underwear, socks or even my medication. The most important things to never forget are my electronics. I like to say “electrons” to show off my Navy electronics training. I’ll bring my iPhone, my iPad and my MacBook Pro. (You would think I could get some payback from Apple for this blog.) The kids will likely forget underwear and toothbrushes. Phones will not be forgotten. My wife will claim to be electron free, but the thought of her without her iPad is too frightening for me to consider. After 45 years of marriage there aren’t that many conversations we haven’t had. A quiet evening at home now includes just us (and our electrons). We do share the good posts, funny pictures and bizarre news items.

Don’t scoff at us too much. Look around. It’s not just us. Take a look in the mirror or at your latest “selfie.” Plus you will “benefit” from the presence of our electrons on this trip. We will fill Facebook with pics of us have a nauseatingly good time. Every time we hit a rest stop, a pit stop, or a night stop, we will post our location and state of relaxation.

I always seem to blog more consistently when on vacation. We know you won’t want to miss a single exciting post. Here are just some of the posts I’m planning:

“The Arkansas Louisiana Border – Why are there rednecks on both sides?”

“Hot Springs – How Hot Are These Springs?”

“Branson – Does anyone visiting here not belong to AARP?”

“Eating on Vacation – I thought we were going to cook in the Condo?”

“Home – Can’t get there fast enough”?

Are you glad we are getting a much-needed vacation? Aren’t you thrilled we won’t forget our electrons?

Be sure to stay on your electrons so you don’t miss a single, exciting episode. Life in 2015. Ain’t it great?

Walmart People

I was sitting in the car watching people arrive and leave the Wal-Mart. I am not a Wal-Mart people watcher by nature or trade. My wife was in the store and I was waiting for her.

I have to admit there were some pretty strange sights moving in and out of the big box store. Some seemed in a hurry just to get in and out. Others acted as if they were on the adventure of a life time; maybe they were.

I know it’s been popular to make jokes about Wal-Mart People and to post not very faltering pictures of them on the internet. I admit that I was tempted to snap a few pics of the folks I saw flowing in and out. But I saw some special things. Young couples obviously in love. Older couples making a date out of a trip to Wal-Mart. Young women with baskets piled high and a worried look that the food and supplies budget for the month might be busted.

Some folks came in and left very alone. Taking their time, making the trip take up as much of their lonely day as possible.

Wal-Mart people can be amusing and funny and maybe even understandable objects of ridicule. They are all people. They are so much like “us” that it scares us. We don’t want to be people who “have” to shop at Wal-Mart or who go for a social outing or who just look different from the people we see every day on TV.

I got news for you friend, we are all Wal-Mart people struggling to make sense of a world that seems designed for someone else. Looking for that something that will make it all make come together. Some will find the only answer, Jesus. That’s the difference between the Wal-Mart people who smile and greet you with “Have a blessed day” and the rest, who hope they really aren’t Wal-Mart people at all, but who know, deep inside, that they really are.

 

 

A Lamp onto My Feet – Before I trip

Are you sometimes so busy with things to do that  you do nothing? I get like that. My head starts swimming. I feel my heart start beating hard. I’ll start to go one way, then stop and turn around. I find myself in a room and don’t remember why I’m there. I know I have much to do. I have to just keep on moving, and thinking, and worrying and panicking. . . and accomplishing nothing.

I’m starting to learn that if I’ll turn to the Lord in times like these, He will do one of two things, sometimes both.

1. He’ll send an angel. I’m reminded of Megan Reaux’s post on Facebook. With just hours to go before the flight back to Africa and ministry, that “so busy” feeling has to be taking over. God sent her an angel to help. I was concerned about getting my Covenant Spotlight mags out this weekend with so much going on. God sent an angel or two to help. Now, I just have Milton and Maurice to deal with. “Milton and Maurice” sounds like a singing duo.

2. He’ll guide your path.  Just ask. If He doesn’t send help, He may just tell you what to do next. Isn’t that the problem? You have so much to do that  you can’t prioritize. You can’t decide what to do next.

I’m not talking here about being guided on the “great” path of life. I’m talking about the simple, I’m about to panic, what do I do next, path. I’ve found if I ask and am quiet just for a second; He’ll show me what to do. He’ll tell me. “Send that email” instead of “read that letter.” He’ll say, “stop and watch the news” instead of “run off to the store.”

This morning that too much to do feeling started to settle in.  He told me not to bother with what I thought was most urgent. He’s got that. He told me to sit down at my computer in the office upstairs. When I did I noticed a sticky note, that was very important and I had completely forgotten. I took care of that. Disaster averted.

His path, not just for “your life” but for your life right now is so much better than the path we struggle to figure out on our own everyday. Why fight it? There are angels out there to help and lights to guide us. Just ask.

 

Stressed? Good for you.

I just finished taking an “are you stressed?” survey. It consisted of checking off a list of possible stressors that in your life. The stressor that I was focused on isn’t even on the list. I looked for a blank to “write in” my favorite but could find no place to do that. Computers are so narrow-minded.

Even without my focused on major stressor, I think I “failed” the test.  “Your score means a significant amount of life change and a significant susceptibility (about 80% probability) to stress-related illness.” I’m feeling sick already.

Sleep deprivation is my favorite stress illness.

I really hadn’t thought about many of the stressors on the list that I’m facing: retirement, change in work situation, change in economic situation, new family member (come on great grand son), change, change change. I’m having a lot of it. In fact, most of it is good. My office is better organized than ever. I appreciate the beautiful property we live on more than ever.  I have finally cancelled all the cable channels I never watch. I have admitted that my wife has been right all along and TIVO is the only way to watch television. I am eating like I’m supposed to. My wife and I are enjoying life to a new degree. I’m feeling support from family. I’m looking forward to a life-long dream of taking the grand kids to Branson. I have new long hoped for opportunities for ministry.

So why am I a candidate for “stress-related illness.”

It’s all about change. I’m learning that God sends or allows the stressors in our lives to nudge us in new and exciting directions. They force us to look at where we are and where we are going and to stop looking at and living in the past. They involve new stages in life which we have looked at as endings instead of the blessed beginnings that they are.

If you are feeling stressed, it means God is trying to make you uncomfortable with where you are and motivated to go where you need to be. Once you id the real sources of stress, the lies of Satan are vanquished, and the promises of God renewed, life doesn’t just go on, it goes up.

If you’re stressed, thank God. You are really blessed.

The Spirit and The Word

My granddaughter and her husband are getting baptized on Sunday. You better believe I will be there. I’ll go for many reasons.

When I was “baptized” as a child, it was with family and friends gathered. I, of course, don’t remember that. I had little to do with the decision to have it done. The ceremony was an expression of the hopes and desires of my family and that’s a good thing

I was baptized again nearly 60 years later. It was about family again. This time I was baptized and turned around and baptized my grandson at the same time and in the same waters. I remember that one. It’s a day I will never forget. I had been following Jesus for many years but it didn’t seem right that I had never been baptized because I wanted to do it.  Some of us thought that little Nicky was “too young” but it was his decision and the years since have proved that it was the right one. He’s proving to be a true follower of Christ.

I’ll be there Sunday because we all want our children and their children to know Jesus like we do. We just don’t know how to accomplish that. We pray. We instruct. We pester. We worry. We wonder if we are making a difference. I’m learning that it takes two things for our hopes and dreams for the young to become true: the Spirit and the Word. All we can do is expose those we love, young or not so young, to the Spirit of God and His word, not just his written word but the living expression of his word, Jesus. It’s up to the Spirit to do the rest.

I am so exited for the two being baptized. They are about to have a child. They are young in their marriage and they are teaming up with Jesus to get them through. Somebody must have done something right.

Thank you Jesus for the two of them and what you will do through them. I can’t wait to see.

 

 

Church Alive in Acadiana

It’s been two weeks since I posted on this blog. Okay, I heard you, the guy in the back calling out, “Praise the Lord.” I agree. It’s been a great two weeks.

I had a chance to appear on a panel at Hope Alive’s Youth Group meeting last Wednesday night. We talked about the challenges youth have in finding summer jobs. It was a great experience for me and, I hope, helpful to all gathered.

My blog isn’t the only thing I have let slip. I have a “route” on which I distribute Covenant Spotlight magazines, the first of each month. I normally get it all done in one, or the most two days. I find myself on the 19th of the month with a handful still undelivered. The deliveries I have made have been fantastic. Sunday morning I decided to hit the churches on my list on my way to my home church. Normally I deliver on weekdays to empty buildings. Sunday morning I got to drop by at least a half-dozen churches. In most the worship team was preparing for the service. I witnessed a wide variety of music, environments, and people.

There was sameness to the sweet spirit of Sunday going to church time.

It’s popular to be down on the modern church. Sure there are problems, but I think the problems may be exaggerated by our limited perspective. In a matter of days I have seen youth on fire for God in what I remembered as a supermarket, Hope Alive. I saw elderly couples help each other out of cars and into Baptist churches that have blessed our communities for decades. I saw worship prep that looked like a rock concert was about to begin and preps that reminded me of the fifties.

The church is a motley crew. God loves each one. Should we do any less. Do yourself a favor. Visit a church that doesn’t seem like you. Go where the folks are younger or older than you. Try worshipping with believers with darker or lighter skin. It’s like a vacation. You will get a new perspective. You might be glad to get back home or you might decide it’s time to expand your horizons. The church is alive and well in Acadiana. Why not check it out?

Agree with this, or better yet disagree? I love to speak to small groups about the things I post. I can talk to your entire church or small group, your breakfast or supper club (do we still have those?).  No charge of course, except the one I get out of doing it. However, if food is involved I will stay later. Email me, I dare you.

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NIck's been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.

Nick’s been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily. nicksigur.com

 

The Old Man in the Baseball Cap

Don’t those old folks who drive around town at 2o miles under the speed limit and seem to be driving in slow motion really irritate  you. I have blown my horn at them. I have driven around them and given them the “You don’t own the road look.” It’s sometimes an old guy by himself. My wife and I noticed he always seems to be wearing a baseball cap. Often it seems to be some old woman who probably is on her way to Wal-Mart for no good reason Whether it’s a man or woman driving,  they have both hands on the wheel and eyes cemented on the road ahead. Sometimes its a couple. Does it really take two of them to drive? I have summarized these types as the “old man in the baseball cap.”

Yesterday while trying to deal with my stress filled day, some jerk blew his horn at me. It was all I could not to shoot him “the bird.” Later some guy pulled along side of me and berated me for several seconds before speeding down the road. I imagined following him, pulling him out of his car and giving him the spanking his mother failed to do. That three hundred pound weight lifter is lucky I’m the patient man who I am.

It was about that time that I looked in the rearview mirror and saw the man in the baseball cap and it was me. I have a backseat full of hats which I occasionally wear. Where did the time go? I have to drive carefully and pay attention to what I’m doing to do the stuff I need to do. I love it when my wife is with me. She reminds me when I miss a turn or start to go the longest way possible to our destination. Maybe I should mention I love driving with her. Surely, she already knows that.  I pray it’s a long time before one of us is driving alone and snarling traffic.

I’m now the old man in the baseball cap and yes, you young smart ass, I do own the road. Just like I did when I was your age. And just so you know it, I’m not going to stop my feeble efforts to change my world either. It may  take me a little longer to do, but I’ve got a lot more time than you might think. I have a buddy who still is crazy enough to believe I can do greater things than He did. It doesn’t matter that you don’t seem to believe it. I do and I’ve got some grandkids who deserve a world less jerk populated.

You big jerk. When’s the last time you had an accident? I’ll compare driving records any time.

Agree with this, or better yet disagree? I love to speak to small groups about the things I post. I can talk to your entire church or small group, your breakfast or supper club (do we still have those?)  . No charge of course, except the one I get out of doing it. However, if food is involved I will stay later. Email me, I dare you.

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NIck's been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.

Nick’s been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily. nicksigur.com

Sue Didn’t Call

 

Sue hasn’t call and there will be hell to pay.

There is no truth in Satan. It’s his nature. As Christians, we formerly had that nature, now we have the nature of Christ and all the truth that comes with it. But elements of untruth just seem to hang around and Satan clings to them to make, and keep, us useless. He drags untruth into every day life.

If your friend Sue usually calls every day and on Tuesday doesn’t call, the truth is a call was not made. That’s the only truth. It doesn’t mean Sue no longer loves you or that she has died in an accident. It doesn’t mean that she’s angry about something you said to her. It doesn’t mean she is no longer your friend. It doesn’t mean she is telling everyone what an awful person you are and that you are now friendless. It doesn’t mean that she never was your friend. It doesn’t mean, that you are the kind of person who doesn’t have friends because you are so worthless. The only truth is Sue didn’t call.

All over a phone call that never happened. Once you’re convinced that there is now a friendship crisis; the counterattack and planning session begins. Should you call Sue? Should you text her? Maybe you should work through your mutual friend Mary. You should probably call Mary and tell her how Sue has betrayed your friendship. Maybe Mary and you can have Sue murdered.

Maybe  you won’t kill her, like she deserves. After all, Sue must be having an affair. That’s why she hasn’t called. Well,  she will never be happy. Who this other person in her life? At church she was talking with Joe. Gotta be him.  Good grief, Joe’s only been a widower for a year. You would think Sue would have better taste. Of course, after all these years you now know what kind of person Sue is. Just the type that would have an affair. You are not even that sad that they (Sue and Joe) are both going to burn in hell.

When Sue calls and says the battery died on her phone and asks if you’ve had a nice day, you lie. You know you have to make amends. You either try to explain to Sue why you are insane or you fall into a pit of despair knowing what a worthless friend you are and how you don’t deserve to have a friend like Sue. You plan how you should end the friendship.

 Let’s go out there and cling to the truth. 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8

Let’s review the truth, Sue didn’t call. When Jesus said the truth would set us free, He meant theological truths and the little truths. If I could just filter out all that isn’t truth. If I could dump out the lies that Satan didn’t have to tell because I just made them up myself.

Agree with this, or better yet disagree? I love to speak to small groups about the things I post. I can talk to your entire church or small group, your breakfast or supper club (do we still have those?). No charge of course, except the one I get out of doing it. However, if there’s food, I will stay later. Email me, I dare you.

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NIck's been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.

Nick’s been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily. nicksigur.com