Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Five lessons to learn from the Petraeus mess

1.       You cannot hide your actions or character forever:
Someone will see, someone will notice someone will tell – live like everything is public and there will be no shock when the private is revealed. (Take a look at Number 32:23)

2.       Don’t be too close to someone other than your spouse:
“embedded”  “access” “confidant”  and “mentor” can be danger signs in a cross-gender relationship.

3.       Betrayal of trust will always hurts the innocent
Spouse, children, parents, co-workers, friends…

4.       There is no place to go to get your reputation back
What is done can be forgiven but what is done is done.

5.       Temptation always pays with counterfeit dollars
No matter how right it seems, the results of wrong are always greater.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thanksgiving - bonus ideas

Five added blessings of practicing thanksgiving

1. Thanksgiving will keep you from becoming overly negative
2. Thanksgiving makes you aware of God’s presence
3. Thanksgiving creates a sense of adventure in life
4. Thanksgiving blocks a critical spirit
5. Thanksgiving makes you a lot easier to be around

Three Levels of Thanksgiving

1. Level #1 - Being thankful for the good
2. Level #2 – Being thankful that it wasn't worse
3. Level #3 – Being thankful for God’s use of the bad

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Eight ways to act like Jesus reigns

Eight Ways to ACT like Jesus Reigns

1. Don’t view apparent set-backs as permanent

2. Avoid using the word “never”

3. Be patient with other believers – God is not finished changing them

4. Don’t fret over evil doers – God will set all things right

5. Don’t worry about your possessions – they won’t last

6. Give Him credit for everything

7. Freely confess your faults

8. Remember to say “Thank You”

I shared this as part of my teaching on Sunday Nov. 4, 2012, to access material in this series go here

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Waiting Rooms

As I write this I am sitting in a waiting room. I am not fond of waiting rooms. It is a nice waiting room; a flat panel TV tuned to the Weather Channel just told me it is raining in Milwaukee. The magazine selection is ok, except the titles seem a little tilted towards women; I can't seem to find a Road and Track or Popular Mechanics in the stack. The medical personnel at this facility are friendly and efficient and the furniture is modern and comfortable. Free wifi would be nice but writing on my iPad lets me do something productive while I wait. But to be honest, I would rather be somewhere else. I guess the real reason I am not a fan of waiting rooms is I am trapped here. I am captive to a schedule other than my own. I have no control over when I can be set free from this antiseptic closet. I do like being in control. I like to control my schedule, my environment, my to-do list and a hundred other things.

As I sit here and reflect on waiting, I recall that God uses "waiting rooms" - Joseph spent years in slavery and jail before he became an official in Egypt. Moses waited 80 years before starting his mission of deliverance. David waited years from his anointing until he assumed the throne. Before He began His public ministry, Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness; Paul spent 3 years in Arabia and considerable time in prison. There must be some virtue in waiting.

Maybe the "waiting room" experiences of life are meant to help us break the addiction of control. Our God wants us to know that we need to recognize and allow His control in our lives. Our waiting is to be more than marking time- it should be a time to renew our confidence in God's ability and involvement in our lives. If we do, our expectations, frustrations and evaluations of life will slide into a more comfortable place. We can spend more time praising and less time complaining. More joy, less stress. More peace, less conflict.

As I close, I am still in the waiting room and don't know how long I will be here, but the above thoughts give me a little more perspective and peace and I like that. Being a little less in control is genuinely good for me. But I am going to find something on TV besides the Weather Channel.

Jesse Waggoner

Monday, April 23, 2012

Voice of the Valley 4-22-2012

It was great fun to be back in the studio with Ric Cochran to appear on the Voice of the Valley Radio Show.  I used this opportunity to promote our upcoming Health and Saftey Fair and to discuss the ministry at Mt. Calvary.  Here is a clip so you can listen.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Reenacting the Resurrection

Not far from the banks of the Little Kanawha River is a white church with the customary steeple and bell to be rung every Sunday morning.  It was in this place that so much of my journey of faith began.  It was also the place where I first learned of the significance of the resurrection of our Lord.

One year, for some reason, the church fathers decided to allow the youth group to be in charge of the Easter Sunday Sunrise service.  The Sunrise service was a long standing tradition.  To start the day, we would meet for a service extra early on Easter Sunday, then gather in the church basement for a full breakfast (including the best sausage I can ever recall eating).  This was all followed by Sunday School and preaching like any normal Sunday, except the boys were extra scrubbed and combed and the girls wore a higher percentage of new spring dresses.  We decided that a drama was in order and went to work with staging and costumes and special effects.  Never mind that the staging was a few fake palms, and the costumes consisted of bed sheets standing in for angel robes and flip flops for first century sandals.  We did go all out for special effects: we borrowed a stereo system and hid the speakers behind the piano and organ and at the precise moment we needed thunder roaring from the sky, someone was to drop the needle onto an LP record that contained the appropriate boom.

When on that Easter Sunday the drama was presented, the record player thunder sounded on cue, bath- robed women came to the tomb, a tinsel-topped angel announced Jesus was alive in front of a chicken wire painted paper covered tomb, and then the highlight -- a fake-bearded, very non-Jewish looking Jesus made a glorious post-death appearance.  We did stop the story short of the ascension as we could not figure out how to get Jesus to zoom off into the sky.

As I think back on that decades ago makeshift reenactment of the resurrection, I also note that there is a more mature aspect as well.  In a very real sense, the followers of Jesus continue to reenact the resurrection. The Apostle Paul put it this way: “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life”  (Romans 6:4).  A new life is a major theme that is woven through the Christian faith.   We were once lost but now are found.  We describe salvation as being born again.  We describe the transaction of trusting Christ as conversion.  We take off the old and put on the new.  Just as radical change took place in Christ at the resurrection in passing from death to life, we too are all about radical change.   Just as He was changed, so are we.  We can follow in the shadow of the resurrection.

The Scriptures teach that our eternal destiny is determined by our faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection, and so is our current life. If we have been made new in Him we need to live a new life.   We are to be dead to the old life of sin and selfishness and live a new life of bringing glory to Him.
This Easter, and every other day, we have some reenacting to do.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Words from the Graveside

Today, I stood beside an open grave. The casket had been placed over it awaiting the words I would say before it was lowered and covered and we all slowly walk away. Multiple sets of eyes look at me from the faces of grieving family and friends. Not one of them planned to be here until just a day or so ago, and it is really not a comfortable place for any of us to be. In the brief moment before the committal service begins, a brief flash of clarity forces it way into my thoughts.

 I have nothing to say.

 In spite of the fact that in multiple decades of pastoral ministry I have made this trip more times than I can recount and I have done my duty. However, I am starkly aware that my mind cannot manufacture words for such an occasion. For you see my destiny is locked in the vice-grip certainty that one day it will not be me speaking over the grave; it will be my turn to occupy one. I am not in this alone. All of us gathered in this windy hillside cemetery will one day make a final return trip to a place like this. No words of my own will work.

Even without glancing down there is the comfortable reassuring feel of the leather cover of the book I hold in my hand. It is from this source that some measure of sense about the giving and losing of life can be gained. In its pages there is a recipe for the tonic of hope; there is the healing serum that can heal a broken heart. What I have to offer a tear-filled widow, dazed children, and confused grandchildren must not come from one who is simply a participant in life but from the giver of life.

With a nod from the ever-professional funeral director, I begin. I glance once more into the eyes of those who are hurting the most, then mention the name and vital facts of the person whom we have come to honor and mourn. I quickly open the compact Bible in my hands and run my fingers down the page to find the place where Jesus spoke as He approached the burial site of His friend Lazarus. I sense relief that what can be said and needs to be said has been granting comfort and hope for twenty centuries. I merely provide the vocal apparatus to give sound to the message from the One who conquered death. One who once occupied a grave and evacuated one as well. One who through His sacrifice opened the way to a permanent home on the other side. I read…

  "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26)

 A few more words are spoken, a prayer is offered and the service is done. I close my Bible, I greet the family a final time, push my reading glasses into my suit pocket, walk among the previously filled graves and the ones yet to be used. I whisper a prayer of thanksgiving that because of Him, some day when someone stands beside my grave, I will live.