FACEBOOK, I’m Out of Here!!!

7651-facebook-like-facebookI have asked, pleaded on several occasions through this blog and on FaceBook for folks to stop using it as a forum to attack one another, speak ill of anyone, and stop passing on false and demeaning statements about those running for President of the United States.

To some degree it has subsided… that is until the conventions started. They seemed to bring out the worst in us and we tended to express our lesser selves. Even my relatives and friends continue to make all sorts of comments we should keep to ourselves.

FaceBook seems to encourage us to be gossips, people who will and do say just about anything we want… without regard to its correctness or the audience that could possibly read this material.

It seems that we want to continue in our downward FaceBook spiral. I simply cannot be involved in this any longer. It brings out the worst in me and that is not the me I have been called to be. Therefore, I am ending my FaceBook adventure. Shirley will continue to post thousands of pictures of cats, puppies and recipes each day. I will continue to post my blog through FaceBook… but that is it.

FaceBook… I am out of here!!!!

Grace and Peace

Steve

In You I Saw Jesus

love_one_another_We received a call tonight from our next door neighbor informing us of the death of the man who turned our back porch into a nice room. Now I really don’t want to put it that way because that makes him sound like just a worker, a carpenter, a builder of things. And he is much more than that to us.

You see Mark Purvis not only refinished our back porch, he also became our friend. He was a simple guy, no pretense… what you see is what you get. Just an average guy on the outside. He would throw up his hand if he saw you, stop and talk with you, ask how you were doing. He was mostly always smiling and laughing. His dad, who helped him on his jobs, was usually somewhere near, either waiting in the car or out helping.

Average Joe on the outside, but Mark really shined on the inside. He and his girlfriend, Dawn, were always helping people. Our next door neighbor, Faye, had shoulder surgery and they were always over there helping out… even mowed her yard and the field behind her house on one hot July day. He would regularly come by on a Sunday afternoon and take her garbage to the curb. They didn’t stop there… they would take our garbage to the curb as well. He knew the old wimpy preacher couldn’t do it, so he was helping Shirley out with this kind gesture.

Last winter during a snow storm we heard some noise outside and there was Mark and Dawn shoveling our walkway just a smiling away. I couldn’t believe it. I can’t remember the last time someone did that for us. Needless to say, they won us over again and our friendship grew. We would pick on each other about Duke, UNC and Indiana (Dawn’s school). She even drove over when we beat IU during the NCAA Tournament this year – just to rib us a little, and to apologize for the things she was saying and thinking about Duke. This spring she brought us back from Indiana a IU refrigerator magnet… which we proudly display.

I would be willing to bet you that there were many on their list to help. That was just part of their identity… helpers, good Samaritans reaching out that healing and helping hand. For one… we really did appreciate their help, but even more we appreciated them for their big old loving hearts.

We will miss you Mark. Thanks for being such a friend… ‘cause in you I saw Jesus.

Please say a little prayer for this family and thank God there are people like them in this world… helping to make it a better place by showing us a little of Jesus from time to time.


Hope you will take a look at my books online at Barnes & Noble

Problem or Solution

Hillary_Clinton_vs._Donald_Trump_-_CaricaturesIt is as if people are not listening to the cries of those dying in our streets, being blown apart by terrorist in France, or so sure they are right and the government wrong that they stage a coup – trying to bring down the government. At home the latest hate movement is killing the police. Overseas it is random killing of people of all ages, even children, just because of where they may live or happen to be at that moment.

Today after church we find out that a 29 year old man from Kansas City, Mo. traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to kill police officers. I guess this was his birthday gift to himself – be killed after killing three policemen and wounding three others. I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer but I am not a butter knife… I don’t understand why a former military person who swore an oath to protect this country against all enemies both foreign and domestic could raise his weapon again a police officer? I get it that not all police officers act fairly to all races. But all people do not give respect to the police – the good police.

So we are at a point where we need to look deep within to see if we are part of the problem or part of the answer to the great problems facing our cities, states, country and world. In the use of our language are we sending out words that heal and bring us together or do our words bring about a division between us and others, drive wedges in the current problems and end up making things worse. Here is a little test: What do you put on Facebook… words of hope and healing… words that uplift and encourage? Go through the posts you have made in the last few months… how many degrade other people, especially political candidates? My page is filled with posts from my family and friends who constantly defame anyone in the Democratic Party. Other family and friends do the same against the Republican Party. Neither one is helping our national discussion on working together for the common good. Now, I must admit that I was part of that negative talk of which I am not proud. I lost some good friends between the political stuff and the UNC academic fraud. So what I have done is this: I delete all political and hate speech without a full read, and I do not respond to those posts nor post negative stuff of my own. And I am actually considering leaving Facebook altogether. Facebook seems to encourage bad attitudes and hate speech.

Now, that may not be much but at least I am not adding to the negative pile already out there or the additional pile that will be coming in the next two weeks (Conventions). Perhaps that is something we all can do – resist passing on the negative and not joining the authorship of our own negative speak. Maybe then the level of anger will fall to a more tolerable level, and the grace of Christ will come to the forefront.

Grace and Peace

Steve


My Books online at Barnes & Noble

 

Thank You For….

IMG_1533Today Shirley and I were out chauffeuring the grandkids around to all their needed places… picking up Noah from Driver’s Ed, Abby from VBS, taking both to eye appointments, Abby on to piano lessons and Noah back to our house.

In the midst of that Shirley and I went by Chick-Fil-A and found out they will not offer cold slaw for their chicken sandwiches anymore… something to do with variety, which really means kids don’t like slaw so we are saving money by not having to make it. That is the only thing that makes their sandwiches good… No more Chick-Fil-A for us… Sunday or no Sunday.

On the way back to the eye doctor we stopped for gas. As I was finishing up a lady in the car behind us said to me . . . out of the blue.  . . “Thank you for your service.” I was caught off guard taking a couple of seconds to know what she was talking about. I have a Disabled Veteran’s license plate on my car… this is for those Vets who are 100% disabled due to service connected reasons. I acknowledged her statement with a surprised “Thank you very much” got in the car and drove off feeling very good.

I thought about this and realized that this lady didn’t have to say a word. She could have noticed the plate and ignored it. She could have just ignored me. She could have done a lot of things but she chose to recognize someone and lift them up.

Perhaps that is a good example for us all… find a way to lift up someone, perhaps for very little reason at all. I know I won’t be calling Chick-Fil-A and thanking them for pulling cold slaw from their menu. I’ll leave that for some other day. But for now, I am going to follow that lady’s example and intentionally go out of my way to say something nice, do some small thing to lift up someone I don’t even know. Join me won’t you?


My Books on line at Barnes & Noble

Watch for my new book coming out later this year or early next year:

Working Title

Jesus Moments and The Servant Life

 

Jesus Moments

thHave you ever had one of those nights when your head hit the pillow so hard that it started  your mind to spinning? Seems like they come more often these days. Up to the bathroom at regular intervals of about two hours (if I am lucky). Take that sip of water on the way back to bed and think… think…. think… and think some more.

I am (at least in my mind and in theory) working on a different kind of book than the previous five I’ve published. And this one keeps spinning in my mind when I should be sleeping. The other night I had the introduction and the first two chapters written in my mind. I should have grabbed the computer and typed it out but I continued to just toss and turn. Now I have to re-think what was in the old grey matter and put it on paper.

This new book is about the “Servant Life” of a pastor inspired by the phrase coined many years ago by my friend, Reverend Ralph Eanes… “Jesus Moments.” I just love that phrase and what it meant to Ralph. To tell the truth I really do miss Ralph. He was one of those happy, creative, funny, Jesus loving people you just wanted to be around. He has a way of taking the simplest of things and turning them into situations, circumstances of conditions where Jesus was so real that you could feel His presence in your midst… it was life changing. He could see Jesus in our midst even when we had no clue what was happening. He looked for Jesus Moments.

We need Ralph and many, many more like him in the world today… people who are Jesus moments themselves… who bring about love and kindness wherever they go…. change the world one step, one person, one situation at a time.

Would you join me in enlisting in the membership of life changers, people lovers, Jesus people who seek out Jesus moments wherever you go? And would you participate by allowing God to change the world through us… living through us in Jesus moments?

Thank you Ralph – you old Tarheel – for continuing to make a difference even in retirement.

Grace and Peace

Steve


My Books on Barnes & Noble

God’s Plumb Line and Our Peace

Today was one of those days that I sought out a special word from God. I do that every Sunday, but today, with all that has happened and is happening in the world I needed it even more. So I watched several worship services, listened to several very good preachers. I watched Myers Park UMC, Washington National Cathedral, Riverside Church in NYC, and Duke Chapel.

All were very good sermons, using the Old Testament lectionary text for today; Amos 7:7-17 his word to Israel, and the Gospel Text of the Good Samaritan. Every preacher except one mentioned the shootings over this last week. James Howell even listed the people who died by name. They called for us to be involved in the work of peace… get out of the house and touch our neighbors in need… be the peacemakers.

The one that bothered me was my church at my school – Duke Chapel. She did not mention this violence at all… just said God is close. I don’t understand why there was this blindness, this lack of word about this matter?

I know there have been many discussions this week about all that has taken place in Minnesota, Louisiana and Dallas. I know many people have given their own personal remedies. But I believe that James Howell is right when he says that it is all interconnected. It is not just one thing. It is a whole bunch of things that work together to bring about this world going to hell in a hand basket.

The preacher at Riverside talked about God getting political. How we have built the walls of our society out of line with God’s plumb line. Our walls are leaning and God is tired of our ways. He doesn’t want to hear the noise of our worship. He wants us to change the way we are building crooked walls. Bring them down and build them by God’s plumb line.

I think we have forgotten some of the words to that hymn “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” The forgotten words are … “and let it begin with me.” We want someone to do something but not us. But the problem is us… and we are the only ones who can change that behavior… “to take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally.”

So what in our lives is out of plumb with God’s plumb line? Are we spewing negative hate speech, political or otherwise, on our Facebook pages? Are we telling racially driven jokes which demean people of other races? Are we turning our heads when we see someone in need? How about the gestures we make at others when overcome by road rage? How about the looks we give others who are different from ourselves? How about how we group the world’s people into them and us… label, cubby hole and forget them. Reexamine your lives and look at the Gospel… what Gospel are we proclaiming… love and peace or hate and violence? We are contributing toward one or the other. Make the change… be a peace maker!!!