Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Easy Transition

I really don't think I'll have any problems transitioning into retirement.

I know that taking a few days off is nothing compared to being retired, but still -- I think I'll manage the change quite nicely.

I took last Friday off and had a nice long walk at the Springfield Nature Center with Chris.
Saturday was an easy day with Chris working and me doing very little.
Sunday night I had the opportunity to preach for a group at the Laclede Baptist Camp.
I also took a couple of days off (Mon/Tue) to hang out at the Fellowship of Missouri Baptist Evangelists' booth at the Missouri Baptist Convention Annual Meeting. I was excited to be able to share about my winter retirement plans and how that meant an open schedule for 2015. I was able to talk to several pastors about possible dates and events for the spring!

I have a magic show to prepare, lesson plans to write (apologetics), a book to work on (writing, not reading) and plenty of household projects. I seriously doubt that I'll ever be pacing in my living room and saying I'm bored as I often do in the tracon.

I'm sure that there will be plenty of adjustments to make, but I'm looking forward to them.

I expect that I'll be cooking more and we'll be eating out a little less often. I'm not sure how Chris feels about that but we'll be eating better (than eating out). I'm not too big on salad prep. I love eating them, but Chris is the salad chef in the house, not me.

In any case, the days off have really helped me to feel like it is time!

They very first week of retirement is the Missouri Baptist State Evangelism Conference, here in Springfield. They end of February is the Pulaski Association Evangelism Conference. I need to work on a March trip to Florida for a little spring baseball. April is Easter and my first tentative spring revival.

I don't think I would have time to go to work...or to be bored!

I am a happy boy!

John <><

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Random thoughts on my pending retirement

It's not often that I post from my phone, but this morning finds my with time on my hands, thoughts in my head and my phone as my only handy media device.

With just fifteen work weeks left in my incredibly average ATC career, "What's next?" is a question I hear (and think about) often.

I really doubt that I'll have to get used to not going to work everyday. I'm pretty sure that I'll fall into that habit quite easily. I do expect that it will take some time to adjust to a new normal and allocating my time to a new schedule.

I do not expect to be bored!

I have been unable to devote the proper time to working on and marketing the magic show that I bought last year. That will be a priority. I've never really considered myself as a professional magician; perhaps the new show and new market will change my personal perspective.

Another thing that I haven't done in the past (haven't had to) is to be proactive about booking revivals, camps or other ministry events. With no work schedule to get in the way, I'm looking forward to a more active ministry calendar.

I've considered going back to school. A degree in Biblical studies would be nice for the pedigree, but I'm not sure how necessary it is at this point. Chris has pointed out that I read and learn plenty on my own and sees little practical benefit from the official piece of paper.

If I were to consider a different area for continued education, it would be something along the lines of herbal medicine or some kind of natural wellness or natural health studies. Once again, I'm not sure that I'd need the degree since I doubt that a professional practice is in my future. It would just be for my own interests and those that might share them.

And there is writing...
I do want to have a daily writing time. I don't know if I'll ever write a book or a magazine article; I just know I need to write.

And travel!
Yes, definitely need to plan a few trips.
Spring training in Florida.
Spring in Australia (our Fall).
Beaches in Mexico any time the sun is shining.
Philippines.
And there is weekend camp in Canada that we need crash in the summer.

No, I don't believe that I'll be bored.

When the fun stuff runs out, there are plenty of household projects to keep me busy.

Life is good!

John <><

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Facebook Re-purposing

I've been spending a lot less time on the social networks and made a few discoveries. I thought I'd share them with you.

1) I have way more "friends" in the virtual world than in reality.
2) Some of the people that I see on Facebook, I actually see in person pretty often.
3) Many of my "friends" I don't really follow (and I'm sure many don't follow me).

There are several other observations that I could share, but these are the three that stand out for me.

I like Facebook for a number of reasons.

It helps me --get this-- network! I like it for the ability to have an easy contact for pastors, churches and other organizations that might want to use my services as a preacher/teacher/magician/speaker/etc.

I have really enjoyed connecting with old classmates and staying in touch with relatives that live far away (and all of my relatives live far away).

Some of my friends post some pretty cool things.

Again, there are other good things, but that's not really important.

In the coming days, I'm going to be making some massive cuts to my friends list. I'm not out to hurt anyone's feelings. I'm just re-purposing my use of this particular social network. If I work with you or see you on a fairly regular basis, you might get dropped. We may have to talk about what is going on in our lives rather than the "I saw your Facebook post" beginning and end to a conversation.

It could be that we became FB friends out of a single event or a single commonality and we really have no other interest in one another's lives. It's not that I don't like you, but you're probably going to go.

In the end, my 635 current "friends" will be greatly reduced. Most of them will never notice (which is a good indication of why they were dropped). Some of you might. If you think that I've been too extreme, feel free let me know. If you want to keep in touch via FB, just say so.

I'm not planning on making a grand production out of who I keep and who I delete, I'm just going to go down the list with a simple yea or nay and move on. Kids, youths, workers from camps--we had fun and I wish you well in your lives, but I'm probably gonna drop you. Some of my ATC friends I know, some I'd really like to know, and others are here because we've met once (maybe) and share a common career. Some I'll keep, some I won't and again, the ones I drop will probably never notice.

I hope that nobody gets their feelings hurt by this. It's really more of a self-preservation thing; a way to make sure that I spend less time on my phone reading about people that are far away and more time relating to the people that are actually close to me.

John <><

Sunday, September 14, 2014

WARNING!!!

A few days ago I was having breakfast with a friend. We were talking about preachers and preaching styles and how they vary according to one's calling and purpose. Pastors preach/teach differently than evangelists or revivalists. And while we all have our different personal styles of delivering a message, our source is (or at least is supposed to be) the same.

We have the teacher, the encourager, the exhorter, the motivator. We remind one another of how we are to live according to the Bible and how we are to love our fellowman. There are many methods and ways used to communicate the message of the Bible.

However, there seems to be a type of messenger that is missing today:

The one that declares the coming danger.

I'm not saying that we should be on street corners with our "world is coming to an end" signs. I'm not typically a gloom and doom type of messenger.
And while there are certainly many that believe we are in the final days or living out the end times, I'm not sure I believe that is the case.

What I do know is that our days are limited. Whether we die of the natural aging process and live out many decades of life, or meet our end through illness or an accident, nobody gets out of this alive. If death is simply the end of life and nobody can avoid it, then a warning about what is already certain seems pointless. But if there is something on the other side that is dependent on how we live in this life, then perhaps a warning is in order.

So...
Is there an afterlife?
Does this afterlife consist of a heaven and a hell?
If so, how does one get into heaven and avoid hell?

It may be that most people are so wrapped up in their current life and so secure in their own goodness that they either haven't considered what happens after death or figure that they're doing okay.

I know plenty of good people that believe that the scales will balance on the side of good and their eternal souls will be okay. I'm not sure of the source of their end times theology, but it doesn't match with the teaching of the Bible. The thing is, most of them would tell you that they believe in the God of the Bible--and because they believe themselves to be good people, surely God won't send them to hell.

I don't know if you're one of those people or not. Maybe you know the things you need to know and yet you postpone living for Jesus or sharing the truth of the Gospel with your kids. Maybe baseball, football, hockey, band, school, and life have become the priorities of life and you'll find time for God and the things of God later. Perhaps, we've come to think of tomorrow as an entitlement and will settle our eternal future on the coming tomorrow.

Today, I am sounding the bell of warning!
The end is near! If you have seen your last sunset, are you ready to meet your eternity? What about your kids or your loved ones?
What do you think it takes to get into heaven?
Where do you find that information and is it reliable?

These are all questions that are worthy of a well considered answer.

If you are a follower of Jesus and believe that heaven is only available through Him, will you share that belief with someone today? Or are you content to let those around you go through life without knowing what you believe about heaven and hell? Would you have your friends go to hell simply because you failed to share what you believe? Because you failed to warn them?

If you are a follower of Jesus (a Christian), would you join me in sounding a warning?
Let's make sure that we are sharing the Gospel of salvation by grace, through faith in Jesus.

If you are not a follower of Jesus and are uncertain of what's next, feel free to call or e-mail me with your questions. My contact info is available in the right column of this blog.

John <><


Monday, September 01, 2014

Another Step Towards Going Green

In an effort to continue to reduce the size of the carbon footprint that I'm making on the Earth, I'm considering a reel lawn mower for my suburban sized yard. I'm past the point of needing a new mower as the gasoline powered unit is limping along and may make it to the end of this mowing season...or not. It's a little embarrassing mowing the lawn as it makes its sputtering sounds while working its way through the task of cutting my grass.

I was considering an electric mower but started thinking that with a relatively flat lawn and small size, why not go completely powerless and provide the power myself?

I'm wondering...
What are some of the ways that you are reducing your carbon footprint?

A little less air conditioning?
Walking or biking for short errands?
A more fuel efficient vehicle?
Eating less red meat?
Recycling?

Here's an interesting one--drinking less bottled water!

That's right! With plastic bottles being a petroleum product, we use millions of barrels of oil to make plastic bottles that are filled with tap water, shipped via gas guzzling trucks to the store and then thrown away after a single use. I'm guilty--but have decided to really cut back on this one.

So, how about it?
What are the ways that you are friendly to our Earth home?
Please share so that all of us can join you.

John <><

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Judged...for not judging!

Yeah, that happens.

This time it wasn't me. It was a friend.

So Christian friends, how are we to reach out to the dreaded scourge of society (you know... (whisper font) the gays) if we don't associate with them or build meaningful relationships?

Maybe it's just more sporting to judge them, condemn them and condemn the brothers and sisters that are not doing the same. I don't know if it makes me sad or mad to hear such stories. I don't know if I get more aggravated with the condemning of those with different lifestyles or with the judging of others for not condemning them.

Sometimes I just get fed up with religious people.  I know, I know, I'm supposed to be one of them, right? It just that I have a hard time putting Jesus in the modern day hater role.

Maybe it's because I can relate to the "sinner" better than to the saint. On the holiness scale, I fall pretty much at the low end. As much as I would love to make the claim of being Christ-like, I'm really not. In fact, Jesus follower is a better description of me than Christian if one assumes that a Christian is a Christ-like or a little Christ.

I'm really just struggling with the masses.

To be clear, I am trusting in Jesus, and Jesus only for eternal salvation. I know that there is nothing in this wretched being worthy of heaven and can't imagine why God would love me so--but I believe He does.

And He also loves those that we love to judge for Him. He hasn't called on us to judge them. He has called on us to love them and to tell them of His great love for them.

If you are in the midst of the battle; if you are loving those that need to be loved and being judged for it-- I want to encourage you. Keep on doing what you are doing. Show them the love of Jesus. Be His voice. Be His representative. Tell them the truth...
God loves them.
Jesus died for them.

John <><

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Lazy Weekend

Heck, let's face it--it's been a lazy week!

I did manage to get a few things done, but sometimes it just doesn't feel like it.

Do you ever notice how important things get set aside for the more urgent things? I guess it's the squeaky wheel thing.

And then even when you get something important completed, it doesn't always feel like you've worked hard enough nor frantic enough to really consider it an accomplishment. Maybe that's where list making has its benefits. Crossing things of a list give a sense of accomplishment. Maybe I should start making lists.


I can cross off drink coffee and blog on today's list--as soon as I make my list!
I've got plenty of things that I can put on the list.

For all of you list makers--Is the idea to complete everything on your list by the end of the day or to carry forward as few things as possible?
Do you complete your list before making a new one or just keep adding to it as new things come up?
How do you decide what to do next? Easiest? Quickest to accomplish? Most urgent? Most important?

Okay.
That settles it. I'm making a list for today this week.
Better get to it!

Have a great week!

John <><


Monday, August 18, 2014

NASCAR

I'm not really much of a NASCAR fan. There are only two drivers that I ever really check on and I rarely watch any races.

I like to know how Carl Edwards is doing since he pilots his own jet and flies into our airspace. It's nice to be able to congratulate him on a good run or wish him well as he heads out for another weekend race.

I also follow Danica Patrick.
I think that every successful woman makes it better for the next generation of young women (like my daugher and daughter in law). Even though Ms. Patrick is a beautiful woman, she is recognized as a competitor on the track and a skilled driver.

But this post isn't about either of them.

I've waited a little bit before writing anything about the Tony Stewart incident because it's a hard thing to write about as a non race fan. It turns out that the only races that I've actually attended were dirt track, sprint car races.

I think that it's wrong that Tony Stewart is being assigned blame in this case. Once a driver leaves the safety of his car, no other driver should be blamed for any harm that might happen. Even if Stewart was to blame for the initial incident, a pedestrian in the middle of the dirt track has disregarded his own safety and allowed his emotions to override his good judgment.

Even if visibility was good and other drivers could clearly see a dark suited pedestrian on the track, is a driver even looking for a pedestrian?

Like I said, I don't know much about racing.

I was thinking that having a driver like Stewart in a dirt track race might be very aggravating to the other drivers. Many of them work on their own vehicles and have minimal funding or sponsorship. Then along comes a guy with more than enough personal money and skills that have already put him in a racing circuit that the other drivers are striving for.

It would be like Adam Wainwright pitching in rookie league!

I know that there is a family that is grieving their loss. Perhaps having someone to blame makes grieving easier.

I know that there is a driver that has to consider his part in the tragedy and find a way to cope with his assessment.

Maybe we (society) have a role in assessing blame, but I don't really think so. Our internet world of instant information (and misinformation) often helps us to jump to conclusions and poor judgment where we really have no business making any.

Sure, we all have opinions.
And we believe that everyone else is interested in what we believe to be the truth, regardless of how little we actually know.

As I said, I'm not much of a race fan, but I hope that Mr. Stewart gets back to racing soon. I hope that some good can come this tragedy.  And I hope that the grieving family can find peace.

John <><

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chicago!

Happy Sunday morning from Chicago!

We're having a wonderful visit with the kids and looking forward to church with them today.

Yesterday we managed to over indulge on the Chicago cuisine (including a couple of late night White Castles) while getting in plenty of walking and activity. I managed to avoid the ballpark hotdog (figuring that I was  already getting more than my share of daily calories) but caved to the Cracker Jacks when cotton candy vendor came by for Chris (he had both)!

No worries! I'm off the calorie counting wagon for the weekend. The weekend plan is to enjoy our visit, enjoy our food without going crazy, get in enough walking to feel good about it, get back to the routine on Monday and be okay with that.

It sounds like morning alarms are going off so others will be getting up soon. (I've already showered and finished my first cup of morning tea.) Looking forward to another day with family!

Have a grand day!

John <><