Tag Archives: snow

The Preacher Wouldn’t Shut Up

Have you ever wished your had a remote control during church worship? Maybe rewind after a moving praise song … pause during the sermon to ponder the point from the Word a little deeper … press mute on the sermon for he seems to go on and on … or just fast forward to the end? Maybe you would just like to record the service so you can watch it after the football game – after all, that’s more important (I just said that to get a point across.)

This morning, I ventured into the cold white snow covered wasteland. I felt and heard the crusty ice crack beneath my Merrell clad feet to the soft powdery mix under the icy shell. I used my Black Diamond trekking poles as I crossed the barren ice to visit the stranded elderly couple trapped inside their lone abode – far from civilization.

Okay, in reality, I just crossed the street to see how my friends and neighbors were doing – they have been stuck inside for quite awhile. But it is cold. The snow had an icy crust. And, I used my Merrells and my trekking poles.

Now here is where it gets a little personal. While there, they shared they were having FaceBook issues, especially in regard to the church’s live stream. For some reason, when they are watching the stream, they couldn’t pause it, they couldn’t stop it, they couldn’t turn me off. Imagine that, a parishioner that wants to turn my preaching off. I’m aghast. They had to completely shut down the device, reboot, and turn the stream back on again. Only after the stop and the restart could the stream be used like it was supposed to be.

Stopping and rebooting – that’s kind of like a fast. To ‘Fast’ is to turn something off – do without it. It’s more than a pause, it should be a complete shut down for a specific period of time so that one can focus on something for spiritual reasons.

It’s like using a remote control to stop something worldly to emphasize the spiritual. It can strengthen one’s body, soul and spirit.

My son’s and DIL’s church encourages a 21-Day fast at the beginning of the year. They have specifically chosen to fast from social media and web distractions. Basically, they are turning off the MetaVerse. Their church states it this way …

Why Should I Fast? If there is something you’ve been praying for, working to overcome, or wisdom on, fasting is a perfect way to quiet all the noise and tune in to what God has to say?
The Bible is full of examples of the power of fasting and prayer. In Judges 20, after facing terrible defeat, the Israelites fasted and asked God for guidance ahead of their next battle—which they won! In Daniel 10, Daniel fasted before receiving a vision from God.
And in Matthew 4, before Jesus began His ministry, He fasted 40 days.

GateWay Church

Is there something the Lord is leading you to yield to Him? To stop, give up or remove from your life? Are there things that just keep on going even when you want to stop it? Maybe a fast is what God is leading you to do. Stop, turn off, reboot to a fresh start in the power of Christ.

Is that what you need in 2022? Maybe just for 22 days?

Think about it. For now, this pastor is stopping. Well, at least until tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll share benefits of a media fast … of unplugging for a specific period of time. Join us tomorrow.

Sunday (1/16) Sneak Peek

The first peek into Sunday reveals one thing … SNOW. They are calling for between 1 and 287 inches, maybe, possibly, probably, ‘your guess is as good as mine’ type prediction. As always, Sunday worship will be on FaceBook Live … but this week, that may the only way to worship together. I’ll be there … but I live 92 yards away. I’ll be there sharing live as long as power and internet make it possible.

The second peek into Sunday reveals two things A new song of the month and a word from Acts that challenges us what we are to be doing during times of waiting. For the song, see my previous post (here). For the Scripture … read below ….

9 After saying this, (Jesus) was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him.10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a distance of half a mile. 13 When they arrived, they went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying.

Here are the names of those who were present: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the zealot), and Judas (son of James). 14 They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus. (Acts 1, NLT)

Hiding Under the Frosty Icing of Snow

1.6.22 … Going for a hike.

Do you like the snow? How do you see the winter wonder – a smooth white blanket of tranquility? A frigid harbinger of icy death!?

Nine days after Christmas, our little corner of America received 4 to 10 inches of frozenness. Though our abode kept electricity, many did not. Schools were closed. Kids built snowmen. And every slope in the county had sled trails down it. It was a great day to stay indoors, drink hot cocoa and relax. But not me … for I surrendered to Nature’s call to spend a few hours trekking the fresh powder. Sometimes, we just have to get out into the world no matter the circumstances. Me, well I chose to venture out.

The air was crisp. The sky was cloudy but the sun was making its impact little by little. The trail was empty except for footprints from earlier adventurers. I went to the Tobacco Prizery on the surrender grounds of Appomattox historical park. I got off trail a bit and walked through some fields that had no human footprints. Oh, there were several deer and maybe raccoon foot prints piercing the icy layer of whiteness, but they were not showing their faces to me.

The sounds of nature were serene … the wind blowing through the trees, the snow dripping in tiny and not so tiny bombs from the limbs (and occasionally down the back of my neck), the water babbling in the local Appomattox River, the snow crunching under my Salomon boots.

About halfway through the wandering, I saw it. There were green shoots of life breaking through from underneath the icy plateau. It got me to think … what actually is under that shell of whiteness? And I thought how this relates to life. What is under the shell we create around us? Let’s see what my mind pondered …

Messiness is under there. Mud, slimy leaves, mush. And if someone looked deep into my life … messiness. Sloppy relationship skills, misplaced arrogant thoughts of self-worth, lazy efforts of minimalism. It’s messy. But God isn’t done. He’s still working on me.

Permanent is under there. The snow, like all circumstances, comes and goes. But below that melting layer is the reality of nature that doesn’t disappear just because it’s covered up.

Death is under there. Leaves that fell from the trees lie there decaying. In our way of life, there are plans. But the ways of life lead to death. Fortunately God’s ways are different.

Life is under there. Small shoots were breaking through. Green blades pierced the whiteness. The gift of God, in the middle of our messiness and death, is life. The gift of God is life!

Know this, no matter how good life seems or how harsh it seems, if your whole perspective is only what you see … it’s not the full picture of reality. There is more. And what you see is like a wisp of smoke that will disappear. Ecclesiastes shows this so clearly. There is more to life than what you see. And God offers life.

Snow = Joy? Fear? Peace?

Three! Drei! Tres! Trzy! Hiru! Tatu! The great snow trifecta.

As I type this, I am looking out our window seeing a light frosting of snow occur a solid layer of ice. It is the third weekend in a row that our part of the country is being hit with a wintery snow mix. I realize some of you are in areas that hav snow for months – but for us, it’s a bit draining.

And as I look at the wonderfully picturesque scene, I realize people see the exact same scene with different responses. First, there are those that see the wonder, the splendor, the beauty. The whiteness has given a cover over the brown, mundane, bare ground. Gone are the blemishes. Covered are the spotty and muddy spots of the yard. All we see is smooth, silky, untarnished white. This early, I don’t even see tire tracks on the road. It’s very peaceful. (This is a picture from our hike in a freak late snow at Zion NPS. AWE inspiring.)

Second, there are those that see fear. They know the slippery ice is just calling for them to attempt to traverse and then fall. The light snow is just a mask to the danger underneath. They may have to drive to work (for some don’t live 75 meters to the front door of their office like I do.) Maybe they saw the news reports of the 100+ car pile up in Fort Worth yesterday and anxiety takes over their whole being. I know I texted my son, who lives in Fort Worth, but he was fine. He worked from home yesterday in their ice storm.

Dallas Morning News

I asked my wife what her first response was to this morning’s precipitation, and she responded. “Nice.” And while I heard peace – she meant fear. She felt nice because she didn’t have to be out in it, she can work from home today. She even prohibited me from walking my 75 meters to the office. She said nice, because her underlying response was fear and she was safe inside.

But third, others experience joy. They see sledding and snow men and frolicking. They see hot cocoa and no school. They see fun.

There are others – opportunities for photo opps, more work for car body repair shops, sidewalks to be shoveled, expensive road treatment for governments, or just another day in paradise. Weathermen see more people watching them instead of the anchors – wohoo! My friend with Verizon – work due to outages. ports of ways to see snow.

So, which is it? Which do you see?

The world is messed up in so many ways when it comes to communicating, because we refuse to see, or can’t even fathom, the other person’s point of view. Some say Trump saw voter suppression or fraud, so he was patriotically and adamantly protecting the voters’ wishes. Others say Trump was being anti-democratic and treasonous, so he was inciting to violence with a false narrative. And while we may never agree, we need to be able to talk things out and should be able to hear others’ points of view. Maybe not agree with but at least hear and perceive. YouTube has banned LifeSiteNews, a popular pro-life news website. Twitter banned Veritas, some say for revealing whistleblower material out of Twitter itself. And more is coming.

My point, we need to realize there are always more ways to look at something. And the person you are talking to may see it in a totally different light. Spend a little time getting to know their POV before dismissing them and their POV.

Be quick to listen and slow to speak. Or as granny use to say, “God gave you two ears and one mouth.”

But for now, I’m just gonna look out my window and see beauty. I will decide later about adjusting the Sunday schedule, for the third week in a row! UGH.

Have a great weekend and stay warm and safe.

Road Trip ‘20 … Day Two, the Morning

Cold and Alone.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I checked and rechecked the weather … upper 60s and clear … not 25 and snow. But as the hotel worker said, Colorado weather is schizophrenic and you never know what to expect.

I brought no cold gear, no beanie, and no base layer. So I layered, five layers on top, three on bottom. At least I had my best Salomon boots designed for snow and mud … and that’s what I would have today.

Black Canyon. One of the least visited National Parks. They only give 15 permits a day to hike the Gunnison Trail, so I had to get there early. It was beautiful. A soft snow cover on the mountains like a powdered sugar frosting. The early morning light showed an unexpected splendor.

I and one other arrived before the ranger. And the other hiker had a dog. And then something new happened to me … the dog bit me. I shared this on June 10th … read about it here. A shock to say the least, and set a mood for the hike. The trail was muddy, icy, and cold. I was alone. The ranger said they would only come look for me if I didn’t turn my slip back in by the next morning, so I had to get out on my own. Deep wilderness, hazardous conditions, cold-wet weather. What more could I ask for?

The easy trail to get to the real trail
Looking up to where I had started

So off I went; or more correctly, down I went. A one mile trail down – alternating between 20 and 60 degrees in angle. It’s called Black Canyon for the steep canyons cliffs keep the sun out most of the day. I did pretty good, lasting about 1/2 mile or more before I slipped. And then I slipped again. I got within eyeshot of the river and I was very wet and very cold. I decided I had nothing else to prove. So up I went. Best to attempt again when not alone under threat of a long night if a mishap.

By the time I got back to,the top, scores of visitors where around doing the open easier trails. They were riding the rim road and having photo shoots over the top of the canyon. But I felt I had made an accomplishment that day.

So I headed to town, had the brakes looked at, got breakfast, and headed south to my next National Park – Mesa Verde.

Big Meal at Starvin’ Arvin’s

But one last note from the mountain … roses. In the white, cold, icy conditions … I spotted the beautiful color from a rose. I know the ice didn’t help it, but even in the blight is beauty.

Lessons I learned …

  • Sometimes it’s okay, even wise to not be alone. We need others.
  • Best plans of men are never completely fool proof. Things go wrong (like weather).
  • There is always beauty if you look for it.
  • A good breakfast with friends (Peg Leg) is always a delight.

Tomorrow – mountain pass and mountain village

Road Trip ‘20 … Day One (part B)

Chaos in Colorado!

So Kansas finally yielded to Colorado, finally. I had been on the road for 23 hours. My first goal was Colorado Springs, a beautiful city at the foothills of the mountains.

One of the highlights of the city are its red rock formations of the Garden of the Gods. This spectacle of nature and magical landmark is one of the most photographed sites in the state. With a back drop of Pike’s Peak, the delightful views of 300 feet towering sandstone formations left me in awe.

Chaos #1 … But I barely made it to the site. Before the Garden of the Gods, I thought I was going to meet God face-to-face. I stopped at the REI and I had a car mechanical issue. When I was headed downhill towards a red light, the brakes started to give way. They slowed me but not quick enough. I thought I was going to slowly drift into a busy intersection. Prayer, crying out, prayer. And I stopped. Low fluid … greasy pads … driver’s mechanical curse. I survived. All is good now and no issue the rest of the trip. I credit the prayers.

Peg Leg came with me

But the day wasn’t over. Six more hours to the location I was headed to … a bed to call my own. The mountain roads were clear, the scenery was powerful, and the anticipation to my first stop kept me going. I stopped in Gunnison for dinner. Arby’s.

Chaos #2 … they were out of roast beef. That’s crazy. So I ordered turkey. But before I could eat it, I dropped half the sandwich on the car floor. Oh well, I had less then an hour to go. I wasn’t going to let it get to me.

Chaos #3 … I was getting close but the weather was going fight me. First, the clouds darkened quickly. Then the sun set leaving the roads dark. Some fog was setting in. And then … snow. Snow? They said high 60s. I brought no cold gear. But before that, I had to make it to Montrose. The mountain roads were steep. They wound tight with curves and sharp hairpins. Some moments in the storm left visibility to just the few feet in front of me. So again I resorted to … prayer.

Twenty minutes of intensity left me drained … especially after 31 total hours behind a wheel. I made it with energy enough to drag my bags upstairs and crash. My last thoughts before my brain shut down we’re what would I wear tomorrow to hike in the cold. But that would wait. Sleep won the discussion.

Lessons …

  • Even getting close to ones destination doesn’t mean troubles are over
  • God’s creation is amazing
  • Prayer is a good practice in any situation

Tomorrow … snow bites my bones, dog bites my knee, and I bite some authentic Mexican food in Cortez.