I Miss Kaden!

Sally and I got to keep Kaden last week!  For a whole week!  We had a great time.  We went to Chuck E. Cheese, (which Sally and I actually like, so dont’ feel sorry for us!) and we discovered a new, bigger, crazier pizza place, called Incredible Pizza.  It’s what would happen if Chuck E. Cheese and Harrah’s Casino got married and had a baby.  We filled Kaden up with pizza and then let him spend the next half hour bouncing inside an inflatible moonwalk.  When he got tired, which he never actually did…when we got tired, we took him out and fed him an ice cream sundae and then let him bounce around for another half an hour.  There’s so many things wrong with this scenario, but thankfully everything stayed down and Kaden had the best time. 

He and Grandma Sally made cookies and cupcakes.  One night we fixed homemade waffles and sausage for supper.  He wolfed those down!  He’s a good eater like his grandpa, but he works it all off with all his playing, unlike his grandpa.  We watched movies and read books.  We laughed so hard at Skrat in Ice Age 2 til we thought we were going to throw up.   Kaden came to work with me one day.  He loves to flirt with the secretaries.  He asked Pat Stroud, our financial secretary, if she was his Grandma Barb.  She’s short just like his grandma.  She said no, her name was Pat, so he calls her Grandma Pat.  He loves playing in the play area at the mall.  He watches to see if anyone actually puts money in one of those “rides” that bounce up and down, forward and backward, or round and round, and then he hops on to catch a ride.  He might find him an empty seat, or if they are occupied, he’ll just stand or sit on the edge or hop on the hood and hang on for dear life.  He’s a ride mooch.

 So this week, it’s quiet at Grandpa and Sally’s house.  The toys are all put away, his little table and chair have been stored until his next visit.  The dog gets to relax.  The chocolate stain on the new sofa has been removed.  Sally’s back is stiff and my leg and hip hurt, but we wouldn’t trade the week with Kaden for anything.  Besides, we are going to Phoenix for a week’s vacation to relax with all the rest of the grandparents.  But we still miss Kaden!

A Snowflake on Your Nose on a Sunny Day

What a weird morning we had!  When I drove to the office at 7:45, it was  bright and sunny, not a cloud in the sky.   I reached for my sunglasses because the glare was so bright, but I had left them in my other car.  When I got to work, I stepped out of the car and felt a single snow flake fall on my nose.  I looked up and saw one tiny cloud over head and thought, that’s odd.  About 8:15 I heard someone in the office say that they were having white-out conditions in O’Fallon.  I thought O’Fallon, Minnesota?  Anyway, about five minutes later I stepped out of my office (that has no windows) and looked outside and all I saw was white.  I couldn’t see the cars in the parking lot, I couldn’t even see the parking lot.  We were having a white-out.  It was crazy.

What a great example of life.  Things are looking sunny, we’re going about our business and boom…white-out!  We can’t see anything in front of us, beside us or behind us.  Sure there may have been warning signs;  a single snowflake on my nose…something’s not quite right here or an overheard comment about a white-out in the next town…a warning that a storm is approaching, but our minds just can’t comprehend such nonsense.  But it is February in Missouri, snow is common here in the winter.  Why would this be such a big surprise?

I was reading in my devotional this morning that we shouldn’t live by our feelings.  They are not always true.  But we should live by the Word of God.  His Word is true.  His Word is full of warnings and commands that God is wanting us to obey.  They are for our good, so that we won’t be caught off guard.

So next time something odd like a snowflake on your nose on a sunny day comes your way, don’t blow it off, it very well may be a warning from God.  He’s got your back!

Happy Valentine’s Day

Love’s Fire

Her presence is a fire glowing on a cold winter’s eve,

  Warming and illuminating the barren room.

I am that room, empty without her flame

  To enlighten the dullness of life’s gloom.

Her love burns as a mountain of embers, deep upon deep

  Burning away the dross of life’s subtle dirge

I am gratefully consumed by that flame

  Breathing in the fumes of her playful surge.

Her flame sometimes sparks and seeks freedom from the hearth

  But she knows the source of her power

My heart jumps at her strength and light

  Illuminating from her beautiful tower.

Her light is a reflection of the flame of the Spirit

  Full of knowledge and grace for all to see.

My life is a recipient of that same gift of grace

  That makes me grateful to be me.

Her presence is a fire glowing on a cold winter’s eve,

  Warming and illuminating the beautiful place.

I am now beautiful because my love’s fire

  Is a beautiful reflection of God’s face.

To Sally,

All My Love Forever,

Tom

Valentine’s Day 2008

Yeah, It’s Been A While!

It’s certainly been a while since my last entry.  I got overwhelmed with a project and something had to give.  But I’m back and I’ve got something to say! 

Actually, the project that I just finished was a sermon I presented in Virginia.  Can you believe I actually preached?!  You should have seen the pastor’s face on Saturday night when I happened to mention that I had never preached before.  Well, that’s not completely true, I preached in the ninth grade for Youth Sunday.  Anyway, I made it through and wasn’t run out of town.

I preached a one point sermon.  I’m not smart enough to come up with three points.  My point was this: “Our worship should not be defined by a style, but by our love.”  We tend to try and define our worship by the style of music we perform: contemporary, traditional, alternative.  But I believe Christ is saying to us in Revelation 2:2-5 that the important thing is not how we go about our worship, but what motivates our worship.  We are warned not to forsake our first love.  Our love for Christ that is carried out through obedience to His commands (John 14:15)  And then in Matthew 22:36-40 Christ commands us to love God with all our heart, soul and mind AND to love our neighbor as ourself.  I believe we need to stop campaigning for our own selfish preferences and begin showing our love for God and our neighbor by putting our preferences aside and putting God first.  Instead of asking “what do I prefer?” when it comes to musical styles in worship, let’s ask “how can I show love to Christ and to my neighbor as I worship?” 

This is just food for thought.  I often dream about what it would be like if we started loving God and others the way Christ desires.  He prayed in John 17 that we become unified.  I’m afraid we have a long way to go in becoming unified.  God help us show the world we are Christians by our love!

You can actually hear my sermon on a podcast!  http://www.hbcalive.org/Portals/23/sermons/Rev.%20Tom%20Wideman%20-%20whatsmissinginyourworship.mp3