THE ODD COUPLE

15 05 2019

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What very well may be my all-time favorite television show ever was The Odd Couple starring Tony Randall as neat and finicky Felix Unger and Jack Klugman as sloppy but sweet Oscar Madison. Every episode sought to answer the question, “Can two divorced and different as night and day friends share an apartment in New York City without driving each other crazy?” And yes, while they did push each other to the limit every now and then, what we viewers learned was that together they covered many more relational bases than they ever could have done so on their own.

It got me thinking that many of us seem to only have friends that are like us in personality and interests. Yet, I would venture a guess that almost every nine out of ten marriages I officiate are between two total opposites. If we choose to spend our lives romantically with someone who is everything that we are not, why wouldn’t we also make sure that we include those who see life from another perspective within our daily view? Maybe we need a few “Odd Couple” connections of our own to broaden our approach as we tackle this journey called life.

Perfectionists can be uptight and impossible to live with and the Laid-Back crowd can drive others absolutely batty with their inability to make up their minds. “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know what do you want to do.” “It doesn’t matter to me; I’ll do whatever you want.” Conversations like that drive me up the proverbial wall and yet, my blood pressure would thank me if I could just be a little less uptight more often. Being around happy go lucky individuals does force me to slow down and be patient. It also confirms what I know deep down in my heart, and that is people should always be a priority over projects. Unfortunately, when I get on a roll in getting things done, I am a force to be reckoned with rather than a human being that should take the time to pay full attention to who God puts in my path.

The urgent often crowds out the important. Our busyness can cause us to miss what is really most important. Projects often take precedence over people. Being too busy can bully you to choose unwisely. It tends to substitute shallow frenzy for deep friendship. It promises satisfying dreams, but delivers hollow nightmares. It feeds the ego, but starves the inner man. It fills the calendar, but fractures the family. It cultivates a program, but plows under priorities. It lives under the assumption that everything has to be done perfectly.

We need to be reminded often that God uses all kinds of people. There is not one temperament or personality type that is superior to another. The Lord has gifted us differently for a reason, and we are not to despise one another or look at others with contempt, just because we have contrasting approaches to every day life. If we weigh our gifts and our instincts together, we have a tendency to cover all the bases!

Do you see what a disservice we do to a Family when we expect uniformity over unity? Once you have more than one child, get ready for variety. Rather than forcing your children into your mold, why not wait and see what God reveals in them and through them as they grow up? I hate chaos but I also learned that loving my children was more important than me expecting them to become order freaks like me, so I would shut the door of their bedrooms rather than fight over the mess. One of the trademarks of “The Odd Couple” television show was that Felix Unger was as neat as a pin and Oscar Madison’s bedroom could have been condemned as a garbage dump, yet they learned to live together under the same roof. Still there was a mutual respect for each other’s personal space. My wife and I have very distinct and definitive decorating styles. I cover every inch of wall space available with no measuring and lots of creative touches while Terri is content to not even put up a picture in some rooms. I love her with every inch of who I am, even though I disagree with her use of space. What I am trying to say is that there may be nothing odd at all when different people come together and commit themselves to the good of the team rather than fighting for one’s own way or the highway.

When it comes to being a Church Family, I believe the only non-negotiable is agreeing about Jesus being who He says He is. I welcome diversity in the shapes, sizes and make-up of the Congregation. How boring life would be if we were all clones of one another. Check out Jesus’ Apostles. The Lord picked people and not a prototype. When you look at the extremes of Mary and Martha or Peter and John, you must conclude that God is the author of “Odd Couples!” I want to be more like Jesus in the days to come as I continue to develop deep friendships and real relationships.

One more actual piece of trivia about TV’s Odd Couple. Tony Randall and Jack Klugman were real friends. They grew to play off one another the rest of their lives. While they are nothing alike, they do like one another and I wish there would be more of that in our Churches today. And they will know we are Christians not by our conformity but by our love for one another. Can all these imperfect people share a space without driving each other crazy? They can if they care like Jesus!





WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE REAL?

8 05 2019

unnamed2Do you have an authoritative voice in your life? Is there someone that you trust enough to allow that individual to tell you the truth even when it is difficult to hear? Too many people today only surround themselves with others who will tell them exactly and only what they want to hear. As for being open to receiving correction, well that isn’t happening because pride and stubbornness prevents the truth from ever hitting its mark.

There was a day that we were all taught to have respect for our elders and for those in a position of authority, such as teachers, coaches, Law Enforcement officials, preachers and so on. Today, too many parents are teaching their children, whether they realize it or not, that they don’t have to esteem anyone but themselves. If Johnny gets in trouble, Mom or Dad will come to their rescue and remove any real discipline or consequence for the unwise choices. How can we ever learn how to genuinely do it right if we are never wrong?

I am so weary of watching baseball games where players don’t hustle when they don’t want to. How can managers or coaches have any real influence when they know that their outfielders are making millions of dollars more than they will ever see in their lifetime. We are rewarding mediocrity, and celebrating status quo. When the crowd ignores the leader, it only results in chaos. We used to say that nothing positive will occur if the inmates are running the asylum. It takes some confident men and women who will embrace and engage grace and truth together and dish it out in an abundant supply no matter what the audience begs for.

If you don’t have a teachable spirit, your growth will be stunted. If you don’t approach life with a servant’s heart, Jesus said that you would never taste the essence of God’s kingdom. Too many misguided souls are dying to obtain a title when what really counts is whether you are a person of integrity no matter who notices or doesn’t notice.

The Comedian Rodney Dangerfied was famous for the line, “I don’t get no respect.” His tombstone actually reads, “Here lies Rodney Dangerfield, There Goes the Neighborhood.” It is way too easy for those who have been called to make a difference to use the lack of respect excuse to keep them from fulfilling their God given purpose. Jesus did what He did for an audience of One. He didn’t look horizontally to take care of the need that would only come vertically. Jesus said, “If My Father didn’t call for it, I won’t do it. If My Father opens the door for Me to follow Him even down a difficult road, it is not My will but His Will that needs to be done.” Don’t expect self-respect to happen if you choose to compromise your principles. Don’t assume God will be pleased if you only act like a Disciple and not live like a Disciple. Remember Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, if you have no intention of doing what I say.”

I believe that some of my most fruitful experiences have involved me submitting to God and surrendering what I wanted to do to obeying where the Lord was leading. I am a natural whiner and complainer and I don’t like to be told what to do. If I stick to my guns, I will run out of bullets. I can’t tell you how many times that the most powerful moments of my life have occurred when I stopped trying to be god and just was content to be with God and do what He asked me to do.

I once led a Youth Group from Nebraska to go on a Missions Trip to New York City. We were going to help plant a church in the Bronx. I assured our young people that New York City was going to be a lot different than what they saw in the Movies. On the second Day, we got mugged and robbed so maybe I was wrong. Maybe we were going to experience what happens in the Movies. I knew the kids were looking to me and how I behaved was going to set the tone for whether this trip was going to turn out to be the success I believed God wanted it to be or a total disaster.

The following day I was sure to be tested. The Pastor of the Church wanted us to go out on the streets and do some sharing about the Lord and the new Church. I had no problem with that. It was the next directive that made me shudder and shiver. The Church wanted us to wear their specially made T-Shirts which were like literal billboards with wording covering every inch of it. There was also another catch. The largest size they had was medium. Our Group was beginning to grumble and if I were to be honest, I wanted to wear that shirt as much as I wanted my teeth drilled. It wasn’t going to cover my XXL Frame. I went into that tiny bathroom of that church building and I prayed this simple prayer. I looked up and exclaimed, “Dear Jesus, I wouldn’t wear this shirt for anyone but You; but because you humbled yourself and took on the uniform of humanity, I can surely wear this much too tiny wardrobe for one day.” In seeing how ridiculous I looked, the rest of our group followed suit and God moved and blessed and to this day, we still praise Heaven for all that happened on Earth that week.

There is a devastation of a massive proportion occurring in our culture today because there is a breakdown of confidence, trust, love, and affection between one another. When integrity goes, and credibility goes, and confidence goes, and trust goes, and love goes, and affection goes, at the point of relationship, you have devastated the life of that society.

Years ago, I had the privilege to have worked with my Dad. Because I worked for my Dad, right from the get go, I made a commitment to make it impossible for anyone to ever say that I do less because I have a relationship with the Boss. I made sure I worked doubly hard because it wasn’t just my reputation at stake, it was my Father’s also. Today I work for my Heavenly Father and I feel the same way. It is my prayer that we all will practice what we preach and be diligent to live what we say. Our lives are a book of all that we stand for and we can’t waste a day, especially when we could have given more.





THE WAY WE WERE

1 05 2019

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The longer I live, the harder my life seems to get and the more disconnected with my surroundings I seem to be. Don’t get me wrong, there are still many wonderful moments in any given day that I treasure deeply in my soul. And my relationship with my Lord and Savior, my amazing Family and my wonderful Friends are pure gold to me. I know I could not survive without them and I am glad that I do not have to. But with each year that passes, I am forced to say a word again and again that I have come to despise, “Goodbye!” Having battled abandonment issues all my days, each time I officiate a Funeral, or read about the passing of Someone who has played such a huge part in
making me who I am, I die a little bit more also.

As I write this, it is m y Dad’s Birthday. He would have been 87 years old today. He graduated to Glory some 19 years ago after a long battle with cancer. I am just a few years away from the age he was when he passed so to admit that I am sobered by it all would be an understatement. I miss my Father. I dream of him every night and that is no exaggeration. I hear his voice in my own and see him when I look in the mirror. I wish I could just talk to him again about all that is going on. He left a hole the size of the Grand Canyon in my soul and nobody can ever replace him.

But it is not just Dad that has me so melancholy these days. With every passing year, we are losing more and more of those special individuals that we looked up to and leaned upon for wisdom, strength and guidance. It’s no secret that we live in a totally different world than the one I grew up in. I wish I could tell you that I am excited about where our society is heading but that would be a fib. I have never been one who could stuff my real feelings very well. If you want to know what I’m thinking, just look at my face because I wear my emotions on my sleeve. Respect for the Elderly is a disappearing trait and cross generational interaction a lost art. How will we ever learn and grow if we don’t participate in life together?

I can remember listening to my parent’s records growing up. It opened the door to my love of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Joni James, Al Martino and other crooners. But I remember Mom and Dad taking me to see “A Hard Day’s Night” with the Beatles at the Drive-In Movie only because I adored the Fab Four. Dad and I would watch Jerry Lewis Movies, Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy and so many more classics. Mom and I would watch “An Affair to Remember,” “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing,” and countless other tear jerkers. We shared experiences together that helped shape me but also still influenced them. I am a passionate Mets Fan today because Dad opened that
door for me. Little did my Parents realize back then, but would soon come to understand, that when I got interested in anything it would soon become an obsession. I still never do anything without doing it with all of my heart.

Unfortunately, Political Correctness is sucking the very life blood out of humanity. People are ignoring the foundational intangibles while they make big issues out of nonsense. Take for instance the whole Kate Smith controversy. Here is a Woman who in her day did more for her Country than the average individual and made the song “God Bless America,” a National institution. For years, her rendition of this Irving Berlin classic was a staple at Flyers and Yankee Games. But along comes someone who claims that they were offended by a song she did in a Broadway Show back in the 1930’s and we are quick to cover her statue with a blanket. We shouldn’t and can’t condone everything done in our Nation’s past but we can’t erase it either. It was a different day. And we won’t continue to move forward in our race relationships if we resort to such backward thinking! I just see too much hypocrisy in the whole politically correct movement. Reconciliation will never happen if we cover up what needs to be addressed and learned from.

But is our present Culture open to such honest dialogue? Those who cry out and demand tolerance can be the most intolerant of them all. I feel like I’m back in Junior High when peer pressure controlled the cafeteria. If you want to fit in then you have to conform to what those in the majority have deemed cool to be. If there is another truth that I have learned along the way it is that ‘Crowds” make lousy “Leaders.” In the Bible, it was a Crowd that voted to not get on the Ark and the Crowd drowned. In the Bible, it was a Crowd that voted to not take the Promised Land that God was giving to His people and the Crowd died in the desert. In the Bible, it was a Crowd that chose Barabbas over Jesus and how did that turn out? I hate the phrase, “Everybody’s Doing It.” Maybe it is time to take a stand for what is true and with love, grace and the help of the Holy Spirit, live it out. Have the courage to say what you believe and not just bark out the party lines. I will never fit into a world that writes a script for me and expects me to read it line for line.

The way we were wasn’t all that good but the way we are now isn’t much better! At this point of my journey, I pray to live each day with my light shining bright with the hope that through me, others will see the Lord. I don’t claim to be perfect or have it all together. I know that I am still under construction but it is God who has promised to finish the project that He began in me. I pray for our Country and the need for revival and the return to being a Nation that wants to please God and not escort Him from the building. Sure, memories can always be a bit fuzzy when yearning for the “Good Old Days,” that were never quite as good as we make them, but we don’t have to settle for
what we know can be so much better. While we are here, I pray that we unwrap each day as the gift that it is and take nothing for granted. And let’s commit to us living life and not letting life push us around to places we know we don’t want to go!





It’s Your Move!

23 04 2019

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I’ve always liked Billy Sunday. He was an ex–baseball player, and he used his pulpit as a pitcher’s mound, winding up and letting go of his fastball, screwball, knuckleball sermons night after night in his huge revival tents. He would also slide down across the stage as if he was sliding into Home!
Billy Sunday was the quintessential American mass evangelist. He crisscrossed North America one hundred years ago with his flamboyant revival showmanship, which attracted enormous crowds.

One of the features of these tents was the sawdust trail. The wide aisle leading from the entrance of the tent down to the elevated pulpit from which Sunday preached was layered with a couple of inches of sawdust. It kept down the dust in dry times and moderated the mud in wet times.
But it also marked the trail from row after row of folding chairs to the altar at the front of the tent, just below the pulpit.

As Billy Sunday would wind up his sermon, he would give his famous “altar call,” calling men and women who had come to the tent that night to step out of their seats, walk down the sawdust trail to the altar, and, kneeling there, invite Jesus to be their Savior.

“Hitting the sawdust trail” entered the North American vocabulary as a synonym for repentance and conversion. Billy Sunday’s often-repeated formula for the Christian life was this: “Hit the sawdust trail, fall on your knees, and receive Jesus as your Savior. Then walk out of this tent, go out into the street, get hit by a big old truck, and go straight to heaven.”

You must admit, I think, that it’s a wonderful formula for getting to heaven the quickest and easiest way. And it is virtually foolproof. There is no time to backslide, no temptations to bother with, no doubts to wrestle with, no spouse to have to honor, no kids to put up with, no enemies to love, no more sorrow, no more tears. Instant eternity. Billy Sunday is an extreme case of what is more or less typical of the North American approach to these matters: “Get it right, but then get it done as quickly as possible.”

Again, and again, as we pursue our spiritual life, we must do battle with things like easy, lazy and apathy. We must fight against being careless and looking to arrive at our necessary destination too quickly. We need to be intentional about investing the proper amount of time and effort into knowing Jesus and growing in our intimacy and relationship with Him. You can’t fully have faith- fully express hope- fully grow in love- unless you are willing to go the distance.

For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them. We suffer from what has come to be known as “busy sickness.” One of the great illusions of our day is that running full speed ahead will buy us more time.

I pulled into a Restaurant recently where the advertising slogan read, “We help you eat faster.” But what if my primary need is not eating faster? What if I actually enjoyed a meal and not just inhaled it? What if the Lord doesn’t want us to skim over the strategic moments of our every day? What if we allowed our bodies to be truly in tune with where are right now rather than consumed by where we will be tomorrow?

Advertisers know that we will buy anything that promises to help us hurry. The bestselling shampoo in America rose to the top because it combines shampoo and conditioner in one step, eliminating the need for that all time-consuming rinsing people used to have to do. Domino’s became the Number One name in pizza not because they serve delicious pizza but because the company promised to deliver in thirty minutes or less. “We don’t sell pizza,” said their CEO, “We sell convenience.” “Taking a cue from Domino’s Pizza, a Detroit hospital guarantees that emergency-room patients will be seen within 20 minutes or treatment is free.” The paper notes that since the offer was made, business has been up 30 percent at the hospital. That may be true in quantity but something tells me that the quality of care isn’t as top notch as it should be.

Hurry is not just a disordered schedule. Hurry is a disordered heart. You can’t do Christianity by skimming the surface. Resurrection is not just what Jesus did but what He has made possible for us. The Grave we should conquer is not just the one at the end of the journey, but the one that wants to rob you of living today. Jesus didn’t just come to do a job, but He showed us how to live a life. Believers today have largely traded wisdom for information, depth for breadth. We want to microwave maturity. And as I told you before, you can’t do that! Even God won’t allow sloppy short cuts on the journey to intimacy and reverence.

As we teach about Christianity, we correctly emphasize the redemptive work of Jesus, that through His death on the Cross we have been restored to God. But we don’t focus as often on why Jesus lived. He didn’t become a human and then live among humans for 33 years just to explain His death. Rather, I think His life was a message: “When you figure out why I died, here’s how you should live in your 33 years.” The Bible says, “Whoever claims to be in Him must walk as Jesus walked.” The more fully we grasp the significance of Jesus’ life and understand how His earthly ministry is a demonstration of God’s mission for His people: to put God on display in every way.

The Word became flesh and healed and fed and taught the crowds. The Word showed love and grace to sinners without compromising truth. The Word was a servant to all. Most of all, God’s Word in flesh showed us how we can showcase the Word through our daily walk and talk. Jesus did not just understand and explain God’s Word, but He also became the Word? Too many Believers today think by just talking a good game, this makes them an All Star! This is a grave mistake.

Real Christianity consists of what goes on between the moment we receive and fully realize and accept our identity as Christians and the time when we sit down to “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9). It deals with the way we live in the time being; the time that intervenes between kneeling at the altar and getting hit by that proverbial Mack truck. Does your sawdust trail include your footprints that prove you are actively following the Savior? Are you willing to make all the moves that are necessary to get us to the place that God is calling us to? It’s your move!





WAKE UP, IT’S EASTER!

17 04 2019

Ez 36.26
Not too long ago, I heard an old fairy tale about a wicked witch who lived in a remote cottage in the deep forest. When travelers came through looking for lodging, she offered them a meal and a bed. It was the most wonderfully comfortable bed any of them had ever felt. But the cost to experience a few sweet dreams didn’t come cheap.

You see, this was no ordinary mattress. This was a bed full of dark magic, and if you were still asleep in it when the sun came up, you would turn to stone. Then you became a figure in the witch’s statuary, trapped until the end of time. This witch kidnapped a young lady and forced the girl to serve her, and though she had no power to resist the wicked woman, she did have a real heart and it had become more and more filled with pity for her victims.

One day a young man came looking for bed and board and was taken in. Horrified at the prospects awaiting this valiant individual, the servant girl could not bear to see him turned to stone. So, she had an idea and put it immediately into practice. With no hesitation, she began to throw sticks, stones, and thistles into his bed. It made the bed horribly uncomfortable. This was going to be no ordinary night.

The young man was miserable. Every time he turned over; he felt a new painful object attacking him. Though he cast each one out, there was always a new one to dig into his skin. He slept very little, and when he concluded that there was no more sheep to count, he finally got up, feeling weary and worn, long before dawn. As he stumbled his way to the front door, the servant girl met him, and was shocked when he berated her cruelly. “How could you give a traveler such a terrible bed full of sticks and stones?” he cried and went on his way. “Ah,” she said under her breath, “the misery you know now is nothing like the infinitely greater misery a comfortable sleep would have brought upon you! Those were my sticks and stones of love.”

Jesus came from Heaven to Earth, and during His ministry to us, He never had a good night’s sleep. The Bible tells us that He didn’t even have a bed. But the Lord wasn’t here on vacation; He was on a mission. The enemy had been hypnotizing God’s creation into thinking that we needed to do things our own way in our own time to taste the good life. The result of that bad advice was our hearts not finding peace and quiet but our souls turning into stone. Jesus had compassion upon us and decided to take upon Him the curse that Hell had meant for us.

Jesus didn’t go to sleep; He went to the cross. He didn’t wear a night cap, but a crown of thorns. His body was beaten; splinters filled his crevices. Nails pierced His hands; a spear was thrust into his side; soldiers made sure that Jesus knew intimately every excruciating bit of pain and shame.

The irony was that Jesus could have checked out of our dumpy motel on his own any time He wanted. He traded in the praise of angels for the insults of our ignorance. He lived in obscurity and He died in what looked like the most tragic failure in history. Love chose Him and grace drove Him and because of Jesus, and because of Easter, we don’t have to fear nightmares anymore.

When I was a Kid, I used to be afraid of having to go to bed. First of all, my Parents sent me to bed way too early, long before I was sleepy. In those hours, until my eyes would close, I worried about what might happen if I should die before I wake. Sweat would pour from my 6-year-old self as I pleaded with God to not send me to Hell. I bargained and promised the Lord that I would turn over new leaves until my branches were bare. Eventually I would doze off and the anxiety would be put side for another night.

I remember my first Easter that I truly knew who Jesus was and what He did for me. Words can’t express how new my heart felt and how excited I was for the journey that God had laid out before me. Over the years, I have realized the hard way that love doesn’t allow me to sleep in. And I am at the age now where I can thank God for the sticks and stones of love that He put in my bed so that I would not snooze to lose. Easter has taught me to rely on Jesus and instead of turning to stone, He now rolls those rocks away! Easter promises a wake-up call like no other.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). Self-sufficiency, self-centeredness and self-salvation gives you night fever! God-sufficiency, God-centeredness, God-salvation takes us miraculously into a bright new day that no matter what happens here will never end there!





MEN’S RESURRECTION BREAKFAST

9 04 2019

Res BFThis year will be the fourth Annual Men’s Resurrection Breakfast held on the Saturday before Palm Sunday at The Lighthouse Church. The last three years, we have had the privilege of hearing from 1986 Mets World Series Champions Darryl Strawberry and Mookie Wilson and last year we were challenged by the words of Tony Evans’ Son, Jonathan. We opened up the door dividing our Sanctuary from our Gym and filled the room with Men of all ages. What an inspirational sight to see Fathers and Sons, Grandpops and Grandsons, Uncles, Cousins, Neighbors of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and colors coming together. When Men have nothing else to talk about, it seems that sports have bridged the gap in ways that no other subject can. And for a few hours, we are able to see the fascinating worlds of sports and faith coming together.

 

As I write this today, I am missing my own Dad even more than normal. I went to Citi Field yesterday, home of my favorite Baseball Team, the New York Mets. I received my love for the Blue and Orange from my Father. He grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers Fan and when his beloved Bums left for California, there was no chance he was going to turn traitor and root for the Yankees. So, a few years after I was born, into the National League came this expansion team that we both fell in love with together. The highlight of my whole year was the day that Dad and I went to Shea Stadium together. I would wake him long before dawn so that we could be there hours before the first pitch! I cherish the many autographs I collected through the years because Dad loved me enough to show up so early.

 

There was one sentence from my Pop that would brighten up my darkest days and I experienced my fair share of them growing up. But when he said, ‘Hey Rudy, come outside and I’ll hit you some fly balls,” he would never have to ask me twice. I would want those moments to last forever. When we were out there together and I was doing what I loved best, all was right with the world. Today I wanted to ask my youngest Son Joel to go out and have me hit some fly balls to him. It didn’t happen as he was busy with other engagements. I felt a little sorry for myself but I understand. He had no way of knowing that my heart was breaking. I believe the old adage is true and that we never miss a real good thing until is out of reach! Still for a moment, I closed my eyes and I was seventeen all over again, drifting under that long fly ball from my Father’s bat. Oh, what I would give for another five minutes chance to play catch with him just one more time.

 

It’s funny that when Women get together, they are sharing the deepest longings of their soul within a few minutes of connecting. Men need a little more help and sports seems to do the trick. This year at our Breakfast, our very special Speaker is Lee Rouson. A graduate of the University of Colorado in 1981, Lee would go on to play Running Back for the New York Giants. The Giants were my Dad’s favorite Football Team, while I crossed over and became a Philadelphia Eagles Fan! The battles we would have when they would play each other are the stuff of legends. Lee was also a two-time Super Bowl Champion with the New York Giants in 1987 and again in 1990. Lee would finish his NFL Career with the Cleveland Browns.

 

Lee is coming to the Resurrection Breakfast to talk about more than just football. While it will be fun to hear the stories of his part in the victories against the Broncos and Bills, I know that everyone there will be challenged by the adventures that he has taken part in since those glory days. Rouson shares, “Throughout my life, I have made good choices, and I have made bad choices. The times that I made good, positive choices, my heart was in the right place, but I always did it for the wrong reasons. I also made bad choices based on fear and selfishness, and I suffered difficult consequences as a result. Then, I decided to put my full trust in God, and it has made all the difference. Now, I not only make positive choices for the right reasons, but I know I have a purpose when I place all of my trust in God.”

 

The one common message from every famous Athlete that I have ever heard from is that money, fame, power, drugs, booze, sex and attention never filled the hole in the heart. Why do we have to wait until its almost too late to finally admit that we need God to run the show? Why do so many men think that they can do it all by themselves? Even great Ballplayers have had to submit their talent to the decisions of the Coach! My life only began to make sense when I was ready to listen. Only my faith in the Lord has given me the wherewithal to survive the biggest losses that cut much deeper than a ballgame. Because of God, I know I will see my Dad again someday soon. Even today I shared with my wife Terri that I believe Dad will once again hit me fly balls in Glory. Just the thought made me smile.

 

This Saturday on April 13th at 9AM, I invite every Man reading this to come out to the Resurrection Breakfast. Other Churches hold these events and the tickets run as high as $25. We at the Lighthouse have made a commitment to never let money stand in the way of having their heart stirred in a good way. Tickets are only $5 and that is to just cover the cost of the Breakfast. If that is still too much, come anyway and I’ll buy you Breakfast! Make a memory and get an autograph. Have you and your Dad get a picture taken together. Invest in a morning together with the faith that what you do now will lead to a forever of life that never ends! 

The Men’s Resurrection Breakfast is this Saturday April 13th at 9AM. Tickets are $5 and available by calling 465-6690 or get them at the door!

 





A CHURCH OF ALL AGES FOR ALL AGES!

5 04 2019

A Church for all ages

Is today’s Evangelical Church making the mistake that in their well-meaning efforts of wanting to stay relevant and connected to the times they have done so to such the degree that the Body of Christ is actually not honoring their elderly saints? One only need to check out that most of today’s Christian bestselling authors, and those that are topping the charts in writing and singing contemporary worship music, the most popular conference speakers that believers are flocking to hear, and the hippest mega church pastors all seem to be younger, hipper, and very cool in both the way they preach and the clothes they wear. Is Christianity today guilty of actually putting their older Pastors out to premature pastures?

I’m not putting the younger generation down. The Bible clearly exhorts the older members of the Flock to not purposely look down on the younger just because of their age. I am just trying to make a point that there is a real danger if there is not enough maturity in the midst of the Church. How can you gain wisdom if everyone you interact with is also your age? Where is the attention due those who have lived life and experienced more of the journey in such the fashion that they have much to offer others who are still building their foundations?  Could it be that today’s Church experts have been guilty of not paying proper attention to the elderly? Are today’s Senior Saints being forced to dwell in the shadows of ministry, leadership structures, publicity campaigns, vision, and input?

When I began my life as a Youth Pastor, I was only 22 years old. I had much to offer the teens that I imparted life into, but also much to still learn from the older Servants in my sphere of influence. In 1997, I moved from a Youth emphasis to becoming the Lead Pastor at The Lighthouse Church here in Cape May County. When I got here, I was 37. Although at this point, I was now married for 15 years and the Father of three, I was still intentional about making sure that there were older Men on the Elder Board to balance out my age at the time. Today, I am on the verge of turning 60 years old and celebrating my 38th year in full time Ministry and now I am balancing out our Leadership Team at The Lighthouse Church with younger Men and Women who can relate better to the Youth and Younger Families and have so much more energy than I do.  

I know I will always be an advocate of making sure that today’s Church is cross generational. While I strongly support age appropriate specific ministries to the different Seasons of Life amidst a Congregation, I want the Celebration Service to be made up of God’s Children of all ages. I want the Young to interact with the Older Disciples. I want to keep the legacy of yesterday’s hymns alive while still championing the new worship songs of the present day. I want to provide a common avenue so that true interaction between the Saints of all ages and backgrounds takes place. If Believers get siloed into just sticking with their own, I truly believe the Church is weakened and watered down. Every tongue, every tribe, every color, every background and every age seem to be the precedence the Bible has set for the makeup of the local Family of God.

I love the up and coming Preachers like Steven Furtick, Mark Batterson, Kyle Idleman, Matt Chandler and David Platt to name a few. They are spot on Scripturally and powerful in their messages and delivery. But I also love Chuck Swindoll, John MacArthur, John Piper, Tony Evans and the late preachers like Dr. Robert A Cook and James Montgomery Boice. I would encourage all Believers to make sure you have a Paul in your life; that someone you can look up to and someone who has permission to speak truth into your life, even if it is difficult. We all also need a Barnabas, someone who is a peer and a confidant that we can run this race of faith side by side. But we should always have a Timothy–that individual we are mentoring and building into so they too can grow up stronger to be more like Jesus. Who is your Paul? Who is your Barnabas? Who is your Timothy? Make sure you have all of these types in your clubhouse before you step out onto the field ready to compete in the daily contest of living for the Lord!

Finally, I think we all need to be true to who God has called us to be. I am not cool nor have I ever been hip nor a trendsetter. I believe I still have the passion of a 17-year-old but make no mistake, my body lets me know I’m 59! I would look foolish wearing skinny jeans and there is not much I can do with the little bit of hair I have left on my head. I don’t use power point in my messages. I still preach verse by verse through all of the Bible and get quite animated while doing so. I provide thorough notes and prepare many hours for the weekend presentations that I have the honor to share with those who come on out to The Lighthouse Church. I hope to keep preaching until the day God calls me home. I never want to lose the wonder or take for granted what a wonderful occupation that God has empowered me to perform. I love when the other Pastors on our Staff also bring their best to the pulpit. We are all wired differently and I think that is a good thing. When it all comes down to it, it is not my church or your church–but it belongs to the Lord. So, if we want to keep being effective and successful, I think the goal for all of us is to make sure that Jesus gets all the applause. If we keep on lifting Him up, then people are drawn to Him and He never lets anyone down. And that is true no matter what day and year you were born!