Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wilson Summer 2012 Fish Count

Bluegills -- 183
Largemouth Bass -- 17
Smallmouth Bass -- 8
Rock Bass -- 4
Crappie -- 1
Sucker -- 1

Thursday, September 27, 2012

There's Got to Be a Story Behind This

I discovered this sign at the Catholic Church in Minong, Wisconsin today, and thought it was funny.  There must be some story behind Glenn and the special parking space for his scooter.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Small Beginnings

Do not despise small beginnings.

Every giant redwood started out as a little seed.
Every skyscraper began with a shovel of dirt-digging down to go up!
Every eagle hatched from an egg, and every butterfly from a cocoon.

Every best-selling book and blockbuster film started as a thought.
Every grand invention began as a little idea.
Every good marriage started with a small glance and a smile.

Every great hero used to be a little baby.
Every world record musky started as a tiny fish egg!
Every heart-stirring song began with a single note.

So -- the world of small seeds, little ideas, single notes and fish eggs is the place where true greatness is born!

Do not despise small beginnings -- they contain the magic of wonderful hopes yet unfulfilled.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Christians Responding to Islam

My friend, Wes Oden, senior pastor of Houghton Wesleyan Church, wrote an insightful blog post recently, reflecting on the Christian response to the recent Muslim violence in reaction to the film insulting their prophet.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Summer Dance

A poem I wrote a while back upon the grand finale of summer, and recalling my daughter's ballet recital:

Summer danced upon the stage
A slow ballet -- but halting.

The curtain, parting,
whispers hints of happy moments
this summertide may bring

A timid pause, then from the spring
on tip toe pirouetting --
Summer's here!

Magic gliding to the tune of
green grass, orange flowers, blue skies
A choreography that flows so gracefully from June into July.

Capturing our breath, our hearts, uniting
and soulful happy thoughts begetting
The shorter days of August sadly hinting
that the dance is almost at an end.

And hardly just begun -- Septmember coda
our summer dance is over.
how quickly good times fly.

A graceful bow
A glorious end, and then
The lights are dimmed.

The curtain falls
Green fades to autumn tones.
The silent dancer
leaves the stage --
contented, but alone

While the audience rises and wiping an eye,
salutes the glorious coryphee
With grateful hearts, and thundering applause.

"Thank You! Well Done! Bravo!"

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dealing with Anger in a Healthy Way

1.  Remember, you can be wrong in your "rightness."
2.  Recongnize the damage of uncontrolled anger.  (It's only one letter away from danger.)
3.  Prayerfully face the underlying issues -- why am I angry?  What triggered it?
4.  Deal with it directly -- keep short accounts.
5.  Replace anger with kindness.
6.  Guard your responses.  An angry response to anger escalates anger.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Together They Ride

In honor of the thousands of bikers who will race in the Chequamagon Fat Tire Festival, this weekend, I share this poem I wrote a couple of years ago:

Amid cheers of loved ones, out-of-towners, and smatterings of locals
congregated on Main Street's crowded side
The vast Bicycle Armada glides.

Two thousand five hundred, did I hear?
Sailing furiously down Main Street
Into the wooded wilderness.

Two thousand five hundred look-alikes
On fat tired bikes.
But they, themselves seem neither fat nor tired (yet!)

Hunched over handlebars, determined
The helmeted hopefuls fly
In wild-eyed animation.

Wave after wave, the countless waves go by
inspiring awe, and even tears from sidewalk sentimentalists
who with wave and cheer, race on with them -- vicariously.

Two thousand five hundred souls hodgepodged,
Cobbled together from different ilk.
Following the clarion call. . .

From Minnesota and Montana
Texas and Kentucky.
From urban sprawl and hamlet

Together, they ride.

Farmer and Banker
Undertaker and Mechanic
Minister and Bartender

Together, they ride.

Republican and Democrat
Believer and Skeptic
Liberal and Conservative

Together, they ride

Management and Labor
Judge and Lawbreaker
Teenager and Elder

Together, they ride

Male and Female
Minority and Majority
Builder and Boomer and Buster

Together, they ride -- side by side.

So very different, but on this September day
So very much alike.

On Main Street, in a small Wisconsin town
A Bike Race brings the difference down.
Sailing, they cast it all aside -- and together, they ride!

All hearts united.
All minds directed
To the common end
A common friend -- the finish line.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Effective Discipleship is a Slow Cooking Process

A profound post from Dan White Jr.'s blog, The Holy Mess:  Missional-Marinating.

Sometimes, in our hurry to build a great, effective ministry, driven pastors end up making a bad stew.  We can't rush discipleship -- it requires patience.

Don't Seek Advice from the Dead Guy

Here's great post from my friend, Ron McClung: 
I have a friend who lives in another country, where the predominant religion is not Christianity. He told me about some Christian schoolboys who were walking along, minding their own business. Some other boys stopped them and said, “Why are you Christians? Why don’t you become one of us?” and they named their religion.
Instead of giving a direct answer, one of the boys replied, “If you were going to a certain village, what if you lost your way and could not remember how to get there? If you saw two men lying in the grass, one of them dead and the other one alive, which one would you ask for directions?” 
The boy who asked the first question said, “I would ask the man who was alive, of course.” 
The wise young man said, “This is why we follow Jesus. He is not dead. He is alive.”What a great answer. He did not put down the other person’s religion. He simply affirmed his faith in a living Christ. 
Jesus told his followers, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; . . . I am going there to prepare a place for you. . . . I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” But Thomas, who gained a reputation as a doubter, said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”  Jesus replied, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:2-6 NIV).
On another occasion, some people who did not like Jesus’ message turned back and decided not to follow him any longer. He asked his disciples, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” 
This time, it was Peter who answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:67-68 NIV).
 How good God is to give us a clear road map to follow. When we know he is the way and we know he has the words of eternal life, why would we want to take any other path? 
Besides, as Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you may end up someplace else.”

Friday, September 07, 2012

A Calmness Beneath the Raging Storm

When winds are raging o'er the upper ocean,
And billows wild contend with angry roar,
'Tis said, far down beneath the wild commotion,
That peaceful stillness reigneth, evermore.

Far, far beneath, the noise of tempests dieth,
And silver waves chime ever peacefully,
And no rude storm, how fierce soe'er it flieth,
Disturbs the Sabbath of that deeper sea.

--  Harriet Beecher Stowe

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

How to Make Good Decisions

Here are 16 questions to help you as you face major decisions.
1. What is the real, bottom line issue here?
2. What would be most honoring to God? Have I prayed about it?
3. What are the pro's and con's? (Write them down.)
4. What do your respected advisors say?
5. What factors push you towards "yes"? Are they noble, upright, positive, and true?
6. What factors push you towards "no"? Are they noble, upright, positive, and true?
7. What new problems does the decision bring? (Every new plan brings new obstacles.)
8. What is the right thing to do?
9. T.H.I.N.K. (Is it True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, & Kind?)
10. How will this decision impact other people? (both positively and negatively)
11. What have other, wiser people done in similar situations?
12. Do I have all of the information necessary to make a good decision?
13. Is the timing right?
14. Is this a "long haul" decision or a temporary fix? ("band aid" solutions don't last long.)
15. Will this make life better or worse?
16. What are the potential gains v .s. the potential losses? Is it worth the price?

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Monday, September 03, 2012

Steaming and About to Spout

On a remote Alaskan island about 1000 miles from Anchorage, the Cleveland Volcano has been steaming lately. Pundits wonder when a full eruption will occur.

That reminds me of some human relationships -- steam, steam, steam -- and "Thar She Blows!"

Some people have a low frustration tolerance. At the slightest annoyance, they over-react with tantrums.

A sticker on a box I saw a while back made me smile. It said, "Warning: contents may explode under pressure."

Wouldn't it be great if people wore stickers like that?

"Warning: if you bother me right now, I'm going to snap your head off!"

Sometimes, we're tempted to stuff our stress and pressures down into our souls. Instead of resolving issues, we shove them down and try to ignore them.

Unfortunately, an unresolved issue is like a dead skunk. You won't get rid of it by shoving it under the bed. Ignoring it just makes everything smell worse!

For the times you are all stressed out and "likely to explode at any moment" - -consider the following:

1.When things go wrong, ask yourself, "What is going right?"

One bad situation can siphon off all of our positive energy, making us forget that there are 1000 good things happening too.

2. Remind yourself, "This too shall pass."

Even the worst situation is not forever. It's going to get better.

3. Do something "de-stressing."

Prayer, reading the Bible, visiting with a good friend, a hike in the woods, listening to your favorite music, going on a drive, or vigorous exercise are all ways to lower your emotional stress level.

4. Pause before you spout.

Is this really what you want to say? Is this the way you want to say it?

It's far better to bite your tongue than to say hurtful things you'll regret later.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Healing Fields

The Boys and Girls Club @ LCO is organizing a fundraiser called Healing Field: Finding Common Ground | Hayward 2012. Individuals or organizations can purchase a full flag (a U.S. flag or an LCO flag) for $35.00 in memory of a loved one and the flags will be displayed in unity in the field on the corner of Hwy B and K from August 12-September 20. You can read more information about this fundraiser here at the Healing Fields Website.
Here's an official description of the tribute:
The Boys & Girls Club of Lac Courte Oreilles will host the Hayward, Wisconsin – Lac Courte Oreilles Healing Field flag display this summer with a massive display of U.S. Flags and Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Flags at the corner of Highways B & K. The three-by-five foot flags posted in ordered lines on eight-foot white poles will be an awe-inspiring honorary display to pay tribute to the strength of our community while we continue to find common ground.
In addition to the fundraiser and the display of the flags, there is going to be a ceremony on Thursday, September 20 from 1:00-2:30pm at the site where all the flags are displayed. Members from all over the community plan to be in attendance as display of unity and solidarity.
Please join us and visit this stirring memorial. This is the perfect opportunity for us to come together as a community.