Thursday, May 29, 2008

There is a Time……

In the past, I’ve been accused of being a phony, a fake, not who I present myself to be. The reason for this is due to not always behaving the way at home as I do in public, or at church.

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

Okay, now, this scripture says to let my light shine before men. That means to represent Christ when I am around other people. The Bible also tells us to be Christ-like always. Whether in public or in private. (That’s also called Integrity).

Does this mean I am not allowed to have feelings? Does this mean I am not allowed to get angry or upset or voice my opinion when something bothers me?


Take a good hard look at some of the most prominent people in scripture.

Remember King David? He was a leader of men. David is known as the man who sought after God’s own heart. Not a bad thing to be known for. Do you think he spoke sweetly to his mighty men? Given the character and fortitude of those thirty seven Mighty Men, I doubt they would have followed Richard Simmons into battle, or risked their lives to bring PeeWee Herman a drink of water. No, David spoke to them with authority. In public, as King, David glorified God and wrote hymns of praise and worship. In private, David tore at his clothing and cried out in anguish over his sinful nature and begged God to forgive him. David was a man. He sinned. He prayed. He lied, he killed, he hid, he repented, he glorified God. David sought after God’s own heart, but he didn’t always behave the same way in every circumstance.

And Moses? How do you think his voice sounded when he told Pharaoh to let his people go? The people of Israel loved Moses and followed him to the Promised Land. Even though he screwed it up and got them lost for forty years (I think his wife may have stopped and asked directions). When Moses was teaching them the things God had told them, his voice was most likely kind and loving, but when the people started acting stupid and selfish, like when they began worshipping the golden calf or other idols, Moses got pretty well ticked and hollered at them. Was it because he hated his people? Of course not! He yelled at them because he genuinely cared about them and desired for them to get right with God.

When Jesus himself was in public, speaking to crowds of people, or ministering to someone one on one, He spoke gently and lovingly and Glorified God with his words and his actions. When alone with his disciples, he spoke to them sometimes in a teaching manner. Sometimes he got upset with them and had to speak to them authoritatively, especially during those times when they just didn’t get it or fell asleep when he’d asked them to stay up with him and pray.
“Can’t you guys stay awake with me for even one hour?!?”
Given the situation of that statement, I believe Jesus was getting somewhat perturbed with those guys! To say the least.
Think of how he must have spoken to Peter when Peter needed correcting.

Remember how Jesus spoke to the religious leaders when he called them a brood of vipers and a bunch of hypocrites? He was yelling at them! He royally told them off!

Remember, everything Jesus did was to glorify His Father in Heaven, even when he angrily drove the moneychangers out of the temple.

Yet Jesus never sinned.

He spoke to different people in different ways. When people needed love and kindness, that’s what He gave them. When people needed a strong hand and words of correction and discipline, He gave them that too. But He did it ALL, out of love for those people. He gave them what they needed for that particular time.

So how are we to treat our own family inside of our homes?
I do believe we are to speak to our spouses with love and tenderness.
But what happens when there is a disagreement or argument? We raise our voices and sometimes use angry words. Does this mean we don’t love them anymore? No, but if we’re not careful, they may take it that way.
The Bible tells us to not sin in our anger. That means that it is okay to get angry, just don’t lose control of yourself. We’re also supposed to speak kindly to others, especially our own family.

But it isn’t always easy, is it?

What about the kids?

It’s hard enough sometimes to be nice to our own children, but what about blended families?
It takes some time to learn how to deal with children who may have been raised and influenced by someone else whose ideas, values and morals are completely different than your own.

This gets me into trouble on a regular basis.

I am seen as the bad guy lately, because we (I) have rules in our house and I choose to enforce them. The rules are rather simple and designed to encourage the children to be considerate of others and respect people and other people’s things.
I personally don’t think it’s such a bad idea.
But, they’re upset with me because I refuse to allow a teenage girl to share her bed with her boyfriend in our home.
I refuse to allow alcohol of any kind in our home.
I believe that a 17 year old boy who brings his mother’s car back with less gas than when he took it, is saying that he does not appreciate the use of the car and doesn’t wish to use it anymore.

I believe the kids (all teenagers) should pick up after themselves, clean up their own messes, and think of others first.
When they don’t, I say something. I don’t yell at them, but my words and my tone are not always “flowery, joyful, and full of praise” for them.
“You don’t speak to your own son that way!”
“I don’t have to.”

I believe that those children….ALL children….should be respectful of their mother.

Many years ago, I attended a men’s weekend retreat with my church. One of the speakers spent the weekend giving us note cards to write on and asked each time for us to write down five words that describe who we are at work. Then later, five more words (separate card) for who are at church. Then, even later on, five more for who we are at home.

Finally, he asked us to compare each of the three cards and asked us to match up any words that match. Very few could match words from card to card. The point was to illustrate that we tend to act differently depending on where we are. The Bible tells us to be the same no matter where we are, or who we are around.

Naturally, you can’t be the fun loving jokester at work that you might be at home or church.

But I think the kind of words that describe us in each place should include the words “Integrity, Honest, Fair, Consistent, Thoughtful, Trustworthy, etc.”
You know, things that show we are followers of Christ.

I try my best to do that. But when the young people in your charge don’t know the difference, it becomes difficult. And when the other parent won’t back you up, it is dang near impossible.
Just so you understand: I do not yell at the kids and I do not belittle them, but I will be firm with them when I need to.

I am gaining new understanding as to what Soloman meant when he ranted in Ecclesiastes that “This is so meaningless! Good people are seen as bad, and bad people are seen as good!......”

The Bible also tells us that there is a time and place for everything. A time to laugh, a time to cry. A time for joy, and a time to pitch a fit. (heavily paraphrased by me).

When raising children, or just simply dealing with them, I’m not so sure you can use the same joyful tone of voice in all circumstances at all times. If you know how to accomplish this, then please educate me. I’d really like to know.

We are to train up a child in the way they should go….
If we don’t, then someone else will.
Who will that someone else be? An ex-spouse with a hidden agenda? TV? Their peers? Some drug dealer?

I don’t want to take that chance.

I believe children should be held accountable for their actions, more so as they grow older.
There should be consequences for bad behavior. If you think your children are perfect and never behave badly, then you need to seek professional help.
My own step-children are generally good kids, but every once in a while, they need correction and teaching and discipline.

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

I believe it is important to do this at home too. But I also don’t think it is all sweetness and joy.
Sometimes you need to be firm and enforce the rules.

I understand that not all parents believe this way. There are some parents who will not say “No” to their children and refuse to discipline them for fear of hurting their feelings or destroying the child’s self-esteem. They don’t want the child to feel bad. I also believe that to be irresponsible parenting.

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.
(Proverbs 22:15)

That verse changed my son’s life! For the better.

If a child misbehaves, or does something wrong or gets themselves into trouble…they are supposed to feel bad! That’s how they learn.

There is a time and place for everything.

Me? I’d rather have fun and enjoy the family.


You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.(1 John 4:4)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Waverly Gallery

As I said before, I’ve been kind of busy lately, with work and church and community theater.
Yeah, I am involved in another play.
Rehearsals almost every night and then weekends building the set in my garage.

May 9-24-The Waverly Gallery:
StageWorthy Productions announces its second production of the 2007-2008 season,
Kenneth Lonergan’s “The Waverly Gallery”.
Performances will be at 2950 E. 55th Place (Indianapolis) on May 9, 10, 16, 23, & 24, 2008 at 8pm.
All seats are $10.
A Pulitzer Prize finalist, the play focuses on the final years of a generous, chatty and feisty grandmother’s final battle against Alzheimer’s disease.
The play explores her fight to retain her independence and the subsequent decline on her family, especially her grandson.
More than a memory play, “The Waverly Gallery” captures the humor and strength of a family in the face of crisis.

And….I’m in it!

I play the part of Howard Fine, Gladys’ son-in-law and step-dad to Gladys’ grandson.
Howard is a New York psychiatrist, and although he means well, doesn’t always say things in a very tactful way.

This play has been a lot hard work and is a lot of fun to do.

One major challenge has been building the set.
The play is presented on a local church stage, so we need to tear it down every weekend so they can have church on Sunday. Then we put the set back up Friday night in time for the performance.

So I built the entire set (there was no one else to do it) in my garage and hauled it to the church in my pick-up truck.
Each part of the set is light-weight, and is hinged so it closes and transports easily by two people.
The hinges enable the walls to be opened up so they are free-standing, yet sturdy.

I’ll put up pictures real soon.
(Assuming I remember my camera this week).

If you find yourself in the Indianapolis area during the next couple of weekends, please stop by and see the show. It is a very well written play and the cast is fantastic!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How Very Convenient….

Sorry I haven’t been around much lately, but I’ve been keeping rather busy.

One of the many things I do for my job is to travel around the state to inspect and evaluate various roadways to see if they are a good candidate for the desired particular pavement preservation treatment.

One recent road trip took us (me and two other engineers) up north near the Great Lakes region. We were just about as far north in Indiana as you can get.

This also meant that it would be a very long drive back home once our task was complete.
So it makes sense that the driver of the car pulled into a rest stop on the way back. His timing was actually quite good and we all made use of the available facilities.

When at places like this, men tend to lollygag around since there seems to be some sort of unwritten rule that men just don’t go in groups. Not that we didn’t wait and take turns, the place had plenty of available accommodations to facilitate everyone, we just didn’t all three go in together. It’s a guy thing.

Before leaving the men’s room, of course, I stopped to wash my hands. I noticed that there were a row of sinks along the wall with a tile shelf above the sinks and then a mirror above the shelf at each sink. What else would you expect? It’s a rest stop. They even had the handicap sink at the end with that angled mirror above the sink.

The thing that caught my eye, however, was the mirror on the wall you have to walk past to get to the door to get out. It seemed to be positioned rather low. I couldn’t, at first, figure out why it was placed that way, since all you could see was the reflection from your knees to your chest. It couldn’t be the handicap mirror, they had one above the handicap sink.

Then it occurred to me what I was really looking at and I knew immediately what that particular mirror was for.

It is a “Check Your Fly” mirror.

I thought that was rather convenient.

Now, I understand that some fellows will still walk out of there with their fly open, but at least they can’t say that someone didn’t try to warn them.

I wonder if there is any such thing in the ladies room?
Any of you ladies care to comment?

But then, maybe us guys really don’t want to know.


(Now, go wash your hands)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Twenty Years Ago Today…

Twenty years ago, today, I watched you come into this world.
Aside from the doctor who delivered you, and the nurse who cleaned you up and checked you out, I was the first one to hold you.
I can still remember holding you in my arms in that delivery room.
You opened your eyes and looked up at me with the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen.
I could have sworn you smiled at me when I said, “Hello Joshua. I’m your Dad”.

I got to be the first one to hold you, to feed you, and I changed your very first dirty diaper (and countless others since then).
Everyone else had to wait patiently for their turn to get close to you, or to hold you.
I just didn’t want to let you go. The nurses had to almost force me to put you down in your crib so you could get some rest before going in to see your mom.

I have enjoyed watching you grow up. You have always been smarter than any little boy your age should have been.
You’ve also always been more than eager to try out new things. You were quite the explorer and daredevil.
The more those things made your mother sweat, the more you enjoyed doing them.
You were and still are, a lot of fun to be around.

I still remember the day when you were seven years old and you came to me and said, “Daddy, will you pray with me and help me accept Jesus into my heart?”
And that day, you, my son, became my brother in Christ.
Later that same week, we found you standing on a platform on your swing set in the back yard, preaching the gospel to all the neighborhood kids.

My precious little boy has grown up.
You have become a man of honor, of honesty and integrity.

I am proud of you and I love you.

Happy Birthday, My Son.