Sunday, January 28, 2007

Seven Days Without Blogging Makes One Weak!

No excuses here. My week has been incredibly busy, but in a good way. I have actually sat down to blog several times in the last week, but I just wasn't "feeling it," so I decided to wait.

It's early Sunday morning...about 8:00 am EDT. I am preparing to go speak at my sister's church. They graciously invite me to come at least once a year. I am looking forward to it. I confess that I miss preaching every Sunday. For me, it is a way of connecting with people on many levels. I also enjoy seeing the faces of the people who tune in and listen while trying to apply the biblical truths to their lives. I will undoubtedly post later on how it went.

Quick resolution update: since January 1, 2007, I have dropped 4.2 lbs. That's four point two, not 42. At least I am going in the right direction. Only 35.8 more to go!

If you are looking for something a little different today, go to Rick's blog and accept his invitation to online church at 2:00 pm EDT. Maybe I will "e" you there!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Weekend Recap

Whew! What a busy weekend. It was a weekend off for me and Tracy, but it was one of those, "I can't wait to get back to work so I can relax" weekends as well.

Saturday night was a WFJ television taping. It was by far one of the best we have done. We had a blast, but it was a late night for everyone getting home.

Sunday was full of out-of-town in-laws and old friends. Recall that I opened the post with, "Whew!"

Lately the Lord has been revealing some very basic yet powerful truths about "covenants." In the days and weeks to come I will be posting some of what I have learned. Right now I am just too tired.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Winter is (Finally) Here!

Tomorrow we are expecting a "Wintry Mix." Where I come from, a wintry mix is a snowball fight where bruises are inflicted and maybe a few teeth are knocked out! Not sure exactly what we'll see on the morrow, but it is chilly outside, and I like it!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

In Small Packages

Today at church we were treated to the ministry of Victoria Huggins. She is a 13 year old gospel singer from St. Pauls, NC and is a multi-talented young lady. But that's not what most impressed me about her.

There are a lot of 13 year olds who can sing. I have a house full of them! Victoria was more than just a cute little break from "church as usual." For a 13 year old, she displayed a wisdom and spiritual maturity way beyond her years. I watched her pray for other people with Christlike compassion, shedding tears as she did so.

I hope that many people were ministered to today as I was. I have three daughters close to her age. I would love to see a heart for ministry in their lives like the one I saw in young Victoria Huggins. I would love to see it in my own life as well.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Man Named Clyde

I read a powerfully insightful article posted on Rick's blog. Brace yourself, dear reader, for I am about to confess some things in bold honesty.

Confession # 1: I do not like Oprah Winfrey. I do not like her show. But let's give credit where it is due here. If I were an author who had just written a book, I would not be disappointed to be mentioned by Oprah. Writers who receive a nod from her genuinely fair quite well. Furthermore, whatever her motivation may have been for building a school in a place where such a school is desperately needed, I tip my hat to Oprah for her generosity, compassion, and courage to do what's right. How many so-called "megachurches," or for that matter, even non-megachurches have given their resources and time to build schools for underprivileged children living in a country frought with unspeakable violence? Thank you, Oprah, for reminding us Christians what we ought to be about.

Confession # 2: I cannot stomach Pat Robertson. Isn't there some way we could just cancel his program and keep him off of our TVs? Of course that would make us communists, but it would almost be worth it just to shut guys like him and Falwell up. The disaster he prophecied about may have actually been his show.

Confession # 3: I am embarrassed at my lack of compassion and sick and tired of being represented on mainstream media by idiots like Robertson and Falwell and the like. I am embarrassed that I have been consumed with my own meager financial troubles and have never once considered building a school somewhere. I am embarrassed to be called a "pastor" in a world where we parade only those pastors who have megachurch status and set themsleves up as a goal to be attained. I am ashamed that for many years, that was, in fact, my goal. Today, if I had a 15,000 member church, I would divide them up into 150 smaller churches where such churches are needed. I fear that we are going to have to answer for the "Americanized" Christianity we perpetuate.

All of this reminds me of a man named Clyde who is a member of my former church in Walterboro. Clyde is a quiet, unassuming man. He can also be quite hysterically funny! One Wednesday night I had just locked the doors to the church and was getting into my truck to head home so that I could catch something on TV. Clyde was getting into his vehicle when suddenly a man walked up to him from the gas station across the street. The church is located right off of I-95, and so we had a lot of transients come to the church looking for help. This gentleman, if I am not mistaken, was stranded and had no cash and wanted something to eat. I am in my truck at this point, locking my doors, and looking to see if Clyde is going to be OK. He was retired from the Highway Patrol, so I figured he could handle the guy if things turned violent. I sat there and watched as Clyde reached into his wallet and handed the guy a $20. I thought, "Well, Clyde just got taken! I would have just sent him to a local shelter or something." Then I saw somethng that forever changed my life. Clyde prayed for the man! He put his hands on his shoulders and prayed for him! Then he HUGGED the man. A stranger! A transient! Clyde HUGGED him! Yeah he had been taken, all right--taken by genuine Christlike compassion.

As I watched Clyde wipe a tear of compassion from his eye and look at me to wave goodbye, I was so humiliated. Here I was, the PASTOR, and I had no compassion in me for this stranger in need. I recalled those familiar verses which speak about doing it for the least of these being like doing it for Jesus. I realized that I was a lot better at preaching Jesus than I was at actually BEING Jesus. Then something really hit me:
  • When my transmission blew up, it was Clyde who initiated the Men's Fellowship to "pass the hat" and get it fixed for us.
  • When our heater at the house conked out, it was Clyde who showed up with a load of firewood which he had cut, loaded, and unloaded just for us.
  • On many a Sunday, Clyde took my family and I to lunch.
  • Clyde is one of the most giving people I have ever met. If I were 1/10 the man he is, I'd be doing a lot better.

Since I have left that church, the image of Clyde ministering to that stranger has not left my mind. In 2007, I am endeavoring to give more. I was to preach a message on giving at that church and I never really felt the release to do it. Now I know why. I could not stand there and preach on giving while being such a selfish person myself.

Thank you to Oprah and Clyde for reminding us that it truly IS better to give than to receive. Now, Lord, help us to live it out day by day.

Friday, January 05, 2007

What the...?

According to my Star Trek calendar, courtesy of James, it is January. Yet when I step outside, it is July. This weather has been the only consistent gripe that I have about SC, other than rush hour traffic. At one time, I considered moving back up north just so I could actually live in a place that has four seasons. Ironically when I visited Wisconsin in November, the weather was warm. Before I arrived, they were calling for snow. When I left, they were calling for snow. While I was there, I wore shortsleeves. I packed all sweaters and warm clothes for my trip, and ended up having to wear the shirt I left SC wearing.

South Carolina is a great place to live and raise a family. The rich history and beauty of this place is unrivaled. I just wish that we could have winter. I am a yankee. Yankees need cold now and then. Today it is raining and in the 70s. It looks to be like this for a few days. Welcome to the "armpit" of the south.

On a more positive note, President Bush is planning to announce his Iraq strategy "sometime next week." Not a moment too soon, I'm sure.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Nothing to Report

Absolutely nothing happened today. Nothing good. Nothing bad. Nothing of consequence. Were it not for the fact that 1 year ago today the bottom dropped out in my life, this little post would have no significance. But it is significant to me that I am a long way from where I was a year ago, and I'm glad.

No more drama; no more trauma. All is good in Todd's world today.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Reader Questions 2007

Today we begin a new feature at The Word of Todd. I will try and answer some of the 1,000s of fan letters from 2006. I regret that I cannot answer each one personally, but will try to make a small dent nonetheless.

Q: Dear Todd, since you are such a die hard Badger, what's your pick for the Capital One Bowl?
---M. Funkhauser; Walla Walla, WA

A: Badgers 45, Razorbacks 10

Q: Dear Todd, what is the point of "American Idol?" I mean really. What a bunch of morons to get on national TV with no real talent! Is this what the world is coming to?
---J. Billings; Ritter, SC

A: I couldn't agree with you more. Speaking of morons on TV with no talent, have you seen the new cast of ER? And what about the coverage of this year's Rose Parade? Makes me want to pick up a book and turn the one-eyed monster off until they bring back Seinfeld.

Q: Dear Todd, I have looked high and low, but I just cannot find that key to the Coke machine. I'm not accusing you or anything, but have you seen it?
---B. Deas; Columbia, SC

A: Don't you have a traffic report to do or something?

Q: Dear Todd, can I wear brown shoes with blue jeans?
---B. Spears; Hollywood, CA

A: Girl, the world is a tuxedo and you ARE a pair of brown shoes!

Q: Dear Todd, have you taken out the garbage yet?
---Your wife

A: Coming, dear...happy 2007 everyone! Keep those questions coming!