Thursday, February 08, 2007

He that hath ears let him hear: My Planner is missing

My Franklin Planner was missing, gone, vanished. Like the woman who was missing her coin, I searched and searched. Like the shepherd who lost his sheep, I left my 99 other calendars behind to find it. Like the dad, whose boy took off, I patiently waited by the road hoping to see my little Franklin return. But sadly, unlike the lady, the shepherd and the dad of Luke 15, nothing was found or returned or had come home. The fatted calves of the world needn’t worry about a celebratory meal.

Here were the facts in the case of the missing planner. I had it on Sunday afternoon as I was leaving the church for home, but when I arrived at the Prince Castle it was gone.

There were only two scenarios that seemed reasonable to me…

1) An evil, calendar thief might have spied, envied and coveted my sleek Franklin planner with its zippered, black leather cover, which led this crazed individual with the heart of a terrorist to stalk, plot and swipe it when the opportunity arose on Sunday afternoon, or

2) I might have set it on top of my car as I was getting into my Chevy, and it ended up on the side of the road or in a ditch somewhere between the church and my house.

In spite of the high terrorist alert, I had a sneaky feeling that my planner became a victim of option #2. UGH!

I really need my day timer. It has all of my upcoming meetings and dates in it. It has important phone numbers in it. It has little notes that I have scribble to myself in it. And most importantly, it contained a couple of partly used gift cards to area restaurants. UGH!! UGH!!! UGH!!!

I cried to Pastor Volker. Like me, believing my planner was on top of the car as I exited the parking lot on Sunday, and calculating the velocity of my Chevy, the wind currents on Sunday afternoon, the mass and weight of my planner, Pastor Volker mathematically came to the conclusion that my Franklin must be in the water retention pond at the corner of the church property. Yet, in spite of his skilled geometric ciphering, his subsequent search of the area was in vain.

I called Karla and told her my missing calendar woes. She listened to me cry and moan and when I was done, trying to change the subject and encourage my disheartened soul she said, “Rob, what are we doing tonight?”

“UGH” I cried out, “That’s my point… I don’t know.” I sadly admit to you, I went back to blubbering and wailing in a manner the world has not seen since Jeremiah was stuck in a cistern. To everyone within earshot, in the King James English, I cried out, “He that hath ears let him hear: My Franklin is missing.”

I knew what my next steps should be:
1) File a Missing Planner Report with the FBI,
2) Contact the guy from America’s Most Wanted, and
3) Get my Franklin’s picture on every milk carton in America.

Before doing all of that, I decided to check my car one last time. Of course, I knew it wasn’t there. It couldn’t be there. It shouldn’t be there. For crying out loud, I had searched my car three times. Guess what? It was there! My car is not so big that I should overlook my planner. I drive an Impala not a limousine. And besides a few assorted burger wrappers and an empty water bottle or two it’s really not that messy. How could I have missed it? I don’t know. But there it was hiding between the two front seats. Hallelujah! My planner was lost, but now it is found! Start running big ol’ fatted calves, its party time!

I’m glad God is a better looker, a better finder and a better seeker than me. Like my planner, I was lost. Unlike me, God knew exactly where I was, what I was doing, and how to reach me. I am so glad He did. The Good News is that He loves all of us, doesn’t want any of us to be lost, and does everything needed to see that we are found.

If you have a loved one that’s not where they need to be, if they are lost—take heart: We have a God that knows how to reach the lost. We serve a God that cares for the lost. Unlike my planner, no one falls through the cracks with God. No one is out of reach or out of touch from His great love. So keep praying, keep expecting, keep looking to that day when your lost loved one is found! Don’t ever give up.

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Super Sunday

A Super Sunday

Maybe you’ve heard that this Sunday a football game is going to be played. The game was named by the late owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, Lamar Hunt, after his daughter’s super ball. I guess the world can be thankful she liked hard, rubber bouncy balls instead of some other toy, or the big game might have been called the “Easy Bake Oven” Bowl, the “Slinky Bowl” or the “Silly Putty Bowl”-- those just don’t have the same pizzazz as the “Super Bowl.”

I like the name “Super Bowl” and I like the Roman numerals that are used to describe them. In fact, I say let’s use Roman Numerals more often. In case you were wondering, last Sunday in church we had DCCCXCVI worshipping at Central.

Unlike last year’s Super Bowl XL which was played in that beautiful winter vacation destination of Detroit (a fine city just a few miles from my hometown), Super Bowl XLI will be played in Miami, Florida. Can you believe that most folks would rather attend the Super Bowl in a city like Miami where the average temperature is LXXVI as opposed to Detroit where the average winter temperature is XXII?

If you can’t be at Dolphin Stadium cheering on your team and enjoying the game and weather, then like millions of others you’ll be sitting in front of what my dad used to refer to as the “idiot box.” (He also called the television another name but I shall refrain from referring to a TV set by that name in this family friendly, church e-mail.).

Some folks will watch to see the Pre-game festivities. Billy Joel is singing the National Anthem this year. I hope he doesn’t sing his old hit song, “Only the Good Die Young” too. It might give the Bear’s quarterback a false sense of immortality. (Wow… that was a cheap shot, Bears fans! Your quarterback might be a bad thrower and a bad player, but that doesn’t make him a bad person. He’s probably a very nice man. I must still be a little cranky at the thought that my beloved Lions haven’t been to a Super Bowl…ever! That reminds me of an old joke. Question: What do you call 47 millionaires watching the Super Bowl? Answer: The Detroit Lions.)

Others will view the game for the commercials. Advertisers will spend the equivalent of the GNP of a small Central American country for 30 seconds of airtime. Hmmm… if Central Nazarene were to pay me to communicate the Good News the same money that Pepsi will give CBS to communicate its message, then I figure the church owes me 195 million dollars from last Sunday’s three sermons. Of course, Pepsi’s message will probably be heard by a few million more people than the DCCCXCVI that were here on Sunday. So maybe I shouldn’t expect the same money.

Still others will want to see the big half-time show. The artist formerly known as “The artist formerly known as Prince” will be singing. Please let the record show that while we share a name (quite honestly I’m not sure if “Prince” is his first, last or middle name), we are not related. Moreover, unlike Prince, I have never partied like its 1999. My boys tell me that most of my partying is more like its 1937.

Moreover, there are even a few people that will tune into the Super Bowl to actually watch a football game. Strange, but true.

All this to say, ready or not our yearly cultural phenomenon is about to happen this Sunday.

But long before the coin toss, kick-off and all the rest something even more important will happen. Like every Sunday, in churches across the country, people will gather for worship. The greatest event happening this Sunday will not take place in Dolphin Stadium, but rather the greatest event just might happen at Central Church of the Nazarene. If someone who doesn’t know Christ accepts Him into their life this week—that event will be the greatest moment by far this Sunday. Besides that blessed event, there will be other important happenings taking place Sunday Morning. More than praising big, burley football players, we will be praising the Lord. More than sharing chips, dips and party favorites, we will be sharing in the Lord’s Supper. More than a simple gathering of friends, we will be meeting with the Holy One. Don’t miss worship this Sunday Morning, it will be super!!!