forks, boogers and Olive Garden
Posted: Oct 26, 2010 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment |

This has to rank pretty high up on the list of all team weirdest blog post titles.  I had an experience at Olive Garden today that I wanted to share with you that I think you might enjoy.  Every Tuesday, we have staff meeting at West.  Today we spent quite a bit of time getting the final plans together for our fall festival coming up this weekend.  As soon as the meeting was over, a few of us jumped in the car and headed to Olive Garden for lunch.  Soup and Salad at Olive Garden is one of the greatest meals on the planet.  We pile in to Olive Garden and are rather surprised at the fact that we had to wait 20 minutes for a table which is not normal for this specific location.  We wait our due time and finally the little buzzer goes off alerting us that our table is ready.  We find our way to our seats and all proceed with our orders and everything is going along pretty smoothly.  Our waitress brings our salad to the table, we pray and then begin to consume the Italian goodness.

As I unwrapped my cutlery, I noticed something on one of my forks that didn’t seem normal.  As I looked closer, there was what can best be described as a large booger on my fork.  Now, I know that there are probably several thoughts running through your head.  First of all, pastors shouldn’t say booger which may be true but I don’t know what else to call the stuff that comes out of your nose so we will go with booger.  Second of all, if there was indeed a booger on my fork, how in the world does that happen?  Did the person who was washing dishes have to sneeze and couldn’t find a tissue anywhere?  Does he say to himself, “well I guess this fork will have to do.”  Then, after placing the booger on said fork, places it into a completed and clean set of cutlery and assumes this is no big deal.  Now I do not know how the booger got on the fork but the point is, somebody certainly should have caught that.  I mean if there is a little spaghetti sauce left on my fork…….ok that happens.  Even a bug or a piece of hair could be explained.  But a booger………wow.

“Where in the world is he going with this,” you may be thinking to yourself while still being surprised by the fact that I said booger.  Upon noticing the booger stained fork, I call the waitress over to the table to calmly ask for a new fork.  I said, “maam, there seems to be a booger on my fork.  May I please have another one?”  She was very nice and brought me a non booger tainted cutlery set.  After about 15 minutes, the Olive Garden manager slowly made his way over to our table.  I could tell he was not looking forward to coming over to our table.  He slowly approaches us and says, “So, I heard about the incident with the fork.”  I guarantee he was expecting to get yelled at.  After all, when a person goes out to eat they have certain expectations of a restaurant and I would guess boogerless forks rank high up on the list.  After giving the gentleman a few moments to share his apology, I said, “sir, don’t worry about it.  It’s ok and the very nice waitress brought me a new fork.  Stuff happens, it’s no big deal.”

You should have seen the look on this man’s face after my response.  It’s as if he was saying, “That’s it?  You aren’t going to yell at me?  There was a booger on your fork for crying out loud.”  After staring at me for a couple of seconds, the gentleman said, “Well ok then…….you guys have a nice lunch and I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.”  I did not raise a scene.  I did not demand a free meal.  I did not ask for the firing of the person who placed the booger on the fork.

This whole weird story reminds me of a verse in Colossians 3:13 that says this:

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”

So often, we expect other people to make allowance for our faults but we don’t give allowance when a person does something to us.  You and I have been forgiven an incredible debt when Jesus died on the cross for us.  People are going to make mistakes and although it sometimes isn’t always easy, we need to be reminded that because we were given grace by God, we are expected to grant it to others.  I don’t know who put the booger on the fork and I really don’t care.  What I do know is that a waitress and a manager at Olive Garden will remember me as the guy who didn’t make a big deal about the booger stained fork.  Something to think about.

With Expectancy!


What makes God stronger?
Posted: Oct 21, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

At first glance, the title of this post seems a bit odd.  How in the world is it possible for God to get stronger.  The Bible is pretty clear that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  There is no shadow of turning with Him.  For you and I, we need to work hard to get stronger.  We need to invest in gym memberships and dietary supplements.  Of course those things only help us with our physical bodies.  Not only do our bodies need to be getting stronger physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.  There is a quote that has been said for some time that says, “Whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”   We are a people of incredible resolve.  Each and every person that has ever breathed the slightest bit of air as a human knows what it is like to be hurt.  We also know that what we choose to do with that hurt with determine how successful we are in life in most cases.  No matter if it is physical or emotional or spiritual, our bodies get stronger through strain.  If there is no strain, there is no chance of getting stronger.

So if we as people get stronger through strain…….what makes God stronger?  I know that the immediate response to that question is nothing.  And to a point you would be correct in that answer.  Listen to what the Psalmist says in Psalm 76:10

“Human defiance only enhances your glory, for you use it as a weapon.”

Another word for enhance is to strengthen.  So when human beings defy God by the way they live, that makes God stronger.  What?  Here is how that helps you and I.  So often we look at others who are “living the good life” while defying God while we struggle and claw as Christ followers just to make ends meet.  For many of us, we look at situations like this and think, “God have you forgotten about me completely?”  Don’t you notice that I am trying to do the right thing while Joe Schmo over hear blatantly mocks you to your face and yet you are silent.

I think what God is saying through this verse is, “I see all and know all and will come back at my appointed time to deal with both the righteous and the non-righteous alike.”  If human defiance only makes God stronger, I would not want to be on the receiving end of the punishment that is due those people.  At the same token, I sure do want to be on the receiving end of the blessings that will be given out to those who endure to the end regardless of the trials they face in their life.  God is keeping score.  He notices those who serve Him and those who don’t.  I leave you with a verse that talks of the patience of God in these circumstances.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

With Expectancy!


What are you waiting for?
Posted: Oct 5, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

Let’s just be honest right off the bat…….we don’t like waiting.  We don’t like waiting for traffic or the check that is owed to us or for our favorite football team to play that week.  We don’t like waiting for food so we have microwaves.  We don’t like waiting for snail mail so we have email.  We don’t want to wait for the commercials to be done before continuing on with our favorite show so we have DVR or tivo.  While I would generally agree that we are people who don’t like to wait, that is clearly not always the case.  I came across a verse in Ecclesiastes that had this to say about the subject of waiting.  This verse was written by David’s son Solomon who apart from Jesus himself was probably the wisest man who ever lived.  Ecclesiastes 11:4 says this:

“Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.  If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.”

I am not a farmer.  I’m not a huge fan of working outside, planting corn or smelling like cow manure.  But I do know one thing about farming……if you don’t plant, you won’t harvest.  It really is that simple.  There are so many people in today’s world that need the stars to align before making a decision to do anything.  We want the perfect church, the perfect spouse, the perfect job or the perfect ministry opportunity.  So many times, we wait for circumstances that may never exist.  There is no such thing as a perfect church, spouse or job.  We are all imperfect people who are attempting to please a holy, righteous and perfect God.  Don’t be so surprised when an imperfect person lets you down.  I have talked to so many people who don’t go to church anymore because of a bad experience that happened to them 10 years ago!  Listen.  I am not trying to minimize your situation in the slightest.  I am genuinely sorry for any of you who may have been hurt by anyone.  But I think that at a certain point, we need to be willing to let that stuff go.  Jesus did and we are called to be like him.  If farmers waited for the perfect conditions to plant or harvest, they would be bankrupt.  We need to stop being so afraid of what might happen.  We only have one shot at this thing called life.

There is so much uncertainty today.  I can see it in my own life sometimes.  While I would normally consider myself to be a fairly decisive person, I know what it is like to put things off for sure.  I certainly need to learn how to wait on God at times in my life.  But I also believe that there are certain times when God says to me, “stop waiting and start doing something!”  If I always wait for everything to be perfect before I move forward with anything in my life, I am going to wake up one day with my whole life behind me instead of in front of me.  Life is challenging and all of us have a risk of being hurt.  But I would much rather take a step of faith while doing something and be disappointed than sit back and do nothing and have regret.  The world awaits you and Jesus is coming back again soon.  I want Him to find me doing something for Him.  What about you?

With Expectancy!