Sunday, July 29, 2012

Early Retirement

The following is a 'modern parable' that I recently heard from a good friend, Bill Turner.  I don't know where he got it.  Maybe he just came up with it.  In any case, it resonated with me and I wanted to share it.  This is a paraphrase, but the original is available at the link below.

A wealthy banker from New York visits a small coastal fishing village in Mexico.  While he relaxes in the sunshine, he sees a local fisherman coming in and tying up his boat.  On his boat, he has just a few fish.  Puzzled by the meager catch, the banker approaches the fisherman.  "How many fish did you catch?" asks the American.

"A few," replies the fisherman.

"How long did it take you to catch those fish?" asks the American.

"Not long."

"What do you do with the rest of your time?" asks the American.

"I sleep late, play with my kids and take a siesta with my wife.  Then each evening, I stroll into town to sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos.  I lead a very full and busy life!"

The American banker was irritated by the fisherman's answer.  He said, "I can help you!  You should spend more time fishing and with the extra cash, you could buy a bigger boat.  With the bigger boat you could catch more fish and with the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats.  Then, you could sell your fish directly to the processor and eventually buy your own cannery.  Then, you'll be able to move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles, then New York where you'll run your expanding enterprise."

"How long will this take?" asks the fisherman.

"Fifteen to twenty years," replies the American.

"What then?" asks the fisherman.

"When the time is right, you'll announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich!" replies the American.

"What then?" asks the fisherman again.

"Then, you will be able to retire!  You can move to a small coastal village.  You'll sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, and stroll into town each night to sip wine and play guitar with your amigos."

To hear the whole sermon by Bill Turner dated July 15th 2012, visit the Highland Vineyard website at and click on "Media Library."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Making the right decisions now

I'm excited to introduce my younger brother, also Mr O, to you.  I invited him to write down his thoughts and he has taken me up on it.  The following is his first contribution!

Why is it that it is when times are tough that people ask God why and look to him for advice when it has been their bad decisions that got themselves into it in the first
place. All too often I hear that someone wants to fight for their marriage after the marriage has fallen apart and one half has left and they aren’t even talking anymore. At that point you aren’t fighting for your marriage you are just fighting.

It makes me thankful for the wonderful wife I share my days with and as Psalms 37:23 says: “the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” I want to follow his direction in all my days good and bad before it’s too late. Even so sometimes we still wonder if we are on the right path and in ministry and church leadership. You wonder if this is really what God has planned for me. As I was wondering this I came across Acts 20:24, however, I consider my life worth nothing to me if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me, the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s Grace. I am so thankful for the tasks God has given me. The chance to love a great wife and serve the chance to serve Christ.

God is truly good.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The good Republican

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

A long time ago, I read the Bible all the way through.  I was about 12 years old.  I wanted to know what it said.  I knew what other people told me it said.  I wanted to know for myself.  I still had questions.  That was the beginning of my journey.  A journey of faith.  Political things followed by necessity.

It was probably my second time through that I really started to change some of my political views--not all of them, but some.  I mean, I can't just agree with either party across the platform and I have some views that are out of line with both parties, altogether.  

The thing that got me is that the Republicans are always talking about money.  Their OWN money, and how no one has any right to take it and give it to poor people.


Back up.

How does my family claim to love Jesus and hold these views?  We're so against taxes and government programs.  But this stuff doesn't exactly line up with what we say in church.  

In church, it's not OUR money.  It's a gift from God.  

In church, we're supposed to be the good Republican Samaritan.

In church, when we have two of something, we give one to someone else who doesn't.

In the ballot box. . . what happens?

In the ballot box, if you give a man a fish you feed him for a day, if you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime.

In the ballot box, it's not the government's job.  The church should be taking care of that.

These are all sound philosophies.  

Trouble is, there are still poor people in church.  

Trouble is, Jesus didn't say, "Teach a man to fish."  

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."

Jesus said that there are two kinds of people.  He called them sheep and goats.  The sheep are the good guys.  You know what makes you a sheep?

35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’  Matthew 25:35-36 NLT