Strict//EN" ""> EAGLES' REST: April 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

On Why I'm Thinking The Report Will Pass

I've already said I'm not going to the SBC Annual Meeting this year, and why. In a couple ways, I kind of wish I were, but my instructions are pretty clear. But I can sound off about it here.

I'd like to go so I can vote for Jimmy Jackson for SBC President. That one's clear.

The other way is I'd like to be there for the discussion and vote on the GCRTF Report. I have a hunch it's liable to pass. Now, it's true I haven't seen the final, yet, but unless something changes drastically, I'm guessing it'll be pretty much a restatement of what we've already seen.

And my hunch is connected to the Caner controversy. Lots of folks seem to want accountability from Ergun Caner, but I've also seen a lot of defensiveness about him, particularly from pastors. Some are even doubting the motives of those who are demanding accountability as an SBC'er, and are highly critical of those trying to hold Dr. Caner responsible for what they see as lies in his immediate past.

I wonder why anyone in the ministry would resist the call for accountability in the King's work! And particularly in the face of the attitude implied in what some have referred to as Dr. Caner's "apology". It seemed to me to come from the same place as the protestations of the non-believer when he says he's as good as anybody else!

And that's what snagged me about the GCRTF Report.

In an SBC where the majority of the people God has sent us seem to have disappeared, and where we continue to report 16 million members, even boasting about that number, the biggest failure has got to be the failure to disciple most of the people God sent our way. And that's a failure to carry out the Great Commission.

And it's at the feet of the pastors. Not the Cooperative Program. Not the Executive Committee. Not IMB or NAMB or how CP funds are divided. Maybe a little at the feet of the seminaries who apparently don't teach students that it's important to hold members accountable for their actions .. or their inactivity .. and exercise church discipline when members simply turn their backs.

So .. if it's the case that the majority of the messengers at the Annual Meeting are Pastors and others in the ministry, then my guess is they'll be more than happy to affirm a report that points the finger of blame, for their failure as local church pastors, at somebody else. And, that might also explain why they're reluctant to demand accountability on the part of Ergun Caner.

It's been said that "No single raindrop thinks it's responsible for the flood". I think that's the case in the SBC. Making disciples is everybody's responsibility, which apparently makes it nobody's responsibility.

Sure, there'll be some wrangling about the "Great Commission Giving" deal, which seems singularly stupid, especially when the Commission seems to have folks on it who don't give all that much to the CP. That part of the preliminary report seemed rather self-serving, to me. Also, the fact that the initial report seemed to spit in the face of the State Conventions seemed awfully obvious .. but .. what do I know?

Time will tell. I just hope we believe what it tells us.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I Really AM Trying To Quit....

Writing about the Bolens deal, but I just don't seem to be able to.

When last we spoke, I mentioned the extreme foul-up again, and also that I'd written to the chain's headquarters. They sent me the note Monday saying they'd contacted the store, and sure enough, the man I'd originally bought the deal from called me Tuesday afternoon. He apologized for the problems, and said they'd located the right bagger at another store and would have it delivered to me.

Subsequently, the driver called me Wednesday and said he was going to go to the other store today ... Thursday ... and would deliver the bagger to me today.

Yippee. The end is in sight.

Well, not quite. The same man I bought the mower from called again today, and told me that, when the driver got to the other store ... where personnel had "laid hands on the bagger" and were told to hold it for pickup by said driver, today ... the driver was told they had sold it.

The man from the local store here apologized for the delay and said he'd order me a "brand new one" from the factory, and deliver it when it gets here. That'd be a "little over a week".

Now .. we have zoysia grass, which I'm supposed to but REALLY short at the first of the season. I don't think I'm going to make it this year.

Courtesy of one well-known national chain of home improvement stores.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Minor Modification to the Bolens Saga

It appears I didn't have the right man, after all.

I got tired of waiting for Jack to call me back, so I went to the store involved, Saturday. I spoke with the manager of that department. He called Jack and found out that the bagger had, indeed, NOT been ordered. What he was told was that Jack was going to call and make sure the unit was still available (he said it was, when I talked to him the first time), find out what the price was, and then call me and ask what I wanted to do about it.


Turns out the unit for the smaller mower was about $140 MORE than the unit for the bigger mower. Now, when I bought it, I just told them I wanted that mower and the bagger that went with it, and as far as I'm concerned, that's what I bought. I told the department manager I had NO intentions of paying $140 more, when I could have bought a bigger mower, and bagger, for only $100 more than what I'd paid!

The manager said it cost more because it was a "special order item", rather than what they bought in larger numbers; why on earth a bagger would be "special order" for a mower they had numbers of, sitting out front, is a real mystery to me.

I told him I was bringing the whole deal back and wanted a refund. I also told him it would be a few days, as I was still limited as to what I can do, in light of the Cardiac Catheterization, and subsequent stent implant, last Tuesday. I said it would take a few days.

Not being content to make it that simple, I did go the store's national website, and register a complaint with Customer Service. I linked to the original blog entry, and also told them of the latest dust-up.

So. Now. One of three things happens.

  • They make it right and give me the bagger and not charge me more money.
  • They bring me a suitable alternative mower with bagger, for no more money.
  • I take the mower back and get a credit on my Visa card.

In the last case, I buy a mower somewhere else, and that store chain loses a customer for life.

Meanwhile, on the Spiritual side, another week has gone by, and I'm more convinced than ever that I do have the Right Man taking care of that.

Thank God.

No. Seriously. Thanks, God.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

What On Earth IS a "Relevant Sermon", Anyway?

Oh, yeah, I'm gonna want to talk about this one.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Heart: Deceitful, Desperately Wicked, and......

In my case, we should know by the end of the day.

I'm off to have a Cardiac Catheterization at Shelby Baptist Medical Center. We do need to be consistent about these things, you know.

I guess I'm glad I'm not a Christian Scientist. I don't think they have hospitals, and I'd likely be conflicted about where to go .... 70% blocked on the left side. One stint later, installed during a harmless-feeling and completely comfortable procedure, I feel better now (and did, lying in bed an hour later), than I have in years.

Thanks, God. You have some pretty good folks working for you down here, whether they know it or not.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Bolens and Me

I've never blogged about a garden tractor/mower before, but I think I will.

Last week, Peg and I decided that I really did need to do what I could, as long as I could, in keeping up the house, etc. Since neither of us has the energy or the knees to hold hand(le)s with a rotary walk-behind mower any more, we've had to get other people to maintain the lawn, the leaves, the twigs, etc. Mostly, that's been the grandkids, but they're to the point where they have full calendars, already, so they're not going to be available much, any more. So, last Monday, Peg and I made the rounds of the Lowe's, Home Depot, Sears, and Ace websites, to see what sort of deals they had on riding mowers. After picking out the store that seemed to have the best, we drove over there.

They had this Bolens 38", 15.5 horsepower tractor-mower, like the picture, out front. On sale for $100 off normal price. Right next to it was a similar Bolens, 2 horsepower less, for the same price. They had others there, but the best buy was, by far, the 15.5 hp model, so we bought it. And a grass bagging attachment for it, which is sort of big and fancy itself.

Tuesday morning we hitched up our little utility trailer to Taz, went over there and had them load the mower and bagger on, and brought'em home. We also stopped on the way and filled up the mower with gas. After getting here, I coasted the mower off the trailer .. it's got a loading ramp attached .. put the little miracle battery charger/tender on the battery, and charged it up. Then I got on to crank it up and get it running.

Nothing. Turning the key did absolutely nothing. No lights, no starter, no nothing (except silence). So I called the store and got the guy in that department. He said the battery was bad, it happened all the time. I said no, it was fully charged. He said "They sit outside in the springtime (in front of the store) and you can't keep kids from sitting on them and turning the key on, and leave them on, etc. And it didn't seem to change his opinion when I reminded him they NEVER leave the keys in the mowers outside!

I went downstairs and jumped a wire from the battery post, to the battery terminal on the starter, and the engine cranked over immediately.

Good battery. Check.

Went back in, called, and asked to speak to the department manager. Told him about the mower, which seemed to already have gained some notoriety among store personnel. They said the store manager would call that day (Tuesday).

No call.

Wednesday, I called and got a nice lady named Robin in the sales department. She, too, had heard about my mower. She said she'd have them load up a new one and bring it out the next day (delivery trucks leave early), and swap out with me. I told her be sure to note that I had the 15.5 hp model, and I didn't want the smaller model (the engine itself is only about 2/3 the size of the 15.5, meaning it has to work that much harder, etc), and be sure I got the right model. She said OK.

Next day (Thursday) about noon, a very nice truck driver named Charlie pulls up, takes a forklift and brings my new power up the driveway and sets it down. He hits the key and it fires right up. Well, I thank him profusely as he prepares to pick up my old mower, and get real happy. Until I lift the hood.

Yup. 13.5 hp. 344cc instead of 500cc.

I point that out to Charlie, who gets really upset. Seems he's a guy who really likes to see happy customers. So he calls the store, makes sure (took 15 mins on his cell phone) they have one like I want, there, and then says he's taking both of them back and will bring my new one, which he will make sure runs, the next morning.

Now, I know he started his runs at 6am Thursday, but nonetheless, he calls back about 4 o'clock and says "I don't want to go home until I get you all set, so I'll be over in 20 minutes with your mower". And he was.

Fired right up .. YIPPEE .. so I rode it into the garage and started to put together the bagger attachment (it's a big deal).

Friday afternoon, I get it all ready and assemble the ductwork, then fit it to the mower. Except it doesn't fit.

Oh, the huge steel framework fits on the back, and all that, but the ductwork doesn't begin to fit the mowing deck. Since the real reason I wanted to get this thing done (really wanted to get it done Monday, not FRIDAY) was that there were these big embarrassing WEEDS sticking skyward in my small but ugly front yard.

By this time I figured I'm just going to mow the yard without the bagger. I'd show them weeds, by golly, and when I get the bagger I'll go back over and pick up the trash it left behind. So I did, all 5 minutes' worth.

Saturday morning, I went downstairs to try to figure this thing out. And I took the two following pictures:

Hmmm .. do you SUPPOSE 38" vs 42-46" might have something to do with it? Guessing it did, I went to the store , but Robin was tied up with another customer. When a gentleman named Jack approached me. I told him my tale of woe. He assumed the attitude:

"You got the RIGHT guy here and I'm gonna fix this WHATEVER it takes". When I started to tell him about the bagger, he said "Of COURSE it won't work .. the discharge chute is different size, the mounting holes won't line up, it just WON'T WORK!"

And he's 84.

Turns out he'd owned a mower shop for 30 years and just sold it to move to Birmingham. See .. he KNEW all about these problems. He'd Been There, Done That.

He ordered the right bagger while I was there, and assured me the day it comes in, he'll see it's delivered, if he has to toss it into his own pickup truck and bring it over personally. And I'd bet next month's social security he'd do just that.

See .. I finally found the right guy.

NOW. I'm not just sitting around, trying to think of ways to aggravate my carpal tunnel by typing goodness-knows-how-many words about a lawn mower. But think of a couple things:

  • How upset should I be? Can I let this affect my life ... beyond the condition of my yard?
  • Am I having any more trouble getting this straight than God did, getting ME straight?
  • Has all the interruption been any more painful for me than Calvary was, for Jesus?

This whole thing is kind of like my life. When the mower deal is done, it's going to feel good to be able to go out and mow the 3000 square feet of grass, have it bag up the leaves for me, and also to vacuum up the leaves (we live in a forest) off the 4000 square feet of driveway ... it runs clear around the house .. and know I'm taking care of what God has blessed me with here.

Which also makes me wonder if Jesus feels good when He cleans up our lives, and we turn to him to handle what all goes wrong despite our best efforts to get it right. When He comes through and takes care of all the problems we can't.

Guess you just have to find the right guy; One Who's experienced what you have. But Who got it right, the first time. And Who can handle your problem, if we'll let Him.

Maybe, like happened to me, last Saturday, the Right Guy will find you.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Why I Really, REALLY Like Easter

I'd had all the normal attitudes, I suppose, toward Easter. You know .. one of the big holidays, Jesus is risen, etc. But a few years ago, something popped up in my brainspace that vaulted Easter past every other holiday on the calendar, to an unassailable top billing.

I shall explain.

Try to put yourself in the time period between the crucifixion and the resurrection. Jesus is dead, and I mean as dead as you can get. Sure, I know the Bible says He was God in the flesh, but the Bible also says He did NOT think that equality with His Father was a thing to be grasped. I'm guessing He did not grasp it, then.

That would mean that, when He died, He really died, and lost all control of His future. He had to rely 100% on His Father to bring Him back to life. Hence, had God not intervened and resurrected Jesus, from death to eternal life, then Jesus would be dead, yet today. But He's not.

If He hadn't come back, He'd not have said He'd send the Holy Spirit to convict men of their sin, and to guide men into all truth.

So .. the time for talk was over .. the earthly miracles He performed all fade into the background, and the entire course of history waits to see if He stays in the tomb, or if He comes out. See .. if He stays there, then some of what He said wasn't true, and how could one place any trust in Him, if that were the case?

BUT .. if He DOES come out of the tomb, then it validates everything HE said about Himself, and it validates everything God had said about Him .. since only God Himself could bring Him back.

Go/No Go. Pass/Fail. Yes/No. Up/Down. The clearest contrast of possibilities, ever.

It was ALL on the line.

Then came Sunday.

Other theories have been stated, out of people's skepticism. The "swoon theory". Toss that one out .. those Roman guards were pretty good at what they did.

"The body was stolen by His followers." That would be more logical than the "swoon theory", but it fails hugely. And we have the religious rulers .. who hated Him .. to thank, for the proof. Check the following, which happened immediately after "Mary Magdalene and the other Mary" had visited the tomb, found the stone rolled away, and spoke with the Angel about the fact that Jesus was, once again, living:

"While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.' If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. (Matthew 28:11-15, NIV)

I love that passage, on two fronts: first, you don't bribe someone to tell the truth! That thought proves, to me, that the chief priests, the elders, and the guards all knew for sure that His body had not been stolen.

AND: this was done by those who had the most to lose, by Jesus' resurrection! I mean, if I prophesy you are going to have an accident, and then I run you off the road, that's hardly prophecy! But .. if you accidentally run off the road all by your lonesome, then my words would assume a different magnitude. Same deal with the religious leaders of the day; they had the most to lose by His resurrection, yet their words and deeds, to me, prove it.

So .. leaving out those two possibilities, we're left with the fact of God's resurrecting Jesus, Himself.

The biggest pass/fail time in history, and He passed with flying colors. I'd love to have been there to see it, yet I know that, without the Holy Spirit, I'd have been no better than those who denied Him after the crucifixion, or those who hid in the upper room until the Holy Spirit came and gave the more than they could contain.

How else can I possibly respond to all that, other than to want more than I can contain, myself.

Amen, Lord. Let it be.