Staying Warmer Longer Just Got Easier

I just got a little helper to stay warm longer in the winter.

Staying warm in Canada in the winter – especially this winter – is something that’s on your mind the minute you start getting dressed for the day.

For Lily, it always matters what the temperature is outside; she wants to know what the weather is like no matter what.

There are times I’ve responded, “What does it matter what the temperature is outside? You are getting into a car in a garage and I’m dropping you off at the door of our destination.”

How cold it is shouldn’t matter in those situations, but somehow it does. I’m not going to try to figure that one out.

But for me, sometimes I have to shovel twice, once at home and once at work, before I begin my work day. You have to think about the amount of time you’re going to be spending outside.

But last night I got a little app for my phone that helps take some of the chill out of the cold temperatures we are facing.

It’s a parking app.

Yes, I know they’ve been out there for some time now, but I just discovered their usefulness … and that’s all that really matters to me.

I got hooked on it by accident, too.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed signs in parking lots around town, giving instructions on how to pay for parking through an app.

Well, last night it was one of those damp, chilly evenings where the cold pierces through to your bones, and the wind sucks the life out of you like one of those food sealer gadgets.

I knew I didn’t have change for the parking station, and all Lily had was bills. She handed me a $5 bill and, though I knew the station also accepted credit, I took it anyway.

As I got out of the car and turned around, I saw one of those signs for paying with an app.

I didn’t care that we were a little late for the hockey game. I was cold and couldn’t get my head around standing at a pay station, trying to get my credit card out without taking off my gloves.

I noted the name of the app and the parking lot zone number and got back into the car. I downloaded the app and paid for my parking all in the comfort of our warm car.

Now if they could come up with a transporter feature on the app that would make it perfect! Unfortunately, we still needed to get out of the car and walk a couple of blocks to the arena.

By the way, the app also warns you when you are coming to the end of your paid time. If you need more time, you can buy it right from your phone – no need to go outside and brave the weather just to add another half hour of parking time.

This is definitely my new favourite app right now.

Here’s the thing: In our day and age, we have greater access to God’s Word than ever before. Not only is the printed version so easily obtained, there are free Bible apps for you phone or tablet, giving you access to the scriptures any place and any time. It is so easy to read the Bible. But the one thing you still have to do is open it up and read it. Let’s use the conveniences we have to get God’s Word into our minds and hearts.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: What keeps you from opening up the Bible and reading it? Leave your comments below.

You’ve Got To Know The Right Guy

Knowing the right guy is so important. When you need advice or expertise, being able to connect with the right person is invaluable.

When it comes to making or fixing things around the house, I’m pretty limited.

I can do a few things as long as they don’t involved sharp objects. I’ve just had way too many cuts on my hands to be comfortable with saws and knives. … Hey, I’ve even done some damage in the past with a screwdriver and I wouldn’t consider it a sharp object.

In the past week or so I needed some advice on the kitchen upgrade we are doing at home.

Let me say upfront, I’m not doing much on this one; Lily is doing most of the work, which involves a lot of painting.

But we were also getting a new kitchen counter and that meant we would have to disconnect the water to the kitchen sink for about a day.

There were no shut-off valves under the sink so I needed another solution … unless we wanted to shut off the water supply to the entire house for over a day … No!

The guy at the hardware store said I needed a converter piece to connect our old style pipes to the new kind of pipe and then add a shut-off valve to that.

Well, I bought all the parts and it came to about $52. I thought that seemed like an awful lot of money for 24 hours of water!

I mean, for that money, there was no ride I got to go on, or show I got to see, or course I got to play. It was just plumbing parts … pretty uninspiring.

After I bought the parts I had a few days before I had to shut the water off, so I just kept them all in the bag.

The day before I needed to shut the water off I decided to go to another hardware store to see if there was a simpler solution.

I showed the guy at the store a picture of my present hook up and he suggested a threaded cap.

It was basically a plug that screwed into the end of the pipe. It only cost me about $11 and about 10 minutes to complete the whole task.

He was the right guy to ask.

After the new counter was installed, we needed a piece of wood to span the length of the opening under the sink. It needed to be 1 1/8″ thick, and if you know anything about wood, that’s not a common thickness.

I went back to the hardware store and the wood guy was totally unable to help me; he had no solution for me.

However, the next day I was talking to a friend who works in construction and told him what I needed.

Without hesitation he said, “You need 5/4 piece of wood. You have to get that at…”  and named the supply house.

Again, knowing the right guy made all the difference in the world.

Here’s the thing: We experience a lot in life that we don’t have answers for. We come up against things that we are totally unprepared for. But no matter what it is, Christ is that guy who can help us in our need. So often we don’t go to Him first. Christ is the authority and expert; He is able. Go to Him before you look elsewhere for help.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: What do you need advice and help with right now? Leave your comments below.

Choose Your Socks Wisely

They say you never know what a day will bring, but sometimes you can sense a day is going to have a certain theme to it. It would be nice if you could go to a drawer and, like picking out a pair of socks, pick your day’s mood (and, of course, check to make sure there’s no holes in it).

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Some people get up on the wrong side of the bed. Others roll out of bed the wrong way and voila, their day seems to be magically selected for them. Fortunately for me, I usually roll out of bed feeling good about what is ahead for me.

Unfortunately, that feeling doesn’t always last very long. The sock drawer effect happens and I pick out a day of frustration to wear like a ratty, old pair of sweat socks.

That happened to me recently. For the first hour or so (getting up, doing my devotions, showering and having breakfast) everything went well. Then I was informed that I needed to drive my wife somewhere on my way to work.

Sometimes it just takes a little rewriting of the daily script to initiate “a day of interruptions” theme. … Oh, and believe me, that did it! Driving Lily to her destination, I was a little agitated. It detained me from getting down to my planned work.

When I finally got to work, in walked an unplanned, unscheduled, perfect illustration for my “interruptions” day. The man was seeking help but each time he had come the previous week, he had been told to come back as I had been on vacation.

The last time he had been told to phone first before he came in. Instead, he just showed up. He was in need of some financial assistance and though I am not a money lender, as a pastor I am used to trying to help out people in his position.

He needed food and the solution was to get him a grocery store gift card. However, after being put off a few times already, he was not in a mood to be put off again.

As I listened to his story, my heart went out to him. Yes, it would be an interruption for me to stop what I was doing to go buy him a gift card, but I felt that’s what I should do.

Unfortunately, he had a few restrictions. He could not go to the grocery store that was the closest to the church. The next closest did not have a store near where he lived.

That meant this interruption would take even longer. Half way there I remembered I had taken my wallet out of my pocket and it was still on my desk at church, so I turned around and went back.

I got the wallet, drove back to the grocery store, and bought the gift card only to notice that the store was affiliated with a grocery store that was close to the church. I could have purchased the card there and saved half the time!

That’s how my day went, one thing after another … until I got home and changed my socks.

Here’s the thing: You can focus on the frustration of each day and get all agitated inside. OR you can view the events of the day as things God brings your way and deal with them as opportunities to serve Him. Your choice.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: What is your biggest frustration?  Leave your comment below.

Like a Square Peg in a Round Hole

Yesterday I helped a friend purchase an electronic tablet. I thought it would be straight forward, but part way through the process I realized I was going to be locked into the lengthy task of helping my friend learn how to use the device.

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If I helped someone in their twenties purchase a tablet, by the end of the transaction the need for my help would end. But my friend is not in his twenties and I can see that my services will be required for quite some time.

… And that gives me flashbacks to my dad with his computer! He would call me with a computer problem, hoping I would be able to solve it over the phone. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was a pastor and not a computer geek, but I’m sure that wouldn’t have stopped him from seeking my help.

I would ask him to describe what he had on his computer screen so that I could replicate it on mine and then try to walk him through a solution. That might sound like a great plan, but most of the time, while he was supposedly following my steps, he would blurt out “It’s gone”. And then the following dialogue would ensue:

“What’s gone, Dad?”

“Oh, it’s back again!”

“What’s gone? What’s back? Dad, back away from the keyboard. Don’t touch anything!”

These calls were painful at times, trying to get a 73 year old to master new technology. It was like teaching a child which hole the round peg goes in and which hole the square one goes in. I remember how many times I had to show our kids, saying “No, see? The round one goes in here.”

They would still try to stick the square one in the round hole, but you had the hope that eventually, in time, they were going to figure it out. I remember I didn’t have that same hope with my dad.

One time when I was talking to my brother, I mentioned these computer help calls I’d been getting from Dad. As soon as I asked, “Has Dad ever called you about his computer?”, my brother’s eyes got all crazy-like and he just said, “Don’t get me started!”

It was then that I realized that my dad had a master plan for getting computer help. His plan was simple: phone one son until he was exasperated and then phone the other. My dad would go back and forth asking computer questions to whomever he thought had the most patience.

So yesterday in the store, I started to gear myself up for a barrage of calls and drop in appointments to my help desk. I guess my computer help desk is open for service again.

Here’s the thing: Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that God is like us and gets tired of our repeated requests. But God isn’t like us at all. So don’t ever stop bringing your requests and confessions to Him. He is always eager to hear from you.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: Have you ever felt like you couldn’t bother God with something again?  Leave your comment below.