Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Sunday was my birthday! I try not to give much attention to them anymore, but this was a big one. My wife, Paula, and I took our children and grandchildren to Texas Road House for steak and ribs. Paula bought a wonderful chocolate on chocolate cake and asked the restaurant staff to serve it when our meal was complete. We were just finishing up when the excitement began. The staff arrived at our table to sing a Happy Birthday Yee Haw song and put me on the portable saddle for pictures.
My son, who will have a birthday next Sunday (maybe he will want to go to the Texas Roadhouse also, not!), and my grandchildren were mortified as I climbed into the saddle and did a rousing Yee Haw! Things eventually quieted down and I cut the cake and served everyone at our table. I then took hold of the cake tray and reached up to put it on the shelf of the divider between booths. Just as my hand reached the divider the cake plate broke in the middle and I firmly planted the cake on the side of the wooden divider icing side first. Before sliding to the floor it hung for a long moment mocking me. I turned to the two young ladies in the next booth and asked if I had gotten cake on them. "No," they replied, "but we sure have had great entertainment, Happy Birthday!"
What could be better, people all around being entertained at my expense and seeing my grandchildren getting embarrassed? I trust all will look back on this and conclude, it's alright to be a bit silly.
CERTAINLY MY GREATEST BIRTHDAY TO DATE!!!
Posted by Stephen P. "Gutty" Gutridge at Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Saturday, February 02, 2013
There is quite a debate raging theses days regarding gun control. Many, with the best intentions believe that stricter gun control will make our country safer. If that is true then Chicago and Washington, D.C. should be safest cities in the U.S. They have the strictest gun controls. The debate rages and no one seems to be really thinking about the real issues, the real problem.
Gun control is a private property issue not an answer to reducing violence. Is it gun control we want or less violence? We want less violence of course. Is anyone really thinking about why we have such a violent society? I would like to suggest some causes for a violent society. In 1973 the Supreme Court of the United States of America legalized abortion. Many at the time suggested we were headed down a long slippery slope that leads where no one wants to go. Since 1973 55 million babies have been aborted in this country. What kind of society allows that to happen? Obviously a society that has lost all respect for the value of human life.
Consider the kinds of movies we watch and the kind of television we watch. It is violent. Gun violence is shown daily. The kind of violence that seldom really happens, but is celebrated as normative on film. We have grown insensitive to such violence and how it indicates our society's devaluing of human life. What kind of video games do your children play. I have watched my grandchildren play some games where the object is to kill as many people as possible before they kill you. Oh, its make-believe we tell ourselves. Yet, I wonder if children are just being numbed to the reality of violence.
School shootings have challenged our culture on a whole new level. Children are bullied until they can take no more and they go on a rampage. Bullies don't just happen. They are produced by other bullies. Those bullies may be a parent, a sibling, a neighbor, or television, movies, and video games to mention a few.
Where are the bullies' parents? Where are the parents of children being bullied? How about teachers, where are they when children are bullied? I remember how bullies were dealt with in my school days. The principle had a big paddle that he displayed prominently in his office. When he used it he kept his door open and the sound echoed down the halls. Oh what needless violence! No one was ever shot by another student in my schools. Interesting.
We have the Affordable Health Care Act that is slowly unfolding in this nation. We are beginning to see that there is simply not enough money to take care of everyone as they want to be cared for. The day will come when a panel will decide who has a valuable life and who does not. Older Americans will ultimately be denied extensive health care because we just cannot justify the cost. Profoundly disabled will also come under scrutiny and will simply be denied costly care because of the expense. Look at who we have become in the guise of personal choice.
Younger people cannot distinguish between make believe violence and real violence. Our urban centers are so violent that children see murders every day. They are so desensitized that they commit violent acts against their own peers and wonder what is wrong with it. Abortion is so commonplace that women are told it is their "right." Forget the "rights" of the baby. Unborn babies are not real people they are just fetuses.
Where did all of this begin and when will it end? It began with "the fall" recorded in Genesis 3, the first book of the Bible, and will end when Jesus returns, the final promise of the Bible. In the meantime maybe some common sense can be applied.
Posted by Stephen P. "Gutty" Gutridge at Saturday, February 02, 2013
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I have always fancied myself as one with an entrepreneurial spirit. I concert with my wife, Paula, we have started two successful businesses; founded together a religious not for profit ministry, Living Christ Ministries, Inc.; and co-hosted a widely heard Christian live phone-in counseling and teaching radio program. I left the business world for seminary when our children were young and Paula went back to college. Neither of us has ever been shy of about hard work and risk taking.
Sadly, over the years I have become comfortable in the institution of the church. I have 15 years experience as a solo pastor and a Senior Pastor (Head of Staff) coupled with another 15 years of experience as an interim pastor. All of this time was in the Presbyterian Church (USA). My previous interim ended successfully January 15, 2012. I have not landed another interim contract just yet though I have made multiple applications.
I am not quite ready for retirement and still need full-time employment. As a result, I have been thrust into the secular job market. Wow, what an eye opener. We hear so much in the media about the high unemployment rate. We do not hear about how difficult it is to navigate the job search waters. Job searching is difficult enough for someone with advanced education, marketable skills, and computer/internet experience. I cannot imagine how daunting it is for those that have very little education, limited skills, and no computer/internet access and/or experience.
The day of going business to business and completing hand-written job applications is nearly gone. Nearly every business I have visited has told me to go on-line and apply. They will call if interested. I am now just an application among thousands without my personality and charm (sic) to highlight my skills and experience. It is easy to become discouraged in this environment. I spend quality time with the Lord every day and study His Word. I could not survive this season without Him.
Are you in this same boat? Are you seeking a job or a better job with limited success? Turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and His word. I suggest concentrating on the Psalms. They are filled with shared thoughts and feelings of saints with similar experiences. It is good to be reminded of God’s faithfulness over and over. It is good to know you are not alone. Seek His face, meditate on His word, and He will lift you up!
Posted by Stephen P. "Gutty" Gutridge at Tuesday, January 31, 2012