Posted in Family, food, life, Scripture, thankful

Miss Pauline’s Sour Cream Raisin Pie

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” Psalm 34:7

Try it. You’ll like it.  Over the years I have met so many incredible people.  I have learned that people are not perfect but people add spice and challenge to life.  People make life…life.  I am a pastor by call and by trade and I love it.  There are many reasons that is true but one is the people I get to serve with.  One of those was Bob.  Bob is a friend from my past but at the same time Bob is a friend that I could see tomorrow and we would pick up right where we left off.

Bob is one of those people with a quirky sense of humor.  I love that because I do too.  I remember one time he showed up at the church office and beeped the horn.  I went and opened the door and went out.  He told me to come around to the other side of the truck and hop in. Well, I went and opened the door and what greeted me was a five or six foot rattlesnake coiled up on the from seat.  We almost had a natural disaster there on the spot.  Turned out the snake was headless.  Bob liked snakes so I don’t think he did the honors but why miss the opportunity to scare your pastor to death?

Now Bob and I are Baptists.  One thing you need to know about Baptists is that we believe food is the cure all for all things.  If we are sad—we eat.  If we are happy—we eat.  If someone dies—we eat.  If someone gets married—we eat.  And sometimes, well, we just eat for fun.  Well, Bob and I were at one of our meetin’ eatin’ times and I was eating some raisin pie.  Now this wasn’t your normal raisin pie.  This was Miss Pauline’s sour cream raisin pie and it was incredible.  I was working on my second piece when I invited Bob to have a taste.

“Nope,” he said, “I don’t like raisin pie.”  Well I began to persuade him with all of my preacher passion.  “This,” I explained, “is like no other raisin pie you have ever eaten.”  I went on to explain how this pie would make your tongue slap your face.  So after about five minutes of “you really need to try this,” he did.  The results were as expected and immediate.  Two or three pieces later Bob was an official member of the Miss Pauline’s sour cream raisin pie fan club.

Here is what he and I came to discover.  There is raisin pie and there is Miss Pauline’s sour cream raisin pie and the two are not the same.  And once I tasted Miss Pauline’s pie, I wanted him to experience it too.  I just knew that if he did, he would be a fan for life.  And do you know what?  I think that is true about Jesus too.  I find a lot of people are not too keen on God or Jesus.  The reason is simple.  They have tasted religion and decided pretty quick that wasn’t too tasty.  I agree with that one.  Some have tasted church and depending on their experience it was either a disaster or a delight.  At any rate, church isn’t the fix all that people think that it is.  Religion or church are just plain ole raisin pie.  You need more…you need Jesus.

Yup, Jesus is like Miss Pauline’s raisin pie. He is so much more than religion and so much more than church…He is the One who knew the price for sin was death and then willingly paid the price for that sin.  He died on a Roman cross to pay the price for our sin and then came back to life three days later to prove He was the Son of God. It is a pretty amazing story.  If you have never read about it let me suggest you get a copy of the Bible read about Him.  You will find Him in the first four books of the New Testament.  You will find He is like sour cream raisin pie…delicious and irresistible.  But you can’t know that if you don’t take a taste.

David (he is one of the Kings of Israel from Bible times) was on the run from one of his enemies when he wrote, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” David was saying if you will take just one taste of the real deal you will like what you taste.  Its not religion, its not church—it is the Man who died on the cross because He loved me and you.

So, if you ever get the chance to taste sour cream raisin pie, especially if somehow you can find a piece of Miss Pauline’s, well don’t wait and don’t delay.  Even if, especially if, you have tried plain ole raisin pie you are gonna be surprised!  And if you haven’t read the story of Jesus, well don’t wait and and don’t delay.  Even if, especially if, you have been turned off by church and religion, you are gonna be surprised. You are gonna find out that He is the real deal.  You are gonna find out when and if you decide to follow Him, He will be your new BFF (best friend forever) and He will never leave you sitting beside the road.  He is the kind of friend that you can call at 2:00 am and never get a busy signal.  He is the kind of friend who invites you to sit and chat on the front porch and rest a while.  He is the kind of friend that is like a strong, big brother who loves you.  Strong enough to say, “I’ve got this” and pull it off.  Try Him…You’ll love Him.

Posted in food, life, Scripture

“Pigdemic”

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

I was afraid I had caught it.  We have all heard all we need to hear about the corona virus.  Regardless of what magazine, newspaper, news program, talk show or person you talk to, eventually, the topic of this pandemic will come up.  Nothing has so dominated the public’s attention like this, this, this disaster, this tragedy, this pain in the neck, this maker of our new normalcy…COVID-19.  Oh, and I wasn’t afraid that I caught that.  Nope…but I was almost certain I had caught its first cousin.

Did you know that the pandemic had a first cousin?  Oh yes, it does.  It is the dreaded…wait for it…pigdemic.  Yup…you read it right.   Pigdemic is a new phenomenon that is sweeping the nation.  It happens when people are forced to stay at home for extended periods of time, bored out of their minds.  In this condition, people eat and eat and eat. They eat things that they love, they eat things they like, they eat things they don’t like and they eat things they have never heard of.   The consequences are weighty.

Clothes magically shrink while hanging in closets, mirrors suddenly make people appear shorter and wider, gravity seems to take on added strength when we try to get off of the couch and exercise becomes more difficult, much more difficult.  And that is where I made a self-diagnosis.  I had the pigdemic.  It happened like this.

First, despite my shrinking clothes, I have managed to walk 2.5 miles, five or six days a week at a respectable 14 minute mile pace.  Well, this morning, after walking, my wife was going to ride her bike.  I decided I would join her.  After all, riding a bike had to be easier than walking.  So off we went! I was surprised when she was about 40 yards ahead of me and I was panting like a dog on a hot day.  “Hmmmm” I said.  She had to stop and adjust her seat (for which I am eternally grateful) and I told her, “I don’t know if it is because I walked this morning or maybe it is those pesky donuts but I am tired. This is hard.” She laughed and kindly said it was probably because I had walked.  I was sure it was the donuts.

So we kept riding, I kept falling behind and I was pretty sure I was going to die.  I was certain I had the pigdemic.  I wasn’t ready to swear off donuts but I was close.  Well, I had been hearing a noise on my front wheel (which sounded strangely like a pig squealing) but I didn’t think too much about it.  I should have.  I finally told Judy I was going to stop and check out the squealing pig sound.  I did and it turned out my front wheel was off center causing my brake to be about half on. I loosened the front wheel and centered it slightly and got back on.  Two amazing things happened.  The squealing pig was gone and suddenly I could peddle a lot easier.  A whole lot easier.

It turns out I was not about to die from the pigdemic.  It was a brake that was braking when it should have been coasting. I discovered it is amazing when you ride a bike how much harder it is when the brake is on…even a little.  A little braking can quickly break your spirit.  I decided before I ride again I’m going to check my bike out a little closer and make sure there are no squealing pigs on board.

I wonder if that is what the writer of Hebrews had in mind? He encouraged us to lay aside every weight and every sin that might hinder us from running our race or riding our spiritual bike.  I think it might be.  The weights are things that may not be wrong for us but are just not helpful.  It might be like riding a bike and carrying a ten pound rock in your basket…just because you like rocks.  Sin, well, we know what sin is. If you are biking it might be like riding with a flat tire.  Not a good idea.  Whether it is rocks or flat tires, the bottom line is life is harder when we carry stuff that we don’t need or that can and will hurt us.

So, if you are riding your bike and there is a sound that sounds like a squealing pig, it probably isn’t the pigdemic.  It’s probably a wheel off-center causing your brake to brake. If life seems a little more difficult, why not ask God and see if you have a rock or two in your basket or worse, a flat tire.  Try praying this prayer from Psalm 139:23-24. “Father would you search me inside and out, run some tests on me, and see if there is anything hindering me, hurting me?  Would you see if there is something that I’m doing that offends you?  Would you lead me in a way that shows others I am on Your path? Thank-you Father. Amen.” Now that is one prayer that God wants to answer.  He wants you to peddle through life with the wind at your back, a song in your heart and no squealing pigs on board.  And when you get home you can rest in Him.  Do you know why?  Yup…He’s got this.