Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Please Come Back

This blog is on hiatus until May 10, 2010.

There are, however, over 750 posts available for browsing, reading, commenting upon, or ignoring. Please feel free to poke your mouse through a few back issues. Navigation is there to the right.

Monday, April 05, 2010


My friends and family in the Musingshood....

The good news is I made it through Lent and was true to my vow. I gave up desserts and all manner of sweet snacks - which, as a diabetic, I truthfully should have done years ago - but I didn't have nary a one during the fasting portion of Lent.

The bad news is that this Lenten season I truly overextended myself. I think I've mentioned how busy I've been lately. I've had a meeting, rehearsal, event, concert, or deadline nearly every day since Ash Wednesday in late February. And those few nights I've had free have been spent in preparing for the next thing, and the thing after that, and writing this post. I confess that the secret to getting all of this done has been for me to operate under the "sleep is optional" method, and now I find myself so very tired. I am so burned out that I've joked with friends I should be sleeping in an urn.

Except I wasn't joking.


"I'm so burned out ... I should be sleeping in an urn."


So now I find myself in the position of having to do something I've only done ... well, I've *never* done this. Not once in the past eleven years. I'm taking a sabbatical. A long vacation, if you will. I'm stepping away from as many of my self-inflicted responsibilities as I can possibly let go. My music, my leadership roles in multiple bands, my work at church, Facebook updates/interactions, and even as much e-mail as possible. Please forgive my silence if you write.

I'm also, as you've no doubt guessed, laying down my daily work with this post. Mark's Musings is going on hiatus. But not forever.

My target date to return is in five weeks - May 10 - which, coincidentally, is my birthday. I hope you will once again give me the gift of your Inbox. I'll understand if you take this opportunity to be quit of me.

Should I reach the point where I absolutely must write something or watch my head explode (which would be a neat trick), I'll do it here at the blog, so you may want to bookmark it as a favorite and take a peek, periodically.

In my absence, please feel free to browse through past editions of the post, kindly archived by my list server, Ezine Director. They have every issue since February, 2004, when I began using their administrations.

I would covet your good prayers and kind thoughts that this be a time of renewal, restoration, relaxation, and revitalization for me.

God bless you, every one.



Friday, April 02, 2010

Graham Story

Good Friday, 2010.

Not just a good Friday. The *best* Friday.


Billy Graham is 91 years old. The story is told of a luncheon held a decade ago in Charlotte, North Carolina, where city leaders invited one of their favorite sons to honor him. Billy initially struggled with accepting, as he was struggling with Parkinson's Disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, "We don't expect a major address. Just show up and let us honor you." Billy agreed.

After many wonderful things were said about him, Billy finally did step up to the rostrum. He looked at the crowd, paused just a moment, then said, "Today I am reminded of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century.

"Einstein was once traveling from Princeton, on a train, when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of each passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached into his pocket. His ticket wasn't there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn't find it. Then he looked through the papers in the seat beside him but still couldn't find it.

"The conductor said, 'Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I'm sure you've bought a ticket. Don't worry about it.' Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle, punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees, looking for his ticket.

"The conductor rushed back and said, 'Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry. I know who you are. No problem. You don't need your ticket. I'm sure you bought one.'

"Einstein looked up at him and said, 'Young man, I, too, know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going.' "

Having related that story, Billy Graham continued speaking to the assembly. "See the suit I'm wearing? It's a brand new suit. My wife, my children, and my grandchildren are telling me I've gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon ... and one other occasion.

"You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I'll be buried. But when you hear that I'm dead, I don't want you to immediately remember the suit I'm wearing.

"I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am, I know where I'm going."

[as seen in Andychap's The_Funnies]


May you be able to say the same.

Watch for a very special announcement on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: Our church has been making an extra effort to intentionally connect with our community lately. This is something called "servant evangelism" and you can get lots of ideas and start-up tips at http://www.servecoach.com/. It's a website that features the work of Pastor Steve Sjogren, who has launched many churches that feature the work of community outreach.


Mark's Musings is sent each weekday using Ezine Director and I pay a little more to make sure my posts are certified by Habeas to be a safe source of e-mail. That means no ads, no spam, and no worries. Subscribe, view past issues in my Archives, and do other things over at my web site. To contact me and someday get a reply, click here. It's just about time for Good Friday services. Looking forward to it. You can forward or reprint Mark's Musings freely but please keep the credits attached. It's Good Friday. Go to church and leave the credits alone. Original material and musings © 2010 by Mark Raymond. I update this blog with a copy of my e-mail post daily (plus I often add graphics) and very occasionally with "bonus material" whenever the mood or muse strikes. Look for the label that says "bonus" and you can bring all that extra material up with one click. My personal mission statement remains John 3:30. Find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/baldmark/. Enjoy your Spring Break!


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "Your days at the most cannot be very long, so use them to the best of your ability for the glory of God and the benefit of your generation." (William Booth)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

On God

Maundy Thursday, 2010.

I am once again in a cycle at work where I drive nearly every day deep into the heart of Michigan's "thumb." On my drive home, I pass houses, clumps of trees, patches of forest, barns, ranches, businesses ... and then, suddenly, this rural vista will open up. And for a few seconds, you can see the breadth of heaven and earth for, quite literally, miles. And it ... is ... just ... breathtaking. Of course, at that time of day I am usually the only car on the road, and that sense of solitude enhances the awesome.

It reminded me of an old Keith Green introduction to one of his songs. He relates how the Bible says the world was created in six days. I don't know if it was a literal six days or not. The scientists say no, the theologians say yes. But let's say that it was. The Bible also records Jesus telling us that he was going to Heaven to prepare a mansion for us there. So, if our supposition is true, all the splendor and majesty of this world - the trees, mountains, waterfalls, oceans - was created in six days ... and yet God has had 2000 years to work on that mansion.

I can't possibly imagine the glory of it all.


ON GOD....

"Any fool can count the seeds in an apple. Only God can count all the apples in one seed." (Robert H. Schuller)

"What is it that we all believe in that we cannot see or hear or taste or smell -- this invisible thing that heals all sorrows, reveals all lies and renews all hope? What is it that has always been and always will be, from whose bosom we all came and to which we will all return? Most call it Time. A few realize that it is God." (Robert Brault)

"God loves each of us as if there were only one of us." (St. Augustine)

"For, after all, put it as we may to ourselves, we are all of us from birth to death guests at a table which we did not spread. The sun, the earth, love, friends, our very breath are parts of the banquet ... shall we think of the day as a chance to come nearer to our Host, and to find out something of Him who has fed us for so long?" (Rebecca Harding Davis)

"Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message." (Malcolm Muggeridge)

"God is not what you imagine or what you think you understand. If you understand you have failed." (St. Augustine, again)

[with thanks to The Quote Garden]


WISDOM for YOUR WEEK: "For nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1:37)


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