I have begun a new blog which can be found at sholtsr.wordpress.com. It’s called L’chai-im! (To life!) and presents my reasons to rejoice and be glad every day. Hope to see you there…
Son Mitch (second from left) is in a very popular band from Texas called Homer Hiccolm and the Rocketboys. They have a chance to play at Austin City Limits if they can garner enough votes. The voting is close, and Homer Hiccolm and the Rocketboys could sure use your vote. If you wish to vote, cast yours at the following site. You can vote once a day.
Thanks for your support.
What more could one ask for than to spend 3 days with your kids in New England with sunny skies and mid-70 temps all weekend? On Friday, we headed to Maine to walk beautiful Marginal Way–a 3-mile trail along the rugged coastline–in Olgonquit. We had seafood in York and returned home tired and sunburnt. On Saturday, we made and flew kites along the Chelsea River, attended an Italian Festival in East Boston (where Steve and Chrissy live), and walked around downtown Boston before eating another great meal together.
On Sunday, Mitch had to go to his job as copy editor at Boston Now daily newspaper, but Steve and Chrissy met us for worship at Trinity Church, established in the late 1700s. I can’t say that the service was particularly moving, but it was interesting, filled with all the pomp and pagentry of “high church.” Afterwards, we enjoyed a coffee fellowship in the old building’s new fellowship hall where we met a nice lady who has been a member at Trinity all her life. She was actually born in Boston and has lived there since except for two years she spent in Dallas. I personally found her to be the highlight of the morning, taking a chance to meet some visitors. After church, we walked down to the Charles River for sandwiches on the Esplanade and a long walk over to Cambridge before meeting up with Mitch when he got off work. From there, we headed back to East Boston and another walk through the Italian Festival where we enjoyed great pizza and honest-to-goodness canolis. We capped the evening off with a concert in the park featuring my favorite music, bluegrass (in Boston, of all places!).
The weekend was refreshing and blessed by God. He has blessed us with good kids who have grown into great citizens. (By the way, daughter-in-law, Chrissy began a new job last Monday as CFO for a non-profit agency called Generations.)
Photos: (Top) Chrissy, Mitch, Steve Jr., Lynn at our favorite New England site, Dunkin’ Donuts. (Next) Two Steves at M.I.T. This is as close as they would let us get to the school…something to the effect of “inferior minds” corrupting its image. Check out Steve Jr’s additional photos from our visit at
We are in a real slow period for Sears freight. I’ve had about 5 trips cancelled over the past two weeks because of low volume freight. Not sure what next weeks holds, but I hope it picks up soon. No drivey, not money.
I really like my job, despite the inconsistent paycheck. I like driving. I like the people I encounter along the way. I like my routes. I like having two days off (four counting the weekend) with Lynn. I like hurling down the highway at 65 mph in 80,000 pounds of steel and fiberglass. I especially like what I’m learning about me. I like not having my identity linked to my profession (as was the case in counseling ministry). I like overcoming new challenges (I don’t like it at the time, but when it’s all over, I feel pretty good.)
Maybe periodically we all ought to do something completely different from what we do regularly. What if you accountants learned to fly a plane? What if you waitresses took up law? What if you salespeople became firefighters? What if you preachers opened your own business? I think we would all grow closer to God who is our identity and our purpose and our strength.
What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced in your life? Something that you didn’t think you could do, but did anyway. An ordeal that you were sure you couldn’t get through, but by the grace of God, you did.
Lynn and I are excited about going to Boston next Thursday to see Steve Jr., Chrissy and Mitch. (Mitch is in Boston two weeks each month on a project for “Boston Now” newspaper.) I’ll share our experiences next time.
My favorite major league pitcher lost another one this past weekend. You’d think at $52 million, Daisuke Matsuzaka would have a better w-l record.
Corporate executive’s bonusus are in the millions. Oil company profits are in the billions.
In our house church is a single mom with two daughters who makes ends meet by selling frozen treats out her back door to neighborhood children.
A Hummer at Lynn’s summer job takes up two parking spaces.
Ticket prices for the Grizzlies will be up this coming season, and fans will pay them.
Churches in Memphis are spending millions and millions for new facilities while social service agencies must beg for every penny they get.
You wouldn’t believe what some people spend on home entertainment systems.
The wealthy in this country are getting wealthier, while the poor are getting more poor.
“If you can find the money to kill people, you can find the money to help people.”
That last quote was from Michael Moore’s new movie, SiCKO. It is admittedly a biased look at healthcare systems around the world, focusing mainly on the U.S.’s lack of one. The movie is entertaining yet sobering. One thing you will notice is how our priorities in this country are so messed up. Terrorists at Gitmo receive better healthcare than many of our own citizens.
If you have seen SiCKO, what are your thoughts? Got any ideas on how to fix the problem?
Dr. Leonard Allen stated the following during lectures at ACU in 2003 in his three-part presentation, Living in Light of Last(ing) Things. You can find expanded thoughts in his book, co-authored with Danny Swick, Participating in God’s Life, New Leaf Books.
The Basic New Testament claim is: The triumph of God has been revealed. The triumph of God has been uncovered. In Jesus’ death and resurrection, all the hostile principalities and powers of this present age have been disarmed and, in fact, defeated. God’s Kingdom has broken into history and—for the believer, those with faith—it has brought an end to all other kingdoms. In this new Kingdom, the believer sees—knows by faith—the end of history, how history is going to turn out. This triumph is not visible to the human eye, it’s not audible to the human ear, in fact, much of the evidence we see and we hear around us point to the contrary. Just read the daily paper. It is known not through any scientific search, nor statistical projection. It is known only through faith. The worldly powers keep on raging and threatening to overwhelm us to win, but the believer sees by faith that they (worldly powers) are already doomed, finished. They are already writhing in their death struggle. Therefore, the believer already knows something by faith that unbelievers do not know. They know that Jesus Christ now reigns as Lord of all. And further more, they know that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Lordship. Furthermore, believers not only know by faith how history will turn out (more than just knowing the end), they also presently participate in that end through the presence of God’s Spirit…as Paul states in 1 Cor. 10:11, “We are those upon whom the end of the ages has come.” So, this means then, for the faithful, that knowing this truth (this revealed truth) and experiencing this apocalyptic presence or power by the Spirit, the believer can follow Jesus in all things, even in those things that may seem to worldly logic and to mere worldly eyes utterly impractical and utterly unworkable to those who do not know what Christians know and see, by faith, what Christians see. And it is this basic New Testament outlook that can properly be called apocalyptic… The Kingdom of God in the person of Jesus Christ has broken into history. The end has come, and we are participants by the Spirit in that.
He went on to say that this vision (Paul’s vision) eventually faded as the church became more institutionalized and powerful.
This is what Dr. Allen’s thoughts say to me:
- The Kingdom is far bigger than “church.” In fact, God’s greatest work on earth might be outside the realm of religion.
- Christians live for more than just the end—heaven. We are active participants in what God is doing on earth now. We are to fully participate with God in bringing about his will “on earth as it is in heaven.”
- There is nothing that needs to ruffle a believer. We can follow Jesus into any and every circumstance and be confident of the outcome.
- We need not fear Memphis’ high murder rate, economic catastrophes, or falling church attendance.
- We need not shrink from being found in the “bad parts” of town.
- We can invite anyone into our home and visit anyone in his.
What does this say to you?
We have lots of videos of Christmases past when the boys were little. As they grew and the presents become more practical and less “toy”, one thing didn’t change from year to year. Every Christmas and birthday, the boys had to show each present to the camera and say who that present was from. “This “Etcha Sketch” is from Aunt Susan,” little Stephen would say. Mitch might say, “Thanks, Uncle Richard, for this nice sweater,” as he held up his gift. When the boys were real young, the process would get pretty funny. Little Mitch might say something like, “This baboon (balloon) is from Uncle Ginny.” Well, the process was the same at every Christmas and birthday: open the presents, hold each one up and say “thank you” to the giver.
I really regret having had the boys go through that gruelling process. My intentions were to instill in them a sense of gratitude. I didn’t want them to take gifts for granted, focusing more on the gift than the generosity of the giver.
Maybe my obsession came from my own years of lack of gratitude, when I took things for granted and even had the nerve to complain when I didn’t have the things I wanted when I wanted them.
Not sure here, but I think that maybe ingratitude more than anything irks God. He pours out sunshine and rain on good people and bad alike. We wouldn’t last one nano-second without his generous provisions, yet we complain so much. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. Too much rain. Not enough rain. Nothing good on TV. I’m bored. Is this all there is? I haven’t eaten in two hours! All I do is work, work, work! She is so uppity! He’s so strange. Why can’t you be like other husbands? Our house is too small. My car is five years old. Why can’t I have an iPod like everyone else? My hair won’t do right. I wish I had hair. And on and on and on…
I really don’t know the secret to being grateful. Except perhaps to put yourself around people who have far less than you, or those whose health has failed them. Maybe it would help to live on half our salary for a year. I really think it would help if we get our focus off those who have more than we do and simply enjoy what we have. (A young couple I know has committed to not purchasing anything new for a year.)
I am really trying to grow in this area of thankfulness. When you try, it’s amazing what you find to be thankful for. Things that I took for granted in the past hold new value to me now. I love sunsets and sunrises. And time with Lynn doing nothing. And working in the yard. And hamburgers. And our neighbors. And every ache-free morning. And work. And old hymns. And sons who are not in a war. And freedom. And our house. And chess pie. And old friends. And memories…
Do you have any ideas on developing an attitude of gratitude? Some of you do this very well and I’d like for you to share your secret. What are you most thankful for?