Let’s be honest


I am tired. I am tired of being tired. The last several months have been a long bout of depression. This is not a normal response for me.

There are a number of factors that have contributed to my anxiety and depression.

  • Leaving Illinois where I resided for almost 30 years. It was a desire to leave for many years but still change is hard.
  • Taking a church position that was based on misleading information. Yes I am still mad about that. It’s not realistic to just forgive and forget a deep breach of trust.
  • Going to work in a factory on night shift. Nothing wrong with factory work but changing shifts is a major life event.
  • Working on an old house in need of many updates and repairs. That included dealing with water seeping in the basement that the last owners “had no knowledge of”.  We bought the house based on the income of the church job.
  • Applying for open Pastor positions. For the most part Pastor search committees decide what they want in a Pastor and then pray for God to bring that person. Maybe if they would seek God’s desire for their church first then only the right candidates would apply.

With all this going on I have explored the possibility of planting a church. Several people have suggested that I start a church. The reality is those same people like to hear me preach but they don’t want to commit themselves to the work of church planting. It is obviously a waste of my time to pursue church planting any further.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. We all have expectations that are not based on reality. Pastors lie for fear of losing congregants. House sellers lie just to sell their house. Employers lie in order to fill employment occupancy.  Pastor search committees lie because they have personal agendas. There are some good reasons to have trust issues.

I ask myself, in all this where is God? I place my trust in God and study the Bible to understand Him more and how to live the way God wants me to. Sometimes I think the way I live makes a difference to others. Sometimes I think it would be better to drop out of society completely and let people live out their short existence on earth with their own self-made misery.

This site is written for Christians. Atheists sometimes make their ignorant and even hateful remarks but I am not writing for them. As Christians most all of us could take some time to evaluate our integrity. Proclaiming to be one way and living another is a form of lying. Both an honest life and a dishonest life have far reaching impacts.

 

Rev. Burt Schwab

 

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Planted by the River


This is the audio of a sermon from Psalm 1 that was preached on July 29, 2018.

Rev. Burt Schwab

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A different view on conceal carry rights.


Totally stepping away from the normal platform of this site.

A constant drama is played out on social media about gun control. I do not have a convincing argument for or against gun laws. However I do have a strong opinion for those who choose conceal carry. To preface this post please remember I am not saying you are wrong or right.

I was in the crossfire of gang shootings at three different times while living in Aurora, Ill. All three times the shootings took just a few seconds. No warning before people started shooting at each other. In the first instance the shots ended before I could figure out what was happening. The second time I immediately took cover knowing what was happening. The third time I was angry enough to want to do something about it.

As I stated there was no warning before the shootings began. There almost never is. For the sake of this scenario you have a three-second warning.

A shooter enters a store where you are shopping. You have been fully trained and are carrying a loaded pistol. You have to decide the threat level. Do you run and hide, or stand and fight? Where is your gun? Is there a clear shot? Are you within the laws boundaries to kill the shooter?

It took about 14 seconds to read the last paragraph. You only had three seconds of warning from the shooter… You are now suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

 

Here is the point. That gun may be giving a false sense of security. If you are not willing to die then you are not willing to take a life without hesitation.

I hope no person reading this is ever in an active shooter situation. I also hope that you think with clarity before making any decisions about owning guns. Protecting yourself and others come with a great amount of responsibility. Sometimes it comes with a lifetime of regret.

 

Rev. Burt Schwab

 

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A most unusual day


tornado damage

To support a ministry life I work as a welder at Vermeer Corporation.  On Thursday July 19, 2018 Vermeer property was hit by an EF3 tornado. Vermeer employs about 2700 people at this location. Several hundred of us employees along with a large number of visiting customers were on site when it occurred. Three of the seven manufacturing buildings were damaged. Two of them are not repairable. Dozens of vehicles were damaged as well. With all the devastation there were only a small number of injuries, all of them minor. Praise God for that.

At the time of this writing there are hundreds of us employees that do not know when we will return to work. Prayers are appreciated.

As I was pondering this most unusual day Jonah came to mind. I’d like to think my stubbornness is not as bad as Jonah’s was but that’s debatable. Jonah was sent to a city he did not want to go to. He tried to go an opposite direction but wound getting a ride in a fish to the place he was supposed to be. Despite Jonah’s reluctance to preach it, God’s word brought about repentance to a sinful city. The last we read about Jonah was a most unusual day even for him.

Look for yourself at Jonah 4:5-11

Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city. And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant. But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. “Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed. Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”

“Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”

10 Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. 11 But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”

The parallel is that I’m not where I want to be. If you have followed this blog for any amount of time it’s obvious that employment as a welder working second shift is not a part of my plans. However, the job has brought a great amount of financial relief. Then one day, like the worm eating the vine, nature took away that covering.

Forrest+Pella+2

Among the blessings of that day is my car was not damaged, my home was not damaged, I was in a building hit by a tornado and didn’t even get a scratch. If my car and home had been destroyed and I was hurt would I complain. Most likely I would have been whining to God. After all he gave me these blessings and my heart has been less than grateful for them.

Do I have the right to complain? The answer is no. God knows our needs and He provides for them. Not every person employed at Vermeer is a follower of Christ but God protected all of us from serious harm just the same.

 

Rev. Burt Schwab

 

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DRIVEN


My wife has said to me many times “I wish you would learn to relax”. So do I, but I haven’t found the secret entrance to that sky bound castle. On vacation my wife wants to sit in a chair, read a book, and enjoy the ocean. I’ll read an entire book or two during the travel to and from a vacation spot. If I’m in a new territory it’s time to explore every detail that can be taken in. Going to the beach is fine but what’s underneath the waves is a mystery to be explored. Along with that is roads I haven’t traveled and sometimes language that I haven’t learned.

Recently we visited five tourist caves in Missouri. While they were all fascinating I wanted to spend more time at each one than the allotted tour time. Caves fascinate me because they are all unique creations that continuously change. Caves are not content with doing nothing. Living caves will reshape their inner surroundings until the end of time if left alone.

cave

Maybe what makes me a driven individual is the constant need to change inside. Of course that spills over to the external world as well. A finished project is just the beginning of another.

I carry the view of constant change and growth into my spiritual life as well. Never content with knowing God on just a surface level. Always wanting to be a little bit better I have yet to preach a sermon that couldn’t be improved upon. It is unlikely that I will ever stop working on reshaping myself to be more like Christ.

Rev. Burt Schwab

 

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Not what was supposed to happen…


This is supposed to be where a sermon is posted. It was supposed to be a well prepared sermon as I had two weeks to work on it. The sermon was supposed to give some much needed guidance from scripture about our responsibility to governing authority.

The sermon was preached, sort of… Meaning the delivery was less than stellar. (kind of embarrassing when that happens) Tried doing a Facebook Live event but that had some technical issues. The biggest problem was we were using my phone and the battery went dead at an unusually fast rate.

Another issue was I used a different phone to record the message so at least I could share the audio here. I have done this several times before without fail. Except this message refuses to leave the phone via email or otherwise. Literally unable to get the audio out of the phone.

The good news is I may have a second attempt to deliver a great message about our responsibility to governing authority some other day. Until then I have a different message stirring in my heart. Hope you enjoy it when it’s delivered publicly.

 

Rev. Burt Schwab

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Getting things done


I missed a couple of weeks of update posts. In case anyone was concerned I did not succumb to illness from a spider bite or strange virus. However, I did get side-tracked with helping a family member.

Prior to moving to Iowa it was a good idea to explore potential income in the form of work. I had suggested the possibility of being a handyman but was informed that “folks around here do their own repairs.” I was also told there aren’t many jobs around here. Both of those are not accurate statements. Iowa is in a serious shortage of skilled labor. In addition several people have questioned why I don’t hire out the house repairs. After all working full-time and preaching when possible is time consuming. Fact is I’ve tried to hire some of it out but local construction and handyman are too busy to do the work.

Anyways, my wife’s parents wanted to replace their powder room floor covering. So we agreed to do the update while they were on vacation. After all it’s just flooring, that shouldn’t take more than a few hours. Right?

Now this house is about as old as the house we own. The floor was carpeted and that was hiding seriously damaged sub floor. That was challenge number 1.

Waite powder room

In case you can’t tell by the picture the closet was also in need of some attention. Like most really old houses the closet was out of square in four different directions. A few sheets of drywall, couple of coats of paint, and a new shelf brought some life back to the closet. All was going well until I went to hang the sliding doors. I am pretty sure it was a puzzle maker that invented those things. After a few frustrating attempts and some minor modifications we got the doors back on the track. After some further thinking and another minor modification the doors actually opened and closed. It was a pleasant surprise to hear my wife say the closet doors had not worked well in years. Secretly I thought the problem was something I did…

waite powder room 2

The last step of any project is cleanup and detail work. Listen fellow-men, this is where women greatly exceed men in ability. We may call it clean and ready but that is just the beginning for women. All said and done it only took seven days to do this few hour project. Not bad considering my track record.

Waite powder room 3

I can already hear the critics asking what this has to do with spiritual matters. Well folks the Bible tells us that God would have us help each other. That is at the core of the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. Scripture is also clear that we are not to burden the Church with helping family in need if we have the capacity to do something about it. God has gifted me with certain skills to repair things. What about you? What can you do to bless others?

God has placed in our hearts the desire to help others. This compassion can even be seen  in those who do not profess to be Christian. It is an act of love to serve others in a way they cannot for themselves. An anonymous author once wrote “Helping others with an expectation of getting something in return is doing business”.

“I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people who are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.”
Charles de Lint

Rev. Burt Schwab

 

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Spiders and alien virus


Sometimes my imagination can run a little amok. Part of this current porch upgrade is to insulate underneath it. This was originally an outdoor open porch that has been enclosed but without any insulation.

The first obvious problem with doing any work under the porch is the spider webs. I suggested just selling the house but my wife wasn’t excited about that idea. However she did say she didn’t know how I could go down there to work. Turns out she wasn’t making a comment about my weight but was thinking of how dirty it is under the floor.

Anyway as I was laying in the dirt several things entered my mind. Some of those thoughts included:

Maybe it would have been wise to have bought Tyvek coveralls.

I remember reading somewhere that anthrax lives dormant in dirt.

In the movie ‘X files’ an alien virus lived in the dirt.

I wondered what might kill me first, a spider bite, anthrax, or an alien virus.

Maybe I should have bought a hazmat suit.

To move around under the porch requires a belly crawl. At one point an old apothecary bottle complete with the cork was unearthed. Maybe it once held a cure for an alien virus! Or maybe just cough syrup, who knows.

After finishing what could be done that day my wife asked if there were any signs of animals under there. I assured her there wasn’t. She does not like mice in particular and the thought of having them in the house kind of freaks her out. I know it’s silly when you consider the fact that there is spiders and possibly imaginary viruses to worry about.

Now that the repairs are complete and the insulation is done the new floor covering can be installed. So far it’s only taken 1 1/2 weeks to do a “weekend” project. Another 5 or 6 days should be sufficient to finish this project.

By the way, there is a broken light fixture in the upstairs bathroom. My honey-do list is starting to resemble a full length novel. I just have to remind myself of Ecclesiastes 10:18 Because of laziness the building decays, and through idleness of hands the house leaks.

 

Rev. Burt Schwab

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Work in progress


If you were to visit my house for the first time you might notice it is in need of a lot of work. This old house is over 110 years old. What you might not readily know is how much improvement there has been in the last year. A complete kitchen make over that included all new cabinets and appliances. Several electrical improvements along with some much-needed plumbing repairs. Even the garage has new doors and a rain gutter.

None of the improvements have been just surface level. Some old plaster walls have been removed to the studs and recovered with drywall. The garage front was raised up to correct a sagging issue. Old dangerous wiring has been replaced with new.

Most recently we remodeled a small bathroom. It really is a powder room. Someone asked how long the project took. I said a month but that isn’t accurate. Where does the clock start on major projects? If it was the day the problem was identified, that would be over a year ago when we bought the house. If the clock starts the day of planning, that was a few months ago. If the clock starts the day the work began, that was a month.

By the way those home makeover shows are not reality. In a half hour the shows will have completed a major house renovation. It takes me a half hour to find my tool pouch. Don’t set unrealistic expectations. Five minute projects will quickly turn into three trips to the hardware store.

I am currently working on the front porch. The main project is to replace the flooring.Front porch 1

This porch was enclosed several years ago and was done nicely at the time. It is our intent to use it as a 3 season small sitting room. With that in mind we decided to add some outlets, a proper front outside light, and insulate under the floor.

front porch 2

There is no access under this porch from outside or under the house. Since part of the floor was water damaged and rotten that is the access point for running electric and insulating. More about that in next post. Oh, and the treadmill has to stay in the room during all this work. The treadmill was assembled in there and now is too big to remove without disassembling it. Oh well!

Some have questioned why we would put so much effort into this old house. We can’t possibly expect to sell it for a profit when it’s finished. The answer is simple. We like this house and want to make it useful for our purposes.

Often times we judge people based on how much work is needed in their lives. We have no idea if they are in the pre-construction phase or if they are a work in progress. It is not our job to determine when God will change an area a person’s life or how long that might take. Just know as Christians we are all work in progress,  and that Christ loves us all and wants to make us useful for His purposes.

Rev. Burt Schwab

 

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Change of plans


When we first moved to Iowa it was my intention to shut down this blog site as a part of a new life. We moved here with the expectation of replacing a retiring Pastor of a small church. Long story short the Pastor changed his mind. It has been a very painful season to go through, however, for me to tell the details would make me seem like a victim or a hero. The truth is probably somewhere in between those two extremes.

As a result of the plan change I changed my secular occupation from part-time sign installer to a full-time welder on night shift. By God’s grace this is a Christian owned company that is very generous. One major benefit we have is onsite corporate Chaplains. If you are fortunate enough to have a Chaplain in the work place then you work for a great company. As well as welding I also continue ministry work through pulpit supply at various churches.

One very large change that has occurred for my wife and I is moving from a beautifully finished home to a house of many “projects”. With each major repair or modification some life lessons have taken place. It might be worth reading about some of the changes and lessons learned from them.

257

This is our current home that sits on 1 3/4 acres in Iowa.

 

Rev. Burt Schwab

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