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America, The Golden Dream 07/04/2013

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Yesterday I shared with you how freedom may be an “Impossible Dream,” but a dream which we must continue to pursue no matter the cost. Today on this 4th of July, I want to share with you that this great experiment in democracy, this “Golden Dream” has been a part of our DNA from the very beginning.

Happy Birthday America!!! Keep on flying high…

GOLDEN DREAM

America, spread your golden wings
Sail on freedom’s wind, across the sky.
Great bird, with your golden dreams
flying high, flying high.

Restless one in a world of change,
keeping dreams aloft in the rain.
Spirit free, soaring through the clouds
of time, of time.

America, you must keep dreaming now
Dreaming the promised vow of your pioneers
America, keep on flying now.
Keep your spirit free.
Facing new frontiers.

America, spread your golden wings
Sail on freedom’s wind across the sky.
Great bird with your golden dreams,
Flying high, flying high,
Flying high, flying high!

I hope that you enjoy this song which has been part of our family since our first trip to Epcot over 20 years!!!

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The Impossible Dream 07/03/2013

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As I pause this evening for a few minutes of quiet contemplation before the excitement of the family gatherings, picnics, and fireworks extravaganzas kick into high gear. I wanted to take a moment to share with you what our nation, this extraordinary experiment in democracy, this shining beacon of freedom around the world, means to me.

I remember as a young boy singing the song, “The Impossible Dream,” not realizing, at the time, that I had no idea what those words really meant.

To dream … the impossible dream …
To fight … the unbeatable foe …
To bear … with unbearable sorrow …
To run … where the brave dare not go …
To right … the unrightable wrong …
To love … pure and chaste from afar …
To try … when your arms are too weary …
To reach … the unreachable star …

This is my quest, to follow that star …
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far …
To fight for the right, without question or pause …
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause …

And I know if I’ll only be true, to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,
when I’m laid to my rest …
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach … the unreachable star …

 

As I have gotten older, I am just now beginning to understand the significance of those words. My friends, freedom can be an impossible dream. Freedom sometimes means fighting against all odds against an unbeatable foe, but being willing to fight anyway,

 It sometimes means bearing unbearable sorrows when we consider what freedom really costs us in the lives of our brightest and best

It sometimes means being willing to run into harm’s way when everyone else is running away

It sometimes means being willing to fight for what’s right even when public opinion is against you.

 It sometimes means standing up for something and loving so deeply that you are willing to sacrifice your own life for a cause greater than yourself.

It means doing what’s right even when no one is watching, and never giving up no matter how tired and weary you become,

It may even mean being willing to march into hell for a purpose much higher and greater than yourself.

As I pray for our nation on this 4th of July, I pray that we will each continue to strive with our last ounce of courage to reach… the unreachable… star!

Enjoy what I believe is the most beautiful arrangement of this song ever performed!

Blessings

I’m Doing Fine! 04/14/2013

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happy face

Ok, I think that I need to clarify something, despite how my my last blog post my have appeared, I am not back in the hospital, or having additional health issues. I was just trying to bring everyone up to speed on what happened, how I ended up in the hospital to begin with and what has been happening since then.  So, for those of you who have called, sent cards and have been worried about me, I am doing fine and continue to improve.  But it is nice to know that people care:)

Blessings

Oh Noooo, Not Again!!! 04/12/2013

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worst-day

It has been just over a month since I last posted on my blog and in that time my world has certainly been turned upside down. When I last wrote, my sister had passed away and we were preparing for the visitation and funeral. I knew at the time that I was physically running on empty, but taking a few days off didn’t seem like an option. During the next couple of days, many people asked me how I was doing and after answering the question repeatedly, I settled on the simplistic answer that, “It is well with my soul,” which may have been true, but apparently it was not well with my body.

The visitation on Friday was incredibly hard on me, and the funeral on Saturday was arguably one of the most difficult days of my life. Then, Sunday arrived (an extra hour early because of the time change) and was filled with three worship services plus Confirmation class. When Monday morning arrived, I had already decided that it was going to be a Sabbath day. So, following a relaxing lunch and an expedition through my favorite store, Bass Pro Shop, I told Karen that I was feeling tired and that I was about ready to head for home. After one more stop, I told Karen that I wasn’t feeling well… by the time we were half way home, I decided that when I got home I should probably call the doctor, and the always prepared Karen took the bull by the horns, looked through her purse, found the number, called the doctor and had an immediate appointment for me.

By the time I got to the doctor’s office, I knew something was seriously wrong. I was chilling uncontrollably and even succeeded in throwing up in the doctor’s office (how embarrassing) 😦  Unfortunately, I knew these symptoms well and there was no doubt in my mind that the Cellulitis that sent me to the hospital two years ago had returned with a vengeance. So after a shot of antibiotics and a handful of prescriptions, I was sent home with orders to return over the next two days for more antibiotic injections. By Wednesday, my doctor looked at me and said, “This isn’t working!” and I knew what he was going to say next, “I’m calling the hospital, and I want you to go there immediately!” … Yep, that’s what I thought he was going to say. Here we go again!

To be continued…

In This Very Room 03/08/2013

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“In the midst of life we are in death; from whom can we seek help?”

“Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.”

“God who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through the Spirit that dwells in you.”

As we prepare for this afternoon’s visitation and the funeral tomorrow, I can’t help but feel the love and grace of God as shared with our family by so many acts of kindness. We are very blessed! Verna would have been very pleased to know that her family has been so supported and comforted through this difficult time! Thank-you!

Be At Peace… 03/07/2013

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Verna

My sister, Verna Higdon, passed away yesterday morning and this is the first time that I have had a moment to sit down and try to process and put into perspective what these past couple of years has meant. Those of you who know me, know about my sisters illness and the devastating affect that it had on her life. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain, suffering, loneliness, despair and indignities that she has quietly endured. Unlike me, she hasn’t complained at all and has endured this hardship with great perseverance. Yesterday morning, she lost the battle with her illness but won the final victory, Thanks be to God!

So this morning as I take a short break from the “busyness” of funeral arrangements, phone calls, insurance and personal matters, as well as the normal preparations for Sunday, (Sunday morning will arrive whether I am ready or not, and this Sunday comes an extra hour early so don’t forget to set your clocks ahead.) I thought I would take a moment just to remember what my sister meant to me and my family.

First of all, even though we always got along well, we were two totally different people. If she said something was black, I would be certain that it was white, if she thought we should turn to the left, I would be equally assured that we should turn right… and so goes the inner working of the relationship between an older sister and her little brother.

There is also no doubt that we had a totally different sense of humor. I remember one time that Mom and Dad took us fishing along the Wisconsin River. As we were getting ready to leave and were packing up all of our fishing paraphernalia, Verna slipped down the bank and landed in the river. Of course I started laughing immediately, which Verna thought was a terrible offense. She started crying and told me to stop laughing, which made me laugh even harder (I know I’m a sick puppy) That made her really mad and she yelled even louder, “STOP LAUGHING AT ME” all the while she kept trying to get out of the 10 inch deep mud along the river bank (without any success.)

When she slipped again and fell on her knees in the river, all the while continuing to yell at me to stop laughing, Mom could no longer contain herself and she also started laughing (it really was a funny sight.) Finally, (after she quite laughing) Mom told me to shut up and help Verna get out of the river. Verna finally just shook her head, realized that there was nothing she could do about her obnoxious brother and certainly not wanting any help from me, pulled herself out of the water and up the river bank.

I think, in a way, this past couple of years has been a similar experience for my sister and I. However, instead of laughing, this time I was constantly trying to coax, persuade and prod her along (which I think that she may have found equally obnoxious and irritating). Unfortunately, this time Mom wasn’t there to fix things and Verna wasn’t able to get up and pull herself out. The effects of the illness were too great to overcome and it just wasn’t meant to be.

I thank God for my sister, and for her generosity and warm spirit. I also thank God for the part of her that continues to live in each of us who knew her and loved her.

Be at peace Verna… say hi to Mom and Dad and Phillip for me and I will see you when I get there…

“This Is When You Know We’re Going To Hell!” 03/02/2013

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“This is when you know we’re going to hell!” I have loved Steve Harvey for a long time and in my opinion, he is by far the all time best “Family Feud” host. I really enjoyed this exchange and it certainly echos some of the issues I have been pondering lately.

I have shared with you before about my struggles with my perception of the ever changing values in our culture. I am saddened and challenged in many ways by what I perceive to be the perspectives and priorities of what is rapidly becoming our dominant culture. I see the changes in small things such as the ever present “War on Christmas” which some of my friends argue doesn’t exist at all while others say it is a sign of the end of times.

I see the changes in other ways as well. An example would be the disintegrating lack of respect for people in authority such as our teachers and police. Every teacher I have ever talked to says that the classroom is a very different place today than it was when my Mom taught school 25 years ago. The rule around our house was that if you got in trouble in school, whatever the punishment was, you received twice as much when you got home. You were presumed guilty unless you could prove your innocence. Now it seems that the parents immediately assume that their child is innocent first and that it must be someone else’s fault.

One night, a few years back, I had the opportunity to do a “ride along” with a local police officer. I was completely amazed at what happens on our streets after most of us have gone to bed. The officer pulled a car filled with young people over around 12:30 AM. The kids had just picked up a known drug dealer and then dropped him off a few blocks later, so the officer decided to stop them just to see what was going on. The driver had just turned 16 and was still driving with a learners permit. The officer gave them a warning, a few words of advice and told them that perhaps they should call it a night and go back home. We drove past a parking lot an hour later and guess who was still there…

I told the officer that if I had been pulled over, for any reason, at that age, I would have gone straight home and prayed that my parents didn’t find out. Come to think of it, if I had been out after midnight, I would never have been allowed to go out again!! (At least not until I turned 21) My dad’s philosophy was that NOTHING good ever happened after midnight! (He was right)

So when I saw this clip from “Family Feud” I thought that it showed in a very funny way, a little bit of how I perceive what is happening in our world.

You just can’t make these things up 🙂

Blessings

Psalm 151… Testify To Love! 03/01/2013

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I was watching an interview the other day with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (Monica on “Touched By An Angel”) who were discussing the upcoming mini-series on The History Channel, “The Bible.” Although something of this Biblical and theological nature may seem like a bit of a stretch for Mark Burnett who is better known for the reality TV series “Survivor,” “Shark Tank” “The Apprentice” and “The Voice,” Roma Downey has always been one of my favorite “angels.” 🙂

I don’t think I have ever seen an episode of “Touched By An Angel” that I didn’t like, but there was one episode in particular that has always been my favorite. The title was “Psalm 151” which was Monica’s 100th case as an angel, and as it turns out, is one of her most difficult. Her job is to help a dying young boy, Petey, fulfill a series of last wishes before he dies. One of his final wishes is for his mother (Wynonna Judd) to finish a song which she began when he was born as a thanks-giving to God which she calls Psalm 151.

With the help of the angels, his family and friends, Petey checks the items off his list  one by one until only one final wish remained… Go to heaven

Enjoy the final scene, perhaps one of my favorite television scenes ever, as Petey gets his final wish.

May we all join together and… “Testify to Love!“

“It is finished”
“Well done, my good and faithful servant”

Blessings

Hey! Got Any Grapes? 02/28/2013

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I thought long and hard about discussing the theological, moral and ethical implications of this song. I also thought about sharing with you my thoughts on the statement that this song makes about society and our roll of caring for our brothers and sisters.

But instead, I thought I would just encourage you to watch and decide for yourselves 🙂

Blessings
Oh come on! It did make you smile didn’t it???

The Crime of Pizza Delivery… 02/25/2013

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2 liter

I haven’t decided whether or not to write this post tongue-in-cheek or to approach it from a serious perspective, so I think that I will just write it and let you decide:)

I was amazed (astounded, flabbergasted, confused… you pick the adjective) when I read this morning that NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban has now been extended to 2 liter bottles delivered during pizza deliveries. I am not sure whether I should be rolling on the floor laughing, or lock myself in an underground bunker to prepare for the end of the world. Seriously, I don’t know whether I should be laughing about this or mourning a great loss.

I have to admit that I am really curious about New Yorkers. The New Yorkers that I have had the privilege to meet though the years have tended to be shoot from the hip, matter of fact, and don’t take… err ummm… “stuff” from anybody types of people. But yet, here it is… one after another of their rights are being taken away from them and I have yet to see my New York friends rise up and say enough is enough??? It really makes me wonder what is going on.

I try to imagine what would happen around here in Southern Indiana if suddenly our governor were to impose a similar ban or worse yet, tell us that something like… say… Twinkies were no longer going to be available, now those would be serious fight’n words around these parts… You say that Twinkies are no longer available… seriously??? Oh the humanity!!!!!! I’m on my way to the bunker right now!! (What you don’t know is that I actually have a lifetime supply of Twinkies already stashed away for moments such as these)

I remember my favorite radio personality Gary Burbank who used to broadcast from 700 WLW in Cincinnati until he retired. I would always enjoy listening to his radio program in the afternoons while I picked up the kids from school. One of his online personalities was a loveable redneck named Earl Pitts, American, (pronounced, Uhmerikun) who would editorialize about various aspects of political and family life in America such as which types of cheese a “real man” would eat. Earl felt that American cheese would be totally acceptable, any cheese that came sliced and individually wrapped in plastic was satisfactory,” Velveeter” cheese was definitely on the list and finally Cheeze Whiz, because any cheese that was willing to name itself after a bodily function was OK in his book. At the end of each editorial, Earl Pitts would end his segment with the words “WAKE UP AMERICA… Pitts off…”

This morning, as I ponder the crime of delivering 2 liter soft drinks with pizza, I think I will just echo the words of the illustrious Mr. Pitts and say… Wake Up America!!!!

Blessings