October 9, 2014
It's Here in glorious B&W! 'Welcome to My Back Pew' A 115 page collection of BP cartoons is HERE
Don't mumble, don't grumble and ...
... stay out of the DARK lest ye STUMBLE!
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philipians 4:4-8
Not much more to be said on the subject. When these words describe me I am content no matter my circumstance. When I drift into negativity with mumbling and grumbling (each which I have discovered are NOT fruits of the Spirit) I tend to stumble.
So words of wisdom here.. DON'T STUMBLE, DON'T GRUMBLE, and DON'T MUMBLE in any order! Smile Mon trusting God and finding your joy in Him.
Jeff (grumble n' mumble free lately) Larson
note: I live in a 2 story home, and once stepped out of my bedroom with a clothes basket full of dirty clothes stacked high, made an immediate right to go downstairs only to discover the top step was ALIVE! Well at least my dog baylie was laying on it covering it completely. I then proceeded to somehow slide down a flight of stairs bouncing on my heels from step to step (like a cartoon) and somehow when I reached the bottom MY NECK WAS NOT BROKEN. Well, I more than mumbled at Baylie all while she looked at me like "what was my problem". I am not sure why I shared this.. except it was EXTREME LITERAL STUMBLING followed by shouting, and the joy of the Lord was NOT with me.
October 8, 2014
Uncluttered Faith & Eagles Wings (rewrite)
A favorite cartoon of one of my favorite cartoonists (me) is inspired by a Max Lucado's writing which I call Play Hard, Laugh Hard .
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." Mt 18:2-3
note to self: PLAY HARD, LAUGH HARD, and..LEAVE THE WORRIES TO THE FATHER.
Growing up in rural Wisconsin my childhood worries were few and far between. I knew my mom and dad loved me and would keep me safe. This left me with the difficult (NOT) decisions of playing hard and laughing hard as prescribed by Max Lucado, and .. Jesus. I now observe my 4 year old grandson Everett living this same life described in Mt 18:2-3. He is loved and knows it. Life only becomes difficult when he needs a nap. <insert reflective pause here> hmmm.. this is ALSO much like his grandpa.
To go along with this UNCLUTTERED FAITH, I would like to share a similar message from the book of Isaiah referencing EAGLES WINGS.
They that wait upon the Lord.. shall mount up with wings as eagles Is 40:31
Eagles Wings for Jeff? Wo.. my wife worries I am sometimes a distracted driver so I am not sure she likes the idea of me flying anytime soon.
Seriously though, Isaiah 40:31 is a cornerstone truth in our Christian faith. As I learn to patiently wait upon the Lord, and trust him in all circumstances.. then I BELIEVE God will be my source, my provider, and my answer. He will renew my strength.
So.. let's keep it simple.
These bible truths do not mean life will be without problems. There will continue to be trials, bad days, sickness, death, and heartache.. BUT this is the result of a fallen/broken world. God's love as demonstated in the above scriptures is our only true HOPE.
remember.. GOD'S MATH
Our willingness + Our limitations + God's Love= UNLIMITED POSSIBILITIES
May God bless us all with peace and love in ways that are truly supernatural.
May God find us faithful in our words in deeds.
May we PLAY HARD, LAUGH HARD, take Eagle Wings FLYING LESSONS and leave the worries to the Father as He intends.
Take the lid off of your life regarding what is possible, and live beyond our circumstances...
SMILE LOTS. Jeff (smilin lots) Larson
October 5, 2014
I am IRON MAN! Am I talking about in 'Let's make a Deal' speak..
Of course you should choose door #3. Choosing door 1 you end up with a comic book character fighting comic book evil, door #2 you end up singing Karaoke to a band led by Ozzy Osbourne, but door #3 you have just what it says.. armor to stand up against the very real schemes of the Devil.
It is a wonder I survive somedays without putting on the armor of God. I umpire baseball, and the other week a foul ball hit me in the upper thigh just inches from private parts (and I am not talking about a diary in my front pocket) that would have screamed in agony with a soprano voice if 'they' were hit. Why I share this TMI Moment is I realized I forgot to wear what is called in the umpire business.. MY NUT CUP. I had a chest protector, shin guards, and my face mask, BUT I was NO wearing the full armor of umpires.
Well for those days I leave my house without praying, without communing and commuting with God.. I believe I leave unprotected. In the spiritual realm I am at risk.
So I encourage each of you this day to put on the full armor of God EVERYDAY lest ye be struck by a foul ball wherest thou hurtest most. King James/Back Pew/umpire paraphrase Ephesians 6:11
October 6, 2014
A few year back I was in Jamaica during one of the stops on a cruise my wife and I took. We now describe it as the BUDGET BOAT from Norwegian Cruise lines. Just above the status of TUG BOAT.Ok, it was not that bad, but not really that great either.. BUT I DIGRESS. While in port in Jamaica I met up with a local 'mon' (man) who was trying to sell us a tie dye shirt as we stepped on shore for more than it was worth, BUT he was wearing a Green Bay Packer (my favorite team) shirt, and since I am from Wisconsin I felt we were kindred spirits. It was a sign :) from God.. and so I bought his overpriced shirt. Of course he had the good strong Island accent, a big smile, and he kept telling "dis is a very good shirt, 'mon'." with a real SMILE MON type of lingo.Now it has been many years since this cruise, but I drew a cartoon way back then called SMILE MON in recognition of my Jamacan Cheesehead acquantance and to go along with an apostle Paul attitude to be content in all circumstances.In this 24/7 rush hour fast paced life it is easy to lose sight of contentment and the only 'smile mon' you can muster is through clenched teeth.But my prayer for each of us is to trust in the Lord with all our hearts Pr 3:5 as our good shepherd Ps 23 then whatever the world throws in our path we are more than conquerors Ro 8:37.Blessings
October 4, 2014
The Last Kiss! I remember the first time I kissed Mary Laun. On a November night in 1983 and after seeing a movie together, getting some pizza, Mary invited me in for hot chocolate. As I went to leave, I was bold enough to learn over and kiss her good night. I caught her off guard, and while it was memorable it was more accurately memorably awkward. We laugh about it now after 30 years of marriage.
In these 30 years of marriage since that first kiss we have made many great memories while encountering a few bumps in the road. Life is a mixed bag of highs and lows but it is amazing the blessing of a good wife through it all as Mary Laun became Mary Larson til death do us part.
In these 30+ better or worse years we have raised 3 great kids, are spoiling 2 grandkids (so far), and our faith, family, and friends make life worthwhile. Many nice vacations over these 30 years including Disneyworld and a cruise on an 'underwhelming' boat. We rented a cabin once where the heater quit working on a rainy 38 degree night and the floor was so slanted my son's hot wheels cars would roll down hill on their own.
Mary and I are blessed with our 'for better or worse' contractural agreement like many others. From that first kiss in 1983 through the kiss I gave her this the morning of October 3rd, 2014 as she headed off to teach her 4th grade class (She even asked for this kiss.. unlike our first kiss) and so I realize I am one of the lucky ones.
So with the remembrance of that first kiss in 1983, to the love felt in that kiss this most recent morning I started to think about when will be our last kiss. Meaning when the death do us part part of our contract is lived out.
I don't want to think about that kiss. Most of us grow up loving mom & dad the MOST, then one day many of us find that special someone who becames the most important one in our lives. And so the circle of life continues until one of us is gone.
I do not worry about when our last day together is, but realize and appreciate from the first kiss, to the last.. I am blessed.
I pray that each of you today may be blessed by God in your family, marriage, church, and friendships.
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