Category Archives: AH-HA Moments

AH-HA Moments – November 2019

DON”T LEAF ME ALONE!

As I was driving through the “burbs” of Chicago the other day, I was struck by the gorgeous, beautiful, and startling colors that had “suddenly” appeared on the beautiful trees around me. The leaves were already starting their Technicolor production of God’s Fall beauty right before my bulging eyes. I had never really been struck with that kind of an “awe” feeling from leaves in all of my 79 1/6 years of life!

Talk about “stopping to smell the roses”, I have to admit that I usually don’t even see the roses, let alone smell them! My mind took me even further on this new adventure by starting to compare the beauty of the multi-color leaves to …what else …the aging of people! Although all comparisons can only go so far, I thought of the general inconsistency of our culture, which, on one hand, marvel and ooh and ahh at the beautiful aging process of the Fall leaves, yet are often blind to the beautiful gift that older adults bring to our neighborhood as well.

Other comparisons might also be made in terms of how society deals with the aging person as well as the aging leaves, especially after they/we lose our beauty and gifts of brightening up our neighborhoods and world. Someone has to “take care of” and , pardon the expression, get rid of, those once beautiful gifts that are now heaped all over our yards, needing to be raked, and  disposed of in some way. They become a bother, a chore, another thing to do.

“AH-HA” Moments happen when we older adults can see and sense both the younger and the older affirm that our society is slowly coming to the conclusion that we can’t just “Leaf us alone”. Rather it is time to accept aging as a gift from the Lord, from the time life begins as a little bud until the time we reach our full colors of life in Heaven!

I encourage us all to continue to be awed, both by the beauty of the aging leaves as well as by the beauty of the aging people around us. They continue to share and shine their golden glows and gifts to the younger and the older who live and die around them.

“Leaf them alone?” No way! Talk to them, encourage them, engage them to show their colors, remind them of their beauty, as you drive through the colorful leaves in your neighbor and also as you visit and support those golden aged people in your own home, church, and community.  What beautiful sights to behold, indeed!

AH-HA Moments – October 2019

Since we live on “this side” of the Resurrection, AH-HA Moments are happening all around us, all the time! The Lord is at work loving, forgiving, encouraging, empowering, and equipping us through Word and Sacrament ….even when we do not know if, feel it, look it, or even act like  it! AH-HA Moments is recognizing the presence of a loving Lord in our lives all the time. That is why I like to say that “Laughter is another way of crossing ourselves”, because He is always with us to assure us of His blessings and promises, even, and perhaps especially, when we forget who and whose we are! What a great phrase “AH-HA!” is to remind us to “Lighten up!”. The Lord has us covered, even, and especially, through our “Uh-Oh” times as well!

However, we cannot keep our AH-HA Moments to ourselves. They are meant to be shared and given away to others. We need to seek out people, the younger and the older, to share our lives with and to rub ministry shoulders daily as the Lord blesses and guides.

Those of  us who are more “chronologically gifted” than others need to take the initiative to share and intentionally connect more with those less “gifted” in age (!) We need to ‘Age Responsibly” by sharing our gifts of experience, wisdom, and “been there-done that” stories with others as we coach, mentor, and befriend the younger, even and especially in our own household. As the “17th Century Nun’s prayer goes, “Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places and talents in unexpected people. And, give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.”

To encourAGE us to be more specific in how we connect with people, here are a few suggested open ended statements to consider beginning discussions with the younger and the older around us. Add your own, be creative, take notes, and learn and listen to each other. Now this is what I call, Aging Responsibly”:

  1. One thing I like about being older is ………………..
  2. When I was younger, one person who strongly supported me was _______by doing _________.
  3. One thing I can do for someone younger than me is ____________.
  4. Being older is a(n) ____________experience.
  5. Three characteristics I like about myself right now are _______.
  6. One thing I still want to do in life is ____________________.
  7. A main reason that the younger and the older do not always understand each other is because___________________________________.
  8. One thing I can do to change the negative mindset of aging is ____________________.
  9. Consider the following “action items” to do in the coming days – call an old friend on the phone just to say “HI”; Send a hand-written letter, or an e-mail to someone, just to say “I’m praying for you.” ; Visit a friend who is housebound and be prepared to listen to his/her stories, which few people are asking about.
  10. List one or two younger people and one or two older people to discuss these questions with in the coming weeks. Enjoy the conversations!

A final word from Mr. (Fred) Rogers: “One of the famous dignities of humankind is that each successive generation is invested in the welfare or each new generation”

Happy “Aging Responsibly”, in the Lord!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – September 2019

How much laughter do you hear around your church these days? Do you hear giggles, chuckles, and even some guffaws in the entrance ways, hallways, and even during worship itself?  If you do, keep it up! If you do not, why not start a new group, entitled the LLM – “Let’s Laugh More”!

The best AH-HA Moment of all is to continue to realize that the Lord has risen! He has died for us! He gives us new life each day! Let’s keep that focus as we share our faith through laughs and joyful hearts and holy giggles as we sing, pray, baptize, receive the Holy Supper and hear God’s freeing Word of love, joy and forgiveness!

Here are some signs of health, hope, and laughter in the parish. Watch for them:

  1. There is a vision! It is God’s vision of faith and hope and we are empowered to articulate it.
  2. There is a celebrative spirit. There is laughter, smiles, and hugs. And even in the tears, there is love and acceptance.
  3. There is a passion for people. Faith communities know that “God so loved the world….”and that includes everyone, those inside and outside of our faith communities. There is a passion to tell others of God’s love for them, especially to those who think God has forgotten them.
  4. There is a sense of hope! Hope is not a naïve wish that things will go well. Rather it is the assurance that in spite of the Good Fridays in our lives, there is always an Easter!
  5. There is a global mindset. We see the Lord alive in all of life throughout the world with all of His people and we help others connect with other cultures, ideologies, and environments.
  6. There is a sense of “taking care” of ourselves as individuals but not at the expense of those “outside’ of the Church. We are not a country club with membership for those who only look, act, and live like we do. The only membership requirement is for all of us to be sinners – and redeemed sinners at that!
  7. There is a servant-leadership style. We do not “pay” the pastor and other staff members to DO the ministry for us, We support them to equip and encourage all of us to be ministers of the Gospel where ever we live and go.
  8. There is the proclamation of the Gospel in doing, telling and being. The gospel is alive because the Spirit is present, and the Spirit does not live in the church building but rather in the hearts of all of us as we move and live and celebrate in our daily lives.
  9. There is a lot of “Resurrection Practicing’ going on! As Wendell Barry, a modern prophet, puts it, “Expect the end of the world. Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts. Practice Resurrection!
  10. There is forgiveness! Life is for giving and life is forgiving. We live out a life of forgiveness because He first has forgiven us!

The next time you worship at Church, greet your fellow members with a laugh, a smile, and a hug….and then let worship and the fun begin!

Rich Bimler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AH-HA Moments – August 2019

One of the many blessings of living together and connecting with people of all ages is how we can learn from each other, celebrate together, and support one another in the Lord’s ministry! “Joining Generations” a project of Prince of Peace, Carrolton, Texas, is an amazing ministry that brings young people and older adults together to help build stronger relationships and partnerships – and to change the perceptions that the younger and the older have of each other. High school students and older adults spend significant time regularly discussing various life issues as they listen and learn from each other. Congratulations to Pastor Ken Holdorf, Nick Weiss, and Mary Manz Simon (board member of ALOA) for making this happen! ALOA, the expanding national older adult ministry organization, is partnering with this parish on this project, including taping “Faith Stories”, which are available from ALOA (aloaserves.org).

Here are samples of some “AH-HA Moments” and quotes from young people who have experienced this generational ministry. Listen in, and consider how you might replicate this generational ministry in your parish and home:

“The main lesson I learned is that people need to view older people as useful people who are constantly evolving in our society.”

“I learned that seniors go through a lot pf physical, mental, and emotional pain when transitioning. It is hard for them to stay content when their whole lives are changing.”

“This project made me realize that senior adults aren’t useless and have a big role to play in our community. I loved spending time with them and getting to know what it was like for them to grow up in their era.”

“I learned that they are not very much different from me and that we can still have common interests.”

“One old perception I had is that older adults were lazy and slowly decaying people. However, I found out that they are constantly trying to find ways to live healthier and to stay in good condition.”

“I learned that certain older adults lose certain skills and others retain them. I also noticed that they are some of the most positive people. I see them as wise, thoughtful, capable,  and as people worth listening to.”

“This “Joining Generations” project has really changed my perspective about older adults. Too many think seniors are just there and don’t do anything. It really changed my point of view in the way that seniors and teens can share concerns and problems of loneliness, respect, and looking for love.”

What an “AH-HA Moment” this ministry has become! For more information, contact www.ALOAserves.org , and consider starting your own ministry of “Faith Stories” between the younger and the older!

AH-HA Moments – July 2019

BE-ATTITUDES FOR OLDER ADULTS!

Matthew 5:1-12

  1. BE – THERE
  2. BE – JOY-FILLED
  3. BE THANKS-FILLED
  4. BE – HUMAN
  5. BE – FORGIVING
  6. BE – A MODEL
  7. BE – FOCUSED
  8. BE HUMOROUS
  9. BE – AN ENCOURAGER
  10. BE YOURSELF
  11. BE A STORY TELLER
  12. BE – READY

A FREE-BE –because of our BAPTISM – just BE!

Look for and celebrate your AH-HA Moments by seeing and celebrating your DO-BE-DO-BE-DO life in the Lord. Share them, celebrate them, tell others about them, and help others do the same!

Look out, Frank Sinatra, here we come!

Have an AH-HA day, in the Lord!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – June 2019

What better time than June to reflect again on the gifts that the Lord continues to provide all of us, regardless of our age. This AH-HA litany hopefully helps us reflect on the present, promise, and presence of our AH-HA Lord through each and every day of our lives! Enjoy and celebrate!

                                     OLDER ADULTS – THE MINISTERING ONES!

Happy are those who suffer with the very young, the very old, and the very lonely.

                                            FOR THEY HAVE COMPASSION  

Happy are those who greet the world with smiles, laughter, and anticipation.

                                             FOR THEY HAVE COURAGE

Happy are those who live not for themselves but for others.

                                            FOR THEY HAVE FREEDOM

Happy are those how listen and hear and extend their hands.

                                           FOR THEY HAVE UNDERSTANDING

Happy are those who speak gently, live humbly.

                                                FOR THEY HAVE DIGNITY

Happy are those who live simply, love deeply.

                                              FOR THEY HAVE SINCERITY

Happy are those who live intensely and sing through life the praises if the Risen Christ.

                                               FOR THEY HAVE AWARENESS.

Happy are those who have compassion and courage, freedom and understanding, dignity , sincerity, and awareness.

                                                  FOR THEY ARE UNIQUE

Happy are those who at times forget their priorities, focus too much on themselves, react inappropriately to others, and sometimes even make a big mess of things.

                                               FOR THEY ARE FORGIVEN !!!

      Rich Bimler                                

AH-HA Moments – May 2019

JOY BREAK

We begin this month with some joy-filled words from Henri Nouwen: “I have a friend who radiates joy, not because his life is easy, but because he habitually recognizes God’s presence in the midst of all human suffering, his own as well as others. My friend’s joy is contagious. The more I am with him, the more I catch glimpses of the sun shining through the clouds. Yes, I know there is a sun, even though the skies are covered with clouds. While my friend always spoke about the sun, I kept speaking about the clouds, until one day I realized that it was the sun that allowed me to see the clouds. Those who kept speaking about the sun while walking under a cloudy sky are messengers of hope, the true saints of our day.”

“AH-HA  Moments” build from this theology. AH-HA Moments are seen as the breaks in the clouds that allow the Light of Christ to shine through. God’s presence in Christ allows us to confess and proclaim our faith and trust in our Lord, as we continue to celebrate the Christ –Life each day. It even allows us to step out and:

Care more than we think is wise;

Risk more than we think is safe;

Dream more than we think is practical;

Expect more than we think is possible;

Celebrate more than we think is necessary;

Comfort more than we think is comfortable;

Forgive more than we think is called for;

Hope more than we think is appropriate; and

Laugh more in the Joy of the Lord!

May the month of May be filled with mountains of  AH-HA Moments for you and yours!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – April 2019

This article is in memory of my brother, Don Bimler, who died suddenly on March 1, 2019. It was shared as part of the worship service at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hillside, Il, on March 9,2019 . Thanks, Don, for being my best, and only, brother, who brought many AH-HA Moments to family and friends throughout your 81 years.

IN THE NAME OF JESUS, OUR LENTEN LORD AND RESURRECTED SAVIOUR!

THIS IS A SAD, YET JOYOUS AND AH-HA, OCCASION. WE GRIEVE THE LOSS OF A HUSBAND, FATHER, GRANDPA, BROTHER, COUSIN, UNCLE, AND FRIEND. DON WILL CERTAINLY BE MISSED BY ALL OF US. THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE, FOR YOUR PRAYERS AND PRESENCE AND SUPPORT FOR KAREN AND THE WHOLE FAMILY. YOU ARE OUR HOLY HUDDLE!

WE ALSO REJOICE IN THE PROMISE OF THE RESURRECTION! FOR US, TODAY, IT’S GOOD FRIDAY AND EASTER AT THE SAME TIME. AN OLD HUMOROUS SAYING GOES “FOR MIDWEST LUTHERANS, EVERYDAY IS LENT!” BUT FOR ALL CHRISTIANS, EVERY DAY IS EASTER! AFTER EVERY GOOD FRIDAY, THERE’S ALWAYS AN EASTER…AND DON IS REMINDING US OF THAT RIGHT NOW! AS WE WALK THROUGH THE LENTEN SEASON, DON IS ALREADY CELEBRATING THE RISEN LORD IN HEAVEN!

WE CELEBRATE THE JOY OF KNOWING THAT OUR REDEEMER LIVES, AND THAT DON IS EXPERIENCING THAT JOY RIGHT NOW. I REMEMBER ONE TIME WHEN DON AND I WERE TALKING ABOUT FUNERALS AND WE AGREED THAT THEY SHOULD BE JOYFUL AND HAPPY TIMES, AND DON SAID, ‘IF THERE WON’T BE ANY LAUGHING AND SMILING AT MY FUNERAL, I’M NOT SHOWING UP!” DON, WE ARE ALL HERE TO GRIEVE YOUR DEATH….AND ALSO TO CELEBRATE YOUR ETERNAL LIFE, AS WELL AS OUR OWN, WITH SADNESS AND JOY IN OUR HEARTS!

OUR DAD DIED WHEN HE WAS 50 YEARS OLD. I REMEMBER THE AGREEMENT DON AND I MADE AT MY DAD’S FUNERAL. FIRST, WE WOULD WORK HARD AT LIVING LONGER THAN 50 YEARS …AND WE DID…AND WE ALSO AGREED THAT EACH OF US WOULD SPEAK AT EACH OTHER’S FUNERAL. (THINK ABOUT THAT!) AT LEAST I KEPT MY PROMISE, ALTHOUGH KNOWING MY BIG BROTHER, HE JUST MIGHT SHOW UP AT MY FUNERAL AS WELL!

LOOK AROUND YOU AT THIS HOLY HUDDLE OF PEOPLE WHO LOVED, SUPPORTED, PLAYED, LAUGHED, ARGUED, AND ENCOURAGED DON AND KAREN AND FAMILY THROUGH THESE MANY YEARS. WE THANK YOU FOR THAT. AND NOW WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER AS WE CONTINUE TO WALK THE LENTEN ROAD TO THE CROSS AND THE RESURRECTION!

HOW DO WE DESCRIBE DON? JUST ASK HIS FAMILY –KAREN, KIDS, GRANDKIDS, AND OTHERS. FOR ONE THING, HE REALLY DID “CELEBRATE GOD’S GIFT OF AGING!” AS HE AGED, HE CONTINUED TO LOVE AND SUPPORT HIS KIDS, GRANDKIDS, FRIENDS, CLUBS, DARTS, CHURCH….KAREN SAYS HE BECAME AN EXPERT AT CROSSWORD PUZZLES AND SUDOKU. HE NEVER MISSED A SEGMENT OF JEOPARDY …BUT NEVER MADE ANY MONEY FROM IT EITHER!

HIS KIDS AND GRAND KIDS WROTE THEIR IMPRESSIONS AND REMEMBRANCES OF Don. WONDERFUL AND POWERFUL MEMORIES OF HOW IMPORTANT DAD/GRANDPA TAUGHT, LISTENED, AND ENCOURAGED THEM ALL.HIS LIFE WAS ALL ABOUT FAITH, FAMILY, FATHER, GRANDFATHER,GARDENS, FRIENDS,AND FISHING, AMONG OTHER INTERESTS. DESCRIPTIVE WORDS SUCH AS TRADITIONAL, KIND, STUBBORN, A MODEL (TEACHING CAREER), HARD-WORKER, OPINIONATED, PROVIDER, A HAT FOR EVERY OCCASION, AND THE FACT THAT THEY SELDOM HEARD A DISCOURAGING WORD FROM HIM…. EXCEPT PERHAPS AT ONE OF THEIR FAMILY KITCHEN DEBATES!

HE WAS A MASTER BUILDER OF SPECIAL CHRISTMAS GIFTS FROM HIS WOOD-WORKSHOP. THEY RECALL HIM STANDING UP A LOT, BECAUSE, AS HE EXPLAINED, ‘OTHERWISE I FALL ASLEEP!” THEY REMEMBER MANY OF HIS FAMOUS QUOTES, LIKE, ‘I DON’T SHOVEL SNOW – I BELIEVE THAT THE LORD GIVETH AND THE LORD WILL TAKETH AWAY!”

KAREN EVEN MENTIONED THAT THEY HAD NEVER HAD AN ARGUMENT IN ALL OF THEIR 54 YEARS OF MARRIAGE ….BUT THAT THEY DID HAVE A LOT OF CONSTRUCTIVE CONFLICTS!  KAREN ,AS WE KNOW, HAS THAT GREAT GIFT OF PATIENCE !

IN DON YOU GOT WHAT YOU SAW- A KIND, HUMBLE, FUN-LOVING,UN-ASSUMING ENCOURAGER, WHO CARED SO MUCH FOR KIDS – HIS OWN AND OTHERS – THAT HE TAUGHT HIGH SCHOOL INDUSTRIAL ARTS FOR OVER 30 YEARS. (AND IS THE REASON ONE OF HIS GRANDKIDS IS A TEACHER HERSELF!)

HILLSIDE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME WITHOUT DON BIMLER. THOUGH STEMACS MAY BE GONE, JUST LIKE THE OLD SHOPPING CENTER, AND OTHER CHANGES ARE MADE, DON’S SPIRIT OF HARD WORK , LOYALTY , COMMITMENT TO THE PAST, AND LOVE FOR HIS FAMILY AND NEIGHBORS WILL NEVER BE SURPASSED.

WHAT IS DON’S LEGACY THAT HE LEAVES US? TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER IN WORD AND ACTION, TO FORGIVE AND HEAL BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS, TO USE THE GIFTS WE HAVE AND DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE GIFTS WE DON’T HAVE…AND TO LIVE LIFE TO THE FULL …IN THE LORD! TO SEE AGING AS A BLESSING TO CELEBRATE RATHER THAN A BURDEN TO BEAR!

Charlie Brown once said, “One day we are all going to die”. Snoopy REPLIED “Yes, but all the rest of the days we will live”. LET US ALL CONTINUE LIVING THE LIFE THE LORD HAS GIVEN US, AS WE SHARE HOPE, LOVE, AND JOY THE WAY THE LORD DID THROUGH DON!

REST WELL, BROTHER, IN THE ARMS OF THE RESURRECTED LORD! THANKS FOR HELPING US CELEBRATE EASTER EARLY THIS YEAR!

AND LET ALL OF GOD’S HOLY HUDDLE SAY, ‘AMEN’ AND ‘AH-HA’!

Rich Bimler

 

 

 

 

 

AH-HA Moments – March 2019

What do you get when you bring together over 2200 people of God, of all ages, for a 3 day experience of worship, prayer, fellowship, learning, and laughter? You get a fantastic “AH-HA Moment” experience as you connect, re-connect, grow, and absorb the joy and presence of the Lord through His people, from all over the country!

I am referring to the Best Practice Conference that happens each Spring at Christ Church Lutheran, Phoenix. What a powerful assortment of God’s AH-HA people! Pastor Jeff Schrank and a cast of hundreds host this annual event which provides a platform for professional church workers and laypersons to gather together to teach and learn, laugh and pray, and to support and encourage one another.

No decisions are made, no resolutions are passed, and it is certainly a joy NOT to ever hear the term “Point of Order” shouted from the crowd!  These people of all ages are there to share their gifts, learn together, develop ministry relationships, and celebrate and serve each other as God’s saints.

These folks do not show up in Phoenix in February just to enjoy the sun and warmth of their winters. No way! This was especially tested this year as it rained and never got above 50 for the whole week. I had heard that Phoenix is bearable in the summer because of its “dry heat”, but it is certainly a stretch to call the weather last week, “dry wet”! At least the steady rain kept reminding us participants of our daily Baptism and allowed us to remember that we are always “walking wet” in the Lord!

For more information, contact Pastor Jeff Schrank (jschrank@cclphoenix.org) or Nancy Barton (nbarton@cclphoenix.org) and consider attending next year’s event, February 20-22, 2020. You will be blessed for being there as well as being a blessing to those who attend with you.

And there’s more good news: There is no cost to attend! (That doesn’t even sound Lutheran!) All you need to do is get there and find a place to stay. All meals, materials, and the total program is provided by Christ Church Lutheran! Now that’s what I call a servant ministry! Another unique component is that participants volunteer to lead sectional presentations to share their expertise and skills. What a way to earn and grow with your peers. Plenty of national and international mission and ministry partners are also present to provide resources and significant materials and resources with you as well.

See you there, rain or shine, as we continue to share and celebrate the AH-HA Moments all around us!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – February 2019

12 “WARNING” SIGNS OF LIVING AN “AH-HA” LIFE!

Here is what we have all been looking for, folks – scientifically proven ways that point out the “warning” signs of living an AH-HA life! If you find yourself practicing and actually mastering the items below, be careful, you just might be living the life of an AH-HA person! And Hooray for you!

How many of these signs can you identify in your daily life? Which ones do you need to work on? Go for it!

  1. Persistent presence of supportive friends.
  2. Chronic positive expectations – a tendency to frame events in a positive light.
  3. Regular signs of joy in living.
  4. A sense of spiritual renewal in the Lord.
  5. Increased sensitivity to others.
  6. A tendency to adapt to changing conditions.
  7. Increased appetite for physical activity.
  8. Tendency to identify and communicate feelings.
  9. Repeated episodes of gratitude and generosity.
  10. Compulsion to care for other people.
  11. Persistent sense of humor. Known to have laughed out loud!
  12. A life centered in the forgiveness of Christ!

What do you think? How are we doing? Any items you might add, or change? Why not discuss this list with some friends and family and get a lively discussion going? Feel free to add, and even subtract, from this list. And have fun doing it!

Romans 15:13 says it so well, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!”

Enjoy your AH-HA Moments each day as you celebrate and share these “warning signs” as gifts from the Lord!

Rich Bimler