Wednesday, December 31, 2008

37 Years Old

I can not believe it, today I am 37 years old. It seems just like yesterday that I was born. Man, how does time fly when you are having fun. My wonderful wife, Courtney, did this a while ago with the 31 things she was thankful for on her birthday. So I thought I would say the 37 things I am thankful for. They are not in any particular order.

1. God (of course)
2. Courtney, my wonderful wife of 5 1/2 years
3. My boy - MD, Michael Dean
4. Our dog Mila - who I appreciate much more after the movie, Marly and Me
5. My Dad - Ivey Dean Icenhour. He did not have much of a dad growing up, but he has been a heck of a Dad to my brothers and me
6. My Mom - Linda Jean Greene Icenhour. She has done everything she can to make sure my brothers and me would not have to go without. And also for her meatloaf
7 & 8 My brothers and their families - we may not always see eye to eye but we sure do love each other and I know they would do anything to help me
9. Jimmy Britt - I say this because he is my boss but he is a wonderful friend to me and b/c he is a great boss
10. Rocky River Community Church - such a great church to be a part of
11. My sister-in-law, Christy's red velvet cake
12. A good buffet
13. My Sirius Satellite radio
14. When MD greets me at the door when coming home from work
15. That is has been more than 12 years since the cowboys have won a playoff game
16. My best friend in the world - Travis Baxter. He was very instrumental in me coming to know Christ
15. My wife's sweet tea - when she makes it
16. Travis Bush, who is an awesome youth pastor and he keeps me honest
17. Cherry Lemon Sundrop
18. Gangster/mob/spy/suspense/scary movies
18.5 Halfway there
19. Washington Redskins - Hail to the Redskins, hail victory, brave on the war path - fight for 'ole DC
20. Living in NASCAR country
21. Living in North Carolina - I love this state
22. Brandon Whedbee - he laid a great foundation for our next worship pastor to build on at my church and he is a good friend
23. DirecTV
24. When I can smoke a stogie and read a book
25. Living close to a grocery store in case Courtney needs me to run out to the store
26. Living close to restaurants when we just don't want to cook (which is a lot!)
27. Living close to the church office so I can go 3 weeks without having to buy gas
28. Cherry Chapstick
29. Wendy's, What-a-Burger and 5 Guys Burger and Fries
30. The Snavley family - they made my 5 years in Ohio bearable
---Almost Done---
31. Mom #2 - she allowed me to marry her daughter
33. MD's laugh
34. Stadium seating in the movie theater
35. Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday - these are the mornings MD and I have together
36. Walks around the neighborhood with my family
37. Finishing year #36 and starting #37

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Elijah's name

A few days ago, I learned something about Elijah that I have never noticed before. I cannot believe that I never caught it or stuck out to me. It is Elijah’s name. You see, I went to a Bible University in Florida and I had the option of taking Greek and Hebrew but choose to take things “less hard.” I minored in the New Testament so I took only the Old Testament classes that I was required to take. SO- it is not wonder that I never caught this before about Elijah’s name. “EL” in Hebrew means “God” and “JAH” means “Jehovah”. The “I” that is between the “EL” and the “JAH” means my or mine. So Elijah means, “My God is Jehovah” or “The Lord is my God.” Wow- what an awesome proclamation with a name, every time someone would say his name- Elijah, they are saying- ‘The Lord is my God.”

I wish my name were that cool- Donnie- is Irish and means “World Ruler.” I wonder what world- Middle Earth? My middle name is even less cool- Dean is Old English and means “Dweller in the Valley.” Now that is something to tell everyone- “The World Ruler dwells in the Valley.”

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

What a great day with family. We started it off with a walk around the neighborhood, then Courtney, MD and  myself opened presents. MD just does not get it yet, but he loved the tissue paper. Then we went over to the Icenhour's, had breakfast and exchange gifts. Mimi and Poppa had a house full of grandkids and they were loving it. They do everything they can to make it a great and special day for the grandkids. After that Courtney's family came over for a late lunch. We had a great time. Finally, Courtney and I got to have some time to ourselves were we go to our annual Christmas movie. We saw Marly and Me- GREAT movie. Now we are tired and ready for bed. I hope your day was as great as mine. Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Not so bad!

Not so bad, except for me! Even Courtney was better than I was. God is faithful. He always is and always has been. MD did great. The medicine they give him to relax was so funny. It was like having a drunk baby in my arms. He laughed and giggled at everything. He even laughed at trying not to fall asleep. I needed some of that stuff.

Anyway, he is doing better. He has a little temperature, a carry over from last night before the surgery and why he was having the tubes put in in the first place. We have an awesome kid and is a gift from God. Thank you for all of your prayers.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Answered Prayers?

Is a pastor supposed to struggle with his 17th month-old son getting tubes in his ears? Man - it tears my heart up to think of my boy going under with gas to have a simple surgery. I really did not want him to have them put in. I have prayed for God to heal his ears so he wouldn't need to have it done. There are things about God that I do not understand and this is one of those things, unanswered prayers. I know this is something that a lot of kids have done all the time, but this is my kid, my boy that I specifically prayed for. There is a lot more things I want to say, but I am lost for words. I do know this verse, and this verse comforts my soul and I need to repeat it over and over in my thoughts. I am trying to meditate on it:

Philippians 4:6,7 - "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

God - I pray that you will be with my son tomorrow and keep him safe. Take away the anxiety Courtney and I have and let your peace rest in our hearts and that there will be no doubt that you are in control ~ Amen.

Friday, December 19, 2008

God is Looking for You!

God is looking for you, for someone to take a stand. Are you the one? God is looking for someone to stand in the gap, to take a stand for Him. God is looking for someone who has the courage to proclaim His Word. Will it be you? God is looking for someone to take a stand at their school, in their job and at home. If that someone isn't you, then who?

"And I sought for a man among them, that should build up the wall, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none." Ezekiel 22:30

Gosh, I sound so preachy this morning, don't I? But, honestly, I get pretty frustrated with all the "political correctness (PC)" in our world right now. It is "Merry Christmas" and not "Happy Holidays," folks! All this PC junk has entered into our belief system as Christians and we have allowed it to effect the way we celebrate our heritage. We've forgotten how to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas is about the birth of Christ, the birth of my Savior and I am refusing to forget that. It is not just a holiday like July 4th or Memorial Day. It is about a new relationship, and the rebirth of soul - the gift of eternal life that no-one, and I mean no-one, can take away from you. Actually, it is the best re-gift that anyone can give.

Let me encourage you to not be afraid to stand up in the crowd. Go tell it on the mountain - that Jesus Christ is Lord!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Purpose of Christmas, Week 2

Here we are - just a little over a week from Christmas. How exciting! I can’t wait for MD (my boy) to get his gifts on Christmas Morning. I know he is only 17 months old, but there is a gift I just can’t wait for him to get. I can’t tell you, because if I do, I will have to kill you. The same thing with my wife. I really enjoying buying her things, putting things in her stocking and under the tree. Sometimes, I can’t wait 'til Christmas to give her the gifts. There are times I can’t wait 'til Christmas for her to open her presents - almost to the point that I want to give it to her when I get it.

I wonder if this is what it was like for God when He gave His Son for us. I bet God gets excited and the angels rejoice when we receive the gift God has given us. It is easy for us to remember that Christmas is a time for Celebration. But Christmas is also a time for Salvation!

- Jesus came to save you from SIN. Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:2
- Jesus came to save you for a PURPOSE. 2 Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 1:11-12
- Jesus came to save you by his GRACE. Ephesians 2:8-9

Let me encourage you this week to Celebrate the love God has for you, but also remember His GIFT to both you and me, the gift of his Son - the gift of Salvation, the gift of relationship.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I love this time of the year - the time from Thanksgiving to Jan. 1. And for many reasons. Thanksgiving, Christmas plays, Christmas parties, my parents' anniversary (40th this year!), Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve service, Christmas day, Courtney's and my annual Christmas night movie (7 years and counting!), family meals, sweets, my birthday (31st), sweets and the end of one year and the beginning of another. Oh, did I mention sweets?!

This time of the year reminds me to look back on the year and look forward to the new year. In all the hustle and bustle I just try and enjoy the moments.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How Do I?

How do I handle people who I feel are wrong and will not admit it? How do I handle those I struggle with? What do I do, when I am frustrated and there is nothing else to say or feel?

There are times that I really struggle with these feeling and I tend to push these people away or just ignore them. It's easier for me to just emotionally shut down. I justify this by feeling, “It is what it is” and I just leave it be. But...a good friend showed me this verse:

"Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone." 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (New Living Translation)

Awe now, come on! Don’t show me this stuff. That "be patient with everyone", is really the kicker for me. It is a lot easier to just ignore the person and move on. I am fine the way I am and this is just the way I deal. (It's OK. Keep reading!)

Then I am reminded of a quote from C.S. Lewis:
"This year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people" (The Case for Christianity).

Ouch! How many times have I been “that person” who doesn’t admit that I'm wrong, who causes frustration, who is lazy and doesn't see the importance of getting things done? How many times has someone been patient with me, encouraged me, stroked my ego, and lifted me up? How many times have I seen it in other people, but never in myself?

This is how Christ views me. Should I not, then, be more patient, more forgiving, more willing to lift up, more willing to comfort, more willing to forgive and more willing to overlook others faults?

Man - I tell ya, if I want it from other people, I'd better discipline myself to practice that kind of behavior in my own my life.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

12 Days of Christmas

OK - I tried to be a little creative and write my own version of the song, "12 Days of Christmas". I thought it would be fun, but it really wasn't! It was hard. So instead I decided to do a search about the history of the song. As I did some digging around, the story about the "12 Days of Christmas" is really not that fun either. So instead of repeating what I read about it, here is a link for your enjoyment:

Now, on a more funny note I have found a song that we all probably you could relate to. The 12 Things I Hate About Christmas”. While listening to this song I was shaking my head in agreement because it is easy to make Christmas about these 12 things, instead of the true purpose of Christmas: Jesus!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Last night, after Courtney and I put MD to bed, we turned the TV on and found Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer showing. I cannot tell you the last time I watched that cartoon. That show brought back so many good memories from my childhood at Christmas. This is my favorite time of year and Rudolph brought a smile to my face.

I am still amazed at how they that made that show (I can’t figure if it's a show, cartoon or mini-movie.) Anyway, they didn't have computers back in 1964, so the details in that movie impress me so much. But there are some things I just can’t figure out about the show and the song: How did Robert May come up with a story about a reindeer with a red, glow-in-the-dark nose? Why was the little doll on Misfit Island there, what was wrong with her? How does the know-it-all Yukon Cornelius get those little dogs to pull his fat butt around on that dog sled? And how do you make a 3 minute song into a 1 hour movie?

Some other concerns I have about Rudolph: Before Hermey, the dentist elf, how did the elves take care of their teeth? How is a reindeer born with a red, glow-in-the-dark nose - a result of global warming or toxic waste? How does Santa Claus start the show really thin, then suddenly get really fat? What happened to Bumble after putting the star on the tree - was he suddenly nice and didn't want to eat the elves and reindeer anymore?

Man - I just made myself not like the movie, I mean cartoon, anymore. Actually, I am going to forget about all those questions and just enjoy the song from Gene Autry:

"Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him, you would even say it glows.
All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games.
Then one foggy Christmas Eve Santa came to say:
"Rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"
Then all the reindeer loved him as they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, you'll go down in history!"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Tis the Season

What a great time of year! I just love this time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I get excited about giving (and receiving) gifts. I also, now, get excited about seeing my boy have fun around the Christmas tree, getting him presents and having his picture made with Santa. I love to buy my wife gifts and treat her special during this time of year because she really puts a lot of time (she doesn't have) into decorating our house. I am also excited because at our church, Rocky River Community, we are doing a 3-week study on Rick Warrens, the “Purpose of Christmas. ” Our Pastor (Jimmy) will also be preaching along with this study.

The first part of the series is “The Purpose of Christmas is a Time of Celebration.” I know, when you hear this I'm sure you're thinking "Yeah, now that is what I am talking about! Lets celebrate!" (And no, not the Kool and the Gang song.) I am talking about an attitude in life. Living your life with an attitude of celebration.

There are many definitions of celebration. My favorite is, “to praise widely or to present to widespread and favorable public notice." (

I want to encourage you to:
- CELEBRATE the LOVE God has for you.
- CELEBRATE that God is WITH you.
- CELEBRATE that God is FOR you.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone!!!