Category Archives: Mr Cowfish

Mr Cowfish (Part Three)

If you haven’t read the previous installments of Mr Cowfish here’s a link

When we realized Mr Cowfish was gone we had no idea where he went. We just knew he was gone. My first thought was it was no big deal. I didn’t care much for him anway. But Elijah did. So as a father I began trying to figure out what had happened to Elijah’s lost toy. We pinned it down to he had to be at Culvers and he was. Just as we were heading out the door he had jumped out of the diaper bag or Elijah’s hands. I have no idea what he was thinking but it was certainly not a good decision on his part. Fortunately for him, and Elijah, the wonderful staff of Culvers had found him and kept him safe. We returned Sunday after to church to reclaim him.

Another time we were at Texas Roadhouse. As we were getting ready to head in, grabbing everything we needed to feed Elijah and keep him occupied while we ate, Mr Cowfish decided to strike out on his own again. Again we did not realize what he had done.

We came back out of the restaurant and it was starting to sprinkle. As we neared our Pacifica we found a surprise. There on top of the car was Mr Cowfish. Apparently he decided to get back in and was unable. Or more likely, someone saw him on the ground and the child safety seat in our car and decided he belonged to us. Thank you kind person! Even though I did not care much for him at first and I am still not overly fond of him, I never play with him or anything like that, I would hate to lose Mr Cowfish.

As I thought about Mr Cowfish and his misadventures I considered my own relationship with God. Surely I am a bit like him. God is perfect. I am by nature and choice a sinner. There is nothing about me that would make me beautiful to him. Like Mr Cowfish God wants to take me places but I often jump ship to strike out on my own. Like Mr Cowfish in the parking lot I could have easily been considered trash, just something to be thrown away as they cleansed the parking lot at Texas Roadhouse. Because of my nature and my choices God would have been well within his rights to just say, “Oh Well. I guess Mr Cowfish is gone. Good riddance I never like him anway!”

Here's a secret, we don't really call him Elijah. We call him bubby! Sorry Elijah

But he did not do that. Why? Because I have a relationship with his Son. I belong to his son. Because I belong to the Son I have found acceptance with the father.

It’s like this, years ago before my wife and I were married her family did not care much for me. They had their reasons, some good and some bad. Since those early days I think they have come to know me better and see past my faults. But in those early days I did not like to be around them too much. I knew how they had to feel. I knew that some of their feelings were justified that I was indeed guilty of the things they thought of me. Still, when I went to their gatherings they treated me right. They were not rude to me. They tried to welcome me in spite of what their feelings might have been. Why? They loved Tracy. I was Tracy’s. Because of her I found acceptance with them. Just like I have found acceptance with the Father because I belong to his Son. His son has purchased me!

Even when I am jumping out of God’s will he comes looking for me. Even though I am not attractive because of my sinful nature he keeps me safe. And this keeping is not just because of his love for the Son. Through his Son he has come to love me just as through my son I have come to love Mr Cowfish. And it goes beyond that. Because of the love the Father has for the Son, the respect for his death on the cross, he not only loves me, he calls me his son.
Thank you God for loving all the Cowfishs, both Mr and Mrs of this world.

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
1 John 3:1 KJV


Mr Cowfish (Part Two)

If you haven’t read Mr Cowfish Part One start here: Mr Cowfish (Part One)

My original impression of Mr Cowfish was that he was one odd creature. I was not sure I liked him at all. I was afraid he might confuse Elijah. Mr Cowfish is also pretty ugly.

Elijah, however, seemed pretty fond of him. He would hold on to Mr Cowfish quite a bit when we were in the car. Of course, as a child, he would eventually get tired of him and throw him down. Unfortunately this was often followed by crying because he didn’t have Mr Cowfish anymore. I guess that is the nature of children.

It is also the nature of a lot of Christians too. We try to hold onto Jesus. Then something better comes along and we put him down. Or we get distracted and put him down. Maybe we just get bored or tired of holding onto him and put him down. Either way, we often end up crying because we want him back. That was one lesson I learned from Mr Cowfish.

As I said, Elijah loved Mr Cowfish. I was less certain. He was not a toy I would have toy I would have bought. He was not a toy I would have given a second glance unless it were to say that he was one ugly toy. In fact, if I had to place Mr Cowfish in a category of toys, it would be the Island of Misfit toys with the cowboy riding an ostrich and the train with square wheels and all the other rejected toys from the old Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas special.

Now there is one more thing you need to know about Mr Cowfish. Mr Cowfish is a traveler. He likes to go places. He has been all over the state of Indiana. Mr Cowfish is also a bit of a rebel. He likes to jump out of the car and strike out on his own.

As a pastor, sometimes I get invited to preach at churches other than the one I pastor in Columbus, Indiana . On one occasion I was invited to preach at a revival in Kokomo, Indiana. I live in Franklin, Indiana and if you are familiar with Indiana you know Franklin and Kokomo are not close. It is a one to two hour trip between the two.

What a blessing

I had been driving from Franklin to Kokomo and back every day to preach even though the church had offered to get me a hotel.I appreciated the offer but my wife and Elijah were unable to go with me and stay all week so I wanted to go back home and be with them each night even though they were often asleep when I got there. There is just something about knowing those you love most are close. I imagine that Jesus feels much the same way about us. We should feel the same way about him unfortunately we do not always appreciate his being close. Fortunately He is never far away.

Saturday night, however, my wife Tracy and Elijah got to go with me. I was excited about being in church with my family. The church was also excited because they had never met Elijah and everyone loves a baby right?

After church the pastor and his wife, Steve and Doreen, as sweet and Christian a couple as you could ever want to meet, invited us to get something to eat. It was going to be a late dinner. Tracy and I still  had to drive home, at least a one and half hour trip, and then get up again in the morning in time to make the trip back up in time to be at church by 11. But we wanted to spend some time with fellow Christians and people we had come to truly love.

So we headed to Culver’s, a place most people know for its ice cream but I have come to love for its wonderful butter burgers. We truly enjoyed our meal with Steve and Doreen and not just because of the good food. They are, as I said, great people. They are the type of loving couple that makes you wish you could be more like them. We do not get to see them much but we still consider them good friends. In fact, they are partly responsible for that avalanche of toys I mentioned. They bought Elijah one of his first toys before he was even born. And yes it was a noisy one!

Steve and Doreen seemed to really enjoy dinner too, especially getting to play with Elijah.

Because we were going to be inside eating a while and Elijah was still very young, less than a year, we decided to take Mr Cowfish in to keep him company. This is where the trouble started. When we all decided to leave Mr Cowfish decided to stay. Of course he neglected to mention that decision to us and we did not even find out till we had driven all the way home!

Continued here: Mr Cowfish (Part Three)

Mr Cowfish (Part One)

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Ephesians 1:6 KJV

I pastor a small church. In my mind all the church members, in fact all saved people everywhere, are family by the blood of Christ that unites us. But in this particular church we have a lot of natural family members too. We have grandparents, children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren. Of course that means we also have in-laws.

In-laws get a bad name in our society I am afraid. I know there are bad in-laws out there, the dreaded beast of a mother-in-law and the overbearing father-in-law. In my case, however, I can honestly say (no they don’t blog so I am not getting any points for saying this!) that my in-laws are great. I hope my wife can say the same.

Be that as it may I was preaching on the aforementioned verse of scripture one day and I as using the stereotypical hated in-laws relationship as an example. I had pointed out that parents-in-law often have little influence or input into who their prospective son-in-law is. Then I went on point out that if you love your daughter, though, you will have to accept the son-in-law too. He might not be what you wanted. He might not even be good but because of your daughter  you will accept him.

Elijah starting to develop mobility. Lord help us!

I could tell the sermon was having a good effect on some of the people. In fact, one of the deacons seemed particularly touched. I could tell the Lord was driving home the point by his Holy Spirit far better than my words could have alone. When I mentioned you might even hate your son-in-law but you will accept him because you love your daughter he let out a big AMEN! The moment he did so I happened to be looking at his son-in-law who is also a member of the church. As you might imagine the son-in-law was a little taken aback to hear his father-in-law agreeing so forcefully with the idea that you could hate your son-in-law for who he was but love him because of who he belonged to.

Now in the deacons defense he knew where I was headed with the message. He had seen already that I wasn’t really concerned about loving the in-laws, though this is good thing. I was illustrating how our relationship to the Heavenly Father is based not on our good works, which are as filthy rags, but because we belong to Jesus who has purchased us with his own blood.

Still I have to admit, it was pretty funny. I did make sure the son-in-law understood his father-in-law was agreeing with our standing in the Lord and not His standing in the family.

Which brings us to Mr. Cowfish. Like every parent today I found my house invaded by toys even before our son arrived. It’s like there’s been an avalanche on toy mountain and all the ice and snow has buried our living room. I am thankful people love us and our son, don’t get me wrong. But if we get many more toys I will have to open a ToysRUs in my garage.

There are some of Elijah’s toys I like better than others. You parents know the ones I am talking about, the ones that don’t make noise! I knew when my wife was buying noisy toys for every child she ever gave a gift to that the day would come when I would regret it. That day has come!

Most of Elijah’s toys stay in the house, as you might imagine. But there is one that goes in the car. We call him Mr Cowfish.  I don’t know where Mr Cowfish came from. I don’t know who made him. I don’t know who conceived the idea of a creature like Mr. Cowfish.

Mr Cowfish, the very apt name my wife gave this particular toy, is part cow and part fish. He has a body shaped like a fish but is white with black spots like a cow. If you squeeze him he moos! Which only makes sense if you want a toy that makes noise because outside of Finding Nemo I don’t think fish make noise.

Mr Cowfish rides in the car almost all of the time. The only time he doesn’t ride in the car is when he jumps out of the car, which I will get to in my next blog…

Mr Cowfish Part Two