Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Little Things

I don't know what it is, but lately I've seen things that could (or do) go wrong in such a big way, but it all traces back to doing something little, just doing it right.

Kind of like the architect who built a library but didn't account for the weight of the books. Sadly, I've heard the story has happened in more than one place (you think they'd learn from one person's mistakes) but the story is the same every time. Someone designs a building. Beautiful. Then they build it. Also beautiful. But then they put the books in the library, and if you're like me and have moved a lot and read a lot, you know that books are heavy. And the story goes that each time the library had to be shut down or its purpose changed because it could not handle the weight of all the books. A little detail that changed the whole design.

If we simply do well with the little things first, the big things work themselves out. After all, there really is nothing big in our world, just big piles of little. The biggest pyramid is nothing but a lot of little bricks (but you need them all and they all need to be in the right place).

Even God thinks this way. From Jesus:

Luke 16:10a ~ “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones." (NLT)

So start taking the little things seriously, at work, at home, wherever. It makes a big difference.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Year And A Half Siege?

Sorry, but I am finishing reading Jeremiah (a good book by the way) and in the story there's this little addition:

Jeremiah 52:4-5 ~ Then Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. They made a camp around the city and built devices all around the city walls to attack it. This happened on Zedekiah’s ninth year, tenth month, and tenth day as king. And the city was under attack until Zedekiah’s eleventh year as king. (NCV)

Can you even imagine, a year and a half siege on your town?! I mean, I know this happened a lot in history. In fact, my namesake, the city of Troy, the reason it was so powerful was because of two things, it had a thick wall no one could break through and it had an underground water supply, so all the Trojans had to do once attacked was bring the food in and close their doors.

But I think movies have kind of ruined this (they can't show a year and half siege, that's boring). But yes, people would live locked in their city walls every day hearing the thundering sounds of armies outside trying to get in.

Can you even imagine?



In our backyard and our front yard (and in the neighbor's yard) we have lilac bushes. They are awesome! Our yard smells beau-ti-ful. I love it.

Last night Lorie and I went out and harvested a few lilac flowers. We put them in the kitchen, in our bedroom, in the bathroom, etc. and now our house smells great. It's amazing how this little bush can make such a strong smell.

But you and I are no different.

II Corinthians 2:14-15 ~ In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, He brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. (MSG)

We are supposed to be a sweet smell to those around us, one that points people to the reason we live, the reason we smell so nice, Jesus. Just a thought, but how do you smell to those around you?


Friday, April 24, 2009

What Does Spell Checker Say About Our Society?

In my last post I accidentally typed the word "thngs". It was supposed to be "things", but when I hit the spellchecker in this program, the word "thongs" came up first ("things" was third, after "thongs" then "thong's"). How sad is that?


Change Comes When You Want It

This is my new revelation that seems to be everywhere I look. If you really want something to change, no matter how big, how audacious, how long it seems to take, there's really only one factor that matters.

That you want it.

If you really want something to change, really, what can stand in your way? It may not be the most desired outcome, or it may take some work, things that people use as excuses for change, but when you finally hit that point where it matters to you and you want it bad enough, things will change.

I've been reading Jeremiah lately and God even has that point of needing change. The people of Judah were not living for Him, they were sacrificing to other idols, they were basically all out living against God, then God says this:

Jeremiah 44:21b-22a ~ Don’t you think God noticed? He noticed, all right. And He got fed up. Finally, He couldn’t take your evil behavior and your disgusting acts any longer. (MSG)

Even God hits that point where it's time for change. The question is do you merely want things to change, or do you need them to change? And if you need change, what are you willing to do about it?


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Beauty Is What We Can't Have?

Last night at Downpour (our Bible Study) we started going through the Beatitudes and we somehow came on the topic of food. How we are not poor at all in our society, how we have way too much food, how the many people in other parts of the world view America as fat.

And for some reason it got me thinking. Three hundred years ago, look at the art. Almost all women were painted to be overweight. Not crazy obese, but by today's standards they would be overweight. And there was a reason. It was rare. This was a time when a majority of people were poor and hungry, everyone was thin. If you were overweight, that meant you were rich. You were special. So overweight became associated with beauty, it was something to be aspired to.

Then everything changed. Now, here in America at least. We have too much food. How many starving people do you think we could feed with the food that is thrown away by restaurants each night? (If only there was a way to preserve it and get it on a plane). We have so much food that according to our newspaper 4 out of 10 children in our schools is overweight. So it's actually harder to say no to food, and even harder to eat proper foods. That makes being thin hard, which then makes being thin the new goal.

Here's a whole new idea. Why don't we go for something even harder to find?

I Peter 3:3-5a ~ Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. (NLT)

Imagine how "beautiful" our society would be if we worked hard to make our inner person beautiful? What if we worked as hard as we work to make our outside beautiful? But then again, no paparazzi is going to chase you down to get a picture of your inner beauty and sell it on the Internet for thousands of dollars, so what's the point right? (and for everyone who's thinking that's wrong, how many pictures of celebrities do you see in a day through magazine, TV, Internet, etc.?)

Let's aim for something that's hard to have, inner beauty.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

You Are Who You Hang Around With

Today I learned a little story about a sheep named Rolo. He's a nice little sheep, sad story. His mommy died when he was young so his owner put Rolo in with the sheep dogs. Now wouldn't you know it, the sheep thinks he's a dog. he herds ducks, he does tricks, I bet he even plays fetch. (I'm not making it up, check it out here).

This story happens quite often. You hear about animals that lost a parent or both and end up being adopted and acting like a completely different animal. Heck, after a tsunami a hippo and turtle became friends. So how does that happen? It's simple, you become whatever / whoever you hang around with. The Greek poet Menander said it years ago, and it was so true that Paul quoted it and put it in the Bible.

I Corinthians 15:33b ~ “Bad company corrupts good character.” (NLT)

Realize the opposite is true too. If you hang around good people, you're likely to become a good person. If you hang around dogs, you're likely to become a dog. If you don't like things in your life or where it's headed (or you like it and wonder why), try taking a look at who you invest your time with.

As someone once said, "Show me your friends and I'll show you your future." Just something to think about...


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Great Proverb

But this one's not from the Bible, it's an old Chinese proverb I read the other day that stuck with me.

The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

That is awesome. I don't know why but I was reading a little about all these people who did amazing things and there was only one reason, they wanted it to happen. Everything was impossible once. No one thought we could fly, no one thought we could carry computers in our pocket, etc., etc. The only reason those people succeeded is because they did not think of it as impossible. They knew there had to be a way.

So whatever you're struggling with, there is a way. I don't know what it is, you might be on the right path, you might not, but rest assured, there is a way.


Monday, April 20, 2009

We Love Our TV

Today I was reading about the first cable systems in the US, interesting stuff, guys wiring cable to high powered antenna's, all that fun stuff.

Anyway, there are some statistics about current cable TV usage in there. In America we spend $75 billion on cable a year. $75 billion! Think about that for a second, if we took that money and put it towards feeding the hungry, water shortages, etc, we would solve all water, food, shelter, etc. issues in the world in about 4 months!

Yet, who would make that sacrifice? I don't know, I used to live in the small mining town of Grande Cache about ten years ago when the mine shut down. It hit the town hard (in about a month the population dropped from 5000 to 3500). Crime went up. People went to the food bank. House payments were not made. But cable bills, not a problem. No one sold their 48" TV's. Food we could go without, shelter we would just not pay, but TV, that we kept.

I don't know. I like TV and all, but I think I spend too much time watching it, but if the average is 6-8 hours a day, what's too much? Imagine what we could do in just one year to help our world with $75 billion...


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Can't Please Everyone

I was going to write something completely different, but was reading the Bible earlier (it's a good book, I've heard good things) and was reading a section in Matthew in which Jesus is talking about John the Baptist.

Matthew 11:18-19 ~ "For John didn’t spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man, [Jesus] on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.”

How true it is. If you do one thing, people get mad, if you do the opposite, people get mad. I learned this so early on doing sound at church. Turn it up, people tell you it's too loud. Turn it down, people tell you it's not loud enough. No matter what, you can't please everyone. Someone will find fault in what you do.

So how do you decide? Jesus says it right there. Wisdom is shown to be right by it's results. In the sound thing, I always err on being too loud. Why? Too quiet and people don't hear the Word of God and don't sing. Too loud, people sing really loud and everyone hears what the pastor/speaker is trying to say. Now, I don't go to extremes and try to make eardrums hurt, but I go with which has the most desirable results.

I think there are a lot of people who have trouble trying to please everyone because they take their eyes of the goal (the results) and instead start focusing on the people around them. Our eyes have to always be on the goal. Maybe the goal needs to be more clearly defined so we can know where to go next, but we need to know what the focus should be and stay on course towards it.

After all, I work with teenagers. If my only concern was making them happy, we'd probably end up playing Wii all night and not talking about Jesus and how He wants us to live at all. But that's not my goal. That's not the results I want. I have very specific things I want students to know by the time they graduate, we have purposes that we follow and are trying to instill in all our students (Worshipping, Allying, Teaching, Equipping, Reaching). Stick to your goals, even if the path to them sometimes may change a bit, but stick to your goals, not pleasing those around you.

I Corinthians 9:25-26 ~ All those who compete in the games use self-control so they can win a crown. That crown is an earthly thing that lasts only a short time, but our crown will never be destroyed. So I do not run without a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something—not just the air.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Great Quote

Earlier today I was reading a whole bunch of quotes about things not to do in life, from smart to stupid (like "don't follow the instructions of a guy missing three fingers" or "don't take an English course that requires you to read Beowulf"). But in the middle was this one:

You're born an original, don't die a copy. ~ John Mason

I just thought that was great. The Bible talks a lot about how we're all precious to God, how He made us each important in our own way, how we all have certain gifts to use for Him. And that's what we should be doing, living my life as me, not as someone else, but not in an egotistical way, but me for God.

Just something to think about...


Monday, April 13, 2009

Have We Faith?

Today I was reading in the gospels a section where Jesus heals a whole bunch of people. Dead people, blind people, etc. and each time He comments on their faith. Their faith healed them, Jesus is able to heal them because of their faith.

I wonder if we have faith in our day and age. We have an expectancy (like with electronics, we expect them to work, but is that faith?) but do we have faith in things that are out of the ordinary? I mean, we pray for someone to be healed, but do we believe they will actually be healed or that the doctor will know what surgery to give them?

I don't know, I just wonder if God is sitting back listening to our prayers for others, our churches, etc. and wanting to help, but is waiting for us to have the actual faith to back them up...

Mark 11:24 ~ So I tell you to believe that you have received the things you ask for in prayer, and God will give them to you.


Friday, April 10, 2009

White Washes All

So I was going to put a pic of the youth room all fancy on here, but changed my mind. If you want to see it, go to the room and see it :)

But, yesterday Shawn made a nice discovery. If you've ever painted before you know that sometimes it takes more than one coat (in the case of our orange, like 5 and it could still use more). So when we messed up, we edged with the color we needed. Orange edging had to be done a couple of times, blue at least two, but white, white only needed one. And that's when Shawn said something to the effect of how white seems to cover all.

And there's the Easter message. The pure holiness of God covers all. All we need to do is allow ourselves to be painted...

See you at the Good Friday Service.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

New Coat Of Paint

It's amazing the difference a new coat of paint can make. Yesterday we painted the Youth Room (we still have more to do for those who can help Wed. at 10:00am...) and it's amazing the difference. Just a little paint on the walls makes it look a thousand times better.

And then we painted some benches that are going in the Youth Room too. An hour before they looked like hacked up piece of wood, now they look like something you might actually want to sit on.

It got me thinking if my life needs a new coat of paint. I know Christians don't like to talk about how they live their lives, we're saved by grace and that's all we need, but does the way I handle myself befit Christ? Am I talking in a way that reflects my faith? As much as we hate to admit it, we judge things by their outward appearances, like benches and rooms (if you don't believe me, go to your next job interview without showering wearing a T-shirt with holes in it). Is the outward part of my faith reflecting the inward part?


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Quote Of The Day

Heart this while Lorie was watching TV. Some guys were preparing to do the SAT's and were complaining, then the wise old grandma said this:

If it's not hard, you're not learning anything.

Man, I wish we had more people who thought like that...