Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Boxing Day

It's not a normal holiday in the U.S., but being from Canada almost every year someone asks me what Boxing Day is, so here it is...

The tradition started in Europe after Christmas. Let's be honest, as much as this day is about the Birth of our Savior it's turned very much into a day of affluence, lots of gifts and a big dinner with way too much food. So the idea of Boxing Day originally was people would box up their leftover food on this day and give it to those less fortunate. Now it means sales... and more affluence...

What if we took this day back to where it came from? What if today instead of complaining about what we didn't get for Christmas (I know I can't be the only one), how about instead we focus on others and give back, blessing others as we have been blessed (hey, a wise Man born two thousand years ago said that...).

Merry Christmas.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Be Careful What You Read

I have been trying not to do mid-week posts, sticking with the Monday thing, but this one was too funny and sad at the same time, and by the time I had a Monday free it would be really old news.

Apparently Bon Jovi died. Didn't you hear? Oh wait, no, he's alive. Someone had put on twitter Jon Bon Jovi died and instead of checking people started retweeting. And news people saw the tweets, and next thing you know it's reported Jon is dead. Hey, at least he had a sense of humor about it (he tweeted how heaven looks like New Jersey).

But what's happening is people are just believing anything on the internet and worse off, spreading it. Kim Jong Ill died this week. People were reading, Facebooking, tweeting, but not everyone was reading, they were simply spewing information. And like a bad game of telephone the message turned into L'il Kim was dead. Soon that was spreading over the internet...

Maybe we need to use a little more discernment, not believing everything that appears on a medium in which everyone has input on. After all, could I be making all this up...?


Monday, December 19, 2011

Your Perspective Changes On Where You Are

Today I was in The Wharf (our youth room) and my back started to hurt a little. This may have something to do with running around with students late last night, either way I lied down for a minute to let it rest. While lying in the Wharf, against the wall in such a big room, I opened my eyes and looked around. It was weird, the ceiling was on the bottom. It looked like the floor. Being black probably helped play tricks on my mind that is was beneath me, and a few squares of lights looked cool. But then the clouds and birds hanging, they looked to be floating a few inches above the floor to me. It was a little mind-bending.

It made me think about how my perspective changed because I moved. When the birds were hanging from the ceiling, it seemed right. When they appeared where my feet should be, floating there, things looked different.

A lot of times I tend to analyze a situation and look at the workd around me and I come up with conclusions, some of which fit my slightly sarcastic personality. And as I looked at the floating clouds I wondered if I were standing somewhere different would what I see look different. If I were in a better mood, if I had gotten more sleep, if I had a tasty lunch, if I hadn't been late for my meeting and driving like a maniac, how would I perceive things around me?

Since it's Christmas, try this with the Christmas story. We talked about it last night with the sr. highs, but we tried to strip away how we usually look at things. How would you feel about this story if you were woken in the middle of the night by screaming stupid shepherds? How would you treat your now pregnant best friend (who swears she didn't do anything wrong)? Even try going to a barn or petting zoo and thinking about what the stable may have really been like.

There's only one sure way to change your perspecgive on things. You have to move...


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lions & Tigers

Sorry this is late, I wasn't going to do a blog this week (I'm on vacation), but was reading today and this little tidbit just hit me for some reason.

Lions and tigers. I wasn't really reading about them, but they came up in this book as a poignant example of how we do things. Since both animals live in different regions, they generally don't see each other. But, if they come into contact, both are cats, both are territorial, and both will fight.

Now here's where it gets interesting. If a lion and a tiger fight, a tiger will win. Every time. The tiger is a better fighter than the lion. So if five lions fight five tigers it makes sense the tigers would win, right? Nope. The lions will win, again, every time.

So why is that? Because lions will fight together and tigers won't. Even if five tigers are together and they see five lions coming, they will separate and try to fight the lions by themselves. Lions are pack animals and work together, be it for dinner or for self-defense. And even the best tiger is no match for five lions.

The reason I was reading this and what got me thinking about this was the way the church works. We now have many churches all across the world. Even in my town, I put the word "church" and my zip code in Google, it turned up over 8,000 places on the map. What if we all stopped acting like tigers and started acting like lions? Even within my own church, what if all the people who say we have the same commission, the same vision, the same purpose, what if we started acting like lions? What could we do?


Monday, December 05, 2011

Don't Rest On Your Laurels

Sorry, this one is less spiritual in a way, but it was so bad yesterday it had to be shared.

My lovely wife has been trying to find a nice, tasty sit-down Chinese restaurant for a couple of months now. Nothing we have tried has come close to what she wanted. So after church we took a little drive and tried one she had seen a while ago. It looked good from the outside after all...

The inside however, not quite as good. They had a buffet (something Lorie's trying to avoid) that was not a proper buffet stand but chafing dishes on tables in the middle of the room. The menu was an old piece of paper laminated. We ordered off the menu and the waitress was annoyed, she wanted us to just get the buffet. The food was not good at all, one dish was even cold by the time we got it. We were not given plates to share our food. Even the place mats had typos and problems.

But here's part of why we tried this place. It was an A-List pick for the Indy Channel, it was named one of the top 100 Chinese restaurants and even won a Chinese food competition in 2007. This food (and service) should have been fantastic.

It got me to thinking about the Kitchen Nightmare / Restaurant Impossible shows Lorie and I watch. This would have been a good contender to be one of those restaurants. But almost every time, the restaurant on those shows was good at some time, then they got lazy, new management, whatever it was, and they simply thought they have good food because once years ago they had good food.

I wonder how often we do that in our spiritual lives. We rest, we get content, we relax. I read through my Bible in a year, so now I don't need to read it as much. I used to serve, but I don't need to anymore. I was in a Sunday School class or small group, but I've learned since then and don't need it anymore. It's like we reach that pinnacle, we feel holy, we are good little Christians, so we start to relax and before we know it our spiritual diet is sub par, disgusting even, but we still think it's okay because once way back when it was good. I hope that never happens...