Monday, December 31, 2012

What's In A Date?

I always love new year's. Not because it means everything is new, but I love watching people freak out over a number. Or have we already forgotten about the end of the Mayan calendar...?

But it's funny how people go crazy for the number. We have to count down to midnight, like somehow that second is magical. It's a number we created, and it was midnight an hour ago for my family in the Atlantic Time Zone. Australians are already cooking dinner on Jan. 1st and watching Aussie Rules Football.

Here's my take on it, if you want to be a better person, be a better person. Choose to do things now, not because of a number. I do it too, sitting on the couch at 7:47, I'll take the laundry upstairs at 8:00. Why 8:00, what am I waiting for, something good to be on TV? These numbers were created to help us measure time, instead we use them to lock ourselves in routine, for good or for bad.

So let's start being who God wants us to be now. And if you didn't start your Bible reading plan on January 1, the 4th works as well...


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Tomorrow's Christmas and I hope everyone has a good one. But before the big day I have a challenge for you, read the Christmas story.

I know, I've been on a kick lately on getting people to read things for themselves, but this is one of those stories that we have heard and seen retold so many times we have added or taken away things from the story that are so important (no one ever has Simeon and Anna in their Christmas plays).

Matthew 1-2 & Luke 1-2:40. Not even four whole chapters, maybe 5 pages of reading. I bet you'll be surprised what's actually a part of the story and what's not. You may even see parts of the story you've never heard before. They're in there for a reason.

So take some time to read the story. It's such a major part of our lives we will spend the next few days (for some weeks) celebrating this event, wouldn't it be prudent to take 5 minutes to read about why we're celebrating?


Monday, December 17, 2012

Blind Spot For Bishops

In my spare time I like to play chess. I'm not very good at it, but it helps me work on two things I know are important in life and help me in my ministry, planning ahead and being strategic in what I do.

What frustrates me most when I play chess is bishops. The pointy headed things that can only move diagonally. They are great pieces if you use them properly, they can move clear across the board for a strike. My problem is I never see them. Mine or my opponents. I rarely use them because I don't think diagonally. I usually get killed by them because I don't see them across the board. In all aspects of the game they are my one true blind spot.

So I can do one of two things with this information. I can ignore it and keep playing, after all it's just for fun, there's no prizes for the winner. Or I can admit it's a problem and intentionally work on it. Before entering a game I can admit my weakness to myself and consciously try to pay attention to it.

In life so often we want to ignore our weaknesses. We want to pretend they are not their, not deal with them, not put in the extra effort to fix them. We'd rather find another way to deal with them, like learning to use your rooks better and forgetting about bishops. But if we act that way we will always have that weakness and never be whole, or in my case, a complete chess player. The best way to improve, as hard as it is and as much work as it will entail, is to work on our weaknesses.

So what weaknesses have you been sweeping under the rug that need to be dealt with? It may be hard now, but in the long run it's the difference between a mediocre player and a Grand Master.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Stop Making Things Up!

Lorie and I just got back from vacation, it was a magical time (aren't all vacations?). Everything was great, the food, the experience, the time away, there was only one thing that really bothered us. The people.

And I don't mean that people were everywhere or they treated us badly. They were all nice people. But in our conversations with people and just hearing others talk we noticed something that began to get just comical. When someone doesn't know the answer to a question they just make one up.

I don't know if because we live in the information age we know so much more or can find out so easily that people feel that not knowing something is some sort of horrible crime, but almost all the time through our vacation when someone was asked a question they had an answer, and so often it was wrong. They really didn't know (and you could tell), but they felt the need to give an answer.

"I don't know" is a perfectly good and acceptable answer. If you want an even better answer, try "I don't know, why don't we find out". What a breath of fresh air it would have been to have people say that to us.

Making up an answer helps no one, and trust me, when someone finds our you were wrong and making things up you look way worse than if you said "I don't know".

Proverbs 24:26 ~ Giving an honest answer is a sign of true friendship. (CEV)


Monday, December 03, 2012

Foundation Part 2

So last week I ranted a bit about foundations being something unseen. There's also something else I realized in my staring at my house time.

When the storm hits it's too late to work on the foundation.

Too often God is an afterthought. He's nice, but I don't need Him right now, so I won't worry about it right now.

And when the time comes that you suddenly think you need God, it's probably too late to build that foundation of faith that would have seen you through the storm.

When the foundation of my house was built it was made without knowing how many people would live there, what kind of weather was coming, when another earthquake will hit Indiana, so it was built to withstand whatever storms may come before they happened, before we even knew they would happen (if ever).

If you want a faith that is true and can withstand the storms of life, you can't ride along until a storm hits and then start to work on your foundation. Instead, to be healthy and able to stand, work on your foundation now. Ask any of the people in hurricane Sandy, some foundations weren't able to stand the storm and now people are rebuilding in the snow and rain. I bet they'd give anything to have a sunny, calm, 60 degree day to build their foundation.