Monday, September 30, 2013

It's A Matter Of Perspective

The last few days I've had some commonality in my reading. Not planned, different things I am reading are kind of working together. The biggie is it's all about perspective.

How you look at something really depends on how you feel about it. Two people can see the exact same thing but feel differently depending on their perspective. The one example I read was about a $30 bottle of wine. If you're at a restaurant and that's the most expensive bottle of wine they have, it probably tastes really good, especially if you've made your way through the $5 bottles. But if you're at a 4 star restaurant and that same $30 bottle is the cheapest wine they have, does it still taste as amazing? Even after a $400 bottle?

Too often we warp our perspective to fit our surroundings. I'm a good person compared to the druggies I hang out with. Would I still think I'm a good person if I spent a week at a monastery? I hit this when I think about being in shape. For a lot of people my age, I'm doing okay. When I play sports with 15-year-olds on Sunday nights, I don't feel the same.

To balance our perspective, we need to be measuring whatever it is we're looking at against something that will help us see things for what they really are. If you want things to get better, you need to look at the very best and have the perspective of trying to get there. If you want to feel you are the best, look for the worst and compare yourself to that. In situations in everyday life, we can look at the billionaires or we can look at the 3 billion people that live on less than $2 a day.

And to steal a quote (I've seen it accredited to more than one person, whoever said it, bravo), the sinking of the Titanic was a miracle to the lobsters in the kitchen.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Doing Makes You Ready

It seems like that doesn't make sense. Don't you have to be ready before you do something?


Last week we were talking about sharing our faith with WATER (sr. high) students. Almost all of them felt like they were at this point, they were willing by they did not feel ready. And I bet I can tell you the reason most of them didn't feel ready.

They didn't do it.

It's a cycle that can only be broken by diving in. Like swimming, you can read all the books about technique and watch all the Michael Phelps video you want, you will never feel ready. The only way to get comfortable is to actually do it. Or what about driving, who remembers the first time you drove? You can take all the classes and read all the books, there is still an uneasiness when you take that 2 ton vehicle out on the road for the first time.

The only way to get over that sensation of not being ready is to actually practice doing it. This goes for anything in life, this is not evangelism specific. The only way you get more comfortable is by doing it more.

So it begs the question, what are you holding back from doing for God because you don't feel ready? Obviously sharing our faith is one thing, but what else is there? Maybe if you just start doing it you'll slowly feel more comfortable and more ready.

From the Book of Nike 2:15 - Just do it.


Monday, September 16, 2013

We Have To Ask

Have you ever noticed that many times before Jesus performed a miracle He asked the person what they wanted?

When Jesus heard them, he stopped and called, "What do you want me to do for you?"
"Lord," they said, "we want to see!" (Matthew 20:32-33, NLT)

This is the God of the universe in human form. He knows everything. Do you really think He was asking for His benefit? Do you think He did not know the answer and needed them to tell Him what they wanted?

Of course Jesus knew what they wanted! The key here is, Jesus waits to be asked. How could God pre-emptively do things in our lives and they claim to love us enough to give us free will? Part of freedom means God is waiting on us because He loves us enough to do that.

So when it comes to what you want from God, do you ask? Do you ask specifically? "God, make my life good," doesn't cut it. Have you ever stopped and thought what you would like from God then specifically asked for that?

It makes a big difference...


Monday, September 09, 2013

Do You Hear His Voice?

A few weeks ago my family was in town to visit (actually, our house has been a virtual hotel this month, but I digress). For part of that visit my father and his wife came to the modern service at our church.

As the MC (for lack of a better word) of that service, I was sitting backstage while the table discussion was going on (at this service, after the pastor speaks we take time to process what was said in small groups). I'm usually back there and most weeks all I hear is a mix of crowd noise and adults from Peanuts cartoons with the odd roar of laughter.

But this week was slightly different. There was one voice I heard over everyone else's. My father's. It's not that he was loud or anything, it's just that for a good part of my life I was taught to hear my father's voice, to recognize it, to listen to it, to obey it. As a child I learned to pick out my dad's voice and now, almost twenty years after I moved out of the house, it's still there. I can still pick it out over all the other voices.

Jesus tells us to do that same with His voice. In John 10 He speaks of being a good shepherd and we as His sheep must be able to hear His voice, to pick it out over the bleating of all the other sheep and to follow it wherever He tells us to go. The only way I know to do that is the same way I learned to hear my father's voice, consciously listening for it over time.

So the question is, can you hear your Father's voice? And if not, how can you learn to hear it better?


Monday, September 02, 2013

The Real Laborer

As some of you may have noticed, today is Labor Day. At first glance it seems to be a holiday to allow those who labor to rest. That's not where it started...

According to the U.S. Department of Labor the original purpose of Labor day was to celebrate those who labor. It was meant to be "dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers." It wasn't a day of rest, it was a day of celebration. It was meant to cause us to reflect on all we have done to make things beautiful.

There is debate between who actually came up with the idea for Labor Day. One man who is commonly brought up is Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor. His reason for having Labor Day was to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold." My mind immediately went to Someone else who does that for us.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

So today let's celebrate the real Laborer who is taking us from our rude nature and creating us to be something full of grandeur. Happy Labor Day!