Monday, June 22, 2015

Appreciation Is Free... With A Cost

Yesterday was Father's Day. Not really my most favorite day of the year simply because I don't like all the attention. I'm a dad, I don't do it for accolades. But I realize the reason behind the day is to show appreciation to all those who are dads in the lives of others.

I see the importance because this week I was able to see the two sides of appreciation. I saw people serving Jesus and the only way they were paid was in compliments and thanks. It made a huge difference to them and fired them up to serve more. I also saw people get overlooked, they had worked hard and they didn't even get a thank-you. They were invisible to those they were serving.

The cost of appreciation doesn't come in giving it. It is a free gift to give. The cost comes when you don't give it. You will pay the price.

Make sure those who you appreciate know it. I think too often people don't understand how praise works. If you can't see it and know it's there, it isn't praise. Thinking good thoughts isn't praise anymore than thinking someone is great makes them feel appreciated. Go out of your way and make sure they know.

It'll cost you if they don't know it...


Monday, June 15, 2015

It Takes Time

Three years ago my wife got a peony plant. It's very nice, we transplanted it on the side of the house with a couple of hostas. Pretty.

But the peony had a small problem. It didn't look like it would survive. I tried everything, I gave it extra water, plant food, and yet no matter what we got a tiny little stick out of the ground.

Until this year.

A few weeks ago our peony was huge, and flowering. It was funny to see Lorie realize we had this plant for years and she never knew what color the flowers were. So for the first time we were able to clip the flowers and put them in our house.

So many times we said "it's dead" or "let's give it one more year". Sometimes the only thing necessary for growth is time. Faithful watering and care may not seem to be producing any fruit, but it's in there, and could pop out at any time.

Keep being faithful for Christ.


Monday, June 08, 2015

Remember The Obvious

The other day I was getting groceries with the students for our food pantry (we call it "Supermarket Sweeps", who remembers that one?) and we saw a plane fly by with a banner behind it. Of course, everyone wanted to know what the banner said, but it was flying toward us, you couldn't see the sides of the banner. As the plane flew over students were making sure those on the other side of the bus saw it. Eventually the plane turned  and they were excited to read an ad for McDonald's drinks, all sizes $1.

One of the students finally piped up, "but they're always a dollar." Yep. McDonald's understands something we seem to forget in faith sometimes, we need to be reminded of the obvious. We take it for granted, don't think about it, and forget it.

I did a search in my Bible, I found over 4000 verses that have the word "remember" in it. One is a favorite of a friend of mine, he constantly uses it to prove this point. It's II Timothy 2:8, "Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead." (NLT). Why would a pastor need to be told that? Isn't that so blatantly obvious he would know it already? You would hope so...

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the obvious to keep us on the right path. Even last night, discussing better ways to know the Word of God and a student said, "this one's kind of obvious, but go to a Bible Study." He's right, it seems obvious, but how many times do we overlook it?

Keep the obvious in front of you. Remember, Jesus Christ died and was raised from the dead.


Monday, June 01, 2015

Seeing New Things

Having an 18 month old daughter, there are certain movies that she loves. Tangled, Frozen, and the two newer Muppet movies. We have seen each of these so many times (I'm sure it's in the hundreds). I have heard "Let It Go" way too many times...

But what amazes me is even after seeing these movies so many times I still see something new. Even the other day, we were watching "Muppets Most Wanted" and a little something in the background, nothing major at all, made me laugh because I had missed it the first 263 times.

It reminded me of a story I heard of a professor teaching his class how to examine aquatic life. He gave them each a fish and told them to write down everything they could about the fish. They made a list and gave it to the professor. He took the list, and asked them to do it again, finding something different. So they did, and they found something different. They handed in the list, and he made them do it again. You get the picture. Too often we think we have seen it all but in reality, we haven't. It can take many viewings and we keep seeing new things.

For our prayer night, whenever we have a Scripture to read, this is why we have students do this experiment seven times. They read it once, write what they learn, then do it again and again. And each time, they see something new.

I hope we have the same attitude with Scripture. We may have read this section or heard this story before, but is there something we missed? What if we read it again, and again?