Monday, November 30, 2015

The Real Power

I was reading this the other day:

Understand that the last days will be dangerous times. People will be selfish and love money. They will be the kind of people who brag and who are proud. They will slander others, and they will be disobedient to their parents. They will be ungrateful, unholy, unloving, contrary, and critical. They will be without self-control and brutal, and they won’t love what is good. They will be people who are disloyal, reckless, and conceited. They will love pleasure instead of loving God. They will look like they are religious but deny God’s power. Avoid people like this. ~ II Timothy 3:1-5 (CEB)

My first thought was to look at our world, the society I live in and compare. Are we selfish? Are we proud? Are we all these other things? That is until the last verse caused me to do a 180 on who I was looking at.

Do I simply look religious but am denying God's true power?

That's the whole purpose of Advent, remembering the true power of God that came into this world, and remembering that we are subject to the Son, that He has to be our everything or else it all means nothing.

It's a hard mirror to look into, but are you willing to? Does our faith have the True Power or do we simply look religious? That's a hard question to look at...

Happy Advent.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Giving Thanks

Do you ever think about that phrase? That thanks is something we actually give?

Giving requires effort and thought. It's rarely done by accident. It's purposeful. It is a sacrifice of some sort, I had it now I give it to you. Giving brings the focus off of me and on to the recipient of the gift.

I hope this week you will "give" thanks.

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. ~ Colossians 3:17 (NLT)

Happy Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 16, 2015

When It's Expected.

Last week I copied Seth Godin's blog about how when we expect something we fell entitled to it. Today I want to look at the reverse.

What happened in Paris over the weekend was shocking. Appalling. Horrific. And yet I have seen a lot of posts floating around the internet asking why Paris got all the news and the bombing in Baghdad did not, or the earthquake in Mexico, or ______ horrible tragedy.

And I've seen lots of reasons. Because Paris is white. Because they're an American ally. Because it's a first world nation. But I have a different theory.

Because it was unexpected.

This is a hard truth to face, but let's be honest. We expect turmoil in the Middle East, we expect war and bombs and because of that we don't see it as "news". We expect earthquakes to happen all over the world so when we hear about one it's "another earthquake." What we didn't expect was a suicide bomber to go to a football match in Paris after shooting up a restaurant, or another to go to a concert and start killing.

But here's the real danger, and it shows in our reaction. We become home-blind to the expected. If we had never ever seen a homeless person and for only once in our lives we saw someone standing on the side of the road with a sign asking for money so they could get home wouldn't we be shocked and want to help them? But after seeing hundreds of them and hearing the stories, how much are we stirred to dig into our pockets to help? Just because this is the 100th person we've seen doesn't make their story any less tragic or them any less in need of help, but we've almost become numb to it because we pretty much expect it now. So we do less, or nothing.

How many ways in our lives have we become numb to what we expect so we do nothing?
Everyone knows about Jesus or the one's I've told said "no" so I stop sharing the gospel.
I give to food pantries but there are still hungry people so what difference will my gift make.
I've invited this family member to Thanksgiving every year and they never show so I stop inviting.
My prayers seem to go unanswered so I stop praying.

We can't give up, especially when the failure/horror/tragedy is expected.


Monday, November 09, 2015

Entitlement vs. Worthiness - Seth Godin

I know this is a little after Halloween, but I read this and thought this is the perfect embodiment of what entitlement is and how it causes us to act. Thanks to Seth Godin for writing something so brilliant (he has lots of brilliance, you should see his blog).


Entitlement is the joy killer.
Halloween is hardly what it could be. Any other day of the year, hand a kid a chocolate bar and he'll be thrilled. Do it on Halloween and it's worth almost nothing.
When you receive something you feel entitled to, something expected, that you believe you've earned, it's not worth much. And when you don't receive it, you're furious. After all, it's yours. Already yours. And you didn't get it. Whether you're wearing a hobo costume or showing up as a surgeon after years of medical school, entitlement guarantees that you won't get what you need.
Worthiness, on the other hand, is an essential part of receiving anything.
When you feel unworthy, any kind response, positive feedback or reward feels like a trick, a scam, the luck of the draw. It's hardly worth anything, because you decided in advance, before you got the feedback, that you weren't worthy.
It's possible to feel worthy without feeling entitled. Humility and worthiness have nothing at all to do with defending our territory. We don't have to feel like a fraud to also be gracious, open or humble.
Both entitlement and unworthiness are the work of the resistance. The twin narratives make us bitter, encourage us to be ungenerous, keep us stuck. Divas are divas because they've tricked themselves into believing both narratives--that they're not getting what they're entitled to, and, perversely, that they're not worth what they're getting.
The entitled yet frightened voice says, "What's the point of contributing if those people aren't going to appreciate it sufficiently?" And the defensive unworthy voice says, "What's the point of shipping the work if I don't think I'm worthy of being paid attention to..."
The universe, it turns out, owes each of us very little indeed. Hard work and the dangerous commitment to doing something that matters doesn't get us a guaranteed wheelbarrow of prizes... but what it does do is help us understand our worth. That worth, over time, can become an obligation, the chance to do our best work and to contribute to communities we care about.
When the work is worth it, make more of it, because you can, and because you're generous enough to share it.
"I'm not worthy," isn't a useful way to respond to success. And neither is, "that's it?"
It might be better if we were just a bit better at saying, "thank you."

Monday, November 02, 2015


Have you ever had someone give you a generic request that embodies everything and you have no idea where to go with it?

"What do you want for dinner?"

Great. Thanks for narrowing that down. Where do I go from here? Frustrating, isn't it?

Is that how you pray?

When you talk to God are you specific in what you would like or do you pray the generic "bless ____"? Bless how? Yes, God makes the final decision, but maybe part of the reason talking with Him is so hard is because we're giving such over-arching, covering everything in three words prayers that God isn't able to answer our request because there actually isn't a request in there.

Even in the most obvious of situations, Jesus asked for specifics. In Mark 10 a blind man stands before Him and Jesus asks, "What would you like me to do?" Why would Jesus ask? What does that tell us about what Jesus wants from us in our requests?

Try it for a few weeks. Be honest with God. Be specific. See what happens.