Monday, September 29, 2008

When I Grow Up

What did you want to be when you grew up? I'm sure you had some idea between the ages of 2 and 6. At our preschool graduation every year we ask them what they want to be when they grow up. Many of them say "I want to be a princess" or "I want to be spiderman". Many of them say they want to be a policeman, fireman, race car driver and many other noble and exciting professions. The ones that really touch my heart say "I want to be like my mom" or "I want to be like my dad". As I grew up I had lots of ideas of what I wanted to be when I grew up. They ranged from Superman, Astronaut, Fighterpilot, NFL receiver and then when I was in college it changed to sales/business/meteorologist. Then a few years later I received a call to ministry. Not ever having considered it, I was a little surprised. Why would God call me? What would my future hold? When we are younger we have amazing dreams about what we can do and what we might be doing in our future. At some point and time we make a choice. We choose a path to walk on which will lead us down a specific road. When I was in high school I wish someone would have asked me "What does God want you to be" as opposed to "what do you (I) want to be". What does God want you to do with your life? Did you end up where you thought you would? Allow God to work in your life and submit your heart, soul and mind to discover the wonder of God's purpose in your life.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Friends

We all need friends. Friends are those people who are honest with us, there for us during good and bad times and they challenge us when we are getting ahead of ourselves. Just the other day a good friend called on me for some help. They were in a place they did not expect to find themselves. A decision was immanent and they needed some guidance. I was able to drop what I was doing and help them through their tough time. It's not always easy to drop what you are doing. I had a rather hectic and busy week and fortunately I had finished a lot of my work early so I was able to make time. Time so easily gets away from us these days. Commitments with work, family, church, school, sports, etc...fill our calendars. There have been moments when I was unable to take the adequate time to spend with a friend in need. Those days I feel very guilty that I was not there for someone. So, the days when I can be there, I rejoice all the more as do they when they can receive my full attention. I've called on friends during times of need and sometimes they are not available. But when they are, it makes the situation I am facing seem less overwhelming. Are you the type of friend that is there for people in need? Or, are you the one that is always in need? Do you push the limits with people because it's all about you? As you spend some quiet time in reflection this week consider who you have help in the past few weeks. I know we are all busy but I also know how valuable and loved someone can feel when we make time for them.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Panic

Have you hit the panic button lately? I have a Hoops and Yoyo panic button on my desk. You are supposed to hit it when you are feeling stressed and it is supposed to make you laugh. It does. It tells me to "stay calm, stay calm, PANIC!" Last week we saw Wall Street panic. There were buying frenzies, selling frenzies, every kind of panic frenzy possible. The worst situation since the 1920's some said. Of course, everyone is looking for someone to blame. Do you blame the companies, the politicians, CEO's, day traders....who is to blame? I heard one person say the other day that everyone was to blame. And mainly, they are all to blame because of greed. Greed for money, power, wealth and influence. Those are mighty powerful temptations to humanity. They pull many the faithful and loving person down a road of sadness and hurt. Panic can drive us to make hasty and bad decisions. Greed can change our focus from serving God to serving ourselves. Yes, the markets are doing poorly. Yes, 5% of mortgages are going under. Yes, this could be the worst situation since the 1920's, but we know that God is our shelter during the storms of life. If you feel you are hitting the panic button a little too much lately, take a few moments to spend some quiet time with God. Let go of your busy and hurried day. Rest in Him and I know you will feel better. If you have a friend that is walking down a bad road, call them, check on them. Let them know you care and are here for them.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Prayers


Please pray for all of those suffering in Texas and Louisiana as they make it through hurricane Ike. May God be with them and help them find shelter in their storm. Peace be with them all.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2008

Seven years later we all remember where we were, what the tv showed and how we felt. There are images that have stayed with some of us. We see them every year as MSNBC reairs those frightening first few hours. We seemed so innocent, not being able to fathom that someone in this world would do such a thing. It was a wake up call in numerous ways. Seven years ago I knew little about terrorists in the Middle-East. I knew very little of how much hate there was toward the U.S. I don't feel by any means that I was ignorant of such things, but I was 27 years old and was more concerned with paying off student loans from grad school and trying to do my best in my first few years of full time service. It's interesting how much events far away can completely change our worldview. Today we honor the memory of the innocent and the brave. We pray for the families who have lost loved ones. I ask all to spend a few moments today praying for all of them. Patriot Day as it has become known helps us remember the sacrifice that others have made so that we might live. There is no greater gift than to lay down your life for your friend. The public servants who lay down their lives for strangers were selfless in their acts of heroism. None considered themselves heroes but they were and they will always be remembered for their sacrifice. God bless all this day.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Best To God

Do I give my best to God? That is tough question to answer for many of us. I kinda sorta think I give my best to God. I certainly try and do my best. A friend related to me a story about a family in their church. Every Monday this young couple would go over to one of their parents house for leftovers. Every week their retired parents will take all the leftovers from Fri-Sun and heat them up and serve them to any of their kids and grandkids that want to show up. Sometimes the whole family shows up, sometimes it's just the retired couple. Sounds like a good way to use up whatever is left so that it does not go to waste. It was remarked one time that the Friday stuff is sometimes not that great compared to the Sunday stuff. In the world of the church, Friday was the day that Jesus was crucified, and Sunday is the day of resurrection. Most of us would agree, it's much more joyful and lifegiving to live a Sunday resurrected faith. But many of us live on the Fridays. A day of darkness and sadness. We mope around as if the weight of the world is on our shoulders and the world is against us. Let's enjoy a Sunday faith. Meet the week with the joy of the resurrection and please give your best to God. Imagine if you invited Jesus over the dinner. Would you serve him leftovers? I hope not. We would do our best to prepare a wonderful meal in honor of him. I do however like the idea of never wasting anything. Families gathering together weekly is a wonderful experience. Whether you serve leftovers or a great homecooked fresh meal, enjoy your time together. And give your best to God.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

People Who Are Mean

A good friend of mine the other day relayed to me how hurt they were by some comments someone had made to them. They were not made out of the goodness of this others persons heart, not these comments were meant to wound, to hurt my friend. How do you react to people who are rude or mean? Being mean can be defined as:Offensive, selfish, unaccommodating, unwelcoming, unkind, hurtful. On more than one occasion I have been confronted by someone with great anger and meanness. They challenge everything they can, and even speak poorly of some of my pastoral gifts, the way I look or the way I dress. Don't get me wrong, this is very rare. But when it happens, I always feel knocked back on my heels. It's like I can't get my footing and I feel like I am being pushed. A response if often called for in the immediate, the now. In younger days, a quick and biting tongue would suffice, but I have learned that it not the best way to handle people who act in a way that is unkind. Taking the high road is usually the best path, but in not answering critics, are we no allowing those who have spoken poorly of us to go unanswered? Did you ever get bullied as a kid? Some boy or girl give you a really hard time and make you look stupid in front of others? We have all been in that situation where others are laughing AT us, and not with us. Why do the peddlers of nastiness and meanness sometimes get the last say? Can't we stand up for what is just, right and good? We do in good time. Wait for your chance to speak with an honest and true voice. Do not get down in the mud with those who have caused you harm. Know that "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Matthew 5:45. Revenge is not in our hearts or minds, no matter how frustrated we become. Err on the side of what is good and holy. Even thought our lesser selves demand a response that is not fitting of us, stand firm and strong in the faith. I see the media and others tear apart people's personal lives in the pursuit of supposed knowledge and truth. They are not focused on the welfare and well-being of others. They seek after the sored details to sell magazines and drive up ratings. They think by playing the gotcha game that it makes them more intelligent, better and dare I say, relevant. I'm pretty sure most of us played the gotcha game in Jr. High and most of us grew up. It's like some sort of crazy boxing match that has no winners. Don't be drawn into that side of the world. Know that God is in Heaven and even though it might look like someone is prevailing against you, they are not. They will be revealed for what they are and what they do. Actions speak much louder than words and we truly reap what we sow. Sow the goodness and joy of Jesus Christ in the face of all adversity.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Changes sometimes leads to tears

Well, Sonshine Preschool started today and we rejoice at the sounds of children back in the building during the week. Running, playing, learning and yes, crying. There are more than a few little ones whose routines have been changed and they are upset and they are letting us all know it. Our Preschool rooms are full again, what a wonderful blessing the teachers and leadership are to the church and community. School is back in session and the summer vacation is over. Yes, Labor Day marks the unofficial end to summer. So it's time for all of those Christians who have taken the summer off from their faith to find their way back into church. We get into our school year routines, the temperatures slowly drop, the leaves begin to change and our attention turns from taking time off to getting things done. We long for those warm summer days again. We miss all those wonderful outdoor adventures, picnics, bike rides etc. No it hasn't changed much out, but it just feels different. Change is a constant in the world. No matter how much we fight it, deplore it, ignore it, change happens. It's how we deal with the changes in the world that bring us joy or sadness. I can choose to dwell on the fact that summer is over, or I can make the most of every day that God has given me. I could say that the crying during preschool hours will get to me over the next few weeks (and it will), or I could cheer that our Sonshine ministry is amazing and is a true blessing from God. I don't always enjoy "embracing" change, in fact, most changes that I do not institute or agree with in this world are difficult to stomach. My family loves to eat Mexican food. Tacos, enchiladas, etc. Approximately 1/5 of my home town was Hispanic, so my youth was spent eating some of the best burritos ever, A few years ago Old El Paso salsa changed their recipe. I did not like the change, so I switched to Pace because it tasted like the "Old" Old El Paso. Labor Day we were home and I found out that my sister had changed also. We grew upon Old El Paso and she had switched to Pace. It's strange how changes in the world can impact a family. Are you dwelling on a change that has impacted you in a negative way? Some changes are small (new salsa), some things you have to just deal with (the crying) and others, you need to surround yourself with the most loving bunch of people you can find because they will be there for you during the small and big changes.