Thursday, October 30, 2008

$1.95 gas

Did you ever think you would see that again? If you asked any economist or speculator six months ago they would have told you never again. Not possible. But, if you wait long enough, you might just see everything. I drove to work the other day and noticed gas prices were dropping quickly. There are so many people worried about our economy and the future. During times of instability it might be good to consider this. I can make a difference today. I have opportunity and purpose to help others, share God's love and be an example to my family, friends and neighbors. I can start my day with hope and joy. It's up to me to decide how I am going to conduct myself. I have the free will this day to smile or frown. In an age of negativity and skepticism, shine the light of Christ to all you encounter. Do not be afraid or worry about tomorrow. Focus on the difference you can make today. Go in peace and go with God.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Chill in the Air

There is a chill in the air this morning. Some are sad to see the warm weather go, but not me. I enjoy the fall. It's not my favorite season, but hey, the leaves are changing, and snow can't be that far off. Some people allow the weather to adversely impact their mood. Sometimes when it gets cold, people get mean and nasty. Just because it's cold out does not mean it gives license to walk around in a funk. It may be cold outside, but you don't need to let your soul become cold. God is alive and at work and your soul should be warm, caring and loving. Over the past few days I have seen a few vehicle accidents. One was near the church (check out the marks in the front yard) and one was near my home. Both were accidents or mistakes. I don't think anyone intentionally sets out to leave school or home and get into an accident. They are mistakes. The person did not intentionally wreck. Now, it may have been because of carelessness, and if it doesn't personally impact you then we give lots of grace. Has someone cause you harm in some way recently? Was it intentional? Did they mean to harm you? Whether it was intentional or a mistake, we are called to rise above the earthly response and respond with grace, mercy and love. That is a hard lesson for some. I'm not talking about serious issues of abuse, that would be a whole other post. I'm talking about someone speaking poorly of you, spilling paint in the garage or saying something that was offense to you. It may be cold out side, don't let it get into your soul. Wrap up in that warm sweater of the Holy Spirit and give people some of the grace you have been give. Go in peace and go with God.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Leadership

Leadership is not about people following. A great leader knows when to blaze a path, but also knows when to sit side by side with those who will follow. Numerous times in the ministry of Jesus we see him sit down and talk. Yes there are the miracles, calming the storms, healings and amazing acts of God, but there are also the times where he sits down in the grass, talks and listens. Some leaders like to stomp on the gas and go go go. Others will take massive risks with great reward or consequence before them. Truly great leaders care about people. It's not about building big companies or churches, it's not about self aggrandizing of self, it's about leading people in a direction that is beneficial to all, not just the leader. If someone has honest and heartfelt questions about direction, they should talk to the person leading. If the person leading will not listen, then are they really leading. Leaders cast a vision, but also need to hear the concerns and struggles of the community. If the vision is just about the bottom line or budgets, very few will follow. Leaders help inspire those around them to do more than they think possible. Leaders bring about positive change for the greater and future good. Leaders build strong and healthy relationships with others. If you feel like no one is listening, that you are miles in front of those you lead, then are you really leading. Is it all about you? Sometimes we need others to help us lead. The story is told of a old Native American Chief who is passing the mantle of leadership to his son, the next Chief. The old Chief knew his son was not ready, but he was tired and ready to hand it over. He had talked with the tribal elders and they had expressed similar concerns. The day of the ceremony had come and the young Chief was excited and full of joy. As the handing over and taking of power ceremony came to an end, the young Chief began to walk north as was the custom and the whole tribe was to follow him to a hill to listen to him speak. No one moved. He walked carrying with him all the trappings of leadership, walking stick, full headdress, feathers, etc, but no one moved. Not until the old Chief nodded his head did the tribal elders move, and the rest of the tribe. As leadership is passed from generation to generation, many of us need a nod. Have you held on to something too long? Have you been waiting for the nod? Or have you been unwilling to give a nod? Think about those in your life right now who need a nod, an attaboy, good job, high five, a cheer! Great leaders not only lead, but they serve.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fall

Has Fall fallen? It sure seems like a perfect fall day today. It's cloudy, a bit rainy and of course, crisp and cool. We are so blessed to live in a part of the world where we get to experience the changing of all four seasons. Wow. Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring. Of course, for many of us there are other seasons that make us smile...like football season, baseball season and maybe for some, the first perfect golf day in March or April. As fall is upon us and the weather is changing we see God's creation at work. The trees shed their leaves and get ready for winter, we probably should be mindful of the things we need to be ready for in our own lives. Being prepared for change is never easy, but change does happen. Are you looking forward to any big changes in your life? I suggest spending a few moments every day praying and thinking about how you can make a positive change in this world. We heard on Sunday that numerous food pantries are running low and it seems they are starting to fill up again. A call went out to many churches and we answered. What might be the next thing we need to stand up for and help out with this month? Enjoy the fall colors, the cool weather, take a walk with your spouse or a friend and go in peace and go with God.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

News

I enjoy reading the newspaper. I also enjoy reading magazines, fiction books, non-fiction books and lots of other stuff. I start my day and end my day reading my Bible. I pick and choose what I want to read. Many times as I read the newspaper I skip over some of the gruesome and terrible news. I see plenty of the shootings and violence on the evening news. I often wonder if I was in charge of editing or producing the news what would be the focus? Is the most terrible and violent acts the most newsworthy story? Or are the people who have defrauded people for millions of dollars important? How about the fact that many of our food pantries are nearly out of food because of high demand right now? There is so much news out there it has become much more difficult to filter through the massive amount of information flying at us that many important stories are lost. Lee's Summit Social Services is running low on some very important items. They are in need of canned goods and paper products. Their rent/utilities funds are running low too. Take a few moments this day and consider how you might make a difference in the life of someone who is in great need. Drop some items by the church this weekend and we will make sure LSSS receives it. Oh yeah, please remember to share the good news of what God is doing in this world. Let people know someone cares and loves them. Go in peace and go with God.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Conversation

I shared time with some old and new friends the other day. It was a wonderful experience to "hear" where people are and what they are doing for God. I was greatly impacted by their passion and desire to do good, even in the midst of some resistance from people around them. it is difficult to stay focused and passionate when people keep blowing your candle out. One way I know to confront and deal with resistance is conversation. The conversations we shared the other day were a true blessing from God. To hear the fears, the worries, the hopes and joys of others really gives us a view to their soul. Prayers for all of those doing what is right by God but who in some way have encountered resistance.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Great Sadness

In "The Shack" William Young talks about The Great Sadness of one of the characters. Essentially, many of us carry a Great sadness with us. Whether it be the struggles and pains of childhood or youth, maybe it is a recent difficulty, we know many we care for and that we love are carrying a burden. Some days we see it written on their face. Some days we are blessed enough to have the allow us to know their pain. I say blessed because it is a holy and blessed thing to have someone share the pains of their heart with us. It makes people vulnerable, scared and for the most part, a little relieved. Do you know someone who is carrying a burden? Maybe a great sadness is upon them. Make that phone call, invite that person to lunch, just be there for them. Let them know that you care.