Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3
Friday, December 21, 2012
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
I've written before about my family's Holiday Curse. We have been stranded far from home due to car breakdowns, wrecked our cars (twice on a single holiday weekend), been violently ill, dealt with deaths in our extended family, wound up in the emergency too many times to count, and on and on and on.
It took me many years and many unexpected holiday situations to finally realize the lesson God was trying to drill into my head.
When those "curses" happen, they nearly always put us in a location where wouldn't otherwise have expected to be on a holiday, encountering people who are either forced to work on a holiday or are themselves dealing with some sort of cursed holiday.
What if, instead of lamenting finding ourselves in yet another un-festivity, we would open our eyes to see the opportunities He has place in front of us? The people He wants to bless, the struggling holiday nomads who need a touch of God's grace, the opportunities to actually do something for someone.
Black Friday is coming, a day many people approach with dread. It's the topic of negative Facebook status posts and complaining tweets, blogs devoted to the frustrations of the commercialization of Christ's birthday.
Perhaps we should see Black Friday as an opportunity to live out a Good Friday: Go to the mall or other stores with no intention of shipping (unless you happen to discover an Avengers Christmas tree skirt you just can't resist).
Spend your time intentionally looking for the people who need assistance with something. Lend a hand to someone who looks lost. Strike up a friendly conversation with the sad-faced husband who is worn out from being the designated pack horse. Speak of word of thanks and encouragement to the employees who have been on their feet all day.
Share a table in the cafe court with a harried shopper and help them with their kids while giving them a chance for a few minutes of conversation with a cheerful adult.
Live incarnationally among the people caught on the Black Friday treadmill. For a few moments, make a memory with them, a blessing for a Good Friday.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
|Mnemonic of the Day from|
As is typical of our laid back group, this led to several minutes' discussion about the fact that nobody except my wife and I (the old people of the group) know the meaning of the word curmudgeon. And so I offer the graphic definition above, for their education.
I told them that I am a cynic in regard to the church. None of them gasped in surprise. These people know me.
They have all heard me say that I go to the church that I find least annoying. While I consider this to be high praise for the congregation that has won this honor, most folks don't see it that way.
I also told my friends that I expect I will always be a cynic. I will likely always find things about the programs, the methods, the priorities or the preaching that nag at me like a cockle-bur down my sock.
But I am resolved to no longer allow there to be a direct lineage between the cynic in me and the curmudgeon hiding behind the cellar door.
Toward that end, I'm trying something new. I'm resting my curmudgeonly finger on a different sort of trigger, if you will.
Whenever I'm sitting in church and the cynic threatens to transmogrify into full curmudgeon mode, I will press the pause button and try to think of some way, some action requiring effort on my part, to get involved in the very thing I'm inwardly grumbling about.
Which is why I'm sitting here in our church building at 2:15 AM writing this blog post, having spontaneously volunteered this past Sunday to be the midnight-to-5 AM "security guy" who is letting people into the building every half hour or hour for the congregation's 24-hours of continual prayer on the National Day of Prayer.
This is my penance.
I'll keep you posted on further acts of anti-curmudgeonly cynicism.