Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Someone shared with me today a call for help. He crashed his car over a precipice and turned over fifteen times before being thrown from the vehicle and watching it turn into a battered heap upon itself. With broken ribs and battered body, he made the painful climb to the road above to be rescued.
His response? God spared my life and its time for me to wake up and pay attention. His real question was, "If God did this what purpose does He then have for my life?" The theologian inside of me hurried to assure him that God does not orchestrate such things, but He does allow them. God sees the opportunity in our crisis to draw our attention to Him and to turn us away from our selfish plans and desires. Moments of such crisis may cause us to say, "All right; I'm listening!"
I prayed with this man over the phone to welcome Christ into his life and to accept His mercy and grace--and to seek God's purpose for His life. I could sense an authenticity in his desire to offer his life to God, bruised and battered though it may be because of the accident.
It was an accident...with purpose. What are you learning from the things in your life that seem to just happen, and cause you to pause and ask, "Now what was the purpose iof that?"
"You intended to harm me but God intended it for good", Genesis 50:19
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
We were without a computer hookup this weekend and so we both went crazy!
Not really...but it is something to see how dependent we are upon wireless communication. Alas! Even my I-Phone would not work at home due, apparently, to a systemic problem with our service provider.
Today the computer is working at home, the I-Phone is retrieving messages and, for the moment, our sanity has been restored.
What did we do before computers?
*We used the telephone....it's that thing on your desk.
*We walked to our neighbor's to deliver messages...I know, it's hot out there.
*We sent letters in our own handwriting to friends (my friends prefer computer-generated messages from me).
*We used the encyclopedia to retrieve needed information...it was good exercise just lifting the volumes.
*We got directions from a map or called and asked how to get there...instead of plugging in our GPS.
*We only had 2-3 choices of where to eat; now we weigh the options on an I-Phone application that reveals, location, prices, type of food, and ambiance!
*We actually shopped at real stores...instead of online with a "basket" to hold our heightened orders as we appropriate online discounts.
And there's a bunch of other stuff we could mention that make our computers indispensable...or not?
I survived the weekend--talked to my friends, ate good food, found my way around town and shopped for what I needed at the mall. Not a recipe for the best weekend ever, but my wife and I had a great time togetehr and we are no worse off for our computer-deprived four days.
We actually spent alot more time talking and walking.
I may be crazy but I think I feel better today.
Friday, September 04, 2009
Sometimes being surrounded by people masks the real loneliness we feel. We may have lots of relationships, even a closely-knit family...but we can still be lonely.
We feel loneliness because we cannot share with anyone how we truly feel. Or, we are so overwhelmed by the demands of everyday life that we are unable to nurture meaningful relationships that are not couched in terms of work responsibility and family duty.
Sometimes it is just our own fault. We are never fully honest about our real feelings because it is not safe to share them, or we suspect others would be disappointed if they knew the real "me", or had a up close and personal look at our personal demons.
In the midst of such loneliness stands the shadow of One who whispers, "I will never leave you or forsake you", or, "I am with you always"--words that should bring comfort because they affirm we are never really alone. Because we cannot see God, nor often do we feel His presence, it is an exercise of faith to reach into the shadows and embrace Him.
I choose to do that today...will you?
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Tuesday morning is a day I both love and hate,; hence my love-hate relationship with administrative work...and Tuesdays in general.
For me Tuesdays "invite" a summary of Sunday concerns, a response to congregational communications (e-mails, notes, verbal messages, bulletin "tear-offs", etc.), a setting of weekly appointments, an agenda for weekly staff meeting (and the meeting itself) and a general pulling together of all thh things necessary to get caught up and on top of things...so that I can move ahead with the challenges of a new week. m As I conclude that work today, I will have spent about twelve hours keeping my secretary doing deep-breathing exercises(fortunately--for her--she went home three hours ago)and cooling off my computer which by day's end feels hot to the touch!
What is it I "hate" about administrative work? Sometimes it seems intensely impersonal. There are no faces in front of me and I am writing down messages and communicating with people I cannot see. Another ongoing frustration is that though my intentions are usually well- motivated, my communciation is not always well-received (why can't they "get it?"). The painful result is that there is the creation of additional communciation responsibility that is time-consuming, and sometimes, equally non-productive.
But is is not all bad! There are some things I really love about administrative work. There is the elixir (while I am doing it) that I am getting things done, and all will be better now (hah!) There is also the overwhelming sense of the importance of communication and response which affirms the value of the individual and extends the opportunity for dialogue for things that cannot simply be reduced to a program overhaul or a handshale and a promise to do better.
It's Tuesday and today, though I am tired, has been more about the "love" side of the work. The bugaboos were present, to be sure, but the administrative birthday lunch for a staff member, the prayer time with a husband seeking counsel for a critical decision and the early morning coffee with a friend who is getting married, made the day meaningful for me.