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Life is a highway… Can we stop at the next rest area, please?!?

t2010camaro2You could probably say that if I was a car then I would be a 2010 Camaro.  Totally able to take on any other car and never feel ashamed or embarrassed of my ability.  I would zoom down the highway just racing by all of those minivans and family cars. .    I wouldn’t even have to refuel because I might also really be a Transformer!  Nothing would slow me down… every goal and objective that I aimed for would be reached without any hesitation because my speed and accuracy would threaten or take down any obstacle…. Yep, that is me…. a red, 2010…. I should add, convertible… Camaro.  Vroom……vroom.

Oh, who am I kidding…. I would never be believable as a Camaro…. a VW bug maybe… a 70’s model, at that…. but never a Camaro. 1978-vw-beetle-convertible Actually at this point, I am more like a scooter…well, maybe  a scooter going up hill… or more likely a scooter going up hill  with an oversized load…. okay, a scooter going up hill with an oversized load on a gas fumes only…. I really should pull over and call for help but instead I’ll push myself on up the hill at whatever the cost….At least I’m a red scooter….

The point here is that my summers are crazy… my job requires my summers to be quite impressive… filled wih potentially fun things but those things tend to drag tons of energy right out the door with them…they tend to make my sleep schedule totally mixed up… my mind in overdrive and my hands constantly working to show others how to do more…. So, when does it slow down?  Not for a few more weeks and then unfortunately my summer is over…and fall is here with more activities and events…

Because of the craziness of camps, planning activities for summer and fall, for coordinating events and other goodies… I tend to truly be that scooter… I forget to refuel….and I tend to push myself up the hill when things could be so much easier…

The refueling is the important part of all of this… often times I forget that things can be easier if I remember to refuel…

I was reminded of that during staff meeting the other day…. It seems that because of what I do I tend to forget to stop and really soak in the fuel….I love my job and what I do… I love to create things that in some way help others see God or deepen their faith or walk…It would seem like since I am helping others fuel up I shouldn’t have to refuel myself.  Oh, I read and pray and do the things that I should but it is the message that gives me the fuel to continue to do what I do at the pace I need to go….

I slowed down enough during staff meeting to soak in these words from Paul ….

Ephesians 3

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[e] 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.[f] 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

There is the fuel that I needed….to be reminded that I am loved….not just to serve and serve …. not just to hear the words …. but to truly soak in the thought and  be reminded of how wide, how long, how deep his love is ….

That was the rest area I needed to finish my summer…..


 
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Posted by on July 2, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Moses P. Diddy Hall… I appreciate you… sometimes

shih_tzu_puppy2I’m not sure that there is anything much cuter than a baby animal… well, not a baby narwhal but that is another story.  So, my friend sent me an email saying that she had found a puppy on the internet that she wanted.  A cute little girl whose photo was attached to the email.  I know when Moses P. Diddy Hall was a little ball of fur he was SO cute so I was excited to see this little fluff that she was so smitten with.  I popped open the picture with excitement to see a cute little fluffy, sweet puppy only to find a picture of a hairless little puppy with a comb over on her head…..okay, comb over is a bit dramatic but more like a frustrated genius scientist look… I will say that she wasn’t ugly andhairless puppy seeing her little round, puppy belly even made her a cuter than I would have guessed, but it sure wasn’t the picture that I thought I was going to see.  It was a photo of a Chinese Crested Puppy… .the hairless dog.  Now, some people may think that Moe wasn’t such a cute puppy because of his pug nose and big eyes and in comparison to this puppy I would say they might balance the scale.  So, my reply to my friend’s email was a quick,  “Cute but…..

Sam

Sam

They grow up” and I sent her back a picture of  Sam, the Champion Ugliest Dog… (a Chinese Crested adult dog who happened to win the ugliest dog contest several years in a row….And Moe… he tops that one… Well, it isn’t even a competition) I guess appreciation for some things is a matter of how you look at it.  I suppose Sam’s owners must have appreciated his uniqueness. So, when Moe is now doing something that I think is annoying or bothersome I can remember the photo of the ugliest dog and be thankful that at times, even when he smells, Moe is kinda cute… I can appreciate his cuteness.

It seems that I’m finding myself appreciating other things a bit more too.  The other night I was able to spend some time at the home where I spent the majority of my childhood.  My parents don’t live there anymore but fortunately it is still in the family.  I only spent a few hours there the other night but I could have stayed there forever.  It was an appreciation of that place that I had somewhat forgotten. The house is approximately 100 years old and has been renovated with the comforts of air conditioning and central heat while being able to sit in the glassed in room and enjoy the beauty of a vegetable, fruit or flower garden.   I can sit on the deck and smell fresh cut grass, hear the birds sing or crickets chirp while looking at acres and acres of rolling hills just as a family member may have done on the porch 70 years ago. I can remember sticking my feet in creeks, catching crawdads (or at least trying),ubwnk running in a yard so big that it would take up the whole cul-de-sac I live on now. It is beautiful.. and though I’ve always loved it there, I can’t say that I have appreciated it like I did the other night.  There was just something different.  Not sure exactly what it was that made me feel so blessed to walk through the grass or look at the trees I used to climb except maybe the fact that my daughters haven’t had that full experience.  They have played outdoors but not in the same manner.  Their outdoor life has been at a park or a small yard or a blacktop area where they have to watch for cars.  So, eventhough I never wanted to move from there when my family did in my young teen years, maybe my deep appreciation comes from having moved away and then coming back.

I guess that is the way it is with life in general. We can’t always appreciate until we recognize the obstacle, hardship or the opposite.  I think, had I stayed on the farm my whole life, I might be aching to get away.

I talked to the kids yesterday at church about Jesus feeding the 5000 with 2 fish and 5 little loaves of bread.  Something that I found interesting is that Jesus asked Phillip how they were going to buy bread for everyone.  I never really thought much about that question because the Bible says that Jesus was testing Phillip.  Maybe he wanted Phillip to say, “Jesus, do your thing…you have healed the sick and even done the whole food thing.  Remember?  You made water turn into wine..what are you waiting for?” .. But after studying it a bit I’m thinking that Jesus wanted Phillip to recognize the obstacle and the difficulty in meeting the need so that when he did do his thing it wouldn’t be taken for granted and it would be remembered as great.  Lots of people, little food… look what Jesus did.

My dog- sometimes annoying- take a look at the hairless dog and remember…. Yes, Moses P. Diddy Hall you are  appreciated

The farm-moved away- look at what my kids haven’t had- and remember the beauty of God’s creation and where I grew up- appreciated

So what else can I appreciate?   A spouse, a parent, a sibling, a child or a friend?  Maybe a house, a car, a yard or a bed?  Take time today to recognize the obstacle or the opposite of things in your life and appreciate today.

And by the way, my friend appreciated that little puppy enough to take her home…. Tasha is a new member of their family.

farmfarm2farm3

John 6

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

1Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. 3Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4The Jewish Passover Feast was near.

5When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?6He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

7Philip answered him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

8Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

14After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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I need to know what the moon is.. and more..

On facebook in the past month I have:facebook_logo

  • told 25 things about myself to 25 people
  • created an album cover using wikapedia, flickr and random quotes
  • caught up with my 4th grade teacher
  • chatted with a high school friend that I haven’t talked to since he graduated
  • created an NCAA bracket
  • laughed at a great Breakfast Song video
  • and loads of other things that I normally would not have done

Some of these things were interesting and completely time worthy a while others are purely a waste of time but fun….Usually some of the time wasters are sent to me by other who have done them too, so I just follow along and have fun with them… like this a little Google exercise that had these instructions- Go to Google, type your first name followed by the word “needs” and then write down the first five things you need…. so here is what Nancy needs

Nancy needs:

  1. to learn what the moon is
  2. jailtime
  3. her own personal Boeing 757
  4. prayer
  5. a vacation

(I definitely think four and five are on the money..)

I’m glad that I don’t really have to search Google to know everything that I need…..although sometimes it could come in handy.  Often times though, like it or not, I know exactly what I need.

I read tonight one of my very favorite accounts of Christ and the need of one man (Luke 5:12-16).  At first it seems like just a regular story of healing but then there is something more to it.  It begins as Christ has been healing others all around and word was spreading about his abilities.  A man with leprosy comes up to him and asks him to heal him if he will…. Now I want to make the picture of this story a bit bigger… (Max Lucado’s book, “Just Like Jesus” tells it in a far better way than I could)… the story is of the leper.. the way that people look at his disfigured body and are repulsed, the way that he longs to hug his wife and hold his daughter, the way he must warn people as he aproaches by announcing that he is “unclean” when entering a crowd… for years he has longed to be near another, to be touched, to be loved, to just be human but he is an outcast and his only hope lies in a man who he has heard has healed others…

Jesus did heal him but my favorite part is this…. Jesus reached out and touched him… Jesus could have just said the words, “you are healed.”  He could have told him to go home and his leprosy would be gone.  He could have done any number of things but Jesus knew that this man needed more than just a healing… this man needed a touch.  He needed to be validated, to know that he was worthy of a loving touch… He needed it and God gave it to him completely.  Amazing.

I love how God knows what we need better than we do… and all the guy did was ask.

I don’t know what you are dealing with or what you need as you read this but I do know that all we have to do is humbly ask for Christ to help and we may get more than what we knew we needed..

The Man With Leprosy- Luke 5:12-16

12While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.[l] When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

13Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.

14Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”

15Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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I be wantin me some treasure…. Arrrr…..

treasure-chest-1

Maybe you are like me and you can reflect over a time period and then think of something that you find to be pretty valuable.  Possibly a funny story to remember, a heart-warming incident that you never want to forget, an observation that strikes you as pretty amazing, or maybe even a lesson learned… Well, I had one of those times this weekend where I could just reflect on current little things that I would consider little treasures…. I think I’ll call it “mind booty” (what’s a treasure without pirate talk, yer know… arrrrr)… the treasure that is swiped right out of your mind…

Here’s the booty.. one jewel at a time…

Jewel #1Lesson Learned- Even if the car in front of you does it too…..the “right turn only” cardboard-box-carsign means just that

Jewel #2Funny story to remember- A stimulus package is not a high energy flavored drink package that you dump into bottled water (don’t ask)

Jewel #3Amazing observation- Children of today, who live in a high-tech society, have 24/7 communication with others (cell phones, internet….yes, even little children), have received more information by age 10 than a 15 year-old would have 15 years ago, are able to play sports, exercise their bodies and exercise military operations from the comfort of their couch with a joystick (and if they have a Wii they may possibly stand up)… all of this and they still enjoy playing in a cardboard boxdisney-ice

Jewel #4Funny Story- One who turns 7 years-old actually LIKES having people sing Happy Birthday to them in a restaurant

Jewel #5Heart warming moment- No matter how old you are and no matter if you see it every year, there is still something special about those events that  Disney puts together..

Each one of those little incidents, for whatever reason, make up memories that I don’t want to forget.. a little treasure or mind booty (arrrr…)

I love that about the Bible too.  I can read something one time and read it again later only to see something that I didn’t catch before… like yesterday… I have read the story of how Jesus was betrayed many times.  I know the whole  kiss on the cheek, ear cut off, denying of the denial, the false allegations, etc., but I caught something last night that I have either skimmed over in the past or just never seen.   It is  Mark 14:51-52.  It tells of a young man who had been following Jesus and his disciples. When all of the action of the arrest was taking place someone grabbed this guy and in doing so, his clothes ripped right off and he ran away naked…it is not mentioned in any other account of the arrest, just in Mark and it is only two little sentences.    At first I thought that it was kind of funny…  I chuckled as I pictured the scene of him being scared out of his clothes.  Then I thought about it (arrr…. searched for the treasure) ….right before that little story it said that everyone deserted Christ and ran… This guy didn’t get away in time so he did what he had to do… ran naked…

In that reflection I  wondered if I have ever run away from Christ when times got a little scary.. When Christ asked me to do something that made me feel a little fearful and instead of trusting, I ran?…My rebellious pirate answer? “Aye,”….. I have and I might just be able to say that when I felt trapped, I did what I thought I  had to do to run away from Christ …..not even considering about how I was acting or even how I looked as I took those steps….

Fortunately, we have a loving God who wants to be our treasure.  He knows when we are running scared and he is ready and waiting to give us fresh clothes, nourishment and guide us in the direction we know we should have gone in the first place.  And the best part-he doesn’t leave us running by ourselves…  I’m thankful that I ran back.

Are you running to or from your treasure?

Mark 14:43-52

43Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.

44Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

48Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.50Then everyone deserted him and fled.

51A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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Unexpected Acts of Warmth and Love…. Why don’t we????

Thursday night I received an unexpected text message… It brought such a feeling of warmth and love. On Friday I wasn’t expecting calls from two different friends but the calls came and along with them brought an undeserved warmth and another touch of love.  An email on Friday also did the same.  Then there was  a smile today and a hug that one more time brought that warmth and love.  Oh yes, and a note of appreciation that completely humbled me….Pretty overwhelming when I think about them all together.  You might be thinking that all of that is not really that uncommon.  Maybe not,  but what made it so special was it was unexpected…. not that the expected hug from my daughter before she enters her school building or other family and friend expected acts of warmth and love aren’t wonderful too…. this was just different… these were unexpected acts that were totally from the heart… from one heart to touch the heart of another… I just happened to be the recipient and I was totally affected.maryville-church

This afternoon I heard of the shooting in a church in Maryville, Illinois.  A gunman walked into the Maryville First Baptist Church and shot and killed the pastor during his first Sunday morning service leaving the congregation and community stunned.  Maryville was very close to where I lived in Illinois and I know exactly where the church is and even taught a child in school who attended that church.  It seemed to hit home.

When I started thinking about the situation……. the pastor, his family, the church family, their grief….. I wondered who might just have been that last person to have offered an unexpected act of warmth and love to the pastor.  You know, beyond his normal hugs and love from his family and close friends…. who offered him a hug of thanks or a note of appreciation?  Who sent him a text to see how his week was going and how someone could be praying for him?  Who told him that he had been a catalyst in a changed life?  I hope there were many…but the reality is, maybe there weren’t.  It doesn’t mean that people didn’t think it or feel it but maybe it was something that they felt was uncomfortable or timing was bad… sometimes it is just something we take for granted

I’ve been reflecting on this situation in Maryville because it happened to a pastor and I am a pastor but it’s not a setting irrelevant to others…… the Bible is specific that things happen without warning and without a lot of time to think about it … all the more reason to extend and Unexpected Act of Warmth and Love to others… A mentor, a boss, a neighbor, a friend, a family member and the list goes on……we all need them

An Unexpected Act of Warmth and Love is not to be confused with a Random act of kindness… a random act of kindness is meant to do good too, but an Unexpected Act of Warmth and Love is an act from the heart that is directed to the heart of another.

My eyes are open and my heart is ready… I don’t want to miss an opportunity… and to those who made the calls, texts, emails hugs, smiles and notes… I doubt you have any idea how precious that was to me…. Thank you!

Matthew 25

1“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’9” ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’  10“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.11“Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’  12“But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ 13“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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Pride vs. PRIDE…… will the real jerk please stand up…

In the past few days I’ve had to do some dealing with pride…. I think there are two different kinds of pride- the first kind of pride is the standard definition of pride… something to the tune of the “quality of being proud” or “a reasonable self respect.”  When I have worked hard at something and it meets the goals that were created there can definitely be a sense of pride in a job well done.  I’m not so sure that there is anything wrong with that … But there is also the other definition of P.R.I.D.E.  –

Personal

Respect

In

Doses

Exceeding

(Necessity)

I suppose maybe that is more likely PRIDE(N) but you get the picture… this is the kind of pride that gets us into trouble … this is the kind of pride that keeps us from allowing ourselves to be humble… this is the kind of pride that is not only dangerous but can be hurtful… this is the kind of pride that make us look foolish in the end anyway…

My daily reading led me to the story of Balaam and his donkey. (Numbers 22:21-24)

The story in a nutshell is about Balaam on his way to visit Balak who thinks Balaam will place a curse on the Israelites for him.  On the road, Balaam’s donkey suddenly takes off into a field.  He gets so upset at her behavior that he beats her and she gets back up on the road.  Then the next thing the donkey does is as they are passing through a walled area she pushes Balaam’s leg up against the wall and again he gets upset and beats her. Finally the donkey just stops and lays down… again, Balaam(seems like such a pleasant guy)takes his frustrations out on her.  This time, little miss donkey has had enough and turns around and asks Balaam (yes, she spoke) why he keeps hitting her.  He said he was embarassed (his pride was hurt) because she was making him look like a fool in front of others who were supposed to respect him.  Little did Balaam know that his faithful donkey was only protecting him from an angel that the Lord had sent that would have probably killed him and Balaam finally sees the angel and is so sorry for his actions.

So all of this takes place and I noticed something… The writer of this acts as if a donkey speaking is a natural thing.   There are no double takes from Balaam and his traveling crew, nor are there any out of control screams of horror or even laughter… there is nothing.  So here is my take on this… Balaam was so focused on his pride and looking like a fool that he forgot he was conversing with a donkey…and I’m pretty sure looked pretty foolish anyway..

Yep, that is the way PRIDE(N) works… or at least in my life… I focus on what I don’t want others to see because it may embarrass me only to find myself talking to a donkey I end up looking foolish anyway.  There are times I don’t ask others for help and it haunts me later…

Are you experiencing PRIDE(N)?  Balaam saw what he had done wrong… and he was sorry…. me too.


Numbers 22:21-34

21 Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. 22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.

24 Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again.

26 Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. 28 Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”

29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”

30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”
“No,” he said.

31 Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.

32 The angel of the LORD asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. [i] 33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.”

34 Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.”



 
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Posted by on March 4, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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Super Communicator …. Helping the Misunderstood and Saving the World

American Idol is one of those shows that I said I would never watch…. Never say never.  I’m not addicted but I sure don’t like to miss it.  Several weeks ago there was the airing of auditions at their stop in Louisville.  Well, as a Kentuckian, naturally I wanted to watch…. as if I wouldn’t have watched any other city… but you know what I’m saying. I wanted to watch people from my region have their 15 minutes or less of fame.  mark-mudd-jrOne guy, Mark Mudd, definitely got his 15 minutes.  He was in multiple commercials and highlights giving what looked to be the look of death (Say those last three words with a deep, melodic voice for a more dramatic reading)  I, like the rest of America, was on the edge of my seat waiting to see exactly what happened and what we Kentuckians are like.

The time came for American Idol to focus on the life story about this guy who would eventually give the doomed evil look.  From that biography we found out that he was really a pretty sweet guy who had actually gone through a lot during his life.  He came in, sang his little song and didn’t make the cut.  As he left he told the judges, “Take care and be careful.”  The judges went ballistic… or at least Paula did. Well, I think they all did to a certain degree.  They took his words as a threat…. as if the guy was telling them to be careful where they go because he might “git ’em” ….Paula jumped at the guy and told him that “you don’t say that to people…”   I started thinking about it. You know,  I say ” Be careful” quite a bit to people.  It is an endearing goodbye as I want the recipient of those words to know that I want to see them again.

I became a little frustrated. I wondered if Paula had gone into another country like Italy and someone said, “Ciao,” would she have the nerve to say, “You don’t say that to people, you might make them think you want to eat them”?  I doubt it.  Good grief, we live in a huge country. Even though we are a United States, I’m thinking it wouldn’t hurt for these folks to do a little studying up on the cultural sayings of the area before they head into a region…. super-communicator

Regardless, the guy was just misunderstood.  I would have liked to have swooped into that room, just like a superhero (I shall name me, Super Communicator) and taken that young man back in front of the judges and explained to them that he was being endearing… a gentleman.  They would have seen the error of their ways and apologized before the guy was made out to be some weirdo in front of millions of people watching.

Super Communicator must have entered into the picture somewhere because American Idol posted an apology for their misunderstanding.  Unfortunately for Mark Mudd, it came after the airing and more so, came quietly where most won’t even know it happened… and probably don’t care.

The American Idol judges misunderstood the intentions of a young man and in doing so they seemed to have missed out on an opportunity of warm Southern hospitality from a regular good guy.

Okay,  so I’m not really Super Communicator out saving people from their state of misunderstanding but maybe someone else is (though I do like my Superhero alter ego outfit)

I’ve been there before and I know being misunderstood stinks…

In Mark 5:1-20 there are a couple of incidents of someone being misunderstood…

The whole incident is about Jesus ridding a man of a legion of demons.  The guy was off living in the tombs (burial caves) by himself because of his demon possession.  The community around him had given up on him and he could not be subdued by anyone nor bound by chains.  So there he was among the caves literally tearing himself apart in misery.   When Jesus arrived he cast out the demons into a herd of pigs.  The pigs…. lots and lots of pigs …went running down a steep bank and into a lake where they drowned.  Those watching the pigs (would they be considered pigherds?  just curious) ran to tell the townspeople.  When they went to check things out they saw the cave guy sitting up, dressed and acting normal.  Others who had seen all of this take place started telling the story about what happened… verifying it… and the townspeople became frightened and begged Jesus to get out of town.

Okay, so Cave guy, he was misunderstood…. well, maybe not so much him being misunderstood as it was people just giving up on him and being frightened of him.  He was obviously dangerous and violent.  As a parent I can totally understand why I would be glad that he was up in those caves away from my family. I can’t say they were wrong in their fear.  But there is also something else I see here…..  This guy just needed Christ in his life.  He was mean, unkept, weird and definitely scary to those around him, but Christ met him and changed his life.  He took those demons out of his life and Cave guy became Normal guy.  Sometimes I think that is how we view people… we fear them because we are unsure that they are really like us so therefore we stay far away.  We misunderstand actions or looks as mean, weird or scary when we don’t understand the demons that they are wrestling…. maybe not the exact same kind of demons that Christ sent out (or maybe they were) but similar… you know, demons of worthlessness, demons of divorce, demons of addictions, demons of abuse, demons of neglect, demons of depression, demons of eating disorders and on and on…. “Cave guy” can be a neighbor, a co-worker, a teacher, a student, a friend, an enemy…. someone who needs Christ to help him get rid of those things that keep him from being able to be close to others, being loved or loving others- in reality, living life as intended…Yes, he was frightening. Yes, he was dangerous and different than others, but Christ didn’t leave him when Cave Guy bowed before him.

Then there is the rest of the story- Jesus- he was misunderstood too… Now here is a man (actually God) who has just taken this demon possessed, scary man and turned him into someone new and the people who were originally scared of this guy aren’t pleased… the words don’t really say exactly why they pleaded with Jesus to leave but I have some speculations.  Other scriptures refer to disciples being terrified when Jesus calmed the storm or others thinking that Jesus was not doing the work of God but of Satan when he healed… I think Jesus’s work was too big to understand… too powerful and too much to grasp.  I guess they could have been upset about the pigs dying too, but I’m leaning toward the frightened theory.   Isn’t that the way we are today though? We see Christ at work but we don’t really know how to handle it.  We misunderstand the intentions of God and then  just like those people, we seem to want to put him on a boat and get him out of town….in other words, we don’t understand why we must go through something and we send Christ on his way all because we could not see the big picture….

We misunderstand people because we don’t understand them completely and we misunderstand the work of God because we can’t understand it completely.  It seems we sure can miss out on a lot of good when we misunderstand and refuse to take another look at people and situations.

Now there is one more thing to be said about the demon possessed man … he had a serious issue and we see that Christ was the only one who could help him. I think that is important.  I’m not advocating putting oneself in danger or staying in a dangerous or abusive sitution just because we are trying to understand why another person acts the way they do… Christ can open doors for professional help and treatment. Our job is prayer and listening to God for direction, protection and strength.

So that makes Christ the Super Communicator, able to take demons out with a single sentence, able to change the way we understand and able to save the world…


Have you misunderstood what God was or is doing in your life?  Have you missed out on seeing his work because you asked him to go?  What about a person who is hurting, alone or is aching and needs Christ to renew them?  Is God asking you to be the person who goes to the caves to get that person and guide them to him?   Just think what you could be missing.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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Muddling through with Bear Grylls…. and the rest

If you have never watched Man vs. Wild then you have no idea what you are missing.  There are very few words to describe the host, Bear Grylls… “amazing” could be one of them, “crazy” another.   There are things that he does for a show that I don’t think I could ever do even if I knew my life depended on it.  bear-gryllsWe watched him the other night dig through bear poo to find undigested goodies to eat… yes, that was written correctly.. bear poo and undigested goodies …. he did wash it off a bit but apparently not enough to knock the taste as he described how horrible it was.  I’m pretty positive that I wouldn’t do that… yep, I’m positive.  Later he goes on to pull a huge snail out of its shell and eat it.  What I didn’t quite understand is why he didn’t just put it in his pocket and later, when he started his fire,  roast that little guy and enjoy it a bit more… maybe even roast the bear droppings…All of that was for one show….I’m guessing that some of his feats are for ratings and some are for dramatic effect while some are for truly helping people… you know, just in case I am ever lost in the woods and I am wanting a fresh snack.. you see where I’m going with this….

We’ve seen him eat so much other funky stuff that I had to find out how he knew all of this valuable information… I researched a bit and not only was I surprised to find out that he was married but also has three children… I just wonder if she lets him cook at home….

Anyway, I found out more… like his family history, his military career, his college degree and more.  I found out that this man, who eats whatever, swims in whatever,  and sleeps wherever has been trained to survive and actually is a survivor.  It seems that years ago he was in a parachuting accident breaking his back in several places.  His healing process brought him to a place where three years later he became the youngest person to ever climb to the top of  Mt. Everest.  Through that and what he does now, he encourages people that they too, can come through the tough times.  However, with all of his knowledge, his training and his super guy image, I found out that he depends little on himself and the central part of his life is Christ. In one  article he talks about his faith and his struggles with church… not that he is opposed to church but he may be  opposed to “church”..

“Church should be more like a hospital where people are all a bit damaged and are muddling our way through together. It’s Ok to be a bit dirty and bloody, not all perfect and healed. Christianity is about discovering that in the business and struggles of life we are not alone and that this Jesus is actually beside us.”

I’ve been reading in Leviticus about all of the laws that the Lord gave to Moses… There are so many.  It seems pretty obvious that at that time in history many of those laws were protecting the people.  Certain foods were off limits (Bear would have definitely been banished), certain cleanliness  routines were important (again, Bear would be quarantined for some time), health regulations were specific… so many were  to keep the people safe and pure or  separated from what everyone else was doing….. When Christ came it was a common thought that he threatened those laws yet he said that he came to fulfill the law not abolish them (Matthew 5:17) and therefore raised eyebrows and skepticism.

Maybe that is the way that church is seen today… people think that “I have to wear this” or “I have to give this” or “I have to be like this” in order to be a part.  I think sometimes it is easy for people to look at the church and think that it is a place where you go when you are pretty close to perfect or at least ready to pretend that you are pretty close to perfect..A place to be traditional and expect that same tradition from others…. That is too bad…..Maybe the church has done that to itself.. pretended that those who are a part of it have never been broken or aren’t hurting….

Bear should know the need for a hospital… He knows dirty, bloody, imperfection and the need for healing and if you’ll read his faith story you will understand that I am not talking about his television show but about his spiritual walk… I too know what that walk is like… There are those “hospitals” out there that we need….Those churches in your town that have Christ in the center….. He is the doctor that has incredible bedside manner and the rest of us, well we all work to muddle through together…

Are you hurting? Broken?  Want to muddle through?

(Praying for Justin and Kristi and the babies as we muddle through together)



 
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Posted by on February 18, 2009 in Devotions, Faith

 

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This is why I write…

Everyone has a story. Having faced obstacles, fear, heartache, happiness and mountains of circumstances and situations, we all come away with the person that we are. It makes us.

I chose the name Prodygal because I wanted to emphasize the word Prodigal along with the “gal”. I am not a Prodigal Son but I am a Prodigal Daughter.

I’ll back up for a minute and give a little information about myself. I grew up in a Christian home, went to church regularly and as I grew in age, church was a huge part of my social life. Also as I grew older I began to spot imperfections in church … people who were not so nice, people who said “Amen” at one moment and then grumbled and complained the next, people who didn’t really seem to care about much of anything but themselves… the funny thing though… I was probably one of those people too. Even through this cynicism, I always believed in God and though my relationship with Him was faulty and at times ran from Him, I eventually went running back.  I think probably because of my feelings about “church” God began to tug at my heart and placed in me a desire to minister to others… essentially called me into ministry. (That story is for another time.)

So in my present day life, I am a minister. To be exact, a children’s pastor. I minister to children and their families.  I love it.

That is the whole Prodigal/Prodygal thing. If you check out the definition for prodigal you’ll find out that it means something like lavish or wasteful spending.. It speaks of prodigal in financial terms. The parable that Jesus told was of a son who squandered his inheritance and eventually went home to ask for forgiveness and was welcomed with open arms. My prodigal is not financial, it is internal/spiritual. I spent too many years squandering the gift that God gave me of a loving relationship with Him. But when I went back home……….He celebrated and made good from bad.

So as I write, I hope that in honesty, humor and insight or just a little something, it might inspire another to head back home.. That is why I write……

Latin prodigus, from prodigere to drive away, squander, from pro-, prod- forth + agere to drive — more at pro-, agent

My story is told… like many others… in the video

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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