Thursday, February 23, 2012

Work in Progress

Art is never finished, only abandoned. ~ Da Vinci

It is easy to look at a beautiful Gulf sunset or a Colorado mountain or a view from the Hubble telescope and imagine a God who creates beautiful, mysterious and down-right awesome things. In the Bible, God calls all of these things "Good." Be God goes further. God calls humanity, male and female, double "Good."  "Good. Good."

We often say we find God in the beauty of nature (and maybe a baby or two) but God chose to enter into human life as a human. Where we really find God is in the person of Jesus. And in you. And in your neighbor. This is messier. Humans demand understanding, forgiveness, time, and patience. But this is where God chooses to be. Love your sunsets but God is found in community more than any scenic view.

This Lent, do not abandon the creation, the art, of God. Take time to stop and listen to yourself. Honor others with the same. Check in with your Maker for details and instruction we cannot intuit. Do not abandon the art in the community around you and within you and through you. It ain't over till God says it's over.

You, we, are a work in progress.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Plastic Knives

I am a plastic knife. You have to buy me in order to get a fork or a spoon, which you really want. I wind up in the trash. You either don't need me or I am too puny to be much help. I'm sorry.

"Plastic Knife" people are all around us. Maybe, we are one. People who we or society feel are not worth much, usually because they are not beautiful, rich or useful. Beautiful, rich and useful are the "highest goods" of our society.

God took special care to create these people. We should take extra care to honor them.

The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!"  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.  If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

              Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. I Corinthians 12:21-27 

Look deeper. See what God's sees and act accordingly today. No one deserves to be overlooked or thrown away.

Friday, February 17, 2012


But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.… But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15 (NIV)

Where did the day go? Have you said that? I have.

If I do not deliberately and systematically create space for God (read, knock off for a bit,) I will have chosen to serve all the other gods of my day. They are not a bad lot but are no match for God. And none love me back. No matter how much I SAY I love God, my actions speak otherwise. I SERVE what is fun, expedient, pressing, loud, flashy, and what makes me look good. Angry Birds-30 minutes, God – zip.

This is a choice, as Joshua says. We choose to serve God or we don't.

Who will you choose to serve this day?

Guiltless or Gutless?

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 

I always figured that the problems of this world were caused by other people. Not me. Not us. It's "them" who make things a mess. Right?

Not so fast says God. In 2 Chronicles, King Solomon had just finished building the Temple. God showed up and said he would reside there. Nice digs. Then God add the passage above. If things go awry in the land, it is the people of God who should fervently seek out God and repent. God will heal the land. In other words, if things are a mess, check your own relationship with God before you critique others. I have spent much time trying to persuade others (and complaining as well) to get their act together. Can't they see what THEY are doing to our country?

Maybe I need to practice a little humility and seek God myself. Maybe the healing is not happening because I have assumed that I am guiltless. Maybe I have some changes to make. I want our land healed and a big, big, God can to that.

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Twice this week I went through the motions. I made a phone call. "Press one to enter voicemail Hell." "State your name." "Now, please enter your super-secret ID #." "Now, enter your social security number." "Now, enter your account number." "Please wait (and we will play stupid, tinny, out-of-tune music while you wait.)" Wait some more. Once I get someone, I am asked, "Please give me your name, super-secret ID#, social and password." Wha?

Finally, my wait if over! I asked why I had to do this all over again. It seemed a waste of time if not disrespectful. I was placed on hold. Grrr.

We all hate this.

But how often are we unresponsive to others? Offer help but, when asked, don't? When we see a need, look elsewhere? Add one more burden to an already overloaded friend, family member or co-worker? When someone needs to step up, do nothing, letting someone else do what we could do?

Jesus did not help all but did address all who he came in direct contact with. Cleanly, quickly, respectfully.

Seek to be responsive today. Let's put a stop to unresponsiveness Hell. And may your voicemail travels be few.


"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7b"

We get 24 hours a day. What are you doing with yours? Sure, we sleep and have to stand in lines (forever.) But for most of your waking hours, what are you doing with the time God gives you?

Every activity and even our inactivity points primarily to building the heart or promoting the self. Selfish or selfless. Examining our life (for me, an end of the day recollection and reflection on the day helps) helps us be good stewards of time, a commodity we claim to have too little off and a commodity that God doles out in "just enough" quantity.

Are our questions more often than not , "How will this look?" or "What will they think?" or "Will I be liked?" Or are they more "What would God want?"  or "How can I serve others in a godly way?" or "Will this matter 10 years from now?"

Appearances play to the world as audience. The heart plays to God.

Examine your valuable currency, time. Is it spent wisely? Is it spent on appearances or on building the heart, on loving. Love outlasts time. It will not wear out. Building hearts is eternity work.

"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates

Monday, February 13, 2012


Windows let light in. Mirrors reflect light. Today, I can be a window and let the Light of Christ shine on me and expose what needs change as well as warm my soul. Or I can be a mirror, deflecting Christ's light, thereby saving myself from needed change but, also, denying myself his love. Windows give me hope. Mirrors imprison me in my fear.

Which will I choose today?

The true light that shines on everyone was coming into the world.  John 1:9 (CEV)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Who’s Your Customer?

Business guru, Seth Godin, wrote in a recent blog about identifying your customer. Who are you courting? Who are you playing to? It matters. He ends with this. "If you can only build one statue, who is it going to be a statue of?"

Okay now, who is your customer? Spouse, boss, teacher, coach, neighbor, child, your image, escape? Who do you try to impress, placate? Who's opinion shapes your day? Think about it. Your #1 customer.

I hope it is God. Definitely worth it.

32 The people who don't know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them. 33 Seek first God's kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well. 34 So don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:32-34 (NCV)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What If God Is Right?

Our main Gospel is the Gospel of ME. God is a great "ace in the hole," insurance policy. But who is God kidding? I think I can run my own life, thank you. I know it better. Besides, God, you just don't understand. You don't get money (you want too much.) You don't get sex (you want too little.) You have this quaint idea of Sabbath as if life weren't 24/7. And what's up with "Take up your Cross?" I'll serve others when I finish taking care of myself. Honest.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5

Maybe God knows me because God made me and I cannot make God. Maybe God loved me into existence and wants nothing but the best for me.

10 This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  Jeremiah 29:10-12

In the midst of turmoil (in this case exile for the Israelites,) God is still active. God knows a bad day, even one we caused. And God wants to make it right. Resurrect it.

"Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Job 38:4

Quite honestly, I had no hand in creating me. My job is to steward me (a steward is an asset manager. I am God's asset.) Since God is the original manufacturer, God determines the recommended service schedule. God know me better than I know me. In fact, I am blind to so much of me.

Maybe God is right. And maybe it is I who needs to know God better.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I'm mad. Yes, priests get mad. I'm hanging onto it. I might even sublet. Rotten things have piled up as they sometimes do and I don't like it. I don't want it. Why, Lord?


God replies, "Are you done?"


Easy for God to say. He/She is there. I'm here.


Loads of folks say, "God will never give you more than you can handle." But is that scriptural? Even if it is, I want what I want, not what I can handle.


Yet "mad" changes nothing and it is a terrible state to be in (it turns to depression if we let it marinate too long.)


Here is what God says,


Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (TEV)


Okay, my way doesn't work. I'm with you, God. Let's move on. I know you are there.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I'm not concerned about the very poor

Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, made this comment recently. He may be aristocratically out-of-touch as some say. The context seems to shows he was trying to care. But I want to push further.

We who claim to follow Christ (we can worship Christ and have a cross necklace and not follow Jesus BTW) are to be concerned about the poor. PERIOD. The question is; are we? Actively?

God overwhelmingly sides with the poor and expects us to do so. If the plight of the poor does not find its way into our days in thought, word and action, we have missed something important. And it may be our very soul.

Listen (the NIV has "poor" mentioned 176 times.)

If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Deuteronomy 15:7

(God speaking to his people)
I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
   your assemblies are a stench to me.
Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
   I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
   I will have no regard for them.
Away with the noise of your songs!
   I will not listen to the music of your harps.
But let justice roll on like a river,
   righteousness like a never-failing stream! Amos 5:21-24

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. Luke 4:18

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? James 2:5-6

It is not that we are to favor the poor. God suggests otherwise. We are to have equal concern for the poor as we do for ourselves or the people we revere.

Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly. Leviticus 19:5

Where are you with those who are poor? How?