Thursday, February 28, 2013

Who's Plan?

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

Who’s plan are you working?

  • ·        Your’s?
  • ·        Your Parent’s?
  • ·        You Boss’?
  • ·        Your Teacher’s?
  • ·        Your Coach’s?
  • ·        Something you read in a book?

Often, our plan is determined by who places the most pressure on us. That is a bad strategy. It leads to loss, hurt, and a general lack of vitality (I’m tired.)

God places no pressure. Just love. God loved you into existence because…well, just because. He thinks you are super. And, if you follow his lead (or plans,) you will know a life that cannot be defeated by circumstances. You want that.

This plan has many ways, not just one. As long as each step honors your deep relationship with the Author of Life, you will be following his plans. And, sometimes, God plans do butt heads with those things listed above.

So, who’s running your show? If it is God, you will have so much life that nothing can defeat you and you will have extra for others.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


My dad would often say to me, “De gustibus non est disputandum.” This Latin maxim roughly means that we cannot dispute a person’s taste. In other words, in matters of taste, each person is her own expert. Who we find beautiful, what we find yummy, or where we think is the best scenery: they all are matters of taste.

I wonder how many times I have branded another person’s taste as “wrong” or elevated my tastes as absolute, indisputable truths. I am sure, too often.

As a child, my world (just post World War II) was one of “we are all in this together.” I was taught to be a good member of the group. The group trumped the individual. Individuals were often lost.

Our current era is one marked with a radical individuality. Choices not only abound but are demanded. There can be so many as to confuse us. Rights are spoken of often. The individual trumps the community.

Both of these poles are dangerous. Living in the tension of Me-We is hard. We will never get it right.

Never, that is unless we embrace an intermediary. That intermediary is the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit is in, with, under and though our relationships, all are honored. All God’s Spirit needs is an invitation.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the earth. Amen.

I’m Bored

When I was about 7 years old, my aunt, Anne, came by taxi to our home. My mom was down the street and I was in the house alone. Mom would be back soon. My aunt came to the screen door and rang the doorbell. I need to say here that Anne was very formal. She lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and fancied herself as a French (her last name was De La Rue) aristocrat.

I greeted her through the screen. She waited for me to open the door. I did not. I told her, “Mom said I should never let anyone in the house when she was not here.” After some thought, Anne sat down on her suitcase and we talked through the screen till my mom came home.

We are good about telling our children to guard themselves from danger. Most everyone who works with children now is subject to a background check and training. We buy locks and guns and alarm systems to protect ourselves. We make our stuff, our families, and our homes as secure as possible. We even invent bizarre passwords to guard our internet privacy.

But do we guard our heart as much? God says…

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life. (Proverbs 4:23 NLT)

So, how is your heart today? Here is my check. I pick one of these to describe the state of my heart at any giving moment.

  • ·         Bored
  • ·         Busy
  • ·         Content 

If I answer “Bored,” I need to focus outward. Is what I will use to satiate this feeling wholesome? Will it lead to contentment or simply a deeper craving?

If I answer “Busy,” I need to focus inward. What am I trying to escape from? Why have I let this run my life? How will I need to change my mind in order to be content?

If I answer “Content,” I ask myself if this contentment comes from all my circumstances working in my favor (I am lucky) or if I owe my contentment to my relationship with God.

When God fuels my heart, I am at peace, no matter what.  What fuels your heart?

Monday, February 18, 2013


I noticed a shimmering along my windshield while I waited in line at Starbucks. I tried to see what was causing it, assuming something in the parking lot was reflecting sunlight. I was wrong. The shimmer came from inside my car.

Evidently, a spider shares my transportation space and had left a web of sorts on the back side of my windshield. I have never seen the spider and, maybe, the spider had never seen me. All I saw was what the spider left behind.

Vocal Christians in the news often cause me embarrassment. They are too often harsh and judgmental. Silent saints are seldom noticed except if the news needs a “feel good” piece to close out the broadcast.

But Christians are called to leave lasting, loving, life-giving footprints much more than they are called to pontificate.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

What fruit are you leaving behind? It’s a hungry world and it is not looking for talk. It is looking for life. Embrace Christ today and leave behind this life.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Is Your Story Too Small?

…remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the
commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise,
having no hope and without God in the world.
Ephesians 2:12 (NRSV)

When I listen to people talk about God, God most often plays the role of a rabbit’s foot. That is, God is more a thing one hopes will bring a good outcome (good luck.) To put it another way, “put a prayer in, get (maybe) something back as a reward.” No big deal, the investment was small.

I believe that prayer can be powerful and I believe that God enters into human history. But I believe God is more than a delivery man or woman to be called upon to render a service and preferably to deliver it via the back door so as not to attract too much attention.

God as Trinity tells us that God is relational in Godself. God lives, breathes and craves relationship. Jesus is a physical fruit of that yearning and the Holy Spirit stands ready to breathe relationship into every moment.

Our story becomes small when we try to go it alone with God as simply held as insurance. We live a safe, half existence. Our story becomes BIG when we lean into that relationship and depend on it as we do air and water and food. Life is risky but also exhilarating.

Today, will you relate with God or use God? The answer divides life from death, a BIG life from a small one.