Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Choose Joy

I recently had an opportunity to talk with a woman who was filled with joy.  She had this wonderful enthusiasm for life, and I was blessed to be in her presence.  However, as I spoke with her, I started to wonder where all her joy came from.  She had faced a number of very grim moments in her life, and her difficulties seemed to follow her wherever she went.  Nevertheless, in her darkest times, she always found ways to connect with other people.  She made choices to volunteer and meet others in the community.  This has not always been easy, but it has created a wonderful network of friends.  These people were imperfect, but they stood by each other.  They took time to serve.  They took time to love, and they took time to find joy even in moments of sorrow…

Her story was a reminder for me that joy doesn’t come from being perfect.  Perfection would certainly be nice, but joy is a choice that we can make in the face of our difficulties.  If we take time to see love and grace in other people, I believe we will find joy. 

This week we are celebrating the Reformation of the Church.  The Reformation celebrates God’s Spirit working, through the darkness, to bring hope.  It is my prayer that we would all allow God’s Spirit to move in us.  May we be drawn into caring relationships that are filled with hope.  May we also choose joy wherever life may lead us…



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Brokenness, Denial, and Grace

How do you handle negative feedback?  I have a very public profession, so there are always opportunities for people to critique me, and it is not always easy to hear.  I know I’m unable to please everyone, but there are times when I will really be convicted.  Sometimes, I’ll realize I have neglected a relationship.  Other times someone will let me know that my words or actions have hurt someone in need.  I am guilty of these kinds of things all the time, and unfortunately, my first response can be denial.  I don’t want to admit that I’m imperfect.  I don’t want to admit my own brokenness or failures, and I can spend an inordinate amount of time trying to justify myself…

In our Bible reading today, Jesus tells us a story of a religious leader who did everything he could to prove he was perfect.  He only listened to the voices of those who told him he had no flaws.  Personally, I think it sounds great to ignore anyone who criticizes us!  However, Jesus tells another story of a man who made some terrible choices that ruined him.  In accepting his failures, he began to see a new path to life.  Understanding his own brokenness was the first step to accepting God’s Grace. 

Today, I hope we can find someone that offers us loving guidance.  I hope we can hear their words, and I hope we can see our moments of brokenness as opportunities to open our eyes to new life!



Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A helping hand...

This is not our child, but this kid certainly
has the same spirit of helping... :)
 Recently, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to dig a few holes in my backyard.  Our irrigation system has been leaking for quite a while, and it’s time to start the repair process.  I feel like every time a line is fixed, I will notice two more leaks that need attention.  Sometimes, it feels like the whole system is a flawed mess that will never make any sense.  It can be a time consuming and muddy job, but the hardest part is simply trying to contain our 1 year old child who really wants to “help.”

I don’t think it would be possible to get some of these big chores done if we didn’t have real help.  My parents have been in town recently, and they are always ready to lend a hand.  It’s been wonderful to get so much help, but more than anything else, it’s been great to have family in town.  It’s great to see our little boy start to feel how deeply he is loved.  There is a lot in the world that doesn’t make sense, but if we focus on love, I think we will be centered on what truly matters!



Thursday, October 6, 2016

Sharing a Prayer

Living with a one year old is amazing, but it’s also exhausting.  Every day this little guy demands a lot of our time, and the moment we stop paying attention to him he winds up climbing on the kitchen table and smashing food into his hair… Exhausting! 

Earlier this week, Kira and I were attempting to finish all our chores after work, and the baby was being extra stubborn.  We put some food in front of the kid to keep him occupied, but when we looked over he had his hands folded.  He was looking at us wondering when we were going to pray. 

We’ve tried to teach him to pray from a young age, and for a long time it didn’t seem like he cared much.  It’s still hard to say how much he really understands, but he just started to bow his head, fold his hands, and shout “Amen!” and throw all his food into the air. (Ok, he doesn’t have it all figured out, but it’s still pretty cool…)  Seeing our child sitting down ready to pray was a reminder of how important prayer really is.  It doesn’t matter if life is crazy, exhausting, or just wearing you down.  Prayer has value. 

Today, I hope you can all believe in the power of prayer.  May you all find life, peace, and grace wherever you may go.