Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Fear or Love?

How much does fear control you? 

This can be an easy question to dismiss if everything is going well, but it can be a very dark question if we are really honest with ourselves.  

There is a psychological condition sometimes called “Steve Blass Disease.”  This disorder is named after a baseball player who was physically at the top of his game.  He had just been named an all-star and everything seemed to be going great… until his mind started playing tricks on him.  He started throwing wild pitches, and he eventually lost the ability to play.  It fascinated people, because there was nothing materially wrong with him.  He simply started to doubt that he could pitch anymore… and his doubt became reality.  Over the years, a number of different people, coming from very different walks of life, have been documented with something very similar.  Personally, I know I am victim to this fear as well… I will trip myself up on the simplest tasks and the more I think about it, the more I seem to fall apart. 

Watching someone with talent self-destruct is painful to watch....
This is a pitcher named Rick Ankiel in the year 2000

Fear can be our worst enemy.  It obsesses over our imperfections and failures, and it is blind to the opportunities around us.  In our scripture passage today, Jesus will encounter a man whose fear is controlling him.  He is worrying about everything he needs to do, and he misses out on Christ’s lesson that the Kingdom of God has already been freely given to us.

How many times do our fears, worries, and doubts prevent us from witnessing God’s blessings?  Today, my prayer for all of us is to purposefully let go of fear and take a moment to breathe in the blessings around us.  Some days this might be easy, other days this may be very hard.  However, Christ is offering the Kingdom of God every day.  I hope we can open our eyes and see it!



Friday, October 5, 2018


Who are the most important people in your life?  What makes these people important?  What makes a relationship valuable?  What makes a relationship destructive?

These are all questions that our scripture text is dealing with this week.  The Bible reminds us that our bonds with other people are difficult, and it takes a considerable amount of work to allow them to flourish…

I remember several years ago, when I had a different job, I had a boss that I really struggled with.  If I said one thing, it seemed like he would always take the opposite point of view.  I remember I had a co-worker who couldn’t take it.  She quit within the first month.  It was a stressful time.  I decided I did not want to leave the job, and although the problems never went away, I did notice that something was happening.  My boss did have real gifts and knowledge that he was willing to pass along… (If I was willing to open my heart to it.)  There were also times I royally messed up, and to my astonishment, he offered me a significant amount of grace.  He allowed me to be honest, and for that I’m grateful.  It wasn’t perfect, but I learned a lot from this man, and I learned a lot about who I was from these moments.  I am so thankful I didn’t give up when it was hard.  Instead, it was the struggle that made this relationship so valuable…

I wonder if there are any relationships you have that came effortlessly.  In my life, effort brings meaning.  I hope we all can consider how our relationships are causing us to grow.  Where are they leading you?  What are they teaching you about sacrifice?  How are they offering you new life?