A Zombie or Lazarus?

The story of Lazarus has a lot to do with resurrection. Lazarus was a really sick dude  (infirm as opposed to cool) who had an inside track with Jesus. Despite being a person whom Jesus loved, Lazarus died largely because Jesus procrastinated, if that’s ever really possible in a divine context. So when Jesus finally showed up, Lazarus was already dead for 4days & his body was very ripe – ripe for resurrection rather than decay. 

Long story short, Jesus called Lazarus back to life & told them to remove the grave clothes that bound Lazarus’ hands & feet & covered his face. 
I believe that Jesus has resurrection for each of us, but sometimes we let our hands, feet & face stay bound in the clothing of death. Let Jesus set free: 
*your hands free to do His work
*your feet with walk in His steps 
*your face so you can reflect Jesus’ life in our decaying world, desperate for resurrection
Let’s be alive in this day with Jesus’ presence wherever we go & in whatever we do!

hot topic: death in Nepal

I’ve just read about the massive 7.9 earthquake in Nepal.  The destruction & lives lost won’t be fully assessed for several weeks, but so far, more than 970 people have died.  Now, it’s a race against the clock to unbury & rescue probably thousands more before time runs out for them.  There are huge efforts being made to rush aid, support and life to this country, even though there’s concern that the airport in Kathmandu may also be damaged from the quake.

When I watch Jesus in the Gospels, I’ve never seen Him run away from nor ignore pain, suffering and hardship.  Rather, when I look at Jesus in the Gospels, He brought life, freedom, redemption, healing, restoration and much more wherever He went.  Rather than running from & ignoring pain, suffering, loss and hardship, at minimum, let’s run with concern and prayer to this desperately needy plight in Nepal.  I don’t think Jesus suffered from charity fatigue #selah

face value

YIKES!!!!!!  I just saw this woman wheel her elderly husband up to the deep end of a swimming pool in his wheelchair, she threw him in the pool & walked away.  This was extremely startling & unsettling to me, so I leaped up to check on him, hoping he wasn’t gasping or drowning.  Thankfully, he was paddling around & seemed to be enjoying the swim.  I just checked again & he’s happily floating & enjoying some sun.

At face value, it seemed like this wife was irresponsible at best & abusive at worst, but alas, things aren’t always as they appear.  And this is an easy mistake to make in our daily living.  We are often forced to make a decision with only a partial quantity of information & we often don’t have the luxury of getting more time or info for a possibly better decision.   And here’s the golden ticket:  the Bible tells us in James that if we God to give us wisdom, He will liberally & lavishly give us wisdom.  Wisdom gives us insight into stuff at a deeper level than face value & thankfully with God’s help, we can make wise observations and decisions that are better than what we know at face value :)

She just helped him out of the pool & back into his wheelchair :)

Hot topic: overcoming adversity

Have you ever had a season where it seems like more is going wrong than what’s going right?  Job had this experience. In a short amount of time: he lost all of his kids, all his wealth evaporated, his health took a plunge & his wife went rogue & didn’t encourage him. Job totally went through an awful season & you can read his book in the Old Testament to hear his thoughts & emotions in the thick of all these difficulties. Going through hardships & difficulties isn’t something new in our human experience but here are some ideas that might be helpful:

*in difficulties, be honest with God (Job was super upset, disappointed & frustrated with God & didn’t hold back nor withdraw from talking with God)
*consider the people who you allow to speak into your life: do they affirm God’s work, do they hear your heart, do they strengthen your faith?  Job’s friends were kind of sketchy on these points
*keep your focus on God because a continual eye on the hardships can be very unsettling
*there are brighter days ahead – Jer 29:11 :)

I like people

People are interesting without a doubt.  Sit in a Starbux, visit an airpot, watch in Walmart, socialize in church, etc & its high grade entertainment value to see what people do & how they behave.  Sometimes I just like to stop what I’m doing, adjust my attention & look at what the people are doing around me – so MUCH FUN!!!!

Here are some reasons why I like people:

  • diversity:  no two people are the same in any way, no matter how much effort they make to imitate & blend
  • creative: everyone seems to see things from unique & often highly creative perspectives, causing them to behave in very creative ways & do creative things
  • beautiful:  each person has a distinct beauty (in their visage, mannerisms, interactions, clothing, makeup, etc)
  • surprises:  just when you think you have a handle on human behavior someone does something entirely unexpected, rogue & outlier-ish
  • community:  it’s always fun to watch the ways in which we interact with each other, endeavoring to honor, connect, communicate & engage

Today, let’s celebrate people, God’s highest & most valuable creation :)

Hot Topic: Stress – the Good & Bad

If you live in America, the deadline for filing our taxes is next week.  Maybe that’s kind of stressful for you.  If you’re a pastor or highly committed church volunteer, you probably just survived a stressful season called Easter.  Some of the upcoming events and holidays might have some stress potential for you – Mother’s Day & Graduation / Commencement.  Despite our best efforts, I don’t think that any of us can immunize ourselves from stress.  But how we deal with stress is a different issue & there’s some potential for good outcomes with stress.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • relax & take a deep breath:  I’m learning from my physical therapy from shoulder surgery that getting tense & uptight doesn’t help my muscles.  When I relax & trust the therapist (aka Helper), we make better progress
  • let stress put some fuel and motivation in your efforts:  Sometimes I need deadlines and pressure to help me be more productive – smile :)
  • the lifestyle question:  stress as a lifestyle is entirely unhealthy and can cause us to make poor decisions in our health, relationships, priorities and time management;  consider that you might be addicted to stress and maybe it’s time to actively choose peace over stress  #selah

The Easy Button

like easy: microwave popcorn, premade salads, automatic transmission, Siri, natural talents / giftings, automated emails & lots more. I’m very attracted to easy breezy. But I’m also finding that things I value & find important aren’t always easy. For example, I’m recovering from shoulder surgery & this means physical therapy, not so easy breezy. Furthermore, my relationships with my kids & husband require work & effort if they’re going to have any depth, texture & bonding. 

In some respects, this is also true in my relationship with God. While I’m very much the full time recipient of outrageous & inexplainable grace, I’m also keenly aware that my desire to be crazy intimate with God doesn’t happen entirely by osmosis & the lack of intention or attention. Becoming increasingly intimate with God requires my surrender, cooperation & commitment. But what always takes my breath away with God is that any effort I make is overwhelmingly outmatched with opulent, genuine & astounding divine love – way better than the easy button ,)