Look For Stragglers

Truth be known, I’m a straggler, as I’m often looking at stuff or enjoying an in-depth conversation. I used to be concerned about being a leader & Stein ahead of everyone. 

And then I discovered the glories of being around stragglers – those people who might move at a different cadence, individuals who see life’s pace from a different perspective & others who are injured is n their body or soul who aren’t as nimble, agile or speedy. 

I think Jesus digs stragglers as well. I say this bc of a few people with whom Jesus connected deeply:  the Samaritan woman at the well, the demoniac who wandered the tombs & His reply to the woman caught in adultery. Let’s have compassion for stragglers & others who are different than ourselves 🙂

Be Shallow & Superficial ,)

Image #: 133959    After more than 30 years of greeting youngsters each day  on television with his trademark "Hi, neighbor," Fred Rogers, shown in this undated publicity photograph with character "King Friday" is putting away his cardigan and sneakers for good.  His show, "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," will continue to appear on TV's Public Broadcasting System for years to come in re-runs, but the final original episodes of the show will air this week on PBS. REUTERS/Photo Courtesy Family Communications /Landov

The words, “shallow” & “superficial” almost evoke a gagging reflex in me & I’ve been this way for my entire life.  Case in point:  as a 4year old, I preferred Seasame Street, Electric Company & Zoom to Mr Roger’s Neighborhood, because I thought Mr Rogers was juvenile.  I even complained to my parents, “He talks like I’m a child!”  So the idea of being shallow, superfical & juvenile has been repulsive to me for a long time.

Now, however, I kind of like shallow & superficial and here’s why:  the world is too heavy to carry and the challenges I have are too hefty to solve, despite my best thinking, planning, education and efforts.  Even though I like to think deeply, I need to come up for air and be more lite & bright, from time to time.  I remind myself of these guiding principles when I get morose and dark:

  • Luke 1:37, “Nothing is impossible for God”
  • Ps 55:22, “Cast your cares on the Lord because He cares for you.”
  • Rom 8:28-29, “All things work together for good to those who love God & who are called according to His purposes.”
  • Ps 25:15, “My eyes are continually on You & You pluck my feet from the net.”
  • Matt 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God & all these things will be added to you.”
  • John 14:16, “I will ask the Father & He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.”

So let’s stay lite, bright & maybe even a little superficial & shallow!   Feel free to pass this along to someone who might be a little discouraged 🙂

spiritual chats

I had an interesting discussion recently with a friend related to talking with people about Jesus. It seems to me that sometimes we can get a little jittery about talking about Jesus with someone who isn’t necessarily a follower of Him (particularly if you lean in the introvert zone). Our culture also says that we are supposed to be tolerant & any overt or heavy duty proselytizing is nothing less than entirely offensive, rude & even repulsive. So talking about Jesus can get dicey.
So here’s an interesting thought, let’s start having spiritual conversations in our daily living, even with people who don’t necessarily believe the same way you do. Some things that can be helpful when having spiritual conversations include:
*listen: ask questions & pay attention
*respect: winning, convincing, coercing & shame don’t belong in these kinds of conversations; be gentle
*avoid the subjunctive: “should” & “ought to” tend to be unhelpful at best
*have spiritual chats with followers of Jesus: share with someone what God has been speaking with you about

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Edgy

So I’m totally honored to be leading our first ever team trip for Saving Moses here in Cambodia! We have about 15people here doing work with our nightcare efforts. Nightcare is our program with Saving Moses where we take care of the babies & toddlers of prostitutes while they work.
If this idea is challenging to you, please consider a few things:
*no women ever thinks that being a prostitute is her dream job, not in a million years
*babies are the natural result of this industry – each baby is a gift from God because life is precious, full stop
*there are well over a dozen organizations devoted to helping these women to change their profession, which is no easy task
*there is not a single organization here solely devoted to looking after these babies / toddlers while their moms work
*without nightcare, these babies are frequently with their moms as they work – hence the importance & power of our nightcare work
Please join me, at minimum, to pray that our nightcare expresses the genuine love of God to each baby we care for every night 🙂

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Supernatural

There’s nothing supernatural about doing things in which you already have natural talent & ability. For example, to some people, my ability to absorb or pick up a language may seem supernatural but to me, it’s very natural because God has given me some talent in this area & it comes to me relatively easily.
The flip side of this is that those things at which I’m not as gifted nor talented are a struggle for me. For example, if you talk with me about business stuff (strategic planning, organizational structure, operational systems, etc), I’ll look at you like a deer in headlights. I know full well that when I “get” to put on the business thinking hat, I’m entering a supernatural zone, requiring God’s steady hand, help, wisdom & engagement. Just because we aren’t naturally gifted at something doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want us to be involved in such areas. Always remember that our “supernatural” is God’s natural 🙂