Object, Project or Person?

How we treat people reflects what we think about them on the inside.  So if we treat the barista like an extension of the espresso machine, then we’re thinking of them in terms of an object rather than a living human.  This happens alot when we get in transactional modes of interaction & neglect to see the person with whom we’re interacting.

When we try to change someone:  correcting their attitudes, challenging their political opinions, getting them closer to Jesus, making them “better”;  let’s be careful that we’re not treating them like a “project“.  The exceptions to this concern can be the parent, teacher or mentor roles, all of which are most affective when we perceive the recipient of our input as a human & not merely a project.

I think what made Jesus so entirely irresistable by the masses of humanity, when He walked on the earth, is that He interacted with everyone with authenticity, genuine love and sincere interest.  He engaged with each individual as a person, not as a project nor object.  This is what happens when we interact with others from the place of genuine love rather than manipulation, achievement or domination.  Let’s allow our lives to remain in genuine love so that our interactions with others resound with redemption & reconciliation!

 

Hot Topic: Presidential Debate

Last night, there was a debate among the presidential candidates for the Republican Party. Unfortunately, I didn’t watch the debate, as I had a responsibility with my church that took precedence. Nevertheless, I heard the debate was interesting & that each candidate made some good points. From my perspective, the political situation in America is in a really challenging position & I feel that our country is extremely divided & fragmented. This is very concerning to me & I find myself moved to pray for the 2016 election more than normal. Regardless of your political persuasions, I’d like to ask you to join me in praying for our country & our leaders. Consider the verses from 1Timothy 2:1-4
  

Hot Topic: Presidential Debate

Last night, there was a debate among the presidential candidates for the Republican Party. Unfortunately, I didn’t watch the debate, as I had a responsibility with my church that took precedence. Nevertheless, I heard the debate was interesting & that each candidate made some good points. From my perspective, the political situation in America is in a really challenging position & I feel that our country is extremely divided & fragmented. This is very concerning to me & I find myself moved to pray for the 2016 election more than normal. Regardless of your political persuasions, I’d like to ask you to join me in praying for our country & our leaders. Consider the verses from 1Timothy 2:1-4
  

hot topic: Charleston Church Shooting

Waking up this morning, I was horrified to read about a church shooting in Charleston, SC at a Bible Study last night.  From what the news said, there was a Bible Study in the church basement of Emmanuel AME and the shooter just began to shoot people.  At this time, 9 people have died from the shooting and the police are calling this a hate crime.   The police say the shooter is still at large and obviously there are boatloads of unanswered questions.

Here are a few things that we can do, as outside observerers and fellow believers:

  • pray for the families of the victims:  peace, grace, strength, courage and for the comfort of the Holy Spirit to be very real to each family member
  • pray for the police as they search for the shooter:  protection, wisdom, clarity, discernment and truth
  • pray for the shooter:  it is a very disturbed individual who walks into a church and randomly shoots innocent people at a Bible Study
  • pray for the church:  Emmanuel AME is a very famous and historic church, founded in the late 1700s.  This church has had it’s share of historic events, including a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr in 1962;  the pastor for Emmanuel AME was shot and killed last night, so our brothers and sisters at Emmanuel AME very much need our prayers

What about the future?

It seems that this question often lurks in the back of our minds. Thankfully, God has the future already well-scooped. Think about how God developed Moses to be the deliverer of God’s people from being slaves in Egypt. Basically, God spent 80 years getting Moses ready for 40years of liberation work. Furthermore, consider that God put lots of investment in Joshua to be Moses’ successor, the man who would lead the Israelites to possess the promised land.
In the grand scheme of things, let’s trust & rest in the truth that God knows the future & is working in our world today, for tomorrow’s needs & opportunities 🙂

speak out!!

Spectrum_SpeakingOut-3

When I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, I spread a rumor about my teacher that she was drunk.  She was behaving strangely & given my limited experience in life, I tried to explain her unusual behavior, not considering that my explanation was slanderous & inappropriate.  The next day, I was summoned to the principal’s office where I was severly reprimanded & returned to class with great embarrassment.  My take away lesson was to speak less & think more – not a bad lesson in general.

however

Sometimes we are too quiet.  Sometimes we need to speak out & be an advocate for ourselves, for those who are less fortunate & to oppose disgraceful & belittling  situations, events & circumstances.  The Bible has many examples of situations where people spoke out on behalf of the downtrodden, disenfranchised & belittled.  This is a very significant reason that I’m so passionate about our work with nightcare – the shelter & safety we give to the babies of sex workers while they work.  I’m speaking out on behalf of these babies, who have no power or ability to articulate their needs, hurts and concerns.

God Goes B4 Us

Sometimes I can get jittery about the future – lots if uncertainty, some fears, concerns & more. But as I was praying this morning, God reminded me that God goes before me & is waiting for me in the future. So friend, lets trust God in these truths:
*God loves us more than we can comprehend
*God is working in our lives to create good outcomes as we stay in love w God
*God is in control #fullstop 🙂

dealing with concerns

I totally get that Jesus says not to worry about what we eat, wear or what’s going to happen tomorrow and I totally want to align myself with His instructions.  And I’d also venture to say that from time to time, we both have a little bit of a challenge in the “concern” area.  Here are some ideas / thoughts that may be useful:

  • break big issues into smaller pieces or components and they might not seems as overwhelming
  • memorize some verses from the Bible that you can lean into when you feel like you’re drowning in the “worry” zone – Ps 55:22 is a great resource, as a starter
  • health upkeep – here’s the normal nagging of drinking lots of water & maintaining an consistent exercise routine
  • worship tunes that lift up Jesus always help me to put any problems or worries into a better perspective
  • It always helps me to remember to put my trust in God & to lift up my soul to God (Ps 25:1)

These are a few ideas that have been useful to me.  What helps you?  Please share 🙂

friendships & reciprocity

I have some really fun friends in my life & enjoy them lots & lots! Truly, I’m thankful for the various friendships that I have in lots of different contexts. But something that’s important to me is that I want to be sure that I add value to the various relationships that I have. I don’t want them to be one-way streets, where I’m always receiving & not reciprocating.
This morning I was thinking about this idea of reciprocity as it relates to God & I was thinking about how I could be value added to God in my relationship with Him. After some reflection, it seems to me that one of the best ways that I can add value to my relationship w God is by loving others well, being concerned about what’s important to Him & by looking for ways to improve the situations that break His heart. For me, this is one of the reasons I’m so devoted to saving Moses 🙂

another courageous conversation: concern

 I know I worte yesterday about Joseph having a courageous conversation related to his boss’s wife trying to hit on him, but Joseph had other courageous conversations as well.  Another example of his courageous conversation is his discussion with some servants of Pharoah who had been thrown in prison w Joseph – the cupbearer & baker.  In this conversation with these men, Joseph interpreted their dreams.  One would live & be restored to his position under Pharoah & the other would die. 

Now, here’s why I think Joseph’s conversation with these men was courageous – he was concerned.  The reason I think Joseph’s concern was courageous is because the opposite of concern, apathy & selfishness, are the coward’s reply to the needs of others.  When these men told Joseph their dreams, there wasn’t much that Joseph could do to help them, but he could use his God-given talents with interpreting dreams to express his concern. 

In a similar way, there are probably some people in our lives with whom we need to have a courageous conversation to express our concern & care – maybe concern about their choices, relationship w God, etc. 

Apathy is for cowards, but concern is for the courageous

change

Change can be frustrating, exhilarating, empowering, difficult & fun – all at the same time 🙂

Lots of things are in a state of flux right now, with uncertain outcomes.  This morning in my prayer time, i found myself thinking about a variety of things that are really bothering me at the present – areas needing & undergoing changes.  Unfortunately, these things seemed to get more of my attention than praying.  Now of course i brought these various issues to God & asked for His help, but i found myself still dwelling on these things & trying to figure out ways to fix & improve various situations.  When we’re in the middle of change (in small or big ways), its really easy to fixate on problems, needs, frustrations, etc. 

The truth is that we desperately need to focus on God, especially in seasons of change.  Lately, i’ve been reading about Paul & the shipwreck he endured in Acts 27.  Paul was in a tremendous season of stress & change – but if you watch his words & behavior, he was totally aware of his circumstances, but kept his eyes on God.  Truthfully, i don’t think he had any alternative. 

So here’s my bottom line – in the middle of change, we’ve got to keep our eyes, attention & heart set on God.  What are some things, actions, ways that help you do this???