too smart

I used to think it was impossible to be too smart.  Now I don’t think this for a few reasons:

  • I’ve met people who think they’re “the smartest person in the room” and more often than not, such people are neither personable nor pleasant, despite being so smart
  • people often get smart in a particular field / topic at the expense of being “smart” in other areas, thereby creating imbalance, which is not so bueno:  think Steve Jobs
  • being smart isn’t always the same as being wise

When we think about being smart, let’s keep the mindset that empowers us to always be learning and growing.  Let’s posture our intelligence in humility and service more than superiority and supremacy.  And let’s continuously acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Wisdom, a dramatic upgrade to just being smart 🙂

I messed up :(

I hate it when I mess up & the bigger that I mess up, the more sick I get to my stomach. I hate it when I blow it & I’ve had my share of shortcomings & mistakes. I’ve been disrespectful to my husband (and repented), I’ve been insensitive w my words & hurt my friends, I’ve made selfish decisions & been called on the carpet for being selfish, and there are many more areas where I’ve messed up.
But here’s my encouragement for us: when Lot had messed up & was living in Sodom & having a conversations w God’s angels, they took him by the hand & let him away from destruction. There have been innumerable times when God has taken me by my hand & let me out of destruction. When this happens, I’m always humbled, grateful & my relationship w God always gets deeper & stronger. Be encouraged that when you mess up, God can take you by your hand & lead you out of destruction 🙂

aid for charades

Charades is a fun game to act out lots of different things.  If you’ve played this game in a group, you know that you’re supposed to act something out & help your team guess your word(s) based on your acting.  This game can be lots of fun, but unfortunately, I think we play this game in our life, from time to time.  Here are a few examples:

  • Sometimes I think we pretend to be humble, when the reality is that we’re merely insecure.
  • Sometimes I think we pretend to be confident when the reality is that we’re arrogant
  • Sometimes I think we pretend to be peaceful when the reality is that we’re apathetic
  • Sometimes I think we pretend to be strong when the reality is that we’re scared
There are lots of other ways we live the charade game & ultimately, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to be humble, confident, peaceful, strong, etc.  But my sense is that we can’t really have these things well integrated into our lives as a normal reality without God’s help.  Just some food for thought 🙂

laugh and enjoy

When I was growing up, people used to observe that I was very serious.  As a little kid, I was always thinking about learning, growing & being mature.  I didn’t like it when restaurants would have “kiddie” menus because I thought that was condescending.  Suffice it to say that I was super serious.

Now days, I’m not quite so serious & probably what I most like to laugh at is myself.  I take myself far less seriously now & I think that a healthy dose of humorous humility is very constructive for lots of different reasons.  I also like to laugh with my kids – one of whom just pulled out an empty Starbucks gum tin from inside his footie pjs, leading me to 2 questions:  what else might he keep in his footie pjs & why does his keep the gum tin in his pjs???

So I’d encourage you to laugh today, look for ways to enjoy the diversity of people, encourage others & find a few constructive ways to take yourself less seriously 🙂

help me with some people skills

When I was growing up, my parents would always encourage me to develop my people skills – I still need to work on this area.  I remember them saying that while I could learn lots of book knowledge, I would USE people skills every day and they’re right.  People skills are really important – so here are a few things that I’m learning & I would LOVE for you to add your insights on what you feel are important people skills to develop 🙂

Here are some ideas to get our conversation  started:

  • respect – regardless of your frame of mind or preconceived ideas, each person with whom we interact needs respect, even if they’re behaving in disrespectful ways.  I’ve never regretted being respectful, but I’ve always regretted being disrespectful
  • serving others – when I get my mind to look for ways to help or serve others, rather than expecting to be served, I’m almost always deeply content & satisfied in ways that far eclipse the times when I am served
  • humility – the attitude of “all that & a bag of chips” has never really worked for me;  it almost always sabotages any kind of constructive interaction
  • encouragement – I’ve found that people flourish & blossom with encouragement & genuine praise more than put downs & degradation.
  • silence is golden – its very important to screen your thoughts before they’re expressed from your lips.  When I say less, it seems that people think more of me – what a shock ,)

So what are some people skills you have or would like to have?  Whadya think???

a deeper look at Philippians 2:5-8

I received some really good feedback asking for a little more of a deeper look at verses 5-8 than yesterday’s blog – so, here’s an attempt. 🙂

When Paul talks about having the same mind, understanding & attitude as Christ, he tells us this using the command form of the verb.  He’s not making a suggestion, or having a flash of brillance or even coming up with a good idea.  He is commanding us to have the same mind & attitude as Christ has.  From here, I believe that Paul demonstrates what he means by “having the same mind / attitude” in the next few points. 

First, in relation to position, Jesus did not “regard equality with God as something to be grasped.”  (NET)  Literally, not gripping supposing to be equal to God.  Humans are big on positions – 1st string Varsity, Treasurer of Student Council, Chief Operations Officer, . . . .  But of all the people who have ever lived & had a right to claim or hold onto a position, Jesus, being the Son of God would be the person most entitled to claim & hold onto His rightful position & status.  Knowing what Jesus did, we are commanded to have His mind & attitude, not demanding or clinging to a position we may have – whether we earned it, deserve it, were born with it or whatever.  Jesus, the 2nd person of the Trinity, was born in a manger.

Next, Jesus emptied Himself – not of His divinity, but of His glory.  Seems like there are lots of examples of Him emptying Himself – from his 40 day fast when He was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit, to welcoming children to bless them, to making breakfast for Peter after he had denied Jesus.  But I’d like your input on how we can empty ourselves.  What ways have you found helpful to be more empty?

After emptying, Paul says that Jesus took the form of a servant.  I did  a little more checking into the word Paul uses here for servant & this word, doulos, was considered to be one of the worst positions a person could have in life.  The will of a doulos was completely subjected to his master’s desires & in some cases, a doulos was considered to be almost sub-human.  They had no rights, privileges, social status, possessions or position.  And Jesus took this form – keeping in mind that Paul tells us to have the same mind & attitude as Jesus.  Clearly, the idea of becoming a servant like this, flies in the face of all modern convenience or paradigms.  Nevertheless, we are commanded to serve, even live a life of service, no matter how menial the task may be or seem.

After taking the form of a servant, Paul says that Jesus came in the likeness of man.  Yesterday, we saw that this word likeness is where we get our word, “scheme”.  Remember that Jesus is fully God, as though He were not man & fully man as though He were not God.  Since we already are humans, my take on what Paul means when he says to have the same mind as Christ, in relation to the likeness of man, is that we not take ourselves so seriously. 

Finally, after doing all these things, Paul says that Jesus humbled Himself & became obedient to death on the crossI don’t think there was any way that Jesus could humble Himself more than what He underwent through His death.  If you want to look into what all this entailed with more depth, here are a few websites as starting points:  http://www.konnections.com/Kcundick/crucifix.html & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifixion

So, hopefully, there’s a little more depth for you here.  Let us know if you have any suggestions on implementing any &/or all of these points into your daily living.

Next week, we’ll be going through 2:9-18, so I’d encourage you to read these verses everyday, as part of your quiet time w God.  🙂

having the same mind as Jesus

Reading in Philippians 2 has been very stimulating and challenging to me.  Some things to consider in verses 5-8 are Paul’s command  to us to have the same mind or attitude that Christ has.  In verses 6-8, he tells us how to do this:

  • don’t hold onto a position (vs 6)
  • empty yourself (vs 7)
  • become a servant (vs 7)
  • don’t take yourself too seriously (vs 7)
  • humble yourself (vs 8)
  • die to yourself (vs 8 & Gal 2:20)

This is an “Everest” list – very big & maybe even insurmountable to some.  Nevertheless, if you look just a few verses later, Paul encourages us work out our salvation with fear & trembling & that God is at work in us to give us the desire & ability to accomplish His desires (vs 13).  So those times when you have a strange desire to help someone else, to take the low road & defer to someone else, to consider God’s preferences – consider those moments to be divine interruptions & even inspiritations.  These are moments when the Holy Spirit is helping you to have the same mind as Christ!  Any suggestions on getting better at being humble?  😉

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBpldBh346w]