Happy Fourth of July!

Today, is Independence Day for the United States. This is a day when we remember the foundations of our country, the sacrifices that have been made & we express gratitude for our freedoms & blessings. It’s indisputable that America has flaws & failings. But on this day, let’s choose to focus on these things:

  • Unity with diversity can be a strength when respect is kept as a core value
  • Freedom from tyranny was the premise on which our nation was founded – let’s not be tyrants nor bullies 🙂
  • Pray for our nation & its leaders – this day reminds me of the importance of continually praying for my country
  • Jesus says that greatness is grounded in humility, so let’s endeavor to serve & bless the world!

Happy Fourth!

Heroes

When I travel, I often meet people whom I admire & my weekend in New Zealand was no exception. To be sure, the country is entirely magnificent with its natural beauty, but her citizens are equally as enchanting. I met folk who are respectful in their conversations & engagement with diverse cultures. I met people who have overcome adversities that would make your hair stand on end. I met people who have a deep love for Jesus & carry His heart in their daily interactions, eager to serve & express genuine love.
We all meet people who have warts & flaws, but let’s have the courage & determination to see past those shortfalls & see each person as a glorious creation of our loving Heavenly Father!

Both Feet!

This morning, I read a verse that hit me between the eyes – 2Kings 17:41, “So while these nations feared the Lord, they also served their idols; . . .” This verse really spoke to me about my passion to follow Jesus. 
I think that we generally have respect for God, but all too often we serve idols. No one sets out, usually, to be an idolator but there are lots of subtle idols that can allure our attention. Greed seems to be the most obvious idol & it has certainly a firm foothold in our culture & values! Another subtle idol is image & vanity. Of course sports & fitness can be an distraction from serving Jesus & so can consumption & food. Comfort & convenience have also become significant values that often sway our priorities. 

Let’s be sure that we respect & serve God with both feet!

Hot Topic: Political Frenzy

I was talking with a friend this morning about the political situation in our country & we both shared the same sentiment of grief. He & I are grieved at the vitriolic nature of the political discord that seems be only getting worse day by day.
It seems to me that much of the intensity of this discord is not only being incited by various candidates, but it seems like we the people are choosing to swallow this frenzy rather than step back, pause, reflect & pray.  No matter what your political persuasion is or how you choose to vote, let’s be certain to maintain a few core essentials:

  • Continual prayer
  • Respect for different positions
  • Civility in our tone & language with any political conversations

Let’s choose to actively pray for our country more than we debate about our politics 🙂

Political Frenzy

I was talking with a friend this morning about the political situation in our country & we both shared the same sentiment of grief. He & I are grieved at the vitriolic nature of the political discord that seems be only getting worse day by day.
It seems to me that much of the intensity of this discord is not only being incited by various candidates, but it seems like we the people are choosing to swallow this frenzy rather than step back, pause, reflect & pray.  No matter what your political persuasion is or how you choose to vote, let’s be certain to maintain a few core essentials:

  • Continual prayer
  • Respect for different positions
  • Civility in our tone & language with any political conversations

Let’s choose to actively pray for our country more than we debate about our politics 🙂

Hot Topic: Donald Trump & the 2016 Election

Politics is a hot spot for many people. Everyone seems to get really lit up about who to vote for, what the candidates say or don’t say, the future of our country, moral underpinnings & HEAPS more. For his part, Donald Trump, has certainly escalated the emotional tone & conflict potential for our upcoming national election. 
My concern for those of us who follow Jesus has many facets:

  • I’m concerned that we will watch & listen to the candidates more than we pray for the election
  • I’m concerned that we allow politics to divide us more than we allow Jesus’ love to unite us
  • I’m concerned that we are deceived to think that human politics can resolve the broken & fallen nature of the human heart

Whether you like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Carson, Rubio, Cruz, Bernie or whoever, let’s make the commitment to pray for our country & its leadership more than we worry or complain 🙂

Honor to our Veterans

In the US, today is Veterans Day and this is a day when we remind ourselves of men and women who have served in the military and made small to ultimate sacrifices.  This is a day when we remember people for being their best:  selfless, noble, sacrificial, honorable, generous, humble and more.  We honor the men and women who fought in trenches and deserts, lost limbs and lives, bandaged wounds and bruises, gave their energies, talents, time and even lives as a sacrifice.

Such heroic choices and actions cause me to see Jesus as my ultimate Veteran and Victor – giving His life as my sacrifice but being raised from the dead so we can be victorious in life because of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Let’s honor our nation’s veterans and remember to honor the Savior of our soul – hail to the Ultimate Veteran and Victor!

Happy Veteran’s Day!

hot topic: S. Truett Cathy & Chick-fil-A

The Founder of Check-fil-A died yesterday at the age of 93 and I’m choosing (thanks Robert Bowman for the grammar help!!) to blog on him today since I blogged last week about Joan River’s death.  Please don’t get nervous & think that all of my hot topic blogs are now going to turn into obituaries – not so 🙂

But in all fairness, it seems appropriate to honor a man who achieved many commendable accomplishments. Mr Cathy is probably most well known for being the founder of the fast food chain Chick-fil-A and he also was a man of deep convictions, generosity and noteworthy business acumen.  Here’s a cool quote from Mr Truett,

“Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, our resources. I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return.”

If you’d like to know more about him, there’s plenty of web links to explore, but here’s one for starting:  Truett Cathy 

One of the lessons I learned last week from my Joan Rivers blog is to request any comments to be respectful and not hostile or combative, please and thank you 🙂

With that being said, please be very free to leave your polite feedback and share this blog with your friends 🙂

weirdos

Yesterday, my daughter & I had an interesting conversation while driving for groceries.  She let me know that girls are more emotional than boys.  While she’s telling me this, my two sons are in the back seat hitting, poking, pinching and generally harassing each other.  In the conversation with my daughter, I explained that girls aren’t necessarily more emotional than boys, but their emotional expressions are often different than boys – not bad or good, just different.  And that’s the rub:  when someone is different than ourselves, let’s be careful not to throw them in the “weirdo” category and outrightly dismiss them.  God has taught me a lot through all kinds of people, most of whom are very different than myself.

If someone is “different” from you, here are a few helpful ideas:

  • respect – be respectful even if you disagree & remember that treating someone with respect & dignity is based on your decisions more than their behaviors 🙂
  • listen – I like what Stephen Covey said:  seek first to understand & then to be understood
  • enjoy – differences are perhaps the greatest evidence of how creative God is & perhaps part of how God continues to capture our curiosity 🙂

Peeing in a cave

I read this morning about how King Saul was chasing David to kill him & how he stepped into cave to relieve himself. Unknowingly, David was hiding in the very same cave & even cut off a piece of King Saul’s robe! Although David could’ve easily killed Saul, David had more respect for God’s anointing on Saul than fear for his own life.
When we get in really, really difficult situations, it’s important that we act like David, honor God & stay out of fear 🙂

today’s my Dad’s birthday

Today is my dad’s birthday and he would have been 88 today.  As I think about him today, here are some things about my dad that are great:

  • he was always positive, even when everything was grim, negative, discouraging & even seemingly hopeless
  • he was very unique and didn’t see much value in trying to be anyone different than himself
  • he loved people – sometimes I think he used the garage sale excuse just to get to chat with lots of different people ,)
  • he was always 100% behind my mom & her ministry – he never seemed threatened nor jealous by my mom’s success
  • he liked to refinish antique furniture, go crawdad hunting, play rook, collect and be as close as possible to the Holy Spirit 🙂

Happy birthday Dad!

Revelry & Reverence

I’ve been reading about how King David in the Bible wanted to bring the Ark of the Covenant (God’s presence) up to Jerusalem. His first attempt to move the Ark was disastrous – a guy was killed. In David’s second attempt, he made sure that everyone followed God’s directions on how to transport the Ark.
My take away from this story is that we must always treat God with respect & reverence, never thinking that we can do things our way & ignore God’s directives, presence or preferences. We can revel in God’s presence but not at the expense of reverence 🙂

what’s the right answer?

Lately I’ve been trying to coach my kids about how to properly respond when I ask them to do something. Instead of arguing with me, telling me why they can’t do something, why it’s not their fault, or the plethora of other answers (including the new family member I’ve yet to meet – Not Me Bowling), I’m trying to coach them to say, “yes mom” or “yes, dad”.
There are lots of great examples in the Bible on how to respond to God. Two of my favorites are:
Samuel: speak Lord, your servant is listening
Mary: let it be to me according to Your word
How we respond to the visible & tangible authorities in our lives can often reflect how we respond to God – just something for your consideration 🙂

Fear: friend or foe?

Fear is interesting – in the right amounts & toward the right things, it can be really beneficial. On the other hand, fear with the wrong amounts & directed toward the wrong things can be thoroughly toxic & destructive.
Consider this: fear can immunize us from disrespect & irreverence. Fear can keep us from doing dumb things & the Bible speaks of a boat load of benefits from having a fear, respect & reverence for God.

On the negative scale, fear can hinder us from some amazing experiences, adventures & accomplishments. It can also keep us from learning some important lessons. Fear can keep us trapped in the past & cripple us from moving forward. Fear can suffocate healthy relationships & even debilitate constructive growth.
So here’s my conclusion: I don’t want to be afraid of life but I do want to have a healthy reverence for the Creator of life – love life & honor it’s Creator.

r-e-s-p-e-c-t

When I was growing up, I felt super free to give my raw & unabbreviated opinion without much prompting.  I even had a pastor tell me how when I was a teenager, I told him that I thought the vision he had for his church was worthless & that he needed to find something more meaningful to do with his ministry.  I thought I was being challenging & insightful, when in reality, I was only being disrespectful.  Ouch!!  I still cringe when I think about the uber stupid things I’ve done & said.  If I had to summarize the lion’s share of my regrets today, it would mostly come from being disrespectful & dishonoring.

 Consequently, I’ve come to a few conclusions that you might find helpful as well:

  • I would rather error on the side of being over-respectful than being under-respectful or disrespectful.  I’ve lived with the consequences of both choices & I’ll take the consequences of respect over the consequences of disrespect, any day!
  • I’ve noticed that when I treat people with respect, they tend to rise to the level of honor that I give to them, even if they start off being less than respectful.  I’ve found that when I give respect to others, usually they will be respectful back to me.
  • On the few occasions when someone continues to be disrespectful with me, I want to always make the decision to be a respectful person, regardless of anyone else’s choices or behaviors.
Cheers to R-E-S-P-E-C-T!!