Thursday, March 29, 2007

A love that is far reaching

I took a walk this evening and was overcome by the vastness of the universe when I looked up into the night sky and saw the stars. The words of the psalmist came to me and I thought of the One who created the heavens and the earth. I thought to myself, "How could God really care for me? I am so insignificant in the grand scheme of themes. I am nothing and yet, the Bible tells me that I am so important to God that he sent his son to die in my place.

I think sometimes we try to minimze this because it seems so absurd. We try to make Jesus' death sound less personal as though he died for "the whole world." No matter how you slice it though, the reality is that he would have given his life for just one person. He died for you. He died for me. He became the sacrifice that was required so God could be with us forever just like it was intended from the beginning.

The vastness of the universe was breeched so that God could step down out of heaven to be with us. Now that really is something in which we can stand in awe.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The star of our own show

I was flipping through the channels tonight and came upon Jim Carey's movie "The Truman Show." It is the tale of a guy whose whole life is the subject of a television show. Every day he gets up and goes to work and the cameras are rolling. They have filmed every poignant moment of his life since the day he was born.

The punch line is that he doesn't know that his whole life is the basis of the television show. Everything is staged but he doesn't have a clue. As I was watching the show the thought hit me that the concept isn't that far removed from the way most of us actually feel about life. Don't we think of ourselves in some strange way as the star of our own show? The world seems to revolve around us and what we are doing doesn't it?

Well the good news is that even if it isn't true in the world's eyes, it is in God's eyes. He loves us and he delights in what we do every day. So let's praise God by giving him a show that reflects his glory and honors him today.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Performing on God's stage

While Justin Timberlake was singing and dancing his way across the stage at the Mohegan Sun Arena, Mike and Jayson were getting ready to play in Canterbury. As the screaming crowd of fans were waving their $100 tickets at the ushers to get in and find their seats inMontville, the offering plate was put in the back of the church to receive a love gift for the aspiring Christian artists.

It's funny how the world tends to turn things upside down. I'll admit that the guys I watched were not as polished as Justin and the stage show wasn't as fancy but they sang from the heart. You could tell that Jayson and Mike not only believed what they were singing, they also lived it.

The truth is that you don't need a fancy venue to share your faith with the world. God will give you a stage, a platform and an opportunity to tell people about the love of God. So don't sweat it. Let Justin have the Mohegan Sun because you have God's son.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Staying on top

It is funny how quickly things fall apart at home. Just a couple of days ago I put in the last load of laundry and washed the last of the dishes. When I got home tonight I was greeted with a sink full of new dishes and a couple of baskets filled with dirty laundry. The garbage can was also brimming over the top in the kitchen and there were papers all over the family room where my daughter was working on a project. The mail and several newspapers had collected on the dining room table and just looking at everything made me tired.

I wish that the house would just stay clean but with an active family it seems that in order to stay on top of things you have to do a little bit every day.

Our faith life is no different. If we miss a few weeks at church or if we skip a few days reading the Bible it is so easy to drift away. And when it comes to fighting our bad habits, we need to be mindful of them or else we will start back sliding without even thinking about it.

The best way to have a healthy lifestyle and a clean home is to work at it every day. Then the things you do will seem easy and you will reap the benefits of as happy home in more ways than one. Well, I'm off to do the dishes. I might as well start instead of just complaining about it. Then I'll feel better and the house will be a bit cleaner too.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Just go ahead and sing

When he learned that neither of our pianists were going to be at Sunday School this morning, I could see that George was scrambling to figure out what else he could do for Opening exercises. He had planned on having a sing-a-long. Our student Pastor Amy Hollis suggested we could sing a capella and both George and I laughed out loud.

It wasn't that we couldn't do it, but we have not had to sing without accompaniment for so long that it was almost like we had forgotten how to do it. We had become dependant on the ladies and were literally paralyzed at the thought of singing without them.

After considering Amy's comment, we decided to give it a try. George led the singing and me and everyone else joined right in and made a joyful noise. We did it and believe it or not, it turned out just fine.

I wonder how many things we don't do because we feel someone else can do them better. What a loss that is for those we work and live with, especially when it comes to sharing our faith. So don't clam up if you are called to sing God's praises. Just go ahead and sing. You'll find that if you trust God you won't be singing alone at all. He will be with you and others will chime in.


Friday, March 9, 2007

Flexibility takes time

I went to my yoga class this morning. At one point during the exercises, I had to laugh out loud. The instructor asked us to cross our arms in front of us and to lace our fingers together. As hard as I tried, I could barely make contact with my hands after crossing my arms the way she was doing it.

After class I apologized for my outburst and explained that I laughed because I could not even come close to doing what she did. She looked at me and asked, "How many times have you done that move before?" When I told her "never" she told me that's why I couldn't do it. She has been doing it for years. The more she did it, the more flexible she became. She told me to keep trying and in time it would become easier and more natural.

It is the same way with our faith life. Once we decide to follow Christ, we will probably stumble and fall several times. But in time, we will get better at it and our faith will start to carry us along. So don't give up. Just keep practicing and your faith will become as natural as breathing.


Monday, March 5, 2007

Pray and it will relieve your stress

I found a crushed can of Busch Beer on our front lawn this morning. At first I was a bit angry. Why would someone toss this garbage on our lawn? What if someone saw it and thought it was ours? We don't even drink beer. I looked at the offensive piece of trash and felt the heat rising within me. I took a couple of deep breathes. Then I picked it up and threw it away.

Stuff happens in life. We can't control what other people do. We can control the way we respond to it though. Some of us let every little thing set us off and destroy our day. That is not healthy and it often leads to stress related illnesses. We need to listen to the word of Jesus who told us not to worry about things. He told us not to take things so personally and to turn the other cheek. He told us to pray for those who persecute us. He had the right perspective.

So this morning I am going to pray for that person who threw the beer can on our lawn. I pray they made it home safely last night and that God will watch over them. Who are you going to pray for this morning? Who has set you off? Pray for them. It feels good. Believe me, it is better than stressing over it.


Sunday, March 4, 2007

Letting go isn't easy

It was almost comical, but it was very sad when you really think about it. Lori was going through our closet last night and she wanted to clean out the clothing that no longer fit or was in some state of disrepair.

It was fine when she was throwing away her clothing. Then she got to mine. I actually began to have the shakes as she pulled out sports coats I hadn't worn in years and suggested throwing them away. I had shirts that had missing buttons on and stains on the collars that were just taking up space and when she asked me, I told her she couldn't toss them.

It was ridiculous. Even I saw the folly in it. It begged the question: Why do we some of us cling to stuff? Why do we put so much value in our possessions. I keep thinking of the Bible verse where Jesus suggests that we put our heart in places where moth and rust cannot get at it.

Do you need to do some "spring cleaning?" What is it that you are clinging to in your life that you need to let go of? Maybe we can do it together.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Off the exit ramp

I have been to Westbrook several times over the years. We usually stop to eat at the Dennys or go shopping in the outdoor strip mall. The exit marks the half way
point on our trip to New Haven and so it is always a welcome sight.

This week I got off the exit looking for something to eat on the way home and missed the turn into Dennys and actually discovered a lovely town. I can't tell you how many times I passed this exit and never realized that there was more to Westbrook than what you see off the highway.

Of course I should have known for I have friends who live there now. They talk about it all the time. I should have realized that there was a school, and all kinds of
interesting places to visit.

Life is like that isn't it? We fly by so many things because we are so busy. We just get a sense of what is out there but never really discover the blessings that God puts in our paths.

Maybe it is time for all of us to slow down and enjoy the little treasures that dot the landscape of our lives. You never know what you will find. It could be the thing you have been longing for.