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A bunch of us were grabbing for it. We acted like if we didn’t get it, we would die. And the problem is the supply was less than the demand. Which means that there was one person who had it and the rest of us needed to get a hold of it.

In a room full of techies with iphones, everyone was reaching for the one charger that someone remembered to bring. It’s interesting no matter how many apps we all had, without charge, the whole phone is useless.

As a proud iphone user, I do wish the charge held longer. I wish I could talk all day long and surf all day long and text all day long without having to charge up. But it really needs to be plugged in frequently.

I guess you and I are like iphones. As many abilities and gifts and talents, without getting charge frequently we will be useless. Look good but useless. We are all charge junkies.

Are you willing to be like John the Baptist? He seemed like a guy who lived on the edge. Think about it – walking around wearing camel’s hair. Eating locusts and wild honey. Down by the Jordan preaching and baptizing people.

Are you willing to be like John the Baptist? He would tell it like it is. Call out people for their sins. He didn’t care who you were – common person or ruler…if you were wrong he would tell you about it. “Woe” was his favorite word.

Are you willing to be like John the Baptist? He had followers. I want followers who are unpaid. It’s hard enough to keep paid help around (I’m on my 7th administrative assistant in 5 years!). But John had people who followed him around.

But when I say are you willing to be like John I mean are you willing to take all your credibility and following and popularity and transfer it over to someone else. “He must increase but I must decrease.” He’s better than me. I need to take a step back.

Well that’s what we all need to do not just in human relationships but in our walk with God. We need to learn to let Him call the shots, take over, take the lead….and simply play the background.

Quick question – name one of the Pips who sang with Gladys Knight. I guess for all of us that would be the greatest compliment – if people saw Jesus’ character in us and forgot who we were….because we were playing the background.

Check out this video.

 

As I sit here writing this blog, I wonder if instead of providing a solution, I am contributing to the problem. What problem? The problem of too many words.

I went to a bookstore today and realized there were so many books that I was planning to read that I have not yet. Then I saw others that screamed at me “READ ME.” So I left thinking I have a lot of reading to get to from the books here at the bookstore.

Later on this evening I visited my local library and saw a bunch of books I want/need to read. I borrowed two of them. I left much more there that I need to borrow and read another time.

When I got home, I saw two books at home I started reading but didn’t complete….got to get back to them. I also remembered I have a book on my desk at the office that I need to finish (along with a bunch on my shelf).

Add to that, the stuff in those wonderful magazines that are piling up in that place my wife hates that I leave them. Got to read them some day.

And if that’s not enough, every day I see more articles online that I want to read. There just seems to be too many words! Will it ever stop so I can catch up?

Well this is not a blog with an answer…just my random thoughts to add to the word overload in this world…

Glad that there’s only one WORD that became flesh and came near and among us….I can handle that or better yet He can handle me.

Tonight I had an opportunity to worship God among fellow believers. It was anything but the traditional setting or liturgy (order of service).

For fear of being ridiculed, I’m going to admit that I just left a gospel hip hop concert which turned into a worship experience. It was amazing to see all the worshipers gathered there from different races, ages etc and exerting so much energy in praise to God.

It blew me away. I was totally blessed. My friend who came along with me arrived late because his son was singing at another concert – a hymn singing concert. He experienced two totally different ends of the spectrum.

It begs the question, which one was better, more holy and acceptable to God. They both can’t be, can they?

May I submit that God is ok with variety and they are both acceptable and holy to Him. Can it be that God’s ipod has hymns and hip hop (gospel) on it at the same time? Will he accept slow and meditative as well as fast, loud and head banging?

Well I’m naive enough to believe that if He could choose to create summer and winter, giraffes and ants, that He can speak through all different genres of music….

I can’t wait to get to heaven and borrow God’s ipod…It may surprise us all what’s on there.

This has been an unsuccessful week for me.  It started off just like every other week; I wrote my to-do list and had great plans of working my way down it. Honestly I never seem to get finished with the list. I always have things that come up that are added and unexpected meetings and emergencies that stop me from working my way through the whole thing.

Well this week was particularly frustrating and I didn’t even scratch the surface of what I planned to do.  The temptation when work is undone is to overwork – to take work home, to stay up late at night, to neglect family, to even deny myself sleep or even a Sabbath (I said it…Pastors are tempted to characterize their business work as spiritual and work on it on Sabbath as well).

But in the midst of that I hear Jesus’ invitation, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Today I accept it. Despite my incomplete list, I’m going to rest. No matter how much that nagging feeling on the inside chews on me telling me I am less than because I didn’t accomplish what I should have, I’m going to rest. No matter who else demands that I keep working (even that inner workaholic), I’m going to rest.

You see I’ve figured out that God’s rest is an invitation to accept a gift.  It’s not a reward for our success, our accomplishments, our completed list. God gives us His rest because His work is finished no matter how incomplete our work is.

So today I invite you to rest. It’s not a reward…it’s a gift…

I have been lax in my blogging lately. It was one of my resolutions to write more. That’s up there with pray more, read my Bible more and get in shape to run a marathon this year.

One of the challenges with these resolutions is when you don’t get off to a good start you feel like quitting. Disappointment can play a number on you. It can get you in a vicious cycle of not doing what you should and feeling bad about it so you don’t do what you should. You almost want to throw up your hands and accept life as the same old, same old.

But I am glad to know that God allows do overs, restarts, resets and new beginnings. He has given us new days, new weeks, new months and even new moments. When we feel like giving up remember, “His mercies are new every morning.”

I’m pressing reset on my goals… I’m starting over again.

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awaken out of sleep…Romans 13:11

One of my challenges every morning is not staying awake after my alarm goes off. It seems so enticing to hit that snooze button (multiple times) and go back for a few more minutes of restful bliss.

Like mostly everyone, I’ve been riveted to the television watching the horrors created by the earthquake in Haiti. It is heartbreaking seeing dead bodies strewn across the streets, injured people without health care and children wandering the streets looking for loved ones. The destruction is shocking.

One of the things that has come to the attention of a lot of us who are so consumed with our own lives and issues, is the poverty and challenges faced by our neighbors just hundreds of miles away. Haiti had a need for aid even before the earthquake this week. It’s similar to New Orleans and in particular the Lower Ninth Ward – there were needs before Katrina.

Now we have been woken up to the critical need in Haiti. Please do all you can to help in this relief and recovery effort. But I urge us all not to hit snooze when this story no longer leads off the nightly news. When some celebrity scandal becomes the big thing, don’t go back to sleep on the needs of Haiti. While we are awake, let’s stay awake. Let’s continue to find those places where there are critical needs because of poverty, disease and disasters and by God’s grace let’s do all we can to help them. Don’t go back to sleep!

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We are encouraging everyone to go to http://www.wiiserve.org and click on the link to give to ADRA – the Adventist Disaster and Relief Agency. They are already on the ground in Haiti helping.

My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, “Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!” and either ignore the street person or say, “Better sit here in the back row,” haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted? James 2:1-4

I was watching a youtube video of a couple who like to play pranks on each other. In one particularly cruel prank, the girlfriend presents a Christmas gift to her boyfriend. Now he had been hinting to her that he wanted a Nintendo Wii gaming system. When he tore off the gift wrapping paper, lo and behold he was holding a Wii box. Can you imagine his joy as he jumped around, hugged her and celebrated this present? The trick was, the box was filled with college text books. You can figure out how he felt next.

What’s interesting is that sometimes we do the same thing with human beings? We assign value to them based on how they look on the outside and how they measure up to our standards.

How many times we judge people’s intelligence, character based on what they have on? It is a human struggle. However what we need to do is to continually remind ourselves to see Jesus in everyone. One of my friends says that he tries to treat everyone as a millionaire.

Let’s strive to not judge the contents by the wrapping. Recognize the owner of the package and assign value based on Him.

Happy New Year. Isn’t it awesome that God gives us opportunities to start over? With each new day, new week, new month, new season and each new year, God gives us opportunities to press the reset button and start over. As humans we get excited about these opportunities because they give us a chance to better what we’ve done before.

As we all lay plans and goals for the new year, I would like to challenge all of us to live by the words of Psalms 1:1-3

1How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does,he prospers.

This year, we want to be like that tree with green lives: leading a healthy, balanced life.

Here are a four areas we are seeking health in:

1. Devotional Health – seeking to walk with God daily and grow in our intimacy with Him.

2. Physical Health – we want to become more healthy through embracing good health practices.

3. Financial Health – this year we want to seek to order our money according to God’s word and wise financial practices.

4. Healthy Earth – we want to be good stewards of this earth that God has given us to care for. We want to seek ways to be more environmentally conscious and friendly.

It’s a huge challenge and we can only do it through God’s power. Let’s Go Green 4 God!

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29

Growing up our neighbors were like family to us. I remember when my parents would work during the day in the summer time, we would hang out over at the neighbors’ house. Being neighbors should mean something. And it did in Jesus’ day.

In the story referenced in the text in Luke 10 above a rich young man asks Jesus who was his neighbor. I suspect the reason he did is he wanted to find out all the people that fell under the command to “love your neighbor.” He would then love all those people and no one else.

You know it’s interesting for all of us, we have to answer that question – who is my neighbor? Who am I required to love, look out for, put myself in their shoes, not just give charity but share life with? Who is my neighbor?

One of the things I’m learning is that the more you seek to live a life of service, to imitate Christ, your neighborhood expands. Your neighbors aren’t just your church friends and school friends and people who have things in common with you. Your neighborhood includes everyone you meet.

I think Jesus wants us to break down the artificial dividing walls that keep us comfortable with an “us” and “them” mentality.

Small disclosure story to end this blog – my wife and I just came back from a cruise for our 9th anniversary. It was an exciting, relaxing vacation for us. But in the process, God expanded our neighborhood. We met two individuals who touched our hearts, our room attendant and food server. We listened to their stories about life on the ship.

We were convicted that our fun was supporting a system where people were being exploited. We found some neighbors on that ship and their pain became our pain and we can no longer look at things the same. Our personal conviction (which I’m not throwing on you) is that we will not do a cruise again once those conditions for cruise ship workers are in place.

Here’s my challenge to you – expand your neighborhood. Get to know people who you ordinarily don’t interact with. Answering the question “who’s my neighbor?” the right way, will change your life.

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