Archive for July, 2009

Buy It Back

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

pocket watch Buy It Back

In Ephesians 5:16, Paul helps us to see time differently, so we can use it wisely. He told the Ephesians to “redeem the time.” What did and does it mean to redeem the time? In Greek, there are two words for time. The first is chronos - where we get our word chronology. Chronos is sequential time, moving time, chronological time. The other word is kairos. Kairos can be translated as a fixed moment in time. It is leveraging opportunities, that God brings our way,  in order manifest our faith and his presence in the world.

When Paul said: “redeem the time,”  he was not talking about buying up or buying back minutes in time, but taking advantage of moments of significance within those minutes. Every minute is a potential moment of significance. Every hour is an opportunity for God to explode it with eternal value and purpose. Biblical time management is not so much a matter of controlling the clock and calendar, but capitalizing on God-given opportunities

Call, text, email someone to encourage them 

Pray for someone 

Share your faith with a co-worker, neighbor, friend 

Use your gift

Get involved in your neighborhood 

Open up your home 

Start a movement 

What about you? What other ways can you take advantage of the opportunities that God gives you on a daily basis? How can you do a better job in “redeeming the time?” Who, in your sphere of influence, could benefit from you “redeeming the time?”

Popularity: 20% [?]

Iguanas and Christians

Friday, July 24th, 2009

dsc018783 300x225 Iguanas and Christians This is an image I captured in Aruba, while Tonia and I were eating breakfast one morning. Although there was more food on the ground, these iguanas positioned themselves against one another, fought over territory, head butted, and clawed one another over a piece of cantaloupe. The fight became so intense that they moved away from the food. The shocker? While they fought, another iguana came and stole and devoured the cantaloupe. It was funny and sad at the same time. 

I wonder if this is what’s happening among Jesus followers. Although there are many people in our communities and cities who need Jesus, we position ourselves against one another, fight over territory, and head butt, claw and scratch one another to win the fight for their attendance and allegiance. While we fight and malign one another, the enemy comes and steals, kills, and devours the very people we say we’re attempting to reach.

How can we do a better job in practicing the transformational truth of John 13:34-35 and John 17, and demonstrate how different we are than the instinctive, dog eat dog, every iguana for himself, and survival of the fittest, animal kingdom?

Popularity: 20% [?]

Good Morning

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

morning sunshine 300x225 Good Morning

Have you ever thought about the simple but powerful greeting – Good Morning? I was forced to think about it as I ran on the white sand beaches of Aruba one day. I must have said Good Morning at least a hundred times. Sometimes I initiated the greeting, and many other times my fellow vacationers initiated it.

Once we locked eyes, it seemed like we were compelled to say, Good Morning to one another. It didn’t seem like it was an obligation, but a human privilege. Some Good Mornings cheered and brought smiles to faces that were otherwise somber.  Some Good Mornings surprised others. Some Good Mornings were cheerful and some muffled.  Some Good Mornings were forced and others just gushed out

It didn’t matter if the vacationers were from Chile, Columbia, Brazil, Egypt, Poland, United Kingdom, Nicaragua, or Costa Rica, Good Morning was Good Morning! It was a universal phrase that was understood by all, pretty much like love and music.

This phrase is a powerful one because, whether we realize it or not, underneath it is gratitude. We say Good Morning because we are acknowledging, for whatever reason, there is something good about this morning, for which we can thank God.

If you woke up and you’re breathing in and out, Good Morning!
If you still have a job or your spouse has a job, Good Morning!
If you woke up healthy and to a healthy family, Good Morning!
If you are able to read and think, Good Morning!
If you can feel the warmth of summer, Good Morning!
If you can feel the cool breeze of autumn, Good Morning!
If you can feel the chill of the winter, Good Morning!
If you can feel the refreshing drops of spring rain, Good Morning!
If you can walk and talk and reason, Good Morning!
If you can taste your food, Good Morning!
If you’re making a contribution to the world, Good Morning!
If you have people in your life who care about you, Good Morning!
Even if you are going through this and enduring that, it’s still a Good Morning!

That this morning is another gift from God, makes it not just another monotonous morning. It’s a Good Morning because it’s God’s Morning!

For what reasons do you say Good Morning? Do you do it out of habit or courtesy? How can you deepen your Good Mornings?

Popularity: 24% [?]

This

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Sometimes, in life and relationships, we have to GO THROUGH this:

dsc020941 300x225 This

And ENDURE this: 

dsc02096 300x225 This

And CLIMB and BATTLE this:

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In order to ENJOY the view of this:

dsc02063 300x225 This

And be OVERWHELMED by the beauty and power of this:

dsc02069 300x225 This

And EXPERIENCE the refreshment of this:

dsc020821 300x225 This  

What “This” have you had to go through, endure, battle and climb, in order to get to the “This” of breath-taking scenery and refreshing natural pools? Remember, this is still “sponsor me” week. So, leave a comment.

Popularity: 41% [?]

Making Poverty History

Monday, July 13th, 2009

 

1. Repent of our stinginess and be more generous 
2. Use food wisely at parties, reunions and open houses (take extra or leftover food to a homeless shelter) 
3. Have a family garage sale and give the proceeds to a cause fighting poverty, shelter or food bank
4. Serve at a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen, as a family
5. Meet and get to know people of all socioeconomic levels
6. Make one “poor meal” a month in your home (eat a very, very, very simple meal to remind your family that for many people such a meal is not an unpleasant reality that happens once a month. It is a way of life). 
7. Become actively involved in causes fighting and decreasing poverty – One, Samaritan’s Purse,, Plumpynut
8. Change your lifestyle – Live more simply
9. Start a family charity box or coffee can, where you put extra change, money you would spend for coffee or fast food. Each month determine what charity, shelter, or poor person the money will go to. 
10. Be homeless for a day or night
11. Adopt a child or children
12. Take a homeless person to dinner and actually sit and talk with him/her
13. Skip a weekly trip to the grocery store and donate money to a poor single mother, shelter, or food bank
14. Talk with your children about poverty and its affects
15. Avoid overconsumption
16. Fight injustice and oppression – in schools, among women, people of color, etc.
17. Get involved with Tabitha’s Closet 
18. Invite friends to watch a documentary on poverty and how it affects the futures of poor people
19. Give people what they really need and lack; don’t give stuff away just to be kind or to not feel guilty
20. Educate yourself on at least one aspect of poverty over the next month 

I know we will always have poor people in our world. This simply means we have more opportunities to bless them with our generosity. What are some other do you think we can make poverty history in our world? 

Don’t forget to leave a comment. Later this week I will let you know what organization we’ve chosen and how much we will be contributing. Thanks for your partnership. Grace and peace.

Popularity: 54% [?]

Finding a Soul Mate is Overrated

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

dsc018902 300x225 Finding a Soul Mate is Overrated

Last night, after dinner, my wife and I engaged in a deep conversation about our relationship. The magic of Aruba will make you do that. We talked about the last fifteen years – when we first got married, the ups and downs, the good and the not so good, the high points and the low points, the hilarious and the serious times, of our marriage. As we sat on the beach, listening to waves crashing onto shore and looking up at the moonlit night, we talked about how God had given a measure of success in our marriage (a far cry from being perfect). We have had a level of success because of: 

How much work we’ve had to put into it

How many adjustments and compromises we’ve had to make,

How we’ve had to ask forgiveness and be forgiven,

How many times we’ve had to let go of our own agenda and make the other the priority, even when we did not want to, and

How we’ve had to wrap the towel around our waist and wash each other’s feet.

It was really a great conversation (We’ve only just begun). From our conversation, I concluded this: We don’t find our soul mates (I’m not knocking those who say they have found theirs). I know “finding our soul mate” implies such compelling compatibility that it feels like this person is the other half of your soul and God created this person just for you, to complete you. For some, it also implies that the relationship will be as close to perfect as possible. I think finding our soul mate is fantasy, one from which life and reality will wake you. I think we choose if we are going to love as Jesus loved and who we’re going to love that way. I think we choose to do the every day work of love and become what we need to become to build up and complete our spouse and significant other. It doesn’t happen automatically because we say we’ve found our soul mate. This kind of love happens through intentional:

Hard work

Effort

Commitment

Adjustments

Compromise

Sacrifice

Transparency

Honesty

Humility

Toppling personal walls we’ve erected,

Asking forgiveness and learning to forgive and not holding grudges

Learning to love what he/she loves

Making him/her the priority

After fifteen years, we are convinced that love is not an emotional noun – something you feel; love is an active verb – something you do. I believe when you do the work of love, the feelings of love will follow. You don’t find a soul mate; you become one. 

Do you agree or disagree that you don’t find a soul mate but you become a soul mate through choosing to love a person the way Jesus loved? Why? 

Popularity: 99% [?]

Aruba

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

aruba 022 300x244 Aruba

On July 4, at 6:10 in the morning, if the Lord says the same, Tonia and I will be heading to Aruba for seven days. We will chillax in a beautiful and spacious room in the Occidental Grand Aruba, overlooking the water. We are looking forward to: being alone, away from the kids, enjoying the white, sandy beaches, eating a lot of good food, dancing the night away, and celebrating our 15th year of marriage on July 10. I am planning on this being, as much as possible, a perfect vacation. I have permission from my honey brown to blog from Aruba. At the suggestion of a twitter friend, Tracy Davis (@anointd2srv), we will be giving his and hers written and video updates and perspectives of the trip.

Tell me about your perfect vacation. Where would it be, what would you do, and with whom would you enjoy it?

Popularity: 20% [?]