Everybody knew my dad’s heart was bad. His cardiologist just throws his hands in the air when he sees my dad. My dad’s longevity, the doctor says, is the reason he believes in God. But lately, things have been a little rougher than usual. Dad was simply losing all of his strength and we couldn’t figure out why. For a while, Dad needed help just to stand up. He and my mom had a routine. She knew just where to stand so he could pull himself up.
One afternoon while I was visiting, mom helped dad stand up and just for a moment, they stood together and held their embrace. ”I’m so sorry,” I heard my dad whisper a little too loudly to my mom. “Hush,” she said, “the children think we’re dancing.”
I’ve thought about that over the last several days and you know, Mom is right. Sometimes the only difference between stumbling and dancing is the music. So, here’s my New Year’s Resolution: whenever I feel a little unsteady, I’m going to hum a little louder. Who knows? Maybe the world will think I am dancing.
PS: Dad is better and responding well to rehab. I guess dancing is good for your heart…
What’s your resolution for 2012?
If you are having trouble coming up with one…
Try reading the Bible all the way through!
Follow @ReadTheBibleBBC for daily reading plans in 2012.
The other night I dreamed Chipper Jones had been traded to the Anaheim Angels. (If you’re not a baseball fan, Chipper has played third base for the Braves for the last several years and is something of a fixture in Atlanta). I remember sitting in the stands thinking how odd this was.
When I woke up, I found myself wondering, “What if churches acted like baseball franchises and could trade their “team” from one church to another?” Would churches trade pastors, staffs, members? “I’ll trade you one pastor for two committed members and a staff member to be named later.”
What would a good pastor be worth? How would you measure a pastor? In baseball, we have OBP (on base percentage), BA (Batting Average), ERA (earned run average) and a bunch more…
But what stats would you put on a pastor’s card?
ABY (average baptisms yearly)?
AIA (average increased attendance)?
AGB (average growth in budget)?
I know these are the numbers we usually use, but are they the right ones?
For that matter, how would you determine the value of a member?
What measurements would you use?
For some reason popular thinking says God is against EVERYTHING! Just name something—anything—and there is probably a religious prohibition against it somewhere… especially if it’s fun. If anything is fun, then God is definitely against it!
I know that’s what everybody thinks, but is that true? Is God really against EVERYTHING? Let’s check the facts.
In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve could eat the fruit of any plant they wanted—except one tree. Adam and Eve had a paradise full of good things to eat. God gave them only one no. One no! That’s hardly being against everything.
And the 10 Commandments? There are 8 things God says we can’t do… things like murder, stealing, lying—things like these are forbidden. Is anyone for these things? Again, the facts say God isn’t against everything.
And Jesus? Jesus boiled it all down to two commandments. Love God. Love others as you love yourself. Just 2? Yep, just 2…
In fact, God sent Jesus into our world to show us all what God is for. Jesus is for the kingdom, for love, for mercy, for justice, for peace—for us! And we were created FOR HIM!
The good news of the gospel is that God in Christ is for us… and following Christ is the power of living for, not against.
So, what about you? Are you living for or against?
I am always surprised (and very grateful) for all that I am learning at Kairos. And recently I have been surprised by the number of conversations I have had with people dealing with self-hatred. Now, I am not talking about people who don’t like certain aspects of themselves, but people who don’t like anything at all about themselves.
This is a tough way to live. I know. I lived with self-hatred for a long time. We pick it up from a lot of different places. Churches make us feel bad because we have “failed” God. Schools tell us we aren’t “keeping up.” Parents, sometimes with good intentions, keep pointing out our faults and places where we need to improve. Add it all up and it’s not hard to come to the conclusion that we will NEVER make it. And we hate ourselves for this…
So, what do you do about it?
Well, I know you think I’m going to say “Jesus” and I am. But probably not the way you are assuming I will.
I am going to say stop listening to everyone else and start listening to Jesus—not preachers or teachers, but Jesus Himself.
How do you do that?
First, read the Bible. Read the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and here is what you will find. Jesus went out of His way to find those who hated themselves.
He went to them and told them two things:
- I love you. (And the love of Jesus trumps everything else!)
- I created you for a purpose.
First, He created you… how can you hate something Jesus Himself made? You are priceless… simply because of the Artist who made you.
Second, God is up to something in His world and you are designed to be part of that! In Christ, we find both our identity and purpose and of course, joy.
Now, I’ll need to write more on this later, but this will get you started. You are loved. You are needed. Jesus says so.
Is self-hatred an issue for you or your friends?
How are they dealing with it?
What are the big questions and /or issues?
Write me back. Let’s talk about this.
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