Preached Sunday, July 26, 2015, at Euless First United Methodist Church
Three years ago I gave up blogging for Lent. This year I am moving in the opposite direction. it has been over a year since I have regularly posted here, so for this season of Lent, I will commit to blogging each day.
Except Sundays, of course. Sunday’s aren’t counted as part of Lent.
I know that six posts a week is way more that optimal blogging. Consider it making up for lost ground.
Feel free not to read them all.
I had already made this plan when I came across Jeremy’s latest at Hacking Christianity, “Would a Missionary give up Swahili for Lent?” Here’s the Len Sweet (@LenSweet) Quote that secured my commitment to blog this Lent:
Good luck with saying in the past 500 years “I’m sorry, I don’t do books.” Good luck with saying in the next 30 years, “I’m sorry I don’t do Internet.” As the book was the delivery system for learning and faith development, the Internet will be the delivery system for learning and faith development…
What’s the first thing a missionary does? Learn the language. This is the language of the world we live. I’m sorry if you don’t like it. You could go “okay, I don’t like Swahili.” Well, if God has called us to be ministry now in this kind of a world, so you don’t get to choose: you have to learn a new language.
So it looks like I’ve got a lot of writing to do over the next 40 days. If you’d like to help, send me a topic or a question for me to answer. Either comment here, twitter (@steveheyduck), find me on facebook, or email me at steve (dot) noncon (at) gmail.com
What comes between you and your children? Before you answer, consider this:
But what will our children see? Too often, as I observe, the above picture represents what our children see of us during such “big moments” of their lives.
I will make a concerted effort this morning not to let my camera come between me and my children.
It’s not worth it. Even if I think this will help my memory of “the event” years from now, I have to wonder what their memory will be. I don’t want the above picture to by the memory my children have of me.
Eliza, our almost-3-year-old daughter is experimenting with being a big sister to Liam, her 11 month old brother. Most of this experimenting is harmless. Some of it gets rough.
One of the things she really seems to enjoy doing is pushing him to the ground. She knows this earns her a time out. After time out is over, we talk about what happened and why. Eliza typically identifies the errant behavior.
Yesterday, following a time out in the afternoon, she went a step further. She told me what she had done, and that she knew she should not do that to “baby Liam.” Then, as she walked away, she said, “and I’ll never do it again.”
I fought laughing out loud. I appreciate the sweet good intentions of our daughter, and imagine that for all intents and purposes she meant what she said in the moment she said it.
Yet, I fully expect her to do it again sometime. This is part of the nature of being a two year old.
Within seconds I made the same realization that you are making now; I have said the same thing, countless times, after doing something wrong. In the moment I feel fully remorseful and absolutely committed to never doing that again.
Sometimes I even make a promise to God that I won’t do it again. Ever.
Hopefully, now you are having the additional realization that I had the next moment.
Being no longer a 2 year old, I really ought to be, and expect to be, able to make such promises and commitments and keep them.
We are, after all, more mature than two year olds, right?
Too many of us Christians have bought into the understanding of sin and depravity that lets us all off the hook of ever getting better in our behavior. Sadly, we have sometimes taken this the extreme of laughing off efforts to reform our behavior with thoughts of “that’s what God’s grace is for.”
If you are satisfied with the maturity level of a 2 year old, keep on letting yourself off the hook with that one. If, however, you are of a mind to think that perhaps a person of your age could learn to control his or her behavior, then maybe now is the time to start letting that grace we are offered by God do the work in us that God intends it to do.
Is there something in your life that you should never do again? Would changing that behavior help your efforts to follow Jesus?
Pick one; try it. If you need help (and most of us will), that’s what church is for!
Let’s all grow up a little this week.
I remember being told of a conversation between an employee and his employer. This happened a couple of years ago, but the memory is fresh as homemade pizza.
The employee shared with me that his boss worked long hours. Not only that, but she (his boss) rarely ate healthy meals and almost never with others or at regular times. She had little to no home life.
The employee shared with me that they had been talking once and his box mentioned that they had different work ethics. The employee put in full time (at least) and occasionally took work home, but was careful and intentional about also maintaining a family life.
I processed with this person, a friend of mine, that I don’t see the difference between workaholism and working hard but maintaining boundaries as a difference in work ethic. The trouble is, too often workaholism is recognized as deeper commitment and rewarded. Thus, sometimes, this is how someone becomes “boss.”
Does this being my position simply mean I am not a workaholic?
Tomorrow: implications for the church.
I have an attitude problem.
If I have a seriously negative first experience with something, I find it incredibly difficult to get past it. For instance, if I walk into a restaurant and get a poor welcome, it is very unlikely I’ll enjoy my time there.
I shouldn’t hold this kind of grudge. It is unfair, and devoid of grace. I claim to have been, or to being, saved by grace. Yet every Sunday (at least) I pray and ask God to treat me the way I treat others. To receive grace, I fully believe I must offer it toward others; yet sometimes I am horrible at doing so.
I do believe, however, that I am making progress. For years I didn’t recognize this pattern in myself. Now I have.
So now I must do something about it.
The good thing, the bad thing, the challenging thing, is that I now no longer have an excuse NOT to move towards grace.
I will need help. Feel free to ask me how I am doing.