Hot Topic: religious movies

Lately, the US has several movies with religious overtones, like “God’s Not Dead”, “Noah”, “Son of God” & a few more. For those of us who follow Jesus, we get really excited for the general public to see some of things from the Bible with God participating in the human experience. For people who are not followers of Jesus, they can sometimes feel like Jesus’ followers can get dogmatic & judgmental. I find all of these ideas & paradigms interesting in light of what Jesus said about His followers in John 13:35 – people will know that you follow Me because of your love for one another. Seems to me that the defining characteristic of Jesus’ followers from Jesus’ teaching is love 🙂

Supernatural

There’s nothing supernatural about doing things in which you already have natural talent & ability. For example, to some people, my ability to absorb or pick up a language may seem supernatural but to me, it’s very natural because God has given me some talent in this area & it comes to me relatively easily.
The flip side of this is that those things at which I’m not as gifted nor talented are a struggle for me. For example, if you talk with me about business stuff (strategic planning, organizational structure, operational systems, etc), I’ll look at you like a deer in headlights. I know full well that when I “get” to put on the business thinking hat, I’m entering a supernatural zone, requiring God’s steady hand, help, wisdom & engagement. Just because we aren’t naturally gifted at something doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want us to be involved in such areas. Always remember that our “supernatural” is God’s natural 🙂

Hot Topic: parking tickets

The bad news: I’ve had a problem with parking tickets, in the past
The good news: I figured out a solution to prevent the parking ticket “challenge”
The quick story: I never have change for parking tickets & I’ve struggled to figure out how much time to put on the meter when it can accept a credit card. Most of the time when I earned a parking ticket it was because I didn’t have enough money on the meter.
Solution: fill up the meter to its maximum regardless of how long I plan to stay. This fixes 2 things at the same time – no parking ticket & blessing someone after me with some free parking.
Moral of the story: being stingy is expensive ,)

Likes and dislikes

Here’s some transparency:

  • I do like walking through garbage dumps in Cambodia to find helpless babies, but I don’t like figuring out stuff about makeup (mascara, blush, etc)
  • I do like studying biblical Greek and Hebrew but I don’t like office administrative work
  • I do like dreaming about helping babies in Somalia and the DRC with Saving Moses, but I don’t like the stupid hoops we have to jump through to get visas to help these babies
  • I do like giving the babies of prostitues a safe, clean and loving place to sleep (nightcare) while their moms work but I don’t like getting criticized for empowering prostitution

If you’re like me, our lives are mixed up with lots of things we enjoy and lots of things, not so much.  I find that if I embrace the things I don’t like as much (makeup, administrative work, visa applications, criticism), I will often get to see and experience things about God that I never knew.  Don’t miss the chance to know God better by rejecting things that might be inconvenient or uncomfortable 🙂

help with rejection

“Eveybody likes you, Sarah!”  That’s what my dad would always say when I’d come home from school, complaining that no one liked me.  Now that I think about it, the truth is somewhere between the 2 extremes:  everyone & no one.  Rejection is tricky, but all of us have to manage it at various times & in varying degrees.  Here are some thoughts that I hope you’ll find helpful:

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  • rejection is universal:  everyone gets rejected at some point (some of those points are linear, connecting the dots & some are hops & skips)
  • being rejected isn’t as important as what you do with it
  • is there a reason for you being rejected?  Do you need to make some adjustments?
  • forgiveness redeems rejection & transforms it to something of great value (consider Joseph & his brothers who sold him into slavery in Genesis)
  • God never rejects you – you are accepted among the beloved – Eph 1:6
  • In Jesus’ life, His crucifixion (the ultimate rejection) came immediately on the heels of Palm Sunday

spread your wings

“Are you telling me that at 28 years old, you never want to get better than you are today?”  One time I had a coaching opportunity for a friend who was doing some preaching.  I made them practice all of their sermon in front of me in the room where they would be giving the sermon.  This person felt kind of silly going through their entire sermon in front of just one person, in a big empty room.  Nevertheless, this was a really good exercise and opportunity to practice & grow, even though they felt awkward.

So here’s my encouragement:  try new things, regardless of your agility.  Ultimately, when I try new things, I get to lean into the Holy Spirit for help & that’s the best thing I could ever do in my life on a consistent basis!  🙂

Hot Topic: March Madness

You may not be a college basketball fan, so just in case you wondered, today is not only the 1st day of Spring, but it’s also the launch of a 64 team tournie of the “best” college basketball teams, with some outrageous skill & heart. Personally, this is my absolute favorite sports season of the whole year & yes, I’ve filled out my tournament bracket.
For those of you interested in knowing what kind of spiritual correlation connects with March Madness, I’m still trying to figure that out – maybe something about idolatry, endurance, confidence, dedication, teamwork, commitment, . . . . . 🙂
Happy March Madness!! Let the games begin – YAHOOO!!!

hip, cool & popular

Jesus had some interesting ideas about popularity & fame – He was, of course, quite famous when He walked on the earth for lots of different reasons:

  • healing sick people,
  • making religious leaders foam at the mouth with anger,
  • saying things that caused people to pause & think,
  • raising dead people to life,
  • giving thousands of people free lunch

Jesus was famous for lots of reasons but His popularity was a different story.  Jesus knew that His popularity with the crowds was at best fickle & fleeting.  When I watch how Jesus behaved & what He talked about when He lived among us, it’s very clear to me that He lived His life on earth to be “popular” solely with His heavenly Father.  He lived to make His heavenly Father known & attractive.  For our lives today, let’s understand that we are always “popular” with our heavenly Father 🙂

poise or poison

I’m a sucker for compliments and maybe you are as well.  I like to be told that I preached a powerful message, that I’m a great mom, I’m an excellent wife and I could keep going with a really long list.  Compliments are frequently really helpful, unless you get them from someone who you know isn’t a friend.  Compliments from people who are not your friends can be poisonous because the compliments are often insincere.  If you think about it, people who don’t have your best interests at heart can and will say anything nice to you because they don’t have any “skin in the game”.

In contrast, people who are genuinely your friend will tell you things that could be difficult to hear:

  • your zipper is unzipped,
  • you’ve been really cranky lately,
  • your thinking is really messed up,
  • that’s not a good color on you, etc

In Prov 27:6 it says that the wounds of a friend are faithful but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.  Don’t fall for deceitful kisses!

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Glitz & Glam

Packaging & image are important ingredients in the modern world. It seems to me that we frequently make lots of snap decisions about situations & people based on our “first impressions.” The tragedy of this mindset is that we can easily overlook people and things that have great substance & investment. Perhaps the religious leaders in Jesus’ day made this mistake & didn’t take the effort to know Jesus beyond the superficial assessment they made of His ministry (not including Nicodemus).
What’s in our hearts has more lasting value than transitory & superficial images.