meeting expectations

There are alot of things in our lives that have expectations:  job descriptions, social behaviors, standardized tests, . . . . We put alot of expectations on ourselves about how a person should act, look, dress, speak, etc and I think that sometimes, Christianity or religion can be a really tricky “filter”.    Looking like a Christian, talking like a Christian, dressing like a Christian doesn’t make a person a follower of Jesus.  We can match up to all of the external expectations but in our hearts, we can be a million miles away from the reason Jesus died for us.  The reason Jesus died for us was not merely to make our external image appealing, but moreseo to transform what’s on the inside of us.  The defining distinctive Jesus identifies as being His follower is our love for each other (John 13:35).  Loving well is very important 🙂

act the right way???

“YOU SHOULDN’T DO THAT!!!!”  When we were growing up, you probably heard that a few times, as did I.  Now that I’m an adult, I still hear those words in my mind sometimes.  “You shouldn’t be driving so fast!  You shouldn’t be sarcastic, you shouldn’t be so casual, you shouldn’t . . . . . ”

In religion, there’s lots of “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”  – we wishfully think that the right behavior will fix everything.  From my perspective, this kind of thinking is like putting peacock feathers on a cow:  accessorizing the external in an attempt to deny or compensate for the internal.

More than we realize our beliefs shape our behavior, so perhaps we would be better to consider what we believe as the first step.  Yucky beliefs and thinking always result in yucky words and actions 🙂

shiny clean

It seems to me that most of us like things clean & shiny more than we like the work & effort that goes into making something shiny & clean.  Yesterday, my kids & I cleaned out some of our garage.  Needless to say, I found lots of undesirable junk (half eaten otter pops, sticks that were used as swords, an ancient waffle iron, wood planks, etc).  After lots of sweeping, washing, moving, organizing, etc, part of our garage is not longer a hazardous waste dump 🙂

Sometimes, I think we need to do the deep cleaning work in our thinking, values, time usage & relationships.  Life gets filled with clutter over the course of time & it’s tremendously helpful to declutter our lives from time to time so that we manage our time, money & energies to reinforce our central & timeless priorities – shiny clean 🙂

hot topic: civil disobedience

I read this morning about some high school seniors pranks in NJ who have been arrested for pranking their high school last night.  Now I can’t really say that their behavior would fall into the “civil disobedience” category because it’s May, they’re seniors & might have possibly watched “Ferris Bueller”.  With that being said, I also read this morning in Acts 5 about how Peter & some of his friends disobeyed the direct commands of the Jewish leaders by preaching about Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem, shortly after Pentecost & Jesus’ resurrection.  In verse 29, Peter told these Jewish leaders they he had to obey God rather than man.

There’s a place & time for civil disobedience & some expressions of rebellion are even condoned by the Bible:

  • It’s not ok to passively watch someone get hurt or bullied.
  • It’s not ok to follow popular culture when it conflicts with loving God & loving people.
  • It’s not ok to blindly do what’s popular, trendy or hip.
  • It’s not ok to compromise your God-given identity to blend in for social acceptance.

Particularly when we are confronted with compromise, social acceptance and even being politically correct, let’s make it our fundamental priority to please God, end of story, full stop.

Smarty Pants

I’ve made some really dumb mistakes in my life – one of which was overvaluing intelligence. I think it’s almost humorous that I would say that because I’m still a massive advocate for education probably because I love to learn. Nevertheless, here are a few things that could be more important than being intelligent:
*character & integrity – people who are smart but lack character & integrity can be extremely dangerous!
*compassion – intelligence without compassion is very cold & sterile
*hard work – this seems pretty self evident
*forgiveness – when we don’t forgive, our world becomes increasingly smaller & smaller
These are just a few things I’m learning in my journey 🙂

staying power

Holy Cow!  That was Jeroboam’s solution to help him stay in power as the king of Israel, even though God had obviously put him in this position.  I was reading this morning (1 Kings 7) about how God spoke to Jeroboam through a prophet & told him that he was going to be the king of Israel.  When Jeroboam became the king, he got really jittery about keeping his power & decided that his kingdom needed it’s own set of gods, festival days, worship routines, etc that would exclude anything from the Temple in Jerusalem or the worship of the true God, as outlined by Moses.

Jeroboam was put in the position of king by God’s power but he didn’t stay long because he decided to trust in his own methods & efforts rather than trusting in God.  In my thinking, there’s no staying power of any lasting value that doesn’t include trusting in our Triune God 🙂

Seek & Find

It’s always a great pleasure to find things that we look for. One time, I lost my wedding ring for like 2years. When we found it, there was MUCH REJOICING!!
Be mindful of the things for which you seek.
If you’re looking for popularity, you’ll find it & probably be disappointed.
If you’re looking to be wealthy, you might discover that money isn’t everything you thought it would be.
If you’re looking for success, you might find that it’s nothing more than a cat-and-mouse chase.
If you’re looking for applause & affirmation, you might discover that it costs more than it’s worth
If you look for God’s kingdom more than anything else, then everything else will fall in your lap 🙂