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Archive for December, 2010

Yesterday my world was turned upside down.  I sat down to do a little writing but before I began, I decided to do a little calendar clean-up.  I noticed that I had two unused calendars on my organization software so I deleted them both.  Big mistake!  I don’t know why but when I did that, it took my work calendar and work To Do’s with it.  Now for those of you who know me and how I live, you know that when my calendar and To Do list disappeared I spent the first 30 minutes running around the office bouncing off walls and running into things because it is hard to function without a brain.

Then I finally remembered what life was like before computers and I began to breath again.  I called our computer guru and he began looking into how the files could be restored.  He took over my computer and started a scan of 49 million files to find the few hundred I needed back.  15 hours later, I think he has found them.  They aren’t back on my calendar yet, but I have faith.

All that to say, I was reminded yesterday how dependent I really am on God.  When my life plans for the next year disappeared, I realized that the only really important calendar item that I have is growing to be more like Jesus.

What is on your calendar for 2011?  Does it include spending time with God?  My challenge for us today, as we consider resolutions for the new year, that we make time for Jesus in 2011.

(And if you use iCal on your computer and you see a calendar titled, “Untitled” in your calendar list . . . leave it alone – it is vindictive if you try and delete it – just a word to the wise)

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Last week, most of my posts dealt with hope – the hope that Jesus brought to a hopeless world over 2000 years ago.

This past Sunday, my sermon centered around this same  hope.  Jesus came to earth to live among us, to teach us to live and love, to die for us and then to defeat death in the resurrection.  We also believe that He will return again according to what the Bible says.

But what about the meantime?  How is the hope that can only come from God to be shared between the resurrection and the return?  We are God’s plan and strategy for that to happen.  We are to be God’s messengers of hope.

So here is the question I asked our congregation on Sunday, and I ask of you today – and it is not an easy question:  If we truly believe that Jesus came to this earth to teach us how to live and to love; if we believe he died a horrible death on a cross for you and for me; if we know beyond a shadow of doubt that he rose again, defeating death and making it possible for us to have eternal life – if these are the things we believe (and as followers of the Way, these things are the basics) . . . then shouldn’t our lives reflect that fact?

Be a messenger of God’s hope today!

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He Did It For You

This week, the wait is finally over.  This week we listen again to what angels heralded.  This week we remember what wise men traveled many, many miles to witness.  This week we rejoice in God’s ultimate plan.  This week we celebrate the coming of the Christ – Immanuel – God with us – Jesus!

Jesus is the reason for the season – but more importantly, He is the hope of our lives.

Don’t let this Christmas get by you without spending some time pondering the impact God made by leaving heaven to be born as a peasant in a world that would reject Him.  God did it for love.  God did it for you!

Merry Christmas!

 

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Stable and Tomb

This time of year causes our minds to think a lot about hope.  Hope is believing that something we dream about will come true.  For many, hope is believing and trusting that their situation in life will get better – that they will have enough money or enough food.

I believe that true hope can only be found in God.  When people place their hope in other things or other people, their hopes are disappointed.  Over time, hope fades to nothing.

When Jesus came to earth, he restored hope.

At Christmas time, we remember Jesus’ coming – the miracle of his birth and all the joy surrounding that blessed event.

But we cannot fully experience the hope Jesus brought without remembering the cross as well.  1 Peter 1:3-4 says this: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.”

We can celebrate a living hope this Christmas season because of what happened in a stable over 2000 years ago, but may we never forget that our hope is possible because of an empty tomb.

Be a blessing today!

 

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I have had a day or two to begin to process all the things we experienced with our time of service with Mission Arlington.  I had the transformative experience of working along side some amazing South Plains College students this past weekend.  We did everything from pick up and deliver furniture to wrap Christmas gifts and work in the Christmas store.  We were able to work first hand with folks living in deplorable conditions in inner-city Arlington.  Among those were children in low-income housing complexes.

One of our assignments on Friday was to take a truck full of items – clothes, house-wares, toys and the like – to two different apartment complexes and organize all of it out on the ground and then go door to door to each of the units to tell the tenants that we were having a free garage sale.  In a matter of minutes the area was swarming with activity.

As I tried to connect with these folks, I saw something tragic in many of their eyes.  Looking into the hollow eyes of another human being and seeing nothing but darkness tore at my soul.  The darkness was complete absence – an absence of hope.  I was torn as we loaded up the left overs to move on to our next assignment.  I watched as the people I had just met carried their new found “treasures” back to their shelters and then I turned and got on my heated, comfortable bus to transport our workers back to our reality.  A reality that does not include a lack for anything.

The beauty of our time at Mission Arlington came on Sunday, when we had the opportunity to work with the children in some of those same housing complexes.  For them, the hope had not yet been drained from their eyes.  They still had the hope that innocence affords a child living in those conditions.  It was in those moments that I saw the opportunity to make a real difference.  Those workers and volunteers who work with those kids weekly are making a difference.  They are keeping their hope alive – hope that can only come from Jesus.

May God bless all those workers on the “front lines.”  Your work will produce fruit because you are serving as God’s hands and arms and feet.

I am glad I got to work with the kids whose hope is still alive – especially here at Christmas time.  But I can’t erase the image in my mind of the hopelessness in the eyes of the adults.

Come Lord Jesus, Come!  Restore hope to the hopeless!

Amen

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Tillie Burgin is a modern day pioneer.  She is also a model of Jesus leadership.  She is in her 70’s but  she is still on the job and still the center of the organization.  But she is the center not because of her ego.  She is the center because of her passion and heart.  It is inspiring and contagious.

Mission Arlington owns and operates a literal fleet of vehicles – all running in different directions all day long, 6 days per week.  Many of the vehicles are large moving trucks used to pick up donated items and bring them back to be sorted and then re-loaded onto the trucks to be delivered to needy families in the Arlington area.

It was the last run of the day for our crew.  We had delivered a truck full of furniture to a family and then headed off to pick up items from four different donors.  The first three donors had a wide variety of items ranging from 32” TV’s to filing cabinets to used clothing – even an air compressor.  But the last pick up of the day for us was the remains of an estate sale.  Little did we know what we were in for.  We loaded the truck with as much as it could hold and headed back to the warehouse.

When we arrived, the staff immediately called Miss Tillie to take a look and see if the items were any value to the cause.  It was 5:45 in the evening, getting dark and cold.  But Miss Tillie came running, climbed up in the back of that truck and began sorting.

We finally got the truck unloaded and the items placed where they belonged.  I moved the large truck down the street to the parking area for the night and then walked back to the center to meet up with our crew.  It was 7 PM by that time and as I approached our group, I noticed Miss Tillie with a broom and dustpan, sweeping trash in the alley.

I was overcome with the realization that I was watching Jesus leadership in action.  Miss Tillie is the “real deal.”  Here we were going on twelve and a half hours straight and she was picking up trash in the parking lot and alley!

As I drove away that evening I pondered two things.  One, I hope I am still living out my passion with that kind of energy when I am Tillie’s age.  And two, I pray that I can exhibit that kind of servant leadership every day for the rest of my life.

Thank you Miss Tillie for inspiring us all!

 

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Commando Shopping

Yesterday, Kristi and I both took a vacation day from work and went shopping to wrap up our Christmas shopping – OK, we went and did ALL our shopping (prior to yesterday, we had not bought a gift)!  It was a great day – being together and getting things done.

But what made the day was our approach to shopping.  I am not a great shopping partner for Kristi.  When you goes shopping, she shops.  She compares, she analyzes, she tries things on.  When I shop, I take a different approach.  I call it Commando Shopping.

Yesterday, because we had to get all the shopping done in one day, we opted for Commando Shopping.  When we got in the car, we had a plan and we stuck to the plan – all day.

Commando shopping can be described best this way – Get in, get out and leave no one behind.

That is what we did!  It was awesome!

Now, if I can just find the time to wrap them . . .

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