Archive for November, 2011

After church yesterday, the family and I went to a fundraiser luncheon to eat and enjoy a little of the Littlefield Marching Band.  We had a great meal and heard a little music and then got up to sneak out so that I could get some work done.  As we were leaving, one of our faithful Wednesday night attenders met me at the end of the table.  Janine wanted to introduce me to her pastor.  She attends a church in another community on Sunday and then attends our church when there is nothing going at her church.

At any rate, I turned to shake the hand of the man standing next to her and as I looked him in the eye, I knew that I knew this man.  As she introduced him, “This is my pastor, L.D. Green,”  –   the life of my childhood flashed before my eyes.  This was the first pastor that I can remember as a child.  He is the man that led me into the baptismal waters at an early age.  I was dumbstruck.  What could I say to this man who has had such an impact on me during my formative years.

I knew he lived in Lubbock, and I thought he was retired.  In fact, a couple of years ago I actually called him on the phone to chat and check in on him.  But this was the first time in over 30 years that I had actually seen him.

He turned 90 this past August and yet, for the last 6 years he has driven the 25 or so miles from Lubbock to Spade to pastor the Baptist church there on Sunday mornings.  There is so much I could tell you about this spiritual giant in my life.  In fact, I think I will do just that over the next couple of days.

For today, let me ask you two questions.  Who has impacted your life in a positive way?  Have you told them what they mean to you lately?

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As I have mentioned several times oner the last month or so, we are knee deep in renovations on a home here in Littlefield.  This week has had me playing catch up, trying to get a bathroom back to the realm of being functional.

The biggest item on the To Do list in that regard has been getting the drywall up and floated.

I am in no way accomplished at this process but I have done it enough to know a few things.  For starters, it takes drywall mud, paper tape, a tape knife to apply the mud and a lot of patience.  I also know that the amount of texture needed to hide the mud work is directly related to how well that mud work is done.  In other words, if the finished product of covering nails and joints in the drywall is not smooth, it will take a lot more texture to cover it up.

This week I have been fighting that battle.  But here are some things I have learned:

1)  It is a process that takes patience.  The mud goes on wet and then must dry before the process can continue.

2)  The smoother I make things on the front end, the less work it takes once the mud is dry in the way of sanding.

3)  The quality of the finished product is directly related to the amount of patience and time I put into the process.

4)  Sandpaper is my friend.

Now why would I go into all of this here in this post?  Well, it occurred to me about 10:45 on Tuesday night as I was trying to get the mud smoothed out that there are a lot of similarities between trying to float a wall and growing along my spiritual journey.

This whole discipleship thing is a process.  It takes patience and a commitment to the finished product.  Becoming more like Jesus does not happen over night – it takes time – a lifetime in fact.  BUT, it doesn’t just happen.  It takes dedication and work on our end.  The harder we work at it now, the more rich our experience will be later on.

Just as sanding is necessary to smooth the lines in the mud once it has dried, God uses bumps along our path to mold and shape us – sand us if you will.  I have said this before, but God is more concerned about who we become than what we look like right now.  This journey in the Way is one of smoothing and shaping, of growing and learning.

My prayer for us today is this:  Lord, may you help us to grow to be something even more beautiful.  May we become the people you intend for us to be – a creation pleasing to you!

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Content But Not Comfortable

I read an article this morning that made me think.  In fact, I am still pondering.

The article referred to the overwhelming number of “self-help” books on the market and the overall mindset of growing and becoming  better.  An author was quoted as saying, “leave me alone, I am happy just the way I am.”  Then the question was posed, “Is there anything wrong with being content?”

As I have thought about that question, I think there is a definite balance.  Our society pushes us to want more – more success, more money, more stuff.  But before we become too down on our society, I believe our calling as followers in The Way carries with it a desire to grow and become more like Jesus and not to become comfortable and complacent.

However, we cannot overlook the fact that God loves us just as we are – with all our baggage and sin.  God provides for us in spite of who we are right now.  So I think there is a balance between pushing forward to be more – to grow and become the person God intends – and simply resting in the fact that God loves us.  Maybe the difference is between being content and becoming comfortable.

So today, allow yourself a little time to think about how God loves you – the ways in which you feel God’s care – rest in those thoughts and feelings.

But don’t get too comfortable – we are still on a journey – this is just a rest stop along the path.

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We are quickly approaching the holidays.  In fact, last night as I left the church to head home, I noticed a Christmas tree standing in the window of a house down the street from the church.  We are exactly one week past Halloween and already a Christmas tree!

I love Christmas as much as the next person, but let us not jump past Thanksgiving!  And not just because of all the great food and time with family.  This is one holiday during the year that we are encouraged to stop and count our blessings.  But is one day enough for us to do this issue justice?  I don’t think it is.  I think we need to make having gratitude more of a lifestyle.

To start us off, I have called our church into a month of giving thanks.  Yesterday, we talked about stopping and counting our blessings.  I asked the question, “What three things would you miss the most if they were taken away tomorrow?”

I ask you the same question today.  I encourage you to take some time today to think about that question.  Let it resonate in your mind and heart.  Once you have an answer to the question, spend a few minutes thanking and praising God for these blessings!

Be blessed today!

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Beautiful Things

As I drove to work yesterday, I followed my typical route and routine.  I listened to my devotional podcast and reflected on the scripture that was read.  As I reflected on the topic of the day, I began to see myself as I truly am in light of God – not usually a pleasant exercise.  I saw myself as a selfish person, bent on pleasing my own desires.  I began to pray for God to make me more holy and more like Jesus – to make me a useful vessel for Kingdom service.

I wrestled with that all day yesterday.

This morning, as I made my commute, I followed the same routine.  Then, after my devotion time, I switched over to listening to Gungor (a fairly new Christian group).   The title of the song that caught my attention as I listened was Beautiful Things.  As I listened to the lyrics, God used the chorus to speak to my soul.  The lyrics of the chorus say, “You makes beautiful things, you makes beautiful things out of dust.  You makes beautiful things, you makes beautiful things out of us.”

This truth washed over me and I remembered the feelings of yesterday.  I was reminded that even in the midst of being a sinful person, God can make something beautiful out of me.

Let me encourage you today – – no matter what you are going through or how bad you may think you are, God has the power to make something beautiful out of you.

Be blessed today!

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My Son the Poet

Some days, being a father is hard work.  Some days – it’s not fun.  You know those days – one child has to be at practice at the same time one of the others has to have a parent at the school for a meeting.  Then in the midst of all that, one of the kids has a melt-down or some bad decision they have made comes to light.

Some days it seems more than I signed up for.

BUT . . .

Then there are those days when they do something amazing and you forget all those other days.  Have you ever had that experience?

My boys are pretty amazing as it is, and those days of not wanting to be their dad are few and far between.

Yesterday, was one of those amazing days.  I was on the way to run an errand when I received a text from my middle son.  All the text said was, “I left something for you in your backpack . . .”  I could not wait to get back to the office and check the backpack for what he left.

One of his current assignments in English was to write a poem.  The poem he wrote:  My Dad.

Now understand, this is a 17 year old young man who doesn’t talk much – even to those close to him.  But here I sat, reading a poem he had written revealing how he feels about me.  I don’t mind telling you, it took a couple of hours for the carpet near my desk to dry from the tears I shed as I read and reread his poem.

Yep, some days make this whole parenting thing worth it all!

Go home and hug your kid today.

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