Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Going Through the Motions

During Jesus' conversation with the Samaritan woman, he talks about worshiping God "in spirit and in truth." According to a journal entry from Saturday, December 14, 2002, my reaction to this Scripture was the following prayer...

Lord, I pray that this Sunday, I will be worshiping You - and leading others in worshiping You - through the power of the Holy Spirit. Send Him with power and peace and joy and "blow the roof off the joint!"

That sounds so purposeful and dedicated, right? Now read the next journal entry, from Tuesday, December 17th...

So, did the roof get blown off the joint? Probably not; though some people may have thought so because they really liked the bells or the sax. Probably not; though I must admit that I had forgotten all about the above prayer until I read it again just now and so my head and my heart weren't really geared toward the Spirit.

I was going through the motions, wasn't I? I remember raising my hand in praise, but I wonder if I would have done that if I had been in the congregation instead of in front of it?

Truth is...I want to be a dynamic man of God, but even on my best days, I'm just kind of leaning in that direction. I am a work in progress...and I'm thinking that you probably are, too.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Conan O'Brien's Lesson on Handling Hard Times

Conan O'Brien is a freakishly tall, angular, oddly-funny redhead. You may recognize the name from the writing staff of The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live and, oh yeah, sixteen years as the host of Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

Also of note are the seven months he spent as host of The Tonight Show...seven months that ended with the job being taken away from him because Jay Leno's move to prime time was a disaster that everyone except the NBC executives foresaw.

With that absolutely unfair event in mind, Mr. O'Brien's final broadcast as host of The Tonight Show included some of the most gracious words ever spoken by a professional comedian.

Please enjoy this bit of kinetic typography by Jacob Gilbreath.

Click here to view the Vimeo video in a new window.

Truth is...when it comes to handling disappointment and upset, one's attitude may very well be everything...or at least as close to everything that anyone's ever going to get.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bringing Up the Rear

The Apostle Paul, on more than one occasion, compared the followers of Jesus to a human body...even to the point of calling the church, "the body of Christ" (I Corinthians 12:27).

In the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians, Paul emphasizes that no member of the body is more important than another, that our differences are necessary, and that we all belong together: You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts - limbs, organs, cells - but no matter how many parts you can name, you're still one body. It's exactly the same with Christ....I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn't just a single part blown up into something huge. It's all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, "I'm not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don't belong to this body," would that make it so? If Ear said, "I'm not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don't deserve a place on the head," would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it. (I Cor. 12:12-18 MSG)

I like that one phrase: It's all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together.

In his letter to the Christians in Ephesus, Paul repeats the idea that each part of the church/the body has an important role to play: From [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Eph. 4:16 NIV)

To put the analogy in practical terms, if you're a person who speaks words of encouragement or teaching, you might be thought of as being the mouth of the body. If you are always helping others, you could be compared to the hands. Maybe you offer transportation to doctor appointments, etc. for the elderly, or drive people to the church services...just like legs.


If your sole contribution to the life of your church is coming into a particular building on Sundays and sitting...there's a different part of the body to which you might be compared.

Truth is...every body needs a butt, but each body only needs one. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Art Imitating Life

The Buckets is a comic strip, currently written and drawn by Greg Cravens, distributed by United Feature Syndicate, and available at gocomics.com. It focuses on a suburban family and is based on the actual family of its creator, Scott Stantis.

A recently-published strip featured the mother of the family, apparently driving by an example of road rage or some other form of public disturbance:

A fair enough observation, but it is the second panel that causes the chuckle...as we see a far-too-common disconnect between what a person is perturbed by and what a person does:

I spend enough time on Facebook (too much time, probably) to see plenty of examples of people hatefully accusing others of being hateful and narrow-mindedly calling other people narrow-minded.

It's an old saying, but certainly true: You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. (Of course, I have no idea why anyone would want to catch flies.)

Truth is...there is a dire need to develop the skill of respectfully disagreeing with people; of supporting one's convictions or opinions without ripping someone else's to shreds.