Thursday, September 23, 2010
Over the years, our kids have played competitive sports. Our oldest son played hockey and our youngest son still plays soccer. When you play sports, you know you are going to learn a lot about the sport, or at least that’s the hope anyway. There were seasons early in the boys’ sporting lives when the teams didn’t win all that much (I really don’t like to lose, by the way). It was really tough on them and me. Often in those times I would hear a parent say, “It’s not about winning, it’s about having fun”. My response is always, “Really? If this is fun, I have had enough fun, thanks”. One thing I have taken from these teams is the life lessons. See, I don’t think it’s about the fun, it’s about what we learn in those moments of success and, yes, even the failure.
As I reflect on those times, I can see the lessons. I learn a lot about conflict resolution as my oldest and I have a blow out in the car on the way home after a game where I felt he didn’t play hard enough. I have learned that it’s not good to confront a parent from another team who is yelling at one of our players (…it was ugly). I have learned not to yell at my youngest to run harder on the field, because he has a mind of his own and will let me have it in front of the other parents (it was an awkward moment – my lawn chair was not big enough for me to crawl under).
One big life lesson from sports is learning how I can see God in all those moments. I have seen how God is making himself known as sunflower seeds are shared, and I have seen him through early morning coffee conversations while waiting for practice to start. I have seen how God has pointed out areas of my life that I need Him to work on. I have had deep moments of reflection on growing up without a dad, not knowing what it would be like to have him watch me do a great move whenever my son looks at me for approval. Do you know how hard it is to hold back the tears while standing with other parents at a practice? Yep… awkward! There are way too many moments to list in this blog.
I wonder what it is in your life that God is trying to use as a life lesson. Maybe today you will step back and see that there is something bigger going on than just that moment. Maybe God is going to use it to show you something about yourself and more importantly, about Him.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
If you live in an area where chemicals are banned from being used on your lawn, you will be able to identify with this everyday life example…
I found myself, once again, with a garden tool in one hand while the other pulled weeds. See, where I live we are not permitted to spray chemicals on our lawns to take care of the weeds, so we have to pull them by hand (yup, one of the burdens we carry in a non-chemical zone). Early in the spring season, I was totally into this – I mean, each week I was Rambo to the weed world. My lawn looked incredible! I was taking responsibility of my piece of creation. As the summer went on, I slowly lost interest and let a few weeks go by without doing anything. Before I knew it, the weeds were making gains in taking over my lawn. What took me a few minutes in the early season is now taking way longer. The foothold is ugly!!
One day as I was pulling the blasted weeds, I got thinking about my life when I let things slip a little. Letting them slip by not paying attention to what I allow myself to think about, or even how I respond to situations and those around me. I was even thinking about how I can go for a few days and not make sure my walk with God is all good.
I had this teacher in Bible College named Ken Robins, who would often say, “Keep short accounts with God”. What he meant by that is, don’t allow a long time to go by without dealing with stuff that gets in the way of your relationship with God. Maybe better put: Don’t allow time to go by without dealing with the weeds in your life.
Is there something today that you have been letting slip? Something you have not dealt with in a while? A relationship with someone? Maybe your journey with God has become a little lax? Today, I hope you will deal with the weeds so you can move forward.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Every year, our family vacation includes a week at my aunt and uncle’s cottage in the Bobcaygeon area. Our week there involves everything from badminton, horseshoes, reading, dirt biking, swimming and lots of food. I think if we decided not to do this part of the vacation, we would feel like we missed out on creating memories for our family.
The one in our family that loves the cottage the most is our 5-year old black lab, Taya. SHE LOVES THE WATER! Every morning at 7am (it’s like she can tell time), she comes to my side of the bed and nudges me. Now, you need to know that this nudge is not the “I have to go out and do my business” nudge, or maybe the “I want breakfast” nudge. No, this is the “I want to go swimming” nudge. See, our black lab loves for me to throw rocks into the lake for her to swim out to get them. I know she can tell time, but has not yet figured out that rocks sink. I stand with a fresh mug of coffee and a bucket of rocks on the dock and throw rocks for 20 minutes while she swims back and forth trying to find them. Without exaggerating, she can do this for hours – we have to convince her to get out and take breaks.
One morning at 7am I got to thinking about how we chase rocks in life. We chase things that we think are going to fulfill, and then we get there and realize that it was not what we thought. We chase after more money, recognition, popularity, the next best technological gadget, all with the hope that it will fill that emptiness we feel. So many of us swim back and forth chasing rocks. We see the ripple, but by the time we get there, it’s gone.
I guess for me, I wonder if we are created to chase after things, but only after the right thing. One day, Jesus said to some chasers that the greatest command is to seek the kingdom of God above everything else.
Today, maybe you will stop chasing rocks and start seeking God
Until next time!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Here is what chased me down: I don’t think we (Canadian Christians) really know what true biblical sacrifice means. If someone from the early church (I mean like, “book of Acts” Christian) were to walk the halls of my life and yours, they would laugh at us and tell us we have no clue what sacrifice is. I wonder if they would tell us that our faith journey is nothing like what Jesus talked about. Jesus spoke about taking up a cross – stop clinging to our lives – and he even talked about dying to self. What does that really look like? Some might say that I need to relax and stop being so hard on myself and others, but I would say, “I can’t relax… something is missing!”
When you look at the Bible, you discover that sacrifice is not an option… it’s a necessity. It’s essential for someone claiming to be a follower of Jesus. If I can live a more sacrificial life, will I open myself up to more of God? I wonder, is that what we are missing?
So let me ask you – what are you willing to sacrifice for God? No really, what is it in your (MY) nice comfortable Christian life that will give up?
- Eating out
- Starbucks (please no)
- Your third car or maybe your second
- Will you downsize the home instead of up-sizing it
- Stop shopping for clothes for a year and give more money to an organization that is battling the frontline for fair trade
- Eat rice for week as some do in other parts of our world
I am not sure what I am willing to sacrifice, but I know today I am more open to the idea than I was yesterday. How about you? Maybe if we truly lived the way that Jesus intended us to live, we would find what we are looking for. Sounds like a song if you ask me…
Thursday, May 6, 2010
“Excuse me ma’am, have you lost your car?” I was trying to be polite and nice so I would not get beat up. I can picture hidden cameras around, and me getting num-chucked by this 75-year old woman. Sure enough, she is confused and can’t find her car. I learn real fast that her husband died a few months back, and she is not even sure what she drives. “It’s white,” she tells me, and that helps a lot, since there are few white cars in the parking lot. So I ask her for her keys and I walk around pointing her keys at all the white cars. Nothing. Not one of those white cars let out a horn blast.
I felt sick for her. Someone stole her car, and her purse was still in it. We call 911 and we wait with her to make sure she is okay.
The sad thing about this for me as I reflect, is that I actually had a debate in my head if I should help or not. Do I really want to get involved in this situation? Thankfully, I felt that nudge. You might know that nudge, the one that yells in your heart, “Are you kidding?! Get off your butt and do something!” Not sure if God actually says that, but I wonder if He felt like saying it.
What I learned from this - don’t miss those moments that maybe you know you should do something. Live each day with the heart and attitude that says, “I will be part of making this world a better place”. Live willing to sacrifice time to reach out to those around you, even if you don’t know them.
Oh, by the way, she left her car at her apartment and forgot that she walked to the grocery store, purse and wallet on the front seat. I can put my head on my pillow knowing that I was part of that moment.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
The other day I was thinking about the invention of the “sticky note”. Can you see some person sitting around thinking about how to leave a note for someone, and they come up with this little yellow piece of paper that has a sticky strip? Take it even further---this person can see how it can be bright colors and different sizes---how smart is that? Personally, I love the sticky note. In our home I leave the occasional sticky note for my wife. I will place it on the coffee pot to tell her how much I love her, and that the coffee is fresh. The “sticky note” can be used to leave little notes to people that matter to you, and its sort of fun. If it was not for the invention of the sticky note, we might still be using smoke signals.
Have you ever thought about how God leaves sticky notes for us? We are heading into the spring season and we can start to see color again - God’s sticky reminding us of his creativity. We hear the singing of the birds and we can tell that He is creating a new song. While I write this we are only a few weeks away from Easter, and I cannot help but think that the cross is the biggest “sticky” of them all. It shows us His love, and the note reads, “I love you so much I am willing to let my son die for you”. I wonder if we can truly grasp the depth of this sticky note?
Next time you use a “sticky note”, remember that God is strategically placing a “sticky” in your life, either to get your attention or to remind you of His love.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
A few years ago my office was across the road from a school bus depot. From my window, I could see the buses leave in the morning and then come back a few hours later. Once the dirty buses arrived back to the lot, this employee would then go get the buses one by one and he would wash them. Now, keep in mind, a bus is not the size of a small compact car… these were your full-length yellow school buses. One by one he would spray them down, soap them up, then rinse them off. To be honest, I thought it was an effort that could have been done maybe once a week. Part of me thought, “the bus is going to get dirty again in a few hours, who cares?” I liken it to making the bed everyday; you are just going to get back into it that night, why make it? Who’s with me?
This employee left an impact on me, and I still think about it to this day. He washed those “Big Yellow Buses” every single day, and he seemed to do it with excellence every time. All day, five days a week he brought those buses back to shine.
You and I are probably not washing buses (or, if you are, good for you), but we are doing other things. We are working the assembly line, putting numbers into spreadsheets, raising children, doing homework. You can fill in the blank, but I ask, are you doing your thing with excellence each day? If you are a follower of Jesus, He asks us to live this way. He truly wants us to give our best in all that we do.
Next time you are tempted to put a half-effort into something, think about the “Big Yellow Bus”.
RB1 Corinthians 10:31
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
One day Tim went out alone, and woke the geese up with the loudest alarm clock ever. The problem on this morning was that we had taken the rubber boat home, so he had to swim out to get the birds. Remember, he was a total woodsman so this was nothing for him. Stripped down he lowered himself into the water and began the process of collecting supper. Part way out he was caught up in weeds just below the surface of the water. He struggled and struggled, but could not break free. The one thing Tim took with him out in the water was his knife, and that knife saved his life. He cut himself free and swam back to shore. Needless to say he never did that again. It was the first time I witnessed fear in his voice as he told me the story later that day.
I can see some parallels for life in Tim's experience. It's so easy to get caught in the weeds of life. We swim around in life, and before we know it we are drowning. Maybe it's what we allow ourselves to be part of: it's the small compromises that seem like no big deal, it's unforgiveness, or maybe it's full-on habits that entangle us and pull us down. Whatever it is that is wrapped around us, we need to cut it loose so we can run in this journey called life. Every once in a while we need to take a look down and see what is wrapped around our lives and cut it loose.
Is it possible that today we can begin to free ourselves of the weeds, as Tim did that fear-filled morning? Thanks, Tim, for being smart enough to carry that knife with you. I guess if you didn't take that knife this blog would of had a different application.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
We can all remember a moment in time where things changed and a new story started. Maybe it was not just one moment, but instead a collection of happenings you can clearly see in your mind. Life is filled with many different moments, like graduating from school, the day you said "yes" to marriage, or when someone hands a tiny screaming human to you (baby… in case you're wondering). The list can go on and on. There are also those times when you know that this particular moment is going to redefine your story and possibly take you in a whole new direction. For me, it was February 2, 1981. My brother and I had one of those moments, and I can still see and feel it as if I were still there. You see, it was that date, 29 years ago, when we were told that our dad had died of cancer. A new story was starting that day, and our main character was no longer a part of it. I spent many years wondering why this happened to us. It didn’t seem fair. The problem with the wondering years was that I had not realized a new story had started. A new story that I could not live true to because I kept looking in the rear-view mirror.
Today, 29 years later, I have come to see how God was able to use this moment as part of my story. So what's in your past that you have yet to realize is part of your story? Allow that moment in time to bring life to the pages, even if it's filled with pain. God is about telling His story through yours – if you let him. The questions are still there but they no longer have a grip on me. I have discovered that it's all "Part of the Story".
Embrace the moments as "Part of the Story".
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
May we run with pace in the journey of life!