I come clean about my age. Read why it has taken me so long to do it.
I am 61 years old. There, I’ve said it.
This means that I grew up in the ’60s. The music that I listened to in high school, my music, is now considered “classic” rock and is still being played today. We didn’t invent drugs, but we took their use to whole new level. And we also discovered that our parents and the authorities were wrong – smoking marijuana did not automatically lead to heroin addiction. We didn’t invent sex, but again, we took its use to whole new level. We didn’t invent being anti-war but we took its meaning to whole new level.
There are many things for which I am grateful that I was born in 1951.
We’ve all be told that we have to follow the rules. Do we have to follow God’s rules to get Him to like us?
I was brought up that there were rules that we HAD to follow. And I’ve always been fastidious in following the rules.
There were the 10 Commandments. There were the traffic rules. There were the rules that my Southern Baptist Grandfather made my Mother and Aunt follow when we visited his house. The school we attended had a unique set of rules.
Then I got “saved” and I got a new set of rules to replace the set I had had. Now, it seems that God had new expectations of me.
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. Jn 14:21 NIV
So if I am to show God I love Him, I have to obey Him – right? A friend of mine commented that “Patrick, we are just a bunch of control freaks who are looking for the right rules to follow.” That resonated with me.
Then I discovered GRACE!
Paul Zahl has the best definition of grace that I’ve found,
“What is grace? Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unloveable. It is being loved when you are the opposite of loveable. … Grace is one-way love.” [Grace in Practice p.36 affiliate link]
I recent went on a camping trip with a bunch of my mostly Christian friends. We had an awesome time together.
One day I chose to wear a tee-shirt that some good friends had given me from one of their favorite coffee shops Bad Ass Coffee.
To say this generated some “discussion” would be accurate. Some brought up the Ephesians 4:29 Bible verse:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
It is part of the body; it is also an animal – that happens to be referenced in the Bible. There is also society of clean thinkers called the Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles which has “ass” as part of their code-words.
Can Christians say “ass?” Is my tee-shirt inappropriate? What do you think?
What do we do when our “normal” routine gets interrupted?
Have you ever had something side line you from your normal routine? Something like:
An extended illness
A car “challenge” that left you without transportation
Losing your job
Being dumped by your significant other
Our routine is interrupted; our lives are thrown out of sync.
This is kind of how I feel this Summer. I’m not where I was. I’m not were I had planned to be. But here I am.
So what can I do?
Redeem The Time
We can make good use of this time. We can be productive. The key is to be creative.
So, what I’ve done is to get very involved. I’ve stepped up my service in a number of areas. I’m serving a whole lot more in almost every organization to which I belong. I’ve gone to two, sometimes three, events almost every weekend. I’m continuing to be sensitive to when God speaks into my life. In the mean time, I’m having fun.
Have you had a time when your “normal” was interrupted? What did you do?
Some we know about, others we discover as we go along.
They say that the most common fear is the fear of getting up in front of a group and speaking. Others are afraid of flying. Some are afraid of groups of people; others are afraid of being totally alone. I know some people are afraid of trying to do new things on their computer.
My divorce was final this week. It’s sort of a yipee.
I’m glad that I’m no longer in the seperated-status limbo. I can now get on with my life back as a single. I have started going to singles events like those sponsored by Echo Ministries. They attract a really amazing group of folks looking to grow in their walk and have fun too. I’m also getting more involved in service in other organizations with which I am involved. I’m becoming more active with folks with whom I’m already familiar.
The Christmas Hub-Bub
It’s easy to get tied up into all the activities of Christmas. There are parties, concerts, get togethers, drop ins, etc, etc, etc.
But I think the Charles Shultz character, Linus, does an excellent job of describing the real meaning of Christmas.
The Reason for the Season
With all the activity, it’s easy to forget, Jesus is the real reason for the season. I keep myself grounded in The Word and my prayer and meditation.