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Yesterday at 18

A giant number “18” was spelled out in gold balloons and a collection of massive floral arrangements dominated the lobby of the Residence.

I was signing in at the front desk, and of course chatting up the Receptionist.

I asked, and no, it wasn’t a Resident’s birthday.

Both the Receptionist and I laughingly agreed that no, we were not eighteen either.

It was the facility that had hit the magic number eighteen.

And before I could catch myself, I started blurting lines from the chorus of an old song —

Eighteen
I get confused every day
Eighteen
I just don’t know what to say

— with a loud clap the Receptionist pointed at me and shouted, “Alice Cooper!” and I think the lobby itself laughed with us.

I finished signing in, and we looked at each other in silence.

“That song,” I began. “Like now it’s the same but different.”

She gave a “Um-hm” and nodded with raised eyebrows.

“I’m sure not eighteen,” I went on, “but wow…sometimes I still get confused and still don’t know what to say.”

“Ohhhh, Pastor! Know exactly. And I mean egg-ZACK-ly what you’re talking about there.”

Our conversation went on from there, peppered with stories, commiserations and gratitude.

Had he been standing there with us, our old friend St. Paul might well have leaned over and said, Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. That’s what he wrote in 2nd Corinthians 4:16.

Gene Peterson phrased that verse this way: Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. Somebody say Amen!

Towards the end of the Alice song it says —

Lines form on my face and my hands
Lines form on the left and right
I’m in the middle
The middle of life
I’m a boy and I’m a man
I’m eighteen and I like it!

— Anybody else wanna connect this back to yesterday’s blog here, which I titled Your Current Season?

So do I.

And I’m grateful.

Very grateful that on the inside, God is making new life, and not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.

 

 

 

Your Current Season

These nine are from a site called Becoming Minimalist. Whole lotta truth packed in here. I’d like to share one every other day or so with you, filtered through Scripture, for your consideration and application —

7. Appreciate Your Season in Life.
Just as seasons of the year come and go, so do seasons of life. We’re kids, in college, young adults, newly married, raising children, empty-nesters, grandparents, caring for aging parents, being cared for ourselves… or any combination of the seasons above.

Those who are most satisfied with life are those who appreciate the current season of life they are in and learn to make the most of it. They do not long for the next one or attempt to continue living in the previous one.

They accept the reality of changing seasons and embrace each one with grace and resolve.

My times are in Your hand. (Job 14:5)

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, “Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.”

You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing.

Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.”

As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves.

All such vaunting self-importance is evil. In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil. (James 4:13-17)

Getting Our Work Orders

We neither make nor save ourselves.

God does both the making and saving.

God creates each of us by Christ Jesus

to join him in the work he does,

the good work he has gotten ready for us to do,

work we had better be doing.

— from Ephesians 2, The Message version of The Bible

What is that work we had better be doing?

One of the best places to find out is in the company of other Christ Followers.

Like in worship, and classes, and small groups.

You know, all that church-y stuff.

Let’s go.

 

Your Best Version

These nine are from a site called Becoming Minimalist. Whole lotta truth packed in here. I’d like to share one every other day or so with you, filtered through Scripture, for your consideration and application —

6. Take Care of Yourself.
There is little joy in a selfish life focused entirely on self. What matters at the end of our life is not the house we lived in, the car we drove, or the possessions we purchased. What will matter in the end is how we treated others.

Keep selfless living the goal of life. However, an empty cup cannot pour into another. If we are going to live selfless lives (the true measure of success), we must learn that caring for ourselves is the first step in caring for others.

Rest, exercise, and pursue healthy habits… we need you to be the best version of yourself.

— Christ Jesus:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30,31).

Sorta seems our Lord’s making an assumption there…might wanna think about and pray about how well we’re loving and taking care of our own selves…and make necessary changes today….

It’s a Monday. “I Distrust Those People”

Thank You! Many offered commentary and encouragement during previous weeks of experimental Mondays here.

In response, I’m happy to announce “It’s a Monday” as the title of a once-a-week series of significant quotes or observations.

Offered without any commentary from me, here is today’s —-

“I distrust those people

who know so well

what God wants them to do,

because I notice

it always coincides

with their own desires.”

— Susan B. Anthony

Do This or Die, Church — part 2

Around 200 churches will close this week, maybe more. The pace will accelerate unless our congregations make some dramatic changes.

2. We must cease seeing the church as a place of comfort and stability in the midst of rapid change. Certainly, God’s truth is unchanging. So we do find comfort and stability in that reality.

But don’t look to your church not to change methods, approaches and human-made traditions.

Indeed, we must learn to be uncomfortable in the world if we are to make a difference. “We’ve never done it that way before,” is a death declaration.

SOURCE: https://ncbaptist.org/urgent-church-nine-changes-we-must-make-or-die/?fbclid=IwAR17JMbgBj9f1sJT3ucphCBbNxWulE7GDSzYQUwGrhhfEcG-tdBPPdoAg5Y

Your Time

These nine are from a site called Becoming Minimalist. Whole lotta truth packed in here. I’d like to share one every other day or so with you, filtered through Scripture, for your consideration and application —

5. Guard Your Time.
Not every pursuit in life deserves your energy. It is important for each of us to become more aware of what is truly worth the hours of our one, short, important life.

Those who have crafted a life they love have not done so by saying “yes” to every opportunity or invitation in their inbox. They have done so by guarding their time ruthlessly for the things that matter most and by learning to say “no” graciously to the others.

Teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)

Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives. (Ephesians 5:15,16)