Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Shelter in the Time of Storm

One of my daughters took this picture of the bird house Melanie and I made together last year. I love it.
Psalm 91:1 "Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Four Tons of Canaries

Years ago, I attended a men’s convention listening to Jeff Brawner, a pastor in Southern California at the time.  He used a funny illustration that I now pass on to you. It may be dated, but still relevant. 

Once there was a man driving down the road following a large truck. At a stop light the truck driver got out and pulled out a baseball bat from behind the seat and went all around the truck banging on the sides. He jumped back in the truck and drove off. This was obviously puzzling to the man following the truck. At the next light the truck driver stopped the truck did the same thing. He jumped out of the truck, pulled out the bat and ran around the truck banging on the side, got back in and drove off. At the next light it happened again. This was too much for the man following to handle. At the gas station the truck driver pulled in and the man following had to stop and ask. “What in the world are you doing?” “Why are you beating on your truck at every stop light?” The man responded, “That’s easy, you see, I have a two ton truck and four tons of canaries. I have to keep half of them in the air at all times.”

I feel this way sometimes with church, family, commitments, job, ministry (my job), etc, etc... It sometimes seems like it's impossible to keep the canaries flying. When this happens, it's very important that we create space to get alone with God, collect our thoughts and allow God to speak to us.   

Jesus was very intentional about carving out time for his Father. It seems in scripture that the more hectic his schedule the more time he deliberately, intentionally, set aside time to pray. We, on the other hand, feel like we do not have any more time for God because life is too busy. This is a guarantee for powerless living. If we are going to successfully navigate through this rat race we are going to have to make time to spend with our Heavenly Father.

Mark 1:35 says "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed." Quite simply, Jesus lived a very disciplined life and he knew what he had to do to stay effective in his ministry: He had to create space for his Father.  It consistently connected him with his purpose and mission: to redeem the world through love.

Don't let the canaries weigh you down. 

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Gramaw's House - Just Stopping By

One of my favorite places in memory is on York Road, Sparks, Maryland - Gramaw’s house. I lived there for several years growing up. It was ground zero for my extended family. Every day someone stopped by to check up on Gramaw. When my family moved out of her house, we also stopped by at least once a week.

As I grew, I continued to stop by Gramaw’s. When I was able to drive, I drove by her house almost daily. Even when I did not stop in, I wanted to just see it again. It was a secure, safe, and warm place. Her house was always open (If it wasn’t, I knew where she hid the key. Of course, everyone else did too.). I would go in and she would fill me in on the rest of the family. By the time I left I knew which one of my uncles had stopped by and for how long. I knew where the other grandchildren were, and I would also catch up on the latest church news. She never talked negative about the church although she would occasionally throw in, “I don’t know what these young people are thinking nowadays.” (Boy, even writing this I can hear her voice saying it.)