Support And Encourage

There is a horse race this weekend, it’s the second leg of the triple crown.  As I began to think about it, I thought of the second-ness of the race, and what it means to be second. There is so much more to being second than not being first. 

A lot of triple crown hopes have been dashed by the second race.  History may be made in the first and final races, but it’s maintained in the second.  Churches, organizations, and governments, are either supported or destroyed by men and women in second place.

As a Minister, I’ve seen firsthand, the damage a Secoond Man or Help, to use Church terminology, can cause.  I’ve also seen the rich, good, and strong support a Second Man can be. I’ve prayed that God make me a supporter, and not a destroyer.

The same is true in a government. How many successful Presidents were first Vice Presidents, Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Truman to name just two. Say what you may about Lyndon Johnson, but he helped turn into law some of the ideals of President Kennedy.

Lastly, in an organization, the most successful company in the world is ran by a former Second Man, Tim Cook. He still, comfortably, and with admiration, stands in the shadow of Steve Jobs, being his own man. Being your own person does not mean revolting against either your leader, or the ideas they birthed.

It means, as Joshua did, leading by the example of your Moses, into new territory.  However, many in supporting positions may never get the opportunity to sit in the lead chair, but they do get the opportunity to lead. Leading isn’t only the General advancing the charge, but the Colonels, Captains, and Sergeants ready to follow him anywhere. 

Wherever you find yourself, don’t seek an agenda. Instead seek to support those who are leading you, and encourage those beside and behind you towards the goal.  To win in any race, it takes a strong union between the owner, the jockey, the trainer, and the horse.  When they win, everyone is present at the Winner’s Circle, no matter what role they fill.

Teacher Appreciation Day 2018

To teach, is to cause someone to learn or understand something by example or experience.  Today is Teacher Appreciation Day. I am so thankful for the many teachers in my life.

My first teachers were my parents, and the lessons they taught me I hold to this day.  I can remember my teachers in school with admiration and gratitude.  Then their is a long list of people who have spoken into my life in countless ways.

In my Christian walk, I am blessed to have some of the greatest teachers ever. The Apostle Paul called them instructors in Christ. These men and women led by word and example.

In business, I learned from the good, and the bad. The right principles taught me to reject the wrong ones. I even learned how to do tasks that at first intimidated me. What had once seemed daunting became daily routine.

All of this was because of teachers. An there have been other things, from the trivial to the important where a little instruction made an impact.  To every teacher in my life, I would like to say thank you.

To everyone reading this, whether you’re a teacher by profession, or by impact, I’d also like to say something.  Don’t underestimate the power of small actions. I patterned much of my Ministry by the way one man stood when his Pastor was speaking.  

The way I I paint is because of how someone else taught me to hold a brush.  As a husband, though not always brilliantly, I follow the pattern of how someone else smiled when their spouse was upset.  Others notice what you think is discarded. Your efforts are never wasted, but always invested, thank you!

Pause, Be Thankful

Every song is really a compilation. It may have one writer, and one arranger, but others have poured into their experience. All of us, no matter where we are in life, have benefited from others.

Our opportunities were birthed through others’ pain. Our victories fought for by men and women who sacrificed their today for our tomorrow.  Yes, we must work hard, but someone else taught us that truth.  

Our morals were modeled before we embraced them. Our faith was displayed through blood, sweat, and tears, so we could worship freely. Our hopes and dreams exist because others refused to give in to despair and fear.

We should be grateful, not only because it benefits ourselves, and it does. However, we should be grateful, to teach the next generation to be thankful for a continuing heritage.  Today, pause, be thankful, and think of those who helped you, and help someone in need.

Stop And Think

Stop and think … In every aspect of life, it helps to stop and think.  The first argument to this is, in those emergencies when we don’t have time to stop and think. Actually, while it’s true that you don’t at that moment, the person who acts, has already stopped and thought previously.

Something in their lives, whether good or bad, has stopped them in their tracks. Either intentionally, or unintentionally, something impacted you enough to think.  That compelled you to act in a situation.  

We can either stop and think on purpose, or by circumstance.  While you can’t plan for everything, you can plan for some things.  Today, take a moment to stop and think.

Stop and think about today. What could you accomplish today that makes someone’s life better. Stop and think about tomorrow, what could you do now, to improve then. Finally stop and think about where you’ve come from, and the blessings that are in your life now. 

Itzhak Perlman, the famous violinist, said that the most powerful moments in music are the pauses. Because they set up the next notes.  Let your pause, help to formulate a better future, as you stop and think.

You Are Important

“You are important.”  I wanted to start with that. There are a lot of hurting people who do not feel valued, but you are.  First God made you. He has a plan for you, by design you have an exciting destiny.

Second, your stumbles, falls, and mistakes, have not deleted the possibilities that God has for you. It may take time, it may take restoration, we’ve all been there, but God’s Love can repair our brokenness.

Third, knowing your important is only a partial vision. How you handle that knowledge will either make you humble or arrogant.  Confidence is not arrogance, just as insecurity isn’t humility.

Jesus knew He was important, so much so that He didn’t have to tell others He was behind the miracles.  In fact, Jesus told others not to tell about the wonders. He told them about The Words that would reveal the importance of others, letting them know God loved them enough to save them.

He knew it was His important task, to save those who were important to Him. The King of the universe didn’t concern Himself with His value, Jesus focused on the value of others.

Know your important today, important enough to find the hurting. To love the needing, to warm the isolated. To tell those who don’t know it, how important they are.

Earth Motion

Scientists say what we call a sunrise, is actually the Earth’s motion that causes the sun to appear. While the sun is in a constant rotation, it is the Earth which orbits around it.  Since the sun is a type and shadow of God’s perfect light, as a Christian, this tells me two things.

First, God is always moving in my life, whether I see it or not.  Second, the closer we get to Him, the more He will rise in our lives. It’s not that He isn’t moving for us, but we notice it more. The closer our lives rotate around His movements, the more we see His light affecting our atmosphere.

The reds, blues, oranges, and colors of a sunrise are visual objects, designed to illustrate a spiritual truth. God’s love and light, alters our environment for the better.  Scientists also say the sun is a nearly perfect sphere, even this points to a great truth. 

The illustration does not exceed the real thing. For The Light Of The World is perfect, shining brightly, impacting deeply, and forever beaming His love into the lives of His children.  See His Light brighten your circumstances today. Draw closer to Him and rejoice, watching The Son Rise!

Acrylic The Garden Tomb

The truth of Sunday’s reveal, invading the darkness of Saturday. That is what this acrylic God blessed me to paint is about. It is my most important painting to date.

The Resurrection has happened. Mary has seen “The Gardener”. John and Simon Peter are about to turn the corner.

Notice, there are twelve roses in total. While artists can be overly dramatic, the number is on purpose. Twelve for the twelve Apostles of The Lamb, and the twelve tribes of Israel.  We hope you enjoy The Garden Tomb as much as did painting it. Also, if you haven’t experienced it, that was my utmost prayer for you.

Thread Count

500 Thread Count … People get so excited about thread count in their bedding, until a thread starts to fray. Then it’s time to think about replacing.  The truth is, we’re not excited about the threads individually, we’re excited about the linens as a whole.

We do that with our lives.  When things start to fray, we despair over the situation.  Many times we look for a way out, or something new.  What we don’t realize is life is a lot like one of those fancy sheets.  It’s all tied closely together.

An expert craftsman weaved fine linens, until machines took over.  A lot of times we view our lives as mechanical, but that’s not true. A Master Weaver crafts our lives.

He takes the good, takes the bad, (80’s kids are hearing a sitcom theme right now), and the messed up parts, things He never wanted us to choose, and makes something beautiful.  If you’re a believer, believe today that He was working out the loose threads.  If you’re not, bring the bits and pieces to The One who crafted the cosmos.  

He knows how to give you a comforting place of rest, no matter what you’ve been through.  For all those who know Him, know that He will complete your situation, leaving no loose thread.

Because Of Jesus

 

Why do I love Jesus? Because every moment of life, good or bad, He is with me. In the bad ones, He is holding me up, keeping me from losing myself in the situation.  In the good ones, He is guiding me through, having made possible every blessing I have.

Why do I love God’s people? Because every moment of my life, I have gained from fellowship.  In the bad times, arms stretched out to embrace me, and help bear my burdens. In the good times, my brothers and sisters rejoiced with me.

Why do I love the Church building? Because every moment of my life, she has been there. Comforting me through storms, and celebrating with me in the sunshine. Just the faithful attendance to this meeting place of souls, has kept my soul!

Why do I share this with you? To show the hurting there is hope. To show the rejoicing that there is a greater joy than you’ve ever known.  

To introduce those who have not yet met Jesus, to the greatest friend and only Savior of man.  To those who know Him, to add my voice to the joyful redeemed, who know Him in relationship.  Why, because of Jesus, that’s why!

The Small Things

We are going through a reading plan this year as a Church, which is a great gift.  It connects areas of Scripture that I never have before. For example, Ruth 1, 2 and Luke 12. I had never compared these before, and yet, I saw, not so much topic, as in tone, the similarities of them.  

The book of Ruth starts as if you were listening to a master storyteller, not fictional in any way, but in the skill of the speaker. It also struck me, the Jewish tone of the writer of it.  I love the Jewish culture of our day, and that day.  Then, in reading Jesus in Luke 12, I could hear the Jewishness of Jesus, The Master Storyteller.

In viewing this, I began to pay attention not to the large details, but the way each addressed what I had mistakenly viewed as small ones. One of which, was the beginning of Ruth.  

Ruth 1:1

1 In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.

In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land. No comma, no pause, one thought. I would have separated the two, but God. Through the writer, He was saying I placed the judges there because there was a famine, one of obedience to God.  Then He illustrates it by telling of the man who left Judah for Moab.

Ruth 2:14

14 And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over.

Another example is chapter 2:14, the small words set beside the reapers.  The word Reapers not only means harvest, but grieve, and impatience. It shares some of the meanings of the word Naomi used in 1:20, bitterly.  

Ruth sat with Naomi, and she sat with the Reapers, she had hexperience with one, which prepared her for the second. We view our today sorrows as painful, and they are, but they are also preparation for tomorrow.

Then I read in Luke 12, and I could hear the same tone in His teaching, that I had heard in the author of Ruth. I could also see the parallels of the two members of one family, across time. Ruth, the foreigner to Israel, be coming the generational Great Grandmother Of The Messiah, to The God of the universe, entering our world to become The Son Of Man, and Savior of Mankind!

The lesson, don’t miss the small stuff, because as it turns out, it’s usually not that small.  Also, when someone suggests viewing something differently, look at it through a different angle, you’ll see something new!