Tag Archives: attitude

OASIS WEEKEND.NEWTON TEXAS.07-31-2016

Oasis_9Last weekend we went to First United Methodist Church in Newton, Texas.  The kids at John Wesley UMC, from grades 6-12, did a weekend mission trip.  We built a wheelchair ramp, and did a good deal of mowing and cleanup for several people in the community.  We had a Vacation Bible School for 49 kids. We worked in the Food Pantry (and Clothing Shop) of Newton, stocking and sorting. We had entertainment: A Youth Rally on Friday night, with live music, games, toys and free tee-shirts; and a movie for all ages on Saturday night, on the lawn in front of the Church, an animated feature called “Inside-Out”.  Popcorn, candy and drinks for all!

May not sound like such a big deal to some; but it was a big deal to us.  It was a memorable event.  We get to develop personal relationships with people in the community.  They love us, and we love them.  Everybody is happy to be nice to each other.  And the SPIRIT  is moving in Newton!  On Sunday morning, members of the church served the team breakfast, then we had church together, with the youth band leading the singing.  At the end we had a few testimonies from people in the community who were touched by the service of our kids.  No doubt, when it was over, everyone was blessed, and God was grinning!

 

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CATS ‘N’ DOGS.071016

American staffordshire terrier dog playing with little kitten

I’ve had people tell me that I oversimplify things, that I try to reduce everything to the most elemental level possible.  They’re right.  I actually LIKE to do that; to find ways that simple things CAN explain, do explain, complicated matters.  Here’s one for you: “Some people are like cats and some are like dogs.”  I’m sure you’ve heard of this idea before.  It’s not new, just true.

Take cats.  They’re an independent lot.  Fascinating.  On a good day they’ll purr and rub up against you, even crawl up in your lap and let you pet them as long as they want.  They’re soft and cuddly.  Often they’re very expressive.  They have any number of different “meows” to tell you what they want or need.  But don’t get crossways with them.  They may not talk to you or get close to you for a week.  And when you try to get them to do something they don’t want to do, forget it.  If you’re wondering who is the master and who is the pet, you obviously haven’t been around cats much.  Oh and have you noticed the disdain they have for dogs?  You’ve probably seen an 80 lb dog back down from a 10 lb cat.  And what about quick response to direction?  Even when they’re accustomed to doing something you want them to, they have to take time for a little grooming.  Their timing, their rules, their game, their way.

On the other hand, take dogs.  Some little, some big.  Almost all are just DRIVEN by this desire to please their master.  They may have been in the crate for hours, but when you come home and let them out, they try to lick you to death.  They’re wagging their tails so hard they can hardly stand up.  They run in circles to entertain you and let you know how much they missed you.  If you let them, they’ll follow you wherever you go, wind, snow, sleet, rain, or dead of night.  And they’re really protective of the master and his or her clan.  Again, little or big, old or young; if anyone attacks, they are ready, willing and often able to defend.  Even when the master is old or broke or really cranky, even when he beats his dog for something he didn’t do, the dog is there to please, to worship the ground he walks on.

You probably already know the punch line:  “Some people are like cats and some are like dogs.”  It’s almost exactly like that other line: “Some people are believers, some are skeptics.”  Continue reading

ABOUT YOUR PRAYER LIFE. 060716

Silhouette illustration of a man praying under the lightI used to have these long spells when I’d get down and pray, and nothing was happening.  Sometimes I’d go for months without praying at all till something really bad would happen and I’d start trying again.  Then I discovered something. Every time I’d get really desperate, when I was so worried and so scared and so depressed about my life, and so cornered with nowhere to go, I’d really have a spell of knowing what bad shape I was in, and how bad I needed God, and how weak I am and how strong He is; and how stupid I am, and how Wise and Smart He is, and how ‘out of control’ I am, and how ‘IN CONTROL’ He is, and what a stupid jerk I am and what a MERCIFUL GOD He is, and I’d feel this blanket of peace and forgiveness and love settle over me like I never felt before.  (It’s happening to me right now; Wow!)  I call it ‘humbling yourself before the Lord’.  I don’t know if that’s all it is; but that’s sorta the central point I think.  After I had that experience a few times, I started trying it on purpose, instead of accidentally, and IT WORKED.  I would actually feel the Presence of God, right there, right then!  (right here, right now!) Try it; see what happens.

PRESENT YOUR BODIES (as a living sacrifice).051016

Salt and LightRomans 12:1 says, “I beg you, brothers and sisters, to present you bodies as a living sacrifice ….”

Romans 12 is a great message about “If you’re going to claim to be a Christian, act like it.”  For me, ‘present your body’ means to show up, be available, be willing to be obedient to serve and to do what God tells you to, one moment at a time.

So here’s my revelation for today: If you are a ‘true’ believer in Jesus, one who is steadily focusing on God, trusting Him and obeying Him, seeking His Face, surrendering to Him on a daily basis; you have the Spirit of the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY living in your own personal heart.  That is what it means to ‘be a Christian’.  Now, if you have God’s Holy Spirit in you, and you show up anywhere, work, school, a kid’s soccer game, a band concert, a walk in the park, a flood rescue effort, you are presenting your body as a living sacrifice, for God to use to touch other peoples lives.  You are making yourself available to do and to say exactly what God wants you to do and say.

Are y’all ready for this?  You know where it says, “You are the salt of the earth.”  “You are the light of the world.”  If you have God’s Spirit in your own heart, then you ARE doing what salt does.  You are flavoring and keeping the world from corruption and decay, just like salt flavors food and keeps it from decay.  You ARE God’s shining Light in the world, to show people the way, to comfort them, to keep them safe and sound.  You don’t even have to try; or plan; or prepare; or get a special education; or have a special degree, or ordination, or anointing.  You already ARE anointed.  You have the Spirit of the Living God in your own little heart.  You just can’t get any more anointed than that.  All you have to do is SHOW UP!

So I’ve been reading the whole 12th chapter of Romans, and bringing those things back to the first sentence of the chapter.  In verses 3-8 it talks about how God has given each of us a special gift (or gifts) to help the Body of Christ.  There’s a lot of talk about learning what your gift is, so you can do a better job of using it for God’s honor and glory.  I think it’s great to focus some attention on understanding what God’s plan is for your life, so you can do a better job of serving Him and others; but you know what I really think?  I think if you really trust God, and you surrender your whole self to Him on a regular basis, it doesn’t matter whether you know what your specific gift is or not.  If you SHOW UP when God tells you to, He will use you and your gift(s) in miraculous ways, even if you don’t know exactly what they are. Continue reading

WRITE IT DOWN.032416

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“There is something positively supernatural about writing things down.” Tex (from a letter to my kids)

Well, as you already know, I’m not much good at setting goals.  I’m more interested in fulfilling my role(s).  But all the wise men say, and I concur, that if you wish to reach a goal, or achieve some great thing, or be some memorable person, you’ll get there quicker and easier if you write it down.  Actually, it seems to me that the mere act of writing it down makes it come to pass.  Any idea is more real if you write it down, and the more detailed you make it, the more real it becomes, and the more likely it is that it will come to pass.

And this applies to little every day things as well as for big, long-term goals.  You all know that I make a list of things to do every day, and I update my list every morning.l  It amazes me how often things on that list get done without my ever consciously thinking about them again.  Try it for 21 days.  That’ll make it a habit.  You’ll be amazed too.

I don’t get mad much anymore, (thank goodness), but you know I used to get mad a lot.  If it was a small simple thing I’d holler and get it out of my system, (which I occasionally still do), but if it was a big complicated issue, and I was having a hard time being heard and/or understood by my opponent, then I’d write a long, forceful letter and say all those things I couldn’t think up in a normal hollering match.  And then I’d actually GIVE the letter to the other person.  I guess that’s where I got the reputation for writing “mean” letters.  Later on, I stopped giving the letters to the victims, because I figured out the purpose of the letters.  It wasn’t to convince the person to think or do things my way.  It was only to vent my wrath.  But writing the letter had the great side effect of getting rid of the anger and helping me figure out what was really important, if I got to talk about that topic again.  The moral is: write long, irate letters if you must, just don’t mail them.

In conclusion, I believe there is something positively supernatural about writing things down.  Try it and see if you don’t agree.

BORN AGAIN: 031716 (John 3:3)

bible

KJ21    Jesus answered and said unto him, “Verily, verily I say unto thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

This seems like a relatively simple verse.  It says that you can’t SEE God;  you can’t SEE the kingdom of God (KJV); you can’t GET into the Kingdom of God (TLB); you cannot BE in God’s kingdom (NCV) unless you are born again.  Other expressions for knowing God, such as ‘get saved’, ‘have eternal life’, ‘go to heaven’, ‘have righteousness’, ‘be converted’, ‘have a relationship with God’; you can’t do any of those things, unless you are spiritually transformed.  [Changed on the inside]

The word translated as ‘again’ means ‘from above’ in Greek.  ‘From above’ means by God, by Jesus, by the Holy Spirit.

‘Born’ means what you’d think it means; that you’re the child of your father and mother; you have their substance residing in you.  So you can’t be ‘born again’, ‘born from above’, have God as your Father, unless you are spiritually transformed from your natural self to God’s own child.

So ‘Born again’ means ‘spiritually transformed’.

So it IS simple.  Jesus wasn’t making some ethereal, mystic statement.  He was just telling a truth.  He was just stating a fact.  You just CAN’T have a relationship with God unless you die to yourself, trust Him and let His Spirit come to live in you.  As long as you are holding on to control of your life instead of surrendering and letting God run your life, you can’t even SEE the kingdom of God, much less be a part of it.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

UNDERSTATEMENT.030216

Isaac Newton       [From a letter to my kids]

I read somewhere that if you are asked to tell something about yourself, it is always better to say as little as possible.  If there is something about you that’s worth telling, somebody else can tell it, and it will sound a whole lot better coming from them than from you.

And if you are supposed to get an award for something you’ve done, make it a point to give all the credit to someone else.  Like your husband or your wife, or momma or daddy, or your teacher or boss or mentor.  Like Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the sholders of Giants.”  It’s especially neat if you can give the credit to the little people; like people who work for you; or your kids.  If you hunt a little, you can always find the right person or people to give the credit to.  If you’ll humble yourself, the Lord’s gonna lift you up. (James 4:10)

Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln (both of them) said that when you give a speech in English, use English (Anglo-Saxon) words, like hit, or run, or eat, or bite, or talk, or feel, or love, instead of long French-Latin based words like masticate, or orate, or agitate, or literate.  The short words have more meaning, more impact, and they stay with you longer.  In this case, as with the other, less is more.

As far as I know, the art of ‘kidding’, as taught by our forbears, is mostly the art of understatement; saying something is less than it is, just for fun and just for effect.  With folks that like to talk as much as we do, it’s hard not to talk, so it really is good to use the art of understatement.  As you know, I have a hard time doing it, but as I get older, I try a little more each day.  It’s not so much thinking about every word you say as it is a feeling in your heart.  If you humble yourself, the Lord will give you the right words to say. (1 Pet 5:6)