"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." - Psalm 143:5

Monday, September 30, 2013

Breaking Bad…is Good

 

 

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No, not the highly acclaimed TV show, I haven’t seen an episode or even a trailer/spot for it. I won’t fault you for being a Walter fan or for watching a show based on a character that is so “dark and morally questionable” (Vince Gilligan words, not mine) that even the creator of the series will be glad to get the character out of his head.

I may ask you why you watch it and if you tell me because of its “excellent storytelling with some Christian themes”…I may laugh, but I’m not judging you…unless you think laughing is being judgmental… then, I may be in trouble. Maybe I’m too old or not hipster enough to enjoy shows like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad but when I hear comments like: “Oh, the nudity is NOT that bad” I cringe and think…

Really? Ask King David how that worked out for him.

When did good storytelling become the criteria for discerning questionable material/media/publications? When did we lose sight of this?

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 NLT

I often think that the enemy of our soul doesn’t even have to get us to sin… all he has to do is distract us by entertaining us. If I add up the time I spend entertaining myself (and not all of it is bad, BTW) and compared it to the time I spend on Kingdom things… well, I’m one distracted fella.

We need to be Breaking Bad…and that’s good

“Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” Romans 12:21

The real storytelling is going on around us everyday, but who is listening? People are hurting, lonely, depressed, sick, injured, jailed, desperate and afraid… affected by the same evil we face daily… except, they don’t have Jesus.

I know I may be sounding critical but my point is this…why are we choosing a fake world of storytelling (OK it’s entertaining, I get it) over a real one that exist right outside our front door? Believe me, I love a good story and it doesn’t always have to be “squeaky clean”. The Gospel story is the most alive story that was, is or will be… it is a life changer. Let’s break bad with that story, engaging people with its beautiful message of redemption.

So…do you want to break bad…with good?

 

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Reluctant Missionary

 

 

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If you knew the place where I work...well, let's just say you may start to believe all those "crazy" references I make about myself (if you don't already). It's been a hard 20 plus years, it's been a place that I have tried leaving many times (was successful once, came back after a year...another long story). There have many paychecks not cashable, cancelled insurance and other "benefits" too numerous to list.

A lot of those years were spent yearning for "full-time" ministry opportunities outside of where I worked, not seeing clearly that it was staring me in the face all the time. Sure there were times of connecting with fellow co-workers, sharing their struggles and even praying with them...but, was that ministry? The truth is, my workplace has been my mission field and I have been a reluctant missionary for most of my tenure there.

This past Sunday, at our church's 5 year anniversary celebration, a friend and former co-worker said one of the nicest and empowering things to me (and to my wife earlier). She related how I have always been a pastor to her, even to the department I supervised when we worked together. To the way I handled my position, to the way I touched people…it reflected Jesus and influence her life significantly. I was blessed and (very) humbled at the same time...because we worked together over 20 years ago.

It’s hard to imagine that kind of influence…only God can do that through a reluctant missionary.

I repeat this praise only to encourage you that your ministry is where you happen to be, don't be waiting for it, live like the Messiah every place you go. You don't need a title... you already have one...you're a son or daughter of the God who so loved the world He sent His son to redeem and set people free. That my friend... is full-time ministry.

Look around, you never know who you will touched with His story living through you. Your mission field is ready for you!

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Parking Lot Dance

 

 

PARK-dance Life is a series of dances… or at least great opportunities to poke fun at your coolness factor. This past Labor Day my daughter Becky and I went to fetch the health food known as Dunkin Donuts. Notice I didn’t say “healthy food” just health food… it may be bad health but it’s still a certain kind of “health” food… but I digress. Becky is my youngest (11) and although we share many wonderful qualities, acting crazy in public places is not one of them.

I woke up that morning full of restlessness and somewhat agitated. When I get this way I either need to take a walk (stomp with Jesus) or act crazy.

I chose… crazy.

As we entered the store we saw my pastor and his wife, so I did the “Glad to see you” dance, which was just the beginning of my mad boogie mojo. After visiting for awhile we moved on to the “Standing in line” dance (BTW… all the dance moves… look the same) which quickly turned into “Yeaaaa, it’s our turn to order” dance. Oh, my daughter was not joining me in these dance moves; she was giggling and pleading with me to stop.

I was just getting started.

As we walked to the van to return home it was time for… you guessed it! The “Parking Lot” dance! My sweet daughter who didn’t want to call attention to us was now blowing the horn as her crazy dad was dancing around the van, both of us in somewhat complete ignorance to the attention gathered by the music of the horn and my questionable dance moves. Much laughing, snorting and giggling filled the ride home… that was much healthier than the donuts we would consume later on.

That was a joy moment… that was a God moment.

Joy erupts in the strangest moments, the times when you least expect it to. Yet, there are times you can orchestrate it by being available for the flare-up. Embracing the silly helps, it releases the constraints of properness and gives joy an avenue to express itself. The real key in my mind is the ability to be thankful to the God who came to give us life… abundant, full life.

Parking lot dances help… believe me… even the Bible agrees!

“You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness.” Psalm 30:11

What about you… bust any moves lately?

 

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