Monday Morning Musings for 08.15.16

  1. There are times in life when we need encouragement – a pep talk, so to speak – and I think the current state of affairs in our country and world has created just such a time. Christians above all people should be reflecting the courage and confidence that comes from our trust in God, regardless of circumstances. Otherwise, we project a message that says the Kingdom of God is one of misery and defeat. This is not the same as projecting some sort of manufactured enthusiasm. Not at all – but it IS about bearing in our hearts the joy of God's grace and love. Psalm 78 serves as the pep talk we need, reminding us of our salvation history, of God's creative power, of the joy not only of our salvation but the growth of the gospel around the world, and the abiding peace that comes when those truths ring in our hearts. Arguably, things don't look so great right now, but God will see us through. In fact, He already has through Christ, our risen Savior. Even in our circumstantial challenges, let's not lose our perspective on the glorious things God has done and is doing.
  2. Along the line of what we are "projecting", I had an odd conversation last week while eating breakfast by myself in Dallas. I am wearing a gray t-shirt, navy shorts, sandals, and I have not shaved in about four days. The waitress brings me my food and asks, "Are you with state security?" Sort of surprised, I say "No, I'm actually a pastor at a church in Orlando." Then, she chuckles. She laughs. Out loud. "Is that funny?" I ask. She says, "Well, it's not what I expected – you just look so… secular." Huh? Secular? What does that even mean?
  3. With the attention that is being rightly given to violence against women on college campuses, it was mind-boggling that UF would appoint a former player turned attorney – and a huge athletic department booster – to hear the complaint by a female that she was sexually assaulted by wide receiver Antonio Callaway. The victim nor her attorneys attended the hearing out of protest, and big shocker, Callaway was found innocent!‪
  4. As many of you know by now, I spent 16 hours last Tuesday in the Orlando and Atlanta airports stuck in the mess that was Delta Airlines. I finally made it to Dallas when I booked a one-way ticket on Southwest for $108. Trust me, most of you will be hearing about this in a sermon soon to come, but I will say, once again, that human suffering creates an odd fraternity. Thousands of us were jammed in the Atlanta airport, standing in lines, searching for information, and all of the sudden, we were friends. People were talking, sharing, helping one another – it was actually quite encouraging, except of course for the fact that I was still not home and had been on and off three airplanes without ever taking off.‪
  5. BEST OLYMPIC MOMENT: Lilly King winning gold and wagging her finger at the doping Russian she had beaten… and all athletic dopers.‪
  6. DON'T ALWAYS BELIEVE WHAT YOU READ: Part of my daily routine is to read the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. They are wonderful sources for illustrations, both funny and serious, of the entire human condition. However, what continues to amaze me is how COMPLETELY different they are in voice and perspective. There can be articles on the exact same thing, and yet the reporting is entirely different. Make no mistake, journalists are writing with a perspective in mind, so just because you read it does not make it true – read with a critical eye and an intuitive mind.
  7. SIMPLE TRUTH: There are few things as sweet as coming home from a tiring trip and sleeping in your own bed.
  8. The George Washington Bridge is sadly one of the most popular locations in NYC for people to take their own lives. Just this year, eight have died and 40 others were rescued before they could jump. Last week, yet another person was over the rail getting ready to jump when a person came upon them – and took out their phone to take a picture. The NEXT person, cyclist Julio De Leon, went over the rail and grabbed the person. Only at the point did the other person begin to help. Seriously? You take a picture first? What were you thinking? "Hmmm… should I save this guy? Or… no, wait… this would be great on Snapchat!"
  9. Sometimes, life has a beautiful symmetry. When I was little, I often held the hand of my mother because I felt insecure in some way. Last week, she held mine for the same reason… and it was tender and holy and good.