Monday Morning Musings for 09.19.16

  1. The painful, troubling nature of our world confirms what we know in our hearts to be true: this is not our home. The Bible tells us we are "aliens and strangers" as if living in a foreign land. Even so, as we wait for the fulfillment of God's Kingdom, He calls us to live in this world as if it WAS home. The correct response to a troubled world is NOT hiding, fighting or accommodating it. Through Jeremiah 29, God reminds us the correct response is to put down roots, build houses, marry and raise families, work and produce economically – all as we seek the welfare of our city. We invest. We serve. We engage. We work for the greater good of the city, for as it prospers, we prosper – the church prospers – by pointing to the gracious, humble and loving manner of the One who is our Savior.
  2. Keep this in mind: you never know what someone else has been going through as you encounter them in the course of your day. Whether it's the car that cuts you off or the curt person on the other end of the phone or the less-than-energetic salesperson you are dealing with or the bleary-eyed pastor who can't seem to focus, take a chance and cut them some slack. Most people are carrying the wounds and scars of life – the illness or loss of loved ones, the challenge of broken relationships, the threat of financial loss or exposure, the cumulative burden of carrying for aging parents or loved ones, or some combination of these and other things. As you live for the life of the world, it may well be your kindness or your encouragement that makes the difference in the life of another.
  3. I attended a conference last week that was unusual because of how it started: we were essentially asked to stay in the moment – to stay off social media, to not take pictures or post comments or tweet or snap chat – nothing. It was a refreshing request that I found most people honored, and it added so much to the day. It worked! When you take that off the table, your mind is filled with what is before you. You absolutely engage more fully. 
  4. It seemed Penn State's decision to honor the 50th anniversary of Joe Paterno's first game was tone deaf. Was enough time allowed for healing and appropriate processing to take place? I could not help but wonder how pained the victims must have felt knowing that was going to take place.
  5. No man can watch the 1971 movie Brian's Song without crying, especially when Gale Sayers says, "I love Brian Piccolo… and tonight, when you hit your knees, ask God to love him, too." For you youngsters, Google it.
  6. MOVIES PART TWO: I watched Me Before You last week and I loved it right up until the end and then it fell apart. It was a sweet story of growth and love surrounding a young paraplegic man and his slightly goofy daily caregiver. Sadly, the man decides to go to Switzerland to end his life because the "chair" was not "his real life." It minimized the value of life and seemed to assert that living with a physical handicap makes you less than fully alive. This is troubling as it is becoming a more commonly accepted idea – and practice – in a number of different countries.
  7. My new favorite musician is GRACE VANDERWAAL! The 12-year-old singer from Suffern, NY who plays the ukulele just won $1 million as the winner of America's Got Talent. She is the antithesis of the modern megastar with a unique, soulful voice. Here's hoping she'll keep her genuine, humble nature as she shares her God-given talents! If you have not watched her audition tape for the show, find it – you'll be blessed!
  8. Dear Lord, please send us an early cold front.
  9. Leigh and I each launched new groups this past week – hers called Theology for Moms and mine a two-year group of 20s/30's men. She also led a women's retreat over the weekend. As we talked about it, we both heard our participants offer a similar refrain: some form of "my mind is blown." Jesus told us to love God with all our minds, so we should not be surprised to find that when we take the time to study theology, it opens glorious new vistas of understanding God's nature and character!