Monday Morning Musings for 04.25.16

  1. Contentment. It is one of the more elusive things in life for it fights directly against that internal voice that is always pushing us for "more." Comparison further complicates the matter as we are constantly examining how what we have compares to others as if that is somehow a measure of our worth. Comparison is the enemy of contentment. And the solution to both of those is generosity in relationship to God. When we understand that our Father has entrusted us with His things, we become engaged in making investments in things that have eternal returns. Suddenly, our money has meaning for far more than merely making us secure. The more I live with an understanding that I am merely a steward of HIs good gifts, the more content I become. ‪#‎growingedge‬ ‪#‎begenerous‬
  2. It was stunning to read the NYT report on the soaring suicide rate in the US, hitting a 30-year high. It jumped 24% overall and it affected every age category. Among girls 10-14, it tripled. It is absolutely connected to #1. In the absence of any spiritual life - any notion that we live for something larger and deeper than ourselves - or a sense that life is more than mere chance - more and more people find themselves sinking into a despair that can lead to suicide. If one's social and economic expectations are not being met, if family life is a disappointment, and if improvement seems unlikely, people start asking, "What's the point?" Researchers said the recession, lingering unemployment among lower wage earners, increasing violence and drug use, and worldwide uncertainly all contributed to feelings of hopelessness. "Why are you so downcast, o my soul? Why do disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my savior and my God." Psalm 42:5. ‪#‎Christinyouthehopeofglory‬
  3. THIS WEEK'S SIGN OF THE APOCALYSE: The American Library Association released it's 10 most "challenged" books (books which they were asked to remove) of 2015. For the first time ever, the Bible was on the list along with 50 Shades of Grey. How did we become a culture that views Scripture so negatively, with such hostility, that we cannot allow it to be in our libraries? Yes, the picture it paints of humanity's broken nature is bleak, but it is also a story of hope - of sacrificial love - of redeeming grace.‪#‎itsalovestorybaby‬
  4. All of these points are connected. Next, a man standing outside a 7-11 gets punched in the face and knocked out. He falls into the street which happens to be on a corner. The first people who approach GO THROUGH HIS POCKETS to see what they can take. The next group comes and looks - rolls him over - and then walks away. Four or five others stand around and do nothing and do nothing. A car then rounds the corner and runs over him, killing him. A man lies unconscious in the street and no one helps. No one. Why? Some have reached a place where they place no value on human lives other than their own. ‪#‎whatwedowhenwehavenohope‬
  5. Our pastoral leadership team at FPCO went away last week for a one-day session with TAG Consulting using the StrengthFinders material. It was enormously enlightening and we learned why we tend to function, lead and react the way we do. It was amazing to me that the test absolutely pegged me. Nailed it. Bottom line: we are all sort of quirky and weird except Bret Allen. Bret is balanced and normal. ‪#‎pastorsarestrange‬
  6. PET PEEVE: Airlines who nail you with constant fees. The latest? You will now be charged extra - EXTRA - in order to NOT be given a middle seat. What? "Your ticket is $250, but oh, wait - you don't want a middle seat? Then that will be $325." Lovely.
  7. Wear denim on Wednesday. Why? It's International Denim Day in support of victims of rape and sexual assault, women who often suffer in silence. This is the 17th annual Denim Day, a day which started in Australia when the Supreme Court overturned a man's rape conviction by saying the victim's "tight jeans" made her somehow culpable in the assault. The next day, all the women in parliament showed up wearing denim in support of the victim and Denim Day was born. Come on - join in!
  8. At the end of 2015, life expectancy for a male child born today is 76.5 years. At my age, that just doesn't sound very long. ‪#‎dontweatleastget80‬?
  9. 9. PRINCE: Let me say at the outset that I was never a huge Prince fan, but I did appreciate his enormous talent. Yes, I spent plenty of time dancing to his early hits at various fraternity events and social functions, partying like it was 1999. And I totally get that he was an amazingly gifted musician. Anyone who can play all the instruments on an album is just over the top gifted. Even with all that being true, the reaction to his death felt excessive to me. Wall to wall news channel coverage? Perhaps it lies in the reality that we attach ourselves to the musicians who write the soundtrack of our lives, and Prince was certainly one of those people. When one of those artists dies, it feels like a part of our youth has died with him.