Quote from Wilberforce

Some clergy prepare their sermons; others prepare themselves.” – Samuel Wilberforce

This was a tweet from Asbury Seminary that caught my attention last week.  As I prepare to speak what I hope is a faithful word each week, it is a great reminder that my preparing my life is as important as my exegesis.

We have spent the last week as a congregation talking about spiritual disciplines.  These activities (prayer, study, fasting, worship, etc.) are the very ground in which God works to shape our lives, our families, and our communities.  And yet, my guess, based upon my own life, is that we would all like to be more consistent, more passionate, more connected to these practices.  I know that my hope is that they become a permanent lifestyle and not spiritual hobbies I pick up from time to time.

With Lent right around the corner, maybe this is a good time to pick up one of these disciplines and make it a regular part of your journey for 7 weeks.  My guess is that it will become a regular part of your life afterwards.

More alike than different

I was walking out of the YMCA after working out today. At first, I didn’t notice anything except the beautiful weather and my need to hurry on with my day. There were two women laughing about something that seemed to catch them both as very funny just ahead of me. A few more yards further and I find myself not understanding a word coming out of their mouths. They were speaking a language foreign to me. All of a sudden, my perspective changed.

Before the language difference emerged, they were simply two ladies walking out of the Y…friends…daughters…somebody’s mom probably…my neighbors. Now they were people I felt an immediate distance from.

And it is my fault…it is my hangup…it is my perspective that needs realigned.

Why do we (I) let the few differences between us create chasms when they may simply be slight indentations in the sand? Why does it change the tenor of a conversation when you say “I am a liberal” or “conservative” or “born again” or “Methodist” or “Baptist”…you get the picture I am sure.

There is much more that unites us than divides us if we are honest. There is much more that we can celebrate about one another than criticize. We are much more alike than different.

Left Behind

I grew up with a fear of being left behind.  Whether in a grocery, in the classroom or on the field of play, I never wanted to be forgotten or somehow left behind and not able to compete.  I wanted to belong.  Not just be…but belong.

On this Valentine’s Day, I have been reminded how many people feel on the outside looking in.  Whether it is the loss of a loved one that hits home on days like this or the reminder that things haven’t turned out the way you had planned or hoped.  Maybe it’s time for a phone call.  Perhaps a card or letter of encouragement.  We have been placed on this earth to belong…and part of belonging is including.  And part of including is looking beyond ourselves.

A favorite quote

“The problem with communication is the ILLUSION that it has been accomplished.” —George Bernard Shaw

These words haunt and constantly challenge me.  My guess is that these words should do the same for all of us in terms of our relationships with family, friends, co-workers and colleagues.  Maybe time for a phone call or a note to someone?

A Day

To give you a glimpse of a typical Friday. Kids off to school was followed by a longish run. Which included some sermon prep time as well as some clear my head time. Had a great lunch sitting at the bar at Hattie’s with a friend and fellow congregation member. Then off to the hospital for a couple of visits before nestling back in to prepare for the weekend.

I do love the random nature and ever changing landscape of what I do. I never forget the privilege I have been given to be supported by a group of people who monetarily support me and my family so that I may be able to do this ministry. That in itself is overwhelming.

Can’t live in the past

Just saw a picture of me from High School days.  Reminder of how quickly time passes and how necessary it is that we do not live in the past.  If HS was the defining time in my life, things would be much different today that they are.  Upon graduating HS, I had only left the state of Texas 2-3 times, never flown in a plane, and pretty much thought I knew it all.  All that has changed…and then some.  About to come upon 21 years of living away from Texas, I have flown on a plane (a few times!), and the more I learn the more I realize how little I know.

The past is something we can celebrate and/or learn from, but it is not something we can duplicate or live from for very long.  For some that is depressing.  For others that is liberating.  For me…it is a little of both.