Archive for December, 2018

Road Builders 12-9-2018

Saturday, December 8th, 2018

The little boy is scheduled for surgery the following morning. He is understandably scared. Late that night before the procedure, a nurse comes in to check on him. He is awake. Seeing the tears in his eyes, she sits on the corner of his bed and lets him talk about his fears. She explains not only what will happen but why. She answers his questions with honesty and assurance. After a while, the little boy understands. He’s still anxious, but the road is now a little smoother…
He’d be perfect for the sales opening. He has been invited in for an interview with the sales manager. Before the meeting he calls a friend who works in human resources. The friend tells him what he knows about this company and their culture and what they typically look for in sales associates. They study the company’s website together and the HR pro points out what to note about the company and what to talk up in the interview. He also helps his friend update and tune-up his resume. By the end of their time together, he’s ready for his meeting and a possible new beginning on the road of his life…
She was working on her psychology paper when she got the call from her mom. Her beloved Nana had died. Though not a complete surprise, she was still devastated. Her roommate made coffee and took her up to the dorm roof, where they sat and talked. Actually, she talked and the roommate listened. The roommate knew what she was going through because the roommate had lost her grandmother the year before. Her roommate’s empathy helped her negotiate, for the first time in her young life, the hard journey down the road of grief…
I would like to leave you with this thought: John the Baptist, that we hear so much about this week and next, came to fulfill Isaiah’s vision of the prophet: to “make straight” a highway to God, to create a level road for all of us to travel to the kingdom of God. We may have forgotten this, but because of our baptism, we take on that same role of prophet 2018 to create passageways and entries of hope, healing and support for all of us to complete our journey on the road to God’s dwelling place. Road builders: the nurse, the human resources friend, the roommate, every one of us sitting in this church today. Road builders to God!

The Best I Could With What I Have 12-2-2018

Saturday, December 1st, 2018

I saw a movie once where there was a man being pulled in 2 different directions. One arm being pulled by an angel in a white outfit with wings. The other arm pulled by a devil all equipped with a red outfit and horns. “Do this,” one would say. “No do not, do that,” the other would shout. The guys head was spinning and spinning.
I feel like this guy when I start thinking about Advent and Christmas. Bring up 3 people to help demonstrate being pulled apart.
A. On one side the Church is pulling, reminding me it is Advent again. Blue vestments, Advent wreaths, four candles, and special environment. A time of patient waiting. Special preparations for the Re-birth of Jesus in our life. All good stuff.
B. On the other side, Christmas carols 2 days after Thanksgiving, advertisements everywhere, “buy this, buy now, pay later”, Christmas decorations and parties and Santa Clauses everywhere. It is like we skipped from Thanksgiving to Christmas in one day. Being pulled apart.
I know for me I want to use the next 3 or 4 weeks, we call Advent, to deepen my relationship with Jesus Christ. I want to be more aware of where Christ is present in my everyday life.
I also know I will get caught up in the Christmas frenzy. That will be ok and a lot of fun. With that being said, I want Christmas to be different this year.
I remember one Christmas a few years back that was very different for me. My perspective was changed by an automobile accident. 5 innocent and unsuspecting people were killed in a head-on collision. (Snap fingers) It shook me and many others. I thought to myself, “that could have been me”. “That is the same road I travel to go see my mom.” It could have been me. This experience caused me to ask myself some significant questions. Maybe I need to ask them again during Advent 2018? Perhaps you could ask them to yourself?
1. Has my life on the earth made a difference for the better?
2. Am I doing the best I can to develop and share the gifts and talents God has given me?
3. What are my priorities? Are God and my family in the top 3?
4. Are there relationships or some area of my life that needs healing? Needs to change for the better?
5. The final question. Do I need to forgive someone? Do I need to forgive myself? Do I believe God could never forgive me?
Pick one or two of these questions and spend a few minutes thinking about your answers. Be honest. Ask God to help you make the changes you need to make now! Those few minutes might be the best way to make Christmas different this year. Pray for me as I try to do this and I will pray for you.