Manic Monday: Focus

1 To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in You I trust, Do not let me be ashamed ; Do not let my enemies exult over me.
3 Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed ; Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.
4 Make me know Your ways, O LORD ; Teach me Your paths.
5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation ; For You I wait all the day.
6 Remember, O LORD, Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses, For they have been from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions ; According to Your lovingkindness remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.
8 Good and upright is the LORD ; Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.
10 All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.
11 For Your name’s sake, O LORD, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
12 Who is the man who fears the LORD ? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
13 His soul will abide in prosperity, And his descendants will inherit the land.
14 The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, And He will make them know His covenant.
15 My eyes are continually toward the LORD, For He will pluck my feet out of the net.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, For I am lonely and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged ; Bring me out of my distresses.
18 Look upon my affliction and my trouble, And forgive all my sins.
19 Look upon my enemies, for they are many, And they hate me with violent hatred.
20 Guard my soul and deliver me; Do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You.
21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.
22 Redeem Israel, O God, Out of all his troubles.

~Psalm 25

Manic Monday: Lovin the military!

Given the justice brought to a certain terrorist who is sleeping among the fishes, this memorial day seems more special. Times of war are always controversial in US history. Hard decisions are called hard decisions for a reason. Sacrifice is called sacrifice for a reason. The military shows us the best of man in the darkest of times: Sacrifice for the joy of freedom.

Thanks for serving!

But if you do what is evil, be afraid ; for [government] does not bear the sword for nothing ; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Romans 3:4b

Manic Monday: Enjoying life or idol?

The Bible days all things are lawful, but we’re also to be mastered by nothing. Idols are specifically false gods. Sometimes it isn’t idols but other things in life that distract us from what’s most important.

The Bible also teaches us to enjoy life as a gift from God. Life brings many joys and things that bring out nuances of it. We often fear enjoying something, that it may be an ‘idol.’ Fear isn’t acting in faith. If doing something violates your conscience then stop it.

But what if that thing in life is a platform to connect with others? We love to share with others what we love. Perhaps God wired in you to love something to give you opportunity to connect with someone else you normally wouldn’t. I’m not talking about rushing the Gospel, but building a genuine relationship around something you love. From that relationship, then God may give you boldness to share your hope in the Gospel, and still enjoy your passion.

(especially on Monday)

Manic Monday: Slow times

Kelly and I had the joy of serving in the normally crazy full nursery Sunday. It was quiet. Just a few kids. Scary. We waited for kids to drop from the ceiling and yell SURPRISE, but no such ambush occurred. Quiet and slow times are good. You need them.

When I worked at a Buick dealership as a teenager and college student I remembered a  phrase often said. I told myself I needed to remember it. I didn’t. Now I did.

“Slow times are training times.”

When things are slow you have opportunity to work extra on things you normally wouldn’t have time for in the normal business of life and especially hectic business of life.

In slow times you can: Play, prep, train, clean, experiment, connect, network, catch your breath, and/or prepare the ground for rain. (In Seattle that would be prepare yourself for Sun.)

Use the slow times to your advantage. God knows we need them.

(especially on Monday)

Manic Monday: Coffee Woes…

Switching between coffee blends can be a traumatic experience. Recently Kelly and I enjoyed Starbucks 40th Anniversary blend. Great stuff! This week we had to switch to a normal non Starbucks blend we drink. It tastes weaker and not as robust as the previous blend. It lacked the spice, kick and sheer joy of the previous blend. Sigh.

In coffee there are extraordinarily blends, horrid blends and normal blends. Each should be enjoyed for what they are. Yes, I said and mean we should enjoy our horrid blends.

The horrid let’s you know that you still have taste. It tests your character and values. Are you focused on what’s most important? Horrid blends let you better appreciate the better, but also help you cling to what is most important.

The extraordinary blends let you still be surprised and delighted by coffee. We often view average as evil, but I think that is a poor view of average. You cannot reproduce the extraordinary or it wouldn’t be what it is. But, to enjoy the extraordinary takes practice, discernment and readiness for when it happens. It takes being a student of coffee. Are you well trained in the art of coffee so you can be ready and fully able to enjoy the extraordinary?

The bulk of life is the ordinary. Average normal ordinary blends move life. Meeting expectations is a good thing. You know what you are getting. What you are getting is a let down compared to the extraordinary. However, in the ordinary is contentment and enjoying the gift of coffee that God gave us. Ordinary is about enjoying the little things in life. It’s about enjoying coffee as coffee.

Here is to my ordinary blend! Enjoy your coffee!

(especially on Monday)

Manic Monday: My Social Media rules of thumbs

How do I engage in social media? My rule of thumb is be discerning and intentional. Everyone engages differently, and that is a cool aspect of it. Here are some to the conventions I follow:

Social media is public no matter how closely I guard privacy settings. Facebook is most personal, twitter is in-between leaning towards my vocation, this blog is vocational.

I re-whatever based primarily on ministry interests or for things to consider. A re-whatever does not mean I agree or disagree with something. Discernment should always be exercised.

I do not re-whatever on hallmark comments (emotional and often well stated comments). This doesn’t mean I disagree with them, but I’m content with being a part of the 97% that don’t. One exception- I do on occasion re-whatever comments that make fun of hallmark comment’s thirst for re-whatever-ing the comment.

I’m more inclined to re-whatever things that do not contain the nefarious 3% guilt trip. Justsayin.

I talk tons about my kids because of their grandparents. Grandparents and family are part of my audience. And, let’s face it, as much as they love my wife and I, they want to hear about the grand kids, and that’s totally ok.

I am very cautious about negative comments. I do post them on occasion as it’s part of being real. Life isn’t Disneyland. Even these I try to put in a humorous tone. Praise in public, criticize in private is a great rule of thumb to follow.

I prefer to be a-political. While one may guess or otherwise already know my political leanings, the Gospel is most important to me. I chose to not have politics as part of my public discourse.

I think social media is give and take, Contribute and engage with others. I like that. I do not think it replaces human interaction, but it does help in one key aspect: it allows human interaction to focus on what can only happen in person, making the sharing of coffee that much better.

The bottom line is to be discerning in how you engage in whatever you engage in.

(especially on Monday)