More is Less

I stole the ball at the top of the key and dribbled as fast as I could to the other end of the court.  I passed the ball off to Derrick and he made the shot (he was awesome).  Unfortunately, I had to concentrate so much on dribbling that I could not lift my head to see what was in front of me.  It was a guy from the other team.  He was big.  We both fell down when I plowed into him.  For those of you who may have a question, yes, that is a foul.  No points awarded for my dribbling or Derrick’s shot.

I was an expert at one thing on the court: rebounding.  I could move the ball a bit, but not that much and certainly not under pressure.

Two things were true:  If I was moving the ball down the court, we were not making points.  If I was in rebound mode, we got the ball and made plenty of points.  

We won a lot of games, but never because of my dribbling skills.

It seems to me as though the church needs to remember it’s expertise.

The church helps society, but we are not experts on social issues.

The church feeds people, but we are not experts at food.

The church helps strengthen marriages, but we are not experts at marriage.

The church provides coffee every Sunday, but we are not experts at coffee.

There is nothing wrong with these things, in fact I think they are good.  Jesus is the expert at all of them (Yes, I think He is the expert at coffee).  

I wonder if we have gotten so consumed with doing things outside of our expertise that we find we can no longer call ourselves experts at the one thing that matters.

Jesus, let me be an expert at introducing people to You.  I do not wish to lose focus on the One True God or Your mission for me.

10 Cheetahs

It started with one cheetah.  “Dad, I am faster than a cheetah!”

But as Joshua has gotten more mature, everything is weighed in its relationship with 10 cheetahs.  “Dad, I am bigger than 10 cheetahs.”  “Mom, I eat gum like 10 cheetahs.”  “I jump like 10 cheetahs.” 

(Bad parenting spoiler alert…)  The other day, he told me that he was more comfortable than 10 cheetahs.  I couldn’t handle it.  I replied, enthusiastically and without reservation, “No you aren’t!”  He didn’t do it, but I WANTED him to get in an argument with me so I could systematically break down his idea of how comfortable 10 cheetahs are.  I would have won the argument but, let’s face it, that would have been the only thing I would have won.

I think he is trying to impress us, but at the end of the day (and I know you know this) I don’t really care if he is faster than a cheetah or slower than a cheetah or even THINKS he is faster than a cheetah.  I only care that he is my son.

He is my son!

I do the same thing.  “I am faster than my neighbor.”  “I am nicer than my friends.”   “I know more Bible than this pastor.”  “I do better ministry than this church.”   “I am more righteous and faithful than I was 10 years ago.”  Not sure who I am trying to impress, but I am fairly certain that nobody is buying it.

In fact, I am a little surprised that God has not said, “No you aren’t!”  

See, here is the good news:  God doesn’t care if I am smarter or faster.  He only cares that I am His kid.

I am His kid!

That’s all He cares about with you too.

Maybe you knew that already today.

Or maybe you just needed to hear it like 10 cheetahs.

cockadoodle-doer

My three year old son totally cleared up Matthew 15:11 for me today.

I was giving the youngest some food and Joshua wanted to help by “reading a book” to his little brother.  He pulls out a book about animals and begins reading the pictures,  “This is a cow, Daniel.  This is a monkey…”

Then he reminded me how far removed we are from the farm when he got to a picture of a rooster.  He pauses.  He looks at me.  (I’m not helping him, I want to see what he comes up with.)  He does not know the name, “rooster”.  Oh, this should be good.

“Daniel, this is a cockadoodle-doer.”

Which brings me to my question:  What would my name be if I were called by what comes out of my mouth?

Would it be Critic?  Cryer?  Coward?  Courage?

In this world we are not judged nearly as much as we should be for what we say.  But if we were…

Jesus, let my words be so remarkably focused on You that my son would call me “Christian”.

And You Are…

I was traveling and went into a coffee shop.  This guy in the parking lot was staring at me – and I was staring at him right back.  I DID NOT know him.

Finally, I went to him and said, “Hi!”  (yes, the exclamation point was necessary – that was how I said it.)  This was my way of saying, “Stop staring…”

And of coarse, he looked at me and said, “Hi Tree.”

Oh – I DO know him.

But here was my problem.  He was in the wrong context.  I expected him to be in a ski suit and on a ski mountain with a camera (he is a wedding photographer).  But he wasn’t.  He was in a parking lot. 

I am embarrassed quite often when someone says, “Hi Tree.” and all I can say is, “Hi, uh, buddy…”

Will they recognize Jesus when He comes back?  Will they recognize Jesus because of someting that I did?

Will I talk about Jesus in such a way that the people that listen to me, when they meet Jesus face to face, will say, “You are exactly like I was told You would be!”

Or will people be confused because the Jesus I speak of has no contextual tie to the real Jesus?

Which one:  “You are Jesus!”, or, “Hi, uh, Buddy…”

Jesus, let my words be so clear that You are able to connect the dots, and let me not contribute to an integrated gospel that never mentions Your holy name!  Amen.

Zero days

My phone functions as a pedometer.  So, I installed an app that tracks my steps daily.  This app will set a standard goal for how many steps I should take per day and then let me know when I achieve it.  It is a low goal, so normally it is pretty easy to achieve.

Also, to “encourage me” (please insert air quotes here) the app will randomly choose days to let me know how many days in a row I have met my  goal.  The other day, it “encouraged me” (again with the air quotes, this time with sarcasm, please) by sending this message:

“You have met your goal for 0 days in a row.”  

I have to be honest…  I almost deleted the app completely.  There is snow on the ground.  I have work to do in the office today.  What does my phone know about walking anyway?  Other obligatory excuses can be placed here.

The truth can make you want to go farther.

The truth can remind you that you haven’t gone farther.

The truth can ruin your ego.

The truth can revitalize you.

The truth can make you better.

The truth always informs you.

Jesus says that He is the Truth (John 14:6) and He also says that He is here to testify to the truth (John 18:37).

Jesus, please give me a heart that hears the Truth and then goes the extra mile instead of erasing the app.