Saturday, February 28, 2009

I spent a lot of time with Titus 2:1-15 yesterday, particulary verse 2. "It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled upright and godly lives in this present age."

[It teaches us ...] Its necessary for the grace of God to teach me. It's not going to come naturally and its not intuitive. Its not going to happen because I will it to happen. The growth of a disciple is not a given; its not automatically bestowed upon us. We learn it. We are taught what following Christ means by the grace of God.

[... in this present age.] All of this is God's gift to me so that I can live today. As concerned as God and the Bible are about our eternal future with God in heaven, God is just as concerned about right now. We have to live (at least for a little while) right in the here and now. God knows that and leads us so that we can live in this moment. Our future is secure; but our "right now" is important to God too.

In the middle of "stuff," can I still be taught? Can I hear God's voice? Am I able to exercise the self-control I need to live a Godly life? While the problems and struggles swirl around, God wants to show me how to live in "this present age."

When I say things like, "I can't handle this," it reveals just how much I still need to learn. I need the grace of God to continue teaching me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lent begins ...

In a couple of hours, Lent begins.

I know a lot of people hate Lent. It seems depressing and overly self-flagellant. Like we need a formal 40-Day reminder that we fall so far short of expectations -- others, God's, our own. I know I don't need help beating myself up; I'm pretty good at that already.

But, I really need this Lent. I need a time to re-focus, pray, reflect and seek God. I need to find the reservoir that is God's love and sink deep into it for awhile. I need living water. The good news is that I know where to find it ... I just don't take advantage of the invitation often enough to satisfy the deeper longings of my soul.

That's what I'm searching for this Lent. I need a "refresher course."

At my church, we've put together a Lenten Devotional book. It contains reflections for each day between now and Easter that were written by members of our church family. I'm beginning those readings tomorrow with the prayer that God will speak through those daily devotions and that I will come to know God deeper.

Lent's not about giving up something ... for me its about adding something. Adding this time of devotion. Adding this prayer for renewal. Adding this reminder of whose I am. Right now, I don't need to be diminished further by "giving up" something. I need to be filled to over-flowing by one who says "all these things shall be added to you."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

This week's sign . . .

Since I've moved (last July) I have noticed that I'm not in Kansas anymore. Things move a little different, feel a little different - are a little different. For the most part, I like it here a lot. But there are times when I find myself saying, "hmmmm." For instance, when I notice that there's a hitching post in the parking lot at my bank. Not something I was used to in the Baltimore/Washington suburbs. But here ... hey, the Amish and Mennonite have to park the buggy somewhere!

I have noticed that there are places where English seems to be a second language. From time to time I'm going to post proof of that assertion. For example, this is a sign that was hanging on the gym door in a local elementary school. I was there for a basketball practice and noticed it as I was leaving. Please, remember - this is a school. You know, one of those places where they teach English.
I took the picture with my phone and its a little blurry so here's a transcription: "No one is allow in hallway unless they are using the restroom/water foundtion."
Please tell me their kidding. Please?
BTW, I took the picture about 6 weeks ago. It's still there.