Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolution

Photo by White House photographer Pete Souza taken at 2010 Presidential Prayer Breakfast
2010 was a wild year in politics.  Like me, you probably applaud some of the decisions made by our elected officials in Washington D.C. this year and have been disappointed in others.  (There's also a good chance that our lists of likes and dislikes don't look exactly the same.)  You and I can grumble and complain all day long about what we don't like about the politics of Washington.  We can argue with one another about issues and decisions and write letters or make calls to our elected representatives with imperceptible results.  We are not powerless, however.  One thing that I resolve to do in  2011 is to pray regularly for our leaders there.  Specifically, I'm praying that
  • God will grant them wisdom and discernment,
  • they will be faithful to seek God as they exercise their responsibilities as our elected officials,
  • they will conduct themselves honorably and respectfully in such a way that their actions reflect favorably on them and our country, and
  • they will be bold to make the right decisions even when faced with opposition.

What about you?  Are you in?

Friday, December 24, 2010

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas . . .

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas..."  Today, I drove about 30 miles south to walk on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico.  This is a "white Christmas" in south Alabama.  No snow but some pretty white sand.  Not too shabby looking considering the BP oil spill earlier this year, eh?

May all your Christmas dreams comes true!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Investing in what matters to Him

Over the last few posts on this blog I've shared some ideas of how you and I can honor God and others with our gifts and all of those suggestions have been about involving ourselves in causes away from home.   I'm reminded of Jesus' commission to us in Acts 1:8 where He challenges us to tell His story in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth.  In  this context, perhaps Jerusalem represents my own backyard while Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth represent progressively distant or disconnected opportunities for sharing.  In practical terms, I think this means that you and I have both an opportunity and a responsibility to share His love broadly, both close to home and far away. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More than a band-aid

Sometimes I wonder if my efforts to help people struggling in poverty are nothing more than a band-aid on a huge, gaping wound.  Maybe what I do will stop some of the bleeding temporarily but will it really have any impact on the larger problem?  Sure  . . . every small thing done to help impoverished people can be honored by God but what about stepping back and looking at the BIG PICTURE?  How can I come alongside of God by investing in tomorrow's leaders in such a way that they will become the force that God uses to change the course of history and reverse the cycle of poverty, despair and abuse.  Are the ultra-wealthy like Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, or Mark Zuckerberg the only ones that have the resources to invest in things that may alter the course of history?  Just recently, I learned about a ministry in Ecuador that is taking on just such a challenge.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Finding the perfect gift

Sometimes finding the perfect gift for someone is a tough job.  You think about their interests, dreams and needs and try to match the gift to those goals.  Sometimes you realize that this person already has adequate resources to explore those interests, actualize those dreams or meet those needs.  Does it make sense to just pile on resources on top of resources in the form of a gift just for the sake of gift giving?  How do you honor the unique interests, dreams and needs of that person in a way that honors them and honors our responsibility to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us?  Compassion International has a suggestion.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

When enough is enough . . .

Gift giving is almost synonymous with Christmas.  Many of us take great joy in both giving and receiving gifts.  I'll confess, however, that the receiving of gifts is not my primary love language but that doesn't mean that the giving of gifts is still not an important way for me to express my love for another.  Gift giving is not always about satisfying an unmet need and many of the people to whom I give a gift may already have an excess of stuff.  There are ways to avoid contributing to the excess of stuff problem, express love to your friends and loved-ones, and  meet genuine needs all at the same time. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dear Santa . . .

Our pastor began his message this weekend by telling us what he wanted for Christmas.  It was a simple request.  He wanted the remainder of the funds to come in to pay for the 2,500 bikes that our church will give away to families of deserving kids this Christmas and for the volunteers to help assemble them this week and distribute them on Saturday.  Sounds like a reasonable request, doesn't it?  I'm betting that he gets what he wished for.

That prompted me to think about what I would like for Christmas this year.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Narrow road, wide road, middle road?

Dang it!  Francis Chan just has a way of "getting all in my business," as they say  . . . whoever they are.  I'm thankful that he does.  In this short clip, he reminds us that following Jesus is more than scripture memorization and discussion groups.  Much more.

What kind of life change will it require of you to move from the middle road to the narrow road