There are actions that, technically speaking, we are “allowed” to do. However, even though they are “allowed” they are not what’s best. The higher calling of our lives is to strive for what’s best. Striving for “what’s best” will be more challenging but that’s why it is “what’s best” for ourselves and for those whose lives we touch.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Brief podcast with a bit of historical info about the church and a few details regarding the services this Sunday! Check it out.
Click here for podcast!
Click here for podcast!
Friday, May 17, 2013
It’s okay to care—to some extent—what other people think about us. That’s part of what happens when people try to live together in a society and get along with each other. It can be a problem, however, when our desire to be honored by people becomes greater than our desire to be honored by God.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Yesterday I wrote about a little duckling, Little Straggler, who got left behind in our church courtyard when his mama and the rest of her newly hatched flock left the area.
We ended up catching Little Straggler and putting him in a box in my office because he was crying, non-stop, and we were concerned that a hawk or a cat or some other animal would get him because of all the noise he was making. In fact, a cat rang the buzzer at the front door of the church and tried to fool me by wearing a suit and sunglasses. But I knew better and didn’t let him in.
We debated what we were going to do with Little Straggler. Several people left comments suggesting that I was, now, his mother. One person even told me that as Little Straggler’s mother, I needed to chew up worms to feed him. But we have to draw some lines, somewhere, don’t we? The little guy is cute but, come on!
Well, fortunately, Ann from our church came and took Little Straggler to a nearby farm where he was put in an incubator (I think that’s what Ann told me) with several other newly hatched ducklings. Maybe it wasn’t an incubator. I can’t remember for sure. I think that’s what she told me. Are there incubator’s for ducklings? If there aren’t, there should be, doggone it!
Ann said that the other little ducklings seemed to immediately accept Little Straggler into their duck society. So, Little Straggler is fine. He’s living on a farm. Someone else is chewing up worms for him to eat. And a very sad ending was averted.
Although there are some cats and hawks in our neighborhood roaming around today saying, “Thanks a lot, Mr. Nature Boy! What about us? We’re still really hungry.”
All of our questions will not be answered on this side of eternity. But the frustration of unanswered questions is tempered by the fact that we can know God and we can know that He loves us and we are His. And we can know that we will experience life, forever, with Him. So, what we can know helps us live with the frustrations that come with what we can’t know.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I hear the sad, high pitched cry of a little baby duckling in the courtyard outside my window.
Let me explain…
A mama duck comes every spring and lays her eggs in our courtyard. When the eggs hatch, Ann from our church, opens up doorways in the church building so that the mama can get her little flock out of the courtyard—where there is no food or water—to the greater outdoors. When they get out of the courtyard they usually head straight for McDonalds.
This morning all the little ducklings got out with their mama except one who straggled and didn’t get out with the rest of the group. Ann caught the little straggler and took him outside to reunite him with his mama and siblings but by then they were gone. She looked high and low but couldn’t find them.
Not knowing where else to put him, Ann, put Little Straggler (that’s my name for him, now, “Little Straggler”) back in the courtyard.
So here I sit listening to Little Straggler crying. (That’s Little Straggler in the photo.)
I’ve stuck my head out the window several times and said to him, “You have to be quiet. Your noise is going to attract something that will want to eat you.” But he doesn’t listen to me. (It’s almost as if he doesn’t speak English.) In fact, I thought he would at least get scared and be quiet while I was talking. But he doesn’t. While I’m telling him to be quiet, he keeps crying.
If you’re thinking, “Oh no. Poor Little Straggler. I feel so sad for him.”
I’m feeling sorry for the little guy and I wanted a few others to join in with me.
NOTE: I’ll keep you all updated on Little Straggler’s status.
Good things happen in life and bad things, also, happen in life. I am grateful for the profound truth that God will be with us, giving us peace and strength for both. (And pizza helps, too. But you probably already knew that, right?)
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013
I was driving toward the expressway junction ramps for interstate 80 and a thought occurred to me, “Hey, it’s my day off. The weather is beautiful. Maybe I should get on I-80 west and drive out to Starved Rock.”
It was a silly impulse. I wasn’t planning to go to Starved Rock. It was impractical. I hadn’t told anyone I was going to Starved Rock. But there was a part of me that thought, “Why not?”
But then the internal conversation began.
“That’s almost 2 hours from here. You’re just going to drive there, right now, at 1o’clock in the afternoon? Simply because the weather is nice? That’s not a responsible thing to do,” thought the Safe-Predictable Me.
“Sometimes you need to do something, unpredictable and impulsive. That’s part of living a great life,” countered the Go-For-It Me.
Safe-Predictable Me said, “What are you going to do, just call Nadia and say, ‘I’m on my way to Starved Rock?’ She’ll think you’re being ridiculous.”
“She won’t mind,” said Go-For-It Me. “It’s your day off. She would encourage you to do it.”
“I have some other things to do today, when I get back home,” Safe-Predictable Me said in a very convincing “stop-being-irresponsible” tone of voice.
“None of what has to be done is an emergency. It can all wait,” said Go-For-It Me.
This entire internal conversation happened in the course of a few seconds, in my mind, and as I came to the freeway ramps I found myself getting on I-80 eastbound. In other words, I was heading home, not toward Starved Rock.
I’m writing this down now because I felt like I needed to remind myself—as well as share with you—that, sadly, when I got on that eastbound ramp I violated one of my own general life rules which is: If you’re looking at a choice that involves doing something adventurous and not doing something adventurous, make the adventurous choice!
Oh, I know there will be exceptions to this general life rule. There are always exceptions. There will be times when making the adventurous choice really won’t be the wise thing. But life is meant to be lived—that’s part of why God created us. (I know that’s an incredibly clichéd thought, but it’s still true, anyhow.)
I got home and got some of those things done—you know, those things that I had to get home and do?—but I feel badly. I didn’t choose well. Oh, I know, it’s not likely that I missed out on one of the most thrilling adventures imaginable, but it’s the principle: What happened today represents one of the ways that time passes and we look back with regret at a life that was only partially lived.
Note to self: Choose the adventure. (And be a bit more skeptical when listening to Safe-Predictable Me.)
There are some issues that I have prayed about for a long time and sometimes I think, “When, God?” Or, “Are you listening?” Someone might be inclined to tell me, “Forget it. Give up. You’re wasting your time.” But I trust that God cares about me and I trust that He knows. So, I believe that I should keep praying.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Jewel was bustling tonight. I guess I should clarify that I’m referring to “Jewel” the grocery store. I saw several men at the store carrying flowers that, no doubt, they were buying to give to their mothers or, perhaps, their wives.
I was carrying flowers and I saw another guy who was also carrying flowers. He smiled at me and nodded as we passed each other.
I didn’t know this man and he didn’t know me. There was no reason for a smile and a nod, except this: The Bond. The Guy Bond. It’s a bond that needs no words. In fact, words will often tend to ruin the Guy Bond because words are so loaded with unnecessary letters and syllables and wordy-ness. The Guy Bond is a bond between guys because guys know. There are situations in which we simply have to look at each other and we know.
Some of you are reading this and you might be wondering, “What are you talking about? What in the heck is the Guy Bond? What do you know?”
You see, that’s the problem. If I have to explain the Guy Bond then there’s no way you can really understand the Guy Bond. Oh sure, an explanation might help you grasp some basic pieces of information in a very rudimentary and unsatisfactory way. But the only way to really know the Guy Bond is to be a guy and… well… to experience the Guy Bond.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t know the Guy Bond. The Guy Bond just “is.” It’s like the fact that gravity works. No one feels bad about the reality of gravity. That would be silly. We know that gravity just “is.”
On my way out of the store a woman saw me carrying the flowers and she said, “Oh, those are very pretty. Are those for your wife or your mother?”
I smiled and said, “They’re for my wife.” And then I thought to myself, “Nice try. But that involved way too many words. It does not count as a Guy Bond.”
Two of the primary enemies of healthy relationships are pride and selfishness. On the other hand, relationships thrive when we are humble, generous and gracious—genuinely considering the needs of others. (Researchers have also found that it’s very important to be nice to gray haired guys.)