What Annie Dillard says about writing in her book, “The Writing Life,” is true about all of life: “Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.”
There is a wonder to life. Pursue it. Hunt for it. Don’t listen to the whines of those who’ve settled for a second-rate life and want you to do the same so they won’t feel guilty. Your goal is not to live long…it’s to live!
You can’t be criticized for what you don’t try, right? You can’t lose your balance if you never climb, right? So, take the safe route. Or. . . you can follow God’s impulses. He says, “Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it.” Time slips. Days pass. Years fade. Life ends. And what we came to do must be done while there is time!
Am I a Polar Bear?
A young polar bear cub approached his mother one day and asked, "Mom, am
I a polar bear?"
"Of course you are," she replied with a smile.
"OK," said the cub, and padded off. Later, he found his dad out by the
"Dad, am I a polar bear?"
"Sure you are, son!" said his dad, wondering a bit at why his son would
ask such a silly thing.
The next day, the cub asked the question again and again.
"Are you and mom polar bears? You are? Well, then, does that make me a
polar bear? Pure, 100% polar bear?"
Finally, his parents couldn't stand it any longer. "Son, you're driving
us crazy with this question! You are a polar bear! Why do you keep
The cub looked up and confessed, "Cause I'm FREEZING!"
And then there's me. Sometimes I go to my Father, and I say, "Am I
really your child? Are you really my Father? Because sometimes I doubt,
and other times, I don't act much like you. And I'm not sure if I'm the
kind of person you would want to call your child. And sometimes things
don't go well for me, and I have pain and anger and... is that ok for
one of your children?"
And then, though I can't see it, I can feel it -- the warm hug, the
reassuring smile, the affirmation of sonship. I don't have to be
perfect, I'm not expected to never feel pain or worry or care. But I'm
expected to know whose I am, and that I belong. And that for whatever
extravagant, outrageous reason, I've been loved and adopted by the One
Even polar bears get cold. And even Christians -- the adopted children
of God fail and fear and falter. But we are still His.
Pastor Jeremiah Steepek (pictured) transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the 10,000 member church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service, only 3 people out of the 7-10,000 people said hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food - NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the ushers if he would please sit n the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.
As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation. "We would like to introduce to you Pastor Jeremiah Steepek." The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation. The homeless man sitting in the back stood up and started walking down the aisle. The clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him. He walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment then he recited,
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
'The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning. Many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame. He then said, "Today I see a gathering of people, not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples. When will YOU decide to become disciples?"
He then dismissed service until next week.
Being a Christian is more than something you claim. It's something you live by and share with others.
There is a great story about a T-Ball baseball game that was reported in the July 10, 1989 Sports Illustrated.
The game was played in Wellington, Florida. In it, a seven-year-old first baseman, Tanner Munsey, fielded a ground ball and tried to tag a runner going from first to second base.
The umpire, Laura Benson, called the runner out, but young Tanner immediately ran to her side and said, "Ma'am, I didn't tag the runner." Umpire Benson reversed herself, sent the runner to second base, and Tanner's coach gave him the game ball for his honesty.
Two weeks later, Laura Benson was again the umpire and Tanner was playing shortstop when a similar play occurred. This time Benson ruled that Tanner had missed the tag on a runner going to third base, and she called the runner safe. Tanner looked at Benson and without saying a word, tossed the ball to the catcher and returned to his position.
Benson sensed something was wrong. "Did you tag the runner?" She asked Tanner.
His reply: "Yes."
Benson then called the runner out. The opposing coaches protested until she explained what had happened two weeks earlier. "If a kid is that honest," she said, "I have to give it to him."
It may be that no Christian characteristic has suffered more in our society than honesty. It's lacking in the workplace, it's lacking in many of our marriages, it's lacking in our government, and sometimes it's even lacking in our churches. Like Diogenes of ancient Greece, we sometimes feel the urge to take our lantern and begin our search for an honest man.
There is something about Christians that should stand out like a neon sign on a dark night. Jesus wants his people to be known as a people of truth. We should establish a reputation, like Tanner, for speaking the truth even when it would benefit us to do otherwise. Then, and only then, will those around us trust what we say without hesitation, without wondering whether we really mean what we say or not.
"Therefore, putting away lying, each one speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another." (Ephesians 4:25)
If prayer came naturally, God wouldn't have to remind us so often to do it. When prayer doesn't seem rewarding, we're apt to abandon it. So how can you pray and get results?
1) Before you ask, adore! Any prayer that begins with asking can become self-centred and shallow. 'Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name' (Psalms 100:4 NIV). When God's love, goodness and faithfulness are your starting point, you're lifted out of yourself, your spirit is prepared for 'connecting' with God, the content of your prayer becomes more scriptural, and you get results. In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus directs our attention first to God's name, then His kingdom and then His will. After that, we ask for 'our daily bread.' Thanksgiving doesn't condition God to bless you - it conditions you to receive His blessing.
2) When you pray, persist! God's not an automated teller. You are supposed to stay engaged with Him until He decides to answer you. Jesus gave us a parable about a woman who kept pleading with a hard-hearted judge to grant her petition. When she finally wore him down, he gave her what she asked. Jesus had only one purpose for the parable: 'To show them that they should always pray and not give up' (Luke 18:1 NIV). The point is not that persistence forces God's cooperation, it's that God wants you to pray and not quit. When you persist God will answer, 'and quickly!' (v. 8 NIV).
Soul food: Hab. 1-3; Lk. 9:18-27; Ps 65; Prov. 19:5-8