Saturday, June 27, 2009

Is the Hokey Pokey Really What It's All About?

So God and I have been having regular conversations about perspective lately. Seems to go with our theme here since perspective has to do with seeing, doesn’t it?

I’ve recently read about perspective in at least three books, it’s been focus of several of my Daily Bible Verses over the past few weeks and it just plain pops up everywhere I turn. Actually, yesterday it made appearances in two separate conversations. And I wasn’t even the one who mentioned it. I’m beginning to think that perspective, not the Hokey Pokey, is really what it’s all about!

Think about the meaning of perspective for a second: a particular evaluation of a situation or facts, especially from one person's point of view; a measured or objective assessment of a situation, giving all aspects their comparative importance. Or simply put, one’s outlook, point of view, or perception. Now why would this be so important to us? Well, we’ve already established that we were created for relationship (see it here). We are not meant to live alone without contact with others. And if we want to live a life of meaning, it will require us to regularly check our perspective. We cannot live in a bubble and fully understand the world around us. We must adjust our viewpoint. When we don’t understand a situation it might help to look at it from another angle.

I also think it’s easy to accept the false idea that the way we see things is always reality. It’s not. It’s only our current perception of reality. I’ve always been drawn to the saying about "walking a mile in another person’s shoes". One of the first Bible verses I memorized as a child was “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Granted I tried to tag that with my own interpretation by saying things like, “Well, she was mean to me so I guess that’s the way she wants to be treated, right?” How silly! But I don’t have the excuse of being six years old anymore (Oh I am so far away from six it isn't even funny!). So why do I forget to consider how another people are feeling, what they may be going through, or what has brought them to this point? I need to share their perspective to understand. What I'm really seeing may not be what I think I see…

That nasty person behind the counter could be worried sick about a critically ill loved one and can’t be with them for fear of losing their minimum wage job. The homeless man sitting on the street corner may be a veteran who simply didn’t know how to fill out the right forms and sadly fell through the proverbial cracks. The kid who destroyed your mailbox as a prank may be dying inside because his parents are so wrapped up in their own problems they don’t even see him anymore. We will never know unless we exchange our perspective for theirs.

Then there’s the aspect of perspective as it pertains to God. Think about this – what’s an 80-year lifespan compared to eternity? (James 4:14) What about our annual income compared to God’s bank account? (Deuteronomy 10:14) Or our inconveniences compared to what God gave up? (John 3:16) How about the way we see others and the way God sees them? (Romans 5:8; James 2:5) We need to share God’s perspective. We need to ask Him to show us what He sees and be willing to put hands and feet into action.

Come to think of it, maybe it does have something to do with the Hokey Pokey after all…put your right hand in, take your right hand out…put your left hand in, take your left hand out…put your right foot in, take your right foot out…put your left foot in, take your left foot out…If where we put our hands and feet is in God’s work then, “DO THE HOKEY POKEY AND TURN YOURSELF AROUND” and proudly proclaim, “That’s what it’s all about!”

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Dad and My Father...

My dad is a great man but he’s not perfect. My mom would be the first to back me up on that. He is a fantastic dad. He was Daddy my whole life until I moved out of the great state of Alabama. Then he became my Dad when I referred to him in conversation, but still Daddy to his face. Now he’s Papa ‘cause that’s what the grandkids call him. Whatever we call him (as long as we call him when it’s time to eat) he’s still quite a guy! He’s grown into the role of patriarch for a bunch of hooligans (three kids with spouses and a total of eleven grandchildren) and we have a great heritage of faith due largely to his efforts. He is a great role model and example for all of us.

He shows us the character of God in the way he serves sacrificially. I don’t think you would find an honest person in all of West Alabama who would say that my dad ever denied help to anyone when it was in his power to deliver. He has fixed broken pipes, toilets, hot water heaters, furnaces, lawn mowers, tractors, cars and trucks, bush hogs, fences, baseball fields, and just about anything else that can be broken. He is the “go-to-man” when you need a helping hand. Guess we could call him “Hamburger Helper”, huh?

He shows us the character of God in his creativity. My dad has an artistic flair with a heavy country accent! I remember watching him draw horses when I was a child and I found some drawings in his high school text books of curvaious ladies – all in good taste of course. His handwriting is neat and precise. I love the way he prints so neatly in all caps. I used to try to write like him. He has always had a talent for invention also. I can’t tell you how many times he’s been faced with a need for some piece of equipment or tool or whatever. He goes into problem solving mode and then before you know it, he’s in the shop building whatever it is that was lacking in this world (his world). Most often it involves welding and when he’s finished Hurricane Katrina couldn’t budge it (whatever it is).

He shows us the character of God in the way he loves unconditionally (even when he’s frustrated or disappointed with his children, we never wonder if he loves us). He has great wisdom that he shares without judging (too much) and he is always ready to share the good news that he knows personally about how Jesus can change your life.

Did I mention that my dad is not perfect? He is also just as human as they come. He has a bit of a temper. Stubborn doesn’t even come close to describing him. Opinionated, yep – he’s got that one covered too! I know some of you are wondering when I switched from writing about my dad and started talking about myself! I guess it’s true what they say about the little old acorn and how it descends in close proximity to the parental unit!

It pleases me that people look at me and see so much of my dad but my ultimate desire is that when they look at me they also see a strong resemblance to my heavenly Father…that they also see GOD.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Relationships and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups...

We are created for relationship. Even a connoisseur of “alone time” such as myself can’t argue with that fact. Obviously some people are more interested in developing and cultivating healthy relationships than others, but we all need them. They are as vital to our overall well being as much as a healthy eating and exercise plan. I saw a perfect example of this the other day from the wonderful world of nature. I was taking a little stroll to the mailbox at work and I noticed a bevy of activity on the sidewalk under my feet.

There was a little army of hardworking ants busy collecting deceased earthworms, the victims of recent rain storms. Ewwww! I know you’re wondering where I’m going with this, but just hang in there with me. I promise I have a point. There were quite a few ants working together in pairs to transport their burdens back home to waiting families. However, I did notice one little ant in particular who was working on a rather large piece of worm carcass all by himself. I didn’t think too much about it as I made my way to the mailbox, but on my return trip I noticed he was having a devil of a time trying to get himself and his load out of the cavernous crack in the sidewalk. I stopped to observe and what I saw tugged at my heart. Here was a very agitated ant, pacing around, turning in circles, wringing his little ant hands and wondering how in the world he was going to get that darn thing home. I wound up offering my assistance by using my car key to raise the dried up piece of worm to the point the ant could take over and be on his merry little way. I got no “thank you”, “bless you”, or even so much as nod for my gallant effort.

I think there are several lessons for us to take away from this experience:

Lesson #1 – Remember to be thankful. Always say thank you when you receive assistance, whether it’s from God’s hand directly or through the service of another person.

Lesson #2 – It’s not a sin to need help. We all require assistance from time to time. Don’t be ashamed when you are struggling and someone comes along to lend a hand. It’s a gift from God, treat it as such.

Lesson #3 – Look for opportunities to be the hands of God. I’ll go out on a limb here and predict you won’t have to look long or hard before one of those opportunities is right before you. Follow through and then tell God thank you for allowing you to be a part of His work here on earth. But be prepared. It could require serious sacrifice on your part. Just yesterday I was prompted into sacrificial service for a friend. I was required to eat one of her Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to keep her from being tempted to eat both of them. Oh, the lengths I’ll go to for a friend…I'm here for you, for all of you!

Remember, keep your eyes open and when you see God at work don’t forget to share it with someone.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


This past Sunday, May 31, Stonecreek Church had the privilege to hear Peter Habyarimana share part of his story (click here to listen). Peter is from Uganda. He became a man as we would say, "Against ALL Odds." Peter was rescued literally physically and spiritually through the organization Compassion International. This organization is more than a typical "relief organization." They work through local churches in poverty stricken countries to release children from poverty in Jesus' name. I strongly encourage you to check them out for yourself and am confident they will stand up to the scrutiny.
But back to Peter's story. He said something on Sunday that has continued to echo in my head. He made the statement that poverty and being poor isn't about lack of money or shoes or food. Being poor is a lack of hope. Many of us may never have considered ourselves poor by global standards (80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day) but how's your hope? Are you lacking? Well, let me tell you that our only hope rests in God. No matter the circumstance or the obstacles we face, He is our only hope. Can you see Him? I'll share a little theory I have with you...since God is always present, we always have access to HOPE. You've also heard me say that when we don't see God it's probably because we're not looking for Him. So lack of hope means we can't see God, right?

Here's my challenge for today...

See how much HOPE you can find. Keep your eyes open. You may notice a bit of the opposite along the way, the lack of hope. What will you do about it? Can you point someone to hope? Is God asking you to help someone see Him? Is there a person lacking hope working down the hall from you? Or living next door? Does one of your own family members lack hope? Maybe God is leading you to share hope with a child from Uganda who needs a sponsor.

When you see God today, look around for someone to share the experience with. Ease over to their side. Put your arm around their shoulders. Lean in close and as you point say, "See that hope right there? That means God is here. Let's see what He's up to, okay?" Then not only are you seeing God, but sharing Him as well.