Posts

Thursday; December 12

Can you imagine what it was like when Gabriel the angel came to Mary and told her that she was about to become the mother of the Son of God?  We have heard this story so many times through the years that it may have lost a little of its intrigue, but just think what it would have been like to have an angel of God come to you (as a virgin) and tell you that not only are you pregnant, but you will be carrying and raising the hope of all mankind?  Wow!  I imagine that up to this point in her life Mary’s biggest dream was to grow up and marry her steady boyfriend, Joseph, and live out a common life in Nazareth.  Now her whole world was turned upside down.  We all know the “rest of the story”, but have you ever thought about how you would have responded to the angel’s news?  It would have been easy to dismiss it as impossible or refuse it because of the serious implications; but what Mary did explains why she was chosen by God.  Mary’s response was simple and straight-forward, “B…

Wednesday; December 11

I have a note on my desk that, in all honesty, I am not sure where it comes from.  I cannot take credit for thinking of it, nor can I recall if or where I read it.  However, no matter it origin, it encourages me to attempt to rise to a new level of leadership.  After posing the question, “Is our training ‘educational’ or ‘transformational’?”, I have written this observation, “A transformational leader intentionally engages people to think and act in such a way that it makes a positive difference in their lives and in the lives of others.”  In essence, it is one thing to try to teach someone something, but it is a whole new level of leadership that attempts to elevate other people to a better way of living.            Centuries before I jotted down the note on my desk Benjamin Franklin observed, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”.  While it is easier to try to pass useful information on to others through our words, the thing that make…

Tuesday; December 10

When we look back at the beginning of the Christian church it is easy for us to see the hand of God, but can you imagine what it was like to live it?  While there were several challenges faced by those first Christians, one of the ones that carried a great deal of conflict was the one between Jewish and Gentile Christians.  The Jews seemed to think that they had a historic inside track to godliness while the Gentiles could rely on their political power and logical reason – not to mention the fact that they hadn’t been the ones who led the crucifixion of Jesus.  While each faction could present their case, the fact remained that the Kingdom of God was made for both of them.  They might argue and fuss about who was superior, but the truth was that the gospel was for all.  The Apostle Paul tried to put an end to their fussing and fighting by writing about the unity found in Jesus, “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the divi…

Monday; December 9

The fourth chapter of the Old Testament book of Daniel tells a rather interesting story about the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.One day the powerful king “... reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’” (Daniel 4:30).No sooner did the words come out his mouth that he lost grasp of reality and began living like a beast in the field.He started grazing like a cow, he lived outdoors and became so unkempt that his hair matted up like eagles’ feathers and his nails resembled birds’ claws.The once great king had lost his mind and his kingdom because of his arrogance.Eventually, the king would see the error of his ways and regain his proper nature, but not without learning his lesson.As he reflected on the return from his struggle the restored king noted, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is a…

Friday; December 6

This weekend, dozens of us will be gathering at the banks of the Potomac River for a chance to go for a splash.Now, just in case you haven’t noticed, the dateline for this post is not July 6 (which would be understandable); rather it is at the beginning of December.Now I have never been accused of standing at the head of the common sense club, but this might make you wonder even more about me.The reason I (and the others) will be jumping into the 40-something degree water is to help raise money for Special Olympics.Several areas around the country do some type of Polar Plunges to help raise money and awareness for this program and the St. Mary’s Splash is our local area’s chance to do good work. While the primary goal of doing the “splash” is to benefit the Special Olympics athletes, there is a tertiary reason I have made a habit of doing it.You see, whenever I make the cognitive decision to jump into the cold water I remind myself of how blessed I am to process information.(Notice I s…

Thursday; December 5

I am not sure when the problem began, but have you noticed how often Christians perceive our approval rating as an accurate measure of how things are going?  There is a philosophy being toss around out there that if we get enough people to think the same way we think that Christianity will return to prominence.  Often, this concept is built on a belief that if we can get the right party in power ... or we can get enough of the cool influential people to think like we do ... or if we could just make our doctrine relevant, the world will make a switch and we will have a Christian majority.  In essence, if we can just tip the scales in our direction, there would be a surge of discipleship.  While I applaud a desire to want to grow and hope for an international spiritual resurgence, we need to remember that this is not what has been promised to the Christian movement.  Jesus realized His ministry was demanding and would not necessarily appeal to those who were not serious about …

Wednesday; December 4

I don’t always forward things I read on social media, but I saw something that I really liked last week.  It was a quote attributed to the 20th Century minister, Peter Marshall, who observed, “May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.”.  As I looked at this statement it appealed to me from several angles.  First, when we think of freedom merely as a license to do what we choose to do, we set ourselves on a course of conflict with the people around us.  If we were all to embrace this libertine lifestyle it won’t take long before we started bumping into each other’s freedoms.  When our motto is summarized in the statement, “because I want to”, we are bound to end up battered and bruised.  The second part of his statement offers us a new way to look at freedom – a chance to do good by others.  When we are freed from the confines of a flawed system (either of tyranny or immorality) we have the ability to make a posi…