Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Does your left hand know you're posting all those selfies?

Hey, Christians. Like...remember this?

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."

In case you don't remember that, it's from Matthew 6. The New Testament. Jesus said those words.

I feel like if He were to express the same sentiment today, He might say something like: 

“Beware of posting all of your righteousness on Facebook to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not tweet about it, post it to Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men, and receive lots of likes. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand pull out your cell phone to take those selfies with the poor people you're 'blessing', so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."

The Bible tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, and yet, we've become a church of selfie-fans, keeping our eyes fixed on ourselves, as we do our good deeds, adding our cutsie spiritual-sounding #hashtags and watching the likes add up so we can feel good about ourselves.

And it's not just missions and good deeds. Christians are obsessed with selfies to the point that even when they're not IN the post or photos they post, their comments direct the viewers back to them, all begging for "likes." One picture I saw posted was captioned, "Look at who I got to photograph the other day." 

Look at the picture "I" took. 
Look at "my" photograph.
Look at "meeee!!!"

It's out of control!!!

There is no "i" in team and there is no "me" in Jesus. 

Maybe Christians should take the focus off themselves...and turn the life camera around on others? 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Dining for Jesus

So much fuss lately about who pees where, why, and how, and with what equipment...

So much fuss...all...the...time over what everyone does.

The fuss from the left is always shouted from the rooftops with words like:

"war against..."

And the left demands that everyone be allowed to do whatever they darn-well want...(so long as it's what the left wants.)

The fuss from the right is always shouted from the rooftops with words like:

"God's judgment!"

And the right demands that everyone be allowed to do...only what their brand of Christianity deems God-approved.

My advice to the left would be to...pay more attention to science. Science has the answer about abortion, what "it" is or isn't and the effect on mothers and on society...and it has the answer to the gender fuss...and just everything if only you look.

My advice to the right would be to...go out to eat with the left.


Really. Have you ever gone out to eat with someone? You know...you sit at a table, look at the menu, and you order stuff to eat, right?

Sometimes the person you dine with will look to you and say..."I don't know what I want? What do you think I should order?" And you give them a suggestion. "Order that." Sometimes they take your suggestion. Sometimes they order something else. 

When this happens...what do you do? Do you lecture them? Hound them? Look at them in disgust and tell them they are NOT going to like what they just ordered then chase down the waitress and make them change their order?

That's silly, isn't it? What's it to you what they order?

And then...have you ever been out to eat with someone and after the food has been delivered and you're eating...they look down at their own food with disgust and regret...then over at what's on your plate with longing?

Are you good at metaphors or do I need to explain this?

See...that's how it's supposed to work with your life.

Christians...you've at the "table of life" right now and have checked out the menu. You've made your choice (and really are making choices every day) and you have before you "on your plate" what you've ordered.

Your friends and neighbors...have likewise looked over the menu, made their choices, and their choices are now "on their plates" before them, as well.

If their choice really doesn't "taste" that good...if it's making them feel sick...and they're regretting their choice and look over at "your plate"...what do they?

Do they see you enjoying a "plate" full of awesome, happiness, and success? Or do they see you gagging down a "plate" full of anger, frustration, complaint, and nastiness? 

If what you chose from the life menu really is better than theirs...they should be able to look across life's table at you and see you enjoying your "meal" more than they are enjoying theirs...and it should be appealing to them. They should want to try it. And rather than trying to push your choice on them, you need to work to make your "plate" more appealing than theirs so that they come to want it...all on their own. Their own choice. 

So stop worrying about what everyone else does. Stop worrying about all of it and make sure your own order is the best "meal" life has to offer. Make sure your side dishes, your drink, and dessert are top-notch, nutritious, and delish...and let your joy be evident as you sit at life's table with your "meal" before you.

And if what you have on your plate before you isn't appealing at all to the other person...to the world...maybe you need to look down at your own plate and see if what you've got before you is actually rotten...Bones and other things that need to be cut away are one thing and part of everyone's "life plate" but if what's on your plate just plain stinks...there is a problem. 

Examine your own plate to see if you need to scrape your own plate clean and order something else.

Worry about the log in your own eye.
Show the world that a life lived for Christ is better...don't tell them.
If you're actually living a life for Christ...you won't have to tell them...so if they don't see it...you aren't livin' it.

Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen 
and save some of them.

But prove yourselves doers of the word
and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in yourown eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds

John 13:14-15 
If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

$1,300-worth of fun!

I took my kids to a theme park this week, finally buying annual passes for me and the 4 youngest kids. That's 5 annual passes to an Orlando theme park. 

At some point in the day, I jokingly said to one of the kids, something to the effect of, "They'd better have $1,300-worth of fun!"

And that...got me thinking.

What's the point of a theme park, anyway? 
To have fun.

That's it. 

And the theme park is a wonder in and of itself, if you really take time to look. So much planning, designing and building to create the fantastic rides! And the daily running and maintenance of the park! Whoa! What an enormous undertaking it would be!

All for...fun.

So like seriously...what a total bummer it'd be to take the kids there and watch them...as they spend the day...fighting.  Not enjoying one bit of their time! Like...what if my kids spent their entire time in the park...complaining about the rides, protesting the park's policies, and demanding the park change things they disliked?

Wouldn't that like...just totally suck? 
Wouldn't that be a complete and utter waste of $1,300???

Well...once upon a time someone spent time planning, designing, building, and creating this world. And just look around this world...the natural world. So much beauty and wonder. The stars. The sun. The clouds. The rainbow after a rain. The ocean. So many creatures! Eagles! Cats! Dogs! Fireflies! Butterflies! Flowers!

There is so much beauty and wonder in this world. Though some highly depressive religious folks see this world as some sort of...negative place God made for negative and unhappy things...Why would our good God bother with all the really neat things He made, all the beautiful wondrous things He made...unless He wants to see us...enjoy our time here?

And He paid a little bit more than $1,300 for us to be here, didn't He? 
He paid with His life. 
His very blood!

And so now look around this "theme park" of earth. What's God see when He sees us passing our time here where He paid so much for us to be?


I mean, c'mob! Really. Can't we be nicer kids? Can't we?

Just...seriously watch yourself from His perspective...and quit making God sorry He paid for you to be here...

"Worship" isn't a few sentences sung repetitively for 3 minutes in church on Sunday. It's an attitude. 

Look around this world and put on an air of appreciation and enjoyment for everything you see...and that will give God something to smile about.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

All done :)

There's a story my mom told me always when I was younger, about how I stopped being one of those screaming kids at the grocery store. Yeah, I was one of them, apparently. According to her I was a terror to shop with until one day when I was about 2 or 3 there was another screamer in the store. She said I stopped and listened...totally focused on the other child...and it did something to me, I guess, like flipping a switch. I heard that other child and I heard me. And, apparently I decided I didn't want that to be me anymore and she says I never did it again.

I think something I've seen in people on Facebook has flipped another switch in me over the last year.

It seems like everywhere I look, all over Facebookland, there is someone trying to change my mind about something. Someone trying to teach something. Someone trying to share this wonderful knowledge they have about something with the world...

Health food
the evil of Democrats
the evil of Republicans
gay rights
corrupt police
good police
animal rights

You name it...someone's on a soap box preachin' about it.

Seeing people's posts...day after day...you can tell which people are into which subject. It's to the point you can read the post first and then guess who's posted it. It's that consistent. People are just out there...everywhere...trying to convince others how to think, believe, live.

And, this...I think combined with another self-revelation I had about six months ago has led me to "here". A place where I actually, for the first time in my history, do not even feel tempted...to argue with internet strangers...no matter how stupid they are.

Seriously. Anyone who knows me in real life has to know it's like Jesus is gonna come back tomorrow or it's gonna snow in Miami or something.

I used to be one of these preachers. I'm always trying to figure out the best and right way to do things and I have always liked sharing the good news to help others see things I've seen. Like...just look to the right at my topics list. Like...I'm always thinking about stuff... But seeing others do it all the time...I'm realizing...it's not helpful...it's not changing the world...it's...just...irritating.

Facebook's little catch line is "a place for friends" but is it, anymore? Isn't it more like a place for proselytizing?

So it happened recently that my inner 2-year-old (really only a few years above 39)...as stood again in the grocery store (at my desk in front of my computer)...listening to the other child having a fit (reading everyone's posts about how they're right and everyone else needs to think like them.)

And, I think this observation has combined with another thing that happened to me and together...it's struck that nerve again. Flipped that switch.

What's the other thing?

I imagined one day for some reason...let's say...I managed to convince the whole world to stop doing bad/wrong things. I find some magic wand and "Bibbity Bobbity Boo!" now everyone isn't stupid anymore! 

Like...then what?

Like, seriously then what? What would I start doing with my time then if I didn't have to spend such time and energy telling everyone else how they oughta' be living and thinking?

And, that's when it hit me. Vanity vanity. I should be doing everything I'd be doing...if the whole world stopped being stupid...now. I should be enjoying the people in my life, right now, all around me. I should be reading with my kids and talking with them and watching shows with them and going out in the yard and playing with them. And, I should be doing the same with friends. I should be enjoying my life...enjoying my home...my pets...and all the love around me...because Jesus said we'd always have the poor (of money, brains, and spirit) with us. 

I no longer feel a compulsion to argue, neither in real life or online, with people about what they believe, think, or do.

And blogging, though I like writing, was really compelled by the people who irritated me and the particular way they did so. I'd read someone say something totally irrational and ridiculous and I'd blog about it. In fact, I have another blog...with about 140 reasons why spanking your child is bad...all motivated by the stupid reasons people have for hitting their kids.

But now...I feel like I have people here in my house that need my attention more than all the random people sitting in their houses...staring at screens...ignoring their own kids.

I once was a strong "presence" I suppose you could say...on many different groups and pages. I had my settings set to alert me about everything and it was a constant stream all day long. And, people tagged me all the time to go argue with people about stuff. 

Now...I've unfollowed everything. My interest level has dropped to zero with all that. Really.

And...I am writing. Books. I see all the time I have on the computer doing stuff like "this" now as time I should be working on a book...

So...I'm done. 

When I get inspired I'll be back around probably...but for the most part...like Forrest Gump when he finished running...I'm done. 


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