No Excuse

I’m not sure if you have noticed this or not, but it seems like people make up a lot of excuses these days.  No one is ever at fault.  They always have an excuse.  Winnona Ryder, after being arrested at Saks Fifth Avenue with $4700 worth of clothing stuffed in her bag, said “I was told I should shoplift.  My director said I should try it out.”  Even in the midst of the ongoing oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, BP executives said they were unprepared for a spill of this magnitude because of faulty data they had received from the U.S Government.  Apparently, 2004 projections said that any oil spilled in the gulf would rapidly evaporate or get broken up by waves or weather.  In other words, they said, “How were we supposed to know the oil would come ashore – you said it wouldn’t!”

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Where Does the Time Go?

As my wife and I prepare to take our first born to college this week, we have that oft-asked question before us:  Where does the time go?  Eighteen years - whoosh.  Gone.  Did I spend it well?  One of my favorite books of the past year has been James Bryan Smith’s The Good and Beautiful God.  In that book, he talks about how we spend our time.  We are so busy – so hurried – that we often have no idea where our time goes.  In an average lifetime, we will spend

 

-         six months sitting at traffic lights

-         eight months opening junk mail

-         one year searching through desk clutter

-         two years trying to call people who are not in

-         three years in meetings (this MUST be low for Presbyterians)

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Watch What You Wear

Not long ago, I had occasion to observe a group of high school students serving a meal to about 200 homeless people in our city.  They had come to fulfill a high school requirement to complete a certain number of community service hours, which probably should have been my first clue.  I was floored by the complete disconnect between those students and the human suffering right before their eyes.  Many laughed or made jokes.  A man or woman who did not look nice or smell particularly good would draw odd looks and quips.  Serving the food looked like more of a game to them than an opportunity to help someone.

 

As the students prepared to leave, it did not seem as if they had been affected at all.  They were huddled in their little group, busily chatting about the next activity of the day, oblivious to the many who filed out into the searing summer heat, not sure where they might find their next meal. 

 
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Living With The End in Mind

Time is such a precious thing.

For most of us, it is precious because with live with the knowledge that we do not have a limitless supply of it.  We all wish we could find a 25th hour in the day.  I have petitioned the Lord for such to no avail.  On a larger scale, however, we are oblivious to what "not enough time" really means.

As Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 15:24, the end WILL come.  Time eventually runs out.  The odd thing is that I often live in ignorance of that truth.  I live as if I have all the time in world to do the things I really need to do - things like loving my wife well or building Christ into the lives of my children.   I live with a youthful, though misguided, notion that I am in control of my days and my time.  William Henley's concluding words to his poem, Invictus, resonate somewhere deep within me:

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Learning From My Mistakes

As I approach my 20th year of ordained ministry, I can say that my biggest mistake has been trying to will transformation in people's lives. At one point, I was so consumed by my own efforts and creative ideas to revitalize a church that I completely omitted God from the process. I was going to do it by the sheer force of my determination and work ethic.

Right. Try that. See how it works for you. I was trying to lead people towards abundant living, but I didn't know it myself. Guess what? I didn't lead them very far or very well.

Psalm 30 became a constant refrain for me as I found my heart crying "out of the depths." I had to address certain habits and ways of thinking in my own life before I was going to lead effectively towards vitality in Christ. 

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About
As a pastor and writer, David's passion is to help others identify the vital signs for creating and sustaining a healthy spiritual life.


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