thoughts on change

 So, I am sitting here in the waiting area while I wait for the mechanics to finish changing the oil in my car. That’s right. I’m paying good money for scheduled change. I have thought about driving my car without an oil change for as long as driving my car without an oil change would work. I shelved that idea after experiencing a shredded tire on a highway part way between Omaha and Kansas City several years ago. Turns out that being stranded by yourself at night, on the side of the road, with a shredded (not flat) front tire, in nowhere Missouri truly does feel like a horror film.

That’s revealing, though, isn’t it? We are fine with scheduled maintenance, but not so crazy about change. Why? Because scheduled maintenance is about control and it’s on our timetable.

Our Reaction When Life Changes Tracks

Last week was our kids’ Spring Break so, Mark and I took the week off and we all headed to Disneyland. Now to some this may sound more like torture than a vacation – especially when you consider that we drove there from Boise, ID (Yep…15 hours in the car each way!) But it was a great time.

I love Disney – it is the land of adventure but it’s also the land of meltdowns for both parent and child. Thousands of people corralled through a handful of entry points who then walk miles, only to wait in line for hours (in all kinds of weather), for a 30 second ride.

Expectations are high. Kids are over excited. All it takes is one little kink for one’s patience to implode and we’re over reacting and saying things we don’t really mean.

Talk about highs and lows of emotions.

Change You Can Believe In

Change is good. Except when it’s change for the sake of change.  Then it’s short-sighted, ineffective, and not entirely useful to anyone.

But real change, deep change, heartfelt change, individual change, is its own revolution. And I don’t mean to use the term revolution too lightly.  This kind of change is nothing short of a miracle.

Here’s what I have in mind when I talk about this kind of deep, heartfelt change.  Paul was a religious man who set out to destroy the church of God (so he hoped) in order to please God (so he thought).  And one day, he encountered Jesus.  Here’s what he said:  “Who are you, Lord?”

Paul goes on to be saved, begins preaching in the synagogue, goes to Arabia, goes back to Damascus, ends up in Jerusalem, and begins his missionary journeys.  Thirty years go by, and here is what we find him now writing:  “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain…My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better [than remaining in the flesh]” (Philippians 1:21, 23).

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a dangerous crossing

I mentioned in the last blog that I'll probably be posting less this Fall because of the season's speaking commitments. True. So I thought I'd sign in and share a bit of what's simmering in my soul as I'm preparing this weekend's message.

On Friday, I'll be flying to Memphis, Tennessee to partner with Dr. Frank Thomas of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church. The Boulevard is launching a new location in their city. Pastor Thomas graciously invited me to speak for their Consecration weekend. The opportunity feels pregnant with God's Spirit and weighty with responsibility...

The theme is consecration from Joshua 3.5:

Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you." 

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The Spinning Thing

Warning: I'm more of a pastor/poet than physicist, by several light years.

When I was a kid, our family spent a week each summer on the California coast. One of the highlights of that week was a trip to the boardwalk. One of the highlights of the boardwalk was the fun house, where for a quarter, you could slip into a magical world of crazy mirrors, tubes that turned, wave machines, slides, and best of all, the spinning thing.

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The Miracle of Bangladesh

It's tough to stay up-to-speed on global and local news, sometimes due to busyness, or laziness.  And other times just because I don't feel ilke the post-read depression.

More times than not, reported news is about trauma, tragedy and the negative movements of society. And although these are crucial to a holistic worldview, they are also less attractive to internalize, let alone handle.

I believe there will always be poor among us*, and that ending poverty will not heal humanity, but I also believe that helping poverty is a means healing humanity. And the following article from “World Ark Magazine” echoes this hope—that no matter how bad an impoverishment, there is always room for healing.

Bangladesh is a country I didn’t know much about before reading this, but now have a keen respect for, let alone inspired hope. It’s impossible to walk away from its content and not agree that although much remains undone in the aid of our broken world, much good is also being done.

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Change is Hard: A Reflection on Change

I often think I like change.  In fact, I am one to push for change, and I love the idea of it, that is until it happens to me.  Recently my family and I have been undergoing massive change, causing us to question, doubt, and pretty much just feel very uncomfortable most of the time.

When I am in the midst of change, I have this feeling of being stuck in a small place, that is very constricting and uncomfortable, and yet somehow wanting to stay there because it is what I know.  It kind of reminds me of the nation of Israel talking about how they would rather be back in Egypt.  

So the other day I read this verse that illuminated my feeling and helped me to get beyond it.  I thought I would share it, and perhaps someone else can benefit as well.  Psalm 118:5 says, "In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered me by setting me free."(NIV)  The NRSV states the second part of that verse as "the LORD answered me and set me in a broad place."  

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Obama, Prophecy, and a Voice from the Past

What will the spiritual environment of the U.S. look like in the coming year? How will the world be different now that there is a new, African-American President sitting in the oval office? A man who has claimed that our country will see change: financially, diplomatically and even spiritually. Aside from your political allegiances (or lack thereof), you may be wondering the same thing. Let’s talk about the book—the Bible—the President-elect will place his hand on when he is sworn in, and what the voices of the ancient prophets, recorded in that book, tell us about this historic day.

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Hoping for Change

As America basks in the glow of a peaceful and smooth presidential inauguration, people are hoping for change.  Big change.  What they don't realize is that big change is already here, and the one behind it is far above our new president's pay grade.

We humans are an egotistical bunch.  We think every change--whether scientific discovery, technological innovation, economic goof up, or presidential election--happens because we make it happen.  So instead of staying humble about change and acknowledging that we don't have all the answers, we act as if every discovery is ours to claim, every trend is ours to exploit, every goof up is ours to fix, and every election is ours to celebrate.  In short, we act as if we are the center of the universe.  What arrogance.

Such a self-centered perspective is nothing new.  Humanity-at-the-center-of-the-universe is as old as, well, humanity.  The thing is, the old perspective doesn't work, not if we want things to change for the better.  For that to happen, we need a new point of view, centered in something outside ourselves and our limited, myopic viewpoint.

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