A Whisper or a Brick – Communicating with God

Last night Marie was coming home with a pick-up truck load of groceries. It was late, it had been a busy day for both of us and she knew I was tired too; lugging a weeks worth of groceries up to our house from the workshop was not something I would be looking forward to. She reached over and pressed the Four Wheel High button on the dash – and it ENGAGED! This was a great surprise since it had been fluky for a while, working sometimes, not working at others, but mostly not. She happily swung into our driveway and came crawling up the steep gravel grade. I was working at the computer in our dining area, the windows of which look out over our driveway and I wondered who had gotten lost – I sure wasn’t expecting it to be Marie! Continue reading “A Whisper or a Brick – Communicating with God”

Who Is Really Poor

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

2 Corinthians 9:8 NLT

Plow Work

Dr. Roy L. Laurin tells of a Christian businessman who was traveling in Korea. In a field by the side of the road was a young man pulling a crude plow while an old man held the handles. The businessman was amused and took a snapshot of the scene. “That is curious! I suppose these people are very poor,” he said to the missionary who was interpreter and guide to the party.

“Yes,” was the quiet reply, “these two men happen to be Christians. When their church was being built, they were so eager to give something toward it, but they had no money. So they decided to sell their one and only ox and give the proceeds to the church. This spring they are pulling the plow themselves.” Continue reading “Who Is Really Poor”

FINDING OUR POTENTIAL

Regardless of your views on religion, Dr. Metcalf’s comments on motivation and accomplishment are worth reading.

AP.jpgSometimes we feel as if much of life is a waste of time.  There is so much that is lost amid our many preoccupations.  It seems impossible to make every moment count.  We procrastinate.  We daydream and we “while away” the time.  So little of our attention is directed toward things that really matter.  So often our focus is diverted to that which is peripheral and inconsequential.  There is so much to do, and we do not have the time and energy to do it.  There is so much to say and not enough words to say it.  Where will we find the will to be all we are capable of being? Where is the heart for the difficult task and the perseverance for the weary journey?

It is easy to give up when our vision exceeds our resources.  Discouragement sets in when we see so much and accomplish so little.  Often it is the cause for doing nothing.  Why should we spin our wheels and never make progress toward our destination? If we cannot do everything, why do anything? Failure comes in different packages.  Sometimes it is an over-exaggerated ambition.  We lose ourselves before we get started.  We bite off more than we can chew.  We focus on the finishing before we have prepared for the beginning.  Too much ambition can be as bad as no ambition.  Often the results are the same. Continue reading “FINDING OUR POTENTIAL”

POWER OF PEOPLE

As authors and writers, we tend to be sensitive to public opinion about us.  This guest post by Dr. Calvin Metcalf explores the power other people have over us.

AP-CalvinThe power of people to affect us is an interesting phenomenon. We are influenced daily by what people say or do to us. Sometimes it is what they do not say or do not do to us that makes a big difference in our lives. We give other folk a big amount of control over the way we think and act. Our dispositions are often the result of our reactions to the way people have treated us. Our moods are made either better or worse depending on who has been messing with our minds. For some reason we seem to be programmed to let others determine if we are to be happy or sad.

We are incurably addicted to what others think about us. We give away our freedom to be our own person in hopes that we can be liked by other persons. It can be an awkward way to live if we are intimidated continually by the power of people and never find our real identity. The strong influence of other people, however does not need to be a negative factor in our lives. We can be motivated and challenged to do our best because they expect it of us. We can get a better picture of who we are from those who love us enough to share their honest opinions. Continue reading “POWER OF PEOPLE”

THE RESURRECTION

Today is Good Friday so I thought I’d share a piece by my friend and mentor Dr. Calvin Metcalf about why the resurrection of Jesus is important.  For Christians, the events of this weekend are the nail upon which our entire belief swings.  For us it has nothing at all to do with colored eggs, chocolate bunnies, peeps or baskets filled with candy.  All of these came from an ancient Celtic rite of spring worshiping the goddess Esther; the goddess of spring and rebirth.  For us it is the self-sacrifice of Jesus and his rebirth that matter.  If you don’t choose to believe as I do, that’s your choice; peace be with you.

calvin metcalf

The spiritual and emotional energy for Christianity comes from the Resurrection. No other event is as pivotal to the expression of our faith. It is the focus of our theology. We may disagree on the particulars of our faith, but we cling to the Resurrection. Our day of worship coincides with Resurrection day. For most Christians the Sabbath gives way to Sunday simply because Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week. Some of our most optimistic and powerful hymns feature the Resurrection. Gospel sermons resonate with a strong emphasis on the risen Christ. It is an inescapable fact that Christians are an Easter people. We are nurtured in the Resurrection conversation.

Because of the Resurrection we are not worshiping a dead hero, but a risen Savior. Our Lord’s teaching and example were good in and of themselves, but the Resurrection gave impetus to all He said and did. It validated who He was and gave credence to His proclamation. His whole life pointed to this ultimate miracle. Without it His followers could have been disillusioned by seeming defeat. Without it Christianity might not have survived the first century and the memories of those closest to Jesus.

There is a tremendous note of victory produced by the Resurrection.

From the despair of Good Friday the disciples rejoiced in the presence of the risen Christ. Because Jesus survived death, hell and the grave they began to feel it was also possible for them. Because of the Resurrection there is the feeling of eternity about our life in Christ. The future loses some of its mystery because death cannot keep it prey. We began to sense that life is headed somewhere. We are not on a dead-end street identified by a grave marker. We too anticipate a resurrection.

The Resurrection is a strong reminder that evil will not have the last word. Although it seems to prevail in this life, we are moving toward its defeat. People who hate and murder, lie and steal, or cause confusion and discord are not an Easter people because Easter people rejoice in good and not evil. No one deserves it, but everyone is invited to God’s great Easter party. Come, let us celebrate. He has risen. Indeed He has risen.

LEARNING TO LIKE OURSELVES

This Spiritual Sunday guest post by Dr. Calvin Metcalf makes some great points about self image, regardless of your spiritual beliefs.

AP-CalvinHave you ever wondered why some people do not like you?  No matter what you do or do not do, they find you rather repulsive.  Since it is a normal tendency to want people to like us, we often grieve when dislike is obvious.  Our frustrations are compounded when, to us, there are no apparent reasons for their rejection.  It hurts to feel the hate of others when, in our hearts, we know it is not our intention to hurt anyone.  If we are people who provoke conflict, then we can expect some “eye for an eye” reactions.  But if, in the sincerity of our souls, we promote peace, then it is strange when others do not respond peaceably to us.

It seems that some folk need a few people toward whom they have an adversarial relationship, and at times we become their victims.  It may be that we remind them of someone who hurt them in the past.  It may be that we did not have the same opinion on some issue, and some people have tender egos when it comes to disagreement.  Perhaps we do not share the same enemies, and that creates problems for folk with hostile attitudes.  Again, it may be that we are perceived as being different and for some, conformity is a “religion.”  There are a variety of ways to analyze the dynamics of people’s dislike of us for no apparent reasons. Continue reading “LEARNING TO LIKE OURSELVES”