Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What are you wearing?

12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Colossians 3

I read this scripture to our youth this Sunday, and we talked about each word and what it meant. I posed the question after discussing these words-- "so how are we doing with that?" Sadly, in my world it doesn't seem like any of us are doing to well with that. It seems that suburbian culture has bred a new line of apparel that looks more like what's in it for me, I can be better than you, don't get in my way, and I want it now. Compassion is an afterthought; a good way to kill some time or make ourselves believe that we're doing something good for the world. It usually takes the form of enabling others to recreate themselves in our image rather than bringing them closer to the image of God.

When Jesus said it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, I wonder if maybe he really meant it. Not as hyperbole or metaphor, but maybe he really meant it. I hope to ask myself how I'm doing with this frequently. Does my flesh show compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience? Not usually.

So for now, maybe it would be better for me to clothe myself with Christ before giving up on a world that is adorned with self.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Time for a Change

Have you ever needed a fresh start. Every year, September and October seem to be the toughest season of ministry for me. I always find the fall of the year deflating. I get to the point where I want to cry out, "Why God, why after I pour all that I have into these teenagers do you reward me with nothing. It's like beating my head against a wall. I sacrifice so much and it is all to no avail." Then I'm reminded of Elijah. "God, they want to kill me. I'm the only one left, and now they want to kill me." Remember that. That was right before the earthquake, fire, wind, and all the other natural disasters you can name. But God came to Elijah in a whisper. Sometimes I think that Elijah needed a swift kick. "Listen to what you're saying Eli, have you forgotten how I took care of you, how I'm taking care of you now. Get over yourself and get back to work, I've got big plans for you." God didn't do that though. He calmly whispered to Elijah and gently set him straight. I need that whisper now. To be reminded that all of the chaos that I am in the midst of will not provide the truth of the message that I need to hear, but the gentle, caring voice of God is present-- I must choose to listen.

This is my start. Again. And I will probably start again, again. But for today, I've changed the blog. Our church now has its own, and my official voice as its minister will be found there from now on.  I've deleted previous posts from this site that relate explicitly to my ministry there and renamed the blog "A Pot of Stew."  From here I hope to continue to share my journey of keeping focused on the big picture while living in the small one. Grace and peace to us all.