Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Act Like You've Been There Before

This post continues the series on my efforts to read the Bible in 90 days.  If you care to catch up on previous entries, they can be found here or just click on the "90 Days" label at the end of the post.

I like watching a football player score a touchdown, make a simple gesture or simply drop the ball, and then jog from the field.  Coaches will sometimes say that when you make it to the endzone, you need to act like you've been there before.  In other words, you know the taste of victory and you know how to hold your head high win or lose.  It shows an appreciation for the effort and respect for the opponent.

When my journey of reading through the Bible took me from Moses to Joshua and into the book of Judges, this idea pervaded my thoughts.  The Hebrews had been promised this land.  God had made a covenant with Abraham many years ago, and while the people may have begun to wonder if it would ever happen, God had given every indication that his word could be trusted.

Moses and his generation did not see this promised land.  It was theirs for the taking, but they approached it with an attitude that had already been defeated.  Only Joshua and Caleb were able to look on this land from the perspective of Victors, and decades later it would only be Joshua and Caleb who entered the land as victors.

When we approach life from this perspective, we confront our challenges head on instead of avoiding them or giving in to them.  We take hold of the opportunities that we are given.  We accept that it may be hard, and the timing may not be in our hands, but our hope keeps us focused on our goals.

After entering the Promised Land, the battles didn't end.  There was still work to be done.  So it is true in our lives.  But when we approach our struggles from the perspective of victors rather than victims, we are able to live up to the coach's advice to "act like we've been there before."  Yes, we face adversity, and yes there will be setbacks along the way.  But with the confidence provided by our faith, we can face this adversity in a way that shows we appreciate the effort and that we respect the opponent.

As winners, we don't have to run up the score.  We can even appreciate the small victories of our opponents and hope they become better for them.  We don't have to be bitter, or get inflamed by the refs; the rules don't cause us harm, even if they've been stacked against us.  When we're taunted or cheated, we can call it for what it is without demanding retribution.  And we can always reach out to lift up those who have been knocked down so that when it's all over and we meet to shake hands we can look our opponents in the eye, and they can look right back at us, and appreciate a game well played.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Another number for a title?  It seems that I've had 95 visitors in the month of September so far.  All I can say is thanks for visiting, I'm pleasantly surprised to find that people are interested, and motivated to continue.

I've been reading a book called "Linchpin" by Seth Godin, and he argues that in our current economy, it's no longer good enough to just show up and be responsible.  This attitude leads one to become another cog in the machine, trading a days labor for a days pay.  A linchpin, on the other hand is not replaceable.  A linchpin goes a step beyond.  According to Godin, a linchpin is an artist, willing to share his or her art with the world.

Tonight in our weekly youth group meeting, we talked about Ephesians 2:10- "you are God's workmanship, created to do good works."  I thought about why I have blogged for several years now regardless of readership.  I realize that it makes me feel good to create.  I create because I can and it brings me pleasure.  I think the fact that I can engage in a creative exercise without the constraint of worrying about what I'm going to get in return (money, lots of readers, publication) makes it even more enjoyable.  But after monitoring my analytics over the last week, the thought that others may be engaged in my creative process has become a source of joy as well. 

This is an encouragement to me in my work, as a teacher and a minister.  I'm growing to see my work less and less as a job, but as an opportunity to engage with others in novel and creative ways-- as a creative process of art to share with the world.  Creating this art brings me joy, and the reception of this art doesn't provide the validation, but sharing it certainly does.

I hope that you can begin to see your activities in life from the perspective of art.  Whether it is your job, school, sports, or volunteer activities, I hope that you realize that you are an artist, a creative force.  You have the potential to interact with others in new and novel ways, adding meaning, if not value to their lives and enriching yours in the process.

And if you happen to share my faith in God, I hope you can see the connection.  An artist creates because it pleases him/her.  The joy in creation is lost if it isn't shared.  You are God's masterpiece, created to do good works that were prepared for you even before you were born.  May you find your art and share it with the world.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Any idea what the big deal is with 61?  I've had a burst of activity on this blog in the last three days.  61 visits to be exact.  More visitors in three days than in the last few months combined, and I haven't posted anything new since the beginning of August.

If you're just stumbling upon the blog, or have been pointed here by a friend, I hope that you take the time to read a few of my posts.  I try to post with some regularity, just thoughts and ideas about things going on in my mind.  The title refers to the story of when Jacob tricks his older brother Esau into selling his birthrite for a simple pot of stew.

Famished and fatigued, Esau was so stuck on his immediate circumstance that he failed to appreciate the significance of the price he paid for gratification.  I try to avoid this in my life- not always successfully- and I believe that we all could learn from this mistake.  After all, that's what life is.  A brief moment of time that we've been given to make something of.  We all have to live IN the moment, but we don't have to live FOR the moment-- I want my life to be bigger than this moment.

That's my journey.  No matter how you've found this, I invite you to join me.  I can't post daily, and sometimes once a month is a struggle, but check in from time to time, and if you know me, feel free to say something.

May you find Grace and Peace in your life.