Category Archives: Life outside the walls

What did you say?


I was at the check out of a bookstore today and found myself in the middle of a rather amusing conversation. The customer behind me was looking for a particular product and, while the clerk was finishing my transaction, she asked the clerk where she could locate it. The clerk gave directions where to look, and when the customer found the location she began giving more details of what exactly she was hoping to find.

“Don’t you have any in a six pack? I was hoping to find them in a six pack- because who doesn’t want a ‘six pack,’ right!” *snicker*

The clerk looked at her, completely unamused, and replied in all seriousness, “A lot of people don’t really want a six pack.”

This is where I had to refrain from snickering. I realized the confusion (I’m not convinced the customer put it together). I had gotten her little joke, but apparently, the clerk did not.
The customer was referring to the type of “six pack” one develops when the abdominal muscles are toned and built up. I’m pretty sure the clerk thought she was referring to a six pack of beer- that just has to explain the look on her face.
So here where the three of us, all standing in a silent moment of awkward. I wanted to laugh, the customer was confused, and the clerk was rather unamused. So I left. Well, not quite that abruptly, but almost.

As I drove away, I began thinking through that little conversation. It made me think about how often we try to communicate something but end up misunderstanding one another. This seems to especially happen when it comes to faith. There are times when we are in conversation with one another but we have completely different definitions and meanings to the words we are using. This is what makes it so important for me to know how to explain what I believe- and why. When I am talking about my faith, it is not enough for me to assume the other person in the conversation understands all my words. I don’t want to end up in an awkward conversation when it comes to that which is so important to me…
Just a little thought.


Psalm 93


Psalm93


One Question: How can I get one of these?


I’m not a huge fan of their song choice, but seriously, how can I get one of these?


Global


I am often amazed at how connected our world is. It really is amazing. There were a few times this summer that I just sat amazed at this.

One time happened very early this summer. I was planning to be in Wales and England for part of the summer. Some of that time was going to be spent with my friends at their church. They asked me to speak at their church as part of my time there. So there was a day we were on Skype planning the church service. It was crazy. We were thousands of miles apart, but planning a time of worship together. I signed off of Skype and just thought, “Wow. This is amazing.”

Before I left for the UK, my brother introduced me to a wonderful little app called WhatsApp. It’s a fabulous messaging app that allows you to text internationally, without charge, to other WhatsApp users. It’s awesome! The best part of getting WhatsApp was the unexpected text/video from my little goddaughter. Just a video saying hello. Totally awesome!

Then, in another part of the summer, I had a visit from some very good friends from Brazil. I actually call them my family. So as my Brazilian mom and sister sat in my living room, I contemplated how amazing it is that I know them. My Brazilian brother and sister each spent a year living with our family as exchange students. Now we are deeply connected and call one another family. As a matter of fact, my sister and I text back and forth whenever the fancy strikes. Again, she is thousands of miles away, but we are connected. Amazing.

It’s just amazing how we can connect all over the world. One of the awesome things about most of my connections is that we share a deeper connection that goes way beyond what technology can do. It’s our connection because of Jesus. We are part of a bigger family when we have entered into God’s family! That is more amazing to me than just being able to connect with people thousands of miles away… I know that even if I don’t connect with them, we are still family. We still serve, love, and worship the same God. I think that is extremely amazing!

And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
    and they shall reign on the earth.”

Revelation 5:9-10


Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday, Google. You are only 14, but you have shaped our society significantly! You have changed the way we tell stories. Never again will we just believe a crazy tell… no, we shall now ask you for the facts. You have completely changed our vocabulary. Who would have every imagined that “Googled” would be an acceptable word and not just gibberish? Seriously, where would we be without you, Google? Happy Birthday.


Finishing


I like to workout. There is something about exercise that I just really enjoy. Now I must admit that often in the middle of a routine, I become discussed with myself for calling this “fun.” Most of the time I get along fine, but every now and then I go through a routine that makes me think I’m sick in the head. This kind of happened the other day.
I was out at the high school track doing a routine in the heat of the afternoon. About a third of the way through, I was ridiculing myself for choosing this activity. I was tired, dripping sweat, and frustrated with how slow I was going. But that’s when I really started thinking things through.
I was really considering quitting part of the way through but I knew I would feel more frustrated with myself for quitting than I would feel tired from working hard. At that point, it became a matter of will and shear determination to finish. So I set out for one more lunge at a time. And as I was lunging around the track I had another thought.
How many times do I face something in life that it feels easier to quit than to finish? There are times that a job seems more difficult than it is worth, or a relationship seems easier to let go than to work through. In the middle of it all, quitting seems like a better idea. It sometimes seems like all the pain, sweat, and frustration is just not worth it.
Sometimes following Jesus seems the same way. It is not and easy thing to set out to follow His call and pattern of life. As a matter of fact, it’s completely against our nature. So is running up and down high school stadium stairs. There is nothing natural about that. But if I continue to train and practice, it does become slightly less painful each time.
I think it is the same in obeying Jesus’ call. Each time I say yes to Him and no to quitting, it becomes a bit easier. Or at least it is one more victory to celebrate!
In Philippians, Paul writes, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Paul knew this whole follow and obey Jesus thing was not easy. It would take one step at a time, shear determination, and Christ to finish well.
Part of me really did not want to finish that day at the track. But the idea of quitting became unoptional. That is how I want to live my life following Jesus. I don’t want to peter out before the end- no matter how tempting it is. My prayer is to take one more step (forget what is behind), stay focused on the challenge (strain for what is ahead), and finish well (press on toward the goal).


Always Back To Relationship


I recently wrote a blog about noticing people around us. It was largely based on an experience I had, but at the heart of it, it is about right and restored relationship. About building and being open to relationships with people because that really what God created us for.

Then today I read another author’s blog along the same lines. I wanted to share it with you. It’s not a very lengthy read, but definitely worth it. Please check it out. Then if you like the author, I would highly encourage you to look into the work he co-authored, The Samaritan Project.