Say What?

“I can’t believe you just said that!”
“Well, if you knew what I was really thinking…”

How often have we said or thought those phrases or something like them? I bet you’re like me and often hear the meaning behind the words even if that’s not what the person meant.

I do not particularly enjoy confrontation. It is, however, interesting to hear conversations going on around me. I believe my job, as a Christian, is to say what needs to be said in a convicting yet caring way. This is not always easy.

Imagine if you are talking with a stranger and this person says some way you need to change. Now imagine the same conversation, but this time it’s a close friend not a stranger. Who would you take offense at? Who would you get defensive with or have your feelings hurt?

Speaking with strangers is sometimes easier than friends or family. Doesn’t it seem we’re nicer and more patient with strangers?

What would it look like to speak the same way to family and friends?

Our speech should build up and encourage. Sometimes encouragement comes in the form of criticism, but it’s purpose is to build up. The language we use is important to pay attention to so that it is used in the right way.

Using communication to build up is not as easy as tearing down; but I know we can all do it.


Gradutation Time

It blew me away last night to hear many of the graduates from our church are going to study such degrees as biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, etc. We have some talented teenagers graduating high school. Yet through this they will only be successful if they keep and maintain the community of family and friends that will support them. Even when their stressed from studying or any other situation a college student may face, they are loved and cared for by an entire village.

We reminded the graduates how gifted they are and through their gifts and talents, they can lead people to experience God’s Kingdom. Part of their giftedness comes from gaining support from their community to show others they are not alone either. Here is a segment of the talk given to recognize and honor the graduates last night. See what you need to hear.

“I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.”

These words from Jeremiah 29:11 are a favorite for graduations because of the bright future filled with love and hope for those crossing this threshold to enter a new phase in life. You have been charged with gifts from God that will allow you to prosper and bring hope, not only to your future but to others around you.

This is a special occasion for you and for your family that we hope you will not take lightly. To ensure success in this life, follow this simple blueprint:

~Know yourself – well.

~Prepare a plan of action – but always have a backup.

~Acknowledge that there is more than one way to achieve your dream – maybe even two or three.

~Own your mistakes – and learn from them.

~Recognize distractions – before they sink your ship.

~Embrace change – it makes a much better friend than enemy.

~Always move forward – nothing was ever accomplished standing still.

~Accept the reality of calculated risk – nothing ventured, nothing gained.

~Prepare for a rainy day – sooner or later one will come.

~Help and encourage others along the way – you’ll be a better person for it.

This blueprint is by Andrea Garney.

I will add one more item to this list and this trumps all others: (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight.”

So, no matter what you are facing right now, remember that you too are graduating some part of life to move into a new chapter that is going to be unbelievable, tough, exciting, lonely (sometimes); but the presence of God is in you and trying to remind you of the gifts you have been given to share with the world!


Days Off

What do you like to do on a day off? My guess is that we are all alike in that we use days off to “catch up” on what we didn’t get done during the week. So, if we were to take a day off would we feel like we have to accomplish something or be able to enjoy time off for true rest and reflection.

Is it easy to take a day off? Not for most of us. A day off means we take time off of work. A Sabbath rest is what we need in order to be more refreshed and rejuvenated when we go back to work.

Having a Sabbath rest means we refrain from “work.” If we only define work as the place we go to make money, then we will do things to keep us busy and not pay attention how constant busyness is not relaxing.

So on a Sabbath day, we should really do things that are not work and honor God. For example, if mowing the lawn is not fun and showing a creative side to care for creation, why do it on a day off? There are several other examples each of us have that we don’t like to do but still do when we are “off.”

The goal for each of us is to day one whole day each week to rest and be refreshed so we can be more productive at work as well as strengthen our ability to handle people with more care and compassion.