Monday, January 20, 2014


I received a wonderful gift from a land far away this week. It was a piece of art intricately crafted with what looks like a single piece of string. I can almost envision the hands working together with a metal hook, poking and bending the string into place. It looks like a simple doily, one that your grandmother might've had on a special table. But if you take the time to really look at all the pattern and the thread itself, you will see what I see.

First of all the string. If you look at it closely, maybe with a magnifying glass, you will see that it has several threads twisted together to make the string itself. In the Bible, Ecclesiastes says, "a threefold cord is not quickly broken." Rope makers and yarn spinners know this truth.

The same goes for people. It's always good to have one or two really close friends. There is strength in number. I wonder if there is someone out there at a breaking point...have you sought out a good friend, someone you can trust? Someone who will come along side you and prop you up if you slip?

The pattern is a lovely flower pattern. Lots of counting probably went into this design. The artist knew that having an odd number of flowers would make a more balanced looking piece. And as they stitched it together, that thread was reinforced over and over, one piece supporting the next.

I have to admit. Sometimes I feel like that string, getting stretched, wound and pulled taught until I thought I would snap. But God and His tender workmanship kept at it. And if something wasn't quite right, He would unravel that part of my life and we'd try again together.

As it is with community. Sometimes families move away, but someone new comes along and they seem to fit right in. You see, when God stitches us all together, we become a lovely piece of art. It is like this lace doily, lovely cogs in a wheel that spin together and move His Kingdom forward here on earth.

And I have to admit, that is the most beautiful gift someone can give you: the gift of community. Time to pick up the threads of your life and find a local church family. Let God knit you together and watch community bloom.

“Now I’m turning you over to God, our marvelous God whose gracious Word can make you into what he wants you to be and give you everything you could possibly need in this community of holy friends." Acts 20:32 (MSG)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Learn Me

Ever had an experience that reminded you of another experience? Not quite déjà vu, just similar enough to dislodge a memory? I had one of those this week while dropping a friend off at work. It seemed so similar to when I used to drop my son off at school. So much so, that I actually said out loud to her as she gathered her lunch box, book and sweater, "Be nice to your teachers today!".

I have to say it was a great puzzled look, still bent over with her belongings in her arms. "Teachers?"

Now, I have not yet reached the age of memory issues so she asked again with that 'didyoureallysaythat' look. "Teachers," she waited to see if she didn't hear me.

I grinned and said, "Yes, teachers. Those people in there have a lot to teach you today."

She smiled and waved for me to get to work and find some coffee..."cause you must be dreamin'."

As I drove to work, I wanted to edit my comment (like a Facebook update) to: "Yes teachers. Those people in there will teach you a lot about yourself today."

Every person you meet can teach you something about yourself. Whether it's an irate customer--need some patience lessons? Or a sick child--how's that mercy class going? Maybe you need to learn how to have fun--spend time with several teenagers.

It also makes you stop and realize that the person you hang with could also be teaching you the wrong things.

Put on a few pounds since you started that new job? Stay away from the Friday donut guy. Did you get nailed for spilling the beans? Time for boundaries with the gossip girl. Having problems with your racy thought life? Time to block those Facebook shares from someone who has raunchy humor.

So that brings me to the inevitable question, how's your spiritual side?

Have you considered asking someone to mentor you? Don't have anyone in your life you can go to? Start with God.

When you became a Christian, God gave you direct access to Himself through Christ. And Christ, He left you a Counselor--the Holy Spirit within you.

Sadly, I have found I have treated Him like the wall flower of the Trinity several times.

He is the One we ask during prayer to clarify scripture, show us a path through our problems and comfort us when we make a hard decision.

People will eventually let you down. But the Holy Spirit never will.

People give bad advice, but the Counselor reveals things in Scripture that you've read hundreds of times. (2 Timothy 3:16) (James 1:5-8)

Don't know what to say? Ask Him for the words. And if He's silent, then it's a good idea to keep your words to yourself. (Mark 13:11)

Choose your teachers wisely, and don't forget that you are also someone else's teacher. What are you proficient in teaching to others?

So what is the lesson plan for today? Might I suggest you stop and pray...ask the Counselor if you've been a serious student of His or just a lesson for others in futility.

And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John's baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.
Acts 19:1-7 (ESV)