Sunday, September 14, 2014

Face the Music

Face the Music

Well, actually, just don't skip the music. 

I arrived to church late (not for the first time). No big deal, I thought; I'll just miss the singing, some/most/all. 

This time I had worship foremost in mind. It dawned on me that I was missing the main part of the service. By de-emphasizing the singing I was losing a major part of what I came for that day.

Thankfully, we then sang "Blessed Be The Tie That Binds" after communion, and then "Come and Behold Him" after that. 

I our culture, we've reduced the gathering of Believers to a brief concert combined with a motivational message and some public announcements. That's not how it's supposed to go.

To be sure, the original meeting involved music and message, but also real fellowship and corporate worship. But it wasn't passive. It was involved and connected. This is what we need.

Face it: that music is important. Don't skip it. Engage.

-- R; <><

Monday, September 1, 2014

Attitude is Everything ... NOT

Attitude is Everything ... NOT

I grew up hearing the proverb "attitude is everything". Set your mind toward something and you can make it happen. Keep a cooperative posture and others will be more amenable to you. Even today, I really believe this.

But I got kind of slammed, starting roughly a decade ago. It's not enough to be a nice guy. You gotta make things happen. You can't simply set your mind toward your goal, you have to take steps. You can't simply be agreeable, you have to help with the heavy lifting.

What's wrong with my original thinking? I fell into a habit of feeling bad over failure and expecting that to let me off the hook. To my shock, I encountered greater numbers of people who really don't care how remorseful you are that you let them down: the fact remains ... and their pain is retained. I had an assumption that when turning your focus toward the objective, things would follow automatically, and that's not how it happens. (That's part of it, just not the whole story.)

Be Warmed and Be Filled
God warned us about the emptiness of nice words. In James, it's written, "If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that"?.(ch 2 vv 15, 16) Might as well say, "Don't worry. Be happy!". 

Things don't happen automatically. This is obvious to some readers, and maybe you say "well, duh!!". (There's benefit in how "we" think, so don't write us off. Your turn will come.) People with my personality type don't consistently recognize: steps must be taken. (And some things do happen with little to no effort, but that's for another day and a different journal entry.) 

Reality Bites

To all of this, add the fact of storms and catastrophes. Stuff happens. Wishers like me (and workers like you) get jolted when the rains come down and the floods come up. Even when you're actively taking those steps, it could be three forward and two backward ... or worse. But keep moving. 

Another gem from James: "Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." (latter half of 2:18) So keep working, trust God, and by all means pray. But don't flounder behind a facade of friendly phrases. Do something! 

Make it So

There are no guarantees. Whether you're the doer or the dreamer, the result could be crap. And if you're like me, part of the pain is that you could get chewed out ... even if you had the right attitude. 

-- R; <><

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Nice Neighbors

Nice Neighbors

Jason and Sarah moved a couple months ago already. I paid my respects to the new residents, honestly glad to meet them, though sad to see the original occupants go. It was their first house. All three of their kids were born there. (I'd say in short order since it's only been 5 or 6 years.)

And now, there's a "for sale" sign in Brian's yard. He may be gone already. Marilyn said I should go speak with him earlier in the day, but for some reason I put it off. Later went over, rang the doorbell, ... nuthin. I hate it when that happens.

Can't Go Back

I'm not terribly nice after moving away. I don't keep connected with neighbors all that well. But what level of contact is "normal"? How many prior residences can anyone keep up with?

When we left the rental, I did not look back. Marilyn and the kids visited that street at least once. I was never interested. There was one neighbor, next door to us there, who was always sincerely friendly and I think she kept in touch with Marilyn to some extent.

Occasionally Reconnect

Chris and I were CB radio buddies when I was in high school. A lot happened to Chris, mostly after I went off to college. Radio remained a strong interest and Chris eventually upgraded to become a licensed ham/amateur. He remembered that I was similarly licensed and wanted to let me know, compare notes, and generally get back in touch. What an honor that someone bothered to look me up!

They Mean A Lot

Scripture gives us balancing points: this world is not our home, and love one another. One passage reminds us that our residence is temporary (even if one never relocated). The other passage says to relate to those around us (even if we move a lot). I think about Lionel and Nancy who hopped from comfy California to tempestuous Tejas. I pray for them because I understand the shock of uprooting.

Dunno if we'll ever see Jason or Sarah again. It was kind of them to send cookies around the whole street at Christmas time. For our part, we brought a meal once. Felt good to help out. Jason was my go-to guy for yard care tips.

Brian was a blessing too. When I left the big company for a small one and needed independent health coverage, he clued me in on what to do. (He's been a consultant off and on for a long time.)

And that's the point. These people were in our lives for a time, now they've moved on, and we will eventually too.
God weaves a tapestry with our lives.

-- R; <><

Thursday, June 19, 2014

MISSING: certain old friends

MISSING: certain old friends

I was checking up on Facebook. (Always a dangerous thing. My sister mentioned just this past week what a terrible time sink it can be.) Happened to notice the graduation of the son of a friend. This friend is someone I haven't seen in a while ... a long while. Time flies. Kids grow!

Trying not to sink too much time, I did happen to notice a few links. Links lead to links ... I came across an older friend, someone I haven't seen in a longer while.

Life takes you to various places and you can lose touch with friends. It's natural to miss your old friends, especially those who you were particularly close to. I miss these old friends. But with respect to the latter, it's more than just miss.

Somewhere in there we seem to have had a falling out. I think I did something to tick him off, but I'm not sure what. I suspect it may have had to do with a certain sideline business he was into (something I didn't really respect, but common and culturally accepted; he did nothing wrong).

Careful What You Say

I said something. It probably wasn't all that harsh, but it surely wasn't supportive (of my friend). Maybe that was it - it's the only thing that makes sense. (A sizable chunk of my circle at the time was involved in this business.) All I know for sure is that he and I lost touch. We lost touch in a way that my feeble attempts to reconnect were never reciprocated.

Part of my desire to reconnect is to apologize if that is needed. If I did offend this guy, I'd like to know. But as it stands, I'm in the dark.

Maybe I've misread the situation. Maybe someday I'll know.

-- R; <><