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; <><