Archive for June, 2006

100% Real Cheese

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

I remember a night a couple of years ago when I had a pizza craving. I stopped at the convenience store for gas and as I walked in the door I saw a way to appease my appetite, frozen pizzas 4 for $10. Sifting through the freezer one label caught my eye, "100% real cheese." As I pulled away from the store I began to ask some questions, "What is it if it isn't real cheese? Are there some pizzas with fake cheese?" Don't want to go there! I want the real stuff. Don't we all!

We long for reality. Yet, look around. I just read an article titled, What He/She is "Really" Saying, about ways of deciphering communication based of gender preferences. Think about what we call Reality TV. It is edited, staged productions in which the "real" people know the camera is rolling. Is that real? Can we make it real?

From what I've experienced, reality can span several categories wild, fun, painful, awesome, harsh, boring, unfair, etc. Life doesn't fit in categories. Life is all God's idea. Reality is where God dwells and He is the source. He is not surprised or overwhelmed. There is order and there is messy freedom. This apparent paradox requires created ones to be dependent on something or someone since we can't control life.

Truth in labeling becomes very important in "real"ationships. Shared life is invaluable and true community becomes hard to build because the prerequisite is being real. We need help, we are superficially connected in society. We long for someone to love us for who we really are but we'd rather people not "know" the real us and speak the truth. We must find reality outside of us. Reality declares that there is only One who is life. He is the spirit breath of life. To know Him is to have eternal life. Start here. Be loved, be real. Then be real grace towards those not ready to reveal the real them.

Which is the better deal?

Monday, June 19th, 2006

I just heard a commercial for those interested in buying a new car. If you were to buy a car from a certain dealer  they would buy you gas for a year or give you an extended warranty to 100,000. I'm not a math guy so I can't figure it out in my head, which leaves a choice which is the best deal. I know I like that new car smell.

How do you decide which is the better deal the gas or the warranty? Gas is so expensive right now that gas for a year is a lot less stress on the bank account. However, many money gurus would tell you that most warranties aren't worth it. This being a vehicle, 100,000 miles is about 7 years of average driving. Something is bound to go wrong long after the dealership has paid for your gas. There is the dilemma. The mental back and forth, weighing the options could go on for minutes even seconds I'm sure. Another way we tend to analyze things is by looking at the immediate not the long term or the other way around. We could spend so much time and effort figuring out the value of the options and miss the underlying issue. Do I need a car? Or in my case. can I afford a new car?

There is an obvious analogy about temptation . While it may seem that the options sweeten the deal, the question is really about needing a car. We get to thinking about what we could have and, WOW, that would make life more convenient, people would notice me, I'm worth it, driving sure beats walking in Houston. The bottom line is the dealership wants you to become unsatisfied with what you have. (I'm not saying car dealers are evil)

Think about Adam and Eve, they had everything in the garden, even doubts. Did He say that?, …you won't die, …they're good for food. Curiousity in the here and now exchanged for eternity. Then there is the same wrestling with me when I get wrapped up in the options. The possibility of exchanging God fellowship for a moment's convenience or pleasure seems foolish but too often we're looking for THE DEALof a lifetime or just the present. 

Resetting your password

Thursday, June 15th, 2006

As I was logging in the other day a pleasant 'chime' brought my attention to a message box on the monitor telling me my password had expired. Ninety days had passed and evidently my password had expired! After a brief time of mourning it was time to change the code and commit a new one to memory. I wonder, who decided 90 days should be the lifetime of a password?

Almost as an afterthought, it became a time to reflect on the past 3 months. What have I been doing? Have I been fruitful? What do I need to confess and ask for forgiveness? Is there something I didn't do that I should have? What relationships need work? These questions made me think about my heart in relation to His but the reminder came in such a form that wasn't condemning. Isn't that God! Kindness that leads to repentance. God doesn't wait 90 days. Daily reminders come in many forms and are best listened to as one keeps step with the Spirit. From time to time God has to get in my face and the variety in God's approach is always uniquely personal. It is just what I need to relate on a daily basis. What a great God!

Flying patience

Tuesday, June 13th, 2006

For the most part I love flying. I like going to new places, learning the culture and trying new things especially the food. As I flew back from Atlanta I was reminded of something I don't like. Why do people hop out of their seats as soon as the plane comes to a stop at the gate? The seat belt sign barely lights up and the ding is still ringing when, out of nowhere, people are standing in the aisle by my chair in row 9. Where did they come from. Why? We ended up not moving for about 20 minutes while they brought a bus and unloaded gate checked baggage… Then, we all got on the bus and then waited until everyone took another seat before leaving for baggage claim.

It cracked me up when I realized a lot of those guys were once again waiting…in the restroom. It is another one of the patience testing moments, I guess.  We've just flown to keep from driving or to maximize our time in one place and so one gets in such a hurry. So get out of your seat and do something! Patience. Slow down. Grace. Peace. I'm not the fastest moving one in the bunch but that doesn't always mean I'm patient. I need to work on patience; God has given it as part of the fruit, right? It seems it is one of the hardest to cultivate yet so crucial to the work of the Spirit. I might just buckle up and stay here a while.

How big is God?

Monday, June 5th, 2006

Just this week this question pops up in the back seat! "Dad, how big is God, is he bigger than our house?" To which one of the siblings replied, "he's much bigger, bigger than Houston." 

What a question. As I was trying to reply I couldn't help but think…Big is nothing to God! He's obviously bigger than our personal world, bigger than the earth and universe,  bigger than…we could go on. Shall we? Bigger than sickness, depression, success, addiction, divorce, circumstances, lack of money, too much money…  Describing how big only slakes our thirst as we apply it to reality. We just apply it so infrequently or don't try at all. While we can't fathom completely how big, we can start with wonder. Then, what we begin to know can change how we live.

I just smiled at the thought of God's smile and hoped that the question will be asked again and again.