Thursday, August 16, 2012

But I don't WANT to!

Colossians 3:23 (ESV)  "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men"

It's that time of year again. The leaves are starting to turn, there is a chill in the air, and all of the stores smell of paper and pencils.
Well, that's what it was like back when old folks like me started school.

Now, it's still VERY hot outside, and the only reason the leaves have turned brown is either too little water or too much sun. School supplies do run rampant around here though.

Everyone better look out, because Boo starts school this year.

With Bug, it was easy. She was so excited to go to school. It was all she talked about the summer before she started. She even loved to play school at home.

Have I ever mentioned how different Bug and Boo are?  Don't get me wrong, my Boo is a very good girl. She also enjoys to learn, but does not enjoy sitting still nearly as much as her sister does, at least not right now.  Bug wants to be the teacher and have Boo be the student. Needless to say, that only lasts for a little while before the small one gets tired of the big one bossing her around and stomps off to sit alone in her room.

I've tried to get Boo excited for this new phase in her life. The conversation I remember most went like this:

"Hey, Boo, don't you want to go to school so you can meet some new friends? That will be good, right?"

"Mom, when I was born, I had friends, and that is all the friends I need."

Okay, so it's easy to pick on my kids, especially the one that is too little to be embarrassed about things I might write about her. I can see this scenario working out for me and other adults as well. How often do we have to start something new, and either do not want to or are apathetic to the idea and process?

Is there something that God wants you to do that you are running from, or trying to get out of doing?

One of the best things I did this summer was take a study on the book Radical by David Platt.  It was challenging, to say the very least. Sometimes we really do not know what all we do have until we see others that are lacking some of the very things that we consider necessities.

Of all of the many things I learned while reading (ok, skimming) this book, two stood out the most, and were so simple that I felt crazy for not realizing them before:

1. There are some things that we should do for God, that we do not for whatever reason or excuse we may come up with. Whether it is something as simple as not wanting to, or more complex like worrying about ridicule or losing our job. When the end is God, should anything else REALLY matter?

2. There are things that we do or want to have and claim that it is for God as justification of our very own selfishness.  How many times have we done something "for God", but it was really "for me"?  Do we volunteer to be good stewards of our time and serve God, or for the recognition of being a good and helpful person? Do we want bigger, larger, and better facilities in our churches to help host more people to hear about God or just so we can keep up or out do the Jones' church? If we have all of these bigger and better buildings, are we actually doing anything to bring in the lost people of our communities? Even better, are we going out of our way and comfort zone to reach the people around us for Christ at all? 

The church is not a restaurant or a baseball field. We can build it, but that does not mean that they will come.

Make an effort this week to do at least one thing that you are not quite comfortable with for God. It could be something simple. Sometimes the easiest things are the hardest to do. It could be a lot easier for some people to go around the world on a mission trip than to walk across the street and talk to their neighbor about God.

Pray this week. Pray that God will show you an opportunity to speak his word into someone's life. And when the opportunity arises, take it. Do not be scared. The worst thing that will usually happen in America is that the person will look at you weird or talk back to you in a condescending way.  Is that really such a price to pay? There is a chance that even if you get this outcome you may have planted a seed in that person's heart.

 You have kept count of my tossings;
  put my tears in your bottle.
  Are they not in your book?
 Then my enemies will turn back
  in the day when I call.
  This I know, that God is for me.
 In God, whose word I praise,
  in the LORD, whose word I praise,
 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
  What can man do to me?
 I must perform my vows to you, O God;
  I will render thank offerings to you.
 For you have delivered my soul from death,
  yes, my feet from falling,
 that I may walk before God
  in the light of life.
(Psalm 56:8-13 ESV)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Robin Hood... is he really Good?

Robin Hood… Is he really Good?
Romans 2:21 (ESV) “…you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself?  While you preach against stealing, do you steal?”

Sometimes my kids ask me things and I am just totally caught off guard.
Later I will fill you in on the questions Bug had while reading Genesis…. that is a story for another time.  (Be afraid!)

For those of you playing along at home, Bug is now 8 ½ going on 30, and Boo is 4 ½ going on Princess and CEO of the entire world while being a Ninja Spy. Yeah, something like that.
One day last week we were just sitting in the truck and Bug was excited because she was able to ride in the front. We will just try to overlook the fact that she was in the front because I had too much junk in the back seat for both Boo and Bug to sit back there. It made her happy and I didn’t have to move my stuff, so it was a win-win.

A few miles down the road she asks one of her random “what you think I will ask and what I really want to know are different things” questions. She has had a multitude of these lately.
“Mom, if Robin Hood steals from the rich, and gives it to the poor; when the rich stole it first, is he a good person, or a bad person?”

At 8 years old she is old enough to understand the difference between right and wrong. However, sometimes even we adults get confused when we start trying to blur the lines and rationalize behaviors because they are done for the good of other people.
It is still wrong.

My answer was this:  Robin Hood had a good idea, and possibly a good heart to try to help the poor people. However, the way he went about it was not right. A better option would have been if he tried to find a different way to help them, or a way to stop them from being robbed in the first place. It did not make him a bad person. He had a good idea, but he chose a bad way to accomplish his goal, however noble the goal was.
If Robin Hood had a little Robin Hood Jr., how would he have been able to justify his actions? How can he say that “stealing is wrong!” when everyone watches him steal from others? 

In case you don't know, people watch us every single day. Our kids, coworkers, everyone. The people around us know what morals we claim to have, and sit back to see if we actually choose to live them out in our daily lives.

It is one of the hardest things to do as a follower of Christ, but he does command that we not retaliate against others.  We are to stand up for ourselves, but not to seek revenge.
Matthew 5: 43-48 (ESV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

After all of that explaining, what was the response I received? Usually this kid is full of debate, question after question.
All she said was, “Oh, ok.”


If you have any questions or ideas, please feel free to leave a comment!