Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In the wake of the tragedy of last week, it is times like these which test the deepest part of our souls. Many questions arise of “why”. Why did God let this happen? Why were so many killed? Why did it happen in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere? Why should I even care, I have my won problems? Why were some lives spared and not others? The list can go one and one.
Having traveled and worked in Haiti, I too have had more questions than answers. I too get so frustrated when people like Danny Glover and Pat Robinson make ignorant comments for their own selfish gains. Amongst the confusion, devastation, and pain, in any time of devastation, no matter how big and how small, the best thing to do is focus on the facts not the speculations.

Here is what I do know:

  • The God we serve is a God of love and forgiveness. It was not God’s punishment on people of Haiti.
  • God answers specific prayers. While our friends Dr Glen Stewart and a group for Tennessee were in Haiti at the time of the earthquake, we prayed without ceasing for their safety. By God’s grace and harm, they returned home without physical injury. We continue to pray for their psychological healing that is needed after such an ordeal. We pray for those friends that lost there life while serving God in Haiti.
  • I am proud I serve a church that responds immediately. Week of Compassion sent fund within 24 hours of the quake to begin the process of saving those who were trapped. I am proud that Week of Compassion continues to offer several areas of support.
  • I am forever grateful for the special gifts God places in my life each and every day. The gift of a loving healthy family, a wonderful church family, a place to live, a place to worship, something to eat, and friendships. I am grateful for the time I have and realize it can all change at in a split second.
  • God brings about healing by helping others. I am encouraged by those who have already responded in various ways. I look forward to the opportunity in the future to serve the beautiful people in Haiti. We can begin the healing process by serving people here in Centralia. All God’s children need our attention, when we put others first, we are the ones that receive the greatest inward reward.
  • God is good all the time. I’m the midst of any tragedy we will begin to see God’s grace and mercy shine. We will witness the Light of Christ shine through in the darkness wither it is in Haiti or Centralia. We will see God’s people react with compassion, zeal, and extraordinary feats.
    We continue to pray and worship the God of mercy, grace, and love through all time both good and bad. It is now; we praise God for all those who can’t find their voice at this time.
    Together with the power of a sovereign God turn a tragedy into everlasting hope.
    See ya in church but until then take care of yourself and one another.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Man and His Stretchy Shorts

I am not sure if you are like me but I have a favorite pair of shorts I wear all the time. At then end of the day, I can not wait to get home and put on my stretchy shorts. As soon as I put on these shorts I relax, unwind, and feel at home. They are riddled with holes, paint splatters, and extremely faded. They share the scars of many life events. To most people my stretchy shorts are hideous looking, so I stopped wearing them in public. Kellie has thrown them out several times but I fish them out of the trash and put them on again. They are comfortable, they help me relax, yeah, they may be just warn out fabric, but me and my stretchy shorts have been through a lot together. We both have weathered the storms of life together. We are like two old friends. We use to jog, workout, and play basketball together but as we both aged we now just eat, watch basketball games, and take naps. After eating a huge meal, I and my stretchy shorts find relief in one another. Yes, I have many other pairs of shorts, but nothing can bring me comfort like that one special pair. I just can not seem to part with them. They are apart of me and I am apart of them, I just can’t see myself parting with them.
Maybe you have a special pair of clothing that brings you comfort and relief. Maybe a favorite warm sweat shirt, T-Shirt, dress, blanket, that the moment you put it on brings you relief from the stress of the world. It is more about the peace it brings that the actual fabric. Sometimes we may find our spiritual life like that as well. When we find something that fits right, bring peace, helps us connect with Christ; we want to hold on to it forever. Just the mere routine of church can bring about this same sensation as well. We find an overwhelming sense to keep things just the way they are, not matter if they are tattered and worn out. Jesus calls us to experience something new. At a wedding in Canaan, when the host was about to be embarrassed, the reception ruined, Jesus brought about new wine. He turned ordinary water into a wine much better tasting, much richer, fuller, than what was served before. He does not ask us to throw out what connects us to Him, just experience something new that will enhance what we have already experienced. He has the power to turn the ordinary water into the richest of fine wine. Christ has what we need if we want an enriched relationship with God and one another. Christ is not saying throw out your stretchy shorts, just add a new shirt to go along with what you already have. Take the traditions of the past, the routine of the now and jump into the future. If we take that approach, He will transform our ordinary into an expensive precious commodity. Then we will experience comfort and peace like never before.
See ya in church but until then take care of yourself and one another.