Plant a Tree

Luther Plant TreeWith the same spirit that Martin Luther expressed, I am pressing on with unprecedented plans, projects, and proposals.

My last visit to the doctor was probably my last visit to the doctor because he has all but given up on regulating my blood counts and told me to line up hospice care.

So, I’ve got four books I’m currently writing, have just launched two non-profits this month, and am planning a series of speaking tours to raise awareness of the incredible challenge being faced by Christian workers in northern Iraq.

Stay tuned for more!

Oh, I wrote this poem today for the Super Bowl:

“Just a game,” I hear you say
“Why get pumped when grown men play?”
There’s much more than meets the eye
Let me show the reason why:

The Super Bowl is more than sport
We scarce can measure its import
You see, what happens on the field
Life’s greatest lessons just might yield.

It’s not by chance the teams are there
They worked hard and did prepare
We cannot hope to make big plays
If we just loaf and waste our days.

And, by the way, it takes a team
To reach your goals, fulfill your dream
When we help others do their best
‘Tis only then our lives are blessed.

It is in giving we receive
Amazing feats we all achieve
When stubbornly we want our way
Our real desires we just delay.

Quitters don’t win, it’s true, you know
Winners don’t quit, they don’t let go
To win life’s game you must stay in it
Stay focused right to the last minute.

And once the game is finally o’er
Regardless of the final score
Our life, on winning can’t depend
Tomorrow we can start again.

And this one for a poetry contest on “understanding:”

Words and letters on a page
Mysterious powr’s can engage
Precious mem’ries may restore
Or incite loud cries for war.

Sticks and stones cause short-lived pain
But stinging words can long remain
Good friends sometimes are estranged
By thoughtless words that were exchanged.

But all’s not lost, we soon shall see
The pow’r of words wrought graciously
From selfless, humble hearts we hear
“Please, forgive, I am sincere.”

So we’re not left to chance or fate
We have the power to create
The words we use, you must agree
Could change the course of history.

And so it is that man is blessed
A wondrous gift he doth possess
Equipped with words on every hand
To help another understand.

Let us wield this mighty sword
So that peace may be restored
Words that bless and help and heal
Will help us reach our high ideal.

Surprises from God

An unusual Christmas exhortation -good fodder for table talk!

This meditation is from Christmas Days by Geoff Shattock.

It’s very hard to know whether you are making the right decision in certain circumstances.  If you are wise you will try to take all the factors you can into account.  If you are ethical you will want to be true to your beliefs.  If you are considerate then you will want to maximize human dignity and minimize human pain, especially if your decision affects others.  If the decision is very important to you personally, then you will want to ensure you are being honorable in all aspects.

Such was Joseph’s moment.  Faced with the dilemma of the young woman -whom he loved and was in covenant to marry- being pregnant and knowing the baby was not his, he did hsi very best to deal with it, with his shock and hurt and disappointment, in a thoroughly honorable way.

He tried to avoid scandal -which would have been ruinous for Mary- and decided to end their relationship discreetly leaving her as free from disgrace as possible.  His motives were good; his intentions were caring.  He attempted to be logical, rational and honorable -and he was wrong.

It is possible to make an honorable, ethical decision and still be wrong.  This is particularly the case when thinking of giving up on someone or something.  There is always a risk of incomplete knowledge and blurred vision.  Perhaps you have to let someone go.  It could be that you need to close something down.  You may need to abandon a strategy and overhaul your approach.

At this moment Joseph did not realize he was part of something much bigger than he could see.   It was greater than his concern about scandal (which would of course have been his scandal as well) and it was a completely different situation than that which he thought he was facing.

What he did not have was a divine perspective.  We must be careful here -we cannot see things as God sees them because we are not God.  What we can do is see things as God wants us to see them.

To wrap the events around this moment two other dynamics need to be considered.  Firstly, Joseph was considering what he had.  Using his mind, mulling it over, reflecting on it, looking at it from other angles he tried to come to a decision.  Secondly, he slept on it.  Again we must not miss the moment.  Joseph didn’t just sleep on it to give himself more time.  Joseph slept on it and God spoke to him in a dream.  Once Joseph had received the message he completely reversed his decision.

When faced with a decision, you will want to do the honorable thing, but leave space for your own reflections and allow time for surprises from God.  This is the season for surprises after all.