Red Thread Epoch

imgres-1Sometimes “God moments” occur with a big boom!

Other times He gets our attention through a series of seemingly unconnected happenings.  I prefer the series myself.  I love looking back to find the one red thread woven through multiple instances, sewn by our Creator, to bring us to an EPOCH, an instant in our life where He speaks so clearly.  God used 4 to bring me to my epoch….

NYSUM

Over lunch the other day my oldest daughter Mackenzie and her boyfriend Matt told me  that they are leading a youth group back to the New York School of Urban Ministry this summer. Wow, flashback!  I spent 4 summers taking youth groups to the city with one purpose – to minister to those hurting in the inner city.  We worked soup kitchens, AIDS hospitals, projects, and homeless shelters.  After all, God tells us to love the unlovely, right?

I loved it. So happy and proud of them….

But somewhere I lost my love for it.  I guess life got in the way.

Community Group

I love our friends that gather at our home on Monday nights to share in each others ups and downs.  Last Monday, one of our friends shared how she didn’t minister to someone in need. And it really bothered her. It bothered me for her.

But it really didn’t move me to action. At least not right away.

I lost my love for those who are hard to love, ’cause life got in the way.

Tampa Epoch

Why would he be any different from the other homeless panhandlers I pass on the street corners every day?  I’m too busy to bother. But he was different.  He had newspapers in his hand to sell, and it wasn’t a Sunday.  Odd.  Wait… I remembered reading about this program!  He was selling the Tampa Epoch, a monthly street newspaper that focuses on homelessness and poverty. It’s distributed by homeless and formerly homeless vendors who keep the profit from the papers they sell.  I had some loose change, and the light had just turned red, why not?

I’d read the paper, but it really didn’t move me.  I once really cared for those less fortunate.

But I somewhere lost that love, cause life got in the way.

David

Over a lazy Sunday lunch, after the plates had all been cleared and we were all kicking back with good cup of coffee, the subject of being homeless and panhandling came up.  Odd.  The thread. Really God?  I listened, partly at least, somewhat distracted by that first moment when you realize that woven thread connecting a series of events that God is using to get your attention.

Quick background on David – he is a retired social worker who dedicated his life to helping those less fortunate.

I tuned back in when David said the following: “I intentionally carry some cash on me  to give to a panhandler or homeless person.”  In my living room of Christians, the puzzled looks were everywhere.  He continued “I don’t care if they use my money to buy drugs or alcohol.  If it gets them through today, their life saving help may happen tomorrow.” Stunned silence.  You see, David is street smart.  He knows that many give up, commit suicide. And his dollar may just be the bridge that God uses to get them to tomorrow.  And tomorrow may be their EPOCH….who are we to think otherwise?

God used NYSUM, Tampa Epoch, a missed opportunity to love, and a bold statement by David to get my attention.

Love got in my way, and now the busyness of life seems less urgent.

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Red Thread Epoch

Relationship Trends – As Told By Facebook

Facebook knows you….and me….

We tell Facebook our life!  And it listens, learns, and remembers.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, the folks at Facebook Storiesimgres analyzed it’s users’ top V-Day trends as told through status updates, playlists and check-ins. The restaurant data is pulled from user check-ins on Feb. 14, 2012; the playlist data is based on which songs users listened to most before and after posting relationships as Life Events on Facebook in the United States.

For Valentines Day here’s a look at some of the ways love unfolds on Facebook (thanks Mashable):

A few of the top relationship songs:

  •  Wanted (Hunter Hayes)
  •  Ho Hey (Lumineers)
  •  I Dont Want This Night to End (Luke Bryan)

A few of the top breakup songs:

  • Wide Awake (Katy Perry)
  • We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Taylor Swift)
  • One More Night (Maroon 5)

3 of the most checked into restaurants on Valentines Day around the country:

  • Maggiano’s Little Italy
  • Del Frisco’s Steakhouse
  • The Melting Pot

Most Popular Days for Relationship Milestones:

  • First Met = New Years Eve
  • Added “In a Relationship” = Valentine’s Day
  • Engagement = Christmas Eve
  • Married = Valentine’s Day

Thanks for listening so well Facebook.  Now thats love…..

Relationship Trends – As Told By Facebook

More Candor, please….

Welcome to our cafe…imgres-1

Pull up a chair.

May I share today’s special with you? I think you may love it.  Perhaps you’re familiar with it?  I wasn’t before this morning, but after just a taste, mmmm, wow.  I want more….lots more!

Our chef calls it – Candor.

I’ll try to explain, remember, it’s new to me too – being only accustomed to my people-pleasing style.  Candor is a virtue, a Latin word meaning whiteness, pure, unreserved, honest, or sincere expression without any fear of pressure.

Sound refreshing?….yeah, me too…I thought the same thing.

Someone who speaks with candor doesn’t mince her words. If you are characterized as a person of candor, I admire you.  I want to be more like you.  It’s so tedious going through the mental exercise of dissecting every spoken or written word.  I yearn to communicate with candor.

But candor is not the entrée, it’s an accoutrement (fancy French word meaning accessory). Candor only comes alive when it serves LOVE.

As with all virtues, becoming a student of candor is an art…a talent.  Risky?  Sure, but if we truly want to speak the truth in love, we must learn to speak with candor.

I snuck a peek at The Chef’s Candor recipe.  Here’s what I saw:

  • a dash of Timing
  • a pinch of Discernment
  • a handful of Compassion
  • and 7 cups of LOVE

Would you like a taste?  Soooo gooooooood…..

More Candor, please….

Hey Church!

Hey church! Yes, I’m speaking to you! And me. And those leading our local churches. If we are indeed the church, then:

“Don’t speak to me about your religion; first show it to me in how you treat other people.

Still shooting your wounded? STOP! Not sure if your church is still target practicing on their “sinful” members? Ask one who has been victim of their attack. But you’re not the one doing the shooting? Wrong. You are guilty by association.

Don’t tell me how much you love your God; show me in how much you love all his children.

ALL of His children. That includes those living lifestyles different from yours. How would you handle something as sensitive as this? Thank you Pastor Hybels for giving us a Godly example.

Don’t preach to me your passion for your faith; teach me through your compassion for your neighbors.

Stop the finger pointing. Judgement is HIS, not yours. We are called to love. Don’t tell me about your compassion….show me.

In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as I am in how you choose to live and give.

Hang around the church long enough, and you’ll get hurt…it’s inevitable. We can all agree that as long as fallible people attend, and fallible leaders lead, dissapointment will follow. This reality has rendered many of our local churches LAZY. When the church is critizied, the mantra is often – “Yes, we know we have a long way to go, but after all, we are all human.” (insert cheesy Sunday morning church smile here).

OK, this century old excuse has been well established. Now what?

I’m just crazy enough to believe that you and I can make a difference in our local churches. People are hurting, and many are members of your own congregation. If they hurt long enough, you’ll never see them again….they will fade into the fabric of our dying world. And shame on you. Shame on me. Stop judging and start loving….not just lip service love. A real, compassionate, selfless, all inclusive kind of love. Unless of course, if you are without sin then be sure to bring your own stones to the party.

After all, who in the HELL are we to judge?

* The above embolden statement was spoken by Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ.

P.S. – Sorry for the edgy vent….I can’t keep it inside anymore…

Hey Church!