The Rhythm   Leave a comment

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Today as I sit in my office, I hear the rhythmic pattern of the rain water trickling down the inside of a downspout.  This morning has consisted of a light, gentle rain.  So the combination of seeing the falling rain droplets and hearing the movement of water through the drain spout, I am very conscious of rhythm.  I am probably especially attuned to rhythmic sounds since I was a percussionist during my days in the school bands.

This focus on rhythm has caused me to think about the rhythms of life this morning.  As an old song states in its lyrics, “And the beat goes on.”  Life has a rhythm and specific beats  that move us along.  If we take the time to be quiet, we can hear that rhythm.  As we open our eyes to the events around us, we can see that rhythm.  It invades all aspects of our lives.  There is rhythm in our personal lives.  There is a rhythm to our professional lives as well.

I think that there are three possible responses to the rhythm of life.  The first is to let it sooth us into just going along with the motions.  This response is seen in individuals who take hold of the routine of daily life and remain in that routine no matter what else is occurring around them.  They seem to have more a robotic approach to life.

The second response is one of battle.  This response is when an individual constantly tries to resist the rhythm of life.  It would be like a member of the marching band attempting to march in a different pattern than what the drum line is creating in their cadence.  This response will appear awkward and maybe even a bit disturbing.  People around this type of individual response will often become frustrated with the individual.

The third response is one of gaining energy from the rhythm.  A person who has this response first is aware that there is a rhythm of life.  Then the individual uses that rhythm to energized them as they move forward.  They will often make their own mark on the rhythm and may even adjust the pattern of the rhythm.  Yet they do not let the rhythm control them or lull them into a mindless movement.  They also do not fight the rhythm.  The person instead takes ownership of the rhythm and even some control of it.

The rhythm of life – such a gift for us to do something with in life.

Posted May 26, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Experiences, Leadership, Life

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Friday   Leave a comment

I am so happy that it is Friday.  There are just some weeks that Friday is a very welcomed day.  So I thought I would share this song with you for “Music Friday”.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Posted May 22, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Life, Music

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Perfected   1 comment

We live in an imperfect world and we are imperfect people.  I really do not think that I have shared anything which is an earth-shattering truth in the very first sentence of this post.  Nor am I sharing any new revelation with any of you which you did not already know.  However, I wonder how often we forget this reality.  I wonder how often we expect perfection and become upset when either ourselves or someone else show imperfection.

This morning when I came to my office I encountered a laundry list of issues with the state of the building.  I was out of the office yesterday and there was activity here last night.  Now, this is not the first time that I have encountered situations such as this one.  My reaction was from the gut and I would have to admit that it was less than a positive reaction.  I spent the first fifteen minutes of the time in my office correcting the issues which I discovered.  Again, this was not part of my early arrival plans so my frustration was building with each correction I made.  When I actually was able to sit down at my desk, I wanted to impulsively send an email to the individual responsible for the building last night and share my displeasure.  However, something (or should I say someone) held me back and led me to wait until I had returned from my morning coffee time.  I am grateful that I made that decision.  While I still intend to follow-up on the issues with the appropriate person, I have determined a different way to do that follow-up.

For me what made the change was something which arose during my morning devotions.  I was looking at a passage from the Bible which included a statement from Jesus about the promise of the resurrection.  When most people think about a bodily resurrection, they are not convinced that they want to have their current physical body resurrected.  They often list all the imperfections which they have identified with their current body.  These people are fine with the concept of spiritual resurrection but shy away from the idea of the bodily resurrection which we who believe in Christ include in our understandings.  I think the issue here is the hope of everything being perfect in the presence of God and that the way they understand their physical bodies as imperfect does not fit with their desire to be perfect in the presence of God.

The key here for me is to realize that the Spirit has the power and does perfect the imperfect us.  Even at the point of our spiritual resurrection, our spirit is not perfect.  Our spirit is marred and marked by the sin of our life.  However, the Spirit perfects our spirit when Jesus places the cloak of righteousness on us as we are spiritually resurrected.  If the Lord can do this with our spirit, how do we think the Lord is any less capable of perfecting our bodies at the point of our bodily resurrection.

Yes, we are imperfect.  We are imperfect inside and out.  However, the Spirit of the Lord is capable of perfecting us.  This is important truth that we must keep in mind as we deal with one another and as we consider the promise of the resurrection.

So I want to leave you with these reminders:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, NIV)

Compassion   Leave a comment

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Over this past weekend I had the privilege of watching some young adults demonstrate compassion for others.  I watched as they helped guide a person and ensure that the individual felt a part of what they were doing.  They demonstrated patience and understanding.  They provided support and encouragement.  They mentored the individual so that the person had confidence.  This was truly a role model for other youth and many adults.

Compassion is one item which the world seems to be lacking in serious ways. There appears to me to be a great abundance of violence and hatred in the world.  This is definitely not a new situation.  Humans seem to have always leaned more toward the violent side than the compassionate side.  Some would argue that this was evident in one of the earliest accounts of humans known as the Cain and Abel story.

As a person of faith, I find that Jesus definitely showed great compassion.  Jesus even reminded all humans of the great need for compassion when he said:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

(Matthew 25:34-40, NIV)

May we all learn from others who demonstrate compassion.  I was reminded of it through the actions of some young adults.

Posted May 19, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Uncategorized

Dance   Leave a comment

As we embark on another graduation weekend, I decided to share a song that I believe is my hope for all those graduating from high school and college.  Always be a part of the dance….

Congratulations Class of 2015!  May your journey be filled with great wonder and surprises as you take your next steps!

Posted May 15, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Community, Life

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An Adventure   1 comment

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Some people see life as an endless series of challenges, disappointments, and burdens.  Individuals who view life in this manner often struggle through each day just hoping to survive.  They tend to have a pessimistic view of matters.  They often are the ones full of complaints and struggle to find something positive to share.

Other people view life as an adventure.  For these individuals, each day is filled with unknown opportunity.  They see challenges as a way to grow and learn.  They view disappointments as a way to build perseverance.  They experience burdens as a means to a better end.  These individuals often are optimistic about life.  They find the positive in situations which can appear very negative.  The twists and turns of life energize them and they anticipate the surprises which lie ahead with an eagerness.

I strive to view life as an adventure.  One of the self-discoveries which I have had in recent years is that I yearn for adventure.  I am energized by new experiences and new discoveries.  I enjoy challenges and view them as opportunities to conquer and move ahead.  Now, I would have to admit that when I am feeling overwhelmed or tired, I can easily slip into the other viewpoint.  So it is important for me to make sure that I have times of retreat and recharge.  However, overall I would have to admit that I love the adventure which comprises my life.

Which viewpoint do you choose?  How do you approach life?  I hope that you can find the great joy of the adventure.

Your Blue Jay   Leave a comment

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This morning I was watching for a brief period of time an encounter between a blue jay and a squirrel in the tree outside my office.  I have learned that blue jays are quite an aggressive bird.  They seem to be the bullies in the bird world.  So while they have beautiful color on the outside, they do not have the same kind of beauty on the inside.  As I watched this encounter between the squirrel and the blue jay, I heard both of them making quite a lot of noise.  It was clear that they were not easily going to coexist in the tree.  Both of them seemed ready to take the other on and movement closer together occurred in intervals.  Eventually, the blue jay must have decided that taking on the squirrel in a physical way was not the wisest move so the bird flew out of the tree and to the ground below.  The squirrel moved down the branches so that it could continue to posture and yell at the blue jay.  This round was clearly won by the squirrel.

After watching this encounter, it made me ponder what I mentioned earlier – blue jays are the bullies of the bird world.  I thought about the bullies who I have encountered in my life.  I am pretty sure that all of us have had bullies in our lives.  These are the people who tend to make a lot of noise and can say and do some pretty damaging things to other people.  Some of them our outwardly aggressive.  Others use passive aggressive techniques.  Whatever their mode of operation, the goal of intimidation to achieve their desires is always the driving force behind their words and actions.

How do you handle the bullies in your life?  I have come to find that as difficult as it may be at times, the best approach is to call them out.  When I identify their bullying behaviors, I can then confront them.  There is nothing easy about dealing with bullies.  However, if bullies are left alone and allowed to continue their behaviors, they will leave a wake of disaster in their path.  Lives can be damaged or destroyed in the process.

We hear a lot about bullying going on in schools.  I would argue that this type of behavior extends far into adulthood.  You can find bullies in work places, organizations, churches, and community settings.  It is time that we all work to confront and put an end to these behaviors.  It is time that we deal with the bullies, just as the squirrel dealt with the blue jay I saw this morning.

So who is your blue jay?  What are you doing about it?


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