Friday, February 11, 2011

Battery running low - plug in here.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. God does not faint or grow weary; God’s understanding is unsearchable. 
- Isaiah 40:28
I’ve had contact lately with a lot of people who seem tired; not sleepy tired, but worn out-depleted-exhausted tired, emotionally drained and mentally tapped out.  
I remember in seminary they told us that after the exhausting Advent/Christmas season there is a ‘breather time’ to catch up before Lent and the exhausting season of Easter. I beg to differ. There is no ‘breather time’ between any season, any day or, really, any hour that I can find. Life keeps going, things keep happening and a plethora of activities and responsibilities clamor for our attention. LIFE is exhausting. 
It seems like we are always looking for new ways to refuel and drinks that pump us up, fancy exercises and meditation designed to stretch our brains while stretching our muscles, creative ways of sleeping so that we can get by on fewer hours of sleep to add more hours of productivity...blah, blah, blah. It’s hard enough to find time to breath, spend priceless moments with loved ones or just relax without taking up time by experimenting with new techniques.
There is one way to refuel and reenergize - one place where we can spend a few minutes and get some much-needed ‘charging’ - it is tried and true, no experiments, no energy drinks and no fancy sleep techniques. Are you ready for it? Prayer.
I know it’s hard to imagine finding time to pray but it’s KEY to a well-balanced, full, energized life.  It doesn’t have to be formal or lengthy; it just has to be real. You and conversation. Instead of hitting the snooze button for another 9 minutes of sleep when your fancy sleep techniques fail, spend some time talking to God. When you are driving to pick up your child from soccer practice, turn off the car radio and talk to God. When you are waiting for the #7 bus to pick you up, talk to God.  
God’s energy is endless. God’s store of resources is limitless. God doesn’t get tired of hearing from you. God doesn’t grow weary of your conversation. God loves you. God understands your needs, desires and exhaustion. 
Let us pray:
Eternal God - Help me to find time to plug into you today. Help me, as I struggle with daily schedules and responsibilities to find time to rest in your endless mercy and grace. Fill me with your energy so that I may continue to be of service to your world.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thanks for surfing by...come again.

5Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the friends, even though they are strangers to you; 6they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on in a manner worthy of God; 7for they began their journey for the sake of Christ. 
- 3 John 1:5-6a
Like a lot of others, moving away from my home state and beginning my first call as a pastor in a small church in NW Arkansas caused me to lose touch with many people I considered friends.  I was not able to keep up on what was happening in their lives, the blessings and challenges they were facing, and then Facebook happened. Through Facebook, I have been able to follow the joys and challenges of many of my friends and family all around the world.  While it’s not as personal as sitting down over coffee or picking up the phone for a chat, it is what works for many of us now that we are busy and wrapped up in our families and vocations all over God’s world. I do admit that I would much rather be able to spend time visiting in person, but I have found a special joy in logging into Facebook to read updates, blogs, posts and seeing new pictures.
With this new convenience of technology comes blessings beyond measure, but also responsibilities.  I have found some things that people post to be hurtful or condemning or downright hateful.  To be honest, that sucks some of the joy right out of Facebook, and other social networking means, for that matter.  
This verse from 3 John puts things into perspective for me.  While the epistle writer was writing specifically to his friend Gaius about the manner in which he had just welcomed a group of traveling missionaries, it has something to say for us, too.  The writer thanks Gaius for his hospitality while they were visiting, but also reminds him, that as they are traveling in the name of Christ, Gaius is called to send them on in a manner worthy of God.  While it is most likely that he was reminding him to send them with food, supplies and money, perhaps, it is also a reminder to send them on with prayers, encouragement, support and love.
Each day we have a number of people, either on purpose or by stumbling, who visit our Facebook page, blog, MySpace, website or other social networking site.  What message do we want to send with them? What image would we like to portray? One of love, grace and discipleship? One worthy of God? When they go on their way to the next website/page, what we have shared with them may have an impact that could be spread to countless others.  It’s up to us to faithfully treat all people as friends and to send them on in a manner worthy of God.
Let us pray:
Welcoming God - each day you welcome us anew into your family with love, acceptance and grace.  Help us to be bearers of the same to each person we encounter; in person or virtually.  Fill us with your spirit, God, we pray.  Amen.