It is hard to miss that spring is upon us. Stepping outside, we can see that the landscape has gone from tones of browns and grays to green leaves, purple redbuds, and white dogwood blossoms. It is a reminder that the seasons are transitioning. Not only are the seasons in transition, many of us are in the midst of preparing for the school year to come to a close, graduations, planning for summer jobs, summer sports, summer camps, summer trips and maybe even a little rest?
Can we allow ourselves that? Among the planning and pressures of this time of year, I think it is not only allowed, but very necessary. It won't happen on its own though. Rest is not a summer vacation we plan; rest is a rhythm we find.
The teenager came to live with us because he needed a safe place. One night he missed his curfew by a large margin. When he saw us waiting he asked, "Do I still get to stay here?"
There were consequences for his actions, but first he needed reassurance. We wrapped our arms around him and let him know that this would always be his family.
My 4th grade daughter plays basketball at the local boys and girls club. Her coach who happens to work here at Soderquist Leadership was relaying a story to me about a recent practice.
Since we are in a smaller town, there are 4th-6th grade girls on the court at the same time, so the size disparity is really great. Ann was instructing her girls how you could come from behind and steal the ball. The smallest girl on the team looked at Ann and with a horrified look exclaimed, "You mean you want us to steal the ball?" This idea of being sneaky and stealing was really against her sense of right and wrong. As she wrestled with it, Ann assured her it was part of being in competitive athletics and it was ok.
Have you ever had a spiritual knot that needs untying? You know – a nagging question, a perplexing issue, maybe a lingering doubt that has your soul in distress? In such times, I am dependent on my soul friends – deep friends in the Lord who listen to Him and who listen to me. Those who gradually help me loosen that spiritual knot, whatever it might be.
The early Celtic Christians in Ireland and Scotland had a lovely name for such a person: anamchara. It means soul friend, a confessor, one who walks the path of faith with us.
That looks like annihilation to the human eye. But Paul had changed his way of viewing death. He looked at it from God’s perspective. The Greek word that is translated “departure” is a word that is also used by soldiers in the field striking his tent, packing his gear and heading for home. Departure. The same word is used also for sailors who are in foreign port who cast of the moorings and sail for home. Paul got it right I think. Death is not the end. Only a departure for home.
Some of the greatest books and movies ever written involve the joining of unlikely friendships. They fascinate us. We watch these seemingly misplaced characters wrestle out their differences and in the end we celebrate their success.
This is the time of the year that we emphasize love. Generally we think of romantic love, but true love is so much more than kisses and flowers.
Romans 13:8-10 says, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not covet,' and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."
My husband is a great guy but he doesn’t have rhythm. One night we turned on some music and danced in our living room. We weren't in sync at all. But then I had a thought: What if I just let him lead?
He didn't gain perfect rhythm in those few minutes, but I became a better dance partner.
If we could have coffee today, I’d say: "A lie our hearts often hear is, 'You're alone.'" But the truth our hearts need comes from Jesus when he says, "Surely I am with you always."
We all have moments when we feel alone. In a world where everyone seems to be connected, it seems ironic that studies show we're more isolated than ever before. That sense of separateness can create cracks that let lies slip into our hearts.
Many years ago, I used to sit on the front row at church on Sundays. I know what you are thinking, "Who does that?" Well, that's for another day. But one day upon arrival, I noticed I was getting a cold shoulder from the Pastor and his wife. I ran through the check list of all the possible things I could have done to deserve the attitude. It was only a matter of time before I learned their 5 year old son was the source of their frustration. You see, a short term trend (at least among my friends) in that small corner of Arkansas was that no matter how dressed up you were, you didn’t where socks. So that morning, their young son decided that he wasn't going to wear socks either. So as most parents would do, they checked off all the people they know who did wear socks. At the end, he said, "Well, Mr. Doug doesn't wear socks." I had no idea.