Category Archives: My Stuff

This is material I wrote.

A Gift Worth Giving

How’s your Christmas shopping going?

Now, be honest: how many of the gifts you’re giving are just stuff you feel like you are required to give? These “gifts” don’t have any real significance to you OR the recipient. And, if the truth were known, they will likely end up in a land-fill sometime in the foreseeable future.

But there are other gifts, aren’t there? A few of the gifts you have planned are special. These are gifts that you have thought long and hard about. You’ve searched and/or labored to make sure this gift is exactly right. It’s significant. The recipient will likely keep this gift for the rest of her life and every time she sees it or uses it, you will come to mind.

I’d like to tell you about a birthday gift I received a few years ago.

The gift is a desk. It’s a lovely piece of furniture. Here are a couple of pictures of it…

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DSC_0175

What do you think this desk is worth?

Now there are several things to consider when you try to figure the value of something like this.

One thing would be the raw material. This desk is made from solid cherry wood and fitted with fine hardware.

You would also have to take into consideration the time and labor.

But another factor would be the quality of the craftsmanship involved. I mean, a desk made by me wouldn’t be nearly as valuable as one made by a skilled master craftsman. So the identity of the person who made it affects the value.

Now this is where it gets a little tricky, because if all you’re considering is the skill of the craftsman, that’s one thing. But what if you actually know the person? What if you have a personal relationship with the one who made the thing? How does that affect the value to you?

What if I told you that the person who made my desk was my dad?

SCAN0039

Suddenly the value changes, doesn’t it? All of a sudden, the value of this desk, which may be worth a large amount of money to most folks, has increased exponentially to me.

Now, if you look inside the top drawer you’ll find a small brass plate that looks like this…

DSC_0177

It says, “Lloyd | Mk. 1:11b | Dad & Mom | 8-15-04.”

Do you know what Mk 1:11 says?

It says: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Now…how much do you think this desk is worth to me?

This Christmas, when we are all very wrapped up (See what I did there?) in gift giving and receiving, I want to take a little time to consider the gifts we give to God.

I want to suggest that the service we offer to God at our church or in our community – whether we preach, teach, sing, greet, bake, rake, shovel, tutor, clean, cook, listen, visit, or any of a hundred other acts of kindness to individuals or involvement in church ministry … whatever you do – do it as an act of love and worship. When you do, the raw material of your time and talents, combined with your skill and personal relationship, makes it a valuable love gift to God.

Like my desk, the value is far more than the simple combination of raw materials because it’s given as a demonstration of love to God who can multiply it until it has eternal significance.

Now that’s a gift worth giving.

Lloyd

 

 

What we mean when we say, “Thank you.”

We say “Thank you” a lot.

A waitress refills our drink: “Thank you.”

Someone holds a door for us: “Thanks.”

The cashier at the check-out hands us our receipt: “Thanks so much.”

In some ways I think maybe it has become a throw-away phrase that we have gutted of all its meaning. I’m not saying we should stop using the phrase. It’s the generally accepted polite response in many situations, and I don’t want suggest that we increase our level of rudeness.

But it seems to me that we find it very easy to use in these trivial, every-day situations, when the meaning is very shallow, but we find it very difficult to use when deep, heartfelt gratitude is truly called for.

Thanksgiving has always been a time for expressing our gratitude to God for all His blessings throughout the year and throughout our lives. This is good and as it should be. It’s one of the reasons that Thanksgiving is possibly my favorite holiday.

Well, that and home-made stuffing and gravy.

However, I’ve been wondering if maybe we shouldn’t also include a secondary emphasis. What if we also made Thanksgiving a time for expressing sincere gratitude to other people who have blessed our lives in significant ways? Why is that often so difficult? Why do we reserve that kind of thing for retirement parties, funerals, and other special occasions?

Maybe it’s because the phrase really means something that we don’t usually like to admit. When we say, “Thank you,” we’re really saying, “I’m in your debt.” We’re admitting that someone has done something for us that we cannot repay. We’re admitting that we’re needy, and completely dependent on someone else for our well-being. It’s a very humbling thing to say.

But, it’s the truth. Isn’t it? We need one another. We’re in debt to one another. There are people without whom I would not be me, and you would not be you.

Now, I recognize that the people we owe the most to are often the ones we’re closest to. And because we’re so close we sort of assume that the gratitude is understood. Maybe it is. So what? That might even make the act of expressing it even more important.

I don’t mean that we make a big production of it and plaster our love and gratitude all over social media for the world to see. I’m certainly not against doing that, but we need to really consider our motives. Is it to bring attention to the person we appreciate, or so that everyone knows what a wonderful person I am for saying so?

But consider…

How would it make you feel if someone you cared about simply told you how they appreciate you, and how you have blessed them? Wouldn’t that be a powerful encouragement and an emotional uplift?

Maybe we should go first.

Maybe we should give that gift to someone else this Thanksgiving.

Lloyd

 

God, what is your will for my life?

God, what is Your will for my life? Do You even have a specific will for my life? If so, how detailed is it? Do You really care if I use paper or plastic? If I drive a foreign car? Does it matter to You if I decorate my house with antiques or IKEA?

Or maybe You’re only concerned with the really big decisions. Who should I marry? What career path should I choose? How many kids should we have?

I’ve heard men and women who I respect as mature believers talk about their desire to be “in the center of God’s will.”  I guess that implies that there is some latitude…that it’s possible be in God’s will but not quite in the center. Does that mean there is a menu of choices I could make and still be in Your will? Is there one specific choice in every decision that is “the center” of Your will, and all the others are merely acceptable? If so, how can I know what that is?

I recognize that there are some things about God’s will that don’t involve my choices at all. These things are decided and will occur with or without me. The creation of the universe, for example. “Let us make man in our image.” The fact that at some point “every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” That will happen. Jesus will return at whatever time God decides.

But it seems there are other things that God allows. He doesn’t cause them to happen – and maybe He doesn’t even want them to happen – but he does nothing to stop them. This is the part of God’s will that I’m interested in right now. This is the part He leaves up to me. I believe that God created us with free will so that most, if not all, of our choices are up to us. So, if that’s true, I have already decided that I want to live in such a way that Christ is honored. Someday, I want to hear God say, “Well done.”  So, if God does have a plan for my life, I want to know what it is so that I can know that I’m doing exactly what God wants me to do.

I’ve learned that when we ask God a question like this, often He’ll respond with questions of His own. That’s sort of the basic thought behind the way I’m reading through scripture right now in my God Questions series.

So if I ask, “God, what is Your will for my life?” I can imagine that, instead of answering directly, He may ask me a few questions.

Questions like:

  1. What about the things I’ve already told you?

You can know a lot about God’s will for your life right from scripture.

For example:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Peter 2:13-15
13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,[a] 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

1 Thessalonians 4:3
For this is the will of God, your sanctification:[a] that you abstain from sexual immorality;

Ephesians 6:1
1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Philippians 2:14
14Do everything without complaining or arguing…

Hebrews 10:25
25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

These things, and so many more, are God’s will for my life. I can know this without question. When I face tough choices, scripture will often give me the answer I need about God’s will. I’m not saying it’s always easy to do it. I’m simply saying that I don’t have to wonder about what He wants me to do.

So, when I ask God’s will for my life, He may well ask, “Are you doing the things I’ve already told you?” If I intentionally ignore the things God has already revealed about His will, why would He reveal anything else? What would be the point?

God might also ask:

  1. Do you really want to know?

Do I really want to see God’s whole detailed plan?

There was a time in my life when the idea of serving as a full-time member of a church staff was absolutely NOT something I saw myself doing. I had basically told God I wanted to serve Him, but not that way. Yet, that is exactly what I did for 35 years, and I can’t imagine my life any other way. The circumstances proceeded in such a way that it seemed like the natural and right thing to do. However, If God had revealed that plan to me ahead of time, I likely would have run.

God may not lay out His entire plan – I might not be ready for it. It might scare me away. It’s enough that I live in what I know to be His will…today.

And that brings me to the next question God may ask:

  1. Are you committed to doing My will, no matter what it is?

My preferred M.O. would generally be to have God tell me His plans and then I’ll decide if that works for me. But that’s completely backwards. Why would God give anyone a clear direction, if they haven’t already made the commitment to follow Him, wherever He may lead?

Another mistake I tend to make is trying to determine God’s will by taking a “spiritual gifts” inventory. Don’t misunderstand. These can be useful tools in some situations, but if God has something specific in mind for a person, He’ll make sure that person has all the necessary prerequisites.

Consider Moses. God wanted to use him to lead a million Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. But Moses took a hard look at himself and discovered he didn’t have the talents necessary for such a task. He couldn’t even speak in public without stammering all over himself. That didn’t seem to be a problem for God.

Introspection is not a bad thing – I find that I do a lot of that myself – but when it comes to determining God’s will for our lives, inside is not the best place to look.

One last thing: Remember, you can’t steer a parked car.

It’s so tempting to sit around and wait for God to give direction. I don’t want to screw it up by going too far down the wrong path! But the thing is, God can’t steer me if I’m not moving.

God has given intelligence. We have Godly friends who care about us. We have His own Spirit living within us. We need to use those resources to make the best decision we can make.

But here’s the most important piece. It’s a prayer that must be prayed continually and from the depths of your soul.

The prayer is this: “God, my desire is to live out Your will in my life. I want to do what You want me to do. I’ve thought it through every way I know how. I’ve gotten the advice of people who know me and know You, and this is what I think You want me to do. In fact, this is what I’m going to do starting right now. What I’m asking, God, is that if I’m wrong, please stop me.

I can tell you from experience that He will answer that prayer. It’s not fun when He does that. But in the stopping I’ve found new directions.

He will steer. But I have to start moving.

Lloyd

 

Remember when we used to _________?

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“Remember when we_______________?”

“Man, that was great.”

“How come we don’t do that anymore?”

Have you ever been part of a conversation like that? I was a worship minister for 30 years. I’ve had that same conversation approximately a billion times. The blank has been filled in by different things at different times over the years but it was the same conversation. Here are a few of the things that have been inserted in the blank:

Had a Sunday night church service.
Did a Living Christmas Tree (Remember those?)
Had a handbell choir.
Used an organ.
Wore choir robes.
Wore ties when we served. (BTW-Research has proven that the first century Christians never wore ties.)
Did Broadway-style Christmas productions.
Sang the old songs.
etc.

The blank varied but the insinuation was always the same.

The implication was that what we do now is inferior. We think that the church has lost its former glory. We remember the way things used to be, the important place some of those things had in our lives and in the life of the church, and we have trouble seeing the wonderful things that are being done right now, and the way God is moving in our people and activities right now.

Maybe we need to open our eyes, and hearts, to the possibility that God has something in mind that we can’t imagine.

The Israelites were in captivity for 70 years in Babylon. When they were finally released and allowed to return to their homeland they undertook the huge task of rebuilding the temple. There were some older folks who were alive before the earlier temple was destroyed and they remember what it was like.

Ezra 3:10-13
When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord:

“He is good;
his love toward Israel endures forever.”

And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.

There have been times in my ministry when it seemed like the same thing was happening. There were people who would be moved in powerful ways by the things that God was doing through our church while others could see nothing but things that upset them. The shouts of joy and the sound of weeping were occurring simultaneously. The celebrants couldn’t (or wouldn’t) understand the complainers and the complainers couldn’t (or wouldn’t) see what the celebration was all about.

Maybe we need to open our eyes, and hearts, to the possibility that God has something in mind that we can’t imagine.

God had something BIG in mind for the new temple. Listen to this:

Haggai 2:3,6-9
‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing?

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Maybe we need to open our eyes, and hearts, to the possibility that God has something in mind that we can’t imagine.

Lloyd

 

25 Things

Several years ago there was a thing circulating around Facebook called “25 Things.” The idea was that you would write down 25 random things about yourself so that others would be able to know a bit more about you. I suppose there was a degree of narcissism involved as well, which made it doubly fun.

Anyway, I ran across my list today and thought it might make for a fun blog post. Fun for me, anyway.

So, here (with a little updating) are 25 Things about myself which you may find interesting or amusing…or maybe just narcissistic.


  1. I fell in love with my wife when I was 5 years old and I don’t think that ever stopped. Though we sort of went different ways for a while now that I look back on it I think it was what God had in mind all along. I do know that – knowing all that I know now – marrying Kathie was, other than maybe deciding to follow Jesus, the best decision I ever made. I can’t imagine life without her.
  1. I never thought I would be, nor did I have any desire to be a minister. However, I have absolutely no doubt that, in being on staff in the three churches I served over the past 35 years, I was exactly where God wanted me to be, doing exactly what He wanted me to do. It’s a long story but I have come to the conclusion that God has plans for us that, if we knew about them ahead of time, we would reject them out of hand. It’s amazing how He works in our lives to bring us around – we just have to take the next step.
  1. I can waste an incredible amount of time without even trying. However, when I do get started on a project it tends to consume me until it’s finished.
  1. I have a tendency to make jokes at inappropriate times.
  1. I have been surrounded by women my entire life. I’m excited to say that I now have 2 grandsons
    The boys – Asher & Oliver

    but I grew up with 2 sisters, I have 2 daughters, even our pets have always been female. The main male influence in my life, other than my Papaw (who was significant) was my Dad.

    Bob Hamilton – Christmas 2014

    I don’t think I can overestimate my respect for him. And now, as I look back on it, I think one of the most important things I learned from him was how to treat women (not that I understand them any better).

  1. I am not a very social person. I MUCH prefer spending time with a few real friends or my family than with a large gathering of acquaintances and strangers.
  1. I have friends who mean more to me than I ever thought possible.
  1. Music – I don’t think that there is a “genre” of music that I can’t appreciate on some level but there is something about the sound of a 16 piece jazz band that transcends the rest. When I say I love “big band” music many think only of the nostalgic sound of the 40’s – for me the attraction is not nostalgia – it’s the intricacy of design required to bring 16 musicians together for a common end combined with the freedom of improvisation for the individuals in the group that makes it powerful to me. Recordings are good but you have to experience it live.
  1. I might be a little competitive.
  1. There was a time when it was difficult for me to actually worship when I was leading worship because of all the details I had to think about. Over time, however, I began to find it difficult to worship when I was NOT leading worship. I’d be too busy analyzing and critiquing. In retirement I find I’m still having trouble with this.
  1. I never made great grades in school (better in college than HS but still…)
  1. Except music.
  1. I am indescribably proud of the adults that my kids have become (are becoming?). I can’t say I was thrilled with all their choices, (I’m not always thrilled with my own) or that there weren’t times that they frustrated me with their immaturity, (I’m often frustrated with my own immaturity) BUT I am completely impressed with who they are and where they are going.
    L-R: Liz, me, Kate

    They are easily the most interesting and fascinating people I know and they both have a depth of character that impresses the socks off me. They also crack me up.

  1. L-R: Asher, Iris, Oliver

    Being a grandparent is waaay more fun than I ever imagined! Sometimes they wear me out…but still.

 

 

  1. I truly detest the thought of getting old.
    I joke about it, but I hate it.
  1. I’ve never really struggled with being overweight or with my overall health but I do struggle with keeping myself fit – ok maybe I don’t struggle enough.
  1. Ice cream is the best! (why did I think of that next?)
  1. I really enjoy driving. In fact I’m sort of feeling the urge for a road trip right now.
  1. I appreciate the grace of God more every day. There was a time when I was a bit of a legalist but I find that the older I get the more I realize how much I need grace, consequently I’m more willing to extend grace than when I was young.
  1. However, I could never make it as a counselor – I’m pretty impatient.
  1. I’m on a lifelong quest for the world’s best cheeseburger. So far, the best one I’ve ever had was here in 2007 with our good friends, Bruce and Kathy Maxwell.

    DSCN2273
    The Haunted Hamburger, Jerome Arizona – 2007
  1. Worship – it’s not about “style”.
  1. I’ve always had a strong sense of my roots.
    Five generations. (Hint: I’m the kid.)

    I was raised with family history and it affects who I am today – it makes me deeply happy that my kids seem to feel the same way.

  1. I have never even considered trying to smoke. It’s not that I’m so goody-goody it simply has always disgusted me.
  1. I love finishing things.

On Family and Church

Hamiltons – Christmas 2013 Photo by Katy C Photography

Let me tell you about my family.

My name is Lloyd. At the time of this writing I am 62 years old, the oldest child of parents Bob & Faye. My dad is 83 and my mom is 80. They were both very young when they married in 1952 and I was born the following year while Dad was in the Air Force. Four years later my sister Rhonda was born and eight years after that (Surprise!) my sister Ginger was born.

In 1974, at the tender age of 21, I married Kathie, my high school sweetheart. We had been married for 7 years when Liz was born. Two years later Kate was born and our little family of four was complete. Well, that’s what we thought until our grandkids were born!

Kate married Timm in 2006 and our family began growing some more. Iris was born the following year and is now 8 years old (I can’t believe it!), Asher came along 2 years later and little Oliver was born just this summer on the Fourth of July, 2015.

Also, Liz began dating Trent a few years ago and he has become very much a part of our family.

If you’re keeping track, that’s a total of 13 people ranging in age from 83 years to 4 months.

But wait…there’s more.

My sister Rhonda married in 1981. She’s divorced now, but while they were married they had 3 children: Chris, Becky and Mike. Chris is married and he and his wife, Mary have 2 beautiful daughters: Elliot and Harper. Becky married a handsome young man named Josh about two years ago. No kids…yet. And we recently took a road trip to Baltimore for Mike and Kristin’s wedding.

My baby sister Ginger eloped with her boyfriend Bob in 1993. Their daughter Sara is now a college student.

Twenty-three people.

Single people. Divorced people. Newlyweds. Oldlyweds (63 years!). Boomers. Gen-Xers. Millennials. Republicans. Democrats. Jazzers. Rockers. Headbangers. Country music lovers! Video gamers. Musicians. Writers. Artists. Teachers. Public servants. Medical professionals. Accountants. Techies. Care-givers. People in need of care-giving.

When you think about it, we have more differences than we do similarities. What do we have in common? Nothing.

Well, there is one thing:

DNA.

Also, we are each somewhere along a path from utter dependence on others in the family, to being responsible for others in the family, and back again to dependence. As we travel along this path, I think we can look at our role in terms of need, contribution and responsibility.

Early in our lives our need is great. We are responsible for nothing and our contribution is measured in terms of the joy we bring to our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents as they see to our needs and watch us grow and develop.

As the years pass into our teens, if things develop normally, our need lessens and our contribution increases. We begin to learn what it means to have responsibility for things and ourselves. Certainly, we still have needs, and others are ultimately responsible for us, but we’re learning.

When we move into adulthood we find that we now shoulder real responsibility. We are not dependent on others to sustain us. In fact, we are the ones responsible for the well-being of others who are younger (or older) and have greater need. Our contribution during this time is great, even to the point of sacrifice at times for the need of others.

Then, of course, as we grow into old age we find our personal need increasing. Our level of responsibility begins to subside and our contribution is mainly in the area of mentoring and the sharing of wisdom gained over the years. The rest of the family begins to see us as their foundation, and if our life has been lived well, they love us and appreciate us for being a positive example and influence in their lives. They may be filled with gratitude that we have built this family into something they can be proud of. We will find, however, that while our family respects us, cares for us, and is there to help when needed, their lives no longer revolve around us.

I believe that’s as it should be.


White Oak Christian Church – Colerain Campus, December 2, 2012

Now, let me tell you about my church family.

Single people. Divorced people. Newlyweds. Oldlyweds. Boomers. Gen-Xers. Millennials. Republicans. Democrats. Jazzers. Rockers. Headbangers. Country music lovers! Video gamers. Musicians. Writers. Artists. Teachers. Public servants. Medical professionals. Accountants. Techies. Care-givers. People in need of care-giving.

When you think about it, we have more differences than we do similarities. What do we have in common? Nothing.

Well, there is one thing:

Jesus.

Also, we are each somewhere along a path from utter dependence to responsibility and back again to dependence.

Early in our spiritual lives our need is great. We are responsible for nothing and our contribution is measured in terms of the joy we bring to the rest of the church as they see to our needs and watch our lives change as we grow and develop.

As the years pass into our spiritual adolescence, if things develop normally, our need lessens and our contribution increases. We begin to learn what it means to have responsibility for things and ourselves. Certainly, we still have needs, and others are ultimately responsible for us, but we’re learning.

When we move into spiritual maturity we find that we now shoulder real responsibility. We are not dependent on others to sustain us. In fact, we are the ones responsible for the well-being of others who are younger (or older) and have greater need. Our contribution during this time is great, even to the point of sacrifice at times for the need of others.

Then, of course, as we grow into old age we find our level of responsibility begins to subside and our contribution is mainly in the area of mentoring and the sharing of wisdom gained over the years. The rest of the church begins to see us as their foundation, and if our life has been lived well, they love us and appreciate us for being a positive example and influence in their lives. They may be filled with gratitude that we have built this church into something they can be proud of. We will find, however, that while our church family respects us,  cares for us, and is there to help when we have need, their lives no longer revolve around us.

I believe that’s as it should be.

Don’t you?

Lloyd

 

Can you imagine?

Book of imagination by t1na
What if you had all the time in the world?

What if money were no object?

What if you were fearless?

What if you had talent?

What if you never felt inadequate?

What if you had the ability to become friends with anyone?

What if you had the dreams of a child
combined with the wisdom of the ages?

What if nothing stood in your way?

Use your imagination…

What can you imagine accomplishing for God if you had all the resources of the universe at your disposal?

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
-Ephesians 3:20-21

Lloyd

Image by Martina Stipan at Deviant Art

Take the Next Step

Jesus loved to tell stories. He said and did things that were controversial. Things He said caused debate among the people and the religious leaders of the time and, in fact, are still being discussed today. And not just in church.

If you read the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John), the books that tell the story of His life, you’ll find that Jesus very rarely gave a straight-up answer to a question. His teachings were never bullet point lectures.

“6 Steps to a Better You.”

“5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Life.”

“7 Amazing Life Hacks – Your jaw will drop at number 5!”

No, “click-bait” wasn’t His style. Not exactly.

The religious leaders of the time would often try to stump Jesus with a trick question designed to tie Him up in knots. Whenever they would do that He would pause, look them in the eye, and say something like, “Have I ever told you the one about the son who squandered his inheritance?” And everyone would sort of roll their eyes and try to track with Him.

He would tell this open-ended story with His own question at the end, like a riddle.

I wonder why he did that.

His disciples wondered, too, and one day they asked Him…

Matthew 13:10-13
10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables…

Even their question about His teaching style was answered with a sort of riddle!

When I read these verses I get the feeling that Jesus is saying that there are certain answers discovered only by taking the next step. Sometimes you don’t really understand until you go on the journey. You may want to have all your questions resolved ahead of time but that’s just not going to happen.

Here’s an example: Parenting.

You can read every book and go to every class about being a good parent but until you actually get in the game you don’t know a thing. True? You have your first child and before too long you realize that you’re just making it up as you go along. But you learn. As new parents you can double-team the child. There are 2 of you and one of them so you figure out how to parent in that situation. And about the time you sort of get into a pattern and feel like you’re getting a handle on this parenting thing, the 2nd child comes along and you have to shift to a man-to-man defense. It’s 1 on 1 and it requires some different types of strategies. But you learn it as you go. I’m not sure what happens when that 3rd and 4th child comes along. I suppose you have to shift to some sort of zone defense, but we never got to that point. What I’m saying is that the book learning, advance planning, and parenting classes are all good things, but the truth is that you don’t really learn parenting until you become parents.

DSC_0898There are just some answers in life that aren’t discovered until we take the next step.

I believe this is profoundly true of the Christian life.

You and I may be in completely different places on our journey with Jesus, but I can pretty much guarantee that, anyplace along the path, the only way we get closer to Him, the only way we grow in our discipleship, is by taking the next step. By obediently putting into practice the things we’ve already learned. These things may not make absolute sense ahead of time, and we may still have questions, but it’s when we take that next step of faith that we get answers…

…answers that we would otherwise never learn.

Lloyd

PS – I recently went on little hike in the woods with my grandson Asher. That’s when the photo was taken.

 

I’m a Reds fan, but…

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/mlb/images/team_logos/social_media/og_1200x630_image/cin_1200x630.jpg
I want to begin by stating it clearly, unequivocally,
and for the record.

I am a Cincinnati Reds fan.

The 2015 baseball season has not changed that fact.

But…

When I finally came to the realization in the final weeks of the season that the Reds had not one shred of an iota of a chance at the post-season (which, in retrospect, I should have realized back in June) I started rooting for the Cubs.

Let there be no misunderstanding. I emphatically did NOT become a Cubs fan, but I did start hoping they would do well. I rooted for the Reds to beat the Pirates in their last series, not so much for the Reds record, which was beyond help, but so that the Cubs could get home field advantage for the playoffs.

It seemed like the thing to do, you know? I have a lot of friends who are die-hard, no-matter-what, forever-and-ever, world-without-end, Cubs fans. So, I hoped the Cubs would finish the season strong for their sake. Yes, I have a lot of friends who are St. Louis Cardinals fans, too…but rooting for the Cardinals was just too unthinkable.

So, like a friend of the homecoming king and queen standing along the gym wall, I watched them dance and wished them well.

What could it hurt?

It hurt bad.

The season is really over for me now. Oh, I’ll watch the rest of the playoffs and the World Series, but I have no emotional attachment to any of the teams.

It’s like I’m standing along the wall of the gym and I don’t even know the homecoming king or queen.

I think I may even be at the wrong school.

Lloyd