Thursday, September 27, 2007

rainbows and patience

I wasn't feeling particularly happy when I set out for the drive to work this morning. Neither was I all that sad or angry. I was just BLAH.

All that changed as I drove down a less crowded than usual highway. I looked up and saw a tiny sliver of a rainbow, peeking through the clouds, its beauty enhanced by the brilliant sunlight. It was like a sigh of relief to my soul as I remembered the famous words:

"Never again will I curse the ground because of human beings, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant betwen me and the earth."

This God, who has the ability to crush the entire earth in his hands, has promised to be patient with all of us perverse humans, at least for a while longer. Now that is worth some celebrating!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

hello, Morning

I love mornings. I love the coolness of the air, the rising of the sun, the birds singing melodies. I love that there is nothing wrong in the day; everything starts afresh. All the worries and troubles from the night before have diminished before the newness of the dawn. It is especially true for me this morning that the sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

Yesterday was not a great day. Without intending to, I hurt a co-worker's feelings. I had a minor (and I repeat - MINOR) fender-bender. (Give praise to Jesus that everyone is okay!) And I broke my favorite sunglasses, the ones that I found for $5 at the flea market after years of searching. So, yeah, I was in tears last night and ready for a fresh start.

It's a new day. Welcome!

Friday, September 21, 2007

pet peeve #1

Ok. I have to stop working for a minute and just share a HUGE pet peeve that I have: wasted time, especially when it is my time wasted by someone else. It is my job to answer the phones at work, but generally they consist of just transferring the caller to the appropriate person. However, in the last few days I have received the following thoroughly frustrating phone call!

Me: Joshua Expeditons, this is Kristen.
Automated Voice (aka Time Waster): There is a minor delay in connecting your call, but your party wishes you to know that this is a very important call. Please hold to be connected.
[hold music]
Me: I'm not calling anybody...!
Time Waster: This is a very important call. Please hold to be connected to your party.
[more hold music]
Me: Maybe you didn't hear me the first time - I'm not calling anyone!
Time Waster: I'm sorry, I have been unable to connect you to your party....
Me: Good riddance! [click]

What a waste of 2 minutes of my time & energy!
Now, I know this is not a very godly response, but it's my response nonetheless, and I thought it was worth blogging about.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

two groups of people

A couple weeks ago, I was enjoying a lovely morning at Panera and saw a group of men who must have been having a Bible study. It was quite refreshing to see them discussing the Word and applying it to their lives. I was too far away to listen in but felt the common bond between believers in Christ. I love to see groups like this in the mornings because it gives me reason to believe that middle age & the real world (aka out of college) don't have to deflate one's love for Christ.

This morning, I had quite the opposite experience at the same establishment. While I was sitting in what I thought would be a secluded booth, a group of white haired women sat down at the large table nearby. At first I was pleased to have them sitting so close, so that I could, of course, overhear their conversation - which I was sure would be quite enlightening. I couldn't have been more disappointed. They expressed shock over a departing man's braided pony tail, related stories and concerns about friends and relatives, and discussed the cost of gas in the olden days. While it isn't wrong to sit around and chat about whatever, I was just hoping to hear something from them that would encourage me to stand strong in the faith.

I suppose I set myself up for disappointment this morning. And I suppose that I did learn something important by the absence of what I was hoping for. But I don't want to fall into that category in my old age. I want to be like the respected man of God who is still teaching seminary classes at 92 years old.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

valuable age

Society has a certain fascination with old things. Oftentimes, the older an item is, the higher its worth. Take classic automoblies for example - they are decades old and sport none of the most sought after convenient trappings. Yet they are ogled over when seen on the road. And what about antique anything? In my book, "antique" is a synonym of very expensive! Old baseball cards of famous players are worth a fortune. And don't forget the writings of Shakespeare and Dickens that have been taught in classrooms for decades.

What is it that makes a worn, weather-beaten book full of dust and crinkled pages so enchanting? Why is it worth more to a family to have great-grandma's dining room table refinished than to buy a brand new one from Pottery Barn? I submit to you that it is the very fact of being old that makes an item worthy of attention. It has survived the test of time and "lives" to tell the story.

However, the craze over old items ends when you start talking about old people. Here in America, where we're known for prizing time, money, convenience, and business profitabilty, old people rate very low to us on the scale of worthiness. This is an incredible mistake, a significant loss to our society.

I was reminded of this great falacy during our new building dedication at our church. As part of the service, the history of the church was told by video interviews of the founding members and pastors. Hearing their pieces of the history gave me a fresh appreciation for their lives and wisdom present among us. By their prayers and sacrificed time, the church I now enjoy was formed. It was they who taught the children to fear God and obey Him; now those children are the pastors and teachers whose words God is using to change my heart.

I am just beginning to understand what it meant for the Israelites to worship the God of their forefathers - of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; what it meant to hear the old, old stories of crossing the Red Sea, or conquering Jericho; why the apostles quoted the teaching of the prophets. These were the men and women who had gone before them, whom God had used, despite their failings, to accomplish His purpose. These, like the elderly in our congregaton today, were the people who had experienced the joys and frustrations of life, and through it all clung to God as their only hope.

And that perseverance seen in a life well lived is worth noticing and worth following. For it is not just that a person has lived to be eighty years old, but that they have walked with God for so many of those years. It is the righteousness that God has wrought in their hearts and lives that is worth noticing.

And that is what I should value.

Friday, September 14, 2007

a strange paradox

The non-profit student travel company that I work for recently moved 27 miles from a north Dallas office to a growing and affluent community in McKinney. There is nothing more paradoxical in my life than entering a property surrounded with a low stone wall similar to what you would find in the English countryside and walking into the double wide trailer that is our new office. This is a picture of the other buildings near our lovely "mobile mini."
Now don't get me wrong...I think it is quite appropriate that our company work out of a trailer in the midst of such a gorgeous complex. For this group of people gathered by God to inspire students to do His work, everyday is a reminder of the humility that is required in such a ministry. Just as our Savior did not come to be served, but to serve, so are we to be servants to an arrogant, but dying world.

an evening with friends

This morning my cup is overflowing (evident by my watery eyes). The sky is more vibrant, the sun brighter, the air crisper. The reason is that last night I had the wonderful blessing of seeing a couple of old friends. These are not just any friends - they are to me like Paul must have been to Timothy. Their faith is real, their love sincere, and although they haven't said it in so many words, their lives say "follow us as we follow Christ." It was these friends that the Lord used to make an incredible impact in my heart during my high school years. And even though the time we had last night was short, it was more precious to me than any number of things that money can buy. Thanks to you, Greg & Kelly, for an evening of refreshing conversation!