Today I finished remodeling my kitchen. It started two years ago. It took about 3-4 months to get 99% of the job done. Then I took a break for about... oh... 18 months. (I have a great union.) I needed to level all the doors and secure the dishwasher. Leveling the doors was pretty easy. The hinges are adjustable. It just took some patience. To secure the dishwasher I just needed two screws that aren't as long as the counter top is thick. (I measured three times for that!) Until today some of our doors were crooked and the dishwasher tilted forward every time we opened it.
So why did I wait so long? I don't know. It seems that whenever I'm about 95% done with something I'm done. A 95% is an "A" after all. Those final two steps took about 2 hours. That included the 40 minute phone call I had on my coffee break. (I told you, great union.)
Do you ever do that? No not the 40 minute coffee break. We all do that. I mean the 'I'm almost done but for some reason I'm going to call it done projects'? I have a lot of them. That's my project for this summer - to finish off the projects I started last summer. They include:
* Fixing that one loose paver on the patio I installed (The other 798 are just fine thank you) * Changing the lock on the screen door (all the screws are out except that one. I wonder where I put them? It was about 4 months ago) * After replacing all the tile in my house with wood flooring last year, I have about 4 feet of baseboard to put under the sink cabinet * Painting about 5 inches worth of space in my church office (the other 99% wore me out) * Staining a handrail I installed (hey, it meets code!) * Fixing the drawer on my entertainment center so that after I open it I can actually close it. * There are more, but I'm about 95% there....
I myself am a work in progress. We all are. The Great Carpenter is doing his work in all of us. Fortunately, I know God will complete his work in me..."And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again." Philippians 1:6.
Do you have any projects that are incomplete? Why don't you respond and share what they are? I need to feel better about myself.
Two girls college teams are playing softball against each other; Central Washington and Western Oregon. They are competing for the conference championship. So what do you do when a player for the other team injures herself? That was the dilemma these two teams faced.
Sarah Tucholski of Western Oregon hit her first home run of her career. In her excitement, she missed touching first base so she turned to go back. But her leg didn’t. She tore her acl. She crawled back and hugged that first base. Covering the distance all the way to home didn’t seem a possibility. If a teammate substituted, the hit over the fence would count as a two run single. If her teammates helped her she would have been called out. Great news for the other team.
But the girls of Central Washington were interested in more than just winning. They were focused on playing with integrity. Mallory Holtman from Central asked the umpire if she and another teammate, Liz Wallace, could carry her. The umpire said yes. So three girls rounded the bases together; Sarah, who hit the home run, and two of her opponents, Mallory and Liz, who lifted Sarah in their arms. Together they walked the diamond, stopping at the right time so Sarah could touch her left foot to each base.
Sarah hit her first home run and, because her opponents carried her, she was able to make it all the way around the bases.
Life is more about winning. It’s about playing the game with integrity. It’s about doing what is right even though it may cost you. Central lost the game by 2 runs. Who knows, if they hadn’t carried Sarah, they may have won the game. Call me mad, but losing this way is far better than winning by using the rules as an excuse to keep from doing the right thing. I don’t think the girls from either school would have wanted it any other way.
If you watched the Mets - Rockies game the other day you saw that it was rained out for a while. At one point while the rain was coming down, the grounds crew ran out to cover the field. If you watch close, you’ll see one of the men stumbles. As a result, he himself becomes covered by the tarp. Soon you see a small lump in the tarp working its way toward the light.
Have you ever stumbled while doing something? Perhaps you’ve missed paying a bill. Maybe you said something you regret to someone. Or you blew a project at work or school. When that happens it seems as if you’ve stumbled and before you can get up, more seems to pile up keeping you down. What do you do?
Life isn’t always about running fast. It’s not always about feeling good. Sometimes the weight of the world bears down on us. There’s nothing wrong with crawling. Crawling covers the distance. Crawling takes integrity, it takes courage. Crawling even gets you to the finish line.
Call me mad, but I would rather crawl across the finish line than stop moving all together and not finish the race. It may not seem glamorous, but it covers the distance.
How do you catch a monkey? It’s easier than you might think. Here’s one way I’ve heard about. Take a coconut and cut a hole in it just large enough for a monkey to place his paw into it. Then affix the coconut to a tree or something large and solid where you’d typically find a monkey. Then place something sweet like a piece of fruit in the coconut and wait.
When a monkey approaches and sees the fruit, he’ll allow his greed to get a hold of him. He’ll squeeze his paw into the coconut. But once he grabs hold of the treat inside he won’t be able to withdraw his paw. When this happens the hunter can walk up to the monkey and trap him. All he has to do is let go of the treat and he’ll be free. But in his panic and greed, he’ll hold onto the treat and be “trapped.” It’s not so much the monkey that has a hold of the fruit, it’s the greed that has a hold of the monkey.
So what is in your life that your holding on to that has you trapped? Where are you allowing your greed to have its claws wrapped around you? Is it time to let go of it? Like the saying goes, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Jesus said, “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.” (Luke 17:33)
Sometimes letting go of something is the best way to be set free of it.
I guess it's true. All things can bring glory to God.
Laura Bell believes so. She created a 14-foot by 4-foot re-creation of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper." Did I mention that she only used drier lint?
Bell did about 800 hours worth of laundry to get the lint she needed. In order to get the colors she wanted, she bought towels and washed them separately. (It's always good to keep similar colors together in the wash. Just ask my wife who has a beautiful pair of gray soccer socks to go with her black jersey. In other words, don't wash white socks with a black shirt.) It took her about another 200 hours to put the 14 foot by 4 foot picture together.
What do you think? Does this honor God or is it disrespectful?
We’ve all heard the news… Osama has been found and killed. His body has already been buried at sea.
The purpose of his immediate burial was to respect Islamic customs that a body be put to rest about 24 hours after death. According to abcnews.com, “Traditional washing of the body was followed by wrapping in white sheets. A military officer read religious remarks that were translated by a native Arabic speaker, then bin Laden was eased into the sea.”
Some people are not too pleased to hear that bin Laden was given a burial. I have read blog comments that say, “Stuff his body and put it on display at ground zero,” “Light his body on fire and drop him from a sky rise building,” “Put his head on a stick,” “Hang his corpse from a bridge…” Those are the nicer suggestions
I understand people’s anger. We all wanted this man caught. No one is upset that he was killed.
Is it wrong for us to respect an Islamic tradition and provide a semblance of a proper burial? Should we destroy the body and let people abuse it?
I lost no sleep in hearing that Osama was shot and killed. Ok, I lost a little. I read about it on my phone while lying in bed and jumped up to read about it online. I was surprised to hear the next day that he was already buried. I didn’t know about the rules of Islam.
Call me mad but I think we did the right thing. We can’t treat his body the way he treated the living. We are not the same as this man. Does that mean that the way he is treated after death is better than he deserves? Evil will always take advantage of good. But that doesn’t mean we stop doing good. We, through our actions, set the standard for the world.
What do you think? Did the US do the right thing in the way Osama’s body was handled?
I used to be a great dancer. Every time someone asked me for money I was able to maneuver my way out of it.
I was a tightwad. Don't be nice and tell me I was frugal. I was cheap. I had a lot of good moves. I could win a dance marathon. I look back at some of the decisions I made with my money and I'm a little embarrassed. Since I've been married, my wife has helped me transform into a giver. Now, together my wife and I tithe. That means we give the first 10 percent of the money we earn to the church and various ministries. It wasn't easy at first. But I made the decision to trust God. I wasn't able to tithe before because I wasn't able to trust God. I have found new joy in giving.
I know that sounds kind of mad... I give away my money and I feel good about it. But it's true. OK - maybe I am a little mad. But the more I show God my faith, the more he shows me his faithfulness. Don't get me wrong, I'm not buying God's love. I'm just saying that the more I show God I trust him the more he honors that trust I place in him.
Now on Sunday mornings when the plate comes around I feel good about what we put in. I have to admit my wife writes the check. The first time I sat down to write a check to the church my hand started to shake and I couldn't spell out the amount. I apparently still needed time to transform into a giver. Since then my wife has continued to write the checks and I am OK with it. Besides, I'm busy giving the sermon and doing other things anyway. However, we go over our finances together and it actually feels good to see what we are giving.
A lot of us do some dancing when we're asked to give. We sidestep our financial responsibilities, dip under a request, pirouette around a promise we made, and we do a tango with our own responsibility as human beings to help out our neighbor. We don't like to let go of what we have. But dancing like that is like trying to loose your dance partner in order to control the room. Some dances require a partner. But no dance that is forced is enjoyable.
What joy it could be if we would do a different kind of dance. To find delight in sharing. To give our resources without trying to push someone else away. To share the dance floor and allow God, as a partner, to leads us across the room to the rhythm of a new song.
Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. - 2 Corinthians 9:7
Even though I now feel good giving, I'm not ready to get up and dance in the middle of service. Does giving make you feel as good as this guy?