Monday, January 25, 2010

Simple Can Be Best

This past Saturday afternoon, I was on my flight home from New Orleans. I boarded the plane and sat down, got out my book with the intention to just sit back, relax and read. As the plane started filling up, a young lady came and sat next to me. She had earphones in and was listening to her Ipod. We both exchanged a pleasant smile and went about our own business. As we were preparing to depart, the flight attendant came up and told the young lady that she had to shut her Ipod completely off. This is when I noticed something...she didn't understand. Her lack of the English language created a major barrier between her and the flight attendant. So the flight attendant told her again, a little more sternly, but she didn't understand. So I leaned over and used one word..."off" and pointed to her Ipod. She smiled and shut off her Ipod. So now a small bond was made and throughout the flight, she asked me questions with her limited English and I tried to explain with words that she could understand.

Simple words -- simple terms say a lot. We want to share the Word of God, but the language, the terms, the way to share creates a barrier. Not everyone is at the same level in the faith walk. Some are still needing the simple words while some are needing the deep discussions. We want to say the right things, but maybe, we need to spend time focusing on how we say it. We can share the love of Christ through simple words. These words can be a witness. These words can ignite a fire in someones heart. There are so many that don't understand, so simplify it...say it in a way that those around can understand. It doesn't have to be fancy. It doesn't have to be mind boggling. It doesn't have to be so spiritually deep. Sometimes the simple is the most meaningful. To that young lady...simple meant she understood. To those longing for the love of God, the simple can show them that love. Sometimes, simple is best.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Did You Notice?

One of my favorite verses in scripture comes from Psalm 46:10. It says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." What a powerful verse. But what strikes me the most is the 8 words. "Be still, and know that I am God;" But today, as I was looking at the plaque in my office with this verse, I noticed something for the first time. My plague reads, "Be still and know that I am God" and the bible reads "Be still, and know that I am God". Notice anything different? It is there. The only difference is the comma. Yes, a comma. I never noticed it before, but that comma adds so much to those 8 words. That comma forces me to pause, to be still. That comma separates the two actions. According to Harper's writing center, the purpose of a comma is to indicate to a reader when a sentence calls for a brief pause. This verse has one.

I'm not sure how many times I've read this verse and never stopped to think about it in this fashion. As I read, "Be still", I need to be still. I need to pause and let all that God is, sink into me. I need to listen to His voice, see His creation, feel His presence and power, then...then I will know that He "is God". I will never look at this verse again the same way. A comma. A simple comma serves as reminder to pause and see the wonders of our God. "Be still, and know that I am God;" (Psalm 46:10)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bad to Blessing

I heard the most amazing thing this past week. It wasn't something so profound that every person in the world needs to hear, but it made an impact on me at that moment. While making one of my treks to church, I was listening to the radio. I wasn't impressed with 97.1 so I was scanning the radio dial. On one stop, I heard this statement, "I have to thank God for everything. Even the bad stuff turns out to be a blessing." Then the radio moved on.
Bad stuff a blessing? Sure it is. I have found that when "bad" things are happening in my life, there are other things that helps refocus my faith. I know that there have been times when I have had the "woe is me" attitude, but then someone or something reminds me that this is a way for me to see the amazing power of our Lord and Savior. I have seen this happen many times in my life. Bad things turn out to be blessings. I grow closer to God through others or through His Word and Sacrament. I change the focus from me to Him...from bad to blessing.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Blessing

Tuesday before Christmas was an amazing day for me. I was at church preparing for Christmas Eve rehearsal, when there was this loud knock at the front door. As I looked out of the church, I could see this person standing at the front door, pounding their fists against the glass. As I approached the door, the person waved, pounded some more then motioned at me to open the door. The gentlemen...well, he was in his mid-40's, well dressed and looked very cold. So I approached the door and cracked it very slowly. The gentlemen...was a blessing. He wasn't there to cause trouble, but he had read about our troubles. He talked to me about his job, his income, his heart...then he gave me a check. It was all he could afford to give, but he wanted to give to the church and school to help replace the lost items. It was enough to cover even one item, but it he wanted to give all that he could afford. The gentlemen...he was a blessing. I will never forget that conversation. With tears in my eyes, I thanked him and offered him a quick prayer and he left. On that cold night with snow flurries in the air, Living Word was blessed. I was blessed. God does work in miraculous ways.