People are either a blessing or a lesson.
That is beautiful because it almost rhymes and expresses profound truth. So we should not despise the people who are lessons to us — the frustrating ones. It appears to me that is generally cute to despise others: “I don’t hate people. I just feel better when they’re not around,” one T-shirt says. And thus we families that fall apart. Since we can’t get along with others (we are unwilling to work at building relationships and blame others, not ourselves), we wind up with loneliness.
This is my plea for you to work at relationships, to restore, to forgive, and to give without expecting in return. Demolition is much easier than construction. To tear down feels pleasurable. But the rubble left is no fun. It is better to build, even if it is costly. Build your family, your friendships, your church.
Marie Colantoni Pechet from adventuresinspiritualliving points out a common failing: prayer is our last resort. We try everything else, and when nothing works, then and only then we finally turn to God. It shouldn’t be that way. We ought to seek God first.
Instead of being a last resort, God should a five-star resort. Hahahaha! Why not? Being with God is better than a sumptuous buffet! His rest is better than the king-size bed! The panorama of the Bible is prettier than any Caribbean view. Etc.
But we allow so many distractions to pull
from cloud lounge (where I always find the best photos)
us away. The good-old-do-it-yourself spirit of America is strongly ingrained. And often we simply don’t believe until we have no other option: the doctor gives us six months, the bank forecloses, I go 10 years of virtually stagnant ministry until I finally get it. AHA! I should have started with what I ended (prayer).
Posted in Christianity
Tagged Bible, church, Faith, God, inspiration, intercession, Jesus, life, lifestyle, ministry, pastors, people, prayer
Silence the naysayers. Pic from Pinterest
I wanted to do a creative writing magazine in high school. One classmate told me I wouldn’t be able to do it. She didn’t believe in me. That piece of discouragement inspired me to carry out the project.
Every time I hit roadblocks and her got frustrated with lack of progress, her memory kicked in and gave me the energy to keep working. I had to prove wrong. Thanks for the demotivation!
Criticism hurts. But it can be turned into a help. The fact of the matter is doing good is taxing. It requires stick-to-it-iveness, boring hard work, and self-denial. What keeps you in the uphill battle? It could be someone encouraging you. And — strange as it may sound — it could be someone discouraging you.
Don’t let them put out your fire! Pic from Pinterest
The human psyche is marvelously complex. Downers can pump you up. You can pull-off a fantastic reversal. You can’t stop people from mouthing off. But you can turn their poison into your passion.
I was very happy to see my couple of poems featured in that magazine. So were other kids. I didn’t hear anymore from the girl who didn’t think I would finish it.
Posted in inspiration
Tagged Christianity, church, creative writing, demotivation, goals, God, happiness, Jesus, ministry, motivation, pastors, people, psychology, publishing, self help, success, writing
Last night at church, the pastor issued a plea for a new couple, Jose and Mary, who were evicted and needed a place to stay until they get back on their feet. They are just recently moved here, and she’s pregnant — nine months. Can you believe that?
Why would they get pregnant without lots of dough stashed away in the bank? They no doubt don’t have health insurance, so it’s a typical case of taking advantage of the system. People need to be more responsible and stop looking for handouts.
I am voting for our family to NOT pitch it. We can’t simply help every time there’s a need. The way I see it, every dime that goes to charity is one less for my Christmas presents, and I’m hoping for the biggest haul ever this year!
Why don’t Mary and Jose go to THEIR parents. I’ll bet not even Santa Claus will give them anything. They probably didn’t behave themselves.
But the worst thing is that Mom and Dad talked about letting them stay at our house, at least on the couch. That’s creepy! Can you imagine running into the living room to open my goodies bright and early Christmas morning — and these strangers are there. What if they run off with the gifts during the night and disappear? Let them go to some homeless shelter to give birth there.
**** “Manual,” the fictitious persona of the Wimpy Christian, thanks the Wimpy Kid for his attitude and applies it to the church.
Posted in Christmas
Tagged blog of the wimpy Christian, church, comedy, donation, family, giving, humor, inspiration, love, Mary and Joseph, people, relationships, Santa Claus, wimpy Christian, wimpy kid
At Stonehenge, an end of the world party, yesterday
Even though I used to live in their mecca, the Mayan catastrophe yesterday failed to materialize. Now, would Roland Emmerich* please give everybody back their ticket money? We weren’t warned. We were swindled.
When crews widened the 405 FWY they shut it down for a full weekend in July 2011 and predicted traffic snarls all the way to Paris. Telling everyone to stay home, they said it would be “Carmaggedon.”
I had an outreach to drive to, and the freeways were entirely empty. The next day the newspapers stated that Angelinos, by NOT using their cars for the first time in their lives, had made the “ultimate sacrifice.”
I took exception to that. The “ultimate sacrifice” no one I know would be willing to make: to die for a friend maybe, but to die lovingly, givingly, for an enemy, who would? The Christ of Christmas did.
If you stockpiled food, water, gas and bullets for the much-vaunted Mayan cataclysm, give it to the poor (not the bullets). Because the real end of the world is coming, but it’s not Carmaggedon. It’s Armaggedon. What you’ll need most stockpiled is Jesus in your heart.
* Emmerich directed 2012, a special effects phenom that grossed $770 million. It was based on speculations of a Mayan Long Calendar-predicted apocalypse.
Posted in Christmas, inspiration
Tagged 405 freeway, Armaggedon, Carmaggedon, Christianity, community, culture, end of the world, events, holidays, humor, life, lifestyle, Maya, Mayan, people, sacrifice, spirituality, top stories
I posted a challenge to the existentialists. No one every responded. Maybe they don’t think I exist.
When I posted a challenge to the atheists, they responded with fury. They are a jolly group of friends, nice guys, all of them.
I have discovered that WordPress is a great place to make friends. I am impressed by the sincerity of people. Y’all are so heartfelt.
One of the things I enjoy with friends is sharing coffee. The Native Americans smoked the peace pipe. Some people share a beer. I savor coffee. It’s my way of bonding, a ritual for communicating how much I value the person.
Throughout 2012, I have had some wonderful conversations with you blogger friends. We have shared in struggles and triumphs, joys and depressions. But I’m afraid inviting you to coffee in Santa Monica would be seen as creepy, so have a coffee in wherever you are to friendship!
The man behind the MustardSeedBudget ravenously devouring Christmas cookies.
These cookies my daughter bakes are soooo good. I never eat them; I flee them; they’re dangerous. But she insists that I must try. Reluctantly, I relent. They have more than chocolate chips: marshmallows and crackly red and green sugar crystals. Needless to say, the exquisite ecstasy produced instantaneous addiction. I threatened to NOT stop with the broken cookies. I would need a 12-step program to break off gobbling them up
I bet my friends of the photo blogs could take a much better picture of these delights.
One menacingly look from Rebekah was enough to deter me. When she was younger, she obeyed me. It’s biblical. But now that she is 16 years old, I have to obey her. No one warned me this switcheroo would happen. She’s enough for anyone to go cold turkey. As Rob’s friends know well, you don’t mess with Rebekah.
Becky has been making me feel less Grinch-like. When I was missionary in Guatemala, I was a gringo. But now, I’m a Grinch. Making the transition from belt-tightening missions to spendthrift USA has not been intuitive. She plays Christmas carols incessantly and prevailed on my wife to get a Christmas tree. So the effects have been to put me in the mood. And now, I just wanna wish everybody a Merry Christmas! My Savior was born (probably not on this date), and He could be your Savior too!
I guess I had better read my morning blog about exercise, now that these tantalizing temptations are beckoning. Where’s Rebekah? I need to sneak another one!
Maybe we should report those cookies to DEA. You might be dreaming of a white Christmas, but I’m dreaming about green and red sugar crystals.
Posted in Financial Talk
Tagged Christianity, Faith, family, God, Grinch, humor, Jesus, life, lifestyle, marriage, people, relationship, religion, Savior, spirituality
The newspaper profile said that a certain Guatemalan guerrilla refused promotion because he preferred fighting in the trenches over office generalship. His sentiment resonated with me.
In fact, I wonder why so many Christian leaders are actively seeking promotion to get out of day-to-day, gritty, face-to-face discipleship. Maybe, they want acclaim over the hard-but-rewarding work of forming disciples. Even when I was “general pastor” in the Guatemalan churches and K-12 school, I taught 5th and 6th grade. Why? Because it kept me close to disciples.
Jesus ministered to the masses but discipled the dozen. It appears to me that a lot of Christian leaders just want the hoopla of the masses. It may be more gratifying, but the masses did NOT carry on the work after His ascension. It was the 12.
Now, I’m not a higher-up, and I’m loving it. I teach high schoolers. It is sheer joy to see some escape the headlong rush to Hell. It fills me with unending satisfaction see some decide to serve Jesus. However small my part, I know that I am doing what God wants.