What kind of a mist are you?

The other day Pete Wilson, pastor at Cross Point Church in Nashville TN, blogged over on his site about a mist worth celebrating.  Here is an excerpt from his post.

This morning I was reading in James 4 and was reminded of this important truth.

James 4:14 “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

It’s true. We are but a “mist”. In other words, life is short. We’re here and then we’re gone. I could see how, at first glance, this verse might be a bit depressing. But for me it’s motivating.

James 4:14

My dad and I at Old Westbury Gardens

I couldn’t agree with Pete more.  I think about some of the people in my life who have been incredibly life changing to me.  I wrote about my dad here, and I spoke about him here.  My dad had an enormous impact on my life.  I am who I am today because of the way that he loved Jesus and the way that he loved me.  I think about some of the people in my life who have been in and out of it only for a few short years.  Friends like Chris, & Bob who have mentored me and helped shape my life.  There are so many others.

It is easy to think about all of the people who have had an eternal impact on your life.  What may be a bit more difficult to think about is what kind of a mist are you becoming?  Or what I mean is, who are you becoming, and how are you impacting the lives of others?  Do you have someone in your life who you are building into, encouraging, and loving on?  If not, you should find someone.  Do it fast, because as James says, our lives are like a mist, here and then gone.

Let’s make the most of the time that we have!

~Peter

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Scraped Knees= Shepherding Opportunities

Bleeding KneeMy kids have fallen down- many times.  In fact it happened recently.  Noah fell and scraped up his elbow pretty badly.  When we were trying to bandage it up he said, “IT BURNS LIKE LAVA!”  Ah to have the mind of a six year old again…

My kids have made mistakes.  They have written on walls, gotten pen on the couch, spilled milk, disobeyed, talked back, and been obstinate.  They have found that there is a whole lot of life that they want to explore and boundaries that they want to push.

These are the times as parents that are incredibly hard, right?  When your kid is in pain, pain so bad that it can only be likened to “burning like fire”, you want to take that away for them.  You wish that you could bear the pain on their behalf so that they didn’t have to feel it.  When I watch one of my kids fall, my whole body cringes, not because I am hurting, but because I know that they will be.

It is hard as a parent to watch and experience your children disobey, make poor decisions, and mistakes.  If you don’t believe me ask any parent of a teenager, they will tell you it is hard!

These are the moments when parenting is tough.

It is in these moments that parents have to step in and show their children that their is a better way.  There is a safer way to get from one side of the pool to the other than by running.  There is a reason why we don’t color with markers on the couch.  There is a reason why we eat over our plates.  All of this is for a reason.

When our children disobey, as parents we have to have the difficult discussion about why obedience is important.  We have to discuss why attitude is everything.  We have to talk about forgiveness.  We must teach our kids how to say sorry.  All of these things are important to teach lovingly and graciously to our children.

The Prophet Ezekiel

The Prophet Ezekiel by Michaelangelo

In the book of Ezekiel, God speaks through the prophet Ezekiel and tells his people that they haven’t been shepherding, or taking care of His people.  God reveals the condition of the shepherds heart as well as the condition of the flock.  Neither one is doing very well.

You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the disease you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them.  They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered.

~Ezekiel 34:3-5

God speaks through Ezekiel and is trying to get the attention of those who are taking care of God’s flock, or God’s people.  This passage is challenging to me both as a parent and as a pastor.  It makes me ask the question, am I caring for the people that God has entrusted to me?

What about you? I don’t care if you are a pastor, or a parent.  A father, or a friend.  Are you lovingly guiding and caring for those that God has placed in your life?  How do you help your kids, friends, etc… know that you care?

~Peter

Wipers Are For Wimps!

rain

It’s true.  I’m more of a Rain-x guy.  I prefer to have the water bead up and just move off the window.  Wipers make so much noise!  They never seem to be timed right,  and overall there is something wimpy about turning them on.  When Tiffany and I are driving together in the rain I can tell that it is time to turn on the wipers when she gets a little squirmy in her seat.  It is a bit of a game, see how long I can go without turning on the wipers.

I was on the phone with my mom yesterday and she told me that she used her wipers for the first time yesterday since May!  Take that…

Now, she lives in the Dallas, Texas area (Outside of the arms of Irene).  They are experiencing a really dry season right now, which is actually quite dangerous.  Fires are erupting and causing intense damage in their region.

The northeast region of the United States has received more rain in the last few weeks than has been on record for a long time.  The one thing that I notice about all of this rain is that it invades every space exposed to it.  In our region, the rain has been so abundant that our ground is saturated and cannot handle anymore rain.  The excess water is flowing right over the ground, not being able to penetrate it anymore, filling up our streams, creeks and rivers.  We are experiencing high levels of water and flooding like we don’t typically see.

While this can be a terribly devastating physical reality, in another sense it is a beautiful picture of the spiritual reality of a relationship with God.

What if there was no layer of our life that God’s power, conviction and grace didn’t invade?  What if the soil of our lives was saturated with the presence of God?  What if our lives were so saturated that there was no where for the power and presence of God to go in your life BUT to spill over into the lives of those around you?  What would the trickle down effects look like?

I want that.  I want that for myself, and I want that for you too.

Can you imagine having a relationship with God like this?  How do you think this would change our Churches and our cities?

Wipers are for wimps!  Embrace the rain, and ask God for more of it in your life!

~Peter

Crazy Runner

“He’s so silly”, as my 2 year old Grace would say.  “That guy is so silly.”  Yesterday morning I was on my way to guys Bible Study and I decided to stop and pick up some donuts and chocolate milk.  Now let me give you a time stamp for when this was all happening at.  This was at the early hour of 5:55.  IN THE MORNING!  Seriously folks…  what is wrong with me?  Who plans a Bible study that early?  Anyway, as I am pulling out of Dunkin Donuts, I see this guy in spandex and a coat tricked out with reflective tape running towards me.  Now, at this hour in the morning my mind immediately thought, there must be a fire somewhere and he is running to get help.  I mean this guy wouldn’t possibly be running for exercise out in the mind numbing, bone chilling, pet debilitating cold.  (Yes, It was that cold!)  But sure enough, I realized that an outfit like that could only mean one thing.  

HE’S CRAZY.

Sure enough I ended up being right.

Or at least so I thought.  

In my mind…  “What is wrong with this guy?  Why in the world would he be running this early in the morning.  There must be something seriously wrong with this guy!  He’s crazy.”

But then I noticed something else as I loosened my seat belt…  And drove off with a dozen donuts in my car.  (Tubby)

He was tall and skinny.

 

Hmm… His discipline was mildly inspiring.  Mostly still crazy in my mind, but inspiring.  

It wasn’t long after this that I began to think about how this is representative of my spiritual life.  I will so often say I want to be a spiritual giant like my Dad, or I want to know God’s word like the back of my hand.  Yet, I am not always willing to go “crazy” in order to attain that goal.  Shame on me!  “Stay round peter, don’t run… It’s too cold.”  That’s what my mind says.  My flesh says, “your good enough, don’t read today.   You can do it on your own, you don’t need God.”  

BOGUS!  I am not good enough, I need to read more!  I can’t do it on my own.  I need God in everything I do.  It’s high time I don some spandex, and hit the pavement in the bitter cold at 5:55 AM.  Or at least spiritually speaking.  And, maybe I’ll trade the spandex for jeans…  

Let’s go people.  What do you think?  Crazy?  You, me, that guy?  It’s time to become uncomfortable with the way we are, and move towards who God wants us to be!  Time to strive.  Time to long for more.  Time to step up to the plate and man up…

~Peter

Reflect Christ

Have you realized yet that you interact with hundreds and thousands of people a year?  Dependent upon your job, you may meet and greet several thousand people a year.  If you live in a neighborhood, or development.  If you live in what we have commonly called a town, city, or village…  likely you will run into people. And here’s the deal.  People are messy.  People are really dirty.  They have problems.  They have issues!  BOY DO THEY HAVE ISSUES!  Everyone has issues but me.  (Ever find yourself saying that?)  What do we do with all of these dirty, messy, smelly, people filled with issues when we run into them.  You know, the kind that barge into your life with all kinds of problems.  How do you and I handle these moments?  What is it that we will do?

We have started a new teaching series here with both of our groups, Junior High & Senior High.  We’re calling it “Reflect Christ”.  We are looking at how Christ showed compassion on the people He found surrounding Him.  There were thousands of people and hundreds of thousands of interactions that Jesus had with people.  The question of a good disciple should be, when I run into people how should I interact with them?  Better yet, how would my Rabbi, my discipler, my Lord, my teacher interact with this person?  How can I reflect the teacher?  How can I reflect Christ?  We are looking at three different examples of how Christ dealt with three different groups of people.  They are:

  1. The Person I don’t know
  2. The Person I know
  3. The Person I know the best

What do you think compassion really is?  How can we show compassion to those around us?  Whoever they may be…  No matter what category they fit into.  

I just can’t stop thinking about this question: “How are we going to deal with those we find ourselves surrounded with?”

Thoughts?

~Peter