Have you ever prayed by the fishsticks? I have, well, I should have…
We are all the more beautiful because of our brokenness…
It was a crisp, clear January morning. My breath made little clouds as I unloaded the hay into the trough. The cattle, being cattle, crowded around the trough and started feeding as quickly as they could. They began pushing each other aside trying to get at the “good” hay. I stood back and watched as our cattle dug into the green, leafy goodness before them. Continue reading Stubborn Cattle
I have done some stupid things in my life:
When I was a kid, I believed my dad when he told me that pollywogs turned into babies. I had a Miracle Whip jar full of future babies until my brother knocked them off the table.
I once started a fight with a kid who was bigger and older than me. I was in the front yard of my house, so I figured my mom would step in after I got a couple of shots in. I would be a hero in my neighborhood. Nope. My mom watched this kid rearrange me for a few minutes, then brought me into the house and spanked me for starting a fight. Continue reading Stupid Things
“Some Jew,” I answered. “Man, am I tired of these guys with their strange laws and their goofy ideas. This one says he’s the king of the Jews!” My head tilted back in laughter at this ludicrous thought. How could the Jews have a King? After all, weren’t they our prisoners? Captives in their own land, that could never happen to us Romans. King indeed. Ha! Continue reading The Roman Soldier
My youngest son turned thirty years old in July. Thirty years old! I never thought that I would live to be thirty years old, let alone have two kids in their thirties! My seventeen-year-old self could not begin to comprehend the 57 year old me.
When I was seventeen I had hair. I even made fun of my uncle, Pastor Bill Brewer, because of his lack of hair. I asked him if he “combed his hair with a washcloth.” He chuckled, but I am sure that a little part of him died. It wasn’t his hair, because he didn’t have any, but something died, I am sure. Little did I know then that my uncle and I would share a hair style. Well, technically, a lack of hair style. Continue reading Getting Old
I turned on the television Sunday morning and was greeted by horrific news. In the wee hours of the morning, a gunman had killed 50 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Another 53 were injured, and many of them may not make it.
Pulse is advertised as the hottest gay club in Orlando, and it appears that the motive for the killing may have been homophobia in addition to a devotion to ISIS. The combination led to the senseless loss of lives. Continue reading Orlando…
It was the last day of our mini-vacation. As my wife, Lanette, climbed the stairs into our motor home I heard a clatter and then a groan. My wife’s iPhone 6 Plus had fallen right onto the concrete driveway. I’m not sure if you are aware of the effect of gravity and concrete on a cell phone, but let it suffice to say that it does not have a happy ending. Lanette’s screen was shattered, and the phone was almost unusable. Sure, she could have kept using it, but trying to look through the labyrinth of cracks and miniature glass shards would have certainly driven her crazy. If you have been married any length of time you know that crazy is passed on from wives to husbands.
Since our cell phones have become almost as necessary to our lives as oxygen, the phone had to be fixed. I found Tyler in Brawley and he made an appointment to fix the shattered screen. He met Lanette at a coffee house and while they talked he replaced the destroyed screen, and just like that, Lanette’s phone was good as new. The phone went from unusable to as good as new in just a few minutes. You can’t even tell anything ever happened to the phone. Well, except for a small blemish right where the phone hit the concrete. The small mark in the metal will always be there as a subtle reminder that it may be good as new, but someone had to fix it to make it that way.
The Japanese have a practice called “kintsugi.” Kintsugi is the practice of joining broken pottery with lacquer resin made to look like gold. The finished project is even more beautiful, not despite of the repairs, but because of them. Instead of hiding the scars of brokenness, kintsugi highlights them, showing the beauty of being broken.
In our lives, all of us have moments of brokenness. Very few of us grew up in perfect homes. Our teen years can be a mish-mash of uncertainty and insecurity. As we moved into adulthood we found new opportunities to be hurt. And through it all, we have been chipped, broken and often felt destroyed.
Into our pain and brokenness comes a savior who is willing to mend us and make us better than new. Just like kintsugi, as we are repaired by God’s love, become even more beautiful because of all that we have been through. Every scar, every ding, every chip is another opportunity for us to be made more beautiful through God’s grace.
Jesus knows all about brokenness. Matthew 26:26-28 says, “During the meal, Jesus took and blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to his disciples: Take, eat. This is my body. Taking the cup and thanking God, he gave it to them: Drink this, all of you. This is my blood, God’s new covenant poured out for many people for the forgiveness of sins.” Jesus understood that he had to be broken in order to accomplish God’s work in us.
Without Jesus’s death on the cross we could not have salvation. Once again, brokenness leads to grace and beauty.
So what about you? Are you ready to let God have your pain and hurt so he can make you something beautiful? Sitting right where you are, you can begin the process of letting God begin repairing, beautifying and making your life whole, all you need to do is reach out to him. Your words don’t have to be fancy, they don’t even have to be the “right” words. Just tell him you are ready. Ready to give him your hurt, your pain, and everything you are. Like Japanese pottery, you will be even more beautiful once you are repaired.
Glad for repaired hearts… Jerry
The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and it is a beautiful day for a church potluck. I see Mrs. Smith has brought her world-famous, make Colonel Sanders weep, fried chicken.
Somebody else has brought peach cobbler. Oh, I will definitely have some of that after the chicken. On second thought, I might as well eat dessert first, you never know, a meteor could fall and wipe out civilization before I get to it. I don’t want to be stuck scanning the sky for falling space rocks while I eat my fried chicken. Yep, peach cobbler is definitely first.
As I walk down the table full of bountiful delights, a couple of things stick out. Some do-gooder brought a kale salad. Who brings kale salad to a church potluck? I guarantee you that they are going home with almost the same amount of kale salad as they came with. Broccoli! Not broccoli casserole with cheese and ham, not even broccoli in cheese sauce. It’s not even the raw broccoli that you can dip in ranch dressing to give it taste. It’s just, broccoli, steamed and green and lifeless there in a bowl. Blecch. Continue reading The Bible And Church Potlucks
I can’t believe my wife is getting dressed for church. Church! It’s snowing outside, the fire is going and it is nice and warm in here. What is she thinking?
Knowing I am better off not to even try, I say “Babe, I know you like going to church, and hey, I’m not usually against it, but tonight? It’s Christmas Eve, and it is freezing out there. Can’t you skip church tonight?” Continue reading The Christmas Birds