Part of the “Games we Play” series.
Like many people, I’ve been watching the Olympics this week. I have seen some amazing, and not so amazing physical performances, but my favorite part of the Olympics didn’t happen on a court, a field or in a pool. It happened in a waiting room, and it was awesome!
Michael Phelps is one of, if not the, greatest Olympians of all time. He has enough gold medals to fill the cavities of every child in America. Fort Knox asks Phelps for gold loans. Phelps is amazing! Some guy from South Africa named Chad Guy Bertrand le Clos decided to tug on Superman’s cape and called out Michael Phelps. First of all, this guy has way too many names. Pick a first, middle and last, anything beyond that is just pretentious and makes you look bad. Also, le Clos is not real smart. I mean lightspeed unintelligent. He owes IQ points. Continue reading The Death Stare
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…
Here is my latest message at Remnant Church in El Centro, CA, “Pictionary,” the latest in our “Games We Play” series.
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
If, for some inexplicable reason, I go to hell, I imagine it will look a lot like the Atwater McDonald’s Playland I spent a week in last Wednesday. The only thing the Playland was missing was flames. There was plenty of weeping and gnashing of teeth, mostly by me.
At one point my granddaughter, Ellie, looked at the highest tower of hell, I mean the top of the Playland and said, “It’s too high for me to go up there. I’m too small.” Continue reading Ellie, the Playland and Grasshoppers