Today I decided to live my day in quiet contemplation. I thought of my trip to Africa a few years ago and 3 others countries. These trips changed my life forever. In fact they changed the way I listen in the U.S.A. They changed what I see as struggle in comparison to those who complain in the U.S.A.
Today after church I made my way to a local McDonald’s, ordered a coffee and a chicken sandwich and found a quiet corner. I sat with my tablet, paper and pen and wrote a few thoughts on what I will be writing on this week.
A young couple sat next to me and we began a conversation about technology. They left and replaced by a family. We also had an interesting conversation and we laughed together. Their grade school children were having problems imagining what life was like before games and smart phones.
Eventually I packed everything up and wished my new friends a good day and made my way to my car. A young man began to chat with me about the weather. I stopped and we laughed and we chatted. As I drove away I thought of the many people who try to take away my joy in this season of my life. They are the ones who want me to live immersed in their struggles and listen 24/7. They forget that those who lead and listen have feelings too. You see this all began a couple of weeks ago when I was hanging out with friends.
In our conversation these were the words that flowed out of my lips, “I have no life, living here.” As I am reminded of these words tonight, I decided I will not feel guilty for taking a break from listening to others in this city.
This is my season, and I am walking into new relationships with a decision to choose joy. With a focus on my family who I love very much.
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In the last few years because of the public scandals in the christian community life gets pretty rocky for those of us who are trying our best to lead with integrity. The social networks hit the share buttons, the tweet flies by our eyes, the dialogue continues. Behind the scenes churches come up with new ways of accountability for leaders, and tighten down the hatches.
I don’t believe more accountability and more structure is the answer. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying as leaders we are not to be accountable to others. Down through the ages, including in the bible, sin rears its ugly head in the life of leaders and the church and accountability is necessary. Yet lets not batten down the hatches on all believers and christian leaders, because of those who messed up big time and are all over the news. Opinions flow freely on the social networks from those who are Christ followers and those who are not. Church boards across the nation begin to restructure, because they are saying we will not allow this to happen to us!
Lets get real here, without making excuses! Sin began in the garden of Eden, it continued on during the time of the Old Testament and the New Testament! It is not going away just because we place tighter and tighter controls on our Christian leaders and the body of Christ. Man made rules will never work. All they will do is place a leader in a position of leading from fear, instead of a love that flows from Jesus Christ.
Have you ever had a time in your life when you gave up searching for the answer because you felt stuck in a circumstance? Then once you gave up searching the answer arrives and poof, you wish you did not have the answer! Tonight was one of those nights for me.
There was a time that I knew the direction I was to take in a specific area of my life. Yet, somehow I lost 2 of my goals in the shuffle of my everyday life! Tonight I found the two lost goals in the middle of my anger. I was preparing to print a copy of a letter to be mailed tomorrow. It is late and what happens? I cannot find one single piece of printer paper! The industrious person that I am, begins to look through my stacks of writing projects. They are packed away in plastic containers waiting for the move. They are neatly held together with binder clips. I am going through each one hoping to find one piece of blank white paper!
I finally stop looking, realizing that I have everything well-organized and in order. I know myself well enough to realize that there will be no blank sheet of paper in the piles. I begin to place my stack of writing back in the plastic container and I am angry. I am angry at myself, because the answer I was searching for sat a few feet away from me for months. Tonight I realize I spent so much time assisting others to launch their projects, that mine are sitting in containers waiting for me to take them out, and publish them publicly in courses and books.
Yes, I am in a new season and I am launching an online course soon! As this launches I will pull out one stack of writing at a time and begin typing and work on rough drafts one at a time. Then before long the e-book will be available and all nine online courses. Who would have guessed that God would show me the answer, as I searched for one piece of blank white paper?