It Was A Wake-Up Call!

“Stop! In the Name of Love”

What Is That?

It’s a lyric, and title, from a song the Supremes released on February 8, 1965. It quickly reached the top, going #1 on the Billboard Pop Singles, nearly 52 years ago.

Here’s Why It Matters

Yesterday, while driving home, I ran a red light.

The road I use has a crosswalk that isn’t at an intersection, it’s in-between intersections, in the middle of a long block, with a blinking yellow light.

When someone wants to cross, they push the button and the light blinks red, and then it turns red. The cars stop, the people cross, and it goes back to blinking yellow.

I didn’t notice the light had changed from yellow to red. By the time I saw the cars  stopped in the other lanes, it was too late to even brake, with no one in front of me, I drove right through it. As I did, I noticed someone with a bike was getting ready to cross. It was a young girl.

And Then?

I was scared, rattled, and sick to my stomach. I could have severely injured her, or worse. All I could think about was how close I came to destroying her life. I thought about her family. I was shaking when I pulled into my driveway. I’m shaking now. 

Now Jesus, Matthew 5:14-15

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone.”

Those verses have much meaning and application. But included must be the reminder of our responsibility to God, to our families, and to our community. Our world!

Just So You Know, I wasn’t…

  1. Playing with my phone.
  2. Talking on my phone.
  3. Distracted by music in the car.

But I was distracted. I was deep in thought, concerned about something, and was going over it in my head. Frankly, I wasn’t paying attention, was driving on autopilot. And a little girl very nearly paid for it.

kids in crosswalk

To Close

It’s a sharp reminder, a call to stop deluding myself. I tend to act like whatever is going on with me is more important than anything, or anyone. For the well-being of others and for the light of Christ to better shine, I need to listen to the call. And what’s the call?

Stop! In the Name of Love

“Burn Me Twice”

People who’ve been burned are sensitive and guarded. With good reasons.

Examples

  • Having a bad sunburn
  • Touching a hot stove
  • Spilling hot water on yourself
  • Grabbing a hot handle
  • Touching hot coals or embers

It’s Understandable

There’s an adage, “Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me.”

People who’ve been hurt are careful to not let it happen again. We learn to wear oven mitts, use the fireplace tools, and apply the sun screen. Do we also learn to avoid people?

 Emotionally

When a friend hurts us, when a spouse betrays us, it’s brutally hard to forgive. We learn to keep our guard up and to watch our backs. We become good at it.

An Exception

Jesus didn’t act defensively. He wasn’t foolish or unaware, he just didn’t change who he was or what he was about because people didn’t like him. He went on doing what he did, being who he was, and going forward with his life. Yes, they ultimately succeeded in killing him, but it was his choice to let them. 

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Not everyone supported him and he had enemies. But he loved everyone the same.

No one likes being rejected or betrayed. It leaves us vulnerable, feeling foolish, and second guessing our judgment. Yes, its wise to be careful. But getting hurt isn’t the end of our lives.

To Close

If we can, we should allow ourselves to heal, to grow stronger, to find God’s grace to reengage. Not everyone will hurt us, in fact, most people won’t. We need to give them a chance.

We weren’t born to be an island, but made to be in community. Give it a try, don’t give up, and God bless you. 

Shalom

The Blog of Solitude, Part 2

My last post was, “The Blog of Solitude,” Part 1. Click the link if you’d like to read it.

The Blog of Solitude

Part 2: Addicted to Distraction

When I was 14, I worked all summer at a Christian Bible Camp. The counselors were college age or older and everyone else working there was just older. 

It was almost perfect. The exception was that my room was isolated and I was its only occupant. At first, it was cool to bunk alone, but it began to wear me down. I didn’t like being alone, wasn’t used to the solitude. 

Solitude

Sometimes we crave empty spaces. When stressed by people, projects and problems, we escape to someplace devoid of the three P’s. 

Sometimes we crave crowded spaces. When stressed by the absence of companionship, contact, and company, we escape to someplace filled with the three C’s.

Still, solitude tends to make us uncomfortable.

Spiritually

There is an idea that, “A Closer Walk With Thee,” is best found through solitude. That the desire to be closer to God gets blocked by our crowded existence, by people, noise, and distraction.

Some say we live in a culture of distraction, that we crave the sounds, voices, and images of everything else and of everyone else.  

We have TV’s and smart phones and tablets and computers, and keep them all online all of the time. What have we become? Are we addicts and junkies? Are we constantly craving a fix?

monk-on-a-phone
Is It A Global Conspiracy? 

Those who push the drug of distraction are excellent marketeers. They convince us that personal fulfillment can only be realized by an ever invasive technology that populates our homes and preoccupies our minds.

So Where Is God?

Where is God in this culture of noise and preocupation?  When does his voice get heard? 

Does quiet solitude still exist? Do our addictions keep us from knowing ourselves? Are we afraid to see who we are, of what we’ve become? 

Answer this question:

       “Are you hearing the voice of God as much and as often as you need to?”

To Close

At some point, I had to admit that I didn’t like being alone in the room, and that I needed to do something to make it better. 

Are there other things that we need to make better? 

….to be continued. 

Shalom

The Ubiquitous Straw

The ubiquitous drinking straw. As a child I thought they were pretty amazing. Clearly it didn’t take much to amaze me. 

The Straw

I see people using straws in different ways. Some drink from them. Some chew on a straw until it’s all chewed up. Others use them as drum sticks, beating the time to whatever song is playing in their heads. Some people twist them into shapes.

Marvin C. Stone

 Do you know Mr. Stone of Washington D.C.? He patented the drinking straw on January 3, 1888. He came upon the idea while enjoying a cool drink on a hot day. His straws were made of paper.

Joseph B. Friedman

Forty years after Mr. Stone’s patented paper straw, Mr. Friedman, of San Francisco, CA, invented the plastic, flexible, bending straw. It revolutionized the industry.

Yet Vestergaard Frandsen

A straw of a different color. In 2006, Mr. Frandsen, and his Swiss based company, conceived, designed and manufactured the LifeStraw, a microbiological filter tube that can take in filthy water and purify it by the time it reaches the user.

article-2391107-1b456427000005dc-90_634x286

LifeStraw removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 98% of waterborne viruses. People in third world countries can drink from contaminated ponds, rivers, and stagnant pools.

lifestraw1

In Haiti

LifeStraw is saving lives in Haiti. After hurricane Matthew, many are tempted to drink the contaminated flood waters, or from polluted rivers and streams. The LifeStraw makes it possible to stay hydrated and avoid disease. It’s a modern miracle of science. And a donation to Hope For Haiti’s Children will help them get more of these little miracles into Haiti.

http://www.hopeforhaitischildren.org

lifestrawlady-480x300    

Personally

I personally prefer the little plastic stir sticks found in coffee houses and wherever better coffee is served. They aren’t really straws but that doesn’t matter. They are small, compact, and great for chewing. I don’t really chew them but thought it made me sound cool.

To Close

There are many great ideas for helping people in 3rd world countries. But unfortunately, most of them require some kind of infrastructure, a better government, or something to already in place in order work.

The LifeStraw isn’t complicated. It doesn’t require an infrastructure, a better government or anything at all.

lifestraw-personal-water-filter-in-use5.jpg

Now, if you will excuse me, my coffee needs stirring. 

Peace 

A Cite Soleil Update

I’ve received a report about our school in Cite Soleil, Haiti.

Haiti Tropical Weather
Children Crossing a Flooded Cite Soleil Street

Severe Flooding & Wind Damage

This is from Tonya Hunt, Vice President of Hope For Haiti’s Children, reporting from Jeantyrard Elmera, a preacher and leader of the HFHC organization in Port-au-Prince. He was able to get in and get a first responder’s look at Cite Soleil. 

“Jeantryrard and the team drove through (Cite Soleil) yesterday and met with some of the sponsored children at their homes. They identified seventeen families whose homes were damaged to the degree that they are not able to make use of what is left or to live inside. Roofs were damaged or parts flew away. Water rushed through the area and the homes closest to the ocean were affected the most with many of their belongings being destroyed or washed away. This was just their first look at the damage and they will be able to assess more in the coming days.

The greatest needs are:

  • Building materials for homes that can be repaired and made livable.
  • Water filtration kits or purchased water. They may have to resort to drinking contaminated flood water and risk water-borne diseases such as cholera.
  • Food

The HFHC staff in Haiti is already trying to meet these immediate needs. Next week a team will arrive to continue crisis relief efforts. I (Tonya) will be on the team and will send you (Southeast Church) a report with pictures. Please pray that the area stays restful for our presence there and that we are happily received.  

Thank you so much for your continued support and prayers for the people of Haiti as they have endured substantial loss again.”

Tonya Hunt

HAITI-CARIBBEAN-WEATHER-HURRICANE
Cite Soleil, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

The SE Church of Christ in Friendswood, TX sponsors 350 children in the school in Cite Soleil and is a pillar supporter of the school. We will want to do whatever we can to help.

Opportunity

There will be opportunity for relief donations to be made. In the next several days, as more information flows back to us, I will keep you informed of how to donate and how those donations will be applied.

People wade through a flooded street while Hurricane Matthew passes, in Cite-Soleil in Port-au-Prince

To Close: God Help Them

We continue praying, beseeching the Lord Almighty to raise his healing hand to help the people of Haiti. The level of devastation and subsequent hardships from hurricane Matthew will in some ways rival the earthquake they suffered just a few years ago.

I’ll keep you informed.

The 15% Curse

GETTING STARTED

It’s been suggested that healthy people don’t get sick. What is healthy? Eating mostly all natural, high nutritional foods, exercising at least three times a week, practicing spiritual beliefs, not using drugs or alcohol, getting sufficient good sleep, and being intuitive about good health. 

hero_pdt_garden_salad

Okay, I’m not in the healthy group. 

HOWEVER

However, when a healthy people gets sick then there is a question of why? Often, the suggested answer has something to do with the food they eat, they perhaps they are not eating healthy enough.  Here is a list of reasons why healthy people get sick:

  • Too much incorrect information about health.
  • Eating toxic foods that are considered healthy.
  • Getting too much protein.
  • Using depleted or expired ingredients in cooking.
  • Too much sugar.
  • Eating too early in the day.
  • Eating too late at night.
  • Eating too much
  • Not enough nutrition in foods consumed.
  • Too much combining and eating of complex food groups.

This list came from the internet and I neither support or disagree with its validity. I offer it because it’s interesting. 

It suggests that healthy people get sick because of poor eating habits. I would have thought that if healthy people were not eating healthy that it would disqualify them from being in the healthy group?

Eating unhealthy is often defined as too much of this and not enough of that and consuming foods that are nutritionally depleted. 

DO YOU AGREE?

Would you agree with that assessment? Do healthy people get the flu or the common cold or cancer because their bodies are nutritionally unbalanced? Maybe? Yes? No? 

Does it seem that a lot of the information about healthy eating is produced by companies who sell healthy food? Or from individuals with a book for sale?  

Too many of us eat too much junk food, too much processed food, foods with little or no nutritional value, and foods filled with chemical preservatives.

I don’t know that being 100% committed to the healthiest lifestyle practices guarantees freedom from sickness. Agree? Yes? No?

KEEPING IT REAL

I’m writing this because I woke up yesterday with a terrible head cold. I’ve already confessed to my disqualification for being in the healthy group. I think it’s because I’m not intuitive about my health. Or I might be, not really sure what that means.

 I’m not a junk food junky. My wife works really hard to cook healthy meals. We try to avoid ice cream, chips, candy, the heat and eat meals from packages and cans, granulated sugars, syrups, cookies, soda, diet soda, milk, gluten, and so forth. She buys organic foods whenever possible, foods that are cage free and free range, and have to be hunted down in the wild. 

I’m maybe 85% committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.   

IN CLOSING

I don’t like being sick. I feel awful. I have a headache, my nose is running, I’m sneezing and coughing, and other stuff too.  

Curse that 15%. 

fried chicken