Saturday, December 11, 2010

Guilt or Conviction?

I never planned on moving “home” after college, but somehow God has me in the same place I grew up. The extra time here has allowed me to further understand the culture in which I was raised. And one unavoidable piece of this culture is the use of “guilt”. I could write volumes and volumes about the sources, uses and responses to guilt…I’ll spare us all.

But recently I’ve been curious about the difference between guilt and the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

As a matter of chat…

Are they the same? Are we calling it guilt but it’s really God prompting us? Are we doing things out of guilt, but calling it God? Are they completely different? Is it a sometimes one way and sometimes another? What/Who is motivating our actions?

People Watching (Part 2)

It took me a LONG time to realize that there are no perfect people in the world. I guess I never really thought about it, but when the reality of it sank in for me, I was a bit depressed. Who would I pattern my life after?! I mean “Jesus” is the obvious answer, but who would I people-watch to learn how to follow Him?

I’ve found that I watch different people for different things. When it comes to wanting to learn how to be a good leader there is a particular short-list of people I watch. When it comes to being a good husband, there’s another handful. When it comes to being a good co-worker and socially in-check, another. A good friend. A good neighbor. A good listener. The list goes on.

The point is that I watch people to learn from them. I recognize their imperfections but also their value and strengths. It’s part of what I call “proactive teachability” – not just being willing to learn and grow, but actively seeking ways to do so.

As a matter of chat…

Do I watch the right people? How do I know? Are there people I’m looking over that I could be learning a lot from? Who is watching me? What are they learning? Would I be happy if the copied my life?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Write a Note...Emails Don't Count!

Yesterday, I was involved in a conversation with some 11th-12th grade students. They were asked to reflect on what church was like when they were younger, and one young man said that he remembered a particular volunteer dressing up as a cow. He then muddled under his breath, "I should send her a note". One of the teachers of the class JUMPED on it and said, "YES, YOU SHOULD!" The cow-costumed volunteer doesn't even attend our church anymore, but the young man recognizes the importance of saying "thanks" to someone who has impacted his matter what the significance...and no matter how long ago it was!

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak in chapel for the elementary school that is part of our church ministry. I just opened a Thank-You note from one of the classes - signed by each one of the children in that class.

As a matter of chat...

There is nothing more refreshing and encouraging than a word of encouragement or thanks! I attempt to write a stack of thank-you and encouragement notes every week. There are so many people that help me along life's journey, even in simple ways. I need to constantly open my eyes to the support of others, and to THANK them for it!

Who has blessed you this week?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

People Watching (Part 1)

I LOVE to people watch. I’m not sure if it is because I’m nosey, or if I’m just interested in God’s most creative creation, but I love it. When I was younger, my sisters and I used to sit on boardwalk benches at the beach and watch all the interesting people go by. We would often make up scenarios and have pretend conversations as if we were the people we were watching. We spent hours laughing.

Airports, I find, are one of the most intriguing places to do this. I’m always curious where people are heading, and why. There are so many stories wrapped up in one place. I see military men heading away from their families for long periods of time, and others who are returning from being away from just as long. I see people headed home for college breaks, off to a romantic honeymoon or on a business trip.

I always wonder if all these people reading books read so much in “the real world”, or just in airports. I think a lot of people try to appear professional, interesting and tech savvy in airports. As if any one of the strangers watching them will ever remember them!

The slightly more creeper-ish activity I enjoy is eves-dropping. But then again, I assume if people are talking loud enough that everyone in the boarding area can hear them, they probably want everyone to know what they’re talking about. Which…

As a matter of chat…

What would I spend $11,000 on? Would a golfing vacation in Ireland be good? If I had to spend it on a vacation, where would I go? What would I do? If I could spend it on anything I wanted to, would it be a vacation? An object? An experience? Or would I give it away? $11,000 feeds a lot of hungry people.

Friday, October 29, 2010

You Have a Banana in Your Ear

I once saw a story acted out with puppets:

Puppet 1: “Excuse me, did you know you have a banana in your ear?”
Puppet 2: “What?”
Puppet 1: (A bit louder) “You have a banana in your ear!”
Puppet 2: “What?”
Puppet 1: (Much louder) “YOU HAVE A BANANA IN YOUR EAR!”
Puppet 2: “What? I can’t hear you…I have a banana in my ear!”

It reminded me of another incident recently.

One of my team-members, who constantly has me in stitches, (the good kind), confronted the rest of our team one morning via email.
She was “mad” that not a single one of us had told her about the seed from her breakfast bagel that was lodged in her teeth. We were being accused of sitting through a 60-minute team meeting with her, and NOT mentioning the GINORMOUS object that was protruding from her smile.

We all laughed, swearing (the good kind) that we hadn’t noticed it!

As a matter of chat…

Is there a banana in my ear? Is there something in my teeth? Do I want to know? Are there things in my life that are hindering me? Am I aware of them, but acting as if they’re no big deal? Are there people in my life who are willing to point these things out to me? Am I willing to listen?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SOMEONE Take My Order Please

I was recently told of a dear, older woman who went to a local convenience store for some lunch. This particular store, as most around these parts, was equipped with touch-screen monitors for ordering food. Unfortunately, she was looking for a traditional “deli” experience.

She waited patiently by the counter, not even noticing the screens, for someone to “take her order”. After the workers behind the counter rudely ignored her for several minutes, she eventually got their attention and asked what the deal was!

They explained that she needed to place her order on the screens, but gave her no further assistance.

She eventually figured out how to order her ham sandwich, but I don’t think she’ll be returning to that place!

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly technology is replacing people.

As a matter of chat…

Are there some roles that humans play that will never be replaced by technology? What are they? Is there a demand for me? Or am I replaceable? Do I avoid interaction with people in a quest for convenience? Am I missing opportunities?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How Far is TOO Far?

We were traveling home from a youth conference this summer, with roughly 70 students and adult volunteers. Our first stop was at a McDonald's off of I-70 in Ohio. As anticipated, there were long lines for both the male and female restrooms, but the men's line was moving much more quickly (insert gasp).

Turns out, there were three toilets in the women's restroom, but only two were, uh, err, hmmm...functioning properly. The third was clogged by what I'm told was "just toilet paper".

Knowing that the jammed commode was going to cause our stop to be longer than desired, one of our faithful volunteers went WAY beyond the call of duty, plunged her hand down into the water, pulled the blockage out, and left out a "hooray" as the toilet suddenly flushed properly! (My stomach STILL turns just thinking about it)!

As a matter of chat...

How far am I willing to go in the name of serving others? Am I willing to be inconvenienced? Am I willing to get dirty? How much am I willing to sacrifice?

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's Personal

I've been talking about this whole blog thing for a long time. I guess it's here. I suppose most people have a grand "purpose" for their blog. I don't. I'm just posting thoughts: starting a conversation,"as a matter of chat". Welcome!