Thinking Out Loud

December 21, 2012

God Made You Special and He Loves You Very Much

Filed under: personal — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:32 am

I can’t remember which famous statesman said what forms today’s headline.  Was it Larry the Cucumber or Bob The Tomato?

I said yesterday that I’d skip the story of changing the headlight on our car. It’s very self-deprecating. And actually, my wife did most of the work. The last time we did a headlight we both ended up cut and bleeding. We really should leave these things to the experts, but as Orison said in the original 22 Words blog, “That costs dollars. I don’t have any dollars.”

There was a video online explaining how to change the headlight on a car of the same make and model. I clicked on it only to discover it was over 32 minutes long. Definitely not encouraging.

The scene of the crime

The scene of the crime

Other challenges that defeat me include changing the fluorescent light bulbs in the ceiling of the place where I work, and adjusting the shelving in the same location.

“God, why did you make me so stupid?”

I’ve actually prayed that.

More than once.

I tell everyone I have “mechanical derisons;” even though it’s not the correct usage for ‘derision.’ Maybe I have grammatical and syntactical derisons as well.  I have a flight-response that makes me want to run from the battle.

Actually, I’m not stupid. I skipped a grade in elementary school; a history I share with my wife. They don’t let anyone do that. I was accepted into the Julliard School of Dentistry. (Okay, not the last one, but I do have a BA from a prestigious university, which, as the Apostle Paul would say, “I count as rubbish.”)

I’m just not good at everything.

Surprise!  Who is?

Here’s Romans 12:6:

NIV: We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us

Weymouth: We have different gifts because God has blessed us in different ways

NLT: In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.

MSG (5b): …let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.

AMP: Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them.

…You know what? Everybody has something that humbles them. Everyone has something about which they are hypersensitive. Everybody experiences what it’s like to covet someone else’s gifts and abilities.

Maybe you can’t cook anything beyond making toast.
Maybe you can’t do your own tax returns.
Maybe you can’t land a basket when shooting hoops to save your life.
Maybe you’re short.
Maybe you’re short on cash all the time.
Maybe you are tone deaf and church services serve as a constant reminder.
Maybe you suck at open heart surgery.

The point is we all have things that remind us that we are meant to live in community.

But I’ll bet you have a gift or talent that God can use to serve someone this weekend.

So do that thing.


January 27, 2011

The Burdens We Carry

Yesterday in the link list, I noted a sermon preached by Ron Edmondson at Grace Community Church in Kenwood and Rossview (Clarksville), Tennessee.  In it, he asked his congregation to complete an index card indicating the particular “weights” and burdens they were carrying. Though the cards were anonymous, they collected over 1,000 of them and compiled them statistically showing the areas in which people are struggling.

Here are the results:

I would have guessed that health concerns was high on the list, but presumably included in the section of general anxieties (the green section at 20%) and combined with doubt, which I would think is a whole different matter altogether, this area of concern did not rate #1.

The third largest area, dealing with disappointments from the past, is something I’m dealing with right now. I think a lot of people fall into this category. The sale they didn’t make. The girl that turned down the date. The offer on the house that didn’t go through. I wrote about this a year ago in a review of a Steve Arterburn book I called Regrets, I Have a Few.

But the number one area, as you can see clearly in the pink section, has to do with four areas that I’ll list in bullet points so that together, we can read them slowly and consider each one:

  • Jealousy
  • Pride
  • Grudges
  • Anger

Let’s re-list those differently

  • Wishing we had the possessions or status that others have
  • Consumed with the image others have of us
  • Wanting to ‘play God’ and thereby ‘level the playing field’ of perceived inequities
  • Thinking that individual inequities mean that God is unfair, and boiling over with resentment toward Him and/or others

If the stats at Ron’s church are right, this will strike a response with many people reading this, as will other areas included in the chart. God wants to bring healing change into our lives to deal with these issues. In the sermon attached to the link with the graphic — if you have problems switch over to his church site and simply listen to the audio — he tells stories of people whose life journey has involved intense pain. It can be so hard to move on. It can be so difficult not to “be defined by” the circumstances of personal life history.

While Ron’s focus is on the burdens we carry, I think it’s fair to also mention that we need to be sensitive to the needs of others around us who are carrying their burdens.

Ron asks his congregation these questions:

  • What do you need to leave behind?
  • What changes do you need to make in your life in order to live fully for Christ?
  • What failures do you need to forget.
  • What disciplines do you need to take on?
  • Whom do you need to forgive?
  • What grudge do you need to release?
  • What burden do you need to give back to God?
  • Do you need to trust God more?
  • Do you need to serve others more?

Ron concludes, “One of the roadblocks to your future may be the past that you refuse to let go of.”

To listen to the entire sermon as a podcast, click here and select 1/2/2011

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