I don’t suppose I need a point

I’m just as much a blog reader as I am a blogger. And while I read others’ blogs, I subconsciously search for “the point”. Blogs about what you fed your cat today aren’t terribly engrossing, though they are fairly telling.

And I hold off on blogging until I have something that I would consider even slightly significant; to myself, if no one else.

Quite frankly there are tons of blogs (if blogs can be weighed) that never escape my skull. Those are the ones written while I travel between point A and point B, even if point A and point B are mental places, not physical ones. These blogs, I suppose are for me alone. Must be, since I can’t remember them when I sit at the keyboard.

But I think the allure of blogging is the knowledge (or hope) that someone, somewhere, might even actually read your blog. And since I know that there are at least a handful of eyes other than mine that read these words, I try desperately not to disappoint them. Like I’m the sole contributor to my own magazine and I don’t want to let my subscribers down.

And that is likely why I search so feverishly for the point, since I am so keenly aware when it is lacking. Like now.

Aye to the power of Wii

This fall, the body of Jesus-followers I am connected with celebrated what God has been up and what He’s doing among us in the future. We’re called the evening “I to the Power of We”. This blog has nothing to do with that.

No, I’m afraid this blog is much less spiritual than that.

Recently, while strolling through my neighborhood “big box” store, I found a palette of Nintendo Wii gaming consoles. Packed in a bundle, each complete with extra controllers and a sweet bonus game, I stopped and stared. After all, I am a male in America.

And not only that, I immediately remembered that the Wii is hard to find anywhere. But here I was, standing in front of a pile of them….staring.

And immediately, my mind began calculating. What if I purchased a Wii, waited until the heat of Christmas shopping season was upon us, and then Ebayed that puppy for a sweet profit?!?

Illegal? Unethical? UnGodly? It’s debatable.

Our sense of what is acceptable is largely linked to our culture. I’ve watched people do this very thing (buying low and selling high) for years. It’s the heartbeat of American capitalism. But what about exploiting someone’s want for our own gain? What say you, holy writ?

Well, I couldn’t find too much in the Bible about buying a Wii and selling it for more than you bought it. But I did find some related tidbits:
Help people who need it.
Don’t exploit others.
Live a life of simplicity.
Deal honestly with every person in every way.
Don’t get attached to stuff.
If somebody needs something you have, give it away.

Not too promising to a guy trying to turn a buck.

But it does leave me with a better sense of power, ironically enough. I once heard it said:
“Power isn’t having the ability to do what you want, its having the freedom to do what you should.”

Dressed for the weather

As I was tucking my kids in bed last night, and my son was asking for another blanket because it was so cold, I recalled a weird story.

The year was 1998 and the month was January. I was living in Nyack, New York which is right on the Hudson River, just north of and across from New York City. I had been invited to Orlando, Florida on a business trip and was scheduled to fly out of Newark International Airport early one bitter-cold January-in-New York morning. I remember that there was a steady falling of snow, sleet, and freezing rain as I was preparing to leave for the airport that morning.

As I got dressed, I thought about where I was headed. Orlando, no matter when you go is pretty much paradise. Having been to that airport before, I envisioned the warm, swaying palm trees, the gorgeous, near-perfect temperatures, and the bright sunshine that would greet me. So despite the below-freezing temperatures I was experiencing in New York that morning, I decided that I’d wear shorts and a t-shirt.

I still remember the looks I got as I stepped out of my car in the long-term parking lot at Newark Airport. I remember how cold I was standing in that monorail platform station awaiting the next train that would carry me to the main terminal. I remember the monorail ride, when I even tried to stand closer than necessary to some unsuspecting elderly woman who had a long winter coat on, the kind that seemed to radiate heat. I was just so cold, so bitterly cold in my shorts and t-shirt. But I kept reminding myself, “But when I land in Orlando, I’ll be the one ready for the weather.”

And sure enough, when we stepped off that plane, while others sweated it out with winter coats awkwardly tucked under their arm or tied around their waists, I was ready for the weather. I had planned ahead and had dressed for the destination. Unfettered, not weighed down, I moved quickly and comfortably into the Florida sunshine.

I believe that as a follower of Jesus, I need to have the same approach to living. So often, I get dressed for where I am now. I clothe myself in “clothes” (that is, mindset, attitude, and priorities) for where I am now as opposed to where I’m headed. I can be susceptible to the cares of this world, and consequently unprepared for the glories of the next. So, as I get ready today and everyday, I’ll dress for where I’m headed instead of where I’m at.

Free To Go.

In this morning’s worship service, I was asked to lead the people in prayer. But before I did, I said…

“We celebrate this morning because of Romans 8:1, which says, ‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’ Every one of us has been on death row. But a guard has come to your cell, opened up the door, and said, ‘Someone has died in your place. You’re free to go.’ Why would we choose to stay in that cell any longer?!? Instead, we have the privilege of going to other cells, telling other death row inmates that someone has died for them, too, and set them free!”

Sbortly after the service was over, a lady came up to me with a look in her eyes that made me wonder if she was going to hit me or hug me. She went right in to say that she had never heard that illustration/explanation before; never before had it been put in such a personal way. She said, “I’ve always heard and known that Jesus died for US, but I’ve never heard it explained in a way that makes it so personal.” The guard came to MY cell. The guard came to YOUR cell. I’M the one who was on death row. I’M the one who was awaiting execution for my sins. But it was HE who died in MY place. In YOUR place.

And because of that, YOU are free to go.