Friday, April 4, 2014


The last video on collaboration this week deals with something that everyone experiences at some point in their lives - loneliness.  The brother in the video talks about identifying the feeling, and asking God to alleviate it in some way, to take away the pain of feeling alone.

Just the fact that you think to pray is an instant reminder that you're actually not alone, that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are constantly around, and all you need to do is reach out.  And sometimes even that is beyond us - but God's still there and finds ways to reach out to you - from a pet who comes to comfort you to a friend who calls and drags you out of your pit of misery into the light where you can remember, once again, to pray.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Collaboration of Forgiveness

Today's video addresses a topic that's often times tough for us to face:  how do we find it in ourselves to forgive, especially when you see no evidence of remorse on the part of the one you're thinking about?  And how do we truly ask for forgiveness if we're so busy judging the actions of another?

Both of the answers may lie within the concept that the only person we can change is ourselves.  Someone said, there can be no change without a significant emotional event.  That might depend on your definition of significant, and how motivated you are to change.  Perhaps you don't like feeling anger, and that's motivation enough to find another way of looking at a situation, and allowing yourself to give both your anger and your other feelings about the situation to God, where He might find the proper justice, balance and lessons for everyone involved.  That collaboration, of looking at what you can do to provide the attitude adjustment (preferably before God does) to yourself, and requesting Divine intervention for the rest - and then letting go of whatever was preventing you from forgiving or allowing yourself to receive forgiveness, can be a very productive and soul-lightening journey. 

So today, pick a conflict in which you're involved - it can be with a family, friend, neighbor, coworker - and focus on your part in that conflict.  What have you done to further the conflict, or make it worse?  What could you have done differently?  Can you envision another outcome or another direction if you had chosen to do something differently?  Move your pride out of the way and look at the whole situation.  What would the best outcome be from where you are now?  Can you take responsibility for your part of the conflict?  (Taking responsibility for someone else's part in a conflict does not do you or the other person any good, and can in the long-run do a disservice to the person who needs to deal with their own responsibilities - but that's their issue, and not for you to deal with.  You can assist them, if they ask.)  Can you ask for forgiveness, honestly, from the person for those things you have done wrong? 

Has your thinking about the conflict changed how you think about the situation?  (It may; it may not.)  Can you ask for God's help in resolving or showing a way to resolve the conflict?  Are you open to the conflict ending, or have you tied so much of your own anger and hurt into it that you actually don't want to end the conflict?

Soul-searching - not an easy process, but definitely one worth doing.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sin and Grace

Today's video is asking for something that can be really tough for people:  recognizing and accepting that we have a grace-filled part of us that we often use in our interactions with others.  The assignment today is as horrible as trying to fill out our own evaluation for our bosses, because we have to remember not only where we messed up, but also remember where we did good.

So let's walk through yesterday, and to make this a little easier, imagine your favorite movie star in the starring role of a movie of yesterday (that way describing the good parts probably won't be quite so difficult).  With whom did you interact?  How did those interactions go?  Did you exemplify the love and grace and truth of Christ in any of the interactions?  How?  Did you go to work?  Why?  Did you remember to pray?  When?  Did you remember to just talk with God when needed?  Did you take time to listen to people who needed an ear?  Offer a shoulder to cry on, followed by a tissue?  Did you offer a smile to someone who's day seemed to need it?

Now the other side - but this part's a bit more difficult too, because you're being asked to ensure that it's not mistakes that you're listing, but intentional actions or words that help break a relationship between you and God, between you and another.  List where you purposefully said something unkind or went against what you know God wants you to do.

Take a look at your list now.  And know that the Grace of God will always be much stronger than the sin of man.

Content with What You Have to Give?

The video for Monday (we were without Internet for an extended period yesterday, so this is late), talks about not only being willing to collaborate with God by giving what we are able to give, but by knowing and being satisfied that what we give will be enough for God to work with.  And it offers the parable of the loaves and fishes.  While it didn't appear to be enough for feeding the multitude of people there, it was all they had to give, and God made it enough.

There's a new cafe in the next town over from us called the Loaves and Fishes Cafe.  It's run by a great lady who had a unique reason for becoming a pastor, and over time, realized that while her calling may have been different, God has used her hands, her efforts, her abilities to great degree, and she serves where and how she is able.  I am told by many that while the food choices are limited, the food itself is phenomenal, and 10% of your meal is given to your choice of seven local and not so local charities.  Although their doors have not been open long, they are already doing great work in helping community needs.

I'm reminded also of Mark 12:42, where the widow put two small copper coins into the treasury, giving all she had to give.  In God's sight, her contribution was much more than those who gave out of their surplus. 

We are all capable of serving God in some way - with our time, our talents, our money, our efforts, and sometimes just our being there and being willing to do what's needed, from vacuuming the floors to cooking food to teaching children to singing to leading - are you content with what you have to give?  And if not, what can you change?