Wednesday, December 23, 2009

year in review

Since I started Tweeting, I've written less on my blog...and feel quite guilty about it every time I think about it. Before I end the year, I'd like to reflect on a few great lessons God has been teaching me in the last 12 months.

1. Dying is gain. Paul said it first [Philippians 1:21]. Never more has this spiritual principle found such personal confirmation as in the last year. Through our family relationships with several homeless friends and our timely connection with our African brothers and sisters, I have learned the joy of giving myself and my stuff away. I'm reminded that my money isn't mine. Neither is my house, my clothes, my kids or my time. I'm just a steward of God's resources. And, as often as I sacrifice, lose, give and die, I discover the blessing of true life.

2. The power of words. There's a difference between saying something and having something to say. Through my cautious adoption of Twitter and Facebook, I have been challenged to use social networking as an extension of my ministry. This means that I guard what I write and endeavor to write what matters. Proverbs 18:21 is a powerful reminder of the potential good and evil of subjects and verbs.

3. Holy Spirit proof. I have been fortunate enough to be the bystander of several lives that have been radically changed this year. I study and preach about the Holy Spirit and the inward transformation He accomplishes. But, it's only a theological proposition until you see people start giving their money, their time and their life away to be the biggest blessing to others.

4. I'm never off. As a pastor and a parent, I'm always "on." This is true of every Christian. None of us take a vacation from our life with Christ. We are always influencing our neighbors, employees, community and children...for better or for worse. The question is not whether I'm discipling people but which direction I'm discipling them in.

5. Books, books, books! The written word still has more nutritional value over television any day. Be a voracious reader.

6. One Kingdom. I am terribly tempted to build any number of Kingdoms: my kingdom, my family's kingdom, the kingdom of our church. But, only the Kingdom of God matters. If what I'm doing makes God look so great that I'm forgotten amidst the deafening applause of others for His glory, I'm doing the right thing. Make God famous in all I do.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

chirp chirp

My daughter was born to chirp. Her name, Jenna, means "little bird" and she hasn't stopped tweeting since she took her first breath. I've never met another human being who sings so often...all the time....everywhere. But, that's how her Creator made her and she is most content when she lives out her God-given design.

We could see it on her face during last night's Christmas Concert. Jenna sings with the Arlington All-City Boys and Girls Choir and they were invited to share the stage with the Master Chorale for a special Christmas program. My little girl, front row and center, wouldn't have chosen to be anywhere else. A song in German, one in Spanish and a finale with show choir hand motions---our little bird chirped, smiling ear to ear.

Jenna proved an important reality: We are most glad when we do what we were designed to do. God made each one of us as unique creations, specially fashioned to do "good works which God prepared in advance for us to do" [Ephesians 2:10]. There are many things we can do. But, when we discover what which we were Divinely designed to do, our heart is glad. For me, it's preaching. For another, it might be composing and presenting music. A friend of mine is most glad when she's giving. Another feels at home when he's listening to others.

Don't settle for what you can do. Find out what you were made to do. And do it. And, as you do, God will put a song in your heart. Chirp, chirp.