“Don’t Let Anyone Despise Your Youth”

Timothy is the young disciple Paul takes under His wing during the latter stages of his life. Paul takes Timothy everywhere and where Paul can’t go, because he prior commitments or is in jail for preaching the Word, he sends Timothy.

In this second recorded letter to his young apprentice, Paul encourages Timothy not to let anyone look down on him because of his youth (1 Timothy 4:12).

We all have to start somewhere. People that have been doing anything for a while are quick to forget how long it took them to learn. Everything from acting to metalworking takes a while to get a hang of, and a lifetime to master. Yet we can easily look down on those who are just beginning.

The disciples turned away children (Luke 18:15-17) and believers that weren’t part of the “in” crowd (Mark 9:38-41). They even rejected Jesus at first because He was from Nazareth (John 1:43-46), the ancient equivalent of a one-horse town. The Pharisees turned away women (Luke 7:39), the sick, and social pariah (Matthew 9:11).

We can think of a thousand reasons why someone is not worthy, but Paul challenges Timothy to prove them wrong. In word and deed, prove them wrong. Demand your place at the table. And for those of us who are the “in,” our challenge is to keep our eyes and hearts open. Where we find exclusion, call it out. Jesus openly rebuked the disciples for pushing out the children. Paul called Peter out for neglecting the disciples. We must also be intentional about extending a warm welcome and following through with it.

Just look at Jesus’ invitation of Zaccheus, a despised tax collector (Luke 19). His dinner invitation changed Zaccheus’ life, so much so that he not only had an overnight conversion, but also became a leading and philanthropic member of society. Community changed people’s lives. It gives them a newfound sense of hope, purpose, and empowerment.

But first someone has to break out the Thor hammer and smash the socio-political glass ceiling to pieces.

So, if you’re new to whatever it is you long for, keep going. If you’re an old timer, stay open. We need each other to thrive.

Strength is a Process

There’s a rumor going around. It’s the “get (fill the blank) quick” ghost. It sounds great. Eat this thing for a week, chant this mantra, do this exercise, and *bang* you’re healed.

Yes, maybe over time it will make a difference. And yes, sometimes there are stories of instant success. But for the most part it takes a while.

Think about growing up. It takes time to walk and talk and chew your food and pretty much everything else. You may skip a step, but it still takes time.

This goes the same for strength building of any kind. People say it’s a no-brainer. Do this thing, change this factor, and everything will just work out. I say, it takes time.

You want to get to point B, even Z. You have to start with A. You start with nothing. You’re broken and you’re scared. Then it’s on to damage control, picking up pieces and seeing if the ground will hold me. Then, once things begin to get okay, you start to get comfortable. When you start getting comfortable, then you can start taking risks, because there is the notion that there is some semblance of net to catch you if you fall. It’s not a chronological process. You’ll go back and forth all the time. Maybe you’ll skip lots of steps and then something happens and you’ll sail back even behind where you started. It happens. Trust the process. Keep going.

Allow others the same grace. Oftentimes, we forget how far we’ve come and how long it took us to get here. To us, it’s overnight. But remember that it wasn’t. Be gracious and encouraging. Let others know your story. A realistic view of life helps more than you know.

Together, we can build a stronger, more beautiful world, except you gotta be in it for the long haul to make it happen.

 

Participatory v. Performative Worship

Yesterday in church, we had two harmonica players

a cajon player and a potential fourth vocalist

Join us up on the stage,

simply because they took the initiative to step up.

At Beer & Hymns we have a room packed full of people

overpowering even our instruments,

except for maybe the pianist and the cajon player.

They shake shakers and play tambourines,

and its all so wonderful.

Of course, there are still a chords and keys,

time signatures and words,

but the semblance of structure

simply gives direction to the holy chaos,

it is a funnel, not a wall.

That is the challenge: to organize programs in such a way

that they invite and welcome everyone in,

so that all can join in the fun,

creating wonderful music together

before God and one another.

Hallelujah, amen!

 

 

 

 

Gifted, not Re-Gifted

You are not a broken box

Expecting to get met with a scowl

and returned to sender

No, you are a present,

impeccably wrapped

and beautiful,

carrying wordless

worth and beauty

How lucky we are to have you

be present, be now, be loved

and, of course, open yourself up to others,

the true treasure’s inside.

 

Chutes & Ladders

We all have flaws

Things we need to work on

but if we start with a mindset of brokenness

We’ll always be swimming upstream

Exhausting yourself

trying to keep up with the invisible Joneses

Instead, focus on Jesus

approach life with a perspective of self-love

Then life will become more a celebration,

and invitation

Rather than a do-or-die situation

where every failure

sets you back a billion paces

This is not chutes-and-ladders, folks

It’s your life

Live it well

The Power of Words

In Acts, we see the Holy Spirit descending upon the disciples in tongues of fire. In Isaiah, we see an angel branding the tongue of the prophet before sending him out.

We who know God, who belong to His family, have His words on our lips. By His power and will, we speak wisdom and prophesy. All insight and encouragement we may give goes forth directly from Him.

As the saying goes, “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” We must guard our hearts and minds, so only good goes out of it.

This of it this way, God spoke and the world was created. John calls Jesus Christ the very Word of God. This same Jesus brings our dead souls back to life, works miracles, and leads the way through life temporal into life eternal.

Today, let us meditate on the power of words and speak what is good.

Bless you, my friends. God is good.