Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The One Thing that Never Fails

If I started to name all of the things that fail in life I could sit here all day.   At this very moment, my Fit Bit Blaze is failing to sync to my Iphone and it’s very annoying.   I know i had a good night’s sleep but I want to know JUST how good it was.   I know, I know, #firstworldproblem.

Technology fails, vehicles fail, machines fail, my kids fail their classes, plans fail, friends fail, we fail.   

But love…. that’s the one thing that never fails.  Check out 1 Corinthians 13 and you’ll see how it is described.  Powerful.

If you’re needing something to wake you up this morning, check out this song and pray this prayer.  Your day will be different if God answers your prayer.

Monday, October 16, 2017

See the Resemblance?

Do you know of someone who is so much like one parent or the other that people see an immediate resemblance?  Or are you so much like one of your parents that others recognize instantly that you are related?

This concept was brought up in our Sunday school class yesterday as we were discussing this verse.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.

We talked about the difference between peacekeepers and peacemakers.  We discussed different ways that we can be peacemakers:  Bring peace to individuals, lead peaceful protests to bring about peace that comes from social change, and get involved in conflicts between people and help them understand one another. 

But the coolest moment of the class for me was understanding, for the first time, the second part of the verse.   “They shall be called the children of God.”   I asked the question, “Aren’t we all children of God?  Doesn’t He consider all of us His children? 

We came to the conclusion yesterday that maybe it isn’t God that calls us His children when we are peacemakers.  Maybe it’s everyone else who says, “Wow!  That person is a child of God."  Since the very heart of God is peace, could it be the resemblance that people see when we make peace causes them to see us as His Children?

What an amazing thing it would be if someone said of you or me, “Wow!  She looks just like her Father!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday Summary for October 14, 2017

Another week has gone by at the Fletchers and we are all still alive and kicking!

The week started amazingly well for my the grandchildren who live with us.  Salinda, her kids, her friend and his kids all headed to a pumpkin patch.  She knocked it out of the park as a parent all day long.  The kids had a blast.... they came back here, carved their pumpkins, made pumpkin seeds, cleaned up and got the kids ready for bed.  She was saying she was exhausted but then told Gabby, "I'm tired, Gabby but I had a LOT of fun with you today!"  I was so proud of her.  And it made me smile that she is passing on a tradition to her children that we did when she was a child.

Our daughter Mercedes and her fiancĂ© Matt have begun raising money for an upcoming treatment that they are hopeful will resolve his medical issues.  If you are interested, you can read all about it here.  

We had some other interesting moments this week... like the night that Dominyk ran away because he said he prefers homelessness over living with us.  An hour later he was back and we worked everything out.

Thursday was Isaac's 7th birthday.  Can't believe he is that old already!

I spent every night in my Danville bed this week which hasn't happened for a while.  I ended up working from Danville Monday, Lynchburg Tuesday, Roanoke Wednesday, and Danville again on Friday.

I had a chance to share with the folks at Mt. Vernon UMC on Wednesday night.  I prepared a powerpoint that showed how my novel, "Little Did She Know" intersected with our real lives.  I think it went well and I sold lots of books, so THANK YOU MVUMC family!

I travelled yesterday up to Brookneal and Bart went with me!  I had an incredible lunch with a colleague that I really enjoy and then he and I attended a campference where I did the welcome by telling a few funny stories and encouraging the folks to enjoy the weekend.

Work is pretty crazy for me right now because we are in "Smart Goal" season, but it is really fun to be attempting to follow a strategy like the one explained in the book The Four Disciplines of Execution.   It will be cool to see if it makes a difference in how we do our work.  

Bart, Wilson, Dominyk and I are heading to Greensboro for lunch today.  We haven't done anything with those boys for a while and apparently Pokemon Go is on the agenda.  Wish us luck!

Friday, October 13, 2017

God is sick of it!

Have you ever wondered what Jesus thinks about being on a bumper sticker or a billboard?  How do you think God feels about his name being mentioned every time someone sneezes?

I’m not sure that the Almighty God cares much about that stuff, but I can tell you that according to the book of Amos, there are some things He does get tired of.  As translated in the message, Amos 5:21-24 says:

“I can’t stand your religious meetings.
    I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
    your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
    your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
    When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
    I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
    That’s what I want. That’s all I want.

Harsh word?  Maybe.  But I think we get the point.  Justice and fairness.  That’s what God wants us to spend our time on.  Fighting for justice for those who cannot fight for themselves.   

What are you planning to do today?  I hope part of your day is spent doing something that God says He wants — praying for, believing for, working for, and striving for justice and fairness for everyone.

You probably haven’t heard this song, but it is a good one.  If you’ve heard it I’d be interested in where you did.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Anything Going Wrong in Your Life?

What isn’t going right in your life?  I’m sure you can find something that isn’t perfect if you look hard enough (just like you can find good things if you look hard enough.)

We don’t know much about Habbakuk, but I’m guessing based on the way that chapter three ends, that before becoming a prophet he must have been a farmer.   Check out all things that he noticed were going wrong:
 Though the cherry trees don’t blossom
    and the strawberries don’t ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
    and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
    and the cattle barns empty….
See?  He must have been a farmer.  But even when all that stuff happened this was his response:
I’m singing joyful praise to God.    I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.Counting on God’s Rule to prevail,    I take heart and gain strength.I run like a deer.    I feel like I’m king of the mountain!
If I had time today I would love to conjur up some verses that might apply to your work…

Even when the spreadsheets won’t balance…

Even when the kids won’t stop bickering…

Even when we get an important call requiring action at 4:54 p.m.

Even when the phone won’t stop ringing…

Even when there are too many meetings …

Can you make up your own list of things that can go wrong?  But more importantly, can you still respond like Habbakuk?

Can you sing praise, can you turn cartwheels of joy (metaphorically for most of us?)

Can you count on God’s rule to prevail?

Can you take heart and gain strength?

Can you symbolically run like a deer?

And knowing that God is faithful, can you feel like the king of the mountain?

If you can do that, then every Thursday, regardless of what you are going through can be #ThankfulThursday.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Feel all dried up?

You know the story of Ezekiel and the dry bones, right?  If not you can find it in Ezekiel 37.   Basically God sweeps Ezekiel away and shows him a valley full of dry bones.  He asks Ezekiel to speak to the bones and as he does they come alive!  The bones connect together and flesh grows on them and then he God breathes life into them and they become alive.   

God says to Ezekiel in verse 11, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Listen to what they’re saying: ‘Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone, there’s nothing left of us."

The God says a few verses later, “When I dig up graves and bring you out as my people, you’ll realize that I am God. I’ll breathe my life into you and you’ll live.”

God was using the dry bones as a metaphor for the people of God and I offer it to you as a metaphor for what he can do for you and for me.  If we are feeling dried up, our hope gone, like there is nothing left of us that’s just when he steps in.   He comes and makes all things new.  

Monday, October 09, 2017

Seeing God

You've heard it before .... a bunch of times.   "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."   I've spent my life thinking that if I lived a life where I was pure in heart, I would some day see God.  You know, like in heaven....

But as I was preparing to teach Sunday School yesterday, I realized that that may not be it at all.  It may be that the more pure we are in heart, the more of God we see now -- not in the distant future -- and here -- not in heaven someday.

What if the more pure our intentions were, the more transparent, childlike and innocent we were here on earth ... the more we were able to see God today, right here, right now.

What if that meant that we could see Him in us -- in our actions, in our words, in the way we handle others?

What if it meant that we could see Him in creation -- in every star, every blade of grass, every cloud?

What if it meant that we could see Him in others -- the powerful and brilliant, and the poor and downtrodden?

I think that maybe more of what Jesus was saying.  That when our hearts are pure, we see God.   Not some day, but now.  Not somewhere else, but here.

Too see Him more clearly....