Lessons Learned

Have you ever thought about how selfish we can be? Probably not. To be described as selfish is not something that we are all clamoring to hear. We don’t want to hear it and certainly don’t want to admit it. The unexpectant loss that the KU basketball team experienced made me think about all the things that I want for myself. Selfishness may not be something you struggle with (or maybe it is), so I will only speak for myself (and maybe a few others!).
The following are a few thoughts and statements that run through my mind. “I want it done my way. Listen to me, I know what’s best. I need that …. (I really don’t need it. I want it.) Everyone else has one, so why shouldn’t I be able to have one. Work around my schedule. I’m the dad. I’m the boss. I’m the oldest. I’ve got the experience. I, I, I, … I want my team to win. I want my plans to be followed.”
Did you notice – these statements have one thing in common. “I” is the center of everything. “I want this.” “I have to have this.” It’s all about me. That’s how selfishness works. The focus is always on me. Isn’t that how it should be? It’s not to say that my ways or my plans aren’t good. My position or role may provide me with a better perspective or provide better insight. BUT! What are my motives? What is behind all my wants and desires? Who is going to benefit from all of this? What might happen if someone else’s plan is followed? If someone else wins what’s going to happen? Is it going to be the end of the world if I don’t get my way?
Life is not all about me. From the beginning of creation there have been people living selfish lives, caring only about themselves. It began in the garden and continues to this day. People only looking out for themselves. We even see this playing out in the lives of many believers.
Sadly, I have to say that I have been a part of the selfish people of the world. What might happen if all of us experienced a time of confession and change in our lives? Confessing to God our selfish ways and asking Him to change our hearts and our attitudes. Life will certainly be different.
“God, change me from the selfish person that I am. May I become more like You – willing to give to others, putting others before myself, and not being concerned with myself.”
I think there are a lot of lessons that can be learned from KU’s season ending loss. This is one of the lessons that I learned.
Well, Late Night is approximately seven months away. This time next year VCU had better watch out!

23 on 23

My youngest turns 23 on this day the 23rd of March. We are celebrating Matt’s birthday today. My memory of things that happened sometime ago is not the best. There are a few things that I don’t have any problem remembering like the evening that I became a Christ follower, my wedding date (good thing to remember!), and the birth of all three kids.
I can remember these experiences without any problems. The first two weeks of Matt’s life was a time that I will never forget. He had a few health issues during those first two weeks. Whether it was his health at the beginning, stitches in his head as a young child, or a broken arm playing high school football nothing slowed him down. One thing about Matt, he’s been a tough kid from the start and that is still true even to this day.
Matt will not give up. He has a little bulldog in him. Some might say, he is stubborn or strong-willed, but I will call him tenacious. Matt from the beginning has been a tenacious individual. He won’t allow something or someone to stand in the way of what he believes he can do. As his dad I’m proud of him for his tenacity. I admire this quality that I’ve seen over and over in a young man who turns 23 on the 23rd.
Happy birthday Matt! Keep that tenacious spirit.

Bracket Busted!

My NCAA bracket is officially busted. I started strong, but after day 2 my bracket had more “X’s” through my picks. It was a disaster. The upsets destroyed any hope of a “perfect” bracket.
As much as I was hoping for a bracket with every pick being correct, I knew the chance of that happening were next to impossible. Part of the excitement surrounding the tournament are the upsets. The little guys coming in and beating the big guys or at least making the big guys work for their win. Now I don’t want Richmond to give KU any problems! I love the three weeks at the end of the college basketball season. It is so much fun.
Something that I’ve noticed more this year than any other year – the emotions. Every year I’ve observed along with everyone else, players becoming overwhelmed with emotion. The winners and the losers. This year I watched a coach who had poured everything he had into coaching his team, eventually they lost. At his news conference he was overcome by his emotions. At the conclusion of one game a young girl broke down in tears as her dad’s team lost. For those of us on the outside looking in we might be thinking “This is crazy it’s only a game.” That would be a true statement, but I think there are some valuable lessons that we can learn from the game itself and everything else surrounding it.
For me, I believe this is an example of dedication and commitment to something you believe in. Something that you are willing work hard for, investing all of your time and energy into it. It is a game, but look what happens when people come together not for themselves, but for others – for the team. How would the church be if everyone that makes up the body of Christ came together as one? Where personal agendas were set aside, wants and preferences were no longer important. Instead asking ourselves, “What is best for the body? What can we do together to see that the body is growing – numerically and spiritually?”
I wonder if we might not see some of the same emotions pouring out of us, as we members of the body began making some of the same investments and commitments. I believe we would see tears of joy and tears of sadness.
FYI – I still have KU, Duke, & Ohio State reaching the Final Four and of course KU winning it all!

Priorities and Taxes

Tonight I was involved in gathering all the receipts, year-end reports, and paper work for my tax preparer. This is something that I love doing. I wish you could hear my sarcasm! This is one thing that I don’t enjoy doing, but I know it’s something that has to be taken care of. As I pushed through the never-ending pile of receipts and stacks of papers, it caused me to reflect on my priorities in 2010. Granted my wife and I share everything, but each of us still have a responsibility for our own individual life. So I ask myself the following questions; Where did I spend my time? How did I spend my money? What kind of investments (I’m not speaking of the financial type) did I make? What was I focused on during the year? Did my faith influence me in my decision making? Did I allowed the Spirit to guide me? Where did I place my trust?
Tax preparation may not rank as my most favorite thing to do, but tonight was an interesting time of reflection that challenged me. I’ve got some work to do.
Is there any work that you need to do? Any changes?

Hearing & Responding

The Spirit of God is at work within our church. As He speaks to the hearts of children, students, and adults, they are responding to His call. The end of our second service was evidence of this fact. At the end of our worship services we always provide people with the opportunity to respond privately or publicly to what the Spirit is doing in their life. This Sunday was no different. I invited people to respond and that is exactly what many people did. People were coming to the altar to pray, three young boys came forward sharing their desire to follow Christ in baptism, a young adult couple voiced their desire to become members of our church. The Spirit of God was moving and people were responding out of obedience.
As the Spirit moves let’s not get in His way. May each of us listen and respond. I don’t want to miss anything that the Spirit of God has in store for First Southern.

Uncle Phil’s Diner

What a great weekend we experienced at FSBC. Our drama ministry team did a fabulous job in their presentation of “Uncle Phil’s Diner.” They took us back to the 50’s with the music and entertainment. Becky and I attended both presentations and had a lot of fun each evening. Our church is truly blessed with some amazing talent. It excites me to watch this group of entertainers share their talents Friday and Saturday, then Sunday serve as a part of our worship team. That is how the body of Christ is to function. Sharing our gifts and talents in ways that strengthen the body.
When the final song was sung and the applause ended, clean-up efforts took off. As people were tearing down the set, sweeping carpets, emptying trash cans, moving chairs, and preparing the sanctuary for Sunday services, I felt so proud to be a part of this church family. There were children, teens, and adults working together. Once again the body of Christ at work.
I applaud everyone that made “Uncle Phil’s Diner” a huge success.