Always Learning

Andy's thoughts and other musings

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Change for the sake of it

I have been thinking about change. I hate change. I hate to experience it. Yet, I feel it is the thing I most need at times. It is easy to get stuck in a rut. It is easy to let life happen without any ever realizing life has gone by. So change is good. It is needed. It is what brings about freshness and renewal.

Change, however, for the sake of change is irresponsible. It is ill conceived. It is immature. It is akin to a child screaming in the store for the object of their desire without any idea of how they will pay for it.

I have been thinking about change in church. I am all for change that will bring people into a real relationship with Christ and into relationship with his people. I, however, have no interest in change that is purely for self interest. I hope I can be selfless in my walk with Christ.

The book of Amos says to "Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph. " God asks us to change. He asks us to change our hearts. He asks us to be good to others. I want to live a life of justice seeking change as necessary for the incarnation of the kingdom.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Home, Sweet, Home

The other day, Corban learned he is going back to Paducah. He was so excited. Everyday he would ask, "Are we going to Paducah today?" As the day approached I learned the reason for his excitement. He exclaimed, "I am so excited to go home."

This statement amazed me. He is only three years old, but he knew where he belonged. He belonged at home.

Sometimes I feel this way too. I want to go home. I wait and wait with the anticipation of being comfortable again. Ultimately, home is where you choose to be. I am making my home in Ada, but like Corban have moments of longing to be where I am comfortable.

I thank God that he gives us his peace. I can feel at home even when I am not at home. I thank God for the family he has given me.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Barbarian Couture

In my men's study on Tuesday nights, we have been reading a book on what it means to have real powerful faith. The book is called The Barbarian Way. This is the premise of this book: We as Christians have gotten soft. We like our comforts and believe it is our right to have them. When we meet someone who calls us out of comfort, we run them off.

I have been thinking about this in my own life. For a long time, I have been happy to stay in my own comfortable world. I like the ways things are going and I don't want to change. I don't want to be challenged to give up what is most important to me.

The author suggests that "Christianity" has become nothing more than another stale world religion. This statement blew me out of my shoes. It is a quid pro quo. I hear myself saying, "Hey, Jesus! You scratch my back and I will scratch yours." As a group, we Christians have looked at wealth and prosperity as a G0d given thing. Even our view of heaven points to this. We see heaven as a prize. What? I have heard and was baptized for this same reason. "I want to go to Heaven not Hell!" (I am sure many people move past this thought, but how many people don't grow up?) I want to see Heaven as the ends to the means. I won't to be in Heaven because that is where God is. Our faith is not about what we can get out of it.

Ask John the Baptist or the rich young ruler. They were called out of their comforts. You might say that John the Baptist never had known comfort, but he did give his head in the service of God. I define being a barbarian as willing to give all you have for a cause. In the society in which I live, this thought is reckless. When I look to John the Baptist or Jesus, they did not appeal to the social norms. They were about change. They were about sacrifice. They were willing to give their last penny to the cause.

I know that some will be uncomfortable with these thoughts. That is okay. I wonder though, "Am I a barbarian or a ballerina?"

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I believe it but I can't see it

Ali has got to be confused. She knows what babies look like. She loves to hold her baby doll. She get so excited when she sees babies at church. She even makes a sign with her arms that signifies she is rocking a baby. She knows babies. She may be more of an expert than I am. So it seems that she has to be confused about Randi's pregnancy.

Randi and I have been trying to prepare her for the upcoming birth. We point to mommy's tummy and tell her the baby is in there. She, however, has gotten it into her head that we are talking about belly buttons. It was not until she pointed to her own belly button and signaled baby that we realized what she was thinking.

Even more funny, she now wants to see Daddy's baby. Yes, Daddy looks like he has a baby, but he doesn't have a baby. She, however, does not have the ability to understand this distinction. What is the difference to her? It is simple to her. She evaluates what people tell her and makes determinations from it.

Ali thought, "I understand babies." Then, she was thrown a curve. I guess she is able to move and change. While her understanding is technically wrong, she is trying to comprehend new ideas. She is trying to incorporate them into her life. It would be great if I could learn to flex and change as she does.

I pray that God will continue to mold me to hear his voice and do his will even when it does not make sense to my mind.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Learning New Things

It is interesting to watch someone learn how to do something new. I see this everyday at work. I am also seeing it at home. Ali is learning all kinds of new things. Currently, she is learning to potty.

Teaching somebody to do something new can be challenging. Randi has resorted to bribing Ali with HOT TAMALES! No, not the food but the candy. Alethia loves these little things. For a pee or a poop in the potty, she is rewarded.

Actually, I have been amazed at her progress. I have been laughing at myself because I realized that I was again thinking of Ali as a dog. When I was trying to train my dog, Abbey, she was constantly making a mess I had to clean up. When Randi started letting Ali run around bare bottomed or in panties, I had visions of Abbey sized floods. This has not been the case. Ali has learned so quickly.

I wonder about this principle. Why do I not learn as fast as a toddler? Why do I struggle to grasp new concepts? I love to watch her... she just studies something as if she is trying to unlock its miracle.

Maybe this is the key. She still possess the wonder of the world. She is desparately trying to figure things out. As for me, this world is old hat. I have been there and done that! Yeah right.

I see people that are stuck everyday. They hate their lives. They are depressed. They are angry. When we come to a place of change, they are resistant. This will never cease to amaze me. They want to change and yet they will not. There are no options. They are not willing to learn a new way.

I want to have that same kind of wonder that Ali has. I want to learn with gusto. I want to grab life and live it to all of its potential. I cannot do this if I am not willing to try something different.

May the Lord bless me with opportunities to learn new things.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Language of Stupidity

My friends Mike and Glen remind me that my words are very important. I can say things in a moment that I would never mean in a lifetime. Mike oftens speaks of the "language of blessing." I think that I am cursed by the "language of stupidity."

Recently, I hurt a friend's feelings. I did not mean to do it. I just made a callous remark that was meant to be funny. I thought of it as teasing. You know, teasing can really hurt! It is not that I meant to be ugly(as we say in the South). However, my actions were ugly.

When I was a kid, I did not understand this. I know I still struggle with it. If I did not mean it, it did not count. When I own up to my mistake, this statement does not fly. When you say something, you have to take responsibility for it.

I have to observe my approach with others. If I speak to Ali in a harsh voice, she will cry. I could be saying, "I love you, honey." I, however, have sent her a double message; I love you but I don't. Man, I sure struggle with this. I send double messages too often.

I am learning from this mistake. I am learning that I must salt my words, because I may be eating them later. For those of you I have wronged with insensitive comments, "I am sorry."

May God help me to listen to my words and practice a language that blesses and does not curse.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Like My Daddy

I have never spent much time with little children. In fact, most of my life I have run from them. I did not like to hear them scream. I did not appreciate the way the crawl all over the place. I really did not like the way that they tore up your personal items. It is weird how that can change. I guess that it has not changed for everybody, but I can see the beauty of a little one.

I have watched myself grow from seeing Ali as a "little parasite" trying to steal my freedom to "my little girl" teaching me about freedom. I don't really even remember what it was like not to be daddy. I can see why people think a child will "fix" your problems. They can make you feel so good about yourself.

The other day, as I was leaving for work, Randi and Ali were playing the backyard. When I rode off on my bike, Ali ran behind me blowing kisses. Randi stated that Ali made it all the way down the Alley way to the road. When Randi told Ali to come home, she threw a fit. She wanted to be with her daddy. It is so cool that someone wants to be with me that much!

When I think about the responsibility of being a daddy, it could be frightening. I want to see it as an opportunity. What a little sponge! If I do it, she is going to do. If I say it, I hear her trying to say it. Just a few months ago, she could not even roll over. Now she is repeating the actions of her mommy and daddy.

I think what bring joy to my heart is to hear her saying, "haaa-way-eww-yeh," over and over. What a testimony! Conversely, when I got mad at the dog and popped her on the head, "what did Ali do?" Yep, she tried to punish Abbey as well.

So do I act like my daddy? Yes, I do remind many people of Michael Williams, but do I act like my heavenly father? When Jesus was in the temple, he stated, "I must be about my father's business." Am I busy about my father's business?

Last night, my neighbor knocked on the door. He was drunk. This is not that unusual. What is unusual is that he asked me to go to Hardees for him. I agreed thinking that he would give me some money to buy him the sandwich he wanted. He did not offer me money. He offered me a coupon. (I am laughing at this now. Maybe I should try this strategy.) I came back inside to tell Randi. She and I both know that money is tight. I, however, also knew that I had just prayed that God would send me a non-Christian to serve. So, I went to Hardees. When I delivered the food, there was no mention of reimbursement. I did not ask. He did say, "Hey, what no fries?" I think I could have choked him. (Man! That is so funny! I asked God to use me then I complained.)

So am I like Ali? Am I longing to be like my daddy? I want to be like Ali. I want to run down the alley way because I long to be with my daddy. I want to be like him. I want to be what the world hungers for. God gave his very best. Can I do any less? I want to look for opportunities to serve, because that is what God has done through the savior.