Sunday, February 28, 2010

Status: In a Relationship

A friend of mine got engaged recently. I was very excited for him. He'd been through a lot in the past few years and this was a great cause for celebration. I found out about his engagement the way many people find out important news these days - facebook. Not as a status update mind you but just as a change in relationship status.

When we finally saw each other in person with a group of colleagues, I blurted out, "Hey did you hear Joe Bob's BIG news?" to which he replied, "I'm engaged." As people were getting ready to congratulate him, one of the crew responded, "Does she know yet?"

While none of us have verification of this question yet (other than that it is facebook official), it does seem to most of us that Joe Bob is making plans as though his fiancé is on board with the entire thing.

The whole question made me wonder if God knows I'm His yet. Have I been living under the assumption that He just knew? Or have I made every effort to make it clear to Him and others that we are "in a relationship."

In my tradition, there are a few tell-tale signs that you are "in a relationship" with God.

1) You spend A LOT of time together. Nothing says, "I'm into you." like a standing date night or in my case a standing quiet time in the morning. I love spending time with God. The fact that I can have some personal time with the creator of the universe makes me feel really special.

2) You feel really bad for people who aren't in a relationship. I have to say that this is one of the reasons why Christians sometimes get a bad rap. We often hear that someone doesn't believe in God or has very different views about God from our own and we begin to either look at that person like they have two heads or we pity them. I'll stick up for Christians in this moment and let you know that for the most part (there are exceptions) we don't do this because we feel superior but because we think everyone should have a relationship like we do.

3) The world just feels different. You've got those stars in your eyes. Everything smells like roses. The birds sing around you like you were Cinderella. Things just feel, smell, look, and taste different when you are in a relationship. A relationship based on love can go a long way to make the world brighter. A relationship with God not only makes it brighter - it makes it better.

4) You plan a ceremony to tell the world about your relationship. This can be different for different religions but I believe that Baptism or Confirming your Baptism is one of the most special ways to tell the world that you are "taken." As a pastor there's nothing I like more than seeing people commit to being in a covenant with God.

I hope that your status reflects that you are "in a relationship" with the Almighty. Just taking those first few steps to get to know Him are a good place to start. If you aren't "in a relationship", think about taking the next step. The roses do really smell sweeter over here.

Until Everyone Hears,

Friday, February 12, 2010

Good Hair Day

I just want to enlighten the men out there who really don't understand the concept of a good hair day. A good hair day can honestly make or break you. I know you must think its superficial and a reflection of low self esteem, but it's totally true.

We females use the term "good hair day" in both a literal and metaphorical sense. We can usually count on the day we visit the hair dresser to be a good hair day as he or she will style it perfectly for us and put in enough product to keep it still for at least 24 hours. But a "good hair day" can also be metaphorical - when everything just goes right and even if it doesn't that's okay because its a "good hair day."

Some important characteristics about a good hair day:

1) It is dependent on the weather. For some people, humidity and heat wreak havoc on hair. Cold weather mean a hat and we all can sympathize with hat head. I personally do best in a 20% or less humidity and around 72 degrees. That's not what I prefer overall (I like it warmer) but my hair does really well at 72 and low humidity. What do I mean by doing well? It does what I tell it do which brings me to my next point.

2) The right tools can make all the difference. I'm not sure what I did before my straightener. I think I tried using my blow dryer and curling iron to achieve the same effect but it never came close to the straightener's ability.

3) They all come in different shapes, lengths, and colors. Some people change hair styles like they change clothes. Others keep a classic cut their entire lives. Regardless of the style or color, a woman's "good hair day" varies greatly depending on the individual.

The metaphorical "good hair day" has the same characteristics.

1) The weather --> Ever experienced SAD? Seasonal Affective Disorder is a result of not enough sunlight and the winter blues. The weather affects our mood in many ways and can help us have a "good hair day" both literally and figuratively.

2) The tools --> Just as I need my straightener to get my hair right, I also need to pray and read my Bible to get my day right. If I'm in tune with God, my day is much better. I can handle things that come my way.

3) The Perfect Day --> Everyone's perfect day looks different. Some people want quiet. Others want to party. And then there are those of us who's perfect day depends on their mood. If you are trying to create your perfect day, make sure those closest to you know what you mean by that. Every day is a lot better if your friends and family help you to make it perfect for you.

So now I'm off to play in the snow. Since I'm in Georgia and its a snow day it is a rare perfect day for me. If I lived in Syracuse, I'd be sick of it. Its not a good hair day due to hat head but throwing a snowball with the kids is priceless.

Until Everyone Hears,

Friday, February 5, 2010

My Blind Date Experience

I was blessed last Sunday to be able to preach at The Well in Cartersville, GA. They are BARELY (I was told to highlight that part :-)) 1.5 years old. It was exciting to see how another new church does things so that I could steal.. I mean borrow.. ideas that I think are cool and bring them back the church where I serve - Lighthouse.

Of course I was a bit nervous too. This church is a bit larger than mine I didn't know anybody there other than the senior pastor and the worship arts director who had tweeted me twice but had never met in person.

To make matters worse for me (and good for them), everything was very polished and well done. Of course this is what you want at any church. You want everything you do to show that you put a lot of planning and time into it and you want the service to flow smoothly so that people can feel the Spirit of God without interruption. But then there's that small part of you that thinks "Great. Everything is going perfectly and I'm going to be the one to get up there and ruin it for everyone."

I'm happy to say that is not what happened. I got up there and did my best. The congregation was warm and responsive and I believe we learned more about God together. I met many people afterwards and several were very encouraging. One even said , "You know... having a guest preacher is like going on a blind date. You really hold your breath until it starts and once you know you'll be comfortable with the other person you can enjoy yourself."

It was at that point that I realized I had been holding my breath for that very reason. I wanted positive feedback from them just as much as they desired a clear, informative, spirit-filled, and engaging message from me.

For those of you who find yourself in any "blind date" situation, here are some pointers I learned from this experience:

1) Be prepared. Just as you get prepared for a date by cleaning yourself up and thinking about things to talk about, you need to make sure that you are ready and presentable. I fretted over what to wear as I knew it would be casual but I didn't think my sweats would make a great first impression. In the end I went with jeans and a very cool jacket and shirt given to me by my sister in law.

2) Smile. No matter how nervous you are, people want to see that you are happy. If you at least look like you are happy they are more likely to listen to what you say.

3) Find something in common. Some things are just universal. I was able to mention Pants on the Ground, "Does this make my butt look big?", "bow chicka wow wow", and the importance of knowing the phrase "Where is the bathroom?" in many languages - all in one sermon (and yes I did talk about God and Jesus too). Okay some of these aren't universal but they are American pop culture that most people can relate to.

4) Listen to God. Remember that God calls us to love one another. Find what there is to love about the other person(s) and reflect the love of God to them. You'll be happy you did.

I'm glad it worked out and I'm excited to do part IV of this series on Valentine's Day.

I'm also glad to be back in the blogging world. I've been away for a while with my nose in theology books as I wrote ordination papers. I say "wrote" because after many weeks of writing, proofing, rewriting, researching, and stress, I am finally finished!!

Have a great week!
Until Everyone Hears,

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