Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sparkle Like a Jewel

Dear Readers:

Sometimes I feel insecure and wonder what I have to offer others to make them think about changing their lives. What would another person see in me that would draw them to my wonderful Savior and friend?

I think I found the answer in two verses in Zechariah 9. They are the following:

Zechariah 9:9

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

and Zechariah 9:16

The LORD their God will save his people on that day
as a shepherd saves his flock.
They will sparkle in his land
like jewels in a crown.

The first verse identifies the source of why the people of Zion can rejoice. The second identifies what can happen to persons whom God saves and becomes their shepherd. They can sparkle like jewels.

See you next time,

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mennonite Boys Don't Dance...Do They?

Dear Readers,

I ask you, did you ever have the urge to burst out in song and dance in the local grocery store, walking down the street, or even while sitting or standing in church?

There is a phenomenon in America called a flash mob. It is defined by Wikipedia as the following: “A flash mob (or flashmob) is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and sometimes seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, artistic expression.”

Movie musicals and Broadway plays have long used a “flash mob mindset”, if you will. I’m no expert why musicals have long been popular, except that they are enjoyable to watch with their sometimes inspiring songs and dance routines. Who can ever forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers routines, or Gene Kelly “Singing in the Rain”. One of my favorite musicals of all time is “Fiddler on the Roof” with the tug of war between religious change and “Tradition”. The younger generation can likely name more contemporary musicals that had an impact on them where one singer or dancer starts, and then finally a whole “mob” of singers and dancers join in.

I'm a boy that who grew up Mennonite with Amish roots that has had the urge at times to break out in song and dance, sometimes in public places. My wife and son laugh when I talk about it. I know a bystander would not encounter ballet-like dance moves emanating from me, and they might clap their hands over their ears to stop the noise. But the urge still remains.

Where does this urge come from? I think it is the same type of feeling that some of us felt as kids when we dreamed of flying like a bird, or floating up in the air like a balloon.

I have a hypothesis. I’m not much into science, but it seems to me like the desire to break out in song and dance, to fly, and even lift our hands in praise comes from an innate desire to ascend into heavenly realms. Perhaps it is God calling us to Himself.

Lest a person thinks a Mennonite boy with Amish roots should be a picture of humility and not succumb to such foolishness I ask them to look up in the Bible Jeremiah 31:12-14, Luke 7:32, or the story of David dancing with all his might when he brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:14).

Perhaps someday some of us will lose our inhibitions and break out into our own impromptu flash mob or musical for the Lord.

See you next time,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

God Really Likes You!

Dear Readers,

On Sunday our pastor made a statement that has really stuck with me. He said, “You know, God really likes you!"

I’m not really sure why that statement packed such a punch to me. My wife and I were discussing it last night, and I admit that I’m still in a little bit of a fog why it struck me so deeply.

I think it has something to do with the fact that all of us want to be liked. Ever since I was in grade school when a classmate told me that someone else liked me I immediately felt a boost of self-esteem. It was usually followed with a tinge of doubt that it was really true. After all, what could a person see in me, a tall, skinny kid who had an inferiority complex?

In high school I was made aware of several girls who said they were interested in being friends with me. I always held them at arm’s length, because I was afraid if they got too close they would see me for the insecure person I was.

Here, a varsity basketball player who could put the ball through a hoop and grab a rebound did not have the self-confidence to even talk to a girl! I was flattered, however, with the thought that a girl might see something in me that I didn’t see in myself, and that perhaps they really did like me.

Numerous places in the Bible there are quotes about God’s love for us. I’m not sure why it is, but the term has become somewhat impersonal to me. I know that God’s love is real, but somehow it seems “out there somewhere”, if you know what I mean.

When I heard the statement from our pastor on Sunday that “God really likes you” it seemed more personal somehow. It made me feel God is my personal friend who likes me and wants to spend time with me. He's a friend that does not care about my foibles; he likes my character, my sense of humor, and even my idiosyncrasies. I'm a unique person who He deems worthy to call His friend.

"I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you
." John 15:15 (NIV)

See you next time,