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Isaiah 59:9 (take a look at it)

I was at a friends house who has a gigantic fishtank. Several salt-water fish were swimming around looking through the glass at the strange creatures eyeing them.  As I looked at the fish my mind couldn’t help think of how we are so much like those fish.

These fish can’t possibly understand the problems issues we face as human beings in a larger world. They can’t grasp our thought processes nor can they comprehend the complexities of our lives.  All they know is that they live in this certain “zone” of area, and that when it comes time to eat, food seems to magically appear from a giant hand from above.

Are we so different from these fish when it comes to our understanding of God?

We live in this “zone” we call earth.  We can’t understand God anymore than fish in a tank can understand us.  We can’t comprehend his thought processes, we can’t even begin to grasp His greatness or the concerns that plague His mind. I’m reminded what St Basil said to the early church:

It would be easier to measure the entire ocean in a little cup, than to grasp the greatness of God in the human mind.”

Think about this, we have to remember that this life is not all there is.  That there is more out there that we cannot possibly imagine.  God has plans and designs that are at work in the world at this very moment, even in your own life, that we cannot even hope to see, understand or know.  His handy-work is threaded throughout our world-society and culture.

Yet what is amazing and truly unique about the God I serve is this: He invites us to seek Him, and if we’ll seek Him, we’ll find Him. Even though He is completely beyond us, He is, at the same moment, near to us.  And I’m reminded at this time of year that He is Immanuel – God with us!  He became a “fish” like us and dwelt among us – His own creation.

So the next time you feel overwhelmed in life, remember that there is a God who is watching over you, providing for your needs, and working in your life to take care of you even when you can’t see it – just like my friend watches over & provides for the fish in his tank.

Merry Christmas

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I remember as a kid my sister used to listen to Whitney Houston.  “Queen of the Night”, “I Will Always Love”, I knew them all.

Jaclyn & I were driving to the store listening to the Christmas station and who would come on but Whitney Houston.  We started talking about Houston’s career and thinking back to her “glory days”, her problems with cocaine, rehabs, career destruction, etc.

I brought up the idea that if Whitney Houston could go back and talk to herself 15 years ago and tell her younger self what her decisions would eventually lead to…what would happen?  I would bet that she would take drastic measures to make sure that her current situation wouldn’t happen.  She would probably make decisions that would keep her from going toward the place she currently finds herself. But the fact, is that she can’t.

And it’s easy to pick apart someone else’s life isn’t it?  But what about our own?  Think about the kind of decisions you’re making in your life – where are they leading you?  Where will you be 5, 10, or 15 years from now as a result of your current decisions?  We only have one life to live. We can’t go back and talk our younger selves into making wise choices. We can’t speak sense into the past, we only have now – today – the present.

And we can make wise decisions now. We can examine our choices now. We can change our life perspectives now.

The fact is that our daily decisions effect our life outcomes.  So where are you?

I was listening to some Christmas music today while I attended a sick baby & sick-pregnant wife.  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer came on and for some reason some things started clicking in my mind about the song. Of course, we all usually think about the clay-animation classic and the hard time that Rudolph seems to have. He has this great gift, this incredibly unique nose that makes him special and nobody sees him for who he really is as a reindeer. Sad right?

Well, as I listened to the song playing today I realized something else.  Look at the words:

They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games. [notice, nothing changes] THEN one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say, ‘Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?’ THEN how the reindeer LOVED HIM. They shouted out with glee!”

Those are some pretty SAD reindeer!  Think about it, they never cared about Rudolph, nor did they accept him, until it was shown to them that Rudolph could DO SOMETHING for them! Now, I know I’m being overly-analytical about this kids Christmas song – but hey, I’ve got a house full of sick people. What else can I do!?

Do we do the same with people?  We really don’t appreciate them or care about them until we see what they can DO for us?  Think about Christians in churches across America – when a new person comes in, do we accept them openly or wait until they can fill a need in the church before we accept them?

What about Christ Himself? Do we, through our lifestyles, shun Christ until we get ourselves into a bind we can’t get out of and then it’s all, “Hey Jesus, won’t you guide my sleigh (life) tonight!?……but when we get back I don’t really need you anymore…”  That sounds appalling, but seriously consider it for a moment. What “reindeer games” do we keep Him out of in our lives?

Sorry if I completely ruined this classic song – but it just goes to show that sometimes “Rudolph” is right in front of us in our lives. That sometimes, he’s not a lonely little reindeer who has been kicked out of reindeer games, but Immanuel, who has been shunned from our daily lives.

I’m sitting in a sweet little coffee shop on the north side of UNT campus in Denton called Art Six. New Age, soothing music is playing in the background. And, sorry Art Six, I’m drinking less than taste-bud friendly hot chocolate, but surrounded by people that I’m connecting with on a personal basis.

I feel more alive than ever! I feel more connected to my world than ever! I feel more linked with the mission of Christ than ever.

Why is it that Christians don’t spend more time with people?  Why is it that Christians don’t spend more time linking themselves with the mission of Christ?  I am more convinced than ever that it is because the majority of Christians don’t care about what Christ cares about.

I understand that not everybody can come to a coffee shop in their area in the middle of the day to meet people.  But what about the people that they work with? What about the family they’ll see over the holidays? What about the waiter/waitress that will serve them the next time they eat out? What about?…what about?…what about?…

The fact, is that the world is full of people, and our particular locations in this world that we see on a daily basis have people in them that need something.  They need hope – love – grace – peace – acceptance – help – connection – the list continues? People have their own stories, and what made Jesus so great is that he connected with those stories. Do you? Do i? Do Christians?

If we believe what we say we believe, that Jesus came to connect us with God – then, as priests in His kingdom, shouldn’t we be about the Father’s business doing the same thing?

Where are the people?  They’re right there – living, breathing, seeking, looking for answers – in front of you…

I saw on the news that on “Black Friday”, the mad-crazy shopping day after Thanksgiving, that in New York there was a man at Wal-Mart who got trampled by the crowd of people rushing into the store, and died as a result.  He was an employee who was doing his job, simply opening the door, and the people were in such a rush to get…what?  microwaves?  tvs?  video games?  furniture?  stuff…stuff…stuff.

A guy freaking DIED because people were more concerned about getting their STUFF on sale, then watching out for the man who was opening the door for them to get their butts through the front door.

Let me ask you something, how many people do you run over each day in pursuit of what you want?

to reach your own goals?

to achieve your next promotion?

to do your own thing?

to prove your own point?   Shall I continue?…

What are our goals, promotions, stuff really worth…if we have to run over people, even killing them, in order to get what we want?

So my wife, son & myself were traveling for Thanksgiving, as I’m sure many of you did as well.  We were on our way to visit my parents in Oklahoma on Friday evening and as we passed through Denton Cadon, my son, decided to fill his drawers with poop. We stopped to get gas, my wife opens the door to change his diaper and what does she find!? She finds Cadon with his diaper pulled open and poop smeared all himself, his chair & his clothes!  I mean, if we would have recorded it, we would be $10k richer on America’s Funniest Video…I was impressed by my son’s skills!  Not to mention the smell was overwhelming!

But seriously, don’t we sometimes live that same way? We fill our lives with junk & by living our own way we sometimes smear it all over ourselves and our surroundings…we even enjoy it at times. Maybe we laugh or joke about it to try and convince our conscience it isn’t that big o’ deal, we even try to convince other people that our poop doesn’t stink.

I suppose we have to come to grips with the way we choose to live. And the only way to change is to get cleaned up and get a fresh diaper. So think about your life and make sense from poopy pants.

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