The Cost Of Honoring

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Sunday we attended the funeral of my wife Kristi’s mom, Charlot.

Charlot lived a full 92 years, and until the last 8 months of her life had been independent and active. But a cyst in her brain gradually stole her balance, then her ability to walk, her independence, and eventually her life.

Charlot had no desire to leave her home, nor her precious dog Dudley, so Kristi and her sisters cared for Charlot at home till the end. At first it involved driving her to many doctors appointments and her all-important weekly visit to the hair dresser. But as the months went by, it became necessary for someone to be with Charlot around the clock.

Near the end, when Charlot couldn’t walk, Kristi and her sisters had to dress her, bathe her, lift her out of bed and into her wheelchair, then lift her into her chair in the den. It was physically demanding and emotionally draining as well, watching their mom decline.

The four daughters paid a price to honor their mother. They sacrificed time, energy, and personal convenience. They spent whole days caring for Charlot’s every need. They gave up their evenings to watch Judge Judy and Rachael Ray with her. They made sure she was comfortable till the end.

And I never heard a word of complaint from any them.

Not everyone has this kind of opportunity to honor their parent. But we all have times we’re called to serve when it’s not convenient. I want honor others unselfishly and cheerfully no matter what the cost.

photo by Eric Hands

Eleven Essential Character Qualities Of A Good Leader

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I’ve been thinking about character lately. What character qualities (not gifts) are important for a leader? I’ve listed 11. What qualities would you add? Which are most important?  I know one thing – I don’t want to be a Laggard!

  • Humility
  • Courage
  • Faithfulness
  • Thankfulness
  • Joyfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-control
  • Generosity
  • Godliness
  • Diligence
  • Patience

God Knows What He’s About

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Ever tempted to think God doesn’t know what he’s doing?  Read this poem a friend recently sent me.

When God wants to drill a man
And thrill a man
And skill a man,
When God wants to mold a man
To play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall be amazed,
Watch His methods, watch His ways!
How He ruthlessly perfects
Whom He royally elects!
How he hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him
Into trial shapes of clay which
Only God understands;
While his tortured heart is crying
And he lifts beseeching hands!
How He bends but never breaks
When his good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses
And with every purpose fuses him;
By every act induces him
To try His splendour out-
God knows what He’s about!

-Author Unknown

Photo by Dermod

Sing To One Another

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When I think of Sunday worship I usually think of me singing to God. Individually. It’s me and God, one on one. I close my eyes, lift my hands, and sing to the God who made me.

And that’s great. Worship is supposed to be a personal encounter with the living God. But if that’s all our worship is, we’re missing something. In Ephesians 5:18-19, Paul writes:

…be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…

When I sing on a Sunday morning, I sing as a part of God’s people. My church sings together.We were purchased by the blood. We are God’s people. We are being transformed into the image of Christ.We are the bride of Christ.

So instead of closing my eyes, maybe I need to keep them open for a while. Maybe I should look around and see all of my brothers and sisters declaring the anthem of grace together. When I sing:

…And as He stands in victory,

Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,

I need to, in a sense, declare that truth to those around me, not just to God. Because worship isn’t just about me and God. It’s about God, His people, and me, a part of His people.

So help me think about this. What does it look like to sing songs, hymns, and spiritual songs to one another?