Tag Archives: news

noisy

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This morning, as I am often apt to do on days that I blog, I woke up and thought to myself, “What in the world am I going to write about today?” I’m sure there’s some fancy phrase for this dilemma like writer’s stymie or writer’s barricade…but anyway.  As one is apt to do in this situation I turned to my trusty friend social media to see if I could find inspiration and was immediately inundated, nay overwhelmed with commentaries, discussions, opinions, etc. on everything under the sun. It’s as if social media has become an interstate clogged with billboards intended to either bottleneck traffic or have you swerve off the road entirely. Trying to make sense of all that is coming at you could almost be a full-time job and I was looking here for inspiration…? I wonder how often we step into the social media fray hoping to come away inspired and bettered by what we encounter there? And in the same vein how often do we come away feeling like we’ve encountered nothing but noise?

One of my favorite stories in the Old Testament revolves around the prophet Elijah. Elijah is a titan of a prophet who has an amazing showdown with over 400 prophets of Ba’al and sees YHWH answer with fire from Heaven. And then as if that isn’t enough he declares the end of a drought and then outruns a royal chariot on foot. Then in the midst of all the noise he receives a death threat from the queen and runs and hides for fear of his life. To answer Elijah among all of the noise God takes him to a solitary place and here is where we pick up in scripture. “The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.” – 1 Kings 19:11-13

The phrase in the scripture for “gentle whisper” is actually best translated “sound of sheer silence”. This is where the prophet, who has been surrounded by noise and craziness and even good things, encounters God. This is where the prophet finds the ability to keep going. This is where the prophet finds inspiration. And I began to think about how often I disengage from the noise. How often do we turn off our devices? How often do we turn off the news? How often do we turn off our echo chambers that affirm how we think in order to listen to the One in whom we believe? My challenge to myself and perhaps to you as well today is to allow the noise to be the noise. May we also give space in our lives to the quiet so that perhaps we may have that same encounter in the “gentle whisper” which is the space in which the Spirit often speaks.

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can I get a witness

How many of you love watching the news? I for one, am not one of them. I actually prefer to read my news in digital format these days because it seems as if the news is always just bad. Granted, reading it isn’t much better, but at least then I don’t think it has quite the same shock value. Every once in a while however, I find myself watching one of the early morning news programs. And it seems that every time one of these comes on one of the featured stories involves some sort of court room drama. There is some high profile case that is being decided/battled out in our courts and they just can’t wait to tell me all about it. And it’s not just the news stations that are court room obsessed. Have you turned on daytime TV lately? I think nowadays that when you are promoted to the bench it comes with a television contract.

Our obsession with the courtroom is weird. I can’t quite put my finger on it. But I do think it may have something to do with all of our uncertainty in the world today. With all of the upheaval and chaos, here is a place where at the end of the day a verdict is handed down and someone is proved right and someone is proved wrong. The scary part of this for me is that this culture sometimes enters into the life of the church. The church finds itself also caught up in a culture of uncertainty and subsequently battle lines are being drawn over every issue and at the end of the day someone has to be proved right and someone has to be proved wrong. But I am not sure this is the script we are called to. I once saw a church sign, so who knows where this originated, that read, “Christians aren’t called to be judges or lawyers, but to be witnesses.” And I love that, as corny as it may be. It reminds me of that powerful verse in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

So let’s play out the courtroom analogy for a bit. Christians aren’t called to be judges. There is one judge and we all must face Him eventually…so that responsibility is off our shoulders. Christians aren’t called to be lawyers. We don’t have to extricate the truth for those around us because the truth is completely embodied in one person, Jesus Christ (John 14:6). We are called to be witnesses. And what do witnesses do? They share their experience, their story. You see, the gospel that brings freedom for captives, sight for the blind, love for the loveless, hope for the outcast is not something that can be handed down like a verdict. It can’t be argued for in a court of opinion. It must be experienced by an encounter with Jesus. And how can people know who Jesus is unless we are sharing our encounter, our experience, our transformation? Three of the most powerful words in all of scripture may be all that we need to be true witness, “Come and see…”. May we today come to the realization that people cannot be brought to Jesus unless they can see the difference He has made in us and want to experience the same.


trivial

I can’t help it. I guess it is the Southern in me that can’t look away from tragedy and its’ various responses. Last evening I found myself glued to news sites and to social media as the weigh-in began on the tragedy in Moore, OK. My heart is still sickened by the extreme loss and the pain some of the families are experiencing. I honestly can’t imagine that kind of hurt. But in the midst of responses around the internet, a few posts struck me. Some people felt the need to point out that they didn’t want to post their normal trivial family stuff in the midst of such a tragedy and all I kept thinking was…these things aren’t necessarily trivial. In fact, I am sure many of the parents standing around the rubble of a descemated elementary school longed for trivial things. They longed for goofy Facebook posts about their kid’s drama. I am sure they are pining for pictures of stupid things their sons or daughters had done. They’re wishing back time that was once perceived as trivial.

We sometimes look at things in our lives as less than in the face of something so horrific, but I am sure that the victims of this tragedy would scream at us and say that nothing is trivial. Every moment, every conversation, every touch that you have with your loved ones rings with the echoes of eternity because they are a gift from God. If there is one thing tragedy can possibly help to redeem for those not immediately effected by it, is the fact that life is short and we are only given so much of it. In writing to the church the apostle Paul said, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17) Everything we do is to be done in the name of the Lord. All of a sudden everything we do carries weight. It carries substance.

I look around at the situation right now and I don’t think I even have words that can help comfort those who lost people in Oklahoma. All I can possibly do is offer my prayers and support.*But I can speak to those of us on the outside looking in. Life is a gift. Each moment loaded with possibilities for the greatness of God to shine through. Cherish each moment. Regardless of how trivial it may seem….one day it won’t. May we be so bold as to hold on to each moment and encounter life knowing each moment is precious. Pray for Oklahoma. Grace and Peace

* One tangible way we can support is by offering up our resources to those who are meeting the immediate need. I encourage you to do so as well:

https://secure2.convio.net/cn/site/Donation2?df_id=5320&5320.donation=form1&JServSessionIdr004=vs6iy8zzb6.app214b

http://www.redcross.org/charitable-donations


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