Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Surviving the End of Summer Panic

I've noticed something buzzing around Hayward lately.  It seems like people are extra busy these days.

Of course, most of us are busy all the time, but as the summer is drawing to an end, a lot of folks have gone into warp drive.

Here's my theory:  I call it "The End of Summer Panic."  We scurry around like an army of ants because we know that autumn and winter are on the way.  There are three thousand jobs to be done and three weeks of good weather (maybe.)

How do we survive the "End of Summer Panic"?  Let me suggest a few helpful hints:

1.  Prioritize:
Make a list of everything you have to do, and want to do before summer's done.  Rank the items according to how important they are.  Start with the most important thing and then work down from there.  Remember, however., that "urgent" isn't always "important."

2.  Plan Ahead:
You can do more during the next six months than you could possibly imagine, but you need to plan for it.  Use the 7-P Principle:  Prayerful Prior Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance.  Often our lives get overcrowded and jammed with too many responsibilities because we to plan ahead.

3.  Put Aside the Non-Essentials:
Most of us engage in activities that aren't that important.  Look back over your calender from the past week, checking it for time-wasters.  Invest in things that matter instead of spending your precious time and energy on junk.

4.  Place God in the Center:
When we make God the center of our lives, everything else falls into place.  He is the center of the universe already -- so why not allow him to be the center of your daily life and schedule planning?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The World Needs More Encouragers

"When you're down and out, something always turns up," quipped Orson Wells, "and it is usually the noses of your friends."

Often, when people most need emotional support and encouragement, they are least likely to find it.  As the old proverb says, "Laugh and the world laughs with you.  Cry, and you cry alone."

We all need encouragement, and, as Chuck Swindoll says, "we die without it. , . slowly, sadly, and angrily."  Psychologist, William James adds this, "The deepest principle of human nature is to be appreciated."

So, with these things in mind, what is your E.Q:  Your encouragment quotient?  How often do you focus on building people up and expressing sincere appreciation?

There are plenty of "discouragers" in this world -- plenty of folks who are quick to criticize and find fault.  It doesn't take much intelligence to be a fault finder.  Encouragers, on the other hand, are a rare breed.  Wherever they go, they inspire hope and bring joy.  

We shrivel under the blistering attacks of discouragers -- but we blossom and thrive under the beams of loving encouragement.

Everyone has the ability to encourage.  We're hard wired for it.  However, our tendency is to let life's problems swamp us, and bog us down.  When that happens, it's hard to look beyond ourselves.

But do you realize that helping others is the best way help yourself?  Whenever you help someone climb uphill, you get closer to the top too.

Who is your greatest encourager?  Why?  What qualities does this person possess that makes him/her different?  Would anybody answer this question with your name?  How can you be a better encourager in all your relationships?

How are things going in your life right now?  Are you an encourager at home, or are you more of a battle axe, a nag, or a walking volcano, ready to erupt?

Being an encourager requires a daily commitment. If you aren't intentional about it, the gloomies will get the best of you. 

It takes intentional effort to focus on the good and beautiful rather than the bugs on the windshield.  Don't let the bugs bug you. 

Encouragers are the medics on the emotional battlefield.  They move from person to person with a healing touch bringing medicine called "comforting hope."  The very survival of some depends on these medics, and these days there is a shortage of them.

Why not sign up for a tour of encouragement duty?  The need is too great to delay.  You have the ability.  Are you willing to step ourside of yourself?  A hurting world needs you.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Wesleyan Apostolic Succession

I was ordained July 10, 1987, when General Superintendent, Dr. Earle Wilson, laid hands on me, shook my hand, and thundered, "Take thou authority to preach the Word!"

I was thinking about this a while back, and wondered how far back I could go with the succession of my ordination. So, I did a little research.

*   I was ordained by Earle Wilson
*   Earle Wilson was ordained by Pilgrim Holiness General Superintendent, William Neff.
*  William Neff was ordained by the Pilgrim founder, Seth Rees
*  Seth Rees was ordained by Nazarene founder, Phineas Bresee  (Note -- Rees was initally "recorded" as a Quaker, because they did not ordain their ministers.  Later, he moved over to the newly formed Church of the Nazarene, and I am taking a leap by assuming that when he became a Nazarene, they ordained him.  Rees was certainly worked beside Bresee as his contemporary.)
*  Phineas Bresee was ordained by Methodist Bishop, Levi Scott
*  Levi Scott was ordained by Elijah Hedding.
*  Elijah Hedding was ordained by Francis Asbury
*  Francis Asbury was ordained by a renegade Anglican priest named John Wesley
*  John Wesley was ordained by Anglican Bishop (of Oxford) John Potter.

*  From Potter -- there's a trail all the way back to St. Peter!  (You can see the Anglican list here.) (Potter is #163)

Now, how about that?

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The Purpose of Theology is Doxology

"We should never forget that the purpose of theology is doxology; we study in order to praise.  The truest expression of trust in God will always be worship to praise God for being greater than we know."
--  Geneva Study Bible note

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

When You're Having Problems

Are you having problems?  Then be happy, because it means you are alive.  The only folks in town with no problems are those buried six feet under in Greenwood Cemetery.

 Any time you attempt something worthwhile, you're going to run into troubles.  They come with the territory of progress.  Forward movement always brings a bit of friction and resistance.  I think problems are in our lives to test our resolve and resilience.

 Here are a few principles to help you face problems when they arise:

 1.  Big problems are reserved for big people.  
 The person who desires to go forward with life and aim high will have bigger problems than the one who just sits around doing nothing and watching the world go by.

 2.  Big plans bring big problems.  
 God gives us the vision of what He can accomplish through us.  Sometimes, His vision is accompanies by big plans and big problems.  One guarantee:  If God supplies the vision, He will put a PRO in front of it and supply the provision.  He will give us all the power we need to overcome the obstacles.

 3.  Problems are often detours rather than stop signs. 
 If your first idea unravels, don't give up.  There must be a better way.  There's almost always more than one possible solution.  

 When faced with a big challenge, I often sit down and write 10 possible solutions.  I don't settle for three or seven -- I work until I get ten.  Then I look over the list and pray, asking God to show me which of the ten is best one to try first.

 If the first one doesn't work, I still have nine options to go!  

 Don't be blocked by a problem.  There's always a way around it.

 4.  "God is bigger than any problem I have."  
 My father had a sign in his office with this quote on it.  I believe it with all my heart.  My problem may be big, but my God is bigger!

 There is no problem so great that God cannot solve it.
 There is no problem so heavy that God cannot carry it.
 There is no hurt so deep that God cannot heal it.
 There is no grief so dark, that God cannot comfort it.

 "My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory." Phil. 4:19

Monday, August 01, 2016

Still Carrying Her

Two monks were walking to church one day along a winding, wooded path.

As they rounded a bend, they came upon an elderly, heavy-set woman standing at the edge of a mud puddle in the middle of the road.

“Oh dear! Oh dear!” the old lady worried, “How am I ever going to get past this puddle without getting my shoes and dress wet and filthy? I just don’t know what to do!”

Then, her eyes brightened as she saw the two priests approaching. “Excuse me! Is there any way you fine gentlemen could help me get over this puddle of water?”

Brother Bob, the younger monk, smiled brightly, “Sure! We’d be glad to help! Wouldn’t we, Fred?

Brother Fred, an older clergyman, glared at his friend, cleared his throat, and grudgingly replied, “Uh… Sure, Uh… I,,,. I guess so.”

After a quick assessment, Brother Bob put an action plan together. “Brother Fred, Let’s carry her across! You take her left side, and I’ll cover the right!”

“Uh,,,Yeah. . . O.K. , , , If you say so Brother Bob.”

“One, two, three. . . LIFT!”

The two ministers picked up the heavy lady, and struggling, sloshed through the puddle. They deposited her safely, clean and dry, on the other side.

“Good! Good!!” the woman gushed, “I didn’t get a bit muddy!” Then, without at word of thanks, she scurried on her way.

For the next twenty minutes, Brother Fred fussed and fumed about what had happened.

“I can’t believe you volunteered us to carry that lady through the mud puddle!!” he muttered, Then, the angry minister proceeded to give a litany of complaints:

“My shoes are muddy!”
“My socks are soaking wet!”
“My pants have mud all over them!”
“My back hurts!”
“Why in the world did you agree to something stupid like this?”
“She didn’t even say thanks!”

To this, his good hearted friend replied, “For twenty minutes now, you’ve been griping about helping that dear old lady over the mud. You obviously didn’t want to carry her from the very beginning. The funny thing is, I sat her down as soon as we got her across the puddle. But, you, Brother Fred, YOU’RE STILL CARRYING HER!”

(Adapted from an Anthony De Mello tale)