FLOOD

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(Photo by KAKE News)

We had a flood here in Mulvane and the surrounding area this past weekend.

It was small compared to the mess in Louisiana, but it was big enough to cause a ton of damage.

I’ve seen things I’d only seen on the nightly news:  Streets turned into raging rivers.  Homes destroyed by ceiling-high waters.

Houses being gutted, carpet being torn up, drywall being cut out.

And so much heavy, sopping wet stuff.

When a flood hits a home it does not leave belongings in a nice neat pile.

It churns through a room, and doesn’t distinguish between trash in a trash can and clothes in a dresser.  Or precious belongings stored high on a shelf.

Without warning, people’s lives were instantly reset.  In several cases, starting now with nothing.

Floods are not cool.

Except…

The support in the days since our flood has been amazing.

Church members cooking food for disaster workers.  People assembling flood buckets to distribute to families.

Assessors making their way from house to house.  Teams from across the state driving in to do the grueling work of mucking out houses.

Community members, agencies like the Red Cross and the Great Plains Disaster Response, businesses from all over, total strangers mobilizing to love their neighbor, all pouring in to help.

That kind of flood…

is awesome.

 

Stay dry,

Mitch

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Baring False Witness

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From the website Liespotting.com:

Humans are lied to as many as 200 times a day.
Social psychologist Jerald Jellison of the University of Southern California published this figure in his 1977 book, “I’m Sorry, I Didn’t Mean To, and Other Lies We Love To Tell.” The hard-to-believe figure, which of course includes the many innocent “white lies” we hear each day, was given further credence in a 2002 study by Robert Feldman of the University of Massachusetts, who found that on average, people told two to three lies in a ten-minute conversation.

In short — We’re being lied to.  How does that make you feel?

How many bold face lies come at me in a day?  Maybe I don’t want to know.

Keep in mind, a lot of those lies are to avoid embarrassment, to protect secrets, and to gloss over unpleasantness.

I’m okay with those.

It’s the other ones that make me furious.

If I find out someone has been hurtfully and deceitfully dishonest to my face, I’m apt to push them out of my life.

At least until I cool off.  And am apologized to.

“Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness.”  It’s a pretty serious commandment when you think about it.

How can we build a society if we don’t have some degree of honesty in place?

How can we build the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth?

Shame, shame, shame.

Ahem.  Um.  Can I be honest?

I’ve told some doozies in my day.

I’ll stop if you stop.

Not the little white ones.  I think we need those.

Oh, and that line above where I said I’d stop if you stop?

My fingers were crossed.

But seriously, folks.

Lying is a hard habit to break.

Honesty is a spiritual discipline, and we need help.

What we need is the Spirit’s help.

The Spirit of Grace…

and Truth,

to help us at baring our false witnesses,

and clothing us with righteousness.

So be it.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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Bump, Set, Spike, Embrace

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I’ve been really enjoying the Olympics.

There’s something truly gratifying about watching people excel at what they do.

Even sports that seem weird to me, like 2-person kayaking or Rugby 7 are fascinating to watch.  I didn’t know either sport existed!

I’ve watched a couple matches with the USA women’s indoor volleyball team now, and I think they have impressed me the most.

Each point contains so much activity I actually had to look up and confirm that it’s just 6 people on a side at any one time.  It seems like more!

Someone’s serving.  Someone’s digging the ball right before it hits the ground.  People are bumping, setting, spiking, faking, blocking.  All the while they’re calling out to each other, coordinating their efforts.

Here’s what I noticed, though.  After each point, win or lose, the women come to the center of their side of the court, throw their arms around each other, and say encouraging words.

It’s just part of the rhythm of the game, and it isn’t only the US team that does this.

Bump, Set, Spike, Embrace.  Bump, Set, Spike, Embrace.

During the point, everybody has their own job to do, working in tandem, coordinated towards a common purpose.

And in between each point they take a moment to come together, express their unity, and share mutual encouragement.

This is a great model for the church!

A group of disciples come together for a common purpose, but dozens of different tasks.

Everybody does their part.  Sometimes there are successes, sometimes there are failures.

But always, and regardless, the church comes together in regular intervals to embrace one another, to pray, to praise, and to encourage.

It takes a lot of practice, and a lot of discipline, and a lot of faith to be a church like that.

But let me tell ya, what we’re in it for…

is worth more than all the gold in the world.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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Thees and Thous

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As pastors go, I’m a fairly casual guy.

I hardly ever robe.  I’ll wear a jacket but seldom a tie.

I’ve been known to read the scripture straight off of my iPhone in worship.

Heck, I even play the drums in our praise band.

So it might surprise you to know where I go when I’m looking for devotional material.

Time and time again I turn to a book, written in 1936, by a Professor of Theology at the University of Edinburgh.

His name is John Baillie, and the book is “A Diary of Private Prayer”.

It’s organized into prayers for morning and evening of each day of the month.  Let me give you a short sample from this morning’s prayer:

O God my Creator and Redeemer, I may not go forth to-day except Thou dost accompany me with Thy blessing.  Let not the vigour and freshness of the morning, or the glow of good health, or the present prosperity of my own undertakings, deceive me into a false reliance upon my own strength.  All these good gifts have come to me from Thee.  They were Thine to give and they are Thine also to curtail.  They are not mine to keep; I do but hold them in trust; and only in continued dependence upon Thee, the Giver, can they be worthily enjoyed.

I’m not the only one who seeks out this book filled with thees and thous.  It’s been reprinted many times — I actually have three copies of it.

So what is it about this 80 year book, written in antiquated English, that stirs my soul?

The more formal language is beautiful, written at a time when a single sentence could be a work of art.  It sounds like how I sometimes wish my plain prayers could sound, if only I could muster the words.

And the prayers that Baillie wrote seem to capture deep thoughts and simple ideas in a way that conveys the stirrings of my soul.

Here’s the Amazon link if you’d like to explore this book: https://www.amazon.com/Diary-Private-Prayer-John-Baillie/dp/0684824981

More importantly, I wonder if you have a special book you turn to in your spiritual reading, time and again?

It may be relatively new, like “Jesus Calling” or by an ancient writer like St. Augustine.

I encourage Thee to share in the comments!

Happy reading and have a good week,

Mitch

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