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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Christmas is for adults, too.

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Everybody always says, “Christmas is for Children.”

Been there, done that.  It was great.

However…

I’d like to raise a few points on behalf of those who find themselves with a few gray hairs.  Or a lot of them.

Christmas is no less magical or profound or sweet or challenging now than it was when we were whippersnappers.

In fact, it may even be better.

Let’s talk about Hope:  I must confess I’ve done my time on the Island of Misfit Toys.  Feeling broken. Not sure where I belonged. But I’ve learned that everyone gets broken.  Everyone feels like a misfit from time to time.  It is the coming of Christ that gives our lives meaning and purpose.  Now I know what it really means to have HOPE!

Let’s talk about Love:  I’ve learned that there is no perfect present underneath the tree.  Hard as we might try, we can’t fit love in a box.  There’s only one gift that truly satisfies to that extent.  It is the gift that God gave to us, so that we might pass it on.  Now I know what it really means to have (and give) LOVE!

Let’s talk about Peace:  Every year I find myself saying, “has the world ever been this bad?”  My attentiveness to the suffering around me has developed, but so has my faith and resolve.  I believe there is no turmoil that the Prince of Peace cannot transform, and I want to help.  Now I know how to look for signs of PEACE!

Let’s talk about Joy:  Whereas once a gadget or a toy would make me giddy, now joy strikes me much more deeply. It is in the presence of family and friends.  In witnessing simple acts of grace.  In the Christmas story.  More than just the excitement of a season, I am reminded of what God With Us truly means both now, and the whole year round.  Now I know the ongoing thrill of JOY!

Oh, I’d never take back those wondrous years of Christmases past.

But that wonder has never left, if we know where to look!

It’s in any heart that embraces the HOPE, LOVE, PEACE, and JOY of Christmas…

and never lets go.

Merry Christmas.

Mitch

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