I fell asleep at my desk

asleep-1296292_960_720I fell asleep at my desk.

Not for long.  Just a few seconds.

It was that wasteland time between 1 and 2pm, after a big lunch, after the caffeine had worn off.

My eyelids started to flutter, and then close, and then…maybe a minute had passed.  I just drifted off, into one of those lazy flights of escape.

Sounds like a guy who needs a nap, right? Well, there’s a problem with that.

I gave up naps for Lent.

It’s been hard!  No naps, except on Sundays.  On Sundays I get to sleep my guts out.  (Not till after church).

The rest of the week, I’m challenged to stay awake during the day.

I’ve always grabbed little naps here or there.  20 minutes before a meeting, 30 minutes before dinner, that kind of thing.

But lately, it seemed like my naps were getting longer.  I was using them as an escape from the busy real world. Instead of giving me energy, they seemed to be sapping it.

I decided that maybe I could give that time to God, instead.

Remember Jesus, in the Garden?

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  –Matthew 26:40-41

I want to stand watch with Jesus.  I want my spirit to be willing.

But, alas, my flesh has proven to be weak on a couple occasions this Lent.  Sitting in my living room, I’ve found the need to close my eyes, just for a couple minutes.  And here, at my desk, the day’s work just seems too much to handle.

I take my eye off the prize, and then Zzzzzzzzzz.

As vigilant as you and I long to be, we may be destined to fall asleep on the job, to lose our focus, to give into our weaknesses.  It’s bound to happen every once in a while.

But if Lent accomplishes anything, it reminds us that being a living sacrifice for God does not mean achieving perfection.

It means being willing to take up the cross, even if we’ll fall.

It means following faithfully the path of Christ, even if we’ll stray.

It means living with our eyes wide open…

Well, at least most of the time.

Have a great week,

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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AttenDance.

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It’s the newest sensation that’s sweeping the nation.

I call it “The AttenDance”.

Here’s how you do it:

You go to church a couple Sunday’s a month,

and on the other weeks, you don’t.

On those off weeks, you dance around to 101 different activities.

Watching the kids do sports.  Or watching the NFL.

Grocery shopping.  Or sleeping in after a jam-packed Saturday.

Visiting family outside of town.  Or getting caught up on housework.

The AttenDance may look different depending on who does it, but more and more active Christians are trying it out.

The result:  Average worship attendance numbers are dropping almost everywhere.   (Giving may be down, too.)

With so many Christians — even self-professed active and committed Christians– missing so much time in worship, the change I wonder most about is to the vitality of Sunday morning.

What happens when we’re not all together in one place?

You know, like at Pentecost?

The Bible tells us that the disciples were all together in one place–filled with the Holy Spirit, dancing around.

Was Pentecost a reward for perfect attendance?

Will the Holy Spirit still come to us even if some of us are dancing off somewhere else?

Of course!  Jesus said, “Where 2 or 3 are gathered”…right?

Absolutely.

Okay.  We all have real-world and spiritual priorities to reconcile in our own ways.

We live in a busy world, and Sundays have become just as busy as other days.

Does that mean The AttenDance will stick around or is it just the latest fad?

I really don’t know.

Some will say we need to “come back to church”.

Others will say we need to “change with the times.”

I say, let us never forget

that wherever we find ourselves on a Sunday morning…

We’re together in Spirit.

 

Have a great week,

 

Mitch

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Fill’r Up.

Gas-Sation-Tips_Web-960x640Remember full service?

Gas stations, I mean.

It was so easy. You’d just pull in, roll down the window, and say “Fill’r up!”

And then you’d watch as other folks did it all for you:

Oil? Checked.

Tire Pressure?  Checked.

Windshield?  Washed.

Wow.  That seems like a long time ago.

You can still find a full service station every once in a while, but over the past few decades things have swung dramatically into the realm of “self serve”.

You get out.

You pump your own gas.

Maybe you wipe off the windshield.

The oil and the tires?  Eh, they’re probably fine.

We certainly have a different experience at the pump today than folks did 30+ years ago.

Interestingly, some of the changes in our gas stations have happened in our churches, too.

It used to be the pastor and the choir would do most of the work filling people up with The Spirit.

Sermon? Check

Anthem? Check

Prayer? Prayed

Just to be present in the congregation would fill people up.

And that still works for many.

But more and more, today, people like to pump their own Living Water, so to speak.

Seeking on their own or in small groups, active and engaged, both in the church and out in the world.

I wonder.  Which do you prefer?

Are you more the Full Serve or Self Serve type?

Well, if I was working at the station on the corner (and by the way, I am) I’d work hard to find a way to offer BOTH options.

Full Service and Self Service spirituality options,

multiple methods to “fill’r up”,

so that everybody can be powered by the Holy Spirit,

operating at the highest possible Ministry Per Gallon.

Have a great week, Mitch 01c513f0d3dbca8db1e36955f1820cfa