Archive for June, 2013

Jun 30 2013

Paul Bunyan

Published by under Poems

paul bunyan: a poem
by andy merrick

Sometime many years ago
Maples stood in knee-deep snow
And robins flew from here to there
A partridge in a tree of pears

Walnuts grew off branches and limbs
Orioles sang their favorite hymns
Tapping sounds, a pecker of wood
Cardinal red lit up the hood

But a wealthy man desired more things
Planned apartments fit for kings
Called Paul Bunyan and his blue ox Babe
Downed the forest in three dang days

Word got around the man had wheels
Always a topic at aviary meals
Revenge is desired, whether near or far
And that’s why birds poop on your car.

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Jun 29 2013

Everyday Saturday

Published by under Life

Fill your days with work and there’s little doubt what you’ll get. If you have even average intelligence and work over a long enough period of time, you’ll become successful. You’ll earn good money and, most likely, respect.

Drive even harder and surround yourself with smart people and you’ll probably multiply your earnings – maybe even build an empire.

Become skilled in juggling a million balls and you could have it all. Or so we hear.

Better one handful with tranquillity
than two handfuls with toil
and chasing after the wind.
_Ecclesiastes 4:6

Picture a person with two handfuls of money and possessions. They’re running around trying to get even more, squeezing what they already have into a tight ball so there’s room for the new stuff. It usually looks silly.

Now see the person with one handful of money. Their other hand is open and they’re waiting to receive the good things of life – love, joy, stories, weather, wisdom, God, friends, food, nature, music, books, movies, family, sleep.

Too many of us these days are killing ourselves trying to get promotions. We hustle to build platforms. Most of us would be better off sitting on one. Or in a lawn chair under some trees watching a movie.

The question for most of us shouldn’t be, “How can I get more? How can I fill up both hands?” It’s this: How much is enough?

Weekends are a good time to ask that question. When we stop chasing the wind and start enjoying it blowing on our face, we immediately remember where true riches lie.

there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.
_Ecclesiastes 8:15

Enjoy your Saturday, brothers and sisters! May we labor toward more days filled with the space and gladness of Saturday!

(Listen for the guitar slide at 2:13 that launches this song into a screaming anthem. It’s one half a second that soars in an already-inspiring song.)

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Jun 28 2013

Bright Stars

Published by under Life

Seeing the stars in the city is a little different than looking at them in the country. In the city, it looks like there are a few hundred. They look great. Until you go out in the country and see there are 10,000. The city lights were hiding all those other stars!

DIM STARS
Everywhere we go, there are people, like stars, of differing brightness. Some are big personalities who are like bright stars – easily seen. Others are tucked away – present but a little more dim. Maybe a lot more dim. [NOTE: I’m just talking about personalities, not someone’s value as a human].

SHINY THINGS
Many of us enjoy the bright star people. We want to be close to them and have them like us. We sometimes ignore the dimmer people and occasionally don’t see them at all because we’re so locked into our own game of getting people to like us. We shower the bright stars with attention and neglect consideration of the dim.

My brothers… do not show favoritism… If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself,’ you are doing right.
_James 2:1, 8

We have to fight this favoritism beast inside us! It stings to admit I treat people differently. But I do. I wish God would put his love for all people into us so we loved all people the same. And I hope he does that for all of us SOON. But until then, here’s one thought: If it makes sense (maybe even if it doesn’t), go talk to someone you normally wouldn’t today – someone you might consider a dim light. Take a deeper-than-usual interest in them.

And, if you feel like it, at the end of the conversation, ask them to take a picture with you. When we ask someone to take a photo with us, we say to them, “You’re important” without speaking a word.

If we can turn off some of the “city lights” inside us that drown out the dim stars, we’ll be on our way to walking out of favoritism and into love.

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Jun 27 2013

Becoming Excellent

Published by under Life

Coaches push us. Good coaches push us hard. They push us to the brink. Once we’ve been to the brink, we have a clearer picture of what excellence looks like. We celebrate that every time we hear stories of incredible athletes who have trained so hard that many of their practices included vomiting because they’d pushed themselves so close to their limit.

COUCH AND COACH
Outside of athletics and our professions, most of us prefer comfort. We don’t like it when our hearts hurt, our minds race, or our bodies ache. But… what if God is our coach? What if he consistently pushes us to the brink in order to make us excellent people?

we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
_Romans 5:3-4

All great things, right? Desirable things! But the process of getting there doesn’t feel good many times. We often aren’t excited to choose it over comfort.

If I knew
What I was gonna have to go through
To get to where I want to go to
I don’t know if I’d have come this far.
_Andrew Ripp – Just Enough

CHAMPS
God’s aim is for us to be champions – huge winners with huge love for the world. Most of us don’t have the will to voluntarily endure sustained difficulty like a professional athlete. So God occasionally imposes it on us.

When we go through these hard times and ask, “God, why are you doing this to me?” One answer may be: “To make you like Jesus. To make you excellent.”

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