Friday, December 22, 2006

Wow! It's been awhile since I have blogged. Too much going on, for sure.

I was thinking of that scripture in Isaiah 40:4, "Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth." Now, I know that this is speaking of the future of Israel based on God's promise to Abraham. However, I also see something in the verse for me -- you. I am thinking about personality and way-of-life. All of us have our weaknesses and strengths in our personalities, and all of us have crooked ways of doing things and thinking about things, maybe we are a little too rough sometimes in our thoughts or words or actions.

Here is a picture of what God is doing in our personal lives, by way of the Holy Spirit. He is filling up the low, inadequate places in our personalities; sheering off the more vaunted hilltops of our thinking; straightening out our ways and polishing our roughness. His greatest desire is for us to be completely like him, which means a perfect personality. Now we may not get it totally right until we enter glory, but that doesn't mean he isn't working on us now. And I think it is helpful, when our personalities flare up (or dip down), that we recognize our faults and surrender them to the Lord so that he can get the job done more quickly.

Of course it hurts, but he is beyond worrying about the hurts. He is looking at the finished product. Proverbs says (27:17), "As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." Can you imagine the sparks and banging sounds of iron working against iron to get a desired product (cf. the blacksmith)? And of course, the promise of the New Testament: "He that has begun a good work in you will continue it until the day of Christ!"

Let's work with God to "fill up" and "make low" and "straighten" and "smooth"!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Last Monday evening, our Bishop gave the ministers a book entitled "The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make", by Hans Finzel. I don't know who that is, but I found the idea of the book very intriguing for a number of reasons, the first of which is that we at Grandview Tabernacle are stepping out into some very new areas and I am the 'leader' in it all. So, I thought, hmmm...maybe I need to read this book.

I am glad that Bishop Drake gave me the book, and even more glad that I decided to read it. It is full of great ideas, suggestions, cautions, and pithy quotes from many different sources. Here is one I want to share by James A. Autry, "Love and Profit". It is called Threads.

Sometimes you just connect,
like that,
no big thing maybe
but something beyond the usual business stuff.
It comes and goes quickly
so you have to pay attention,
a change in the eyes
when you ask about the family,
a pain flickering behind the statistics
about a boy and a girl in school,
or about seeing them every other Sunday.
An older guy talks about his bride,
a little affectation after twenty-five years.
A hot-eyed achiever laughs before you want him to.
Someone tells about his wife's job
or why she quit working to stay home.
An old joker needs another laugh on the way
to retirement.
A woman says she spends a lot of her salary
on an au pair
and a good one is hard to find
but worth it because there's nothing more important
than the baby.
In every office
you hear threads
of love and joy and fear and guilt,
the cries for celebration and reassurance,
and somehow you know that connecting those threads
is what you are supposed to do,
and business takes care of itself.

I don't suppose I can commit this to memory, or even want to; but I do want to remember the gist of the poem -- care about others, listen for the little clues that lead to great deliverance and help. If you are reading this, I hope it blessed you as much as it did me.