Being the CAN in Canned Goods

pantry

How you can help:

  • First Christian Church, has a Food Pantry, and you can help by either donating canned goods or through a monetary gift to help people in the El Dorado area.
  • The Salvation Army is a nation-wide ministry that exists to help those in need.
  • Samaritan’s Purse is a global ministry that responds to the physical and spiritual needs of people in times of crisis.
  • The Lord’s Diner is a ministry in Wichita that focuses on feeding the hungry.
  • Red Cross

As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. ~Galatians 6:10

 

Unwanted Memories: Is There An Answer?

droofFor many people, yesterday’ shooting in Fort Lauderdale stirred-up unwanted memories of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold in Columbine and Dylann Roof in Charleston. We should not be surprised that these events are beyond our comprehension, because they are often perpetrated by people who, unlike most,  have no concept of conscious.

Sociopath and psychopath are words that have been used to described people like Harris, Klebold, and Roof, as well as Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and Dennis Rader. The DSM-5 classifies sociopathy and psychopathy as Antisocial Personality Disorders and sets certain criteria for a diagnosis:

  • A disregard for laws, social mores, and the rights of others
  • A failure to feel remorse or guilt
  • A tendency to display violent behavior
  • Sociopaths are agitated, disorganized individuals, and they are unable to blend in with society
  • Psychopaths are high-functioning individuals who manipulate people with their can charming personality. While they do not actually feel emotion, they can learn to mimic emotions to blends in with the crowd.

Due to their lack of conscience, people with these disorders process emotions like a blind man negotiates a maze; one doesn’t feel, the other doesn’t see, and both find the task daunting.

Dr. Martha Stout a Clinical Psychologist and former Harvard Medical School instructor, offers this assessment:

An emotional word is love, hate, anger, mom, death, anything that we associate with an emotional reaction. A nonemotional word is lamp, street, hair, rug, that kind of thing. If I had electrodes hooked up to you right now and I said a string of words, and some of them were emotional and some were not, I’d get a larger spike on the emotional words. We are wired to process those words more readily than neutral, nonemotional words. We are very emotional creatures. But sociopaths listen as evenly to emotional words as they do to lamp or book—there’s no neurological difference. ~THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR

The obvious question is: How do you treat someone who has no conscious?  The prerequisite to change is a desire to do so, and without a conscious there is no desire. Without a conscience there is no good or evil, and the need for true healing is a recognition of that which plagues the heart.

One thing that never changes in these instances is the need for prayer, and I encourage you to pray for those who were touched by the tragic events of yesterday.

Words and Worms at Sunrise

rooster-early-birdIf it’s true that the early bird gets the worm, then the authors of the Psalms must have harvested plenty of them.  Many of these poetic proclamations suggest the writers were early risers: My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up (Psalm 5:3).

Henry Ward Beecher may have been thinking of this verse when he said: The first hour of waking is the rudder that guides the whole day.

Whether it’s morning, noon, or night, I encourage you to set a time to reflect on the four verses below and use them as rudders to help guide your life:

  • Relax in His peace: “In peace, I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety (Ps. 4:8).”
  • Refresh yourself in His mercies: “The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made (Ps. 145:9).”
  • Rejoice in His love: “I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation (Ps. 13:5).”
  • Remain in His presence: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty (Ps. 91:1).”

 

I’ll close with this thought that’s worth thinking: Remember that it’s, “Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:2-23).”

When Life Gets Messy

lhStan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were known for their slapstick comedy, and they appeared in many films from 1926 to 1944.  The signature dialogue in their scripts was the disdainful comment: Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.

I know I’ve gotten myself into many fine messes, and when my life has been a wild mess, God’s taken me to the wilderness to get my attention. In fact, this is an underlying theme of the Old Testament: God intervenes in the wild messes of life.

No one likes to be taken to be taken to the woodshed, but there are times when God disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness (Hebrews 12:10). God does this to, instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you (Psalm 32:8).

I’ve come to realize that some of my problems are self-inflicted due to the poor choices I make; but, it is also true that I’ve been an innocent bystander caught-up in the circumstances of life. Like Joseph, we need to realize that God can be at work; and, we need to take an eternal perspective on life: As for you, you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose, so he could preserve the lives of many people, as you can see this day (Genesis 50:20).

While it’s hard to see the silver lining in the dust clouds of the desert, when we learn to trust God, we eventually make it to promised land and enjoy His blessings.

Jacob as an individual and Israel as a whole learned this lesson:

He found him out in the wilderness, in an empty, windswept wasteland. He threw his arms around him, lavished attention on him, guarding him as the apple of his eye. He was like an eagle hovering over its nest, overshadowing its young. Then spreading its wings, lifting them into the air, teaching them to fly. God alone led him; there was not a foreign god in sight. God lifted him onto the hilltops, so he could feast on the crops in the fields. He fed him honey from the rock, oil from granite crags, curds of cattle and the milk of sheep, the choice cuts of lambs and goats, fine rams, high-quality wheat, and the blood of grapes: you drank good wine! ~Isaiah 32:10-14 (The Message)

Because the messes of life will either define you or refine you, I’ve learned to ask a question:  What can I learn from this?  Then I make the decision to trust God, and I’m confident that He is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan (Romans 8:28).

Symphony or One-Man Band?

oscar-mayer-weinermobile-04After watching all of the hot-dogging during professional football this past weekend, I’ve come to the conclusion that the NFL needs to sign a licensing agreement with Oscar Mayer.  These ego-stroking narcissistic acts and taunting tantrums are ridiculous displays of self-aggrandizement.

Like the mythological Narcissus, some people are so in love with themselves and their self-reflection, they miss the beauty that surrounds them. Narcissus had placed himself at the center of the universe; his prideful attitude marred the true image of love, and his saccharin sentimentalism had the appeal of a rancorous brass bell and clanging cymbal.

Even if he were the most talented player alive, Narcissus would see very little playing time if he was on a team coached by Kansas State’s Bill Snyder.  While Coach Snyder is well-known for his winning record on the field, it’s what he does off the field that is even most important; he mentors young people and helps them build lives of character.

Over his years of coaching, Snyder has developed his 16 Goals for Success, and I find the first three on this list absent from much of our egocentric society:16g

  1. Commitment: To common goals and to being successful.
  2. Unselfishness: There is no “I” in TEAM.
  3. Unity: Come together as never before.

After Kansas State defeated Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl, Snyder commented: Good things happen when we play as a family.  This is more than a sound bite, it’s a theme that’s at the core of Snyder’s legacy.

When the University and Alumni wanted to name the Stadium in the coach’s honor, Snyder agreed, but with one stipulation; it had to include the word family, so it was christened, Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium.

As a Coach, Snyder strives for the harmonious sound of the symphony, and he has little room for the narcissist’s one-man band. Snyder’s philosophy is a practical application of a New Testament principle that I encourage you to embrace: Each of you as a good manager must use the gift that God has given you to serve others. ~I Peter 4:10

A is for Apple

apple-bobbing-boys-1920x675I was enjoying the sweet taste of apples long before I had ever participated in the homespun, spit-swapping, and germ-spreading, tradition of apple bobbing. Fact is, I almost drowned a time or two while I chased an apple around the inside of a water-filled wood barrel.

Apples are a tasty delight and a welcome addition to most diets, and they are also a definite plus to the pocket books of Washington farmers.  The typical orchard will produce 37,100 pounds per acre with a value somewhere between $12,500-$13,000.  The fertile ground of Washington contributes $18 billion plus to the state’s economy in apples alone.

When I eat an apple, my preference is Jonathan, Fuji, or Honeycrisp, but I doubt David had a specific variety in mind when he prayed: Keep me as the apple of your eye, and hide me in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 17:8).

As the apple of God’s eye, you are so special to God that:

  • He is aware of your sorrows—Psalm 56:8
  • He likens your prayers to the sweet smell of incense—Revelation 5:8
  • He floods your heart with His love—Romans 5:5
  • He blesses you with His mercy—Psalm 57:10

From out of all the orchards in the world, you are the apple that God has picked, and it is, “According to His great mercy, He has given us [you] a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you (I Peter 1:3-4).”

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry          ~Psalm 34:15

The ME in Mentor

mentoring-pic-1Since I believe every knife should be a sharp knife, I keep a good edge on the one I carry in my pocket.  Whenever I sharpen it, I think of an analogy from the Proverbs: As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Psalm 22:17).

You can validate the truth of this analogy by walking down the aisle of your local grocery store.  The shelves are stocked with many products that bear the Procter and Gamble name.

William Procter was a candle maker and James Gamble made soap.  The two of them became in-laws when they married the Norris sisters.  Through the encouragement of their father-in-law, they formed a partnership, and Procter and Gamble has been selling household products since 1837.

My HP computer is another good example.  Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard were classmates in Stanford’s engineering program.  When they graduated, Fred Terman, a professor at Standford, encouraged them to pursue their dreams, and they founded Hewlett and Packard in 1939.

Neither of these famous partnerships may have been formed had it not been for the guidance and encouragement of an acquaintance or mentor who helped to hone and fine tune their skills. With this in mind, let me share the razor-sharp wisdom of two men:

  • John Maxwell: One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.
  • Isaac Newton: If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

I encourage you to invest in the lives of others.  Allow them to stand on your shoulders; pick your brain; lend a listening ear; nudge them in the right direction; and, help them to clarify their vision and pursue their dream.

Everybody needs somebody to help them along life’s journey.  If there had been no Ben, would Jerry have ever made ice cream?  The world of comedy would be different if  Abbott  had never met Costello. How would Calvin have survived childhood without Hobbes?

Where would you be if someone had not been the ME in Mentor for you? Make this year the year you make a difference in the life of another.

As we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith. ~Galatians 6:10

Abbott & Costello Who’s on first skit.