Saturday, October 24, 2009

Search for Significance

I have had the privilege of attending the CCDA Conference over the last 4 days in Cincinnati, Ohio. It has been a great time of worship, teaching and being convicted. It is truly great to be around people who are like minded that have a passion for God’s heart of justice and mercy. One of the speakers that struck home the most was Bart Campalo who lives in Cincy and loves on a specific neighborhood.

I see something in my life and others where we want recognition about the work that we do. It is so easy to be in the comparison mode as believers where we want to always top someone’s work or ministry. I noticed in the worship list a mention of a name from my past, Jill Shook. I thought what are the odds that this is the same Jill from my Cal-Poly days. She had actually made something for our wedding. As I walked into the seminar it was obvious that she was a real leader in the affordable housing movement in southern Cal. I was humbled to see her list of accomplishments via a simple google search.

What struck me as Bart spoke was that he was a realist who wasn’t going to brag about a miracle but more app to talk about the shortcomings in life and that crap happens more often than not. If my life is really about pursuing attention and significance than I am working against the Gospel and Jesus. I know that so often I have this sense of whether spending time with my Black Grandmas or Art my crippled friend or taking lunch to Mr. Sanchez is truly something worthy of my time and energy. I was thinking about all of the different kids we see each week and whether I should limit my efforts to a few that I deem to worthy of my energies or whether the ‘demon’ girl with a foul mouth that is only 5 years old deserves just as much of my attention as do the couple of girls who got straight A’s last year in High School?

Most people, regardless of spiritual condition, truly believe that some people are more worthy of help than others. We all have a checklist that we live out when it comes to helping someone. What got me, I already know this, is that God doesn’t want me to discriminate about whom I should love or help. If anything I am called to throw caution to the wind and seek to love the people or kids who are furthest out there. I know that this type of life pursuit is always messy, unpredictable and full of both heartache and excitement. God ultimately is part of both the good and bad that happens in my life and others. My struggles only reflect the crap that happens in other people’s lives. As I wait to see if a little girl’s mom is in prison I am hand tied because I can’t save the mom or make sure that this young girl and sister have someplace to live that is safe and secure.

I am called to love those who are forgotten and give regardless of what others think and say. Jesus sets the standard of our love for him, as we love the least, the last and the lost.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Gelling or Stressing

My life at present sees me in the middle of different projects, people, family and church happenings. I was with someone this week at a meeting who asked if I was grumpy? As I attempted to answer, without being grumpy I was totally honest and said I don’t have time for this meeting and the event next week. I’ll do it but probably will back out so I can put my total attention on what is my true passion and calling. Yes, I will love hanging out next week at the downtown ASU campus giving out free pizza but know that I have to pull back in order to do better and stay in the middle of God’s place for me.

I have had an ongoing dialogue or fight with a fellow homeowner in my community. We are both very active in serving our neighborhood. The challenge is that I have decided to not be a gloom and doom person but someone who gives hope and not stress in any circumstance. I of all people understand the culture and climate of life in South Phoenix, which at times can be the hood or barrio. Yeah I admit that I enjoy a good verbal foray at times but understand the need to always cast a vision of partnership for the greater community. I have learned over the last year that being faithful with what God has put on my plate is my responsibility and God is the one who ultimately is responsible for the results. I am learning that gelling, as the insert commercial states, is much preferred to stressing. I do on occasion wake with this overwhelming sense of what in the ________ am I doing.

The great blessing is seeing that God is more than able to accomplish his purpose whether I am around or not. I had one of those opps moments this week. I was meeting with the community action officer in my painting neighborhood to seek his help with our painting blitz in late November. I also had a lunch meeting for the Luis Palau Season of Service afterwards. So as I got out of my truck and realized as I shut the door that my keys fell out of my hand onto my seat. I thought ahhhhh, I’ll go ahead and meet with the officer and then call Anne and be late for the lunch or miss it if she is gone. We had a great talk and I learned lots from him. So the big decision was do I ask for help from him or pretend that I am ok and walk out. I decided to not do the typical guy thing but instead asked if he was gifted with breaking and entering cars? He laughed and said he would get a coat hanger. Fortunately for me my back window was open and I was able to pull open the door lock and get into the car. I ended up making my lunch meeting on time and had a great rest of the day.

I know that Jesus doesn’t guarantee that we can always be gelling but I obviously prefer that to always stressing. As I am getting older I see the benefit of really believing that less is more. I am also starting to get that trusting God really means putting everything into his hands and trusting him with the outcome.

Life was never intended to be stress free, after the fall obviously, but I do prefer being able to gel with Jesus and discover that God cares about the little things and the big enchiladas in my life.