Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The impact of a life.

I am not going to take the time today to adequately communicate about our family friend Jim Fuller. Jim passed away last week. He was dealing with ALS.

Jim was a great mentor, friend, and supporter of Vicki and I. He was a very dear friend of my father and mother. At Jim's funeral my dad asked those who were under forty years old to stand if Jim invested in them. I stood and looked around and saw countless people - it was amazing. He was heavily invested in people all over the world.

I was reminded again that the greatest fruit of a life is a life that loves and serves and gives and invests in others. Jim certainly did that and the fruit was obvious. It was a great challenge to have life mean more than getting all we want and making ourselves the center of the universe.

I thank God for Jim and the LEGACY he leaves. Shoot a prayer for wife Sharon and daughter Kym.

Puts things in perspective,

Thursday, December 07, 2006

My loneliest Christmas.

Christmas 1996 was my loneliest Christmas.
Vicki and I lived in Sydney, Australia for two years - from 1995-1997.
It was THE shaping experience of our marriage and ministry.

But, thanks to a trip to a buffet, (Sizzler for my aussie friends), I came down with horrible food poisoning. It wasn't so much the food that made me sick - it was what someone had left on the food if you get my drift.

So a couple days before Christmas I started releasing the contents of my stomach to the toilet. For days it went on until I was quite dehydrated. Christmas fell in the middle of this experience and I found myself lying alone on the bathroom floor on hot and sunny Australian Christmas day. I ventured out briefly to visit dear friends who became family to us, but the day was essentially spent alone. There were moments my wife came in to feed me water from a spoon. Thanks honey.

I have always enjoyed having family and friends around me. I have been blessed to be surrounded or connected in meaningful ways with people I love in special times. But that Christmas, in 1996, was my loneliest Christmas.

As I prepare for this Sunday's teaching on the hope of "God with us" within the Christmas story - I am reminded that for some people Christmas is not the "most wonderful time of the year."

It has been almost ten Christmas' since that loneliest Christmas and I am hopeful that maybe in some way - we may all experience the "God with us" and find that even as we sit alone in a movie theatre, or lay aching on a bathroom floor, or even find ourselves alone in a crowd - we might recognize that we aren't as alone as we may think or feel.

ho ho hidey high ho,

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Speaking the truth in love.

On Monday we enjoyed a staff training time with Dr. Peter Newhouse.
We walked through handling conflict and how to speak the truth to others.

I was challenged again by the importance of following Biblical wisdom on dealing with issues of relational hurt and distance. The point of processing the issue personally first is important. I think it is so easy to feel something and when hurt we want instant support - so we jump on the phone and call that one person... the spouse, the parent, the spill our disappointment in someone. After processing the issue personally we next should go to God in prayer. Pete mentioned that as followers of Jesus we should be going to God before going to others. This is vital because it puts us in a position of humility and asking for a wider scope of understanding than just our feelings. Then - in accordance to Scripture - we go directly to that person and not everywhere else.

I am an avoider by nature. I let everything run off my back and into my heart where often it sits and causes bitterness, frustration, and low level anger. I have improved in truth telling over the years, but I was reminded again how important it is if I care for other people's growth and the unity of my relationships.

How about you? Who do you need to speak truth to in a humble, gentle, and kind way?

How do you often deal with conflict issues?


Friday, December 01, 2006

Ever felt alone in the holidays?

Thanks for those who gave good fiction book ideas... please continue to weigh in on your favorites.

I would also like to get your opinion and experience over this holiday season.
I've heard that the holidays are a very difficult and lonely time for many people.

In your opinion - or from experience - why is the Christmas season a lonely, empty, and difficult time for people?

I really value your input and perspective - it will help shape a discussion that I'm leading in a couple weeks.

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