Friday, May 20, 2011

so what would you be doing

A headline in today's newspaper simply asked "If you knew the world was ending tomorrow, what would you do?". Supposedly another apocalyptic group thinks the world will end tomorrow, which if true will play havoc with my romantic intentions for the weekend, not too mention my retirement plans.
I really have no idea how these folks come up with this stuff. End of the World. Doomsday. Armageddon. The Rapture. Judgement Day. whatever. I guess it makes good headlines and gives people something to think about. Their mortality.
Sure, the possibility exists that it could all come to a halt tomorrow, and with my luck I'll probably be standing is some check out line that has the little flashing light on waiting for a supervisor... well you know what I mean. Or it could happen before I finish this senten.... (LOL)
You just never know. And know one else does either. Since the days of Jesus somebody has been thinking the end of the world is near. The disciples thought they would see it before they passed away. Didn't happen. People thought that the Civil War, The Great Depression, WWI and II and Hitler and whatever else was the end of the world. Nope, still here folks.
and its doubtful it will all come to a halt tomorrow either. so if your mortgage payment is due Monday, I would suggest mailing it off today.
So back to the headline. What would you be doing if this were the last day? My hope is that if you are a christian, that you would be doing whatever it is that you are doing at this exact moment. Or any moment. Every moment.
Loving others. Being a plus positive in this world. Making a difference. I hope that your answer is nothing out of the ordinary because it was ordinary people that Jesus asked to follow him. Nothing special was required.
Its like the parable of the 10 virgins and the lamps, we should always live as if the return of Jesus was imminent. Not in fear, but in anticipation. And not idly or passively awaiting either, but in serving. In being in relationship with one another.
I don't know if it will happen today or tomorrow or my lifetime or a thousand years or a million years from now, and frankly I don't care one way or another.
Jesus said only the father knows the day and time, so who am I to worry about it.
So what would I be doing? Exactly this.
Enjoy. ~npp

Friday, May 13, 2011

just what are you advertising?

The New York Yankees. Arguably one of the best teams in Major League Baseball of all times. 27 World Series Championships to date. The best talent money can buy. And I can't stand them. They are like the Pittsburg Steelers, Washington Redskins or Phil Eagles versus my Dallas Cowboys of the 1970s and 1980s. So any team that is playing against the Yankees I am for. Okay, maybe not so much "for them" as against the Yankees.
Anyway, I got tickets to the Texas Rangers v. NY Yankees game this past Saturday night in Arlington Texas. The Ballpark in Arlington it is called. Very original I know. But its a beautiful ballpark. It was a lovely day in Texas with the temps in the upper 70s and a nice breeze. And we beat the Yankees. Icing on the cake. Lubberly. I was setting 33 rows behind the Yankee dugout amongst a horde of obnoxious Yankees fans, so it was tremendously satisfying to watch Feliz, the closing pitcher, shut them down in the 9th inning.
So its 10:15pm on a Saturday and we exit the ballpark with, and I'm serious, 49,500 plus other people. Yep, that's a lot. But its fine. We go to our parking lot, find the vehicle and begin the long trek out of the parking lot.
Now the parking lot has ONE exit to a ONE WAY street with another street that is feeding into it and cars coming from all directions in the parking lot. As each car would approach the exit they would allow the car from the other direction to pull ahead of them. Taking turns so too speak. Very Polite. Slow. But polite.
So I make it to the street 15 minutes after getting in my vehicle and began to merge with the oncoming vehicles. Each person in the lane of traffic was letting the parking lot cars move in front, one car would allow another to get in front of them, then the next car would do the same, and so on.
When it came my turn to merge the next vehicle in line, a minivan, didn't share. I put my little blinker indicator on and they surged forward and closed the gap between themselves and the car in front of them (that had allowed the car in front of me to merge). I said nice. So I sat there until they moved forward at a snail's pace and the vehicle behind them let me merge in the lane. Whatever.
Then it caught my eye. That little piece of chrome attached to the back of the minivan that refused to allow me to merge. The shiny piece of chrome that we all know and love. Yes. The Christian Fish symbol.
I looked around at the other vehicles and no one else seemed to be advertising the fact that they were a christian. Nope, not a cross or fish or anything that I could see. Except all the other vehicles were allowing others the courtesy to merge in front of them. Kind of a do unto others concept. Kind of acting like Christians. Maybe kind of doing what Jesus would ask us to do.
I found it ironic. The one person who advertised themselves as a christian was the only one who wasn't acting like one.
Now I'm as bad as anyone else. Not expecting perfection by no means. But really, what are you trying to advertise with those little christian symbols on the back of your vehicle? Or on your lapel? Or your jewelry?
I think it makes us feel good to advertise our faith. Its much easier for sure. Anyone can glue a symbol on a car or put a piece of jewelry on or wear a catchy t-shirt with a clever christian saying on it.
I would suggest this. Advertise your faith by living it. If you don't intend to do that then please, for the love of God (pun intended) take that fish symbol off of your car. Take off that t-shirt and put the James Avery cross jewelry back in the box. Your giving us a bad name.
Everyone else was living out the philosophy of Christ except the one advertising it.
In the words of St. Francis of Assisi "preach the gospel at all times. use words only when necessary".
Amen. ~npp

Thursday, May 5, 2011

there is a season for everything

I have been a relationship guy my whole life. I never really knew that growing up and only in the past few years have I figured it out. If you have ever met me, even once, and we even slightly got along, then you know me for life. I have made contact with another soul on the planet. Relationships are everything to me. Never been much on status. Never really motivated by money (although in my adult years I am beginning to see the importance of having a litte bit of it). Nope, I have always been about relationships.
Sometimes to my detriment. Even unhealthy. Can't let go. Failed to consider others had hidden agendas. Its a tough lesson we all learn I think.
I have really enjoyed Facebook. Keeping up with others and finding friends from my past. Strange how we seem to get along better now than we did years ago. Matured some maybe. Lots more people talking about God these days.
Priorities. Seasons. Life.
I am now to the age where I can compare things to the way they used to be. I am amazed at what things cost now compared to when I was younger. My kids think nothing of spending whatever amount on a soft drink or combo meal because that is what it has always been to them. They don't remember 10 cent cokes or nickle candy bars or 1 cent double bubble chewing gum.
I am becoming my father. And his father before him. I am seeing things through different lenses. I no longer think I am the center of the universe. I am beginning to see and feel my mortality. I know its just a matter of time before I will no longer exist in this earthly realm. And I don't necessarily think that is something to get down in the dumps about.
I think it is a season I am in. As necessary to spring time is the winter, I think it is necessary we reach the season when we aren't in budding but in full bloom, soaking it all in. Maturing. Reaching the heights we were intended to reach. Spreading our branches so that others may find comfort in our shade. To have enough growth and survived enough weathering that we are stronger when the storms blow, but not so much that we cannot bend and sway abit and dance along with the winds. To develop lasting and meaningful relationships that will sustain us in the years to come.
Facebook is good at helping us keep in touch. It exposes us to other cultures, thoughts, politics, thoughts, humor, life events, and sometimes a little more than we would like to know. I think all of this helps us grow to be more tolerant or at least more accepting.
I cannot imagine life without internet. Facebook. Cell phones. Though I lived half of my life without it. Some of you can remember your first microwave. This season of life is really cool. I am so curious as to what the next will bring.
What an awesome ride. ~npp