“That Love Your Enemy Thing? I Meant That” -God

“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies”  (Martin Luther King Jr.A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.).

“It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business” (Mahatma Gandhi).

“You have been taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you— in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven. He, after all, loves each of us—good and evil, kind and cruel. He causes the sun to rise and shine on evil and good alike. He causes the rain to water the fields of the righteous and the fields of the sinner. It is easy to love those who love you—even a tax collector can love those who love him. And it is easy to greet your friends—even outsiders do that! But you are called to something higher: “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48, The Voice).

Love your enemies. Pray for your enemies. Even those who voted for the wrong candidate from the wrong party. Even those who mistreat and slander you. Even when that worst enemy is you.

 

Life Lessons from Round 1 of the NHL Playoffs

I confess. I had little to no faith in my Nashville Predators to be able to beat those mighty Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the NHL playoffs.

I boldly predicted that Chicago would take the series in five games (and I thought I was being generous to Nashville by giving them that one game). The regular season series between these two teams hadn’t gone well for the Preds. They managed to win that first game, but after that it got ugly.

I was wrong. Boy, was I wrong.

My Nashville Predators not only won the series but they swept those mighty Blackhawks. For the record, no 1 seed has ever been swept out of the first round in the 100-year history of the NHL. Nada.

I wonder how many of us have given up on a dream because we’ve already decided before we begin that it’s a lost cause. We’ve convinced ourselves not to even bother trying because it can only end in abject failure.

With God all things are possible.

Do you really believe that?

Do you believe it not as an abstract generality but as a specific reality meant for you?

I know that God’s not a celestial genie giving me whatever I want whenever I want it. Some of God’s best answers to prayer are no because that means a bigger and better yes is following, something I would never have dared to dream.

I also know that God is able. I’ve said it before (and credit again goes to Pete Wilson for this one) that what seems impossible to us isn’t even remotely difficult for God.

I’m hoping my Preds keep winning. It’d be awesome to see Nashville bring home the Stanley Cup (although that’s still a long shot). That kind of hope is along the lines of I hope I win the lottery.

I’m hoping God will keep His promises toward me and always do what’s best for me. That kind of hope is certain and secure, as sure as Jesus who made them is alive and sitting at the right hand of the Father.

Next time I might have a little more faith in the home team.

 

My Multimedia Adventure Continues

It’s been a while since I updated you on my latest music and Netflix intake, so here goes.

I picked up a live Bob Marley and the Wailers album from the clearance section of Target. It’s called Easy Skanking in Boston ’78 and it’s classic reggae from my favorite decade, musically speaking. The title’s a little weird, but the music’s great. It helps if you have speakers with lots of bass.

I pre-ordered the new Lindsay Buckingham/Christine McVie album from amazon.com. I’m very much intrigued by the pairing and I’m hoping for a little old-school Fleetwood Mac vibe on this one.

Right now, I’m reliving my high school glory days with The Best of Both Worlds, a Van Halen best-of compilation. It’s amazing how those songs take me back to when I first heard them. And for the record, I prefer David Lee Roth over Sammy Hagar, but I like ’em both.

I foresee some serious Allman Brothers Band marathons in my future. I do believe that southern rock is good for the soul, especially when that soul has a lengthy commute to and from work.

Currently, my Netflix mainstays are Gilmore Girls (halfway through season 6) and Bates Motel (just started season 2). Gilmore Girls still has that fantastic dialogue that reminds me a lot of the old movie His Girl Friday (with some similarities to one of my favorite John Cusack movies, Better Off Dead). I have a fairly decent idea of where Bates Motel is headed, having already seen Psycho (and Bates Motel is the backstory to that movie).

I’m always open to suggestions for what to listen to and watch next, especially when it comes to Netflix. I’d really like something that has a similar vibe to Stranger Things and The OA, but I’m pretty much open to any kind of shows or movies out there.

More to come at some later (and probably randomly picked) date. Stay tuned.

 

 

Take Your Time

One of my favorite Kairos moments from back in the day when Mike Glenn used to lead the prayer time.

Put both feet on the floor, he’d say. There’s nothing that will come up in the next few minutes that’s more important than what God’s saying to you right now. Relax and breathe. All those errands will still be there later. Right now, all you need to do is focus on God.

We live in a culture that celebrates busyness. Not necessarily productivity. Just busyness. The mantra of the age is that we don’t have time because we’re so very busy doing God knows what.

The idea is to never have a dull moment or any down time. We have all these time-saving gadgets that create more time to get more done. As a result, we have less leisure and free time than ever.

Maybe the most freeing words anyone will ever tell you– take your time. That was my takeaway from tonight’s Kairos message.

Sometimes, it’s good to focus on your breathing. It’s good to be silent and still. It’s good to rest. Above all, it’s important to be in the moment, not always thinking ahead to the next big event or thinking back to the what if’s and the could have been’s.

“There’s no present like the time.” That may be my new favorite line from a movie. Time is not infinite. You get a precious few years to live, too few to waste in busyness. Life is to be lived and savored and not merely gotten through.

Take your time.  Wherever you are, be all there. Do less but do it with everything you have, offering it as your spiritual act of worship. Enjoy the little things and pay attention to the moments in your life.

Also, take plenty of naps. Those are good.

 

 

 

It’s Good to Be Back (in Social Media Land)

Today was my first official day back on social media since February 28, which just so happened to be my birthday as well as Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. That’s the first day of Lent.

As usual, I gave up social media for Lent. It was fantastic. I enjoyed the absence of political rants and Facebook drama and passive aggressiveness which makes me seem absolutely normal in comparison. I almost didn’t come back.

But here I am again, posting about all the places I go during the week, sharing all the diverse music I’m listening to, and again trying not to judge people’s grammar (and rolling my eyes constantly in the process). I might even post a pic or two of food and/or beverages I’m consuming to make you infinitely jealous.

I do like keeping up with friends and what’s going on in their lives. I had felt completely out of the loop for a month and a half. I honestly have no idea about who’s gotten engaged or married or pregnant. I don’t know how I survived all those years without social media.

Oh wait, yes I do. I had a life. Or at least I had books.

Social media is good and well as long as you keep boundaries and don’t let it run your life or determine your self-worth. I believe that it’s best to keep it positive and uplifting. It’s so much easier to sit behind a keyboard and tear someone else down through a post or comment than it would be to ridicule them to their face.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people who claim Jesus as Lord will unleash political diatribes against those on the other side of the spectrum instead of heeding His words to love and pray for your enemies and to do good to those who mistreat you. Again, social media makes it easier to do that.

You may not always agree on everything, but it costs you nothing to be civil and show respect to everyone. And yes, Jesus meant what He said about loving your enemies.

I intend to do my best to keep things light and fun with lots of pictures of my geriatric feline, plus random and odd memes that strike me as funny.

That’s all. You can go back to your hilarious videos of cats in shark costumes riding on roombas.

An Easter Prayer

“Lord God,
You loved this world so much,
That you gave your one and only Son,
That we might be called your children too.
Lord, help us to live in the gladness and grace
Of Easter Sunday, everyday.
Let us have hearts of thankfulness
For your sacrifice.
Let us have eyes that look upon
Your grace and rejoice in our salvation.
Help us to walk in that mighty grace
And tell your good news to the world.
All for your glory do we pray, Lord, Amen” (Rachel Marie Stone).

Happy Easter, everyone! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

 

Good News on this Holy Saturday

“On Holy Saturday I do my best to live in that place, that wax-crayon place of trust and waiting. Of accepting what I cannot know. Of mourning what needs to be mourned. Of accepting what needs to be accepted. Of hoping for what seems impossible” (Jerusalem Jackson GreerA Homemade Year: The Blessings of Cooking, Crafting, and Coming Together).

“To be sure, it was not Easter Sunday but Holy Saturday, but, the more I reflect on it, the more this seems to be fitting for the nature of our human life: we are still awaiting Easter; we are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust” (Pope Benedict XVIMilestones: Memoirs 1927-1977).

I purposely avoid watching and/or reading the news like the plague.

I know it’s good to be informed and to know what’s going on in the world. I also am coming to trust what’s presented to me as news less and less these days. I’m fairly certain that the people in charge of reporting the news are less interested in getting at the truth than in promoting their own agenda.

I also know that tomorrow we celebrate the best news of all time.

Jesus is risen. He is risen indeed.

Those words will echo around the world in places of worship ranging from a few followers to massive sanctuaries crammed with thousands of people. Tomorrow, more than any other Sunday of the year, we will see people who wouldn’t otherwise be caught dead in a church who are trying to figure out this Jesus for themselves.

The best evidence for the gospel of Jesus Christ is people who whose lives match what they profess with their lips. The worst are those who praise Jesus with their words on Sunday then walk out the door and deny Him by how they look and act no differently than non-believers during the rest of the week.

May we celebrate the best news of all of the resurrection by not only talking the good news but living it out as well. That’s the best way to celebrate Easter Sunday that I know of.