Thursday, January 24, 2008

Seed Struggles (1.24.08 VIB3 iLink)

Life is a lot about investments, where you spend your time…what your priorities are.

One of the best places to spend your time is in relationships you have in life.




Whoever it may be.

How do you spend your time? How do you spend your time in relationships?

If I ask that of myself right now…I have to tell you…I am STILL struggling. The quality amount of time I spend in a relationship isn’t what I wish it was.

There is work, school, home repair, meetings, workout program and so on that keep me so busy and then when I am done with all of that I am not really in any shape to devote time to the people who deserve it.

So what kind of seed am I sowing? If my words were seeds how much impact is there really to what I am saying? I honestly believe that if you build and maintain a relationship with someone, what they say means a lot more…but if the time I spend is shoddy and thrown together…what I say won’t carry much of anything.

So how do I find that balance?

I find that question a very hard one to answer. How about you? How do you find balance? Maybe you don’t have the same schedule that I do…if not I would strongly encourage you to invest in relationships now before you do get so busy.

I am searching, because I know that with what I believe…someone’s eternity could be in the balance of my “busy-ness” and I am not really ok with that. Alas I find myself stuck in a rut.

Anyhow, I guess for all of you who do pray…would you pray that my time would free up, I do have time to do everything I NEED to do…I would just like a little more for the things that aren’t absolute…some flex time…to spend more with the people I care about.

I don’t want my “seeds” to become worthless…not able to bring forth any fruit.

So struggles the simpleMan.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Grafted Culture

I grew up a pretty normal kid.

I don’t know if I really noticed a difference between South-eastern Ohio and the rest of the world…just never thought about it.

Different cultures…it just wasn’t something I “got”…you know?

Not much really changed for me until I moved to Texas for about a year, then I knew there were different cultures…but I still didn’t appreciate it.

When I went to visit Denise in Spain before we were married…a whole new world began to open up to me…there were cultures, people doing different things and having their own set of traditions, different actions motivated by the same things that motivate me…just done differently. They did things differently because that was…just who they are.



Why do they do that? Because it is what they do…and that…well that’s why.

Different people do different things…interesting isn’t it?

What a bubble I had been living in…I began to appreciate the fact that there were places, and people that did things differently than me, and began to appreciate that culture because it was so outside of myself…I began to understand that the world is something so much bigger than…


It really helped me get outside of myself and understand…the world. For a short two weeks I enjoyed the culture in Spain so much that I began to slowly try to graft myself into the culture. 2 weeks is not nearly enough to do that, but I so wanted to that I actually ordered my own food in Spanish…I did so very poorly, but they had pity on me and somehow managed to understand my shoddy Spanish and I got the right food.

Not bad for a hillbilly.

It is nearly 8 years later…and I still want to go back to Sevilla, I just love that culture. If it were to happen that I could go there and live, I would have to adapt and be grafted into that society because it isn’t my native society. In due time I would become a part of that society and speak Spanish, take my siesta, get a job, walk (instead of drive) to work, eat the food there, and so on. Could I still speak English? Sure. Could I still do the things that I did/do in America? Sure.

The point is I would grow and change and the more my grafting “took” the more “Spanish” I would become and the less “American” I would be…still American…but slowly becoming more Spanish.

When we are talking about being grafted into the family of God it is a similar thing, you are in the family…and slowly you are picking up traits of the family. Your speech may change, your actions may change, how you spend your time, money, whatever may change. How successful would it be for me to try to graft into Spanish culture if I made no effort to learn Spanish, always looked for a hamburger, and so on…it would be a lousy graft.

So…if we are believers…and we look at this principle…how is our graft taking? We could be in Spain…but not act very Spanish…Are we in the family of God…but not acting much like a family member?

How is the graft?

There is something bigger than us…and we can be a part of it…but we have to graft our thought process and life pattern into that “culture”…or we can never fully appreciate it.

So…about that graft… is all rather humbling.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Destructive Or Nurturing Roots (VIBI iLink)

I don’t know how many of you have ever paid attention to the sidewalks in Cuyahoga Falls, but if you go to the sidewalks that aren’t right off of a main road they are all jacked up and going every which a way. I notice these things because I like to walk (although not right now since it is so cold) I love to get some shuffle going on my iPod, and walk for a while. While I am dodging the rugged terrain of the Cuyahoga Falls sidewalks, I notice that there is one reason that the sidewalks are so messed up.


There are a lot of trees in C-Falls, and with trees come shade (which I am a big fan of when I am walking down the road with my fair complexion), trees do all sorts of neat things. Another thing trees do is as they grow, so does their foundation and it so just about whatever is in the path of the roots get moved. There have been houses that have had their basements and/or foundations broken and destroyed by tree roots. Just about nothing can stop these roots.

All these roots make trees stand stronger, more firmly, and do all the dirty work that gives the tree life and helps them bring forth their fruit or blossoms. These are all good things, but they can be destructive.

So should we cut down all trees? I mean if they are so destructive and their roots destroy things.

Well, I imagine we all know that isn’t a suggestion, and all is well if you plant trees by this simple rule.

A tree planted in the right place is good. A tree planted in the wrong place is bad.

That is why the Bible tells us we need to be rooted and grounded in…love. I am sure we have all seen the mockery of Christ, when people calling themselves Christians are out yelling and telling people they are going to burn in Hell forever. Even if it is the truth…I have never seen someone healed of cancer by having someone walk up to them, shove their finger in their face and scream you have cancer and you’re going to die!

That’s why in Love is important
Planted in right place, beauty…in wrong, destructive.

The world needs trees, and of course we all need Christ and we should be rooted…even deeply as a tree is…but we should be careful how our roots are impacting our surroundings. I am sure that the people who have roots tearing through their basement aren’t especially happy no matter how good the apples that come off the tree may be. We can have a positive impact, or a destructive one much like a tree.
We have a great message, we have great love shown to us and it is part of what we do to share that love…but if we are taking the message of God’s love, mercy, and grace to the world are we doing so much harm with what we are rooted in that people can’t enjoy the fruit of His love, mercy, and grace. It isn’t that we should be silent about what we believe (quite the contrary), it isn’t even that we shouldn’t share it freely…it is how we present it. If we are presenting the love of God in a way that is destructive to their way of life and not presented in a way that breathes the love of God, people are going to want to cut down the tree and not care one bit about the fruit, blossoms, or ANYTHING good we may have to say.
So, we have the greatest message in the world…but we should check our actions…or our roots…because if we are being destructive instead of nurturing…not only are we being destructive to the world of those we are trying to reach, but we are also being very destructive to our very purpose for being here.
Are your roots deep? Are they destructive or are they there, supporting you, but not destructive and they bring life to the parts of you that the world can see and enjoy? Are your roots deep in the love of God and not only nurturing you, but bring forth fruit in your life so that you are nurturing others around you…believer or not? Be bold with the message of love, grace, and mercy…but don’t be destructive, just look at Christ…He was bold…and yet…not destructive, but nurturing. I challenge us to do the same.

Deep, nurturing roots.

So reflects the simpleMan.