Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Expectation Resuscitation

Have you ever done something and expected one thing, but then something else happened?  For the better?  For worse?  Did you then have to do the same exercise again?  What did that do to your expectation?  Did the results change again?  

Insanity is explained something like “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”  This makes me wonder, as I sit in a place where I see people having the same schedule, format, and rituals for their day (Panera) if doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same results in tedium or monotony.  

I am finding out that I do not operate well in doing the same thing over and over again because I do expect the same results.  I am the type of guy that kind of experiences something a few times and then I want to try something new.  That can be an unhealthy trait, I know, but in some cases it has worked well for me.  You see, this trait causes me to explore a lot.  Often times exploration leads to discovery. 
I love discovery.

I am not talking about the channel on tv, although they have some good programming…

…I mean, Mythbusters…hello.

The whole basis of discovery is based on expectation and your desire to know what to expect or your desire to expect something unknown or different.

I look back to Acts 1, Christ had just ascended, the people were in limbo (so to speak), and they really didn’t know what to expect because there was no option of remaining the same without Christ being physically present.  

So what did they do?

They did what they knew to do, but in doing so realized it wouldn’t have the same results.  


Because they couldn’t, Christ was not there (Physically).  However, Christ made a promise of sending  the Holy Spirit.  

So, they did what they knew to do…or what they had always known to do…and yet had a different expectation.

The result was nothing less than explosive. 

Read for yourself!

So, is that insanity…or faith?

The difference is the promise.

So this poses the question…As we go through our everyday life, sometimes monotonous, we live with the promises of God that we can read in His Word, do we expect those promises to come to completion in our lives?  Do we expect something different to happen in our conversations?  In our relationships?  In our churches?  Anywhere?  

If not, what is it we are settling for?  Do we look different from everyone else who goes through life doing the same thing over and over again with little to no expectation?  Imagine the impact that mindset would have on our lives, our conversations, relationships, and church.  



P.s.  I am always interested in hearing outside opinions, so feel free to share any of these blogs on the social networks you are on.  Maybe it will open some conversations that will broaden our perspectives.

Monday, October 24, 2011


I must be stuck in a stage of reminiscing recently, because I am once again opening up with a story from my days as a child.  

I went to a private school as a child, my mother worked there and so it seemed to be the logical choice for me to go there.  In my normal day to day life I figured out who to stay away from and who it was ok to talk to.  We occasionally would have new kids come in throughout the school year, or even at the beginning of the school year just like any other school would.  You would sit and try to figure out if they were “going to make it” or not, based on how “cool” they were, at least I did.

One such student was named Scott.  Scott was in my class but seemed to be about a foot taller than me and quite a bit larger.  He was a gentle giant though.  He was very tender-hearted and it wasn’t long before I figured out that Scott was going to be an easy target for some of the older kids.  Scott was about as big as some of the bigger kids and yet he was so tender hearted.  Scott probably had a little tougher time learning things than others as well, and once again that was another strike against him in the social ring of the school.
Scott had been at the school for a couple of months, and I am not sure how the current situation came about, but it did.  I went out to the playground one day to enjoy recess.  I am not sure why, but there didn’t seem to be too many other children out playing.  I came upon some of the older kids picking on Scott.  I told them to stop but was completely ignored.  Soon enough they had pushed poor Scott to the ground, now remember Scott was just as big as some of these other guys.  They began to kick him and yell at him.  Big Scott was crying at this point and covering up to try to lessen the damage.

I had enough.

I could have gotten a teacher, but between the backwards way my brain works sometimes and the thought that I wanted this to end sooner rather than later, I had to make a decision.  

I ran up to the biggest one of them, and I hauled off and kicked him square in the butt.

This had a much more profound impact than me telling him to stop.

He turned around enraged and I bolted.

He and his friends came in hot pursuit.

I was never so happy to be a quick little kid.

I darted towards the swings because I knew if I ran full speed and grabbed the pole I could make very sharp turns quickly and that bought me some time.  Then through the swings because I was smaller and a little quicker, then a full out run to get as close to the building as I could.

In the midst of my escape a teacher walked out and saw Scott on the ground still and crying, me (I believe I was in 2nd or 3rd grade) being chased by a bunch of much larger (probably 5th or 6th graders) boys knew that there needed to be an intervention.

“HEY!” pause as Adam feels a flood of relief, “What is going on here!”

I didn’t hesitate to elaborate on the situation.

I was saved from a certain beating!  Scott was tended to and I was hauled off to the office to get the situation straightened out.  

In our Christian walk we often forget the escape that we have experienced.  We forget that Christ pulled us out of the mess.  We forget that He is the one who put a stop to the ensuing doom that we faced.  In that, when we forget what He saved us from, we belittle the value of our call to go and tell others who are facing the same doom of the rescue that is available for them.  

We have escaped, but it is very important that we relay the message to others who are still captive.  We live in love, but in order to do that we had to escape death.  Others need to experience this love!  We ran for dear life to grab a hold of the safety in Christ (and so much more), and we hold tight to that love, but we are also called to reach our hand out to those who need to know and grab as many as we can and pull them to safety.               

The gratitude I felt when I heard that teacher speak changed everything about that situation.  I could finally stop running, could communicate with someone who could help me, and had hope for a better future.  The proof of our gratitude towards Christ should be able to be seen (as evidence) to those around us as well. 
Everyone should see clearly that we don’t live in fear, that we can communicate with God, and we have a hope for a better future as well. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I have to tell you something…

…you may not believe it…

…it may make you think less of me…

…but as a child…

…I was picked on…

…a lot.

I grew up in a small town area of southeastern Ohio.  I was a very sensitive child, I cried easily, I had red hair (there seemed to be less of us back then), and somehow in the mix of all of the sensitivity…I had a temper.  It was a kind of you hurt my feelings, I cried, and then I wanted to knock you out combo.  Due to my sensitivity some of the normal games children play would set off an emotional outburst that usually ended in the other kids looking at me in a way that said, “What in the world is wrong with THAT guy?”  This, of course, exacerbated the issues I had and further crushed my fragile confidence and ego.

I am so thankful I am not quite as fragile now.  

It often had to do with the intentions of the person playing the game, if they wanted to make me the butt end of the joke.  That was something I never, ever enjoyed.  A simple “high five, up high, down low, you’re too slow” with an intent to get me riled up would certainly do the trick.  

Did I mention I was fragile?

I felt destroyed and dismantled often due to my fragility and other children (who really did nothing wrong) being children.  I felt this way because I felt as though everyone was out to get me (they weren’t), I was an easy target (I was), and I would never be on the other end of the joke.  Whenever someone would walk up to me and initially act kind, I was often very skeptical. 

 That may be the source of my cynicism now, something to ponder at a later time.  

I was skeptical because I seldom felt that anyone was genuine and authentic in their desire to be my friend.

I have recently begun to wonder if there is a similarity with how I felt in my childhood years to how others feel about unauthentic Christians.  If all, of just about all, they experience is someone talking a good game only to feel set up as a self righteous person points a finger and expose their weakness, how would they ever grow to trust people who call themselves Christians?  How would they ever grow to trust Christ?  How often do we pull the “down low” and when they begin to open up, “too slow” and lose interest or take on the “I don’t understand why they just don’t get it?” and walk away from a life that God cares deeply about and wants to use us to reach them?


There were numerous times I just wanted someone to come over and stop the whole situation (even though the escalation was often my fault) and calm me down.  It didn’t happen often.  I wonder how many times those who do not know Christ want the escalating situation they are in to stop (even if it is their fault).  Meanwhile we, as Christians, sit back as spectators because we don’t want to get involved or worse yet, take on a pious or self righteous attitude because the person in the terrible situation made a bad decision and thank God we don’t do foolish things like that.  I guess they’ll have to figure it out themselves.

I feel like I could go on and on…the point is this…

I am so thankful that God so loved me (and all of us) that He didn’t sit by and do nothing (even though He had the right to) when I was stuck in my mess.  He intervened.  I believe we are called to do the same.  I believe we are to strive be genuine and authentic as Christ was when He walked this earth and loved those who were fragile and weak.  He has called us to do the same, and sent His Spirit to empower us to do so.  Do we believe it?  What are we going to do about it?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Alarm Clock Christianity

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

I really enjoy sleep.

I often look for opportunities to get a nap in or sleep in, it is a great feeling to be caught up enough to take a nap.  Sometimes, and don’t tell anyone, I still have a lot to do but I manage to squeeze in a nap.  I just feel so much more like doing the things I need to do, after I totally wake up of course.

Sleep is great.

Therefore, because I treasure my sleep so much, I have an enemy.  I call this enemy the alarm clock.  I hate this terrible invention with its incessant, “BAH BAH BAH BAH!” that has drawn me back into reality from many a wonderful dream.  This frequent pain has caused me to wake early in the hopes to avoid the terrible noise and has done a good amount of psychological harm.

I am serious.

If I hear an alarm clock in a store or on a television program my brow instantly furrows and I am placed in a bad mood.  I don’t understand why, but it just instantly makes me frustrated.

When I look at the Scripture at the beginning of this post it talks about how the faith that I have is worthless unless I have love, in fact the whole chapter of I Corinthians deals with this.  In some translations it says that our faith is like the clanging of a symbol, in this case a creaky gate, the point is it is likened to an annoying sound.

For me, the most annoying sound is an alarm clock.

One time my wife (Denise) got up for work and forgot to turn off her alarm.  Denise is a teacher and gets up very early (about 5:30am), and this happened to be my day off.  My perfect sleep in day…all for not. 

That was annoying…

…but I have done the same to her on accident…

…the point is still the same.

Is the way I carry out my faith annoying and does it cause people to be annoyed (as I am with the alarm) with my faith?  

What is it that I am making the sacrifice of Christ out to be?

Is it a set of rules?  Is it a lot of talk with no action?  Is it annoying?  Is it an empty promise?  Is it a cold shoulder with a warm smile in the hopes of inadvertently faking people into believing I am genuine?

I know I am guilty of this, but I also know that since God has been revealing this to me…He has been moving me away from that.  I am still “sick” and annoying, but I believe He is making me well.

Today, my challenge is to not be the blaring alarm clock, the creaking gate, the clanging symbol, with your faith.  The challenge is to love others as Christ loved them.  We can talk a good game, even moved mountains (check it out, it is in chapter 13) but if we don’t love people…we are truly portraying the love of Christ, which is why He came here.

We are making His story annoying to those who need to hear about Him and learn of His great love for them.
Let us who know Him, come to know Him better…let us make Him famous…by learning to love others as He does.  We need not push an agenda, but rather love others and let God do the work and present the time for the conversation. 

God bless!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Little Light Lessons

I love my daughter, and I love my son…even though he isn’t quite here in the “breathing on his own” sense (due to arrive in December).  I love the joy that they bring.  The fun I have with Arianna, the tickle fights, watching her explore, and that wonderful giggle.  

I recently went to a conference and as many conferences do, I received a bag full of goodies, you know, free stuff.  One of the things I received was a small flashlight.  It had a small band of Velcro so you could wrap it around your finger.  There is really no practical use for the light, but it was used for some fun at the convention.  I brought the goodies home and decided to let Arianna play with the little light.  I Velcro-ed it around her finger and then turned it on.  

She was amazed.  She played with it for over twenty minutes until we had to go to a family gathering. 

When we came back, I took her downstairs and she saw the light and wanted it again.  So I hooked it on her finger again.  The difference was that this time it was night time and I turned off the lights.  

Arianna saw the world in a whole new way.  She was flashing the light everywhere.  She crawled into the nooks and crannies of the downstairs, explored her toys (the ones she plays with everyday), everything was new.  I turned on the lights about twenty minutes into the darkness, mind you, I am just sitting in the dark.  She pointed at the lamp, “NOOOOOOO!”  She had more exploring to do.

She played until she had to go through her night time routine that ends with “night-night” time.

That light was hers, it made old things new, it changed how she saw things, and it inspired her to explore the things that she thought she already knew.

I think sometimes in our faith, we feel like the Light is on (and He is) consistently.  Sometimes though, the Light becomes impersonal and a lot like a lamp that is always on in the room.  Sometimes we need a new perspective.  It is Light, that doesn’t change (Meaning, spiritually, there is only one source of our light and that is Christ), but it is a new perspective in the way that it becomes personal and “mine.”  We experience the things we seem to have always known, but now we don’t just know, we experience.  

I know that this is true for me, and it is a constant battle to abide in the experiential faith that I hunger for, long for, and need for survival rather than a static Christianity.  I know when the lamp comes on that I feel as though I am sliding back to the place (which isn’t wrong per se) where it is the knowledge light instead of the experiential light.  

I hope this makes sense.

When the lamp comes on I feel myself saying, “NOOOOO!” much like Arianna.  I want that closeness and the newness of spirit I feel when I feel Him leading me to see things in a new way.

We all have dry seasons, seasons of the lamp (if you will), but do we seek the season of the Light?  I find it to be a constant battle to not let God become wallpaper in my life, but to continually seek after His Spirit to refresh, renew, and reveal Himself in new and exciting ways like Arianna saw things in a new way with her little flashlight.  

“This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine…”

Monday, October 10, 2011

Glass Slipper Schedule

Have you ever watched Cinderella? 

It isn’t one of those movies that I have watched a lot, or have close at hand because I watch it frequently.

Seriously…I promise.

One of the few scenes I remember is of Cinderella’s step-sisters trying to jam their NBA player sized feet into Cinderella’s petite glass slipper.  They tried everything to get their foot into that shoe, and why?  They tried because of what it meant if it fit.  Jamming something into a place where it doesn’t belong in the hopes that everything would work out how they wanted it to.

I find myself trying to do something similar with life.

If the shoe was my schedule, I am trying to jam everything into my schedule.  There are things that can’t change, some things that can, some things that I don’t even enjoy or need but somehow they have found their way into my schedule.  

The problem is that when too much gets wedged into my schedule, I easily lose sight of what is important.  

I mean, how worried were the step sisters with the thought of if they even liked or loved the prince?  

They were very willing to enter into a lifelong commitment with a man they didn’t know.

I know…I know…it is a fairy tale, but, if we think about it, are we living in a fairy tale world with our time. 

Do we believe that we can have our cake and eat it too?  Are we concerned with how our time affects others?  

Ouch, that one hits me pretty hard.  I have too many friends I haven’t touched base with recently.

I guess I have just been sitting back and evaluating my schedule because of a recent dry spell.  What I see is quite a bit of evidence that leads me to see that I am trying to jam too much into a glass slipper.   I am trying to jam too much of the unimportant into a space that is set up to fit the perfect balance of necessity and fun.  If I try to put too much of either in my schedule I become unbalanced.

For me, I find it very easy to get busy and at the end of the day…I am just spent and have very little left in the gas tank.  I find myself unsatisfied, unimpressed, and having a great desire for more.  There is a reason we are supposed to work towards a daily connection with God.

I will touch on the connection a little later this week.  The point is that there is plenty of time for fun, work, family, God, and everything in between.  I just need to make sure I am focused, keeping the goal of meeting the NEEDS of my time and not trying to jam too much into the glass slipper of my time.  

Time keeps on slippin’…slippin’…slippin’…into the future…so let’s not catch ourselves years from now looking back and wondering what we have been doing with our lives.  We have a calling and a purpose.  Let’s not lose sight of that.  Rather, let us be about the business of living a life that matters.