When you can’t wait on hope

Don’t you hate that, “We’ve got good news and we’ve got bad news” conversation.

It’s always followed up with the question, “Which one do you want first?”

Neither! Why don’t you go back out the door, fix the bad news and then come back in here with just good news… sound like a plan?

But, it never happens that way. Taking the good with the bad just seems to be one of the natural processes of life:

  • You get unexpected cash, and the car breaks down
  • You get some time off, you get a cold
  • You get married, you… wait, I think you get it

It’s a pattern that plays out almost everyday, but the blessings are hard to see. For example, you would not have had the money to fix the car (bad news) if the unexpected money hadn’t showed up (good news).

This same pattern seems to be confirmed in Continue reading “When you can’t wait on hope”

Keeping your tread depth for life

I am not mechanically inclined… at all.

That’s why I  am extremely blessed to have friends who can fix stuff. I kind of have  an unspoken deal with them; if they fix what’s broken around my place or in my car, I’ll conjugate any Greek verbs they need.

Seems to be working out really well for me so far.

It was even worse when I was younger. I remember being in high school and knowing very little about cars but thinking that they were trying to con me when they said I needed my tires aligned.

Sure, what’s next, am I low on blinker fluid?

Over the years, I’ve decided that a good tire alignment isn’t a bad deal.

In fact, the whole issue of alignment is a fantastic spiritual principle. So much of our lives are close, but just not quite there. You couldn’t see it by looking at it, but the unforeseen wear and tear on our lives and  the unexpected reduction in performance let us know something is wrong.

We often have all the pieces we need, but we’re lacking some kind of cohesiveness, some kind of coherence that makes all the parts of our life work right. It’s like the old expression, I finally got it all together and then forgot where I put it.

Just like the tires on a vehicle, we also need spiritual alignment. In other words, we need to take the time and energy to make sure that our practices line up with what we know, that our thoughts reflect a pure heart and that our lives produce based on what  we are putting in.

When our day-to-day lives tend to wear us out, when we don’t seem to get out of our lives what we are pouring in, and when we seem to be living  two lives (the one that reflects the voice in our head and heart versus the one that we actually live out with her hands and feet) then we are probably in need of spiritual alignment.

An alignment means that we have it almost altogether, but the pieces are not working well as a team. This will cause frustration, breakdown and serious life damage.

Alignment means that we take what was close and say not good enough. We bring it into line and everything starts humming along just like it should.

Let me give you an example. The Addi  are a pretty functional and healthy family unit, but like every family in America and I assume around world, things aren’t always perfect.

My wife and I after a discussion this very morning just desired to take it up a notch and become more of a family that God would want us to be. For me, this meant a return to the Scripture as I asked God to reveal how to align our family with  Him.

I really believe he directed me, since I sat down to read Galatians 5 as it was on my daily reading plan and I just hoped God would intersect that random calendar with our specific need. I was halfway through the chapter when I realized I was in Ephesians 5… kind of a rookie mistake for a pastor, but it was just the chapter we needed for our realignment.

Thanks God.

Here’s what I found:

  • verse 1 -don’t compare yourself to others, there are families that will make you feel bad about yours and and many that will make you feel better about yours. The standard though is to imitate God… remember life is not graded on a curve.
  • verse 2 – walk in love. The fragrance of Christ is not worship music, strict obedience to behavioral steps or anything else very Christian/churchlike. We are to walk in love and let that verb consume us and our household.
  • verse 3 -rid the house of any sexual immorality and greed. This shouldn’t even be hinted of in the believer’s home. What’s playing on our television set, what pops up on our computer screens, what rolls around in the mind, what’s valued and sought after, what becomes an obsession? All these are things that I have to answer for no matter who in my home is taking part. It’s our job to get rid of the junk.
  • verse 4 – no filthy or foolish talk, especially crude joking. Instead it needs to be replaced with a consistent attitude and speech pattern of thankfulness.
  • verse 6 – in the standards and practices of your home, be firm and steadfast. When you make a decision, stick with it.
  • verse 10 – when looking for direction, think about what would make the Lord happy and walk there.
  • verse 11 – expose what is wrong and do not cover over it. Problems do not go away, they must be dealt with.
  • verse 14 – wake up! Quit sleep walking through the most important moments and decisions of your life. You can’t live on cruise control.
  • verse 18 – be filled with the Holy Spirit and make worship a way of life. It’s not about the weekend stupid… God needs to be on the throne of your family seven days a week.
  • verse 19 – submit to one another as a way to honor Jesus.
  • verse 22 – wives submit, follow and respect your hubby.
  • verse 23 – husbands, be worth submitting to, following and respecting. Love your wife more than you love yourself.
  • verse 30 – make your immediate family, the family that you focus on.
  • chapter 6, verse 1 – children obey your parents, just because it’s right. This is how you learn submission and trust.
  • verse 4 – parent with skill and compassion. Learn how to discipline and not punish. Make your parenting what your kids need, not what they want.

Suddenly, I realize that things are good not great. That there is soooo much room to be where and what God wants us/me to be.

Most importantly, I realize that if I don’t change something, nothing is going to change.

One by one, The Addi will start to make the adjustments and align our home with God’s word.

Pretty soon, we’ll be running much better than we knew we could!

And, by the way, if you need any Greek conjugated… just let me know.

Now that was an expensive phone call

Now that was an expensive phone call! I just got off the phone with my wife who is on mission in Nairobi, Kenya.

The boys are with Grandma in Kansas, I am with 700+ grade schoolers at camp in Texas, and my wife is on the mission field in Africa.

Literally, the Addis’ are all over the world.

I haven’t been able to talk to my wife since she left on Saturday, and the 6 am phone call this morning was awesome.

Actually, the first call that rattled me out of bed was a series of, “Hello, can you hear me?” statements that were completely unreciprocated. So, frantically, I pulled up SKYPE on the computer and dialed the same number that just called me.

I was pretty sure it was my wife since the caller ID showed about 45 numbers… obviously not a telemarketer. Continue reading “Now that was an expensive phone call”

An Open letter to Kathy

This is an open letter to my wife on our 15th wedding anniversay. She means more to me than words can say…

Dear Kathy,

On our 15th wedding anniversary, I find that today is an example like so many days in the last 15 years that show an inexplicable love and devotion that I neither deserve nor understand. But, nonetheless, it’s this relationship with you that I treasure more than almost anything in my world.100_2777
For the last 15 years I have been a youth pastor and/or camp speaker with a July wedding anniversary. So, only once or twice in our years together have we actually spent these precious camp dates together. When we did, they were days shared with others, like today.
Today, for our 15th wedding anniversary you drove yourself and our boys all the way to central Texas to spend 3 days with me and about 700 third through sixth graders. Then on this big day you celebrated by:

• getting up early
• packing for two boys, a husband and yourself
• doing most of the heavy lifting because my head was hurting again
• listening to me preach for the 1 billionth time
• working the product table and making change out of campers wet lake water money
• driving a second car 8.5 hours home
• making your anniversary dinner a burger, fries and peanut buster parfait from Dairy Queen at a truck stop in nowhere Oklahoma
• finally, making the late night unload at the church of all the tech equipment and junk we’d been hauling

Most impressive of all Mrs. Addis was the fact that everytime I saw you today you smiled and hugged and looked for a kiss. Even though many others would whine and complain about their lot in life, you showed joy and love.
It was a day you could rightfully claim as your own, even if you had given up so many others. Surely, the 15th should be special. But, you put your God, your husband and the cause before yourself.
You’ve never looked more beautiful to me. Continue reading “An Open letter to Kathy”