Posted tagged ‘rushing’

Careful!

February 3, 2019

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                   February 3, 2019

                                         

Yesterday was nice and sunny here in Colorado Springs- about 60 degrees, in case anyone in the East and Midwest is wondering- so I took a walk. I went past the Liberty High School parking lot and noticed a young lady being taught how to drive. Her mom was giving her instructions and she slowly made a loop around. Whenever she made a turn she almost came to a complete stop as the tires were redirected. Her mom had her park in one of the parking spaces and it took her three times of going forward and then backwards before she put the Subaru in the spot. 

She was being extremely, extremely, really extremely careful! The question occurred to me as I watched this from the hillside overlooking the school, “when will she stop being careful?” Will there be a point where she will begin exiting the school parking lot at the end of a school day driving like a bat out of hell?

Our three year old granddaughter is determined. Otherwise known as being stubborn! There’s been a few times when she’s been given a cup of juice to drink and she grabs it like a Black Friday 5 A.M. shopper at Walmart! The juice goes every which way, sloshing to freedom on the table, chair, and floor. Sippy cups have made her reckless! They’ve taught her to proceed carefree! Perhaps when she’s five she will discover the relevance of carefulness for her life…cautious and controlled now to avoid spills and cleanups later.

Being careful appears and disappears like the fog along the Ohio River. Someone runs down the driveway to pick up the morning newspaper, trips and falls on a spot of ice, and breaks their arm. Another person, an elderly woman, walks with heightened fear taking each step slowly as if she’s on a tightrope. Her fear of breaking a hip has made her careful, whereas the first person has learned the hard way that there are times to slow down.

Working quite frequently with middle schoolers, I am amazed at how so many of them now have cell phones…without protective cases! A thirteen year old’s cell phone without a protective case is an accident waiting to happen! Little Jimmy, who races through the hallways between classes, now has an iPhone that has no many cracks in it there’s no way he can make out what anything on the screen says.

Careful or without a care, so much of our lives get spent at one end or the other of the pendulum.

I was surprised to discover that the Bible uses the word “careful” 120 times. the advice of Ephesians 5:15 is simple and clear. “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise!”

Reckless behavior has its consequences. Decisions not thought through will have negative results. Doing something stupid has the potential to do damage for years to come. Here in Colorado we have had several devastating fires in the past decade. Last June’s Spring Creek fire burned over 108,000 acres and destroyed 141 homes. It was caused by a man who has been charged with arson. One moment of stupidity caused damage that will take decades to undo.

Scripture keeps reminding us to be careful in our words and actions. When something is said or put into print or onto social media it can’t be undone. It’s there, and will be there! Being careful is associated with being wise!

We need not be as careful as the young lady inching her Subaru along in the school parking lot, but so often we resemble our granddaughter, sitting in the splashes of our rash decisions. 

Redeeming The Time

January 26, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                      January 25, 2016

                                 

“…making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)

Time has a way of getting away from us. It seems so plentiful and then it suddenly is gone. I’m sure all of us have come to the end of a day and said words like, “Where did this day go?” or, with a sense of frustration, “I had all this time today and I got nothing done!”

I heard a message in worship this past Sunday morning about the grasp that “Chronos time” has on our lives. That is, the kind of time that drives our schedules…tasks to get completed by this afternoon, meetings to attend tonight, places to be early in the morning, a limited amount of time to drive from here to there. “Chronos time” is the calendar I now keep on my cell phone that tells me I have the car to take in for service at 10:00, a granddaughter to pick up at 12:00, and a basketball game to coach at 5:30.

That kind of time isn’t a bad thing. It just is! It becomes a detriment if it squeezes out that other kind of time known as “kairos.”

“Kairos time” isn’t determined by a clock. In fact, it is almost like time is standing still, a moment or a day when the numbers on my watch are inconsequential. It’s that “God moment” that rises to the top of all the events of this day and is remembered for years to come. “Kairos time” is a sunrise that illuminates the front of Pike’s Peak in a few glorious moments. It’s that scripture passage that your mind becomes focused on that burns a new understanding into your soul.

“Chronos time” will always be a major part of our lives. The world revolves around it. But “kairos time” gives us meaning and depth.

I’m in my twenty-sixth day of retirement. The pastor who gave Sunday’s message didn’t realize that it was extremely pertinent to where I am in this leg of my life journey. I realize that most of my life has been focused on schedules and details. This month is the beginning of a unique opportunity to redeem the time.

And yet, it can so easily slip away simply into a new version of “chronos time!” I could become a couch potato and watch episode after episode of “Criminal Minds.” I could hang out at Target (Why???), or play one of the multitude of Play Station 2 games that I have never played. (Yes, I said Play Station 2! I’ve had it for four years and turned the power on twice!)

You would think that being a pastor would mean that “kairos time” dominated my schedule, but it often evaded me as the daily duties invaded me.

This month I’m perhaps just a little more cognizant of the whisper of the Father in the slowing of the pace.

Redeem the time! Listen closely! Let special moments simmer!

Extended Grace

July 10, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                          July 10, 2013

 

                                           “Extended Grace”

 

I met yesterday with a group of pastors that I journey with half a day once a month. It’s a intimate group of five. We begin each session with a time of reflective reading of scripture, reading through it three times, and noticing something that speaks to us in the text each time it is read.

Yesterday the text came from James 4:1-10. The text could justifiably be summed up with the words “Get your act together!” It’s a little on the lecture side…lecture, as in standing in the midst of the principal’s office and being told the deeds just committed will not be tolerated.

Frequent words used in the scripture include “don’t”, “do not”,  and “can’t”. 

But in the midst of the reading of the holy riot act, these words appear: “But he gives us more grace. (James 4:6a, NIV)

Our group noted that our tendency, which the text hints at, is to be selfish and self-centered. The foot washing act of service by Jesus in the Upper Room is uncomfortable for most of us if it is not planned ahead of time. If we know it’s coming we’re able to rev up our piousness enough to lower ourselves to our knees. But when that opportunity for surrender and humbleness comes unannounced the reception is often cooler than Saskatchewan in early December.

It seems from the text that our God knows of our tendency to yield to no one. He knows that we can talk the walk. We can even walk the walk with others, but walking the walk at the pace of others is another thing. A couple of weeks ago I was walking in an airport terminal and I came upon an elderly woman being pushed in a wheelchair by an attendant. The terminal hallway had narrowed. My first thought was to speed by, but then I thought “I’ve got four hours until my flight leaves.” So I strolled slowly behind them…but I was taken back by how many people rushed to get by the lady who could no longer rush. Perhaps some people were rushing to get to connecting flights, but, honestly, I’m sure most were rushing because the wheeled occupant was slowing down their self-absorption.

And the amazing and even perplexing thing about God is that he knows our selfish ways…and he gives us more grace!

I would think he would set a grace limit. We would! We would be willing to ride grace for a while, but pretty soon we’d put that pony back in the barn. Like a pair of shoes that don’t fit snuggly, we’re only willing to wear grace for so long.

But grace is a garment that God never discards. It becomes a representative feature of who he is, like whenever I see or smell a pipe I think of my Uncle Bernie.

Could it be that when we think of grace we automatically think of God? Of course, whether we think of it or not, God will continue to extend it. He doesn’t need our approval. He just would like us to accept it!

The Rush To Vacate

May 22, 2009

Memorial Day weekend is a great weekend…to stay home!

The highways and byways will be packed with vans, trucks, trucks pulling boats or campers or ATV’s. It will be chaos and bedlam on asphalt. It’s a tradition, one that for many families is as customary as gathering around a tree on Christmas Day.

If you’ve been thinking about going to Sam’s Club…wait until Tuesday. If the thought suddenly occurs to you that “this weekend is pretty empty, why not go camping?,” spray yourself with bug repellant, start a fire in the fireplace, roast some indigestion-inducing hot dogs over it, and then enjoy the peace and quiet of your own living room.

I know that I sound anti-camping. I’m really not, but I admit that I do prefer sleeping in my own house rather than a tent with no heating or air conditioning system. Call me a wimp!

I’ve noticed that people spend a lot of time rushing to vacate. They leave town exhausted from the effort to leave. Camping isn’t the villain. It’s a mindset twitch that has infected our lifestyle. When I’m “here” I’m in a rush to get “there.”

But when I’m “there” I can’t enjoy it because I’m thinking of things that will happen next week when I’m back “here.”

We’re a culture addicted to rushing. Even at this moment I’m forcing myself to slow down and think through my words because I need to go visit someone. The sooner I can crank out the words the faster I can get to the next thing on the list.

By our actions and itineraries, “quantity of living” is more important than “quality of living,” but we press to get the quality with the quantity. In other words “we want everything and it better be good!”

I believe there is an intimate connection between “quality of living” and a slower pace. It’s tragic that most of the time when we hear the term “quality of life” it’s associated with someone in their last days who doesn’t have much life left to live.

It’s not coincidental that there was a quality to the psalms that David wrote, and he didn’t have deadlines. What he had was time to reflect, to be renewed, to see and hear with not only his eyes and ears, but also his heart. He was not in a rush.

Think about it this weekend whether you’re in an RV or your own bedroom. Think about your pace and ask yourself, are you conveying to your kids, friends, and neighbors that it’s a race or a walk?

Pastor Bill