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finding meaning in the mundane

How Are You? No, Really…

“How are you doing?”  If I asked you this I’m pretty sure that I could guess what your answer is going to be.

  1. Fine
  2. Good
  3. Okay

Or maybe just maybe you would join the 2% of the population that actually chooses option 4–honesty.

One Sunday morning I asked someone how they were fully expecting to get any of the first three answers, either 1, 2, or 3.  But instead they chose option 4–honesty.  What did they say?   “Well actually I’m pretty Sh!&#y.  This was Sunday morning in the church hallways.  There was something so honest and refreshing about his response.  He didn’t need to lie to me.  He didn’t need to cover anything up.  His feelings were raw and emotional.  They were right there on the surface.  And what I really appreciate about the whole interchange is that he didn’t apologize for them.  It was what it was.

Recently I’ve been re-reading “Fail“.  And the author J.R. Briggs says this,

How often are the regular Christian clichés we use nothing more than disguises for our hurt and pain?  They are not only lazy but also deceiving.  Maybe most dangerous of all, we may eventually fool ourselves one day into thinking we’re actually okay.  We hide so much under the rug, eventually we end up tripping on it.

Why do we do this to ourselves?  What are we afraid of?  Too often we are so uncomfortable with who we are on the inside that we couldn’t possibly understand how anyone else could possibly accept us if they saw who we truly were or what we were truly experiencing.  So rather than being honest and vulnerable with people, we choose to project an image of having it all together.

This should not be.

HikerFight the desire to simply be okay–okay is average.  Okay desensitizes you to feeling both hot and cold, pain and pleasure.  To the degree that we understand pain, we will understand pleasure.  We cannot understand the majesty of the mountaintop if we haven’t been down in the valleys too.  I love how J.R. puts it, “we may eventually fool ourselves one day into thinking we’re actually okay”.  How scary is that?  Those words left a haunting impression in my mind.  I don’t want to fool you, and the last thing I want to do is fool myself.

Don’t ignore the people around you.  Do them a favor and be honest with them.  They need it, and you need it.  So, would you be bold enough to answer honestly the next time you are asked how you are?  What if you were courageous enough to go first…  I bet you’d be surprised at how they would reply to your question “How are you?”

I dare you.  Try it.

~Peter

People Watching: Everyone Does It

people-pano2_31297People are funny.  Aren’t they?  They say some really funny things.  I have an austrailian friend who likes to say “Good on you”.   And another Australian friend that greets me by saying, “Hey Mate”.  And yet another friend from Korea that would occasionaly say thank you in Korean–“gamsahabnida”.  These guys are unique and have different backgrounds and experiences than me.  Yet, there is something about the way that they talk that identifies them.

Having grown up in New York, just outside of Queens, I got used to people calling me Peeta…  Yes… they would say it just like the character from the Hunger Games…  It was a thick accent.  And anytime I hear someone call me Peta now, I know immedaitely where they are from.  Their is no hiding it.  It brings me right back…

And the same goes to all of you saying, “Ya’ll”.  We know where you’re from too… There is no hiding from that one!  You can’t deny it.

People are identified by their behavior & speech.

It tells us something about your past.  It tells us something about your present.  And sometimes it even tells us something about your future.  There are times when even a persons attitude gives you an inclination of where they are from.  Ever met anyone from Philly?

Christ followers should also be identified by their speech and behavior.  Jesus says,

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

John 13:34-35

When Peter was in the midst of denying Jesus for the third time, some people around him said, “even the way that you talk gives you away.”  Basically, we can tell you’ve been with Jesus.  You talk like Him!

What does your attitude say about you?  What do you sound like?  When you speak, can people tell that you follow Jesus?   I wish that people were able to identify me as a follower of Jesus simply because of the way that I talk.  Or that they would know my love for my savior because of the love that I have for my wife and kids.  Imagine what it would be like to be known as a follower of Jesus because of the way that you care for the poor, and the hurting.

People are watching.  They are investigating, trying to figure out who you are and what you’re about.  Let’s live, speak and act in a way that points people to Jesus.

~Peter

 

Is it well?

it-is-well-with-my-soul-2014-theologigalRecently I shared a post with a message I gave to my church.  (Click here to view that message)  At the end of that message I asked one simple question.  It was this:  Will you trust God with your pain?

That is a simple question, but yet it is so difficult to answer.  Will I trust God with my pain?  I have to first answer other questions, like; is God good?  Is God in control?  Does God care about me?    These are the questions that plague us and leave us feeling weary and worn out.

When we walk into the doctors office to hear the test results, or when we click our pen to sign the divorce papers, or when we feel anxious over every one of life’s details, we ultimately have a decision to make… and that is, will you trust God?  Can you say that it is well?

Sometimes it is easier than others… At least that has been my experience.  But at the same time, I also know that there is nothing I would rather do than place my life and my hurts, pains, doubts, and frustrations into the hands of a God who not only knows what it is like, but holds it all together.

When I am in the moments of pain and deep suffering I have to turn to scripture.  Over the past few months the soundtrack to my pain has often been this song-It Is Well by Bethel .   I love these words…

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
It is well with me

Read more:  Bethel Music – It Is Well Lyrics | MetroLyrics

So, what about you?  Can you say, It Is Well?

~Peter

My God, Why?

Have you ever wondered why God allows pain in your life?  Or have you ever asked God “Why?”  Recently I had the privilege of being able to share a message with my church looking at these exact questions.  It is overwhelming to think about how many of us wake up each and every day in pain.  Pain comes in all forms: physical pain, emotional pain, or even spiritual pain.  But God hasn’t left us alone in our pain.  Nor has God been silent in our pain.

God knows all about pain.  And God loves you enough to say you will never be alone in your pain.  For more, check out that message below…

 

SNOW: Why I’m begging for more

Living just outside of New York City means that when Old Man Winter rolls in we have the opportunity for snow from time to time.  So far the 2015 version of himsel hasn’t been too bad.  We narrowly missed the #Snowpocalypse of 2015 which have led many to call it #Snowgate 2015.  We may not have gotten three feet, but we did end up with somewhere between 6-9 inches.  And people bought a ton of eggs, bread and milk!  I guess our region will be having an awful lot of french toast this winter.

The kids absolutely loved sledding, building snow forts, avoiding yellow snow, throwing snow balls, and everything else that kids do in snow.  I loved the snow too–but for different reasons.  I loved the snow because I’m a visual guy.  I need to see something, and the snow is one of God’s incredible gifts to us.  Yeah, I said it.

The Snow is one of God’s gifts to us.

Here’s why… Psalm 51:7 says,

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Snow covers over everything.

Few things are exempt from it’s cloaking power.  With every flake that falls, the canvas grows whiter and whiter.  Everything looks fresh and clean after a good snowfall.  It covers all the ugliness left behind by fall.  All the decaying things and all the brittle brokenness of this world.  It reminds me of how God has “covered” my sins because of what Jesus did on the cross.  How Jesus forgave the ugliness, brokeness and sin in my life so that I can know God and be in His presence.  The fact that Jesus was willing to pay the penalty for what I rightly deserved is something that I can never forget.

Snow

Get this free printable resource from “the Happy Life Blog”

 

Snow reflects the light.

A fresh blanket of snow in the afternoon sun can blind just about anyone.  Especially after you’ve come out of the drab interior of your winter hibernation.  Your eyes can barely contain all of the light that is bouncing around off of every snowflake.  It reminds me of how we have been set in this world to reflect the Light of the world–Jesus.  God’s forgiveness washes us white as snow and makes it so that we can shine brightly in this world!

I’m a summer kind of guy, I can’t wait to be sitting on the beach with sand in my toes…  but everynow and then boots in the snow are good too!

~Peter

And just for fun, here are my crazy kids out in the snow!

Snow

Noah

Snow Cover

Grace

Snow

Leah

 

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