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finding meaning in the mundane

Category: Faith (page 1 of 6)

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

The Passing of Mr. Bear

Love from our heavenly FatherMr. Bear, a.k.a. MaBear, a.k.a. Crusty Bear, a.k.a. Crunchy Bear, is my youngest daughters absolute favorite stuffed animal.  This past weekend my wife Tiffany headed off with a friend to the Whatever Craft Weekend leaving me home with our three kids.  My goal this weekend was to brush their hair, make sure their teeth were perfectly clean, and that they house never once got messy.  My goal this weekend was to have an absolute blast with the kids.  I was determined to have the kids brag to their mom when she came home about me.  I was on my way to accomplishing that, until I found out that Mr. Bear was possibly gone forever.  I took the kids to see Paddington that night and I’m pretty sure that Mr. Bear came too.   While tucking Leah into bed she said to me,

“Dad, I need my Crunchy Bear before I go to sleep.”

And all of a sudden, that’s when I realized, Mr. Bear was no where to be found.

UGH.  What in the world was I going to do?  I panicked.  I ran to the car to find he wasn’t there.  I searched under every cushion, and shook out every blanket on the couch–he wasn’t there either.  I called the movie theater and left three voicemails just in case they didn’t hear my number the first time.  I called the movie theater until someone finally picked up.

“Yes, hello.  I have a bit of an emergency.  Mr. Bear is gone.  I was in theater 3, seated in row H, seats 1,2,3,4.  Did anyone find a tan bear, he responds to Mr. Bear, Ma Bear, Crunchy Bear, and Crusty Bear.”

Okay, so I left off the “responds to bit”.  But calling the movie theater was my final straw.

“Sorry sir, all I’ve got here is a my little pony.”

My heart sank into my toes.  How was I going to look in my little girls eyes and tell her that her bear was gone?  My heart was broken for her.  I didn’t even want to tell my wife about it when she checked in with me that night.  It was all too much for me.

But then I remembered—the kids had been playing in the basement.  I flew down the steps and scanned the room to find Mr. Bear sitting up with his well worn, well loved neck flopped over still sipping on tea, just as he was earlier that day.

God's LoveI sat on the couch that night thinking about how a stuffed bear caused me so much emotional heartache, and how this small cotton creature was able to captivate so much of my time.  It reminded me of how my love for my daughter, and for each of my kids, is so strong that it would cause me to tear apart my house for a small stuffed animal.  It reminded me of how much I love being a dad, and what a privilege it is to hold these kids hearts in my hands.  It reminded me of how the smallest things often matter the most.

But I went to bed that night thinking about how much my Father in heaven loves me.  If I love my kids that much, it is unimaginable for me to think about how much God loves me, and them!  I thought of this verse,

You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?  Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!  So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

Matthew 7:9-11

If God loves me more than I love my kids, than that is pretty incredible.  And the same goes for you!  You are loved by God more than you’ll ever know and He delights in providing even the smallest things for you.  Sometimes it’s the small things that count far more than the big ones.  And don’t you forget it.

~Peter

Will You Ever Be Enough?

One of the most frustrating things that there is in life is the feeling of inadequacy.  We run through life trying to consistently gauge, “Am I enough?”  It applies in all areas of our life, in every relationship, and in every circumstance.  Am I good enough, smart enough, funny enough, good looking enough, fast enough, smooth enough, skinny enough, productive enough, and just plain old enough?

It isn’t limited to our relationships with others around us.  We often ask this exact question of our relationship with God too.  Am I good enough for God to love me?  Am I spiritual enough?  Have I gone to church enough?  Have I memorized enough scripture?  Have I prayed enough?  Have I given generously enough?  Have I done enough for God to love me?

None of us can do enough to fix our own brokenness, or get rid of our sin.  We can’t try hard enough, do enough, or go to church enough to patch ourselves together.  There is no amount of enough that we can do to make God have a relationship with us.  There is only one thing that ever was enough for that, and that is Jesus.  Jesus was enough.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says,

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works so that no one may boast.”

We have been saved from our brokenness, from our lack of being enough, and from our sin by God’s grace.  It comes by our faith in God’s Son, Jesus.  The apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4,

“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the scriptures.”

There is no room for you to do anything in that process except for believe.  We add so much to what we think God wants us to do.  We try to say the right things, and do the right things.  And it can leave us feeling like we aren’t enough.  It’s not that you have to be good enough, or that you have to be religious enough, or that you have to be spiritual enough.

You just have to believe.

You just have to be.

Just be.

Be.

You aren’t enough.  But Jesus is.  Rest in the comfort of that today.

~Peter

Are You Hearing the Voice Of God?

Spearfishing NJIt is no secret.  I love to fish.  I love to be near the water and enjoying time in creation.  Even more than throwing a line in the water, I love to actually get under the water and chase after fish with my speargun.  That is my absolute favorite kind of fishing-spearfishing.  Between my son and I, we have four fishing rods, 20 lures, countless hooks, and every variation of weight imaginable.  For spearfishing, I have 2 wetsuits, 1 spear gun, 1 pole spear, a dive knife, a weight belt, a float, a stringer, and several other pieces of paraphernalia.  All of these things help me catch fish.

None of these things guarantee that at the end of the day there will be a fish in my cooler.  These things are all neatly stowed in my garage just waiting to be used.  They will not catch fish by themselves, and they certainly won’t do that at my landlocked home.  Each of these items need to be near the water in order to be effective.

Too often we approach God in the same way.  We gather all of the necessary gear, we wear the Jesus paraphernalia, and we think that by the end of the day our spiritual cooler should be filled.  But too often we walk away feeling disappointed.

Could it be that just owning the gear doesn’t mean that we will actually accomplish the goal? There has to be more to it than just possession.

There has to be action.

God has made Himself known to us through His Son Jesus, through His creation, and through His written word the Bible.

Psalm 19:1-2 says, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.  Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.”

All of creation is speaking of God’s glory and majesty.  All of creation is pointing us to our God.  Yet there are times when we wonder why we haven’t heard from God, or feel God’s presence in our life.  Could it possibly be that you haven’t put yourself in a posture of listening?  Could it be that you own all the gear, but you haven’t put it into use?

On a recent clean water trip in Nicaragua with a group of people from my church, I challenged our team to do two things each day.

Look for God and Listen for His voice.

I believe that God wants to speak to each of us daily, and that God is waiting to be found.  I don’t think that God is playing a game of spiritual hide and go seek.  He is in plain sight, the question is do we have the eyes to see and the ears to hear?

Today, spend some time looking for God in the world around you.  Ask yourself, where is God trying to get my attention?  What could He possibly be saying to me?  If you are willing I believe that you will hear God’s voice, and you will see God’s presence in your life.

Here’s to getting out of the garage and closer to the water.

~Peter

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