Monthly Archives: June 2009

Toms Shoes – Day 18

If you haven’t heard of this, you need to watch the video and check them out. Here’s the link to their website.

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Calvin and Hobbes Theology – Day 18

Calvin and Hobbes is like the Lebron James Michael Jordan (they are retired too) of comic books. The comic is head and shoulder above its peers. If you haven’t read them do not hesitate to buy a comic book here.

One of the reasons the characters are so lovable is the way you could relate to them. I saw this portion of the comic today and couldn’t help, but see myself in Calvin.

Not that I’m a top-notch scholar or anything, but I think we could all use a bit of examination. The Bible constantly calls us for us to examine ourselves (or for God to examine us). One such place is Psalm 26:2 where it says, “Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.”

We may not find “outrageous” sin, but I think the reason why we are commanded to examine is because we have a much more subtle problem. We get involved in and we do so many good things, so many ok things, that we lose sight of the best God has for us. Our lives become cluttered with all sorts of fine things and slowly, but surely, we have derailed from our purpose. We’ve become content with casual Christ-following. So I think from time to time, we’ve got to lay our hearts bare before God and ask Him to tweak, redirect, mold, or fix any part that’s not going in the right direction.

I hope that all makes sense. It’s one of those days where I have a hard time talking (writing in this case!). I just thought since we are at the halfway point in the year it would be a good time for all of us Calvins to do a little examining.

How can you Become Last today?

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Attitude Schmatitude – Day 17

This morning, I was reflecting on Becoming Last with my attitude. How do I respond to certain situations or people? Perhaps I’m a bit of an idealist, but I believe attitudes are contagious. Check out Philippians 2:14-15.

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.”

That verse directly correlates my attitude with my witness. Experience proves that true too. Who really wants to follow a God whose people bicker, complain, gossip, and argue? I’m not saying that’s the way people think of Christians. I’m just saying I want to lay my attitude at Christ’s feet. And really, isn’t that an offshoot of becoming a Christian? Look at it this way. We accept Christ. We become Christ followers. We say, “God, here is my life. I’m here to serve. Here is everything.” When we’ve given Him everything, we have nothing left to complain and argue about! I think so much of my time is spent complaining or arguing or being frustrated over my rights or the way I feel I should be treated. It’s very freeing to say, “You know what? Treat me how you want. My identity, my purpose, my dignity is not found in you or how you treat me. It’s found in God.”

So anyway, those were some of my thoughts from this morning. Here’s a couple of ways I can begin applying this (I find if I don’t think of ways to apply, my thoughts never make into action. I would completely encourage you to always think through how you can put thoughts into action).

  1. Forgive Freely and Wholly – I’m very good at offering partial forgiveness. I forgive someone, but yet they still have to work to get in my good graces. That’s not forgiveness. That’s terrible. I want to forgive with abandon.
  2. Be a “Yes” Man – I want to practice saying yes more quickly when asked to help out with something, especially mundane things. For example, if my wife asks me to help with the dishes I want to jump at the opportunity. I’m very good at doing it, but making it indirectly clear that I’m really sacrificing to help. Pathetic, I know. I want to serve with abandon.
  3. Patience with Customer Service – I think this one is fairly obvious. I just want to empathize with anyone I come into contact with. Maybe they are slow. Maybe they are rude. That gives me no right to be angry. Love is unconditional.
  4. Practice Positive Gossip – How often do I complain about things to my friends and family? How often do I listen to complaining? Instead, I want to practice praising people when they do a good job. Brag on them behind their back.

I’m never going to be perfect in this life. I don’t even want to pretend to be close. I hope you find my openness refreshing, rather than condemning. I just want to be honest with the fact that I’m a work in progress and that I long for my life to be given fully to God in the pursuit of others. I want to love Him and others completely. If I’m called to be Christ’s ambassador, as it says in 2 Corinthians, then I want to be the best ambassador possible.

What does Becoming Last look like to you today?

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Five Seconds, One Child – Day 16

Count off five seconds with me. One…Two…Three…Four…Five. As we counted, one child died of a hunger-related issue. As you ponder that, another one has passed away. I spent the morning doing some research and was blown away by some of the statistics I ran across.

  • 16,000 children die each day from a hunger-related cause.
  • In 2005, almost 1.4 billion people lived below the international poverty line, earning less that $1.25 per day.
  • Every year, more than 20 million low birth babies are born in developing countries. Those who survive infancy often suffer through physical and congnitive challenges the rest of their lives.

As I tweeted earlier, hunger-related causes kill more than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Hunger goes beyond the mere physical effect of feeling an empty stomach. Among other things, it prevents people from getting the proper vitamins and nutrients necessary for physical and mental development and leaves them at a higher risk for developing diseases.

There was so much more than I could even begin to describe. It’s that first fact that haunts me the most. The fact that every five seconds a child dies from hunger-related causes. While you read this, several children have died. As we sit in church on Sunday, most churches are an hour, 720 children die. 720. That number honestly just paralyzed me. I just sat there and looked at it. 720 children. It’s hard to fathom.

And it’s easy for that to be a number. But those children have names. They have faces. They are sons. They are daughters. It’s hard for me to look at my boy and put him in those shoes.

I know we can’t save the world, but…I can no longer sit and forget about these children who were never given a chance.

How can we Become Last to the children around the world who need our help?

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Grocery Shopping as a Spirtual Exercise – Day 15

I’ve you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you know by now that my heart is starting to be burdened for the least of these in society. I’ve begun to realize just how lavish of a lifestyle I live. Well, today, even grocery shopping was a chance for me to learn.

We checked out a new Wal-Mart in town. I know some people don’t like Wal-Mart, but I’ve never had an issue with them. So we went in and were amazed at how large the place was and how much was in there! Crazy huge!

So we began shopping and, as I recommended a couple of posts ago, we picked up a can of veggies as a simple way of remembering those in need. But this is where it got interesting for me. We were so pumped by all the low prices we just began stockpiling food in our cart. All sorts of scrumptious, appetizing treats found their way in our basket and when it was all said and done we spent close to $80 on food (that’s a lot for me, I’m very frugal). Our cart was overflowing. And something struck me…

There was all this stuff we longed for, that we desired, and then there was this one can of food someone, somewhere needed. It was a striking contrast. And it’s not to say we shouldn’t enjoy lots of things (maybe we shouldn’t to the degree we do), but I look at the overwhelming excess with which we live and it destroys me to think of people in other parts of the world and even America who would rejoice over the one simple can.  Here I am being picky over which brands of food I want and which snack I want and what I want for dinners, and there are people who go hungry. How can I live such a great life where a big decision is how much to buy (when in fact there are some things in the pantry, just not everything I want) and others are wondering where their next meal will come from?

It is astounding how fortunate I am. It really disturbs me how little I truly understand that. It’s one thing that we have so much, but it’s another to not even understand the truly significant difference it is from others who are suffering. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with this lesson I’ve learned. It has definitely gotten me thinking for sure.

Are you Becoming Last?

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Learning to Listen – Day 15

One thing (I call everything “things”. I need a better word. I’ll work on that!) I have been praying for is to hear God’s voice throughout the day. Not like a Monty Python thing (there’s that word again) where he breaks through the clouds with a big head and talks to me. More like speaking through my conscience. I think He is always trying to communicate, but I have so much going on I don’t listen.

So today, I was off from work and I woke up with a couple of hours to kill. As I’m walking out of the bedroom, I stumble over some clothes. I walk through the den and I trip over some toys. I go into the kitchen and there’s a plethora of things on the counter. Sometimes that wouldn’t bother me. I’m the king of just trudging by stuff. Oh, and my wife hasn’t been feeling great so that’s why it’s messy (she’s the clean one of the house).

Then, I felt a prick on the ol’ conscience. So I ate my pop-tarts, took a shower, and started to clean. Even better, my wife got off early and we cleaned as a family. It was actually a fun time as we rocked out (as much as I can with no rhythm) to a cd and spruced up the place.

Another way I’m learning to Become Last by listening to God’s voice is through taking more responsibility with Ethan. Yes, I work long days sometimes, but that doesn’t give me a free ride to not doing anything at home. So this morning my wife asks me to change his diaper. For some reason, my first response is always hesitant. I don’t jump at the chance. It’s like I think she has an alterior motive or something. But I quickly swallowed that and stepped up to help.

But like two hours later…she asked again! I mean, really. Twice in 3 hours? At least, inside of me that sort of selfish voice spoke. But then, almost immediately, I was prompted to be more of a servant (granted, that’s not being much of a servant. I should jump to help out, but when you get used to a certain way of doing things…my wife changing diapers…I just forget to help in those small ways.)

I know. You must think I’m a horrible husband! I’m just trying to be honest as I approach Becoming Last in every aspect of my life. It’s just easier sometimes to let others do things and you begin to take them for granted. I love my wife and she does a lot. I do a lot too, but I should be fighting her tooth and nail to Become Last in our household.

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A New View – Day 14

My study of 2 Corinthians and my life collided this morning. Last night, as I watched Wipeout (hysterical), I read chapter five of 2 Corinthians. I came to verse 16 which says, “So from now on regard no one from a wordly point of view.”

 A couple of days ago, I wrote that I see someone occasionally who is tough to love. This morning, I saw them again and I am glad to say I enjoyed talking to him. He asked me to do work for him that’s not my job and one side of me wanted to say, “Seriously? You can’t walk back there and do that?” or “No” or “that’s not my job”. But, I decided it was best to love him without condition. It didn’t hurt me to do a small favor for him, even if it did take a little bit to swallow my pride.

Slowly, my attitude is beginning to change. I’m beginning to see him in a different way. A new view, if you will. I can hear his quest for affirmation in the things he says and does. I can see his desire for community. According to 2 Corinthians 5:20 we are Christ’s ambassadors and I’m determined to do my best to represent Christ well.

How can you Become Last to those who get under your skin?

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