Monday, July 07, 2008

These Little Wonders

• I'm amazed at the difference paint can make. Paint can really transform a dilapidated-looking room into something impressive. We've been repainting the interior of our church building in the last week, and I was genuinely wow'd by how good new paint makes our building look.

• I'm amazed at the positive power the Word of God can have over the human heart. Given the on-going transformation of our new building, I thought it appropriate to preach on transformation on Sunday. And since it was 4th of July weekend, I wanted to say some words about sacrifice also. Let's see, sacrifice... transformation... how about Romans 12:1-2! ;) So I ended up preaching probably one of the most simple, non-dressed-up expository sermons I've delivered this year. But I really fleshed out the application. Based on the participation at our Sunday night fellowship, and the response of one gentleman in particular during the invitation, the sermon had an immediate impact. Its really a fun thing to see the Word of God perform & do its work in people's lives.

• I'm amazed at how selfish we can all be sometimes. I know I can be selfish. And in being able to recognize my own selfishness, I can see it in other folks around me. I remember sitting around with some of my Mormon male cousins one time soon before one of them was about to be married. My oldest cousin, Barry, shared some wisdom when he spoke up and said, "You know... I never knew how selfish I was until I got married." Being single, I think that there must be ways that I am selfish that I'm not even aware of. But in general, it is truly a marvel to me at how myopic & self-centered we can all be from time to time.

• I'm amazed at a group of young teens who spent a week of their summer vacation serving others. A youth group from the Jenks Avenue Church here in Panama City & another youth group from the Lascasas Church up in Tennessee spent last week serving the community in a work camp here in town. They did a bunch of the work in helping my church, the Lynn Haven Church, remodel the interior of our building by putting on a couple coats of paint in about half of our building. What a wonderful, selfless thing to do: to spend their precious free time serving others.

• I'm amazed at how little we know of one another in church. We're supposed to be family, but we're more like familiar strangers. We are so skilled at concealing the possibly embarrassing details of our real selves around these people. Being a minister, I've come to sense this very well: I can sense the fear in fringe members when they don't want to tell me too many details about their own lives. I think they fear confession, and the necessary-but-uncomfortable change that would come along with repentance. And I suppose that we'd all rather be cold & distant with one another than go to all THAT trouble. Amazing...

• I'm amazed at how frustrated fantasy baseball can make me. I simply care about my team's standing too much. The last three weeks, I've lost points in the very final game of the week on Sunday night. There are usually over a hundred games during a week; and in the last three weeks, the very last game of the week affected the outcome (in a bad way... for me) in my fantasy baseball matchup. The last three weeks, I've gone to bed unsettled & stewing at the ball not bouncing my way in that Sunday night game. How can such an insignificant little diversion like fantasy baseball have such an influence over my emotional state? This should not be...

• I'm amazed at how captivating a woman can be to a man's eye. That females can virtually transfix a man's thoughts and completely dominate a man's focus. I don't believe that most women truly understand the level of influence they hold.

• I'm amazed that God listens to prayer. I think there's a sense in which I really just "don't get it" yet in terms of understanding how deep & wide God's love is for us. I think it is why I don't pray often enough -- that I don't understand His love. I don't understand how God could intently listen to numberless millions of his creatures yammer on about what are ultimately the insignificant details of their lives. The reach of God's ability & the depth of His sympathy are something that I do not yet understand.


dan said...

I'm with you in your fantasy frustrations. You put so much time and effort into selecting players, researching matchups, setting lineups, on and on, but when it comes down to it, you can't make them play well. It's such a helpless, and frustrating, feeling.

Lloyd said...

Very good thoughts, Phil. Prayer has always been the hardest discipline for me to master. I liked your insight into why that might be. Also your quote about not realizing how selfish we are as single folk scares me a bit... just how selfish am I???