The Power of a Word

Words shape worlds. Words mold lives. Words are powerful.

Words like: hello, love, thanks, forgiven, sorry, free.

These words can brighten days, touch hearts and change our thinking.

These words are only effective when they are said out loud. Say them today. You may do more good than you can imagine.

Transformation is a Part of Life

When I visited my parents a couple of weeks ago I had them drive me around my home town. I grew up in the little town of New Ross and we drove around there. I also had them drive me around the local town of Crawfordsville. That is where we went to Church, where my mother worked and where we usually went shopping. I was back there once a couple of years ago but I really did not look around. It has been around 10 years since I really drove around and looked at the city completely.

One thing was very clear as we drove around – Nothing stayed the same. Nothing! Some of the old building were torn down and new ones replaced them. Other buildings had been left alone and over time they have become run down. What was once the thriving heart of the city is now the quiet, run down side of town. What once was a field is now the hub of shopping and life.

Change is a constant in life. We may want things to stay the same, but it just does not happen. This is a lesson the Church needs to continually be reminded of. Our message is essentially the same, but that is the only constant. Our buildings change, our bulletins change, our songs change, everything changes. If it doesn’t we slowly slip into oblivion until our buildings are torn down to build the new Wal-mart.

Change is happening for the better or for the worse. We get to choose which direction with every decision we make. Choose wisely.

Song Lyric

I have listened to the song “Some Nights” by FUN numerous times. It is not a “Christian song” but it has a few powerful lines. Yesterday I was caught by this part of the song again:

My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she called “love”
When I look into my nephew’s eyes…
Man, you wouldn’t believe the most amazing things that can come from…
Some terrible nights… ah…

I was reminded again that God can use some poor decisions and some ugly nights for good.
Thanks to God for that truth.

Disoriented

While traveling I heard a radio commercial about something I had never heard of before. It is called “Non 24.” I do not know if you have heard the commercial, but the ad caught my attention for some reason. The issue is a sleep disorder where people’s lives get out of rhythm because of their abnormal sleep patterns. The problem is found most among people who are blind. Apparently without the daily routines of light and dark their lives get out of rhythm with the rest of the world and it causes numerous problems.

I had never heard of this problem before and honestly I had never even thought of the possibility of such a thing existing. But living in Alaska I can see how it happens. Where I live, we have 19+ hours of sunlight in the summer. I have literally been outside and mowing my yard after 11:00 pm at night. I know it is worse the farther north you get in the state where they can have 24 hours of sunlight.

What catches my attention about this issue is not just where I live but the overall concept. All of us need something to orient our lives around. If not, we will have problems.

As a Christian pastor I spend my life trying to get people to orient their lives around God first and then their spouse and their children. I am trying to get them to move from a selfish orientation to a Godly one.

The problem I see in other people’s lives is that they have oriented themselves on a failure or problem. They have built the patterns and rhythms of their lives on some dark and ungodly issue that they cannot get over. They have built their lives on abuse, divorce, failure, shame, guilt, dependence, bad self-image and on and on. This ugly issue causes them to see themselves and others through a different lens than God wants them to. They are suffering from “Non-Christian.”

What are you centering your life on? Are you living a life built on truth and grace? If not, you may need to reorient yourself with God’s truth.

My Influences

Monday was my father’s birthday and next Monday is my Mother’s birthday too. They are both 79 years old and still very much a part of my life. While traveling I was thinking about them and all the influences that have shaped my life. There are books you read, sermons you hear, and people you encounter that leave and indelible mark on your life. So – I started to list some of the biggest influences in my life of faith.

People
– My Parents, Fred and Janet Harris
– My youth sponsor, Dan Booth
– Sunday School Teacher, Virginia Vannice
– Church elder, Barry Bowyer

Professors
– Mark Scott
– JK Jones
– Mark Moore
– George Faull
– Robert Lowery (Whom God has now called home)

Preachers
– Dr. Fred Craddock
– Will Willimon
– Andy Stanley
– The above mentioned professors

There are also people whose lives I have learned from as a bad example, but I will not mention those here in order to protect the guilty.

Our lives are a product of all the people and voices we come in contact with. I thank God for sending people into my life to mold and shape me. I thank Him for guiding me to connect to others from a distance.

Occasionally I like to stop and think about all my influences. In some cases, I contact them and thank them for their life and ministry. In every case I thank God for the privileged of learning from these people. I suggest you do the same.

The Journey

Monday night and Tuesday I spent traveling back to my home in Alaska. I had to take a ride in a car, travel on two planes and I had a 12 hour layover in Chicago. As a result I slept in a chair, on the hard floor and in an airplane seat. I ate some lousy packaged food and listened to my iPod continually. I finally arrived in Alaska yesterday and then drove 4 more hours from Anchorage to Homer. I was finally back in my house with my family at about 8:30 pm last night. Home sweet home!

I know that part of the joy in life is the journey we take. Apparently whoever said that, did not live in Alaska 🙂

Have you had any fun or interesting journeys? I would love to hear your stories. Comments are open.