Not Everything You Think is Right

Have you ever made a guess about something and been totally wrong?  I know I have.  A couple of weeks ago I made a guess about a meeting I was going to have.  I was just sure I knew what this person was going to ask and how they would react.  They came by the office and I found that I was 100% incorrect.  In fact, while I was talking to them I wrote a small note that simply said, “Not everything your think is right.”

Through the years I have seen people live large amounts of their life based on assumptions that they thought up.

-They didn’t speak to me because they are mad at me.  (Give it long enough and I will decide that they must hate me.)

-I know they will be mad if I ask them that.

-That person posted that on Facebook purposely trying to hurt me.

-I know my boss doesn’t like me because of the way he looks at me and his tone of voice.

-The people at Church don’t really care about me.  In fact, no one will care if I quit attending.

And on and on it goes.  We make decisions about other people, their emotions, feelings and attitudes without ever getting the facts.  Unfortunately, most of the time we are completely wrong in our conclusions.

So a couple things to keep in mind –

  1. Reject gossip. Don’t slander.  Don’t listen or speak evil of people.
  2. Get the truth when possible. In the Bible everything had to be established on 2 or 3 witnesses.  That is a great practice to establish.
  3. Talk to the person directly. Then believe what they say.
  4. Try to avoid projection. It is easy to project our feelings onto other people.  “I was hurt so you must have meant to hurt me” does not always logically follow.
  5. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. (James 1:19)

Ask yourself.  How many emotions have I attached to my own thoughts about something?  Not facts or conversations, but the thoughts that exist only in my head.  Just because you think that person hates you or loves you does not mean they do.

What if today you set out to seek the truth instead of following your own thoughts?  Would you ever be willing to admit that some of the things you think are wrong?

It is hard to do, but it usually very healthy.

Thank You Specifically

This week is Thanksgiving.  I have been reading several articles about being thankful and saying thanks. Some of these articles are divinely directed.  Many people, including myself, see this Thursday as an opportunity to thank God for all he has given to us.

The other group of articles is focused on the people in our lives.  These writers want us to focus our attention this this Thursday on the people who have blessed our lives and tell them thanks.  I am in total agreement that our gratitude needs expressed often.

There is one thing I learned a long time ago that none of these articles have contained.  Somewhere along the line I heard someone explain to me that for a compliment to be truly encouraging you need to be specific.  I honestly don’t remember who told me this information or where I heard it, but I know that is come home to me as truth.  Since that time I have tried to practice this advice every time I thank someone and it is always more effective.

For example:

Don’t say “Thanks.”  – Say something like, “Thank You for showing up and helping me rake my leaves.  It saved me a lot of time and I appreciate all you did for me.”

Don’t Text “Thanx.” – Text something like, “Thank you for staying in my life when others would have left.”

Don’t write “Thank You.” – Write something like, “Thank you for visiting me on my birthday and taking the time to visit with me.  I know you are busy and I really appreciate the time you gave me.”

Don’t email “I thank God for you.”  Email something like, “I thank God for the way you study and prepare for your Sunday school lesson each and every Sunday.  You have made an impact on my life and the life of others.  You truly are a blessing to me”

I believe that people like to hear statements of gratitude but they love it when they know why you are specifically thankful.

Dropping Your Guard

The Church is full of two types of people.

The first group always keep their guard up.  They don’t tell anyone about their personal struggles.  Their marriage will fall apart and they will never tell anyone.  Their addiction will destroy them and no one really knows.  They don’t want you to know that their children have made poor choices.  They are closed off to other people.  They don’t speak up, they rarely join the group and they run the moment someone gets close to them.

The second group shares almost everything.  Give them a minute of your time and they will end up telling you some about some dark corner of their life.  They will tell you things you are not ready to hear.  Nothing is off limits.  Conversations frequently end in tears and an awkward silence as people do not know how to respond.

The problem is that neither group ends up feeling the joy of their faith or comfortable in the community of believers.

Being a part of a community of believers is a give and take process.  We are called to share our struggles and we told to carry the burdens of others.  We must find a balance of openness in order for a community to work.

So here are two defining questions:

  1. Does anyone other than your spouse know your struggles?
  2. Do you know the struggles of anyone other than your own?

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A Monday Rundown

Before I do any regular writing this week I needed to run through several things.

1. It was great to have a full house yesterday for worship. If you have not heard Kenny Limpus collapsed during the sermon. That was a first time something like that has ever happened while I was preaching. In the end it all worked out and Kenny seems to be doing fine today and hopefully he will come home from the VA hospital.

2. Read the announcements in the worship bulletin. Every week the announcements in there are updated, changed and added to. I try to reduce announcements made before the program to 1 or 2 at the most. (And please don’t ask me to announce something a few minutes before worship.) Almost every week someone asks me a question about Church programs that were found in the bulletin. Do yourself a favor and read it!

3. There will be no RUSH youth group this Wednesday – Nov. 25. Our rule is “no school then no RUSH.” Remember this on snow days too. We will resume on Wed. Dec. 2 and 7:01.

4. Next Sunday November 29th –
— We begin a new sermon series entitled “The Nativity Set” (Relax, I am done talking about money)
— We will be collecting the baby bottles with donations for the Life Choice Center in the library.
— The “In His Steps” Sunday School class will be starting a new series of lessons on “Apologetics.” Those are lessons on the tough questions of the faith.
— After Sunday School we will be decorating the Church for Christmas. Please stay and help out if you are able. We will be buying pizza for lunch.

5. We are collecting items and donations for 8 children at Show Me Christian home over the next couple weeks. See Gwen Ford (or tell Matt and he will contact Gwen) if you have any questions or would like to help in any way.

6. Sunday December 20th the church will be having our Children’s Christmas program during our regular worship time. Be sure to come and support our kids. If you would like to help in ANY WAY you can contact my wife (Michelle) and let her know.

7. Our Christmas Candlelight program will be on Wed. December 23rd at 7:00 pm. Please note the date and time!

8. Membership Class will be Sunday January 31. I plan on starting at 5:30 pm and it will last about 2 hours. Mark calendars now and there will be a sign up sheet later.

9. This Thursday is Thanksgiving and the offices will be closed from Wed. afternoon through Saturday. Have a great break. I know I will:-)

10. Thanks to everyone for your support, encouragement, prayers and kind words over the last two weeks. Adrian Christian Church is a great group of people.

Whose Side is God On?

A few years ago I was reading in the book of Joshua and I noticed a verse that I had never noticed before. It has since lodged itself in my brain because this morning I was thinking about it after reading several news articles.

Joshua 5:13-14 (NIV) Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
[14] “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”

Joshua is ready to go to battle and he encounters an angel from God.  When asked which side the angel was on he gives the most interesting response.  “Neither.”

It struck me.  God is not on one side or the other.

God is not more for Americans than any other place in the world. He has no national concern.
God is not more for Republicans or Democrats. He has no political affiliation.
God is not even more on the side of the Packers or the Chiefs. He has no limited sports preference.

God is on His side.  That is all.  God’s will supersedes all cultural, political, racial and economic barriers. He desires for us to worship Him alone!  And Joshua falls facedown to a messenger of the God of all the world.

Does God love me?  Yes!  In fact, He so loved “the world” that he sent his son for all of us … All of us!