Saturday, January 22, 2011


I'm at a loss.

For the past three weeks I've been at a loss. I'm supposed to be following a curriculum for the 9th grade class and I just can't do it. They're not ready. Honestly, I question my own readiness. More importantly I question my ability to cover the subject. No I don't question, I doubt it entirely.

The Holy Spirit.

Note I said 'supposed to be following' because I didn't. I threw it out and went to the basics. See, the lesson should have covered how we act and respond to the Holy Spirit. There are two problems this. First, they're ninth graders. They tend to respond in one word answers - if they respond at all. I teased them a few months ago and said that when I throw out something for discussion don't think that the silence bothers me. I could sit there the entire time without a word being said. I've got four kids, silence doesn't bother me. I cherish it.

That was a lie. I've outlasted many classes when no one made an attempt to participate. Eventually someone will crack and blurt something out. But this time I knew as soon as the first question went out. They were perfectly content to sit there the entire hour and not say a word. I could see it on their faces.

And that leads us to the second problem. They just flat out don't know how the Holy Spirit impacts their life. I'm not sure they could have given a basic explanation of the Holy Spirit. And here I am, the person who is supposed to correct that and I couldn't feel more inadequate.

Do I know? Maybe I have an idea but I certainly would not be considered any sort of expert on the subject. I dare say anyone could be considered an expert but to be perfectly honest I cannot recall studying it at all when I was their age (or older for that matter).

So back to the basics we went. The Trinity, where we find it and what the purpose is. Over two weeks we probably spent the entire class going over a few scriptures and some examples. And I told them it's possible, even likely that brief overview put them ahead of half the church in knowledge about the Holy Spirit.

I don't know why it's this way but it seems like we've been focusing on two out of three. Are they easier to grasp? It's almost like we can't wrap our mind fully around God but we get the concept of father, creator.

We can't understand the sacrifice of Christ but we appreciate it. We understand the significance and the necessity.

Then we look over there at the Holy Spirit and it's as if we think we'll never get it so why bother.

Maybe I'm way off base here but I feel like I'm a product of that line of thinking. Hopefully I'm the last generation that learned so much about what we should (or actually should not) be doing and not so much about what we could be doing if we just tap into the resources provided. So I'll throw myself back in to a room of 9th graders and explain to them yet again that as far as this is concerned - the teacher is also the student.

But I guess we're all students for as long as we're here.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

So this is what Jerry Lee meant...

He still thinks that he's the man
That he once used to be
Boy, you're just thirty-nine
And you're dreamin'
Acting twenty-three
("39 and Holding" - Jerry Lee Lewis)

Most likely it's true. I do think I'm the man I was at 23. The leading indicator that I am significantly older than 23 is typically my body. If for some reason sore muscles and joints don't do the trick Shanna is usually a reliable backup to remind me of this.

This week I turned 39 so to many I guess this is my last year 'under the hill.'

I however, vehemently disagree. True - I don't always act my age. Some would argue that I rarely act my age. Irrelevant.

My issue is with this whole concept of 'the hill.' Who came up with this so called 'hill?' I can't help but think this is yet another ploy by Hallmark to help generate sales. It falls right in there with St. Patrick's and April Fool's Day greeting cards.

I don't really have any friends who are coasting downhill. Quite the contrary. They continue to work, they continue to serve. They continue to live out 1 Corinthians 15:58:

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know your labor for the Lord is not in vain. (NIV)

They're not coasting to retirement. They're not sliding toward the end of life. They're like John Bailey of Body and Soul Ministries who just came back from a trip to Cambodia where 92 were baptized. He's a little over 40 - like 30 plus years over 40.

My great Uncle Odell is another great example. Works and serves tirelessly at what will soon be 82.

The list goes on and on, literally. I could go on for days.

There's is no magical turning point - at least not in this life. There is no time where it all 'starts falling apart' or starts 'going downhill.' It's life at age 13 or 39 or 89. What you decide to do with it is what matters. Perhaps that's what really determines whether or not you feel 'over the hill.' Here's to staying on the hill. I've heard from those in the know that it will actually get steeper sometimes -even after 40. If you really think about it that sounds a lot like life now.

So I guess 40 really is just another number. We'll find out in about a year.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's a new year...

and it feels like we've started it with a massive punch in the gut. Two funerals last week for what you would call pillars of the Legacy Church family. Richard Dutton and Bob Roberston transitioned from this world on 12/31 and 1/1 respectively and they will be missed. In my opinion they set the dad standard. They set the man standard. As I sat in each of their services and listened to their children speak of them I couldn't help but cry. How did they do all that? They served, they taught, they called, they visited, they played - often times when in pain. They did immeasurably more than I can imagine.

And it made me want to do better. It made me think of all the times that I had the chance to make a difference to someone and didn't.

It made me think of how just a week before I'd been on the phone with Richard's son. He said a visit would be ok but it needed to be brief. I rationalized it and said I'd stop by the next week after he'd had a chance to rest. That day never came - the next morning Richard was gone.

It made me think of how I could have stopped by and see Bob, but didn't.

It made me think of the times that I had something to do before I played that game or read that book. Then by the time that 'something' was done it was bedtime.

It made me realize that no, I can't drop everything everytime. But I can certainly make sure that what's important gets done first. Somehow everything I need to do seems to get done - even when life gets in the way.

I think it would be good for me to let life get in the way a little more often. More importantly, let someone else's life get in the way a little more often.

All six of Bob's kids went on and on about what a great father and servant and friend he was. Six kids. I just need to convince four.

That started last night with a game of farkle in the middle of the living room floor.