Live Your Moments: Let YOUR Light Shine

Notice the U in the Sermon on the Mount, well, not the U, but the You…

Matthew 5: 13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

I am amazed at how different images from a scripture I’m living with during the week come to the surface when I’m thinking through my lenses of a Biblical passage. So often we make Jesus a person who is one in a billion, a person like no other, and, I believe, we miss where Jesus’ identity and life point us.

I believe that Jesus in one in a billion person and the purpose of being unique was to aid his followers in doing the same. John 1 tells us that Jesus is the light of the world and the darkness could not put his light out. So, too, then, if Jesus is the light of the world, then we also are to light the world. When the light of the world tells you that you are the light of the world, then it is your job to be the light, the salt, the city that sets on a hill in a way that only you can be.
Marianne Williamson’s words came back to me,

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

So, let your light shine! Be the light of the world Jesus is calling you to be. Along with this quote by Marianne Williamson, I found this song by Keb Mo. Again, let your light shine!

 

Einstein on Life – Have a Brain not Just a Spinal Cord

Not just a scientist or an observer of the measurable properties of life, Albert Einstein reflected on human choice, relationships, and government. Here are a few of my favorite thoughts from one of the world’s greatest thinkers published in Living Philosophies in 1931…

Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose.

From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men —above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellowmen, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received. My peace of mind is often troubled by the depressing sense that I have borrowed too heavily from the work of other men. Continue reading “Einstein on Life – Have a Brain not Just a Spinal Cord”

Live Your Moments: Be the Wise Fool to Facilitate Community

 

Many communities define unity through similar social circles, common belief, uniformity in attire and background. To break up such strict homogeneity, (like homogenization in milk) there often needs to be a wise fool to come in and break up the uniformity of the group, accept the jeers and sneers of those who deem themselves superior, until the opportunity for grace can happen and authentic community can begin. Here is a colorful example of how one bird can change the powerline, and one soul might bring hope to the world.

In Galatians 3, Paul speaks of the crucial component of a Christian community – unity in diversity. Paul wrote, 3:27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

 

 

Live Your Moments: Say, “There is No Place Like Now.”

Jesus’ counsel in the Sermon on the Mount is to not worry. Here is Matthew 6:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink,[j] or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God[ and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

To not worry, to try and force yourself to not worry, to command your mind to not think about the future, is like telling yourself, “Don’t think about pink elephants.” Try it, tell yourself, “Do NOT think about PINK ELEPHANTS!” As soon as you make such a demand, it’s hard to think about anything else. The pink elephant in the room becomes the pink elephant in your brain.

Perhaps, to enter into the counsel of Jesus in Matthew 6, it’s easier to begin in an imaginary place. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy learns that she has the power to find home anytime she wants by clicking her heals together three times and saying each time, “There’s no place like home.”

To remind yourself to live your moments, to be at home whenever and wherever and with whomever you’re with, say three times, “There’s no place like now.” You can even click your heals together three times if you want. Once you accept, “There is no place like now,” then you can liberate yourself from constant witchy worries and let today’s difficulties be enough for today.

Live Your Moments Practice Imagine Yourself in Different Ways

Matthew 18: At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a child, whom he put among them, 3 and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

When I forget the distinct personality, the particular possibility and potential each person has, my children remind me, like when my son, Nathan, showed me the possibilities of a trashcan when seen through his eyes.  Continue reading “Live Your Moments Practice Imagine Yourself in Different Ways”

Share A Little Love and Understanding


A little love
and understanding
can help to lift the burden
when life gets demanding.
Roger Blevins

Jesus was standing before 5,000 hungry people. He wanted to give them something to eat. He asked the crowd, “Who has something to share?” One little boy of the thousands stepped up and offered his lunch. Jesus and the boy both trusted God would use what they had to offer and do something miraculous. It was. The gift was more than enough.bb and dj
In the Temple, people were putting in huge gifts when a poor widow stepped up and offered her last two cents. Jesus and the woman both trusted God would use what they had to offer and do something miraculous. It was. The gift was more than enough.
When Bob Britt was diagnosed with cancer, many of us who Bob has befriended throughout his personal and professional life have stepped up to do what we can hoping it will be more than enough and trusting God that it will. One of the more creative gifts has come from Roger Blevins and Mingo Fishtrap They wrote a song, shot the video, and put the music out to advertise tonight’s event and raise money for our friend. A Little Love and Understanding is a noble effort and a great motto to live by as well as music to bring joy to your heart anytime, even the challenging ones when you share what you have to offer and trust that it is enough.

When your brother needs a helping hand
Best to rolling up your sleeve and reaching on out
When the tables turn he’d be there for you
Help to see you through and there can be no doubt

A little love and understanding
can help to lift the burden when life gets demanding
A little love can help to light the way
Through the darkest night to the brightest day

To purchase the song for yourself or to share with a friend or to read the lyrics, go to: A Little Love and Understanding

Live Your Moments Practice Every New Day is a New Beginning

A friend and I were discussing our favorite writers, those who offered an amazing phrase, art in a sentence. After discussing our mutual admiration for Norman McClean’s masterful, A River Runs Through It, he suggested I read Wallace Stegner starting with Angle of Repose. When I got the novel, I didn’t have time to start the book, but I did want to know what words he chose for his beginning. I opened the cover and read the dedication, For my son, Page. My response was, “Really, you’re an author, and you name your son, Page?” I was stuck. I did move on, and so far, Stegner has delivered as my friend promised. My fixation on first words did lead me to pick my top five first lines of novels, though my list is subject to change without notice.

Continue reading “Live Your Moments Practice Every New Day is a New Beginning”

Live Your Moments: Be Kind to Become Happy

Jesus’ followers were debating on which one was better than all the others. Jesus reversed their expectation of what greatness actually required, but he also flipped their understanding of what happiness and health require. Jesus instructed.

Luke 22: 24 A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 But he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors.26 But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves

In this commercial, the sub titles aren’t needed. The images tell the story of how a servants heart can foster healthy relationships with man and beast, and a happier life.

 

Fundraiser for Bob Britt

 

Recently, Bob was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. This particular cancer is aggressive and as such, is treated aggressively. Fortunately, this particular lymphoma tends to respond well to the treatment protocol that he is undergoing and he, his family, and his doctor are optimistic for a positive outcome. His treatment plan includes six rounds of chemotherapy, four lumbar punctures, and three to four weeks of daily radiation. This will be a long process, over about 6 or 7 months.

We set our monetary goal at $30,000 to help Bob and his wife Etta pay for their daily living expenses including utility bills, gas, groceries, and other general expenses as well as their medical bills. Bob is hoping to be able to continue to work, but we know that chemotherapy can be quite tough on a person’s body (as well as mind and soul). There will soon come a time that he won’t be able to work over the next 7 months, and if so, Etta will be staying home to be with him throughout his healing process. So, with both of them taking time off of work and driving to and from Vanderbilt Hospital so often, bills will become burdensome. In fact, they will have to drive from Dickson to Vanderbilt and back daily for Bob’s radiation treatments (think about the amount of gas that will take).

We’d like to raise money to be available immediately for Bob and Etta, so we’re asking for any amount you can spare, however large or small. And, of course, prayers are ALWAYS welcome!

TO HELP OUT, Go to: https://www.gofundme.com/uaxnmps4

Live Your Moments: Be a Contributor

In Nashville, there is a lot of star-gazing. “Let me tell you who I saw at the grocery store…” If you come to Nashville, the one person I suggest you look for is Tasha French-Lemley. I met her at a men’s study group. She came in and sat down in a chair, kicked off her shoes, crossed her legs beneath her, and told us her story. Here is what I remember.

Tasha moved to Nashville after graduating from college with her degree in graphic design. Since she had no experience in the field, no one would hire her. She took the only job she could find working at Kinkos, making copies, and crying daily that her life had fallen so far below her expectations. Continue reading “Live Your Moments: Be a Contributor”

Live Your Moments Choose Contribution over Competition

In The Art of Possibility, Boston Symphony Conductor Benjamin Zander tells about his family table growing up. He was the youngest of four with two older brothers and an older sister. At dinner time every evening, they would sit around the table, with the parents in the places of authority at the ends and the kids in the middle. Ben’s dad begin the conversation by addressing the oldest boy, “What did you do today?”

Ben’s brother would describe, at some length all that he had accomplished that day. Ben understood that “What did you do today?” meant “What did you achieve today? How did you bring glory and honor to the family? How were you successful?”
Then Ben’s father would ask the second in line, his other brother, “What did you do today?” and he would relate all his accomplishments. Then his sister. Then Ben. Ben felt that compared to his older siblings, he accomplished little. No matter what he had achieved, one of his siblings had done it before and done it better. Ben saw each day as a two-sided coin, success on one side and failure on the other, achievement on one side and disappointment on the other. There was no glory he could bring which the family hadn’t seen before. Continue reading “Live Your Moments Choose Contribution over Competition”

Live Your Moments Practice: Turn Sorrows into Song Part 1

TURN YOUR SORROWS INTO SONG

Martin Guitars has an ad campaign called, “Crossroads.” In the ad, they retell the legend of Robert Johnsoncrossroads article banner’s encounter with the devil. It’s a gloomy night at a crossroads on a rural Mississippi plantation in the early 1930’s. A struggling blues musician named Robert Johnson has a burning desire to play his guitar better than anyone else. At this lonely intersection, the Devil waits for Johnson. With the moon shining down, the Devil plays a few songs on Johnson’s guitar. When Robert Johnson gets his guitar back, he has complete mastery over the instrument. His soul now belongs to the supernatural being, and for the next 5 years or so, he creates music that will live past his tragic, suspicious death in 1938 at the age of 27.

A closer look at the lyrics of “Crossroads” shows not a man struggling with the devil and fame but with loneliness and pain. The crossroad is whether or not his pain will overwhelm him or whether or not he can come through it with a song. Continue reading “Live Your Moments Practice: Turn Sorrows into Song Part 1”

Live Your Moments Practice: Own a Sunday Song

Each Sunday, across the world, people gather around the world and sing songs to God. Do you think God enjoys all those songs? Is our singling like radio to God? If so, why do we all sing at the same time?

If God really enjoys our music, why don’t we spread out the singing?

Perhaps a better way to think of singing at church is choir practice. What you learn on Sunday is just practice for a song you can sing all week long. We can all be God’s radio, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Take a song and make it your own offering to God like Paul Thorn does here:

Check out more music by Paul Thorn you can make your own at this link: Paul Thorn Tunes

Live Your Moments: Learn to Live in God

Praying, “Give us this day our daily bread,” calls us to look beyond those needs we can earn, pay for, and acquire on our own to outside of ourselves, to God. Faith is more than belief, it is trust. When asked to write a statement of faith as part of a job interview, in contrast to the long statements of others about God as Father, Son, and Spirit or God as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, this pastor simply wrote, “I trust God.”
Praying for daily bread and looking each day for needs instead of wants is a crucial practice to learn the art of faith, to learn to live in God, in the world, and in this life.

Van Morrison offers a helpful question for reflection on whether or not we are seeking our daily bread from God. Morrison asks,

When will I ever learn to live in God?
When will I ever learn?
He gives me everything I need and more
When will I ever learn?

 

 

Live Your Moments: Lift Somebody Up

In the Gospel of Mark, one of Jesus’ first healings was a paralyzed man whose friends got him to Jesus in a crowded house by lowering him through the roof. Here is the story from Mark 2:

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them.Then some people[a] came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.”12 And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

While I would like to have the power to heal a paralyzed person into being able to walk, I’ve found Jesus a very challenging role model. I have, however, been able to take some opportunities to live up others by hand or spirit in ways that though maybe not healing, at least helpful. If you find that prayers for healing seem to go unanswered, keep praying, and while you do, follow the example of these friends and Paul Thorn in the song below and Lift Somebody Up

Check out Paul Thorns music at the following link: Paul Thorn Music

 

Live Your Moments: Get Found Part 2

A common classification for the world’s population is that there are two types of people in the world: people who enter a room and say, “Here I am!” and people who enter a room and say, “There you are!”

In John 21, the risen Jesus comes to Peter and asks three times, “Do you love me?”

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

read more… Continue reading “Live Your Moments: Get Found Part 2”

Live Your Moments: Get Found

The Bible begins with a divine hide and seek. In Genesis 3, God is missing. God is not with the newly created couple in the Garden of Eden, but instead of looking for God, they talk about God. Genesis 3: Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LordGod had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’” God is not there. Is God nearby? The story doesn’t say. What is clear is that the couple doesn’t seek God, doesn’t look for God, they do however theologize. Instead of talking to God (prayer) they talk about God (theology). Talking about God leads them to seek to be without God, to have divine power, alone. The result is disaster. Fear overtakes faith. Hiding replaces finding. Having eaten the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve  go an hide from God. God takes the role of seeker. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

Continue reading “Live Your Moments: Get Found”

Live Your Moments: Cut Your Stuff in Half.

What if you cut your stuff in half? Hannah Salwen did, by choice. Before I share her story, consider the king in this next story adapted from Heather Forrest’s collection Wisdom Tales

Once there was a prince who was so sad, his eyes seemed full of sadness and tears. The king was concerned about his son. He got cooks to prepare the best dishes, toymakers to make the best toys, and teachers to share their most stimulating ideas, but to no avail. No gift or treasure could free the prince from his sadness.
The king called his advisors who offered this solution, “For the prince to be happy, you must dress him in the shirt of a truly happy man. Then he will be cured of all his sorrow.”
So the king set out on a journey to find a truly happy man.
He went through the village to the church. The priest always seemed to him to be a happy man. “Your, majesty,” the priest said, “to what do I owe this honor?”
The king said, “You are known as a good and holy man. I would like to know, would you accept the position of bishop should it come to you?”
“Certainly,” replied the priest.
“Never mind,” the king said and left disappointed. If the priest were truly happy, he wouldn’t want to be bishop.
The king went to another kingdom and visited another monarch. “My friend,” asked the king, “are you happy?”
“Most of the time, but not always, there are many nights I am restless because I am worry about losing all that I have worked so hard to gain.”
The king left for he knew that this man’s shirt would not do.
On his way back to his own kingdom, he happened to be riding by a farm. He heard singing. He stopped his carriage and followed the sound of the song. There he found a poor farmer, singing at the top of his lungs. The farmer looked up to see the king approaching and said, “Good day, sir!”
“Good day to you,” said the king. “You seem so happy today.”
“I am happy every day for I am blessed with a wonderful life.”
The king said, “Come with me to the castle. You will be surrounded with luxury and never want for anything again.”
“Thank you your majesty, but I would not give up my life for all the castles in the world.”
The king could not contain his joy. “My son is saved! All I need do is take this man’s shirt back to the castle with me!”
It was then the king looked and realized… the man wasn’t wearing a shirt.[2]

Continue reading “Live Your Moments: Cut Your Stuff in Half.”