Sunday, January 31, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Saturday, January 16th, I walked outside to get into my car, and it wasn’t there. I thought for a moment that someone must have borrowed it, or maybe I forgot where I parked it – then I realized it had been stolen.
I called the cops. As we were filling out paperwork, my car was found, but it had been stripped to the bone. I guess a freshly painted Black 1997 Honda Civic EX with 205,000 miles is a hot commodity in Orlando! As I learned this new information, I thought to myself, “I can’t believe someone would steal a little Honda Civic . . . how low can you go?” I mean, why not steal a Lexus or an Audi or something with little more cash value?
As the thieves drove my car away and stripped it, no doubt they had to toss my bible from the driver’s seat into the passenger’s seat. Had they opened it, they would have seen “Pastor David Achata’s Bible” written in the front cover. Next to it they would have seen the notes from the sermon I had just preached to our Florida Hospital College students at Sonset Café’ that night. On the front page they would have seen written these words in bold:
“Our actions on the surface aren’t most significant; it’s what takes place in our secret lives, below the surface, that God is concerned about . . . ” How ironic.
I just finished studying through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. If you’ll read it through you’ll see that God is very concerned about what’s done in secret (Mt. 5:22, 28, 6:3-4, 6, 18, 28, 7:1 etc.). This is interesting because we are mostly concerned about what happens in public.
I was talking on the phone recently with my friend Ron. He told me that “spirituality is like an iceberg. What’s above the surface isn’t as significant as what’s below the surface.” Think about that for a moment.
Here’s my question: Are we more concerned about what goes on in public or in private? Jesus is more concerned about the secret life, and it’s not just the car thieves who have secret lives—everybody’s got their secret lives. What does your secret life tell you about the state of your heart? The same question goes out to the guys who stole my car.
While we look at the outward appearances of things, God is looking at the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7) This is why Jesus is so significant. While we spend so much time piddling around with surface issues, Jesus wants to go to the heart, because that’s where he can heal and change the whole organism. So let Jesus go there. Sometimes it takes time, but it’s so worth it.
In Matthew 7:24-25, Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” A person secure in the solid foundation of Jesus has no need of a secret life . . . or someone else’s ’97 Honda Civic.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
There’s something wonderful about Sundays in our home from August through January. We are football fanatics. My husband and I both come from “football families”, and we have passed on the sickness . . . uh . . . er . . . I mean passion to our children.
Now, granted, the commitment was not as apparent when our children were small. Oh, sure, they might have sat down and watched a game or two with us, but at that point, it was a matter of “going along” with what Mom and Dad were doing. Of course, the party atmosphere and the pizza and nachos didn’t hurt.
That was then. Now? It has NOTHING to do with Mom and Dad anymore. Football is in their blood. Not only do we plan our Sundays (and Monday nights) around the games, but we all have our own Fantasy Football teams – which adds a whole new dimension to the season because time needs to be spent during the week taking care of your lineup.
Of course, there’s still diversity in our love of football. My husband is a Greenbay Packer Cheesehead. My team is the Chicago Bears. My Florida-born son is a Tampa Bay Bucs fan. My daughter? Well, interestingly enough, she’s now an Atlanta Falcons fan. She fell in love with and recently got engaged to a fellow football fanatic. Funny how that happened.
“Train up a child . . . “ I believe that children learn what they live - be it a passion for a sport or a commitment to a faith. They may begin by “going along” with their parents, but when an authentic, consistent relationship with God is what is modeled, “even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Though their relationship may not look exactly like ours, it will be their own, and it will be a core value in their life.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
While I get the same “fresh start feeling” with New Years that I get every morning, there is still something more epic about the beginning of a new year, or a new decade.
Life goes by fast. Not original but true. It’s hard to imagine that all the craziness about the millennium change was 10 years ago. What have we done with 10 years? Looking back can give us perspective and maybe a little motivation as we face the future.
Before we take Paul’s counsel of “forgetting those things that are behind,” let’s do just enough remembering to avoid repeating pitfalls of 2009 in 2010. What did you learn this year? Pick up any new good habits? What were you not satisfied with in your life as you rolled into 2009, and what have you done about it? What plans are you making for 2010 to be any different?
Seriously, how would your life benefit by changing the way you do something? Beyond the “eat better” and “get more exercise” and “pray more” kind of resolutions, what difference will you make in 2010? How will the world be a better place because you were here this year? On December 31, 2010, what will you point to and say, “Ta-Da! I did it!”
If not now, when? Sitting in a retirement home someday, looking back at life, I think it will be more rewarding to say, “I tried,” or, “I did,” than a mournful, “I wish I had.”
So redeem the time, and GO FOR IT in 2010! Climb that mountain. Visit the kids. Write that book. See the country, or maybe the world. Memorize that piece. Learn to play an instrument. Make 12 new friends or just one. Take that class. Paint—draw—sculpt—photograph. Help someone. Give something away. Clean out a closet. Re-arrange your furniture. Take that big risk. Engage. Decide for no vicarious or voyeuristic living. Watch a one hour travel log or educational video for every two hours of news. Laugh a lot. Meditate. Move. etc. etc. etc. etc.
When you make a mistake on your journey through 2010 (and you will make mistakes), follow Ben Zander’s counsel: Just throw your arms up in the air and say, “How fascinating,” and move on! Only dead people are through making mistakes. So take a risk, and GO FOR IT – whatever “IT” is on your list for 2010.