What To Do AFTER Giving Thanks

ThanksgivingYesterday was Thanksgiving in the United States. People braved cold and nasty weather to get “to grandmother’s house we go.” Turkeys and all the fixin’s were eaten. Football games were watched. Families celebrated, fought, and overstuffed themselves on what for many is the biggest feast of the year.

If you paused to think about what you are truly thankful for, then today is a perfect time to think about how your gratitude should impact the other 364 days of the year.

Here are just a few suggestions:

  • If you’re grateful for your spouse, schedule a date night to share specifically what he or she means to you, and to pray about what God wants for you in the coming New Year.
  • If you’re grateful for your family, think of how you might prioritize them in your schedule so you have no regrets in the future.
  • If you’re grateful for financial or material blessings, consider how you can most effectively bless others with those good things.
  • If you’re grateful for overcoming some challenges, write down some things you’ve learned so you can refer back to your thoughts when you face challenges in the future.
  • If you’re grateful for how God has rescued you from some difficult problems, think about how you can lessen your chances of getting into the same situation in the future.
  • If you’re grateful for some education or learning you have experienced, find a way to leverage that learning into more effectiveness for God’s kingdom.
  • If you’re grateful for an opportunity God provided you this year, make sure you plan to take full advantage of that opportunity going forward.
  • If you’re grateful for your growing relationship with Jesus, let Him know about it. And see how you can let others know about Jesus as well.

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What Would Jesus Do in Ferguson, Missouri?

Jesus WeptTwo days ago the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, made known their final decision: no criminal indictment against the police officer involved in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

And the rioting began in earnest.

People on one side say that all the evidence was evaluated, the legal system has spoken, and that should be the end of it. People on the other side say it’s not about a single incident: it’s about centuries of oppression and pent-up anger, and violence is the only way to make their voices heard.

What would Jesus do if He were on Earth today, in Ferguson, Missouri?  Those on both sides of the conflict believe they would have Him on their side.

But I’m not sure that’s true. There were serious social issues in 1st century Judea and Galilee when Jesus was here. Violence, oppression, and exploitation (including rape) by the Romans was everywhere. The religious establishment was rife with greed, violence and oppression as well. Slavery was an every-day part of society. Women were mostly considered property. There was little opportunity for education or advancement for the common poor people.

And what did Jesus do? He went after people’s hearts.

So what would He do today in Ferguson, Missouri?

First, Jesus would cry. (See Luke 13:34)

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Why Would People Listen to You?

AuthorityIt was 3:00 am, and I was already tired. “You’re needed in room 2 right away.” My on-call shift at the hospital had already been much busier than usual, and I certainly didn’t need one more emergency.

The lady in room 2 had delivered a baby just over an hour before. As I walked into her room I saw an awful lot of blood, and her nurse desperately trying to stop her hemorrhaging. It took me only a few seconds to assess the situation and realize that the only way to save her life was to perform immediate surgery.

I took a quick moment to explain to the patient what we needed to do. Her nurse knew what was needed and began getting her ready. Then I quickly walked from her room to the nurse’s station and announced, “We need to go to the operating room NOW!”

I quickly briefed the anesthesiologist on the patient’s situation, and he interrupted preparing for an epidural another labor patient had requested. The charge nurse sent an assistant downstairs to the laboratory to pick up some blood for an emergency transfusion, and then went to help prepare the operating room. The OR assistant opened the surgical instruments we would need. The unit secretary called the backup nurse on call to come and help with the other laboring patients. At least six people immediately stopped what they were doing and focused their full attention on helping to save this patient’s life.

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How to Not Hurt Your Husband when You Earn More Money

Woman and MoneyIt’s not the fifties any longer. Only a small minority of families fit the classic pattern where dad goes off to work at the same company for forty years while mom stays home and takes care of the house and kids.

In today’s world it’s just as likely that the wife is the one out making money, often as much or more than the husband does. A challenging economy, changing industries, and the information age may all contribute to the husband being between jobs, underemployed, or choosing to take care of things at home because his wife has a better earning opportunity.

There’s nothing wrong with women working and making money, even a lot of money. But it’s important to acknowledge and address the impact such a reality may have on a husband’s psyche. Some men may welcome the chance to be at home while their wives provide financially. But for a great many men such an arrangement, whether necessary or not, is uncomfortable.

I’m not sure who first said this, but it’s true: The fact that you bring in enough money to meet the financial needs of the family does not lessen your husband’s internal burden at all, or silence his need to be a provider.  Tweet that.

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Are You In The Right Church?

Church against the skyThere’s a wonderful gospel song that proclaims, “God’s building a church!” Yes, He certainly is. And YOU are a vital part of what He is doing.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the church is made up of people. Broken, hurting, sinful people. The cliché is true: God’s church is a hospital for sinners, not a showcase for saints.    Tweet that.

If you’re looking for the perfect church, you’ll have to wait until heaven. When all God’s children are gathered around His throne there won’t be any denominations or brands, any races, any theological differences, or anything else that divides. We will all be enraptured by His glory and grace, and lose sight of everything else including our differences.

Until then, we must use wisdom and godly discernment in knowing which church is to be our home. There are some churches where deadly viruses such as legalism, false teaching, or religious abuse make growing in grace all but impossible. Some people are church hoppers: something happens they don’t like, and they leave. Others stay in an unhealthy or destructive church out of a false sense of loyalty. Neither is God’s plan.

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