Posts Tagged ‘response’

Responding To The Call and Invitation

January 4, 2017

He really didn’t like that guy, the leader of the gang. That guy had the wrong message, the wrong friends, hung out with the wrong people.

In fact, this guy was in a position to take the entire country in a different, dangerous direction.

Then one day it so happened that he met that guy. Face to face. Could have been a dangerous moment. What if the guy had a bunch of his group with him. What if there were a fight?

Of course, I’m talking about Paul and Jesus.

Paul was even a leader of the group that was killing Jesus’ followers.

But Jesus calmed Paul down. Showed him how his interpretation of Scripture was flawed. Then he set up a course of study. Oh, and by the way, gave Paul a mission. Here is the Jew’s Jew. Taught to have no interaction if at all possible with people who were not Jews. Jesus says, be my guy who goes to all the non-Jews of the world and tell them my message.

Paul’s response–I’ll do it.

I’ve been exploring responding this week. 

Have you ever known someone whom you think is just about the incarnation of evil in the world? And then you met them. You had an actual conversation. You discovered that they were really OK. Then you started working with them.

Paul responded positively to Jesus.

It changed his life, the lives of perhaps a thousand or more directly, the course of the movement, and the course of history.

Paul didn’t sit around contemplating his navel, as they say. He was out actively showing his love for God and in his way love of neighbors (although quite narrowly defined). But he was on the wrong path.

He just responded to a request to go in a new direction.

Probably the same with us. Contemplation is a good thing. But we are out in our own ways loving God and loving our neighbor. Then sometimes Jesus intervenes and whispers to us to go in a different direction.

How do we respond?

Grace Under Pressure

May 16, 2016

Grace under pressure was truth in Ernest Hemmingway’s writing.

Sometimes we don’t face the challenges that a novelist will place a character in a story. But in our own way, we have to face the pressure frequently.

I was director of referees for youth soccer tournaments two straight weekends. I lived with the pressure of returning from a week in Germany facing assigning referees to appropriate games and recruiting more referees.

Friday late afternoon sipping a blended latte in my favorite coffee shop reflecting on getting the job done for this weekend’s tournament, I was relaxed and ready to go.

Checked emails. “Gary, we had 2″ of rain Thursday. Most of our fields are unplayable. We are marking out new fields, but we won’t have as many. Rescheduling all the games now.”

That meant that when the tournament director’s team finished figuring out all this, I had to go back and reassign all the referees. We had as many games in two fewer fields.

I sent an email to all the referees–prepare for schedule changes. Somewhere around 8:30 pm I was notified the schedule was complete. Somewhere around 11 pm I finished the last of the assignments.

Same thing Saturday. They decided in the afternoon that despite 30mph winds all day, the ground had not dried enough. Saturday night–schedule finished about 9, I finished about 11.

The the tournament committee (well Caleb and Chris) figured out how to do the schedule. That is a tough job. Then I started on the referee assignments.

It’s amazing. 50 or more referees. Not a one (well, there was one guy, but he’s an exception in every sense) came to me arguing or complaining. I obviously made mistakes. Guys were booked on two different fields at the same time. One guy was booked for two games at the same time–on the same field.

Everyone handled it.

You learn–faced with a challenge, there is no good to be gained from exploding. You face a big task with a crushing deadline, sign, then just go to work. One game at a time. Guys remarked how calm I was. (So were the other leaders, but they didn’t know them.) I’ve been in the situation.

When you are faced with a changed situation, the only true response it to change your attitude and respond with grace.

I saw 50-60 people do that this weekend. It’s a marvelous thing. And 1,400 kids got to play all their games and have a blast.

Do You Know What Pulls Your Trigger?

February 15, 2016

Jesus was annoyed by a fig tree that had no fruit. He cursed it. It died.

Jesus was angered by how the Temple had been converted from a holy place of worship into a commercial marketplace where apparently people gouged gullible pilgrims with high prices. He overturned tables scattering money and “souvenirs”.

In a way, I don’t feel so bad about the times I’ve lost it–except I wasn’t nearly so righteous.

Do you know what pulls your trigger?

I haven’t had a bad one for years. The incident is embedded in memory. It recurs in a flash. It’s a blend of insecurity and attitude. I hold great dislike for arrogant and condescending attitudes. Especially from someone less experienced or knowledgeable who tries to teach.

There are warning signs I need to remain aware of. Sometimes I see it coming. Sometimes they sneak up on me and catch me asleep, so to speak.

  • When I’m tired.
  • When I’m overworked and frazzled.
  • When I’m stressed.

There were a couple of seasons of life over the past 10 years or so when stress buried itself deep within me. Meditation and Yoga–no help. Awareness and mindfulness–no help. I know all this stuff, yet, a mild but persistent living with stress took a toll on my health and response to others at times.

Recognition is a great first step. Probably talking with others would help–if they the helpful sort, not the enabling sort.

A recent talk from a person with a similar experience was enlightening. He tried mindfulness. Meditation–trying to be still and focus on breath was more stressful than his original stress.

He discovered curiosity. He rather toyed with the thoughts. Was curious about them. Asked questions of them. Explored what their hold was. By treating the stressful thoughts as an object of curiosity, he was able to move them from the dominant place of consciousness that gripped him.

He was right. When you finally realize the stressful thought and stop to analyze it, just the stopping helps. Then the curiosity and the calmer exploring of the situation brings peace–or at least a plan of action.

What do you find that works?