Friday, January 27, 2017

Writing and Rewriting

Have you ever had to edit or revise and project? I've spent many years in classrooms working on assignments. I've written and delivered thousands of sermons and lessons. I have even written a few songs. And I've had to rewrite often.

Almost everything needs a rewrite or at least a tweak or edit. The best case scenario is to notice that before you publish or delivery it. I bet you have posted something on social media and immediately saw a typo or wish you had said it differently.

In a children's sermon I used the illustration of squirting out toothpaste then asking thr kids to put it back in the tube. You can't. Trying is messy.

It's best to think about what you say or write before you let it out for everyone to hear or read.

I think it is best to think about what you are about to do, revise your planned actions, before actually doing it.

Whether it's a delete key, a reset button, or an inner nudge, it's good to consider and reconsider.

I'm sitting in a class of seniors. Their teacher left these instructions for the day: revise your short story papers. They really wish the teacher wasn't sick today because they have lots of questions.

Revision requires help.

So let's talk about your life for a minute. Are you pone to putting something out there before thinking it through enough? Yeah, me too. I sometimes say or do things that I soon regret. How do we keep from doing that?

Some people remove themselves from possible situations. They become reclusive and deny themselves and those around them of what could be some great interactions.

Others choose not to care. They say hurtful things with little or no remorse. They treat people however they want without regard for those people. That kind of attitude eventually makes the person calloused to relationships.

A good way to keep from regretting what you've said or done is to revise,edit, rewrite. God has given us a great gift to help us do that. The Holy Spirit is God and he dwells with us, in part, to nudge our spirits to think twice before acting. He does that through truths we find in scripture; he'll point us in the right direction as we read and recall what the Bible says.

Why don't you give this a try. Read the Bible regularly. Pray before you read asking the Holy Spirit to help you understand the truths you'll read. Throughout the day ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you make decisions, interact with people, and post things online.

The revisions prior to action can make a big difference in how the day goes.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

You Can Always Go Home

Riley turned 16 Saturday. The Department of Finance and Administration issues driver's licenses but they were closed until today because of the holiday. We tried to get his license BEFORE his birthday but couldn't; he had to be 16. So we waited.

He also had to get shots for his 16th birthday - a requirement for school - and that was scheduled for this morning. On the way home from the health department we stopped at the revenue office and got the license. The lady taking the picture made him smile. He thinks he looks like a clown. I say that's better than looking like a criminal.

Then when we got home Riley loaded his Yukon and drove to school. Without ME!

For 12 or 13 years he's had either me or his mother with him on the way to school. Until recently, his mother or I was the driver. Transitioning to the passenger on these trips was hard enough. Now I had to stand in the driveway…alone…while he drove away…alone.

But we've practiced and prepared for this day. The last two years have been everything from frustrating to joyful. We should have been ready for today. From the technical perspective of driving a car, I guess we are ready. It's the emotional part you really can't prepare for.

One of Riley's older brothers wasn't eager to get his license. I asked him why and he said, "Once you get your license you have to get a job." He'd been watching the oldest brother and saw the pattern.

So Riley drove to school today. Soon he'll drive to his girlfriend's house. Wait…he doesn't have a girlfriend so that can wait! Then he'll drive to meet his friends at the Promenade. He'll drive to the ballpark. I guess a drive into work isn't too far away. Then to college. Then away.

But he can drive! So he can drive home!

Freedom is an awesome thing. It's both frustrating and joyful. But it is hopeful, too.

Jesus sets free from sin all those who submit their lives to him. You will no longer be bound by the burdens and problems of sin. You'll still be living in a world marred by sin. You'll still have to deal with the consequences of some of the sins you have committed. But the burden of guilt is laid upon him. The fear of eternal punishment will be gone. The hope for better choices is ahead.

Sure, you'll be free to choose sin if you want. And that will have consequences. But you'll be free to return to him in repentance, confessing your sin and receiving forgiveness. Just as eager as I am to go see my parents, you'll be eager to repent and confess. There is always good stuff waiting for me when I go see my parents. There will always be good stuff waiting for you when you repent and confess.

You can always go home.

Now that he can drive, I wonder how long before he gets a girlfriend...