Tag Archives: opportunity

Just how old are you?

A man received a phone call from his grandson to wish him a happy birthday. In the course of the conversation, the boy asked, “Just how old are you?” The man replied, “I’m 62.” There was silence for a moment before the boy spoke: “Did you start at 1?”

Life isn’t always measured by length of years but by experiences. A little girl was quizzing her grandmother about how things were when she grew up. Grandma responded: “We used to skate outside on a frozen pond during the winter. I had a swing my dad made out of an old tire; it hung in the front yard from a big oak tree. We rode a pony our grandfather bought for us. We would go out to the woods and pick wild raspberries and blackberries.” The girl listened in wild-eyed amazement, trying to take all this in. At last she said, “I sure wish I’d gotten to know you sooner.”

Some people do their best stuff later in life. Some start early. Some find their rhythm somewhere along the way. Susan Boyle at 48 was an unknown until she stepped on the stage of “Britain’s Got Talent” reality TV show. She sang: “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables and brought the house down. She launched her singing career that night. Laura Ingalls Wilder, of “Little House in the Big Woods” fame, didn’t publish her first book until she was 64. Grandma Moses didn’t start to paint until she was 76.

The Bible is full of stories about men and women whose accomplishments exhibit the possibilities of time – not chronos, time measured by seconds, minutes, hours, or years, but kairos, time that refers to opportunity or the right moment. What time is it for you?

Moses was 80 when God called him to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Caleb was 85 when he asked to be given the hill country in Canaan. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were young men when they refused to bow before Nebuchadnezzar. Esther was a young woman when she became queen. Joseph was 17 when his world was turned upside down. Jesus was 12 when He amazed the teachers and scribes at the Temple.

So, just how old are you? And what are you going to do with the rest of your life?

Carpe diem!

Another year, another opportunity

Happy anniversary, Wieuca! We are sixty one years old this week. For some of us, that seems ancient; for others, we remember being 61, don’t we?

What do you do when you celebrate an anniversary? Last year’s 60th event was a great experience for family and friends of Wieuca. It was great to reminisce with each other and with those who joined the reunions. We need to celebrate and honor the stories that have shaped us and guided us.

But anniversaries are not just about the past. Such occasions gives us a great opportunity to look ahead. What are the stories being written today? What stories will emerge? So …

  • What is God up to these days in our midst and are we joining Him in His work among us and in the world?
  • How do we become more missional, more purpose-driven in being the presence of Christ in this world?
  • How do we call out those in our number who have so much to give to increase our reach, grow our faith, impact our community, and accomplish our mission?
  • What does this mean to us, to me? “Loving God, Connecting People, Changing Lives”
  • What new inspirations can help us utilize our campus to greater effectiveness?
  • What new inspirations can help us get outside the walls and into the mission field beyond our campus?

People are searching. People are looking for answers. For a growing number, the church has become unnecessary, irrelevant. How do we change that story?

A man named Aaron Earls wrote an interesting article recently entitled: “Searching for a Savior: How comic book movies can point to Christ.” We have been deluged in the last few years with movies about larger-than-life action figures and there many more on the way. Why have these films created such a following? Earls writes: “One reason superhero moves have found a wide audience is because people are natural intrigued by battle between good and evil. In this super-hero obsessed culture, the church has an opportunity to point to the grand story of One who came to rescue us and defeat the enemy – but not without a little bit of drama. As Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, Spider-Man’s alter ego, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’”

No, I don’t think the answer is for us to each choose a super hero and parade around the neighborhood in a costume. I think we learn from our culture and realize that people do need meaning in their lives, that people want to hope, need to hope. We have a timeless message to share through word and deed. Our anniversary affords us another opportunity to deepen our resolve to matter in this world for the cause of Christ.

Almost there

I learned a lesson this week. Since I was old enough to understand the meaning of December 7, 1941, I have wanted to go to Pearl Harbor and visit the USS Arizona memorial site. It’s been on my bucket list before I even knew I had a bucket list.

My wish came true as Kim and I took our 35th anniversary trip to Hawaii. We did the things you’re supposed to do there. Standing on the deck of the USS Missouri and knowing the historic significance of what took place there as the war came to a close was inspiring. The displays, the films, the tours all added to our experience. But when it came time to board the launch to cross the harbor for the memorial, there was a rope and a sign barring our way. The commander of the base had determined that wind conditions were such that further tours were not possible. I could see the familiar white shape of the memorial across the water but I could not get any closer. I was almost there …

“Disappointment” doesn’t quite catch the sentiment I felt when I realized that “almost” wasn’t being there. Life is that way so often. Things don’t always work out like we would want. Stuff happens that we can never anticipate. Sometimes we don’t measure up. Sometimes people let us down. Sometimes circumstances and situations change unexpectedly.

I have realized that the ministry of Jesus was so often affected by interruptions: teaching moments that presented themselves; healing opportunities when hurting, needy people approached; and confrontations when His enemies and critics tried to trap Him. You can find these interruptions through the four Gospels. Jesus turned the unexpected and inconvenient into life-changing events.

I hope I can go back one day, but if I don’t I will have to be satisfied with “almost” there. I learned so much about that awful day that launched a nation into war. I was humbled and saddened by the sacrifice and suffering of so many. I was once again reminded that the price of even one life is higher than any of us can fully appreciate.

You can count on interruptions and disappointments in life. You and I can turn those moments into something bright and hopeful if we choose … even when it is really hard. Compared to what so many go through, my disappointment seems almost trivial. Let me just remind us all that we can trust the One who walked among us. He knew what it was like. He offers us grace and wisdom and strength to handle whatever comes.

Passages

“Facing our Fears” is more than the title for our sermon series. It captures how many of us feel about the twists and turns life presents to us. We don’t like feeling out of control, uncertain, fearful, or weakened by the possibilities of a shaky present or a dark future. We would rather courageously face current challenges and boldly walk toward the days ahead.

Personal lives, family circumstances, school and work realities, social interactions, church involvement … every corner of our lives present moments to not only face our fears, but to rise above them.

As one of our leaders pointed out in a circle of prayer at our Church Council meeting, Paul gave us the key: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7).

Come on, Wieuca. Let’s practice what we preach!

At this moment, three groups of lay leaders are serving on teams seeking new leadership for our children, youth, and congregational life ministries. They are working diligently and are relying on the prayer support and encouragement from all of us.

We are moving into the fall with plenty of questions and needs. We turn that around and realize that God will give us the answers and provide all we need, if we trust and expect.

This Sunday we honor Julie and Matt Sapp. A reception will be held in the Peachtree Room immediately after worship. Anne Cross, Personnel Chair, will announce that we encourage people to present a love gift to the Sapps in appreciation of their service her and in blessing for their future ministry at Heritage Baptist Fellowship in Canton. Our Covenant Groups are sponsoring this important event.

On Sunday, August 17, we hold our annual church conference. A ministry budget will be presented, representing our goals and objectives for the new year. A budget is sheets of paper with lots of numbers. A budget serves as a guide for wise stewardship. But let’s be honest, a budget means nothing if we do not support it with our tithes and offerings.

Please take me seriously. If we practice what we preach, we get involved, we pray, we attend, we give, we serve. Our current levels of attendance and giving should cause every member of this congregation concern. We can do better Wieuca. We can share our faith; we can invite our friends; we can strengthen the atmosphere of caring and compassion. We can do this. By the power of the One who calls us and blesses us, we can be the presence of Christ in our church and community. How about it? Who’s with me?

Spice it up

The South was devastated after the Civil War. Soldiers returning from the war often found little left. Families that fled from the conflict discovered homes, farms, and other properties burned, destroyed, and sometimes confiscated. Once a promising banker, Edmund McIlhenny came  to Avery Island in Louisiana where his in-laws had once owned a prosperous sugar plantation and salt works. Just about all that was left was the family garden.

Union troops had occupied the land late in the war. While there, they had discarded some hot Mexican peppers that had re-seeded themselves in the kitchen garden. Given the responsibility of cultivating the garden to put food on the table, McIlhenny began experimenting with the rather bland diet available. His efforts produced spices and sauces that he added to the family fare. His greatest success was a pepper sauce that soon became a staple in the family diet.

Soon some of the neighbors began asking if he could make them some. Finding discarded women’s cologne bottles, McIlhenny began to market his Tabasco brand pepper sauce. A much-needed industry sprang up on Avery Island. By 1870, he had patent to produce his cork-top two-ounce bottles with the diamond logo labels similar to the ones you find in stores today.

Today, more than 50 million bottles of Tabasco sauce are sold around the world. Most restaurants place a bottle on their tables. I have a friend who carries a bottle with him in his suit pocket wherever he goes.

A devastated farm … throw-away seeds … a weed-choked garden … discarded bottles … an economy in ruins … an out-of-work banker … a perfect recipe for success, right?

Adversity does strange things to people. It can crush the human spirit or it can unleash it. It can overwhelm a person with despair or enliven one with possibilities.

  • After his many struggles with the light bulb, Thomas Edison was quoted as saying, “I have not failed; I have just found 10,000 ways it won’t work.”
  • Zig Ziglar used this line often: “It isn’t your aptitude, but your attitude, that determines your altitude.”

Sometimes in the very shambles of our circumstances we find the means to recover, to rebuild, to refocus, to re-dream. Have you looked in your garden lately?