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Food for Thought


The Church in Our Hands

     Recently I was walking down the hall on a Sunday morning and stopped by a children's Sunday school class.  They had a little plastic church building that they used to collect their offering.  I was fascinated by the toy and picked it up to look at it.  Very quickly one of the little boys said, "Be careful, John Ed, you have our church in your hands."  That statement both inspired and intimidated me.  In a larger sense, God has entrusted the church in our hands.  What an awesome opportunity!

John Ed Mathison
Tried and True: Eleven Principles of Church Growth from Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church.

Changing Your Life in Your Job

     There are two ways to change jobs.  The obvious one is to leave the job you have and get another.  But, if you do this, you can't assume that what you dislike about the present job will be absent from the new one.  There is a law of human nature to be reckoned with:  You take yourself wherever you go.  So, when you go from one job to another, you will, in effect, take yourself along with you.  This means that the same weaknesses and wrong attitudes that you had in the old position will, after the first flush of enthusiasm, be there with you, the same as ever.  So, the second way to change jobs is to change yourself.  That can be done within the framework of your present job.

  Normal Vincent Peale
  The Power to Change Your Life

A Parent's Debt

     Ann Landers says that parents owe their children a great deal, none of which has to do with material possessions.

     What do they owe?  One thing is to give their children a sense of personal worth.  "Self-esteem is ther cornerstone for good mental health."  Parents also owe their children consistency in discipline and firm guidelines.  "The parent who has the courage to say 'no' when other parents are saying 'yes' sends out a double message.  He is also saying, 'I love you, and I'm willing to risk your wrath because I don't want you to get into trouble.'"

     Finally, parents owe their children some religious training and a set of decent standards and solid values around which to build a life.

That Which Makes Saints

     Everyday things, relationships with other people, daily work, love of our family -- all these may breed saints.

     Jesus of Nazareth taught us to live every hour of the day as saints.  Every hour of the day is useful and may lead to divine inspiration, the will of the Father, the prayer of contemplation -- holiness.  Every hour of the day is holy. What matters is to live it as Jesus taught us.

     And for this, one does not have to shut oneself in a monastery or fix strange and inhumane regimes for one's life.  It is enough to accept the realities of life.  Work is one of these realities; motherhood, the rearing of children, family life with all its obligations are the others.

Carlo Carretto
Letter From the Desert

Been "Thumped" Lately?

     When a potter bakes pot, he checks its solidity by pulling it out of the oven and thumping it. If it "sings," it's ready. If it "thuds," it's placed back in the oven.  The character of a person is also checked by thumping.

     Been thumped lately?

     Late-night phone calls.  Grouchy teacher.  Grumpy moms.  Burnt meals.  Flat tires.  "You've got to be kidding" deadlines.  Those are thumps.  Thumps are those irritating inconveniences that trigger the worst in us.  They catch us off guard.  Flat footed.  They aren't big enough to be crises, but if you get enough of them, watch out!  Traffic jams.  Long lines.  Empty mailboxes.  Dirty clothes on the floor ... Thump.  Thump.  Thump.  How do I respond? Do I sing?  Or do I thud?

     Jesus said that out of the nature of the heart a man speaks (Like 6:45).  There's nothing like a good thump to reveal the nature of a heart.  The true character of a person is seen not in momentary heroics, but in the thump-packed humdrum of day-to-day living.

Max Lucado
On The Anvil

"Nothing has more lives than an error you refuse to correct."

"He who throws dirt always loses ground."

"Every limitation I have is an invitation by God to do for me what I cannot do for myself."

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