God’s Calling in 2016

godscallingThe beginning of the year is a time of mixed emotions.  First, there is excitement for the opportunity for a new beginning. It is a chance for a fresh start, and it seems that anything is possible. Then, there is the other side.  We have to un-decorate, return things that don’t fit, get caught up at work, and get back into our regular routines.


Maybe you have the same mixed emotions.  Sometimes the down-side is more prevalent than the possible-side. Maybe you feel more slug-like than hopeful.  The good news is that we are not ruled by our emotions. We can make decisions based on more than just how we are feeling.  We can include our thoughts and God’s calling. We can make a choice to do what God is calling us to do even if we are feeling slug-like. This means that even if you feel overwhelmed, there is still a choice to make changes.  There is a choice to do what God calls us to in the midst of holiday recovery.


One of the things I would like to encourage you to consider and pray about is your spiritual life and its connection to your daily activities. We often get stuck in a pattern of doing the same things rather than trying to do a new thing.  For example, we go to work and come home every evening.  We are bored with watching television every night, but we don’t do anything else.  We know that there is a Bible study, but you are in the habit of going home.  Perhaps you always volunteer once a month for children’s church.  You see a need for someone to help with the altar displays, but you worry that people may not want you to get involved. Perhaps your church needs your help.


It is hard to do a new thing, but God is calling us to be transformed. God is calling us to use our gifts in this new year for God’s glory.  God is calling us to help transform the world, no matter if you feeling hopeful or slug-like.  Be open to what God is calling you to do.  Is God calling you to participate in a study?  Is God calling you to get more involved in church?  Is God calling you to try something new?  Trust in God’s calling rather than being tossed about by fickle emotions.


I am praying that you will listen to the Spirit rather than be ruled by your emotions.  I pray that this will be a year of transformation, your transformation and the transformation of the world around you by God’s work through you.  Happy New Year!



Do Nothing

English: Portrait drawing of John Wesley, foun...

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It is time for us to start setting goals.  Some of us have too many goals.  We want to do everything.  We want to achieve everything.  We imagine the perfect life, and the perfect life means getting more and more done.  If we just try a little harder, tweak the schedule, make better use of our time management devices, or sleep a little less, then we can do more.  So, we set our goals for the things we want to get done.  The goals we want to accomplish.


Maybe we need to set a goal of doing nothing.  Maybe we need a goal to set aside time for absolutely nothing.  Instead of squeezing one more thing into our already harried days, perhaps this year we should schedule in some nothing time.  The Bible says to, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).  John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, wrote a Covenant prayer.  This prayer was a part of the Covenant service that is often held at the beginning of the new year.  The  prayer ask God in part to, “Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee”.


A little more laying aside time.  A little more still time.  A little more do nothing time.  These moments of inactivity allow God to work within us.  These moments of stillness allow our dreams to bubble up to our conscious thought.  Doing nothing allows us to experience being without doing.  This year, as you set your goals, consider a new goal: do nothing.

Try a New Thing

Luke Branquinho at the 2004 National Finals Rodeo.

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A New Year means the opportunity for new adventures.  Sometimes we become anxious when we think about trying a new thing.  We are not sure how it is going to work.  We know how the old things work.  While the old way may not be the best way, it is predictable.  It is safe.  Safe does not make us fearful.


Yet, we are called, encouraged, and prodded to do a new thing.  God assures us that all things are being new.  We need to allow transformation of us and our lives if we hope to grow in our walk with God.  We need to try new things.  What are you going to try this year?  Are you going to learn a  new instrument?  Communicate differently?  Go back to school?  Try a new spiritual practice such as fasting?


The PRCA, Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association,  tried a new thing this year.  They  began a new partnership with GAC, Great American Country, for their world finals event.  It could have been awful.  People could have chosen not to watch the finals.  Previously they were with ESPN, a sports channel showing a sporting event.  It turned out to be the beginning of something wonderful.  According to a report on prorodeo.com , “Great American Country’s exclusive live coverage of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas (Dec. 1-10) delivered a network record 9.8 million viewers across all telecasts (4.1 million adults 25-54) — a level GAC President Ed Hardy called ‘historic.'” PRCA commissioner Karl Stressman said he was “overwhelmingly pleased” with the move to GAC.


Try something new.  You never know what may happen.  What you do know is that you have not let your fear hold you back, so you are growing.


Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/12/19/3606533/rodeos-premier-event-finds-a-better.html?storylink=addthis#.TvCpLe7PIbQ.facebook#storylink=cpy

Holiday Preparations

A Danish Christmas tree illuminated with burni...

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We are entering the holiday season.  It seems that once we celebrate Halloween it is a mad rush through a dizzying array of holidays.  We go from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s at a blistering pace as we try to keep up with all our usual responsibilities, year-end responsibilities, and holidays.  It is amazes us how much there is to do and how little time.  The days get shorter, but the lists get longer.  For many it is a wonderful time of celebration.  It is an experience of family, faith, and friends.

Some of us have a twinge of sadness along the way.  We pull out the favorite ornament of a loved one.  We unsuccessfully attempt to make Grandma’s potato salad.  We see a picture of dad dressed as Santa.  We realize that our loved one will not be with us to share in the joy of the season.  We become a little sad.  We miss them.

We are not alone in missing someone.  In fact, many of us miss a loved one.  As you go through hustle and bustle of the holiday season, take time to acknowledge the sadness and to honor the ones who are not with you.  Maybe that means doing something for them.  It could be baking and sending  your children’s favorite cookies to them.  It could be creating a youtube private video so that you can read to your grandson.  It could be baking a late husband’s favorite dessert.  It could be another attempt at Grandma’s potato salad.  In a season when we are so strongly encourage to celebrate continuously, take time to acknowledge and feel.    Honor those you miss.  Let yourself be a whole person with all of your emotions.

Remember, you are a wonderful creation of God and God loves you just as you are.  So don’t try to be someone different.  Let the feelings flow, then use them to transform the world to the glory of God.

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Happy New Year!

New Years Masksphoto © 2006 Chris Metcalf | more info (via: Wylio)
I know that this is not the beginning of a new year, but it is an unofficial beginning of a new season.  My daughter has finished the school year, I have finished a four year project, and we are all changing to adapt to this season.  Our family and personal schedules are much more fluid because the school schedule is not grounding us to a strict time schedule.  There is a lot of travel for all of us including summer camp, vacations, and visits to grandparents.  Because of this traveling and lax scheduling, my office schedule changes.

This is a chance to change.  This is a chance to reevaluate what I have been doing, what needs to be doing, and what I need to just let go.  In our family, we set personal goals for the summer.  Some that we share with each other and some that are more private.  We decide where we want to be when this season ends so that we will be better prepared for the school year and other seasons.

What about you?  Are there things that need to be changed, added, or let go in your life?  I want to clean out the linen closet.  What needs cleaning out in your life?  I also want to work on some relationships that have been neglected.  Are there relationships that need your attention?

We all have possibilities for growth and transformation in our lives.  Season and   schedule things open a way to find change and transformation.  Take his opportunity to be transformed.