Christmas Chaos
"It's the most wonderful time of the year." Ironically enough, it's also the busiest time of the year. Well, at least for me it is. With all of the meetings, activities, practices, services, gatherings, and banquets my days are jam packed. What day is it anyway?

I remember the Christmas season being different as a child. It seemed so simple back then; eat lots of cookies, open gifts, spend time with family and above all understand that Jesus was sent from God as a gift of hope. With all of the commercialization of Christmas, and the busyness that surrounds the season, it's easy to miss the point.

Programs and musicals should not be our focus. Dinners and meetings should not dominate our time. Practices and gatherings should not distract us from the very reason that we celebrate. All of these can be good things but let's not forget WHY we celebrate in HOW we celebrate.

With that said, I'm looking forward to Celebrating Christmas! I hope that you have a Merry Christmas and have some eggnog!

Instant access....turned off and tuned out

I remember when I signed my first 2 year contract with a cell phone service provider. I thought that I had achieved the pinnacle of independence. I had a cell phone! I could now call anyone whenever I wanted; provided I had their numbers memorized. Not only that, people could have instant access to me; any time, any place, any where. That was exciting for a while. Eight years later what used to be independence has become the likeness of a massive ball and chain strapped to my neck; except for that it's small, black, sleek, weighs just a few ounces and fits comfortably into my pocket. It's not the weight of my phone that seems to slow me down it's the pressure. Will I offend the person trying to reach me if I forward them to my voice mail? Is the phone call important enough to interrupt dinner? How do I know until I answer it? I remember when receiving someone's answering machine simply meant they weren't home or they were too busy to take a call and that was ok. Now receiving someone's voice mail can be considered insulting. Why?

Is it possible to just turn off the instant access;to tune out to the noise that interrupts at the most inopportune times? It is possible and for me it's likely. I'll let ya know how it goes.

What time never had a chance to heal...
Ministry can be a lonely place. If you've ever been there you know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about those times that your only friends are the thoughts that hold you captive for hours on end. Can you relate? Even Bible college can't fully prepare you for all that you will encounter while your life is poured out like water. There have been times that the water of my life has hit the hot desert sand; immediately evaporating into the air never making a difference. Yet, there have been times that the water has helped to bring growth. I love the people who are the desert and I love the people who are the fertile soil but it isn't always easy to love.
For the past two years I have poured my life out here in Kentucky.Without reservation, I opened up to love people that I never knew and to be loved by those same people. I would deceive you if I told you that love doesn't hurt. Take for Jesus for example; showing us His love while His body hung, bloody and beaten, on a cross. Love can hurt but at the same time be a beautiful thing.
It's true, I've been hurt by a few people that I've poured my everything out to; by the people that I love. What makes all of that even more difficult is that the hurt has to remain locked inside with more security than Fort Knox can boast.
Do you understand how ministry can be a lonely place? It seems like showing any sort of emotion as a minister concerning hurt is frowned upon. Are we not human? Do we not feel? Can we express disappointment and pain when we've been wounded? I apologize; my name isn't Fort Knox and it never will be. Punch me and I'll bleed. Say hurtful things about me and I'll emotionally break.
I know that in ministry I will never experience all the suffering that Jesus did. I am comforted by the fact that He is with me and that He has sent me precious friends to hold me when I am weak; to intercede and intervene. I am sustained by Jesus and those few that are Godsends. Ministry can be a lonely place, but it doesn't have to be. I can't tell you how valuable it has been for me to have the support of friends that will listen to the hurts and wrap tourniquets around my heart to stop the bleeding. It is because of Jesus, and those He has sent to love me, that time has never had a chance to heal the wounds in my heart. After all, who needs time to heal when you have the Healer Himself?

Put down your Paper Plate
The idea is nothing new. Our "paper plate" society is driven with activity; people are just too busy to truly live. Unfortunately, this "paper plate" way of life has infiltrated the Christian Church. We are guilty of exchanging true intimacy with God for whatever will fit into our schedules. Jesus invites us to come sit; to come and know; to come and fellowship with Him at His banqueting table. Instead of communing with our Savior we bring our paper plates, paper napkins, plastic ware, and Styrofoam cups to a table that has been lavishly set. We than proceed to fill our paper ware with what we would call spiritual "food" than scurry out of the room to eat on the run.
The problem is that this banqueting table was set by our Savior with the intent of fellowship. Isn't it ironic that some of us who call Jesus savior "pencil in" devotional time? We come to the banqueting room where Jesus waits, sit down with our paper ware until we feel like we have had our fill, and then we just leave. I can't speak for everyone, but, I've been taught that dining and dashing is rude. Is our time spent with Jesus merely a quick spiritual fix? Or is it a time of deep fellowship? Only you can know for sure where you heart stands on this. If your daily time with Jesus resembles a "paper plate" dining experience consider that Jesus longs for fellowship with you. Shouldn't we long for fellowship with him? Jesus brings an abundant life to the table; life filled with purpose, love, joy, comfort, and fellowship. What do you bring to Jesus' table? Are you bringing your paper plate or are you bringing a heart that hungers for intimacy with our Savior?

John 10:10...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

The Tank!
This is Tank; he's our new puppy. My wife and I adopted him about a month ago from a boxer breeder around our home town. Heh, neither of us really knew what we were getting into; we just knew that we loved dogs. So, we've got an energetic, adorable, affectionate handful of an animal. He's great!
Talk about responsibility. Our lives have changed drastically since adopting this little guy. Our patience has been tried and tested. Our nerves have been strained to the max. Its not all bad though. He's a ton of fun to play with and he makes you feel so special with greetings that would make anyone feel as if they were royalty. We're just working with him and teaching him the ropes here at the Cosby household; or is it that he's teaching us? As of right now he thinks that he is Alpha dog...I mean who doesn't think that from time to time?
I can't help but to think about how bull-headed and stubborn my nature is. It compels me to do everything I know not to do; to buck the "system." I have a coherent brain. Tank, on the other hand, just wants to survive. So what's my excuse? What can suppress my own carnality? Humility. A term loosely used but rarely understood.
I realize that my way of doing life isn't the best way. I am selfish by nature and feel the need to be "Alpha" or in control. Yet, the more I strive to obtain control I realize how little there is for me to grasp. The striking reality is that if I try to preserve my life (control) I will lose it, but if I lose my life (control) for the sake of Christ than I will gain it (luke 17:33). Lose control? Think about it...