- We have been, and still are, very much insulated from the tragic reality of this world's day-to-day cycle of conflict and war and death. America has not been - with the exception of events such as 9-11 - a battleground since our own Civil War.
- We don't ask enough questions of our elderly relatives, and we don't pass on the stories like we should.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
- Write a new "10-Ways" list for AllProDad.com.
- Write an article about the "Keystone Heights Alliance to End Childhood Hunger" for the United Methodist News Service.
- Spend around an hour on the phone, trying to line up my next "preacher profile" for the Tampa Tribune.
- Outline an article Upper Room Books asked for, designed to support a new marketing initiative they're planning for "The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian".
- Time permitting - work on some ghost-writing I've been asked to do for a high-profile national Christian leader who thinks my words might sound good coming from his lips.
- I am spending a lot of time in the Bible, seeding my subconscious with words of hope and grace.
- I deliberately meditate on scripture, every day, and I seek to be in the presence of God in a variety of circumstances; I actually invite God into my activities.
- God's word then speaks into my experience. Verses I have read are available and are recalled (is it me, or does the Holy Spirit awaken the memory? - Yes...). God works with the material I have made available.
- Consequently, in moments like this, I recall Psalm 1 - from yesterday's Bible reading - and I am reminded that "[My] delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law [I] meditate day and night. [I am] like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season..."
Thursday, May 27, 2010
But more than anything else, put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well. Don't worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today. (Matthew 6:33-34)
- I woke up extra early in order to make sure Rebekah had some fresh coffee before leaving to moderate a potentially very difficult meeting of area ministers.
- I read today's Upper Room meditation and made careful note of the writer's suggestion that it's not enough to "not worry" - we need to add a sense of expectation.
- I prayed for Rebekah and let her know that I was planning to be in constant conversation with God about her day.
- I read a familiar passage of scripture (the "don't worry" section of the Sermon on the Mount).
- I walked Scout in a deliberately meditative frame of mind, and - consequently - heard God speaking to me through the beauty of the early morning and the abundant evidence of God's creative love.
- I "listened" to a spectacular red cardinal who hopped in my direction, cocked his head, then flew to a low limb on one of our oak trees. Everything about him said "I'm expectant for blessing this morning - are you?"
- I posted a quote from "The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian" on facebook - the quote then inspired me enough to add a rare new entry at my "No More Part-Time Christian" blog.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Random word association is a funny thing. Sometimes it's profound, sometimes odd, once in a while amusing, and - on rare occasions - it makes me wonder if God is trying to tell me something.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Ten 8th graders made their way across the stage in the Media Center - full with parents, teachers, students, administrators and guests (including the Strawberry Queen and a bunch of school district higher-ups). Principal Dennis Mayo kicked off the ceremony with a welcome, and by the time the graduates headed for the buffet they had more awards than some of them could carry.
So why all the fuss? Why make so much noise about the simple transition into high school? Why not just hand over report cards and start getting ready for the next batch?
The answer addresses the whole point of ESE. Here in American we have this remarkable federal initiative that mandates a “free and appropriate” education (public law 94-142, 1975, re-imagined as IDEA in 1990), and it’s a plan designed to make sure all children have access to first-rate schooling – regardless.
However, such a venture only works when the effort goes both ways. The point of ESE is not to make school easy; the point is to make school possible.
Forgive me, but I must repeat the thought. It’s a powerful idea and I don’t want anyone to gloss over it. The point of exceptional student education – and this applies to pretty much any public program – is not to make school easy; the point is to make school possible.
I taught ESE for almost two decades, and it was amazing how many parents believed it was our job (teachers and principals) to make school easy for their kids! But that’s not it at all. What good ESE teachers do is everything in their power to make success an option for students and families… but they must be prepared to do their part and work as a team.
Turkey Creek has some good ESE teachers. That’s the reason ten 8th grade graduates walked across the stage having actually achieved something. That’s what exceptional student education is all about!
The event's organizer and sponsor (that's Scott Anderson at right, introducing the Strawberry Queen) was kind enough to invite me to speak, so I told the students about Andrew (he’s on the plane to Bahrain today), who really didn’t enjoy school that much when he was their age. “But today he’s doing a job that he loves, committed to helping people, travelling all over the world, and making enough money to live the kind of life he wants,” I said. “And I’m going to tell you how.”
I dove in while I had their attention. “The first thing Andrew did was to simply hang in there. It’s not enough to say that ‘50% of success is just showing up.’ It turns out that 100% of achievement depends on hanging around to the end. So I want to encourage you to stay in school.
“The other thing was that Andrew believed. People may tell you ‘seeing is believing’. But he realized there are things that you’re never going to see until you first believe.”
Exceptional Student Education is about making good use of all the abilities at a students’ disposal. It’s about teachers, parents, and students working together to take collective responsibility and to give everyone a fighting chance. And, mostly, it’s about believing.
Strawberry Queen Natalie Burgin drove the point home at the end of her talk. “You can do it!” she said with a huge smile, and with the kind of enthusiasm only festival queens can pull off with any credibility.
And she really meant it – you could tell.
Peace - DEREK
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Therefore Jesus said again, I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10)
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
"It takes no talent whatsoever to hustle," Maddon said. "There's no kind of ability involved in hustling."
So here's my VERY RARE sports illustration. Most of the time our commitment to a full, rich, complete life - living like we mean it - is 90% hustle. It doesn't take any talent to live that way. It's not as if God has gifted some of us with a natural proclivity to enjoy life and "too bad about the rest of you."
No - if I'm living like I mean it today, it's because I got up this morning hustling. It doesn't take talent - it takes faithfulness and commitment. We can all be there.
Let's do it!
Monday, May 17, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
- "God is constantly creating and re-creating; God wants to do a new thing in our lives; God does not want us to rely on tired stories from the past. So - Go into this new day with the reality of transformational possibility strong in your spirit. Talk with God; give this day over to glory; live a new story."
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
- There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. - Psalm 46