Archive for November, 2009

Regifting?

November 29, 2009

Most folks think the practice of regifting began in the last decade or so. Not true! Meri and I started practicing this right after we got married. I was the associate pastor of a large church and we probably received over 450 gifts from friends and family. I think we got 8 tea pots, 6 relish dishes, a dozen pot holders, 5 mixers and countless towels and wash clothes.

We were a poor, starting-out couple so what did we do? We practiced regifting from our wedding surplus. The first Christmas we gave great gifts to our family and close friends from the wedding surplus department in our basement being extra careful to give no one their own gift or one from someone they knew!

People thought we were so generous. And I guess we were since we could have returned the loot and gotten the cash or a credit. Regifting was fun! I recommend we up this practice to include things we no longer use or need. Why buy new when used is just as good? Sounds like good ecology and green thinking to me.

Each year God practices regifting. He extends age-old grace and well conditioned love to all who turn and trust in Him. I’m so thankful he can take my tired old gifts and talents and reuse them time after time to bless me and others. I see it all the time – God recycles and reconditions every day folks and turns them into beautiful new creations. It is miraculous and wonderful. Let him regift you today!

November 14, 2009

DAD NEEDED AT HOME

When my daughter was eight, she probably wanted to post this sign on our front porch. I was serving as pastor of a growing church in a rapidly growing community. I visited people 3-4 nights a week and welcomed them into our growing fellowship. It was rewarding and exhilarating for a young pastor. Then one night as my wife tucked in my daughter, she asked, “Why is my Daddy never home to tuck me in at night like Gracie’s dad?”  (Gracie was her friend from school.)

When I got home, Meri told me what she said and asked me to think about it. She didn’t chastise me or tell me to be home more. She just let these words settle in my mind and heart. I felt convicted and knew I had to change. It took me almost six months to fix my schedule and ween the church from dependency on their “always available” pastor.

Now I pastor a mega church with over 126 years of history. We are experiencing lots of change: economic, social and cultural. We are very blessed and have  a loving fellowship. people are attracted to our  ministries. I was talking to my pastoral counselor about this and he said he saw a link between these two stories.

Maybe what my church needs more than anything is a pastor who is simply at home with them. Not necessarily in all their homes (an impossible idea given our size) A pastoral shepherd who is a non-anxious presence like a loving father and wise leader. Someone who speaks up when he has something significant to say and stays quiet when he simply needs to listen and let others navigate their way through the maze of change all around us.

This will be a new role for me. Yet I know I need to change too. I’m so glad I made that important change to be home over 13 years ago. Being at home wherever God places you is a wondrous gift.

A Cat?

November 5, 2009

Recently Meri told me that she wanted a cat. We had a long-standing agreement that cats were off-limits because I was allergic to their species. Usually when I am around a cat, my eyes water and if scratched, I break out in hives. Meri argued we needed the cat to chase off the squirrels that have been getting in our attic and tearing up things on our back porch. Two friends out in the country had a beautiful stray cat that needed a home. I was in a weak state and agreed to having a “yard” cat.

The next week the cat came to live at our place. She is about 11 months old, is white with black spots and rather small in stature. She crawled up in my lap, purred quietly and beamed those gorgeous blue eyes up at me. She won me over immediately. We call her Sasha because she reminds me of a Russian beauty – pointed ears, cold blue eyes and an irresistible charm. Now she is my cat. She comes when I call her even if she is two yards away. She follows me around the house, sleeps in my chair and loves to have me rub her tummy.

Sasha seems to fill a void I have sensed since my second child moved off to college. I guess I needed something to love, to hold, to be glad to see me in the evening and for me to care for and protect. As for my allergies, I have no problem with Sasha. I am very relieved that I am not allergic to this newest member of the family. The cat is even good for our dog, Vixen. She had slowed down and seemed to lose her ambition. Now she springs out of bed in the morning to see where the cat is and what she is eating. Vixen eats everything that hits the floor so the cat does get more than her share. I think the addition of this cute little cat is good for the old dog – she is acting like a puppy!

I know this cat is good for me. Oh, time to join her on the sofa. Somebody has to rub her tummy and listen to her purr!