Aside

every rookie ba…

every rookie baseball player strikes out.

every rookie quarterback throws an interception.

every inexperienced pastor (probably) gives some bad advice.

every new car salesman botches a sale.

every newscaster makes a blunder.

every journalist writes something bad.

 

I’m trying to remind myself that everyone has occupational errors and/or embarrassments. I’m pretty sure at some point every day of this first week of my new job I’ve felt absolutely humiliated. Really can’t wait to get good at it and until it gets comfortable for me.

in the meantime…

 

if it weren’t for grace..

My sleeping habits have changed a lot over the last few years…

When I was 18 or 19 I would try desperately to take naps when I was tired in the afternoon, but couldn’t. Then all of a sudden–I’m not sure why–I was able to. Naps come with a price for me, however…I can’t go to sleep at the normal time when I go to bed at night. Naps became incredibly important when I started opening at Starbucks and was up every morning at 4 or 4:15 and at work by 5. Waking up wasn’t the hard part, staying awake later was hard.

Then a funny thing happened–I turned 21. my first alcoholic drink was a Crown & Coke–Crown royal bought for me by my friend Ben and a nice bottle of coke. It was terrific. But I soon learned that alcohol makes me very tired very quickly. Then I started using it to my advantage.

Today is a perfect example–I was exhausted when I came home from class and I just couldn’t focus on homework, so I decided to nap. I knew I’d be sharper mentally when I was thinking about homework, not how tired I was. So, since I need to be in bed at a reasonable time (it’s 1050 and this still isn’t exactly what I had in mind, but…) I decided to buy a Pepsi from the gas station and mix it with some rum. It’s basically a sleeping pill that tastes fantastic. 

I had a bit of a moment as I was pouring rum into my cup though–I wonder how many people would, according to the way they’ve been raised, think it was an abomination to go near a bottle of rum. 

there are things like this which, don’t get me wrong, can be very dangerous if you don’t know yourself. I personally know that I wouldn’t drink more than one drink because I couldn’t live with showing up to work hung over (paired with, I don’t think alcohol tastes THAT good) 

But I know that if it weren’t for grace, I wouldn’t be so free. I know that under grace, I don’t have to be worried about the power of sin, and that “all things are lawful for me.” It may be an insignificant, minute thing, but I’m glad that because of grace, I can have a drink so I can fall asleep. 

reinforcing…

have you ever noticed how easy it is to buy into a school of thought?

When you find someone or a group of people you like or fit in with or relate to, it’s easy to act like them, think like them, and speak like them. I’ve found this to be true in my life in the community of preachers and believers.

Reflecting now, I can look back and see how God has been at work in my life in the last few years. I remember being an 18 year old working at McDonald’s, wondering if God would still accept me after a work shift because I always ended up so frustrated that I’d do or say something I’d regret. I never treated anyone with a shred of grace and felt like my witness was constant trash based on what I’d do, say, or not do or not say. I went through regretting the way I quit my job at McDonald’s (I had taken a couple weeks off to “focus on school” and ended up texting my boss and telling him I wasn’t coming back) and the backlash of that (he wasn’t too happy with me.) I went through a summer of no work that I spent hovered over a cup of coffee and either my xbox or my laptop, watching the previous night’s episode of the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. 

I have gone from when I was a perpetual saver in high school (I had several thousand dollars saved up upon graduation) to when I was a spender with a bottomless wallet and no inhibition. I spent probably thousands on movies, TV shows on dvd, eating out, and having a good time with my friends back to now, when the only time I get like that is when I order textbooks for a new semester and feel like I’ll have to completely rebuild my bank account anyway (I still struggle to spend $5 on lunch after church.)

The reason I say all of this is to say that I’ve matured and changed a lot (some of it was backwards progress, and then forward) and I always attribute it to the grace of God. In our preacher’s cadre that I was involved in, we always talked about the empowering grace of God. How it’s by the grace of God that we are empowered to preach, teach, and do ministry. That the grace of God helps us treat friends, family, and co-workers like Jesus would. 

Basically, the idea is that grace allows us to live like Jesus does.

It hit me the other day that I have no idea where I got that idea, other than being around fellow believers. I couldn’t point you to a scripture that says that. 

This was a bit of a crisis for me, because I have a fear that developed as a kid of not being able to defend my position on things (my sisters and brother were always great at arguing, but I was always terrible. I didn’t keep records well and never formulated a good argument) so for a few days, I freaked out a little bit, and began desperately looking through scripture to find things that back up statements such as, “grace helps me live like Jesus” or “grace empowers me to do ministry.” I quickly have had to learn to be “patient” with God’s word. 

On a quick side note: this blog post is not going to be about grace, but I will quickly say that it IS starting to make sense based on the definition of grace–that it is unmerited favor. Some people have differentiated grace and mercy as such: grace is getting what you don’t deserve (in a sense of favor anyway) and mercy is not getting what you deserve (in a sense of judgment, anyway) so it kind of makes sense that God’s favor is what makes the difference in my ability to be a preacher, for example. I normally would be undeserving of such, but God saw it fit to give me the privilege of sharing His amazing message of redemption and forgiveness through Jesus Christ–that’s grace.

But the point of what I’m getting at here is that it’s important to seek out the grounds for what you say you believe yourself. It’s okay to question a little bit. At first I was freaking out because I was a little scared that I’d find out that everything I’d been saying about grace was a hoax or vastly misinterpreted. As it turns out, I have been finding patterns that defend things I’ve been saying and believing about the gospel (that Jesus wiped out requirements [Colossians 2:14] that ALL sin is/can be forgiven [Colossians 2:13] that Jesus’ death and resurrection is overwhelmingly more powerful than sin [Romans 5: 15-17] etc)

But the point I’m getting at is that as Christians, we should not merely regurgitate what we hear from pulpits or in our circles without understanding it ourselves (I’m NOT saying that preachers aren’t reliable) but Peter urged the church to always be prepared to give a defense for the hope you have–which basically means: explain yourself! 

I think it’s okay to question a little bit, particularly if you ask God how to understand His word! (I’m not a fan of the ideology that calls EVERYTHING into question in the sense that you’re willing to not believe that the Bible is true, but examine and solidify your theology!)

 

Any thoughts or ideas are welcome.

Boston: A good dose of reality.

I always do this. Always, always, always. 

This is going to be one of those really personal, slightly frustrated but relieved kind of blogs.

I always get my hopes up about something I’m interested only to give up on it, but in this case, I guess I’m glad about it.

Disclaimer: I think the reason it upsets me so badly is because I think that people are watching me and following this stuff about me, which is probably not true, but oh well. 

I started to get excited about baseball, particularly sabermetrics and statistics, to the point that I went to a seminar about it this weekend in Boston.

I got a hard dose of reality.

I was around dudes who live, breathe, eat, and drink this stuff. They would approach guys I’d never heard of who wrote for Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, etc and just start talking about a certain column that they wrote and would have discussions. I don’t read that stuff! I was in way over my head at this seminar. The fact is, I was trying to get interested in stuff I’m way behind on. I was trying to expand a skill set I don’t have. If sabermetrics was a major in college, I’m at a 101 level, if not an 095 level. These guys were grad students. They do this with their spare time. With my spare time, I sit at coffee shops, write blogs, watch kids, play music, and play the xbox.

And that’s when it hit me that that is absolutely okay. 

As I approach graduation (it’s a year away) I start to worry about having a plan and knowing exactly where I will apply when I get out to get a long-term job. I’m starting to realize that it’s okay to not know where I’ll be for the next 35 years. My life philosophy isn’t usually to just take things as they come, meaning I like to remotely have a plan and know what’s going on, but the fact is, right now I couldn’t tell you a place that I’d like to work for a while. And honestly, that’s not the issue to me. I don’t have a “career” in mind. My major is psychology, but that’s not the field I’m going into. I chose psychology because it’s the only major I saw that would remotely apply to ministry, which is the only big aspiration I have. Doing/being in ministry is the only thing about which I can say I’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t happen. It’s the only thing I care about as deeply as some of the guys at this conference cared about sabermetrics. 

I’m more concerned with what and who is in my life than I am about what job I have. For example, I’m not going to move a thousand miles across the country for a job that will take me away from my friends and family. That’s my priority, and I think that’s okay. 

I’m just relieved that this weekend put things into perspective for me. That as well as how amazing Fenway Park was made the whole thing worth it.