Posts Tagged ‘relationship’

English: www,domain,internet,web,net

People connecting with people drive the web.

Recently I sat in a college lecture hall with a collection of devices that were as diverse as their owners. There were iPods, iPads, netbooks, notebooks, smart phones. You name the device that could connect its owner up, and it was there.

The catch phrases seemed to be, “Can you connect?” or “Are you connected?” as other attendees of the Motherlode Innovation Summit on Technology, otherwise known as the MIST Conference Social Edition, were in various stages of linking themselves to the wi-fi at the local junior college, Columbia College, in the Motherlode.

I didn’t bother even trying to connect. Why? Because although I worked in high-tech. when the World Wide Web was still called that, and was one of the first people I knew to daisy chain my way to what would become an everyday reality, I didn’t have one wi-fi device with me.

No smart phone.

No netbook.

No iPad.

There I sat with my notebook, – yes an old-fashioned paper notebook – and pen waiting for the conference to begin so I could take notes the old-fashioned way, by actually writing them down.

It was one of those strange moments when you realize that most of the people in the room are so much younger than you, that they didn’t quite remember a time without the ability to link in.

The conference was amazing,  giving tips about how to start, and stay, connected. The speakers were informative and by and large accessible, sharing helpful tips for blogging, for SEO, for ways to make yourself known on the web through Social Media. The sheer amount of information was enough to make sparks fly off of people’s fingertips as they typed trying to keep up with it all.

The funny thing was that although it was about using technology to connect to as many people as possible, it was also about connecting with the individual person too. It was about connecting with the mind of the multitude, and the mind of the individual at the same time.

No easy feat, unless you know who you’re talking to and why you’re talking to them, because at it’s very base level that’s what Social Media is all about, connecting with other people. And, that’s what the conference was designed to do, connect those who attended with their own audiences, through using the amazing things they learned there.

When you connect to another person, it doesn’t matter if you use a notebook made of paper or a computer notebook, because it’s not about the vehicle, it’s about the connection.

And, when you think about it that’s what God is interested in too. The connection we each have with Him. He came and paid the pride price for us, so we could have the opportunity to connect with him no matter what our own individual selves, or our individual devices,  look like.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

2 Corinthians 5:21

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Rain is rare in the San Francisco Bay Area dur...

Image via Wikipedia

The other day my son hopped into the Blue Beast after his junior high youth group, pulled the door shut and before I could put the truck into gear handed me a white paper.

“You need to sign this,” he said, adding “please” before I had a chance to comment on the reality that just because you’re now officially a teenager that doesn’t mean you give up being polite.

When we got home, I looked closely at the paper and immediately I smiled as I read what it said.

“It’s a permission slip,” my son informed me in a tone that only a teenager can.

I looked at him and resisted the urge to roll my eyes, like only a parent can.

“I know that,” I said, but my mind was off and running elsewhere along paths into the past.

Nowadays with budget cuts, education requirements and all around liability issues, children just don’t go on very many field trips, either with school or anywhere else. So, the sight of permission slip is a rather rare and unique experience.

But, I remember back when I was in school, that wasn’t the case. As I looked at the piece of paper in my hands, I was taken back to that time when I would bring home different colored permission slips for different field trips, yellow, pink, blue, and, yes, white. I knew every time I brought one home that we would be going to a fun and exciting place.

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and, every year my school would go on a field trip to Marine World ( this was before it moved), to Angels Island, to the theatre, to the symphony, to any number of wonderful places. Just the thought of them still gives me a warm feeling as I remember getting on the yellow school bus with my friends and classmates, and chugging off to a wonderful destination.

All of those trips and the things we learned on them, along with the feelings of excitement, anticipation and feel goodness all began when I brought that permission slip home for my mom to sign.

It made me realize that many times, we consider a life with the LORD as the end of permission slips and all the wonderful things that go along with them. The excitement. The anticipation. The journey. The adventure.

On some level we think that He’s not going to give us permission to do anything we want, anything we desire, that He’s all about taking things away and not giving anything back. Yet, there is nothing further from the truth. The longer we walk with Him, the more we realize that He’s all about giving us the permission to be who He created us to be, and there is nothing more exciting that.

“Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!””

2 Kings 5:13

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St. Simons Island Lighthouse in Georgia.

“We’re almost there,” my son’s voice floated down to me as I was climbing what must have been my 115th step on the curving staircase, but that step felt more like my 1 millionth.

At the bottom of the lighthouse steps, at St. Simons Island Lighthouse, a sign said there were 129-steps that we needed to climb before we got to the top and were able to see the ocean where the light still shines at night to warn ships that they are getting too close to the shore.

But, as I climbed the steps the fact that the light helped ships was the last thing on my mind. When we first started I counted the steps, but at about 10 I decided that was a bad idea considering that we were climbing in the close, heavily humid Southern air and knowing the step I was on might not help me in the long run.

So, I took one well maintained black metal step at a time, listening to the wheeziness of my asthmatic lungs along with the flip flap of my son’s flip flop shod feet as he walked the steps somewhere above me.

At every landing, he would stop and wait for me, and, we’d look out a small window at the ever smaller trees, houses and cars below and the lengthening ocean in front of us.

When you’re in a small space like that and all you can see is the step you’re on along with the couple of steps you will be on, it’s hard to imagine that there is an end to them. So, when my son’s unprompted words dropped down to me, I thought he might just be encouraging me to just keep going and the top was somewhere way far above us.

Staircase inside the lighthouse at St. Simons Lighthouse in Georgia.

But, I was wrong, he wasn’t just trying to encourage me to keep going (as if I had a choice with the type of person I am, I’ve climbed to the top of more seemingly unclimbable staircases in my travels than I’d like to admit) as I rounded the corner, I saw the door at the top that led to the outside.

It was just a rectangle with a little slice of blue sky peeking through, but it was a wonderful sight to see. My son was already out on the little walkway that ran around the lighthouse. As I stepped out next to him and we felt the breeze and saw the beautiful view, I thought the walk up was definitely worth it even if I couldn’t see anything but black steps on the way.

I was reminded of something a woman I greatly admire told me. She said that sometimes the LORD just points a little flashlight at our feet and where the light is, is where we should step.

As I stood there at the top of the lighthouse, I thought of her words and the fact that on the way up all I really saw was the step or two in front of me, but continuing on those steps one at a time I was taken to a beautiful place, but to get there I had to keep on taking those steps. And, his is how the LORD is with us when we start walking with Him, He provides the steps for us to walk on. And, in due time, one step at a time, sometimes after many steps and much exhaustion, He delivers us into the beauty of His full presence.

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

1 Corinthians 9:25

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Heart of pearls

Image by TheCleopatra via Flickr

The word faithfulness, or full of faith, draws up a myriad of images from the well of our memories. Some of those remembrances are full of light and love, radiating hope from their depths. While others are colored gray or black as we remember times when those we trusted to be faithful were anything but.

We remember other people’s faithfulness, and other people remember our faithfulness, or lack thereof. But, how many of us take time to recall and remember how many times the LORD has been faithful to us?

There are so many times in scripture that we are cautioned and warned not to forget what the LORD has done, how faithful He is. Many times this push to remember is accompanied with the reminder of the fact that He can’t be anything but faithful because being wholly faithful is not just a part of His character, it is who He is.

Let’s take the time today to remember the LORD and His faithfulness to us, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.

“For great is His faithful love to us; the LORD’s faithfulness endures forever. Hallelujah.”

Psalm 117:2

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Oh the life of a cat. I have always been a cat person. Dogs, well, I can take them or leave them, but I wouldn’t really want to own one, give me a cat any day of the week.

Our family cat, who just happens to be the love of my son’s life, has been a part of our household for about eight years now. My son was five when we found him online, went to the local animal shelter and just couldn’t leave him there. So, we brought him home and he’s been an integral part of our house ever since.

But, now he’s getting older. Cats age nine years to a human’s one. So, I figure he’s getting up there in years, and all of a sudden, just recently, he looks it. The black spots on his fur are run through with more white than they used to be, he’s a little more testy than he used to be and he has decided that he wants to be a lap cat.

The lap cat part would be all very well and good except he’s a very large cat. And, when I say a very large cat, I mean it. He’s almost three feet from nose to tail and at least 30-pounds, maybe more.

For those of you who have cats, you know that you don’t own them, they own you, which means in my household my hefty cat has no compunction about laying his girth on my lap whenever and wherever I sit down, whether there’s room for him or not. Sometimes he stays for a good long while, and sometimes he doesn’t, but I’ve decided that this relatively recent habit of his has developed for no other reason that he wants to be really close to the people he loves and who love him.

When he’s not angling to get on my son’s lap or mine, he makes sure he lays in a spot that is almost exactly in between where my son and I are, and if either of us moves, he moves too. It seems to be another way for him to keep track of us and know that he is connected to us.

That’s kind of how we seem to get the more we progress in our relationship with God. We always want to know where He is in relation to us, we want to stay as close to Him as we can even if that means trying to plonk ourselves right on His lap. And, even when we get really upset with Him because of something He’s done or gift He’s given us that we might not want because we just don’t understand it, no matter how hard we try to pull away and stay upset with Him, we find we can’t seem to stay way from Him for very long.

Why? Simple, because when you truly love someone and they love you, you just can’t be away from them for very long because nothing seems really right without them.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Mark 12:30

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Herz aus Feuer

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When I was young I always remember seeing a book with a title that said something like, “It’s Not A Religion, It’s a Relationship”.

I never read the book, but the title stuck with me, because that’s really what believing in Christ as the Messiah is. As you make your way walking with Him, eventually you will come to the understanding that what He did on the cross and 3 days later was all done to have a relationship, which is a phenomenal concept really.

And, not just any old acquaintance type of relationship, but a real, vibrant love relationship that is all-consuming. It’s not about us performing in order to be justified before Him like a religion dictates. It’s about His actions on our behalf that make it possible for us to walk into His throne room, sit down and either talk or just be with Him, which looks a lot like being in a relationship with someone who we think is super cool and we want to spend a lot of time with.

It’s only when people really realize what God has done, and what He has done it for, a relationship born from an amazing, intense, mind-boggling love, that people’s lives will be truly changed.

“He has told you men what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: Only to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Micah 6:8

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Sitting with a friend of mine the other day with the hot, hot sun scrambling our brains as we  were trying to parse out James, we got off track a little which in itself is not unusual.

Just an aside, if your new to diving into the scriptures I wouldn’t recommend studying James first, it’s only 5 chapters but we’ve taking the whole summer to get through 4. Of course, we could be a little dense, but that’s beside the point.

Either way, while our brains were trying to wrap themselves around our will and God’s will, we started talking about how God doesn’t need us to do anything and that possibly He uses us for our own benefit because He delights in us. This is pretty mind bending when you try to think about it, the God who made the Universe and everything in it delights in each of His children enough to actually partner with them in doing His will.

Whenever I hear the word delight, no matter what the context, it always rushes to join its eternal mate in my mind, “Turkish”.

My mom is English and she loves Turkish Delight. My memories are filled with her enthusiasm whenever she would find this rare treat in the United States, which at the time was a rare find. Watching her enjoy the taste of it, I could fully see why Edmond would literally trade his soul to the White Witch for the stuff in C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”. It was a reminder of home for her along with a sweet treat that she thoroughly enjoyed.

Me, not so much. Turkish Delight was a strange, perfumed jelly-like substance that tasted more like perfume to me than candy, but that didn’t stop my mom from offering me a bite every time she was able to procure a box. Fortunately for me, that was only about once a year.

I still remember the way it smelled and how my mom literally delighted in it even if I wrinkled my nose. It wasn’t until I actually visited Turkey and tasted the real deal that I changed my mind about the perfumed candy.

There was an amazing candy and coffee shop called Tugba, Kuruyemis, where I tried authentic Turkish Delight for the first time, and believe me after I tasted the real thing, I had a few boxes packed in my suitcases to take home to friends and family.

Yes, it was still perfumed. Yes, it was still a jelly-like candy. Yes, it was covered in powered sugar just like the imported variety my mom uses to enjoy, but there was some difference I was unable to identify that made it delightful to me, maybe it was because it was authentic.

And that’s kind of how we all are with the idea that God delights in us, and by extension that we can truly delight in God. It’s a bizarre concept. Although we can see other people who experience it and enjoy it, until we experience the authentic delight of God for ourselves we will never really understand, or enjoy, that deep relationship with Him that stems from the mutual delight of two individuals who deeply love one another.

“instead you will be called My Delight is in Her, and your land Married, for the LORD delights in you, and your land will be married.”

Isaiah 62:4b

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