You Spot it; You Got it!

Several years ago, a friend taught me this little slogan, “If you spot it; you got it.” He said, one of the best ways to grow as a person is to observe what bugs you in other people. The things that stand out to me the most are usually the very same things that are unseen to me in my own life.

In this emotionally charged political climate, I have been amazed by the people who seem to just be waiting for President Trump to do something they can pounce on. The name calling and irrational nature of the attacks is so obvious to me. This weekend a group of people were held up getting back into the country due to the new vetting process. A plan that just went into effect Friday didn’t work perfectly Saturday and the attacks are brutal, harsh and pretty unrealistic. I’m thinking to myself, it doesn’t matter for these people what Trump does it won’t be right. If one person was held up for an hour at some airport, there would be marching in the streets! When I was thinking about how irrational these people are, it hit me, if you spot it you got it!

I felt the same way about President Obama! I would have felt the same way if Hillary Clinton would have won the presidency. They could do no right in my eyes because my political bias would not allow me to see any good in them. So, the pendulum swings from election to election and the divide in our country seems to become stronger and more entrenched.

Until I can accept our president, no matter what party they represent, as Scripture teaches, I am part of the problem not part of the solution. Until I can accept no one becomes President of the United States unless it is God’s Will for this period of time, for His purposes, I will end up filled with distrust, and unrest in my spirit. Unless I stop fueling my bias by watching biased news reporting and listening to others who are biased against the President, I am part of the problem.

It has always been difficult to admit, the ugliness I see in other people around me is also deep within me. It causes me to pause and admit, the United States does not have a political problem we have a heart problem. The solution begins within.

If you spot it; You got it!

Blessings,

Scott

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Today’s Experiences; Tomorrow’s Memories!

I’ve been known to become nostalgic, especially during the holidays. Life has changed so much during my lifetime. As a kid, almost our entire extended family lived in the same community. My dad had two brothers, one of which had four kids. My mom had five brothers and a sister and there were a ton of cousins. In the early years, we all went to my grandma’s home for Thanksgiving. In later years, mom would host the whole gang at our home. I remember Thanksgiving Dinners when there were so many people in our small home that to use the bathroom, you’d have to go out the front door, run to the back door to be able to make your way to the facilities. crowdinyard

I couldn’t find any pictures of the old Thanksgiving Dinners but this same kind of crowd from a backyard summer picnic represents what size of family gatherings we had on a fairly regular basis.

I remember Christmas Eve, carpooling around town to drop in on family members and then off to another and another.

Those were some amazing experiences that are great memories today.

But life continues, doesn’t it? In our society many go off to college and then pursue careers in many different parts of the country. I’m guessing it is rare for an extended family to stay in the same community today. One by one, we move off to follow our dreams. One of the consequences of this lifestyle is extended family becomes very extended. I have cousins scattered to the four corners of the USA. My own children are scattered. We still have a small nucleus of the family in the Williamsport, PA area where we grew up but only a remnant of what used to be.

Somehow in our scattered world we need to create festive holiday traditions that will be great experiences now to be reflected on as great memories down the road. Today’s experiences create tomorrow’s memories. Where ever you find yourself, take initiative to gather family and friends. Life is too short to do otherwise!

blessings,

Scott

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Education Vs. Indoctrination

Thinking about the current election and the obvious division in our country has me pondering higher education. The truth is all higher education has two purposes. The first is to educate a person in a specific skill set to be able to effectively enter a career field. Most people would agree, once entering the career field far more is learned doing the job than was ever learned in school. The education is meant to be foundational, but it is no substitute for the real world experience gained in the trenches.

Not all foundational education is created equal. The benefit is multiplied by the student’s passion, individual effort and desire to learn. Two students of equal aptitude can take the same course, with one working for a sheepskin and the other working to learn all they can and the outcome will be vastly different.

It is my opinion, that all schools of higher learning also desire to indoctrinate the students with the school’s particular world view. This is often passed on to students in philosophy courses and other courses not specific to the main topic of study. This part of the “education” is not education at all but rather indoctrination. The proof of this can be seen when opposing views, open discussions, intelligent debate are not welcome. This can be seen in nearly every school. Private universities to state-run universities have this trait in common. For example, to graduate from the school I went to, I had to sign a doctrinal statement showing I lined up with the schools belief system. I remember irritating more than one professor by challenging their views on various topics. When indoctrination is the objective, debate is not welcome. Go to a state university and say you don’t believe climate change is destroying our planet or you are pro-life or don’t believe gay marriage is beneficial to society. At that point, logical, friendly debate goes away and name calling begins. Why? Because at this point education is no longer what is at play. Education is always willing to debate, discuss and entertain contrary views and theories. Indoctrination, on the other hand, does not want to have debate, it desires conformity. When conformity is challenged, shaming and shunning begins to bring the person into lock step with the accepted views of the group.

All the hateful name calling we see in our society comes from groups of people who have been indoctrinated and don’t believe it is possible to hold a different view than their own. With 322 million people in our country, that is an untenable view.

Unity, acceptance and mutual respect can only come when we acknowledge we don’t know what we don’t know. None of us has perfect knowledge of our world. We all are somewhat a product of our education and our indoctrination. We need to listen to each other and attempt to understand. Our country is divided and I believe this is a significant reason why.

Blessings,

Scott

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I Had A Dream!

Two nights ago, I had a vivid, clear, movie like dream. My wife of 43 years had been out somewhere and was mugged. A young, strapping, 19-year old, named ColbyScott&GayleRehearsal, fought off her attackers and saved her. The first scene of my dream, was Gayle explaining this story to me.

Then the bombshell. During the rescue and following gratitude, she fell for Colby. She told me that as well. When she told me, we were standing in front of a fancy hotel somewhere. She said, Colby was coming to get her. About then he came pulling into the hotel and she said, here comes Colby. He got out of his car and I approached him, as I did, he backed away and said he didn’t want any trouble. I said, I don’t want trouble either, I just want to meet you.  Then he bypassed me and went right to my wife and they hugged and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen her so happy. I woke up, got up and went to the bathroom and came back to bed and as soon as sleep came the third scene of the dream did as well.

Gayle was going to marry this 19-year old kid. I was very upset and saying, we’ve been married 43 years, you are 63 years old and you are going to marry a 19- year old kid! But when I saw there was no changing her mind, and when I saw how happy she was,  something in me changed. I told her, I loved her with all my heart and wanted her to be happy and if this was her choice, I thought it only fitting that I walk her down the aisle and give her away in marriage. I said, you’ve been mine for 43 years, who else should give you away.

The dream was so vivid, I remembered every detail. I lead a men’s group at our church. Unfortunately, I’ve had many men never wake up to how much they really love their wives until something like my dream happens for real and their spouse is on her way out the door.

My Gayle is the most committed lady I know. I have never had any reason to believe she would leave me, she has stood by me through thick and thin. I believe my dream was from God. I felt emotion in the dream and really ever since have looked at Gayle through different eyes. I’ve been realizing how blessed I am to have her as my partner.

This morning I bought her some flowers and both the lady at the flower booth and two young men checking me out, asked, what is the occasion? I was able to tell them, I’ve seen too many men not realize what they have until it’s too late. I just wanted her to know I love and appreciate her. I said, we’ve been married 43 years and I think she is staying but I don’t want to take any chances. Then I came home and read in the Message this passage found in Matthew 19:

But Jesus said, “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked – or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.”

Ponder this,

Scott

 

 

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How We Think!

I was recently invited to prepare a presentation for a group of Scouts, 10 years old, on energy. The Scouts now have a pin, Building A Better World, teaching about energy, sustainability and our planet.

Processing my thoughts and attempting to communicate complex issues with 10 year olds, kept pushing me back to my underlying belief system. I can’t do it, but I would like to start with the following questions.

  1. Do you believe there is a God or do you believe there is no God?
  2. If you answered yes, there is a God, do you believe He is personal or distant, involved or disconnected?
  3. If yes, God is personal, do you believe He has a plan for life on planet earth or He has none, letting nature take its course.

If the answers are affirmative in each question (the Biblical understanding of life on planet earth), one is forced to believe He gave us in the planet all the natural resources to advance our lives. We believe he gave us intellect and technological advances to be good stewards of the resources. If the answer is negative in each question (A secular worldview), one is forced to become like chicken little believing the sky is falling. Everything is either out of control or we have some idea that we can control or steer the outcome by our efforts.

My point is, our underlying belief system shapes the way we approach everything. Our view of relationships with people, animals, work, government and the planet are all guided by our beliefs.

Giving serious consideration to your underlying beliefs intentionally solidifying foundational concepts will impact all aspects of your life. No matter what conclusions you embrace, all aspects of your thinking and living will be shaped by those deep-seated beliefs.

I think this is worth pondering.

Blessings,

Scott

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The Remedy for Burn-Out

Where are you right now? I mean, where are you on the inside. Look at the following four options and see which one most identifies your present spiritual condition.

  1. You are full. Full of joy, excited by life’s opportunities.
  2. You are on auto-pilot, just doing what you need to get by.
  3. You are empty, striving to fill some empty spot thinking more money, a better job, a new relationship or location will fill you, but you are lonely, depressed, angry or medicated.
  4. You have the F-its. You are giving up. What’s the use.

I’ve experienced each of those over the years. I’ve also discovered the remedy for numbers 2, 3 and 4 and how to move them to number 1.

Reflect on what it means to be created in the image of God. He has given you gifts and a purpose in life. Genesis 1:27

Take some time to be still and know that He is God and you are not. Psalm 46:10

Run to Jesus and His Word to change the way you think. Surrender. Romans 12:1-2

Create some margin in your life both in the morning and the evening to focus on your relationship with God. Psalm 92:2

If you are really struggling create margin, morning, noon and night to connect. Psalm 55:17

Don’t run to religion, getting busier won’t solve your dilemma. Read this passage from Matthew 11:28 in the Message.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me (Jesus) Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me. Watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

blessings,

Scott

 

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Better Than or Less Than

Pride has deep roots in our human family. A case can be made that pride is the root of almost all our internal and external conflicts. I’ve discovered many subtle ways pride has flavored my life with less than ideal outcomes.

When inside I believe somehow I am better than anyone else for any reason, it sabotages relationship opportunities. If I think I know more, look better, have more, believe the right stuff or I am right in my views, then anyone who falls into the opposite of those attitudes, I view as “less than.” If you are “less than,” then I think I am “better than.”

I may never verbalize this and it may not actually enter my conscious mind, but it poisons every interaction I have with others. Pride can fill me whether I think I am less than as well as when I think I’m better than.

What I am learning is neither of those options is true. I just am. I am a human being, flawed in so many ways yet have many gifts as well. I have a contribution to make to life and society. But I also need what you have. Our role in life is to help each other along. I’m learning that those who have had much different life experiences than me, those who believe differently, those who think differently have far more to teach me than those who are most like me. It is uncomfortable at times, but I have learned thinking my way is best and your way is wrong only leads to tension and argument rather than understanding and relationship. I have to learn to love and accept you whether we ever see eye to eye or not.

Humility requires a view that says, I’m neither better or worse than anyone else, I become “right sized.” I go on a quest to know and be known, to understand and to be understood rather than proving I am right and you are wrong.

Though I believe God wants all humans to know and love Him, though He is right and has all power, He does not force anyone to see things His way! Rather He invites us to, “Come let us reason together,” and He allows us to choose our own path, whether to join Him or not.

I believe over the course of life I’ve come to understand many things that could be helpful to others. I’m guessing the same is true for all humans. But when I am in the better than or less than mode my approach to people is already starting from a place that guarantees I won’t be useful. If on the other hand, I can value all human life and allow people the right to be on their own journey and engage them as fellow travelers, we can reason together and both will be better as a result.

blessings,

Scott

 

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