6:02 A. M.

6:02 A.M. (1,147)

May 15th, 2011

I am awake.

I don’t need to be yet. It actually has been years since an alarm clock has alerted me to arise. I set one each night under some false notion that it might be necessary to be stirred from a coma. It never happens. It seems I’ve reached a stage in my life where I need less sleep, while requiring more rest—a bizarre enigma.

On this particular morning, though, I am awake because I’m going to be sharing my heart with a new group of people in Maplewood, Minnesota. I have spent the past one hundred days on an intriguing journey, granting me insight into this country. I have literally cut up through the heart of the nation—starting in Texas, then Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa—now reaching the peak in Minnesota.

What have I learned? I have learned that Americans are not nearly as independent-minded as they claim to be. Actually, we seem to be at the mercy of three convening entities: the media, our personal cultures and would you believe? The weather.

This trio is influencing the heart and thinking of our people much more than personal desire or spiritual revival. After all, the teachings of Jesus could easily boil down to a single statement—the Golden Rule. If we believe in this Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” we should be doing two things: looking for reasons to be blessed and opportunities to bless.

Yes, that is the missing chromosome that needs to be infused into the DNA of today’s church.

I repeat—the only question we should ask ourselves as a congregation is, “Are we looking for reasons to be blessed and opportunities to bless?”

This is the only mindset that makes life interesting and keeps the brain from clogging with unnecessary detail, and this is the only process that renders us effective instead of insipid. Too often as I journeyed through the heart of America over these one hundred days, I found myself trying to stimulate people to find reasons for looking. Instead of dealing with a populace already searching for reasons, I had to tease, taunt, tame, tantalize, teach and entreat my brothers and sisters to believe that there ARE reasons to go out looking for blessing. Yes, blessing has become the new “abominable snowman.” Even though we know it leaves a big footprint on our lives, most people think it is childish to pursue it.

I’m not sure what happened. I’m not discouraged, nor am I jaded and cynical. I just think it’s time for us to admit that as a nation, we’ve lost a beat to our heart that is causing us to abandon our spiritual influence in the world.

When I arrive at a church to do my presentation, even though I have been invited and scheduled, I feel a reticence to receive me as a human being—let alone as a guest who has come to bring gifts. It doesn’t make me angry, but rather, sad. Because to lose the opportunity to be hospitable, open, generous of spirit and giddy with excitement is to relinquish the greater possibility and joys of being alive.

All within the next four hours, I will complete my visit to this particular assemblage. Just four hours. I may never see them again. Do I feel a responsibility to impact them and change their lives? Absolutely not. That is the work of the spirit of God. I just want them to understand that until we become a people looking for reasons to be blessed and opportunities to bless, we are at the mercy of time and chance instead of being the masters of our own destiny.

I want these folks to know that what they hear in the media is sensationalism and therefore a type of propaganda designed to bruise the conscience of America so as to sell soap and hamburgers instead of motivated by a heartfelt desire to exhort a great fellowship. I want them to know that the weather does not determine their moods, but instead, presents an opportunity to select various activities which fit into the climate of this second. And our personal culture, although valuable in giving us a sense of family, must evolve to include persons of other cultures and notions.

I am excited. It soon will be time for me to share with these lovely folks in Maplewood. I will have about thirty-nine minutes to impart to them my heart and soul—and hope that they will abandon the need to seek reasons for looking and begin to look for reasons to be blessed.

As formidable as the task may seem, I would choose no other. And as weak and inadequate as my talents may be, God is exceedingly able to do more than I can imagine.

Published in: on May 15, 2011 at 1:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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