Friday, May 18, 2007

The Joy of Uncertainty?!

When I first heard this phrase, I was, well, I was skeptical. I attended a YBL Breakfast at Adtran this morning and Dr. Marvin Carroll of Tec-Masters, Inc spoke.

The more I thought about this phrase the more I realized that this needs to be a reflection of my own situation. Can I really have joy in my uncertainty. Uncertainty of money, job, health, even life? My mind tried to find some verse to back this phrase up. I quickly came to James. Consider it pure joy when you have trials he says. Have joy in uncertainty? Why? How can the fact that I don't know when the money will run out or when I will find a new career bring me joy? Faith.

I have to learn to have faith. My faith-life (as the Message refers to it) needs to be open. The doors to this secret compartment of my heart must be flung open. Not just open but taken off the hinges never to be closed again! I admit that on the outside I can seem cool and collected while inwardly I am a scrambled mess. A scrambled mess because of uncertainty and, what I perceive at the time, failure. I need to rejoice that my faith is being tested. I need to have joy that even though there are so many balls in the air that I can't juggle them all there is someone there to juggle them for me. Joy that I have a hope and a future. Joy that God knows my every need. Joy that I have not gone hungry in the past, although I could stand to skip a couple of meals, and I won't go hungry in the future. Joy that my life is a mosaic.

What happens today does not define Jon Stacy. What happens today does not define tomorrow because tomorrow has yet to happen. The events of today are mere a piece of the mosaic that is my life. Have you ever seen a mosaic? There is a museum in my hometown that has a huge mosaic on the entrance to it. Up close the mosaic looks jumbled. A big mess. Some pieces don't fit where they are placed. Some look all wrong. Yet when you back up and look at the big picture, they all come together to make a beautiful portrait. My problem is that I tend to have a very myopic, point-in-time view of my life.

Sometimes I can't see the forest through the trees. I lose sight of the fact that I am only 28 years old. I know that my days are numbered, and I pray that I have many, many left, but the point remains the same...I cannot change the past and I can't create the future. Tomorrow has yet to be written and I control my reaction to the events of today. And it is in that that I can have joy. The events of today do not define my life. They are just a piece of the mosaic that God is putting together. And this fact is one that I tend to forget.

I forget to pray for things that should be in my every prayer. When I was a manager I don't think I ever prayed for guidance on how to handle situations or that I would meet sales goals or that I would be successful. And really it is ridiculous to not do so. I mean, correct me if I'm wrong here, but God has a pretty good track record of making the right decision on how to handle any and every situation. Looking back I was naive and thought I could do it on my own. I was the reason I was successful. But being successful is all relative. I was successful in terms of meeting sales goals. In the first full year of business I lead the store to over $1 million dollars in sales. It was a new store in a market where 2 competitors had split the market share and I took all the market share away from one of those competitors, so much market share that the owners shut it down. Business was booming and I was the one responsible for it. Ha, how naive of me to assume that I did this all on my own. That I was that good. Well, I thought that and looking back on those years, I realize just how segregated my life was. My spiritual life had no influence on my business life. I was good at one, as I described above, but was completely lacking in the other. And this is where I find myself now.

I must work on my spiritual life, because it is in it that I must find joy. I must find myself making my spiritual life...successful, if one could ever consider it successful.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Conscience or Commitment

There was a 'fund raiser' at church about 2 weeks ago for the Inner City. All told, the church exceeded expectations and almost $50,000 was raised to address much needed upkeep at the building. It is fantastic news that the money was raised and several issues will be corrected but for me this event brings several questions to mind.

Why was the building allowed to fall into such disrepair that it will take all 50k and then some to get this building up to date let alone a place that people feel comfortable being in? How was this ministry started and then left to its own success or failure?

In regard to the first question, the roof there leaked worse than a sieve and has been for several years. Had this been the Mayfair building that would have been addressed within the hour the leak was first spotted. Now I know that people can't address a need if they don't about it, but why don't 'we'(Mayfair) know about these types of needs? Why was this not addressed? Why are we not more involved in a ministry that 'we' started?

My answer to these questions lie in the title - Conscience or Commitment. Do 'we' meet the need because it weighs on our conscience? Do we not get involved and address the issues because we fail to make the commitment to the ministry? I have expressed my opinion before that people fly thousands of miles to the Baja or Belize or Honduras, Ghana, Cuba, etc.(which are all very important works and ones that I want to be a part of) yet won't make the commitment to go 2-10 miles to the inner city. Mayfair is a very, very "Mission-minded" church, but there is a difference between being 'mission-minded' and 'missional'. There is really quite a big difference.

A 'mission - minded' church will attend to the needs of others outside of its immediate realm of influence (it should because we are commanded to do) but a 'missional' church addresses those needs and is a light and leader to the needs in it's immediate realm of influence. There is no 'missions' department or minister of a 'missional' church - it's people are it's department and it's ministers. You cannot separate the two from each other - missions is such an integral part of the church that it is the church. But back to the issue of commitment.

It is an easy thing to do, in terms of commitment, to focus for 4 - 10 days on working as hard as you can and then returning home. No doubt about it and you can ask anyone that has been on these trips that you will be changed, in some way, for ever. But it is harder, unfortunately, in terms of commitment to get involved in a ministry that, fortunately, is always just a few miles away. No need to take vacation time, you could though and devote that week to the inner city needs. No need to raise $500+ to pay for a trip, you could though and spend that money to address needs of the church or simply attend services there and place the money in the offering plate. No need to have to struggle with the language barrier, although you will have a much tougher barrier to cross. The socio-economic barrier. You will have to step into a world much much different than the one you live in. You will have to interact with people that you drive pass everyday. These are the people that I have judged in my mind. People that make me wonder and ask "Why don't you just go get a job, McDonald's is hiring!?" These are the people that will haunt your thoughts after you have been touched by their stories and plight. These are people that really aren't all that different from you.

Take away the clothes that smell and are probably tattered. Take away their plight or unusual circumstance, and you will find someone created in the image of God. You will find someone who struggles with temptations. Someone searching for some hope in this world.

As far as the second question goes I have just one thing to say. Go ahead and make a commitment to visit the church or the Learning Center. I guarantee you that you will see a need that you can fill. And I guarantee that it will weigh on your conscience to address the needs that need to be met.

So really, what is it that is holding you back? You can be apart of great ministries that are already going on there. You (if you're a woman) can get involved in Wonderful Wednesdays for Women and spend time in a bible study with the women of the congregation. You can get involved in the Tuesday night bus ministry. You could devote time on Sundays to worshipping with the congregation there. They start at 11:00. That gives you time to worship at Mayfair and attend class, but leave a little early to drive the 3 miles to the church building. Again, try it. I dare you to. After all Jesus didn't come to sit and eat and minister to those who needed nothing but to those who needed everything.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Why doesn't this surprise me

Time magazine is publishing it's list of the 100 people who shape the world. On the list:
Oprah Winfrey - ok I'll go with this, she uses her influence to make much needed changes.
Brad Pitt - ?
George Clooney - again ?
Justin Timberlake - ???
and numerous other actors and actresses, but the real kicker is this

Rosie O'Donnell - can someone please explain to me how this list of talking heads shapes the world.

I don't have the full list yet but I wouldn't be surprised to see:
George Bush - excluded
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - excluded
Osama Bin Laden - excluded
Bill Clinton - maybe included because he is a Dem - but should be since he left us weak and vulnerable so the person preceding him on this list could carry out the Sept. 11 attacks and the first twin towers bombing - but his wife/partner/what ever she is Hilary Clinton did make the list

Maybe I just don't get out much but could someone please explain how my life is different because Rosie, Timberlake, Hilary Clinton, Pitt, or anyother windbag from Hollywood ever existed or uttered a useless bit of info, like how "It defies physics for fire to melt steel" - Rosie on the View -Ummm, how do you think you melt steel then...

They should have -
Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Edison
Henry Ford
Marie Currie
Louis Pasteur
Winston Churchill
Franklin Roosevelt
Iatolla Komeni
Margret Thatcher
George Washington
George Bush
Bill Clinton
Bill Gates
Orville Wright
Wilbur Wright
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Osama Bin Laden
Mother Theresa

Well, there's 30 and some change, took me all of 5 minutes to fart that out. Think of anymore?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Why I am going to get rid of Direct TV!

One simple reason. They drilled a HOLE in the floor. Now I have hole, not only in the carpet but in my HARDWOOD FLOORS!

Below is my email to Direct TV customer service.

We have been pleased with the service that we have received from Direct TV until we recently moved into our current home. The installer drilled a hole through our carpet and wood floors to install the cable for the receiver. I now will have to leave the TV where it is or when/if we sell the house replace the carpet or possibly replace the wood flooring. I am extremely displeased at the idea that your company would be so careless and disrespectful of your clients property as to drill a hole in the floor. There is an existing cable outlet where the TV sits and it would have seemed obvious to me to run the cable through the wall like it should be, but instead the installer drilled a hole in my carpet and through the wood floor. The receiver was installed several months ago and I was not aware of this shoddy workmanship until I moved the TV to wire in a new component. I want to know what Direct TV plans to do to remedy this gross misconduct and clear disregard for my property.

Is that your final answer?!

- Quick note: My wife has finally given into the powers that be and created a blog -

Just a couple of questions for you to consider:

1) What is the non-monetary value of your job to other people?

2) If God were your 'boss', would He hire you to do your job?