Posts Tagged ‘tribe

06
Oct
20

“Well, I declare!”

It is one thing to know who you are.

Today, after 60 plus years of trial and error and experimentation, I feel as if I am finally getting a handle on my own identity.

However, it is quite another thing entirely to DECLARE that identity to the world. 

And in today’s media-saturated world, none of us is lacking in opportunity for making multiple, unfettered personal DECLARATIONS.

If I choose, for example, I can declare my identity through my bumper stickers, yard signs, T-shirts, and the flags I fly. I can tell you all about me through my Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter feeds. 

I can let my clothes and hair tell my story. 

I suppose if I had the money, I could hire the Goodyear blimp to fly around town displaying a message that told you all about me.

But why? What is behind this DECLARE-A-PALOOZA we are so caught up in these days?

  • Maybe it is something we are trying to sell… something, for example, like an image of ourselves that we hope is true, but that we know really isn’t.
  • Maybe we’re searching for solidarity… hoping that our declaration will serve as a signal beacon to others who are similarly wired… inviting them to come and stand with us.
  • Or maybe we declare because we feel a little shaky about our identity. Maybe we hope our proud declaration will infuse a little reinforcing steel in our spines. 

I suppose any of those rationales are possible. 

Whatever the case, let me now – with confidence – make this declaration to you: YOU (Yes, you!) are a beloved child of God… the Eternal One… the Creator of the Universe… the Unsynonymous… the Alpha and Omega.

The words of 1 John 1:3 make a very similar declaration: “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are…”

I remind you of that aspect of your identity because I regularly need to be reminded of that myself. For too many of my waking hours I am making and listening to all kinds of other, conflicting declarations about who I really am.

But there is really only one declaration that really matters:

YOU ARE A BELOVED CHILD OF GOD.”

Now wouldn’t THAT make a great T-shirt!

Abundant blessings;

03
Aug
20

Part of the Pack

Patrick picThis is Patrick.

Patrick is our 4 ½ -year-old Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier. And no, even though we lived in Kansas City for many years, he is NOT named after Patrick Mahomes.

Patrick loves people. In fact, as far as people are concerned, Patrick is one of the sweetest dogs you will ever meet.

[Patrick with dogs is another story, but we won’t go into that right now…]

 If you happen to visit our home sometime (and I hope you will), don’t be surprised to find that Patrick immediately comes over, sits down beside you and leans against you with his entire body weight.

A trainer we worked with explained this behavior to us. He said, “This is Patrick’s way of telling you that he has adopted you… this is his way of saying that you are now part of his ‘pack.’”

I don’t know about you, but when I first heard this explanation, I found it very comforting.

Who wouldn’t?

The experience of being approached by someone – in Patrick’s case, with very little advance reconnaissance – and being told (in dog lingo), “You and I are now family,” is one of life’s truly warm and fuzzy moments.

I soon discovered that my response to being “adopted” by Patrick reinforces multiple sociological studies, all concluding that the need to BELONG is a foundational human drive. That need is why we have families. It is why there are communities. It is why people join clubs, or churches, or radio-controlled model airplane flying groups.

We all want to BELONG somewhere… to know that there is a place in the universe for each one of us…

… even with all those quirks and idiosyncrasies of yours. Er… OURS.

At the beginning of their relationship, God claimed the Israelites and told them they were part of God’s “pack.” In Leviticus 20:26 God said to the Israelites, “You shall be holy to me; for I the Lord am holy, and I have separated you from the other peoples to be mine.”

Even without an extensive reading of the Bible, you know how the rest of this story went. You know that the Israelites continually sought fulfillment elsewhere… outside of God’s pack. And God, just as continually, chased them down, corrected them, and renewed their pack affiliation.

And then God finally came in flesh and blood and said, “I want you ALL to be part of my pack. No matter what your dietary practices, no matter what your past record of faithfulness or unfaithfulness, no matter what your pedigree, you are invited.”

The text of God’s actual invitation is found in John 3:16 where we read these well-know, time-tested words that remind us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

And just like with Patrick, when God says EVERYONE, God means EVERYONE.

So as you read that verse and ponder God’s invitation, I hope you will hear it being extended specifically and intentionally to YOU.

Because it is.

 

Abundant blessings;




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