Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Like it or not, Herod the Great was a part of that first Christmas story.   Herod was the King of Israel when Jesus was born.  As you look at Herod’s life, it’s obvious he mistreated people, misused people, and  misled people.  As a result he experienced a life empty of meaningful relationships and God’s favor.

There’s a hint of Herod in all of us.  Whenever we run our lives, we’re signing up for exactly what Herod experienced.  We’re signing up for an empty life.  Because we are not wired, we are not created to sit on the throne of our lives and call the shots.  But the good news is, at that first Christmas, God brought hope for us in all of our relationships.  We must, however, let the Christ of Christmas confront how we treat others and relate to those around us.

Christmas confronts our misuse of people.  In what area of your life do you tend to misuse people?  Do you tend to see people as pawns, as objects, as rungs on a ladder to get to where you want to go?  In marriage you may be misusing your spouse.  At work you may be misusing others to climb the ladder and get ahead.  You can even misuse your kids or your parents.  Someone who has issues of power and control will misuse other people. 

Christmas confronts our misleading of people.  Do you ever mislead others?  Again, it calls for a thorough examination in every area of our lives and an honesty to admit we are doing it.  Do we live lives of integrity, or do we hide behind a fa├žade of a robe and a crown so that others don’t see the real person who is holding the scepter?

Christmas confronts our mistreatment of people.  In what areas of your life do you tend to mistreat others?  For example, why do we cut people down?  Why do we gossip?  Why do we slander?  We do it because of power and control.  We think if we rip others apart it somehow elevates the person doing the ripping.  But it’s really just the opposite. 

Around the Christmas holidays, we are thrust into many environments with family and all the relatives and friends and people who have mistreated us.  It can be very difficult.  Perhaps you were mistreated by a parent, a child, or some other relative.  So often we mistreat them because they mistreated us.  Why not, this holiday season, take them aside and say, “I’m so sorry.  I’ve misused you, misled you, and mistreated you.  I want to ask you to forgive me.”  You will not believe what could happen.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


After a very busy month of May, my wife and I took a long weekend to relax and recharge.  I took the opportunity to make a “to-do” list of things, mostly personal, that needed to get done.  By the time I was done, there were about 30 things on the list.  I felt really good about myself and my organizational skills and was now ready to get some things done.  Here I am a week later, and I realize I forgot to put something on the list.  I neglected task #31:  DO the list.  To date I have not done one thing on the list.  Is my list-making just a futile exercise or productivity-flavored self-torture?  

The to-do list is an inescapable, age-old productivity tool. It is our very human attempt to create order in our disorderly lives and an expression of our ability to impose self-control (a fruit of the Spirit, by the way). Most of us, including to-do list haters, keep one, and so do 63% of professionals, according to a survey released by LinkedIn.

Would Jesus keep a to-do list?  I don’t think he would have (or did) because, knowing all things and being completely filled with the Spirit, he would not need any external reminders.  But I think he would say this about to-do lists: “If you can keep all your commitments and get done what you are called to do without writing anything down, no problem. But if you have more to do than your memory is able to hold, one of the other reasons I’ve given you a mind is so that you can figure out a better way to keep track of everything than just keeping it in your head. So go, do what you need to do to remember what you need to remember in order to get done what you need to get done.” 

No, there is nothing wrong with to-do lists.  They are just difficult sometimes to DO.  Perhaps I need to try something different.  Maybe a “done” list will work.  Yeah, I like that.  I need to get started on my “done” list.  Do I put that on my to-do list?