Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Good Carbs

Tonight we went to Lambert's Cafe, Home of The Throwed Rolls, outside of Springfield, Missouri.  I've never eaten any place quite like this.  (Well, at least not since the last time I ate there.)  Lambert's has all the normal southern fare you'd expect--chicken fried steak, liver and onions, chicken and dumplings, country ham, fried chicken and the likes.  You can pretty much feel your arteries start to clog when you come in the front door, and when you first sit down, you grab a brown paper towel from the center of the table and put it in front of you.  The servers come around with a huge bowl of fried okra and spoon it on to the towels.  Next they deliver the 64oz fountain drinks and then the best part--handsome young men come from the kitchen wheeling carts of straight-from-the-oven rolls.  They navigate up and down the aisles yelling, "Hot rolls! Hot rolls!"  If you hold your hand up or even make eye contact, they throw a piping hot biscuit to you.  Fan. tas. tic. What a way to get your carbs for the day.  I took twelve pictures of the bun guys, ordered fried chicken gizzards, and ate what felt like 42 hot dinner rolls.  I tried to buy The Pastor a souvenir T-shirt in the gift shop that said "Hot Buns" across the front of it, but he refused. That's what I call a vacation.

Monday, May 17, 2010

3 Ways To Be A Better Looker

The Pastor often tells me I'm a good looker.  Unfortunately for me, this has nothing to do with my physical appearance, rather my ability to help him find items he has lost.  He doesn't seem to have the "looking" gene and therefore has absolutely not passed it on to our son.  Between the two of them, they would be lost (literally) without me.  When it comes to searching for things, there's definitely an art to it.  But, just because I'm, dare I say, gifted--at finding things in my house, doesn't necessarily mean I'm good at all areas of searching.  For example, I have to ask myself, how diligently do I search for God?  When it comes to my spiritual life, am I a good looker?  Here are three ways for you and I to improve our looking skills when it comes to seeking God.

1. Focus
Going deeper with God requires focus.  If we're going to seek him out, we're going to have to stare hard. When I tell my 8-year old to go and look for something in his room, he stands in the doorway, throws his head back a forth a couple times, scanning the room and then comes back reporting to me that he couldn't find it. No wonder.  We do the same thing with God.  We want to think we've taken time to seek him out and to find his will, but all we've really done is take a quick glance.  We have to focus and gaze intently upon him.  We need to be methodical and intentional in our searching for God.  Finding God's will for our lives and having a close relationship with him doesn't just happen.  It's takes deliberate focus.  How to do that?  Be intentional in your search. Don't settle for a shallow encounter with God.  Go the extra mile. Consider downloading podcasts of your favorite speakers or Bible teachers.  (check out http://www.oneplace.com/ for just about anything you're looking for).  Don't just open your Bible and read a passage to satisfy your checklist of daily Bible reading.  Grab a commentary (or use an online study tools like the ones found at http://www.crosswalk.com/) and see what that scripture is really saying to you. Use the Internet to research and study. Dig deep. Seek.  Learn.  Focus!

2.  Limit Distractions
We live in a crazy, busy, and loud society.  If you're truly interested in seeking God and hearing what he has to say to you, you're going to have to turn off some of the noise to hear him.  I know it's weird, but I notice that when I'm driving around looking for something, I instinctively turn my radio down.  Strange.  I don't know why, but for some reason, the presence of loud music impedes my ability to read house numbers.  I'll guess it might be the same for you.  Turn off your TV for awhile (it won't kill you).  Try driving in silence once in awhile.  Instead of listening to the radio, listen to what God has to say to you.  Ask him to reveal himself to you and know he'll be faithful to do it.  We'll never be able to hear him clearly if we don't silence the noise and clamor.  The next time you take a walk, consider doing it sans iPod.  What a great opportunity to have a conversation with the God of the universe.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying your iPod, your TV, or your car stereo are evil.  As a matter of fact, I'm fans of all three.  But at times we need to show enough discretion to limit our distractions for the good of something better--our relationship with Christ. He's waiting to reveal himself to us, if only we'll give him a chance. 

3.  Be Persistent
The key to discovery is persistent and consistent looking. When a gold miner finds a fleck of Gold, he doesn't shout "Eureka, I've found it!" and then go home.  He keeps digging...looking for more.  Just a tiny bit isn't enough to satisfy.  So it is with God.  If you want to be a seeker of Christ, you can't be satisfied with a tiny bit of him.  It's impossible for a really good looker to say, "Gee, I found some of God on Sunday at church. That should do me for awhile.".  If you're serious about knowing God, be persistent.  Don't settle for a small taste.  The Bible tells us to not be weary in doing well because we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Gal 6:9).  We can't get weary in our search and we shouldn't be ready to settle for a morsel when there's a feast waiting for us. 

We know that God has promised that, to those who search for him with all our hearts, he will be found. (Jer 29:13)  Let's consider the ways we can seek out Christ, and just maybe, in the end, we'll not only be better lookers, but we'll be great finders, as well.



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