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Let There Be Light!

November 2, 2011 — Leave a comment

OK, most of you probably know by now that I’m a real night owl. Some of the most productive moments in my day occur between 11:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. I say that just to acknowledge the fact that, yes, I should be heading to bed as of this writing, but I just have to share something with you.

Don’t you just love it when God speaks to you through the most seemingly insignificant and every-day, run-of-the-mill stuff of life? I do — regardless of whether it’s a message I really want to hear. Something about those revelations just speaks to my heart as if to say, “Garrick, you belong to Me, and I care enough about you that I don’t want you to miss this!” The God of the universe in just a matter of a few seconds delivers a generous helping of knowledge that one can’t help but be a bit blown away.

I don’t know about you, but there are certain tasks around the house that I enjoy more than others. If I’m completely honest, I tend to let a lot of little things slide — especially when I’m consumed by the details of major projects at the church. One of the tasks I find myself ignoring is that of replacing light bulbs. For some reason our cars and our house love to eat light bulbs. Whether it’s tail lights, headlights, incandescent lights or fluorescent ones, we get plenty of opportunities to change bulbs in this household.

Well, one day last week I came in to find that not only was one of the long fluorescent bulbs out, it was also broken. This happened to be a fixture that I quite honestly know very little about. Michelle and I looked at it for a while but couldn’t figure it out. Not all that consciously, I kind of put that little project on hold — you know, waiting for just the right time when the moon and stars align and the family and work calendars are completely in sync. Like that ever happens. As a result of that decision — a.k.a., bad choice — we had to leave the kitchen light off all weekend. It wasn’t too big of a deal. We just used the light over the eating area as our sole source of light. I guess you could say that there was ambient lighting in the actual kitchen, but I’m not sure a Vent-A-Hood light and that wimpy little light on the fridge qualify for mood lighting.

Fast forward to Tuesday. I came in from the office, knowing I’d have just enough time to watch a little news and enjoy dinner with the family before heading out to puppy training class with Maggie. When I entered from the garage and stepped into the house, I was nearly blinded by the light in the kitchen. It seems that while I was slaving away at the office, the ‘light bulb fairy’ paid a visit. She apparently found a do-it-yourself video on YouTube to guide her through the process of fixing the broken light and installing the new bulbs.

Now you know how it is when you replace a bulb. It always seems brighter because you get used to it being a little more dim. But when I came in on Tuesday afternoon, the kitchen was lit up like the sun at high noon! I told Michelle that our kitchen now has better lighting than the operating room during my last surgery. You see, not only had we become used to the lesser light from the broken bulb, but we had also failed to notice that another part of the light was burned out.

As I thought about this today, I just kept feeling God say to me, “This is how your life is when you leave Me out . . . when you put Me on hold. You just get so accustomed to the dimly-lit room that you fail to notice the crumbs, the stains, the debris from the chaos of your busy life.”

I’ve never really felt convicted by a light fixture before — and I’m pretty sure that’s not exactly the source of my conviction now. But God used this little every-day matter to grab my attention. Several life applications come to mind. Failure to take immediate action when we realize there’s a disconnect between us and God can have profound consequences: Continue Reading…

It’s a question asked thousands of times each day: “How are you?” Whether it’s the mailman, the neighbor across the street, or the checker at Walmart, we have grown to include some variation of that question as an extended greeting to others. In the South, it sounds like this: “Howya doin’?” My Texas Aggie friends simply say, “Howdy.” The folks in New York City tend to not say it at all; they prefer, “Excuse you.” But that’s a post for a different day.

You know how the Doppler effect kicks in with a motorcycle or freight train? You hear the sound coming in the distance . . . then it gets really loud when it’s right beside you . . . then it fades off into the distance. Well, I think there’s a little bit of Doppler in the way we greet people too. Think about it. How often does someone ask you how you’re doing — only to walk right past you without skipping a beat? If we’re honest, it happens pretty often. If we’re doubly honest, we can probably say that we’ve been guilty of doing the same thing to others.

Life is hard. Times are tough. Worries are rampant. Every time you turn on the news, there’s something else to be concerned about. Rising costs. Falling home values. Broken families. Sometimes the burden of care becomes too great. If it weren’t for the power of Christ at work within me, there would be absolutely no way I could function in this world.

People today bear a lot of hurts, wounds, scars, sorrows, anger, confusion. You get the point. Every day we have a responsibility to help someone move closer to God. A warm smile, a gentle touch, and a friendly hello can go a long way to make one’s day a bit brighter. We never know how God is going to use us from one minute to the next, but we can be assured that He cares deeply about people — and wants us to care too. My wife, Michelle, recently said it this way:

I want to leave people better than I met them. I want to bring joy, peace, and gratitude to the people I encounter on a daily basis. I want them to walk away feeling better. Sometimes this requires a simple smile. Other times it requires kind words, forgiveness, and/or a listening ear. It isn’t always easy, or convenient.  It may require me giving up my way – or losing an argument.  But, in the end, it is sharing God’s love with them.

As you go through the rest of your week, I encourage you to make time for people. Don’t just offer a trite, rhetorical “How are you?” Instead, take time to listen to people. Take time to connect on a personal level. Take time to bask in the interruptions of life in order that they might become ministry opportunities.

I’ve long heard the statement, “You may be the only Jesus some people ever see.” Will they see Jesus in you today?

How do you feel when someone takes time to show interest in and concern for you? How can you be more sensitive to and available for those in your workplace, neighborhood, or church?