Lee loves digging into information and could spend all day long researching interesting things. He's married to the coolest, most beautiful woman he's ever met, and likely ever will. Her name is Amy Chapoton, and Cultivate Connection would not be here without her.
There are moments in life when you take a step back and what you see makes your hair stand on edge. This is one of those moments and I’m at a loss for words to describe just what I see. A similar situation occurs with outdoor nature photography. You pause at a jaw-dropping vista, in awe of its immense beauty and break out your camera to capture the moment. Putting eye to viewfinder, the scene loses all awe and wonder and you put your camera away. What makes these moments so special that words and photos seldom capture their mystique?
There is a particular holiday treat at Starbucks this time of year, and it is a great way to get in 500 calories if that’s what you’re looking to do. The Pumpkin Scone provides nearly one-quarter of all your daily required calories in one fell swoop. Convenient, relatively cheap, and laden with sugary sweetness; not many would argue with that. One calorie isn’t the same as another however.
There is a famous poem by John Godfrey Saxe titled The Blind Men and the Elephant. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Six wise men, each blind, encounter an elephant. If not, give it a read, it’s really good. Each of the men experience a different part of the animal and end up disagreeing with one another as to what this creature actually looks like. None realize that each has experienced only a part of the entire picture.
I liken my own faith experience to this poem. When I became a Christian, I gravitated towards one particular “stream” of Christianity. The churches I attend, podcasts I listen to, and books I read, can tend to all speak the same language and describe things in similar fashion. While great, if I’m not careful I’m only experiencing a distinct aspect of the Body of Christ.
There are times in life when someone reveals a new, unique perspective about a situation and you never look at it the same again. It’s as if there was a hidden layer just below the surface that you never knew about because you didn’t see it until someone showed it to you. It reminds me of how polarized glasses allow you to see things under the surface of water more clearly.
As part of my morning routine I’m often reading Unlocking the Bible by David Pawson. If you’re not familiar with David Pawson, one of the things I most admire about his teachings is his insistence that each book of the Bible needs to be read as a book, otherwise we miss a lot of the context.
In the beginning of Unlocking the Bible, there’s a poem similar to the one below. It’s cited as Unknown, and I figured I could find the true author somehow, and I did. This was written by Amos R. Wells. (see link to the original at the end of this post)
The other day Amy and I witnessed a Christian doing their part to spread the good news. It was such an uncomfortable situation it made me want to crawl right out of my skin. With a mixture of heartache and anger, I left that situation feeling anything but love. Let me backup and set the stage for you.
An otherwise peaceful time in the dry sauna of our local rec center, we were enjoying the confines of its cedar walls and 172℉ temps. Enter our soon to be victim, let’s call him Vinay. A middle-aged man with a friendly demeanor, Vinay sat next to me, exchanged a nod, and even cracked a joke. A few others came and went in the several minutes that passed. Enter our subject; we’ll call her Bianca.
Some people are turned off by the word perfection. I can see where they are coming from, as striving for perfection is oft associated with stress, burnout, and pipe dreaming. What happens then, when Jesus uses this very word to describe God, then aims it at us saying “you are to be perfect like him.”? Where do we even begin with a challenge like this?
Have you ever heard one of those object lessons that uses a three-legged stool as its example? Everything from team building to politics, finances to psychology has been explained using the humble three-legged stool.
The example seems so worn out. Surely a more interesting analogy can be found to describe anything with three parts. Then again, its power and simplicity in illustrating a point is what makes it so common. Like steering wheels, there’s a reason every car has one; it gets the job done better than anything else.
I have a question for you. When Jesus stood before a sick person, what do you think He saw? The sickness or the person? I know what I think He saw, but go ahead and take a moment to let the scene set in before trying to answering right away.
Do you have your answer? Good. I believe Jesus saw not only the person standing before Him, He was moved with a compassion the likes of which we’ve probably seldom experienced. Yes, Jesus drove out demons, but it is my belief they got very little of Jesus’ attention; just the minimum in order to get the job done.