Exactly one year ago, on May 20, 2016, I was visiting a church member in Westwood. I drove up behind a city utility truck noting the sign just ahead that restricted parking to two hours Mon-Fri. It was a Friday, so I got out and walked up the steps to the keypad where I was about to dial the number of the apartment. That’s when I casually looked back at my car, and did a double take. A parking officer was placing a ticket on my window! I walked down to the car, trying to look calm. I smiled, sort of, “Excuse me, could you tell me why you are writing me a parking ticket?” “This is a restricted parking area,” she said. “Friday is street-cleaning day.” “Really? Where is the posted sign?” “Right there.” She pointed at the sign 20 feet in front of my car. I walked over to the 2 hour parking sign, which was actually inside the canopy of a magnolia tree and there, above that sign was another sign that said, “No Parking Fridays – Str...
You and I were put on earth to make a difference by serving others and God’s world. One of the things we often do, even as Christians, is to make a distinction between the sacred and the secular – especially in the area of service. It’s interesting that in both biblical languages (Greek and Hebrew) ministry and service are the same word. We tend to associate “ministry” with:
a special place (service in the church rather than the marketplace , the university or school, hospitals, art studios, or the home)
special people (people who are “full time” pastors or ministry directors rather than all people called by God, women or men, old and young)
sacred rites (In most religious traditions those who preach, baptize, and lead worship are doing service which we think of as “sacred” or “holy” – while we assume that those who make meals, or who build houses, organize a neighborhood block party, or serve on a school board are doing “secular” work).
We’ve all heard about the guy who said to his doctor, “It hurts when I do this.” “Well then” says the doctor, “don’t do that!” About five years ago, I went skiing with my family and had a mishap that hyper-extended my knee. I was careful with it, and over time, the pain went away; but I notice that the pain returns if I’m not careful -- like last week when I was running up at Mount Hermon at a pastor’s conference. Pass the ibuprofen please!
As I sat at the kitchen table this week, icing my knee, I saw an LA Times article that seemed well timed: “Don’t’ Let the Realities of Life Run You Off Your Exercise Goals.” The basic point of the article was that we don’t need to exercise until we’re in pain, we need to stop exercising when we’re in pain! I’m not talking about the normal buildup of lactic acid that stimulates muscle growth. I’m talking about the sharp pains we may feel with a knee, elbow, or back injury. No amount of ice or ibuprofen is going to change the fact th...