The ants go marching one by one hooray! hooray! The marching of the little people is what makes this world work. You see there are presidents, kings, superstar athletes, CEOs of major corporations, and then there is me. There are men of great strength, Hollywood celebrities, super models, great authors, and there is me.
So where do you fit into this world? Are you a superstar or a worker bee? Do you run a major corporation or are you just part of life's ant farm? Truth is I like it here on the farm. Just another face in the sea of faces.. and you know what they say.. all ants look alike.
I have not polled any ants or bees, but I think the message they have is being about the business that needs to be done, and not being jealous of the queen bees or the bossy foreman of your ant farm staff.
So how does that fit in with the body of Christ? Selfless service and simply doing what needs to be done no matter if you are the next Billy Graham, the next church janitor, or a cartoonist! Whether you are the head of a corporation, work in the mail room, or waiter at the local pie shop. What if you are a mom buried with the responsibilities of caring for your preschool children, or a teacher of 4th graders, or a senior widow woman slowed by old age? All one body of many parts, and all parts important.
The list of possibilities go on and on.. , BUT what if each of us were selfless? What if we really believed this life was only a stepping stone to eternity in Heaven then what would it matter the recognition, what would it matter our bank account balance? What if we were each faithful in the moment to our neighbors in need, and not worried about our status and recognition in this life? What a life this could be if we were all happy living in God's ant farms or being His little worker bees.
Ok you can stop cringing. God's bugs? what a high calling! Maybe the bar should set a bit higher, as the classic Hymns for 'bugs' may be The Ants Go Marching One By One, Hoorah! or the Flight of the Bumblebee.
note: This is not a call to a life of underachievment where you settle for less than what God has called you, but simply a call to be useful and to serve as God leads.
Reality is to be true to who God made us. This makes God smile, and leads us to a place of contentment.
Simply Amazing.. or a True Miracle?
Though the amount of food I consume on Thanksgiving is impressive it cannot be not classified as a miracle. But after the meal, after watching football and fitting in a Thanksgiving Day tryptophan induced nap, I return to the kitchen to find LEFTOVERS! So many leftovers! How can there be so much food in my kitchen considering all my family consumed just a few hours before? So many leftovers that I ponder could Jesus have fed the 5,000 with one turkey and a few side dishes instead of the bread and fish menu recorded in the gospels?
It's a miracle! Ok.. maybe not a miracle but it is a really really good illusion leaving my mind and stomach full through the middle of December.
My more serious assessment on miracles is.. I believe God answers prayer. Sometimes he may part the Red Sea and other times it is the subtle tweak of circumstances but I believe God answers all prayers with the heart of a loving Father. These are the true miracles found every day of the year. God's loving interraction with his children alterting our attitudes, and possibly the outcome of very real circumstances. This supernatural intervention is personal and never arbitrary.
May God bless and use each of you in ways that are beyond your dreams. I pray your Thanksgiving Day is blessed with faith, family, friends, and the subtle miracle of LEFTOVERS.
Jeff (stuffed in the Back Pew) Larson
While I lamented recently that life is BROKEN in so many ways.. this does not discount what can so eloquently be described as the GOOD STUFF. Below is a snippet of a GOOD STUFF week in the life of Jeff.
Sunday Each week we attend Grace Church of Roseville. We love this church and it's declaration of no perfect people allowed! Worship, preaching, and friendly real people that honor God. GOOD CHURCH
Monday Each week I have lunch with my very good friend Bryan Anderson to discuss sports, politics, and what we did to get in trouble with our wives. It is an hour very well spent over a Davanni's Hoagie. GOOD FRIEND
Tuesday is Taco Tuesday!.. Ok, I could not think of any GOOD STUFF off hand for Tuesday, but I am sure there is something. Maybe I will get offered a job next Tuesday? I will keep y'all posted. Be praying for a GOOD JOB
Wednesday I attend the men's bible study, and my wife attends the woman's bible study at Grace Church of Roseville. We both love our studies, but I love mine more because they have lots of snacks, and we don't have homework. In contrast the woman's bible study has homework and no snacks. IT'S GOOD TO BE A GUY!
Thursday This week ill be a Thanksgiving celebrated with the family I love and appreciate. Good times of laughter and joy with some of the best people in life. Oh, and we also will be celebrating my mom's 87th birthday. GOOD FAMILY, GREAT MOM
Friday last week my wife and I babysat a couple of the grandkids. We built lego towers, raced hotwheels, played dolly, baked cookies, french toast for dinner by request of our grandson, and watched a movie. An evening filled with truly GOOD STUFF
Saturday mornings are times reserved for good coffee and good conversations with my wife as we discuss the week. We call these morning 'solving the world's problems', and.. we do. :) GOOD STUFF.
Summary, I am too blessed to be stressed. My faith, family, and friends are priceless to me. Note: I would have added my Green Bay Packers but they are on a 3 game losing streak and have fallen from my list of GOOD STUFF to my BROKEN list.
May God bless each of you in this BROKEN world with GOOD STUFF that is beyond your dreams.
Broken, this simple two syllable word in many ways sums up life.
On a personal level, my car has 171,000 miles on it, the 58 year old discs in my back ache, my dog got sick, and I am recently unemployed.
On a much larger stage the news is filled with cowardly terrorist attacks, racial tensions that have reached critical mass, and truth in politics is at an oxymoronic high.
'Arncha' glad you are reading my blues blog? I am a glass half empty kinda guy as society is about to explode with so much rage, distrust, dishonesty, and disgust.
Even in the 'Christian' community there is so much angst and devisive feelings in the church. God's neverchanging truths (our Bibles) are now in question by politically correct self proclaimed 'progressive' believers. The church is a frog in a boiling pot baptism compromising our core values on marriage, alchohol, premarital relationships, the gay lifestyle, and much more.
The million dollar question now is.. What's a fella like me to do when everything is .. BROKEN? I have a few ideas..
Note, these bullet points on fixing all that is broken are not marching orders by a cartoonist for revival. Even though my employment status notes I am available, I am NOT running for president, pope, and/or king of the world. (my resume qualifications are a bit light), BUT the scripture truths in these bullet points are undeniably true for all that is broken.
May God bless, use, and MEND your lives, country, and world in ways that are beyond your dreams.
Being a manly man like I am :) .. I think of myself as a Norwegian William Wallace (aka BraveHeart), or the Minnesotan Gladiator Larsonus Maxamus.. doncha-know… BUT my gut check tells me I am more of a WARRIOR WORRIER going by the title 'Sir Gasps-alot'.
As a believer I am called to put on the full armor of God. Ephesians 6:10-18 ready for any and all confrontations, BUT a quick assessment of my armor but I find I should accessorize with more than a donut and coffee from the church fellowship center.
Considering this honest armor assessment, I am not really prepared to face what today might bring. And so it goes without saying anything extracurricular like storming the rusty gates of Hell will be out of the question.
The good news is don’t have to be a spiritual ‘Tin Man’ like in the Wizard of Oz. I can be more than conqueror through Christ who is my strength. If I purposefully and intentionally put on the full armor of God I can boldly live out the words of the prophet Dirty Harry.. “Go ahead, make my day”…
BRING IT ON!
I like the old saying ‘That fella is so Heavenly minded, they are no Earthly good.’ This describes a person is so in to church and ‘churchy’ things that they don’t add much value or function outside of church walls.
Over the years I have smirked at a person or twenty that fits that description, BUT I have come to believe the bigger problem today is that too many people are too EARTHLY minded to be much HEAVENLY GOOD.
It's just too easy to be caught up in this pace and 'stuff' of life (good and bad) to where God is put on the back burner. Instead of starting my day quiet before God, reading my Bible, and prayerful I often clutter my life with the very real demands of work, family, rush hour traffic, and.. maybe what is on the TV and become simply more EARTHLY MINDED than HEAVENLY GOOD.
The real irony is.. When I drift from God is NOT when I am too busy or stressed but instead when life is going well. No immediate worries or concerns so I relax my dependence, praise and appreciation of God to again become so earthly minded.
So while I don’t want my life to look as out of place as an Amish folk high rollin' in Las Vegas.. I do want my spirit, and life to start and end with God. A place where my personal faith shows through in all that I do and say.
May God bless each of you this day and always with a life in love with God, and a life where God is not fit in around the details of the day. May this be a life blessed and USED by God in ways that have both Heaven and Earth in mind.
I remember when I was younger and read the story of Jesus calling to Peter to walk on water, but as Peter noticed the VERY REAL waves about him and as the illogic of walking on water began to sink in.. so did Peter.
When I was younger I thought “Oh Pete of little faith, I would have done cartwheels on the sea with my perfect faith of Jesus intact”. But now after wading around in the seas of my life I see the waves in my life are just as real as those literal waves Peter faced 2000 years or so ago. At best I look like Gilligan hollering for SKIPPER!.. but of course this analogy falls flat as I am not comparing the Skipper with God... and I am not as skinny as Gilligan... BUT I DIGRESS!
So with this self-assessment of my faith realized, I must choose to get out of the boat and trust God. I may sink at times (doing that alot lately) like Peter but the same Jesus who calmed the seas, healed the sick, fed the multitudes, walked on water, and rose from the grave is my answer to life’s figurative (but VERY REAL) waves of health, finance, family, or fear.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart soul and mind and lean not unto your own understanding .. in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 EASY WORDS to say.. DIFFICULT WORDS to comprehend just like walking on water MAKES NO SENSE.. but I choose to believe both to be true.
May God bless each of you this day in your journey. May we all learn to trust God when life is great, when life is difficult, or when all seems lost. Trust in the Lord as your providence, and your source for answers, blessings, and perspective that is beyond the limits of any circumstance.. so even when the waves swell and the storms rage.. we can give the triumphant shout.. SURFS UP!
I share often that I don’t fit nicely into any denominational box. I am not defiant about authority and/or structure in fact I believe in it, but I am honestly a denominational MUTT. A mix a beliefs and theologies that are sincere. These views do not make me necessarily right, but like they say ‘opinions are like noses.. everyone has one’.
Just a few years ago I was attending a little Pentecostal church, and I recall one specific church service where the sermon particularly spoke to me. One of the major points was that we when we pass another church when driving down the road. Thank God for that church and say a prayer for them. Church is not a competition, and while we all have different flavors of theology from our background and faith walk we are all the same body. One body, many parts, one body, many man made theology-theories, one body, many denominations.. but in the end ONE BODY.
The other big point form this service was on the gift of healing. The pastor was asking for those in the congregation who were in need of God's healing hand. While I don't believe God heals everyone that asks, I do believe I put a lid on what is possible. Our bodies are broken down existing in a world of sin and we will all succumb to sickness, injury, and eventually death. THIS BEING SAID.. it would be selling God short to believe He does not still heal men and women in big and small ways.
I appreciate the Old Testament story of Naaman being healed in the Jordan River by dipping in the river 7 times as instructed by Elisha. Well during this Sunday service at this little pentecostal church a light bulb went off in my head when the pastor asked for those who were in the need of God’s healing hand that day to raise their hands.
The fact is God will heal as he chooses whether it is Naaman in the Jordan River or Jeff in the Back Pew, or YOU… BUT if I won’t even raise my hand to ask for prayer then I would be like Naaman who was instructed to dip in the Jordan River 7 times, but just dipped 6 times, toweled off and headed home for Sunday brunch. It would have been a HEALING UNREALIZED.
Like Naaman we of course should be obedient to God’s instruction. I need to be brave enough to raise my hand and ask for prayer uninhibited by what others think or do, and ‘dare to be healed’.
This is a world full of people in need of God’s healing hand, but not few are brave enough, or believe enough to even raise our hands let along dunk ourselves in a river 7 times.
While I am a relatively happy man I continue to worry, fret, hang on to my baggage, and wallow in insecurities.. BUT this way of thinking has to go. I need God’s touch in ways that free me from worry and the illusion/delusion that this life is about me. So please see me through this email as raising my hand, asking for prayer, and being open to the realization I NEED GOD’S TOUCH.
May each of us live uninhibited by man, the quiet whispers, and not sell short what is possible with God’s blessings. God forgives, and heals our thoughts, worries, bodies from the trappings and consequences of this fallen world.. AND.. God can do this is ways that are BEYOND OUR DREAMS... if we do not reduce our faith to 6 dips instead of 7.
How does your resume look? Are you qualified? Can God really use you if you are just a NOBODY with nothing to offer. With possibly the self-esteem of DIRT in a RUT, too poor, too dumb, and too insecure.. how/why would God use you?
Frankly, I know I AM NOBODY. I am a former computer programmer, who recently sold my sports management business of 8 years. I am currently unemployed, 58 years old and don't like it one bit.
But still here we are.. NOBODYS 4 JESUS! This sounds more like a label for a Christian support group than a battle cry to serve God. What are any of us without God anyways? BUT the better question is.. WHO ARE WE WITH GOD? What is possible?
Don't sell yourself short, or trivialize what you could do for God's kingdom. That would be selling short the possiblity of being truly blessed and used by God.
So with this I will leave you with my simple goals of Jeff the Nobody. In the moments that make up everyday.
Have a great day.. blessed and used by God. Smile lots.. and enjoy life !
Jeff (NOBODY) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson