Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Juror #35

I did my civic duty. I was juror #35. It is an interesting experience to be involved in the jury selection process for a criminal trial. We were asked all kinds of questions. It is amazing how many people (out of 40) have law enforcement officers in their family, have been victims of crime, as well as having themselves been arrested. I met a couple of interesting people: One lady, juror #14, is a member of the Gateway Church of Christ and had served on a jury before. Another lady, juror #26, mentioned that her husband was a golf-trick-shot artist that worked at many golfing events & tournaments. I met another guy, juror #25, I visited with during our last break before the final jury selection was made.

I really didn't think I would even come close to being selected, but as juror numbers were being called, I began to wonder. Juror #1, 2, 3 were called, then #5, then #11, #21, then #25, my new acquaintance. Then the numbers jumped to #29, 30, 31, 32 - at this point I realized that I was going to be chosen, unless they skipped me - #33, 34, I held my breath, #40.

Many are called, but few are chosen.
Maybe next time I won't wear my "What part of 'Lake of Fire' don't you understand?" T-Shirt.

Monday, April 28, 2008

What to do with a Crown Victoria?

Leisa and I are in the middle of an “auto re-assignment” phase. Our son Kyle, sold his “monster truck” that got maybe 10 mpg - going down hill, with a tail wind. We in turn gave him our Explorer because he needed something with which to tow a trailer. And Leisa’s parents gave us their Crown Victoria that they didn’t drive. I’ve already gotten a dig from one of my “so-called” friends, (with the initials Billy Burnett) when he told me “his grandmother called and wants her car back.” I do believe Leisa and I are too young to be driving a Crown Vic. So I'm asking you my friends for suggestions on how to proceed from here. You can let me know your suggestions by participating in the poll above.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Penny Saved...

Do you pick up pennies? A survey asked just that question. The results? Older people were more likely than “20 - something’s” to pick up pennies. Some would only pick them up if no one was looking. Others couldn’t even be bothered if it was anything less than a dime.

I am an avowed “penny picker-upper.” I will almost always stop and pick up pennies; and nickels, dimes and quarters if I find them. It hasn’t made me rich. I’d be surprised if I have found more than $30 in change in the past 10 years. So why do I it? I really don’t know. I could probably come up with something that sounds noble, but I suppose it’s just because a penny is worth something and it’s just being wasted there on the ground.

My mother-in-law Oleta told Leisa and me of her involvement with a woman who has had a very hard life. Some of the things she shared about her life just make you want to cry. Oleta and this woman were talking about her relationship to God and with His church when she made a remark that really got my attention. Commenting about a church she had visited, she said, “You know those people over there wouldn’t bother to pick up a penny. They are only interested in twenty-dollar bills. They just step right over a penny. And you know, I’m just a penny.”

I really hate to hear comments like that. I hate to hear that people have such a low opinion of themselves that they believe they are worthless. And I hate to hear that people have such a low opinion of the church that they believe there is no place for them there. Neither is true, even though there might be enough negative experiences to make you think so.

My hope and prayer is that this woman will be loved and helped by the church where she is and finally find the peace that only Christ can give.

I have another hope and prayer, and that is that our churches will be known as a churches willing to stop and “pick-up pennies.” There are people all around us who are different than we are. Those differences might be racial, cultural, economical, or political. There might be age differences or gender differences, they could show up simply as the differences in talents a person might or might not possess. There could be countless ways someone might be different than me, and therefore tempted to consider them just a penny. But I hope that it will never be said of us, that we are only interested in twenty-dollar bills.

Jesus told us that when we give a dinner party we should not just invite those who have the means to return the favor, but rather we should invite those who have no way to give anything back to us. (Luke 14:12-14) Jesus said when we do this then the one whose blessings really count will bless us; His Father.

The next time you see a penny lying on the sidewalk, think about this; Jesus left heaven for earth to pick up a penny – you.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Day of Rendering

Well, today is the day. "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" (Mtt 22:21). As usual, I have put this off until the last moment. But I have finished, except for signing the thing, writing two checks; one for the state of AZ, and the other to the Feds, and dropping them in the box. But it's still early in the day. Then, I'll be waiting for my economic stimulus rebate check.

Now it's time to get back to "Rendering to God the things that are God's."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Finding Stuff

I love finding stuff. From way back, I've been a scavenger. I remember as a kid when my dad took me with him to the dump in El Paso, to get rid of some stuff. We unloaded the truck, and then spent about an hour or so walking around looking for stuff other people had thrown away. I think we brought back more stuff than we took.

Over the years I've found a few things; like the tie I found in the parking lot of The Bridgewater Commons Mall. It was still in the package, but with no receipt. I took it to the Customer Service Center in the Mall (Wouldn't you have done the same?) and turned it in. They took my name and phone number, and two weeks later called me to come pick it up, because no one came to claim it. I still wear it and get lots of compliments on it.

Today I found a pair of pliers. I was pulling out of Starbucks (yea I know, for 2 tall frappuccinos I could have bought my own pliers) and there they were lying in the street. No one was coming, so I got out and picked them up. I've found several interesting tools over the years that way. My favorite is a huge box wrench, which I've actually used as a wrench only once.

Finding stuff is great, because it is usually an unexpected bonus to the daily routine. Today, finding stuff made me think of another great find one day along time ago.

It must have been overwhelming for Josiah when Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord (2 Chron 34). Wow! Now there's something worth finding. How they lost it in the first place is rather mind boggling - but that's another story.

I hope you find something worthwhile today. I know I have. A pair of pliers -reminded me of what I have found in Jesus.