The Danger of Thanksgiving

Our kids are usually pretty grateful. Which made what Lincoln did on Monday night a little surprising and disappointing.

I was returning from work. As I walked into the house, my 8-year-old son was the first to see me so he immediately ran up to me. I smiled and intuitively began to open my arms for the on-coming hug. Instead, Lincoln stopped just in front of me, looked up, and in his little 3rd grade voice asked, “Dad can I play on your iPhone?” What? No hug? No, “Hi Dad.” Only a desire to spend time with an electronic gadget in my pocket.

Not gonna lie. That stung a little. I told him, “Not right now.” He slumped his shoulders and walked away. Still no hug. No, “Welcome home Dad.” Ouch!

Now, I love watching my kids smile when I give them something they enjoy. It makes me smile. But when they pursue the gifts I give them more than they pursue me that hurts . . . a lot.

I’m guessing God feels that way.

Ginger and I believe we have more blessings for which to be thankful this Thanksgiving than ever before.

danger

Did you know that turkey fryers are not the only danger of Thanksgiving? The more subtle danger of Thanksgiving is to measure God’s love for us by His blessings to us.

This may be a difficult Thanksgiving for you. If your measuring God’s love for you by His blessings to you, you may question God’s love.

So I want to be grateful for God’s blessings this Thanksgiving; however, I want to keep reminding myself that an all-powerful God created me, redeemed me, and is continuing to shape me all because He passionately loves me. I’m so thankful for that. It will remain true every Thanksgiving!

BTW, Lincoln is now limited to two 30-minute sessions with the iPhone each week. He helped me create that system later Monday night. But we’ve played a lot of Nerf football the last two nights. I sure enjoy my time with that little guy.

Losing My Religion Releases Today

lmrLosing My Religion, Chuck Bomar’s latest book, releases today.

How authentic is your relationship with God? Losing My Religion is your self-assessment test.

I met Chuck last week and got to spend some time getting to know him and hear his heart.

If you’re like me, reading his book will create tension as you read it. I like that because I need to be challenged. I would describe Chuck’s writing style as “prophetic”, unapologetic but not mean-spirited.

Read this book with a friend and you will benefit from the energetic conversation that will follow.

bomarWho’s Chuck?

Chuck Bomar served almost nine years at Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California with Francis Chan before planting Colossae Church in Portland, Oregon in 2008. Today Chuck releases his 7th book, Losing My Religion: Moving From Superficial Routine to Authentic Faith

Chuck and his wife, Barbara, have three beautiful daughters: Karis, Hope and Sayla.

Follow Chuck on twitter or facebook.

Wanna help me write a book?

Yesterday I signed a contract to write a book with Rainer Publishing in Nashville, TN. It will be a practical book focused on how you can forgive. My deadline to finish the book is April and it will release late Summer/early Fall.

Write a book

Wanna help me write it? Seriously?

Here’s how:

Email me (markariggins@yahoo.com) your greatest personal story of how you forgave someone else. (Obviously, I won’t be able to use all stories and I won’t use your story without your permission.)

Help me help others experience the freedom of forgiveness.

Are you celebrating with churches or competing against?

With not against.

I remember as a kid, my Grandpa (also a pastor) telling me the reason he stopped going to pastor’s conferences. He said he grew tired of pastor’s greeting each other with the same old question: “How many are you ‘runnin’?” Immediately, every pastor felt value (or lack of value) based on their attendance numbers.

church vs. church

Are you celebrating with churches or competing against churches? With or against?

This illustration demonstrates beautifully our two options:

From John Ortberg’s When the Game is Over It All Goes Back in The Box:

“Balloon stomp is a zero-sum game. If I win, you lose, Anyone else’s success diminish my chances. I must regard everyone else as someone to overcome, someone to be pitted against.

Balloon stomp is a Darwinian contest, the survival of the fittest. Some ten-year-olds are pretty Darwinian, and they entered into the spirit of the thing vigorously. Balloons were relentlessly targeted and destroyed. Some children pretended to be enjoying the game but were secretly afraid of losing. A few of the children hung shyly on the sidelines, but that didn’t help them. Their balloons were doomed just the same. The battle was over in a matter of seconds. Only one balloon was still inflated, and of course its owner was the most (secretly) disliked kid in the room. It’s hard to really win at balloon stomp.

Then a disturbing thing happened. A second class was brought in the room to play the same game, only this time it was a class of developmentally challenged children. They too were each given a balloon and the same instructions. The same signal began the game. ‘I got a sinking feeling in my midsection,’ said one of the onlookers. ‘I wanted to spare the kids the pressure of the competitive brawl.’

Only this time the game proceeded differently. The instructions were given too quickly to be grasped very well by these children; out of the confusion the one idea that sunk in was that the balloons were supposed to be popped. But instead of fighting each other off, these children got the idea that they were supposed to help one another pop balloons. So they formed a kind of ‘balloon stomp co-op.’ One boy was getting frustrated because the balloon he was going after wouldn’t hold still enough for him to pop it. So the little girl to who it was tied knelt down and held her balloon carefully in place, like the holder for a field-goal kicker, while the little boy stomped it flat. Big smile. Then he knelt down and held his balloon still for her to stomp. On and on it went, all the children helping one another in the Great Stomp.

And when the very last balloon was popped, everybody cheered. Everybody won.”

Students stopped keeping score against each other and starting keeping score with each other.

I love that church leaders seem to be more and more with each other.

Churches = With not against.

What if you put a label on everything you own?

What if you put one of two labels on everything in your life: “temporary” or “forever”? Everything. Just two labels.

TV, iPad, iPhone, checkbook (for those that still use one), clothes, 401K statement, car, and house = big ol’ label reading “TEMPORARY”.

People & Bible – big ol’ label reading “FOREVER”.

Culture switched the labels. Let’s switch ‘em back.

temporary

Does someone irritate you?

Be honest, certain people frustrate you!

When you see their caller-id on your phone your stomach tightens and you think . . . bad stuff!

You might not even know why they irritate you but they do. Could be their personality, their approach to life, their attitude, their values, or their choice of NFL football team.

irritated

Does diversity have to be the death of chemistry?

Diversity is God’s idea. He designed us differently. He’d actually be disappointed if everyone were like me.

God loves diversity. But our sin and brokenness make diversity our challenge to unity. This isn’t a new problem. Every gathering of Christians experience this (see Phil. 4:2 or most of the NT).

We are incomplete as individuals and we are different parts of the same body. I want others to be like me but God doesn’t.

Imagine if we began to celebrate diversity. How could you celebrate diversity in your marriage, your parenting, your extended family, your staff, your small group, your church, other churches, and in God’s Kingdom?

How are 3 ideas to help us embrace diversity and unity: 

1. Resist being irritated by diverse personalities; instead, choose to celebrate diversity as God’s thumbprint

2. Recognize that our collective brokenness (their sins AND mine) creates the tension

3. Learn to see people as they could be, not just as they are