The World’s ______

The World'sThis weekend while at a “superstore,” I walked past the back to school / college section. I was not looking for anything in that section but something caught my eye. I had to do a double-take. A cup that read, “World’s Okayest Student.”

I did an image search for the cup and found there are cups, t-shirts, coffee mugs, bags, badges, and more with similar phrases: World’s Okayest Boss – Nurse – Mom – Dad – Child – Teacher – Husband – Wife – Principal – Employee . . .

The World’s Okayest . . .

I get the humor. I catch the sarcasm. It is funny, well it would be if.

If it weren’t true. Too many in life whether at school or in the workplace do just enough. They are not the worst but they are not striving to improve. They are just average, they are just okay and they are okay with that.

What ever happened to trying to improve? What happened to setting your sites a little higher and striving for better?

Sadly, there is probably a version that says, “World’s Okayest Christian.” If not I wonder if I could sometimes be the face of the “World’s Okayest Christian.”

Let’s not be just okay. Let’s become more. Let’s grow in Christ, in service, in love, and in faith.

I refuse to be just an Okay Christian!

  • Jesus condemned the church at Laodicea for not being cold or hot, but for being lukewarm – okay.  Laodicea was Asia’s “okayest” church. (Rev 3:15-16).
  • The Hebrew writer challenges his readers that they ought to be teachers, but they were satisfied with where they were- they were the “okayest” and he knew they should be more. (Heb 5:12-14).
  • Paul similarly corrects the Corinthians for not growing and still being the “okayest” – 1 Cor 3:1.
  • Peter would tell us, Don’t just be the okayest. Grow in grace.” In fact he does tell us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet 3:18).
  • Paul says of himself, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.” Phil 3:12-15).

I will be more that okay. I will be the best I can be. I will strive for better than I am in what ever I do, school, work, parenting, marriage, and especially as a disciple of Christ. Will you join me?

-Scott

 

 

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Friend to the End

Michael W Smith sings, “A friend’s a friend forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them . . . ”

The old hymn says, “What a friend we have in Jesus . . “Do You Love Like Jesus?

The proverb says, “There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother . . .” (Pro 18:24)

Jesus says, “Greater love has no one that this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15:13-14)

All of this came to my mind this morning as I was listening to Roxanne and Chris on WDJC 93.7 FM. They were talking about God (Christ) being our friend. Using an allusion to Facebook, they reminded us that God will never unfriend us.

What a great way to start a Friday! God will NEVER unfriend me.

He will be there for me. He has my best interest in His heart and will. That reminder is something I needed. Thank you, Roxanne and Chris.

There is more to friendship. Some think of friendship as always getting along and always being their for each other without ever disagreeing.  Some think friends always support you and your decisions.

Yet a true friend . . .

  • Will tell you when you are wrong.
  • Will tell you want don’t want to hear.
  • Will tell you to get over yourself.
  • Will correct you when you are wrong.
  • Will give you the constructive criticism you need.
  • Cares enough for you to hurt your feelings to help you change.

God is no different!

There are times the Word of God (Scripture) convicts me. When I hold up my life to His will, I see I am wrong. I don’t want to hear it, but I am. His word tells me to “die to self” in other words get over yourself. Following Christ is to be the end of me. His Word reproves and rebukes – corrects me when I need correction. He sets a standard for me to improve toward. God cares enough about me as His friend to hurt my feelings to lead me to change.

The sad side to this is that sometimes we rebel. We do not want to hear needed correction and we run. God does not unfriend us. He does not abandon us or leave and forsake us. But we leave, forsake, abandon, and unfriend God.  This is the story of the prodigal in Luke 15:11-32. The father considered the lost son was dead. He still loved the son. He still wanted him to be His son. He welcomed Him back when he returned. God as the Father and as our friend will not leave us but allows us to break the relationship even though it wounds Him deeply.

The good news is that God is gracious and although we may not deserve it, when we are ready to be friends again through Grace He welcomes us back.

How great is our God!

-Scott

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A Not Surprising Marriage Report

smileIn the past year, after finding that the average couple spends $30,000 on their wedding and 12.5% spend $40,000 (this does not include the honeymoon) Emory University professors Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon surveyed 3,000 people of varying income levels and married only once to see the effects of expensive weddings. According to a report on Ozy.com Their findings may need to change the way many approach their wedding day.

Wedding Costs and Marriage

  • Couples spending $20,000 or more increase their odds of 3.5% over couples spending $5,000 – 10,000.
  • Those that spend approximately $1,000 have the greatest odds for a longer marriage.
  • More the prospective grooms, spending $500 – 1,999 on an engagement rings decreases divorce rates by 1.3% over those spending $2,000 – $4,000.

A conclusion is that the more you spend on your wedding day you are increasing your chance for divorce.

There are a couple of possible factors:

  1. Couples who spend a lot on the wedding start the marriage with increased debt. Debt is a factor in many divorces.
  2. Couples focus too much on the day and not the marriage.

Do not misunderstand, I like weddings. Setting aside a day to celebrate the beginning of a marriage is a great idea. In 1st Century Palestine Jews had week-long festivals when a couple married. Jesus attending such an event in Cana (cf. John 2). Jesus used some of 1st Century wedding traditions to illustrate our need to be ready for His coming (Matt 25:1-13)  and to answer a question about fasting (Mark 2:18-20). But we must not let the day become more important that the marriage that follows.

Spend as more time preparing for your marriage than you do on your wedding.

Remember that the wedding is just the beginning of a marriage.

-Scott

Image via: Daniel Howell Photography

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What Did You Expect?

Everyone of us enter marriage with certain expectations. Some are natural, some are 12307952_10206589030497621_5876259313852573140_oachievable, and some are just plain unrealistic.  These unrealistic expectations have potential to damage your continued marital happiness, so I suggest that you avoid them.

Unrealistic Expectations

  1. Our relationship will never change, it will always be the same as it was (is) in the early years of our marriage. I am sorry, this just is not true. The relationship will change, the thrills will be different. Consider this from a FB post I read, “Falling in love is a passive and spontaneous experience. But after a few months or years of being together, the euphoria of love fades. It’s a natural cycle of EVERY relationship. Slowly but surely, phone calls become a bother (if they come at all), touch is not always welcome (when it happens), and your spouse’s idiosyncrasies, instead of being cute, drive you nuts. The symptoms of this stage vary with every relationship; you will notice a dramatic difference between the initial stage when you were in love and a much duller or even angry subsequent stage.  At this point, you and/or your partner might start asking, “Am I with the right person?” And as you reflect on the euphoria of the love you once had, you may begin to desire that experience with someone else. This is when relationships breakdown.”
  2. The Honeymoon Excitement can be maintained or resurrected. I suppose I have to be the one to tell you that you have to go to work, if you have children then the role of parenting will impact that honeymoon feeling, and bills will come in the mail. Your love will have to change from infatuation to intention (read the above quote again).
  3. If my spouse loves me they will know my needs and wants without me having to tell them. NO ONE, not even your spouse can read your mind.  Tell each other your wants  and needs. Husbands, follow your wives interests on Pinterest if you want her to think you can read her mind.
  4. We should be just alike in everything.  We should have the same likes and dislikes, think the same, and do the same activities. NO! I am not sure I would like Amy if she were exactly like me. You are different people with different backgrounds and different genders – you will have differences.  Celebrate those differences and learn to try new things together.

There are other UNREALISTIC expectations, what you can think of?

– Scott

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Filed under Marriage, marriage advice, Uncategorized

Prove It!

Do you recall the “prove it” challenge from your childhood. I variation of “I dare you!” Your group of friends would start boasting about what you could do, how fast you could run, how far you could jump, how high you could climb in the tree. Then someone would call your bluff, “prove it!”

You were done for. You had opened you mouth and now you had a choice: 1) suffer the consequences of backing out and offer the “I was kidding” or “what time is it, My mom wanted me home by (whatever time it happened to be). I will prove it later, or 2) die trying to do what you said you could do.

During my college years, I heard an account of a certain event from the 13th Century that told of Crusaders entering villages and towns looking for heretics. If accused of heresy, you had an opportunity to defend yourself and to prove your allegiance to Christianity or be put to death.

As a side point, allow me a disclaimer. I do not condone what these men did, supposedly in the name of Christ. God and Christ had little to do with the actions of these men. History shows that men seeking power and fortune used and abuse Christianity (or a form of it) for their own advantage and not to spread the gospel of peace that scripture records. Now back to my original intent.

According to some accounts, when the Inquisitors came to Toulouse, France, they came upon a certain individual who lived just outside the city. He was a laborer by trade and would walk through the streets crying out to the crowds these words, “Listen to me, citizens! I am no heretic: I have a wife, and sleep with her, and she has borne me sons. I eat meat, I tell lies and swear, and I am a good Christian. So do not believe it when they say I am an atheist.”

For the record, I understand that this man died at the stake persistently insisting he was a good Christian and Catholic.

Remembering this story started my wheels turning this morning.

  • How would one prove they were a Christian today?
  • If asked for the reason for the hope you have, what would you say?
  • If asked to prove you are a Christian, what evidence would you submit?

You say you are a Christian?

Prove it!

-Scott

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What in the World?!?

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Church History

What in the World?

© B. Scott McCown 08.19.2016

What is this world coming to?

Why do so many refuse

To acknowledge that life depends on You?

What is this world coming to;

When anger and violence rule the day;

With the victims and survivors are more than a few?

What is this world coming to?

Why do we ignore Your path?

Help all to learn the value of following what You say is true.

 

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Filed under poem, poetry, Uncategorized, Word of God

Thinking of You

I thought about you today.Who ME

Yes, you.

I may not know your name, but I thought about you.

  • You are a single parent trying to get yourself and children out the door for work and school. Just like yesterday, you know you forgot something.
  • You see all these back to school posts, and wish deeply that you had a child you could post pictures of.  You would be a great mom.
  • You have a child, but they are sick, not just stomach virus or cold sick, I mean sick. They have been in and out of hospitals more than anyone should have to bear.
  • You are going to a job you tolerate, that just pays enough for you to almost make ends meet.
  • You are having to decide which bills you will skip this month, just so your family can eat.
  • You are fighting cancer. You do not know how long this battle will be. But you are fighting.
  • You are watching your spouse fight cancer, or your parent.
  • You are (or your spouse is) getting forgetful. This scares you. Dementia and Alzheimer Disease seem to run in your family.
  • You are fighting again. Over little things, but there is something major under the surface. You promised until death, but is this what you signed up for?
  • They left you for someone else. You are questioning your worth. What did you do wrong? Could you have saved the marriage if you just . . .?
  • You lost your job. “Downsizing,” they said. “Early retirement option” or “Voluntary Reduction of Force” they called it. It doesn’t feel voluntary, you are still young and want to work.
  • You were turned down again – for the loan, for a job, for a degree program – rejection is hard to bear.
  • You lost your home, more than a house, there were memories there. You can see what joy in the den 30 years ago when your daughter and her friends had that slumber party. But now the fire, the storm, or the flood took it away. What are you going to do?
  • You wonder if anyone cares.

I care. I thought about you. I don’t know your name. Maybe I do know you, maybe I see you daily or weekly. Maybe I do not know all of your struggles. But I have prayed for you and I know that the Father and Creator knows your name.

Dear Father,Be with those that are hurting today.

I don’t know you, but He does!

-Scott

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Filed under Friendship, prayer, tragedy, Uncategorized