Posted by: Bob Clark | May 24, 2019

Breathe

Inhale.

Exhale.

Repeat.

Without thinking.

Without effort.

Just breathe.

As two friends are struggling to breathe, I am reminded how easy it is to take functional lungs for granted.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Repeat.

Without thinking.

Without effort.

Just breathe.

Lord, have mercy.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 23, 2019

Fully Present

I try. I really do. I try to be fully present in conversations.

I try to lock on to the person talking. I try to listen to each word. I try to respect my conversation partner. I try to deeply listen.

I try, and often I do.

But there was this conversation I was in a couple of weeks ago when, try as I might, I was not fully present. And all of a sudden I had this startling realization that I was in the middle of a conversation and I was not focused.

Have you ever had that feeling?

I was disappointed in myself. I felt as though I had disrespected my conversation partner.

It has been a couple of weeks and I still remember. I don’t want to forget the feeling.

I am going to keep trying. I’m not going to give up on myself.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 21, 2019

Generosity

So a billionaire announced in a speech at the Morehouse College graduation assembly that he and his family were creating a grant to pay the school loan debt of the entire graduating class.

Think of how great it must feel to receive a gift like that. Did you see the looks on the faces of graduates as they realized the significance of what was being announced?

And think of how great it must feel to give a gift like that. That grant has the potential of changing a lot of lives.

I’ve read lists from several people declaring all the lavish gifts they would give if only they were billionaires.

But maybe those of us who are not billionaires would be better off looking for ways to bless people now, with what we do have, rather than waiting until we get our first billion.

You and I may not be billionaires, but we can generously use whatever we do have today to bless others.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 20, 2019

Best practices

Best practices: If I won’t say it directly to someone in face-to-face conversation, I shouldn’t passive-aggressively post it on social media.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 17, 2019

Best practices

Best practices: If I won’t say it directly to someone in face-to-face conversation, I shouldn’t passive-aggressively say it in a sermon.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 16, 2019

What did you say?

I was reading in the living room when I heard my wife from the kitchen excitedly saying, “The whisk is one of my favorite kitchen tools.”

I put my book down and asked her to repeat what she had said, just to make sure I heard her correctly.

Yep.

So now I am sitting there, book in my lap, pondering, “People have favorite kitchen tools?”

And after a minute or so I am thinking, “My wife has a favorite kitchen tool, and it’s the whisk?”

And finally, “It took me nearly 40 years of sharing life with this woman to learn this about her?”

This weekend we celebrate 40 years of marriage and I gotta tell you, I love it everytime I learn something new about her.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 14, 2019

Priceless

Yesterday I had a phone conversation with someone who has been my friend for almost 50 years.

It’s not unusual for us to talk to each other, even when separated by hundreds of miles. Through the years we have talked on a regular basis.

After all these years we don’t have to build up to talking about important matters. We can just dive right into the deep waters.

Through the years we have talked each other through a lot of life’s ups and downs.

Since that conversation I’ve been thinking about how wonderful it is to have a friend you can trust implicitly.

Priceless. Just priceless.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 13, 2019

Slow Motion Miracles

One woman was abandoned as a child by her mother. Another woman was assaulted as a child by her mother. And there they were in the gathering yesterday for Table and Word.

They ate the sacred meal. They soaked up the message of Jesus.

And gathering by gathering, meal by meal, message by message, a slow motion miracle is taking place in their hearts, minds, and lives.

These woman have worked hard to break old family patterns. These women, by the grace and power of God, are living out their lives as loving mothers of children who will never experience the same kind of heartbreak and pain that their mothers experienced at the hands of their grandmothers.

It’s work, hard work. And it’s a miracle, a slow motion miracle, rolling out over a period of years.

Thanks be to God.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 9, 2019

It’s Complicated

For the most part, our church pays more attention to the church calendar than the calendar of Hallmark-inspired holidays. So our gathering Sunday will be focused on the fourth week of Easter. But without question, the elephant in the room will be Mother’s Day.

Throughout my years of ministry, Mother’s Day at church has always been, how shall I say, complicated.

Complicated.

Some families will have three, maybe four, generations of happy mothers with their children. Others will be mourning the fresh loss of a mother or grandmother.

Complicated.

Some mothers will be snuggling their second or third baby while other women will be silently suffering infertility, miscarriages, or stillbirths.

Complicated.

Some will enter the gathering with thanksgiving for a tender, loving mother who taught them about and showed them the kindness and grace of God. Others will come, dragging behind them heavy memories of being assaulted, neglected, abandoned, or abused by the one person above all who they should have been able to trust.

Complicated.

And with a day this complicated, what could be better than a fourth week of remembering, wrestling with, and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 8, 2019

Circuit Breaker

I’m not exactly sure what went wrong, but I completely lost control of my calendar over the last three weeks and nearly drowned.

There were a couple of emergencies, some unexpecteds, and some scheduling difficulties that created a perfect storm.

For the past three years I have scheduled a day-long silent retreat for the first Monday of each month (moved to Tuesdays when a holiday falls on that Monday).

The silence is a good discipline for me since I am regularly in situations where I have to talk. The silence recenters me on God. It reminds me that the world goes on when I am not talking.

And this month, my silent retreat came at just the right time to help me reset. It served as a circuit breaker to shut down my activity before fire broke out.

While I have renewed my commitment to the healthy rhythms of my rule of life, I will probably experience another perfect storm. And when I do, I may need this circuit breaker again.

Lord, have mercy.

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