So Long, Self


So Long, Self

Many of you know that I try to take most Fridays off.  I get up and get Sherry out the door with a kiss and strawberry-banana smoothie.  I see the kiddos off to school. They’re usually excited on Fridays.

Then I typically head to the local Starbucks, where I read, think, and do a little writing.  On this morning, a loud, whiney barista keeps shouting, “Courtney, Courtney.  Is there a Courtney in the café?”  There is no living human in Cobb County, I’m convinced, named Courtney.  Let it go, screeching barista woman.  For the love of all things good, stop the “Courtney” torture.

I put my Earbuds in.

What bugs you these days?  What are you gonna do about it?

There are some serious racial divides in our country.  What will you do?  Some are kneeling during the national anthem.  Is that enough?

Radical Islamic terrorism threatens our way of life.  Will you pause to pray and remember on Sunday… 9-11?  Is that enough?

Syria and Russia are bombing like nobody’s business.  Have you seen or heard any of the stories coming out of a Syrian city called Allepo?  Have you been bothered by the now iconic picture of Omran Daqneesh?  This little boy was maimed in the fighting.  His brother Ali was killed.  What do we do with this?  (We do have a team going to Greece to minister to Syrian refugees.)

Omran, a four-year-old Syrian boy covered in dust and blood, sits in an ambulance after being rescued from the rubble of a building hit by an air strike in the rebel-held Qaterji neighbourhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo late on August 17, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / MAHMOUD RSLANMAHMOUD RSLAN/AFP/Getty Images


Some will go to one extreme of a puzzling continuum and claim there is no problem.  No racism, no threats, no conflicts (that are affecting them).  Others will swing the pendulum in the polar opposite direction and claim everything is broken.  It’s one thing to claim that our country has problems.  It’s quite another to sit, protest, and throw the American baby out with the bath water.

Am I teetering on being political?  Not trying to be.


But what do we do?  Jesus lived during a very trying first century.  He posed these questions:   “Who is greater?  The one who sits at the table or the one who serves?”  (Luke 22:27)  What if, with any issue, our call is to die to SELF?  What if being right or loud or heard took a back seat to being loving?  Serving?  Now THAT would be something.

I’m reading Dr. John Perkins’ book, “Let Justice Roll Down.”  Perkins writes, “True Christian change works more like an old oak tree in the spring, when the new life inside pushes off the old dead leaves that still hang on.”  New life.  Crucified in Christ.  Love.  Now THAT would be something.

Maybe I should go talk with the barista.  There must be a reason she whines like bald brake pads on this good morning.  But alas… Courtney has received her coffee.  Thank God.

On Sunday, we’re saying “So Long, SELF.”  Our text is Jonah 3:1-5.  Jonah gets it, and then not so much.  Jonah has become a mirror I look into every day.  I get it, and then I don’t.

Let’s gather on Sunday… 9:00 and 11:00 a.m.  Jonah and the whale shark are giving us much to live out.  I’m excited to teach.



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