Saturday, August 27, 2005

Speed Trap

I was out for a bike ride earlier this week and had just tucked myself onto the aero bars to get "low and fast" when I realized I was going just as fast as the cars in front of me. I watched the numbers on my bike computer begin to climb and recognized that if the folks in front of me didn't speed up, I'd have to scrub some speed. Slowly, they began to pull away from me, giving me some room to pedal and pick up more momentum.

Then I saw them. Two of Cobb's finest had parked their Harley's on the side of the road and were aiming their laser guns at each vehicle on the road.

As I passed them, one shouted out "33!"

I smiled and pedaled harder. The speed limit on this stretch is 35... it became a goal... and I reached it.

Amazing what a little word of encouragement, spoken at the appropriate time can do for one's attitude. Somehow, my workout seemed to go a little easier that day.

Who around you is laboring? Can you offer them an "atta boy?" It just might be that your encouragement is just what they need to press on or eke out a personal best.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I have a friend....

While waiting recently for my flight from Atlanta to Hartford to board, I was pleasantly surprised to see a friend from church enter the waiting area. Realizing we were both headed to the same destination, we enjoyed a few moments of conversation in the waiting lounge until we boarded, taking our seats on opposite ends of the plane.

The flight was relatively uneventful and as we began our approach well after dark, I was amused by the conversation of several boisterous people who were returning from a Caribbean cruise.

"There's the airport."
"Where's the pilot going?"
"We're going in circles."
"We'll be up here all night."
"There's the casino... It's supposed to be on the other side of the plane."
"We're lost."

and so on... You get the idea. We're often surrounded by "armchair experts" who would want us to believe they know the game plan. There's an entire Old Testament book describing the story of a man named Job who had such an experience.

Throughout our approach, I simply settled into my seat and listened to those around me. "What do they know?" I thought to myself.

I knew we had nothing to worry about. For you see, my friend was the pilot. And when you know and have faith in the pilot, you can just relax and enjoy the ride.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Seven minutes a day

I read the following guide to a "seven minute in the morning devotional time" in a Stand Firm magazine:
  • A half minute of prayer for guidance;
  • Four minutes reading the Bible; and
  • Two-and-a-half minutes to pray through the acronym ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication.

No doubt, investing seven minutes a day in these activities shapes the way I approach each day.

I recently added a morning stretching routine (that takes about seven minutes) which help me wake up and provide some physical benefit as well.

Seven minutes a day. I'd guess there are a lot of seven minute blocks of time that, for most of us, pass by in the most ordinary of ways. I wonder what extraordinary results might occur if we selected a few blocks of time and invested them intentionally.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Out of towels

A few weeks ago, my son and I had breakfast together at a national chain restaurant known for their breakfast menu. As we prepared to leave, we stepped into the men's room to wash the syrup from our hands. We turned from the sink to note that there were no towels in the dispenser. This proved not to be a major problem for either an eight year old or his dad!

Passing the cash register and thinking I might be helpful, I paused to tell Larry - the epitome of a manager of such a chain - that "you're out of towels in the men's room."

His reply was interesting. "Thanks. I was waiting for them to run out."

All the way to the car, I thought through his comment. Larry was apparently watching the bottom line and saving a few cents by making sure that he used every towel on the roll. However, as a customer, I found myself wishing he had committed these same few cents into customer service. It seems a little short-sighted.

As we drove away, I tried to help my son understand the difference between an expense and an investment, with limited success I'm sure.

I also realized that My relationship with God is sometimes like that. I try to wring every bit of encouragement from my last experience with Him. Perhaps you've experienced something similar with personal renewal. You find yourself going too far too fast for too long as you wait for the roll to empty before replacing it.

Make an investment. Change the towel roll.