Saturday, June 18, 2011

What Are You Neglecting?

If you Google “intentional neglect” you’ll find an array of complex information and discouraging news. It’s not light reading.

However, that phrase lodged in my mind several weeks ago when our pastor encouraged his Sunday-evening congregation to intentionally neglect those things that keep them from their goals and purposes.

He was not talking about neglecting people or responsibilities, but activities that grab hold of our attention and devour our time. Email. Television. Computer games, and other misplaced priorities that aren’t necessarily bad.

He shared the story of a violinist who felt compelled to complete all her household chores before practicing. Her compulsion to clean took precedence over development of her gift. She finally realized that she would never become a virtuoso until she put her gift first.

Though I am not a violinist, I can relate with this woman’s compulsive behavior for tying up loose ends. As I work at my writing, stealing hours and minutes throughout a busy day, I am constantly tempted by uncompleted chores around me—things that should be done.

The “shoulds” are deadly.

In personal application, intentional neglect means that I do only one household chore per day when I am under deadline, check only important email, and click off the Internet before I’m tempted to read the latest headline, gossip or gadget report.

Our pastor biblically encouraged us through Nehemiah 6, a chapter which outlines the distractions Nehemiah faced when trying to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem in the 400s BC. He had many detractors, yet he maintained his focus. How?

“But I prayed.”*

Nehemiah’s constant contact with the Lord kept him on target. He knew he was called, he knew his purpose, and he knew the source of his strength.
We have this same access to the God of creation, repair, and redemption. Do we use it?

We all neglect something because it is impossible to do everything. The question is, are we neglecting the right things?

*(Neh. 6:9b NIV)

Thank you, Pastor Brian Withrow.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

You Never Know

It’s a puny planet, a wee world.

A limited venue.

Okay, okay—so much for trying to avoid the “small world” cliché. But it is so true.

We meet unexpected people in the most unexpected places. Coincidence? Hardly.

As in my recent acquaintance with a deceptively soft-spoken woman named Joy.

I say deceptively soft-spoken because she is a warrior. As author of the book Identifying the Hierarchy of Satan: A Handbook for Wrestling to Win! Joy A. Schneider is not to be underestimated.

Joy was one of my roommates at the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference in Estes Park last month. I was there hoping to interest an agent or publisher in my proposed devotional book, Sometimes Life’s a Rodeo. In the process, I learned more about how rodeo has impacted people who have nothing to do with the cowboy world.

Like Joy.

One Sunday morning 35 years ago, Joy turned on a televised broadcast from Calvary Chapel in Denver, Colorado and heard the testimony of a man with a painted face, baggy pants, striped shirt and red suspenders. No, he was not the preacher, nor was he with the circus. He was rodeo clown Wilbur Plaugher, co-founder of the Cowboy Chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, today known as the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys.

Joy trusted Christ as her savior that morning, right there in front of the television set and the rodeo clown. She has not been the same since.

So you see, you never know. You never know who may be listening to your life on this spinning speck, weighing your words and changing their course.

Regardless of how heavy your makeup and mismatched your clothes.

For more information on the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys, see