The New Church Lady

Weightier Matters


“Disruptive technology” is all the rage these days. It’s an industry buzz word that I hear a lot. Apple made its reputation on shaking up the norms with disruptive technology and it remains a hallmark of the brand. 

Just in case you are not familiar with the term, I copied part of the explanation found here: 

A disruptive technology is one that displaces an established technology and shakes up the industry or a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry.  

Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen coined the term disruptive technology. In his 1997 best-selling book, "The Innovator's Dilemma," Christensen separates new technology into two categories: sustaining and disruptive. Sustaining technology relies on incremental improvements to an already established technology.

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Last week was Mother’s Day here in the USA. So, I took the week off from blogging to have fun with family. That, as I was slammed at my day job. 

Mary, mother of Christ, is an incredible example of motherhood – maybe the best one in the Bible. No, we should not worship her or pray to her – worship is reserved for God alone and we should pray only to Him. However, when my morning study sent me to John 2, I began thinking about this extraordinary woman, who many theologians say was a teenager when called upon to give birth to the Messiah.

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Recently, my husband, Wes, and I were talking about his continuing efforts to keep the wilderness just across our fence line from creeping back onto our property. 

Wes, with the help of my sons and, sometimes, me, has cleared off pine and scrub trees. We’ve battled stickers, pulled up weeds, poisoned the poison ivy, planted grass and cut back the brush that hangs over the fence from the neighbor’s property. Wes is out there, almost daily, weed-eating, moving, cutting branches, disposing of leaves, killing fire ants and using a humane device to drive away gophers.  We now have a lush, green three-acre plot that looks like a well-manicured golf course. 

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Speaking of Jesus, Hebrews 1:3 [KJV] says, Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

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This past weekend, my younger sister came down from the Dallas area to visit. We spent time, as we always do, reviewing fun, funny and sometimes frightening stories of our childhood. We rehashed the shenanigans that still make us laugh and our shared memories of indulgent grandparents, crazy uncles, dare-devil cousins and our own “perfect” children. 

One sister is working on trying to uncover a sort of medical mystery from the past. I’m thinking about having my DNA checked to see what ancestral soup (besides the Irish, English and Austria-Hungarian we know about) might be lurking in our genetic code.

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You’ve most likely seen one or more of those makeover-style TV shows. Somebody’s house gets remodeled. Someone gets a beauty and wardrobe makeover. At the end of the show there is a “big reveal” when the house or the person is shown to be “shockingly better.” 

During the last hours of His life, Jesus had a lot to say to his disciples about God the Father, His work, and how things would be after His death and resurrection. Among the gems of information, instruction and encouragement is this passage:

John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

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If you are not a Star Trek fan, you have no idea what I’m talking about. If you are a fan, you are probably wondering what the famous Starfleet Academy training lesson from the fictional show, Star Trek, has to do with being a new church lady. 

First, for the non-fan, let me tell you that in the Star Trek franchise the Kobayashi Maru was a training exercise required for all Starfleet Academy cadets. It was engineered to be a no-win scenario in order to test the character of cadets in a situation where the outcome of their choice (whichever option they selected) would be the loss of many, if not all lives from their own crew and/or the people on the civilian vessel Kobayashi Maru, which they were sent to rescue.

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On a scale of 1-10, 1 being a green thumb and 10 being plant assassin, I come precariously close to being a 10. My saving grace is that I have managed to get some rose bushes so firmly established that they thrive even if there is a bad year, weather-wise, or if I neglect them for weeks at a time. The key being that they are so firmly established that they can make it through tough times (man-made or nature made). 

I give myself a 9-ish on that scale, at least this week, because I nearly lost all my newly purchased vegetable plants. You see, I have been traveling for work and working some long hours in the office, when I am in town. However, with my usual enthusiasm for buying vegetable plants at the start of spring, I had stocked up at Lowes a little over a week ago without considering the fact that I would not be able to plant them the next few days, or even in that next week. Therefore, I was disheartened (but not too surprised) to find Friday, when I did make home in time to get down to the hot house to check on my plants, that all of my plants were as limp as an over-cooked spaghetti noodle.

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Let me just put it out there: I think Millennials (and the generation after them) may just make better Christians than all of us pre-Millennial generations. 

People love to analyze and complain about Millennials. I hear it at work and at church. If you are a Millennial reading this blog (maybe your Mom passed it along to you), I want you to know that the Gospel message and the Christian life was tailor made for your success.

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The Roman army reportedly had a very special “turtle” they used in war. I caught about 30 minutes of the 4 hour movie, Cleopatra (staring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison), on Turner Classic Movies last week. 

In one scene, Harrison, as Julius Caesar, called for “the turtle.” According to the movie, this “turtle” was what they called their unique method of moving strategically into battles where the enemy was not just in front of them, but surrounded them. When my Bible study group was doing the Armor of God study (Pricilla Shirer), we learned that the Romans did use this method of creating an shell with their shields.

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Malachi 3:16 [NKJV] Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, And the LORD listened and heard [them]; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name.

If you are thinking of the Beatles song, Come Together (Abby Road, 1969) – yes, that popped into my head too. However, that clearly not an “appropriate for New Church Ladies” song. But that one line of lyrics “come together right now over me” does make me think about Malachi 3:16 and about getting together over God and Jesus – over the love of the Father and the Son, over the teachings of the Word, over the worship and praise of God and Jesus. 

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Imagine you were deathly ill. Imagine in spite of calling for the elders to anoint you, and after many heartfelt prayers, and after all the doctors could do for you, and after suffering for days or weeks or maybe even longer you succumb to the illness and die.

Then, imagine hearing the voice of the Messiah, the Teacher, who spent many evenings at your home preaching and teaching and sharing food, yelling, “Lazarus, come out!” Only to you, it sounds a bit muffled since you are wrapped up tight in burial garments. 

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Or possibly both at the same time. At least it was interesting times.

For Daniel and his friends, being taken away to a strange land as teenagers, to serve a foreign king in a country with foreign customs, it probably seemed like the worst of times. 

For Esther, yanked out of her cozy home as a teenager to be put on parade before the king, knowing that one night doing something you had no experience at (the prerequisite was that you did not have any experience) would change your life either to one of cloistered captivity or high privilege, and knowing she had a terrible secret to hide, it probably seemed like the worst of times.

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This past week was the start the Chinese New Year. And, wow, do the Chinese know how to party. Unlike the USA, where we have a one-day celebration, the Chinese have 15 day celebration for the New Year. They decorate doors and windows, serve special foods and hand out traditional “red packets” of money.

You may already know that each year in China is related to an animal and cycles through dog, pig, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey and rooster. Similar to what some people think about the Zodiac signs, the Chinese believe that you can predict how the year will be, according to the animal of that year, and that those born in the year of a particular animal have certain qualities themselves. 

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You have probably heard this more than once: “If I were a betting man…” Typically, it is followed by what they would bet on. If you are going to bet, you look for the best odds. 

In the Hunger Games trilogy, when annually sending 24 children out to fight in a horrific battle to the death against one another, they always said, “may the odds be ever in your favor.” The odds were 24 to 1 against you coming out alive. Not good odds, especially when it comes to life and death.

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I have to say that Christians in India definitely have some “skin in the game” when it comes to practicing their faith. At the Feast of Tabernacles in Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky this past year, Michael Deering gave a presentation about the life of Christians in India. It was at once appalling and also inspiring to see our brothers in Christ rejoice in the Lord in spite of the poverty and persecution they face. 

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The children’s book author, Linda Grayson, said, “There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” I might say, “Or one who brings you Starbucks in the morning and remembers just the way you like it.” 

If you were taking out a “friend wanted” ad, how would you describe the perfect friend? Loyal? Thoughtful? Caring?

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If you watched the movie City Slickers, you may remember this pivotal scene (cleaned up and abbreviated):
Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? [holds up one finger] This.

Mitch: Your finger? 

Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean (anything). 

Mitch: But, what is the "one thing?" 

Curly: [smiles] That's what you have to find out. 

I don’t know if Lenny Cacchio is a fan of the movie, but about a year ago he gave similar advice when it comes to overcoming as a Christian. I believe he gave the sermon in CGI Tyler around the spring Holy days last year on May 7th. In it, Lenny mentioned that it can be overwhelming to try to overcome all our faults and said that what he does is pick a single focus for the year. 


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I was watching a part of The Sound of Music on TV last week and I had a “yelling at the TV” moment. Liesl, the eldest Von Trapp daughter and her boyfriend, Rolfe, are singing “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” and Liesl sings, “I need someone older and wiser, telling me what to do. You are 17, going on 18, I’ll depend on you.” WHAT???!!! The LAST person a 16 year old girl needs telling her what to do is a 17 year old boy! And, yes, I actually yelled at the screen, “Are you CRAZY?!”

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It’s popular to ask if someone is a “glass half full” or “glass half empty” kind of a person. Often that is followed by encouraging those “glass half empty” folks to see life, lessons, trials, etc. from a perspective of the glass being half full. 

I’d like us to forget for a moment any concern over how full the glass is and think about the container itself. 

I confess that I am still learning. I can still read a scripture and gain new understanding - even realize that my previous understanding was all wrong. That was the case recently when Beth Moore used a scripture as part of one lesson in her Daniel Bible study that I had read many times before and it hit me with a fresh meaning.

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