Friday, January 14, 2011

Is Courtesy Out of Style?

I’ve noticed that few people in our culture take time to be polite. People sound off if you simply cross them on the street, many send email messages that are unkind and caustic, people show so much rudeness in our work places. How do you cope with impoliteness?

The topic for one of last month's radio messages was Annoying Habits of Coworkers. As I prepared for the week, I was thinking about this problem. The level of civility and everyday courtesy has taken some dramatic moves downward in the last few years. We are surrounded by it, so let’s consider our actions.

As believers we need to make certain we follow simple courtesies ourselves: saying please and thank you, opening doors for others, letting others go first in the parking lot, smiling and greeting people. Perhaps if we role model it more consistently, others will catch on.

Then think of how you could bring this topic up in a meeting where you work or where you go to church or where you volunteer. I’m sure others are aware of it as well, and a return to simple courtesies can help to reduce the stress levels in the group. My guess is you’ll find many in agreement with you.

Please let me know what works for you.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Quiet Time in a Noisy Life?

“I know that I need to read my Bible and pray each day, but as a single working mom (or business executive with long hours, or teacher with papers to grade, or ??) there is no time. I feel guilty about it, but I just can’t put another thing in my schedule.” Have you ever thought like that about having a quiet time reserved for your relationship with God?

There are a lot of reasons our lives are crowded, but we need time with the Lord in order to have the strength and joy we need. How can we fit quiet time realistically into a noisy life?

I’ve used what I call “no-brainer time” for prayer. For example, when I’m driving, I pray out loud. When I’m dressing in the morning, taking a shower, blow drying my hair—I use that time to talk to the Lord.

There are lots of ways to listen to the Bible while driving or exercising or cooking or cleaning. So, I use these no-brainer times to have time with Jesus. I’ve discovered I can make it work if I really want to.

The busier Jesus was, the more he took time to be with his Father. It is in our most pressurized circumstances that we most need the peace and guidance that comes from time with the Lord.

When I try to save time in my schedule by foregoing my time with God, I find that all kinds of things go wrong, and I am far more stressed and less productive than usual.

Most of us manage to do what we truly want to do. The beginning of a new year gives us a good opportunity to put new practices in place. Seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness must be our highest priority, regardless of our busy schedules—no, because we have busy schedules.

Do you have suggestions to offer someone struggling with having a Quiet Time?