Invited

But you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
        of the clans of Judah, are no poor relation—
    From your people will come a Ruler
        who will be the shepherd of My people, Israel,[b]
    Whose origins date back to the distant past,
        to the ancient days” (Micah 5:2, The Voice).

For some of you, this time of year is the time when you feel the most insignificant of all. You just happen to be scrolling through your Facebook feed and you see all the exciting events and parties that your friends are having that you weren’t invited to.

Maybe you end up sitting alone on your couch on Fridays and Saturdays because no one thought to ask if you had any plans for the weekend.

It’s easy to feel like you don’t matter to anyone. You are not alone. But you matter to Someone.

You’ve been invited to celebrate a birthday. Not just any birthday. This is the birthday of God-turned-fetus-turned-newborn wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.

The first evangelists of the blessed event were smelly shepherds. If anyone could feel like unwanted outsiders, it would have been them. Their occupation didn’t lend itself to a lot of socializing.

This year, Jesus invites you to celebrate His birthday. You don’t even have to bring anything– just you. It doesn’t even matter if you cleaned up and straightened up. All He’s asking is that you show up.

There’s not a single person in the Bible who found significance before God called them. Your significance ultimately isn’t in where you live, what you do for a living, or who you know. It’s Who knows you. It’s Who chose you.

At The Church at Avenue South, Aaron Bryant said that God is drawn to the insignificant, off-the-radar people.

Look at where God chose to introduce Himself to humanity. It wasn’t Rome or Jerusalem, but backwater Bethlehem via a peasant couple surrounded by barn animals and some of those aforementioned stinky shepherds.

God was (and still is) saying that all lives matter. Every life has significance. Simply being created in the image of God gives you incredible significance.

Just remember that when you’re sitting in the dark staring at your cat. You matter.

 

Sleepy Old Cats Are the Best

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I’m reclining on the couch while typing this on my iPad. My lazy old cat Lucy is curled up in my lap, either asleep or catatonic. Get it? CAT-atonic. 😁

I can feel my blood pressure and my stress levels lowering as I write this. Not that either were very high today, but I am especially relaxed and at peace with the world at the moment.

I feel everyone should have a comforting furry little friend. If cats aren’t your thing, get a dog. Or a gerbil. Or a bunny. I knew a lady who had a pet rat. Whatever floats your boat.

Pets are great because they don’t judge you. They don’t walk out on you. They don’t hold grudges. They just love you and are always happy to see you. Well, Lucy’s glad to see me at least 50% of the time. When I haven’t woken her from one of her many naps.

I love how one of the names in the Bible for God is Abba. You could translate that as “Daddy.” You can take all the good associations from that word and place them on God.

Your Abba is very fond of you. You’re the apple of His eye and He does truly love you extravagantly. Remember that on those slow Mondays and even slower work weeks.

Things I Love 42: Two Turn-Tables and a Microphone

island hammock

“If it were up to me…” and then the words pound, desperate and hard, “I’d write this story differently.”…

“Just that maybe… maybe you don’t want to change the story, because you don’t know what a different ending holds.”

The words I choked out that dying, ending day, echo. Pierce. There’s a reason I am not writing the story and God is. He knows how it all works out, where it all leads, what it all means.

I don’t” (Ann Voskamp, ).

“Can God be counted on? Count blessings and find out how many of His bridges have already held” (Ann VoskampOne Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are).

I know you’ve got a certain Beck song stuck in your head. My work here is done.

Not really. There’s still that matter of the list of things I love, which will continue at #1.241. Now wasn’t that absolutely the best segway ever?

1,301) Two healthy and working knees.

1.302) A nightly bowl of Cocoa Pebbles cereal.

1,303) How I can rejoice even in the midst of suffering, knowing God will produce the best out of the worst circumstances.

1.304) My I Am Second bracelet that I forget that I’m wearing until someone else reminds me by telling me how much they like it,

1,305) Amish-made Sweet Potato Butter.

1,306) The slow blinks of a sleepy cat.

1,307) Pulpy orange juice.

1,308) When my technology works like it’s supposed to.

1,309) Having gone 15 months without any carbonated beverages.

1,310) Being able to watch Friends on TBS, Nick @ Nite, and TVLand.

1,311) Kairos Night of Worship tomorrow at 7 pm.

1.312) Writing my 1,087th blog.

1,313) My hole-y green Kairos Impact t-shirt.

1,314) Finally jumping off of a diving board into the deep end of a pool (and blogging about it later).

1,315) The Tom Cat 2 app on my iPhone.

1,316) The little Jack Russell chihuahua mix named Hallelujah that I met at Centennial Park last Saturday.

1,317) My vintage California raisins beach towel.

1,318) Reading a blog I wrote two years ago and finding that God used it to speak to my own life.

1,319) How my friend Katie is one of the best encouragers and team players in sand volleyball history.

1,320) Visiting normal reality for 5 minutes then going back to my own happy little world.

1,321) WordPress, the best site for blogging.

1,322) Talking with my sister using FaceTime.

1,323) The moment when I realize how much more patient I am than I was last year thanks to the grace of God.

1,324) My 22-year old friend Tricia who is one of the most joyful Christians I know.

1,325) Swimming for the first time in over a year last Saturday.

1,326) The term “food porn.”

1,327) Finding lost pens and loose change in the couch cushions.

1,328) Knowing that without the book of Ruth, the Bible would be rather Ruth-less.

1,329) The visual of you grimacing at that last joke.

1,330) Not hearing The Macarena at any point today.

Coming soon to a theater near you, the next James Bond movie. Coming eventually to an electronic device near you, Things I Love 43.