Monday, May 2, 2011

Wedding


I think the Royal Wedding captured many of us this past week.  So much attention, so much preparation, so much celebration, so much pageantry! All of the media hype had us believing that we were not “anybody” if we didn’t see the ceremony, or the bride’s dress, or the royal couple. I even saw a humorous quip on the Washington Post’s website, exclaiming, “I was there.  I saw her sleeve!”

I also watched a clip on ABC’s website on my iPad (Ok, this is shameless self-promotion that I am in fact “somebody,” even if I didn’t attend or watch the Royal Wedding because I do own an iPad!) that showed the new couple standing on a balcony while the Royal Air Force flew by in salute. That’s why I was watching, mind you, for the planes. The little boy inside of me loves to watch air shows. But, I do agree that the bride, outside of my own bride, may be the prettiest bride I have ever seen. And her dress was stunning.

But what captured me were the comments by those observing the couple, that included phrases like, “You can see the obvious chemistry and connection between the two,” and “Did you notice how she looks at him when he speaks to her?”

Those descriptions struck a chord with me. Theologically, we understand the Church to be the Bride of Christ. It’s a beautiful image. But so often, we also hear some not-so-beautiful images about the Church—misuse of funds, ministerial abuses, declining participation and attendance, lack of focus and vision, and the criticisms go on. Those are some tough descriptions to bear. How did it come to this? Where’s the love?

Perhaps, we should identify our differences with Jesus? Maybe it is differences with each other that needs work? Maybe we should re-examine our relationship as a body of believers that purports to ‘hang on every word’ of Christ? Where is our gaze—on him or somewhere else?

What if, when folks come to the Church, maybe your church, they left saying, “Wow! These folks love each other and Christ. You can see the obvious chemistry and connection between the two.”

(And if you get airplanes to fly overhead, I might come, too!)

Dr. Chris Conver
Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator
Campbellsville University - Louisville

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How to Motivate the Next Generation

This young man never thought that his graduation speech would turn into a viral hit. He also never thought his words would be an excellent way for us to understand the importance of understanding the generation you wish to lead. If you want to lead them, you must understand what they understand, and a little humor doesn't hurt.

  video

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Coached"


I bet you this situation has happened to you.  You are trying to mind the speed limit, and trying to be a safe driver. Perhaps you have a teen of drive-able age now, and you want to model for them how to drive carefully. Or, perhaps you are in no particular hurry, and just want to relax, and de-stress for a few moments alone in the car. But then, some crazy driver zooms past, careens in front of you, just in time to exit at high speeds off to the right. “You unclean offspring of a domesticated canine!” you growl.

And it has happened again. Someone or something has brought you down to your lowest base level.  You were fine, and then the driver cut you off, or your neighbor ran over your petunias, or your child mouthed off at you, or you got to class to discover that your mid-term project was due tonight and not next week as you thought. And that sets you off, and lures into being someone you don’t like to be.

I had a pastor friend who defined the word, enemy, as “anyone who tempts you to be less than who you are.”  My friends, when I get stressed out, it seems to me that I might have a lot of enemies out there.... We can be tempted into being our worse, OR we can be coaxed toward being our best.

I had such an experience last Sunday. Sitting from the balcony during worship, I was able to see a small child, sitting in the lap of an adult, who was not the parent.  But there was that adult, kissing the child on the top of the head, and moving the finger of the child along the words in the hymnbook as we were singing—guiding, showing, loving the child in a song of the faith. And for a moment, I was coaxed, or perhaps better put, coached back to being my best.

“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called, ‘the children of God.’” 1 John 3:1

Dr. Chris Conver

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Zero to Hero


As a grandmother of eight, Sandra Holden was not convinced that she needed to go back to school to complete her degree. Mrs. Holden was employed as an in-home care-provider when she realized God’s calling on her life was more then what she was experiencing. Jim Woolums, Director of Campbellsville University in Louisville remembers when he first met Mrs. Holden, “She wasn’t sure if she had made the right choose to go back to school. Kelli (Gwilt, Assistant Director) and I helped her to understand, this was the right place to be.”
“I was afraid to back to school because people told me that I was not college material” said Holden. Despite the negative commits, Mrs. Holden began classes at CU-Louisville and soon finished her Associate’s degree. She would not stop there. Mrs. Holden continued in her studies until she graduated with her Bachelor’s in Educational Ministries.  “The Louisville Campus was like an extended family, they helped me stay focused so I could go on until I finished” said Holden.
“It was out of her Spiritual Formation class that she found her passion to help others,” said Woolums, “She wanted to turn her hurt into the ability to help others”. For years she had an idea of the older women in her church mentoring to the younger women. Mrs. Holden spoke with the wife of the pastor on a number of occasions but it appeared it would never happen. Then one day her Pastor approached and asked her to begin this ministry. 
“I wanted to learn how to help others overcome the negative feelings that I had been through during my time of grief.” said Holden who had suffered a lost of a child before attending CU-Louisville. “My intention was to learn how to speak to others that were going through what I went through; I needed to get over the fear of speaking to others” said Holden.
After graduation Mrs. Holden enrolled in the chaplaincy program at Baptist East Hospital in Louisville. She has just completed the program and is now excited about the future. Mrs. Holden commented on the staff at CU-Louisville, “I appreciate everyone’s help with both my emotional and physical problems that I endured during my time there. You (the staff) helped me keep the faith”.
Mrs. Holden continues to help others. Her ministry at the church continues to help younger women deal with the pressures that life offers. She also plans on extending her chaplaincy experience. Jim Woolums offers this compliment to Sandra Holden, “This is someone who went from zero to hero”. 
CU-Louisville is an extension of Campbellsville University offering a Christ-centered education for the adult learner. Their programs and classes are designed to help the busy adult complete their higher education while raising a family. For more information call 1-877-4CUGRAD or email Louisville@campbellsville.edu

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Becoming the Lord's Prayer

Found this video on Youtube of Dr. Leonard Sweet speaking on "Becoming the Lord's Prayer"


video


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's About Time


I bet you have heard that phrase before. You might have heard it from a spouse, or a teacher, or a supervisor—someone admitting to you their frustration about how late you are.  I bet there is a chance that even you might have said it in frustration to someone else, haven’t you?

We are in such a rush about everything. There is just so much to do, and we feel responsible to get everything done perfectly. It is especially frustrating if we feel like others are “holding us up” or keeping us from getting done what needs to be done. So, in an effort to do things well, we over-commit ourselves, and end up working ourselves to death.  My colleague, Kelli Gwilt, wrote about balancing our lives last week, and it got me to thinking about a healthy response to work.

Does this sound like you? You put in a full week of work; you tend for the needs of the household and family; you are committed to your local church or civic organization or where you kids attend school (or all three), and that takes 10-20 hours of your time; and you just feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day.  By some measures, you might be putting in 60, 70, or more hours a week.  And yet you feel like that your efforts weren’t enough, that you aren’t good enough, and that no one is satisfied. You just can’t please anybody….

There is a story from the life of Jesus in Luke 10:38-42 that might speak to those of us in this situation. Mary and Martha were preparing for a special guest. [i] Martha insisted that everything be “just right.” The house had to be in order, the sink had to be scrubbed, the big family Bible had to be on the coffee table, and the most sumptuous feast had to be concocted.  When Jesus arrived, Martha was still hustling about, barely wiping her hands on her apron to shake His, and then she was off to the kitchen again. Mary, on the other hand, sat down at Jesus’ feet and played the candid host.

Martha became quite upset. This was a very important time—a special guest, a special house arrangement, and a special meal. An evaluation of her and her efforts would be based on the sum of these parts. So everything must be at its best or folks would think less of Martha.  Martha’s anxiety built until she could stand it no longer, and stormed into the presence of Jesus to request Mary’s reprimand.  She fully expected that Jesus would applaud her and chastise Mary.  It seemed like for all of her life, this had been the situation.  Martha would do all the work, and Mary would sit around and bat her eyes at the boys. Surely, now Martha would be proved right—and it would be about time!

Then the most surprising thing happened. Jesus apparently had other plans in mind.  Instead of scolding Mary, Jesus focused on Martha. Jesus said, “Martha, you feel you must do so many things, and therefore, many things trouble you.  There is only one thing that has this ‘must do’ sense about it.  And Mary has chosen the good part.”

The trouble is, for folks like Martha, we think we have chosen the good part by working so hard. But instead, we are depleting our own resources, and in the end, working against ourselves. We kid ourselves into believing we are trying to please others, but the truth is that we may be trying to please ourselves. We are our own toughest critic. So, we work harder because we are afraid of how we don’t like ourselves when we don’t. How can Jesus tell Martha (and us) to stop working so hard? Well, the Gospels tell us that at times Jesus went away to be by himself (Luke 4:42), and even God took a Sabbath at creation. Maybe Jesus is saying, “Work hard, yes, but balance hard work with rest and play, too.”

It’s about time, but not in the sense that we thought it was originally.  Take advantage of your time. Breathe deeply. Stop rushing. Take a break. Enjoy the moment. You know, I have never heard anyone, who was reflecting back on life, say, “I wish I had worked harder.  I wish I had done more tasks faster. I wish I had shouldered more burdens.”  It’s totally the opposite that we hear, isn’t it?  Don’t they usually say things like, “Enjoy more sunsets, smell more flowers, make more children giggle, and eat more chocolate chip cookies”? Ok, I added the part about the cookies, but the point is the same—slow down, take some time. You have ultimate acceptance by God, who shows you your value by sending Jesus Christ, the Son.  Get it? God, the Creator of everything thinks you are top notch! If God so loves us, shouldn’t we also love ourselves?  And if we love ourselves, isn’t it all right to slow down, and to take time to nurture, to refresh, and to care for ourselves?

So, today, maybe even right now, take a breather. Maybe get up from where you are, go out to appreciate the wonder of your surroundings, and the miracle of this day. Do it—it’s about time.


[i] This retelling of the story of Mary and Martha and the substance of this blog are drawn from Christopher C. Conver and Leigh E. Conver, Self-Defeating Life-Styles (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1988, pgs. 123-128).