40 Day Journey – with Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Day 1 finished

Its-a-wonderful-lifepicture from thefilmspectrum.com

Day 1 – finished thoughts.

I had a friend of mine comment yesterday with two, very insightful thoughts on truly following wherever Jesus may lead us. The first was the idea that we tend to limit God because we are unwilling to take risks, to dream big or maybe it’s because we’ve never really accepted the promise that God really does want what is best for us, “plans for us to prosper”. This doesn’t necessarily mean financially. It could but to only think of that verse in terms of prospering financially, again limits the ways that God could help us “prosper”.

The second thought, which I completely overlooked, was the idea of – in all things be thankful. Eucharisto. No matter my circumstance, I am and should be thankful for wherever I may find myself. This can be extremely difficult depending on the situation we may find ourselves. Speaking for myself here, I tend to never really express my gratitude for the countless blessings God has given me over the course of my life. Even through the worst moments of my journey, when I reflect on where I came from and what I’ve been through, I’ve experienced first hand the countless times where God has blessed me financially, with strength, with wisdom, with stamina and yes, even with patience.

I once again find myself in such a season where I truly don’t know where God is leading me and in my human nature, it is more than a little unnerving not knowing. However, through Christ, I know if obedient, He will lead me exactly to where I should be. Probably not known to a lot of people, I have been looking for employment since the first of the year. The circumstances which led me to this place are not important but rather the process of which I proceed forward is.

The really great thing about this, is that God started preparing Lisa and I for this months in advance. In talking with each other we both had this sense that God was preparing us for a change. Whether that change was in physically moving or a job change, or both we weren’t sure but we knew things weren’t going to stay the same. The reason we knew this was because God has done this before in our lives. As we started thinking and praying about what was to come, we suddenly, out of the blue, learned that we would be coming into money.

My first thought was how cool, now I can buy some things (toys), and maybe get some things done around the house that really need to get done. But fortunately my conscience (Lisa), prevailed in convincing me that maybe we should practice patience and sit tight with the money. A very wise woman, my wife and someone I never fail to be thankful for! God’s timing proved to be perfect again as the week before the check arrived we found out what the provision of money was to be used for, as I found out that I would soon be unemployed. God’s grace really is sufficient.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also take this chance and express gratitude for Pastor Chuck and the rest of my family (church staff), for the love and support they have shown me and my family through this transition. It is rare to find yourself in this type of position and have nothing but respect, love and admiration for your former employer. But that is exactly how I feel about them. Their constant uplifting as served as a reminder that God is in control and I only need to be faithful to follow Him.

So as I type this I still have no idea what is next for Lisa and I but I am thankful for the peace I have in this moment. It’s cliché I know but honestly, I feel a little like Jimmy Stewart at the end of It’s A Wonderful Life. Not the very end where everything works out but at the moment where he understands how precious his life really is. At that moment, he doesn’t know how things will turn out, he only knows that he has a chance to live, to see and be with his family again. In that moment, he fully understands how blessed he is and is truly thankful for all he has. And just as he was to learn, we typically learn later how much more we are blessed than what we first realize. Standing in his living room, he finally understands that one of his greatest blessings are those relationships which surround him in love in his hour of greatest need.

Peace and thanks for reading

Life Lesson Series – Laugh Often

Christmas 2011Laughter truly is the greatest remedy – it cures almost anything, even if it’s only for a short time. I heard someone say “laughter bounces away all the dirt”. If you think about it, that genuinely describes what happens when you laugh. Everything that is pent up inside of you emotionally is released when you experience the physical act of laughing. It’s an instant release of stress that’s bottled up inside of you. Even if it’s nothing more than an instant  of unbridled relief, laughter can release a mountain of built up stress.

By my nature I’m pretty laid back which I count as a huge blessing. Not that I’m not intense or have moments where I feel like I may explode but for the most part, I’m able to keep a pretty even temperament about things. Right or wrong the only time I really tend to get keyed up is when I am competing at something. I hate to lose…at anything. Sports and the like as always been the one area where I know I tend to take myself too seriously. And I must admit I’m not looking to change this character fault or strength, depending on how you look at it.

I think that in general though, we tend to take ourselves to seriously which prohibits us from laughing more. A quick example of this would be – you’re heading down 85 south to the Falcons game and you are running behind so you feel your anxiety rising. As you make it off the exit to turn right you find yourself behind someone who has suddenly decided that maybe they should turn left, there just not sure yet which way to go. Now be honest, at this point, we all know that person has no right to be driving an operated vehicle, especially with us being late for kickoff.

So what’s our response when we happen to be the other driver. My kids and wife have always taken great pleasure in letting me know when I’m the other driver. They’ll laugh or snicker but not too much as to upset me. Those are the moments you just have to laugh at yourself and move on. Come to think of it, some of the best times we have had as a family has been in our cars, driving to or from somewhere. Music and laughing has always been a staple of any trip taken by the Dorsey clan.

If you are ever fortunate enough to partake of dinner at our house (and your all welcome to do so), with all six of us there, just know that everything is fair game. Say something that doesn’t sound right or try to embellish a story a little and you will get called on it. My absolute favorite memories and what I miss most with the kids being gone now, are those dinners and family game night. We always allowed everyone the opportunity to speak and tell their story of the day. We would have nights where you would have to make up a story on the fly.

As the kids got older we took this game on the road, especially at Christmas time. As the kids and I would be waiting on Lisa to peruse through the mall stores, we would sit outside in the commons area and tell stories about the other people in the mall. “See that older couple over there? His name is Bill and that’s his wife Gladys, they just arrived in town to celebrate Christmas with their son’s family and realized they needed one more gift for their grandson”. The kids would come up with some great stories.

Now that they’re adults we will still revert back to our “make believe” sessions from time to time and it’s still just as much fun as it was back when. They have also refined the art of keeping each other, along with their mom and me, humble. I count it a great blessing that even now as they’re each making their own way in this world, that our kids not only still like to hang with us old folks but schedule time to do just that. We all love hanging out and doing things with other people but we are just as content when it’s only us.

Life is serious business. With the ebb and flow of getting through the daily grind, it’s easy to forget the joys and happiness of life. My prayer is that you refuse to let that happen. To always remember your blessings in the midst of the trials and tribulations. Reflect on the good times and let memories wash away the grime and always, always look forward to how you can make some new ones.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Scott

A Word about Life

Life is a gift, A gift is our life

But to live a life, that is ours to do.

Our gift is to be shared, Our life shared with others

To encourage, to laugh, to cry, to celebrate, to mourn

Life is complex, glorious, fragile and all to fleeting.

As we move through time and space together, I ask

What of myself, or any of us, would be the greatest value

I could ever offer to another?

For others to know that I love them, that they truly know.

May be the greatest gift I have to offer.

 

A Story

I think I’ve reached that time in life that seems to happen to individuals who are usually in their 60’s, 70’s or later. You know, when they reach that age where they don’t care what they say or how they say it. In some cases, they really don’t care if it hurts your feelings or not, they just want to make sure you hear their opinion. They don’t make apologies and/or excuses, they are just stating their view point on whatever the topic is.

I would love be at that point but honestly, I’m not. Not yet anyway but definitely closer with each passing day. In the last two weeks I have had the opportunity to experience two totally different times of life while continuing to live my own. Two weeks ago at this time, I was wrapping up our first night of Church time at the youth camp our church students were attending for the week.

I knew that I had a theme that I wanted to introduce the students and was basically trying to lay the groundwork for the week ahead. My hope was for each student, no matter what grade they were in, to grasp the concept that the week they were beginning to embark on, could represent a new chapter in the rest of their lives. As I looked out on the faces of these young people I could see them begin to contemplate their respective futures. The room was filled with future wives and husbands; bankers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, homemakers, missionaries and any number of things all in that room together.

Obviously with the first night of camp everyone is excited and anxious for the week to unfold. These young people had a look of expectancy about them. They knew and understood that the week could hold great promise/change for them. For others it was if they were waiting for affirmation of choices they had already made. I could see, sense all of this as I looked out on this room of the future. Each of them with their own story to write and I was overwhelmed with the potential that was listening to me intently.

Last Monday night, I spent the night at mom and dad’s house keeping mom company. Dad had been admitted to Cobb General earlier in the day, so I took mom home to eat and hopefully get a good nights rest. I was praying that Dad would also be able to rest and that we might be able to get some answers early the next morning as to what was going on. As mom retired for the night, I poured myself some tea and tried to find some junk food to eat but to no avail. I settled for a PB&J and a little milk.

As time begin to pass by I found myself recollecting on the previous week and all the promising futures I got to be with. I spent several minutes praying for all the kids and some specific requests that I had been made aware of during the week. I found myself thinking about my own life and some of the promises I held when I was 18. Being in mom and dad’s house made that easy to think on and reflect.

I wandered through the minefields of my memory and found myself thinking about my parents life and the stories they have written thus far – individually and together. I must say as I went through this exercise I found myself  realizing how great their journey has been. What struck me the most was to realize how much impact their life – their story has had on those around them.

Back to camp my mind drifted and how I wish I had conveyed to all those students just how much their lives could impact the world. The choice is truly theirs! Yes, they will all have obstacles to overcome and some battles will be lost but the impact they will have on the world around them is theirs to decide. Then that quiet voice that I truly hate to hear from sometimes, whispered in my ear; what about you?

What about me?, I thought. I’m trying to do my thing, be a positive influence on the world around me. Live my life in a way that reflects Christ in all that I do. So as I sat in the wee hours of the morning pondering over all these things, I realized there’s more to my own story. Being honest with myself I admit that I have been writing the same chapter for awhile now. Time to begin a new chapter. What this looks like I have no idea but I do know that I am the only one who can write it.

So for any students that may read this – I am accepting the same challenge I gave to you all at camp. What is God’s plan for my life? I will seek Him and search for the answers. I know they are there – I just have to be diligent to do my part.

I’ll continue my journey of the last two weeks later but for now I’ll leave all of you with this question/challenge – Are you writing the story that was meant for you to write? Or is time for you to begin a new chapter? a different story?

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Jeremiah 29:11 – 11 For I know the plans that I [a]have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Ephesians 2:10 – 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

A Celebration – My Family

For those who know my family, you are already aware that we celebrated my son’s graduation from Auburn University this past weekend. The weekend was absolutely perfect as once again we were all able to be together and join Kyle as he celebrated a huge milestone in his young life!! It was the first time that we have all been together since Christmas. So for three days at least, life was perfect!!

Thanks to our wonderful daughter, Andrea, we were able to start the weekend in grand style by spending Friday night hanging out at the Ritz Carlton, downtown. There is nothing quite like the Ritz when it comes to first class service, simple elegance and attention to details!! As we waited on everyone’s arrival, it was so nice to be able to simply relax, take a breath and just be. Once everyone had arrived, we made our way over to Jalepeno Charlies to partake of a little mexican food. Charlies is a cool place and I highly recommend it if you ever find yourself downtown at supper time.

Just like any family, we spent dinner time catching up on the details of everyone’s life and sharing stories of this and that. I can’t remember all the stories off hand but I do remember laughing, laughing a lot actually. One thing about the Dorsey’s, we are funny, and if to no one else, at least to ourselves so we usually have a good time. As a parent, I think it’s natural during these moments to kind of drift off in a lot of different directions as we look and listen to our kids. Remembering them as they use to be, thinking of where they are now and wondering about the path they are currently pursuing. Praying and hoping they are truly happy and if not, at least knowing they will be soon.

Saturday morning started off great. We left the hotel only 4o minutes after I really wanted to but I planned for that so all was good. Car rides are a lot of fun no matter the distance when you are heading to a joyous event. And this one was fun as well until, we came to a sudden and prolonged stop of 45 minutes. Not so fun anymore. I try not to get stressed, convincing myself it will all be good. There’s still time to get there, get some snap shots for mom, get a little starbucks and then make our way into the arena for graduation. It’s just hard when you don’t move for almost an hour.

We did arrive just in time to get a few pictures, some were able to get coffee and we were in our seats with plenty of time to spare. One of my favorite things to do is people watch and especially on these types of occasions as everyone is in a relatively good mood, with lots of smiles and laughter. The ceremony itself was fine but let’s face it, it’s rare you ever hear anyone say “Listen, I have to tell you what I heard at this graduation last week.” Actually, I wonder if that’s ever been said. You listen at graduations but only to make sure you don’t miss the name of the person you are there to see.

From graduation we made our way over to Columbus to have a late lunch at Houlihan’s before making our way back home. The drive home was great for all of my passengers as they got the chance to catch a short nap before starting the evening festivities we had planned for when we got home. It was simply a great night as we gathered as a family once more to celebrate Kyle’s accomplishment. I must tell ya, that what made the evening so great was that we were able to have our closest friends (extended family), share the moment with us.

So as I sat in my chair in the living room listening to what seemed like 10 different conversations and all of the laughter taking place around my home, I was overwhelmed with joy, contentment, peace, sadness and love; all in the same moment!! Sadness only because I knew come Sunday night, this celebration would end as the kids would begin making their way back to their homes. One of the best parts of the weekend is that we were all able to attend church together on Sunday.

Although sad that we may not be able to be together as often as we once were, I’m extremely happy and greatly blessed in knowing that like me, all of them can’t wait for when we have the opportunity to get together again and celebrate our family. It is only by God’s grace, mercy and love for me that I am able to have and enjoy the family that I have! And I am so thankful!!

In my last series, Life Lessons, my initial posting was titled – Share the Journey. My prayer for all of you is that each of you have/find people that you can share your journey with. For me, I truly am thankful, that I am able to share my journey with my family!

May you be blessed with Hope, Joy and Peace!! Thanks for reading.

2 Weeks and Counting

Wow, 2 weeks from today, I will be leaving for 10 days for what, is for me, the longest trip I have ever taken and what I am expecting to be, the most exciting. In preparation for the trip, I have been reading everything I can on Cape Town and the people that make up it’s population and in particular, the area we will be working, which is, The Cape Flats.

Cape Town is South Africa’s oldest city and the second largest city, behind only Johannesburg in terms of population at nearly 4 million people. The Cape Flats make up the majority of the total population of Cape Town. Apartheid (racial segregation)was instituted in 1948 and shortly led to the Group Areas Act, which classified all areas according to race. As a result, formerly multi-racial suburbs of Cape Town were either purged of unlawful residents or demolished. In 1965, one entire area of 60,000 homes was destroyed and most of it’s people moved to the area now known as the Cape Flats.

Due to Apartheid, South Africa was sent reeling into economic depression and racial dissension. Only in the last 10 to 15 years as the Cape Town area began it’s ascension back and unfortunately, it will take decades for this region to recover. But there is hope as tourism as helped the Country to start rebuilding it’s economy. Poverty, poor healthcare and education remain the most overwhelming obstacles to overcome for this region.

Bridge4Hope is working to help in all of these areas as their Mission is: We exist to equip African individuals to be the catalyst of change in their society and to build sustainable communities together. We aim to bring transformative solutions to poverty, suffering, and injustice through holistic community development by the means of education, healthcare, small business development, and church planting. We seek to change the world, one community at a time.

One of their courses – EPIC – recently kicked off a new session with 12 new students. You can read up on this here: http://b4hope.wordpress.com/category/epic-leadership-discipleship-school/ . When we are there in 2 weeks, we will have the opportunity to work with these young folks one on one and in group sessions. It’s very humbling to think that God would allow me the opportunity to travel half-way across the world and take part in helping young people there grow in their relationship with Christ!

My prayer today is this: that over the next 2 weeks, I would be diligent in studying God’s word and preparing myself in such a way, that I may be used by Him in whatever way required during my time in Cape Town!!

I anxiously await to meet the people of Cape Town and submerge myself into their culture and prayerfully hope that through Christ, our team, is able to assist these young people in strengthening their relationship with Christ, their families, and their community.

Peace and thanks for reading!!