6 for Saturday

Gratitude Day 332

Sat., Sept. 28, 2019

Matthew 20:26: (Jesus said,) “But among you it is quite different. Anyone wanting to be a leader among you must be your servant.”

On occasion, I have posted what I call “6 for Saturday.” Basically, these are six random thoughts/things going on in my life.

Here’s today’s version.

While it’s football season, we’re still in baseball mode. Hubby Rick LOVES the Brewers. Imagine this: it’s 5 AM. Rick has just arrived home from his 12-hour overnight shift, during which he has probably listened to three MLB games on the radio. This would include an east coast game, a Midwest game and a west coast game. Because it’s VERY IMPORTANT that I know how all of those teams did at 5 AM, I get the recap of last night’s games as Rick crawls into bed. Who pitched well. Who had a home run. Where the Milwaukee Brewers (our team of choice) is in the playoff rankings. It was rather exciting this week when the Brewers secured a spot in the playoffs. When the NFL games began a couple weeks back, Rick informed me that “it’s too early for football right now. I’m still into baseball.” Baseball is it, my friends. I am filling a pulpit this weekend, which means I get to preach. I’ve decided a message tying baseball to the spiritual journey is most appropriate. Hopefully, there are a few baseball fans in attendance, other than my hubby.

I am hosting a one-day garage sale today. I am not a garage sale person. I don’t beat the bushes for the best deal. I have never actually hosted my own garage sale. I’ve hosted the church garage sale at my house and taken things to other people’s garage sales. When I floated this idea past Rick a few weeks ago, he got onboard and decided he had things to sell as well. Why am I having a garage sale? I’m still in the purge mode. I’m at the point where the things I’m getting rid of are nice and many. It’s time to say good-bye. I PRAY a few people stop by and fall in love with stuff they can’t live without because I can.

My favorite book genre right now is historical fiction. And I found another great book: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. The book tells the story about a fictional Mississippi River family in the 1930’s. While living near Memphis, the family’s five children were taken away from their parents and become wards at the Tennessee Children’s Home, which did exist and was run by Georgia Tann. Tann was an early promoter of adaption. While her concept was noteworthy, how she connected kids and potential families was riddled with layers upon layers of impropriety. Modern-day Avery Stafford discovers that her grandmother has a well-hid secret. The two stories intertwine and take the reader on a wonderful journey. What happened at the children’s home was deplorable. This book brings to light a fascinating story.

Fall is officially here. I pulled out a few decorations before company arrived last weekend. Rather than shades of orange, red and yellow, I’m feeling more neutral this fall. I’ve decided this is A-OK. I’m using white and grey with a hint of blue; decorations I already had. We have two large pumpkins in our garden that I’ll decorate with after our garage sale. Listen to your heart. Make your soul sing with happiness.

Look at this beautiful picture of Madison, WI. We live about 30 minutes from downtown Madison which is surrounded by four lakes. Wisconsin’s capital sits on a narrow isthmus where two of these lakes nearly touch. This is such a gorgeous picture, showing exactly how downtown Madison looks.

I’m making this my quote of the week. Jesus was so unique in his approach to leadership in that he turned the generally accepted leadership style upside down. In his day, Jewish leaders distanced themselves from certain responsibilities because they felt these jobs were “beneath them.” But look at what Jesus says. Don’t expect to be a leader unless you also plan to serve. Today, we put so much emphasis on being a good leader. Jesus says, “Before you can declare yourself a leader, first, you must be a servant. Period. End of story.” I recently read where the number of volunteers in the U.S. is declining. We are forgetting that leadership begins with how we treat others. We discover this best when we allow ourselves to serve others rather than expecting to be served. This is a lesson that never grows old. One that needs to be repeated and repeated and repeated.

I’m inspired by the leader Jesus. Who inspires you? How do you view the concept of servant leadership? How can you serve someone else today and, in the meantime, model leadership?

For Christ’s example of servant leadership, I am grateful. 

Lord God – thank you for Jesus’ example and words which encourage us to be leaders AND servants. May we discover a way to serve You and someone else today. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 141 – Teamwork

Wed., Oct. 24, 2018

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 – You are better off to have a friend than to be all alone, because then you will get more enjoyment out of what you earn. If you fall, your friend can help you up. But if you fall without having a friend nearby, you are really in trouble.

They were the Cinderella team that just didn’t quite make it.Brewers #1

When the World Series begins tonight, we, in Wisconsin, will be a little sad. We were so hopeful this would be the year the Brewers would finally make it back to the World Series. It didn’t happen. They lost the National Championship in game 7.

The last time the Brew Crew was in the World Series? Almost a lifetime ago in 1982. Die-hard Brewers fans remember Harvey’s Wallbangers: Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Jimmie Gantner and others. Who can forget pitcher Rollie Finger’s infamous handlebar mustache?

Braun

This year, Wisconsin fans have been rooting for the Brewers like crazy. They were not the first pick to make it to the World Series. They are too small of a market, don’t have a big enough payroll and aren’t a long-standing powerhouse team. The team is known for their famous race between various locally produced sausages between innings than their post-season playoff record. Or Bernie the Brewer’s really cool slide he takes a trip down when the home team scores a homerun.

As much as they wanted to prove to the rest of the baseball world they were good enough to make a deep run, it just didn’t quite happen.

Craig Counsell

The team is coached by a former Brewer, Craig Counsell, who grew up going to Brewers games with his Dad. Counsell used some unorthodox strategy all year, which became more interesting during the playoffs. Every game was unpredictable. Counsell stuck with his game plan, even when others thought this strategy was crazy.

Hubby Rick has been a Brewers fan for years. I mean years. I don’t have to watch the games. I often get a play-by-play of the previous night’s game at 4 or 5 AM when he gets home from work. Is it really important to know how many innings Josh Hader pitched or how many times Christian Yelich got on base as the horizon dawns into a new day? Rick thought this was important pillow talk as he wound down after his night shift. As it became possible for the Brewers to win their division coming into October, dinners were ate around the coffee table with the game on TV. If I wanted quality time with my hubby, it meant sitting with him while he anticipated who would be brought up from the bullpen.

Yelich

Why was this Brewer team different from the last 35 teams? I’m no baseball expert, but in my uneducated observations, these guys love to play baseball. In the movie “The Rookie,” Dennis Quaid plays a high school science teacher/varsity baseball coach. Quaid’s character, Jim Morris upholds a promise made to his team and tries out for the pros. Now on the farm team, the team drives from game to game on a bus. Morris is surrounded with guys about half his age. When the team bemoans another game in a no-name town, Quaid reminds them with a huge smile on his face, “We get to play baseball.”

This Brewers group has kept this same excitement connected to their love of the game. They were fun to watch, whether you are a Brewers fan or not.

Another reason for success: teamwork. Every professional sports team preachs teamwork. Some have it. Some wished they had it. This team was committed to Coach Counsell’s strategy and game plan. They lived out Counsell’s mantra to “stay connected.” Day in and out, these guys understood that they each had a role to play. And they played it. If a guy wasn’t hitting well, he was sent to the farm team to get his swing worked out. Sometimes, a pitcher was brought in to pitch only to one batter. Most would say this strategy was crazy. The pitchers seemingly accepted their roles and didn’t want to let the team down. There was a different vibe in the locker room.

I pray these guys have “stayed connected” this week. Disappointed, but guys who want to be friends off the field. Ready to pick each other up and carry them along while so many question Councell’s strategy.

bull pen

Faith communities have plenty to learn from the Brewers. “Staying connected” is an important and long-term viable necessity for churches and denominations. Doing things for the love of God is a long-term requirement as well. Too often, we focus on other things than focusing on these two simple yet profound core values.

Rick is having to find some new pillow talk topics for when he gets home at 5 AM. Yet, I know he and many others will be talking about the Brewers until spring training starts next spring.

For the example of team work and love of the game, I am grateful.

Almighty God – I pray we can see places outside of the church that inspire us inside the church. May we, as faith community members, also be great encouragements for families, groups and individuals. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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