Blog Archives

Ping-Pong

When I hear the bounce of a ping-pong ball, I think of these things:

When I met Jim for the first time, he carried a ping-pong paddle everywhere he went ready to take a challenge of ping-pong at anytime.  Jim used a game of ping-pong to get to know me better. As we played, we had found out that his Wesley Foundation tour group had gone to Texas for Spring Break and the college choir I sung with went to Texas during Spring Break. We discussed our itineraries of Spring Break and found out that we had followed each other up and down the Gulf Coast that Spring. As a matter of fact, his group had been invited to come to a church where the choir I was with was performing one evening. Yet, Jim opted not to go but stayed behind at the Rec center of the church that was lodging his group. He opted out to play ping-pong! Even though Jim didn’t hear God tell him the girl of his dreams was at this church and yielded to play ping-pong that evening, God did get us together three months later at Lake Junaluska. And, it was a game of ping-pong where we began to share our stories and  bond.

When I hear the bounce of a ping-pong ball on the table, I think of a trip I took to Costa Rica my senior year in high school.  I was part of a Mission Team that went to one of the small towns in the mountains of Costa Rica to work on a Methodist church.  One of the projects we were to work on was to do some work on a dorm that the church provided for young men to reside in while they attended school in town. After many days of electrical work, painting and cleaning, the dorm was ready for these young men to reside in. One evening, as our group leader began to lead us in evening prayers, we heard the bounce of a ping-pong ball hitting a tennis table. We all could not help but smile. The residents of this dorm did not have to tell us they appreciated our work but we heard their appreciation through the sound of a game of ping-pong being played.

The holidays will soon be here which means my son, Drew and his wife, Megan will be coming in for a day or two to celebrate Christmas. One tradition that is sacred at hour house is Jim and Drew setting up the ping-pong table in the garage and challenging each other to a game or two. In the process of trick serves, twist and our black lab, Tori catching a few balls, this father/son/best friend duo will catch up on what is up at their offices, and University of Kentucky basketball.

Not only does Jim and Drew enjoy a game of ping-pong when Drew is home. But, Drew’s office has a room with a ping-pong table. It is used when there are blocks of creativity, and to possibly get to know someone better. As a matter of fact, Drew’s interview with his company included a game of ping-pong.

Each one of these scenarios of ping-pong represent something of importance. It is the importance of communication. It is in the serving the ball back and forth that conversation begins. Every now and then, there may be a pause in a game for the competitors to listen even closer to one another. When we talk with others, it is important that we share a little about ourselves and then let the other share about themselves. Out of this going back and forth, friendships are formed and relationships are nurtured.

God placed us here to not just be in relationship with Him but to be in relationship with others. It is in relationship with others that we are nurtured, learn more about the needs of others, and learn more about ourselves. In order to be in relationship with God and with others, we have to be willing to serve and then be served too.

Sometimes, some of us tend to be the ones who are always being served. When we are simply just served all the time without returning, we miss the blessings that God has in store of us by reciprocating to others. If we are not careful, we can become isolated not from God but from others. Just like in a game of ping-pong, if there is no one there to return the ball, there is no game and it quickly becomes old and dull.

Other times, some of us may the ones who are always serving but we don’t allow others to serve us. In other words, allow others to minister to us. Instead, we gladly do anything for anyone else but when we have a need, we tend to shut down and crawl into our own little cocoon. In not allowing others to serve us, we think we are sparing the other person or persons time that they may not have, or resources that they may not have. However, it can be just as insulting to someone when we refuse to be served just as it is when we don’t reciprocate when we are served. When we don’t allow ourselves to be served with a grateful heart, we also put ourselves in isolation from others. We miss out in the blessings that God has planned for us through the service of others.

There are two stories in the book of John of  serving and returning the serve. In John 12, we read how Mary took the finest of perfumes and washed the feet of Jesus with the oil and her hair. The disciples felt that this act was needless and a waste of money. The disciples felt that the money used for the perfume should have been used for the poor. But, Jesus told the disciples to leave Mary alone. Jesus told them that this act of love and service was  a part of His Father’s plan.

Then, we read over in John 13 where Christ and disciples are celebrating Passover. Today, we know it as Holy Communion. As the evening progresses, Jesus washes the feet of His disciples. Again, they questioned and could not understand why Christ was washing their feet. As we read on in the chapter, we see that Jesus explains why He has chosen to wash the feet of his followers. This was Christ’s example of how we are to give and receive with one another.

These are two beautiful stories of Christ teaching us how to serve and be served. Have you ever participated in a Foot Washing service? I have and it is very humbling. As the person washed my feet, I felt unworthy of this ministry to me but yet I saw grace, joy and blessing in the giver’s eyes. If I had not participated in this service as the receiver and giver, I would have missed growing in grace and the blessings God had for me that evening.

As we go through our days ahead, we need to remember to take time to serve and then be ready to be a receiver, too. In doing this, we begin building bonds of friendships and community of support. It is in serving the ball back and forth that we learn about the other person’s story, we minister to each other and experience God’s grace and blessings all the more.

So, how is your game of ping-pong being played. Are you allowing the ball being served to you? Are you returning the ball? Does your game need to improve one way or the other? As you go through the days ahead, think about how your game needs to improve and allow the grace of God work through you in serving others and in allowing others to serve you.  I also encourage you to read John 12 and 13 in the days ahead. It is in this back and forth with others that we experience God’s grace and the blessings He has prepared for us.

Blessings


God Speaks. I Write. He Reveals His Plan.

Is there anybody there?

"I will lift my eyes to the hills- from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2

We can be confident that His desire to reveal will always be greater than our desire to know. Corrie Ann Pearce

In my post He Will Have The Last Laugh , I shared how I began writing my Faith Thoughts and started my website. It was through my son, Drew, asking me about my passion and God telling me to write. In my November post,  I shared about  God  having the last laugh with me. God had a plan and He knew I would one day share my faith in words.

As I look back on the posts that I have written, it has been revealed to me that I have not just been sharing my faith, telling how God is in control, and how we should trust Him. God has also been talking to me through my own writings. You have heard the quote physician heal thyself. In recent days, I have gone back and read some of the articles I have written.  In these, I see how  God was talking to me through these words. Talking about the advice being right there in front of one’s nose! God has reminded me that he loves me, he is my strength, I need to “Let go and let Him”, and that I need to trust Him.  I can only imagine how King David felt as he wrote the Psalms.

Through this reflection, God has revealed  to me even more how life is a great tapestry. In the last few months, I see many threads being woven into a bigger picture. These threads not only include the scriptures and thoughts I share. They include you the reader, the comments you send back to me, and the new Christian writers that I have met through the blog writing community. As a result, the tapestry becomes brighter, more colorful and all the more beautiful each time I share my thoughts with you.

Often, I share the quote God has a plan and its a good plan. I did not think that writing was part of my life’s plan.  Through these writings I not only step out in faith and share, but I learn more about myself, God’s love for me, and how God has everything under control.  I have responded to some of your comments with God speaks, I write.   Also know that not only is He speaking to me to share His light and love with you. He and I are conversing with each other. In my conversation with God, one more bright thread is being added to my tapestry.

As you go through the days ahead, reflect back on the things you have done, said, and shared with someone.  When you do reflect on these things, I know that God is going to reveal a few beautiful threads that have been woven in your tapestry. These may have been something you have shared with someone that turned out to be the very advice you needed to know now. 

God speaks. I write. Thus He reveals his purpose and plan. AMAZING and AWESOME!

Related Articles

 

The Front Porch

The Butterfly House @ Lake Junaluska, NC

Jim was on Facebook the other night chatting with friends. As I watched him chat and listen to him read a comment or two to me, I realized that Facebook is the new front porch. How many of you remember front porches? The front porch is where you sat on a warm evening and swung in the swing or rocked in a rocking chair. As you sat on the porch, friends and neighbors would come by and some would come up and sit a while. The news of the day would be shared along with a story or two told.  Sometimes, homemade ice cream would be made as the stories were shared. Or, a cold Coca Cola would be offered to sip on and savor as you visited with friends and family on the  porch.

Ah, yes, the front porch. One of my fondest memories of the front porch was Ms. Sarah and Mr. Cape’s front porch. They were our next door neighbors when my family and I lived in the small rural community of Burwell, Georgia. Anytime of the day you could go up to their porch and they would stop what they were doing and offer a Coca Cola and sometimes a piece of pecan pie and simply visit. Though, if it were garden season, you may be handed a bowl of peas to shell or beans to snap as you were treated to that Coke and pie. No matter though, the visits were all the same and I learned so much from just listening to Ms. Sarah and Mr. Cape share about their life. Oh, to be on that porch again.

Ms. Sarah’s and Mr. Cape’s home…spent many afternoons and evenings on this porch.

Another fond memory of a front porch began several years ago when my parents began renting a cottage at Lake Junaluska. Since it is difficult to get a lot of time together at the holidays and during the year, we all gather at the Butterfly House to enjoy fellowship, swapping stories and to simply re- charge. Now, if you have been to Junaluska, you know that sitting on the front porch is not an option but it is mandatory.  There is nothing like it to just sit there during the day and escape with a good book, to just sit and look at the lake and visit with folks as they pass by.  When sitting on a front porch at Junaluska, there is a front porch etiquette. First, you greet and wave to people as they pass by your porch. Also, when sitting on the porch, realize that you have extended an open invitation for anyone to come up and sit a while to visit. Sometimes, you may know your guest and other times it may be a meeting of the first time. Then, there is my code of the porch and that is there has to be a cold Coca Cola or glass of sweet iced tea in hand.  Now, that is what I called living!

It saddens me that now-a-days a lot of homes are not built with front porches. My house is one of those houses. As I look back, I wished I had picked a design that would have allowed for a front porch. In today’s world, most people come and go through their garages and never even see much less speak to a neighbor. Houses are built in such a way that you can’t tell if anyone is even at home which I am told that is just a good security thing. But, with the front porch gone, so is the fellowship and taking the time out to get to really know someone is gradually fading away. Thus, now each evening, we all get on Facebook to catch up with latest news or to share a story or two.

Though there are front porches few and far between, my challenge for you when it gets to be warm weather to find a spot in front of your house. Once you find your spot, take an iced tea or cold Coke out with you along with an extra chair or two. Then, as people in your neighborhood walk by invite them up to sit a while, share a story or two.

You see, it is all about fellowship. When we fellowship with one another, we are also in fellowship with God. God created us to fellowship with one another and to hear each other’s stories.  Who knows, one of those front porch visitors could be the blessing you need or you could be the blessing they need.

I hope you take time to enjoy a porch with loved ones. Thank you for visiting “Thoughts From The Porch.”

In the meantime, you will probably see Jim and me on our front porch during the day and/or in the evening. As we visit on our front porch, we will add a comment or two, we will share a story or two. Then, sometimes we will simply sit there and read your story as you share.  If you see us on the front porch, feel free to pop in and say hello on the chat line. Our front porch is open for fellowship. How about your front porch?

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16         

Drew and Jim visiting on the porch @ Lake Junaluska, NC

%d bloggers like this: