Well I decided I would try recording some of my piano playing. I usually write a few little things here and there, but never really do anything with them. So I thought I would start sharing them. I still need to work on the audio quality. I am trying out a few different setups, etc.
Yesterday I read an article written by a lady who worked for years as a nurse for the dying. In this article she listed the 5 most common regrets people have on their death bed. I included the link to that article at the bottom of this post. It really is a must read. Whenever I read articles such as these, or see a movie like the bucket list it always causes me to become introspective. Honestly I think that is a healthy expression and something we should do from time to time. In the midst of the insanity that is our life we should pause at moments for reflection. It is important to take inventory of where we have been, where we are at, and where we are going. As I grow older I am becoming painfully aware of the limitations, of time, health, and life. I am of the full belief that life is short, incredibly short. We are never too young or too old to figure out where we are at, decide if that’s where we want to be and make course corrections along the way.
I have decided to heed to the wisdom of many who have come before me. I can’t tell you how many times I have been told how fast life goes by. Now add to that having children and apparently the clock ticks even faster still. We have one life, and it is a gift. We must decide how we want to live it. No one else can do that for us. We have to make the effort to get off the treadmill and really take a look around us. Many times we get so stuck in a routine, or are afraid to step out, or even paralyzed by the fear of what others will think. In the end we are responsible for our decisions. We will be held accountable for how we decided to live our life.
In the end (and yes there is an end) we have to decide what we want our legacy to be about. What was most important and took the precedent for our time here on earth? It is imperative that we take stock of our lives. What are we living for, chasing after, and in the end was it worth it. I don’t want to live my life with any regrets, as I am sure you don’t either. Hearing the regrets of those who have just moments left to live really can put thinks into sharp albeit painful focus. So pause, take a deep breath, look around you, do you like what you see?
Here is the link the article I referenced:
You know it may seem silly but one thing we talk about in RSM is the difference between being inclusive and exclusive. I have talked so much about this topic that most of our teens could give this talk for me. That is not a bad thing, this is critical to us at RSM. So what is the big deal? Well just as it sounds being inclusive is all about including other people, and being exclusive is the exact opposite.
Think of being exclusive like an “exclusive club”. Only certain people are going to be allowed in. It isn’t for everybody, you have to be somebody or know someone to get in. That is the last thing we want our youth group to be. We want and strive to be an inclusive group. We want teens to feel included, that they belong, and that they don’t have to do anything to earn that feeling.
We all at one point in our life have been excluded. We know the feeling of being left out, or on the outside looking in. I can honestly say I have been there in my life. I know we really start to feel that in elementary school all the way through high school. So much of it is unintentional, while some is not. Many times we don’t mean to exclude others, we just don’t put the extra effort to try and include them, or to make them feel part of the group.
So once again what is the big deal and why am I writing about this in the newsletter? Well honestly I believe this is something we really never grow out of. This pertains to adults as much as it does to the teens in our youth group. It is really easy to get comfortable with the people we know, the table we sit at and not reach out to include other people. While we are not intentionally trying to exclude others, it’s just that our actions say little about trying to include others.
Being inclusive comes naturally to some people, while be it few, these are the type that just make friends easily and make the outsider feel a part of the group. Most of us including myself don’t fit into that category. We have to go out of our way to make others feel included. Sure we may see that person sitting alone at a table, or looking disoriented but our natural reaction isn’t to go greet them, we usually think someone else will make them feel welcome, or feel included.
Now let me say this as I do in youth group. I am not saying that we need to be everyone’s best friend, and just be the outgoing, bubbly, life of the crowd. It is about being genuine, and honestly wanting to make others feel welcome and included. There is nothing worse than being fake with someone and being less than genuine in our efforts to include them. When the opposite happens, and we are genuine and really strive to include others it can be a very powerful thing.
Let’s face it, we all want to feel included. Even those of us who are the loaners still want to feel as though we belong to something. What better place to make people feel included than our church. I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and work on including others. Go sit at a table you with someone who is alone. Greet people as they come in and don’t expect that the people standing at the door to just do that job.
It is important that we don’t stop there. We teach in youth group that we don’t want to be one way in the youth room and another way outside. This principle should carry on in our daily lives, at work, with family and in school. We can’t include others at church, and then ignore them the rest of the week. Invite people over for lunch or dinner. Invite them to be a part of your circle of friends. Include them in normal life activities that we all participate in and want to be a part of. You may see something happen without you even knowing it. That is right the “D” word, discipleship, but that is another post.