From: Rich Carlson
Date: January 8, 2019
Subject: It's January 8; Good Morning Union

“God so loved… that He gave.”            John 3:16

I’m not much into having themes for a year in the sense of creatively coming up with a phrase that catches attention to focus attention. That why I am impressed by people like Lydia who came up with the theme for this year’s chapel series- “Glimpses of Jesus.” (be sure and make chapel a priority as you get this semester under way. Buell will be speaking this morning @ 10:35 in Woods Auditorium!)

But if I was to come up with something that expressed my dream for this new semester it would be “Service- what are you doing for someone else who cannot pay you back?” That undescribible, sometimes intangible  thing called the “Union Spirit” has as some of its characteristics, friendly, caring, family. I’d like to think it also includes giving. I see it on campus; I experience it with you. I know we’ve got it, but sometimes it gets hidden or at least put on the back burner by other pressing things.

Our society is not helping. I’m so “plugged in” to my inner self that I can so easily “unplug” from the same society I am living in. It can all be so much about me that I forget that it’s really all about HIM, and HE calls me to love, which by definition is “othercenteredness.” I can be so isolated from my world that I forget to integrate into my world. The isolation of earbuds can make it so I can’t “hear Bud” and his needs!

I need to reconnect with the world around me and set aside whatever it is that might keep me from that. I need to pull my head out of my texting long enough to look around and see a world in need. I can’t fix the whole world but I can make an impact on my piece of the world if I’ll just look around and take the time to make a difference for someone who can’t pay me back.

It’s as simple as opening the door for an elderly person; it’s as complicated as confronting a friend who is making poor choices. It may feel like it is outside my comfort zone but if I’m honest I operate outside my comfort zone whenever the reward outweighs the risk. So how about taking the risk with me? How about unplugging, offering a random act of kindness, doing something for someone who can’t pay you back and whatever else it might take to operate outside my comfort zone until it becomes my comfort zone? Actions become habits which becomes my character which is what I am when no one is looking. What if what I am when no one is looking is a growing sense of othercenteredness? What if I take the time to make a difference in someone else’s life?

Depression and discouragement are at epidemic levels in our society right now. They both are defined as a state of helplessness, hopelessness, aloneness. WHAT IF we treated those diseases with our helpfulness, hopefulness and togetherness toward everyone we come in contact with? What if…? That’s my dream for this new semester. Let’s make a difference.

Have a great day living positively out of your comfort zone as you make a difference for someone who cannot pay you back,

Pastor Rich

Quote for the day: "Holding a grudge doesn't make you strong; it makes you bitter. Forgiving doesn't make you weak; it sets you free." Dave Willis


PS        Join us for our first chapel of the new semester hosted by Angie and the Humanities folks. Brother Buell will be bringing us this week’s “Glimpse of Jesus”!! See you in Woods Auditorium at 10:35.

PPS     Christ on Demand is up and running again this semester. 7:30pm in the Rees Hall Chapel every Tuesday night. Join Amber and her friends as they lead this 30 minute midweek time of connecting with God. Dr Bill Fitts will be the guest speaker this week.

PPS     China representatives are here today recruiting teachers. See them in the Ortner Lobby and come here their presentation this evening @ 9:00 in DB 201.