In our culture we tend to want to say that we are self taught, self directed people. We want to claim that we’re in control of our own destiny and determine the direction of our own sails.

As grandiose as it sounds…it is seldom true. I’m sure that there are those individuals out there who can honestly claim that there has been little to no influence exerted on their lives by anyone other than themselves. They listened to no one…heard no one…and learned from no one. Some of the roughest times in my own life have come when I thought that this was the correct way to live and I, too, resisted.

I remember reading Joshua’s speech to the Israelites when he said for them to “Choose this day whom you will serve….” and was struck by it. The logical, idealistic, independent American in me rebelled instantly. “Serve! We don’t have to serve anyone. We’re a free people who stand on their own.”

Let a few years pass…let some bad things happen to you. Let the props get kicked out from under you a couple times. The pink slip…the certified letter…the knock on the door…or the red lights in the rear view mirror and pretty soon you figure out that you’re not always in control. And, if we want to be truthful with ourselves, we’ll admit that we out of control more than we’re in it.

Control is something that should be exercised with care and caution. I believe that we might find that it is often better to allow the One who made us to have control over our lives. After all, He built us….he just might know what is the best course of action for us.

Now if we can just get control of that ego so that we can more easily turn ourselves over to Him….now that takes work.

“I am the Lord your God, who teaches
you what is best for you,
who directs you in the way you should go.”
Isaiah 48:17b

I met someone new tonight. A young lady who has volunteered to help me develop one of my upcoming classes. She seems very intelligent, capable, and excited about the possibilities of developing the curriculum for a new course. She came highly recommended and I look forward to working with her.

I had been explaining to this nice young lady about some of my perceptions regarding the expectation and possibilities with this project. While we were talking one of our prospective students came over. He’d been in some of my earlier classes and we’ve developed a nice casual friendship. I introduced them and during the subsequent conversation he confirmed, almost verbatim, everything I had told her. If I hadn’t been there I would have thought that it was a set up. Funny how things happen.

He did share with me about a couple of interesting places in Murfreesboro that I need to go spend some time photographing. He told me of an unusual area in the Black Fox region as well as an area off South Church Street where the old Negro Fair used to be held. The places sound fascinating and I look forward to my next free day.

I started a new session of my Digital Photography class at St. Clair today. This group seems like their very interested and wanting to learn. These folks are really great and I learn as much from them as they can possibly learn from them.

stained glass 1
We looked a photographs taken by some of the earlier classes, discussed the cameras, and primarily focused on thinking about how to begin developing the eye. Of course what I’m really talking about is developing the habit of being aware of the beauty and wonder that surrounds us every day.

stained glass 2
My spanish class didn’t make this time. It’s the first time since I started teaching that this has happened. I’ve spoken with the other folks who are helping me coordinate this to determine the issues and start some corrective action. I doubt that it will happen again. It worked out fine, however. Lisa and I had a nice quiet dinner together - that doesn’ t happen often enough.

“I hate, I despise your religious feasts and cannot stand your assemblies…away with the noise of your songs.”
Amos 5:21-25
When I’m teaching my classes on Word, Powerpoint, and Web Design I always talk about how most folks start off backwords on these projects. They give a great deal of consideration and concern about how something is going to look and less thought to the message that they are trying to get across.

My students always look at me rather strangely when I advise them to start a project with two thoughts in mind. 1) Who is your audience and 2) what is your message. Unless these pieces are totally clear to you your message will tend to be off base and ineffective. Once your message is clear you can then apply the look, the template, and the visual impact that you want. The message is always more important than the messenger or the presentation.

Steven Covey always talks about beginning with the end in mind and he is right. Having a clear understanding of purpose and mission will allow you to communicate effectively.

Like the Israelites, we often allow form to override function and presentation to overtake purpose. We tend to sometimes major in the minors. Focusing on the important wipes away the fog created by the expedient. I’m not necessarily talking about presentation (even though it applies here, too).

Worship, without a clear understanding of why we’re there, can wind up being offensive to God. Going through the motions and forgetting the heart of the matter is wrong. When form becomes more important than function, we need to reexamine our priorities.

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