When qualifications distract from what’s really important

Our world often gets caught up on the idea of qualifications. As I’m currently going through a job search, one of the most important pieces of any job post is the list of qualifications. Within a few bullet points, I can quickly discern whether or not I have the required experience and expertise. If not, it’s time to move on to a different job listing.

The reason behind this makes a lot of sense. I know when I hired students to work for me in my previous position, I wanted to know about their past experience with sports and writing. I wanted to see if they would be able to quickly pick up on the tasks I needed them to fulfill. And nobody should ever want to hire me with my communication degree to work as a surgeon.

But I find it fascinating to look at these qualifications lists and compare them to the early chapters of the book of Acts. To be honest, the first few chapters of Acts are some of my favorite in the Bible because they show just how quickly and powerfully the hope of Christ spreads when we get out of our own way and allow the message to do the work. On a side note, I encourage everyone to regularly review Acts 2:42-47 and 4:23-37 as a reminder of what we should be doing as the Church.

But back to the idea of qualifications. Here’s the thing: most of the apostles didn’t have any. Jesus plucked people from every walk of life – except the religious elite, the only ones who, by the world’s standard, would have been qualified – to be his closest followers and the people who would lead the first generation of the church after his death and resurrection. To fulfill Jesus’ plan, they didn’t have to have great speaking skills or great education or upbringing and experience. They only had to have an open heart.

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Don’t let society fool you – we all need rest

As human beings, we’re often really bad at picking up signals. The stereotype is this is a guy thing, where men can’t recognize even the most obvious hints, but I think it goes beyond just men. We’re all pretty bad at taking the hint and following it.

History is full of examples supporting this, and even our daily lives reveal the issue. We see this particularly in regards to our current culture and the idea of rest. Our society so strongly promotes nonstop work and effort, a powerful drive to achieve something great to attain fame, fortune, success or whatever else it is you seek. Rest is for the lazy, the week, those lacking passion.

Often we don’t even think about it in such harsh terms. We don’t consciously look down on rest; we just don’t allow it for ourselves. Sometimes this is our own personal choice based on our drive. Other times it’s more of a passive choice that comes in a chosen profession that demands far more than a healthy amount of time and commitment. Either way, we push through because we have goals to achieve and we enjoy the chase. What we neglect to notice is the price we pay.

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When internet quotes take on a whole new level of meaning

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…”

Whether or not you recognize these words, there’s a good chance you’ve seen them before. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ve seen them multiple times. This quote is all over the Internet and available to purchase on various items. The reference is always to C.S. Lewis and, sometimes more specifically, his book Prince Caspian.

Reading this quote recently brought two thoughts to my mind: 1. Those really are some meaningful words worth pondering and 2. I wonder if C.S. Lewis actually wrote them.

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Anticipation on this Joyous Saturday

Anticipation can be one of the best or worst things in life. Today is a reminder of both sides of that experience.

Today is the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Different traditions refer to it by various names, including the Great Sabbath, Black Saturday, Holy Saturday or Easter Eve, and some use the term “Joyous Saturday.” And it certainly is exactly that. For we know what comes next.

But as we review the last few chapters of the Gospels at this time of year with Easter Sunday mere hours away, it always sticks out to me that Saturday is almost entirely skipped. Part of this is the fact it was Sabbath and the Jewish followers of Jesus likely spent the day behind closed doors observing the Sabbath, particularly as part of the Passover celebration. But it must have been anything but a joyous Saturday.

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Words are forever

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

We’re told a lot of lies as children, but this ranks among the worst in my mind. I mean, really, sometimes we’d prefer a broken bone to the words we’ve been told. The impact doesn’t last nearly as long.

There’s been a major focus recently on bullying, especially among kids, and this is vitally important. For far too long we’ve just gone with the notion that kids will be kids and people say things without realizing how much they hurt. Obviously kids will be kids, and to some level we’ll never be able to avoid people unintentionally saying hurtful things. But occasionally the power of words hits just a bit too close to home for me.

You see, I was a brat as a child. For real. A horrible child. I don’t even remember all of it, but I remember plenty enough to know that I was often a nightmare for my family. I was (still am?) overwhelmingly stubborn, snarky and loud, and I had a horrible temper. Looking back, I can think of specific instances where I said truly horrible things.

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Perfect imperfections: a love song for a baby nephew

All of me loves all of you / Love your curves and all your edges / All your perfect imperfections

Love songs almost exclusively focus on romantic love, but so often the words can apply to the various different loves. Of course, usually 90 percent of the words work fine when attributed to a non-romantic love situation and about 10 percent make that attribution extremely awkward.

In this case I’m just looking at these three lines of John Legend’s “All of Me.” More specifically, I care about the final line. I just felt that it needed the context of the previous two to really make sense.

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Where a kid can be a kid!

This is quite the obvious statement, but our birthday experience changes greatly throughout the course of our lives.

The first year you’re not really aware of what’s going on, although by the second birthday the presents and cake are pretty exciting. It continues to build and probably peaks when you’re around 10-12 years old, and then from there it transitions into more “grown-up” activities, which is really code for “less presents and awesome decorations.”

Well, forgive me for not wanting to give up on all the fun and just accept this whole getting old thing. Instead, I wanted to embrace nostalgia and relive some awesome birthday memories from years long ago.

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