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Godly Habits

May 14, 2023 • Jason Corder

Poet Maya Angelou was asked in an interview for Harvard Business Review what one of the most important lessons she ever learned was and from whom she learned it.

She pointed to a critical skill her mother had imparted to her as a young child, the desire to develop courage. “And she taught me by being courageous herself. And after years of leaving her and, I think, becoming courageous, I realized that one isn't born with courage. One develops it.

And you develop it by doing small, courageous things in the same way that one wouldn't set out to pick up a 100-pound bag of rice. If that were one's aim, the person would be advised to pick up a five-pound bag, and then a ten-pound, and then a 20-pound, and so forth, until one builds up enough muscle to pick up 100 pounds. And that's the same way with courage.

You develop courage by doing courageous things, small things, but things that cost you some exertion-mental and, I suppose, spiritual exertion.

We learn every good character trait through the same process: laying aside bad habits in favor of small yet life-changing new ones. This Sunday, as we honor motherhood, we will explore how those little choices lead to a life of tremendous impact.

Provide, Protect, Prepare

July 2, 2023 • Jason Corder

Professional baseball has been played in America since 1875, but I’ll never forget September 14, 1990. Baseball which is a game of statistics had something happen which had never happened before or since. Late in his career, Ken Griffey, Sr., who had been a key member of the World Series champion Cincinnati Reds years before, was signed by the Seattle Mariners. His son Ken Griffey, Jr. was just starting his major league career. In the first inning of a game against the Angels, Griffey, Sr. hit a home run to left center field. His son followed him to the plate and hit another home run to almost exactly the same spot.  We often hear people talk about following in others' footsteps or paving the way for the next generation, but what does that really mean? How can we equip others to follow us without creating dependencies or resentments?  General Douglas MacArthur wrote this following statement “By profession, I am a soldier, and take pride in that fact, but I am prouder, infinitely prouder, to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build; a father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentialities of death; the other embodies the creation of life; and while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me, not from the battlefield, but in the home repeating with him our simple, daily prayer, our Father Who art in Heaven.”

Communicate Like Christ

June 25, 2023 • Jason Corder

At one point in time, you couldn’t walk 30 feet on a New York City block without encountering a pay phone. In the early 2000s, there were around 30,000 public street pay phones registered with the city. But in May of 2022, a curious crowd gathered in Times Square as a power saw cut through the base of a pay phone on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 50th Street. That was the final New York City public pay telephone. In the age of the smartphone, it may be hard to recall the importance of pay phones in the daily life of New Yorkers. New York is a dense, pedestrian city. It wasn’t until the 1940s that even half of Americans had a phone. If you need to call on the go, the pay phone was necessary. “I hate to use the word nostalgia,” said Mark Thomas, who has been documenting pay phones in New York City. “But I think people miss a period of time when a call meant something. When you planned it and you thought about it, and you took a deep breath and you put your quarter in.” We certainly live in a world today with more communication options than ever before, but are we better communicators? Research says no, in fact, some say we are in the midst of a loneliness epidemic. Just having the ability to talk isn’t communication. Good communication is the thoughtful preparation of thoughts and feelings to influence or inform another person and is something of an art. This Sunday we will see how God's word helps us become better communicators, in our families and in a lost and broken world.

Fatherhood & Marriage

June 18, 2023 • Jason Corder

Mount Everest, the earth's highest mountain, has two standard routes used by most climbers. Both routes present a number of dangers, including frigid temperatures and hurricane-category high winds not to mention that climbers have a limited number of months in the year to make their attempt and very tight time periods during the day to safely ascend and descend the mountain. It's not surprising that even the most experienced climbers don't try to tackle Mount Everest alone. They hire special guides called "Sherpas." The Sherpas are a unique people who, for generations, have inhabited the Khumbu Valley and have developed a genetic ability to function in very high altitudes. Whereas most people start to have oxygen problems above eight thousand feet, they have an amazing endurance up to about twenty-three thousand feet. Since the Sherpa guides have trekked Everest many times, they are experts when it comes to knowing the weather patterns and the best time to climb. But these gifted guides can do something else: with their uniquely trained and experienced eyes, they can help those in their care pause and take in the beauty of Mount Everest. This mountain is not all danger, it's a delight as well, with many breathtaking peaks, vistas, and valleys that one can only see from its heights. That's why so many are drawn to it and would risk life and limb to plant their personal flag on its summit.  Fathers are called by God to be such guides, not only do they help those in their care avoid the dangers of life but they also point to all the good that we encounter every day. They teach others to walk in the way of the ultimate example our Heavenly Father.