Posted tagged ‘birthdays’

How to be in the Right Place at the Right Time

July 28, 2016

by Dr. Steven J. Callis

A blogger recently wrote about the secret of being in the right place at the right time.  The key, he wrote, is persistence.  He declared that a relentless pursuit of one’s goals is the only way to ‘get lucky.’  He claims that winning is inevitable for those who keep doing the things that success demands.  His secret is to “keep on showing up.”  If your right time is not today, keep coming back to the same place, and your time will come.

I am not enthusiastic about placing my hope on “luck.”  Could there be another answer?  It seems to me that being in the right place at the right time will happen by making right choices.  Choosing well is the key, which includes choices to pursue and choices to retreat.

We tend to consider life-changing moments in our lives as the big events, such as choosing a college, or a career, or a spouse.  Indeed, those are crucial decisions.  How much different would life be for my brothers and me if my parents had not chosen to relocate to another state when I was in fifth grade and my oldest brother was a junior in high school?

In a sense, however, every choice is life-changing to some degree.  Small choices often lead to decisions that bear more significance.  My parents did not simply awaken one morning and decide, “Hey, let’s move back to Tennessee.”  Certainly there were other decisions and circumstances that led to this weighty transition of life.

Eight years ago I made the choice to say ‘yes,’ and became the new pastor at First Church of the Nazarene in Douglasville, Georgia.  This decision was precipitated by earlier choices that eventually led to our relocation.  With a daughter entering high school, my wife and I prayerfully accepted the call, and our first Sunday was August 3, 2008.  This week we celebrate 8 years with our loving church family.

I am also blessed to pastor a church that, this week, celebrates 40 years of ministry in Douglasville.  On July 25, 1976, a choice was prayerfully made by the Georgia District Church of the Nazarene to plant a new church in Douglasville.  It is an honor to welcome friends and leaders from our past, to remember and honor the significant developments of the church over these four decades.

The church is in a ‘good place,’ and I am blessed to shepherd these gracious people.  I am in what I believe to be the right place at this right time because of prayerful choices I have made in the past which led me here and continue to keep me here; because of decisions this church and others have made, and thus it seems to be a God-ordained day in my life and in the life of the church.

Some of the choices have seemed small and insignificant; others were obviously crucial.  Yet all of the choices worked together bringing us to this hour in our existence.  There are yet more options to be considered, more decisions to be made, and more choices to be declared.  They all will work together to lead us on the road ahead as we serve the Lord Jesus in this community.

On behalf of this church, we offer thanks to God and our gratitude to you for the privilege to be part of your community.  We have awesome business neighbors who have become our friends, and we have made many friends across the area.  So, feel free to celebrate with us right now and voice a hip-hip-hooray or a “praise the Lord” as we celebrate God’s hand of blessing.

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Happy Birthday Barbara Millicent Roberts!

March 10, 2014

By Steven J. Callis

Happy Birthday, Barbara Millicent Roberts!  At the age of 55, she continues to stand tall in her part of the world, leading quite a life.

She has owned more than 40 pets, including a Panda, a lion cub, dogs, cats, horses, and a zebra.  She served as a flight attendant and holds a pilot’s license.  Among her many careers, Barbara has been an astronaut, a doctor, and a NASCAR driver, an Olympic gymnast, a news anchor, and a teacher of sign language, Spanish, dance, art, and elementary education.

Unlike most of her kind in those early days, Barbie came on the scene as an adult.  Her producer, Ruth Handler, had watched her daughter play with paper dolls, and often giving them adult roles to play.  Mattel was not favorable of the adult doll idea at first, but Ruth returned a year later from a trip to Germany where she purchased 3 “Lilli” dolls.

She gave one of the dolls to her daughter, Barbara, and the other two to Mattel.  Ruth then redesigned her original idea based on “Lilli” and Barbie made her debut at the American International Toy Fair on March 9, 1959.  Mattel bought the rights to Lilli, and many careers, outfits, accessories, and friends later, Barbie still enjoys a high profit following.

She originally sold for around 3 dollars, and nearly 350,000 were purchased in her first year.  So, how much is she worth today?  A mint boxed Barbie from 1959 sold for $3552.50 on eBay in October 2004!  Today’s average Barbie collector is a female in her 40’s who spends nearly $1000 annually purchasing Barbie products.

You may be thinking by now, “This guy knows way too much about dolls!”  Well, I am not a Barbie enthusiast, and the above information is not the result of my personal knowledge of her history.  I do find it remarkable, however, that she has managed to overcome more than 20 law suits and controversies during her lifetime, yet continues to thrive as a profitable, marketable product.

Of course, it is the genius of Mattel that actually managed to fight through the many legal and public relations battles over the years on her behalf.  But consider how many thousands of products have been laid to rest over much less of a fuss.  Apparently, there is something about Barbie’s “character” that continues to win public appeal.

Is there something of your character that holds sway among your peers?  Is there something of the genuine “you” that is able to rise above conflict, ridicule, criticism, and oppression?  In the Bible, the man Job discovered the key to such character amid his trials and tests.  He declared,

“When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.  My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside…I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.”

In the book of Proverbs we read this exhortation: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Life is a Gift

November 15, 2013

Life is a Gift

By Steven J. Callis

Do you recall the first words Frosty spoke when he came into existence? “Happy Birthday!”  He knew this was something very special.

As a child, waiting for my birthday to come around made it seem more decadal than annual.  That it was close in proximity to Christmas made the wait seem even longer, whereas my two brothers opened presents at Christmas and then again about 4 and seven months later.  But I had to wait 11 months to get more presents!

As an adult, it seems as though birthdays come much more quickly, and the anticipation has been replaced with dread for some, apathy for others.  While it is not the big deal it was as a child, I still enjoy having a birthday – especially considering the alternative!  But I would be satisfied with simple acknowledgement…oh, and my annual Hershey’s Double Chocolate Cake that my wife makes so well!

A few years ago I attended a birthday party for someone who was turning 100!  It was a very special occasion.  He was dressed in traditional formal attire.  He looked adorable.  The entire family was dressed “to the hilt” for this honorable event.

The celebration included a dinner, nice Korean cuisine.  The cake was a beautiful white Bundt cake. I carried it to the dining table, and it must have weighed 5 pounds!  I discovered that it was a kind of rice cake, called baekseolgi.  It tasted somewhat like angel food cake, but with its own unique texture.

Then there were the presents!  How exciting.  Oh, I neglected to mention that this celebration was not for 100 years, but 100 days.  It is a Korean tradition referred to as Baek-il.  It carries tremendous meaning in the Korean culture.

Long ago in Korea, childhood diseases were common and the survival rate for children was very low. To protect their children, parents refrained from taking the baby outdoors until the 100th day after his or her birth.  It was not until baek-il that the baby was introduced to neighbors, friends and relatives. They believe this event helps to protect the child’s life. They also pray for the child’s continued good health.

It was indeed a special honor for me, the family’s pastor, the offer the prayer for this little guy.  Further, it was a reminder that while many of us take it for granted, life is a precious gift from God that should be treasured and celebrated.

The psalmist David understood this truth.  He wrote his song to God, “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

I may have lost count in the numbering, but I know the date, and I am thankful to celebrate another year of life, and I will express my thanks by living it for God, my Creator.