Posted tagged ‘blessing’

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.

Mr. T and Gatorade

January 28, 2016

by Dr. Steven J. Callis

            Before Mr. T was a television star, and before Gatorade was the popular drink of choice among athletes, I experienced both.  Known to me as Mr. Turentine, this simple, kind old man loved kids.  When we talked about him, he was “Mr. Turpentine;” when we talked to him, he was Mr. T.

            A member of our large church when I was young, Mt. T was faithful in his attendance to services and church activities.  He enjoyed standing out in the foyer talking to people and sneaking candy from his pocket into the hands of young children.  His best suit was old and hung droopily on his medium build frame.

            He lived alone, owned no car, and was an eccentric individual.  He did not hold official positions in the church, though I recall him helping with custodial duties sometimes.  He was not one to be called upon for answers to faith or theology.  But he loved Jesus, and he loved children.

            Our church had a high school age baseball team in the summertime.  Most church leagues played softball, so our team was registered in a community recreational league.  Games were played at various locations across the city.  I loved baseball growing up and was good enough to be in the starting lineup during those elementary years.  But this was big-boy baseball.  I was a small 9th grader seeing my first ‘real’ curve ball, and one bop in the head proved my fear to be warranted!

            I did not get to play much, being among the younger boys, and being a ‘chicken.’  However, I did get on base a couple of times when the opposing pitcher could not hit my small strike zone. 

            We did have one faithful cheerleader who never missed a game.  His name was Mr. T.  No matter where we played, Mr. T found the bus route that would get him to our games, and he always brought a jug of Kool-Aid for us to drink.  At first I thought he used funny tasting water.  One of the older guys said that it was simply not sweetened.  He reasoned that Mr. T could not afford sugar, so he added salt instead!

            That was then.  We tried to be kind and not hurt his feelings, but it tasted awful, especially when we were expecting a sweet treat!

            Looking at it now, I don’t think Mr. T’s potion was a result of his eccentric ways or his lack of funds.  I genuinely believe he knew the effect sugar would have on athletes needing to replenish energy and lost fluids from perspiration.  I think he was providing us his own version of Gatorade, a sports drink that was not yet a staple across America in dugouts and on sidelines.

            In our large church Mr. T was well known and loved, but had no close circle of friends, no favorite people to sit with during fellowship meals, and was never an ‘up front’ person to be publicly noticed.  But he loved Jesus and he loved people, and he found a permanent place in my heart and memory. 

            By now he has long since reached his eternal home where he enjoys fellowship with Jesus forever.  I wonder if he ever knew what a blessing he was to others, and I wonder how long it took others like me to realize that fact, as well.