Welcome to the best—and the rest—of my week’s cartoons and comments on:

      Dealing with ‘deliberate’ crash of Germanwings flight
      How to hook today’s Internet users
      Police officer grills author on how to “break in” to publishing
      The proper way to press your cat
      Non-prophet organizations
      Hope for a balanced life
      Mother Nature needs a calendar!

You can follow my encouragement and entertainment daily on Facebook and Twitter. And thanks for not giving up Hope & Humor for Lent!
jimlogo2


Friday

Airplanecrash

Dealing with ‘deliberate’ crash of Germanwings flight
USA Today is reporting, “The co-pilot of the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps deliberately worked to destroy the plane while passengers shrieked in terror and the pilot pounded on the cockpit door, a French prosecutor said at a news conference Thursday in Marseille.” The Telegraph speculated that that co-pilot may have been depressed over break up of relationship.

This is so tragic on so many levels. Here are some links which may be helpful:
Help for suicidal thoughts
You may be depressed if . . .
Dealing with death and grief

My thoughts and prayers are with family, friends and co-workers.


What I’m looking for as an editor
Here’s my “insider” list of what WPH is looking for: [Click here]


goldfish2

How to hook today’s Internet users
Tomorrow, at the Mount Hermon conference, I’m speaking on how to hook today’s “digital goldfish”: Internet users with the attention span of only nine seconds. [Continue reading]


In Sweden, McDonald’s has launched a clothing and lifestyle line that includes thermals, raincoats, wallpaper and sheets — all with the same Big Macs-on-white pattern.

Meanwhile in Japan, Burger King is selling a limited edition “Flame Grilled” Cologne with—and I quote—“the smoky sexy smells” . . . of a “Whopper.”

Suddenly, the “McRib” doesn’t seem so bizarre.


Thursday

jimshortairlines2

3:50 am EDT Leaving for the airport. Please pray I have nothing post-worthy at the end of the long day except “arrived safe and sound” with no delays, cancellations or “Breaking News.” Thanks!

3:15 pm PDT Arrived safe and sound with no delays, cancellations or “Breaking News.” Well, there was one problem. “Wrestle Mania” is in San Jose this week and people kept hounding me for autographs.


Wednesday

MountHermon2

Police officer grills author on how to ‘break in’
Early tomorrow morning, I’m flying off to one of my favorite conferences, snuggled in the redwoods of northern California: Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference. While there in 2009, I met Joanne Kraft who at the time worked as a police dispatcher and asked to interview me. I wasn’t quick enough to exercise my Miranda Rights, so here’s what I confessed about becoming a writer: [Continue reading]


Steve Martin

This is so wrong! Everyone knows you should use an ironing board when pressing your cat.


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Tuesday

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jimshortscraziness2


Monday

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Hope for a balanced life
If I hear another pastor, teacher or speaker proclaim, as if from Mount Sinai, “Put God first, your family second, your ministry third and your self last,” my “self” is going to put them very last on my priority list! Here’s why: [Continue reading]


jimshortssnowinspring

“It’s the third day of Spring, Mother Nature!”


Sunday

jimshortsinitials


Just sent a family member this email message:

So sad your plans didn’t turn out. So glad God‘s plans were even better!


Saturday

jimshortslightbulb

MountHermon2

Early tomorrow morning, I’m flying off to one of my favorite conferences, snuggled in the redwoods of northern California: Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference. (Thanks for your prayers. Just weeks ago, it took me 18 hours of flying to get to a conference in Florida and 17 hours of driving a rental car to get back home.)

Saturday I’ll speak on Writing Online: How to Hook Today’s Internet Users. While there, I’ll be meeting with potential book authors for ACW Press and Wesleyan Publishing House as well as reconnecting with friends in the publishing biz.

While at Mount Hermon in 2009, I met Joanne Kraft who at the time worked as a police dispatcher and asked to interview me. I wasn’t quick enough to exercise my Miranda Rights, so here’s what I confessed about becoming a writer:

How did your writing journey begin?

I knew I wanted to be a writer when, as a second-grader, I rewrote the ending of Pinocchio. I could suspend disbelief so that a wooden marionette could come to life—no strings attached. But to believe that the “live” puppet could become a real boy, that was too much for me. So, for a class writing assignment, I rewrote the ending and had the wooden Pinocchio die a painful, prolonged death of Dutch elm disease.

I was immediately sent to the school psychologist who suggested I could become a sociopath or a writer. Just kidding about the psychologist! I was fortunate I had teachers who encouraged my so-called writing talent. By the time I had written plays for the elementary school to perform, journaled my deep, dark, depressed life as a junior-higher, and became the editor of the high school paper, I was hooked on writing!

I dabbled in writing for several years while I had a real job, then became an editor in our denomination’s publishing house, and eventually became more and more of a full-time writer.

With numerous books, hundreds of humorous blog posts and thousands of articles published, which is your favorite to write?

Yikes, that’s like asking who’s your favorite child or grandchild! They’re all very different, but all very wonderful in their own ways.

Blogs obviously, are short, timely, and a guaranteed publication. As a former journalism major, I like to comment on current events. It’s almost “real time” on the Web. And I love the feedback.

Articles have a larger audience and are a bit more permanent. It’s amazing the number of people who write and say they were helped by an article, and I think Wow! In what waiting room with twenty-year-old magazines did they find that relic?!

As far as books, I love this Huckleberry Finn quotation: “There ain’t nothing more to write about, and I am rotten glad of it, because if I’d a knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I wouldn’t a tackled it, and I ain’t agoing to no more.” Yes, books provide more prestige (and radio and TV interviews), but they are a huge challenge. I have sixteen under my belt, but I tell authors, if you want respect, write books; if you want readers, write for periodicals. Actually, I love writing for all three venues.

When you’re working on a project, do you listen to music or have a specific routine? (Do you write in the morning, evening, can you stay on task?)

I’m totally Attention Deficit Disorder, so . . . what was I saying? Oh, yes. I can’t write with music, don’t have a specific routine and can’t stay on task, although I tend to write in the morning, rewrite in the afternoon. I try to have several projects going at one time, so when I get bored with one, I can move on to the next project. So, with a good “to do” list, I do get a lot done.

Name three character traits of a good writer.

How ’bout seven, which just coincidentally are in one of my chapters in Writers
on Writing
(Wesleyan Publishing House), an anthology I edited with writing advice from Jerry B. Jenkins, Liz Curtis Higgs, James Scott Bell and others.

1. Self-discipline

2. Self-motivation

3. Self-organization

4. Self-worth (You can’t define yourself as a writer or rejections will destroy you. I’m simply a beloved child of God who just happens to write. All the rejection slips in Colorado Springs can’t harm that sense of worth!)

5. Self-promotion (You can’t write MESSAGE without ME, so if God has given me a message, it’s up to me to get it out there!)

6. Self-improvement

7. Other orientation (Writing is too hard to not have a support group of family and friends.)

What was your favorite book to write? Why?

That’s another one of those “Who’s your favorite child and grandchild?” questions. My most transparent and honest book is Squeezing Good Out of Bad (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). And it was my most fun since it’s written as a top ten list with lots of humor. Usually, though, my favorite book is the next one.

Share with our readers one example of how God orchestrated your steps to coincide with His plan.

My very first writing/editing job, as an editor of a teen magazine at Wesleyan Publishing House, came about when my pastor “just happened” to meet the executive editor at a ministerial meeting and they just happened to talk about what was happening at the church and just happened to talk about my editing an evangelistic newspaper for teens in the local community and the editor just happened to ask if I’d be interested in coming on board.

That was the first of many just-happened events that led to published books, appearing on “The 700 Club,” and teaching writing with Cec Murphey for three weeks in India. (Of course, as believers, we know just-happened situations are divine providence!)

Every good writer needs support from his spouse/family to succeed. What has your wife/family done or not done to help support you in your career?

My wife has been so supportive with my so-called writing/speaking career. She’s never once asked, “When are you going to find a real job?!” even when I was thinking I need to find a real job!

If you were to start your writing career all over again, what would you do differently?

I’m such a firm believer in the premise that God works all out for our good (Romans 8:28), that I probably wouldn’t change a thing, although I do regret not finishing my graduate work in communications. I think a “Christian writer” must first be a Christian who is trusting God each step of the way, listening to His instructions, and acknowledging Him in every aspect of his/her writing and speaking (Proverbs 3:5-6).

What’s the one marketing tool that’s helped you?

The Christian Writers’ Market Guide is, of course, the most important book—other the the Bible—in your writing library, but going to writers’ conferences and networking with editors and other writers is essential as well.

Are you a spontaneous Kindle/Nook man or a traditional hardback book kind of guy?

I’m a go-to-the-library-and-get-books-free kind of guy.

What’s the last book you’ve read?

Currently reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young—for the third time.

Jack Bauer or The Lone Ranger?

Definitely the masked man! The Lone Ranger taught, “Shoot to disarm, never to harm.” So, I love the quote by Mary Hirsch: “Humor is a rubber sword that allows you to make a point without drawing blood.”

Joanne Kraft writes to encourage women to fulfill their God-given roles as wife and mom and to walk boldly into their promised land. Her writing is transparent and humorous. Joanne has been published by In Touch, Today’s Christian Woman, ParentLife, Kyria and P31 Woman magazines. She’s the author of Just Too Busy: Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical and The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids just released this month!

© Copyright 2011 Joanne Kraft, James Watkins

For a ream of resources, please click Hope & Humor for writers

Hope for balance in life

March 23rd, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

BannerWritingSpeaking2015

If I hear another pastor, teacher or speaker proclaim, as if from Mount Sinai, “Put God first, your family second, your ministry third and your self last,” my “self” is going to put them very last on my priority list! Here’s why:

Let me be clear: putting God at the center of our lives is essential. But if I put time alone with God as first in the hierarchy mentioned, I’m never going to get to my family. I’m going to be a monk cloistered away reading my Bible, praying, journaling, worshipping, and if I’m really spiritual, fasting. If my choice is to read the Bible or read to my kids or grandkids, I’ve got to choose God’s Word if I’m locked into this rigid ranking of priorities.

If I put my family over my ministry, I will never get a word written or leave the house to speak at a conference. My wife has a “honey do list” that will keep me busy until Jesus comes. And pastors would never have time for sermon prep, board meetings, hospital calling, and the thousands of other tasks assigned to them by the congregation.

And if put my ministry over myself, there’s not going to be much of me left except a burnout shell of a person with high blood pressure and ulcers.

That’s why this ranking system is so unrealistic and unworkable. Those who attempt to implement it end up conflicted and stressed—and probably alienated from their family. So, here’s an alternative.

621-00742537

Think of your life as a wheel. For a wheel to work it has to be moving by having regular contact of all its circumference with the surface it’s traveling on. If it stops turning, it stops performing the way it was designed.

So visualize your tasks or roles as the outer surfaces of that wheel. As you’re regularly having time with GOD, FAMILY, MINISTRY and SELF your life is in balance. If it locks up with only one role—having contact with the road for too long—your life will come screeching to a halt.

To me, this makes much more sense than the rigid hierarchy with its demanding priorities. And it give me tremendous freedom.

For instance, just last week I was waiting for Lois to get home from a trip to visit her relatives out of state. I had been speaking at a conference while she was gone. Instead of warm welcome when she got home, I gave her a quick kiss at the door and said, “Victoria’s in ER with stroke symptoms. I’m headed to the hospital.” If we were locked in a rigid hierarchy, I would have ignored this young mom and her husband. And I would have cancelled my speaking engagement to go to Wisconsin with Lois. (See what a dilemma the “priority” model causes?!)

Instead, I had a great time of MINISTRY at the conference. Had a couple of days at home to relax and recuperate (SELF) and have some time alone with GOD. It turned out Victoria was simply having a severe reaction to a migraine and I spent the next day with Lois (FAMILY). I kept the wheel rolling and was able to accomplish all I needed to do without a lot of stress.

I like the way Eugene Peterson paraphrases Matthew 11:28-30:

      “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

“Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” Keep the wheel of your rolling by making sure that all sides of the wheel are getting the attention they need in the long run. Some days, you may have to slow way down for a particular task. But, make sure that when that crisis is past, you continue moving on to the other areas that have been temporarily neglected. I try not to look at my life in smaller sections than a month. This past summer, I spoke at three conference in three weeks. (I know, complete crazy!) And I always get up early every day to have time alone with God. My week home, then, was devoted to my family—and me.

So, ignore the rigid hierarchy of priorities someone may try to force on your life. Just keep rolling through life!

Copyright © 2012 James N. Watkins

Welcome to the best—and the rest—of my week’s cartoons and comments on:

      The He-Man Sports Haters Club
      The politically-correct pledge?
      The shallow side of Bob Hostetler
      Fifty praises between bed and bathroom
      When ‘facts’ go to pot
      What 65 million bucks buys

You can follow my encouragement and entertainment daily on Facebook and Twitter. And thanks for not giving up Hope & Humor for Lent!
jimlogo2


Friday

earcandle2

A hot time at my brother’s 60th b’day party
Dinner and “Game Night” with my cousin, aunt, brother and mom is always a high point of my monthly trek to Michigan. We usually play card games, but last night did we a) reenact an ancient Druid birthday ritual, b) listen to some hot music, or c) clean wax from our ears? Actually, c. Tom had found these entertaining—at least for us—”ear candles” at a health store. They really work! I love my weird family.


Thursday

hemansportshaters

Join my exclusive club!
Not filling in “March Madness” brackets? Not watching games at work? Not planning a vasectomy so you can take off work to watch the “Final Four”? (Yep, men actually do that!) Then I’d invite you to join my very exclusive club. [Click for bylaws and for application]


Wednesday

BobHostetlerbanner

The shallow side of Bob Hostetler
My friend, Bob Hostetler, is an incredibly deep and spiritual person, who writes thought-provoking, best-selling books with Josh McDowell. But I also love his shallow and equally thought-provoking one-liners from Facebook. [Continue reading]


jimshortstrump


Tuesday

jimshortspledge


Monday

barefeet

Fifty praises between bed and bathroom
Today, I vowed not to ask for anything, but to simply praise God. I found fifty things for which to praise him just between the bed and bathroom. [Continue reading]


Back from my second bike ride of 2015. My only complaint, unlike a treadmill, you can’t get off it whenever you get tired or bored. I thought the last half of my ride would never end!


Sunday

jimshortsorientation


Yes! The first bike ride of the year. Although, having a “mountain” bike in Indiana makes as much sense as having a surf board in Kansas.


potheadpost

When ‘facts’ go to pot
Have you seen the graphic above making the rounds on Facebook? I’m not 100 percent sure it not a joke, but here are some serious things to consider:

Daily Mail (London):

      More than 30,000 cannabis smokers could die every year, doctors warn today.

      The drug can cause cancer, lung disease and abnormalities associated with serious mental illness.

      Users are up to six times more likely to develop schizophrenia.

      The British Lung Foundation says smoking three joints a day can cause the same damage to the airways as a pack of 20 cigarettes.

Columbia University

      Fatal crashes involving marijuana use tripled during the previous decade, fueling some of the overall increase in drugged-driving traffic deaths, researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health report.

      “Currently, one of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes would test positive for marijuana,” said co-author Dr. Guohua Li, director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia. “If this trend continues, in five or six years non-alcohol drugs will overtake alcohol to become the most common substance involved in deaths related to impaired driving.”

National Institute of Health

      Forty-three imaging studies in human adolescents show that regular marijuana users display impaired neural connectivity in specific brain regions involved in a broad range of executive functions like memory, learning, and impulse control compared to non-users.

It’s a complicated issue and I suspect both sides of the issue are “cherry picking” their “facts.” (If health benefits of marijuana are proven in scientific, double-blind studies, then I’m all in favor of making it available as any regulated prescription.) But let’s get our information from reputable scientific sources and not from Facebook!


Saturday

jimshortscreflodollar3

BobHostetlerbanner

My friend, Bob Hostetler, is an incredibly deep and spiritual person, who writes thought-provoking, best-selling books with Josh McDowell. But, I also love his shallow and equally thought-provoking one-liners from Facebook:

Imitation is the sincerest form of leather.

I don’t have an eating disorder. I have a stopping disorder.

I’m alive but only in the sense that I can’t be legally buried.

If you don’t know what solitude is, you’re not alone.

Its a good thing I can laugh at myself. Otherwise I’d be the only one not laughing.

“Welcome to Plastic Surgery Addicts Anonymous. I see a lot of new faces in the room.”

This year is gonna be pretty special. I’m giving up all my New Year’s resolutions for Lent.

Bad news: my boss is a lazy you-know-what. Worse news: I’m self-employed.

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s claiming to be good at stuff.

Just installed a skylight. Now if the people who live upstairs would install one too, it sure would brighten the place.

I wonder if the Earth sometimes mocks other planets, saying, “Get a life!”

I make a mean cup of coffee. This one just called me stupid and ugly.

I always try to be sincere, whether I mean it or not.

It’s taken many years, but I’ve finally found a realistic, enjoyable pace in life. I call it “sleep.”

Look, I figure if you’re too old to even remember what you were talking about just a second ago, what’s for dinner? I’m getting hungry.

I’m self-employed. Except for the “employed” part.

People think I’m competitive, but I’m probably the least competitive person in my family. In the world—the universe!

I’m finally at my target weight. Now if I can just reach my target height.

I express my individuality by not having any piercings or tattoos. That’s right, I’m a wild one.

I’m not at all patronizing. If you’d like me to explain what that means, I will.

Dora, how old are you? It’s time you learn to check your own stinking backpack!

Police took a photo of me speeding and sent me a ticket in the mail. So I paid it with a photo of money.

I will never ever again say anything stupid. Crap, just did it.

Click here for Bob’s serious writing.

barefeet

Today, I vowed not to ask for anything, but to simply praise God. I found fifty things for which to praise him just between the bed and bathroom:

1. God’s protection, providence

2. His love and grace

3. I slept straight through the night

4. No horrible nightmares resulting from real-life trauma

5. I don’t work the night shift

6. My CPAP (Constant Positive Air Pressure) machine was a gift

7. I woke up refreshed

8. I can hear the cell phone alarm

9. Cell phones

10. Electricity

11. Birds singing

12. I can see the cell phone

13. I can click “snooze”

14. I have two working hands and arms

15. I can get out of bed on my own

16. Or, I can pull up the covers and roll over

17. I’m not in pain

18. Clean air

19. I’m waking up in a water bed with flannel sheets

20. I’m waking up in a warm, dry house with central air

21. The house isn’t in foreclosure

22. I’m waking up in a free country

23. I’m not waking up in a war-torn country

24. I’m not waking up in prison

25. I’m not waking up in a hospital

26. I’m not waking up in a nursing home

27. I can walk unassisted: no crutches, walkers, braces or casts

[Walking past closet]

28. Lots of clothes in the closet—and on the floor

29. Walking on wall-to-wall carpeting rather than dirt

30. Sense of touch: toes on carpeting

[Walking past photos of kids and grandkids]

31. Loving family

32. Loving, faithful Christian wife

33. Both kids are gainfully employed in serving others

34. Both kids are strong Christians

35. Grandkids!

36. All five grandchildren are “normal” and healthy

37. The picture of daughter at seven with mischievous grin always makes me smile

[Bathroom across from home office]

38. Being able to work from home since 1982

39. Hundreds of advantages of being self-employed such as being there for wife, kids and grandkids in good and bad times

40. Computers: A love/hate relationship, but I wouldn’t be a writer if I had to do all that re-typing!

41. Laptop and desk

42. The Internet, email, Facebook

43. Meaningful service for God

44. Meaningful work— at least today

45, Remembering where the bathroom is. No Alzheimer’s—yet.

46. The house has indoor plumbing

47. My “plumbing” is working fine after successful radiation for cancer!

48. I can read (Always have books and magazines in the “reading room.”)

49. Freedom of the press

50. Toilet paper

You may not have the same fifty, but I’m sure you could come up with your own list. (And if you’re waking up to a difficult situation, please leave a comment below so I can join you in prayer today.)

Copyright © 2012 James N. Watkins

Welcome to the best—and the rest—of my week’s cartoons and comments on:

      Five stages of filing taxes
      Snits, splits and hissy fits on conflict in the church
      Boston bomber afforded more legal rights than racist frat boys
      Changing my mind (Guest post by Chris Maxwell)
      A serious cartoon on Alzheimers
      Our work in God’s work
      Happy International Women’s Day!
      A case for women in ministry

You can follow my encouragement and entertainment daily on Facebook and Twitter. And thanks for not giving up Hope & Humor for Lent!
jimlogo2


Friday

jimshortstaxes2


Thursday

stainedglassshattered

Snits, splits and hissy fits
Apparently, there have been conflicts in the Christian church since, well, Jesus instituted the Christian church. [Continue reading]


Wednesday

ChrisMaxwell

Changing my mind
My friend, Chris Maxwell, is a remarkable author, speaker . . . and survivor of near-fatal brain damage from encephalitis. I trust you find hope in today’s guest post. [Continue reading]


Tuesday

Constitution

Bomber afforded more legal rights than racist frat boys
Okay, I’m grabbing hold of the third rail in addressing this issue, but it seems the Boston bomber is being afforded more protection under the law than the racist frat boys from Oklahoma University. Will your or my constitutional rights be violated if we say something deemed politically incorrect?! [Continue reading]


jimshortsdesperate

Please, Facebook friends, this is not becoming.


jimshortsrevival


Monday

JesusCommunion

Our work in God’s work
Yes, God can do anything, but there are a lot of things he won’t do. [Continue reading]


jimshortsalzheimers

Both my grandfather and father died with dreaded disease, so this is very personal. Join the fight at the Alzheimer’s Association.


Sunday

wesleyanholinessclergywomen

Happy International Women’s Day!
I am so proud of three women in my life: Lois Farra Watkins​, my wife and ordained minister who works with adults with physical and mental challenges, Faith Watkins Spaulding, my daughter who works as a licensed social worker, and Barbara Jean Watkins (Top ten things my mom taught me).

Here’s one of my favorite posts on an amazing group of females: A case for women in ministry.

Changing my mind

March 11th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

ChrisMaxwell

My friend, Chris Maxwell, is a remarkable author, speaker . . . and survivor of near-fatal brain damage from encephalitis. I trust you find hope in today’s guest post.

Each year I remember.

Each day I recall why I so often forget.

Last month I visited Orlando: the wonderful city where the not-so-wonderful illness of encephalitis almost caused my life to end. I spoke about my time in the hospital and the long-term results of that illness. I talked and remembered. I invited the audience to visit my past with me as my new journey of life-with-epilepsy started.

What did I remember? Faces. Voices. Conversations. Efforts to remember when all I could do was forget. Medications. Side-effects of medications. Resistance and reluctance. Denial and anger. MRIs. Nurses and doctors. Questions and more questions. I remember forgetting. And I still forget.

But I remember good during the bad, love during the pain, peace during the storm, hope during the disease and disability.

How are you damaged? What pains do you deny?

Is there someone you can talk to? Are you willing to tell your story?

The therapy of confession, of journaling, of accepting ourselves, of praying, of refusing to give up can be a part of our healing process.

Let’s not miss it. Even if we miss former parts of previous lives, let’s not miss the treatments nearby.

For more of Chris Maxwell’s amazing story about his illness, purchase the eBook version of his book, Changing My Mind.

Our work in God’s work

March 9th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

JesusCommunion

Yes, God can do anything, but there are a lot of things he won’t do. For instance, we read in Luke 9:

      Late in the afternoon the twelve disciples came to him and said, “Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms, so they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.”

      But Jesus said, “You feed them.”

      “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” For there were about 5,000 men there.

      Jesus replied, “Tell them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.” So the people all sat down. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers! (9:12-17).

Notice that Jesus does only the work that only he can do—multiply loaves and fishes! He tells his disciples:

You feed them.

You tell them to sit down.

You distribute the food.

You pick up the leftovers.

We see the same thing happen at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:38-44). Now, if you’re the Son of God and can raise a dead man who been in a tomb for three days, you should be able to beam him out wearing a fresh robe and clean underwear. But Jesus enlists his disciples to move the huge stone from the opening of the cave, and when Lazarus is brought to life, to strip off the burial clothes binding him.

God never does the work we can do! We can’t make a sack lunch feed a crowd of over 10,000 men, women and children, but we can organize the group, serve the meal and clean up afterward. We can’t bring a man back from the dead, but we can move stones and strip off grave clothes.

Are you waiting for God to do a miracle? What work—that you can do—is God waiting for you to do before he will do the work that only he can do?

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

wesleyanholinessclergywomen

Today is International Women’s Day.

I am so proud of three women in my life: Lois Farra Watkins​, my wife and ordained minister who works with adults with physical and mental challenges, Faith Watkins Spaulding, my daughter who works as a licensed social worker, and Barbara Jean Watkins (Top ten things my mom taught me).

Here’s one of my favorite posts on an amazing group: A case for women in ministry.

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