2015 Calling

I went to the gym yesterday. I refuse to call it a health club. I don’t go there for social reasons. I don’t list it on my resume’ like Kiwanis or Lions Club. I go there to work out. I go to this “gym” because almost everyone there is older than me and in just as bad shape. I don’t want to work out with guys who look like they could play in the NFL.

I went because 2015 is calling. It was pretty crowded but not like it will be next week. Gyms are very crowded in January; not so much in December, or February for that matter. I know because I have been to them a lot in January. I wanted to beat the crowds.

Let’s face it. It’s the time of resolutions, trying to re-acquire good habits and lose some bad ones. It’s an annual tradition. It’s just as much of a tradition to have forgotten our resolutions by the 1st of February.  Just about everyone I know is like that. They are all good folks, the people I hang around with. They don’t do a lot of bad things. They do good stuff. In fact, I think we all do too much good stuff. I’m not advocating doing bad stuff. I’m suggested we should be doing the good stuff we are called to do and leave the other good stuff to folks who are called to do that stuff.

I suggest instead of making a list of all the good stuff we are going to start the year doing and instead of sharing our to do list with everyone, usually on Facebook. I intend to shut up and listen. I hope God will tell me what I’m really suppose to be doing. I hope He breaks the chains of the “good stuff” I’m doing and am not called to do.

You have to listen to God for this because the stuff we are called to do isn’t necessarily the fun stuff or the stuff we feel qualified to do or the stuff that people will admire us for. In fact, it’s usually not any of that stuff. It’s just the stuff God created us to do at this time in our lives. We won’t find joy or satisfaction doing any other stuff.

If you think I said “stuff’ too much, just stuff it. I think there is some good advice in there amongst all the stuff. When you think you hear 2015 calling, listen close, it just might be God telling you stuff.

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NIck's been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.

Nick’s been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily. nicksigur.com

Music Power

I love my I-phone 6 plus. I mean I really love it. I take it to bed with me. I stick the ear buds in, put the “radio” on Christian music and fall right to sleep. I don’t need the music to sleep. I can fall asleep in moments, any time and any place. I think the music blesses me even while I sleep. I do wake up in the middle of the night. The music relaxes me, inspires me, helps me focus and eases me back to sleep.

I wish I could sing or play an instrument. I worked as a DJ at two different times in my life, but that is as close to “making music” as I’ve ever come. I know I’ll be able to sing in heaven; maybe even play a harp. It will be glorious.

To me music is an important part of the church experience. I love praise bands, worship leaders, solos, duets, high church, low church and black gospel choirs. I’m a little disappointed when the music stops and the announcements and preaching starts. I know that borders on heresy. So ex-communicate me. I can hear some of you whispering “Amen.”

I love the participation part of the music. Even though I don’t sing out loud. (I love the members of my church too much for that.) I sing in my head. I feel part of the worship. I feel part of the group. During announcements and sermons, not so much.

I read an article recently in which a pastor ranted about too much emphasis on music in church. He said it’s all about the preaching. A preacher would say that. He even said that worship leaders are too idolized. I think I noted a bit of jealousy there.

I understand the importance of preaching and teaching. I love doing both. Again, I guess it’s the participation. I take notes and try to really focus during teachings and sermons, but I have to admit the worship songs are still in my head.

Maybe sermons should be sung.

 

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NIck's been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.

Nick’s been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily. nicksigur.com

Dog Days of December

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is strange. We put so much energy into Christmas that there is a certain amount of deflation that occurs when that holiday is over. I know some folks put almost as much energy into New Years Day as Christmas. That has not been my pattern.

When Rosemary and I were dating, she got all dressed up for New Years Eve and I showed up in a t-shirt and jeans. We didn’t go out but I asked her to marry me that night dressed in my t-shirt and jeans so I guess that counts for something. For the next forty-four years, it has been our tradition to do nothing on New Years Eve. I try to make up for that by cooking for New Years Day, most of the time.

My work schedule is usually light during this last week. Lawyers don’t work the last week of the year. Some folks might say they don’t work at all, but let’s not go there. This cloudy and rainy weather we are having is helping make it a particularly blah week.

The year is almost over, yet there doesn’t seem to be enough time or energy to do those things I didn’t get done this  year and there is a strong temptation to wait for the New Year to attack the to-do list.

Football is finished as far as I’m concerned. The Cajuns finished strong and the Saints, well, they finished. I’ll watch some of the bowl games and NFL play offs with some interest but no passion.

I am sitting here trying to decide just what the point of these musings is. I think it is this: It’s a combination of eagerness and anxiety over what’s ahead and thanksgiving over what’s behind. I need to take the last few days of 2014 to rest up, refocus and prepare for 2015. There will be more challenges next year than ever before. God is doing a new thing and I’m not entirely sure what it is. I know that He has blessed me with great family and friends and adventure. He is waiting around the New Years corner for me and for  you.

Be blessed.

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NIck's been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.

Nick’s been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily. nicksigur.com

Christmas – A Glimpse of Heaven and a crash to earth

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

Christmas is great. No doubt about it. It’s always a bit better in our memory and our anticipation than it is. I have a theory about that. I think it’s because Christmas is a glimpse of Heaven on earth. The Heaven part is the peace on earth, good will to men, Christmas Spirit thing that we all love. The “on earth” part is the commercialization, stress, gifts that flop, relatives that irritate, tables that don’t look like the ones in the magazine, the bills that come in January.

If we can separate the two, we can gain a whole new appreciation of how great Heaven will be. Imagine Christmas every day without the “on earth” part. Heaven will be lots more than that, but at least it’s a glimpse. Those special moments that happen today, let them be glimpses for you. Those not so special moments, let them be reminders that we are still here.

Let this idea also free you from guilt if things aren’t perfect today. Guess what? You are not perfect, but you will be in heaven. When the relatives get under your skin, just think of them perfected in heaven, if they make it :). If the thought of them not making it makes you smile, shame on you. It’s just proof of how imperfect we still are. 🙁

Glimpses are imperfect. It’s looking through a glass darkly. We will see it all clearly then. For today love and accept the love that’s offered, imperfectly in both directions. Imagine what the loving will be like when it’s not dragged down by sin. To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven. Do a lot of loving, today especially. If you can’t do it today, when can you?

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NIck's been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.

Nick’s been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily. nicksigur.com

Merry Christmas – 2014

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It’s Christmas Eve, 2014. It’s been great so far. Last night we gathered with the Sigur clan. When you are the eldest of nine children, that’s a big crowd.

Today we have our precious great grand as a guest. I took her shopping and twice gave in to her “Just one thing” plea. It’s what grandpas do. Rose read her a Christmas story and we have grocery shopping and house cleaning to do. That’s okay because we will do it together and somehow make it fun.

Tonight Rose and I will be alone. That’s okay, too. Maybe we will light a fire. More likely we will sit together and watch Christmas movies and marvel that God has let us do this together forty-four times.

If a child’s birth had this impact after two thousand and fourteen years, that would be miracle enough. If that child grew up to share wise and wonderful things, it would be a greater miracle still and plenty enough to celebrate. It seems unthinkable that such a child, born in such a lowly place would be God himself, sent to save us from our sins. That’s the truth of this wonderfully impossible miracle. To God all things are possible, and what we celebrate this night is proof of it.

A miraculous and Merry Christmas to you all.

Nick

 

Christmas Flu

By Anna Sigur, Senior Msgr. Kelly Catholic High School, Beaumont, my niece

By Anna Sigur, Senior Msgr. Kelly Catholic High School, Beaumont, my niece

Lot’s of people have the flu or something like it including some of my favorite people. One of them is very little and another I will always think of as little. It’s tough when they are little or you still think of them that way.  It’s Christmas time and it just doesn’t seem right. What could God be thinking?

Christmas is about family getting together and celebrating and smiling and fun. Flu is about back rubs and home-made soup, quiet time just being there and talking. It’s about praying for the ones we love and appreciating them a bit more. I think I know what God was thinking. He’s so smart. I guess that’s why He’s God and why I’m not.

 

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NIck's been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily.

Nick’s been an attorney for 34 years, served as a pastor and blogs almost daily. nicksigur.com

Words to Speak

Give me Words to speak
Don’t let my Spirit sleep
Cause I can’t think of anything worth saying
But I know that I owe You my life
So give me Words to speak. Aaron Shust

I have recently been writing for Covenant Spotlight.  It’s been a learning experience. I have picked up new terms like “word count” and “byline” and “pull quote.” I have had to reduce what I have to say to a few words. That means making every word count. Like Chief Joseph, I have learned that it does not require many words to speak the truth.

As an attorney, I had long ago learned that a long and rambling argument usually was an attempt to hide a bad case. Using Twitter, we are limited to a 140 characters. It’s a good exercise in being precise.

If we pay attention in daily conversation, we learn the value of a few words. After hearing  a couple of sentences, our eyes start to glaze over, our attention wonders and we begin to plot what we will say or how we can shut the speaker up.

Words are a valuable resource. Our chance to influence and change lives is limited. Our words need to be short, sweet, and spirit inspired.  Think I’ll shut up.

Binding and Casting Christmas

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Last night I was asked to don a Santa suit for the Twelve Days of Christmas. My first thought was “Isn’t this supposed to be about focusing on Christ in Christmas?” There is a lot about Christmas that isn’t very Christian.

There is no doubt that our modern Christmas is very commercial. It’s only Christmas that saves most retail businesses with end of the year sales. There is also the attempt to secularize Christmas, substituting “Happy Holidays” for “Merry Christmas.”

Some of my Christian brothers and sisters are pretty radical about this. You would have to say they are “anti-Christmas.” Consider this quote: “The very foundation of the Christmas holiday is a lie. The Messiah was not born December 25th. He did not ask us to celebrate his birthday. He did not say to set up a tree in our house and decorate it and our houses with anything. Santa Claus does not exist. He doesn’t have reindeer that fly and he isn’t going to come down anyone’s chimney on December 25th and leave any gifts. Everything is a lie.” http://www.eliyah.com/paganexp.html

All that is true. December 25th was originally a pagan holiday. Trees and greenery have pagan origins. Saying Santa is based on St. Nicholas is possible but weak. Should we all join those we consider a bit radical and call for the “binding and casting” of Christmas?

I vote “no.” I think my radical brothers need to chill. I think they forget the redemptive power of Jesus. The cross was an instrument and symbol of torture. Jesus made it a symbol of redemption. In spite of the efforts of many this is still the CHRISTmas season. Every year the world is reminded that God became man. Every year people set aside, if only a bit, their negatives and exchange gifts and smile and show a little of their better nature. The trees and the lights and the gifts don’t hide but emphasize the miracle of Christ’s birth.

As Christians, Christmas is still our best opportunity to talk about Jesus to our non-follower friends. We can still choose to be non-secular and non-commercial in our celebration of the holiday. For the December issue of Covenant Spotlight I wrote an article entitled, “Doing Christmas Right.” Check it out. I share how my parents did it right and list some suggestions how we can still do that today.

Is the world trying to take Christ out of Christmas? Certainly. Is Christmas always celebrated like we would prefer? Certainly not. But let’s not throw out the Baby Jesus with the commercial bath water. The harder they try to take Him out of Christmas. The more they have to think about Him and how He is the Reason for the Season.