Tuesday, November 10, 2009

THIS IS MY LIFE Part 1 by Dr Robert D. Gamble

I want to speak to you as if you are destined to do something remarkable with your life. Some of you will or have already in an obvious way, others have or may in a small quiet way…. I want to speak to you as if you are “called” to do something and you know it, you feel it. If you don’t believe this about yourself, well,… you will just have to overhear.

When we think of calling here in Ukraine, we think of cell phones… Everyone uses cell phones, there are several different companies that sell minutes…. In America, we have AT%T, Nextel-sprint and Vorizon; In Ukraine, we have Kievstar , MCI and once called, LIFE, Whenever you meet someone, you trade cell numbers… you can text msg the cell number…

When I think of calling, I think of vocation, jobs and careers,

I hired a secretary… her name is Annya, but I call her Ann. She is part time, well supposed to be, 4 days, 4 hours a day, $50 a week; she actually worked quite a bit overtime. She’s between jobs and going back to school. I met her at church, she volunteered for a day on Sunday and then I asked if she would come to work with me until she started another job.

At the end of the first day in the office and it was quite an eventful day with kids on the street and buying clothes… she sent me message, “This is my Life.”

Oh, I thought, how nice of her to say this … she must have had some epiphany about work and vocation… she’s leaving the business world forever and spending the rest of her life in nonprofits helping children…

So I sent a text msg back. “Welcome to my life!”

But then she came over to my desk … “Robert I was just sending you my cell phone number with the network called LIFE …..”

We joked about it…. later the story got turned around ; she started kidding me….”Robert, you are the only person who really understood me…. Everyone else thinks im just a secretary,
Ukrainian humor can be quite subtle sometimes.

What’s your life? … I hope you are alive.… I am sure you know what I mean when I say, you can be living but not really alive.. Life is out there waiting for you. I don’t care how young and inexperienced you are or old and tired you are. I meet people who say, oh down the road some day I will do it… or if only… and so many people whose lives are a cycle of work, the grocery store, home, eat sleep, get up and do it all over again.

When I come back to the states, I feel the urge to upset the routine, I want to poke people, stir them for a moment…

Jesus did that. If you read the opening chapters of the gospels you will see this phrase repeated, “The Kingdom of God is near.” Jesus disturbed people with that notion. Scholars argue about what he said. What does that mean to say the reign of God is “at hand.” Does it mean he knows something we don’t know? Is something going to happen? Im going to suggest that Something needs to happen, can happen… inside you.

I want to disturb you with the notion that there is something you do not have, and it’s not a minicooper, It’s not a mac air, that fits in an envelope, it’s not i-phone or a Blackberry, (dear Lord please give me a Blackberry) its not something you can buy, or grasp, or own…. It’s a way of living. It’s a way of feeling about your life… and that’s a problem in America: the way we think and feel about our lives.

Here’s an interesting truth: In America, everything is large. We have big cars and houses and highways and buildings. In Ukraine, the roads are narrow and cramped , the apartments small. People squeeze into buses.

But in America, our lives can be narrow and cramped. My life was getting too small, even as the pastor of a large church. I felt squeezed by forces I could not identify. By contrast, in Ukraine I live in a one room apartment, I ride on smaller streets, cramped into buses and trains…. But my life is large. My life is huge. There are no limits or boundaries to what can be done.

I don’t watch television. The Discovery Channel came three weeks ago, the whole idea was show people the glamorous side of some eastern European cities and then a look at what tourists don’t see. I took them to the place below a local Bank where 8 kids were living. And this is a very interesting thing, because I used to watch that channel. In a couple of months, Im going to be on the Discovery Channel.

The world is shrinking; I mean we are getting more and more closely connected, and that’s a really interesting thing because at the same time, it means that opportunities are expanding. You don’t need to travel to Ukraine like I did. …. but the whole world is out there , its at your fingertips; it is live on the monitor of your laptop and in your ears with a headset and microphone. Read The World is Flat by Thomas Friedmann. Just read the first chapter, stand there at the bookstore and read it. It was just multinational corporations, but now individuals are acting globally. It’s the internet , of course. Try Idealist.com . I'm on there along with thousands who are doing something interesting with their lives.

My life is probably not what most of you are interested in doing… Who wants to go to Ukraine? What I am saying is that there is life out there… What I am probing you with is the question, How much would you give to have a life that is large? How much would you pay to have a life you feel that way about? If you saw that film, and it is a dark film, “Revolutionary Road,” you heard Leonardo Di Caprio say that line, “I want to feel really, really alive…”

Well you can… feel… really alive.

Now we have to shift the conversation…. Lets assume you want this life that is large… you have something you wish to do with your life… and you don’t feel prepared to do… more than that, you feel you haven’t the energy to do… . you want to do this thing, but… it just seems too fantastic. What do you need to do? go back to school? Or just change your routine so that you start volunteering somewhere… or you want to start a new business or non profit or be an artist or a writer. I'm just throwing things out there… whatever… its massive when you look at it.

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