What Is The Measure of Success?

“Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers.” –Francis Chan

I got a phone call yesterday that made me light up. It was Saturday late afternoon, and an UrbanPromise mom was calling me to ask for parenting advice. Me. The one who looks and sounds so different. Who raised her children in a stable two parent family. Who never worried about from where the next meal would come. In short, who has nothing in common with the woman at the other end of the line. Except that we have both parented teens and somehow I had connected with her enough to trust me.

Her daughter was in a mood and was holed up in her bedroom after acting out. Mom expressed frustration at her daughter’s willingness to listen to me, but not to her. I spoke to her about unconditional love: how my guess was that she showed me more respect because she didn’t trust my unconditional love for her. But she trusted Mom so much that it was safe to act out at home. And we spoke of appropriate behavior, and drawing boundaries…in short the same wisdom that had been shared with me when our kids were younger. At the end of the call she was tearful, thanking me for being there for her. Meanwhile I was ecstatic! I felt like I had leveled up in this community.

It was funny because earlier that day I had been speaking with a former student of mine who is forging a new professional role as well, but in a hospital setting – I expect she will be safely earning 6 figures, as well she should with the level of responsibility she will be assuming. But of course it got me thinking that I could be earning 6 figures too. Yes, I am not all that altruistic. And then this call came, and I felt, once again, a deep affirmation of my call.

Then this morning Rachel Rhodes, our associate pastor at First Pres, gave the most powerful, spirit-driven message of her brief career (at least in my opinion). It spoke of the upside-downedness of the Christian life, and further affirmed the apparent theme of my weekend. Crazy, right? It’s that wily Holy Spirit again, which regularly keeps me entertained! (If you want to check out Rachel’s sermon, go to www.haddonfieldpres.org and click on the link for live-streaming).

Speaking of success…this year’s UrbanPromise banquet is going to highlight the work of the Wellness Center. The date is Thursday, October 24th and the event is held at the Scottish Rite Theater. Tickets are $45 a person and include dinner as well as a performance. I would love to see you there! If interested you can register at www.urbanpromiseusa.org/banquet – and make a note that you would like to sit with the Haddonfield First Pres gang!


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