52 Weeks of Gratefulness #18 – The Stopping Game

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Thankful For My Mom And The Stopping Game

In Week 18 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for a fond memory of my mother and her Stopping Game.

My Mom made everything fun.

When I was learning to drive she made up this game to see who could stop the car most smoothly.

A successful stop was one that was gentle on the passengers and did not cause them to jerk forward in their seats. An excellent stop was one that your passengers barely felt.

On our way to choir rehearsal or Bible class (as church was our most common destination), we’d take turns driving to see who could stop the car better.

My younger brother, though too young to drive at the time, would get in on the game too. We’d all have so much fun exaggerating like we were going to get thrown out of the car when the driver was making a stop.

At the time, I was completely unaware that my mother was teaching me to be calm behind the wheel, gentleness with the pedals, speed management and to better gauge distances in traffic. But even more than that, my mother turned what would have been a loathsome task (going to church) into absolute joy.

My Mom constantly did stuff like this. This is what motherhood looks like to me, she was simultaneously my best teacher and my first friend.

Oh, what a blessing Rosemary Luckett is to me.

I’m grateful. #52WoG

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #10 – Legacy Of Willie Lee Harris

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Thankful For The Legacy Of Willie Lee Harris

In Week 10 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for the legacy of Willie Lee Harris.

His cancer is terminal.

We can see his body weakening. On this particular day, Mr. Harris seems to be doing remarkably well. Where he had been confined mostly to a chair or his bed, he’s walking around, talking, doing stuff. The reason for all this activity is that he wants to make the house more secure. His sons and grandsons are there to help him check locks and install security bars on the windows.

This is the last thing Mr. Harris did before leaving this life: making his wife secure. Mr. Harris knew he was dying, but in the face of death he thought about protecting his wife.

What an awesome legacy. This is the stuff my extended family, my wife and consequently my children are made of. I’m grateful. #52WoG

P.S. This is the day the family traditionally celebrates the birthday of Mr. Willie Lee Harris, even though we learned some years ago, that according to his birth certificate, he was born on March 11. That’s a window into a whole other discussion about the black experience, government and historicity, but suffice it to say we’re glad this man was born and we honor his legacy, especially today.

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #6 – Lessons From My Father About Work

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Thankful For Lessons From My Father About Work

In 6 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for lessons from my father about work.

No one in the world works harder than my father, Rev. Paul Luckett. No one.

I remember when my Dad was a student in seminary, he was a full time student, paying his way through school as a custodian for our apartment building in Atlanta, Georgia, pastoring two churches and driving between school in Atlanta and the churches in Jackson, Mississippi every weekend.

I remember spending countless summer days with him and my little brother Nehemiah Luckett, cutting yards, painting houses, buffing floors, hanging shingles, etc.

My youngest brother James recently told my Dad, “Whew, you’re a hard worker, Daddy. That’s a good thing to be. But, don’t you think it’s time to go home now?”

With my Dad having such a strong work ethic, naturally he had lessons to pass along to us. Here are a few I hope to pay forward:

A want is something you work for. A gift is something you’re given.

No one is obliged to give you what you want –or anything for that matter.

If there’s something you want that you feel you’re owed, it’s no longer a gift but wages.

Wages require that you be hired. To be hired requires at least an informal contract that’s been expressed for work in exchange for wages.

Are you feeling like someone owes you something? Well, were you hired for the task that you think you’re owed for?

No one owes you for work you weren’t hired to do.

And, no one owes you for being a ‘good’ person. If your goodness is contingent on being compensated for it, you’re not a good person but a faker-for-hire.

Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. If anyone gives you anything, be grateful -you don’t get to place demands on a gift. If you have demands, if you want something, work as hard as it takes to get it. Wants aren’t owed but earned.

This is treasured wisdom from my father that is still ministering to me today. Thanks, Dad. I’m grateful. #52WoG

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #4 – Dr. George Bennett

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #4 – Dr. George Bennett #52WoG
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #4 – Dr. George Bennett #52WoG
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #4 – Dr. George Bennett #52WoG
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #4 – Dr. George Bennett #52WoG

The flight instructor stands at the hanger, wearing old-school Chucks, beige cargo pants, a beige safari style shirt and a beige bucket sun hat. He’s scribbling into a small notebook using one of the many pens lining his left breast pocket. He occasionally looks up, peering over black-rimmed 1960’s style glasses to coach aspiring pilots through the nuances of a pre-flight check, expertly interspersing amazing tales of aviation history, daring feats of flight and near death encounters he’s personally experienced during his long and storied career. He smiles with each recounting and you can see the joy in his eyes from having spent his life doing what he loved.

Dr. Bennett is in his 80’s now, still crawling under a sailplane to check for the signs of wear and material fatigue that a novice might miss. He’s literally a legend but you’d never know because he’s utterly unassuming and completely approachable. He spends his weekends, oftentimes in grueling heat, climbing into a cockpit to pass on his vast experience to anyone wise enough to learn from it.

The flight instruction is being offered by the MSU Soaring Club provided through Mississippi State University. We’ve brought our son Roman to one of their meetings after a chance and kind introduction to the club by Jamie Jones. We’re hoping that Roman can join the club and start taking flying lessons. But as we look around, there is no one else near his age or his size. At eleven years old, the parachute nearly swallows him and probably weighs as much he does!

Being the expert that he is, Dr. Bennett makes mention of the minimum weight needed to achieve the proper distribution in the glider. At this point, Dr. Bennett could have very legitimately said Roman was not quite old enough to participate and that would have been that. But, Dr. Bennett looks at Roman and asks him directly, “You want to fly, don’t you? How much do you weigh?” After receiving Roman’s weight, Dr. Bennett makes a calculation and proceeds to use lead bags (those that typically holds down a wing of the gliders while it is stowed in the hanger) to make up for the lack in weight. But then, we’re faced with a new problem -Roman’s legs aren’t long enough to reach the pedals. Again, Dr. Bennett makes every accommodation so Roman can fly, telling him, “For now, we’ll focus on teaching you the stick controls and I’ll take care of everything else.”

From that moment almost five years ago, Dr. George, as we affectionally refer to him now, has not stopped pouring into Roman. He uses every break, every free moment between flights to share another lesson to prepare Roman for the next stage of his development as an aviator. It is quite something to behold how this man’s love of flying extends beyond the subject to his students. And, he does it all so effortlessly.

I’m not interested in aviation beyond supporting our son’s interest in it, but the apparent love around what Dr. George does has a draw to it. It makes me want to be around him, regardless of what he’s talking about. He’s teaching my son to fly but his example is teaching me a valuable lesson too. I’m grateful. #52WoG

From Father To Son: Gifts And Good Works

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Father To Son: Gifts and Good Works

Ephesians 2:10
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Yesterday, I shared with you that God has given each of us gifts and a heart for a specific good work.

We are most satisfied and fulfilled when we’re doing what we’re made to do.

There are so many voices about who we should be and what we should do that it can get confusing. But, if I want to know what something is made for, it’s best to ask the one who made it.

Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”

The Word shows us the way we should go.

It’s a journey of discovery as we learn more about our Creator and explore doing things we believe that are good and pleasing to Him.

Here are some questions that have helped me along my journey of finding the things that I’m made to do (I’m still learning everyday):

What problem(s) do you see that you have a burden to solve? Or, what do you think should exist or there should be more of that you have a burden to help create?

Right now, I am investing time into learning to become a better coder so that I can earn more to help more people. One of the things I want to do is to help the marginalized and underserved leverage technology to meet their financial needs and then build wealth (thrive).

Give some thought to those questions and let us know if there are any things you believe you have a heart to do.

We’d love to support to you on your journey of finding the good work you’re made to do.

We love you!

The Luckett Family Creed

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Luckett Family Creed

What do you do when a place is dark where people can barely see, they’re stumbling over things, crashing into each other and getting hurt? 

You add light.

We believe that God is the source of all light.

Our response to darkness in the world; to the problems we see, is to be light so those around us can find the Way.

The way we “be light” is to live and teach what we learn from God. The Way we learn from God is through God’s Son Jesus the Christ.

This is not just an idea. I wake up every day working by the grace of God to contribute light in some way to those around me, starting with each of you.

And, if you’re not actively being light or reflecting it, you are being something that blocks light -causing darkness.

God has given each of us gifts and a heart to address specific needs in our world, so there are many ways to be light.

Over the years by living in our home, you’ve either heard or experienced it in some way implicitly, but I want to state explicitly how our family seeks to be light.

What are we doing as a family?

Our family creates healthy places to nurture fruitful people, always starting with you.

We aim to promote “homes”; ecosystems of well-being by targeting specific areas (think our family, community, schools, etc.) and trying to cultivate as many people there to help and not harm those around them.

Why are we doing it?

Our family’s top priority is to promote Life and to help people thrive. Life is having a heart that results in a healthy relationship to everything around you; promoting life and not death. We believe that you get this life through believing Jesus. To thrive is to have well-being that overflows into others. That means having enough (spiritually, physically and materially) to meet your needs, enough to enjoy and enough to share.

Why am I telling you this?

So that you understand our motivation, why we get up every morning, why we make the decisions that we make, how our resources are allocated and why. And, so you can choose whether you want to participate at a level beyond compulsory obedience.

Our decision making calculus is simple: make the choice(s) that results in the most people  having Life and thriving, always starting with those entrusted to our care (you).

The ultimate vision is the Great Home which is the church; a network of individual homes that work together and are committed to being healthy places where people can share Life and thrive. Through fellowship with people we’ve invested in and others who are like-minded, our goal is to spread light throughout the world.

 

52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #34 – Rosemary Luckett

Rosemary Neal Chris Family Picture
Apartment complex where the Luckett family lived during seminary training at ITC Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia
Rosemary Luckett
Rosemary Luckett at Ribbon Cutting Of Master The Machine Computer Learning Center

In Week 34 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for my mother, Rosemary Luckett.

The place was remarkably clean as I remember.

It’s my Dad’s first year at ITC Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia and we’ve not long moved into the apartment. My brother’s a baby and I’m between first and second grade.

Sterile seems a more accurate description. The walls were stark white. The ceiling is white. The floor is white and black speckled laminate. The only thing breaking up the monotony of the space was a thick, dark grey rubber border running along the bottom of the walls. In the living room, there’s a large window that spanned the height of the wall, sitting just above a motel style air conditioner.

It’s quiet, too. It’s Saturday morning. At our old house, the neighborhood would already be bustling with the sound of lawn mowers and playing kids. But here, it’s dead quiet, aside from the muffled sound of city traffic due to being some way off in the distance. I’m looking out the living room window onto the spacious, grassy courtyard dotted with large trees and thinking perhaps I’ll play out there.

And then, it started as the sound of gentle arrhythmic taps against metal -like salt being slowly sprinkled on aluminum foil. It was the first droplets of rain hitting the coils of the air condition unit. The window began to collect a few drops making a circuitous path toward the sill. Then, what began as a sprinkle became a thunderous shower and sheets of rain are now streaming down the window.

There was suddenly static, like a TV without a clear channel. And then the sound alternated between music, then voices and music again, each electronically garbled between transitions. My mother had gone and gotten the radio and brought it to the front room. She was turning a large silver knob, searching for the right station. When she found one playing a song, she bent forward toward me with her arms stretched out and hands open, motioning for me to dance.

She took me by the hands twisting, jumping and skipping about as we danced to Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and the music of that day. My brother was on the couch in his diaper and she’d occasionally scoop him up so he could dance with us too. A dreary, lonely day was suddenly filled with light. All I remember was the brightness of her countenance and the fullness of her smile as her full, black untamed hair bounced exuberantly upon her shoulders. This is my mother; my wonderful, beautiful, incomparable mother. It is a moment that perfectly encapsulated her as a person. Over and over throughout my life, she took a cold, empty husk of an existence and filled it with joy, hope and love.

I don’t remember the music ending. I hope it never does. If I could relive that moment for eternity, that would be heaven.

I thank God continually for you, Mom. I love you.

I’m grateful. #52WoG

Originally posted to Facebook on August 21, 2021.

Dying For An Apology

Couple Disagreement

Has someone ever offended you and it seemed that the relationship was “on hold” until they apologized? Yep, me too. It naturally makes sense to think that the one who broke it should fix it. But, Jesus teaches something very different in Matthew 18:15. There, we’re told when someone hurts us, that we are to take initiative to restore the relationship and go to the offender. You’ll also find in Matthew 5:23-24, that Jesus commands those who realize they’ve hurt someone to take immediate action to restore the relationship. What does this mean? Regardless of who is in the wrong, I am responsible for doing all I can to pursue a healthy relationship.

I think this speaks to the heart of what it means to be Christian, a follower of Christ. Jesus’s entire purpose was to reconcile creation to God (Colossians 1:20). And to be Christian, is to be Christ-like. Therefore, we also have this ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). What this means to me is that our default disposition should be one of restoral. We should be driven, looking, to restore people to fellowship with God and then with us.

This helps me, especially in marriage. When my wife and I are at odds, I must take responsibility for restoring that fellowship -regardless of whether I hurt her or if she hurt me. Practically speaking, if I truly desire to maintain the relationship, I would remove any obstacles that prevent us from getting there. And among the first obstacles to remove is the idea that because I offended her or I was offended by her, I’ve taken a position that is against her. Instead, I must communicate, even over-communicate, that I am for her, I am not her enemy, and desire to be in fellowship with her again.

I’ve tried to implement this by establishing ongoing gestures that communicate my openness and good-will toward her. One of these gestures is simply to kiss her on the cheek or on her forehead every night before we retire to sleep (Ephesians 4:26). Whether she’s angry or whether I’m angry, I try to do this to communicate there’s hope and I’m open to restoring fellowship.

How is God doing that for you? How has He communicated His openness to you and the hope of fellowship with Him? First, have you received His gesture of goodwill? And secondly, how can you do more of that for others?

When Doing Good Doesn’t Seem To Pay

Frustrated and feeling overlooked, he still flashed a smile to his teammates, congratulating them on their touchdowns. After the game, sensing his dejection I said, “Work hard and keep finding ways to get open. It will come.” I then lauded him for having a good attitude even when things didn’t turn out the way he had hoped. I said, “You did the right thing, son.” He retorted, “What good is it to do the right thing, when it doesn’t get you anywhere?” I replied softly, “I’d take a good conscience over a good moment any day.”

He turned and looked at me for a moment, seeming to consider my words before looking out of the window. I hope he got it.

First posted on Facebook September 23, 2016 at 7:42am

I’m Done

Photo: Pete Rosos

“I tire of asking you for what’s due me,” the thought began, “and of the insults in the things you don’t bother to do.” But just before the following thought, “I’m done” could form in my mind, it became clear what I was thinking about someone else, Jesus could say of me. And through the echo of Scripture, He went on to say, “Now, love them like I love you1 despite your frequent apathy and disrespect2. Work to this end3, believing I can give them a new heart4 and perfect their love, just as I’m doing in you5.”

1 John 13:34; 15:12; Colossians 3:12-15
2 Romans 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8; Revelation 2:4-5; Revelation 3:15-18
3 John 17:15-21; Matthew 13:38; 1 Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 5:14-20
4 Ezekiel 36:26; 2 Corinthians 5:16-19;
5 Philippians 1:6; Titus 3:1-7;