Ham, Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato? (HBLT)

Now that I got your attention with a title like Ham, Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato?, let me tell you what HBLT really stands for and invite you to sink your teeth into something rich.

HBLT actually stands for Hook, Book, Look, Took. It is a preaching, teaching, and/or Bible study method used to grab a person’s attention, point them to the Word, look more closely or more in depth, and then take something away (personal application). My pastor explained this to the congregation today, and from the very first mention of H.B.L.T. I was imagining a sandwich.

My youngest son does a great job of incorporating H.B.L.T. in the following note he shared on Facebook. And it even includes bacon. Have a look…

The weirdness of ‘new’ and the goodness of bacon

November 28, 2013 at 11:02am
–Jordan Stewart
 “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”- 1 Peter 5:10-11

I’ve realized something lately: life can be awfully difficult sometimes. Just when we get enough understanding and strength and resources to deal with the problems and challenges facing us, we get new ones. We have friends who genuinely care about us, our schedule is figured out, our stuff is organized; everything is going well and we like it.

 Then ‘new’ happens.

And no matter how much ‘new’ has happened before, we are never ready for the new ‘new’ that arrives unexpectedly, like a cold gust of wind slapping you in the face. 

 And we can do a lot of things with ‘new’ when it gets here:

  • We can live like we are still in the old, essentially being in denial.
  • We can accept ‘new’ but hate it.
  • We can pretend to enjoy ‘new’ even when deep down inside we don’t.
  • Or maybe some of you out there genuinely like everything ‘new’ that happens to you. But it still comes with challenges and super-uncomfortable times.

 As much as we try to keep it together, I think something ‘new’ will always come along to keep us on our toes. It can be frustrating, but it’s probably always going to happen. It can be a new living place or relationship or job…heck, even a new haircut can make you feel like a zombie apocalypse is happening.

But two things seem to always be there whenever ‘new’ stuff is happening:

One, there is you. You may come out of things a little different.

That new living place can make you come to find the value of having an eventful day at Walmart. Maybe your special someone doesn’t like it when you talk about your collection of Russian nesting dolls, but they won’t really miss that 5 hours when you consider a whole lifetime, ya know. The new job might present a version of you with a little less sleep in the schedule, but coffee will be there for you. And even haircuts aren’t the end of the world. There’s always a wig.

 The point is, some new thing might change you a bit, but you (and your Russian nesting dolls) will make it through. I’m sure that haircut isn’t as bad as you think (okay so maybe it is, but it’ll grow out). And if you ever feel like you CAN’T make it through whatever is going on in your life, you are darn wrong and I mean it. And do write me, please, if there’s anything going on at all! Even if I can’t do anything about it, I can offer a free ear (the left one charges, so watch out for him).

 Aside from you and your faithful mug of Folgers, the other thing that will always be there in your new circumstance is God and His goodness.

 Something I’ve been learning about God recently is that His goodness isn’t determined by His actions, but His actions are determined by His goodness. If you understood that statement and went, “Duh!”, hang on. Even if we know that God’s acts aren’t what makes Him good or bad, we don’t always talk or live like it. If the statement about God’s goodness made no sense, it basically means that God is always completely good and that’s why He does everything He does. Sometimes people say, “Because God allows things like cancer and rape and natural disasters to occur on earth, He can’t be good.” When we say things like that, we are not understanding something about God and about goodness.

God is the only unchanging and ultimate standard in all existence; goodness comes from Him.

This means He doesn’t have to “prove” Himself to us, and we don’t have to understand His goodness in order to make Him good. (The bad things I mentioned are serious and painful things, and I don’t mention them to make light of them. I acknowledge it is very hard to understand God’s goodness when we are in immense pain, but I am making a statement that God’s goodness will always be there and it is okay for us to wonder sometimes. Since it’s really there and truly absolute, it can withstand our testing and seeking.)

 We can ask God a lot of ‘why’ questions–

Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do new and uncomfortable things happen right when we have everything under control? Why does bacon taste so good? 

 Regardless of the significance of bad and uncomfortable things (and bacon of course), we may not always get our questions answered. But what I hope we can all see by some means is that God IS good. The Bible doesn’t do a lot of explaining about God’s goodness. Don’t get me wrong: it does talk about it a lot. But it more says that He IS good than tries to explain why or how. The only answer I can give is that if you know Him, you will know about Him. Sounds redundant, I know, but it’s true. How could I expect to know much about you if I didn’t even know you? Well I could know a little, but I’d wager that someone who’s been in a genuine and loving marriage for 10 years would know the other person better than my little sister knows Justin Bieber. 

 So if you take away something let it be this: new things will happen, and some of them will be difficult or at the very least uncomfortable. But you will live through it and God is still good.

And if you feel as though you won’t make it through, please please please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ll do what I can, even if that is just listening (or helping you find a better barber). 

*********************************************************************************************************************

Makes this mom, writer, blogger proud!

See also:

Why Jesus?

Trust God, He Knows the Way

Triumph to Tragedy (Why does God ordain sorrowful tragedy)

Do Difficult Situations Drive you to the Father?

Family, Mommy, Faith, Education, Inspiration

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