Friday, July 31, 2015

The Trap of Busyness

A book I recently read convicted me about the busyness of my schedule. In fact, my full calendar had become an area of pride and a marker of professional significance. Obviously, this is less than healthy as it leads me to avoiding rest and looking for ways to inflate my self-worth through a full slate of activities and meetings. As a result, I’ve been meditating on ways to change my perspective and alleviate some of my self-imposed stress.

My personality and work ethic won’t allow me to simply “pull back” and ease up on the accelerator (at least not for extended periods of time.) I’m discovering I need to take a two-pronged approach to altering my pursuit of busyness. First, I must take more intentional time to rest. This starts with a regular weekly observance of Sabbath and also ways of resting my mind and body throughout the week. This will hopefully refresh me on a more regular basis and allow me to keep up a more regular pace.

The second focus is on being busy in the right way. I don’t believe all busyness is negative, but instead of allowing "all things" to dominate my schedule I need to be strategic with what I do. I need to be clear on my personal and professional purpose and do the things that lead me further along that path. This is the principle of missional velocity—moving intently in a direction with the purpose of fulfilling my calling.

I’m not going to fix this overnight, but I also haven’t become a “busyaholic” that quickly either. I’m striving to become more intentional about the balance of rest and purpose and feel certain I’ll be in recovery for the rest of my life.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Shaping Life

“Incident piled on incident no more makes life 
than brick piled on brick makes a house.” 
Edith Ronald Mirrielees

If you want to build something worthwhile, you’ve got to take the raw material and shape it into what you desire. We don’t always get to decide what our supplies will be, but we can determine how we’ll use what we’ve been given. We forfeit the right to complain about the product if we won’t invest ourselves in the process.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Celebrations Help

I love to see lives transformed for the better and I appreciate the perseverance it takes to see success. Yesterday I wrote about beginning that journey right where we are and not waiting for some distant date or event before beginning. We won’t reach our destination if we are unwilling to start heading in a positive direction. I think there’s another key element that helps us maintain our focus along the way—celebrating the small steps of progress.

We miss opportunities to encourage people when we only celebrate ten years of sobriety, twenty years of marriage, or a year of wise financial decisions. Courage can often be gained and reinforced by honoring small moments of wisdom and perseverance. What if we shouted praises to the person who walked one lap around their neighborhood just as much as the person who finished their first marathon? What if we applauded one day of giving up cigarettes instead of reminding people of how far they have to go before their habit is kicked? You can’t build a year of positive habits without the 365 days that fill the calendar.

Let’s start encouraging people for their small steps in the right direction instead of waiting for a big moment to let them know we’re proud. The minimal investment of celebration may give them the courage to keep moving towards transformation.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Just Get Started

It's not a new thing for me to write and think about starting new patterns in life. I think it's become ingrained as part of me even though it wasn't necessarily natural until the last few years. Part of it is my passionate enthusiasm for the concept of new beginnings which can't become real until we start something. I think we get overwhelmed with this idea when we look at daunting changes and how far we have to go to reach our goal. I'll admit this can be discouraging and can persuade us to avoid change instead of tackling it head on. There have been times when I've given up before I started because the obstacles in front of me seemed to large and the journey too long.

I don't intend to make change sound easier than it is and I recognize how difficult life-altering habits can be to establish. Sometimes we just need encouragement from others on the journey and the validation that we can simply start where we are. We don't have to reach a certain level before we can begin life change, but can begin at whatever point in life we find ourselves. It's the forward progress that makes a difference. The starting line for the journey to transformation isn't off in the distance. It's right in front of us waiting for us to take the first step.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Know Who You Are

No matter how hard you might work to control details, life will never move exactly as you planned. There will be unforeseen circumstances, emergencies, uncertainty, and interruptions to derail us (almost sounds like a typical Monday, doesn't it?) Any amount of life experience will affirm this truth. What we have to determine is our personal response when this inevitability occurs.

Coping skills and adaptability are admirable qualities that help in these uneven times and can certainly guide us down the right path. These can be learned to a certain extent and should be strengthened as much as possible if we expect to be overcomers. I think the longest lasting success is found in something much simpler and more foundational: our identity.

If I am clear about who I am (son of the King, husband, father, friend, pastor) I won't allow these other events to pull me away from that. In fact, it's by reminding myself of the importance of who I am trying to become that helps me fight selfishness, anger, and stupidity. There's no guarantee I will always remember this, but hopefully I can see the value in maintaining the integrity of my character instead of responding flippantly to current circumstances. Don't let life's fluctuating events decide who you will be, but let your identity decide how you will respond.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Language Lessons

We wrapped up a series on marriage this week by sharing the idea of commitment in our relationships. This obviously takes some work from both people and a willingness to endure through difficult times. One of the keys to thriving is to understand the "love language" of the other person. While this may sound a little odd, it's a theory based on how we tend to understand we are loved. It varies from person to person and includes words of affirmation, physical touch, giving of gifts, quality time, and acts of service. I don't believe we are necessarily exclusive in these areas, but we are predominantly affected by some more than others.

If we want to effectively communicate our depth of feeling for those we love we have to understand how they hear us. Continuing to speak in a way that doesn't connect with them won't get the point across. Increasing the frequency of gifts won't affirm a person's feelings if they respond best to positive words. It's like speaking English to someone who only speaks Spanish and getting increasingly louder as we realize we aren't communicating. Soon we'll both be yelling and neither one of us will understand what's being said.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Past the Limit

I recently listened to a podcast from a leader I follow and he was talking about the principle of limiting beliefs. His podcast centered on the idea of the thoughts we allow that diminish our potential. Most of our limitations begin in our minds and the things we say to ourselves which reduce our effectiveness. It may be simple things such as, “I just can’t ever get in shape.” or “There’s no way I could quit smoking,” or “I’m not a leader—no one would follow me.” These statements reflect a limiting belief we have allowed to hinder our progress and keep us from growing into new things.

I think there is a lot of validity to this theory. I have hindered my own progress sometimes just by the things I said to myself. This doesn’t mean we don’t need to take an accurate measurement of our strengths & weaknesses. I will readily admit there are things that fall outside of my natural gifting and abilities. There are also situations in which I need to overcome my own misguided thinking and take action based on possibility. It’s a careful balance of maturity to be able to accurately assess yourself while avoiding the negative self-talk which can inhibit your growth.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Sudden Stop

I was running on the treadmill at the gym yesterday after work since it's a bit warm to be exercising outside. I was trying to get in some miles in a slightly better climate and was feeling good while increasing my speed to a fairly good pace. Just as I was about to hit the one mile mark, I came to a screeching halt. My body didn't quit on me, but the treadmill had suddenly shut off. I couldn't get it to turn back on, but it became quickly obvious that was not my most immediate problem. My body did not react well to the unexpected halt of momentum and it took me a few minutes to regain my equilibrium. Sadly, my workout was cut short before I hit my intended target and I left the gym disappointed.

A sudden halt to our life's momentum can be just as disorienting. This may be a result of our choices or come from outside influences that we could never accurately predict. Unfortunately, the result will be the same either way. The quick stop will throw off our equilibrium and cause us to take the time to reorient ourselves again before we can move forward. If it is directly connected to our decision making we will either have to make some adaptations to avoid repeating these consequences. If it is something outside of our decisions we'll have to grab onto nearby support and hang on until we feel we can move forward again.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Comforting Presence

I have a very good friend named Larry who is a gentle soul and cares deeply for the people. He and I have served at camps together for several years and have a close personal connection. He is genuinely kind and openly affectionate. Larry always tells me he loves me and is known for his affectionate terminology and his signature catchphrase, "baby boy." I've heard him use it with our campers and even with adult men (who are obviously younger than him--including myself.) There's a gentle paternalistic tone to him and he's very good at bringing comfort when it's needed.

I was drinking coffee with a friend earlier this week and talking about the difficult trials of life we endure. We both obviously knew we needed to seek out God's wisdom and were frustrated by the apparent lack of response. It hit me as we sat there that what God often offers isn't counsel or even a solution. Sometimes he just offers us a seat on his lap as He affectionately says, "Come here, baby boy, “ as gently and lovingly as my friend, Larry. We've forgotten what it's like to be a small child and should learn to just take comfort in being in the presence of our Father. Sometimes it’s more important to be loved than to receive answers.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Positive Talk

Our words are more powerful than we realize. It's easy to throw them around and not understand the impact they have on the people we care about. I've learned through my own poor choices how damaging my tongue can be and have also seen the incredibly positive power of an encouraging word. I think we've all got to learn to examine our speech and use better words if we want to see our relationships improve. Common relationship-building phrases could include:

I love you.
Thank you.
I'm proud of you.
You are important to me.
I think you're beautiful.
You make me happy.
I'm sorry.
You're safe with me.

It's a dedication to learning a new pattern of speaking even if the words might seem foreign to us at first. Speaking these positive words will be fruitful in our relationships. Even if we struggle at first I think we'll find it makes us feel better too.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Don't Forget Why

During our current sermon series, we used a clip from the movie, "The Matrix". It has been several years since I watched it, but the clip has reignited my memory of the film. The basic premise is pretty simple: there are two worlds operating around us. There is what seems to be the normal world we all live in and there is the real world that only exists for those able & willing to see it. It's an interesting sci-fi twist on the idea of a virtual reality that has fooled most people into believing it is real.

I think we can sometimes fall victim to this same mentality. We become consumed by the stretched rhythm of life its demands on our time, energy, and finances. This creates a frenetic pace that narrows our vision to only conquering the problem of the day or maintaining our status quo. Sadly, this hectic mindset becomes our main focus and we end up forgetting the things which matter the most. We quickly become consumed by what we are doing and often forget why we do them. It's the motivation behind our actions that matters most--this is our true reality.

Don't let the rhythm of day-to-day life cause you to forget something bigger is happening at the same time.

Monday, July 20, 2015

That's Sensational!

When I hear certain songs it automatically transports me to another time and memory. It only takes a few bars of a tune to bring me back to high school, dancing with my daughters in the living room, or a special occasion. It's not just auditory stimulus which triggers memory either. Even a particular smell will quickly bring back memories of my grandparent's house, the fires of 1998 we had to evacuate from, or many nights walking on the beach. These are just a few reminders of the incredible power of our senses to trigger vibrant retrospection.

All of our senses create memory pathways and can be used to navigate those trails again when activated. I think we often fall back on the most predominant one--our sight--and neglect to sharpen our other senses. This takes a conscious effort to use all we have at our disposal and not rely simply on what our eyes perceive. I think we'll find our other faculties are actually more powerful for triggering and forging lasting memories. Engaging all of our senses will develop a richer experience we can recall more readily if we are willing to work at it.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


We are having training sessions for our guest services teams this week as we look to improve an already excellent ministry. This is an opportunity to reinforce vision and remind people of our positive values that drive us as a team.

One of the questions which came up during our training was whether to stay in your assigned area if a guest had a need. The answer is obvious: the needs of people outweigh anything else. We use the phrase, “People over position” as our reminder.

That’s pretty solid advice for other areas of our life too. We need to remember to place value in our relationships and on individual lives instead of focusing on being right and exercising authority over others. If we truly value the people we are blessed to have around us we will treat them with respect and look for ways to elevate them. Our concern will be to help them feel loved and appreciated before we focus on our own needs. Ironically, we’ll discover personal fulfillment when we increase the value of those we care about.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

True Purpose

"We can all find a purpose on this earth larger than ourselves." Danielle Green 

Danielle Green is a Notre Dame alum and women's basketball player who also served in the Army. She was critically injured in May 2004 while serving in Baghdad, Iraq and suffered significant injuries including the amputation of her left hand. Danielle recently received the Pat Tillman Award for Service on the ESPY's (ESPN's sports award show), but it wasn't just for her dedication to sports and country. After earning the Purple Heart for her injuries and dedication, she committed her life to working with returning veterans as a readjustment counselor. Who better to help our military veterans reacclimate to society than someone who has gone through it themselves?

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Danielle on many levels, but it is her commitment to living a greater purpose that stands out. She gets it. She has not only modeled a servant minded attitude through her sacrifice, but also through her ongoing dedication to helping others. The idea of enduring sacrifice is not foreign to her, but is clearly part of who she is.

What if we each chose to live by this philosophy? Imagine the difference each life would make if we committed to this thought? This is what defines a real leader to me: someone who has dedicated their life to being part of something larger than their own preferences, schedules, and pleasure. Not only is this admirable, but it's the most fulfilling way to live. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Reality Check

I doubt I'm the only one that has come back from vacation and said, "Back to reality!" It's as if we have separated family relaxation time from the normal daily activity portion of our lives. I really believe it's a reflection of the way we tend to compartmentalize. We keep things in separate boxes in our minds and miss the big picture of how everything fits together.

I think all of our life experiences: routine family events, work, hobbies, events to celebrate, tragedies to mourn, and difficulties to endure are all part of real life. It's the blending of these positive, negative and seemingly mundane things that make up who we are and define the life we are called to lead.

Every part of our life is valuable. We should pay attention to it as it goes by or we'll miss something important. We live in this reality every moment whether we recognize it or not.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mind Matters

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

What are you thinking about? What do you allow your mind to dwell on? Is it healthy? How do you determine what is best for you?

The dark alleys of my mind can be dangerous for me. It’s where insecurity and doubt act as bullies to my confidence and faith. These intimidators only have as much power as I am willing to give them and sadly, I grant them far too much authority. I don’t intend to make it sound easier than it is (because it certainly is a difficult task) but I need to learn to shift my mental focus to things that are more positive instead of dwelling on the negative. I've learned that I’m incapable of doing this consistently through my own power. I've got to lean heavily on the strength I gain from Christ if I am to stand a chance of lasting change.

Learning to stop playing mind games with yourself is never easy, but it's essential to focus our mental energies in the right place if we want to thrive.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Anxious Thoughts

I’ve been known to worry now and then. I don’t feel like I let it consume me (although my wife might say otherwise) but there are certainly times when I am more anxiously concerned than others.

I worry about what people think of me, whether I am making the right choice for my family’s future, about parenting decisions and how it affects my children, and whether I’m doing a good job in my calling. We also have three daughters who will all be in college in the next three years, vehicles to replace, and other financial thoughts for our future. Then there’s the (not so) distant idea of weddings and the next challenges of parenting adults. In retrospect, perhaps I do worry a touch more than I originally thought.

Some days it can be easy to get caught up in anxiety and all it entails. I certainly can’t solve all of those concerns right now. Perhaps I can calm my mind by asking a simple question:

Do I trust God to give me what I need for right now?

I can try to plan effectively and be wise with what I choose, but at some point I have to learn to trust God and believe in His provision. I don’t think it means I shouldn’t think about the future, but my trust in Him should help me to stop worrying about it quite so much.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Right Gift

I find myself praying for many of the same things on a regular basis. I obviously ask God to protect my family and to keep us focused on Him as we grow together. I pray for my extended family as well and for their physical and spiritual well-being. I talk to God about our church, the staff I get to serve with, and the community we all live in together. There are always specific people on my prayer list as well--especially those God brings across my path during the week.

As a leader, I am also always praying for wisdom, clarity, strength, and intentional focus. I see these as key personal areas and know God is the best source of these in my life. I don't think these are bad things to pray about, but it hit me this week that I should be focused on something more. Maybe the better thing for me to pray for is my character. I can ask for gifts from God, but if I don't have the right heart or level of integrity to match the rest won't matter much.

I know I have to make the right decisions to stay on that straight path, but a prayer focus asking for God's strength and help certainly can't hurt.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Our Prayer

May this simple prayer help us as we seek to live as God's Church in this world.

God, go with us. 

Help us to be an honor to the church. 

Give us the grace to follow Christ’s word,
to be clear in our task and careful in our speech. 

Give us open hands and joyful hearts. 

Let Christ be on our lips. 

May our lives reflect a love of truth and compassion.

Let no one come to us and go away sad. 

May we offer hope to the poor, and solace to the disheartened. 

Let us so walk before God’s people, 
that those who follow us might come into his kingdom. 

Let us sow living seeds, words that are quick with life, 
that faith may be the harvest in people’s hearts. 

In word and in example let your light shine in the dark like the morning star. 

Do not allow the wealth of the world or its enchantment 
flatter us into silence as to your truth. 

Do not permit the powerful, or judges, 
or our dearest friends to keep us from professing what is right.


*Borrowed from Searching for Sunday, by Rachel Held Evans

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hunger Pangs

Our bodies let us know when we are hungry. Our stomachs will growl, we might get shaky, develop a headache, or become grumpy with people around us. It's our body's way of communicating to let us know we need nourishment. If we refuse to acknowledge it, we will eventually cause damage to ourselves from a lack of sustenance.

I believe we hunger for other things too. We were created to seek something more than just our current circumstances and have these hunger pangs within us that create discontent. Acknowledging this and searching for satisfaction is the beginning to easing our discomfort. We can ignore it for a while, but eventually we will cause damage to ourselves from a lack of fulfillment.

What are some of those things we are hungry for?


That’s a fairly lengthy shopping list of items to be looking for. It might seem to be too difficult to find in one place, but God designed His Church to be a refuge where all of this can be found. When we experience this and find our hunger satisfied, even for a while, it’s a beautifully fulfilling thing to be part of.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mr. Fix-It

Part of my natural desire is to fix things. I want to make people feel better, improve situations, and correct wrongs. I want to be able to step into tough circumstances and bring a solution that makes a positive difference for everyone. While this may be an admirable quality in some cases, it’s not a healthy approach to investing in people.

Is “fixing" all it’s purported to be anyway? What does that say about how we view the people we care about if we are only concerned with “fixing” them? Are they a problem to be solved? Do we earn merit badges for the number of people whose lives we’ve fixed? Have we reduced their struggles, convictions, life history, and personality to something pithy we aim to correct with a well-timed word or cultural cliche?

Perhaps “fixing" isn’t the solution after all. What if we are meant to illuminate the pathway to Christ and then simply walk in the journey of faith discovery with each other? What if we were genuinely focused on compassionately traveling together and seeking God instead of correcting what we perceive is wrong? No one needs me to swoop down in superhero-fashion to rescue them with my (semi)-wisdom and (pseudo)-courage. I just need to be honest enough to admit I don’t have all the answers, but want to be part of a long-term, loving community exploring the path of spirituality as we follow Christ.

Our personal relationships will improve if we stop trying to “fix” the people we love. Our community influence will increase in authenticity and power as well. This can be a hard shift of mindset for me, but it’s necessary if I want to be genuinely compassionate while sharing the truth of Christ.

Friday, July 10, 2015

No Regrets?

It's common to hear people say they want to live a life of no regrets. This is usually fueled by the idea of taking risks and not wanting to lament missed opportunities later in life. The underlying philosophy is that anything from our past has only helped to make us who we are today. Even if things don't end up as planned, it was still a risk worth taking.

The trials and tough circumstances of my life have certainly helped to shape me into the man I have become. Even though it is true that doesn't mean I live without regrets. There are many decisions I have made I wish I could take back. There have been words spoken carelessly and hurtfully, actions committed without thought of impact and repercussion, and attitudes which have permanently damaged relationships. Just because I have managed to overcome some of these doesn't mean I don't regret those decisions.

Maybe the healthiest approach to this kind of life is to make sure I don't choose to do something that will bring regrets--either from missing out on opportunities or causing pain to people around me. It can be an admirable life focus as long as it's not used as an excuse for poor decision making.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Finding Beauty

You can find beauty in many moments of life if you are willing to look for it. I found one today as I stood by the grave of a fellow pastor as his family mourned his passing. While we shared God’s words of encouragement the most powerfully beautiful words were in a song we sang together. There were no instruments, but simply voices offered up in celebration and hope. Some sang confidently and strong while others could do no more than mouth the words of the familiar hymn. While it may not have completely soothed their sorrow, I pray it reminded them enough of the commitment of their father, friend, and pastor and the promises of God to bring us to Him. Sometimes a beautiful moment of shared hope for what is beyond this life can be a balm for a wounded soul.

And then one day, I'll cross the river,
I'll fight life's final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to vict'ry,
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone; 
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Measure of My Success

Henry Singleton was the founder of Teledyne and a strong leader with a charismatic personality. His persistent will and passion elevated his company to one of the fastest growing in America and created many admirers of his business acumen. In 1978, Forbes magazine featured his leadership and summed it up with a powerfully revealing phrase: "Singleton will win no awards for his humility, but who can avoid standing in awe of his impressive record?"

While this may have brought him financial gain and admiration from his colleagues, it isn't something I want said about me. I certainly want to see success and to be able to influence people positively, but I don't want to sacrifice humility to make it happen. I may be making this more black and white than it needs to be, but it seems I need to decide if I want my success to be measured by my solely by my accomplishments or by my character.

When you think about it in those terms it doesn't seem like a difficult decision.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Keep Talking

I love a good conversation. It can center on sports (a definite favorite of mine), my family, problems & solutions, or an exchange of ideas that stretches my mind. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to have all of these happen over a cup of coffee. There are also days where they are interspersed throughout my schedule with good friends and family. I enjoy the shared dialogue, listening to inspiring passions, helping through a difficulty, or even just laughing over a funny story.

There is an intimacy and openness in genuine conversation that is missing in our social media driven world. Perhaps we should commit to reestablishing the practice of face-to-face communication. I believe we would strengthen our relationships and actually enjoy listening to what other people have to say. We might find more value in it than we anticipate.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Simple Beauty

I love to watch a video which captures the graceful essence of the human spirit. It can be seen in the tender moments of a surprise proposal, a soldier arriving home from war, a random act of kindness, or in engaging another person with genuine interest and concern. I think these are appealing because they remind me of the good things in this world.

There is so much hate in online expressions of opinion and constant demeaning of anyone who looks, acts, or thinks differently. Watching these acts of kindness and love helps me see the positive things we are all capable of. Contrary to what we might experience in online conversation, I believe this reflects who we really are at our core. It more accurately mirrors the way Christ intended us to live.

Imagine the impact in our community if we committed ourselves to consistently sharing simple acts of beauty.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Do What You Want

Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.  1 Corinthians 10:23

This is a verse I think about and quote often. It's a great reminder of the freedom we have to act, think, and speak as we wish, but also of the consequences of our choices. What we choose to do and say will affect people around us and may create a rift in our relationships if we aren't careful. 

While we may be comfortable with our lifestyle and faith decisions, others may not recognize the balance we maintain. I don't believe we need to over-think or fret about every decision we make, but we should at least be respectfully cognizant of other people. A healthy respect for the choices of others reveals our maturity and our willingness to engage in dialogue without immediately alienating people. It's not a responsibility to take lightly if we truly value our potential to generate positive influence.

Just because we can doesn't mean we should. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Last Three

I've been out of commission on my normal running for the last five weeks due to an injury. I've written a few times about how disappointed I have been in the length of recovery time. It's also been frustrating to have a good rhythm of running knocked off course. I have been tracking my miles with an app for my iPhone and when I hurt my knee I was at 197 miles for the year. While that may not seem like a lot to some people, I felt it was a big deal.

I had actually been looking forward to hitting the 200 mile mark especially since it had taken me far less time than it did to reach the first 100. I was in a groove as an "actual runner" and was planning ahead for faster pace and farther distances. It was not until this past week that I felt comfortable enough to hit the treadmill and get those last three miles. I don't discount the distance just because it took longer to achieve. In fact, I appreciate those last three miles even more. It's making me reevaluate my approach and to think more carefully about how I treat my aging body.

I will still celebrate this mileage, but will also gain greater respect for the endurance and perseverance it will take to hit the next 100. I still hope it won't take as long to move forward as these last three did. I suppose that's a decent lesson for a lot of goals in life. Sometimes it will come easily and other times we'll have to be more patient to see the results we're looking for.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Committed Pursuit

I am reading another book (All In) by one of my favorite authors, Mark Batterson. I always enjoy his challenging thoughts and the word pictures. He has a way of writing that is complex and yet simply expressed at the same time.

He shared a manifesto about going all in and going all out for God. I've heard him express it before, but it's a worthwhile challenge which still conveys great thoughts.

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.
Set God-sized goals. Pursue God ordained passions. 
Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.
Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God.
Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution.
Stop repeating the past and start creating the future.
Stop playing it safe and start taking risks.
Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Enjoy the journey.
Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can.
Live like today is the first day and the last day of your life.
Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what's right with God.
Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails.
Don't let fear dictate your decisions. Take a flying leap of faith.
Quit holding out. Quit holding back.
Go all in with God. Go all out for God.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Birthday Time

Today is my 44th birthday. I haven't always made a big deal over my birthday for a lot of different reasons, none of which are actually related to getting older. In the last couple of years however, I've come to gain a greater appreciation for what this day represents.

It's another year to spend with those I love and to soak up the experiences we share. This new year is a chance to increase in wisdom and influence as I fulfill my calling. It's a chance for growth and refinement in my spiritual journey and to enjoy God's generous gifts of grace and mercy. Another year older represents the fact that God obviously isn't done with me yet and still has work for me to do as part of His Kingdom.

I've lived a longer life than I deserve and yet not as long as I desire. I'm grateful for the journey of life so far and look forward to where God will take me next.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Long Term Effects

I've been a Mets fan for a long time and we've had a modicum of success over the years. Sadly, most of the years in between winning have been filled with unfortunate injuries, poor production, and overspending on contracts for free injuries. The perfect example is the contract of Bobby Bonilla. He signed as a free agent with the team in 1992, but quickly become a divisive force in the clubhouse. In an effort to move him off the club they agreed to defer his contract so it paid him $1.19 million each year on July 1st from 2011-2035. Needless to say, this has created the opportunity for many layers of jokes about the ball club.

This is a perfect example of the results of bad decisions in our personal lives. We might choose to do something which seems okay in the interim, but it can have long-lasting implications. We don't always think of the ridicule we will suffer or all of the consequences when we make these choices. Unfortunately, our unwillingness to think this through doesn't negate the damaging results.