Monday, July 28, 2014

“I think we were made to do many things. As our lives change, as we change, we will also change what we do.”

A thought by Bob Goff, (2014-01-07) from his book with Barna Group, Multi-Careering: Do Work That Matters at Every Stage of Your Journey (Frames) (p. 36). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

This is a good thought to stop and see if it is true for you.

Bob says, “Don’t be surprised if you need to quit a couple of jobs to find the right career — expect it. Some of us have careers that, at one time, served us and our ambitions. But over time those ambitions have changed and we’ve outgrown the career. When a career is no longer helping to shape who you’re becoming, but is instead tying you to who you used to be, there’s a fix. Quit.” 

Now does that make you a quitter?  No it means you are growing and learning and becoming. 

He continues, “I quit things all the time. To be precise, I quit something every Thursday. Each week I pick one thing in my life to send to the scrap heap and, on Thursday, out it goes. Sometimes what I quit is perfectly good stuff. I do this because the pattern in my life tends to always be full. I can’t squeak one more thing into my day. That’s not good for a guy like me who puts a high value on spontaneity. So every week when Thursday comes around again, I quit something. Maybe you should too.”

I quit one of my blogs a couple of months ago.  It was what I needed to do.  Now I didn’t quit writing, I just headed in another direction. There will be another day that I will again head in another direction.  Blogging will change and I will too.  

What is it that you have quit doing?  I have heard that some people won’t use computers.  That is very sad to me.  I’ve heard of some people who will only read the King James Version of the Bible. 

Now on November 9 Margaret and I will have been married for 40 years.  I won’t quit that but I have quit many different things in our marriage to make it better.  I use to never go into the kitchen.  One of the great things I do now is to go to Whole Foods everyday and pick up what I need and have it cooked and ready for Margaret when she comes in from work.  There many things that in our relationships we need to quit doing and some many things we need to start doing.

So what do you need to quit doing this week?

Friday, July 25, 2014

“It is the wisest among us who keep choosing to make a career out of raising our families, whether or not we have another job.”

A thought by Bob Goff, (2014-01-07) from his book with Barna Group, Multi-Careering: Do Work That Matters at Every Stage of Your Journey (Frames) (p. 35). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

There are so many thoughts that Bob shares that are so very meaningful.  I hope you click on the titles of his two book and buy them.  He is so refreshing.

Now this thought touched me at a certain spot in my life.  I had gotten to the place that I was away from home all day and a big part of my night.  My family wasn’t close to being important to me and I came so close to losing out on their lives.  One day I came to the point that I needed to make a change so I quit my staff position at a large church, moved to another town and eventually started delivering pizzas and falling in love again with my family and my God.  I had gotten my priorities all out of whack.  I eventually got back into fulltime ministry but with my family having a higher priority.  We have even moved from Florida to California to be close to them. Those granddaughters are so important to us.

Bob says, “If you choose a career and give it everything you’ve got, maybe you win and maybe you lose. But if you choose your family and backfill your career behind it, you win every time. Choose them over and over, and you know what? When you’re older, they’ll choose you back and you’ll never run out of things to talk about.”

He then says, “You know what most young people told us is their top area for improvement? Work. You know what aging boomers said is their top area for improvement? Family. So what if we focused more on our family when we’re young? Maybe it wouldn’t need so much improvement when we’re older.”

Such a good piece of advice.  Give yourself to what really matters.  Oh yes, we all must work.  God built us to work.  Bob says, “Figure out who you are, where you flourish, and what lifestyle you want. Then go choose a career or three that help you get there.” 

So what is first in your life and are you fulfilled in it?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

“I used to want to fix people, but now I just want to be with them.”

A thought by Bob Goff, (2012-05-01) from his book, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World (p. 1). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

Do you want to fix people?  Maybe you went into your marriage with an “I can fix them” instead of just loving them attitude.  No one want that, they just want to be loved for who they are.  What that seems to be is an “I’m better than you” way of looking at people.  And that too many times is easy for those of us who are Christians to look at those who aren’t.  That is not a good thing.

I love the story that Bob shares here in his book about his being accepted by his Young Life leader rather than giving him advice.  And that can really be tough to do.  I mean I know how to fix you but it isn’t what I know that makes the difference but it is what I do.  This is what love, acceptance and forgiveness is all about. 

The New Testament talks a lot about fellowship.  And I like what someone said, “Fellowship is two people in a ship or a small boat in a journey together"  We’re in it together. 

Bob says “Jesus is sometimes called Immanuel—“God with us.” I think that’s what God had in mind, for Jesus to be present, to just be with us. It’s also what He has in mind for us when it comes to other people. The world can make you think that love can be picked up at a garage sale or enveloped in a Hallmark card. But the kind of love that God created and demonstrated is a costly one because it involves sacrifice and presence. It’s a love that operates more like a sign language than being spoken outright.”

We have to sacrifice our ego that says “I know what to do” and to just be there with love acceptance and forgiveness. 

I checked in today on Foursquare to the Starbucks that I go to here in Pasadena for the 439th time.  I have a lot of very special friends there.  I’m not trying to fix them.  I‘m just wanting to be with them.  Just today the security guard at a bank real close with whom I sit with for at least a half an hour 6 days a week told me how much he appreciates the fact that he has been able to do that.  That I have made a difference in his life.  And I told him that he has done the same to me.  Just being there makes a difference.

So who are your trying to fix?  How are they handling it?  Maybe you need to stop working so hard and just be there.

So why not start doing that today?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

“How we identify ourselves is the thing we will become.”

A thought by Bob Goff, (2014-01-07) from his book with Barna Group, Multi-Careering: Do Work That Matters at Every Stage of Your Journey (Frames) (p. 38). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

How do you identify yourself?  I identified myself for many years as a church planter but one day I retired and in one sense I lost my identity at least I had to change it. 

Bob also said, “As time has passed, I’ve come to think of my careers as a part of my legacy, but certainly not all of it. After we’re gone, those closest to us may appreciate the work we did, but they’re more likely to remember how we did it. They will remember us for our love and whimsy. Only strangers will remember us just for our jobs or titles.” And then he says, “I have learned to be very careful how I describe myself, because people do best at what they identify with most.”

This has been a very soul searching thought for me today.  It is so easy to see what you do in your career as your identity and to give our life to being very good at it.  Oh I believe that God wants us to live our lives in such a way that it makes Him look good but it is more than just our job.  For many that isn’t true and they strive to do all they can to be very successful in the eyes of those around then.  But when they come down to the last cycle of their life they will find it not mattering.

But there is really more to life than that isn’t there?  I love being a husband, I love being a father, I love being a grandfather and I love being a man of God.  That is really what I want my identity to be.  Not a great singer, not a great church planter, not a great writer but a man of God.  Because that is what makes a difference in all the others and being a husband, a father and a grandfather is what really matters to me.  It hasn’t always been true but it is true now.

So what is your identity?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

“Crummy jobs shape us.”

A thought by Bob Goff, (2014-01-07) from his book with Barna Group, Multi-Careering: Do Work That Matters at Every Stage of Your Journey (Frames) (Kindle Location 193). Zondervan.

I have had some of those job and they each one built something into me.  I was a teenage church custodian of my father’s church.  I also took care of the lawn.  When I was in college I was a middle school custodian.  I have been a painter.  In a small down in western Kansas I painted the Post Office, City Hall, the Motel and Restaurant out on the highway and I don’t remember how many houses I painted inside and out. 
I also was a mason’s tender.  That job didn’t end well.  But each one of those jobs built something into me.  They taught me to have pride in what I did but they also showed me they weren’t what I was going to give my life too.  But each one shaped me.

I like how Bob puts it, “We can draw on what we experience over a long, hot summer cleaning a camp kitchen to help us decide what we want for the rest of our lives. When we’re young, a bad job can be all the wake-up call we need to pursue more education and a better job.”

He then says, “What gets confusing along the way is defining what is better. More cash, not just minimum wage, is better. But most of us want more than more money. We want more meaning. We want our jobs to matter. And not just matter in a theoretical sense; we (and 56% of us say this) want to make a difference in the world. We want our work to really matter to us, to our families, and to the world.”

Now I never want to minimize how a clean church or middle school or a freshly painted house can make a difference but if that isn’t the difference that pulls you and gives you meaning then you need to find that out and the way you do that is by the experience of working at various jobs.

Another thing those jobs did for me as a pastor was the importance of understanding what people go though in their work.  I have always had a very real interest in what people do and I usually get around in conversation to have people share what they do.  People need to share what they do.  Knowing that someone is interested in them sharing the details of what they do can bring real meaning.  And in that we can make a difference.

Now I loved being a church planter.  I loved going in to a place and finding people and leading them into a new relationship with Christ and with other people.  I found that to be so meaningful.  And each of the various jobs I did led me to doing what I did and what I do now.   They made a difference in me so I could make a difference through my life.   

So how are you making a difference through your job? 

Monday, July 21, 2014

“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”

A thought by Bob Goff, (2012-05-01) from his book, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World (p. 25). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

This thought reminds me of the guy who said, “I gave my life to climbing up the ladder of success to find at the end that it was leaning against the wrong wall.”

So many times we do what we do out of fear of failing.   We just don’t want to look bad in the eyes of those who really matter to us.  It is so important for us to be a real success at no matter at.  So we do whatever we can to keep from failing, to keep from looking bad that we will do anything to succeed.  That’s what it is all about isn’t it?  Success.

But Bob says that he has found that he is more afraid at succeeding at things that don’t matter, things that don’t make a difference in the world that he lives in. 

I remember when we moved to Las Vegas to plant a new church.  We were so excited but we found ourselves in a deep financial hole.  Because of sickness in a close family member in Indiana my wife Margaret wasn’t able to work consistently and that really hurt us financially.  I don’t know if you realize it but Vegas makes it money off of people who believe that if they put money in a machine that all of their needs will be met.  Well it was a temptation for us.  The problem for me wasn’t that I was afraid that we would lose all our money but I was afraid that we would win and then gambling would always be an option when we were in need. 

If we succeed at the thing that isn’t meaningful then it means that we won’t try doing what we were built to do.  Being a success can keep us from doing what really is our dream.  

So what are you giving your life to?

Friday, July 18, 2014

“Pain sets us up to become self-centered.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-01-21) from his book, Louder Than Words: The Power of Uncompromised Living (Kindle Location 1982). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

And that is true emotionally and physically.  Think about the last time you had some real physical pain.  I’m mean you were really hurting.  Who were you thinking about? You.  And the same is true emotionally.

Andy says, “Emotional pain works the same way. And like physical pain, the more intense the emotional pain, the more self-centered we become, and self-centeredness is the archenemy of character. Men and women of character are committed to putting others first.”

But the Enemy knows how to sidetrack us doesn’t he?  I mean I’m in pain.  Take care of me.  But the golden rule says, “To do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”  And pain is a way of learning how to minister to others and to show people how God can make a difference when we are in pain.  But it is really difficult to do isn’t it?

I’ve been thinking about people who are in real financial pain and what kind of attitude that some of them have shown toward these children who have slipped into our country.  I mean good people have shown no compassion for these kids who have escaped such horrible conditions where they have lived.  The terror that many of them live with every day is enormous but we say, “Don’t let them stay here.  Send them back no matter what.”  But pain makes us so self-centered.

Christ wants us to love and take care of others no matter how it affects us.  Didn’t He say on the Cross, “Father forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.”  I wonder how we would have handled that situation.

So how are you handling your pain?