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Showing posts from September, 2011

“Once we get fixated on the happiness option, we assign our brains the task of coming up with a list of very convincing reasons to support our choice.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (p. 61). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Have you noticed that?  You set your heart on getting something that you know will make you happy but it really isn’t a good thing to have; maybe it is a girl or a guy that doesn’t hold your same values.  But you want it or you have fallen for them so your mind sets into gear to come up with a set of reasons why it is a good thing when it really isn’t.
Your will, your heart is a powerful thing so it is very important to have it set in the right direction.  Oh your mind is also important but most of the time it just goes along for the ride.
For example:  In today’s USA Today there was a survey that said that the number one reason people divorce is growing apart and the number two is unable to talk together.  Now when your heart says there needs to be a change in your life, you’re not happy anymore being married, then …

“Biblically, it doesn’t matter what you get out of worship, it’s not for you.”

A thought by Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson (2011-07-19) from their book, Rumors of God: Experience the Kind of Faith You´ve Only Heard About (Kindle Location 1440). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
It is so interesting how self-absorbed we as professed Christ-followers can be.  We think that life is all about us.
An individual came up to Jon Tyson after one of their Worship Gatherings here in New York City and they said, “I didn’t mind the teaching, but I didn’t like the worship.”  Jon then said to him, “Biblically, it doesn’t matter what you get out of worship, it’s not for you.”  And that is true.  We need to be reminded of that fact don’t we?
I’ve been to Jon’s church, Trinity Grace and I do appreciate what they are doing.  His preaching really speaks to issues of our day and their worship leaders at the three different locations that I have been to truly do lead us in worship.  But in this day of production in the church worship world it sometimes is easy to get sucked into the belief…

“Much depends on how we perceive life—as threat or opportunity.”

A thought by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch (2011-04-15) in the book, The Faith of Leap, (Shapevine) (p. 31). Baker Books. Kindle Edition.
I don’t know how some people get up in the morning.  If they look at life as a threat then they must want to hide.  No way do they want to get out of bed.  Life has been ruff for some people.  I understand that but I also know of people who have also had it ruff who get up and are ready for whatever life has for them.  To them life is not a threat but an opportunity.
The truth is there is so much in our life that we have no control over.  But how we handle it starts in our mind, in how we view life and that is under our control.
I’ve learned that if I take the worst that life can throw at me and I figure out a way to handle it then no matter what else comes I can handle that.  Now I’ve started with what is the worst for many which is death and I have settled that in my mind.  I believe that a right relationship with God takes care of that.  John 3.16 (…

“The best counsel in the world is wasted counsel if our minds are already made up.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 129). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
We all realize how true that is, don’t we?  My dad said, “Advice not asked for stinks.” It doesn’t matter if you have the right answer if the person in need is not seeking advice it won’t make a difference.
I used to have wives come up and ask me if I would talk to their husbands or parents would come and want me to talk to their kids and I would always say, “Have them call me.”  If they’re not seeking they’re not listening. 
Of course you know some people who have advice for everything and they want to give it all the time to everyone they meet.  It seems to be a self-worth thing.  They may be right some of the time but they are not usually the ones you will go to for advice.  There are others who you see their life and you know their life view is built on wisdom and maturity but you have to seek them out.  Everyone…

“Creating instead of criticizing takes discipline.”

A thought by Gabe Lyons (2010-10-05) from his book, The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America(p. 108). Doubleday Religion. Kindle Edition.
Have you ever tried to create something?  Oh I know you did when you were in Kindergarten but somewhere we changed from being creators to critics.  I mean it is so much more important for people to do things right or as we view right than it is to create something new.  At least that is how some people think.
But creating is so vital in life.  I know some people say they aren’t creative but they really are creators who have been beaten down by critics.
Now as a preacher I created a new message every week from scratch.  I would start on Monday or Tuesday finish it on Saturday and then give it 2 times on Sunday and 1 time on Monday or Tuesday and then start all over again.  I did that every week for 25+ years.
I have now retired from doing that but I now write 2 blogs.  One I do every day which is taken from my old messages …

“When we give in secret, we break the cycle of obligation that is so often present in our relationships.”

A thought by Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson, (2011-07-19) in their book, Rumors of God: Experience the Kind of Faith You´ve Only Heard About(Kindle Location 632). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
I had never thought about that but it is true.  Let’s say you have a friend who gives you a birthday card.  It is just a simple little card.  Now of course you must try to find out when their birthday is so you can send them a card.  It is the correct thing to do.  It is your obligation.
I remember when my daughter got married and of course all those wedding gifts and then all of those thank you cards.  One person kept asking when they were going to get their thank you card.  I know that is the right thing to do, it is your obligation but somehow that made their gift more for them than for my daughter and son-in-law.  They needed to be affirmed, it was for them.
Now I don’t want to get in the middle of the correct thing to do stuff in gift giving but I do find that something is missing in all of t…

“I wonder if we’re so afraid of doing the wrong thing that we never do the right thing.”

A thought by Mark Batterson,  (2009-12-09). Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity (Kindle Locations 2042-2043). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
Here I am sitting in my Oceanside, NY Starbucks thinking of what I want to write.  Now if I was afraid of saying the wrong thing I wouldn’t even try.  I would just keep reading but never writing.  It is all in the focus.
There are so many people who have unbelievable potential and ability; they have so much to offer but because they are afraid of being wrong or doing the wrong thing they never try.  What a loss. 
What if God had viewed His creation project the same way?  What if He had said, “I know creating humanity is a risky thing to do.   They may reject me, do their own thing.  I’m sure it isn’t going to work so why should I try?  I know it is going to fail.  I’m afraid it is the wrong thing to do.”   What if He hadn’t even tried?   But He did the right thing and we are here today.
As children we all believed we could do anythin…

“Often we remain so focused on the one who perpetrated the evil deed that we don’t see our own bondage to resentment or even hatred. But when you forgive, you’re the one who is set free.”

A thought by Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson (2011-07-19) from their book,Rumors of God: Experience the Kind of Faith You´ve Only Heard About (Kindle Locations 1356-1357). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
We live in an age of bondage.  So many of us are in bondage to what someone else has done to us.  But of course that is our choice.  We choose to let someone else have that much control over our life.  That is our choice.  We didn’t have a choice in what happened to us but we do have a choice in how it affects us.
Now it is so easy to rehearse and rehearse and relive and relive until that is all we think about.  We hear a certain song and we relive the hurt.  We drive by a certain place and we relive the hurt.  We come to a certain holiday and we relive the pain.  Now we may not realize it but all of that reliving is a choice.  We can also choose to quit letting that other person have so much control over our life.  We can but it is difficult.
It is so difficult to not relive anymore.  It…

“You don’t really care about people until you don’t care what they think. Until you’ve been crucified to their opinions of you, you can’t really help them the way you should.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, (2011-01-18) from his book, Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine Destiny (p. 72). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
I have learned in my later years how to get to know people so I can help them.  I don’t remember where I found this but it has really helped me.  Here it is: I am not what I think I am, I am not what you think I am. I am what I think you think I am. Did you get that?  Read it again… I am not what I think I am; I am not what you think I am; I am what I think you think I am.  It doesn’t really matter what the truth is but what I think the truth is.  Now of course in deeper relationships the real truth is what matters but that's for another time.
I know some people who believe that nobody likes them so they go through life very alone and very afraid.  It doesn’t matter what the truth is.  The truth is there is one person who likes them, me, because I have chosen to like everybody.  But it still doesn’t matter what the truth is if they believe somethi…

“The beauty of the Gospel is found in both proclamation and demonstration. Neither comes first; neither comes second.”

A thought by Gabe Lyons (2010-10-05) in his book, The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America(p. 94). Doubleday Religion. Kindle Edition.
There is a telling part of the Good News that Jesus came to give us life and to give it more abundantly but there is also a showing and doing part in my life.  Many times it is easier to tell than to do.

I mean we can share with everyone that God is love but never love anyone.  We can say that Jesus loves all the children of the world but our actions show that we hate Muslims and gays.

Or we can be a person that everybody loves but never tell anyone how that Jesus is the reason why we are the person we are.

The awesome part of the Good News that Christ has given us is that it is both.

Now we can know the Bible inside and out.  My mom started me memorizing the Bible when I was very young.  That is a very good thing.  It helps to have the Word at our disposal when we are going through tough times.

Back when I was a freshman in coll…

“The United States has just 5 percent of the world’s population but consumes 30 percent of the world’s resources.”

A thought by Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson (2011-07-19) in their book, Rumors of God: Experience the Kind of Faith You´ve Only Heard About (Kindle Locations 525-526). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Some wonder how a loving God could allow so much starvation in the world.  I mean, there are so many people who live with no hope of enough food to sustain them so they go to bed hungry every night.  If God loves them how can that be?  That is a good question.
The truth is we don’t have a shortage problem but a sharing problem.  Do you realize that we produce enough food every year to feed the world but some eat more than they need thus taking away from some who don’t have enough?   God has provided and we are to be His instruments of supplying but we have kept it and gotten fat off of it.
I was born just after the Great Depression but I lived through some of the aftermath of that very difficult time in our history.  One of the problems that came out of that time was a great fear that many pe…

“Often God leads us through the land we most want to avoid in order to produce the fruit we most desperately desire.”

A thought by Jeff Manion (2010-07-14) in his book, The Land Between: Finding God in DifficultTransitions(p. 191). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Have you ever noticed that the fruit that is the easiest to pick is on the ground because it is too ripe so it has fallen off the tree?  Have you also noticed that the best fruit usually takes some effort to pick?  Could that also be true about those things we really want in our life.

Two years ago in August I weighed 260 lbs.  I always used to laughingly say that I didn’t have a weight problem, I had a height problem.  I should be 7 ½ feet tall.  But the truth was I had a real weight problem and it was affecting my quality of life.   I was having trouble with my feet; I was becoming an invalid and a prime candidate for a heart attack.  I was not looking at the quality or quantity of life that I wanted.

Now something happened that month that change the direction of my wife’s life and in turn changed mine.  Margaret found out that she was a type 2 di…

“There is no way to follow Jesus without him interfering with your life.”

A thought by Kyle Idleman (2011-05-24) in his book, Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus(p. 30). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
That is true of anyone who is important to me.  Almost 37 years ago a girl named Margaret started interfering with my life the day I fell in love with her and the day she became my wife.  The same was true when our son Brett came to live with us in Phoenix, Arizona and Stefanie our daughter in Valparaiso, Indiana.  But along with the interfering comes so much enjoyment and pleasure.  I wouldn’t trade the life I have had since each one of then came into my life.  It is also true of Andrew, Stef’s husband and Marissa, Brett’s wife and of course Ashlyn and Addison my two granddaughters.  My life has only gotten better and better.
Love has a way of interfering doesn’t it?  So I welcome the fact that when I fell in love with Jesus He interfered with my life to the point that I am sitting here in a Starbucks writing this to you because He gave me …

“A heart filled with anger is a heart looking to be paid back. Unfortunately, in most cases, it is our unsuspecting friends and family who are made to pay.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-08-22) from his book, It Came from Within!: The Shocking Truth of What Lurks in the Heart(p. 82). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
An injustice has been done, someone has gone back on their word, they haven’t done what they promised, you feel like you are owed something and you are angry.You are very angry and you feel justified in your anger.

But here is the problem.In most cases the person who has hurt you probably doesn’t even know you are angry with them but you know it and the people closest to you know it.The person you are angry with isn’t being hurt but you are and those closest to you are.

Now not doing anything is not the best answer for your anger.As you know the anger inside of you is tearing away at your insides and it can even damage you physically and for sure emotionally.Unresolved anger can hurt you and it can also hurt the people you love.It can hurt your relationships because it is like a time bomb that is ready to explode and when you d…

“You and I will win or lose in life by the paths we choose.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get fromWhere You Are to Where You Want to Be (p. 15). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Life is filled with choices.  It really is.

üI can choose to be angry or I can choose to understand and forgive.  üI can live with regrets because of what life has thrown at me or I can live with excitement for the opportunity of each new day. 
üI can choose to spend or I can choose to save.  
üI can cower in fear of the unknown or risk and move into unchartered waters. 
üI can eat donuts or eat salads.
üI can serve God or I can serve myself.
üI can live with self-pity or I can live with joy.
üI can listen and join in to negativity or I can turn it off, walk away and live positively.  
üI can be hurt or I can be healed.
üI can yell or I can listen.
üI can grow cold or I can tell you where you hurt me.
üI can act like a child or I can act like an adult.
üI can strive to tell my side or I can listen to your side. üI can do what…