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Showing posts from April, 2012

“If you’re not making a difference, it’s almost certainly because you’re afraid.”

A thought by Seth Godin (2011-03-01) from his book, Poke the Box(Kindle Location 915). AmazonEncore. Kindle Edition.
I was sitting this weekend at my local Starbucks talking to a new friend about life.  I do that a lot.  It is kind of what I do now to make a difference. 
I used to be afraid to talk individually with people to strike up a conversation with someone because I was socially shy.  Oh I could get up in front of 100’s of people and sing but one on one scared me.  I was immature socially.  Now please understand that it is a risk to step out of one’s comfort zone in order to make a difference.  Making a difference doesn’t just happen.
There was a time that I moved out of the secure job that I had as a staff minister.  I had been a part of music almost all of my life, had a lot of success.  I also had great days as a Youth Minister and then as the Associate Minister in charge of the Adult Ministry for a large church.  But I remember the day that I sensed there was something more a…

We must always remember that God's greatest moments for us are never for us alone.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Location 1105). Kindle Edition.
When we use the phrase personal relationship that can cause us to believe our relationship with God is just for us.  The reality is that any personal relationship is a two way street.  My relationship with my wife, Margaret, has some personal benefits for me but it also has some personal responsibilities for me to do toward Margaret.  My life is no longer a self-centered existence.  I now have a relationship with someone who has needs and desires and my love wants to fulfill them. 
Now our personal relationship with God is also one that is not singular.  He does stuff for me and it could be easy to think that is it.  It is me and Him and no one else.  But if you really have a personal relationship with Him then you will do all you can to know Him.  And if you really know Him you know that it is not me and Him and no one else.   It is He does for me…

“How many no’s have to be surmounted before you get to a yes?”

A thought by Seth Godin (2011-03-01) from his book, Poke the Box (Kindle Locations 129-130). AmazonEncore. Kindle Edition.
Have you ever thought about the fact that you have to learn to get past the no’s in your life to get to the yes?  With every yes there are going to be no’s. 
Do you realize how many different thoughts that I said no to before I said yes to this one that I am writing about right now?  I could not find one today that really gripped me to start writing about until I got to this one by Seth Godin.  Now I could have stopped at one point and said, I guess I’m not in the mood today so I’ll go do something else but I didn’t.  I changed my location from the Seminole Library to Starbucks and continued looking in my Kindle to different thoughts that I had highlighted in my reading until I came to this one.  Something about it clicked and here I am writing.
I didn’t get married until I was 27.  There were a bunch of no’s both from me and from them until I came to the right one …

“When we manipulate, we deceive those who trust not only our words, but also our intent.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Location 1102). Kindle Edition.
Manipulation has at its core a desire to change situations and people for the manipulator’s good.  It is a self-centered act.  That is why when I know someone is striving to manipulate me and they say it is for my good that it isn’t.   The act of manipulation is for the good of the one manipulating not the one being manipulated.
The Bible tells us that the person who doesn’t have God in their life is a selfish being.  David in the Psalms said that in sin did my mother conceive me.  We came into this world living for ourselves and striving to manipulate the world to take care of us and to do what we want. 
Have you noticed how a baby when it is hungry does all it can to manipulate you to feed them.  They do not stop and think of how it might not be the best time for you, they are hungry and they want it now.  And that carries over into adolescence an…

“You cannot do something with your life if you walk away from tough situations before God tells you to.”

A thought by Miles McPherson (2009-11-01) from his book, DO Something!: Make Your Life Count (p. 44). Baker Books. Kindle Edition.
That is the truth! 
I had a period in my life for three years that I was a real jerk.  It was a tough time for my wife, Margaret but she stuck with me and we are still together living some of the best days of our life.  God has used our life together in so many different unbelievable ways.  We have been able to help so many other marriages in their tough times. 
I remember the day that we found out that Margaret had the C word, Cancer.  That was a tough time for us but we held steady and didn’t run from God.  We have made it through with God’s sustaining grace.   She went out this morning and walked 1 ½ hours with my sister.  She is Cancer free after all these years.  She is a survivor.
There was a Sunday in my life as a church planter when a good friend of mine came and told me that he was going down the street from our church to plant a new church. And he …

“Turn toward God and speak candidly about your pain and disappointment.”

A thought by Jeff Manion (2010-07-14) from his book, The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions(Kindle Location 1785). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
I really like the Psalms in the Old Testament.  I read one every day.  I love them for a lot of different reasons but for one, I like people’s honesty.  They tell God what they feel and He lets them because He understands.
In our times of pain and disappointment He knows that we need to see how desperate we really are.  We need help.  We are at the end of the rope and we feel like we are about to slip off the rope.  We can’t make it on our own.  And we want to tell someone. 
Now we can tell everyone else that but it won’t make a lot of difference.  It will just be a time that we spew it all out and maybe feel a little better but that is it.  But when we tell Him and we really come to Him in total trust and total dependency and total confidence of His love for us then something more will happen.  It is in our time of desperation and…

“Not simply the hardship, but also our reaction to the hardship, is forming us.”

A thought by Jeff Manion (2010-07-14) from his book, The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions (Kindle Locations 311-312). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
On my other blog, bill’s front porch, I dealt with today the fact that we are never going to be problem free.  Problems are inevitable and the same is true of hardships.
I think that may come as a surprise to some Christians.  They believe that because they have asked Jesus to come into their life then there will be no hardships in their life but what that means is they haven’t studied too much about the life of Jesus.  One of the reasons why He came to earth was to show us how God would handle hardships.  They will come.  They are a part of His plan to cultivate our dependency on Him and to strengthen us in our resolve and our character. 
Now our reaction to the hardship is of major importance.  What do you do?  How do you react?  Do you whine or complain?   Those reactions show a definite immaturity.  God wants you to be …

“Even when people do hurtful things to you, God has a plan to turn the experiences into something positive in your life.”

A thought by Miles McPherson, (2009-11-01) from his book,DO Something!: Make Your Life Count(p. 33). Baker Books. Kindle Edition.
If we could really believe and live that but we usually whine at God and gripe at why He is letting this happen to me.  But if we really understood that God will work all the bad in a Christian’s life into good.
You see, Satan throws these things at us to hurt us and to hurt Him but before it gets to us it goes through God’s love and He changes the purpose.  The purpose was to hurt us but God changes the purpose for our good. 
Not all things in your life are good.  There is a lot of rotten stuff out there.  God has the power to change them, to protect you from them but He may have a different plan.  Now you can fight Him and not trust Him and it will truly hurt you.  You have a choice and God will not force His way on you but if you trust Him.  If you trust Him He will strengthen you in your area of weakness, He may move you in a total different direction, a …

“You look a bit silly now because you are taking steps to avoid something later. To the wise, later is now.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) from his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 49). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
I live by the principle of time that you are either late or on time, that being early just means being on time so I usually am early.  That way, I am always assured of being on time and not late.
I wish I could say the same thing about doing things that I’d rather not do.  All my term papers in school were usually put off to the last minute.  I always said that I worked best under pressure but as I’ve gotten older I don’t think that was true.  I just think I was avoiding what I didn’t want to do and waiting till the last minute meant I couldn’t avoid it any longer so I did it.  But it would have been the wise thing to have started it earlier without all the stress, all the pressure.
It’s like the person who files an extension for his income tax and finds it doesn’t get any better later so why not do it now.   Or th…

“Life is at its best when it involves other people.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet (2012-03-13) from his book, Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival (p. 20). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
I understand the need for meditation and solitude for short periods of time.  I really do but life has so much more enjoyment and more meaning when you live it with someone else. 
Now relationships are risky.  There can be pain involved but it is worth the risk.  The more pain can mean more fear and more needed courage and confidence.  Where do you get courage and confidence?  Well you get it from a good friend.   So how do you get a good friend?  You get one by being one no matter what.
I love the story in the Old Testament of the close friendship of David and Jonathan.  David thought that Saul was also his friend but because of the jealousy of Saul, who was Jonathan’s father, David became Saul’s enemy.  But David and Jonathan still remained close friends.  Jonathan’s courage and commitment helped David through a very difficult tim…

“Incubating within us is the desire to reach out in order to fill our biological and relational needs.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet (2012-03-13) from his book, Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival (Kindle Locations 136-137). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
We were created by God for relationships.  We have this need built within us to connect.  As God said when He created Eve for Adam, “It is not good for man to be alone.”   He created us for a relationship with Himself but He also knew that we would need a physical relationship with someone else. 
But Satan started in the beginning to do all he could to sever the relationship of man to God and to damage the relationship between Adam and Eve.   And he has been doing his best at continuing to keep us from having meaningful relationships.  So we need to do everything in our ability to stop Satan’s plan.  As Ruben Welch in his book said, “We really do need each other.”  We need a relationship with God and a relationship with each other.
Satan uses so many methods to keep us alone.  He uses abuse, rejection, pain, anger…

“A useful crisis creates a situation that cannot be resolved by incremental change.”

A thought by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch (2011-04-15) from their book,The Faith of Leap, (Shapevine) (p. 41). Baker Books. Kindle Edition.
Have you noticed that when you are driving straight you still make small incremental changes in your direction to keep headed on the road ahead?   We do that in our lives too but we also need to be prepared for that unexpected situation or crisis that many times comes on our path which means a total directional change.  Sometimes we need to make changes in our direction that only a useful crisis with make the difference.
A heart attack can be a crisis that will force us to make the physical changes in our lives that will set us on a new healthier path of eating right, exercise and learning how to handle stress.  If we would do the changes without the crisis that would be better but sometimes it only happens when we are forced to change.
Sometimes we need to change jobs because we are frustrated because we are not in our gifted area but we are fear…

“To follow Jesus is to enter the unknown, to relinquish security, and to exchange certainty for confidence in Him.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment(Kindle Locations 938-939). Kindle Edition.
Now some people want to say they are following Jesus but they want to know because they need security in their life.  But that is not what it means to follow Jesus.  It means that you have put your faith and your security and your confidence in Him not in your knowing. 
Solomon in his Old Testament book of Proverbs in chapter 3 verses 5 and 6  (Msg) says, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He's the one who will keep you on track.  Don't assume that you know it all.”
So who do you trust?