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Showing posts from March, 2014

“The definition of righteous humans: those who get up when they fall, not those who never fall.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2014-02-21) from his book, The Well-Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn't Have to Be Such Hard Work (p. 125). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.

How do you handle it when you fall?I think it depends upon our maturity.
Have you ever been with a child and they fall and they look up at you and say, “Why did you let me fall?” and they say it with a bit of anger.Kind of like when we fail at something and we look to heave with some anger and say to God, “Why did you let me fail?”But the mature Christian understands that it’s our fault and we stop and learn the lesson or ask for forgiveness.That’s where pride falls by the wayside and true humility comes in.
Playing the blame game is a horrible way to live.Accepting our need for help from others and from God is the right way to live.
Let’s understand that we are not perfect and we will blow it.So when you do, just get up, dust yourself off, ask for forgiveness to other, to God and maybe even to yourself, and then g…

“We are witnessing an alarming decline in mental and physical health among our children, and we wonder why.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet (2014-02-21) from his book, The Well-Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn't Have to Be Such Hard Work(p. 115). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
I think that is a good thing to wonder about.Our kids today live with so much pressure to excel and it deadens their enjoyment to really live.And I think that carries over into being adults.
We live in a world where we strive to not only be good but to be great.Like being good is a problem.But God said each time that He created something that it was good and even when He created man He said it was very good.
Now I love life.I strive to not be pressured by it.I also strive to make a difference but to also enjoy it.Six days a week I wear an LA Dodgers’ hat.I love the Dodgers.I really enjoy baseball and I don’t feel guilty doing that.Seven days a week I wear a Mickey Mouse watch.I love and enjoy Disneyland.I also wear 24 hours a day a wedding ring.I really enjoy my wife and my family. But I also write two blogs and I l…

“It’s God’s job to get us where He wants us to go.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, (2013-09-24) from his book, All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life (Kindle Locations 1373-1374). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Then Mark says, “Our job is to make ourselves available anytime, anyplace.”
“What would happen if...?” is such a great question to ask in so many areas of life that fear is holding us back.One “What would happen if...?” question that has monumental potential in our lives but one that so many times holds us back is the question, “What would happen if I knew what God wanted me to do?”We hide too many times behind the fact that we don't know that we say, “We don’t know then we don’t need to do” but God is just waiting on us.What would happen if we said, “Here am I, God, use me.”?There is unlimited potential in making a difference in someone’s life, in our neighborhood, in the world, if we would just say that to God and really mean it.
Another “What would happen if?” question we ask is “What would happen if I wer…

“God didn’t give us a plan, but a purpose; not a map, but a mission; not a blueprint for tracing, but a blue sky for exploring.”

A thought from Leonard Sweet, (2014-02-21) from his book,The Well-Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn't Have to Be Such Hard Work(p. 86). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
We are constantly looking for that four step plan.Oh I know I have used the four or three steps but life is more than a recipe, it is an adventure.We miss out on so much of life when we look for a plan.
Leonard goes on to say, “God did not create us to live out a ‘life plan’ or a ‘master plan.’ There is no one plan with definite specifics. God has made us with special gifts and blessings, with the expectation that we enjoy using them in God’s mission in the world, the ‘reign of God.’ Or as Augustine put it in such memorable form, ‘Love God, and do what you will.’”
Now the adventure starts with having a relationship with God through His Spirit in us.We are His creation and in that we explore and live out His purpose and His mission.Look at who He created you to be then go live the adventure that is opened up to yo…

“To trust God in order to get something is not faith, but self-interest.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2014-02-21) from his book, The Well-Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn't Have to Be Such Hard Work(p. 43). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
I find that to be a lot of people’s belief.They are trusting God in order to have good health.They are trusting God in order to get good grades.They are trusting God in order to not pay taxes or to not have to get health insurance or whatever self-interest they may have.But is that really what it means to trust God?
Leonard says, “Faith is trusting God because of who God is - trusting God when there is nothing to get, when everything is gone, when only God is left.”
Solomon wrote in his book of Proverbs that we are to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 [TNIV]).Trusting in God mean to submit to Him.
I have been in Florida this past weekend and I told a friend of mine this morning that I lo…

“We will never create anything more powerful or significant than our lives.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art(p. 13). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
We were created by God to love Him and others.Now we were created in the image of God but because of the Fall that image has been marred. And the world constantly does what it can to continually destroy that image.Now God is creative and within us He has also made us creative.But society does what it can to make us believe that we are not creative.
Erwin says, “We don’t have to convince children that they are creative; all we have to do is let them do what comes naturally. We never have to give a four-year-old permission to color outside the lines or to not follow the rules or to simply draw on the page what they see in their imagination. Yet somewhere along the way, this gets restructured. We become convinced that only those who are drawing inside the lines are doing it right, that the rules are more important than anything else,…

“It takes courage to not only accept our limitations but embrace our potential.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 7). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
We think of having courage when we do something that we are afraid of doing and in that being honest about our self takes courage.
Accepting the fact that we may not have it all together takes courage.We are really afraid that people will see where we are limited so we strive to hide that fact even from ourselves.But we do honestly have limitations.But we are afraid that those who we work for and with will find out and maybe we will lose what we have worked so hard to have.But if we accept them then we don’t have to hide them and then can work on our potential.
But that also brings some fear.I mean if I know then I have to do something about it.And that is just too much pressure.I don’t want to have to work that hard but in reality embracing ones potential brings fulfillment and excitement.We are doing what we were created to do.It…

"A fly is a perfect example of the status quo."

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2014-02-21) from his book, The Well-Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn't Have to Be Such Hard Work(p. 52). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
I never thought about that.  He then says, “Young or old, a fly doesn’t change, and it remains the same size throughout its adult life. Even after death, it does not rapidly decompose.”
There are people who just fly around telling you to not make waves, don’t take risks, just accept things the way they are.Don’t change, don’t grow just accept.
He goes on to say, “Too many followers of Jesus are living a ‘fly gospel’ that produces nice people rather than saints; that stands for convention rather than adventure; that is respectable rather than passionate; that calls for guarded, take-care living rather than heroic, take-risks living; that is more at home with the status quo than with living on the fly.”
What would have happened if the Apostle Paul was like that or Peter or John?Where would we be if the early church wen…

"God has placed us on earth not to judge us, but to enjoy us."

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2014-02-21) from his book, The Well-Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn't Have to Be Such Hard Work (p. 3). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
I have done that this week and will do it this weekend.I have spent the last two afternoons with our middle granddaughter, Addison and I really enjoyed our time together. Tonight our daughter, Stef, her husband, Andrew and Harper, our youngest granddaughter will be coming to spend the weekend with her Papa and Gigi.It is going to be great to have us all together.I am looking forward to the fun that we are going to have, just being together.
Now here is the point, if I enjoy my kids and grandkids so much, how much does my heavenly Father really enjoy me?He takes great pleasure in me.That is why He created me.But we live so much with this fear of being a disappointment.And I’m sure that a lot of kids live with the fear of being a disappointment to their parents.And the truth is, so many parents h disappointed.But not…

“Some studies have shown that human creativity doesn’t plateau until age eighty-three.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet (2014-02-21) from his book, The Well-Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn't Have to Be Such Hard Work(p. 33). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
He then said, “Other surveys indicate that happiness peaks at eighty-five—in other words, you get happier and happier the older you get.”
But somehow we believe that a useful life ends at 65.When we retire it means that we are to just wait out our end.But Leonard also said, that “when Jesus was the equivalent of our 'retirement age',  he set out on a journey to save the world.”
He states that today “Fifty percent of all baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1972) will live healthy lives beyond one hundred.”“This dramatic expansion of life span has been relatively recent. Whereas in the 1890s, the average life expectancy for a male was thirty-seven, by the 1990s it had doubled, and now it’s even higher, into the mid-eighties.”
We need to change our perspective about age and effectiveness.Just because we hav…

"When a soul lives off the faded splendors of the past, it is sinking into itself and not rising to God’s occasions."

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2014-02-21) from his book, The Well-Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn't Have to Be Such Hard Work(p. 29). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
I have been spending some time in searching out this matter of living and making a difference at this point in my life.During this time, my wife, Margaret and I have had some interesting conversations.And during this time I found this book by Leonard Sweet.It has been a God find.
There is a danger in looking at one’s life from the perspective of being at the end of one’s true effectiveness or living off the faded splendors of the past but Leonard gave this thought about rising to God’s occasions. He said, “Have you considered the possibilities? Has the church? The question now at age sixty is not, ‘Where should I start on my bucket list?’ or, ‘How do I best set things in order?’ or, ‘Where do I rock?’ but, ‘What should I do with the best years of my life?’ ‘How can my life be pleasing to God during this Third Age?…

"True greatness is the refusal to recognize anyone as an enemy, only as a fellow hurting human being."

A thought by Leonard Sweet (2014-02-21) from his book, The Well-Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn't Have to Be Such Hard Work (p. 13). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
He says right before this that “Every person we meet is a hurting human being. We don’t all hurt in the same places, but we all hurt. Find the hurt and mainline the soul with blessing.”
I believe that is so important to realize.Somehow we seemed to be so focused on our self and believe that the world revolves around us.And because of that we can take things so personal and so our feelings can be hurt so easily.But the truth is they are so focused on their hurts that they don’t feel they can notice anyone else’s hurts.
The key is to give people the benefit of doubt and not take it personal.To strive to reach out to give them a blessing by showing them they are not alone.What would happen if each one of us would do that?It would change you and it would change your world.
Leonard also says, “To be blessed is to kneel in…

"Genes don’t have to be a life sentence."

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-02-01) from his book, 11: Indispensable Relationships You Can’t Be Without (Kindle Location 1035). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.
It’s in my genes is an excuse that many people use about not changing a certain personality or character trait in themselves.Now David did say in the Psalms that “In sin did my mother conceive me” but that isn’t where it stopped.Jesus came to earth and died for us so that can be taken care of and also the many personality and character bents within us.
But there are some things that can’t be changed.I have to accept the fact that I am going to be short.That was handed to me but the fact that I have a tendency to be heavy just means I have to work harder at losing weight.I can’t use it’s in my genes as an excuse.
Now somewhere in my background I was handed the trait to be moody. It was a pain through many of my years but by the grace of God and a lot of maturing I don’t have to any more accept that trait as a daily happening.I …

"What we complain about reveals what really matters to us."

A thought by Kyle Idleman, (2013-02-19) from his book, Gods at War: Defeating the Idols that Battle for Your Heart (Kindle Location 397). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Kyle goes on to say, “Whining shows what has power over us. Whining, in many ways, is the opposite of worshiping the Lord. Worship is when we glorify God for who he is and acknowledge what he has done for us, but whining is ignoring who God is and forgetting what he has done for us.”
That is so true.We want comfort don’t we and when we don’t get it we really complain.Comfort can become an idle for us.Maybe God doesn’t want us to be comfortable.Maybe He has something for us that we are to do.
I was tempted to go to a Starbucks this morning that was just down the block from where we live.I usually take the bus to a Starbucks that is a couple of miles away then I walk home after I’m done.I usually have to stand out waiting on the bus to come, then when I get there I usually sit outside.Sometimes it is cold out there but then I …

"Disproportionate disappointment reveals that we have placed intense hope and longing in something other than God."

A thought by Kyle Idleman, (2013-02-19) from his book, Gods at War: Defeating the Idols that Battle for Your Heart (Kindle Location 387). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
That makes sense doesn’t?Not comforting sense but challenging, honest introspective sense.It is too easy to put our intense hope and longing in the wrong things.
Kyle continues, “So if you were to identify your greatest disappointments, where would you point? The realm of career? The lives of your children? Your marriage or your sex life? Erwin Lutzer writes, ‘Have you ever thought that our disappointments are God’s way of reminding us that there are idols in our lives that must be dealt with?’”
I have been looking at some of the disappointments that I have had as a retired pastor.I mean there was so much more that I wanted to do and therein is my problem, that I wanted to do.God has been so good to me.I didn’t deserve the opportunities that I have had and that I today have.He is so gracious.Of course there were mistakes and…

"Losses loom larger than gains."

A thought by Mark Batterson, (2013-09-24) from his book, All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life (Kindle Location 1126). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
A scientific study on the brain seemed to come up with that fact and I’m sure if you looked at your life you would also say that is true.But it doesn’t need to hold us back even though for many it does.
Think about the successes that you have had at your work but then think of that time when you were reprimanded.Or when you were in school and the A’s and B’s but it is that D or C that you really remember.It was Latin, Chemistry and Biology that I got my C’s.Or in your relationships and all those good friends you have who would be there but it’s that one person who didn’t want to be your friend.There is still pain after all these years.That memory many times holds you back from reaching out to someone new.But it doesn’t need too.
Yes it is easier to remember your losses.That is the way you are held back from making a di…

"But the worst dictator is fear."

A thought by Mark Batterson, (2013-09-24) from his book, All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life(Kindle Location 1106). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
We each have to make decision every day. Sometimes they are life changing decisions.
Mark was talking to an influential man in Washington D.C. where Mark is the pastor of National Community Church.At the end of the conversation he asked the man if he could pray for him.Mark said, “…his profoundly honest response was the result of some serious introspection. He looked me in the eye and said, ‘Pray that I don’t let fear dictate my decisions.’”
That is a prayer that we each need to make because so many of the decisions we make in life are dictated by fear.
Mark continued, “You have to choose a dictator. You can let fear dictate your decisions, or you can let faith dictate your decisions.”
What decision do you have to make today?It may be a defining moment in your life decision.One that will set the course of your life.Let fa…

"Most people who criticize water walkers do so from the comfortable confines of a boat."

A thought by Mark Batterson, (2013-09-24) from his book, All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life (Kindle Locations 996-997). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Margaret and I watched the Oscar’s last night and I was taken back there when I read this quote.I was thinking of all the people who were sitting in their front rooms watching the show and criticizing everyone on there.Of course they had never risked doing anything out of the ordinary but they can criticize from the comfort of the front room.
We go to a very large church that has a very large sanctuary.Margaret wasn’t feeling well so I went along but sat with my son, Brett and my daughter-in-law. Marissa.And we sat in the last row because Brett had hurt his ankle and was on crutches.Now not all people who sit in the back have crutches but many do.They have the crutches of non-involvement except for criticizing those up front. Now not everyone does that back there.
Right now here I am criticizing people who critic…