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Showing posts from April, 2014

“Release the part of you that wants to protect and open up the part of you that wants to explore.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book,The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art(p. 52). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
I live in greater Los Angeles.There is so much here to experience and explore but to really do it right, you have to get in a car and that is one dangerous thing to do. When I retired, we moved to Long Island in New York.A great place to live but the traffic was horrendous to the point that most people took the train to work in Manhattan and of course to many, Manhattan is scary. You could get mugged.
When I retired Margaret and I decided that every Saturday where ever we lived, we would explore.As a Pastor I worked on Saturday which was the day Margaret was off so after I retired we used our Saturday to see and experience where we lived.We went all over the place on Long Island and New York City.We even made it to upstate New York and saw where they had Woodstock and to Hyde Park where FDR lived.We went to Connecticut and saw wher…

“People who enjoy life make life more enjoyable for others.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 168). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Have you found that so?That is if you hang out with someone who really enjoys life you find your spirits lifted and you enjoying life too.But if you are around that person who is always depressed and always rehearsing the negatives in their life then you see your spirit start going down and you discouragement going up.
I am reading Job right now and his time with those negative friends.Granted Job had it rough but those friends made it worse.
Let me ask you, what kind of friend are you?Do you help others enjoy their life or do you bring them down.Let me tell you, if you bring people down then you will probably be alone a lot.Life is tough but I don’t want to live in despair about it.I want to live in hope and joy.That is what happens when you have a deep strong relationship with Christ.Yes He had it rough but He also enjoyed the …

“We aren’t limited because we have limitations; we are limited because we haven’t embraced them.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 149). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
It is so easy at my stage of life to make the excuse of not doing something because of my limitation of being 66 going on 67.I have to fight that temptation over and over and that is why I find this thought so challenging.
The key is to embrace the limitation, to see the benefit of being 66 going on 67 as a great opportunity to continue to create who God wants me to be.He isn’t done and I shouldn’t be either.
As Erwin says, “Every creative endeavor becomes a realization of both how limited and how unlimited we are.”He continues, “What makes you a chef is what you do with those five flavors; what makes you a musician is what you do with those twelve notes; what makes you a painter is what you do with those three colors; what makes you an architect is what you do with those three shapes; what makes you an artist is what you do with…

“It is too easy to allow our dreams to become an escape from life rather than fuel for life.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book,The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art(p. 141). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
As you stop to think about it do you see where that is true in your life?I mean it is so much easier to just fantasize than it is to do something about your life.I mean to dream you have a perfect marriage especially with that other guy/gal than to set about to do what needs to be done in your marriage is so much easier.  To do something about your marriage can be hard work and who really wants to do that?  It is so much easier to dream but that doesn’t make anything better, does it?
Erwin says, “In our dreams there is no risk. This is where the creative act is vastly different from a dream. The creative act requires courage and demands action. The creative act moves us from ideation to implementation.”
What is your God-given dream?Is it something that you just dream about?It doesn’t have to be.That isn’t God’s plan.He created you…

“If God created us to be successful at something, then He has called us to work hard at it.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 130). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
It is so easy to leave the fulfillment of a God-given task to God to do through us.I mean if He wants it then He will do it.But the truth is He has given us the dream, the call, the potential and then expects us to ask for strength and courage and then to go do it. Erwin says, “It is not incidental that when David calls Solomon to build the temple, he says to his son, ‘Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.’” [1 Chronicles 28: 20 NIV)].
What potential, call, opportunity or dream is God waiting on you to set out to do? He believes in you and He knows how hard it will be for you to do.But He will give you strength and courage to do it if you ask and…

“…living our lives based on the opinions of others will only cause us to lose our souls and our way.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 115). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
I was walking back from one of my coffee shops to home listening to a podcast by Erwin and stopped listening and starting thinking.I started thinking about what really matters to me.Not what matters to others about me but what really matters to me.In other words I was thinking about what makes me unique.God created me to be me with a unique thought in His mind.
And He did the same thing with you.Who you are is not based on what other people’s opinions of you are but who you are.
I had a little song that I wrote when my son Brett was very little.The first part goes like this:Brett is so neat and he is so sweet and he is so “special” and before I would say the word “special” I would tickle him and eventually I would stop and hold my hand over him until he would say, “special” then I would tickle him and go one with the song.The wor…

“I became painfully aware that far too often good sense had replaced imagination in my own life.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 92). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
That is so true for me.I was telling a friend of mine this morning of something that I was dealing with.It was a dream that I had to live in a RV and travel when Margaret retires and I said but it doesn’t make sense because I will be in my seventies.That is what happens when you get old.Your imagination and your dreams give way to making sense.
Erwin continues, “You don’t have to be Einstein to know that imagination is more powerful than knowledge, yet practical, everyday life seems to press us into an imaginationless reality. The longer we live, the more we become practical and reasonable.”
I think the problem is I have come to the conclusion that I am old and therefore my potential to realize a dream is becoming more nonexistent.But that isn’t true.I like how Leonard Sweet in his book, The Well-Played Life puts it.“In the First…

“The church has too often been a ‘No’ place filled with ‘No’ people. But to truly follow Jesus is to rattle off ‘Yes,’ not ‘No.’”

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. 221). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
I have said that when it comes to my three granddaughters that anything they ask for the answer is “Yes”.And then I say that it is the best way to get back at my kids but the truth is I do all I can to say “Yes” to them too.I love them and I want to give, give, give and God is the same way.He wants to give live, He wants to give joy, He wants to give forgiveness.He also wants to say, “Yes.”
You probably heard yesterday the part in the Easter Story where Mary Magdalene after she had come out of the empty tomb saw this man and she thought he was a gardener when in fact it was Jesus.The key is John the writer of this was going back to the fact that Jesus had created us in a Garden.That He is a Gardener.He created us in a Garden and it was for our enjoyment.It was sin that brought the no in not God.
As Leonard says it,…

“We are never fully free until we have fully forgiven.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 86). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Today, Good Friday is the day when we remember the greatest injustice that has even been done to an individual.And it is a day that we see how it is to be handled.
Jesus, the only perfect man who has ever walked this earth was crucified as a common criminal.No way was His death justified.But do you know how He handled it?Luke 23:34 (NLT), “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.’”Jesus forgave them and asked God, His Father to forgive them.
Now of course we want justice for injustice.We want to throw the book at people.No way am I going to forgive them.They don’t deserve it” and that is true but we also don’t deserve to be forgiven either but we more times than not demand it.Listen it was our sins, not just the Jews and Pilot who killed Him. If justice were served we would be on that Cross but b…

“Our experiences are not nearly as powerful as our memories.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art(p. 85). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
I was thinking after reading this of a bad experience in my life that was a good memory.It happened different times in my life.
My father was a minister and for half of my home life he was an evangelist.In other words, we as a family traveled from church to church holding meetings.For a big part of the time we lived in a house trailer, that’s what they were called back then and we would leave one church on a Sunday night and travel to the next one and start services there on Wednesday.We would be there from Wednesday through two Sundays.
Sometimes it would take all of the money we were given at the last church to get to the next one and somewhere in that next week we would run out of food if the church we were holding meetings in didn’t give us a food allowance.Now that could have caused me to be angry at God and turn my back on th…

“Prayer for Jesus is not about techniques, but trust.”

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. 186). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
I know that people who don’t know me but who see me out walking the streets everyday think I am a homeless schizophrenic. Now I am neither but I do walk a lot and I do talk to someone while I am walking.I do a lot of praying while I walk.I had two occasions today when I was praying out loud and someone passed me.They didn’t look back but they did seem to walk a little faster.
Now that may not be the best technique but it works for me. I love walking and talking to my friend, Jesus.I found it very meaningful today.While I was walking and praying the first time I worked through an attitude I was having toward someone who was very hurtful and critical of my Pastor.God helped me through that time and gave me the assurance that He would encourage my Pastor and his family during this situation.I find conversing with Go…

“Some things need to die in our lives.”

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. 175). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
As I was walking back home after doing some reading at the local Peet’s Coffee I was thinking about some of the things that worry me here at 66 going on 67.They are things that haven’t really bothered me but they do now with my getting older.And I was wondering what it was in my past that is causing me to be bothered about not having enough money to live on after Margaret retires too.I never have been concerned about money but now I am.Why?
Of course some would say that I need to be concerned.I understand that but why is my faith lacking now when I have always lived my life with faith that God would take care and He always has?And the thought went back to those weeks when we were really close financially and we had to be very careful and remembering how I felt trapped in those times.I was very anxious and I was h…

“People only become slaves when they have lost their dreams.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 54). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
What is your dream?What is it that keeps you going every day and that energizes you each week to deal with for some the monotony of life?Yes the monotony of life has within it the potential to enslave us.I‘ve got to get up and do it all again but if you are getting up to fulfill a dream then you are not enslaved but you are free.
I hurt so much for people who are enslaved by the worries, the cares, the aloneness and monotony of their lives. I understand that and I have to fight that every day that I get up.And I see even at 66 almost 67 the need for a dream.The battle happens when I tend to be malnourished emotionally and spiritually. If I haven’t spent enough alone time with God for Him to reinforce and rekindle the dream that He has for my life even at 66 going on 67 then I will start to focus on things that will bring me down …

“To find our own voice, we must first wrestle with the voices inside our brains.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book,  The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 43). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.


There are so many voices in us clamoring for attention and control.
I have spent my morning at Starbucks reading two newspapers and spending time with my friends.I sat there in my spot with my Dodgers’ hat on reading about how they lost last night and then talking with my friends about what happened.That is a voice that is inside of me.It is a voice that has been a part of me since I was a child and it is a voice that at some points has to be controlled.I used to get so upset when they lost.It would affect my mood but hopefully I have matured.
Now after I left Starbucks I walked about a mile to Peet’s Coffee & Tea where I pulled out my Kindle and did some reading preparing for sharing some thought on this Blog today.I read and then pulled out my phone and ear phones and started my walk to home listening to Erwin McManus sh…

“All too often… the voices that speak early and deep into our souls are more destructive than constructive.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 42). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
That is so true for so many adults today.Erwin says, “I meet so many people who carry an internal narrative that they have no value and no worth, and are not worthy of love. Some forty-year-old men are still fighting off voices that spoke to them when they were four years old.”
What voices inside of you are you listening to?Maybe it is the voice of an unpleasable parent who listened to their unpleasable parent and lived with that voice inside them and carried it through to you.Maybe it was a teacher or a coach.Maybe it was someone who believed in you.That voice of mom or dad who did all they could to make you feel special resounds inside of you every time you face something new.What voice are you listening to?
Erwin continues, “What others think of us, what others have said about us matters, has power, only when it becomes what we…

“Anything good in life puts risk into play.”

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(Kindle Locations 2219-2220). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
But we want security and safety.No way do we want risk.
Our son, Brett’s 35th bd was this week and he was a very good thing in our life.But he was a risk.I spent time with my oldest granddaughter, Ashlyn, yesterday.Of course she is a very good thing along with Addison and Harper but they each one were a risk and they still are. But oh how they were worth the risk.The truth is you wouldn’t even be here if your parents wouldn’t have taken a risk.
“In fact”, Leonard says, “recent scientific studies have concluded that humans and organizations endure and mature, not in spite of their willingness to take risks, but because of their risk taking.For safety’s sake and security needs, we want to make the next moment like the one before it. Hence, the power of the status quo, the challenge of change, and …

“Each one of us is a ‘fifth Gospel.’”

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. 160). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition
What a great thought to start a new week.
Leonard continues, “There are the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John . . . and you. We each continue the Jesus story on the pages of our own lives as the gospel becomes ‘my gospel’ and then ‘our gospel’ until it finally becomes a special edition ‘fifth Gospel,’ even perhaps a ‘third Testament’—the gospel translated into our lives and written between the lines on the pages of Scripture.”
You see, His Gospel is to be lived out through me and you.We are Jesus to the people around us.That is why many in this world have such a negative picture of Christ.That is how we live.He said that He didn’t come into this world to condemn the world but we do condemn so what He says to those we condemn cannot be heard.It is not His words they hear but how they are lived out through us that…

“The nature of sin is not the violation of a moral code, but the tearing of a relationship.”

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. 158). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
We are living in a world where the self-centered actions of one can bring so much pain on another.What about the pain of a child when they are told that momma and daddy are breaking up?Many of you remember and still feel that pain.
I am discussing on my other blog, Bill’s Front Porchhow to prevent an affair.That self-centered act for sure can tear out the heart of a relationship whether it is a mate, a child, a parent and even God.We each one have the freedom to bring great pain upon another don’t we?But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I like how Leonard takes the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, and shows it to be a Game of Life.He says, “In the traditional RPS game, each gesture has a meaning, a function, and a consequence. Scissors cuts Paper; Paper covers Rock; and Rock breaks Scissors. Sin is our Scissors. Ou…

“Adults who leave their childlikeness behind don’t get real, they get real old

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. 145). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
We as we get older make life so difficult, don’t we?But that is not God’s plan.
Think about God’s creation.Did He create the beauty around us for children or for all of us to enjoy?Did He create your family so you would work, work, work, or to enjoy, enjoy, enjoy? I love doing stuff with and for my family.Here is that word again, it’s all in our perspective.
I was thinking about when I was a young boy and of how we would play that we were working.When does that need to stop.Why can’t we enjoy our work again like when we were kids? But it seems that our task as adults is to take the joy out of life. I mean we send our kids off to school not to enjoy the priviledge of learning but the task of succeeding.You must realize your full potential instead of the joy of stretching, creating and grasping new potential within …

“There are lots of good reasons to start up a business or to enter a profession or to take a job.”

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. 140). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
And those reasons say if it is a time in your life to endure or enjoy.
Leonard says, “Making money isn’t one of them. Doing something that brings us pleasure is the best of them. Doing something that serves humanity in the service of God is unbeatable. Godplayers don’t open up a coffee shop to get rich. They open up a coffee shop because it’s fun and serves the common good by providing a ‘third space’ commons.”
It all revolves around the reason why you do what you do.
He goes on to say, “A work mind-set creates Macy’s inch-thick rulebook. A play mind-set creates Nordstrom’s two-sentence strange attractor: (1) Use good judgment in all situations; (2) there are no additional rules.”
So many people work to make money so they can retire.I read an article the other day that said that retiring too early is one of the reas…

“There is no better way to soothe a child’s cries than with a lullaby.”

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. 129). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
A couple of weekends back, my wife, Margaret and I were in Florida celebrating my mom’s 90th birthday.It was such a very special time with our family and extended family.I will remember the varied meaningful conversations that I had with all of the family members.
Our last night there Connie, my sister and Margaret and I had one of those very meaningful times with my mom.At one point we were thinking of the significant times every night that Connie and I had with Mom.Before we went to sleep we would pray together and then we would sing the lullaby, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” and Connie and I sang that together there in Clermont, Florida for the first time in over 45 years.That was a very, very meaningful time that even now brings deep emotion to me.
Leonard says, “Many of our most beloved nursery rhymes are p…