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Showing posts from March, 2015

“A major cause of negative thinking and poor mental health is self-absorption.”

A thought by John C. Maxwell (2000-03-08) from his book, Failing Forward: How to Makethe Most of Your Mistakes (p. 102). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
It is so easy to be self-absorbed isn't it?  
John says, “Selfishness ultimately hurts not only the people around a self-focused person, but also the selfish person himself. It inclines the person toward failure because it keeps him in a negative mental rut.”  Man that is the truth. I read so much of that on Facebook.
So how do you get out of this negative mental rut?  John tells of a response by Dr. Karl Menninger when asked, “‘What would you advise a person to do if he felt a nervous breakdown coming on?’ Most people expected him to reply, ‘Consult a psychiatrist,’ since that was his profession. To their astonishment, Menninger replied, ‘Lock up your house, go across the railway tracks, find someone in need, and do something to help that person.’”
John then says, “Developing a…

“The idea of conversion itself would come to the world through Jesus.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2012-08-07) from his book, Who Is This Man?: The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus (p. 130). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I understand that some people have a problem with the matter of Christians striving to convert people who don’t believe like them.  That is one of the things they say they don’t like about Christians but that is one thing we can’t help doing.  As John says, “The idea of conversion itself would come to the world through Jesus.”  And to us it is a very good thing.  It is good news and we want to share it.
John says, “Where before Jesus was there a movement that actively sought to include every single human being, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, status, income, gender, moral background, or education, to be loved and transformed? Not only had there never been a community like this before, but there simply had never been the idea of a community like this before. It was Jes…

“Say good-bye to yesterday.”

A thought by John C. Maxwell (2000-03-08) from his book, Failing Forward: How to Makethe Most of Your Mistakes (p. 84). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
OK, I can see that I need to take care of some things in my past to not let them hold me back to not let them be my total focus but how do I do that?  What do I do? 
John gives some good guidelines in this.  He says, “Take time right now to list the negative events from your past that may be holding you hostage: For each item you listed, go through the following process. 1. Acknowledge the pain. 2. Grieve the loss. 3. Forgive the person. 4. Forgive yourself. 5. Determine to release the event and move on. If you are having a hard time because you're holding grudges, talk to God about the issue and ask Him to help you through the process. No matter how difficult this becomes, persevere through it. You will not be able to be your best today until you say good-bye to yesterday.”
No…

“No matter how dark a person's past is, it need not color his present permanently.”

A thought by John C. Maxwell (2000-03-08) from his book, Failing Forward: How to Make the Most of Your Mistakes (p. 78). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Have you come to realize that yet?  When my father was killed in a truck accident it colored my life for a long time but finally the pain turned to good memories that I hold onto.  I somewhere somehow let go of the pain.
John says, “Someone who is unable to get over previous hurts and failures is held hostage by the past. The baggage he carries around makes it very difficult for him to move forward. In fact, in more than thirty years of working with people, I have yet to meet a successful person who continually dwelt on his past difficulties.”
Have you ever gotten in a car and found the driver looking continually in the rear view mirror?  He is totally looking at where he has come from.  Of course not.  If it happened you would immediately want him to stop and get out.  But so many…

“Two of the most powerful words in the human race are us and them.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2012-08-07) from his book, Who Is This Man?: TheUnpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus (p. 93). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
John says, “If someone is in my in group, I will tend to magnify their good qualities and overlook their negative qualities. If somebody is in the out group, I look for the bad and overlook the good. I look at each member of ‘us’ as a unique individual. I tend to look at everybody who is one of them as all alike.”
I really don’t think that is Jesus way of thinking.  John then says, “For Jesus, the categories break down like this: It’s not us and them. It’s perfect and not perfect. It’s holy and sinful. Which puts all of humanity on the same side: the wrong side. But Jesus was determined to make that his side.”
He loves us, all of us.  He died for us, all of us with no distinction.  Somehow we need to catch that.  Father forgive us for we have all sinned and fallen short.  But …

“One day a carpenter left his shop and began to teach.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2012-08-07) from his book, Who Is This Man?: TheUnpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus (p. 73). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I don’t know what you are going through right now.  I remember when I was going through a very difficult time.  I loved being a pastor, I loved being a church planter.  There was nothing else that I wanted to do but I remember the realization that slowly came upon me that I was done with that part of my life and that I was to retire. 
Change can be difficult but what would have happened if Jesus hadn’t changed his occupation?  His earthly father was a carpenter and that was what Jesus was doing but one day he changed.  As John said, “One day a carpenter left his shop and began to teach. What would the history of our world be if Jesus had not changed careers? Imagine that he stays in the shop: there is no teaching ministry, no crucifixion, no rise of the church, no New Testam…

“Marriage problems are easy.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2015-01-06) from his book, The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating (p. 20). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Now I’ve quoted this thought as a grabber.  It is not to be read and just accepted and quoted but it is something that I hope does get you to stop and strive to understand what it really means.
Here is the context that Andy said it.  He said, “I’ve met with many struggling married couples who would describe themselves as having ‘marriage problems.’ But in all my years I’ve never talked to a married couple that actually had a marriage problem. What I’ve discovered is that people with problems get married and their problems collide. What was manageable as a single person eventually becomes unmanageable within the context of marriage. Marriage problems are easy. They rarely require counseling. But when the premarriage past surfaces in a marriage, that’s another story.”
My son Brett and his wife Marissa and…

“Jesus’ crankiness and compassion came from the same source.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2012-08-07) from his book, Who Is This Man?: TheUnpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus (p. 37). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Margaret and I were talking this morning on our drive to her work about how a women friend of ours was unjustly given a lower financial bonus than another person where this woman worked.  And this other person was a man.  And I got to thinking about that injustice later and of how that really would bother Jesus.  And in turn it should bother me.
The whole thought that John says here is, “Jesus’ crankiness and compassion came from the same source: his outrageous love for every individual, and his pain when anyone is undervalued.”

Is that true of us today who say we are followers of Christ?

“Most conversation between God and humans is to help us understand things.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2012-04-24) from his book, Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God (p. 39). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Such a tremendous privilege and such a tremendous opportunity.  I get to have a relationship with God which in turn means I get to communicate with him and he communicates with me. 
Now in this matter of communication with people understanding is a very important thing to me.  It is not imperative to me to have people agree with me as much as it is to have them understand.  Do you understand what I mean?  Now in this context you can’t answer me back.  This is not a conversation and most prayers are all one sided.  That is not God’s fault but our understanding of prayer is the problem.  Prayer is not to be one sided but to be a conversation.  But this matter of God talking back to us can be a problem.
I like something that Dallas said, “‘Why is it,’ comedian Lily Tomlin…

“A problem is something that can be solved. A fact of life is something that must be accepted.”

A thought by John C. Maxwell (2000-03-08) from his book, Failing Forward: How to Makethe Most of Your Mistakes (p. 67). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I am overweight.  That is a problem.  I am short.  That is a fact of life.  There is nothing that I can do to get taller.  I will never be taller than what I am today but I can get smaller.  I have this week already lost 3 lbs.  I at one time weighed 260 lbs.  I had to do something about that and I eventually got down to 210 lbs.  Now through different situations I had gotten back up to 223 lbs. and decided that I wanted to do something about that.  So that is a problem that I am striving to solve.
Now John says, “Some people get into trouble because they focus their attention on things beyond their control.”  Somebody leaves you.  They may die or they may decide that they don’t want to be married anymore so you go to pieces and your focus becomes something beyond your control. 
He…

“A mere benefactor, however powerful, kind and thoughtful, is not the same thing as a friend.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2012-04-24) from his book, Hearing God: Developing aConversational Relationship with God(p. 26). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Right before this thought Dallas says, “Sometimes today it seems that our personal relationship with God is treated as no more than a mere arrangement or understanding that Jesus and his Father have about us. Our personal relationship then only means that each believer has his or her own unique account in heaven, which allows them to draw on the merits of Christ to pay their sin bills. Or possibly it means that God’s general providence for his creation is adequate to provide for each person.”
But then he says, “But who does not think there should be much more to a personal relationship than that? A mere benefactor, however powerful, kind and thoughtful, is not the same thing as a friend. Jesus says, ‘I have called you friends’ (John 15:15) and ‘Look, I am with you every …

“The fight to take responsibility occurs within.”

A thought by John C. Maxwell (2000-03-08) from his book, Failing Forward: How to Make the Most of Your Mistakes (p. 54). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I have been having a problem with gaining the weight that I have been successful at losing over the years.  I had thrown out all my XXL clothes but the XL clothes that I had kept were starting to get tight so I went out and bought some larger clothes again and by doing that I had just accepted the fact that I was destined to be overweight until last night I stopped and took responsibility to figure out what I needed to do.  I decided to do something about the problem other than buying new clothes.  So I sat down and started thinking and talking with my wife and we came up with a new plan and I started doing it today.  Inside of me I decided to take responsibility not to just accept that I couldn’t do anything about it.
John quoted Michael Korda who is the editor in chief of Simon …

“Every failure you experience is a fork in the road.”

A thought by John C. Maxwell (2000-03-08) from his book, Failing Forward: How to Makethe Most of Your Mistakes (p. 52). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Have you found that true?    You have a choice to make and it is a critical choice.  Do I go right or left?  As John says, “It's an opportunity to take the right action, learn from your mistakes, and begin again.”
But so many choose the self-pity road.  I can never do anything right.  Everything is against me.  I can’t believe this is happening to me.  And they keep on the failure freeway and never get off of it until they decide to change the way they think and then do something about it.
John shares the “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters” by Portia Nelson, which “describes the process of exiting the failure freeway: Chapter 1. I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a …

“If you always do what you've always done, then you will always get what you've always gotten.”

A thought by John C. Maxwell (2000-03-08) from his book, Failing Forward: How to Makethe Most of Your Mistakes (p. 48). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Wow, that is the truth.  John then says, “People are prone to ruts. And anyone who has been conditioned to think failure is his fate has an especially hard time exiting the failure freeway.”
I started doing something this past year that I really enjoy doing.  I take and pickup my wife, Margaret from her work every work day.  That gives us extra time together and also helps her plan her day and check off all her emails at the end of her day.  It also means we spend a lot of time on the LA Freeway system.  Anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour.  Now if I had found a route and decided to stick with it every day coming and going I would spend even more time but I have a helper called Waze that sets and changes how I go each time.  It gives me the best and fastest route and it is alm…

“When Jesus looked at people, he saw the image of God. He saw this in everyone.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2012-08-07) from his book, Who Is This Man?: TheUnpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus (p. 26). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
This thought hit me as I was looking for something to share with you today.  One thing it said to me was that when Jesus looks at an immigrant, a person of a different race, a poor or rich person, one who thinks different from me, one whose sexual orientation is different from mine, he sees the image of God.  As John says, “He saw this in everyone.”  And then John goes on to say, “It caused him to treat each person with dignity.”  Do we need to do that today?  Do we need to treat each person we see with dignity? 
And then the thought goes on to say to me that when Jesus looks at me, at you, he sees the image of God.
John shares that “novelist George MacDonald delighted in writing about princesses and princes. Someone asked him why he always wrote about princesses. ‘Because ev…

“The full account of the movements of love in our lives.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: PuttingOn the Character of Christ (p. 132). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Here is how Dallas sees these movements, “We are loved by God who is love, and in turn we love him, and others through him, who in turn love us through him. Thus is love made perfect or complete.  And ‘perfect love casts out fear’ (1 John 4: 18).”
But we don’t start at the right place and of course don’t finish at the right place.  Now we are loved by God no matter whether we believe it or not.  He shows that love to us in so many ways.  He has given us life, and beauty and the opportunity to love and be loved but because we haven’t in turn loved him then we in turn don’t really love others who in turn really love us through him.  So our love is not made perfect of complete so we live in fear.
Such as awesome opportunity we have because he love us.  Just accept that love and in turn…

“We love something or someone when we promote its good for its own sake.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ (p. 130). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
But if you really loved me you would do such and such.  That is used over and over to get someone to do what someone wants them to do for them.   But that’s not love.  Love strives to do good for the one you love for their own sake but not for yours.  We get this all wrong.
I can’t believe they won’t do that for me.  If they really loved me they would.  But that is not love.
Dallas says, “Love is not the same thing as desire, for I may desire something without even wishing it well, much less willing its good. I might desire a chocolate ice cream cone, for example. But I do not wish it well; I wish to eat it. This is the difference between lust (mere desire) and love, as between a man and a woman. Desire and love are, of course, compatible when desire is ruled by love; but most peop…

“To conquer fear, you have to feel the fear and take action anyway.”

A thought by John C. Maxwell (2000-03-08) from his book, Failing Forward: How to Makethe Most of Your Mistakes (p. 41). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I’m sure all of us have something that we are afraid of and we'd like to conquer it.  For some it might be a snake or a spider and those can be annoying but for the most part that fear doesn’t keep us from living life to its fullest.  You just strive to keep away from them.
But others have fears that keep them from living life to the level that God has for them and they want to somehow conquer their fears.
For some it might be the fear of their health.  They know they need to exercise or eat right or check their blood sugar.  And as John says,  “You can't wait for motivation to get you going.”
But in doing this John says, “Motivation is not going to strike you like lightning. And motivation is not something that someone else —nurse, doctor, family member— can bestow or force…

“Achievers reject rejection.”

A thought by John C. Maxwell (2000-03-08) from his book, Failing Forward: How to Makethe Most of Your Mistakes (p. 27). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Now rejection hurts. It really does especially if you did something to cause it.  We have all experienced it but how we deal with it is the key to really living the life God has for us. 
John says on this, “People who don't give up keep trying because they don't base their self-worth on their performance. Instead, they have an internally based self-image. Rather than say, ‘I am a failure,’ they say, ‘I missed that one,’ or ‘I made a mistake.’ Psychologist Martin E. Seligman believes we have two choices when we fail: We can internalize or externalize our failure. ‘People who blame themselves when they fail . . . think they are worthless, talentless, unlovable,’ says Seligman. ‘People who blame external events do not lose self-esteem when bad events strike.’  To keep the rig…

“Failure is really a matter of conceit.”

A thought by John C. Maxwell (2000-03-08) from his book, Failing Forward: How to Makethe Most of Your Mistakes (p. 18). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Think about this.  John continues, “People don't work hard because, in their conceit, they imagine they'll succeed without ever making an effort. Most people believe that they'll wake up some day and find themselves rich. Actually, they've got it half right, because eventually they wake up.”
I had someone yesterday try to get me involved in some get rich scheme.  Some people think that is the way God works.  No, he works through people working.  He gives us abilities and then opportunities.  And then we work hard and smart. Work is God’s plan.
But we sit around and wait on God to meet our needs.  And he is waiting on us to do our part.  Now is it easy.No but it can be exciting and challenging and rewarding.
John then says, “Each of us has to make a choice. Are we goin…

“People Think Failure Is Avoidable— It's Not.”

A thought by John C. Maxwell (2000-03-08) from his book, Failing Forward: How to Makethe Most of Your Mistakes (p. 13). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

We all make mistakes.  But the key is what we do with them.  Do we keep making the same ones or do we grow. 
John found these Rules for Being Human. He said, “I think the list describes well the state we're in as people: Rule #1: You will learn lessons. Rule #2: There are no mistakes— only lessons. Rule #3: A lesson is repeated until it is learned. Rule #4: If you don't learn the easy lessons, they get harder. (Pain is one way the universe gets your attention.) Rule #5: You'll know you've learned a lesson when your actions change.”
We’re all going to make mistakes, we’re all going to fail but do we learn from it and change.  That is up to us. 
John also says, “Every person's life is filled with errors and negative experiences. But know this: Errors become mistak…