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Showing posts from April, 2015

“It turns out that choosing drains us. It takes energy.”

A thought by John Ortberg, (2015-02-24) from his book. All the Places to Go . . . HowWill You Know?: God Has Placed before You an Open Door.  What Will You Do?    (p. 116). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
It turns out that choosing drains us. It takes energy.
Choosing is hard work.  Especially if it is an important decision.   “So wise people”, John says, “shepherd their ‘choosing energy’ well. This is why wise people never make important decisions in a wrong emotional state.”
But too many times that is when we make our major decisions, after we’ve been dumped in a relationship, or when we are very lonely, or after we've had a difficult day at work.  When I was a staff minister I had another Pastor call me about every Monday asking if I had a good day Sunday.  He thought after a bad Sunday I might say yes to come to work for him. 
John says, “Never try to choose the right course of action in the wrong frame of …

“Stop Waiting for a Spontaneous Outburst of Passion.”

A thought by John Ortberg, (2015-02-24) from his book. All the Places to Go . . . HowWill You Know?: God Has Placed before You an Open Door.  What Will You Do?   (p. 112). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
There are some thoughts that jump out at me at just the right time.  Many times I am looking for thoughts that would be good to share but this one was for me today.  Here is my question that comes at this thought from a different direction.  If I lose my passion at doing what I am doing do I then need to stop doing what I am doing? No you just keep at it.
John quotes Andy Chan who heads up the Office of Personal and Career Development at Wake Forest and who is known by some as a “career-development guru.”  And he says, “That one of the greatest stumbling blocks he has to warn young adults about is the illusion that there is some passion out there with their name on it, and if they could just discover their passion…

“God wants us to be excellent choosers.”

A thought by John Ortberg, (2015-02-24) from his book. All the Places to Go . . . HowWill You Know?: God Has Placed before You an Open Door.  What Will You Do?   (p. 108). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
But we don’t like to make choices because we are afraid to be wrong.  And that is one of the reasons why we are constantly praying for God’s will in different choices that we are called to make.  It also is very difficult.  It really is.
But John says, “God wants us to learn to choose well. That may be why, when we look at the Bible, there is no chapter devoted to ‘How to know God’s will for your life.’ Often when we are faced with a real-life choice, the Bible seems no more helpful than Yogi Berra’s old dictum: ‘When you come to a fork in the road, take it.’ Paul doesn’t write about ‘six steps to determine if he’s the one’ or ‘five ways to discern God’s job for you.’ What we do see are statements like this: ‘If a…

“Do not despise the day of small things. For we do not know what is small in God’s eyes.”

A thought by John Ortberg, (2015-02-24) from his book. All the Places to Go . . . HowWill You Know?: God Has Placed before You an Open Door.  What Will You Do?  (p. 85). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
That is such a good thought at the beginning of a new week and close to the beginning of a new month.  How do you view what you do?  Think about this, maybe how you view it is different from how God views it.
John says, “When we are born, our world is very small. As we grow, it may become quite large. If we live long enough and grow old enough, it will become small again. If we do not learn to find God in our small worlds, we will never find God at all.”
I am finding that true in my retirement years.  There was a time that I was challenged to do greater things as a church planter but now the quality time that I get to spend with my wife, Margaret and with my three granddaughters, Ashlyn, Addison and Harper has more m…

“Every morning is an open door; every moment can become one.”

A thought by John Ortberg, (2015-02-24) from his book. All the Places to Go . . . HowWill You Know?: God Has Placed before You an Open Door.  What Will You Do?  (p. 18). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

I love that thought.  I read on Facebook this morning that a friend of mine had a horrible day yesterday and I felt for her but then the thought came to me but today is a new day.  Yes there is memory of yesterday but today is a blank slate with new adventure and new possibilities and new potential. 
What was your day like yesterday?  Learn the lessons from it and see today as a new open door to walk through.  Oh I can see the door and have some fear because of what happened yesterday and decide I’m not going to open it.  That is a real choice for us.  The problems of yesterday can keep us from the possibilities of today.  They can but they don’t have to.
John says, “Some of us see the doors and seize them, and so l…

“Financial pressure can suck the romance right out of a relationship.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2015-01-06) from his book, The New Rules for Love, Sex andDating (p. 176). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Have you found that true?  I’m sure that many of you have. The truth is it can suck out all of the enjoyment of life.   Andy says, “The number one source of conflict among couples is money.”  It is number one.
He then says, “The primary source of financial pressure is debt. Dumb debt. Credit card debt. Car leases… If you have debt, chances are you have other bad financial habits.”
Make a commitment to stop and look at what it is that is causing you to not get this under control.  I love the prayer of the Psalmist who says, “Search me oh God and know my thoughts.”  Why do you have to have all of the stuff?  Now there can be good reasons for it but if it causes relational problems then there is a problem.  Take it to God and then take it to your spouse.  Prioritize and then let some things go
Andy also says…

“Happiness comes when what happens is favorable to us.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-01-03) from his book, I Am a Follower: The Way, Truth,and Life of Following Jesus (p. 114). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
But what if it becomes unfavorable to us?  Leonard goes on to say, “When circumstances at the surface of our lives are unfavorable, happiness leaves. It has a brief shelf life; it comes and goes rapidly. Joy is far different. It doesn’t fluctuate according to its surface surroundings. In fact, it can actually flourish in the midst of pain and suffering.”
But we strive for happiness when it is joy that we really need.  Leonard says, “Our culture, it seems, is convinced that happiness can be purchased. Materialism, consumerism, and individualism have blended to form a hollow chocolate bunny within the American dream. Overpromising and underdelivering, the individual pursuit of happiness has catapulted the US to number one status as the most depressed and medicated nation in the…

“God’s primary will for your life is not the achievements you accrue…”

A thought by John Ortberg, (2015-02-24) from his book, All the Places to Go . . . How Will You Know?: God Has Placed before You an Open Door.  What Will You Do? (p. 15). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
What is God’s will for my life?  What does He want me to do?  The problem is that is the wrong question.  Here is the whole thought of John, “God’s primary will for your life is not the achievements you accrue; it’s the person you become.” 
He continues, “God’s primary will for your life is not what job you ought to take; it’s not primarily situational or circumstantial. It’s not mainly the city where you live or whether you get married or what house you ought to be in. God’s primary will for your life is that you become a magnificent person in his image, somebody with the character of Jesus. That is God’s main will for your life. No circumstance can prevent that.”
No the question is, who does He want me to become?�…

“God can open a door for anyone.”

A thought by John Ortberg, (2015-02-24) from his book. All the Places to Go . . . HowWill You Know?: God Has Placed before You an Open Door.  What Will You Do?(p. 7). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Here is the full thought by John, “What a gift to know that open doors are not reserved for the specially talented or the extraordinarily strong. God can open a door for anyone.”
And God writes through the Apostle John in Revelation 3:8 (NIV), “See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.”
Now John in his book here quotes one of his college professors, Jerry Hawthorne, who says, “A door is one of the richest images in literature. It can mean safety (‘my door is chained and locked’) or hiddenness (‘no one knows what goes on behind closed doors’). It can mean rejection (‘she shut the door in my face’) or rest (young mothers’ favorite room is the bathroom, where they can close the door and be alone). Bu…

“Love does not sustain itself naturally.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2015-01-06) from his book, The New Rules for Love, Sex andDating (p. 97). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Have you ever stopped to think about that?  Andy says, “What come naturally are passion, lust, chemistry, and that ‘can’t wait to get you alone’ feeling. But over time, all of that is eventually squashed by our unbridled, selfish, self-preserving natures.”
You see real love is un-natural. The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:3-8 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”  Andy says, “Do any of these traits come naturally? Granted, we know how to turn them all on when we’re winning and wooing. But love does…

“By far the greatest single obstacle to success that I see in others is a poor understanding of people.”

A thought by John C. Maxwell (2000-03-08) from his book, Failing Forward: How to Makethe Most of Your Mistakes (p. 155). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Do you like people?  Do you get along with people?  Do you have problems with people?
Listen, people are very important and it is very important that you realize that.  If you don’t then you are going to have problems with living a fulfilling and successful life. 
John said, “I was talking to some people a couple of days ago, and they were complaining about not winning a business contract that they had bid on. ‘It wasn't fair,’ one person told me. ‘All the people involved knew each other, and we didn't have a chance. It's all politics.’ But what he went on to describe wasn't politics. It was relationships.”
He then said, “Authors Carole Hyatt and Linda Gottlieb indicate that people who fail on the job commonly cite ‘office politics’ as the reason for their failures…

“Rehearsing the past does nothing to alter or improve the future.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2015-01-06) from his book, The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating (p. 91). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
What Andy is dealing with here is the last part of verse 5 in 1 Corinthians 13 (NLT) which says, “Love…keeps no record of being wronged.”  He talking about people who are record keepers and he is saying that love doesn’t do that.
Does your spouse do that?  Did you have a parent who did that?  Do you do that?  That isn’t love, that is a relationship killer and that is a power play.  It’s not love.
Andy says, “Love chooses not to keep dousing the present with the past. Besides, it doesn’t do any good. It doesn’t move the relationship forward. If one of your parents was a record keeper, I suspect you gravitated relationally toward your other parent, didn’t you? Whose influence were you most open to? The filer’s or the forgiver’s? Who did you feel closest to? The filer or the forgetter? Funny how that works…

“Love chooses to see the best and believe the best while choosing to overlook the rest.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2015-01-06) from his book, The New Rules for Love, Sex,and Dating (p. 94). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Andy is striving to show us in this section of his book, that we need to strive to embrace love as an action verb.  And he has taken us to the love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13 in the Bible to show us God’s thoughts on love.  Now in verses 6 & 7 of this great chapter says, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  What does love do?  “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  Not exactly our definition of love, even as Christ followers, is it? 
As Andy puts it, “Love does not delight in or get its kicks digging up dirt or catching someone doing wrong. Love isn’t looking for or expecting bad behavior. Love is hopeful…Love looks for and celebrates good behavior. Unlike the record keepers…

“Was what happened truly a failure, or did I just fall short?”

A thought by John C. Maxwell (2000-03-08) from his book, Failing Forward: How to Makethe Most of Your Mistakes (p. 142). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
In my reading, I come upon so many good thoughts that it is hard to sometimes choose what to highlight.  This Monday morning was one of those times.  But this one is the first one that caught my attention.  Maybe this thought is for you.
John says, “You need to determine if what happened was really a failure. What you think is your fault may have been an attempt to fulfill unrealistic expectations. It doesn't matter whether you place them on yourself or someone else does; if a goal is unrealistic and you miss it, that is not a failure.”
We are so quick to want to play the blame game even if it is with ourselves.  Now it is important to learn from our mistakes but a realistic evaluation is very important.  And many times unrealistic expectations can be the problem.  In other wo…

“Unkindness kills romance. Instantly.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2015-01-06) from his book, The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating(p. 80). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I know that this is a thought that we all agree with don’t we?  Now if they are kind that sparks something within you.  This is one area that we see what it means to embrace love as a verb.  I Corinthians 13:4 in the Bible says, “Love is kind.”
Andy says, “To be kind is to leverage one’s strength on behalf of another. When we’re kind, we put our strength, abilities, and resources on loan to someone who lacks them.  When you’re kind, you put you at someone’s disposal. Kindness is powerful. Kindness is a decision. It’s the decision to do for others what they cannot in that moment do for themselves. Kindness, in its purest form, is unconditional. It’s not a means to a personal end. The goal of kindness is to benefit the person to whom it’s extended. Kindness is love’s response to weakness. Kindness is perh…

“Great relationships are built on good decisions, not strong emotion.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2015-01-06) from his book, The New Rules for Love, Sex, andDating (p. 63). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Here is the key.  Andy then says, “Again, falling in love is easy; it requires a pulse. Staying in love requires more. Specifically, embracing love as a verb.”  Embracing love as a verb.  In other words, long lasting love is something you do not something you feel.
Now Andy says, “As commonsense as it may sound, the idea of embracing love as a verb is not all that common. Our culture is not characterized by love as a verb or an imperative. Our culture is characterized by a multifaceted distortion of the Golden Rule.” 
Such as, “• Do unto others as they do unto you. • Do unto others as they deserve to be done unto.• Do unto others so as to get them to do what you want them to do. • Do unto others until you are ready to do unto somebody else.”  And we call that love.
Then he says, “Such are the unwritten r…

“Your relationships will never be any healthier than you.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2015-01-06) from his book, The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating(p. 57). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Andy puts it another way, “Relationships are never stronger than the weakest link. Granted, link is a bit harsh. But I think you know what I mean. The stronger, more mature, more secure person in a relationship is always forced to make up for, defer to, or fill in the gaps created by the weaker person.”
He then says, “If you’re the weak link, your relationship will never be any healthier than you. If your partner is the weak link, the relationship will never be healthier than your partner. That’s why I say, the relationship won’t get any better than you. So, the better you become, the happier everybody will be. And if you determine to wait until you find someone who is committed to becoming a better version of him- or herself, well, everybody wins.”
But I see their potential and I’m going to change them.…

“You rarely make eye contact with drivers moving in the opposite direction.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2015-01-06) from his book, The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating(p. 52). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Here is the point.  Andy is dealing here with the situation that if we are looking for the right person for our lives then we need to be the right person for their lives.  In other words Andy asks, “Are you the person the person you’re looking for is looking for?”  
You have a list in your mind of what the person who is the right person that you eventually want to be THE person in your life looks like.  So are you making choices in being the kind of person that person would choose?  
He goes on, “If you choose to prepare yourself relationally, you will gravitate toward environments that aid you in that pursuit. In the same way, it will bring you into contact with those who share your priorities. When people complain that ‘nobody’ thinks this way, what they’re really saying is, ‘The people I work with, li…

“On a Friday, Jesus died on a cross.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2012-08-07) from his book, Who Is This Man?: TheUnpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus (p. 164). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Now we call this day, the day that Jesus died on a cross, Good Friday.  Satan thought it was a good Friday.  He finally had gotten back at God.  He hated God and he thought killing His only Son was a good thing.  But if you read the last book in the Bible you will find that it was not a good thing for Satan.  He hadn’t won.
Now the Jewish religious leaders thought it was a good Friday.  I mean they finally got rid of a major problem for them.  But did they?  If you read the rest of the story you will find that it wasn’t really a good day for them.
No, it was not a good Friday for them but a Good Friday for us.  As John says, “Out of his remarkable brilliance, breathtaking courage, and inexplicable love, Jesus sized up a situation that defeated every human attempt at correctio…

“If incompatibility were all that was needed for divorce, no one would stay married.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2012-08-07) from his book, Who Is This Man?: TheUnpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus (p. 143). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
But we use any excuse we can to strive to find that right person.  We thought this person we married was the right one until we lived with them for a while and we found that we were incompatible.  She/he didn’t always agree with me and give me what I want.  That isn’t incompatibility that is selfishness.
John quotes G. K. Chesterton who wrote “I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable. For a man and a woman, as such, are incompatible.”
Andy Stanley in his new book, The New Rules for Love, Sex,and Datingsays,“Looking for the right person is a great idea as long as you don’t assume that finding the right person ensures everything will be all ri…

“We overestimate the event and underestimate the process.”

A thought by John C. Maxwell (2000-03-08) from his book, Failing Forward: How to Makethe Most of Your Mistakes (p. 114). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I don’t think in any way we could overestimate the event of Easter.  I mean Jesus was resurrected, He came back to life.  That has made all the difference in our lives, in our world and in our future.  But the reality is, we wouldn’t have had Easter without Good Friday.  He had to die first.
Oh how we would like to do away with the Good Friday’s of our life.  We hate the pain of adversity.   We in the middle of it have a pity party or even a life is not fair lament.  But the Good Friday’s of our life can be our friend, not our enemy.  It is in those horrible days that we will go through that something can be built into us that will make all of the difference in our lives if we chose to let them help to make us better and not bitter and draw us closer to God.
Now what if Jesus would…