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Showing posts from May, 2015

“I’m more and more impressed with people who simply keep on keeping on.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, Richard Foth, and Susanna Foth Aughtmon (2015-04-28) from their book, A Trip around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life into the Adventure ofa Lifetime  (p. 72). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I have started every day for many years doing one thing.  I read from the Psalms and I read from the NT.  Right now I am in Paul’s second letter to the young man, Timothy.  I love what I read this morning in verse 7 of chapter 4.  Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.”  No matter what has happened to me, “I have remained faithful.”  That is what Mark is talking about here.
He says, “I’m more and more impressed with people who simply keep on keeping on. I love the phrase ‘little by little’ in Exodus 23: 30. We want a lot by a lot, but that’s not the way it works in God’s kingdom ventures. Malcolm Gladwell refers to it as the ‘ten-thousand-hour r…

“The healthiest, holiest, and happiest people on the planet are those who laugh at themselves the most.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, Richard Foth, and Susanna Foth Aughtmon (2015-04-28) from their book, A Trip around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life into the Adventure of a Lifetime  (p. 62). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Do you really take yourself so seriously that if you do something dumb you don’t share it because you don’t want people to laugh at you?  I understand.  I’ve had problems with that.  The key is to realize that “the healthiest, holiest, and happiest people on the planet are those who laugh at themselves the most.”  Pride is not our friend.
Here is what Mark says, “One of the things that defines our culture at National Community Church is our theology of fun. We take God seriously, but we don’t take ourselves seriously. We have cultivated a culture of honor, but we’ve also cultivated a culture of humor. Those two things aren’t unrelated.”  Then he says, “The healthiest, holiest, and happiest people on t…

“Grafted into our bones is a need for each other.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, Richard Foth, and Susanna Foth Aughtmon (2015-04-28) from their book, A Trip around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life into the Adventure of a Lifetime (p. 52). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Dick said, “At a breakfast with some diplomats and former government officials, on the spur of the moment I was asked to offer a thought for the day. In my comments I lamented the truth that DC was not a town in which one wanted to toss his credentials on the table, because they would most certainly be trumped by someone. Someone who had more power, more money, more degrees, more years, more connections, more experience. More anything. When I finished talking, one of the conveners, a former cabinet member to the president of the United States, said, ‘That’s true, Dick, with one exception. If your credentials say “Friend,” everyone wins.’ ‘Friend’ is the greatest title and the highest rank you can hold.…

“Playing it safe is risky.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, Richard Foth, and Susanna Foth Aughtmon (2015-04-28) from their book, A Trip around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life into the Adventure ofa Lifetime (p. 46). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I know.  We think that playing it safe is what we want.  But this weekend if we would have played it safe and stayed in our home in Studio City because we knew there was risk in getting in our car and heading up 5 hours to Yosemite we would have risked missing an extra ordinary experience that we will remember the rest of our lives.  But we didn’t play it safe.
I mean, if we would have played it safe this morning, no way would Margaret have headed off to make a difference in the work that she does.  There is always a risk when you get on the freeways of LA but there is also a risk when you don't. 
I like how Mark puts it, “One of our three core convictions at National Community Church is that the chu…

"Experiences connected to play are so often how we learn."

A thought by Mark Batterson, Richard Foth, and Susanna Foth Aughtmon (2015-04-28) from their book, A Trip around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life into the Adventure of a Lifetime (p. 29). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Dick shared, "Stuart Brown, a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and founder of the National Institute for Play, says that play, not necessity, is the mother of invention. And play is not just for kids. He reports: A study done in Okinawa, Japan, by the National Geographic Society revealed that engaging in activities, like playing with young children, was as important as diet and exercise in fostering the Okinawans’ legendary longevity. . . . When we stop playing, we stop developing, and when that happens, the laws of entropy take over— things fall apart. . . . When we stop playing, we start dying. "

My son, Brett, his wife Marissa, his daughter's, Ashlyn, and Addison and Margaret and I spent…

“The gift of experience is priceless.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, Richard Foth, and Susanna Foth Aughtmon (2015-04-28) from their book, A Trip around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life into the Adventure ofa Lifetime (p. 29). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Dick continued this thought by saying, “Ruth and I decided early on in our marriage that if we had to choose between giving our kids experiences or things, we would give them experiences. They could always get things. One of the ways we did that was by traveling. We didn’t let modest salaries stop us. We packed food and games and stopped now and again just to play. After all, experiences connected to play are so often how we learn. I didn’t intellectually know that at the time, but I learned it later and I know it’s true. It’s at the heart of who we are as human beings.”
Later he said, “Our experiences shape the way we think, the way we interact with each other, and the way we live. They add richness and…

“Life brims with possibilities and is crammed with discovery.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, Richard Foth, and Susanna Foth Aughtmon (2015-04-28) from their book, A Trip around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life into the Adventure of a Lifetime (p. 21). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I love to read.  I really do.  I look many times for a book that gives me good thoughts to share with you.  But when I found this book I knew it was for me.  It really quickens me inside.  I hope it does you too. 
Mark said, “The very nature of the gospel is Jesus inviting the disciples on an adventure. To do what they’d never done and go where they’d never gone. Never a dull moment! You cannot follow Jesus and be bored at the same time. Søren Kierkegaard, the nineteenth-century Danish theologian, went so far as to say, ‘Boredom is the root of all evil.’ Boredom isn’t just boring. It’s wrong.”  I really believe that and I want to challenge you to believe it too.
Now this is a thought by Dick.  He was a …

“In God’s kingdom, childlikeness ranks right next to Christlikeness.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, Richard Foth, and Susanna Foth Aughtmon (2015-04-28)from their book, A Trip around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life into the Adventure ofa Lifetime (p. 16). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I love this thought by Mark.  He says, “In the words of Ashley Montagu, ‘I want to die young at a ripe old age.’  That’s more than a personal aspiration. That’s a biblical command. In God’s kingdom, childlikeness ranks right next to Christlikeness. Becoming more and more like a child is the true mark of spiritual maturity.”
He then goes on to say, “Jesus said: ‘Unless you become like little children, you can’t enter the kingdom of heaven.’ Mathew 18:3. Kids get adventure. It’s innate. They live life free of worry, full of faith, and with their eyes peeled for the next big adventure. We should live with a holy anticipation of what’s around the corner.”  He continues, “I am always looking forward to my next…

“There’s nothing you can do that will cause God to love you any more than he already does.”

A thought by Lee Strobel (2015-02-24) from his book, The Case for Grace: A JournalistExplores the Evidence of Transformed Lives (Case for ... Series) (p. 53). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
It is so easy for us to get in the performance rat race of living for Christ. 
There is a story behind this thought.  Lee who was a staff minister at the time said, “One night I got a call from the church’s senior pastor, Bill Hybels. ‘I heard a nasty rumor about you,’ he said. I was taken aback. ‘Like what?’ ‘That you’re working at the church sixty or seventy hours a week. That you’re there late into the night and all day Sunday.’ To be honest, I swelled with pride. That’s right, I wanted to say. I’m the hardest working member of the staff. Finally, it’s time for some recognition and thanks — if not directly from God, then from my pastor. I said with some modesty: ‘Well, I am working hard, if that’s what you mean.’ Now his voice had an edge. ‘If…

“A young person’s relationship with his father can greatly color his attitude toward God.”

A thought by Lee Strobel (2015-02-24) from his book, The Case for Grace: A Journalist Explores the Evidence of Transformed Lives (Case for ... Series)(p. 18). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
We have just come through the celebration of our mothers.  Mother’s Day is a very important time of honoring and thanking our mothers for the major impact they have in our lives but so do our fathers.
I had a very strong relationship with my father.  He was my idol.  A major part of my beliefs about life come from my father.  He was truly a great gift from God and he showed me how to have a strong relationship with my heavenly Father.
Lee said, “I wasn’t aware that many well-known atheists through history — including Friedrich Nietzsche, David Hume, Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Arthur Schopenhauer, Ludwig Feuerbach, Baron d’Holbach, Voltaire, H. G. Wells, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, and others — had felt abandoned or deeply disappoi…

“Often an open door to another room begins with a sense of discontent about the room you’re already in.”

A thought by John Ortberg, (2015-02-24) from his book. All the Places to Go . . . How Will You Know?: God Has Placed beforeYou an Open Door.  What Will You Do? (p. 5). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
That has been so true in my life.
I remember the day that I became discontented of living with the fear of being hurt and rejected again and decided that God had something better for me so I became open to having a relationship.  It was in that year that I asked Margaret to be my wife.
I remember when I became discontented at being a staff minister and looked to becoming a pastor which led to becoming a church planter.  I loved being a church planter.
I remember the day that I decided I didn’t want to become an invalid so I started walking and walking and walking.  I still spend time walking every day.
I remember the day that I became discontented with my inactivity as a retired person and began writing.  I love my times…

“A car’s headlights only shine for fifteen feet, but that fifteen feet will get you all the way home.”

A thought by John Ortberg, (2015-02-24) from his book. All the Places to Go . . . How Will You Know?: God Has Placed beforeYou an Open Door.  What Will You Do? (p. 245). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I love the story that John tells of Bob Goff. He says, “Bob Goff writes about how he desperately wanted to become a lawyer so that he could make an impact on the world in the area of justice. He knew the law school he wanted to attend. The only problem was they didn’t admit him. So he went to the dean’s office, introduced himself, explained his situation, and described how badly he wanted to attend this school even though they had rejected him. ‘I understand,’ said the dean. ‘Have a nice day.’ Bob decided to keep knocking. ‘You have the power to change my life,’ Bob said. ‘All you have to say to me is “Go buy your books,” and I could be a student in your school.’ The dean smiled. ‘Have a nice day.’ Bob decided to c…

“Forgetting what is behind.”

A thought by John Ortberg, (2015-02-24) from his book. All the Places to Go . . . How Will You Know?: God Has Placed beforeYou an Open Door.  What Will You Do?(p. 238). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
But that can be such a difficult thing to do, can’t it?  The Apostle Paul in his letter in the New Testament, the one he wrote to his friends at Philippi said exactly that.  He said, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal.” (Philippians 3: 13-14 {NIV}).  So what is it that I need to forget?
John said, “One of the great tasks of the spiritual life is learning what to remember and what to forget. I am to forget ‘what is behind.’ My guilt, my inadequacy, my weakness, my regrets. ‘I know you have little strength,’ God says.”
What would happen in your life if instead of rehearsing all of that bad stuff you would start releasing it to God?  Instead of dwelling on it and tal…

“Every time God closes a door, he’s up to something.”

A thought by John Ortberg, (2015-02-24) from his book. All the Places to Go . . . How Will You Know?: God Has Placed beforeYou an Open Door.  What Will You Do?(p. 211). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Have you ever thought about that?  Oh I know we have problems with open doors.  We are afraid to step out, to risk but for sure we have problems with closed doors.  I mean, I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed and I can’t seem to get the answer I want.  We have problems with that don’t we?
Well there are many different reasons why God closes doors in our life and one of them is He has something better for us.  At the time it is hard for us to realize it but over time God shows us what is best.
Back when I was 21 I had gotten pretty serious with a young lady.  I thought she was the one but she wasn’t and I went through some years after that with some deep despair.  I wasn’t sure if God was going to open the door for me to…

“People matter to God.”

A thought by John Ortberg, (2015-02-24) from his book. All the Places to Go . . . How Will You Know?: God Has Placed beforeYou an Open Door.  What Will You Do?(p. 209). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

This is one truth that if we really, first of all, believed it about ourselves it would make all the difference in how we view ourselves and then in turned viewed others.  Then second of all if we really believed that other people, no matter who they are and what they look like and what they believe or stand for, really matter to God then we would quit writing all of that stuff that we do on social media about other people.
People matter to God.  This is a truth that God proved by sending His Son to die on a cross.  And the truth is the people who killed His Son also mattered to Him. 
John says, “People matter to God. Depressed people. Educated people. Divorced people. People with different politics from yours. They …

"Fear is never overcome by situation avoidance."

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. 187). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Now if you are afraid of snakes that may be a fear that you really don't want to overcome.  But if you have been hurt by someone and because of that you are afraid to get back into a relationship then that is probably a fear that you need to overcome.  That is a fear you really do need to overcome to have a fulfilling and enjoyable life.  Relationships are a high priority in our lives.

John says, "We were born to be brave.  The consistent command to us is the command that came to a fearful leader named Joshua: “Be strong and courageous . . . for the LORD your God will be with you” (Joshua 1: 9)."

In Psalm 68, the Psalm I read to start my day says that, "God puts the lonely in families." …

“The kind of doctor who gets sued least often is a doctor who is likable.”

A thought by John Ortberg, (2015-02-24) from his book. All the Places to Go . . . How Will You Know?: God Has Placed beforeYou an Open Door.  What Will You Do?   (p. 153). Tyndale house publishers, inc.. Kindle edition. (p. 158). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
John says, “There was a study on lawsuits recently. What kind of doctor is least likely to be sued? The correct answer surprised me. The kind of doctor who gets sued least often is a doctor who is likable. The particular specialty or field is irrelevant. A lot of times in our legalistic world we don’t think this way. We forget about the nature of the human condition. But the number one determiner of who gets sued is not who is most or least brilliant. It’s not whether there’s genius; it’s whether there’s humanity, just simple humanity.”
Do other people matter to you?  If you see an open door do you run as fast as you can to get through it knocking people ou…

“A crucial aspect of knowing yourself is being able to define where your self-identity resides.”

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. 153). Tyndale house publishers, inc.. Kindle edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
You might ask, why do I need to know myself?  What difference will that make in my life?  Well John tells us why.  He says, “By having a clear sense of your interests and strengths (those skills that you are good at and enjoy using most), aptitude, talents, personality, aspirations, and life experiences, you can begin to envision the type of work  — and life  — that would be appealing and meaningful to you.”  I think that would be helpful, don’t you?
He continues, “By knowing yourself, you will develop a new set of valuable lenses to evaluate potential opportunities and to prioritize work that you could pursue and work that you probably shouldn’t.”
And then, “A crucial aspect of knowing yourself is being able to def…

“Having second thoughts or buyer’s remorse is an inevitable part of walking through open doors.”

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. 137). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
How did you feel the night before you got married?  Were you having second thoughts?  I was 27 so I didn’t have second thoughts.  I was more worried that Margaret did but she didn’t and here we are 40 years later.
But “having second thoughts or buyer’s remorse is an inevitable part of walking through open doors.”  But John then says, “It is not fatal. It is not final.”
He then says, “Recognizing the angst of difficult decision making can help you avoid one of the worst, overspiritualized traps people fall into when faced with a daunting opportunity: the ‘I just don’t feel peace about it’ excuse for capitulating to fear or to laziness. In this scenario, we take the presence of internal anxiety as a supernatural rati…

“Often what matters most is not the decision I make but how I throw myself into executing it well.”

A thought by John Ortberg, (2015-02-24) from his book. All the Places to Go . . . How WillYou Know?: God Has Placed before You an Open Door.  What Will You Do? (p. 135). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
For some the fact that they made a decision is the important thing.  I mean, I finally decided. But that is just the first step.  I can make the decision and then relax and believe that is all it takes but it isn’t.  I’m sure you really realize that, don’t you?
John says, “It’s good to choose your doors carefully. But when you go — go. I am not in charge of which doors will be presented to me through my life. I may not be able to force a closed door to open. I am not in charge of what’s behind the door. But I am in charge of one dynamic: when a door is opened, I get to choose how I will respond. Sometimes it’s what you do after the door opens that makes all the difference.”
But so many times we stop and over analyze …

“Life is facing and solving problems.”

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. 118). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
But I thought that if I give my life over to God then He would take away all my problems and He would take care of them all.  I’m afraid that if you believe that then you are wrong. 
John says, “If you don’t have one, your current problem is you don’t have a problem. Life is facing and solving problems. When God calls people, he calls them to face a problem. The standard word for the condition of being truly problem-free is dead.”
He quotes Ichak Adizes who writes, “Having fewer problems is not living. It’s dying. Addressing and being able to solve bigger and bigger problems means that our strengths and capacities are improving. We need to emancipate ourselves from small problems to free the energy to deal with bi…