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Showing posts from June, 2015

“When we obey the light we have, God shows up.”

A thought by Larry Osborne (2015-04-01) from his book, Thriving in Babylon: Why Hope, Humility, and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture (Kindle Location 925). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
There is the story of Sam Young when he was President of Eastern Nazarene College and of a confused young man who came to see him and who asked Dr. Young an important question.  He asked, “How do I know what is God’s will for my life?”  Dr. Young then asked him, “Did you ever know?”  And the young man said, “Yes.”  And then Dr. Young asked, “Did you do it?”  And he said, “No.”  “When we obey the light we have, God shows up.”
Larry goes on to say, “And every time he does, our hope grows stronger. We begin to experience biblical hope— the deep-seated optimism and confidence that comes from knowing that God can be trusted even when we have no idea what he’s up to.”
He then says, “We don’t have to worry about what we don’t know. Because when we obey…

“Our failures don’t have to define us.”

A thought by Larry Osborne (2015-04-01) from his book, Thriving in Babylon: Why Hope, Humility, and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture (Kindle Locations 813-814). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Do you do that?  It can be an easy thing to do but it can be something that holds us back from living the life God has for us.  But you don’t know what I did?  I don’t but God does. 
I like how John Ortberg puts it in his book, Life-Changing Love: Moving God's Love from Your Head to Your Heart.  He says, “God sees with utter clarity who we are. He is undeceived as to our warts and wickedness. But when God looks at us that is not all he sees. He also sees who we are intended to be, who we will one day become. We sometimes say love is blind, but it is not so. Love alone truly sees, sees with this double vision. And in the act of seeing, God begins to call to the surface the goodness and beauty in us that is now visible only to him, so t…

“Endurance reaps great rewards.”

A thought by Larry Osborne (2015-04-01) from his book, Thriving in Babylon: Why Hope,Humility, and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture (Kindle Location 793). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
But here is the problem. Larry says, “It’s no fun getting there. Perhaps that’s why Paul and James both made a point to encourage us not to give up when stressed or pushed to our limits. They knew what happens to those who cut bait and run away. They also knew what happens to those who hang on and let endurance finish its work. They knew they end up handling the kinds of trials that break most others.”
Now I know what we really want is to not have to even go through being pushed to our limit but that is not the way that the Christian life works.  Now maybe the cut bait and run away life works that way but not the mature Christ follower way of life.  And there are rewards for our endurance.
Larry then says, “Endurance produces the mental toughness…

“Without perspective, everything gets blown out of proportion.”

A thought by Larry Osborne (2015-04-01) from his book, Thriving in Babylon: Why Hope, Humility, and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture (Kindle Location 760). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Perspective, without it Larry says, “Everything gets blown out of proportion. We catastrophize. The loss of privilege becomes harsh persecution. Opposition becomes hatred. And every legal or electoral setback becomes cause for anguish and despair. In short, we evaluate and extrapolate without putting God into the equation. Unfortunately, those who most lack perspective seldom realize it. Why does a two-year-old think waiting five minutes is an eternity? Why does a trust-fund baby think flying coach is the end of the world?Why does a Little League parent scream and yell at an umpire’s bad call? In each case, it’s a lack of perspective.”
But once you have it, you have perspective, Larry says, “It changes everything. It allows us to see the bigger…

“It’s easy to obey God when we agree with him.”

A thought by Larry Osborne (2015-04-01) from his book, Thriving in Babylon: Why Hope, Humility, and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture (Kindle Locations 741-742). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
That is so true isn’t it?  But that is not the end of the thought.  Larry goes on to say, “But that’s not really obedience.”  It really isn’t.
He then says, “But let’s be honest. When things go south, our theology often goes out the window. When the path of obedience doesn’t make sense, appears too costly, or doesn’t seem to be working, we’re quick to blaze our own trail.”
We know best.  Surely He doesn’t want me to do that?  But here’s the key, “We haven’t learned obedience until we do what he says despite our doubts, confusion, or concern that his way won’t work out…  A lot of the things God wants us to do don’t make sense in a spiritually hostile environment. They seem counterproductive. Consider some of his most basic and well-known co…

“It’s not our job to determine if the faith of others is genuine or fake.”

A thought by Larry Osborne (2015-04-01) from his book, Thriving in Babylon: Why Hope,Humility, and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture(Kindle Locations 544-545). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I have just finished a book and now I am looking for a new one.  I have just bought three new books and have been getting through the beginning of all of them to see which one I will find challenging and enlightening to not only me but to you.
Now this thought stopped me.  I fight within me to be critical of the Christian world and its tendency toward fighting battles that I don’t perceive as God’s battles.  In other words I fight being judgmental of others.  But as Larry says, “It’s not our job to determine if the faith of others is genuine or fake.”  He goes on to say, “We’re not supposed to take it upon ourselves to weed out the genuine from the counterfeit. That’s God’s job. Jesus made it clear that we are to leave the weeding to him.”
N…

“It’s Never Too Late to Be Who You Might Have Been.”

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. 192). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I love that thought. Mark shares, “It is not too late to rewrite your epitaph. It’s a living document. An epitaph is not the period at the end of our life sentence. It’s the prologue to our eternal story. How you live out your days on this earth will determine how you will live out your days in eternity.”
Margaret and I were saying this morning as I was taking her to work that we are living right now the best days of our life.  Now we have not lived tomorrow yet but we are really enjoying life as we know it today.  Oh there are some difficulties in our life, some challenges but in living out what we have experienced we have learned how to really enjoy what we have no matter what it is.  We are not done…

“Don’t leave it to chance. It’s a choice.”

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. 188). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Mark continues, “Epitaphs are a powerful thing. What is said about us when we die is a window into how we lived our lives. Epitaphs reveal the innate desire each of us has within us to leave an impact on the world. Even after we have left this earth, we want to leave something of ourselves behind. We want to be remembered for something.”
So many people leave life and death to chance.  For one they have left the fact that there is a God who has made them and who has a purpose for their life to chance.  They have not acknowledge there need for Him.  They have just lived their life as if they didn’t need any help from their Creator.  No that is taking a chance.  And then death.  That is taking a real chanc…

“The greatest adventures aren’t halfway around the world.”

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. 18). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Mark then says, “They are often right across the street, down the hall, or in the seat next to you. You don’t have to go looking for adventure. If you follow Jesus, adventure comes looking for you. Jesus didn’t carry a cross to Calvary so that we could live a halfway life. He died so that we could come alive in the truest and fullest sense of the word.”
I love that.  I have lived two adventures this morning.  One was in a Starbucks in Burbank where I talked with a young lady who shared the adventure of her life with me.  She and her husband have just moved here from Baltimore, Maryland.  It was a great time of sharing from our thoughts and our lives.
I then went to Aroma Coffee and Tea Co in Studio City.  …

“In my book, success is succession.”

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. 154). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Mark right before this thought says, “I thank God for memory. Without it, we’d have to relearn everything, every day. It’s our ability to remember the past that enables us to imagine the future. And that’s the point of remembering His faithfulness, isn’t it? It fuels our future tense faith.”  And then he says, “In my book, success is succession.”

He then continues, “If your influence ends with you, it wasn’t worth your time and effort. Your life is a dead end. But if you influence the next generation, you won’t just enter eternity when you die. You will live on in the lives of those you leave behind. That’s what spiritual fathering and mothering is all about— leaving a legacy of wisdom that is inherited…

“There is one thing, however, that gets stronger with age: perspective.”

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. 147). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I’m not wanting to spend much time on the fact that I just celebrated my 68th year going around the sun.  But I did and there are benefits to that fact.  As Dick says, perspective is one of them.
He says, “I heard Dr. J. Edwin Orr, a renowned church historian with doctorates from both Northwestern University and Oxford, relate an intriguing anecdote some years ago. As a chaplain on the Pacific island of Moratai in World War II, he was cornered by a young soldier who, having witnessed carnage beyond belief, said, ‘I am an atheist. There is no God!’ Musing on that challenge, Orr said, ‘Son, how much of all there is to know do you think you know?’ Taken aback, the young man faltered. Dr. Orr continued, ‘Le…

“To be able to know anything is a gift from God.”

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. 140). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
One important thing in writing this blog is to find a thought that interests you but it also interests me.  Now if you got this far then I must have quickened your interest and I’m glad I did.  So many people think they are done knowing when they leave school but the reality is you will never be done until you die.  The problem is many people die between their ears before they die physically and that is a great waist.
Now Marks says, “The human brain weighs three pounds. It is the size of a softball, and yet with it we have the capacity to learn something new every second of every minute of every hour of every day for the next three hundred million years. God has created us with an unlimited capacity to…

“We don’t see the world as it is; we see the world as we are.”

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. 126). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Mark continues this thought by saying, “As a pastor, I’ve seen this play out over and over again in the lives of the people around me. I’ve learned that if someone has a critical eye, they will always find something to be critical about. And if they have a grateful eye, they will find something to celebrate even in the worst of circumstances. The Bible calls this having a ‘good eye.’”
Matthew 6: 22– 23 says, “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness” (NLT).
He then says, “Having a ‘good eye’ in life changes how you see yourself and everything around you. We have a cor…

“It is between our ears that we decide how easily offended we will be.”

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. 124). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
How sensitive I am is a decision.  Do you realize that?  I have within me the ability to choose how I take something that you do or say.  I cannot control what you do but I do control my reaction to what you do. 
As Dick says, “When Scripture says, ‘As a man thinks, so is he,’ it is raw truth. How we approach life and react to its vagaries determines the bulk of our character. How we love is locked into how we think about it. What angers us is triggered by how we think. It is between our ears that we decide how easily offended we will be. When it comes to harsh words from others, whether my skin absorbs like cotton or deflects like Teflon is a decision I make. All of that happens in a three-pound organ …

“Most people are bored with their faith because they are selfish.”

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. 120). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I like the adventure of finding new coffee shops.  I stopped at one this morning that I had never been to.  I pulled down a street, saw that the sign said no parking 6 – 8 and went in got a cup of very good coffee spent some time reading and then came out and saw that I had gotten a ticket.  I thought it said 6 pm – 8 am but it said 6 am – 8 pm. So I just got done writing a check to the City of Burbank because I didn’t really read the details.  And that is kind of like how many people deal with their faith.  They don’t really see the details so they lose out on what God really wants/expects from us.
Mark says, “Most people are bored with their faith because they are selfish. They think they are followin…

“Our lives are not just measured in minutes.”

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. 34). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

One thing that a Lawyer does is keep track of each of his billable minutes.  That's how they get paid.  But that is not how our life is to be measured.

As Mark says, "Our lives are not just measured in minutes. They are measured in moments — moments when the minutes stand still. And it’s those defining moments that define our lives!"

There are specific moments in my life that I go back to that can bring deep emotion in me.  Those moments define what I defined my life to be.  The moment I spent with my grandpa Williams as he shared memories of his life just a few minutes before he went to be with the Lord.  Living moments that he shared with me.  The moment when I was traveling in that ca…

“We came into our marriage focusing on how we wanted to be loved.”

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. 101). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I think most of us come into marriage thinking that and then along the way we grow up.  But so many individuals keep thinking that way and life isn’t so good for them.  As Mark says, “Those of you who are married know that self-focused marriages don’t do that well.”
But that’s not God plan.  He has something better for us.
Mark says, “The goal of marriage is not happiness, it is holiness. That thought is not original to me, but I have experienced it firsthand. There is no mechanism whereby God can sanctify a person more than having them live in close proximity to another imperfect person. When I get into an emotional slump, nine times out of ten it’s because I zoom in on something I’m not happy about a…

“Relationships never work well when you only listen to yourself.”

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. 98). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
It is so very easy as a minister to think that we have a direct line from God so we don’t need to listen to anyone else even our wife.  But that is sooooo wrong.  So wrong.  That is also true of many men who aren’t ministers and also many women who believe they know best and they don’t need to listen.  But that idea is a quick way to ruin a relationship and especially a marriage.
Dick says, “Taking the time to hear a spouse brings honor and credence to the conversation. It acknowledges the value of the other person. If we stop talking or listening, we are dead in the water. Silence in a marriage is not golden. It is ambiguous. When silence falls, I don’t know what it means— or am scared I do know what i…

“When we are at our worst, He is at His best.”

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. 87). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
The whole thought here by Mark is, “One of our core values as a church is, love people when they least expect it and least deserve it. That is the kind of love Jesus shows to us. When we are at our worst, He is at His best.”
Wow.  That is so true of me.  He loves me, He loves me and He loves me.  No matter what I have done He loves me.  That is more love that I give to myself. 
I love the Psalms.  I read one every day.  I have done it for years.  Today’s Psalm was the 92nd Psalm and starting with verse 1 it says, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the most high.”  That is a good way to start each day but then verse 2 says, “It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morni…

“Goals have a way of refocusing your life.”

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. 76). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

I turned 68 years of age today and I probably feel better than I thought I would at 68.  I mean 68.  Aren’t you suppose to feel old?  Oh there are some things but there are also some other things that feel better.  And they feel better because I have had some goals to shoot toward every day.
Do you have any goals that you strive to do every day?  Dick said, “Goals have a way of refocusing your life. They give you purpose and a target to shoot for. They are the compass of our dreams, helping us set a steady course. Goals comprise direction and progress. When we lose sight of our goals, we tend to lose sight of ourselves and who we are trying to become, who God has made us to be.”
And then Mark says, “I h…