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“The number one problem in the world is people’s living disconnected lives.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet (2012-03-13) from his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person (Kindle Location 155). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

That is so true in our homes with people we love.We all need each other.The reason why we were created was to love God which in turn means loving others.You cannot love just God.
I am finding it interesting that people who are so-called Christians seem to be leading the effort to protect our borders as a nation against outsiders coming in.That doesn’t really jive with our message of loving God and loving others.We seem to be desirous of protecting our individualism.
What if that was true of God and His message wouldn’t have been shared with the Gentiles?He created us all and He loves us all and we are to in turn love all.Christians should be at the front of welcoming those who are not like us to come to live in our Christian nation.God is bringing them here so we can share His love with them.
But we have to protect…

“Christianity is meant for lovers, not experts.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) from his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person(Kindle Location 773). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

As you may know if you have been reading here for long, I am reading through the Four Gospels this year thirteen times.Over and over I see how the religious experts dealt with Jesus.They knew what was right and Jesus just didn’t fit what they knew.But I wonder what would have been their response if they really did love God and were seeking, really seeking after Him.
What if all that mattered in my relationship with my wife, Margaret was to know everything I could about her and I never enhanced my love for her?How would she feel?
Granted, there are some things in all relationships that are important to know, like our anniversary, her birthday, what she likes.I want to know all I can about God, about, Jesus, about the Holy Spirit not just to know but because my love for them demands it.I want to really know them be…

“Where do we get the notion that God is eager to punish us?”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) from his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person (Kindle Locations 2119-2120). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Maybe it is from our own fathers.I’m so fortunate that I don’t serve a God like that because I had a father who wasn’t like that.So many times our view of God comes from our view of our own father and for so many that is so tragic.
I tell you the abuse that is handed out to so many children from someone who is their father is atrocious.That is the most unbelievable, horrible thing that a man could every do, to abuse a child, especially if they are their father.This world is so messed up in its relationships.It’s no wonder that people have problems with serving a God that we call father.
Could you ever please your father?If you are a father can your kids ever please you?That is so tragic.
Well, let me tell you can please God.Yes there is a prodding sometimes to get back on course as there was with my father …

“Every relationship has griefs. But we can choose not to let these harden into grievances.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) from his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person(Kindle Locations 2653-2654). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

That is where love comes in, at least the love that comes from a relationship with Christ.Now each relationship has a two-sided story and God’s loves strives to listen to their story and connect with their story.That is where the hardening or softening comes in.His love strives to listen, understand and forgive and in turn keeps one’s heart soft.It’s in making it a one-side story in which you have been wronged that it can turn hard.
My story has a period where my heart became hard.I was looking at everything from my needs, my desires and my wants and not acknowledging that Margaret, Brett and Stefanie had stories of needs, desires and wants.My self-centered living brought great pain into my family and eventually a protected hardness in my wife. It didn’t change until we changed location, job, and focus.God…

“The number one problem in the world is people’s living disconnected lives.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) from his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person(Kindle Location 155). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Today is Valentine’s Day.We buy that just right card that says what we wish we could say to the one we love then we go out to eat just the two of us and at some point there will be a kiss.But how many people today don’t have anyone who will give them a card.Today is a day that highlights our being connected and highlights our being disconnected.
For some, today is the only day that they feel connected and then the loneliness sets in just like the other disconnected people.
Now Margaret and I don’t really have that problem.We moved to Pasadena, California a little over three months ago because of Margaret’s new job.She is now the Director of the 65+ person QI department of a large health care insurance company. She has an office but she doesn’t stay in it.One of the first things she does every day is to walk around …

“We are either away from God but drawing near, or we are near to God but drawing away.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) from his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person(Kindle Locations 2977-2978). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
The direction we are headed seems to me to be the key.One of the attributes of God is that He is everywhere so our focus seems to be the important key here.He is always near us.
I love my reading through the four Gospels in the New Testament and I read an interesting response of Jesus to His disciples.In the New International Version He says, “Are you so dull?” and He says to them in another place, “Do you still not understand?”And I thought I wonder how they felt and it came to me, He probably could say the same thing to me.But He also could say it to the smartest person on the earth and all the angels in heaven.Compared to Him we are all dull, we have so much to learn and so much to experience with Him.
But I’m sure there are some who would really be upset if He said that to them.I mean they know it al…

“Christianity is meant for lovers, not experts.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13).from his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person(Kindle Location 773). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
I am in the process of reading the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – the first four books of the New Testament.I am reading them 13 times in 2013.I do not want to get to know Jesus better but to experience Him more.I want a deeper relationship with Him.That’s why I am spending this year in reading and picturing His story through the eyes of these four writers and the nudging of the Holy Spirit.
I just finished reading of His birth for the sixth time and it finally got through to me how much God really loves me.He wanted me to really know how much He loved me and He showed that by living as I live and it starts by His being a baby.
We as a family are experiencing three gifts of love.Harper is three month’s old, Addison is three years old and Ashlyn is six years old.They are the loves of our lives.I mean, Face…

“All relationships have failings, but all relationships don’t have to fail.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) from his book,What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person (Kindle Location 2350). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
That is sure true.That is where grace, love and forgiveness come in.In every relationship there will be pain because no one is perfect.
I was reading yesterday about how Peter denied He knew Jesus.Here Jesus was going through the most difficult time that anyone has ever gone through and one of His closest friends denied that he even knew Him. How have you handled rejection from your closest friend?Well after Jesus had been killed and then resurrected, one of the first people He came to was Peter.He still loved Him.The relationship had a failing but He knew it didn’t have to fail.
What are your expectations of your friends?Do you expect perfection?Oh we want grace because we are not perfect but we demand justice because they should be?
Somehow we need to understand that “All relationships have failings, but all rela…

“True relationships with others decenter the self.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) from his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person(Kindle Locations 2627-2628). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
I wonder if one of the major problems we have at making a commitment with someone else is because we have to lessen the love of our life which is ourselves.And there is so much we have to give up in order to do that.
I have been noticing again what it means for a couple to have a new baby come to live with them.I mean that other person demands that you decenter yourself. To those of us who are married and those of us who are parents it is totally worth it.
And to those whose relationships are all based upon themself and those whose children take second place in their world they have totally missed out on the beauty, excitement and adventure of life with someone else.
I am sorry; if I am the love of my life then I have deprived my life from really living.There is nothing that I have given up to be a husba…

“Relationships die without communication, and communication is hardest in the midst of conflict.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) from his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person (Kindle Location 2355). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
That is so true.Relationships are built on give and take, in other words, talking and listening. Not one person talking and the other person listening but each one talking and each one listening, really listening.  In there comes understanding and caring.
Now in conflict there usually isn’t any listening.Oh both may be talking, telling their side of the situation, trying to convince the other one that they are right and that blocks communication which in turn damages relationships.You see, relationships are built on the mutual desire to build each other up and not tear them down.And conflict is built on tearing the other person down and building yourself up.In conflict it is all about winning and the other person losing and that is damaging and it eventually could kill the relationship.
I have found in my nearly …

“When a relationship is broken, the injured party is the only one who can heal it because only the injured can forgive.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) from his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person(Kindle Locations 2277-2278). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
So many don’t really realize it but the most important thing in our lives is our relationships. God showed that by His creating us so He could have a relationship with us and Christ showed that by His coming to earth.Adam our representative broke the relationship with God and Christ came to heal it through His death.
Now that is also true with us and our broken relationships with others.Remember how Jesus said, “Father… forgive us the wrongs we have done”, that is healing our relationship with God, “as we forgive the wrongs others have done to us”, that deals with our broken relationship with others.
That means in order for us to have a relationship with God we need to ask for forgiveness of our rejection of Him and also the wrongs, the sins we have done against Him.Then we are to forgive those who have w…

“The goal in a relationship with Christ is not to be become learned, but to become lifelong learners, open to new knowledge, new friends, new places.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) from his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person (Kindle Locations 2083-2084). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
It is so easy for us to believe that we have arrived.For some after they have finished their level of education they think they have learned all they need to learn so now they are to do.
Margaret this week went to see a new Doctor here in Pasadena.With her being a diabetic she needs to see a doctor on a regular basis so there we were.This man was an old 66.Now in a little over 5 months I will turn 66 but I don’t think I am an old 66.I love my computer and my kindle and my iPhone but this guy didn’t even have a computer.He didn’t believe he needed it.That was just one area that showed he was living in another century.Needless to say we are looking for a new doctor.
There are a lot of Christ followers like that.They can point to a day when they were saved and sanctified and they then have arrived.Oh they go t…

“Christianity is not a system of laws and principles, but a pattern of relationships.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) from his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person (Kindle Locations 780-781). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
I have just come to really realize this fact.Margaret and I are in a new city and we are in the process of making some new friends; I in my Starbucks world and she in her work world but not in our church world.We have been driving 60 miles to attend one of the greatest churches in the world and sitting and being taught and challenged by one of the great pastors of our day but we have made no new friends.And he challenged us this week to the fact that this is wrong.
On our drive home from church Saturday night, Margaret and I both agreed that we needed to find a church closer to where we live.Pastor Rick said that each one of us would go through this year some kind of crisis where we would need a support group.We thought about the fact that if something happened to us, we wouldn’t even have a Pastor to call o…

“If we’re in GodLife relationships with the Scriptures, we admit to hearing voices.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) from his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person(Kindle Locations 1691-1692). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
There is a great desire for many to have God speak to them.The surest way to do that is to read His Word, the Bible.If you do you will hear Him speak to you.The Bible is the living word of God.
I love to read.I have over 75 books on my Kindle right now.I have read or am reading over 50 of those.I read two newspapers every day.I have over 45 columns that I read every day on Google Reader.I have made a commitment to read the four Gospels 13 times this year.
I love to read.I want to learn and to be entertained but the most important reading that I do is my quiet time every morning.This is the time when I am seeking what God wants to say to me every day through His Word and then writing it down in a journal.
Do you do that?Do you take time to read the Bible and have God speak to you from those inspired words?If y…

“Each one of us is a new telling of God’s unending love story.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) in his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person(Kindle Location 1562). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
We are headed into one of the most positive days in the world.It doesn’t matter your belief in what it stands for or your understanding of it, is a great day because of all the gifts.It is a day that we are the most like God because God is a giver.
Now one of the greatest gifts He gave you and me was our opportunity for life.We are a new telling of God’s unending love story.He gave us the potential of life because He loved us.
This past year has been an unending story of God’s love for Margaret and me.I mean, we got to live on Long Island, New York, then Seminole, Florida and now Pasadena, California.It has been unbelievable.And we also added a new member to our family, Harper Olivia Cole.Over and over, God has weaved His love story in our lives.
And if you looked at your life with that fact in mind, you would see Go…

“Christian love is a form of plagiarism: We repeat and copy God’s love.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) in his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person(Kindle Location 597). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
This is a form of plagiarism that we don’t seem to be using.
Notice how we respond when someone wants to wish us a happy holiday instead of a merry Christmas.Or how we’ve handled the just past election and those who were on the other side.Or those who are on one side or the other on the gun issue, or those who love Fox News and those who don’t.
I’ve just noticed that I’m not showing much of God’s love in what I just wrote.It had a judgment tone to it, didn’t it?The truth is, love shows its truest form in dealing with someone who disagrees with me.Didn’t Jesus say something in His hillside sermon about loving your enemies?
Our stands that we make in Jesus name goes a long way to show how weak or strong our relationship is with Jesus.They show how much we really know Him.
I am making a greater commitment to 2013 to learn…