Blogs

Brittle or Bendable?

Brittle or Bendable?

By on Sep 19, 2017 in Blogs, Calling, Forward Movement, Pliable, Potential, Purpose, Self-sufficient | 0 comments

When my boys were young they loved Play-Doh, that squishy man-made clay that comes in an array of colors. For hours they would mold it, pound it flat, and cut out figures with cookie cutters and other kitchen tools (with mom’s approval of course). I’ve rolled awkward lumps into a round ball numerous times when their little hands could not manage the clay. We went through dozens of cans of the stuff, because my boys had a recurring challenge. They would forget to put the Play-Doh back into its containers or fail to place the lid on properly. Play-Doh dries out. It gets stiff and so hard you cannot mold it into various shapes or roll it flat. Are you pliable? How are you allowing God to shape you with his purposeful hands? Our self-sufficient tendency is one of our biggest barriers to reaching our potential. Our greatest need if we would reach our greatest potential, is to make ourselves Play-Doh in God’s hands I wonder what would happen if we became committed to being fresh Play-Doh in God’s hands. When you are easily molded, God can do great things in and through you. What type of Play-Doh are you? Movable and bendable, or rigid and unyielding? What will keep you pliable? … O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. Isaiah 64:8 (NLT) Save Save Save...

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Choice Explosion

Choice Explosion

By on Sep 12, 2017 in Blogs, Choices, Direction, Forward Movement, Made for More, Perspective, Trust, Worldview | 0 comments

A few years ago, a researcher asked 100 American and Japanese college students to take a piece of paper. On one side, they wrote down the decisions in life they would like to make for themselves. On the other, they wrote the decisions they would like to pass on to others. The Americans filled up the side for decisions they want to decide for themselves: Where to live; what job to take. The other side was almost blank. The only “decision” they commonly wanted to hand off to others was, “When I die.” The Japanese filled up the back side of the sheet with things they wanted others to decide: what they wore; what time they woke up; what they did at their job. The Americans desired choices in four times more domains than the Japanese. Based on this experiment, New York Times columnist David Brooks claims America is experiencing “a choice explosion.” Brooks writes, “Americans now have more choices over more things than any other culture in human history. We can choose between a broader array of foods, media sources, lifestyles, and identities.” In some ways this is a positive trend, but Brooks also cautions that it is “becoming incredibly important to learn to decide well.” When I was young adult and became serious about following Christ, I would sometimes worry about missing out on God’s plan for my life. I would ask myself, “How am I supposed to know which college to go to, which subjects to take, which career path to follow?” There have been times since, when I have second-guessed myself: “Am I really on the right track? What if I was supposed to be a school teacher or college professor? A coach or a professional golfer?” (I think we can easily rule that last one out.) In times of doubt, Psalm 138:8 has offered me comfort and assurance. It reminds me that I don’t have the bear the burden of making every good thing happen in my life. God will work out his plans for me. The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.  Psalm 138:8 (ESV) First, here’s...

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How To Thrive In Transition

How To Thrive In Transition

By on Sep 5, 2017 in Anticipation, Awareness, Behavior, Blogs, Calling, Challenges, Change, Choices, Clarity, Confidence, Direction, Discernment, Emotional strength, Faith, Faithful, Flourish, Focus, Forward Movement, Future, Growth, Made for More, Mission, Obedience, Opportunity, Perseverance, Persistence, Perspective, Preparation, Priorities, Productivity, Purpose, Resolve, Self Awareness, Storms, Transition, Trust, Values, Wisdom | 0 comments

Are you in a time of transition? Your response to transition shapes your future. Whether it is chosen or thrust upon you, change brings both opportunities and turmoil. Transitions are hard! They force us from the familiar and into the unknown. Lewis Carroll, in Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland gives us access to an insightful conversation between Alice and the caterpillar. “Who are you?” said the Caterpillar. “This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation.” Alice replied, rather shyly, “I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.” Change is one of the most feared things that human beings encounter. We resist it with every fiber of our being. We love stability. We love for things to remain as they are. But the inevitable aspect of life is that it always changes. One person said: the only thing constant is change. Change is a part of life but it doesn’t automatically produce personal growth. I have discovered that one must learn the skill of transition. A transition is not a change just for the sake of change, a transition is moving from one point to another point. It is essentially moving forward. When we, as Christ followers,  encounter transition and life begins to get shaky and unfamiliar,  realize God is taking us somewhere. He is re-positioning us. I used to have this idea that transition was like a waiting room—you stay in there for a while, and then you are released. Not so. There are many small actions steps involved In times of transition, I cannot see the future. But as I trust God, I can take the next small step, and I can find the strength for one small step at a time. It is impossible to get from where you are to where you are going without making a transition. There are things you cannot learn, or experience or develop staying where you are. God wants to strategically position you to receive what you couldn’t where you are presently. In Luke chapter 8 the bible relates a story about transition. Luke...

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Finding a “Faithfulness” Perspective

Finding a “Faithfulness” Perspective

By on Aug 29, 2017 in Belief, Blogs, Choices, Disappointments, Emotional strength, Endurance, Expectations, Faithful, Focus, Forward Movement, Gratitude, Greatness, Hope, Made for More, Meditation, Perspective, Priorities, Problems, Reflection, Trust, Worldview | 0 comments

As a young newspaper editor, Thomas Obadiah Chisholm surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. He was 27 at the time, and dreamed he would one day become a pastor. But it didn’t happen. He would have liked to have made more money, I’m sure, but that didn’t happen either. As a writer, he loved to write scared poems and hymns. Over the years he wrote well over a thousand hymns and sacred poems. He often submitted them to various periodicals for publication but only a few of them made their way into print. Thomas never really became well-known. Eventually he was able to serve as a pastor in the Methodist Church, but his appointment lasted only a year. He was forced to resign due to poor health. He then moved to New Jersey and began selling life insurance, while remaining active in his local church. Later in life, at the age of 75, he wrote… “My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me until now, although I must not fail to record the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.” Thomas Chisholm finally retired at the age of 87 and spent his last years in a retirement home. In 1960, at the age of 94, he died. At the age of 57, he wrote a hymn for which he is known today. If you’ve been in church very long, you no doubt know it. It was written by a man who lived, by and large, an unremarkable life — knowing neither fame nor fortune. He did, however, know something about the day-by-day, morning-by-morning goodness of God in every area of life. And that’s what makes this hymn great. Virtually every line of this great hymn is pulled from the Scripture, and it reminds us even when things don’t work out exactly as we would like, we can see God’s hand at work in every moment of every day. These are the words that Thomas Obadiah Chisholm wrote… Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father! There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they...

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Surrender

Surrender

By on Aug 22, 2017 in Belief, Blogs, Failure, Faith, Fear, Flourish, Focus, Forward Movement, Grace, Love, Peace, Perfectionism, Perspective, Security, Surrender | 0 comments

In the summer of my 12th year of life, I learned the power and joy of surrender. It happened in Tacoma Washington at a community swimming pool high dive. For two summers I had watched—in admiration and terror—my older cousin climb up those steps into thin air, walk out on a narrow bouncy board , and then jump into the cool water below. For a few agonizing seconds he disappeared in the deep end only to reemerge alive and whole, beaming with delight. I had long avoided the high dive. I wouldn’t even come close to the deep end. But when my buddies—and even some girls—started plunging off the high dive, I knew I had to save face. Being un-cool was worse than plunging to my certain death. On a hot day in the August, with my stomach reeling and my knees wobbling, I climbed what felt like 100 feet higher and higher in the air. As I walked out on the plank, everything within me said, “You fool, turn around and climb back down. You can still live!” But when I started to backpedal and looked over my shoulder, I saw the line of other kids waiting for their turn. I knew I had to jump. Creeping to the edge of the plank, I looked over the edge, and I finally let go causing the board to bounce. Down I plunged, out of control slapping the water with my back. Like a stone, I sank lower and lower into my watery grave. “So this is how i die,” I thought. Some people hit the water and never come back up. But then—surprise! I came up again, and I was alive! I was wet and dazed with a red back, but utterly alive! I was not only alive, but transformed, and liberated.  I shook my head of wet hair and laughed even though my back stung like crazy. I had let go of everything and lived to tell about it. I was more alive than ever. I had experienced the joy of surrender. Letting go and trusting in God’s love for you is central to your journey with Christ. I’ve talked with many discouraged people who are living for...

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When Is Love Real?

When Is Love Real?

By on Aug 15, 2017 in Behavior, Blogs, Choices, Friendship, Love, Made for More, Opportunity, Relationships | 1 comment

Do you remember Chevy Chase’s short-lived talk show? It was a disaster. It just about set a TV record for early cancellation. One TV critic said the main reason his show failed was due to Chase’s “obvious disdain for his audience.” It didn’t matter whether or not he was funny; no audience will tune in to someone who looks down on them. The difference you make will be determined primarily by one factor: how much you love. So, how do we measure love? Here’s a challenge for all of us: Think of the people you love the most. Now ask yourself: How am I demonstrating my love through sacrifice? “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:18 NLT Every relationship you have that is defined by love should involve some level of sacrifice on your part. This obviously applies to your family. It also applies to your friendships; it applies to your church, and to all those you say you love. It’s a question we must ask ourselves: Am I willing to sacrifice for the good of others? Am I willing to lay down a part of my life for the good of others? You will have the opportunity to sacrifice a little part of your life this week —a little portion of your time for someone else. If you sacrifice your life —your time —for someone else, you are showing them an act of love. It’s not enough to say you have feelings of love for the people in your life. The question is: Are you willing to show it? Are you willing to sacrifice for them? Love is something you do. Love is an act of sacrifice. Anytime you have the opportunity to sacrifice for someone, you have the opportunity to show love. Love is real when you follow through. Save Save Save Save Save...

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