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Defining Moments

Defining Moments

By on Jul 18, 2017 in Blogs, Challenges, Clarity, Confusion, Difficulties, Direction, Focus, Forward Movement, Friendship, Growth, Opportunity, Perspective, Priorities, Reading, Relationships | 0 comments

How long can a pilot who has no instrument training expect to live after he flies into bad weather and loses visual contact? I found the answer in an interesting article titled “178 Seconds to Live.” Researchers at the University of Illinois found the answer to this question. Twenty student “guinea pigs” flew into simulated instrument weather, and all went into the graveyard spirals or roller coasters. Each student pilot was a skilled aviator but had not had instrument training at the time of the test. The outcome differed in only one respect: the time it took to lose control. The interval ranged from 480 seconds to 20 seconds. The average time was 178 seconds – two seconds short of three minutes. The results showed that while these pilots were capable of keeping the plane aloft in good weather, they could not survive three minutes in poor conditions. The same may be true for us. While life is going well, we navigate decisions and manage minor difficulties with some degree of success. When the exceptional difficulty comes, because they do come, we find ourselves ill-equipped. All of us experience tough times, and the extremely difficult ones define us. Our responses to these exceptional trials determine the outcome and trajectory of our lives. Many are unprepared for such difficulties. I have seen wonderful people crash because their responses to a difficult situation took them to a different place then they intended to go. They were not prepared for difficult conditions. Often how we respond will place us on a course that can shape our future. How do we prepare to respond to difficulties skillfully and wisely? Winston Churchill said it well.  “There comes a special moment in everyone’s life, a moment for which that person was born. That special opportunity when he seizes it will fulfill his mission – a mission for which he is uniquely qualified. In that moment he finds greatness. It is his finest hour!” There is insight to be discovered in the account where Satan challenged Jesus in the wilderness.  It was a defining moment.  Satan didn’t dangle temptation before Jesus while he was strong. He found Jesus in the wilderness, hungry and alone. 2 After...

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I’m Bored!

I’m Bored!

By on Jul 11, 2017 in Awareness, Behavior, Blogs, Calling, Direction, Discernment, Emotional strength, Expectations, Focus, Forward Movement, Greatness, Growth, Honor, Made for More, Mission, Obedience, Opportunity, Perspective, Productivity, Purpose, Resolve, Success | 0 comments

With dreary faces, my grandkids announced the two most irksome words known to a mom, “I’m bored!” Kelli, our daughter-in-law, is very resourceful, but in that moment she was thinking “Oh no! It’s already starting and they’re only 5 and 3!” Resisting the temptation to be frustrated, she turned to the next best thing – Pinterest. There she discovered an “I’m Bored” jar! The jar is filled with tongue depressor sticks with chores, tasks, and fun things to do. For the rest of the summer, every time Lukis or Karli announced, “I’m bored!” they would reach into that jar and do what the stick instructed. It was such a success, even though Kelli figured out quickly that “I’m bored!” really meant I want to see what’s in the jar today! I have talked with people who have become bored in life. Within these conversations it appeared boredom was the result of reality falling short of expectation. One of the most common ways people get stuck is by living their lives expecting others to provide direction, make decisions, and be the entertainment. We live in an age of entitlement. And this is a recipe for unhappiness. When reality falls short of our expectations, as is most often the case, the entitled become bored even depressed. Reality will never match the dreams the entitled have been told to expect. Deitrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Bravely take hold of the real, not dallying now with what might be. Not in the flight of ideas but only in action is freedom. Make up your mind and come out into the tempest of the living.” This is great advice for any generation. Many people are stuck in a job or career they see as drudgery, a dating relationship that has them going nowhere, or a season of life that they are not enjoying. They are surviving in the land of boredom. What if God had an “I’m Bored” jar? Would you want to see what great things God had in store for you? The Psalmist writer points us to it. Psalm 16:11 (NLT) You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever....

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Today Is Not An Accident.

Today Is Not An Accident.

By on Jul 4, 2017 in Blogs, Challenges, Choices, Control, Direction, Discernment, Emotional strength, Expectations, Faith, Flourish, Focus, Forward Movement, Hope, Peace, Perspective, Problems, Productivity, Purpose, Resolve, Thankful, Thoughts, Values, Worldview | 0 comments

I’m not the kind of person who bounces out of bed each morning with a song on his heart. In fact, just this past week, more than not, my first waking thoughts were of the concerns weighing on my mind. If I didn’t make a conscious effort to redirect them, I would have undoubtedly begun those days in a bad mood. Reminding myself that today and everyday is God’s day encourages me to look for signs of his presence and plan for me in every detail. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24) It’s amazing how greeting each day with these words can change your perspective. It seems too simple, but it works. God made this day in your life. Now, some of you could be tempted to say, “Perhaps he made this day, but I ruined it before it arrived with some of my dumb decisions.” No matter how things look, today is not ruined. It may be difficult, but it’s not destroyed. This is the day that the Lord has made, and he intends to accomplish one of two things in the next 24 hours: 1. He will carry you through whatever situation you’re facing. 2. He will deliver you from it. He made this day to strengthen you. He made this day to empower you. He made this day to change you. He made this day to move you one step closer to the person he has designed you to be. One of the first choices you make each day is, “What am I going to think about? What am I going to focus on?” Too often when we’re facing hard times we start the day thinking about, “What bad thing will blindside me today? What will the next problem be? What else can possibly go wrong?” No matter how things look for you today, you can find a place of peace in the presence of God. You can get centered in him because he is for you, and because he is in control of every situation — including this situation today. Henry Drummond tells the story of two artists who were commissioned to paint...

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Father Knows Best

Father Knows Best

By on Jun 20, 2017 in Advice, Blogs, Father, Humility, Inclusion, Influence, Leadership, Parent, Perspective, Priorities, Reflection, Relationships, Words | 0 comments

“Father Knows Best” ran on network television from 1954 to 1963 and is a classic example of American Pop Culture at its best for that decade. Movie Actor, Robert Young, created and defined the role of Jim Anderson. His approach to playing Jim Anderson was perfect; he radiated affection, admitted his own shortcomings and had an uncanny ability to view life from the same perspective as his fictional children. In 1 Thessalonians 2, the Apostle Paul wasn’t directly writing about fatherhood. He basically reminded them of the ministry he had when he was with them. But then by verse 11 he says something important about fatherhood. “You know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God…”1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (NIV) There are few things as powerful as a father’s words. Paul’s words took place in the context of a relationship. Words separated from relationship are ineffective. Look at what he says about his relationship with them.“Because we loved you so much …” He used a very unique word here that means “to feel drawn to someone.” A father’s words must take place in the context of loving affection. A father’s words have to be consistent with his life as well. That doesn’t mean perfection; it means authenticity. Our kids must see us fighting the battles we want them to fight. They need to see us committed to the same ideals we place before them. Several years ago I came upon a list entitled Things My Father Taught Me. In light of celebrating Father’s Day this past Sunday, the following is what I considered the most noteworthy from the list. • Return borrowed things in better shape than when you borrowed them. • There are two types of trouble…one is the trouble you knowingly walk into, the other is trouble that just happens…it’s important to know the difference. • Foul language is a sign of a limited vocabulary. • Everyone is a friend until proven otherwise. • Don’t watch the clock when you’re at work. • Respect the elders. • Never go to bed angry. • Family is the most important thing on...

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Noise Cancellation

Noise Cancellation

By on Jun 13, 2017 in Blogs, Clarity, clutter, Criticism, Direction, Discernment, Emotional strength, Focus, Forward Movement, Growth, Habits, Influence, Learning, Margin, Noise, Obedience, Peer Pressure, Perspective, Prayer, Priorities, Reading, Reflection, Silence, Thoughts, Truth, Wisdom, Worldview | 1 comment

A couple of years ago, my son Levi and I embarked on a 10-day trip to China. At the airport he convinced me to purchase a pair of headphones that have a “noise cancellation” feature. Here’s how it works. A microphone in the headset picks up nearby noise. The built-in processor then sends a sound to the headset at an opposite frequency, thereby canceling out the original sound. No sooner than the plane was airborne, I discovered the extra money for this special feature was worth it. When I engaged the noise cancellation feature, I heard nothing expect the music or the movie on which I was focused. I so enjoyed these headphones. I put them on and the noise of the world seemed to disappear. The Bible also has a noise cancellation feature. Whenever your life gets too loud with the criticism of others, the temptations of the enemy, or the rumbling of your own doubts, going to the God’s Word will negate the noise. Paul taught; if you want to cancel out the noise of doubtful distraction, develop your faith. Developed faith is the result of listening to the uncluttered message of Jesus Christ through his Word. The more you hear his Word, the stronger your faith becomes. Romans 10:17 (GW) “So faith comes from hearing the message, and the message that is heard is what Christ spoke.” Peter wrote that the lessons from Scripture are life transformational. 1 Peter 2:2 (GW) “Desire God’s pure word as newborn babies desire milk. Then you will grow in your salvation.” I have learned the more time I spend in the Scriptures; the less distracted I am by the racket the world makes. I encourage you: if you’re not already doing it, add reading Scripture to your daily routine and ask God to speak to you through what you read. He will honor every minute you spend in the Word. The S.O.A.P method for me has always been the most productive approach to reading God’s Word. S. Choose a section of Scripture to read. On practical level, I have discovered reading the Proverbs and a section of any of the Gospels (my favorite is Mark) every morning cancels out the...

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