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Make Some Noise

Make Some Noise

By on Nov 14, 2017 in Appreciation, Blogs, Encouragement, Friendship, Generous, Gratitude, Perspective, Relationships, Thankful | 0 comments

One of my favorite quotes regarding Thanksgiving comes from the pen of G.K. Chesterton. “When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”  G.K. Chesterton If you want more satisfaction from your work, more joy from your relationships, and a more fulfilling walk with Christ — learn to be grateful. Gratitude is the key to increasing the quality of your life. Gratitude doesn’t come naturally to most of us. Grumbling comes naturally; gratitude takes effort. That’s why we have to work at it. Elizabeth Elliot, whose story was told in the movie The End of the Spear, contributed great insight on choosing gratitude: “It is always possible to be thankful for what is given rather than to complain about what is not given. One or the other becomes a habit of life.” Many people say, “It’s not that I don’t feel gratitude, it’s just that I’m not very good at expressing it.” Lately I’ve come to understand that gratitude is an expression, not just an emotion. Gratitude is a demonstration rather than a sensation. The whole purpose of gratitude is not that you feel it, but that you show it. Gratitude not expressed is gratitude missed. This is so clearly illustrated in Luke’s account of Jesus and the healing of ten men with leprosy. The story is found in Luke 17. Jesus healed all ten, yet only one came back to thank him. 5 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. …16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” One of the many things I appreciate about this story is the leper came back and expressed his gratitude in a loud voice.  Luke highlights his expression by  saying, “he threw himself at Jesus feet to thank him.” As I was thinking about that this week I asked myself, “Do I make it a point to thank...

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Safe Place

Safe Place

By on Nov 7, 2017 in Blogs, Difficulties, Emotional strength, Fear, Perspective, Prayer, Reflection, Silence, Thoughts, Trust | 0 comments

Sunday after hearing of the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas Psalms 46 influenced my thoughts. Have you read this one lately? David said that God is “an ever-present help in time of trouble” David said, “The Lord Almighty is with us…” This theme seems to run through the Psalm. And, of course, this passage ends with the well-known words,” Be still and know that I am God…” While one part of me is deeply saddened about how broken our world is, another part was irritated at the unnecessary loss of life. Irritated, annoyed and uneasy about the instability we face in this world, I turned to David’s words about the God who is an ever-present help in time of trouble, a God who is always with us, a God who challenges us to be still in his presence. I realized at that moment, while I was I thinking about stillness in God’s presence, I had not become still. I was thinking about it but not living it. I needed to do something to quiet the anxiety I was feeling. While praying for those deeply affected by this tragedy, I let the room become completely quiet, and I spent a long time looking at the words of Psalm 46. I thought about God’s presence; I reminded myself that he was with me, right there in the very room at that very moment. I thought about how he promised to be near in my times of trouble. I remembered his faithfulness in the past, and I laid my future concerns at his feet. I got quiet, I became still, and I thought about God. Likewise, I know that God is with all of those deeply affected by the unthinkable pain and loss of life. While we were worshipping with friends and enjoying our Sunday afternoon lunch with family, unspeakable violence broke out in this small Texas town, taking the lives of 26 worshippers, and injuring almost two dozen more. This week our hearts are broken for the hundreds of people affected by the events that unfolded inside that church building.  Maybe you are like many who in response to this tragedy are asking, “is there no safe place anymore?” “What is...

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Two Questions That Make All The Difference: Part 2 of 2 What am I supposed to be doing?

Two Questions That Make All The Difference: Part 2 of 2 What am I supposed to be doing?

By on Oct 31, 2017 in Behavior, Blogs, Calling, Character, Choices, Clarity, Confidence, Credibility, Difficulties, Discernment, Identity, Influence, Leadership, Made for More, Mission, Opportunity, Perspective, Purpose, Relationships, Resolve, Self Awareness, Worldview | 0 comments

What am I supposed to be doing? If you have a pulse, you have a purpose. So, ask yourself, “Why am I on this planet? What am I accomplishing in life? Can I know that I’m fulfilling my purpose?” These kinds of questions help us move beyond the trivial distractions of life toward the things that matter most. I find it helpful to keep my assignment clear: My word is “influence.” That word, influence, gives me clarity; I want to make a difference. Of course, I am an influence. We all are. But I constantly ask myself, “What kind of influence am I?” 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.  So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 2 Corinthians 5:19-20 (NLT) Think of it: if you are a Christ follower, you are an ambassador. You are on assignment, representing Christ. He is communicating a message through you – a message that potentially reconciles people to God. What I communicate and how I communicate become paramount because I am speaking for Christ. The culture I find myself in is deeply divided. It’s a culture war, and the battle lines have been drawn. Opinions are clearly and passionately articulated, but the spirit in which they are spoken leads too frequently to further division and anger. How can we stay on message? How can we communicate in a way that provides the best chance to be heard? It is so easy to get caught up in the spirit of the age. But I dare not lose focus or compromise the mission God has given me in an attempt to win a political argument; it only leads to futility. May we choose the most excellent way and truly love people, even the challenging ones. May we focus our thoughts and conversation on things that make an eternal difference. Save...

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Two Questions That Make All The Difference.  Part 1 of 2

Two Questions That Make All The Difference. Part 1 of 2

By on Oct 24, 2017 in Awareness, Blogs, Calling, Character, Clarity, Credibility, Direction, Discernment, Flourish, Focus, Forward Movement, Identity, Integrity, Made for More, Mission, Opportunity, Perspective, Potential, Priorities, Productivity, Purpose, Questions, Resolve, Self Awareness, Values | 0 comments

Today I was reminded that back in February 2008, 7,100 national Starbucks stores closed for three hours. Starbucks gave the reason that they were taking the time to perfect their espresso drink, and said “Great espresso requires practice. That’s why we are dedicating ourselves to honing our craft.” They did this so employees would remember why they were doing what they were doing – the reason Starbucks was thriving. Starbucks sells many food products; however, as customers walk through their doors, the coffee aroma should overwhelm them to the point that customers know they are at Starbucks. If Starbucks and companies at staff meetings and in their vision statements are asking these questions, then we must ask these same questions. “Who am I?” and “What am I doing here?” The only way to navigate life well is to know with clarity the answer to these questions: Who am I? Many years ago, there was a ‘Charlie Chaplin Look-A-Like’ contest held at a county fair. For those who may not know, Charlie Chaplin was likely the most famous film celebrity from the years of silent features. His character, “The Tramp,” was known and loved throughout the world. Anyway, there were many contestants who sought the coveted cash prize, and they were evaluated by an impartial panel of judges who had studied the films of Charlie Chaplin. Eventually, the judges narrowed the field to three, then to two, and finally, to one who was ceremoniously awarded the cash prize. As the judges prepared to leave the podium, they were approached by one of the contestants who had been eliminated before the top three were chosen. “Your Honors,” he said, extending his hand in greeting, “I enjoyed your contest very much. Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Charlie Chaplin.” Identity. All of us, probably, feel like we know who we are. We know our likes and dislikes, our memories of yesterday and our dreams of tomorrow, our cultural heritage, our physical characteristics, and our religious convictions. We identify ourselves by means of vocation. We identify ourselves by means of geography; sometimes we identify ourselves by relationship or hobbies. Our public personas often overshadow our true identity but who are...

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What Is Your Next Yes?

What Is Your Next Yes?

By on Oct 17, 2017 in Anticipation, Beauty, Belief, Betrayal, Blogs, Calling, Change, Choices, clutter, Confidence, Confusion, Curiosity, Defeat, Difficulties, Direction, Discernment, Entitlement, Expectations, Faith, Faithful, Focus, Forward Movement, Future, Growth, Honesty, Humility, Impatience, Initiative, Listening, Made for More, Mission, Opportunity, Pain, Parent, Passwords, Perseverance, Perspective, Pliable, Potential, Purpose, Reflection, Resolve, Storms, Surrender, Temper, Thankful, Transition, Trust, Truth, Values, Work, Worldview | 0 comments

Life can be overwhelming at times. There is no possible way that I can get everything done that needs to be done. I may not be able to do everything, but I can always do the next thing that Jesus asks of me. We can’t know everything God will ask of us, but we do know we can always say yes to His next question. Recorded for us in the Gospels, Jesus walked up to a few men and said, 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him. Mark 1:17-18 (NIV) What if Jesus had shown the disciples everything that would be asked of them from that point on? They probably would have said, “No thanks!” Well, Jesus didn’t, and the disciples left everything and immediately followed Him. Their answer of “yes” would lead to a lifetime of following Jesus into amazing opportunities. Recently, in our transition I became overwhelmed with his list of things to do. In a moment of clarity I realized, because my wife and I had placed God first in our decision, we just needed to prioritize and just take care of the next thing on the list. The big lesson for me in this process is I often have to remind myself that I’m not overwhelmed by circumstances; I am actually underwhelmed with how awesome God is. He really is so much more wonderful than we can imagine. How can I be awestruck by anything else? What I need is to be like the disciples and follow Him in whatever He asks next. I have often heard the following advice: “When you don’t know what to do, do what you know to do.” This to me means to humble myself, pray and listen for the Jesus’ next question. He is always faithful. He can be trusted in every situation. As we follow, He is making us to become what He has called and commissioned us to be. Take a moment right now to prayerfully commit to follow Him no matter what. Then ask Jesus what He wants you to do next. Save Save Save Save Save Save...

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Don’t Be Afraid To Ask.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask.

By on Oct 10, 2017 in Awareness, Belief, Blogs, Calling, Challenges, Change, Choices, Direction, Discernment, Forward Movement, Growth, Hope, Made for More, Perspective, Potential, Purpose, Renewal, Self Awareness | 0 comments

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.” As a Christ follower you don’t need to worry about that – at least, not in terms of what we ask God for. If you ask for the wrong thing, God is not going to give you the wrong thing just because you asked for it. Jesus said that if your son asks for a fish, you won’t give him a snake — and neither will our Father. (Matthew 7:11) I have always appreciated the story of blind Bartimaeus found in Mark 10. Although Jesus was facing the coming events in Jerusalem, he demonstrated what he had just said to the disciples about serving by stopping to care for the blind man. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. Obviously Jesus already knew what Bartimaeus wanted. Jesus’ question was not to gain information, but to allow Bartimaeus to specify his need and, in the process, to declare his faith that Jesus could meet that need. What a question! Imagine God’s chosen Messiah, the one through whom God created all that exists is asking you this question: What do you want me to do for you? For Bartimaeus, the answer is simple. Think of how Bartimaeus could have responded. He could have said, “Jesus, I need a new cloak. I just threw my old one away.” He could have said, “I want enough money so that I don’t have to beg all the time.” He could have said, “I want to even the score with some of my enemies.” Instead he responded, “Rabbi, I want to see.” Franciscans tell us that the prayer St. Francis used as a meditation tool every day was this simple repeated phrase… “God who are you? And God, who am I?” Acting in faith Bartimaeus demonstrated he knew that Jesus could heal him for he believed Jesus was the Messiah. When Jesus opened Bartimaeus’ eyes he also opened up a new way of life for him. He was restored. Imagine Jesus standing in front of you. Imagine him looking at you the way a dear friend might look at you after not seeing you...

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