Hiding

I have a lot of conversations in a day. That’s what I do. I meet with people. I talk with people. Some stories are fun. Some are not. Just a few examples:

A nineteen year old kid wants to learn more about following Jesus, reading the Bible and prayer.

A recovering meth addict is looking for help in giving their life to Jesus. Looking for connections that are positive instead of negative.

Someone who can’t stop the destructive behavior that is destroying their marriage.

A mom who is about to be homeless with her child.

This is my day. These are real problems of real people. How do I help? Can I help? What can I do? When does, I’ll pray for you fall short if there is no help with practical needs?

There are a lot of questions I can’t answer. But I am challenged everyday by people who are hiding behind their problems instead of searching for the answer. That’s right I said THE answer. There is only one answer. It’s Jesus. Will Jesus fix all these issues? I don’t know. He could. I don’t know if he will. I do know that hiding behind the destructive behaviors or choices won’t allow you to see the Truth. Which is something we could all use.

So stop hiding and step into the light.

Earned…

The story of the prodigal son in the Bible has to be one of the most taught passages of all time. Everyone has a take on this piece of scripture. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can check it out here.

But today I was reading a book called Surrender to Love by David G. Benner and I came across an interesting angle that I had not picked up on before. The following quote comes from page 20:

“Part of me–I suspect part of all of us–wants to earn the Father’s love. In the story both sons fall into this trap, and both have to learn the same lesson. The Father’s love reflects the Father’s character, not the children’s behavior.”

Ummm, wow.

That is such a true statement. I’m thankful to have read it. It really does help me understand a ton of things.

Grace, forgiveness and love have nothing to do with me, everything to do with the character of the Father. Because of who He is all these things are possible. Has nothing to do with me. Never has, never will.

This also reminds me of another quote that is apropos for this topic. I think it was Perry Noble, a pastor at Newspring Church in South Carolina that said, “You can’t let God down, you never holding Him up.”

God is who He is. We don’t impact that at all. We can only benefit from who He is. I am thankful for who He is. I need his Grace, Forgiveness and Love more than I care to remember. This doesn’t give me a free pass to go be a terrible person, but it does remind me of the solid rock I have under me regardless of how I get off track.

Encounters

There was a movie back in the 70’s called “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. I remember Richard Dreyfuss was in it, but not much else. It did have to do some with encountering humans. I wouldn’t think that would be movie worthy as I encounter humans on a daily basis. We can’t avoid it and few of us would avoid humans if given the opportunity. It is part of what we live for.

But I don’t think we often think about the result of our encounters. Check out this quote:

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 10.49.13 AM

Just think about that statement for a moment. I bet most of us can come up with a moment where we were drained by an encounter with someone else. But few of us want to think about the possibility that maybe our interactions with others might cause us to drain them.

How can we give life or speak life during every interaction we have with others? How can we focus on building up instead of tearing down?

Two quotes jump to mind:

‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  Matthew 22:37 & 38

“It’s not about you.” Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

If we can take the focus off of us and put it on others, we will be on the right track of giving life rather than sucking it out of others. It isn’t easy. We are innately selfish. But it is possible.

Let’s resolve to give life in all our encounters. We won’t change them all immediately, but we can start with our next one.

Effort(less)

I like this quote I saw recently in a book:

“Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong…And yet, a person can only perform from strength.” Peter Drucker

I think many of us expend a ton of energy on a given day. We are flat out exhausted at the end of the day. We have been told that we should work hard and that it is good to work so hard and so much that you have to drag yourself into bed at night. That’s the American Dream right? Work really hard, and you can be or do whatever you want…

But what if we didn’t have to work so hard?

What if we figured out what we were actually good at? Notice I said figure it out. I can say what I am good at or I could do some research to understand actually what I am good at. If we all worked in THE area we were good at, would we be so drained at the end of the day?

Would we dread going to work?

Would we dread going to bed because we know when we wake up we’ll just have to go back to that job again?

Would we spin our wheels so much?

What if the thing you were good at, you could do, everyday?

The next best question is, do you really know what you are good at? Do you really know? How would you find out? There is a pretty cool book called Strengths Finder 2.0. If you really have no clue or you are just curious. Take the inventory. It will be worth it to save you effort in the future. How long do you want to keep doing the same draining thing, when other things in life come so easily?

Give it a thought. If you take the Strengths Finder, it gives you 5 Strengths as outputs. When you find yours out. Post them to the comments on this post so I can learn about you. You learn about me, time to give back : )

Start a Fire

I love music. It really impacts me on a daily basis. I love to have it playing all the time. The struggle with that is when I hear a song I like and I can’t figure out where it is from. That ends up derailing a day of searching youtube trying to remember bits of lyrics until you can figure it out. Sound familiar for anyone but me?

But, occasionally there is success and you find the song you were hoping to find. That is a Eureka moment. I finally found this song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ozqh7rJrHk

Start A Fire by Unspoken

Loving this song right now.

I want to be a follower of Jesus that helps start others on fire. I can’t do that if I’m not fanning the flame. So, “fan the flame and watch it grow…”

Enjoy.

Lucky Enough

We were blessed this past weekend to get a few days with our precious Clara. We hadn’t seen her for two months. Not our choice, just our reality. But we had a chance to see her and it was such a blessing.

Last we saw her she was just barely walking. And now…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IWo4Fq-dC0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

All at the same time we have so much joy and sadness. We get a few brief moments to enjoy our lovely daughter. But all too soon we have to let her go back.

I guess it might be a little bit of how God feels. When He watches us follow Him, He has to be so proud and joy filled. But then He sees us start to wander away from Him. Out of what He would hope for us. At this moment, His heart starts to hurt.

We pray we’ll get to see her again. We pray we’ll get to stay in her life. But it is out of our hands and in His. We trust Him more that we trust ourselves. So we are thankful for the moments as hard as they may be, because they were given to us by God himself.

Things I Can’t Understand

I don’t claim to be smart. So when I title a post “things I can’t understand” please know I will not go through everything I can’t understand as this format couldn’t handle it all. But I will ponder one question that baffles me all the time.

My wife’s best friend from high school has 4 daughters. They are all adorable. Recently one of the girls was diagnosed with cancer. She’s 5 I think. 5 years old. She has cancer. If you want to learn how you can pray for them, you can follow her story here. She has started chemo and is waiting to start another round of chemo. She has lost her hair. She has had a number of needle pokes and nights in the hospital. She’s been away from home so many nights.

This is something I can’t understand.

I can’t understand why or for what purpose anyone should have to go through this stuff let alone a darling little girl. Can God make amazing things happen out of this? Yes. Can He redeem this situation for His Glory? Yes. But why this way? Why the pain and suffering of a child to get there?

I do know that prayer works. When we pray God hears us. When we pray God smiles. When He hears us talking to Him and asking for Him to step into a difficult situation, He loves that.

God, shock the world today with a miraculous healing of Katelyn. She is your beautiful creation. She is your daughter, made in your image. I pray you would have mercy on her. I pray you would heal her body completely from the cancer that has been stealing her joy. I pray you would fully restore Katelyn to who you have intended for her to be. And as you heal this little girl and the murmur of miracle begins to stir, I pray everyone connected with this story would know you are the Lord God and worthy to be praised. Amen.