08 Nov

Wait a minute, update in progress!

Has your life become sluggish? Are you experiencing more frustration than usual? Are things more or less just clunking along? 

Perhaps it’s time for a spiritual software update.

Being still before the Lord is like downloading the latest and greatest iPhone software, it fixes bugs and makes other improvements to our operating systems. 

In order to succeed at an effective download we have to stop, be still and focus on the update.

The same is true for a spiritual software update. When we get still before the Lord he downloads new thoughts and insights certain to refresh our spirit, fix glitches and make other enhancements in our spiritual operating system.

What is the key to a great update? Being still long enough to download the necessary upgrades.

The iPhone requires that the phone be solely focused on the system update. There are no exceptions. The phone is basically inoperable while the update is in progress. 

In order to be filled with our spiritual update we too must be still and completely yielding to the download the Lord is giving. No interruptions or distractions are allowed if our upgrade is to be a success.

Rest assured, if we want the latest and greatest the Lord has to offer, we will be required to slow down, hit pause and be still before the Lord as he downloads all he has to offer in our walk with Jesus.

Knowing your spiritual operating system is up to date makes everything operate and run more smoothly.

What are you waiting for? Maybe it’s time to wait a minute as the update makes progress! 

03 Nov

Don’t miss in the mess

Jacob was on the run and ran right into God!

His life was a mess. Bad choices left him to living on the run.

Nonetheless God met him where he was at and spoke encouragement into his circumstances.

God has 4 things for us as well:

1. Blessing (expect the best)

2. Companionship (he is with us)

3. Protection (there will be danger)

4. Safe return (we will make it)

God’s got this!

“What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭28:15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

And then verse 16 …

“Then “____________” awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭28:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

YUP! God is at work in all the mess! 

Don’t miss Him in the mess!!!!

02 Nov

The Gift of Friendship

“You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin — to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours — closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are friends, Frodo. We are horribly afraid — but we are coming with you; or following you like hounds.” Merry, Fellowship of the Rings

“It is going to be very dangerous, Sam. It is already dangerous,” warns Frodo. “Most likely neither of us will come back.” Sam doesn’t flinch:”If you don’t come back, sir, then neither I shan’t, that is certain.”

When Frodo and Sam are at the threshold of Mount Doom, near the very end of their quest, they find themselves nearly without strength to carry on. 

They stagger toward their goal. Frodo, weakened by the great burden of carrying the Ring, begins to crawl on his hands.

Sam looked at him and wept in his heart, but no tears came to his dry and stinging eyes. “I said I’d carry him, if it broke my back, he muttered, “and I will”

“Come Mr. Frodo!” he cried. “I can carry you and it as well. So up you get! Come on, Mr. Frodo dear! Sam will give you a ride. Just tell him where to go, and he’ll go.”

Great friendship is a gift born of adversity: it is made possible by the common struggle against the world’s darkness. 

“Certainly I have looked for nonsuch friendship as you have shown. To have found it turns evil to great good.” — Frodo

(Excerpts from A Hobbit, a Wardrobe and a Great War.)

22 Oct

Watch out!

Are you grateful or grumbly?

Do you tend to focus on what is annoying or what is amazing?

Would others describe you as a buzzard or a butterfly? One looks for something rotten while the other is in constant pursuit of something sweet!

There are plenty of problems to fill the day. The priority we give our problems determines the altitude of our attitude.

When we look for the pearl among the pigs, the diamond in the rough and the rose among the thorns, something counter intuitive happens inside of us that helps put problems into perspective. 

An attitude of gratitude helps push back the darkness, pain and suffering that sneaks into our lives. 

Gloom begins to lose its grip on our spirits when we choose to embrace the good that desires to cheer us on. 

When you are tempted to grumble, try to counter the urge by recognizing a few things you are grateful for in your life. 

We often get what we are looking for in life. What we see is what we get. 

What are you looking for? Watch out, you might just get it!

20 Oct

Who am I?

I am laid over at Stephanie and I’s favorite airport. LOVE Field. Get it? 

Anyway, I need to grab lunch before my flight departs. And there it is! Chick-fil-A!!! As usual the line is long but worth it because they are on top of their game.

To move things along, they don’t give you a number they ask for your name. Love it!

So here is how it goes down.

CFA TEAM MEMBER: “How may I serve you?”

ME: “A number one combo with a Coke Zero.”

CFA TEAM MEMBER: “Your name please?”

ME: “I Am Blessed.”

CFA TEAM MEMBER: “I Am Blessed?”

ME: “That’s right. I Am Blessed.”

CFA TEAM MEMBER: “Okay! Me too”

… fast forward as CFA TEAM MEMBER calls out my name once order is ready…..

CFA TEAM MEMBER: “I Am Blessed”

ME: “Can you say that again?”

CFA TEAM MEMBER: “I Am Blessed”

ME: “One more time?”

CFA TEAM MEMBER: “I Am Blessed.”

And now the whole CFA Team with smiles gets in on it: “I Am Blessed!”

Customers and team all smile and look at me.

CFA TEAM MEMBER: (hands me my order and leans in to say with a smile) “Thank you.”

ME: “My pleaser!” (You knew that was coming!!!)

Have fun out there! Be blessed and do your best to make people smile! As for me? I am blessed!

23 Sep

SURE SIGNS YOU NEED COFFEE

1. You brew coffee but failed to use a filter.

2. You brew coffee but fail to place the carafe under the brewer.

3. You try again but repeat one of the above. 

4. The background image in this meme looks blurry.

19 Sep

Headwinds

Life is a journey. As it has been said, “Some days are diamonds. Some days are stones.” Life isn’t always a beach. Sometimes, and often times, life is like being lost at sea during a raging storm.

In the book of Acts we learn how the Apostle Paul was literally fighting for his life in the middle of nothing short of a category five hurricane!

Things started out okay. The sun was out and the seagulls were cackling as Paul and his sojourners boarded the ship. As Paul put it, “When the time came, we set sail.” Key point. When the time came. Put another way, when the time was right.

Timing is everything and when the time is right and we are ready there is nothing like being in the right place at the right time. It seemed right. It felt right. It was right. They pulled out of the harbor with eyes on the horizon as the wind filled their sails. Smooth sailing waited ahead. Or so they thought.

We all experience those times when everything seems to be going our way. Life is good. The bank account is fat. Our bellies are full. Friends abound. The sun is shining and our tan line starts to appear. But not too far off shore we begin to experience a few headwinds. They come as a slight breeze at first. Refreshing in fact but before long, our hat is blown into the rising waves. We sense things are changing as dark clouds roll in.

Headwinds mount. The sails are pulled. We batten down the hatches and prepare for what we hope is a passing storm. One night of lost sleep turns into many. Riding the waves puts our head into a spin. The loss of appetite? A mere symptom of life at sea. 

Like life, life at sea can change in an instant. The headwinds we face not only pound the vessel they play with our attitude as well. We hold fast to anything that brings comfort as the winds that now roar in our minds bring new meaning to fighting the storm from within. Headwinds are now impacting our thought life.

The struggle is real. An expected joy ride has turned into a fight for survival. As the planks creak beneath and loosen around us, we can’t but wonder; Will it hold? Can I make it through this? Do I have what it takes to face these headwinds from within and from without?  Will the boat hold or blow apart as trials, tribulations, setbacks and difficulties linger as more trouble lies ahead?

The beautiful sunset that once danced on the horizon has now been consumed by a dark evil that looms and hisses on a violent sea and is mirrored in the skies above. We look up and can’t help but wonder; “What were we thinking? How did we end up here? Why didn’t we see this coming? Where is God in all of this? Is it time to abandon ship? Will my faith get me through this?

The right time, even God’s timing, doesn’t guarantee life at sea will be easy. Life is a journey and the paths we take are often full of twists and turns. Ups and downs. Change and pains. Hurts and hang ups. Disappointments, misunderstandings, lies, betrayals, bumps and bruises are all part of the cruise we call life.

Listen up mate. Let’s face it, life isn’t always pretty. Some days are better than others and some are worse than all the others combined. Life is a challenge. At times giving up appears to be the only option as we consider a permanent solution to a temporary typhoon that has overwhelmed and swamped the bow.

The storm has now become internal. The battle rages from within. The storm is relentless. We wonder if we will soon go down with the ship. But then we remember. This ship is equipped with a lifeboat. It is exactly what we need. Someone has thrown us a lifeline. God has put the key to survival within reach. We can do this. With His help, we take courage. We regain hope and even start to feel hunger pains. Not just for food but for life itself.  If we can hang on for just a little while longer we can make it to the break in the clouds as a glimmer of hope shines through the darkness that has engulfed every part of our being.

As what remains of our former life drifts away, broken and in shambles, we let loose of the anchors and debris that have held us back.  We now find ourselves navigating calmer waters and brighter days as the shoreline begins to appear on the not so distant skyline. It looks like we will make it! Our sea legs have strengthened as we shake off the fear that has gripped our hearts. We pushed through the pain and overcame unmet expectations only to discover that we have what it takes. We didn’t know what it took but when the time came, we possessed the moral fiber, grit and stamina to see it through.

Our ship has come in and we were on it. Our little vessel might look a lot different than the robust ship we once boarded with glee, but we have arrived. We have survived. We made it! What a ride! We conquered the challenges, the highs, the lows, the doubts, the concerns and the crisis!  We were headstrong in the headwind and lived to tell about!

Storms come and storms go as tranquil seas turn turbulent in no time. Nonetheless we are not satisfied to remain at bay. We must face our fears, raise our sails and push off into the great unknown where the clouds kiss the sea. Life was meant to be lived between and on top of the waves!

(For more on the storm Paul faced, turn to Acts 27 and 28.)   

21 Aug

Follow the leader

Are you called to live a life worth following?

A challenge for those who desire to lead:

Are our lives scalable and duplicatable?

“You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” 2 Timothy 2:2

We are called to produce reproducers.

Classes produces classes.

Lectures produce lecturers.

Disciples produce disciples.

Faithful men produce faithful men.

Purpose-driven leaders produce purpose-driven leaders.

A life worth following is caught more than taught.

It requires life on life. 

One on one interaction as we are called to duplicate ourselves.

Are we worth duplicating?

Would we want others to model our lives?

If they really knew us, what would they discover? What dark realities linger in the shadows of our lives?

Are we leaders worth following?

You can’t share what you don’t have.

What do we have to share?

Are we who we say we are?

Are we able to say as Paul, “Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.”

We have been forewarned.

“Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1

We must take our calling very seriously and ask ourselves in silence before the Lord, are we leaders worth following?

What makes us creditable? 

What well of experience are we drawing from? 

Are we walking the talk? 

How close is our mouth to our feet? 

Faking it until we make it is not an option when aspiring to lead others into battle. The risk of casualty remains forever an unmeasurable reality.

“You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.” 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭1:6‬-7 NIV‬‬

What example are we setting? Are our lives models for other believers?

Does doing so require perfection? Are we capable of living without fault, error or mistake? What criteria disqualifies us from leading?

We are called according to His purpose, to be filled with the Spirit and led by His word.

Without this daily commitment we have become derelict of our duties and deemed unfit to serve.

We would do well to take seriously the roles we play in the lives of others as we practice spiritual disciplines essential for living a life worth following. 

“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11