Monthly Archives: October 2010

Your Rear View Mirror

I was listening to a man explain to me how bad he felt about a certain event that had occurred.  It was a story and his expressed emotions of regret I’d heard several times.  Once again, I told him that he was free to let that pain go.  After all, it actually wasn’t something he was responsible for.

That’s just one example of people “driving” through life with their eyes fixed on the rear view mirror.  Problem is…

As in real driving, it’s dangerous to use the rear view mirror for more than “checking” what may be behind you.  Checking what’s behind you can be helpful to making wise choices in your next moves.  But…

When a person’s eyes spend too much time looking to the rear – retelling their past – reviewing painful and frustrating circumstances…even spending too much time on good ones…

they may miss what’s directly in front of them!  At worst, this can be tragic.  At best, a wasted positive opportunity.  In fact…

There’s nothing more damaging to your future potential than wasting a present opportunity!

Jesus promised abundant life, did He not?  Abundant is a good word.  In fact it’s a great word! And, if you’re in His house of faith, it’s an open declaration of His desire for you.  Really, it’s more than that.  It’s a grace gift.  He already paid for that abundant life that lies in front of you.

Jim Rohn teaches, “Let your past be a school master, not a club.”

Check the rear view mirror of your life.  But only give it the amount of time “remembering” was intended for.  Be aware of things and people that are directly in front of you and enjoy the present journey.  It’s His Abundant Life Will!

One more truism:  You don’t own success.  You have to rent it every day.

I love your comments.  Keep ’em coming.  We all learn from your observations and experiences!
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Overcoming Pressure By Pressing…

There’s constant pressure driving people like you and me to the “dark side” in our responses.  The “devil on our shoulder” whispers, “They did you wrong!  Oh, how you hate them!”

On the other shoulder we hear, “Resist that thought!” “You’re a Christian, afterall!”  So, we fight against our slimy thoughts.  We struggle with anger, depression, and revenge.

There’s a better way!

In Philippians 3:14, Paul said, “I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Instead of “fighting against” the fleshy pressure and temptation, “press toward” the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  Instead of focusing on overcoming the crappy thinking, give your best attention “forward and upward” toward the good things of God that are yours in Jesus.  Rivet your attention on His ultimate manifest victory.

Several years ago the Holy Spirit whispered this thought into my heart, “What would it look like if I answered your prayer?” Let me ask you the same question.  What would it look like?

What would it feel like if you were free from the mental anguish of your current struggle?

Overcome the pressure of it all by putting your effort into pressing toward the higher life in Christ Jesus.

Please respond with your questions or comments…

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Do Something Small Today

“You can’t do great things today.  So do small things with great love” – Mother Teresa

The biggest bang for the buck.  That’s the ‘American Way.’  That’s what we’ve come to believe is the most important thing.

That ain’t the truth.  That’s misinformation.  That’s misunderstanding of you and me and how we fit into God’s reality.

<btw, That’s another subject, itself.  The difference between human reality and God’s reality.  But, I digress. That’s for another post>

I often say in the weddings I perform, “If you forget everything else said here, today, remember this: It’s the little things that are the big things.

Just for today…and then maybe the day after that.  And, then, the day after that, etc….

Do Something Small Today…With Great Love.  Then, do another…and another.  Those small things done with great love is what will make your life worthwhile.

Now what do you say? What small things can be done (or have you done…or doing) with great love.  Share.  It will help us all learn what little things are actually big things.  Put your examples in the “comments.”

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Guard Your Heart

I have a Facebook friend.  His name is Al Perales.  I always look to see what he’s posted on his status because…well…the dude is funny.  His latest post was no exception and it actually had a moral.  Not that you have to make a moral out of everything.  But, as my congregation tells me, I can “preach anything.”  So here’s what Al put on his status on October 19, 2010…

Guard your heart and be cautious of who you let in because let me tell you, nothing hurts more than being taken advantage of by someone pretending to be a cardiologist.

Now to the moral…

Instead of my pontification, just think about it for a few moments.  It’s pretty clear without my help.  But…okay, just a tad…

Be loving.  Be a lover of people.  But, be wise about opening the treasure chest of your heart to anyone who acts like they care.  Everyone has an opinion.  Only a few truly have your best interests at heart.

That’s not cynicism, that’s wisdom.


Overcoming Depression, Worry, Sickness and General Crap

Did I just say the word, “Crap,” out loud in my title??!!  Yep, looks like I did.

Recently I read a friend’s Facebook status and it said, “Tomorrow is the most important day in (her husband’s) life.  It’s my birthday!”  Actually, my friend (also a member of my congregation) is known as the queen of her birthday celebrations…making it a week long…or longer 🙂

Then I thought…

Wow!  That is a key to receiving the gift promises of God.  The childlike attitude, “It’s my birthday!”

In fact…to make it more fun and child like declare it this way, “It’s my bir(f)day.”  Bet you can’t say it like that without smiling.

You see…JOY is one of the most powerful “mechanisms” or attitudes that opens up the doors of your heart and mind to receive God’s grace gifts.  So often we take a bible truth…a really SOLID bible truth and water it down with spiritual-eze in our vocabulary and mature adult play free……ummm….crap!   <I hope you realize the italic words are tongue-in-check sarcasm>

Hebrews 1:9 says that Jesus was anointed with joy even beyond all of his brethren.  Ie:  One happy dude!  Why wouldn’t he be?  He knew the love and relationship He had with His Father.  As a matter of fact Jesus prayed (John 17:23), “That they (us) may know that you love them just as you love me.”

It’s also very important to remember these 5 simple but profound facts:

  1. When a soul comes to God through Jesus’ plan of salvation, all heaven rejoices
  2. There is no time in heaven.  A day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day.
  3. Therefore, every day is like the same day…….
  5. Bir(f)days are celebrated with gift giving.

You know what it feels like to have a birthday.  There is an anticipation, a hope, a joy.  Troubles don’t have the same affect in your mind because, after all, IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY (Bir(f)day).

The joy you experience at those times automatically receives gifts…even before you see them.  You know they are coming.  So, guess what?
You can have a profound affect on depression, sickness, stress….and all the other general “crap of life” by short circuiting the emotion or circumstance that is coming down on you.  You can respond to it, “Yea…well, guess what?  It’s my bir(f)day!!!   Even better say it first thing in the morning and at other times of day for no reason at all.  It’s childlike … especially with the “f” instead of “th.”  But, begin doing it and see if it doesn’t literally change things in your life.

How does it work?  That simple confession  opens the door to receiving the power and wisdom of the Lord into your life, emotions, and circumstances.  If things are especially hard for you, you won’t feel like saying it…at all!  It is so counter-intuitive…cuz real mature adults are serious about serious stuff, right?  I’m serious, too!  As serious as a heart attack.  It works.  I dare you to focus on this daily (moment-ly) declaration for the next several days.  I double dog….no, I triple dog dare you.   It works.


God’s Gentle Touch

“The gentle touch of Jesus is like the summer rain.  It refreshes and it cleanses away the guilt and pain.  The gentle touch of Jesus, from His almighty hand, is full of strength and power to meet your need this hour.”

Those are the words of a song that I wrote…umm, a very long time ago.  Maybe as far back as when dirt was new.

Many times the miraculous work and power of God has rested on me – and in me – as a “gentle touch.”

One of the more recent power miracles administered by the Lord through gentleness was during my wife’s cancer healing.

He could have moved in tumor dissolving obvious power.  Instead He navigated me (actually both of us) with a series of gentle touches…that were like the summer rain refreshing and cleansing away the guilt and the pain.

You may be facing circumstances today that need courage.  So you think to yourself, “buck up, be strong, stand firm, have some courage, man!”

In fact, you probably think that’s what God expects of you.

Know this…

God’s power often moves in gentleness as much as in mightiness.

Strength doesn’t always roar.  Neither does courage!

Karen Ravn says, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the gentle voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

Is it possible we sometimes (maybe many times) miss God’s voice and acts because he is speaking and acting in gentle ways.

Today I will be sensitive and responsive to the gentle nudges, the brush of angels wings, and the God winks.  Because…it’s the little things that are the big things.




You Have Brilliant Ideas

You have brilliant, genius ideas!

If that’s true, why isn’t your actual (for reals) life genius-ly brilliant?

One reason that your “real time” life doesn’t match what’s in your brain bank is simply because you have too many brilliant ideas to actually act upon.

I am convinced that most people today have A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder).  Distractions abound.  The thing is, many of the ideas that float distractingly through your mind are brilliant….just not timely –  in a practical action way – at this moment.

So, what’s the solution? How can you actually use more of the ideas that come to mind.  How can you “plug in” the thoughts that you really feel would help you improve your relationship with friends, family, and God.  How do you not forget the “I wonder what would happen ifs?”

The first step:

Jot the idea down in a small notepad you can carry with you.  If you do that, your brain will tell you it’s okay to go back to the task at hand.  But, if you begin practicing this simple habit (in the way that makes sense for you – like, maybe, carrying a small mp3 recorder) you will begin creating a “Brilliant Locker” of do-able actions (in their time).

The second step:

Every now and then, purposely look through the ideas snippets that you’ve jotted down or recorded.

I’ll conclude this post by saying, “You have lots of brilliant ideas!  You just need to corral and save them for use at a more appropriate time.  You may be surprised how this leads to improved relationships and life in general….cuz…you’re brilliant as God’s creation.  Really brilliant.  You just need to tend and manage your “garden.”

If you’ve found this helpful, make a comment and/or repost it or forward it to someone else who may benefit.  Thanks 🙂



…But There Are “Defining Moments”

There are no “magic bullets” but there are defining moments in life.

A strong foundation for living a good life is in walking one foot in front of the other in the same basic direction.  I say same “basic” direction because wisdom dictates course adjustments at times.

However, even in the course adjustments we make, they – more often than not – need to be subtle and in the same direction.  Over correcting error is a common human fault.  Most often this results in compounding the error rather than correcting it.

But back to the main point…

The bible story of David and Goliath demonstrates a defining moment for he, Goliath, Israel, and the Philistines.  His one moment affected many people for many years to come.  So, it’s true….there are defining moments in our lives.

But, it’s also true that this particular story of a heroic defining moment (where God is the hero, btw) is build on the back of several other “defining moments.”

If we lead our lives with the attitude that no one specific decision or action makes that much of a difference, we can become apathetic and life looses that exciting edge.  Our days become a “trudging forward” mindlessly climbing mountains and slogging through swamps.

Therefore, having an attitude of consistency and perseverance in the littlest things is the foundation.  However, within our “life march” our eyes best serve us as they look for opportunities that are “defining moments.” Sometimes they will string together.  Other times those defining moments will seem to be decades apart <although they aren’t really>.

Live life consistently and persistently.  But also, enjoy the journey with anticipation and courage as to what giants you may have the opportunity to conquer.  They will surely arise.




Magic Bullet

Aaah…the elusive “magic bullet.”  How we all, to one degree or another, believe in it…wish for it…look for it…pay for it…pray for it and yet…

…can’t seem to ever grab hold of it.  Maybe it’s because it just moves too fast.  Afterall…it is a bullet!  Or, maybe…

It’s because it doesn’t exist (except where dreams flourish).

The truth is…

Just like it takes multitudinous (still not sure that’s a word)  grains of sand to make a beach, success is produced by a family of good decisions and actions.

It’s about growth.  It’s about the process.  It’s NOT about THE MAGIC BULLET that solves all one’s problems, or produces the desired results with just the right one, two, or three big actions and decisions.

I know this is very similar to my last post.  That’s because I think it’s important (very important) for me to repeat…and hear myself.

Revival doesn’t come as a result of one event…regardless of how great and anointed it is.  Faith doesn’t develop from one act of trust.  Reaping an abundant harvest isn’t produced by scattering a few seeds on the ground…even if each of the seeds are of the highest quality.

Commit to the long haul!  That’s where greatness is born!

One more thought:  This also means there is not one word, one message, one prayer prayed that will change your life.  Those things may begin setting you in the right direction, but a changed life is the result of many words (consistently applied), many messages (consistently applied), many prayers (consistently prayed) that will change one’s life.

What does consistent mean?  It means multitudinous (there that word is again) steps in the same (at least general) direction.  It does not mean that you experience no missteps.  So, again…commit to the long haul!  That’s where greatness is born!


Secret of Satisfaction

How do I recapture the satisfaction of my childhood?  That’s a question that many adults, today, at least “feel” even if they don’t vocalize those words.  Satisfaction is attainable.  Here’s one of the secrets:

The “Beach of Satisfaction” is made up of multitudinous grains of little decisions.  <is multitudinous a real word?>
Anyway…”satisfactions” that come from big events and big decisions are by-in-large short lived.

The satisfaction that’s long lasting is the build up of lots and lots and lots <did I mention, lots?> of the little positive, healthy decisions.  Choices that -in themselves- are hardly noticeable.

I do a great number of wedding ceremonies, and one of the common phrases of advise that I put forth to the couple standing in front of me is, “It’s the little things that are the big things.”   Little things like SAYING, “I Love You! on a frequent basis.  Little things like touching without smothering.  The human touch conveys (like magic) what’s in the heart.

I remember one time walking down the isle of the dairy section at Hy Vee and mentioning offhandedly to my wife that the chocolate milk look good.  A couple of days later I opened the refrigerator door to get something.  There it was.  Sitting on the top shelf.  A half gallon of chocolate milk.  That was a “little thing” that made a HUGE impact on me.  I felt deeply cared for by Karen.

Conversely, it’s the little foxes that spoil the vine.  Little negative choices also build upon themselves.  Unfortunately, the little fleshy or neglectful decisions don’t amount to a beach of satisfaction but an ever increasing barrier and weight of regret.

Remember:  The most important things you will do today are the several tinsy positive acts that seem like nothing in themselves.  As you let this truth guide your life from day to day, you’ll discover a beach has been born.  A resting place of satisfaction that gives a whole new attitude of confidence and contentment in the heat of the day.

Ask the Lord to show you the important little things that could eventually produce a beach of satisfaction and pleasure in your life.

What “little things” do you believe are important.
Let us know by leaving your comment.