Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Just Keep Swimming

“Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.” If you have kids or grandkids I bet you’ve heard that line before. Dory said it in the movie Finding Nemo. Monday night I got hurt playing softball. I went to the doctor on Tuesday, and I don’t need surgery (praise the Lord), but I have a long road ahead of me. So I will, “just keep swimming.” I may not be able to swim (walk) as fast as I normally do for a few months, but I will “just keep swimming.” Life is like that for all of us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We get hurt, we get knocked down, we get delayed, or we get derailed, but we “just keep swimming.”

We need help. We need encouragement. We need support. Sometimes we need to be challenged, and sometimes we need to be corrected. We need each other. We need a shoulder to cry on. We need a shoulder to lean on. We need an ear to listen. We need arms to fall into. We need…and God, our Heavenly Father, supplies…all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19). He is a good, good Father!

Some of you are spiritually tired. Come be refreshed…and “just keep swimming.” Some of you are spiritually wounded. Come and be restored…and “just keep swimming.”
Some of you are spiritually complacent. Come and be renewed…and “just keep swimming.”

Jesus said, "Come unto Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

Monday, April 23, 2018

May I Have Your Attention Please

Focus, focus, focus. Stay with me. Are you listening? Wake up. Pay attention. Eyes this way...

These things I have heard all my life, and now I find myself saying them from time to time. Most of the time it's not bad, but at times it can be.

I was reading a short article by Dr. Billy Graham this morning and something caught my attention. In the midst of this article he said, "Don't worship the work." I read and reread that statement several times. "Don't worship the work." It got my attention.

The work is not worthy of worship. Repeat that to yourself, "The work is not worthy of worship."

Nothing is every worthy of worship. It's not about what we worship but WHO we worship. Worship should never be a "what" kinda thing. The object of our worship is a person. His name is Jesus. Don't get so caught up in "working for Him" that you miss the wonder, the joy, the comfort, the glory and majesty of Him.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

In and Out

There are numerous things that could be summed up with the words "In and Out." I will just let your mind pursue that for a moment. I was just watching a short video by John Maxwell on empowerment and he shared something in the video that I want to expound upon.

He said that empowering people as a leader is like breathing air. You can't take a huge breath and then hold it in forever. Your body wasn't designed to function that way. Empowering people to lead is the greatest way to expand your own influence and leadership. Help make someone else better by giving them the opportunity to grow through trial and error. You aren't actually lessoning your leadership but growing it by empowering others. In and out...

As I listened to those words my mind went to a spiritual place and a spiritual reality. Our faith is like air, our message, the hope of the gospel is like that as well. In and will never lose what you have received by giving it away. There is an abundance of grace, mercy, and love. You can't just take it all in. King Jesus didn't design our salvation, His grace and redemption, to operate that way. Take it all in...Give it all away, and you will find that there's always been enough to go around.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Comparison Game

Games are fun. I've played games all my life. Some of them I've been good at and some...well you can imagine. I've played different kinds of games at different stages in my life. Some games that were fun to me when I was a kid are not fun anymore, and the opposite is also true, some games that were not fun to me as a kid are now very enjoyable. Some games are fun because there is no real pressure to win, the fun is just playing the game with people who also want to play. Competing and winning are also fun, and sometimes you play those games for the intense competition. When it comes to those games, Winning is fun, and second place is really just first loser.

There is one game that we all have a tendency to play in life from childhood through adulthood, we never seem to win, and it's not really a fun game to play at all. Yet we play it on a daily basis. The "comparison game" is a killer. Very rarely is it beneficial and encouraging to play this game. It is harmful, and yet we are masters at it. We compare ourselves, our lives, our possessions, our station in life, and so many other things with those types of things in other people's lives, and we walk away feeling cheated and short-changed because we don't have, don't get, can't go like those people whom we are comparing ourselves with. It's the dumbest game I've ever played. I struggle on a daily basis to quit playing, and the struggle is real!

The one great miss in life when you play the comparison game is gratitude. If you are playing the comparison game you aren't grateful and you aren't thankful. Both of those things are so beautiful on people. We love being around people who are grateful and who are thankful. Let's be those people. Live your life with an attitude of gratitude.

If you woke up tomorrow with only those things in your life that you were thankful for today, what would you have tomorrow?

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A Story in the Making

One day you will look back on the experiences of your life, maybe even something specific that has, is, or will happen today, and you will share it as part of a story. It may be an exciting part of the story, it may be a sad part of the story, or it may be difficult part of your story, but it is part of your story none-the-less. I have a question for you. What kind of story do you want to tell? You get to determine a great part of the story you will one day tell.

The way you think about today will help determine your story.
The way you think about yesterday will help shape your story.
The way you approach tomorrow will steer your story.

If you act irrationally and emotionally, you may look back on this part of your story and think, "Man, I wish I had done that differently. I wish I could go back and redo that or undo that." If you can slow down enough to step back, take a breath, and focus on the truth (Jesus-John 14:6) you might act differently, and that might change your story.

You are a story in the making! Make it an awesome story.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

It May Have a Word...

Have you ever been part of something and new that you were seeing the end of that thing, whether it be a relationship, a business, an era, or something else? I have been witness to some things like that and many times I heard someone say something about the final word. When it comes to the final word one knows that nothing else can or will be said. It is, "the final word."

I've witnessed people give up on life because they feel like what they were going through, the news they received, what had transpired was the final word for them, and in the heat of the moment it may have SEEMED that way. I have also lived long enough at this point that I know that most of what people would deem as the final word really isn't the final word at all. It may be "a word" but it doesn't have to be the "final word."

That diagnosis may have a word, but it doesn't have to be the final word.
The bank may speak a word to you about that business idea or deal, but it doesn't have to be the final word.
That person may be able to speak a word, but it doesn't have to be the final word.

I believe there is only ONE final word, and it will be spoken to you and me by King Jesus. Until you hear from Him, just keep going.

The cross has the final word.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Here's Hope

When I think of the word hope my heart and mind are filled with two opinions: we need it and there's not much of it. Hope. I think you would agree that we need it considering all the stuff that is going around us. Shootings, drug addiction, alcohol problems, sex trafficking and slavery, and the overall moral decline of our culture are all evidences that we need some hope. All of these issues and the thousands more that could be listed are all evidences that people are hurting, people are struggling, people are willing to do some pretty shady and dangerous stuff, all in the name of finding relief, taking a break, escaping for a little while, and screaming for help and hope.

We are tired of feeling hopeless and yet we seem to be on the slippery slope of hoping less and less and less. We've tried almost anything and almost everything, but we are still hopeless. That's is such a sad condition for the human heart, for our families, and for our communities.

And yet the reality is there is hope. It is readily available to anyone and everyone. It doesn't matter where you've been. It doesn't matter what you've done. It doesn't matter where you are from or where you seem to be headed. It doesn't matter if you are male or female. Hope is available. 

Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one's life or the world at large. Hope is "to cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or be true; trust."

I believe hope isn't a human idea. I don't think hope came from the heart and mind of any human being. Hope has a source that's out of this world. Romans 15:13 says, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Well, there ya go. Here's hope.