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Archive for the category “time for action”

Compassion needs action

Compassion is defined as Sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.

Interesting, Compassion has two components:

  1. Recognize the distress (or struggles) of others
  2. Then desire to alleviate (change) it.

How can we (you) recognize the distress, struggles of others?  I would start simply, look outside of yourself. I know it seems simple to some, challenging to others, and yet not accomplishable for others. I think it is simpler than we make it… 

  1. Look, open your eyes and look… practice it… just look at others, what do you see? what don’t you see?
  2. Look with your heart and look… practice it… what do you see? What don’t you see?
  3. Act, you may need to act… say a kind word, take a simple step to offer a listening ear, simply smile.

It is something our world needs. It is something our hurting world needs so desperately.  Time to go back to the definition… What is compassion? Sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.

Why do we want to recognize and alleviate peoples’ distress? Distress is not fun. We don’t like to be under or experiencing distress and we can do something about it.

Take action, look, Listen, Respond.

Challenge up? 

Take a couple days to simply watch, observe those around you.

Take time to recognize what you have noticed? Are people happy or sad? What could be causing their emotions?

Take time to consider, if you are a person of faith pray for God’s to provide discernment, what you are to do about it.  You may do nothing. You make act in silence. You may engage in person with them. You make simply be present and walk alongside them in their distress.

Reevaluate, what did you learn? What will or should you change? Move Forward.

Storms, How do you react to them?

I have a friend who loves storms. He walks out his front porch and watches them roll in.

I have a friend who does not life storms. He hears of bad weather coming and heads to the Basement.

I know a weather person from our area. He loves chasing storms but also has a healthy respect towards them.

I am not sure where you fall on the above spectrum. I would like to say I run towards them but probably tend to run away from them more often. On occasion I am like my weather friend and walk towards them with a health respect.

A tougher question to ponder. How does or did your parents deal or handle storms? Growing up in Michigan, living along the big lake (for you non-Michigan people, that is Lake Michigan), we rarely were threatened by bad weather. In fact, most people sat out on their porches and watched the storms roll in over the Lake. It was peaceful more than dangerous.

I have another friend who grew up in Kansas, she often approached the storms the same manner. If I was in tornado alley, well let’s be honest. I would not be living there.

Regardless of your upbringing or location, we all have storms roll in from time to time. We can predict the weather but often are still unprepared or caught off guard. That is the nature of storms. They happen.


What about storms in life?  Do you handle them in a similar manner? Did you learn your ability to handle storms of life from those around you? Maybe your parents or grandparents? I assume we all learned some things to do and not to do but ultimately, we experience storms in life too.

Relationship Storms, Financial Storms, Emotional Storms, and so on. Storms happen.

Reading from Psalms 107:29 the writer says, “He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed,” Wow, that is power but honestly what does a writing from the Old Testament mean to me? Maybe, nothing but maybe it provides some hope. God can control the storms and waves. 
If that is not personal enough, I would fast forward to a few guys (some actually fishermen) sleeping in a boat on the way to the other side. I assume it was a long ride but that doesn’t seem to matter. It is night, things are dark, and a storm comes out of nowhere. There were no weather people on the news during this story. Bummer, I know.

This story takes place in the New Testament, Matthew 8:26 “And He said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and they were calm.  WOW. Jesus is the He in reference. He got up and calmed the winds and the sea.

We will have life happen to us. That is a promise, but what comes after life happening to us makes a huge difference. The Storms in life come, they will come and we can choose to run at them, run away from them, or ask our weatherperson friend to give some instructions.  Jesus will guide us through the storms of life. We need to get to know Him.  The men in the boat, the ones he called little faith. They had been following him around, doing life with him for a long time and had moments of doubt. It is human to doubt. As we get to know Jesus more personally, we will begin to trust him more and more. He will help prepare us for the storms in life. It is our choice and ours alone. Choose wisely.

The Keys

When you read that simple two-word title what comes to mind?

I think of the following:

  1. Car keys… then quickly… do I know where they are?
  2. House keys…. Yeah, with the car keys, but do I know where they are?
  3. Lesson keys… Keys to lesson or maybe the answer key. I wish I had some of those.
  4. Piano keys… Nope, If I was on piano… not good but I know where my car keys are.
  5. Hiring keys… yes, this is a stretch but if you knew the right key to a lead to a good paying job, or that ever daunting raise.
  6. Coaches’ keys… seem like every athlete now, has a key card on their person. It tells the play or set up.

I am sure you might come up with some of the same but maybe even better ones. I will be thinking about keys more often now, following this blog post.

In my devotion time today, titled “the Keys of the Kingdom”, and referenced Matthew 16:19. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”’

I bolded the word keys for effects I guess.
It reminds me of a story, names are changed to protect the innocent. A friend, will call Jon, called his wife frantically. He lost his keys, the keys to the car and needed to get to an important meeting. As he was franticly searching, his wife began to tell (suggest) he retrace his steps…. Desperately, he complied this time to her advice. The first stop… the Car and it hit him, like a ton of bricks, square in the face. Looking into the vehicle, he found his keys… IN THE VEHICLE Amazing I know!

Upon further examination, after hanging up the phone with his wife, he realized just how safe his car keys where…… swinging from the ignition…… Yeah… open the door, Jon! One would think that was a great idea. Can you relate with me… or think… Great idea, I never thought of that. Of course not, we would never do that lol. Please read again in your sarcastic voice.

Lifting the door handle of the driver side… locked

Lifting the door handle on the driver’s side back door… locked

To save time… every door, locked. Every window up and not moving… Those keys were super safe in the car locked ready to be used to get Jon to his meeting…. 

If you are like me, well it was my story, and have misplaced your keys, maybe lost them, or just don’t have them can be super frustrating. I would say it could push a person to consider breaking things, like the car window, and get super frustrated.

Think about the verse above, I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. Wow, what an awesome gift. It is something that has eternal impact, personal joys, and the ability to know where to go, what do to. But how often do we as people simply, lose the keys, lock the keys away until a better time, or worse yet never grab the keys given? Often, is my reality.

The Keys

When you read that simple two-word title what comes to mind?
I think of the following:

  1. Car keys… then quickly… do I know where they are?
  2. House keys…. Yeah, with the car keys, but do I know where they are?
  3. Lesson keys… Keys to lesson or maybe the answer key. I wish I had some of those.
  4. Piano keys… Nope, If I was on piano… not good but I know where my car keys are.
  5. Hiring keys… yes, this is a stretch but if you knew the right key to a lead to a good paying job, or that ever daunting raise.
  6. Coaches’ keys… seem like every athlete now, has a key card on their person. It tells the play or set up.

I am sure you might come up with some of the same but maybe even better ones. I will be thinking about keys more often now, following this blog post.

In my devotion time today, titled “the Keys of the Kingdom”, and referenced Matthew 16:19. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”’

I bolded the word keys for effects I guess.
It reminds me of a story, names are changed to protect the innocent. A friend, will call Jon, called his wife frantically. He lost his keys, the keys to the car and needed to get to an important meeting. As he was franticly searching, his wife began to tell (suggest) he retrace his steps…. Desperately, he complied this time to her advice. The first stop… the Car and it hit him, like a ton of bricks, square in the face. Looking into the vehicle, he found his keys… IN THE VEHICLE Amazing I know!

Upon further examination, after hanging up the phone with his wife, he realized just how safe his car keys where…… swinging from the ignition…… Yeah… open the door, Jon! One would think that was a great idea. Can you relate with me… or think… Great idea, I never thought of that. Of course not, we would never do that lol. Please read again in your sarcastic voice.

Lifting the door handle of the driver side… locked

Lifting the door handle on the driver’s side back door… locked

To save time… every door, locked. Every window up and not moving… Those keys were super safe in the car locked ready to be used to get Jon to his meeting…. 

If you are like me, well it was my story, and have misplaced your keys, maybe lost them, or just don’t have them can be super frustrating. I would say it could push a person to consider breaking things, like the car window, and get super frustrated.

Think about the verse above, I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. Wow, what an awesome gift. It is something that has eternal impact, personal joys, and the ability to know where to go, what do to. But how often do we as people simply, lose the keys, lock the keys away until a better time, or worse yet never grab the keys given? Often, is my reality.
God offers me the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, and I choose to desire other keys, world’s keys, personal keys, and frankly keys that do not work.
I would like to post more but I need to go find my keys. This blog has me worried about where they might be….  Grab your keys, keep them close, and use them often.

Disciple or Follower? Do it with intentionality

Discipleship 

I am all about discipleship, in the classroom, athletic field, workplace and in life. What is discipleship? There are two definitions provided on dictionary.com:

  1. A follower or student of a teacher, leader or philosopher
  2. A personal follower of Jesus during his life, especially one of the twelve Apostles.

Now, you may not be a Jesus Follower or even religious at all, but a common word used in both definitions is FOLLOWER

The same site defines follower as: 

  1. An adherent or devotee of a particular person, cause of activity
  2. Someone who is tracking a particular person, group, organization, etc. on a social media website or application. 

Interesting, isn’t it? A follower is a devotee who watches, pursues, learns from someone else. I didn’t mention that person (the someone) was older, wiser, or even a real person. Most social medias, not all but most, simply are run by a group of people who are the followers not the leader, teacher, some are simply prerecorded to be sent on a timeline day mapped out in advance to be posted or sent. 

I have been exposed to several different types of leaders, some worthy of being followed others not so much. I am sure I was one of those leaders in the past. I hope I am growing in my leadership, knowledge and influence each day. I have been burnt by following the wrong leader. I have found success in following the right leader. But most of the time I fall someplace in the middle.. not always winning but not always losing… It is part of life.

If you think only the President of countries, business or schools are leaders? That is wrong. If you think you are not capable of being a leader? That is wrong. If you think leadership isn’t for you? You are wrong. I do not mean to be rude or aggressive but simply put, we all have the capacity and ability to be an amazing leader. Some suggestions to get you started,

  1. Leaders are learners (Doug Fields), be a learner, read, watch podcasts, 
  2. Leaders are mentored, be a mentee but make sure the person is worth it. 
  3. Leaders are leading, be practicing your skills as you are able
  4. Leaders are willing, be willing to learn, be mentored and practice

It is ultimately up to you to be discipled, who you follow and inversely who you disciple and are followed by.
Jesus set the example, He chose twelve (those twelve weren’t to worlds best but his future best). He discipled them and taught them. He charged them to be the church when we left the world and they made mistakes along the way. 

Be intentional on who you follow and who follows you but be sure to be a disciple and follow well. It will be the legacy you leave behind, in school, in work, in your family and your wor

Making a Change or other’s making it for you

Make a change. It takes change

I have a few miles under my belt, as a 52-Year-old Youth Minister, some might say a few marathons but that would be rude, true but is it necessary to state the obvious on this one?
I jokingly mention miles, and marathons. I was a runner but never a marathoner. Throughout my life of running coaches would also challenge or comment (most of the time I didn’t want to hear what they had to say) on to be a better runner you need to make changes, to be a faster runner you need to make changes… etc. etc. etc. Yeah, yeah as a young guy, I didn’t want to hear it. I knew what I knew, and it was enough, but it didn’t get me to the change and had a expense to it, that expense was no state meet in track. 
I have a few days under my belt, as a 52-Year-old Youth Minister, some might say a few years (decades) but that would be rude, true but is it necessary to state the obvious on this one? 

Sound familiar? If not, please go to paragraph one and read again.  I could say easily I knew what I knew, and it was enough, but it didn’t get me to the change I needed.

As I completed a daily devotion from the Experiencing God: day to day Journal, the topic flooded my mind. It spoke on Suffering for Others, and how ministry is costly, as is life. Life has some expenses; I am not speaking of ministry as in paid pastoral ministry I am speaking of life ministry.  One of the verses was Romans 5:8, “But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” WOW! God proving his love, His Son died.  Did I die to myself to accomplish the running goals? NO! Did I die to myself in the younger years of change? NO! As I get older, I am beginning to see the value of change. It isn’t easy! Suffering for others isn’t easy either. I assume giving your Son for people not worthy of that isn’t easy either. 

The devotion goes on to speak of going through expenses (like rejection, understanding,  doubters, and even being opposed). The expenses are huge and costly but so is seeing friends, loved ones perish for eternity. The expense are huge and costly but so is seeing your church or group or community slowly move from Jesus risking to comfort keeping. I am guilty of it all the time. My comfort zone might seem missing but trust me. I have one, God continually pushes into it regularly. So what?

I would simply say SO this… are you willing to risk the comfort of today for the unknown future of tomorrow, a future that might bring more to Jesus, more success to you, your community, church company? It comes down to a choice to make change or be subject to others change. The cost is high but so is eternity.

I hope you join me in the journey of change facing and change making one day, one mile at a time.

School delay to a cancelation

“Your life affects those you have in contact with, whether you intend to or not.” Yes, I read those very words today in my Experiencing God: day by day devotion. It is a timely first sentence. I am assuming the author didn’t have inspiration in writing this back in 1997 for today but God did.

Our local school (Sunman Dearborn Community School) had an interesting morning. Our Superintendent (Dr. Jackson) had to deal with winter weather and one of the elementary schools not having power, which also implies area houses and businesses are out of power too.

He first out a two-hour delay based on the school being without power and not the road conditions with a stipulation, the district would be in session if the elementary regained power, which it did. Then the weather conditions worsened and was determined that school would be cancelled.

Do you see the challenge in making this decision?  Teachers and staff would be affected, some lose pay when they don’t have school. Parents and children would be affected for different reasons. Who will watch the kids while I am at work? What about my exams? Or how can I know get to the Perfect North Ski slopes?

All this responsibility rests on Dr Jackson and his team’s shoulders… if my assumption is correct, he will not make everyone happy. I pray for his discernment regularly. I thought being a youth pastor was a tough gig… try running an entire school corporation.

 

How does your life affect those around you? Have you taken time to really truly look around you and see who and how you are influencing others? What about your social media presence?

 

I am working on some new goals for 2020, one of which will be intentionally making a positive influence on others… those who I know are watching (family, church, store cashier, waitresses etc) and those who I am not sure about (social medias, those reading my material or lessons)

 

I hope you will join me in being intentional on impacting others and adding a prayer or encouraging word for those who aren’t doing a great job of being positive.

 

 

Want want want.. We desire the want

Getting what you want?

I have learned over the past 50 years; I don’t always get what I want and beginning to realize that is probably for my best interest. I recall asking and wanting…

  • A horse… yeah glad that didn’t happen
  • A new car… I couldn’t afford the payments
  • A new job… I was needing to learn through the job (this would be a whole additional blog)
  • A better friendship… I was the one needing to grow and help my friend grow.

The list could grow and grow but you get the point. I have had some very good wants provided too

  • A wife who loves Jesus and me
  • A family who loved me for me
  • A few kids (four) who make me proud and are great people
  • A great job, I truly am blessed to be working full time in Ministry.
  • A Horse… well that one didn’t happen, but I am glad.
  • A new car, someone donated (gifted) us a few automobiles over the years.

We tend to view things in our lives as wants and needs… I need to breathe, eat, drink and live and I want a ton of other things… of which are simply that wants.

We are quickly approaching the Christmas day events. Some will balance church, family events and others will simply function as it is just another day. We made it through black Friday and will approach time of Happy New year but snuggled in the middle is Christmas… I enjoy it for two reasons…  Family time and watching my then younger kids playing with the boxes presents came in over the presents themselves. It is a funny reminder that we truly are blessed with more than we need and for sure than we want.

As we move into the season of Christmas take time to be thankful for what we have and what we need compared to what others seem to need throughout the world we live in.

 

Thanksgiving or Not?

Thanksgiving, holiday or not? Are you out of context when talking to others?

It is a national holiday, but I bring attention to national. I reside in several Youth Ministry Groups and dabble with comments on occasion. Someone posted the comment about what will you be doing for thanksgiving, or more specifically do you get holiday off or not?

I have several youth worker friends who do not reside in USA but is also cool to know. We live in a global connected world for sure. Some of the posts say… not getting a day off, not a holiday which puts us into a reality. A reality of proximity, how often do we (you) quickly jump to assume you know all the contexts of a conversation or situation?  If you are like me, you do it way too often, daily in fact.

I would like to grow in this area. I am planning on being more intentional in the pursuit of connecting, hearing and bringing value to the situation before I speak to the opinion of this. I am simply a work in progress which seems more practice than success.

I hope you will join me in this pursuit of listening more, reflecting more and then speaking to the opportunity, person or whatever it maybe. Maybe this is something we can begin doing now, to have a habit of doing so prior to New Years day resolutions take place.

Lord, first help me lean into your word without bias, or opinion but to be open to the Word you want me to hear and apply to my life in that moment. Second, help me seek you in all conversations to discern what you are having me learn and say. Third, that I might be open to a renewing of me each day. Finally, be with us all as we seek to grow in relationship with each other. Amen

The victory comes before the event

I am a big fan of the underdog in sports, and in life. I don’t know if it is as much about the little guy beating the giant as much as the preparation done prior to the challenge or event.

1 John 4:4 tells us, “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who, lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”

Think about this verse a few minutes…
1. When you belong to God… having accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are no longer controlled by the world. The world can and will influence you, but it doesn’t control you.

  1. When you have victory over the world… having victory over the world is all about how you view and function in the world. We are to be in the world not of it. Simply put, we are to be in it, but it isn’t in us.
  2. When you see the details… you discover two different letters used in this verse… S is capitalized when it refers to a person and that person is the Holy Spirit. It also implies the s (spirit) of the world is less than that of God. This is a key point to remember… God wins.
  3. Preparation is vital… we must prepare for the victory or game etc.. When we practice to the focus of the win, we will be better equipped for the win. It is all about preparation and focus.

This is something our world misses…

We can be caught up in the touchdown celebration but totally overlook the plays that prepared for the touchdown.
We can celebrate the winning field goal without seeing the hours and hours of practice with the snap, hold and kick.
We can watch out friends get a promotion, find a great house or other things along this line but we often forget about the hard work put into earning, developing and earning the promotion, saving up for the house or vehicle etc.

We can see the parent with a great relationship with their children and overlook the hours and hours of time spent conversing, working on homework and doing life with them.

We can see the perfect couple who seems to have it all, the best communication, date nights etc… but we neglect to see the commit they have made to make it a priority or to see the time they invest in growing the relationship.

I could go on and on for pages of we can see but we don’t see. God has won the victory over death and the world through Jesus and we are no longer slaves to the world but servants to the One True God. So, what?

I would encourage you to take regular time out of you day, week, month :
to reflect on the victory God has done,
to put in the work to gain and earn things.

Dave Ramsay talks about living different now in a way that you can truly live land give different later. He speaks from a financial mindset but I would also encourage us to take the same attitude towards life… live now so you can enjoy living fully in Christ later… Devote yourself to the apostle teaching, spend time with God and continue to influence the world on His behalf.

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