It's just my junk

We all have junk in our heads. This is mine.

Archive for the tag “bounce back”

How do you enjoy the process when you are not sure where you are going?

I had a very busy morning… running to the local Junior High for bible study, then home to transport one of my kids to school, followed by a trip to a local coffee shop for a meeting… it seems to never end..

This got me thinking about two things…

  1. the bible study material for this morning and
  2. the act of going and not always feeling I am knowing where…

First things first…

Our bible study was about praising God for WHO He is and for WHAT he created or did for us.

Psalm 150 .. the final chapter if you will in the book of Psalms. It says, “ Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!

Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance, praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals! Praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

The teacher talked about the WHO and WHAT but it was totally cool when she talked about them when.

  1. Praise him with quiet music, and silence
  2. Praise him with loud music and talking..
  3. Praise him .. even the birds praise him.. when we aren’t doing so.

Second thing…

Going without a clue where I am heading..

I feel for people especially students these days. I feel for them because the world has this idea of knowing where you are going.. Kids are required, forced and encouraged to know what they will become.
We ask each 5 year old what do you want to be when you grow up?

We ask people we meet in junior high what college you thinking about?

We ask high school students what are their career plans?

It isn’t fair..

Reflecting back on my youth….

As a senior in high school… my plan was simple… graduate.. have fun and don’t worry more than you need too. I was a worrier big time.

I remember clearly the day my parents set me down and asked the troubling question….
What are you planning to do now? I must have looked confused… so they helped me out some…

Dad said, “ will you be going to college or work?” I was slightly offended by the question but as an adult parent I think… well that is a solid question for sure.. I chose college and wasted a ton of money.

So friends, why do we need to know those answers? Is it for our comfort? Is it to compare what others are doing? Is it to give us a feeling of acceptance?

I don’t know a good answer but I do know God knows what it happening and what will happen. I can be searching and content at the same time.

My one caution is to be careful when asking questions that might rock someone’s world in an unhealthy way.

We also need to remember to praise God in a variety of ways and times… He is worthy of our praise.

Looking at the man in the mirror

I’m going to make a change
For once in my life
It’s gonna feel real good
Gonna make a difference, gonna make it right…

The above is the beginning to Michael Jackson’s song called Man in the mirror.

I was flipping through the music stations as I drove back form dropping my daughter off to school. Then it hits me, a flash back from the past…
Michael Jackson singing man in the mirror… wow but reality brought me back.

I was listening to the song in a different light since the early 1990’s when I first heard the song as a middle/high school song. I confess back then it was another Michael Jackson song… bring out the blinged glove and some smooth moon walking… For you young readers… look up moon walking … I would rather not relive those moments…

Today is just another day of the week but for some odd reason, maybe it was due to driving in the fog of the morning, maybe it is the reality of being tired at 9AM with a to do list a mile long (who came up with that analogy anyways) and not enough time to get it all done….. when Michael says:

“ I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer. If you wanna make the world a better place. Take a look at yourself and then make a change….”

Those words carry more weight today…
Maybe it is due to the difference in life then and now…

Then…. I looked out for me. I went to school, played sports, played video games, went out with my friends or on a date. I spent time with family and some summer work.

Now… I look our for me and my family, team at work, friends and others, I go to school to teach or visit students (worry about them surviving the day). I don’t play as many video games, do less sports (more due to being old), and worry about the today, tomorrow and the next.. for all I know and work alongside.

What is the common core… Me… I am in both situations, my life is still full of the same 24 hours in a day that I had back in the day. I am in control of the ability to look in the mirror and change me..
Our world tells us to make excuses for our actions, to fill our schedules with stuff to do, baseball games, movies, vacations, work etc.. , to spend spend spend and enjoy today.

I get the privilege of sharing time with Students … today we discussed spending time with God. Through out the New Testament Jesus withdrawals often in the morning to a quiet place… in the beginning God created everything in 6 days and the 7th he rested..

What this guy realizes when I look at the man in the mirror is way to much and personal for this blog but a simple observation is this…

I need to rest…. Here are a few areas in my life I need rest in:
Sleep.. I require a solid amount of sleep. I need to have down time from work, from noise, from being around people.
One of my strengths is being an extreme extrovert and when I am feeling the need to avoid people.. I know I need to look at the man in the mirror and say make a change… I know people need you … I know you are the man but the reality is I need a break..
I would encourage you today to look at the person in the mirror… look often and don’t fall to the sin of nitpicking what you look like.. that isn’t healthy… but looking at who you are and what you need is…

I close with this wisdom….”I am starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer…” make the time to make the change

Unity in me? In my team? In my world? YES!

Unity…. Webster says Unity is:

  1. the state of being one; oneness
  2. a whole or totality as combining all its parts into one.
  3. the state or fact of being united or combined into one, as of the parts of a whole; unification.
  4. absence of diversity; unvaried or uniform character.”

What do you say unity is?
I define unity in two ways…

  1. being content within your own heart and self.
  2. getting along with a person or group of persons through a common source.

How we define unity is important. We need to have a common understanding on the definition and how it is played out within the group and each individual.

How your basketball team, swim team, music group defines and acts out unity is vital to the success, longevity and legacy of each group. We focus so much attention on me… we forget the importance of we. We focus so much attention on the now that we forget about the future.

Yeah, I know.. how can I possibly know the future we leave when I don’t know the me within the we now? I think this is the tension we all deal with throughout our careers, friendship and families. Smarter people than I have written books, taught classes and seminars etc. but I speak from my own heart…

John 17:21 That they might be ONE… There is value in being one, if there wasn’t God wouldn’t have mentioned it in the bible.

What can we gain from being one (unity)?

  1. We will have a better understanding of others. We will put others first.
  2. Our teams will not only look good but they will function and perform better…. Like state championship better. People will notice something is different with this team.
  3. The people who will follow us will be better prepared and will benefit from the hard work we have done to create, foster and encourage unity.


IF that isn’t enough… we will actually find some contentment within our own hearts and therefore better equipped to impact the world we live in.

Choose today to find unity within yourself…. Encourage within your team and display it for the world to see.



Part 5 of 8.. Running the race… running to capture the prize.. run Forest run!

running crazyPart 5 of 8: Fast Feet… But where are you running?

I was and I reference was an avid runner… I ran cross-country, the 800 and 4×800 relay my last two years of high school that was way back in 1986-87… I would say I was pretty fast. We still hold the track and school record for the 4×800, the amazing factoid is we ran on Cinder… think chewed up asphalt that ate you up if you fell on it.. enough of me…

We would run after the win. We would run after that team who we had a rivalry with. We would run after things of this world… girls, special shoes, clothes, peer groups and so on. Fortunately for us it didn’t cost us the records we achieved.

What are things you run or ran after?

  • Fast cars A sale
  • Big houses A relationship
  • Special dates or occasions A career
  • Maybe for the deal of a life time A super bowl ring
  • For your kids to do what you didn’t A college acceptance letter
  • The trophy buck New technology
  • That awesome mission trip A Balanced Budget

Review the list above… is there anything wrong with the things above? I don’t think so in an f itself. It is a simple list of things. A list many of us have created. We even go to great lengths to make a list for Christmas presents.. Lists aren’t bad.

But what if we change the list motive a bit… What if we think through each item and put the ever-knowing words… I want this item to complete me…. I want this item to make me look good… I want this item so I can fill a void…

What are we using the things above as a tool to do wrong? I know I have done things in my past that have had bad intentions, but also have done things without realizing it. For example when I interrupt my wife half way through her story to help fix it.. Yeah the story didn’t need fixing.

We all are human and make mistakes some of which are innocent others we aren’t as pure in our motive. The hard part is realizing it before it is too late and we can’t recover from.

God warns us in great detail to watch our feet, that we don’t travel or run toward evil or doing wrong.. In fact it is one thing he DETESTS…. He doesn’t like it at all.

Proverbs 6:18b… “Feet that race to do wrong” (Jesus Centered Bible NLT)
“Feet that race down a wicked hill.” (Msg)

So, we need to focus attention and energy to avoid such running but how? I would say prayer, accountability, spending time getting to know God so you will discover why he detest it, and use visual signs to remind you to keep your feet running to good not evil. We all have the same and equal choice.

There is no I in team…

think bulb

If you are like me, you have heard this phrase being used from time to time in various settings. There is no I in team!.. I have heard it in the work place, sports field, once in the classroom (admittedly that one confused me), and even in the house. We are better than just one. I am sure you could add some unique places or settings you have heard the term but what about the church?

I was reading out of my new “Jesus Centered Bible” brought to you by Group Publishing. The New Testament book of John Chapter 17 verse23. Jesus was talking to people. He said in short.. If you want them to know me, they need to know you, by how you treat one another. Those words simply stung tonight as I read them, in fact the reading caused me to draft this blog.

So how does the church do in getting along to show the world or those outside of your building who Jesus is?

  1. We disagree about worship style. Check
  2. We disagree about budgets. Check
  3. We disagree about rooms being used. Check
  4. We disagree about the right time to do communion or baptism or even who can minister those things. Check
  5. We point fingers at each other. Check
  6. We talk about our leaders behind their back. Along with not supporting them. Check
  7. We sit in our pew, comfy as they are, and think so and so should hear this sermon. Check
  8. and I could go on and on… but what good would it do?

It doesn’t do what God has called us to do or be.

Matthew talks about going out in pairs to reach others so grow them and baptize them and disciple them in the way to go..
John talks about showing your love for Jesus and reflecting that love through our actions with other believers…

What would our churches be like if we ….

  1. We worshiped in spirit and in truth, no matter what the service style or flow was… Check
  2. We worked on a balanced God focussed budget and celebrated God’s generosity… Check
  3. We shared rooms.. after all they are just bricks and drywall and will be there when we die… Check
  4. We celebrate Jesus life, death and resurrection with our hearts in appreciation.. Check
  5. We look within to grow before we offer help to others… Check
  6. We support the leaders God has put in our churches and pray for them… maybe even join them in leading.. Check
  7. We begin to apply the sermons to our lives outside of the building we call church and people see Jesus… Check
  8. and I could go on and on… What good would it do…? Well it would be a reminder of two simple things….

We are representing Jesus in all we say, do and think and we might be the ONLY Jesus the people we interact with will see.

Finally think about it… if we continue to do the first list, why would anyone in the world want to come into our church and worship, grow or serve? I know I wouldn’t want to be a part of something that is that negative especially the church.

I will spend some time this week doing a couple of things:

  1. Digging deeper into God’s word to grow my love for Jesus and His church.
  2. Trying to move from the first list of actions to the second one. Not allowing myself to complain.
  3. be a change agent for myself, family, church, community and God.

I understand from a life of serving God in different states, denominations, church sizes, styles and shapes that it can be a challenge to stay focused on the goal and to avoid Satan (the king of all lies) tempting us to look to the left or the right of the goal. I also admit to struggling from time to time with being a change agent in my own heart and life. But I am working on it.

I pray you can see through the offensive nature in the blog to the heart of the message.. God can’t use us if all we do is think of the I in team that doesn’t exist.

Faithful Journey to each of you.

Would you Rather……

I think we all know of the book resource “would you Rather…” if not it is a book that youth leaders can use as discussion starters. It poses a would you rather question. For example.. would you rather be eaten alive or Burned at the stake? then the answers can be discussed to see why.

I thought of a few to challenge you with: Would you rather be

  • working or on vacation?
  • have it be Monday or Friday?
  • be married or single?
  • have children with one income  or no kids with dual income?
  • be in skinny due to food allergies or heavy due to working out?
  • sleeping til noon or waking up at 5am? sorry this is a poor one I know….. lol

What is your answer and why?  I must admit it is a trick question… there really isn’t a correct answer unless you say both matter?

the Book of Psalms chapter 46 verse 10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”  You might be thinking but I am not a religious person… so that doesnt have to impact this verse.  You might be thinking what does this have to do with a would you rather Game? well I am not sure I can say it has a ton to do with it but I can share this thought….

How would our life be if we stood still for a moment… yes pondered the questions…

  • Would I rather be looking at Monday or Friday.? I would say Monday it is my day off… and I would say Friday, it starts my work weekend… the time I get to hang out and connect with people… so both answers offer me opportunity.
  • married or single? I am married and my life is more complete with a spouse but in my singleness it was a time of growing and complete as a single person, both are wins based on my attitude towards them.

I want to encourage you the reader to be still and know….. Be still and know you are::

  • the best you the world will ever know
  • in the process between life and death.. do something with it
  • you matter to people who you would consider not being an influence on
  • you have gifts and talents unique to only you.
  • you are one choice away from great victory or great defeat
  • you are YOU>>> that is the best You to be

I am not in anyways saying I have come to completeness in this area of my life… I am middle age, balding guy, with four kids and allergy to both milk and gluten and never met my great grandparents (my parents were 45 when I was born.. Yeah they were nuts).. it is a challenge people… but I am working to spend more time being still and less time running at 100 miles per hour…

tips… take a walk just to walk.. spend sometime listening to your favorite song just to listen.. do some cross-fit… who am I kidding.. just skip that one…


Snow Days… Calling the day off

Snow Day

I live in a weird community environment, not because of the people, the surroundings, the houses but because of the weather patterns. The weather here is quite unique compared to Michigan, my home land. The Tri-state area is unique in that we have rain and snow mixing most of the time, and we live on a hill (mini mountain if you will) which makes the icy conditions even more interesting.

Our local schools have cancelled classes and many business run two hour delays. It isn’t a big deal to me but I find the connection between snows days and Exodus 16:23 (Moses speaking of the Sabbath). God instructed the Israelites to take a day to rest, do nothing and focus on God. I think we have been abusing that for way to long. The snow days really help keep people safe and allow for the road crews to clean the roads. We need to be safe and have clean roads.

Our world thinks a snow day is cool until it takes our spring break. We are owed a vacation and expect it. We are given time off for Good Friday, Christmas and the New Year but we tend to stay up late and party through it, only to recover for a couple days.

It makes me wonder how long we will take to realize we are gifted to have down time? When will we learn that our bodies are designed to work hard and rest well. I was reading some Facebook posts the other day about youth ministers crashing hard after an all nighter, retreat, mission trip etc. It dawned on me that we are all pushing so hard and doing so much we forget the need to rest and God allows our bodies to tell us… well if you call getting sick or shutting down a message.

What would we be like if we took God’s idea of a Sabbath and actually observed one? Would you be a healthier more balanced person, better equipped to minister, work, play and rest better on a regular basis? Would you be a happier person? Would others be more drawn to connect with you since your balance would be balanced?

I am not sure where you stand on this issue of resting but I know I am in constant need of balance in my life. Areas of balance would be physical, mental, spiritual and psychological. I am sure we can all agree we need balance.

Please take a moment to check your balance and call or schedule regular snow days.

Sign in and Password, Please

I have now am the not so proud owner of 5 different email addresses.. Not of my own doing mind you. I also have way to many sign on and passwords to manage. with that all being said… it has me thinking about several things in life that we have to keep track of…. Take a minute to create a list of things you need to keep an eye on…

1. Your kids…. lol
2. Your keys.. which might be harder to find than your kids
3. Your sign ons and passwords
4. Your purse or wallet
5. Your schedule for school… especially with new classes starting up
6. Your keys…
7. Your socks.. well I always seem to be one sock short
8. Your shoes

well, you get the idea, we have some important things to remember …. meetings, grocery lists, sports events, the kids musical performance… well their instrument too…

What about your sign on and password….with God?

Based on the list below where would you find yourself…

1. MIA.. never seen it
2. Always on my mind
3. Never forget it.. it is an auto sign on throughout the day.
4. My friend has those things for me
5. On the shelf some place….

Well this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone… we make our priorities just that… important.

The things that matter we make happen.
I would suggest the following ideas:

1. Plan some time to make a short list of things that matter.
2. Stick to your guns… make the important things matter.
3. Get some support… I use a sign on and password tool… what tool could you use to help in your day to day commitments?
4. Get some more support… I Funnel all my email accounts into one place.. again what tools can you use to help you?

I think this is a good starter list… try to look at your own life and add some or remove some to create a solid success list of accomplishment potential.

Well I am off to get my list started and to set myself up for great success
As soon  as I figure out my sign on and password to the list maker…. grrrrhhh

Dealing with defeat

LoserYou are undefeated and it looks like you will finish the season but you lose a fluke game. You have perfect attendance going since 1st grade and you miss school due to a bad cold. You have successfully completed ever job requirement the boss asks of you and out of the blue… you lose all the data for a project because your computer breaks. You have done a great job with every presentation (that would be 24) and then a simple upgrade to your program and whamo… you lose it all just before the presentation time. You have written an entire paper (blog) and the last thing to do is hit save but you accidently hit delete entire page… Yeah I did this today… ouch So what do you do? How do you respond? Do you throw a fit? Do you just shake it off? I am pretty confident we are empowered to do the right thing. I am pretty sure embedded in our inner soul we know we can get through this and many more obstacles in life. 1. Take some time to evaluate and improve. We are designed to learn from our experiences. 2. Try again, yep I said try again. Keep trying, experimenting until you get it right. 3. Hit the save button. I am not just talking about computer save buttons. We can hit save and remember for future experiences. 4. Help others.  One of the best ways to recover from a loss in our own lives is to help others in their time of loss. 5. Laugh. Yes just take a moment to laugh. Things happen and laughing wont change them but it may help us lose the bad attitude. 6. Go get some help. We all have someone in our life that encourages us. Find them and hang out with them. They will give us a boost to get back in the game. I know we are wired to grow, thrive and succeed in life. We will travel through life with a good or bad attitude. It is really up to each of us to determine our course of action… will you stay a loser and let that lose define you or bounce back and try again. I truly hope you choose to bounce back and get back in the game. Win BIG.. Don’t allow all of your victories to be meaningless and all the future wins to fade away.  Get in the game. You can do it.

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