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Archive for the tag “don’t quit”

Perspective… does it matter?

It has been a while since I have last blogged.. but maybe you aren’t aware of that tidbit. Well, until I mentioned it.

I have been very busy with life, work and COS (think college without credit). But the very topic is the topic of discussion today. Perspective!

Perspective… the dictionary.com refers to it as a mental view point,

I have to admit I function 70% of the time within my own perspective. That being said, I admit to focusing on what I see. The lenses I see through most of the time are based on the following criteria…. Do your own list too..

  • Parents had me later in life (parents in mid 40’s); most thought they were my grandparents.
  • My sister is 20 years older than me; most thought she was my mom.
  • I have an identical twin; we don’t dress or act alike. (twin day isn’t really twin day it is dress like your best friend day.. we wouldn’t dress alike on purpose)
  • I am married to Shelly; therefore one man and one woman-married matters to me.
  • I have been blessed with four kids; therefore saying you have a handful with your two kids doesn’t carry a ton of weight for me.. if you say 6 then I am praying for you.
  • I was born in Michigan, therefore I am a Michigan fan; most think this it true. Or they should lol.
  • I refer to Michigan as God’s country; most don’t get it until they visit West Michigan.. Then they believe or are just in denial.
  • I am a youth minister; most think I am holier than them, nope just saved through grace like we all are.
  • I have a full time job; most think I have the weekends off.. nope Monday is my day off
  • Since I am a pastor I am always working; the reality is I need down time too.
  • If I don’t write it down it will not happen; most who know me know this truth.. it is a fact!
  • I have 3 girls and a son; most think I wanted kids until a son is born; reality is God blessed us with 4 individually awesome unique kids..
  • Most think my kids are or should be perfect due to my employment; however they are still kids and I can’t assume your kids is a rocket scientist because you are can I? for argument I do know a rocket scientist and his kids aren’t rock scientists….

I think you get my point…

So how do we deal with perspective?

The news has been all over cop shootings, cops shooting people and black lives matter.

I have been taught to respect authority, to care for and respect all life and everyone matters. I have been struggling to watch videos and news footage of people killing people, then people retaliating on people (even though they are different people than the one they had issues with) and so forth. It is a vicious cycle.

One video I watched showed an older white male trying to walk down the street, through a demonstration of black lives matter (African American women) who wouldn’t let him pass… they were making a point that black lives matter but demonstrated our protest (example) matters more than you walking down the street.

I know several police officers who are very good people. They care about their community, and being a safe person for those in need. They will do their job to the best of their ability within the law. They love their kids, they wives and work hard to keep us safe. They would never just shoot someone… in fact the ones I know have never drawn a gun on someone. They would rather avoid conflict than create it. Plus one said it is a lot of paperwork and who likes paperwork.

 

I have four kids (mentioned before) and they are all uniquely different. I am figuring out something finally. They are all wired differently and I need to adjust to their perspective if I am going to be used by God to help shape them into the people He has created them to be. I admit…. Most of the time I fail at this because I am concerned about my perspective not theirs.
I have done some poor perspectives when it comes to helping them grow, being a safe place for them to turn. It is a two way street but I always need to be the one looking at their perspective and determining the best communications possible to connect with them. Again.. I fail often here.. if you would ask them I would guess they would say fail more than not but it is perspective.

 

When someone sees me in the community, they assume I am working and bring up a work need or situation. However they wouldn’t think of being asked a question about their employment when they aren’t at work.. see the perspective changes how we respond to people. I admit again, times I fail at remembering their perspective and helping them learn mine.

 

As I mentioned before, I am in COS and our class is based on several books, bible books and writings. One of the objectives was to take strength finders assessment. This assessment helps you know your strengths with the hope you will focus to grow them more than you try to grow your weaknesses. The book (resources) believes it is better to grow your strengths and help others grow theirs as we align with others who have different strengths than we do to accomplish certain tasks. I felt this was a great way of looking at things but realize.. it is also perspective.

 

I am closing out this portion of the blog (which should be multiple posts but isn’t) with a thought.

How much better would our life be, our world be if we would take a deep breathe and look at it from others perspectives.. This might help us understand we all have needs, wants, opinions and perspectives. No one’s perspective is wrong to them, it is just that a perspective.

We can change the world by changing ourselves and looking to view things through others perspectives not assuming they all know ours….

 

 

 

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

I AM A BELIEVER! What about you?

I am a believer!

What do you believe?
Do you believe it will be ok?
Do you believe you will succeed in life?
Do you believe you can do great things?
Do you believe in yourself?
Do you believe God is creator?
Do you believe Jesus will save you?
Do you believe Jesus is preparing a place for you in heaven?

I am often filled with do you believe questions.. 

One Is usually, do I believe people will show up? Do I believe I am good enough? Do I believe I have what it takes to accomplish the task?

I assume you have your own set of “Do I believe” statements…. Maybe it would be good to take a minute to list them? That is totally up to you.

How much of the do I believes matter?

Don’t get me wrong but do they matter if we don’t do anything with the question..
We need to take action at some point to put it into practice, to begin working out the question into a statement… for example:

I believe it will be ok.
I believe I will succeed.
I believe I can do great things and be an impact person.
I believe in myself… not arrogantly but believe I have worth.
I believe God created all things
I believe Jesus saves me and prepares a place for me.

But there is a little gap between the question and the fact of belief. 

I truly know in my heart nobody makes it on belief alone… It takes time and work to work out one’s belief.

Here is a simple suggestion, surround yourself with people …

who will believe in you,…
who will keep you humble,…
who will encourage you,…
who will help you make a plan to accomplish your goals

I heard this is a recent sermon…. And it wrecked my world…

Believing in something is easy but having faith (living out that belief) isn’t easy.

Define the Team.. you have a role

This blog is number two in team… it is all about how we

teamDefine a team….

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift his companion. But wow to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up

The Team…. Have you ever been a part of a team, maybe in sports, academic or work related? If you have I assume some of the teams were good and others less than enjoyable, what causes some to succeed and others not?

I might be one to use crazy examples… but here goes:

Track and field is a team sport but individually driven.
Tennis is a team sport but mostly individually driven.
Gymnastics is a team sport but individually driven.
Swimming is a team sport but individually driven.

What is similar with these and other teams… it is both individual and team.. it takes a single person using their ability to perform for the team within their own discipline or event.

For example:

A person who swims might need to compete in a different event than normal in order to earn valuable team points while competing to win, or place well.

A track relay team has four runners who each run their race… but must hand off a baton to the next runner to compete…

Let’s use the track team as a launching point…..(primarily due to the fact I ran track and not the other sports)…

Four runners run their race… for example the four by hundred meter relay…

One runner starts the race runs their hundred and passes the baton to the next… and so on until the anchor leg runs and crosses the finish line.

If each runner doesn’t compete at their best the team loses.
If each runner doesn’t hand off or receive the baton well the team loses.
If one runner stops in the race the whole team loses…

What does this have to do with working as a team… or more specifically your team?

Simple… we all have a different important role.. one might be the starter and another might be the anchor (finisher) but they cant run the race effectively without the others doing their job.

The team has a lot of individuals who are important but not at the expense of the team.

You are a player who is on a team… maybe it is a school, work or different team.. maybe it is a family or bigger yet… you play on the team of people who make up the world..

We are all equipped to be team players but what sets the successful team players a part from the non successful ones is simple.. each player studies, knows and chooses to play their role to the best of their ability.. You must choose to play..not just play but play your role.

The wraps and stuff like that 8 of 8 series

 Part 8 of 8: The Wraps

We took a long, long journey through the detestable things we can do that God doesn’t like…. He hates them. Yeah hate is a strong word. A really really strong word but it is what God feels about the things I have been blogging about for a long time.

So, for a quick review here they are:

  1. Haughty eyes (arrogant eyes)
  2. a lying tongue (a tongue that lies)
  3. hands that shed innocent blood (hands that murder the innocent)
  4. a heart that devises wicked plans ( a heart that hatches evil plots)
  5. feet that runs toward evil (always stirring up trouble)
  6. a false witness (a mouth that lies under oath)
  7. one who sows discord among brothers (a troublemaker in the family)

 

I have had some time to think through this list of detestable things to God… and discovered something interesting…

The list above is presents the following issues to Christians

  1. They share a poor witness example of who Christ is to others.
  2. They will be major distractions for our own spiritual walk with Christ.
  3. They are issues we first contain in our hearts that eventually work their way into our day to day lives and actions..

 

I am not sure if this list and recent blogs post upset you, offend you or simply aren’t a big deal to you but for me they are a warning from the Bible for me to make sure I am not allowing Satan to tempt me to begin thinking, then harboring and eventually revealing these things in my life… if nothing more than it effects those around me but also puts distance between Jesus and I.

Please reread the blogs… and evaluate things on a personal level then make the time to communicate to Jesus about your weaknesses and your strengths in order to be forgiven and to continue growing as a Christ follower…

 

I am praying for us, to be more like Christ and less like the world.

Warning 6 of 8, Soap Opera own real life.

soap opera picThe Guiding Light, Days of Our Lives, and others. I assume some of you have no idea what those are or mean but to others it is a flash from the past and unfortunately still lingering on today. They were famous soap operas in the 1980s and 1990s. I never watched them (no really I never have) but my grandmother did and she would get wrapped up in this make believe world… the lies, the cheating, the romance etc. I begin to wonder if the modern day reality TV has replaced the old fashion Soaps?

I have watched a few of them… survivor for one. It is a reality game show but is it a reflection of our world? I am beginning to think so.. We watch the show thinking this is awesome… A player just got blind sides. A blind side is when someone is deceived or lied to and then gets voted out of the game. Blind sides are good to get people out of the game but are they really that good?

I am not sure about you but can assume you don’t like being lied to. I don’t like it all and it is my boiling point for sure. My tolerance for being lied to is zero.

God warns us in great detail to watch out for false witnesses who pour out lies. Why would he have such a huge focus on this?

Proverbs 6:19 “ a false witness who pours out lies.” This verse goes along with the warning series I have been blogging about. I know God cares for his people and warns us because He cares. So, what can we gain from this verse…

No one… I mean no one likes to be lied too. No one … I mean no one likes to be caught lying… No one I mean, No one really forgets when someone lies to us…

Here is a simple warning… If you don’t like being lied to, you shouldn’t lie to others. But in reality our world justifies lies and being a white lie… or lying to keep the person from being hurt or for protection…

I am all for taking care of people but I was taught from my mother that your lies will find you out. Eventually you will be held responsible for your actions… maybe not on this earth but as we move to eternity we will be held accountable.

Lets begin day by day, conversation by conversation, thought by thought to choose to heed God’s warning and not become a liar and watch out for those who look to deceive you…

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.

Discernment.. an interesting word

Discernment is a word we hear a lot .. You need to use good discernment while making that choice. Did you use good discernment during that blah blah blah… It made me think about it for a bit and then I blew it off.. “Hey, I am a busy person!”

Until last night, I was participating in my Adult small group and the lesson was from The Truth Project. The main teacher dude said look up Proverbs 5:2.. Yeah you guessed it…. discernment. It reads as follows: “Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you’ve learned.”

Which got me thinking, so I dictionary.com the word discernment and of course it says to act with discern or distinguish. I get so frustrated when they use a shorter version of the word to describe the word. That should be against the law.

But in the word distinguish it adds a great deal of depth to discernment. I am one who is naturally analytical, by that I mean I over think and process almost every decision or thought or action I make, it is a gift but also a real pain since I don’t have time to micro manage my thoughts all the time. In the word distinguish, it lends me to believe I have a part to play in the process of making a choice or in the situation I am facing. I can distinguish what would be the best, right or correct thing for me to do in the given situation.
I often think if the person who said that would have discerned the outcome, or distinguished what would occur, they might have avoided unnecessary trouble.

I wonder what our world would be like if more people who discern things over making excuses for things.
I wonder what our relationships would be like if we simply took the time to process how each step in the relationship will forever impact all of our relationships.
I wonder what our personal life would be like if we discerned our actions when no one is looking.
I wonder what our marriages would be like if we spent some extra time thinking about the relationship and other person prior to acting out our emotions.
I wonder what our churches would be like if we truly discerned what God is calling us to be and do. How would that shape our influence in the world.
I wonder what our teams would be like if we discerned, distinguished our roles on said team. There would be no I in team, it would be all about the team.

You get the point. I think we could use a prescription of discernment in our lives and relationships.

Lesson Learned… Don’t Forget them

“My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands (teachings) in your heart (and Mind).”
Proverbs 3:1

This is a biblical principle but also a worldly one not to miss…
I know some people rule out the Bible as a source of education but I would challenge the thought for a minute.

  1. How do we learn math? By repetition.
  2. How do we learn to drive? By repetition.
  3. How do we learn to walk? By repetition.
  4. How do we learn sports plays? By repetition.
  5. How do we learn most things? By repetition.

I know throwing me into an algebra class makes me shutter inside but I would freak out if the first day of first grade the teacher sent me to algebra. I hope you would too but if not you are an incredible math wiz.

Ok, back to never forgetting the lessons we learn…

God is instructing us through the greatest mind of all time Solomon, who also made mistakes but one thing he knew is to learn from your experiences. I would be wise to take this instructing into practice. We watch other people making simple mistakes and think to ourselves.. dude come on get with it… learn to not do that again.. but when we are dealing with problems or mistakes we tend to put our head down and keep looking down not thinking about learning or applying lessons to the situation.

Well this is a wake up call… Learn to learn and remember your lessons…. life lessons, math lessons, financing lessons and driving lessons but also remember to practice your people lessons like generosity, grace, giving and grounding to a set of beliefs.

I am confident if we apply Proverbs 3:1 into our lives we will be happier people who will continue to change lives, including our own.

God Bless and keep learning

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