Posts Tagged ‘Life’

Give it away…

Posted: August 4, 2010 in Life
Tags: , , , , ,


I hear a lot of talk about giving our lives away. People have many causes and agendas that cry out for full commitment: giving of yourself selflessly for the sake of others. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I would say that I embrace this type of call.

I believe in living for something greater than yourself. Treating others the way you want to be treated. Nevertheless, it is easy to live life for ourselves.

But in the end…the question does have to be asked… “What did I do that mattered?” Tough question: one that I do not always want to ask myself. Much less, one I want to answer.

At times, life seems meaningful and I feel that I understand what it means to “give my life away.” Then, I hear a story. Not just any story, but a story of someone who truly gives away their life for the sake of someone else.

Just this last week, a young man by the name of Chad Arnold had gone into the final stages of liver disease. His life was coming to an end. Then, his brother Ryan decided to do something heroic. He decided to give 2/3 of his liver in order to save his brother’s life. The operation went well and was a success. Chad is in recovery and it appears his life has been saved.

However, Ryan…well, He is now in Heaven. He gave his life for his brother.

My heart is broken for the family. Moreover, I am crying out prayers from deep within for God to fill them with the peace and grace for this season that only He can bring.

At the same time, I am personally filled with some shame and conviction. I feel ashamed that I have ever acted as if I know what it means to give my life away. I am convicted that I too often choose my own comfort over the inconvenience of giving of myself.

Ryan, your life…your sacrifice is already affecting the lives of many. Your sacrifice is causing me to reassess my life, my choices and the time I have left on this earth.

Lord, be with Chad and the rest of the family.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13


Posted: July 20, 2010 in Life
Tags: , , , ,

Somewhere in the pursuit of something better, it feels like we lost something.

We have the ability to talk to just about anyone on the planet from the devices we hold in our hands. Through the internet, we are connected to more information than we could read in a lifetime. We can locate any point on the Earth by pressing the “Google” button.

We can microwave a meal in a matter of minutes; wash dishes by stacking them in a rack and closing a door; and sweep our homes by turning on the automatic vacuum cleaner.

Purchase an airline ticket and be in another location in a matter of hours instead of days. Take a picture and see it instantly instead of waiting for it to develop. Press a button and a new movie appears on our television, computer or cell phone screen.

Type some letters and instantly communicate to another person or group of people. Hear a new song you like and in a matter of minutes, download it for your listening pleasure. Talk to a speaker box and someone will hand you food through a drive thru window. Slide a card, punch in some numbers and money will magically appear.

 If we are sad, pop a pill and be happy for a while. If we can’t sleep, pop a pill and snooze the night away. Sleepy the next morning? Pop another pill and wake right up.

If we are lonely, try an online dating service. If we need more friends, start recruiting on FaceBook.

We are a society who has figured out instant gratification. We know how to press a button and get what we want. But do we really know what we want? And what is the price we have paid for our instant world we have created.

As much as I enjoy the convenience provided to us by modern technology, I still have to ask: In all of our advancement, could it be that we have left behind what is most important? Could it be that we have sold that which is priceless, to gain that which is convenient?

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26

Excuse me while you think about that…I have to go make a call, send a text, Google an address, update my blog, reprogram my phone, check my FaceBook, download a new song and program my DVR to record my favorite show…

See You on the Stage

Posted: July 14, 2010 in Life
Tags: , , , , , ,

Life is strange sometimes.  Just when you think you have it all figured out…the script changes. Like a play in which you have rehearsed your role but suddenly find that all of the other actors are improving: so you have to join in.  The show must go on. The unexpected takes place. Tragedy makes an unwelcome appearance on the stage of existence and the script has to be rewritten. New actors appear, sometimes uninvited, and you have to rewrite the dialogue in order to include them.

 Again…the show must go on.

You stop and ask…who’s directing this strange play?  Am I?  My friends?  My relatives?  My spouse? My Boss?

I keep making choices, so am I the director? But are my choices simply reactions to what the other actors are doing?  Am I following the right script? Who did these rewrites?  Wait…is it time to improv again? 

Then the scene changes, and more actors appear.  But the script they are using doesn’t sound like the one I was just in.  This feels like a different play all together. New director? Maybe. But who is it?  Who is controlling the action on the stage?  I thought I was, but I couldn’t be.  I would not write this.  But I must read my lines, play my part.  The show must go on.

The show sometimes makes me tired.  It feels that each scene requires a different role.  But I am just one actor. Sometimes all of the other actors behave as if they are the directors.  Could they be?  Could I be reading the script they wrote for me.  If so…it does not feel right.  But, my improvs and rewrites aren’t much better.

Oh wait…now I hear the voice.  It must be the director.  He just said, “Cut”.  Good time for a break. He’s motioning to me. I think He wants to talk to me.  Just a minute, the show will have to wait.  The director wants some time with me.  I’ll be right back.

Ok…how long was I gone? It felt like hours and just for a moment.  But, I am ready to get back on the stage.  The director assured me that He wrote the script and He is directing all of the action. There are many who are trying to rewrite what He wrote for me, but as long as I listen to His direction…the show will go on. He told me not to worry.  He has it under control.  Just do my best with the lines He has given and He’ll keep directing me into the next scene. Some scenes feel like a tragedy; some like a comedy. There is even some action, mystery and romance. But he weaves them all into the story He has written for my life.

He also said not to worry if the other actors seem to go off script, because they have their own.  Some of them are listening to the director and some are not.  What is important, He said, was that I love them, treat them well, and follow the script…or scripture He has given me.  Keep inviting them into the play I have written He told me. 

So, off I go into the next scene of life. So glad the Director has it all under control. Oh wait, I think He’s calling you.  Go ahead, listen to what He says; He wrote the script and makes it all make sense.

See you on the stage.

Love…So, Who’s Afraid?

Posted: June 23, 2010 in Life
Tags: , , , ,

Perfect love casts out fear… 

It is amazing to me how one simple phrase can carry such power and challenge me so much. 

Perfect love cast out fear…

If you asked me if I am a person who loves…I would say, “Yes”.

If you asked me if I love people, I would answer, “Absolutely”.

Of course I love people.  Of course I want the best for others. Of course I want to forgive and grant people a second chance. Of course I want to show kindness. Of course I want to show love through my actions and my words.

Then…why does love so often escape me in the moments I need it most?

Why when I should offer forgiveness do I find myself wanting to judge?

Why when I should offer compassion do I find myself callous and cold?

Why when I should offer understanding do I find myself being critical?

Maybe it’s because, if I’m honest with myself, often I am afraid.

Afraid of being too vulnerable; afraid of being hurt; afraid of giving someone love when they don’t deserve it. Afraid…If I truly surrender all and love unconditionally that I will somehow lose some of who I am.

Then there are those words… “Perfect Love cast out all fear”.  So what is perfect love? 

This phrase comes from a passage of scripture in the Bible which reads…

15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. 1 John 4:15-21 NASU

Maybe I struggle with showing love because in and of myself, love is not perfected.  Maybe perfect love can only exist when I surrender to the one who made love…the one who is love; the one who gave His life to prove love.

The more I understand God’s love for me the less fear I have in loving others.  He showed the way in giving His all for me…for you.  For this I love Him…and because of this…I am not afraid…and because I am not afraid…I can love.

Perfect love casts out all fear

Last week was a very busy week for me.  I had something scheduled every single day. It seemed like I had something scheduled every hour.

I went home for a brief moment to clean up, change clothes and prepare to return to the regularly scheduled programming of my busy life. As I went to leave, I realized I had misplaced my phone.  I began the frantic search to find it.  I looked everywhere. Under the couch. In the bedroom.  In the bathroom. On the stairs.  On the kitchen table.  I even looked in the refrigerator.  Hey…you never know!

At the heat of the search, my five year old son kept trying to talk to me.  “Daddy, I want to tell you something.”

He interrupted me numerous times.  He was following me from room to room.  Trying to talk to me, trying to get my attention.

However, his dad had more important things to do, had places to be, had people to see…his dad did not have time to talk.  Couldn’t he understand?

Then, after searching for my phone for almost thirty minutes, I gave up because I had to leave.

As I left, my son met me at the door and looked up at me with his big brown eyes and said, “Dad, I just wanted to tell you something… I found your phone…here.”


There are so many things I could say right here.  But I will just say this.  Do not let the busyness of life rob you of the importance of life.  Because, in our busyness it is possible to miss the fact that what we are searching for may be right in front of our face.

Stop the Noise!

Posted: May 17, 2010 in Life
Tags: , ,

The television.  The radio. The computer. The phone. The news. The neighbors. The kids. The boss. The co-workers. My own mind…  Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the noise of the world we live in?

I love music.  I enjoy movies.  I like sports.  I enjoy my kids. I love my wife. I like my job. I appreciate good conversation. I like to web surf. But sometimes…the continual flow of information and input takes what should be enjoyable and makes me want to scream, “Stop the Noise!!” 

However, on the other hand, it seems I have become addicted to the noise.  Always having my phone and checking e-mail, facebook, websites, blogs, etc.  If I’m not on the phone, I’m at my computer.  Then, to relax, I turn on the radio or TV.

I’m just wondering…what is my addiction?  Is it a need to be connected? Is it a need for more input?  Is it a need for information? Why do I desire the very noise I want to stop?!

There does seem to be a place in the depths of my heart that cries out for more than the noise.  There is a cry for something that will speak to the deepest place of my being.  I long for what will touch my desire for belonging, for purpose and for a connection with something or someone greater than myself.

In the midst of all of the noise, I guess what I really want is… to know God. I mean…to not just know about Him, but to truly know Him.

But, to know Him, I need to hear Him. I know He speaks.

And I know He speaks to us through His written Word.  So in my quest to hear from Him, I found this:

A wonderful passage in the book of 1 Kings, Chapter 19, verses 11-12.

11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

My addiction to noise can never take the place of the still small voice of the Lord.

Be still and know that I am God. Psalms 46:10

God, speak to me.  I am listening.

I Choose…

Posted: May 11, 2010 in Leadership, Life
Tags: , , , ,

I was thinking about yesterday.  Actually, I was thinking about many yesterdays. I have lived long enough to have built up quite a collection. 

There are many things stored in my yesterdays: Good memories; Bad memories; Painful memories; Joyful memories.  And within each memory, there are multiple emotions waiting to be relived: joy, sadness, anger, hope, anxiety, love, remorse, happiness.

Then I thought about tomorrow.  Tomorrow is powerful. Tomorrow simultaneously brings the hope of new beginnings and the dread of problems or the pain of bad situations that never seem to change.  Sometimes tomorrow looks promising; sometimes it worries me and fills my heart with dread.

When I look at yesterday, I often want to go back in time and fix things I messed up.  Or, go back and relive joyful moments I never want to forget. When I look at tomorrow, I want to leap ahead and see what is about to happen.  I want to see the future so I can prepare for the worst or make sure I don’t miss something good that is about to take place.

And when I am done reminiscing about yesterday and dreaming about tomorrow, I realize where I am. I am here. Not in yesterday. Not in tomorrow. But I am here…in the moment of today.  And it is then I begin to live. 

For while yesterday holds the power of memories gone by and tomorrow possesses the attraction of the unknown moments ahead, it is today which wins the contest for my attention. 

Yesterday you are powerful; you can hold me back or propel me forward. Tomorrow, you are strong with your ability to infuse me with hope or weigh me down with worry. But today, only in you can I actually live. 

So thank you yesterday for the memories. Thank you tomorrow for the promise of new beginnings.  But, I choose today, because only you are the gift from God that gives me the opportunity to live.

I have instructed you TODAY…so that your confidence may be in the Lord. Proverbs 22:19

I confess.  I am a collector.  You might even call me a hoarder.  What is it that I hoard you may ask. Well, there is one thing of which I just cannot get enough: words…quotes to be exact.

I love quotes.  I read them; I think about them; I collect them.

So please, allow me if you will to share a brief sample of my collection.  Enjoy!

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” Chinese Proverb.

Sometimes the result is not as important as the obedience.  Pastor R. L. Smith

It’s better to inch your way toward the right finish line than to finish first place in the wrong race. Steven Furtick

“No man ever listened himself out of a job.” -Calvin Coolidge

Prayer is a means of bringing us into conformity with God’s will, not a magic mantra that ensures God’s conformity to ours. (unknown)

“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” – Anon

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. -Thomas Jefferson

I won’t let worry about my future or regrets of my past rob me of present possibilities. Steven Furtick

Good things come to those who wait, but great things come to those who are proactive. (unknown)

Cowardice asks: Is it safe? Consensus asks: Is it popular? Character asks: Is it right? -Martin Luther King Jr

When we automatically assume the worse about people then we cannot effectively lead them! -Perry Noble

Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. Faulkner

Do not let what you can’t do, hinder what you can do. (unknown)

“The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.” John Maxwell

“Where there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present.” John Maxwell

A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader; a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves. (Unknown)

Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.  Albert Einstein

Good leadership is about developing a rhythm of life, not an equation.  Nancy Ortberg

Our ability to love is reflected in our capacity to forgive. ~ Nancy Ortberg

An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it. Jeff Mallett

People learn more from your admission of weaknesses than faking strengths. It builds hope that God could use them too.  RickWarren

God will purify our motives as we walk out our Godly ambitions.  Derek Levendusky

“True greatness, true leadership, is found in giving yourself in service to others, not in coaxing or inducing others to serve you. True service is never without cost” – J. Oswald Sanders

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Jesus Christ

Again, like I said, I am a collector. So, feel free to comment and leave some of your own.  I would love to add them to my collection.

I Just Needed One

Posted: April 28, 2010 in Life
Tags: , , ,

You may or may not be a football fan. You might care less about the latest NFL draft.  However, fan or not, it is difficult to ignore the Tim Tebow story.

Tebow was born on August 14, 1987 to missionary parents in the Philippines. While pregnant with him, his mother contracted a life-threatening infection.  The drugs used to save her caused him to be separated from the placenta while in the womb.  The Doctors expected a stillbirth and recommended an abortion to save her life.  She chose to go full term and Tim was born.

He flourished in High School football, even as a home-schooler.  He was allowed to play on a local public high school team (amid some controversy), in which he was selected the High School Player of the Year for the state of Florida: twice. 

He is best known as the College Quarterback for the Florida Gators, for which he was a Heisman winner and a part of two Championship winning teams.

Many football experts say he was one of the greatest college players to ever play the game.  But these same experts declare, “…he will never make it in the NFL, because he is not a pro-style QuarterBack…He has a bad throwing motion…he runs too much…”

When the Denver Broncos made a controversial decision to take him in the first round of the NFL draft, the critics were quick to voice their disapproval.

But there was something very powerful in Tebow’s response when a reporter reminded him of all of his critics; of how many people did not believe in him; of how many coaches did not embrace his style; of how many teams did not like him.

Tim’s answer was simple: “I don’t need all of the teams to like me, I just needed one”

What a powerful statement.

It’s easy in life to be obsessed with fitting in; always worried about what other people think of us.  But all we really need to worry about is what The One thinks about us. 

Matthew 6:34

34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Win or lose, I think Tim Tebow is going to be just fine.  God help us to quit worrying about what “they” think about us and just live for The One that matters most.

What do you do?

Posted: April 20, 2010 in Life
Tags: , , ,

So…what do you do? 

How many times have you heard this question?

It seems the question of choice when meeting new people or even connecting with an old acquaintance.  It seems to be the question by which many judge or measure the worth of a person.  How you answer that question gives a glimpse of who you are; how much you make; how you live; your place in this world.

But if what I do is my job; should that define who I am?

As a full time Minister I have been thinking about the question.  And I have been thinking about my answer. It has caused me to pause and re-evaluate my response.  So go ahead…ask me…ask me what I do.

Me…What do I do?

Primarily, I do three things: I follow, I love and I protect.

First, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. This is what I do; this is who I am.

Second, I am a husband – a lover of my wife. This is what I do; this is who I am.

Third, I am a father – a protector of my children. This is what I do; this is who I am.

And then, in my spare time…I am a Minister.  And I love what I do, because it is who I am.

So, let me ask you this question…

What do you do?