Thursday, May 25, 2017

HAVE YOU EVER FOUND YOURSELF LOOKING FOR YOU?

I can't seem to find who I am; what I'm to be about.

I don't seem to be able to discover the real me.

It seems like such a struggle as I want to make a difference; but I don't seem to know who I am, what I'm to be about, nor where I am to go to find the real me.

Angst abides within the souls of very talented individuals.  We want to be more than we are only to live in daily perplexity.  I'm sympathetic for I was one.  We probe.  We push.  We withdraw.  We try, back away, and then take, yet, another shot at what we hope this time to be "it".  Yet, fulfillment seem to avoid us.  The desire, though, really is present.  For many, however, it seems that Silver Spoon and sign of the Moon just didn't hit our personal path.

There might be a solution.

The authentic you has a drive to make a difference.  You don't want to just go to work, go home, go to work, and go home again.  During your daily routine, you hunger to do one thing; make a meaningful difference.  You want your life to count.  This is your clue.  This IS what you want.  So mark this down; if you are going to make a difference a difference is going to be necessary within you.  Otherwise, you wouldn't be momentarily frustrated and empty, huh?

Jim Warner wrote in Aspirations of Greatness an important factor for all of us.  As you increase the light on and love for all of your soul, you'll find the abyss is really a treasure mine, and the rejected tailings are the nuggets of your greatness, simply waiting to be rediscovered, loved, and deployed joyfully in service to your world.  As you gain momentum, you'll find the abyss is really a treasure mine because your personal rejections are the nuggets of your greatness.

Okay, go ahead.  Tackle your world another way.  Avoid injury.  Rebuke conflict.  Ignore harsh reality as if it is the big waste of your time.  And, by the way, go ahead and be miserable and make all around you equally so.  Or....or we can embrace the abyss of problems to actually contain nuggets of great and profound treasure.

Rejection doesn't make us happy.  It makes us productive.  Disappointment will not feel very cheery.  Yet, within it is that treasure mine of which Warner promotes.  The reason we can't seem to find ourselves is that we keep looking for ourselves at the finish line when we have failed to suit up in the armor of being treated rudely and unfairly while in the race.  We want things to go our way.  And they are....especially when they aren't.

Don't believe me?  Did God bring hope to the world through a Tea in the afternoon?  Or wait, was it a  public execution upon a Cross?  Oh, yeah.  That's....how we find meaningful life.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

WHY THE CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT STRUGGLES...AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

Christianity is the pure dynamic to life.  Where it thrives, it...well...it thrives.  The very thread of Jesus impacting every level of humanity is astounding to this very day.  It is robust with joy, adventure, and confident hope.  And because this Life is so profound it is equally taken to task.  It is an endangered movement.  Sadly, the opposition is as strong within as it is outside of the believing camps.

Why would that be the case, you ask?  The answer is both tedious and simple.  It's as clear as the law kills and the Spirit gives life.  Christians claim to abide by the latter while assuming to avoid the former.  But this is just not true.  Believers tend to slip unconsciously into spiritual equations or fundamental stabilizers that trip up the grand and glorious thrill of the movement of the Living God among us.

Why is it so difficult for us to grasp that God is spirit and not systemic rules of order?  I offer my guestimation.  Living by the Spirit requires our flexibility.  To live by the rules allows us to control the check-list and thereby gain approval or non.  To live in the flexibility of God is to be ready to adjust, to reconsider, to....to....to change our minds.

Here's the threat.  While redirecting the minds of unbelievers toward God, we lock ours down with perpetual looking to the right and to the left to see if we are in sync--not with the Spirit, but--with fellow believers of our same systemic persuasion.  The result?  Christianity in its very mission is stuck when at its very core it is anticipated by the heavenlies to be the opposite.  Freedom always makes the jailers nervous.

Do you study to prove what you already believe or do you also dig to discover what else there is to believe?  We are to be about both.  Yet, in too many homes I fear the Bible has been shelved as a mere proof of texts rather than a revealer of awe.  The Spirit of God has eternal elasticity designed for our incredibly God-rebirthed (day by day by day) hearts.  The wonder of it all is like looking over the Grand Canyon times a bazillion only to toss in forty-five oceans.  This is what we are to experience....experience beyond knowing...Ephesians 3:19-21.

The Christian movement struggles when we participants learn something like twenty-five truths and set out to both promote and preserve them.  On the other hand, it explodes with fascination when we hold those twenty-five truths dear without being threatened to learn the next 500,000 truths which perfectly align or demand readjustment of the earlier truths we felt we had captured.

If we don't get a grip on the smothering of our children by presenting law-keeping as the goal, the foreign religions are going to have a harvest in the next two decades.  Loosen up and learn...of the Spirit of God...which will never fit into our tidy and uniformed religious proof-texts.





Tuesday, May 23, 2017

THE UNUSUAL THREAD BEHIND EXCITING SUCCESS STORIES

I can't verify that what I'm about discuss can be statistically supported.  Yet, there seems to be a strong thread among the many amazing stories which the world, indeed, loves to rehearse blow by struggling blow.  These are called Success Stories.

Here's my wonder about them.  It's the trying to estimate if they might actually just be true which cause them to be so very astonishing.  Are the noted Success Stories treasured because each arose from the ashes of interference, interruption, and even failure?  Is the reversal of the setting the thriller of it all?  Would the "just can't be" becoming the "actually did happen" the dynamic that draws each of us into the land of marvel and appreciation?  Of joy and elation?

I think so.

It's the story of Israel.  A quite small by comparison country attacked by bully circumstances and moguls, little Israel pulled off the upsets...time after time...due to the very intentional backing of God.  Young and unarmed David.  Gigantic opponent Goliath.  What.  A.  Success.  Story.

And then there's that event where one who claimed to be the original son from Heaven.  He tried and tried on occasion to assist the strugglers only to note his efforts denied by leaders in the community.  He cared about the underdogs and ministered to them with unusual strength.  Applauded?  No, they killed him.  The bigshots took him out...or so they assumed.

Appearing to be limp and dead, the Spirit awakened Jesus in that hollow tomb and the result?  The greatest Success Story man has beheld.  So it is with you...with me.  Our stories are not dying because deadening circumstances, or even words, present themselves.  Oh, no.  The plot is merely thickening for another Success Story is coming soon!

Success Stories are seldom formed from success stories.  No, they are created from what can't be...but did anyway...in even grander presentation.  Yay God!  Yay us who believe Him!

Your injury?  Your disappointment?  Your crushing moment?  These and others are the elements of the thickening of the plot for such are the materials---the raw materials---from which Success Stories are developed.  Hold on to your hat!  Wonder.  Is.  Taking.  Place.  Now.



Monday, May 22, 2017

Since you ARE going to raise your voice

Voices are heard throughout our day throughout our workplace throughout our world.  Everywhere we turn: voices and more voices.  Use yours.

Every caliber of personality has little trouble voicing his or her dislikes and disapproval.  Yet, when it comes to speaking out about the good and the wonder all around it seems that silence befalls a large percentage.

I cheer you on today.  If you know how to speak up in frustration, you can channel such courage into speaking up for the glory and the wonder and the sheer pleasure of people and all the good they do...and are.

Since you most likely ARE going to raise your voice today, how about speaking out about the great delight you find in those around you.  I guarantee you that you will make their day.

Reach the world...a cubicle away...across the hall...or at your table.  Reach the world with a message that every person needs to hear....how valued they are...in your heart.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

EIGHT (like in 8) SUNDAYS REMAINING

Eight Sundays from today will be the conclusion to my full-time ministry with the Memorial Drive family.  It won't be my last day to get to be a part of this place.  And, it won't be the final day of me serving others.  Yet, as far as being on staff and working with a most wonderful team day in and day out, that will be a wrap on July 16.

So....how would such feel?  It's packed with extremes.  I'm ready to rest.  A rather big question will be, however, who am I?  The entire format has holes awaiting for God to fill them.  In the meantime there is one more occasion to feel....confusingly lost?

So what's a man to do when he gets in his car and it's programmed to drive to 747 S. Memorial all by itself?  I believe that I will get used to the idea and I fully intend to really like it...a...lot.  It's the graduation exercises that have me buffaloed because, frankly, I've never been this old before.  Shocking, I know.

Eight weeks from today (seems like the length of blink and a sneeze) I will try to speak before my people.  I'm one of their men.  We've been a team for four decades.  I was never the boss.  I never had it in me.  My theme was for me to stay out of the way.  My new goal during the transition will be the same.  I must stay out of the way.

Therefore, how am I to approach the next eight weeks?  With enormous delight!  Who wouldn't have loved to get to preach at this place for one week?  And, I did for forty years!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

CLEAR THE MIND OF CLUTTER

Might we need to clean out the closet of our mind?  Every day is a time that we need to take a load to the dump.

Be anxious for nothing...Philippians 4:6

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things...Philippians 4:8

Be anxious for nothing.  Seriously?  How does one accomplish such a daily challenge?  The solution is given immediately two verses later.  It is found in the determination (our choice) of where we allow the mind to dwell.

I know of no one who doesn't have open wounds here and battle scars there.  No.  One.  Yet, the victors are not those who escape hardship.  No, the winners are the ones who determine where to let their minds roam.  The secret to success is not in the adventure nor in the opportunity.  The bottom line of inner peace is found in the very place we choose...we...choose...to do our harboring of thought.

The reason I pen such for you today is that I believe that wonderful, wonderful individuals have lost our wonder bit by bit.  Great people have been reduced to the ashes of constant and nagging aggravation; frustrated with others and/or with self.  We.  All.  Live.  There.  Yet, the Word calls us to "dwell"...set up camp and hold our ground...upon the things that are going right.  Truthfully, there are many power items to be counted!

Clear the mind of clutter.  Sweep it clean by focusing upon the many attributes of your day that others might even call miracles if they could experience them.  Be grateful.  Be aware.  Be glad.


Friday, May 19, 2017

FOR YOU MARVIN FANS

I ran out to see Marvin and Dot Phillips this morning.  Marvin has been on hospice for a bit (for quite awhile) and he seems to be getting stronger.  Really.

What an encouragement he and Dot are to me.  We've been close friends for over four decades.  While at their house this morning, we might have laughed some of the time.  Oh, it's just a thing we've been working on over the years.

What a great man and adorable woman!