Archive for July, 2009

1212912_38514992Business is good when the growth chart shows “up and to the right”.  There may be some decline at various places but over all the chart moves up and to the right.  Looking at such a chart, whether it be the stock market, profits, or even church growth, we get a sense of success and everyone feels good.

However, lately, I have been charting my life, my personal life.  I gotta say, it doesn’t look like the “up and to the right” success model.  I have found a lot more downs than I have ups.  My chart looked like the scribblings of a polygraph test.  I must admit, this was pretty discouraging.  I started to feel like a failure.  The chart doesn’t lie and that must be proof. Until…

I started charting some of the life charts of hero’s in the Bible.  I charted Joseph, Jacob, David, Peter and even Jesus.  Here is what I found out…none of their charts were up and to the right.  They are all different.  Just look at Joseph…Dads favorite (up), brother hated him and decided to kill him (way down), brothers didn’t kill him (up a little), instead sold him as a slave (down), became Potiphar’s trusted servant (up), falsely accused and put in prison (way down), became the head prisoner (up), interpreted a dream of the baker and cup bearer which came true (up), cup bearer forgot about Joseph (down), Pharaoh has dream and is interpreted by Joseph (up), Joseph elevated to second in command (way up), and finally he was reunited with his brothers and father (way up).  Joseph spent more time down than he did up.  However, God had a plan and it the process was part of the plan.  If you were to ask Joseph, if he could change anything of his past, I am sure he would say, NO.  Because it was worth it all.

God’s view of success is not “up and to the right” and neither should ours.  Be encouraged, you are in the process.  The one thing everyone had in common was the chart went WAY UP when Gods purpose was fulfilled.  God has a purpose, enjoy the process and your chart will sky-rocket when you have fulfilled Gods purpose.

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1107476_62109311During my college years, it was a requirement to take a PE class.  After looking over the many options, I settled on the exciting class of SCUBA.  What a great choice.  SCUBA diving was something I have never regretted.  I have had the chance to dive in a few places and my favorite was diving off the coast of Curacao.

During the course, we studied the dangers and the “how to respond” to strong undercurrents in the ocean.  Undercurrents are a strong force caused by the movement of water.  The only problem is that they are not seen from the surface.  There is strong movements happening beyond what anyone can visibly see.  The water appears normal and calm but below the surface, the water is moving at a very powerful pace.

As I read the story of Samuel anointing Saul king, I was reminded of the “undercurrent” that is taking place in our own lives.  God is moving, orchestrating and preparing us for the right moment.  He is causing things to happen and we are not aware of it.  All because He has a plan for us.  Let me give you a few observations from the story:

  1. Kish, Saul’s dad, looses a few donkeys and sends Saul and a servant to find the animals and bring them back.
  2. At the same time, the people of Israel are demanding Samuel to appoint them a king
  3. Saul and the servant begin their search and after looking in several places are unsuccessful.
  4. God instructs Samuel to give Israel the consequences of a king, but they still demand a king
  5. Saul wants to go home, but the servant has an idea to ask the “Seer”, the prophet Samuel, where the donkeys are.  Interesting note is that Saul had not heard of the “Seer” but the servant had.
  6. God instructs Samuel that he is sending a man and that is the man that will be king.
  7. Saul and the servant arrive in the town for the reason of asking about the donkeys.  They had no idea that God had a bigger plan and that He was already setting things up for Saul.
  8. Samuel, heading to eat, run into Saul and the servant.
  9. God confirms to Samuel that Saul is the one.

Saul was going about his business.  Normal day, normal journey.  Ready to head back home.  However, there was an undercurrent moving to bring together Samuel and Saul.  And God brought them together.  I don’t know what the future is, but I do know this, God is always moving and he has greater things for you and me.  The movement may not be able to be seen, but he is moving.  God, help me to trust you when I can’t see what you are doing.

I recently read an article by Sam Chand asking the question; Would you rather be successful or fulfilled?  Interesting question.  Which one would you like for your life?  If you answer honestly you would say, both.  We each desire both success and fulfillment.  Here is a brief rundown of the differences:

  1. Success is external, fulfillment is internal
  2. Success is measurable, fulfillment is hard to measure
  3. Success is temporal; fulfillment is eternal
  4. Success you work for; fulfillment you live for
  5. Success is taught; fulfillment is learned

Both are good but fulfillment is preferred over success.

1094467_21692603Life can be hard.  In my effort to follow God, I have made decisions that impacts several people.  More specifically, my wife and my 4 boys, Hunter, Holden, Hayden and Hudson.  My boys have been forced to leave friends, family members and sports teams because of my choices.  They have been forced to sit in a new classroom in the middle of the school year and be referred to as the “new kid”.  My wife has left behind all of her close friends.  Friends she spent many years growing close to.  She left a home that we built, a jacuzzi bathtub, a covered porch, and the soothing sounds of the water sprinkler watering our lawn.  All because of my choices.

These are only a few of the struggles I have been faced with.  However, as I share my story to others, something happens.  Others become excited about what God is doing.  Others become encouraged.  My story seems to excite others but for some reason I do not feel the same excitement.  I am engulfed with doubt, fear and uncertainty.  I am scared and I spend a lot of time asking God a lot of questions.  However, others are encouraged.

My beautiful wife made a simple observation:  Being in the middle is hard to see the beauty and handy work of God, however, others on the outside are encouraged and see the hand of God clearly.  As I think about it, it is true.  I am encouraged by those who are experiencing trials and overcoming them.  Everyone enjoys a story of how someone triumphed over adversity.  It encourages us all.  But what about the person in the story?  There was pain and difficulty that consumed them long before the victory.  I am sure that during those moments God felt so far away.  Yet, others see God and are encouraged.

Life is still hard for me.  I often wonder where God is.  But when I share my story, people are encouraged.  I guess perspective is everything.  He is with us, even when we can’t see it.  God, help me see what you are doing, even in the hard times.  Help me see your perspective.

Catch Me

Posted: July 6, 2009 in Lessons, Thoughts, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

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I just enjoyed a great weekend at my in laws for the 4th of July.  I really like hanging out and the beauty of Mt. Lamburn in Paonia, Colorado is incredible.  The 4th is a huge town celebration as the whole town comes together for Cherry Days.  Parade, food, old friends, and plenty of vendors.  Each of the boys got a chance to experience picking sweet cherries from the tree.  My youngest son, Hudson (2), learned how to spit the seeds out (very cute).   This was a great weekend.

The one thing that stands out in my mind is when I was playing with Hudson in the front yard.  I would stand him up on the porch and he would jump into my arms.  I noticed that when we first started he would not really jump.  He would lean and fall.  After a few times of leaning and falling, he took a risk by stepping off the porch for me to catch him.  After doing that a few times he started jumping off, expecting me to catch him.

As I think about that moment, I think about how we trust.  We all want to trust.  It is built within us to trust.  God created us that way.  Why?  Because it takes trust to follow God.  So, why is it so hard to trust?  Simply put, it is because of the hurt we have experienced when we trusted.

Have you ever extended an arm of compassion and that person took advantage of you and it hurt?  We all have.  Those painful experiences tend to cause us to put up our shield.  Hurt me once, shame on you.  Hurt me twice, shame on me.  We  become calloused and forget how to trust because we don’t want to get hurt again.  However, God created us to trust.  He created us to risk.

My son started with a little trust, by leaning off the porch.  Eventually he was sailing through the sky trusting that I was going to catch him.  He was having the time of his life.  So I encourage you…begin the process of trusting again.  Lean out a little.  Eventually you will be sailing through the sky, trusting again, having the time of your life.  God designed us to trust and when we do, it is amazing!

Just a side note, my son Hudson gained so much trust, he tried to jump off on to Hayden, my 5 year old.  Let’s just say Hudson had to start the trusting process all over again.