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IT is really amazing to think about the things you did to catch the eye of that special person.  I remember having a phone bill that had 4 digits.  I was not making enough money to buy groceries but I was in love and I did not want to go without talking to my special lady (and yes, this was before the internet and cell phones).

My son Hayden has found what he enjoys, Taekwondo.  He has already moved up 3 belts to an orange belt.  His excitement is contagious and Cindy and I get excited seeing him enjoy his new-found love.  Because of that, we have done odd jobs and even sacrificed a little to help keep our son participating in Taekwondo.  Why?  Because you will do things for the ones you love.

I am sure we can all think of times when we made some great sacrifices for others.  People that we loved.  Some knew of our sacrifices.  Others still have no idea what we did, but we continued to do things, because we love.

Thinking back, who has sacrificed for you?  Give them a call, write an email, drop a line on Facebook, or write a hand written letter and send it by snail mail and tell them THANK YOU. Let love motivate you.

It’s Been a While

Posted: February 17, 2011 in Thoughts, Uncategorized

OK, I must admit.  It looks like I fell of the edge of the earth.  It has been a while since I have blogged.  My wife recently started a blog and she has challenged me to get back into sharing my life.

Well, this past year has been a crazy one.  Trying to Discover what my life is all about is fulfilling at times and frustrating most of the time.  I am sure I will share some of those thought as time goes on but right now I wanted to take the leap and get back into blogging.

Hope I can say something you can use or inspire you to become active.  Whatever the case, the discovery is all part of life.

I recently moved into an apartment but have lived in a house with a front yard and a back yard for many years.  I took pride in what my lawn looked like.  I would mow, trim, fertilize and water with incredible discipline.  Because of the hard work, each year the family could enjoy the plush green grass that felt so soft and comfortable on our bare feet…well, at least the front yard was that way!  The back yard was a different story.

The backyard is the area no one sees.  It is hidden behind a fence, keeping the weeds and the yellow spots hidden from the “lawn gockers”.  The front yard got mowed twice a week, the back once a week and sometimes one every two weeks.  The back never received frequent watering and only received fertilizer when there was some left over from the front.  Why does the backyard need to look good?  No one sees it!!!

Unfortunately, many of us treat our character the same way.  We keep the visible well-groomed, watered and fertilized.  Besides that is what people see.  We take pride in maintaining the appearance of a very disciplined manicured life so that others can look and applaud.

However, character goes beyond the visible (or the front yard).  I know I have character defects that I don’t want others to see.  So, I hid them and work harder on the ones I want everyone to see.  Character is truly defined by how well you maintain the parts that no one sees.  Think about it, you can be a great employee in the office, but be a terrible husband or father; you can be a great husband but struggle with lust and pornography; you could be a great business person but be terrible with your personal finances.

Character development begins in the backyard.  It begins with the areas that no one sees.  Working on unseen character defects is hard and it takes time.  After all, these areas have been overlooked for so long and weeds take time to get rid of.  The good news is with a little discipline and attention the backyard will look great and so will our character.

What does your back yard look like?

risk blocksWhy is it so hard for people to share their struggles?  Even with our closest of friends we share 90% of our life but we hold back that last 10%.  Why?  Is the risk too large?  And, what makes it a risk?  What are we risking anyway?

The word “risk” means “exposure to the chance of injury or loss”.  If we share that last 10% of our lives with people we trust we do run the risk of being rejected.  There it is!!!!  Rejection, the single largest fear of the human race.  Ever since Adam and Eve hid from God we have been following that pattern.  Hiding.  Hiding our struggles because of the fear of rejection.

Several months ago, I witnessed what happens when you are willing to share that last 10%.  A pastor friend of mine did something many of us say that it will never happen to me.  He committed adultery.  He lost everything.  He had hidden that last 10% for so long and it had caught up to him.  He did what he vowed he would never do and everything collapsed like a house of playing cards.  For the next 3 years he and his wife went through the painful but healing process of working through that last 10%.  Today, he has a great marriage.  Even though he did a very bad thing, today he shares his story openly.  He shares how Gods grace and his wife’s forgiveness has not only restored his relationship with his wife and God but has launched it to levels he never thought possible.

As I listened to my friend and his wife share their story to a class full of young married, I witnessed something amazing.  Their authenticity gave others the permission to speak honestly.  The next several months his schedule booked up with people wanting to talk.  Couple after couple filed into his office, sharing their stories, sharing that last 10%.

God brings healing, however people need to see grace and authenticity lived out with skin on.  It begins with me being honest.  My honesty gives people permission to speak honestly and that is when healing begins.

depressionThrough the magic of social networking, I connected with a young lady from my youth group from the past.  Many years have passed and her life has changed.  She has 2 kids and her youngest (5 yrs old) has brain cancer and it is moving quickly throughout his body.  That is bad enough, but as we learn more about the situation, our friend, has had some drug problems and consequently her children are currently in foster care.  She is restricted to 4 hours a day with her child in the hospital, and that is only if she is lucky enough to find a ride to the hospital.

As I thought about her struggles,  I found myself trying to place myself in her shoes.  I have never had a drug problem, I have never had my kids taken away and I have never had a child experience a life threatening illness.  I had concluded that I could not relate to her experiences, OR COULD I?

Even though I have not experienced what she is experiencing, we have a lot more in common than I realized.  Even though my situation is different, it seems we are both asking the same questions.  Here are a few of the common questions:

  • God, Why?
  • God, Why me?
  • Do you really care?
  • Did I do something to deserve this?
  • What are you trying to teach me?
  • Why can’t you take care of this quickly?
  • What do I need to do?

Pain comes in a lot of different forms.  Pain produces questions.  It is something we all experience.  It is something we all can relate to.  You don’t have to be a drug addict to relate.  You just have to know that they are experiencing some pain in their life.  I am sure you can relate to that.

happy-face-istock-456In 1992 David Myers wrote the book, “The Pursuit of Happiness:  Who is Happy and Why?”.   His research was focused on what the key elements were that provided happiness.  It wasn’t long before the research displayed a very clear element that rose above the rest.  It wasn’t wealth, fame, good-looks, or achievement awards.  The one element that stood out as a clear proponent of happiness was Relationships, close ones!

We are created to be in relationships.  We are not created to be lone-rangers.  It is close relationships that contribute to the happiness of man kind.  Isolation deteriorates happiness.  Isolation tears down walls of purpose.  It is in isolation where the voice of the enemy becomes very loud and we find it difficult to hear other voices.  The enemy tells us we are worthless and our belief system is damaged.  Life becomes hard and we sink into a depression that feels impossible to climb out.

The good news is that our creator created us to experience close relationships.  It is the close relationships that help heal the hurts of the soul.  Face to face laughter, crying and sharing life experiences are vital to the pursuit of happiness.  We all need close friends.  2 Corinthians 5 tells us that ‘God has settled the relationship between us and Him and then called us to settle our relationships with each other.”  Relationships begin by taking a sincere interest in someone other than yourself, including God.

Close relationships don’t require money, fame or class prerequisites.  You don’t need a PhD or own the latest gadgets.  All you need is close friends and you will be on your way to happiness.

How is your relationship with God?  Isolated? Close?   How about with others?  Pursue happiness today.  Pursue a relationship with God and with others.

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.