… the thoughts from a life in the Son-shine State

Posts tagged ‘change’

Moments Like This

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It’s moments like this that reveal the truth that often, instead of giving ourselves to people, we give things to people.

This was the reaction of author Will Davis, Jr when being interviewed on the news the afternoon of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting a week ago.

I’ve been waiting to post this blog.

I didn’t want my reaction to be knee-jerk, or unsympathetic, or drowned out by the over-saturated media on this tragedy.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote.

It’s moments like this…

Here it is, the weekend before Christmas. The first thing on most people’s minds is me, me, me… parties, presents, pageants, punch… Hoping we get what we wanted, hoping they will be impressed by what we got them, and hoping we don’t gain too much weight from all the gorging that will take place… and hoping the credit card bill isn’t more than we can handle.

There are families that have abruptly had their focus changed (and that is not reserved only for those in Newtown, CT).

It’s moments like this…

There are gifts under the tree that won’t be opened early on December 25th by excited little children.

What saddens me is the reality that we think about the unopened gifts, and there are now mom’s and dad’s that could care less about those gifts.

All they want is one more hug, one more smile, one more, “I love you.”

It’s moments like this…

The stuff doesn’t matter.
The time spent working overtime, not to pay the bills, but just to get more stuff.

The relationships do matter.
The time spent sitting in the Lazyboy while our children are starved for attention. (I’m just as guilty as anyone.)

How much of ourselves to we give to others, versus how much stuff we give to others?
Do the gifts attempt to make up for the lack of relationship?

As I ran around outside with my 3-year-old daughter today, I had this overwhelming sense of investment. One thousand Christmas gifts could not touch the investment into her little heart today. Stuff can be replaced, repurchased, and re-gifted… but a life? Never.

It’s moments like this…

The ultimate gift? Jesus Christ.
Sent from a heavenly Father that loves us, and wants to invest in us.

Does He give us things? Yes.
But His ultimate, and overwhelmingly significant gift for us? Relationship.
Eternity with Him because of what His Gift, Jesus, did while on earth.

It’s moments like this that reveal the truth that often, instead of giving ourselves to people, we give things to people.

This holiday season let’s change that.

Steve

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Maybe now

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we’ll see some change.

There’s a lot of people on my Facebook news feed and my Twitter feed that are whining, complaining, and sharing their own thoughts on the fall of our nation due to the re-election of President Barack Obama.

They say things like, “There goes the nation as we know it!” Or, “Time to move out of the country!” Or even, “God is going to destroy this nation. Say goodbye to your religious freedoms as you know them!

As I read these comments, I can’t help but be a little cynical.

First of all, I’ve heard this before. It’s a classic over-reaction by anyone on the losing side.

Secondly, maybe that’s what needs to happen. Maybe losing our religious freedom is a good thing. It will certainly weed out the fakers.

Do I welcome persecution? Now way!

But, if I’m persecuted for my faith in Jesus Christ, I believe Jesus himself said I should consider it an honor. (Matt 5:11, 12)

In the meantime, pray for our president, look to how you can add value to people, and become part of the eternal solution.

It is well with my soul…

Steve

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Perception is reality…

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… sort of.

My three-year-old daughter is absolutely convinced that the fox from Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham is not, in fact a fox, but a pig. She is so convinced, that when she watches the cartoon version on DVD, she yells at the television, “No, it’s a pig!

Post-modernism says that perception is reality, what’s good for you is good for you and what’s good for me is good for me, and we can hold very different beliefs yet both be right. My truth may be different from your truth, but we can both have truth, even if those truths are contradictory.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NLT)

Truth is truth. Despite one’s perception of truth, it doesn’t change. You can think the fox is a pig all you want, but the fact of the matter is, it’s a fox.

You are either right or wrong in your perception of the information. Once presented with the truth, you can either accept it and change, or reject it and continue in a false reality.

Choose change (and I’m not talking about Obama’s perception of “change”).

McChurch: I Want It My Way.


Customize.
Pick and choose.
Mix and match.
Have it your way.
DIY.

These are all great options for your clothes, or your computer’s desktop, or your Subway sandwich.

The danger is we like this option so much that it starts to be expected in areas of our lives where it’s not necessarily a relevant option.

Marriage.
Friendship.
Health.
Money.
Faith.

These all have serious limitations when it comes to having things our way.

A major characteristic shared by those on the second list is this:
They don’t come easy.
In order to have these as a positive and effective part of our lives, we must work on, or for them.

And, part of the work involved is this:
All these elements require sacrifice, time, energy…
We have to learn how to change and grow.

When it comes to Church, we tend to treat it the same way we treat the drive-thru menu board — just give me what I want so I can be on my way.

To be continued…

What a Privilege!

So excited!
So honored!
So privileged!

Why?

Today begins a busy 4 days.
Will my days be long? Yes.
Will I be tired? Yes.
Will I not care about that? YES!

Why?

I have the privilege this week to once again teach a class at Pensacola Men’s Teen Challenge! This program is so awesome, and the leadership there are godly, passionate men and women of God that have such an incredible heart for helping men in need. (For those that don’t know about the Teen Challenge program, feel free to click the link a couple sentences back.)

The opportunity to teach the Word of God to these men is such an honor. The fact that what is taught can, and will have an eternal impact is beyond comprehension. For many of the men that will be sitting in that room this week, the lessons they learn will not only impact their lives, but will have an impact on the lives of many others that God allows them to share their testimonies with.

They all have testimonies of miraculous protection, or being delivered from deadly addictions, or abuse, or prison, or crime, or deep depression. They are walking miracles; and God will use them to speak of His wonders, of His grace, and of His ability to transform the life of someone that was destined to split hell wide open.

Their destinies have been rewritten by the Author of Life!and then He will let me teach them?! Whoa.

Super excited…

Steve

  • Do you know about Teen Challenge? How?
  • Has God delivered you from any life-destroying substances or lifestyles?
  • Do you share your testimony of God’s work in your life with others? Do you want to share it here?

Book Review: Reggie

Reggie: You Can’t Change Your Past, But You Can Change Your Future, by Reggie Dabbs (with John Driver), was not at all what I was expecting! Reggie takes you through his life with stories, flashbacks, and lessons he learned (which I did expect). The subtitle, You can’t change your past, but you can change your future, is the message that is driven home through this fascinating autobiography. What I was not expecting (but should have) was the emotional journey that Dabbs takes us on as he uses the experiences of his past to confront us with our past. He eloquently weaves a thread of confrontation and challenge, while offering hope and change.

Having seen Reggie Dabbs in person several times, I approached the book expecting a great autobiography through the art of storytelling; which would naturally read easy. What I didn’t anticipate was the moments I would be brought very near to tears, and the sense of hope that I would feel. I was forced to look at my life—past, present and future—and evaluate what I needed to change in order to be the man that God has called me to be. I found myself not wanting to put this book down! This was a great surprise, and would recommend it to anyone.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Times, They Are A-changin’

As the seasons turn from summer to autumn, I’ve been thinking on the seasons. (And all the different songs have been playing in my head… “With every season turn, turn, turn…”, “Seasons change, people change…”)

I grew up in southern New England, then went to college outside of Philly, lived in the mountains in Pennsylvania, and then Detroit. There are some similarities with all these locations – one of them is this: wind chill factor.

The weather in these places is all the same. Four full seasons; summers stay in the high 80’s most of the time, with occasional days in the 90’s, and maybe 1-3 days close to 100 (with humidity); a good amount of rain in the spring; beautiful foliage in autumn; and cold winters. Snow, wind, ice, snow, gray skies, wind, hail, black ice, wind, snow, below-zero temps, frozen pipes, snow and wind… did I mention wind and snow? The thing is, that’s all I know! I LOVE THE SNOW!!!

This year is different. No foliage, 340 days of sunshine, palm trees, hanging Christmas lights in 50 degrees (haven’t actually experienced that yet – I asked a native what Christmas was like), and… HEAT! The summer is packed with heat.

I spent my whole life factoring wind-chill. That was the only real weather factor – that howling in the winter that made 12 F feel like zero. A few months ago, I learned a new weather factor – “heat index”. This factor makes 96 F feel like 110 F. Now, there is humidity up north. But it’s not an every day reality. And there is wind-chill down south, but you only really notice it when you are walking the beach and the sun has already gone down.

Cha-cha-changes… There are seasons in life, and these seasons take place within the different chapters that are being written – like a sub-plot. For my family, a new chapter started when we left Detroit and moved to Pensacola, and while here in Pensacola, there will be different seasons that we experience (i.e. living with family for the first few months, then moving into an apartment, and then maybe we will have a house one day). The things that we were comfortable with, used to, and even really liked (like snow), may not be real factors in our lives any more.

This can also happen in ministry. As the autumn leaves fall (up north), maybe there are other things that are falling away. Will there be a new season with different kinds of life coming forth in the spring? Where I once measured “wind-chill”, will I instead be measuring “heat index”? I love the snow, and am very comfortable in the snow; but will I continue to live in the snow?

How about for you? Are there new seasons on the horizon? Is there something new that you sense God leading you into?

Turnin’ up the heat,

steve

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