Executing Your Plan

Change

Change.

Dear God, something needs to change.

Your measurables need to change – those places where you keep score with numbers or portions.

Your immeasurables need to change – those areas where nobody’s chaperoning you and you don’t get tickets or fired for blowing it – you just slowly die or spiritually starve by neglecting them.

Your relationships need to change – the ones you have taken for granted or the ones with open wounds.

Your focus needs to change – the bulls-eye of your pursuits, that somehow are chasing trivia and ignoring your most important dreams or vital values.

Something needs to change. [click to continue…]

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Marathon

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews12:1-2a, NET).

You are running, and the race is long. I pray that your eyes, your ears, your heart will be open to know just how many witnesses you have – how great a cloud of watchers, so aware of the race you are running.

Others near and far have been tripped up and fallen. I pray that you run free from the entanglements and weights – light-hearted, love-driven, and alert to distraction.

Underdogs and favorites all start well, but only one receives the prize. I pray that you will have the will of the marathoner, knowing the road is long but your will and power to endure is longer still. [click to continue…]

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Woman Sitting Down in Prayer Silhouette

If you ask God to do something and he doesn’t – or hasn’t yet – what’s your next move?

Assume the answer is a permanent “no”?

Ask again, but stop at that magical number of three?

Give up praying altogether because you’re disappointed? Maybe there’s another way. [click to continue…]

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You live in what feels like a constant state of tension. Even your “good stress” is, well, stress. You check the news at least each day to make sure you’re on top of the latest thing to worry about. Your time is stretched so thin that any interruption or change of plans sends you reeling emotionally.

Your credit cards are loaded to the max, and your life feels a lot like your email inbox – loaded with clutter, junk, and unfinished business – some of which is actually important.

Your best sleep comes after 2:00 in the morning. You avoid those medical checkups because you already know what they’re going to say. Unless, of course, you need to get that prescription refilled.

And then…

…then, somebody comes along, usually on a Sunday, and says…

“Let’s worship Jesus!”

And honestly, it just feels like another reason to feel anxious.

What if I were to tell you that if you’re harried and helpless, stressed out or fried emotionally, the Bible actually gets where you’re coming from? If I could show you a way to magnificently worship the Lord Jesus, even when you’re at the end of your rope, would you be interested?

This is an Offering for the Overworked, overstressed, overeating, over-fill-in-your-blank.

Ready? Here it is: [click to continue…]

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Garth Brooks

Count me in.  I now know what all the fuss is about.

Went to hear Garth Brooks in concert over the weekend in Birmingham, Alabama.  Definitely a step outside of my routine, but anybody with experience I talked to about the upcoming event told me, “It’s one of the best, if not THE best, concert experiences you will ever experience.”

Yeah, that.

Six of us took a road trip with center-section, row 9 seats.  Close enough to see the sweat and be covered when the confetti dropped.  And as-advertised, it was an extraordinary experience.  In part I felt like an outsider looking in because I didn’t know every word of every song like most of the crowd apparently did.  But on this night it didn’t matter. I was part of something bigger than myself, regardless of my lack of experience.  Garth and his team saw to that.

Now before you “Older Brother” types write me off and resume your search for friends in HIGH places, hang with me.  I’ve had some time to think about what we saw and heard that night. I’ve looked at it through several different lenses.  A leadership lens.  An organization lens. Even a Church World lens. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned that can speak to your world, too. [click to continue…]

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The Last Piece

Thi lad I kne – a rathe larg, joll sor – onc joke, “I don’ hav a proble wit diet. I star on ever Monda!”

Th jok, o cours, hint a th proble.

Sor o lik th ki wh joine m scou troo afte bein a membe o tw other an wantin t star ove, workin o th ran o Tenderfoo.

Wh?

H like startin.  Bu no pressin o o finishin. [click to continue…]

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Shoes on the Altar

Update:  You can see the video here:

Love where you live.

That’s the theme at our church for the next few weeks.

There are lots of planned ways to do that over the next few weeks, and it’s fun to be a part of that.  But the goal, as Pastor Alan explained yesterday, is to help us get to the point where we do it in the moment.  Don’t just plan to love where you live sometime next week.  Love where you live in this moment.

His inspiration, in part:  Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan.

Alan said he’d been reading that story over and over, and was impressed by the fact that the Samaritan loved his neighbor in the immediate.  He didn’t say, “Hey, if you’re still in the ditch when I come back through I’ll stop and help you.”  He helped him as soon as he encountered the need.

I loved it.  He said it kinda funny, so I laughed, but totally agreed with the point.

Then came the curve ball. [click to continue…]

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Camel 3

Know what day this is?

Isday.

Sorry if you’re stuck on Wasday, hollering “Mayday!” muttering about Humpday, or dreaming of Someday.

Today is Isday.

It may be a good idea to redirect your focus. [click to continue…]

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Dirt road in nature in Sri Lanka

This is about a Father with four sons…

A Sailor.

A Driver.

A Flyer.

A Walker.

The Father provided richly for each of his sons.  He gave them a home in which to flourish.  He provided resources upon which to build their futures.  He even saw to it that each was uniquely equipped and trained to succeed, according to his own natural bent.

Yet despite their obvious advantages, each son seemed convinced that there was more to life than living under the watchful, seemingly all-knowing gaze of his Father.  Each seemed determined to find fulfillment on his own terms.  And despite the obvious objections of the Father, each chose to go his own way. [click to continue…]

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Start your engines

It’s hard for Alex to force himself to go to work these days. The honeymoon there is way past over, and the only reason he shows up now is a paycheck.  He compares himself to others who have gone way too long without any job, and feels guilty for complaining.  But this work situation is starting to affect his health, his relationships, and his confidence.  He’s been looking, but no other possibilities have presented themselves.

What does Alex do? Does he endure or does he walk away?  Does he press on, or does he “step out in faith” in search of new opportunities?

Tyler and Jennifer have reached a similar decision, not about work, but about the church they attend.  The congregation has been hit hard with splits, neighborhood transition, and pastoral changes.  They have been a part of this fellowship since they married, and have faithfully served.  But they have moved to another neighborhood themselves, and it feels harder and harder to go back to what feels like a sinking ship.

What do they do? Is this a time to be “steadfast, immovable,” and all that? Or is it a time to “mount up with wings as eagles” and fly away?

(Yeah, you can make the Bible say just about anything you want it to in cases like this.)

These kinds of questions are common for any believer… [click to continue…]

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