Simplicity

It is the nature of a roaring fire to eventually consume the fuel and exhaust the energy produced by the process.

So the fire recedes.

The heat subsides.

And unless the fire is rekindled, it eventually dies.

To rekindle is to throw smaller, simpler fuel – the easy-to-ignite stuff – onto an already existing fire. It is to blow new air onto the embers. [click to continue…]

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Carrying Weight 2

Chances are, you have no idea.

A couple of weeks ago we were packing for a week at Disney.

No, professional movers or U-Haul were not involved.

Anyway, when Robin got everything loaded into three suitcases that a near-grown human could fit into, she asked me to weigh the luggage to make sure she had thought of everything.

Um, I mean, to make sure it fit within airline regulations.

We have this handy little scale that picks up the suitcase by the handle and lets you know what you’re asking those baggage handlers to tote ‘n’ hurl. I picked up the first.

“Forty pounds,” says I.

“See what that feels like?” says my ever-wise wife. “That’s what you’re no longer carrying around.”

I should point out here that in the last five months I’ve lost about that much weight. And that little luggage exercise was enlightening.

I picked it up again, holding the scale and entire weight of the suitcase in one hand. That was what I had been carrying around, day-in, day-out, but had now shed. Needless to say, it made an impression.

I was impressed how ordinary and normal my extra “baggage” was. How easy it was to justify myself, despite the fact that 20 years ago I weighed about 60 pounds less. And how much I was presuming upon my created-by-God body to do in overtime.

I just didn’t realize how much weight I was carrying. [click to continue…]

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Complex Problem

The world is full of complex, overwhelming problems.

It’s also full of all sizes and shapes of problem solvers. [click to continue…]

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Lean 2

A few years ago Mike Ashcraft came up with a revolutionary idea.  In considering what we all intuitively know – that New Year’s resolutions are inherently powerless to produce real life change – Mike proposed capturing the essence of the person we want to become, or what we most want God to do for us in one simple word.

“My One Word,” he called it.

The idea caught fire, and his web site, myoneword.org, became a gathering place for people all over the world to share their core essential idea for that particular year.

I arrived late to that party when a LifeVesting reader pointed me to the site a couple of years ago.  I was captivated by the idea, and landed on the word, Finish! as my word for that year.

I revisited the idea when I wrote this post about things to do before the end of the year.  I learned in the process that Mike, along with Rachel Olsen, has since written a book that is now available to guide you through the process.

In prayerfully considering what my one word could and should be for this year, I began searching for the themes the Lord seems to have been playing out in my life recently – what I call the Descants of the Soul.  Those themes have a way of ebbing and flowing.  And it didn’t take me long at all to land on what my one word should be… [click to continue…]

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What do you do when you come to the edge of something you want but can’t get there?  How do you handle it when you have a clear sense of who you want to be, what you want to be able to do, or what you want to have… but only come away frustrated and defeated?  What do you do when you want so badly to push past your limitations and weaknesses, but can’t ever seem to find a way?

You do the one thing you actually can do.  And if you’re like most people, you probably won’t, because it sounds so simple.

Check out this snippet of conversation: [click to continue…]

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As long as people have searched for direction, worshipped their Creator, and looked for language to express their passion and warmth, we have returned again and again to stand by the fire.

The fire was an agent of God’s guidance and an ongoing expression of worship in the days of the tabernacle.  And we kept returning to stand by the fire.

A refiner and cleansing agent of the hearts of men, the fire was a symbol of God’s hatred for sin and an affirmation for the prophets who spoke His truth.  And again and again, we kept returning to stand by the fire.

The fire was a weapon of God’s voice, a light in the darkness, and an expression of hospitality and welcome. And from the dark places and lonely spaces, still we kept coming to stand by the fire.

The fire revealed a passion for God’s word in our bones, the baptism of the believer, the instrument of God’s testing, and the piercing gaze of the risen Christ.  And out of desperation or terror, love or longing, still we kept coming to stand by the fire.

And even today the Spirit and Bride invite you to come.  To be warmed and convicted and cleansed and restored and pure as you stand by the fire. [click to continue…]

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WinnieWinnie the Pooh died last week.

Not the “chubby little cub all stuffed with fluff” – lest I start a bad rumor.

This Winnie was a member of our household for the last sixteen years. The shih tzu has offspring scattered from Georgia to West Texas. She lived in seven different houses and outlived two hamsters, three cats, and two other dogs. What times she wasn’t a yapping fool, she was a good dog. And we’d been anticipating that she didn’t have long to live… for the last three years or so.

In our family two beliefs have always converged. Belief #1: Pets are good things. They teach us a lot about unconditional love, trust, and care. Plus, they’re (usually) a lot of fun.

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