Living Out Your Passion

What keeps you from living out your passions?  When you think of the things that excite you and the things about which you dream – what stands in the way of realizing those things?

There are any number of obstacles that can get in the way – some more formidable than others.  But for most people, I fear it is the wear and tear of the daily grind.  The To Do List is a great tool but sometimes it grows to be such a cloud of pressure that it obscures the goal.

Yesterday, I challenged our church family and myself to live out our passions daily.  Then this morning, I got to the office and all of the sudden I went into mechanical mode trying to check things off.  I looked at all the things that I have to get done today and gradually, the focus on living with passion and keeping the bigger picture in mind faded into the scenery like the Bedouin rug that hangs on my wall.

So how do we live out our passions in the midst of the daily routine?  Here are three suggestions to help you focus today:

  1. Define your passions – What are your big picture goals?  You need to define those things concisely because ultimately, they will define you.
  2. Write your goals down – Passions are what keep us going and the goals we set become the framework by which we work.  We write them down because we normally hit what aim for – and if you are aiming at nothing, unfortunately, you will probably hit it.
  3. Keep those goals in front of you – The key to hitting the target is monitoring trajectory.  Reviewing your goals regularly can ensure that you end up where you want.

God intends life to be full of meaning and fulfillment.  He has wired you live that way.  Don’t let the daily routine dilute your passion.

Be blessed today!

Begin With a Plan

If you could fast forward to bedtime tonight and then reflect back on the
day – what would make you glad that you were alive today?  What one thing remembered would give you peace to sleep comfortably through the night, thinking-about-a-questionknowing that you made a difference – that you really lived out God’s call on your day?

Think about that this morning.  Begin your day with the end in mind.

Dare to dream about what that might be.

And then go and do it!

Just Being Real

It is so difficult to be real these days.  Have you noticed how everything has become so political?  I am not talking about the politics we see on the nightly news or Twitter.  I’m referring to the daily activity of life.  With social media, we feel we have to be on our guard all the time – making sure we are keeping that perfect image.

When we are around people, we want them to think we have it all together.  We think we can’t let our guard down or show our weaknesses for fear that we will be overlooked or mistreated.  We have bought into the fear that if we don’t look out for ourselves, then the world will walk all over us.

I am not denying that there is substance to the fear of being mistreated.  But I would call into question the source of the fear.  I believe what drives the fear is that we have bought into the lie that what we see in the world is real – and even worse – that what we see is all there is to be seen.

Stopwoman-putting-on-a-happy-mask and think about this for a second, if you are concerned about presenting the perfect image, don’t you think everyone else is concerned about doing the same?  So if all you are seeing from others is their facade, then you have to agree that none of it is real – or at best, partially real.

Our hope must remain grounded on what we know to be real – God and his truth.  If our foundation is God and the truth that he has given us, then we begin to realize that it is acceptable to be authentic.  In fact, once we have tested the solid ground, we might even realize being real is what God intended all along.

How liberating it would be if everyone was genuine all the time!  Today, focus some of your effort on being real.  Start with being real with God.

Be blessed today!


Prized Possessions

What is your most prized possession?  For some it might be something received for a great achievement.  I am sure those who will receive a Grammy Award in a couple of weeks might say receiving a Grammy is the pinnacle of their career.

For others, it might be something inherited.  Many years ago, my grandmother passed away and one of the things I received was a small paring knife.  I remember watching my grandmother peel potatoes with that knife.  It sits in the drawer of my desk and I use it nearly daily as a letter opener.  I would count that knife as a prized possession.

Each and every one of us has prized possessions – those things we hold dear and would not want to lose.  And there is nothing wrong with having those things in our lives.  The key is remembering that it is fine to have those possessions as long as we don’t allow those possessions to have us.

At the heart of our relationship with God is a healthy understanding of who God is in relation to who we are.  When we give greater importance to things in our lives than we do to God, then what we are really doing is making our own desires for significance and standing more important than God.

It happens subtly and slowly.  Over time, our attitude toward things and acquiring mogripping-a-ropere things, breeds within us a sense of independence and a false sense of security.  Our grip on things becomes so tight we can’t even imagine life any other way.  But the terrifying reality is the grip those things begin to have on us.

We need to remember that our hope is misplaced when it is placed in anything but God and his grace.  When we remember this, we experience sincere liberty and freedom in knowing only God matters.  Our most prized possession becomes our relationship with the everlasting creator.

So today, remember who holds all in his hands and place your trust fully in him!

Be blessed!

Recently, Kristi and I had the blessing of some time away in Costa Rica.  It is a beautiful country filled with wonderful people.  The countryside where we stayed was mountainous and the roads were passable but only barely in places.  But for the locals, the roads were no big thing – just a part of everyday life.

What grabbed my attention was the number of people riding bicycles.  As I watched these brave souls going up and down and around, I was impressed by the way they had to attack the hills.  Had I been on a bike, I most likely would have had to dismount and walk up the hill, dragging the bike with me.  But they were trained through experience to make it up the steep inclines.

bicycle-hill-climbOf course, when there are ups there have to be downs.  And so it was fun to watch these bikers reach the top and then get to coast.  The only thing they had to worry about then was getting up to speeds that would cause them to lose control.

As I have pondered those scenes, I have thought about the ups and downs of life.  There are always those times in our lives when we have to pedal hard to make the next hill – the next struggle.  There often is little training for such obstacles – it is conditioning on the go.

And throughout life, there are those times when things are good and we can let up a little and coast.  A little coasting is good.  We need to rest and regroup.  But if we get too comfortable, we lose the desire to attack the next obstacle.  It gets easier to simply exist and not try.  Comfort, and the desire for comfort, can overcome us.  Kahlil Gibran, in his little novel, The Prophet, says this about comfort:

have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host, and then a master?  Ay, and it becomes a tamer, and with hook and scourge makes puppets of your larger desires.  . . . Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning in the funeral.

When we allow ourselves to coast too much, we lose the drive to keep going.  So today, I challenge each of us to attack that next hill.  There will be time to rest on the other side.

Don’t quit.  Don’t give up.


Have you ever noticed how people’s true colors come out when faced with challenges and changed plans?

This morning, I got up early to head to the airport to catch the first flight out to Dallas in order to be at a meeting.  We boarded the plane and got settled, only to find out that the plane had mechanical difficulties.  After 30 minutes or so, we were asked to exit the plane and we would be scheduled for another flight.

It took seconds for the line to build through the gate area as people waited to see the gate agent in order to be rebooked on another flight.  All of the sudden, all the moderately mild-mannered passengers became frustrated children – cutting in line, complaining and throwing tantrums.

Now I have to admit – I was frustrated.  Why the plane sat all night at the gate but now at 6:30 am, it is just now discovered that major mechanical difficulties must ground the plane seems a mystery to me.  But none the less, the alternative of going ahead with the flight with a plane with mechanical problems would not be a good option.

So the plans for each passenger were altered and some reacted more childishly than others.  As I stood in line, feeling my frustration rise – less and less with the inconvenience but more and more with the people acting silly – I realized, this would be an opportunity to show Jesus.

When you are faced with challenges – most likely today – remember that it is in the midst of a storm that our true colors show.  And don’t think for a second that others will not take notice.

Show the world Jesus today!

The Eternal Now

This past Sunday, we began a new series to help us think about how we should engage our faith in 2017.  The first sermon in this new series dealt with time – how God sees it and how we should use it.  Time is our most precious commodity because it is non-renewable.  Once time is gone, it is gone – we can’t get it back.


In developing my thoughts for the sermon, I kept coming back to the importance of living in the moment – being present.  What I have come to believe over my more than a couple of years on this planet is that what matters most is right now.

The past is gone – it is the past.  We can remember it, we can learn from it, we can celebrate it and sometimes we may even mourn it.  But we cannot live in it.

The future is not yet and we cannot live there either.  We can hope for it and we can even plan for it but it is still the coming but not yet.  In fact, the future is not guaranteed.

The only thing we really have is right now.

This moment – – this breath.

Another thing I have come to believe is that each and every moment has eternal significance.  And given the significance of each moment, I look at the present as the eternal now.

Paul Tillich, a theologian of major intellect and importance, used the term eternal now to describe a characteristic of God.  But I am using these words in a different way.  The eternal now is what you have in this second as you read these words.  Are you fully present in this eternal now?

A form of the questions I challenged our church family with on Sunday are the questions I leave with you today:

  1.  What should you do with your eternal now?
  2.  What WILL you do with your eternal now?