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Archive for the ‘Motivational’ Category

Caught Between

On August 25th, the lives of all Texans were drastically effected by a devastating storm.  Hurricane Harvey produced more rainfall in Texas than the United States had seen in one storm in recorded history.  Of course the damage caused by the rainfall was not all the damage produced by Harvey.  It was a Category 4 hurricane at land fall.  The initial destruction was due to 130 mile per hour winds and storm surges reaching 8 to 9 feet (or higher in some areas).

While most were not directly impacted, this storm affected all Texans.  Life changed for everyone for at least a week or two.  Hearts were drawn to those who were directly impacted.  Generosity was plentiful.  Donations of needed items as well as time and labor were offered from all over the state.  Honestly, there was a sense of renewed hope in the kindness of humanity – actually making one proud to be a Texan.

Now here we sit – two months removed from Harvey’s winds.  Two months ago, many of us were scrambling to make preparations – boarding windows, purchasing supplies, trying to find gas stations that still had gas.  But today many are still trying to find hope and desire to move forward.

For the bulk of the state, life for most folks is back to normal.  Even here in Corpus Christi, most people have rejoined the daily mayhem that is “normal” life.  But so many other people here in the Coastal Bend are trying to decipher what normal will be moving forward.

The experts are telling us we are looking at a 2 to 3 year period of rebuilding before we can expect a new normal (others are saying it will take much longer).  So what do the people do who are caught in the middle what once was and what is not yet?  Where do they find hope?

sunrise-over-lake-and-mountains-13826409293GfI am reminded of David’s inspiring words in Psalm 121 – “my help comes from the Lord.”  When things look darkest, we can know that there is help – there is hope.  We need to remember that this world is temporary.  We are not citizens of this world but rather simply passing through.

So what do we do in this in-between time – this time between what once was and what is not yet?

We lift our eyes to the Father and trust.

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Tend the Fire

In all my years of sharing my thoughts and my heart here in this way, I have never gone as long between posts.  I began this ministry and personal pilgrimage in 2009 with a personal commitment to write at least three times per week – recording in this format a little piece of myself each time.  There have been dry spells in my pilgrimage over the past eight years but never have I stepped away from this discipline for this long.

On August 25th, my life and daily routine was altered.  When hurricane Harvey hit land on that evening, I did not realize the way it would affect the days to follow.  Please understand that my family and I, our church family and most of Corpus Christi were hardly affected physically by the storm.  But those just over the bridge were greatly impacted.  So I am not referring to any real damage that I have had to deal with personally but rather in how we have chosen to respond to the devastation our brothers and sisters to our north have been living through (and will continue to do so).  In the coming posts I will attempt to unpack the experience of the last month.

But for today, I feel compelled to share what God reminded me of this morning.  My reading this morning came from 2 Timothy 1.  In the beginning lines of Paul’s letter to his protege, he challenged Timothy with this:  “fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you.”

fanning-flames

The reminder coming from God this morning was this – as believers we have received God’s spirit and his calling on our lives but we are tasked with fanning what we have received into flame.  It is so easy to let the fire go out.

I am not suggesting that we can lose the Spirit or the calling but we can lose the passion and the intensity of living out this calling with our entire existence.  Life happens – storms come our way that move us off course and before we realize it, the flame has died down.  It is our responsibility to tend the flame.

Today – tend the fire, fan the flame and live into the calling God has placed on your life!

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What will this week hold for you?  Will you step up to opportunities to make the Father famous or will you shrink back into routine?

I have to admit, routine is comfortable.  In fact, as I look back at my life, I hate to say that far too many of my weeks have followed more closely to routine than to making God known.

But not this week.

Not TODAY!

I have the opportunity to shine for the Father this week as I journey along The Way.

So do you . . .Starting-Line

The starting gun has fired and the week has begun.  Are you still standing at the starting line?  Move forward into the world that needs hope and light.  Shine with God’s brilliance this week so that others will see him.

You can do this!

Father find me faithful in making you known to each and every person I meet this week.  May they see you in me!   Amen!

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I have to admit – sometimes my sense of humor does not match up with the rest of the general populace.  I often find humor in things others might not notice.

This morning I am traveling.  I am headed to Juarez, Mexico to help lead a conference for Juarez pastors and their wives for a few days.  As I sat at my gate to make my connection in the Houston Hobby Airport (I have spent some time here in the past – more on that here), I heard a voice come over the intercom and announce – Someone has left their flip phone at the security check point and you need to return to claim it.

The very first thought that went through my head was this – They didn’t forget it, they were just too embarrassed to pick it back up.

As I said, my sense of humor does not always match up.  If you still carry a flip phone, hold on – please don’t be offended.  I share this experience here to make a point.Flip Phone

There was a time in the not-so-distant past that the primary use of a cellular device was to make actual voice calls – remember, those interactions where we talked to a live person over the phone?

As technology has progressed at speeds that even Carl Sagan could not quantify, I fear there has been a cost that is now slowly coming into view.  The more “connected” we have become through messaging and email in our pockets, the less truly connected we have grown.

Now we can sit next to a person for hours and never acknowledge their existence.  We can quickly become consumed with all the things at our fingertips literally in the palm of our hands and forget that the world continues to turn and life continues to move forward all around us.

Perhaps the days of the flip phone should not be forgotten.  How about today, instead of an email or text, you actually call and talk to a person.  And while you have them on the phone, tell them what they actually mean to you!

Make the connection.

Be a blessing today!

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Last night, Kristi and I did something we don’t do very often. We attended a concert.

If you know me very well, you know that I love music – all kinds of music. While most of my listening is dedicated to Christian music, I also indulge occasionally in other genres. I grew up on 80’s Rock and there is still a part of me that enjoys a well-played guitar.

So several weeks ago, I did something impulsive – I bought tickets to the ZZ Top concert. While Kristi is not necessarily a rocker (more of a country girl), she agreed to go with me – what a trooper!

I have been to concerts performed by artists whose time in the spotlight had been lived out decades before and the experience was not pleasant – most of them should have moved on and not tried to live in the past (a lesson we could learn from but a post for another day).

Last night, I watched and listened as an aging Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, two of which still donned dark sunglasses and sported impressive beards, played the songs of my younger days.  I was impressed to the point of being amazed at how Tres Hombres still command the stage but do so with an awareness and ownership of who they are today.  They blended the older elements of their show (fuzzy guitars and sunglasses) with an authentic sound.  They did  not reproduce the sounds first recorded 40 years ago.  They played those old songs to be sure, but they did so with new twists and matured riffs.Sunglasses

As I sat and listened, I thought about how important it is to live out our passions.  But the danger in doing that is sometimes we want to live in the glory days of the past.  We remember a time when things were great and we want to live there.  However, what I have come to see time and time again is the “glory days” were not quite as glorious as we remember.

We need to own our passions and seek daily to live within them, doing the things God has gifted us to do for his glory.  Part of the living out of those passions is having the authenticity to accept the fact that as we mature, our passions mature as well.  We do not need to feel the need to try and relive the past but rather understand how are passions best fit the needs today.

God has created you on purpose for his purpose.  And that purpose is to serve him daily by using your gifts and passions to bring glory to him in ever changing ways.

Live into those passions with authenticity today!

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I recently was blessed to have lunch with a couple who are engaged to be married. In fact, their big day is coming up next month. As we visited, the question of how they met came up. It was interesting to watch their faces as they looked at each other with looks that communicated – “so how do we explain this one?”

The gentleman began by saying they met through an app – a dating service designed around a phone app. He explained the process this way: a person signs on with the service and builds a profile within their system describing themselves – their likes, dislikes and so on. Then the person gets to scroll through the profiles of the other people who have done the same.

When a person sees someone they might be interested in – the person simply swipes right with their finger. If there is no interest in the person one simply needs to swipe left, never to see the profile again.

On the other side of the relationship equation, the person has no idea someone else is interested in them. BUT, if they happen to swipe right on the person who has swiped right on them, both are notified that there is a match that has been found and at that point, they can choose to meet.

And that is how they met. A very interesting process if you ask me.

As I heard their story, my mind began racing thinking about how this process might relate to matching up with God. As I see it (and scripture suggests), we always have a choice. According to 2 Peter 3:9, God wants to have a relationship with each and every person on earth – he chooses us first. But we have a choice. When presented with the good news – God’s profile – we can either swipe left or swipe right.  God has already swiped right for us – we just need to do the same for a relationship to begin.

Which way have you swiped?Swipe Right

I think this concept has daily ramifications as well.  We choose daily regarding commitment to follow his lordship. Each day we can choose to swipe left and do our own thing or swipe right and follow him.

Today – – swipe right!

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We began a new sermon series yesterday – Called To Be Missional.  The idea is that as believers we are called to live our lives to please God – to know God and make him known.  We are part of something so much bigger than ourselves.  We are part of a movement that began with Jesus building his church over 2000 years ago – and this movement actually began with a relationship that stretches back to the very beginning.

There is more going on all around us than we can possibly comprehend.  God is at work all the time – but do we see his hand at work?  There are needs we pass by everyday but has the constant sight of those needs caused us to become numb?  Have we allowed the need around us to blend into the backdrop of our daily, busy lives and thus go unnoticed?

It can be overwhelming!  When we are sensitive to seeing needs and God’s movement around us, we can become overwhelmed to the point of paralysis.  But remember this:

You cannot do everything – – but you must do something.

God created you to meet a need that only you can meet.

What an amazing calling!

Live into that calling today!

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