Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring: The Great Escape

On a recent visit to the zoo I got the chance to see these African Wild dogs venture outside for their very first time. It was amazing to see their reaction to such simple things:

1.Papa teaching the young pups on how to tug on a Christmas tree and one of the pups coming away with barely a tree stem as he stumbles backward a few feet. He's not quite big and strong enough as pop's, yet!

2. Two of the ten pups chased each other around and then, ooops, one did a tumbling summer sault down the hill.

3. Another pup found his enjoyment of just circling around with a giant leaf in his mouth.

Ahh,the joys of new life and the newness of spring.

While soaking in these incredible sights and viewing these dogs passion for adventure within the realm of nature, my fondness for the newness of spring reached immacculate heights. I believe that's what happens when we endure the long hard winters in the midwest, east coast, the northern states, and this year even in the south. Our passion and yearning for spring increases as the months of cold winter drags on and actually brings us down.

These African Wild dogs can teach us a great lesson as we embark on spring. Enjoy every simple thing that spring has to offer:

the sight of a robin

the singing of all the birds in the early morning

the first visual signs of the flowers poking its way through the dirt

the first days of warm weather

a flowing brook as it galantly springs its way through the melting snow

the buds on trees making its first appearance

the whistling of a cardinal or the tapping of a woodpecker

May all of God's creation and beauty invigorate you this spring!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Growing Up is Hard To Do

"Rules minus relationship equals rebellion"- Josh McDowell

For some of us it takes a really long time before we actually grow up. And one of the biggest obstacles we need to hurdle before we can grow up is our selfishness.

If any of you follow March Madness then you may be familiar with the Fab Five,the nickname given to the 1991-1994 Michigan basketball team. A recent documentary of this team revealed one player's dislike for another school and one of it's star players. Jalen Rose of the Fab Five explains his frustration of growing up as a poor black child in the inner city. Jalen's father,who left his mother prior to Jalen's birth,became a successful NBA player but never had a relationship with his son.

As a college freshman at Michigan Jalen says he despised the players at Duke University and one player in particular,Grant Hill. Even though Hill is of the same race, Jalen envied him for what he had growing up. Grant Hill is the son of Calvin Hill who was an all-pro football player for the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970's. Grant grew up in a strong, religious, close-knit family and lived in a wealthy community.

Jalen admits, "I hated Grant Hill for a long time. He had what I should have had. That should have been me."

Jalen Rose felt that he too had a successful father who made it to the pro's and so his life should have been the same as Grant Hill's, but it wasn't. He also goes on to explain during interviews this past week that it has taken him a long time to grow up and realize that he didn't really hate Grant Hill, he only envied what Grant had, which was a relationship with his father.

One day last week my mind began to wander back to the past and everything I had been through and where God has taken me to; which is to a higher level.

Today I feel different. I feel more powerful and less fearful of anything and everything than what I was 2 or 3 years ago. That's what happens in relationships when you finally decide to grow up and put away the selfishness and pride.

Every relationship that we are a part of within our lives is unique.


And they all play a significant part of our life. But no relationship will work without putting some kind of effort into it and our willingness to want to grow within that relationship.

It is always good to take time out and reflect on where you were 2 or 3 years ago and compare it to where you are now in your relationship with Christ.

So go ahead and ask yourself:

Do I feel more stronger than I did two years ago?

Has my faith reached the point to where it is unshakable?

Does God's Word make me stand firm?

Have I surpassed the believing in God stage and reached the trusting in God stage?

Do I love Christ more? And even more than life itself?

If you find yourself lacking in any of these it doesn't necessarily mean your not growing up. It just means you need to put more into your relationship with God in order for it to grow. And when you do that you will find: an incredible strength and peace, a peace within the trials of life, and you will realize how great God's love is compared to anything this world has to offer.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


In the past 2 weeks the initials CBA,which stand for Collective Bargaining Agreement, has been in the news. One concerning the upcoming football season and the other for the union issues in Wisconsin. But this past Friday morning I got to participate in another far more important CBA,one I'd like to call a Collective Believing Agreement .

As I was driving in my car to work Friday morning at the usual and sometimes dreaded 5:30 am, I had already heard of the devastating news in Japan. As I searched through the radio channels for more info I reached a station called K-Love (Christian music station)where they were speaking to someone from Hawaii and you could hear the tsunami warning sirens blaring in the background. This tsunami was traveling at the speed of 500 mph(as fast as a jetliner) and was due to hit the islands of Hawaii at around 7 am.

As the DJ's asked for people to pray, a handful of folks from about 8 different states suddenly began to email,twitter or Facebook the station saying they would oblige. I decided to join in on the prayer chain and prayed while I was working in the office at 6am.

The tsunami hit the first Hawaiian island at 7:10 am and preceded to the other islands. So what happened? The waves that hit the first island only reached about 7 feet tall, much less than what was anticipated and far lesser than the over 30 foot waves that hit Japan. The waves hit the other islands at around three feet. When I had heard that Hawaii dodged a huge bullet with minimal damage, all I could think about was all those who stood together in faith and prayed.
A Collective Believing Agreement succeeded.

For where two or more are gathered in My name, I am there in the midst of them.
(Mathew 18:20)

And for the country of Japan may we all,

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;
(Colossians 4:2)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Stinkin' Thinkin'

The one thing these 2 pictures have in common is both animals appear to be thinking.
And besides being of 2 different species of animal,the other noticeable difference you see is that the lion appears to be thinking in peace, where as the gorilla looks like he is hard at work thinking.

During my years as a Youth Pastor the one quote I probably used the most on the teens was, "Thinking can be dangerous to your health." What I realized was that kids spend a lot of time thinking in terms of: what if? or what the heck is going on? . Now don't get me wrong,thinking can be a good thing if it is done for the right reasons. But when our thinking turns into worrying then we have a problem. Sometimes we fall into that trap of trying to figure out what God is doing with our life or we just begin to question our life's worth and purpose.

Winston Churchill once suggested we should:

"Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning."

In the flesh it is within our nature to try to figure things out and that's just the way we were made. But if we can get beyond that and get ourselves into the spiritual realm of thinking we'll find that we don't even have to figure anything out, it is already done for us. And that is the whole point of trusting in God and not just believing in God. He is the Master Architect who shapes us and molds us into something special. But we have to allow Him to do that with our lives.

I like what Walt Disney once said when putting into creation the amusement park rides at one of his parks:

"Whenever I go on a ride, I'm always thinking of what's wrong with the ride and how it can be improved."

This is exactly how we think when things aren't going right, "How can I improve this roller coaster ride of life that I am on?"

The only sure-fire way I know how to improve that ride in the game of life:

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your ways to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass. (Psalms 37:3-5)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rise and Shine

It's 5:30 am, your alarm clock rings, you hit the snooze button for ten minutes more, or you simply shut off the alarm and choose to sleep an extra few minutes. But if you do the latter, like I sometimes do, you really aren't getting any extra sleep because you are subconsciously looking at that clock every minute. So what we are really doing is just prolonging the idea of actually rising up to begin our day. This is one of about 35,000 decisions the average adult will make in one day. Most of them are really simple ones too,such as: choosing which clothes to wear, what to eat for breakfast, which route to drive to work, do I want coffee or tea. The decisions are endless. But it is the choices at the very beginning of the day that can affect your entire attitude for that day.

If you carry with you a relationship with the Almighty God then some of the more important choices you make and even the simple ones should be easy.

If you wake up to a day you are not looking forward to for whatever reason,the easy choice would be to declare:

This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.
(Psalm 118:24)

Now if you know you have a day in front of you that you do not want to confront for whatever the situation may be, choose to remember:

For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2Cor.5:7)

And if you begin your day by reading a devotion or simply reading a scripture of passage, you should obviously choose to apply that Word to your day:

But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;
for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
(James 1:22-24)

The choices we make in a day are numerous, but if the right choices are being made to start that day,the possibilities are endless.