Nov 12

Thursday Morning Thoughts Week Four: Living for the Applause of One

One of my heroes from afar is Mother Teresa.  She was amazing!  She also wrote one of my favorite poems that ties into the point from last night’s Bibles study about living for the applause of one.  I believe it is called, “Anyway”.

 

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;

…Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;

…Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;

…Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;

…Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;

…Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;

…Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;

…Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;

…Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;

It was never between you and them anyway.

 

Living for the applause of God alone and doing what is right regardless of what other people think is foundational to staying on point and finishing well when living a life of faith and purpose.  The influence of social media in today’s culture has caused us to be constantly bombarded with the temptation to live for the approval or applause of others.  The number of likes we get or the comments people make on one of our posts can send us on a rollercoaster of emotion that can be sickening.  While I have a lot of room to grow in this area, I have found that learning to live for the applause of God alone is liberating. As we discussed last night we are not living in such a way as to earn God’s acceptance.  When you surrendered your life to Christ you were accepted and loved right where you were.  It is because we are accepted, because we are deeply loved that we want to live in such a way as to honor him.  In our study last night we saw that Daniel lived this way and he finished his race of life strong.  That does not mean it was always easy.  God’s favor was on him but there were times when he found himself to be the target of other people’s envy and jealousy.  Remember that the verse we closed with last night said that no weapon formed against you would prosper.  It did not say that there would be no weapon formed against you—because there will be.  Doing the right thing and living the life of faith will not always be popular and being unfairly attacked should not come as a surprise.  It happened to Daniel.  It happened to many others in the Bible.  But the weapon formed against them did not prosper and neither will it prosper against you.  Trust the God who shut the mouths of the lions and live to honor him.  Here is the verse for memorizing should you choose to do so.  See you next week as we look at the story of Esther.

image

 

Nov 05

Rock Slide in the Grand Canyon: Peace Even in the Midst of Chaos

Surviving the Slide

It was a beautiful clear morning in July giving no hint at all at what was to come.  A small group of my high school students plus a couple of us leaders got an early start as we headed down Bright Angel trail in the Grand Canyon.  Our destination was Indian Gardens where we planned to look out over the Colorado River and then hike back up.  The trek down was uneventful.  The trek back up ended up being the one and only time in my life thus far where I thought I might die—and not because of the strenuous climb.  Out of nowhere came a monster storm that soaked us to the bone and bruised us with an onslaught of hail.  Visibility became so restricted that although we were right in the middle of the Grand Canyon we could no longer see it.  Everything was white as hail poured down.  Suddenly two of our guys who were ahead of the group ran back toward us from around a switchback, grabbed us, yelled “Rockslide!” and unknowingly pinned us into a thorn bush in a small ditch on the side of the cliff.  (It is amazing how you do not feel thorns when you are terrified of falling rocks!)  Next there came a roar that I will never forget, it sounded like a freight train.  We could hear the slide but we could not see it.  Steve, one of the students, yelled out in pain—his leg had been struck.  Once the slide stopped I realized we were dangerously close to the bottom of a sheer rock wall with the very likely potential of more rocks falling on us.  I yelled for the group to run back down the switchback to a more safe location.  We grabbed the thorn bush to pull ourselves out of the ditch.  We would feel those thorns later (and would be pulling the thorns out for weeks to come) but for now adrenaline coursed through our veins.  Steve couldn’t walk and had to be carried by his buddies.  When we stopped we huddled together for warmth and comfort.  Some were crying.  Some were praying.  We were all bewildered.  With the immediate danger past and the adrenaline subsiding I began to feel an amazing calmness come over me.  I didn’t know how we were going to get out of this.  I stepped away from the group to the middle of the trail, looked up into the rain and had a little conversation with God.  “I don’t want to die down here.  Please get us out of this hole.”  Yes, the beautiful and majestic Grand Canyon had become a “hole”.  My prayer was calm; there was no panic or anxiety.  It was a simple prayer, like I was having coffee with God.

I am not afraid to die—not that I am looking to go anytime soon.  And to be honest, how I will die is a little concerning to me.  I think I am part of the masses when I say I would prefer it would be in my sleep. But I am so assured that God is real and knowable and good and that a life surrendered to him becomes part of a bigger story that doesn’t end here that, as the Apostle Paul wrote, “death has no sting”.  But that doesn’t mean I (or anyone else) never face fear, anxiety or panic.  Of course we do—that is just part of being human.  But what I learned in the “hole” was how God’s peace can trump these things.  When the rock slide occurred there was fear and panic everywhere.  This is just like life.  We are going along and minding our own business when seemingly out of the blue we get hit with something (a chaotic situation, a negative report from the doctor, a blow to our financial stability, a threat—whatever) and it knocks us silly, off-kilter, consumed with fear and anxiety and struggling to regain balance.  It can take a moment to catch our breath.  Here is what I have found.  When I will step away and look up, focusing on Jesus, peace floods my spirit even when the storm is still raging.  The key here is focus.  As long as I focus on my circumstances I magnify the fear.  But if I will focus on Christ who is the hope of my life I find peace.  Please note that I did not earn this peace by being “good enough” or deserving it.  It is given freely.  Jesus is known as the Prince of Peace and in the book of John he said, “My peace I give to you.”  Later on in the New Testament Paul writes that the peace we have transcends all understanding.  In other words this peace doesn’t always make sense as circumstances would dictate a completely different outlook.

Now just because we have peace does not mean things are not still hard and possibly even dangerous.  This post is already too long so I do not have time to go into detail, but eventually we had to have a search and rescue helicopter fly in to get Steve out of the “hole”.  His sister, Loraine, and I were still with him when rescue arrived (the rest of the team had climbed out).  The rescuer looked at Loraine and I and told us that he would take care of Steve but that we needed to get out now because we were getting hypothermia.  So I asked if it was safe for us to climb out—perhaps the rock slides were over.  He gave me a strong look and said, “No.  I didn’t say that.  What I said was you are getting hypothermia and you need to get out now!”  As we climbed out we saw other hikers huddled alongside the trail.  When an obnoxiously loud clap of thunder hit, a woman hiking up with us screamed, her eyes filled with terror and she turned around and ran back down into the “hole”.  I tried to stop her but she pushed me away.  As Lorraine and I were getting ready to step out from one of the tunnels located near the rim, a man yelled for us to stop and a large rock fell right where we would have stepped.  Things were still crazy, but we had peace.  Peace does not mean that everything is calm on the outside.  Peace brings calmness to the inside even when all hell is breaking loose around you.

This is a far more serious post than what I normally write, but it ties in with what we are talking about on Wednesday nights.  If we will cry out to Jesus he will show up in the midst of our situation and walk with us through it.  He did it for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (one of the stories we looked at last week in the Bible study).  He did it for me in the “hole” and many other times of my life (which I do not have time to write about) when it seemed like the world was going sideways.  He will do it for you!

Here is the verse on peace from last week’s Bible study.  See you next week as we look at Daniel 5 and 6.

Isaiah 26 3

By the way, if you like the Grand Canyon and trail stuff you might want to check out these posts.  A couple of years ago my friends and I ran rim to rim to rim in one day (a double-crossing of the Grand Canyon – 46 miles) and it was epic–with no rock slides!  Here are the links and they are filled with pics.  I am not sure if they will work by clicking or if they need to be copied and pasted into the browser:

http://www.trailrunningpastor.com/2012/03/31/rim-to-rim-to-rim-at-grand-canyon-pt-1-south-rim-to-phantom-ranch-via-south-kaibab/

http://www.trailrunningpastor.com/2012/04/03/rim-to-rim-to-rim-at-grand-canyon-pt-2-phantom-ranch-to-the-north-rim-via-north-Kaibab/

http://www.trailrunningpastor.com/2012/04/08/rim-to-rim-to-rim-at-grand-canyon-the-north-rim-to-phantom-ranch-via-north-kaibab/

http://www.trailrunningpastor.com/2012/04/11/rim-to-rim-to-rim-at-grand-canyon-pt-4-phantom-ranch-to-south-rim-via-bright-angel/

Oct 29

Thursday Morning Thoughts Week Two: Refusing to Conform

(Once again, while anyone is welcome to read this post, these Thursday Morning Reflections are meant specifically for those who are in the Bible study I am leading on Wednesday nights.  And thank you to those of you who come out–I love being there with you all on Wednesdays!).

Last night we were inspired by the courage of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, three young men under incredible pressure to conform to the culture of Babylon.  In fact they were threatened with an excruciating death if they would not bow their knee,  Yet, they stood their ground and made one of the greatest statements of faith in the Bible: Our God is able to save us.  He is willing to save us.  And even if He doesn’t save us we are not going to bow!

Wow!  Where did this courage come from?  I believe it was rooted in their faith in God and supported by their knowledge of who they were.  Babylon had changed their names and tried to strip them of their identity.  The world could call them whatever it wanted to call them, but they knew who they were–they were Jews, followers of Jehovah.  When they were first taken as captives they made a decision and resolved that they would not defile themselves.  In a sense they drew a proverbial line in the sand and said they would not cross it.  That resolve was still evident years later.  They would obey God and God only, even under threat of death.  It is one thing to say “God I trust you.”  It is another thing to have actions which support that statement.  They knew they could trust in God’s goodness and power and his willingness to act on their behalf.  As you know from our study last night, God came through for them in a mighty way!  And also as we discussed last night, this God is the same God we serve.  And he is still good, he is still able, he is still willing to act on our behalf.  Have we drawn our line in the sand?  In the Old Testament, Joshua did this when he said that as for he and his house, they would serve the Lord.  In the New Testament, Peter and John did it when they said they would obey God rather than man.  It is our turn now.  We are the ones on center stage and we have incredible examples of faith to inspire us.  When our faith is rooted in Christ it gives us access to incredible courage in difficult circumstances.  Where is your line?  What is your statement?  Trust him and then let your actions fall inline with that confession.

As we closed last night there were two verses to consider memorizing.  The first one focuses on trust followed by obedient actions.  You might consider this one if you are up against some difficult situation and you are wanting to handle it God’s way.  Here is it:

Isaiah 26 8

The second one focuses more on the peace God provides when we keep our focus on him.  There is no Bible study next week so I am going to write a supplementary post next Thursday specifically on having peace in crazy or alarming circumstances.  You might consider memorizing this verse if you are currently in the midst of a trial or fiery situation and need peace.  Here you go:

Isaiah 26 3

 

 

Oct 22

Thursday Morning Thoughts Week Two: Keep Calm

We have all seen them—“Keep Calm” posters.  They are everywhere and come with all types of creative and fun endings:

Keep calm eat a cooking

But I bet you did not know that the original poster (see below)…

Keep calm carry on

…was produced in 1939 by the British government to raise the morale of the public who were under the threat air strikes.  The air strikes eventually came yet the poster was rarely ever displayed and was rediscovered in the year 2000.  Had it been displayed would it have worked?  How do you stay calm when under attack?  How do you stay calm when life goes sideways?  That is what we were talking about last night at the Bible study at The Wednesday Experience at Faith.  As a quick recap from Daniel 2, Daniel and his buddies found themselves in a completely unfair situation with the king of Babylon making unrealistic demands of them.  The king had had a dream which had terrified him.  He wanted to know the meaning of the dream but was unwilling to tell anyone what the dream was.  He demanded that his wise men tell him what he had dreamed and then interpret it—a seemingly impossible situation.  If they could not produce what he wanted the king had promised to tear them apart limb by limb—a promise he was more than capable of making good on.  The temptation to panic and lose their minds to fear would have been real.  The young men would have been tempted to get defensive, combative and rebellious.  But Daniel responded differently than would have been predicted.  He stayed calm, got the details and gathered his friends to pray.  One of the main points from last night was that prayer should not be our last resort but rather our first response.  The young men trusted God’s goodness and power and did not rely on their own wits to save them.  And God came through for them telling Daniel what the king had dreamed and what the dream meant.  The king was so impressed that he rewarded Daniel and his friends with high positions in his kingdom.  What could have easily been seen as a hopeless situation became a launching pad for a significant promotion.

So how about us?  When we face crazy, unrealistic situations at work or in our families or wherever, will we lose our minds to fear and panic?  Will we become defensive and combative?  Will be give up with discouragement or try to solve it with our own wits?  Or will we choose to stay calm in the midst of the situation, making our first response prayer based on our trust in God’s goodness and power?  Will we dare to hope that this situation might actually be a launching pad to something greater?  God is good!  We can trust Him!  Here is the verse to consider memorizing for this week:

Philippians 4 67

See you next Wednesday night!

Oct 15

Thursday Morning Thoughts Week 1: When Life is Not Fair

Romans 8 28

Last night we started back to The Wednesday Experience after a four-month break.  I am super excited to be teaching the Bible study and I thought that as a follow-up each week I would post a recap/reflection on Thursday mornings along with the verse of the week for those of you who want to take on the challenge of memorizing it.  So these “Thursday Morning Thoughts” are specifically for those of you who are attending the Bible study but of course anyone who is interested is welcome to read them.

So the pic above is the verse to memorize for this next week.  I layered it on a pic I took from Connecticut three years ago when I became an official “leaf peeper”—what a beautiful trip!  Memorizing the scripture is completely optional and meant to support those of you who want to push yourself a little more—go a little deeper.  Remember what we talked about last night.  The verse is not saying that everything that happens is good.  It simply states that God can and will bring good out of all situations for those who love Him.  In the story we looked at last night in Daniel 1, Daniel and his friends found themselves in a very unfair situation.  Many scholars believe they were about 15 years old when they were forcefully removed from their families and homes and exiled to a land very far away—Babylon.  The Babylonians tried to strip them of their identity by changing their names and forced them into an educational program not of their choosing.  All of this was not the result of their own rebelliousness, but rather the result of the rebelliousness of the generations who had lived before them.  How was that fair?!  Yet Daniel and his buddies chose to not respond with bitterness or discouragement or rebellion or by abandoning their faith.  They drew a proverbial line in the sand and resolved (which means to be firm in purpose or intent, to settle) not to defile themselves with the king’s food.  The Babylonian food may have been items which the Jewish dietary laws forbid them to eat and/or it may have been offered to Babylonian idols thus eating it would be participating in idol worship.  Either way Daniel was not going to be stripped of his identity as a follower of God.  He and his friends chose to trust God even in the midst of the unfair situation.  By the end of the chapter we saw how God was beginning to bring good out of their situation giving them incredible favor with the king.  We will see more over the coming weeks.

How about us?  Will we trust God even when faced with unfair and painful circumstances?  An antagonistic work environment, the break-up of a marriage or significant relationship, a sobering diagnosis from a doctor, being overlooked for a promotion, a rejection letter from the school of your dreams–these things are not good.  But if we will trust God He will not only take us through the difficult experience, He will also bring good out of it.  Trust Him!  He is good and He is faithful!  See you next Wednesday night for Daniel 2.  Happy Thursday!

Apr 08

Boston for A21: Injury Update and 14 Days Till Boston

Yes!  A 20 mile training run for Boston completed today!!!  It was not stellar but it is done!

Those of you who have been following my blog know my last post from 3 weeks ago was a “stepping out of denial and acknowledging that I was injured” post.  I had pulled my hamstring and hamstrings take a while to heal.  So in the last few weeks I have dialed my training way back and developed a strong love/hate relationship with my foam roller.  How could something that looks so tame hurt so bad!  I have also increased my swimming, kept my cycling steady, stretched and iced regularly, had two deep tissue massages, worn compression shorts under my work clothes, slept more and increased my intake of water.  Most of these items were things I was not doing consistently which led me to being out of balance and a target for injury.  I also took six days off from running and gently increased mileage and pace when I started back.

So how do I feel after running 20 miles?  To be completely honest I feel the way I always feel after running 20 miles on asphalt…stiff, sore and wiped out.  (In some ways I feel more like I do after running an entire marathon!)  Now if you were to see my training log you would notice that I was much faster five weeks ago when I ran the same course prior to my injury.  And that is true.  And what is also true is focusing on that fact is depressing.  Instead, I choose to compare where I am today to where I was three weeks ago when I left my house intent on running a 20 miler and I had to pull out and quit.  In fact the first few miles of that run were agony.  Three weeks ago I was broken.  Today was not stellar but it is improvement.  So here is a funny thing that probably only other runners will get…we (my friend who I run with has been injured too) are getting healthy just in time to taper!  Oh well!

Of course, all this preaches and applies to situations far more important than running.  We get knocked down by situations in life either through our own poor decisions, the poor decisions of others or the fact we live in a fallen world.  Loss of a job, illness, injury, broken relationship, loss of a loved one, etc., nobody is exempt.  Living our life focused on how things used to be and wondering “what if” steals our joy and aborts our future.  The reality is the situations that have happened in the past happened and we cannot change that fact.  Life may look different but different does not mean bad.  True champions get up and move forward. As the Apostle Paul’s wrote:

But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13,14 NIV

So back to running.  Boston is in 14 days and I am looking forward to enjoying the journey!

 

Feb 09

Pastoral Musings on the Colby Fire: Hope

Cross after fire

It’s been a few weeks since the Colby fire broke out and torched the front side of our mountain, destroying homes along the way.  A week and a half ago when GMR opened back up I went with a friend to the upper portions of Colby to view the damage.  It looked like a moonscape.  Blackened.  Destroyed. Decimated. Desolate.

Colby burnt 1

So I was shocked when this last Thursday (little more than a week later) I returned to the same location and saw this:

New growth

New growth!  Life!  And it was only three weeks since the fire.  The first word that came to my mind was “Hope” and then the lyrics from Hillsong’s “Glorious Ruins”:

Let the ruins come to life
In the beauty of Your Name
Rising up from the ashes
God forever You reign

I thought about the symbolism in all this.  There are times in life we flat-out go through hell.  The hell may have been caused by our own foolish decisions or perhaps by the decisions of others (which is a really hard one to swallow).  Perhaps it was a result of living in a fallen and broken world where bad things sometimes happen.  The aftermath of this tragedy can cause our life to look like a moonscape.  Blackened. Destroyed.  Desolate.  Sad.  We may be tempted to think it is over. Yet the Bible teaches that when our hope is in Christ that hope acts like an anchor for the soul.  I think of a rock climber anchored into the side of a cliff; not held by his or her own strength but by the strength of the anchor in the rock.  A ship properly anchored may be tossed up and down by the waves but it is not moved.  So also when we face the storms of life we may get seasick with the situation yet, with faith in Christ we can remain steady and unmoved.  This happens not because we are strong but because we are anchored into that which is unmovable.  Paul writes:

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8,9 NIV 

The storm will cease.  That which has been decimated and destroyed will live again.  I have seen it in my own life…God’s words are true.

I am going to enjoy watching Colby and the front side of the mountain spring back to life.  And as I do it will remind me of God’s grace and mercy in my own life.  In Christ, there is always hope, and it is a hope that does not disappoint!

_____________________________________________________

Please note, I did not take the picture at the top of the post.  It saw it floating around Facebook the day after the fire.  From what I have been told it was taken by a student from APU named Ryland Talamo.   While running on the ridge yesterday I took more pics of the aftermath of the fire.  Those can be seen at the bottom of this post.

For those who are interested here are all the lyrics to Glorious Ruins.  The song can be found on iTunes.

VERSE
When the mountains fall
And the tempest roars You are with me
When creation folds
Still my soul will soar on Your mercy

PRE-CHORUS
I’ll walk through the fire
With my head lifted high
And my spirit revived in Your story
And I’ll look to the cross
As my failure is lost
In the light of Your glorious grace

CHORUS
Let the ruins come to life
In the beauty of Your Name
Rising up from the ashes
God forever You reign

And my soul will find refuge
In the shadow of Your wings
I will love You forever
And forever I’ll sing

VERSE
When the world caves in
Still my hope will cling to Your promise
Where my courage ends
Let my heart find strength in Your presence

ridge burnt 3

ridge burnt 2

ridge burnt 1

Jun 28

Summit 4 Hope: Pictorial for Finding Ski Hut Trailhead

So this post is specifically for those doing Summit 4 Hope and who would like a little help knowing where to park and finding the Ski Hut trailhead.  Rather than write out directions we are going to do this with pictures.  Special thanks to our two tour guides, Elyse Westin and Nicole Ige. 🙂  Let’s get started!

As you drive up the mountain you will pass through Mt Baldy Village, climb some switchbacks and come to a place where the median becomes a dirt parking lot with trees.  Toward the top of this you will see signs about parking and displaying your parking pass.  Park here.  This is Manker Flats.

Park Here

After parking, cross to the other side of the road and you will see an asphalt fire road…head up here.

Across the road

Be sure to take care of business before proceeding!

Take care of business

Pass by the gate…

Gate

…and get ready to climb!

Ready to climb

You will pass by a waterfall on your left.  Enjoy it.  Perhaps take a picture of it.  But do not go that way.

Waterfall

Make the turn and keep climbing on the fire road which has now turned to dirt.

Go that way

Keep climbing…

Up the road

Now here is where people miss the trail, especially if it is dark or they are engaged in conversation.  Do you see it there on your left?

Hidden Trail Sign

Here is some help from our tour guides.  You want to go up the single track to go the Ski Hut route.  If you continue on the fire road it will take you to the lodge and the Devil’s Backbone route.

Trail sign identified

The sign simply says Mt Baldy.  It does not say Ski Hut.

Trail Sign

This part seems crazy steep…and it is, but it does not stay this bad.

Start climbing

Be sure to enjoy the view!

View

And on your return trip, if you come down Devil’s Backbone and take the ski lift down, you will get off here…

Ski Lift

and traverse across the parking lot below…

Ski lift parking

which will connect you to the road down to your car at Manker Flats!

Road to manker

See you Saturday! 🙂

 

 

 

Apr 25

Dream Big Dreams: Post 2…100 Life Goals!

South Kaibab

100 LIFE GOALS?!!  Sounds crazy, huh?  Actually it is not about how many goals you have, but it is about dreaming big.  Goals and dreams enable you to play offense with your life and create your future.  Batterson, the author of the books I mentioned in the previous post has 100 life goals.  Reading his list of goals is inspiring.  So today, I want to provide you with links to his list and to some material he wrote which help answer questions you may be struggling with.  Questions such as: How do I set life goals? How will I know if God really wants me to do these things? Do all of them need to be spiritual?  I am currently working on my own list of life goals. While they are far too fresh and new to share, I have found the process to be inspiring, challenging and fun.

But one more thing before I give you those links.  You might consider writing a personal definition of success prior to writing life goals.  Once you know what success is then you can see if the goals you are writing are pointing you in the right direction.  You probably remember the bumper sticker which represented success for many people, “He who dies with the most toys wins.”  That was followed by the sticker which read, “He who dies with the most toys still dies.”  It would be a bummer to get to the end of our life having toiled for something which had no lasting meaning or purpose.  Solomon, who had every material thing the world could offer said, “Vanity of vanity.  All is vanity.”  How depressing!  Without a personal definition of success we tend to succeed at the wrong things.  How cool that the life God wants to give us is filled with meaning, purpose, joy, peace and eternal significance.   Batterson has a three-part definition of success which may help inspire you in writing your definition:

Do the best you can with what you have where you are.

Help people maximize their God-given potential.

Those who know me best respect me the most.

During Regenerate I began writing my personal definition of success.  While I continue to refine it, here is how it reads at this point: Be who God has created me to be, passionately fulfilling His call on my life, maximizing my potential in ways which honor Him and influencing others to do likewise.  The life goals I am working on point me in this direction. 

So here are the links to the material:

Ten steps to setting goals: http://www.newlifetoday.net/files/PDF%20Files/10%20Steps%20to%20Setting%20Life%20Goals.pdf

100 Life Goals  http://www.markbatterson.com/uncategorized/life-goals/

I hope you’ll join me and take on the challenge of dreaming big.  The pic at the beginning of this post is from an epic adventure I had with friends last year when we ran rim to rim to rim at the Grand Canyon in one day. Looking at the pic, that means we ran all the way to the farthest horizon and back.  If I had been writing life goals last year this trip would have appeared on the list.  It was awesome!  I put it in this post to remind me that while that goal is complete there are plenty more to go after.   In fact, I have another epic adventure next week.  And this one is on my list.  I will blog about it once I get back.  Life is good!  Dream Big! 🙂

 

Apr 23

Dream Big Dreams: Post 1…The Books

seeds

If you were at Faith on Sunday or watched the live stream you know I closed service by saying I would post a few thoughts on my blog this week to follow-up with the weekend message–Dream Big Dreams.  If you missed the message and your interest is piqued you can watch it on our go2faith app (which you can get free at the app store) or watch it online at go2faith.com.  It should be posted within the next day or so.

First let me say that the response to the seeds has been fun to watch.  I cannot believe some of you actually ate the seed when it was handed to you at the door!  What were you thinking?!  I am sure there is some kind of spiritual significance to this. 🙂

This post as well as others I’ll write later this week are simply thoughts, ideas and links to resources to support you in your journey as you nurture the dreams God has planted in your heart.  Each one of us is a unique individual (myself included) and God has specific and unique plans on how he will work in and through us to bring the dream to fruition.  Therefore, I don’t believe in formulas.  But I do believe there are principles which apply across the board.  I also believe we can be inspired and encouraged by the stories and examples of others.  Please note that I do not pretend to be an expert in this.  I am simply a fellow sojourner who doesn’t want to settle for status quo and plans to “die young at a ripe old age”. 🙂

This year during Regenerate God was doing a very deep work in my life.  While there were many parts of Regenerate which impacted me, a primary influence came through four books written by Mark Batterson, which I read during those 40 days.  These books heavily flavoured last weekends message.  Those of you nurturing dreams may want to take a look at these resources.  So for today I am going to keep it simple and give you a little background on each book so you can consider whether or not reading any of these would be helpful for you.  You can get them from the bookstore at the church or online.  Here are the books with a few of my favorite quotes  and a link to read more about them.

The first book was In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars. Here is a link to it: http://www.amazon.com/Pit-Lion-Snowy-Day-Opportunity/dp/1590527151. This book caused dreams which were dormant within me to wake up. Here are a few quotes:

“We can cower in fear and run away from our greatest challenges. Or we can chase our God-ordained destiny by seizing the God-ordained opportunity…the greatest opportunities were the scariest lions.”

“Faith is unlearning the senseless worries and misguided beliefs that keep us captive.”

“Are you living your life in a way that is worth telling stories about.”

“Your internal attitudes are far more important than your external circumstances.”

Then I read the following two books together, The Circle Maker and Draw the Circle.  Both of these books are on prayer.  When I first began reading The Circle Maker I wasn’t so sure about it.  I have some old baggage from my childhood days of growing up in a few churches which were (in my opinion) too legalistic and I thought perhaps the book might be going in that direction.  But as I coupled the book with Draw the Circle which is a 40 day prayer devotional I quickly realized that was not where he was going at all.  It is in The Circle Maker where Batterson began to talk about life goals (dreams) in a very inspiring way.  I will write about those in another post.  These two books took my prayer life to another level.  Follow these links to read more about them: http://www.amazon.com/The-Circle-Maker-Praying-Greatest/dp/0310330734/ref=pd_sim_b_3  and http://www.amazon.com/Draw-Circle-The-Prayer-Challenge/dp/0310327121/ref=pd_sim_b_1  Here are some quotes:

“Bold prayers honor God and God honors bold prayers.  God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers.  He is offended by anything less.  If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God.”

“If you are not willing to put yourself in ‘this is crazy’ situations, you’ll never experience ‘this is awesome’ moments.”

“Goal setting is good stewardship. Instead of letting things happen, goals help us make things happen.  Instead of living by default, goals help us live by design.  Instead of living out of memory, goals help us live out of imagination.”

“When you pray to God regularly, irregular things will happen on a regular basis.”

And finally the fourth book, Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God.  According to some old stories Celtic Christians use to call the Holy Spirit the wild goose.  I like that!  This book challenges the reader to get out of the cage which tames us much like an animal at a zoo, and passionately pursue the things of God. Once again here is the link and below are some quotes: http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Goose-Chase-Adventure-Pursuing/dp/1590527194/ref=pd_sim_b_8

“Jesus didn’t die on the cross to make us safe.  Jesus died to make us dangerous.”

“When God puts a passion in your heart, whether it be relieving starvation in Africa or educating children in the inner city or making movies with redemptive messages, that God ordained passion becomes your responsibility.”

“If you want to discover your God-ordained ordained passions, then you need to identify what makes you sad, mad, or glad.  And somewhere in the sadness, madness, or gladness you will find the Wild Goose waiting for you.”

These books were huge for me.  I hope they can encourage you as well.  I will post later this week about life goals, staying focused, etc.  And I would love to hear from you as you pursue your dream.  Feel free to comment back on the blog, through Facebook or Twitter.  Until then…Dream Big!