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Dead End, No Outlet

dead-end.JPGI had run across this sign while driving through a neighborhood that I was not totally familiar with.  This sign represents the exact crossroads that each of us face in our daily lives.  The question is what do we do when we approach this Dead End sign?  Do we accept the Dead End, No Outlet as an absolute truth or do we read the sign in a totally different way?  My wife has a Garmin GPS Navigation System in her vehicle to help her locate various client homes that she has to visit each and every day.  She is a Child Welfare Specialist for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.  Man does she have a challenging/fulfilling job….that is another blog within itself.  Anyway back to her GPS, the beauty of the navigation system is that when she reaches a “Dead End, No Outlet” the lady simply says “Re-calculating” and re-calculates the route.  As long as my wife knows her destination, it does not matter how many wrong turns she makes the navigation system will re-calculate until she reaches her proper destination.  This story sounds like the journey of a Christ follower.  As we commit to follow Christ, grow in our relationship with Christ, and our destination is a life that truly honors what Christ teaches, we will never read the “Dead End, No Outlet” sign as an absolute.  Are you accepting those “Dead End, No Outlets” as absolutes, or do you truly recognize those as signs that God is “Re-calculating?”    

Christians Make Me Sick

Christians make me sick when they are judgmental, hypocritical, self-centered, weird and just plain stupid.  You know the ones who think it’s all about them, their style of worship, their style of music and their style of dress.   They only want to hang out with people who look like them, people who act like them and people who have the same supercilious attitude they have.  Heaven forbid them being willing interact with prostitutes, addicts, homeless, poor and individuals whom are of “The World.”  Do you know some Christians who make you sick?  Are you sometimes that Christian that makes yourself sick?  Personally, I am sometimes that Christian who makes myself sick; however I try to be that Christian that honors what Christ teaches, which is the antithesis of everything I have discussed.  Here are a couple of thoughts and questions to ponder:

·        When was the last time you had a conversation with someone who was poor, homeless, drug-addicted and “Of the World?”

·        When was the last time that you or your church contributed your time or money towards doing something significant for a needy part of your community?

·        When you go to church is it all about what you can get, or is it about what you can give?

·        Does the term “SeekerChurch” seem weird or refer to someonelse’s ministry and not yours?

·        Have you shared your faith with someone today or this week? 

It’s time to get sick and tired of sick and tired Christians.  However, at the end of the day we must pray that God will change their hearts.

80/20 Principle "The Good"

80202.jpgMany of you have heard of the 80/20 principle as it relates to money people and time. If you are unaware of this principle it is derived from an Italian Economist, Vilfredo Pareto who discovered this concept in the early 1900’s. The bottom line is that if we streamline and focus our attention/efforts on our highest priorities (that top 20%) then we will achieve 80% of the desired results. I would like to take this a step further, as it relates to church members in ministry and people that you interact with in your profession. There will generally be 10% that really love you or what you’re doing, 10% that really dislike you or what you are doing and this makes up that (20%). The other 80% are generally comfortable with you and your direction. That 80% will return and support you each and every week. The wisdom in this is that you shouldn’t listen to your biggest naysayer’s or your biggest fans. I have read different research that translates the 80/20 principle into modern life applications. Below, I have listed my top 10 of “The Good,” several of which are my personal thoughts.

1. Fishing- 20% of fisherman catch 80% of the fish.
2. College Football- 20% of the universities play in the championship game 80% of the time.
3. Time- 20% of employees perform 80% of the work.
4. Leaders- 20% of leaders make 80% of tough decisions.
5. Business- 20% of the businesses’ receives 80% of business.
6. Church Giving/Serving- 20% of the people give/serve 80% of the money/time.
7. Blogs- 20% of blogs receive 80% of blog readers.
8. Reading- 20% of the book provides 80% of the memorable content.
9. Sermons- 20% of the message provides 80% of the life application.
10. World Changers- 20% of Christ Followers do 80% the World Changing.

The question that you have to ask yourself is “Am I in that 20% of the good?” Please don’t hesitate to share your 80/20 thoughts, remember 20% of blog readers make 80% of the comments.

Pursuit of Happyness

larry-hunt-1.JPGThis is a true story of a man named, Chris Gardner, who experienced deep adversity and affliction. As a child Gardner spent many years in and out of foster homes. As an adult and in the movie Gardner is a bone density scanner salesman who splits up with his wife and ultimately ends up homeless with his son. This passage in the Book of Isaiah speaks to his situation: Isaiah 30:20-21 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Gardner developed an unwavering perseverance, endures homelessness and ends up pursuing an internship for a stockbroker position at a major Wall Street stock brokerage firm. Despite the adversity, affliction and trials Gardner went through, his hard work and perseverance pays off. This passage in the book of James speaks to this: James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

The man that you see in the picture at the top of this blog was featured in the movie “Pursuit of Happyness.” They call him Larry “The Trashcan Man” Hunt and he is a bucket drummer on the streets of San Francisco. I took this picture yesterday and talked w/ Larry while my wife and I are on vacation in San Francisco. Larry’s story could be similar to the real Chris Gardner, he is pursuing his happyness and due to the break that he received by being briefly featured in the movie, happyness might just be around the corner. Of all the pan handlers and street hustlers that we have seen while in San Francisco, there is something different about Larry. Larry told me that he is scheduled to be on Oprah this fall……… and the rest will be history. Are you in the pursuit stage of achieving your happiness?

In closing: Galatians 6:9-10 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Do You Have The Guts?

boxing-gloves.jpgI was reading Seth Godin’s new short book called “The Dip” which talks about the art of quitting. One of his short writings is entitled “Time to Cancel the Space Shuttle.” This really makes sense to me and caught my attention. Godin discusses the fact that when pundits argue in favor of keeping the shuttle they don’t say, “We should keep doing this because it’s going to get safer/cheaper/more productive over time.” The only reason the shuttle still exists is because no one has the guts to cancel it. What are the things in your life/ work/ministry…. that you don’t have the guts to cancel. Maybe it’s a ministry that exists only because the founding pastor 50 years ago started it, and it does not make any sense now, does not change lives and is not linked with the current vision of your church. It could be some operational practices at your job that are just down right stupid, inefficient and ineffective. It could be a relationship that you don’t have the guts to sever. What are the things that you have not had the guts to cancel? Identify those areas and begin to make a list of those tough conversations you need to have and tough decisions that you need to make. Don’t be afraid of your boss, your friends, your spouse, your employees or your church members; instead remember the cliché’ “No Guts, No Glory.”

The Gift of "No"

no.jpgDo you have the gift of no?  I am not talking about saying no when it’s absolutely necessary; I’m talking about saying no simply for your own convenience.  You know what I’m talking about, when your kids ask you if they can do something and you just say No!  Most of the time there is not any rational reason for you saying No, except for the fact that it is convenient and easy.  It sounds like this in my world with my 8 and 4 year old sons: “Dad can I get a Popsicle?” “No”  “Dad can I stay the night with Johnny?” “No”  “Dad can I help with that?” “No, your not big enough”………… and the list goes on and on.    Research shows that 77% of everything we think is negative and counterproductive.  Children that grow up in an “average household” hear “No” and are told what they can’t do more than 148,000 times by the time they are 18. (Ouch)  “Sounds like we need some Joel Osteen, in our lives.”  J  I recently talked with a buddy of mine about this and he acknowledged that his wife has similar struggles with saying no to their two daughters.  Hmmmm….. Maybe it’s some sort of “Just Deal With It” mentality for our children that are the same sex.  I have personally been convicted and I am learning to give away, The Gift of No!  I am turning into a Yes Man, and my kids and wife love it.   

Paris Hilton and Jonah

paris2.jpgI was listening to a sermon several weeks ago by my Senior Pastor Craig Groeschel about Jonah.  As I processed the information about Jonah, it made me realize that that we all have a little bit of Jonah in us. That even includes Ms. Paris Hilton! Everyone, including myself loves to rip her for being ridiculous and sometimes just downright stupid. Paris had found herself in the belly of a really big fish called jail. The cool thing is that Paris did not fight or complain about her sentence; as a matter of fact she agreed to go back into the fishes’ mouth to finish her 45 day sentence without any appeal. Paris’ worst nightmare was exactly what she needed. In an interview with Barbara Walters Hilton was quoted as saying “I feel that the purpose of my life is to be where I am, My spirit or soul did not like the way I was being seen and that is why I was sent to jail. God has released me; God has given me a new Chance.”  I find myself believing her and giving her the benefit of the doubt.  If you are finding yourself in the belly of a fish, be reminded that your worst nightmare can be a Big Time Blessing!

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