Friday, May 29, 2015

“I’m more and more impressed with people who simply keep on keeping on.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, Richard Foth, and Susanna Foth Aughtmon (2015-04-28) from their book, A Trip around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life into the Adventure ofa Lifetime  (p. 72). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

I have started every day for many years doing one thing.  I read from the Psalms and I read from the NT.  Right now I am in Paul’s second letter to the young man, Timothy.  I love what I read this morning in verse 7 of chapter 4.  Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.”  No matter what has happened to me, “I have remained faithful.”  That is what Mark is talking about here.

He says, “I’m more and more impressed with people who simply keep on keeping on. I love the phrase ‘little by little’ in Exodus 23: 30. We want a lot by a lot, but that’s not the way it works in God’s kingdom ventures. Malcolm Gladwell refers to it as the ‘ten-thousand-hour rule.’ If you really want to get good at anything, you’ve got to work at it for ten thousand hours. You can’t cheat the system.”

But so many people don’t do the little things that make their marriage successful, or the task God has given them, or their health.  At the first sign of a problem or a failure they are ready to run.

He says, “Some suggest that a successful life is a single upward trajectory of one win laid on top of the next. God says, ‘I will take your biggest failures and use them to my advantage.’ Your ability to see failure as a necessary stepping stone directly correlates with your ability to dream bigger and dream better. If you are willing to risk it all and step out in faith, God can recycle your mistakes.”  

Don’t let problems or failures stop you.  They didn’t stop Jesus, they didn’t stop the Apostle Paul and they didn’t stop Joseph in the OT.  And they shouldn’t stop you.  Just be faithful.  Keep at it.

Mark finishes this section by saying, “I have some more good failures in front of me. And in return, I believe they will yield more opportunities, more leaps of faith, more wins, and more successes. Safety is highly overrated. Why not risk it all and live the life you were meant to live?”


So why not?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

“The healthiest, holiest, and happiest people on the planet are those who laugh at themselves the most.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, Richard Foth, and Susanna Foth Aughtmon (2015-04-28) from their book, A Trip around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life into the Adventure of a Lifetime  (p. 62). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Do you really take yourself so seriously that if you do something dumb you don’t share it because you don’t want people to laugh at you?  I understand.  I’ve had problems with that.  The key is to realize that “the healthiest, holiest, and happiest people on the planet are those who laugh at themselves the most.”  Pride is not our friend.

Here is what Mark says, “One of the things that defines our culture at National Community Church is our theology of fun. We take God seriously, but we don’t take ourselves seriously. We have cultivated a culture of honor, but we’ve also cultivated a culture of humor. Those two things aren’t unrelated.”  Then he says, “The healthiest, holiest, and happiest people on the planet are those who laugh at themselves the most. And when you add someone else to the mix, it gets even better. Victor Borge said, ‘Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.’” 

Maybe that is why we spend so much time alone.  We take ourselves too seriously. 

He then says, “Laughter forms an emotional, spiritual, and physiological bond that can’t be quickly broken.”

The other day I was walking out the door and I padded down all my pockets to see if I had everything and I didn’t feel my keys.  I knew I would need those to lock the door and drive the car so I went back inside to find them and I couldn’t find them until I looked in my left hand and there they were.  And I laughed and told Margaret what had happened.  At 68 I have a lot of those moments so life can be a time of fun or a time of despair.  I choose the fun.


What about you?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

“Grafted into our bones is a need for each other.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, Richard Foth, and Susanna Foth Aughtmon (2015-04-28) from their book, A Trip around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life into the Adventure of a Lifetime (p. 52). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Dick said, “At a breakfast with some diplomats and former government officials, on the spur of the moment I was asked to offer a thought for the day. In my comments I lamented the truth that DC was not a town in which one wanted to toss his credentials on the table, because they would most certainly be trumped by someone. Someone who had more power, more money, more degrees, more years, more connections, more experience. More anything. When I finished talking, one of the conveners, a former cabinet member to the president of the United States, said, ‘That’s true, Dick, with one exception. If your credentials say “Friend,” everyone wins.’ ‘Friend’ is the greatest title and the highest rank you can hold.”

That is so true.  He then says, “Friendship is vulnerable and sacrificial. It permeates the deepest places of our souls. So William Butler Yeats speaks a deep truth when he says, ‘Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.’  You cannot negate the strength of friendship. You cannot underestimate the durability of a bond forged in the fires of adversity. You cannot belittle the force of prayers prayed on behalf of those we simply ‘like.’ In friendship we get to look like Jesus, journeying two by two, arm in arm, becoming more than we could ever be by ourselves. We are designed for this grand company. And that is powerful stuff.”

So how do you get friends?  You become a friend.  Reach out to people.  But I’m shy.  That is a choice that means you are alone.  There are people in your world who need your friendship.  So go be their friend.  Is it easy?  Not necessarily but it is worth it.  Jesus is your friend and he will help you in the adventure of finding that person who needs a friend like you.  We really do need each other.


So who is your friend or who could be your friend?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

“Playing it safe is risky.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, Richard Foth, and Susanna Foth Aughtmon (2015-04-28) from their book, A Trip around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life into the Adventure ofa Lifetime (p. 46). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

I know.  We think that playing it safe is what we want.  But this weekend if we would have played it safe and stayed in our home in Studio City because we knew there was risk in getting in our car and heading up 5 hours to Yosemite we would have risked missing an extra ordinary experience that we will remember the rest of our lives.  But we didn’t play it safe.

I mean, if we would have played it safe this morning, no way would Margaret have headed off to make a difference in the work that she does.  There is always a risk when you get on the freeways of LA but there is also a risk when you don't. 

I like how Mark puts it, “One of our three core convictions at National Community Church is that the church belongs in the middle of the marketplace. As our pastor of mission, Dave Schmidgall, likes to say, a church that stays within its four walls isn’t a church at all. Paul didn’t stand outside the Aereopagus and boycott. He went toe-to-toe with some of the greatest minds in the ancient world competing for the truth. In the words of Michelangelo, we need to criticize by creating. That doesn’t mean creating our own subculture. It means writing better books, producing better films, and starting better businesses. Here’s what I know for sure: you can’t be the hands and feet of Jesus if you’re sitting on the back of your lap. In too many instances, we’ve turned being a Jesus follower into a noun. Following Jesus is a verb. More specifically, an action verb.”  And with every action or non action there is a risk.

Think of all that you would have missed in life if you would have played it safe.  Now if you have played it safe you don’t know what you’ve missed.  And you are risking not really living life to its fullest.

We are a family that has never played it safe and we have and are living a life of adventure.  We have followed Jesus all over the US.  It has been tough sometimes but it has been worth the risk.  And we would have risked so much if we would have played it safe. Thanks, God for not letting us play it safe.


So how does this thought make a difference in what you do today?

Monday, May 25, 2015

"Experiences connected to play are so often how we learn."


A thought by Mark Batterson, Richard Foth, and Susanna Foth Aughtmon (2015-04-28) from their book, A Trip around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life into the Adventure of a Lifetime (p. 29). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Dick shared, "Stuart Brown, a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and founder of the National Institute for Play, says that play, not necessity, is the mother of invention. And play is not just for kids. He reports: A study done in Okinawa, Japan, by the National Geographic Society revealed that engaging in activities, like playing with young children, was as important as diet and exercise in fostering the Okinawans’ legendary longevity. . . . When we stop playing, we stop developing, and when that happens, the laws of entropy take over— things fall apart. . . . When we stop playing, we start dying. "

My son, Brett, his wife Marissa, his daughter's, Ashlyn, and Addison and Margaret and I spent yesterday in Yosemite National Park.  We had such a fun day there.  Oh we were in such traffic but the experience of that day will always be with us.

Have you ever thought about the fact that God created all that beauty for our enjoyment?  He wants us to have fun in our life.  And we did.

One of those experiences of this weekend that will stay with us is when Brett, Ashlyn, Addison and I got in a cold swimming pool and froze to death.  We were not smart but we had so  much fun.  We will always remember our time in the pool in Madera, California.

Dick also said, "We don’t know the number of trips around the sun we get to enjoy. Only God knows. But to saturate those trips with people and places, moments and memories, creates a richness that never stops. It allows the question 'Remember when . . . ?' to fire the joy all over again."

I hope you are creating in your life some of those "Remember when?" moments in your life.  They of course need to be lived with others.

Now we did learn a couple of things that will stay with us.  One, don't go to Yosemite on Memorial weekend and don't swim in a cold pool.  But we did have fun.

So what did you do this past weekend?

Friday, May 22, 2015

“The gift of experience is priceless.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, Richard Foth, and Susanna Foth Aughtmon (2015-04-28) from their book, A Trip around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life into the Adventure ofa Lifetime (p. 29). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Dick continued this thought by saying, “Ruth and I decided early on in our marriage that if we had to choose between giving our kids experiences or things, we would give them experiences. They could always get things. One of the ways we did that was by traveling. We didn’t let modest salaries stop us. We packed food and games and stopped now and again just to play. After all, experiences connected to play are so often how we learn. I didn’t intellectually know that at the time, but I learned it later and I know it’s true. It’s at the heart of who we are as human beings.”

Later he said, “Our experiences shape the way we think, the way we interact with each other, and the way we live. They add richness and depth and meaning to our days. You can give your children toys today that quickly end up in tomorrow’s trash. Or you can deliver a living, breathing experience that shapes their souls, enriches their lives, and makes their world and yours a doorway to tomorrow. A day spent exploring the woods behind your house, a weekend sharing stories and homemade breakfasts with grandparents, or an out-of-town vacation spent visiting your college roommate’s family can impact them for the rest of their lives.”

My son, Brett is in Law School and he is right now on a short break.  Law School means that he doesn’t have a lot of time doing things with his wife and two daughters but he is using this time off having fun with them.  They love to play.

Stef, our daughter and her husband and daughter were in town last weekend from Las Vegas.  All nine of us headed to Disneyland on Friday.  We all have annual passes to the happiest place on earth.  Every time we go I tell about the day that my father took my mom, my sister and me to Disneyland.  It had just opened and we were there.  I love telling everyone that I got to see Zorro.  He was there with Sargent Garcia.  That was almost 60 years ago but I remember it like it was today and my kids are tired of me telling them about it.  But it is a part of the experiences that make me who I am.

I hope you have some play planned for this weekend.  Listen when I am put into my grave and my family will never see me again physically what they will have is the memories of the experiences that we had together.  Don’t waist the time that God has given you.

So what are you going to do this weekend?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

“Life brims with possibilities and is crammed with discovery.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, Richard Foth, and Susanna Foth Aughtmon (2015-04-28) from their book, A Trip around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life into the Adventure of a Lifetime (p. 21). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

I love to read.  I really do.  I look many times for a book that gives me good thoughts to share with you.  But when I found this book I knew it was for me.  It really quickens me inside.  I hope it does you too. 

Mark said, “The very nature of the gospel is Jesus inviting the disciples on an adventure. To do what they’d never done and go where they’d never gone. Never a dull moment! You cannot follow Jesus and be bored at the same time. Søren Kierkegaard, the nineteenth-century Danish theologian, went so far as to say, ‘Boredom is the root of all evil.’ Boredom isn’t just boring. It’s wrong.”  I really believe that and I want to challenge you to believe it too.

Now this is a thought by Dick.  He was a missionary kid in India and because of that he said, “Each vivid picture seems to shout one thing: I was made for an adventure. Somewhere in my DNA is a strand labeled ‘Foth Adventure.’ No doubt it’s a combination of genetics and those first encounters with decidedly different cultures, but I see life as a grand escapade. New opportunities and new friends are always just around the corner. Tomorrow’s outcome will be better than today’s. Life brims with possibilities and is crammed with discovery. So a trip around the sun can be 365 days of unabashed adventure.”

My father was an evangelist.  We went all over the US and Canada holding meetings in different churches.  I also lived as a child in West Virginia, California, Arizona, Ohio, and Michigan and I have been to 49 states.  So I understand what he is saying.

He then goes on to say, “I have come to believe that from the moment of conception, we are being formed with an adventure in mind. We were created to touch, taste, smell, see, and hear life. Our Creator has big plans for us. No settling for mediocrity. Rather, we have a high calling etched into our bones and written on our hearts. God wants to engage us from first squall to last drawn breath and deliver us into a life He has dreamed for us. Whether our earliest memories are sailing the high seas in a steamship or walking into a kindergarten class by ourselves for the first time, the exploration of the world within us and around us is a drumbeat. And the beat goes on.”

Oh I hope and pray that you see that, “Boredom isn’t just boring.  It is wrong.”  No matter what age or location or circumstance, you have the God given opportunity to live life to its fullest.  That is what He built you for.  Let Jesus have your life.


So how does this thought make a difference in how you view your life today?