Tuesday, March 31, 2015

“A major cause of negative thinking and poor mental health is self-absorption.”

A thought by John C. Maxwell (2000-03-08) from his book, Failing Forward: How to Makethe Most of Your Mistakes (p. 102). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

It is so easy to be self-absorbed isn't it?  

John says, “Selfishness ultimately hurts not only the people around a self-focused person, but also the selfish person himself. It inclines the person toward failure because it keeps him in a negative mental rut.”  Man that is the truth. I read so much of that on Facebook.

So how do you get out of this negative mental rut?  John tells of a response by Dr. Karl Menninger when asked, “‘What would you advise a person to do if he felt a nervous breakdown coming on?’ Most people expected him to reply, ‘Consult a psychiatrist,’ since that was his profession. To their astonishment, Menninger replied, ‘Lock up your house, go across the railway tracks, find someone in need, and do something to help that person.’”

John then says, “Developing a giving spirit, as Menninger implied, helps a person to overcome some feelings of deficiency in a positive and healthy way. That's why Menninger believed that ‘generous people are rarely mentally ill people.’ A person is less likely to focus on himself if he is trying to help someone else.”

We are leading up this week to Good Friday and Jesus death.  He could have been living from a negative standpoint.  I hear so many people talking about life not being fair and Jesus could have said that but He didn’t.  He had come to this world to give His life away.  And that is why we are here.  This is a test.  And the reward is so great.  There is a resurrection in our lives.  But it starts with stopping being so self-absorbed.

“For God so love the world that He gave His only Son.”  Giving is a part of a Christian’s living.


So what will your focus be this week? 

Monday, March 30, 2015

“The idea of conversion itself would come to the world through Jesus.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2012-08-07) from his book, Who Is This Man?: The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus (p. 130). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

I understand that some people have a problem with the matter of Christians striving to convert people who don’t believe like them.  That is one of the things they say they don’t like about Christians but that is one thing we can’t help doing.  As John says, “The idea of conversion itself would come to the world through Jesus.”  And to us it is a very good thing.  It is good news and we want to share it.

John says, “Where before Jesus was there a movement that actively sought to include every single human being, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, status, income, gender, moral background, or education, to be loved and transformed? Not only had there never been a community like this before, but there simply had never been the idea of a community like this before. It was Jesus’ idea. And it was happening.”  And it still is happen today.

Everyone is invited.  No one is excluded.  And you are invited too.  And this is a very good weekend to give us a try.  When you come you will hear one of the most unbelievable stories you have ever heard. 

You might say, where do I go?  Well on the side of this blog you will see, My favorite sites.  Now the Dodgers is not a church but the other four are.  If you live in the Los Angeles' area I invite you to go on their sites and find out their times and their locations and then drop in.  Now two of those churches are a part of a group of churches called the Church of the Nazarene and you probably will find one in your community, no matter where in the world you live.  I invite you to look on Goggle and see if you can find one and then I invite you to check them out.  It could be the best thing you have ever done.

This weekend is the best time to give us a try.


Are you going to do it?

Friday, March 27, 2015

“Say good-bye to yesterday.”

A thought by John C. Maxwell (2000-03-08) from his book, Failing Forward: How to Makethe Most of Your Mistakes (p. 84). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

OK, I can see that I need to take care of some things in my past to not let them hold me back to not let them be my total focus but how do I do that?  What do I do? 

John gives some good guidelines in this.  He says, “Take time right now to list the negative events from your past that may be holding you hostage: For each item you listed, go through the following process. 1. Acknowledge the pain. 2. Grieve the loss. 3. Forgive the person. 4. Forgive yourself. 5. Determine to release the event and move on. If you are having a hard time because you're holding grudges, talk to God about the issue and ask Him to help you through the process. No matter how difficult this becomes, persevere through it. You will not be able to be your best today until you say good-bye to yesterday.”

Now that you know then you now have to do what you know.  It is not in the knowing it is in the doing.


So what is it that is holding you back?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

“No matter how dark a person's past is, it need not color his present permanently.”

A thought by John C. Maxwell (2000-03-08) from his book, Failing Forward: How to Make the Most of Your Mistakes (p. 78). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)


Have you come to realize that yet?  When my father was killed in a truck accident it colored my life for a long time but finally the pain turned to good memories that I hold onto.  I somewhere somehow let go of the pain.

John says, “Someone who is unable to get over previous hurts and failures is held hostage by the past. The baggage he carries around makes it very difficult for him to move forward. In fact, in more than thirty years of working with people, I have yet to meet a successful person who continually dwelt on his past difficulties.”

Have you ever gotten in a car and found the driver looking continually in the rear view mirror?  He is totally looking at where he has come from.  Of course not.  If it happened you would immediately want him to stop and get out.  But so many are constantly looking at their past.

John also says, “No matter what you've experienced, remember this: There are people who've had it better than you and done worse. And there are people who've had it worse than you and done better. The circumstances really have nothing to do with getting over your personal history. Past hurts can make you bitter or better— the choice is yours?

The thought that I started today with was, “This is another day to be explored to be used to be enjoyed. I'm going to do it. Thanks God.”  Now the start of my day was a little bumpy and I was tempted to bring up some negative past experiences but I had made a choice to live this day with an exciting view and I have found it to be what I chose it to be.


So what does your day look like? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

“Two of the most powerful words in the human race are us and them.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2012-08-07) from his book, Who Is This Man?: TheUnpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus (p. 93). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

John says, “If someone is in my in group, I will tend to magnify their good qualities and overlook their negative qualities. If somebody is in the out group, I look for the bad and overlook the good. I look at each member of ‘us’ as a unique individual. I tend to look at everybody who is one of them as all alike.”

I really don’t think that is Jesus way of thinking.  John then says, “For Jesus, the categories break down like this: It’s not us and them. It’s perfect and not perfect. It’s holy and sinful. Which puts all of humanity on the same side: the wrong side. But Jesus was determined to make that his side.”

He loves us, all of us.  He died for us, all of us with no distinction.  Somehow we need to catch that.  Father forgive us for we have all sinned and fallen short.  But he still loves us.

We too many time fight the wrong battles.


So is it his way that we live?  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

“One day a carpenter left his shop and began to teach.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2012-08-07) from his book, Who Is This Man?: TheUnpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus (p. 73). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

I don’t know what you are going through right now.  I remember when I was going through a very difficult time.  I loved being a pastor, I loved being a church planter.  There was nothing else that I wanted to do but I remember the realization that slowly came upon me that I was done with that part of my life and that I was to retire. 

Change can be difficult but what would have happened if Jesus hadn’t changed his occupation?  His earthly father was a carpenter and that was what Jesus was doing but one day he changed.  As John said, “One day a carpenter left his shop and began to teach. What would the history of our world be if Jesus had not changed careers? Imagine that he stays in the shop: there is no teaching ministry, no crucifixion, no rise of the church, no New Testament scriptures, no monastic communities. The reason for which Oxford and Cambridge and Harvard and Yale got founded does not exist. It is a mark of Jesus’ impact that the scenario is simply, literally, unimaginable.”

If I hadn’t changed I wouldn’t be writing five days a week.  Margaret my wife wouldn’t be having the impact that she is having and many other opportunities that God is using us to accomplish.

And what about you?  Are you having a sense that maybe you need to change what you are doing?  That you maybe aren’t doing what you were created to do but you just don’t want to change.  You are maybe afraid to step out and take that risk that would open up a new adventure for you that is greater than you could ever imagine. 

One day a carpenter left his shop and began to teach. What would have happened to us if he wouldn’t have done that?


What will happen if you don’t?  Or what will happen if you do?

Monday, March 23, 2015

“Marriage problems are easy.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2015-01-06) from his book, The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating (p. 20). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Now I’ve quoted this thought as a grabber.  It is not to be read and just accepted and quoted but it is something that I hope does get you to stop and strive to understand what it really means.

Here is the context that Andy said it.  He said, “I’ve met with many struggling married couples who would describe themselves as having ‘marriage problems.’ But in all my years I’ve never talked to a married couple that actually had a marriage problem. What I’ve discovered is that people with problems get married and their problems collide. What was manageable as a single person eventually becomes unmanageable within the context of marriage. Marriage problems are easy. They rarely require counseling. But when the premarriage past surfaces in a marriage, that’s another story.”

My son Brett and his wife Marissa and my daughter Stefanie and her husband Andrew are both celebrating their anniversary’s this next week.  One is on Wednesday and the other on Sunday. Margaret and I celebrate our 40th anniversary back in November.  We have had 37 great years, and three really bad ones.  Now those three difficult ones came about because of some problems in us that came into our marriage and finally came out at a certain time.  So I very much understand what Andy is saying.  The problems in us followed us into our marriage.   

Down near Joliet, Illinois the Mississippi and the Ohio rivers come together and then make up one great Mississippi River which heads down to the Gulf of Mexico.   They look great on the surface but there is a lot of stuff below the surface that they each bring with them that cause great problems when they hit each other.  That is a tremendous example of marriage.   

Now Andy says, “That dynamic is one of the primary reasons I wrote this book. There’s enough unavoidable pain in life. I want to help you avoid the avoidable pain. Namely, pain you will experience later because of decisions you are making right now.

Margaret and I could have avoided those times if we would have somehow in our beginnings come to grips with those problems but the good thing is we finally did come to grips with them without running away from our marriage.  And we are so glad we did.  Margaret outside of Jesus is the best gift that God has ever given me.  Yes our relationship has some work to be done in then but it is so worth it.


How are you doing?