Your future is in your thoughts

Inside of your head is an internal voice influencing you. Your inner voice influences your emotions which influence your direction which determines your destination. So that “innocent little internal voice” is pretty stinkin’ powerful!

“. . . we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.. (2 Cor. 10:5b)

thoughts

A pastor friend was speaking at his Dad’s (a retired pastor) memorial service last week. His Dad’s life, like most ministers, included ups and downs.

Then he shared a truth which is a great tool to help us monitor our inner voice. Here’s the quote:

“If I am to remain faithful to God in the assignments of my life, the influence of the goodness of God must be greater than the influence of the difficult circumstances and sinful people I encounter.” – J. Robin Maxson

A buffet of thoughts await your choosing today. Choose wisely.

LOVE DOES

I didn’t want to purchase Bob Goff’s book, LOVE DOES. Sorry Bob. I’ve heard him speak (amazing) and read the positive reviews on his book. Still didn’t buy it. Why? I was afraid it was a “you’re gonna feel guilty about not doing more” kinda book. Since I don’t enjoy feeling guilty, I didn’t get the book.

love does

Last week a friend sent me a copy so I figured it was time to quit avoiding it. This weekend I read it . . . actually, I devoured it.

It surprised me. After all, I didn’t expect to discover a Washington D.C. lawyer who skateboards to work, occasionally offices at Disneyland’s Tom Sawyer Island, and is passionately attempting to rescue an entire generation of exploited children in Uganda and India.

I finished the book inspired to pray “impossible prayers”.

Today, I want to mail YOU a copy. Seriously.

Bob’s unbelievable stories make this book a page turner! Here are a few inspiring quotes:

“I used to be afraid at failing at the things that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at the things that don’t matter.”

“I want to step up to the plate and swing so hard that I hit a home run or when I miss my bat comes around and hits the umpire in the back of the head.”

“When we accept life’s invitation to participate, it’s contagious too. Other people will watch us and start seeing life as something more amazing, more whimsical than before.”

“Lots of people who trust God seem to be wired to live near the edge.”

“God delights in answering our impossible prayers.”

I want to mail you a copy of this book. Why? I believe in this message.

Leave a comment below and I’ll randomly select one person to send a free copy of this important book. In your comment you may recommend another book, share your “impossible prayer”, or just leave your name.

Heroes

Our culture lacks meaningful heroes.

I’m always deeply inspired by attending the memorial service of an impactful, bold follower of Christ. Bold christians have been my heroes since I was a kid.

I was always especially in awe of elderly Christians who displayed a kind and deep faith.

As a boy, I loved talking before or after church to these “veteran Christians” to hear the most fascinating stories, watching them laugh at themselves, share their passion, and display a deep, confident faith that was so refreshing.

To me these people were always bigger than life. My adolescent thirst for a hero would sometimes place them on an unrealistic pedestal.

hero

Sometimes I reminisce back to the days when I sat in those pews watching my heroes fill the room with life. I’m so grateful for those memories . . . for those people.

People like Mr. Rowell. I remember his fingers were always crooked from arthritis. He walked slow . . . eventually with a cane then a walker. But he was always there with his wife of 50+ years and they each maintained a certain “dignity”. He just had a way of encouraging others. He loved God, his wife, and his life despite his declining health. He was a “real life” hero.

How about you? As you think back on your past, do you have any “real life” heroes?

Learning from the buzzard

Growing up in West Texas the bird I saw most often was the buzzard. As you drive down a Texas road you will commonly interrupt them as they feed on fresh roadkill. As you approach this big, ugly bird it will slowly fly away. Every once in awhile, one will fly directly toward you as it lifts it’s big, ugly body into the air. Did I mention they’re ugly?

I finally noticed a consistent pattern to their launch trajectory. They always fly in the direction they’re facing. So if one is facing you, beware because it will fly directly toward you during it’s launch.

buzzard

Turns out we humans are exactly like the buzzards. I’m not suggesting a new evolutionary theory but, like the buzzards, we always go in the direction we’re facing.

Your future is determined by your current direction. So it’s critical to understand the direction you’re facing.

Here are 3 questions that will help you discover the direction you’re currently facing:

Who are you spending time with?

Your friends are a preview of the future you. “Walk with the wise and become wise but the companion of fools suffers harm.” – Prov. 13:20

What books are you reading? 

One author said the typical book represents seven years of learning and work on the part of the author. Just think you’re adding 7 years to your life with every book you read! Great books challenge and change the way we think.

How are you investing your time, money, & talents?

Your calendar, your back account, and how your invest your passions/talents reveal the direction you’re facing.

Which one of these questions do you think is most important? Would you add a question to this list?

Regrets You’ll Never Have

recrets“I spent too much time reading my Bible.”

“I said too many encouraging words to my kids.”

“I was too generous with my money.”

“I spent too much time with my family.”

“I shouldn’t have invested so deeply in friends.”

“I wish I wouldn’t have forgiven so many people.”

“I expressed too much love to my spouse on Valentine’s Day.” 🙂

“I wish I wouldn’t have shared Christ as much.”

“I wish I wouldn’t have trusted God so completely.”

What else? What are some other regrets you’ll never have?

A failed adventure is better than successful safety

A friend from Atlanta was sitting in our Living Room last week. As we talked, he eventually looked at Ginger and I and asked, “So after all you guys have been through over the past 4 years, what are some of the things you have learned?”

I knew he was genuinely interested because he’d walked through it all with us. For the first time, I was able to consider that question without any raw emotion.

You see I had experienced a big, fat, public failure.

In early 2009, I began to cast a BIG vision, engaged many families, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, partnered with one of the largest churches in the country all for one reason: To plant a church that unchurched people would love to attend.

Guess what? Despite our best efforts over 31 months, we had to accept the fact that this dream wasn’t going to come true. Enter the harsh reality of some adventures: failure.

Man was that embarassing. How would I tell my kids, tell those brave families, or couch that on my resume?

So 18 months after the end of our dream my friend sits in our living room and asks what I’ve learned. The first lesson was “top of mind”. Having journeyed the roads of safety and adventure, I can genuinely say: A failed adventure is better than successful safety.

adventure

I believe there are two approaches: Adventure or Safety. Each time we are hurt in life we face a fork in the road and are tempted to journey or re-journey down the safe road. Safety feels less risky but anyone who’s traveled it knows that it never provides the deep longing our hearts are designed to experience.

How about you? What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of something specific or are you simply fearing failure? If you’re fearing failure, read Seth Godin’s encouragement HERE. If you’re trying to measure risk, HERE are 3 things to consider before the adventure.

A failed adventure is better than successful safety. What adventure are you pursuing?

4 things I do to get out of a funk

My personality can include occasional melancholy. But, in the words of Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, I prefer feeling “happy, happy, happy.”

But when I feel down I’m tempted to “give in” and host a good ol’ fashioned self-focused pity party that NO ONE else is invited to attend.

happy

But I know there’s a better way. So when I feel down I intentionally do 4 things:

1) Remember God’s promises – Scripture is true. My emotions often aren’t. Emotions are great indicators but terrible leaders. So I need to spend time reading what I know is reliable.

 2) Spend time with people who encourage me – My temptation is to isolate myself. (I can always say I’m super busy and escape interactions.) However, God consistently uses others to help me see beyond myself.

 3) Get plenty of rest – I’m not depressed, I’m just tired. When I’m tired I’m more susceptible to my emotions. If I’ll just commit to getting extra rest, I’ve discovered that I bounce back strong within 24-48 hours.

 4) Exercise – Going outside for exercise is extremely therapeutic for me. I love to walk on the beach and hear the sound of the ocean. The physical endorphin rush from exercise helps me battle my emotions.

Here’s another article with some immediate steps written by Micheal Hyatt.

How about you? What do you do to battle your emotions?

Want More?

Ever wanted more from your relationship with God? At times, I have.

Over the past few years, I have personally experienced this Biblical principle: My relationships with other people directly impacts my relationship with God.

Here are others experiencing the same thing:

We’re better together. Are you pursuing consistent relationships with others?