Monday, May 2, 2016

Order Out of Chaos

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef but the wrod as a wlohe. 

Now know this: even when your life seems like a jumbled mess, you can trust God who created order out of chaos. He will make your life make sense regardless the order of letters or mis-spellings because He knows the beginning and the end, He is the Alpha and Omega and He reads your life letter by letter and word by word, sentence by sentence, causing all things in your life to work for good because that is what He is and what He does. He is good, all the time. All the time He is good.

Know that to God, your life is a Success Story and He’s adding to it every day.

Go get ‘em

Monday, April 25, 2016

Living a Life That's Half-Full

"You don’t have a soul you are a soul, you have a body”

I woke up this morning coaxing my aching body from restless slumber.  The pinching on my sciatic nerve causes constant tension in my hips and streams of pain to flow around my waist and down my hamstrings.  Today is the oldest I’ve ever been in my life.  My left arm dangles lifelessly as I wait for the blood flow to reach my arthritic shoulder and revive it.  The three fractures I suffered to my left leg as a teen have now contributed to arthritis in that knee.  Running is out of the question as my gate is more similar to a wounded animal than an athlete.  I reach for a glass of water…and aspirin.

I woke up this morning!  The combination of sciatica and slumber had caused my hips to stiffen…I need to get moving!  This is the youngest I’ll ever be in my life.  The arthritis in my left shoulder caused stiffness over night.  I moved toward the shower where the flow of hot water would help restore it.  My left knee has developed arthritis and, while this is annoying, it’s certainly not something that cannot be overcome.  I’ve learned to adapt.  I used to run more but, was never in love with it.  I’ve found other ways to burn calories that are more interesting and challenging to me.  I reach for a glass of water.

Both of the above scenarios are true.  The cool part is I get to choose which one I’ll live out.  It’s called outlook and we most often hear it characterized as a half-empty or half-full glass of water.  I often need to reset my mind first which leads to transformation in my body and spirit.

We still live in the most amazing country on earth with more opportunity than is experienced anywhere on the planet.  We can worship and pray in public without risk of being arrested.  We have the ability to walk, talk, hear, see, and speak – things we often take for granted because of our superior health care.  And we are richer than just about anyone in the world

My point is, it’s easy to make excuses.  We’ve got plenty of them for not eating right, exercising or praying.  Sometimes we need to reminded of how many more excuses we have to do these things.  When we ponder these things we’ll notice there are a lot of half-full glasses!  1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Monday, April 18, 2016

What's Your Expiration Date?

A couple of weeks ago I was in Dallas Texas for an industry event.  We were there to learn about millennials and radio station revenue.  In between sessions we were entertained by artists that the record labels were kind enough to bring out.  One of those artists was Tim Timmons.

I first met Tim about three years ago when his first single, “Cast my Cares” was being promoted to radio.  In addition to being a gifted song-writer he’s also quirky, humorous and a wanna-be-gourmet-chef.  One of the things that most impresses me about Tim is his outlook on life.  Whenever you ask how he’s doing he’ll typically respond with, “I woke up today”.

You see, to Tim waking up today is no small feat.  In June of 2001 he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given just 5 years to live.  Today, he still has 4 tumors on his liver that doctors say will eventually cause his heart to give out.  Tim’s response was to live as if Jesus is real.

When the diagnosis was delivered he and his wife Hilary were dumbfounded.  But, they also decided to surrender all they have to Christ.  When Tim told Hilary he understood if she didn’t want to have children her response was to live as if he is healed.  Today, they have four children including one set of twins.

I love when Tim shares because I learn so much.  Instead of waking up and asking God to be with him he acknowledges that He’s already here and asks to be a part of whatever God is doing that day.  Tim knows the value of a day and doesn’t want to squander a single one.  When Tim sings children’s songs like, “I’ve got a river of life springing up in me…” he actually believes it!

I was challenged this week is to write someone a note of appreciation.  I’m going to write one to Tim.  I’m thankful that he’s decided not to let cancer be the story and instead has decided to make his relationship with Jesus the narrative.

I encourage you to do the same.  Think of someone who inspires you and write them that note.  It’ll bless you as much as it does them.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Two Versions of You

As a youth, the movie Top Gun ruined me because from that moment on, all I could see myself becoming was a Navy fighter pilot.  Prior to that, my childhood dream was to grow up and become a pussycat race car driver but, that’s a story for another day.

To become a Navy Pilot you must be nominated to Annapolis by a Congressman or Senator then compete against the other nominees for the 2 open slots in each state – I lived in California:(  Regardless, during my junior and senior years of high school I was nominated by Congressman Bob Dornan and Senator S. I. Hayakawa.  In my senior year I was certain I was going to receive the scholarship until I learned  about politics and life not being fair.  Someone was moved ahead of me (he had an uncle who graduated from the academy) and I was offered West Point.  Army guys don’t fly fighter jets.

I dealt with the disappointment as well as any immature 17-year-old would.  I turned down the scholarship and decided to figure life out while attending Community College.  My dad wanted to strangle me.  I also decided to work in a restaurant, buy a motorcycle, hang out at the beach and eventually take a 6 month journey across the U.S. In a Volkswagen Van.

Thankfully, I finally came to my senses.  Have a wife and a baby girl will do that to you.  I had 2 years of college left to complete my degree and accepted a scholarship to Pepperdine.  Going to school while working full-time and raising a family was no picnic but it was during this time I learned a valuable life lesson.  

As each new trimester of school was about to begin I thought about who I wanted to be 16 weeks from now.  Those 16 weeks were going to go by whether I attended class or not.  Was I going to create a better future by being in class or not?  By putting in a little effort each day I could accomplish big things over time.  This kind of thinking got me through college, graduate school, broadcasting school and later graduate school again.  I kept wanting to see a better me after each period of time.

This brings me to my point.  Time is always going to slip by and we have to choose how we'll spend it.   Exercise or not, eat healthy or not, pray and serve others or not.  There are two versions of you waiting at the end of time.  Which do you want to be?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Prayer or Monologue?

This week I'm challenging my self to “Read my Bible and pray every day”.  This sounds simple unless you’re like me.  I can sum up what I know about prayer in 4 words, “I talk too much”.

Seriously, if I’m honest with myself I can admit that there are times I approach my Bible reading and prayer time as a task to check off my list.  I do it but, what did I reap from it?  Typically, when I pray I do most of the talking.  Who else, that I have any kind of relationship with, do I communicate with like that?  If I did, they’d probably stop hanging out with me.

One of the hardest things for me to do is be still and just listen.  I’ve heard that God is talking to us all the time but how often do we, on purpose, take the time to hear what He has to say?  Check out what these verses say:

John 14:16-17New International Version (NIV)

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you.
1 Corinthians 3:16New International Version (NIV)
16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

Romans 8:26-27New International Version (NIV)

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
Here’s my challenge to myself this week.  I’m going to see if I can spend about 15 minutes a day just listening.  Sounds crazy doesn’t it?  Take time to hear what the Creator of the universe might have to say to me??  Crazy!!

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Definition of Success

     Currently, I am sealed in a pressurized aluminum tube 40,998 feet in the air hurling forward at a rate of 574     miles per hour. In other words, I'm on my to Dallas for a conference.

As I was thinking about you this morning I was challenged by the thought of "how do I help you succeed? The answer is not as obvious as one might suspect as we all may have differing views of what success may look like.

I was reminded of something one of my professors taught me while attending Pepperdine.  He said, "success is the progressive realization of worthwhile goals".

Let's unpack this for a moment. "Progressive" implies it's a journey and not just a destination. That success is multiple not singular. A series of victories rather than just one.

"Realization" you're experiencing success in multiple forms. One after another achieving milestones. You climb one peak to see others stretched out before you.

"Worthwhile goals" this is key. We can have many goals but how many truly benefit those around us? Do we set selfish goals or selfless? Achieving for personal status or to glorify God?

I'm not sure if your definition matches mine. Probably not, as there are many good ones. I just wanted to share what is motivating me. Enjoy the journey!

Monday, March 21, 2016

How Do You Spell Love?

How do you spell love?  T-I-M-E  

That’s the lesson my wife has been trying to teach me for decades.  Her love language is quality time, mine is not.  She might as well be speaking a foreign language, “Whaaat, you want to hang out, and, just do nothing??”  Rabbit meet turtle.

Now, I may be a guy but I’m not a complete idiot.  If quality time is important to my wife then I need to learn how to make that a priority.  It doesn’t just happen, I have to do it on purpose.

The same can be applied to our weekly habits especially exercise, prayer and reading your bible.  The question I hear most is, “how do you find time to _________?”  Well, you don’t.  If these things are important you have to make time.

I do it by setting an appointment on my calendar.  I actually schedule sessions for myself to exercise, pray and read.  I treat these the same as any other calendar event like going to the dentist or a work meeting.  I’m aware of it, I prepare for it and I get alerts to remind me of it.  As a result, it gets done.

Move forward with purpose.