Archive for January, 2009

What’s Your Carrot?

Everyone has a carrot. Even those of us who don’t like them have one or two. Don’t believe me? Let me rephrase that titled question. What motivates you? Money? Power? Greed? Sometimes we find ourselves motivated by things that have taken control of our lives. Suddenly we realize that we are out of control. That my friends, becomes a problem when we start to chase after things we love and let them control our actions and behaviors.

Oh, and by the way, even I have to remind myself of this. I am not immune, and I won’t pretend I am. Fair is fair!When chasing carrots becomes our focus, we are all headed for a rude awakening. We were not designed to spend our lives looking for things that will make us happy, end our pain and suffering, or define who we are based on what we have obtained. Are you ready for this? It’s even hard for me to face this reality (remember, I too have a carrot or two).

Scripture tells us that we are to stay away from idolatry. Collosians 3:5 Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. *HCBS

Wow. That certainly puts it into perspective. I want, I need, I’ll be happy when I get- We are faced with idolatry all day long. There is good news though. Now that we are reminded of it, and it becomes top of mind, we can work to stop it. The next time you feel compulsive and base your actions on obtaining worldly satisfaction through greedy actions to have more, lustful wants because something feels “right”, or because we find ourselves vying to keep up with the neighbors down the street, you have the power to remind yourself that you already have what your heart truly desires.

The love of the one and only Almighty God who is the Author of all creation.Think about it. How could we possibly compare the awesomeness of God to an insignificant carrot (even if that carrot was a big screen TV)? We can’t and shouldn’t. Ever. I hope everytime we see a carrot, we think about the greatness of God who sacraficed His Son, Jesus Christ for us.

No carrot is even comparable to the worth of God. Want to spread this message? Go ahead…ask your neighbor what their carrot is. And be ready to tell them what yours is. I dare you!

(Double dare you!)

Are you ready to balance the carrots in your life? Life balancing works in spirituality, too!

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A Teen’s Longing To Visit My Church

Lastnight my teenage son had invited a friend of his from school to spend the night at our house. Being that my son is the only male in our household (pets included), I usually have a soft spot in my heart for him to have bonding time with his guy friends. It’s his chance to escape the females and do what boys do best. I snicker at the thought of the armpit farts blown through straws and the laughter that comes with it. It’s got to be something only a mother can appreciate!

I got home from work and picked up my son, so we could head on over to his friend’s house. While out on the road, I decided to stop and pick up pizzas on the way home. Any mom with a son knows that a late night snack will be needed! We ran by a local pizza place and bought just about one of each type of pizza. On the way, my son points out our church to his friend, when usually it’s not something of conversation when we pass by. But for whatever reason, my son was inclined to say, “Hey, that’s where we go to church. That’s our church.” His friend immediately said, “Oh, dude! You’re so lucky! I’ve always wanted to go to that church!”

Instead of jumping in right away to ask if my son’s friend goes to a church or anything to gather a little more information, he responded on his own, “Usually, my mom says we can go to that church, but then she is tired, sleeps late, and I never get to go.”

I was excited! Here this young man was in my car, and he is wanting to attend church. I told him he could go with us anytime to church! Sometimes I have been seen at church with no kids (when mine are out of town visiting their father), and sometimes I have been seen with my kids plus their friends. One woman, many kids, and I have to on occassion make two trips because my car only holds a few passengers. But, on those days when I have to make multiple trips to church and back to get my kids’ friends to and from church with us, it is worth the extra time.

When I got home and started thinking about the conversation in my car, I wondered if maybe there are other teens in our area who desire to go to church, but don’t because their parents don’t go. Could this just be a transportation issue? Like my son and his friend, they are not old enough to get a drivers license yet. Some teens may not have access to a car. And, in our town the public transportation buses don’t run on Sundays. And to think about it a little deeper, would the teens attend the youth groups if they only had transportation to get back and forth?

In my house, we used to have all sleep-overs on Friday nights instead of Saturday nights, because we have church on Sunday mornings. And now, we have sleep overs on Saturday nights, BECAUSE we have church on Sunday mornings. Those friends of my kids who want to go to church with us can spend the night at my house and go. And those who don’t want to, aren’t forced to. One teen in particular has been raised as an athiest who doesn’t believe there is a god. And that teen chooses to attend church with us once in awhile.

Maybe I need more than just a building to build HOPE. Maybe I also need a bus! I’m going to need to sell a lot of books to raise a lot of capital! And, I’m smiling. With God, ALL things are possible.

I hope that this young man will someday pass by a church with a friend of his and say, “Hey, that’s MY church!” You never know! It could be that teenagers want to be part of a church family, but don’t have a way to get there or have never been invited. I believe that God is working through our kids to reach even the youngest of His children. My son’s pointing out our church through the car window turned into my knowledge of a need for this kiddo.

And as a child of God myself, I will see to it that the invitation stands, the transportation is available, and that he feels he is part of our church family. He’s not just a guest. In the house of God, He is family.

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Is Everyday A Starting Point?

I remember waking up this morning to what I thought would be a fairly normal day. But, as the morning went on, I realized that today was one of those days that was an “off” day all the way around. Yes, even coaches have days that are “icky” and on a scale of 1 to 10, today was a -5. And it wasn’t because of anything in particular that went wrong which is what made it feel “off”. I spent the majority of my day trying to figure out what it was in the first place.

I found myself grumpy. I found myself flustered. I found myself wanting to fix whatever it was immediately. Unfortunately, I found no answers. There was no immediate remedy available, and I found myself spinning in circles to figure out how to pull myself out of this funk.

I did think of a few strategies to get around it such as:

I could stick my head in sand like an ostrich and forget about it, only I’m in Hutchinson, KS and there’s no sand in sight.

I could hibernate like a bear and sleep through it, only I’d wake up hungry every few hours. I like to eat too much to sleep through dinner. Trust me on that one.

I could pretend that I had just conquered the world’s problems. Wait a minute! Me? Conquer the world’s problems? That hit the nail on the head. If I would’ve had a hammer, I could’ve sunk that baby with one massive swing.

From the moment I walked into the office, I was barraged with OPJ. (Other people’s junk.) In addition, I had emails about impending layoffs. I read more bad news about the employment outlook and the economy. I felt pulled in so many different directions to assist with fixing all that is going wrong. We need to do this…We need to do that…This way…That way…yes, it’s mass chaos!

There seems to be a lot of doom and gloom. Yes, there doesn’t seem to be enough funding to go around. Yes, there are so many individuals who are being hit hard. Yes, there are people trying to make difficult decisions in these tough times. Yes, everyone is trying to devise a plan to weather the storms ahead and solve the issues that are causing the crisis. Yes, I have all the answers to fix them.

Wrong! I don’t have all the answers. So, why was I frustrated and upset that I couldn’t fix the problems everyone is facing? It’s simple. I forgot to remember that God is in control and He alone has the answers. And yet, I was feeling bad for not knowing what the answers are!
I can guarantee you that the God of the universe is not thinking about burying his head in the sand to get a way from it all like I was. He can handle it. I can’t. And everyone should be glad that I can’t. With that much power…oh, boy, could I have some fun and cause mass pandemonium without really trying! (I am kidding!)

So, tonight after a group meeting, I started to wonder. Is everyday a starting point in one way or another? Could it be that each day we need to start off remembering first and foremost that God is in control of everything? I think that personally, this would be a good reminder and help set the tone of my day no matter what gets thrown at me.

The lesson here on a personal note is that I learned that I cannot rely upon myself to fix the world, fix people’s problems, fix the shortages and trauma’s of our society no matter how much I would like to have the solutions and answers each person is seeking. And, in order to hold onto the truth, each day I need to start off by remembering who does have that control. Yes, even in bad times and times we are faced with afflictions, the God of the universe is in control. And it could just be that He is using the crisis we face to teach us, grow us, strengthen us, rebuke us, and get us back on track or prepare us for the next phase in our lives.

Each day whether good or bad is a starting point to embrace what God has given us. Each day is a starting point to learn and grow into something God desires us to become. And each day is a starting point to offer our lives to our Almighty Father and live with Him in control. No matter what type of day we face, what we hope to conquer, or what others expect us to tackle, we get the gift of a fresh starting point with our Father.

I’m glad, too. It means I don’t have to stick my head in sand, sleep through any meals, and I can relax and just let God do His job, while I do what I’m good at. I’m good at being the coach he created me to be…and that’s it!

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Try It, You Might Like It!

I came across an article that I am going to share. Why? I am compelled to say something. Not much, just a quick response aimed at the Athiest Bus Campaign launched on buses today in London and other cities. The slogan that is plastered on the buses says, “There’s probably no god, now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

One…It states that there’s “probably” no god. What do you mean probably? That’s like purchasing a product that will probably work, but you’re not for certain. There’s probably no god? That indicates doubt that they are even certain that they believe there really isn’t.

There IS only one God, one Author of creation, and without a doubt He is real. I would never say, “he probably exists.” I know He exists, and I can only say this because I tried Him. I don’t buy clothing that “probably fits,” I don’t eat food that “probably tastes good, and I wasn’t going to go through life wondering if a god really existed without calling out, asking for help, and experiencing Him first hand.

The truth is, God fit me like a glove. The Creator of the universe created me with his bare hands. To save me, He created Jesus Christ, which is like the glove that covers me, protects me, and surrounds me.

If you’re reading this and you yourself aren’t sure- would you purchase or buy into something that said “probably?” Are you willing to bet eternity on “probably?”

The God of the universe is always in control, in control of that very bus, in control of how He will use this for His purpose. Worry? No. Pray? Yes! I am praying for the athiest bus slogans and that the God of the universe work his purpose into their lives.

The next part of this campaign reads, “…now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” If you were so certain that god didn’t exist, why would you be worried in the first place? Certainty replaces doubt, right?

What I see in this is a lot of doubt and skepticism. Satan wants us (all of us believers and non-believers) to be tempted by the enjoyment of life now. The instant gratification our society craves and falls so easily for. So, when it reads, “…enjoy life now,” I know that this is exactly were the temptation lies. The hidden truth behind the message is- enjoy life now and pay for it later.

Does this campaign bother me? As a human being who believes in God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit, yes it does. Am I worried? Not at all. God is in control. Yes, even of all these buses in this campaign, God is in control.

My last thought is:

If there is someone who doesn’t know without a doubt that God exists, think about this:
How could you possibly know whether someone is real or not without meeting Him? How can you understand without getting to know Him? How could you develop a relationship and experience love unlike any other unless you invite Him into your life and spend time with Him? Are you willing to bet eternity on “probably?”

You can’t say something doesn’t exist, something isn’t real, something doesn’t fit, something doesn’t taste good, or that you won’t like something unless you try it first. Try it, use it, experience it. Then the probably will turn into definately! There DEFINATELY is a God! Start Praying and enjoy your life forever!

I like that…change the slogan! There DEFINATELY is a God! Stop worrying, start praying and enjoy your life forever!

In case anyone wants to read the article on the campaign:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/06/religion-atheist-bus-campaign-national

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Press Release, January 6, 2009

ill Your Teen Be One Of 30% That Remain In Church After Completing High School?

January, 6, 2009, Press Release

To learn more about Dr. Chuck Stecker and A Chosen Generation visit http://www.achosengeneration.org/

To listen to this radio interview visit http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Move-Into-Action

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