Posts Tagged Love

Trading A Pay-check For A Passion

Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt that you were called to something bigger than yourself, but everyone else around you thought that you were insane, irrational, or an ignoramus? What I’ve learned over the past few months takes me back to a quote I heard once:

God doesn’t call the equipped,
He equips the called.

So even if you’re going through life and are content just doing what you’ve always been doing, when God calls, you will be equipped for what he has called you to do. Prepare for spiritual boot-camp, because He will get you ready. But will you be willing?

I was reading my Bible on my way back from a family reunion and a few things *hit* me like a hammer hits a finger: painful, swift, and powerfully on target. (Most of you know what I’m talking about…those hammers never miss the finger!)

1. In the book of Matthew, Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee when he summoned two brothers Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were working as fisherman. That was their livelihood…their pay-check. They did not waste time thinking: “Well, how will I pay the electricity? The cable? Provide for my family?” Instead of questioning, they responded to their call immediately. (Matthew 4:18-20)

And what they received instead of a routine pay check was so much more. They traded their pay-checks for a passion.

HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!

So, what’s so awesome about the passion of a calling?

Everything.

But the first thing to jump out at me in response to that question is:

LOVE

Becoming passionate and living a life around Christ is founded on a love that cannot be put into words. Because Love in any relationship is not founded on words alone. LOVE must accompany ACTION.

I have to say that again.

Love MUST accompany action. Action behind it is what DEFINES it!

It’s easy to say we love someone. But if our actions behind that word won’t support it, it falls flat. Love becomes just a meaningless word. If you truly care, you have joyful action to support the love you proclaim.

Think about this for a minute: How much could our marriages and relationships improve if we LOVED in ACTION! We’d be helping, encouraging, pampering, and listening by focusing on the other person and HOW we could love them instead of focusing on what we should be getting out of it. We tend to self love. Jesus was about loving others!

So, we say we can love. But, can we continue to follow and love even when the loving gets rough? How will we know if we can do it or not? The answer is simple: Just do it. Until you do, you will never know how much you love until the circumstances become challenging. I know first hand!

When the less than ideal circumstances arose, I learned that there is nothing that I wouldn’t do to live out my faith and calling. And I also had to learn that I had to be careful not to fall into anything that would take my focus off that same calling when the difficult tests began!

I learned that by following Christ I could lose it all. And in the same aspect, losing it was the only way I could keep it all. Yes, I would lose things in this world. I would lose certain comforts, certain relationships, certain expectations people had for me. But, I was keeping the only thing that mattered after all the clutter was removed. I was getting to keep my love and passion for Christ, and He became my all. Because essentially, nothing else matters if I don’t have my passion. Take the every thing, but don’t touch my passion. And I mean that. Where God guides, he also provides. This is a true test of obedience, faith, and trust.

When you are called from the business world and into the field of ministry regardless of the circumstances, stay laser focused on your mission and answer the call. Risk it all. Because after all, even if everything was taken away from you, you’d still find you have it all without regret.

You cannot regret loving God. And sometimes you don’t know that until you have to risk it all. The risk helped me to define the depth of love I have for Him.

Oh, and if you’re worried about screwing up, don’t worry. I can tell you first hand that you will make some mistakes. But, if you stay plugged in to the mission that Christ has set before you, you will only grow deeper in your relationship with Him as you work through it.

Enjoy song and lyrics 😉

You will have to page down and click on “More Wonderful”-it brings up a different song each time…I’ll try to figure that one out! Listen to the song: Aaron Shust, More Wonderful
Link to lyrics

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Benefits Of Double Vision

I’m sitting in Houston, Tx at a family reunion, and I’ve had some incredible moments again with my kids. (Ok, and actually…I am laying next to my daughter in my parent’s RV just chomping at the bit to write a blog post.) The more time I spend with my kids, I am more than certain that it is they who are teaching me just as much about life as I am teaching them. It’s a two way street. And, that is an incredible thought pattern responsible for this blog post about double vision.

I have spent the past few days thinking about my kiddos, and I’m willing to share a few of my thoughts: (and notice how each below is in pairs/doubles…cool, huh?!)

1. They are my kiddos.
2. They are not just my kiddos or children that have come to me through my bloodline or biological magic. They are God’s children (as am I), and they have been entrusted to me by the Creator of the Universe to raise. This is nothing short of an honor and privilege regardless of how they became entrusted to me.

1. I expect respect from my kids.
2. I show love and respect to my kids as their elder just the same as I expect it.

1. I desire time with my kids and attention from them.
2. My kiddos (even my teens) desire and crave attention with me, too.

1. I discipline my kids through teaching and not through yelling, threats, or control.
2. My kids learn from me the same way I learn from God, The Father.

1. I am always cleaning up after my kids, because they constantly make a mess of some thing!
2. God is always cleaning up after me, because I am always screwing some thing up and asking for His help to clean up the messes I’ve made.

1. The best way to teach my children anything is to model the behavior through elimination, moderation, or addition. (This means eliminating bad/unwanted/unhealthy behaviors, knowing and modeling self control and moderation, and adding behaviors that are beneficial for life change and self improvement.)
2. The best way to learn some things is by watching your children and then modeling them. They are inquisitive, playful, and purposeful. I have never watched a kid play half heartedly, because they are too busy creating a purpose for their play.

I could go on and on. Tonight I was on my way to bed, but I decided to sit and chat with my son under the stars, since he wasn’t quite ready to head to bed yet. We took my laptop and tried to pull up a map of the stars and constellations to pin point the stars. However, I am just not that talented at direction, so we ended up having a few good laughs and a lot of great conversation.

After more than an hour of just talking and giggling with my teenager, I was heading to bed when I thought about double vision. I think we tend to think of our children from an “ownership” perspective, when in reality they are God’s children and we are raising them for His purpose! Does that thought not just blow your mind? While I may want and hope they go to this college or that college, I find myself ultimately remembering that I am raising them to become part of God’s great plan. And when I find myself viewing them as children of God, entrusted to me, I find myself wanting to learn more about how Jesus:

Spoke to people.
Taught people.
Loved people.
Respected people.
Helped people.
Humbled himself to other people.

I don’t want to follow how my parents did things to raise me and how the world taught me to raise my kiddos. And I mean no disrespect in that at all, because my parents did a fine job which I commend them for. But, when I really think about the type of parent I want to be, it has more to do with who Jesus was, how he acted towards people and children, and I find myself wanting to model my parenting style toward His teaching style.

Some days I see my kids as exhausting or not learning and making necessary decisions quickly enough. And then I have to take into consideration that there is another way to look at the situations and my children. That second vision shows me how to view it from Jesus’ standpoint. And that makes my vision double. It’s no longer just my vision. But, instead a blended vision of what I see and how Christ would view and react/teach various things to The Father’s children.

The more I view my children from His perspective and see how much He has entrusted to me, the less I focus on my perspective alone. The more I see people in general from this perspective the more my relationships grow and flourish. And the more they grow and flourish, the more I get to enjoy them. This is one benefit I plan on keeping, because I want all of my relationships to be grounded in Christ. And in order to grow them, I must keep seeing beyond my own eyes and learn to see more through His.

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Do More Than Just Show Up!

Why not really live your life?

Are you just showing up for your life?

How about REALLY living it!?!

What if you had given everything instead of going through the motions?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaHmiFaX_pk

Grip and embrace all the blessings God has offered you in life.

Your spouse (fiance, special, special person you’re dating)
Your children
Your job
Your family
Your friends
Your home
Your health
Your salvation

And love them like you mean it!
Show Him your gratitude for each!

And do more than just go through the motions.

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House Of Prayer Everyday (HOPE)

I have to admit it. I was driving about 25 miles per hour on my way to church this evening for two meetings and Surge. All of the sudden, I saw the lights behind me inching ever so close to my rear bumper. I wasn’t speeding. In fact, I’ve been driving for hmmm…almost 27 years and have never even had a speeding ticket. So, why was this impatient person riding my bumper? Well, I was so lost in prayer, that I failed to realize that the speed limit was 35mph., and I was slowing people down.

I was thinking about how much I enjoy our Wednesday evening Surge. It has become not just an evening of bible study, but it has evolved into a prayerful study. I am a person who prays a lot. And that is an understatement I guess. I pray while I’m waiting in line at the grocery store. I pray everytime an ambulance goes by. I pray for people who I see sitting in their cars. I really pray for the parents I see with screaming kiddos at Walmart. I pray for people I know, people I don’t know, and I pray for the people that I never see living across the world.

I find myself praying fairly consistently throughout the day. I pray before starting work, I pray as decisions need to be made, I pray for guidance, I pray for the right words, I pray for God’s direction, I pray for help, and I give thanks to God just out of the blue. I have this addiction to prayer. I just cannot go without praying. I know I can’t possibly make it through an entire day without it. Why? Because, if I do, I will rely upon me. I am so faulted as a human, that I will probably make the wrong decision or take the easy road. The only way I can survive and hope to take the path that God has created for me, is to communicate with Him, praise Him, and love Him. That only happens when I pray. And, I do pray a lot!

So, when I left for church tonight and got lost in prayer while driving, I was just poking along, irritating some driver behind me. I thought to myself, “What if I’d been pulled over for driving so slowly?” I wondered if I could’ve used the excuse of driving under the inluence. The influence of prayer. As I sit here writing this, the message has just hit me. When I am praying and actively communicating with God, I am slowing down. I am not rushing. I am not acting hastily. It’s slowing down, waiting, and acting as He guides me to.

Oh, see this is so amazing. What if our communities could build a place of prayer open to the general public, the homeless, the lost, the individuals who have nothing left, nowhere to go, nothing to live for, the desperate, those at the end of their ropes (and that would include me…I get there sometimes, too!) to walk into to find hope through Jesus Christ. There is no place in our community that is open 24 hours. Christ can be received any time of day or night, seven days a week, every single day of the year. The power of prayer doesn’t sleep. Yet, our churches are usually open for services, studies, and meetings.

I read an article on churches several months ago, and it still remains fresh in my memory. The jist of it was summed up as…many individuals who are lost and broken don’t enter our churches to seek help, because they already feel bad enough. Yes, ouch. So what if it’s not a church that individuals can come to for help and prayer…someone to care, someone to listen, someone to witness. And why did I mention hope earlier? H (House) O (OF) P (Prayer) E (Everyday). Every community across the world should have a HOPE-House of Prayer Everyday.

When I got home this evening, my youngest daughter had a card waiting for me with two pictures inside that she drew. She didn’t go to AWANNA, since she wasn’t feeling well. I was a little disappointed that she didn’t go, because I love hearing about what she’s learned about Jesus. I opened the card and there was a picture of me as a baby. She drew Jesus above me with a cross, and it read, “I command you to love this woman.” Isn’t that awesome? (No, not that she feels that everyone is to love me, although it was a funny thought.) We are commanded to love one another as He loves us.

We are commanded to also spread the Good News to those who have never heard it, and we are commanded to help our brothers and sisters through the same love and acceptance that Christ extends to us. That builds hope, and hope is belief. Belief becomes prayer.

I hope, believe, and pray that HOPE (House of Prayer Everyday) will exist in every community across the world. I pray that Seasoned With Salt be a part in building HOPE in each community by providing the funding for such projects. Let’s pray and ask God to guide us.

By the way, if you are looking for a great book to read, read Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire-by Jim Cymbala.

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Managing Difficult People

We all have them. Have what? I’m talking about difficult people in our personal and professional lives. You know…the whiners, the complainers, the naggers, the ones who think they will fall over and die if they have nothing to crab about. Today I had a Monday that I am soooo glad is over. Within the first three hours of work, I’d been chewed up, spit out, stomped on, dumped on, and well, by lunch time I my eyes were glazing over. I’d received so much of O.P.J. (Other People’s Junk), that I was feeling like an overflowing dumpster.

With garbage up to my neck from a rather explosive and hateful individual who blames everyone else for everything bad that happens in life, the stinch associated with that junk was overpowering. I seriously needed a clothes pin for my nose. It stunk that bad! (I know…that’s a nice mental image, huh?)A few weeks ago, at the Leadership Bootcamp I attended in Missouri, we discussed how sheep are managed, while people are led. However, the events that occurred today have me thinking that there is merit in both. Sometimes people should be managed and led. At first, I felt extremely defensive when this individual detinated. I was really starting to look for a foxhole to dive into, but the explosion happened before I had time to dig one! I didn’t write this person’s life story.

I haven’t made the choices that led to the consequences. It was an explosion of blame, finger pointing, cursing, and many childish antics. Seriously, it was the equivalent of a two year old temper-tantrum in the candy isle, only from a much older individual who definately knows better. Yet, it continues to be an issue, because a few people enable this behavior out of pity.

The past life events of a person is not an excuse to behave poorly and mistreat others. How we act as adults is a choice. Unfortunately we see so many times how talk show hosts and authors design fancy names for all the “excuses” for behavior that stem from childhood, poverty, fatherlessness, and even wealth. We don’t need fancy names for any of these. One word describes them all. Sin. And it’s pretty much all inclusive. Either we are living in sin or someone else is living in sin and it just happens to affect us all. It all boils down to sin in the world. Sin affects all of us! See, there is no fancy or new way of making excuses for our behaviors necessary.

When we get down and go back to the basics, sin is the one word that describes many of the causes for what happens in our lives. As adults, it’s time for us to live in the present. We can do this by using our past as part of who we have grown to become, so long as we use it to glorify God. This is done by using our experiences as catalysts for learning, growing, sharing, and teaching to those around us. As adults we focus on the present-what do I want my life to be now? We need to stop looking in the rearview mirror-it’s an accident waiting to happen…crash!

When we manage a difficult individual, it refers to how much we let them dump on us. When it’s hurtful, malicious, or borderline abuse, it is up to us to manage how much dumping we will take at any given time. It is important to protect your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Why not just let someone treat you repeatedly as their punching bag or dumping ground? Because, when we do that we fail to discipline them out of love.

Truly loving someone is to hold them accountable for their actions and reactions to life. If we do not discipline and hold one another accountable in spriritual truths and biblical teachings, we are actually enabling an individual to continue the behavior. If we teach a person (or teach ourselves) to become accountable and work through and own our afflictions, we are showing the same kind of love that God shows us. This type of love leads people. Managing difficult people is a small step toward getting them ready to be led. We stop the unnecessary blame games, dumping, and instead lead them by teaching accountability, independence, and how to be disciplined out of love.

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