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leap of faith

We have all heard the phrase "Leap of Faith". I am currently walking with someone who is literally in the midst of deciding to take that leap of faith. It's amazing how hard those moments are and yet, at the same time, exhilarating. It is really these moments of faith that end up defining our lives. These moments don't happen everyday or maybe not even yearly. You may only have a few of these moments in your entire life. The closer you walk with God and serve Him, the more of them you will have. We have lots of steps of faith or tip toes of faith and sometimes we settle for simply falling forward in faith. But as I walk with this individual, it's awesome watching God work in the middle of these leaps of faith. For it to be a leap of faith, it requires a jumping off point and a landing point. That requires all you've got to cover the distance, and even then you are not sure you have it in you to make it to the other side. That air, that risk, that gap in between those two points is God's space. It's the space where He alone works. Where He holds us up. Where He has to take over and you just close your eyes and wait for your feet to hit solid ground once more. I have had to make several leaps of faith in my 48 years and to be honest, not all of them have turned out that great. However, all of them have defined my life for the better because any time we have to trust in God to cover the gap, we come closer to Him. We learn lessons in those moments of failure that educate us for that next leap of faith that will no doubt present itself. I am very proud of this individual who is taking this current leap of faith and I can't wait to see how this "God story" turns out.
 
"...for we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7
 

spring fever

What was that up in the sky the last couple of days? That's right, it was the Sun! That's all it took for me to begin feeling the familiar signs of spring fever. It hit me so fast I reached out to a couple of my guys about going golfing on Friday. The latest weather report says it's supposed to be mostly sunny or partly cloudy, (I prefer the mostly sunny version), and around 55 degrees with just a 10% chance of rain. YES!
 
It's amazing what a positive sense of anticipation will do for your mood and spirit. It motivates you from inactivity to activity, from being mopey to happy, from being wishful to expectation. Anticipation can be a powerful attitude. And when that anticipation is directed at things that are positive and healthy, it can motivate us to be better people.
 
The opposite is true as well; those who live without any sense of anticipation or expectation are generally not a very fun group of people.
 
"But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me." Micah 7:7
 
What are you anticipating or looking forward to?
 
 

different

Sit in any Starbucks for any length of time and you will see a host of different people come and go. For that matter, sit in a park, city bench or grocery store for any length of time and you will have the same experience. It is amazing how different we all are all from one another. The next thing I would observe is that we are all very aware of these differences and then consciously or unconsciously go about grouping ourselves around those we share the most in common with or are most alike.

 

We are in the middle of a series at church entitled #lovechurch. One of the things I love about our church is how very different we all are from one another. Apart from the church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ we would most likely not connect, relate, or get to know most of the people we come to know and love in the church. Left to our own devices we will gravitate to that which is common and comfortable for us.

 

There is something about the Gospel, the love of Jesus, and our love for Jesus that tears down those walls and opens the door for relationships that so enrich our lives. So, I have to ask you; Are you regularly attending church and find that you still only maintain relationships that fit your demographic or your style or normal circle? If so, I would challenge you to take advantage of one of the great attributes of church - the opportunity to break out of the normal confines of relationship and expand your relational connections with those you share nothing in common with except our awesome Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Expand your circle!

super bowl

Well friends, the Seahawks are now just a couple of days away from facing the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. Man I hope they win! Many of us have already made our plans of where we are watching the game, who we are watching the game with, what food we are going to serve. Some of us have tracked our favorite players on Twitter and Facebook. If you turn on the TV, even the local news will share a daily update on something going on around the Super Bowl. It seems wherever you go there will be multiple people wearing Seahawks gear. Stores are having trouble keeping Skittles in stock. The excitement is palpable.
 
The Super Bowl is going to be played in just over three hours time with commercials. The actual amount of time on the clock is 60 minutes, yet we will have been talking about it for two weeks and, depending on the outcome, we will be talking about it for months or years afterward.
 
So it is with the really big moments in our own lives as well. The actual amount of time that these big moments take, either good or bad, are generally fairly short, but the leading up to them and the results or consequences of them is so much longer, sometimes lasting a lifetime.
 
What was your last really big moment? Hopefully we will all share a really big moment a couple of days from now with the Seahawks' win.

it's my birthday

It’s my birthday today! Today I turn 48 years old. I think birthdays are a great time to reflect and examine our lives. I say that under this condition you are able to reflect honestly, critically, and at all times laced with grace and gratitude. I think it’s important that we be able to look at our self in the mirror and examine our relationships with God and others, examine our health, examine our life's direction, etc.
 
I think all too often I myself, and possibly you as well, can turn this self -reflection into a pity party or a self-loathing party. All too often, instead of arriving at our birthdays with gratitude that we get to experience another one, we dread them because we see them as mile markers of what is wrong with our lives. That is no way to celebrate.
 
So today I am going to list some things that I am grateful for over these past 48 years and a few things I look forward to with hope.
 
I am grateful for:
 
My parents continued love and support
My Brothers and Sister
My great wife Annette
My awesome, gifted, smart, and driven children
My opportunity to lead Trinity Church
My great team that I get to work with
My good health
My great friends
 
What I look forward to with hope:
 
Vacation to Lake Chelan in May
Vacation to California this summer
My daughters’ future graduations from college and masters programs
Grand kids
Convertible Audi (OK, OK that crossed the line, but one can hope)
 
So Happy Birthday to me as the lists above are some pretty awesome birthday presents.https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gif
 

time

I was listening to some worship music today and the song “The Time Has Come” came on. It’s a song by Hillsong United. The title of the song comes from a line in the song that goes like this, "The time has come to stand for all we believe in, so I for one am going to give my praise to you." It caused me to think about time, how fleeting it is. About the times we live in and how unpredictable they are. And then it’s not too hard to begin to think about the future and what is coming next, and that can drive you crazy.

The Bible is clear that God alone knows the times and seasons. "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority." Acts 1:7

So when it comes down to it, all we have is the time that we have right now - right this moment. When you begin think of it that way, those things that matter most come into perspective real quick. Things that are tomorrow, and out of our control, become less worrisome.

So the simple question for today is, “What has the time come for you to do today, not to put off until tomorrow but to do today, right now? What is it that you need to take a stand for today?”
James 4:14 says, "you do not know what tomorrow will bring". So get it done today.
 

new

I studied today for the first time at a brand new coffee shop, called EPIC coffee. They just opened a few weeks ago and I must have driven by it several times before I noticed it. I love checking out new coffee shops. As a matter of fact, I love new things period. I love the freshness of them, like new sheets. I love the opportunity they provide, like new ministries. I love the smell of them, like a new car. I love the mystery of them, like new relationships.

 

The other thing about new things is that new things don't have to be new as in “just made” or “never used.” It can be what is new to you, like an antique.

 

Yet when I think about this coffee shop that I am sitting in and enjoying very much, I think of the owners of this new place. This is their very first coffee shop. To accomplish this they had to invest and buy an old run-down building and renovate it. They had to pick out décor, hire and train new employees, on and on the list must go when opening a place like this. Then I think of all the risk, challenge and faith it must have taken to make all this come to pass. Now some months later, I sit here in their new place enjoying it. It made me think, “How many new things do we take a pass on because we are scared away by the risk, challenge and faith required to see it all come to pass?”

 

We are considering several new things as a church in 2014. May we not shrink back from them, for if we will step out and persevere, someday someone will sit and enjoy what we risked just as I am sitting and enjoying this coffee shop.

hope is a gift

Not sure what to give as a present this year? Let me suggest HOPE. Last night at Trinity Church we sponsored our very first Christmas Outreach. We set up personal invitations for 25 families to come to church and receive a hot meal, decorate cookies, and then the kids were able to go to a room and wrap a present for mom, as well as do some crafts. Moms and dads were able to go to another room and stuff a bag full of stocking stuffers for their kids, pick out two presents for each of their children, as well as a pair of pajamas. There were several moms who welled up with tears of gratitude and joy, as well as dozens of smiling and blessed volunteers who were so blessed to be a part of it. Some of those volunteers were themselves in need of a little help this year at Christmas, but the smiles on their faces, as they were able to give hope to so many, were a pleasure to see.

The gift of hope is what we ultimately dispensed last night. Yes, there were toys, balls, dolls, hats, clothes, trucks, etc., but the most valued gift that went to all of those homes was hope.

As families drove away from Trinity Church last night, they may very well have looked at our sign that declares boldly, "Jesus Cares About You" and maybe, just maybe for the first time in their lives, started to believe that it could be true
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"when people wound"

“But He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace.” Isaiah 53:5 (NLT)

The most painful wounds we can suffer are those we endure from other people, and never more severe than from those who are closest to us.

Being misunderstood, judged, accused, abandoned, walked away from – words that are spoken that cut deep because they found access to our hearts. These kinds of wounds can cause wounded spirit that stays with us for days, months, maybe years.

Having suffered firsthand from those types of wounds and keeping in mind what Isaiah 53:5 says Christ endured for us, here is a bit of advice for dealing with wounds from people:

1. Continually speak forgiveness regardless of if you feel like you mean it.

2. Don’t let negative, condemning and self-hatred pile on.

    Revelation 12:11 warns us that Satan loves to pile on as the “accuser of our brothers.”

3. Count your blessings like never before.

    Overcome the pain by counting the many blessings in your life.

4. Don’t take it out on others.

    Wounded people have a tendency to lash out and wound others.

    Don’t pass the pain on.

5. Be careful who you share the news of your wound with.

    Your wound may cause another to carry an offense which won’t heal you up any quicker.

6. Learn from it.

    Some of our best lessons can be pointed to and they are called scars.

oh christmas tree

Christmas is upon us and as I was studying today there was a Christmas Tree lot across the street. It was fun watching people walk up and checkout the trees. Totally got me excited to go and get our tree for our house and so tomorrow Abbey and I are going to our favorite tree farm and cut down our tree. It is always interesting watching people pick out their tree. How tall they want it, how wide they want it, Noble, Frazier, Douglas, Grand etc. Everyone always sees something different when they are looking for a tree. Two people can look at a tree and see it totally differently. (By the way, fake Christmas trees are not cool and I am dreading the day that I fall victim to the ease and uniformity of a tree from a box.)

As I was watching people look for their tree and was thinking about going and getting our tree, it was fun to feel the anticipation and excitement. The whole tree experience is as much about past Christmas's as it is about the present. As I thought about getting the tree and what type I would get it caused me to remember and relive great memories of Christmas's past and the family tradition that the tree represents. Wouldn't it be great if we daily were able to remember all of the things that have made us smile, laugh and have blessed our lives? We seem to think too much about the things that are wrong, troublesome and painful or that we want to change.

So as we enter Christmas let’s take advantage of the Christmas tree moments and keep it going beyond just Christmas.
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