Friday, November 30, 2012

The Power and Impact of Kindness

One of the biggest news stories right now involves a random act of kindness shown by a NYPD officer a few weeks ago. I recommend you check out the link to the story at the end of today's post. What I've been thinking about lately is the power of kindness. Here's someone meeting an evident need and it becomes world wide news. What does that tell me? Simply, that the world loves stories of kindness, especially when shown towards complete strangers. In this case, a homeless man on the streets of New York. When talking about kindness, I can't help but think of the Lord. Look at what Ephesians 2:4-7 tells us, "But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!). For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus." God's kindness towards us is indescribable and undeserving, yet He willingly shows it to us daily. Today, you will have many opportunities to show kindness to others. And it will probably be to some who aren't deserving or could ever pay you back. But that's not the point. Show it to them anyway, because of the kindness that's been shown to you by the Lord :) Here's the link and I recommend you watch it Have fun being kind today :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Making Your Christmas Merry

It all started on Thanksgiving with the playing of Christmas music. Stores, radio stations, TV ads all seemed to playing them. On the early morning hours of Black Friday people people had already been camped out for hours to get steals and deals. Malls and stores were packed. $52 billion was spent on Black Friday and number of credit cards being swiped was staggering. Before you know it there'll be Christmas party after Christmas party. Frustrations are around the corner with trying to find the right gifts, packed malls and a shortage of parking spots. By the time Christmas morning rolls around you're exhausted. In fact there's little recognition of the holiday because of everything leading up to it. But let's not forget the reason for this season, Jesus Christ. The Savior of the world and Son of God who came to redeem fallen man. This Christmas will you let the season overwhelm you? Or will you add a little simplicity to your Christmas. Don't let the busyness of the season steal from the reason for the season. Isn't there more to it? Keep things simple and enjoy your Christmas season :) Will you let your Christmas be a merry one? Merry Christmas.

Monday, November 26, 2012

You Are A Hero

All of us have people in our lives that we love and appreciate. But every now and then someone comes along that inspires us and challenges us to live above the norm. One such person in my life, who I consider a hero is my grandfather who we called "Pop." He was an ordinary man who lived an extraordinary life. I'm thinking about him now because the 28th November would have been his birthday. Although he passed away several years ago, the impact he made on people's lives continues even today. He was unselfish, kind, strong and committed to all he did. He was a war hero who won many medals, yet never wanted any recognition for them. He was a servant to all around him, and loved his family beyond measure. Sometimes culture gives us the impression that all heroes wear capes, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. When you think about it, we all have opportunities to be heroes to those around us. Not that it's something we strive for, but if we'd just be who God's called us to be, others will be inspired by our lives. Today, will you be a hero to someone? Maybe it's your spouse, your children, your co-workers, or even someone you bump into. All you have to do is be the person God's made you :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

What Was I Thinking?

This time every year a group of us men from church play in our annual Turkey Bowl football game. Yesterday we had 3 games going with about 50 people involved. It was amazing! Hard core flag football (tackle or get the person down and then pull their flag). As we were playing yesterday I ran hard on both offense and defense. I caught a touchdown, grabbed an interception and even threw a few touchdowns. My adrenaline was pumping and age meant nothing. Well that was yesterday. This morning I got up and realized my body was screaming at every movement I made. While I felt nothing yesterday, I'm making up for it today. Every year I forget that I'm not the young athlete I once was and always pay for it the next day. So why would I play every year? There's something about being around other men who are playing football together. I just can't stay at home and not be part of the camaraderie, fun, laughter and highlight plays. Thanks to all the guys who let this veteran play yesterday :) I had a blast!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

No Gratitude Means No Thankfulness

I've been thinking a lot lately about people who are thankful and those who aren't, especially with it being Thanksgiving tomorrow. I love what EM Bounds says, "Gratitude is an inward emotion of the soul, involuntarily arising therein, while thanksgiving is the voluntary expression of gratitude. Thanksgiving is oral, positive, active. It is the giving out of something to God. Thanksgiving comes out into the open. Gratitude is secret, silent, passive, not showing its being until expressed in praise and thanksgiving. Gratitude is felt in the heart. Thanksgiving is the expression of that inward feeling.” A person who has no real gratitude on the inside will have no evidence of thanksgiving on the outside. They can try to fake it, but as we all know, it's pretty easy to spot a faker. For someone to have no gratitude they're obviously overlooking much and take a lot for granted. If we sat down and really thought about it, we would have pages and pages of things we're thankful for. We've all seen the commercial asking "what's in your wallet?" But the question we must really ask today is "what's in your heart?" Matthew 12:34 tells us, "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." If there's gratitude in your heart, it will be obvious in the words that come from your mouth. Today, reflect on all the Lord's done for you, blessed you with, and has planned for you :) Have an attitude of gratitude.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Doing It For Her

One of the key ingredients for a a successful marriage is preferring the your spouse. Especially as a husband, I listen very carefully to those things my wife tells me she likes, and those things she doesn't. Over the last 6 weeks I've grown my facial hair out because I think it look stylish. I've also gotten a lot of compliments about how it looks. However, when it comes to what my wife thinks, she's first and foremost (obviously she's second to Jesus). I know my prickly stubbles were rough on her delicate cheeks and tender lips, so it was time for the facial hair to go. If my wife tells me it's time for my facial hair to go, it's time for it to go. Why would I do this? Why wouldn't I put up a fight. Don't forget I've gotten many positive comments about it. The answer is simple, I prefer her. As a husband, her desires and needs come before mine. Plus, I know I'll get a lot more kisses when my face is soft and clean shaven :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bad Attitudes Aren't Worth It

I had a great discussion with the HITC students this morning on attitudes. We talked about both good attitudes as well as bad ones. It's interesting that when someone has a bad attitude, there's absolutely nothing good that comes from it, other than God's forgiveness when you get things right with Him. When you think about it, there's no reason bad attitudes should have any place in our life. Not only is their fruit bad, but it causes you to ignore or forget all the Lord's done for you. Another amazing thing about attitudes is that we have the power to choose what kind of attitude we'll have. Usually bad attitudes are caused by our circumstances and what's going on around us. But we have the powerful choice of choosing to have a good attitude regardless of what's happening. Nobody enjoys being around someone who has a bad attitude. Can you imagine what's being communicated to others by a Christian who has a bad attitude? Culture says it's OK to have a bad attitude if you want, as if it's your right. Unfortunately this couldn't be farther from the truth. Will you choose to have a good attitude today? If you're attitude isn't right, will you make things right with the Lord and others? Having a bad attitude knowing everything the Lord has done for you is plain wrong.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

When Reputation and Integrity Are Compromised

There's so much buzz going on right now about the scandal involving former CIA director General Petraeus, Paula Broadwell and even Marine General John Allen. It serves as a reminder to all who have been placed in positions of authority, whose reputation and integrity are of the utmost importance. Petraeus' reputation has been impeccable and his integrity unquestioned. When the story broke most people couldn't believe what they were hearing. There are several things anyone can learn from this very sad situation. If integrity is something that's important to you, you can never afford to be casual about anything. Obviously Petraeus allowed small compromises in his life to mount, eventually resulting in his fall. I'm sure these didn't seem too big at the time. Petraeus was a man who was under much stress and pressure, for months on end not really having anyone to open up with, and being thousands of miles from his wife and family (he was overseas when this all went down). Along comes a very friendly, attractive and comforting friend, Paula Broadwell. I think it's so important for people to see the warning signs from the onset. He knew he was lonely and needed a confidant and this lady filled his void. When you're going through a difficult time, continually keep going to the Lord and allow him to fill your void. Set things in place that won't allow you to become snared by the enemy. I know some people will thing this is going overboard, however, the result is always the same, regret and pain. What are some things you have in place not to allow your reputation and integrity to take a hit? I think you'll be glad to put some things in place.

Monday, November 12, 2012

One of My Best Prayer Times Ever

I'm very thankful the Lord doesn't take breaks. I'm thankful that the lines to heaven are always open. A couple of days ago I had one of the most intense prayer times I've ever had. My daughter Amber and I left Meridian (right after the Carrera wedding) to drive down to Las Vegas. We encountered heavy snow from Salt Lake City and from there it only got worse. A couple of more hours into it we encountered the worst driving conditions I've ever been in. On an 80mph freeway I had slowed to a crawl. 10mph became the norm and at one point I even had to stop because there was so much snow on the road that I couldn't even see where the freeway was. There were no other vehicles on the roads, other than those that had skidded off and it was a very dangerous situation. Amber and I prayed. I mean we prayed hard. It was a time where I sought the Lord like I'd never sought Him before. I knew He was with us and wasn't going to leave us and He was so faithful. We finally came to a mountain town called Fillmore. We pulled off and hung out in the Maverick, which was the only thing open at 5am. After a couple of hours it started to get light and we headed back out, after 10 inches of snow had fallen. The roads and conditions weren't much better, but at least it was light, which seemed to make all the difference. The Lord finally got us down to Vegas in one piece. I'm so thankful for His promise to us found in Psalm 32:7, "You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance." Thank you Jesus for protecting us :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Why Do I Have To Go Through This?

This morning I spent an hour with our HITC students ( in my office talking about leadership. Well actually, we talked about some of the tests and trials that leaders must face. Usually when it comes to tests and trials we tend to hide, run from them or simply ignore them. But think for a moment, what's the purpose of tests? Do you really think that they're crush you? I don't think so. The goal of tests is to help us grow, learn and to draw nearer to God. Look at what Romans 5:3-4 tells us, "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation." It's not a matter of if tests will come, but when. And as you encounter some kind of testing, trial or problem, how are you going to respond and grow? As I look back on some of the tests and trials I've personally faced, as I was going through them it was challenging. Yet when I came through on the other side, I can definitely say that I needed to go through that season. Today you might be going through some sort of test. Well don't despair, but rejoice, because there's a purpose for your testing. And that purpose is your growth and maturity :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Is Your Life Like A Roller Coaster Ride?

Everyday things can go a way that you didn't expect and even surprise you. Sometimes things can happen that seem to take you in the complete opposite direction you want to be going. I continue to be amazed at the life of Joseph (thanks again to Bill Scheidler for his incredible course notes for Genesis). When you look at the life of Joseph, so many things went contrary to what he was expecting, and could easily describe it as a roller coaster ride. He encountered things that, depending upon his response, could very easily have disqualified him for what God had in store. We can learn so much from his circumstances and even more from his responses. He could have focussed on how unfair his life was. He could have focussed on how wrong and mean his brothers were. And he could have also focussed on the fact he was in a prison, a million miles from where he thought he should be. Bill Scheidler says about this, "Joseph may have been a slave in his circumstance, but he wasn't a slave in his spirit." This has to be the attitude and perspective we have. Things may look bleak and hopeless, but your attitude can make all the difference. I know you'll have opportunities today to respond to your circumstances. Will your choices look like those of Joseph or not?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Forgotten? Never Stop Being Faithful

Ever been in a season where you feel forgotten? At times even invisible to those around you? Others seem to be the ones getting all the recognition, the credit, the raise, the bonus, etc. I think everyone goes through those seasons every now and then. Usually in times like this a person will always have two options, bail or be faithful. I've seen many situations where people have bailed, and others where the person has been faithful. I think of David in the Bible. He served in obscurity while everyone around him seemed to be reaping rewards. He stayed faithful and God's plans came to pass. I also think of Joseph, who I've been studying lately (and greatly appreciate the notes from Bill Scheidler on Joseph from his Genesis class). Regardless of the ups and downs in Joseph's life, and believe me, they were major ups and downs, he remained faithful. What amazes me with Joseph is that he was framed and put in jail due to the lies of another. In jail he was literally forgotten by everyone, except God. He didn't live based on what he felt or what he saw, but he lived by principle and faith. Joseph continued to be faithful in the little things and because of this God blessed him. You may be in a season where you feel forgotten, but not by God. Continue being faithful in all you do, and just like Joseph, God will open doors for you :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Slave Without Having A Slave's Mentality

Usually in our culture a slave is someone who's viewed negatively. It's someone who has no rights of their own. It's easy to have the picture in your mind of someone who's extremely unhappy without having any hope for the future. One of my favorite people in the Bible is Joseph. Although he was a slave in every regard naturally, he certainly didn't act like one. His mentality was definitely not one of slavery. We see that as a slave he had both success and prosperity, even though he owned nothing. A quote from Bill Scheidler hits the nail on the head when he says, "A servant is someone who gets excited about  making someone else a success." Joseph could very easily have lived down and discouraged, yet he chose to be who God had called him to be, regardless of his position or situation. Today, will you choose to do what Joseph did? Will you choose to live how he lived? Don't let where you're at stop you from being who God's called you to be. If only we could have Joseph's attitude and forget worrying about our success and making those around us successful. This principle goes against what culture says and would be considered radical by many. But it's how we should live :)