Moses said to the Lord, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (Exodus 4:10-12)
How many times have we made excuses for NOT doing what we KNOW we need to do.. We aren’t good enough, we don’t have enough money, we don’t have enough time? I know I’ve used several of those.
God had called Moses to help deliver the Israelites from slavery to the Egyptians. They were under oppression, the people had been crying out for deliverance and so God chooses one man and asked him to do something out of his comfort zone, this is what I love about God.
When God asks you to do something, it’s not something that you think you can accomplish easily, because if you could accomplish it easily then you wouldn’t need God.
God loves us enough to push us to be better than we are…
My Point: it doesn’t matter who you are, God’s got BIG plans for you, but He needs YOU to fulfill those plans..
MORE HIM, less me
Has life ever thrown you a curve ball? Something happens that you would never have expected. I guess that’s the whole point of calling the “unexpected” a curve ball… huh? It may be that it is not the curve ball itself that surprises us, but it is the disappointment from our expectations not being fulfilled. I’m very good at reminding others to “go with the flow” and to “live in the now.” But, I will just as quickly admit doing so is easier said than done.
Everyone at one time or another (and most of us repeatedly throughout our life time) will allow their expectations to interfere with the happiness a natural flow offers. Where do our expectations come from? Our expectations come from our past experiences… I think it’s really helpful to remain optimistic with our expectations.
I’ve had some trouble convincing a buddy of mine that my philosophy is better than his. He has a different approach in regard to his personal expectations. He tells me “I expect the worst, that way I won’t end up disappointed with the outcome.” He feels thinking in the negative works best for him. Hmmm, I guess I’d rather feel disappointment from time to time than to become a pessimist… sometimes, there is a bigger plan in play. We don’t always get what we want, but we always get what is right for us. The curve ball coming our way requires us to duck or dodge, altering our game plan. The rules have changed, our expectations altered AGAIN. We get to see things differently!! Sometimes the “other” path offered is a difficult one. Keep your eyes open, there are singles, doubles and even homeruns to be found in the challenges.
To go back to one of the previous posts about a canoeing adventure I recently had, Life is good when you let it flow naturally. Expect to get sucked into the river without a paddle occasionally, and maybe even get tossed out of the canoe. Learn to swim and go with the flow.
My Point: If you haven’t experienced a curveball, you must not be in the game!!
MORE HIM, less me
Busting Glass Jars…
A PUMPKIN FARMER WAS STROLLING through his rows of beautiful green leaves at the beginning of the season, as the acorn-size pumpkins were starting to add dots to the landscape. He glanced down and noticed a clear glass jar. Curiosity got the best of him, so he took the jar over to one of his pumpkin buds, threaded the small pumpkin on its vine inside the open jar, and left it sitting there in the field.
Months later, with the experiment long forgotten, the farmer was walking his land, greatly satisfied with the large beautiful pumpkins that covered the patch. He rediscovered the glass jar, totally intact, and was startled to see it completely filled up with the little pumpkin that grew inside. The thin glass barrier had defined the shape of the orange mass within. The pumpkin was only one-third of the size it should have been.
Sorry for all the book quotes… This book I’m reading is messing me up..
The problem for this pumpkin is the same problem for most churches today. Rather than growing to their full potential from their unique DNA, they conform to the shape of an external mold. These “glass jars” create invisible barriers to growth and predetermine the shape of community for churches. It goes beyond churches though, I believe that we, in our own lives allow, “glass jars”. We allow our life circumstances, the fact that we don’t have the right job, the right car, the right house, enough money, the perfect kids, etc. We don’t live up to our own potential that God has placed in each one of us… BE who God has called YOU to be…
My Point: what glass jars are holding you back?
MORE HIM, less me
Mass Producing Copies…
As you may or may not know, I am part of a coaching network with Tony Morgan. We are currently reading the book “Church Unique” by Will Mancini
I read a quote from Eugene Peterson: “In the life of faith each person discovers all the elements of a unique and original adventure. We are prevented from following in one another’s footsteps and are called to an incomparable association with Christ. The Bible makes it clear that every time there is a story of faith, it is completely original. God’s creative genius is endless. He never, fatigued and unable to maintain the rigors or creativity, resorts to mass-producing copies.”
This is a POWERFUL quote… The story that God has for you, is or at least should be, COMPLETELY ORIGINAL!! Are we trying to copy someone, or something? God wants you and I to be COMPLETELY ORIGINAL!! “God’s creative genius is endless” – How cool of a statement is that? It’s our responsibility & privilege to BE who God has called us to be..
How much does God delight in creative uniqueness? No two snowflakes are even the same!!! You are like NOBODY else!!!
My Point: act like, you are like NOBODY else…Be Unique!!!
MORE HIM, less me
I never want to say no…
I know, there are times to say no… No to things that are good, but not the best… I know, saying no to things that just “FILL-UP” your schedule…. That’s NOT what I’m talking about… I’m talking about my time with family… Approx. 2 weeks ago, my son-in-law (who lives in PA) called and asked if I wanted to spend some time with my grandson Domenic… I immediately said yes!!! So last Monday, Starla and I met them half way and picked up our eldest grandson… He is almost 2 yrs old, so needless to say, he is a handful… One thing I have realized, is that if we set expectations for someone (even a 2 yr old), they may push the envelope, but they will do there best to rise to meet those expectations… The key to that is setting realistic expectations, with the goal of helping them rise to their potential.. NOT setting expectations or goals for YOUR benefit…
I have recently discovered some principles that I wish I had heard when I was raising 4 kids… We need to parent (and grandparent) for the future, not for today!! In other words, are you allowing them to do things so you don’t have to hold them to expectations? (Cleaning there room for them because they don’t want to, or there involved in to many other things? As we “help” them, we’re actually not preparing them to be responsible adults with kids, a job, a marriage, etc…
My Point: Say no to all those other things, but NOT to family… I LOVE my Grandson, and I’m still learning to be a great (grand)parent!!
MORE HIM, less me
I was recently privileged enough to take a trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. It was something that I have NEVER experienced before, but intrigued me… No electricity, no cell phone coverage, no comforts of life… If you didn’t carry it in on your back, you didn’t have access to it… It was a physically challenging trip… 20 hr. drive, 45 min. boat ride, 4 hr. canoe trip, 2 portages, a sore neck and two sore shoulders later, we paddled around the corner of an island and found a perfect home for the next 9 days… I took this trip for several reasons, one being a challenge to find quietness… I’ve discovered as or late that if I’m going to be spiritually healthy, I have to find ways to cancel the noise around me and experience times of solitude… (Solitude – a state of seclusion or isolation)
Solitude feels counterintuitive to the way I have done ministry. As all 2 of you that read this know, I have been reading a book by Lance Witt called Replenish. In his book, he says,
Solitude requires being present when we’re used to being pro-ductive.
Solitude requires listening when we’re used to talking.
Solitude requires quiet when we’re used to noise.
Solitude requires stillness when we’re used to busyness.
Solitude requires going internal when we’re used to going external.
Solitude requires facing who we are when we’re used to projecting who we want people to think we are.
I spent several nights sitting under Gods creation, staring at the MILLIONS of stars, trying to answer some of the internal questions, looking for answers, listening for that still small voice. I sat quietly night after night on the camp chair, you know, the one I had carried on my back all the way there…
You see, in MY world, there is ALWAYS noise, ALWAYS something to do, ALWAYS the next project to work on… In MY world, there is ALWAYS information at the tip of my fingers… I had forgotten what I not only value, but NEED… Solitude… Quietness… Not all the time, but at times… After all, many God moments came when people were alone in his presence (e.g., Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, Paul). If they needed it, so do I!!
My Point: when is the last time you sat in a camp chair in the middle of no wear, listening for that still small voice while staring at Gods creation?
Maybe you need to take some time to Replenish your Soul!!
Throw down your staff…
This past Sunday, our lead pastor gave a message called “Throw down your staff” here is some of the highlights…
Like all ancient shepherds, Moses had a staff.
It was probably a six-foot long wooden rod that was curved on one end.
It was a walking stick.
It was a weapon.
It was a prod used to guide his flock.
And Moses never left home without it.
It was his badge.
It was his ID.
The shepherd’s staff represented two things to Moses: identity and security
When Moses looked in the mirror all he saw was a shepherd. Moses had been shepherding for forty years. And he fell into the trap many of us fall into. He allowed what he did to define who he was.
God wants who we are to define what we do.
When God asked Moses to throw down his staff He was asking Moses to throw down his identity. He was also asking Moses to throw down his security.
What if Moses had held on to his staff?
His staff would have remained a staff, an inanimate object.
He would have forfeited the miracle!
Moses experienced some amazing miracles during his lifetime.
He had box seats for the ten plagues; the parting of the Red Sea; water coming out of a rock; and the manna in the wilderness.
But there is something unique about the staff becoming a snake. As far as we know, this is the first miracle Moses ever experienced!
If Moses had held on to the staff he would have remained a shepherd. He would have spent the rest of his life counting sheep.
Bottom line: if you hold on to whatever is in your hand you’ll never experience the miracles God wants to perform!
So, the question I have for you is, What’s in your Hand? What do you need to throw down in order to grab a hold of what God has for you?
Do you want to remain where you are? if no, then let go of what you’re doing… If yes, Then you’re doing exactly what you need to do!!
“When you do important work, work that changes things and work that matters, it’s inconceivable that the change you’re trying to make will be met with complete approval.
“Trying to please everyone will water down your efforts, frustrate your forward motion and ultimately fail.”
I have heard it said, There is tension to solve and tension to manage..
What that means, as an example, is that…
- It’s impossible to get just the right temperature for everyone.
- You can’t establish a music volume that makes everyone happy.
- You’ll never find the precisely right balance between outreach and discipleship.
- You won’t ever teach on money for just the right amount of time.
More important, that vision you believe God called you to, some people will love it. Some people will leave because of it.
That’s a good thing. You want that tension.
If you try to please everyone, you will fail.
MORE HIM, less me
If you’re not following Seth Godin, here is the link.. Here is the link to Tony Morgan’s Blog..
. As I drove to the unplanned destination, i looked at my watch. I knew this gathering started at 4:00pm, memories began flooding back to my mind… “This is where it all began”, this is where God began to draw my family and myself into a life of great joy, soul satisfaction, personal growth, mentorship, & SO many examples of Godly families, Marriages, and parents… You see, my wife and I had four young kids. Like so many other young couples, we didn’t know how to love each other with a Godly love, how to parent, how to
As I pulled into the property, the memories increased ten fold!!! adventures, influence, relationships, the community… A mix of emotions were understandably present. I was walking into the calling hours of a friend who had lost the fight with cancer, and won the war of life… I had the awesome privilege of not only having a friend, a colleague & fellow minister, but he was for almost three years, my boss!! There have been memories made with Brent, Lisa & all four of there kids.
Standing in the foyer, I felt overwhelmed with love!!! The viewing line to greet the family never stopped.. It was a FLOOD of non-stop people that were influenced in a deep way… Story after story was heard emanating throughout the room…
Do you have people in your life that have had an impact on you? Have you thanked them lately? Do people have stories about you? Would you want to hear the stories?
MORE HIM, less me