Friday, January 30, 2009

3 Feet Of Pure Energy

Oh, to be young again. As I watch my young toddler running around the house, I'm at a loss to where he finds all that energy. I'm talking from the moment he wakes up in the morning until his eyes finally close at night. He goes through each day at full throttle. He knows no other speed but fast. He runs, he jumps, he climbs, and sometimes he climbs, runs, and jumps at the same time (those are the scary moments). He's like 3 feet of pure energy and if I could figure a way to bottle it up I could make a fortune. I know I'd buy several bottles for myself.

Wouldn't be great to have that kind of energy as we get older. Imagine what all we could accomplish with our increased knowledge and the energy of a 2 year old. But the truth is, as we start to get older, that kind of energy starts to subside a bit. I think there are a lot of variables as to why that happens. I won't touch the habitual lack of exercise that we so often fall into or our poor diets, cause since it's the first of the year I know we are all working on those. Stress, worry, responsibilities, life's struggles, fears, uncertainty, and wounds all have a way of weighing us down and zapping all of our energy. All of these things can lead to exhaustion and burn out. You know that feeling. You wake up in the morning and just want to stay in bed.

We all face moments like these. Thankfully, we have a power source that is continually available to us in order to recharge, and re-energize us. Scripture tells us that those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. Waiting on him is not a difficult thing. It just requires us to include him in our life's journey. When we go at it alone and try to take on all of life's obstacles on our own, we may hurdle a few but eventually we'll come to the end of our ability. That's where we meet exhaustion, burn-out, and defeat. We were never created to take on this thing on our own. The God who created us, created us to be dependant on Him. Not an unhealthy kind of dependency in which we never grow up and accept responsibility for ourselves, but that's another topic altogether. God created us to need Him. There are things in life we can't fix on our own and it requires us to reach out to Him.

If you listen to the news right now, it would be really easy to get into fear. The forecast for our immediate future is not all that bright. And our leaders in Washington have no real answers. Sure, they are going to try something, but it is nothing more than a shot in the dark. If we rest in the fact that we've got those in Washington with our best interests at heart, we will be grossly disappointed. If our confidence is in our job, it can be shattered in a moment. If our trust is in our investment portfolio, things don't look good. If we are confident in our self and our abilities, at some point they will come up short. But, when we learn to rest in Him. When we learn to trust in Him, and find our confidence in Him, regardless of what is going on around us, we can find the strength to handle it all. God is an unlimited source of energy and He is just waiting on us to turn to Him to re-energize us. Let's learn to wait on Him.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


As I sit down to write this, my neighbor is having a new roof put on his house. Of course, with that comes a constant hammering, mixed with air compressor noise and intermittent banging as things hit the ground. Noise, noise and more noise. Thankfully, the job will only take a few days and it'll all stop.

Not so, when it comes to life. The noises never stop. The voices are everywhere and they never truly shut-up. Ok, before you get worried, I'm not talking about hearing the kinds of voices that require a lengthy stay in a psychiatric ward. But, there are millions of voices out there screaming at us and if we are not careful, we'll follow all the wrong ones. You've heard them millions of times. "Buy this car," "You need these clothes," "Just do it," "You deserve it, "If it was me, I'll tell you what I'd do." Or, how about, "You were born that way," "It's only a little lie," "Everybody's doing it," "Whatever feels good, do it." Then there's voices that say things like, "You aren't good enough," "You don't measure up," "You'll never amount to anything." Then there's ones like this, "I need you to do this," "Can you buy me that," "Can you get me that," "Can you fix this,""I need your help."

Several years ago, I worked at a commercial radio station. One of my responsibilities was to produce radio commercials which sometimes required me to write the copy. It was actually one of my favorite things I got to do in radio. In writing commercials, you can simply give lots of info and facts and be done in just a couple of minutes. But the great commercials take some time to write the verbiage. They are the ones that hook you. The ones that leave you saying to yourself, "I want that! I need that! I can't live without it! And, therein is the goal of commercials. Then again, therein is the goal of all those voices. They want to control and dictate how we do life. They want us to listen to them, believe them, and act accordingly. Trouble is, we often fall for it hook, line, and sinker.

Somewhere in the middle of all that noise, is the voice of our Heavenly Father. Trust me He's continually speaking to us. His voice is the one that we need to hear most of all. Unfortunately, the noise can be so loud that we struggle hearing His voice in the midst of it all. It is vital for us though to learn how to drown out all that noise and find that still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes in order to do that, we need to take a step back and find a quiet place where all those other voices are minimized and His becomes predominate. I think the more we do that, it becomes increasingly easier to distinguish His voice in the middle of all that other chatter. Believe it or not, there were times Jesus had to step away and get alone with just him and his father in heaven.

Of course, those quiet places can be hard to find. Especially, when you have kids running around the house, the phone constantly ringing, and people constantly pulling on you for attention. Although its difficult, it is possible and extremely necessary to each and every one of us. My wife gets up early in order to spend a few moments alone. I find that the evening works better for me. Perhaps, for you it might be a few minutes during your lunch break, or while the kids are at school, or on the drive to work. Whenever it is, turn off as many inputs as you possibly can. Turn off the TV, the radio, and the computer. And yes, its ok not to answer the phone for a few minutes. You'll be surprised how easily you'll be able to hear His voice, when you eliminate some of the noise, and really listen for His voice.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thank God It's Friday

Have you ever had one of those weeks? You know the kind that you were just glad it was over? I think its safe to say that if you have lived any length of time on this planet, you fit into that category. We all have those kind of weeks from time to time. My week this week was one of those weeks. Without going into detail, let's just say it involved a Volkswagen, spewing antifreeze, overheating, and a freeway with road construction and closed off exits. And that was just Tuesday.

Navigating through one of these weeks can be pretty difficult. One thing after another hits you and you are left standing there wondering what in the world is going on. In the middle of it all, we can get frustrated, upset, and completely stressed out. Of course, some of us handle life's inconveniences better than others, but truth be told I don't think any of us truly enjoy them.

I think one of the reasons we struggle with life's unplanned challenges is that it leaves us feeling as though we aren't in control. Let's face it, we like to be in control of things. We like it when things go as planned and life goes on without any major inconveniences. But the truth is, cars break down, cable goes out, people drive slow in the fast lane, we get sick, the kid's puke all over the floor, friends and relatives die, the neighbor has a party until 3am, and traffic lights turn red. If you live life, you'll experience days, weeks, months, and even years that you wish you didn't have to experience. Scripture tells us that it rains on the just and the unjust. It also promises us that in this life we will have tribulation. And the only control you have over it all, is how you react to it.

Some blow their stack, others throw pity parties, some feel victimized, some panic, while others look for ways to escape or ignore it all. None of which changes anything at all. Bad things happen to us all and the only healthy way to deal with it is to deal with it. Sometimes life's challenges are bigger than we are and require God's intervention. That's when our response needs to be prayer mingled with faith in a God that answers prayer. Then there are those struggles that hit us that just require us to jump to action.

The other day when my car began spewing antifreeze all over the place and overheating and the closest exit to me was closed due to construction, and there was no shoulder to pull over on, I began praying that the car would not overheat and cause damage to the engine. As I watched the temperature gauge, it literally began going down. I was able to drive another couple miles until I could exit without the temperature doing anything but going down slightly. Once I exited though, some action was required on my part. Had I screamed, hollered, and kicked the car, I would have done little to remedy the problem (although it might have made me feel better at the moment). The action required was to get it to a repair shop. Problem solved. Life's challenge overcome. Meeting life's challenges head on, whether it's with prayer, action, or both, is the only way to overcome the problem.

Naturally, some of life's struggles involve things much bigger than a car overheating. And as I mentioned earlier, some require God's involvement. We serve an awesome God who promised us that we wouldn't face anything in this life that we would be unable to handle with His help. Believe it or not, God wants us to live victorious, overcoming lives. When this life throws challenges our way, God wants us to face those challenges with the confidence that we can overcome them. God created you to overcome this life, not to allow this life to overcome you. Trust me when I say, that overcoming challenges in life is an exciting way to live. It starts to make you look forward to life's challenges. Sure, we often thank God it's Friday, but I truly believe that the place God wants us to get to, is when we can say, "Thank God It's Monday!"

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Are We There Yet?

Are we there yet? If you're a parent you've heard it plenty of times and growing up I'm sure you said it a few times as well. It comes from the back seat when you are nowhere close to your destination. This past Christmas/New Years holiday we took a trip to Colorado. A trip in which we logged in over 2100 miles total. About an hour into our trip, I heard it for the first time and by the time we had finished our marathon journey, I heard it more times than I care to count. Truth is, no matter how much we love to travel, we all like to get where we are going don't we? Sure, as you drive, its great to take in all the scenery, but it sure feels good when you finally get there.

I don't recall how many hours it took to get there, but I remember seeing the mountains for the first time thinking we are almost there. Then 2 1/2 hours later, we were finally there. You know how it is, you see the mountains in the distance and think it can't be more than another 30 minutes or so. After 30 minutes, you think, ok, it can't be more than another 30 minutes or so. They seem like they are right there when in reality, they are miles and miles and miles away.

As I think about our Christian journey, it's really not all that different. Perhaps you set out on your journey decades ago, or maybe its just been recently. Whatever the case, none of us have arrived yet. It's a journey that takes a lifetime. Sure, we like the journey, but getting where we are going sure would be nice. Sometimes we feel like that little kid in the back seat wondering if we are there yet. Wondering if we are even close. Of course, the answer to that is a resounding, "No!" It's a journey with that destination in the distance that regardless of how close it looks, is still quite far away.

If I can paraphrase the apostle Paul, he said, "I'm not there yet but I'm on my way. I'm forgetting the past and I'm pressing forward. I'm headed for my destination." That's where we all should be, moving forward on our journey. Not standing still, not moving backwards, but moving forward. It doesn't really matter what mile marker we are at, just that we are moving toward the next one. We are all a work in progress, and the key is always to remember that. Like Paul, we haven't arrived yet.

I know when traveling, I can get a bit impatient. When I get on the road, I want to get there. If Google says it takes 9 hours, I want to prove I can do it in 7 1/2. If I'm not careful, I'll get so focused on my destination that I'll miss the whole journey. We can do that in our Christian journey as well. We can get so focused on where we are headed that we miss all the great stuff along the way. God put us on this planet and believe it or not, He longs for us to enjoy our time here. It's a really long journey and it's ok, if you determine to take your time and take it all in. So, let's press forward and move on. But, in all the pressing and in all the moving, let's take time to enjoy the journey.