RSS

Category Archives: Joy of the Lord

It’s All Good!

Here’s a catchy little Robert Zimmerman (more commonly known as Bob Dylan who turns 75 this week) tune that you might like titled, “It’s All Good”. (click here to listen) Not everyone likes Dylan (understandable, ….and you’re forgiven).…and hardly anyone likes him like I do but either way he’ll go down in music history as being the greatest poet/songwriter of our generation.

It’s all good! I like that phrase. I’ve already used it a time or two today. It’s ultra positive and anytime it’s spoken it gives everyone involved an upbeat feeling. It may not always be entirely a 100% accurate, which I think is still OK,  but it’s a perspective thing. It’s about making a positive declaration even when everything might not be exactly like you had hoped it would be. And, I think if we’re declaring that “It’s all good”, we might actually feel better about the things we’re having to deal with.

There’s just something about making a positive confession that’s good for the soul. It stirs optimism in our spirit, but that’s not all. It’s really an authentic statement of faith of the highest order. If you back up a little bit and look at the big picture you’ll grasp the reality that the Lord really does have control over all these, seemingly, chaotic things happening in the world today……including our own little petty dilemmas that we struggle with day in and day out. But we’ll only see those problems of ours’ as ‘petty’ and insignificant if we can look at them with an eternal perspective. When we do that….then we can start to believe our way out of our discouragement, knowing that there are better days ahead.

Looking back over 60+ years of ups and downs, victories and failures scattered along the road of life…..and considering where I COULD be. I’d have to say, “It’s All Good”!!

2016WordpressSignatureSM

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Don’t Tie the Ends Up!

When I say, “Don’t tie the ends up”, I’m, in essence, saying, “Don’t get so rigid in your current Biblical knowledge and understanding that you can’t change when presented with ‘new’ Truth.”  I’ve seen this happen a lot over the past 25+ years and it’s problem of the highest order. For a leader, such as myself, it can make change, transition and transformation come to a grinding halt for both the church, and individuals alike.

The church is known for rigidness in it’s particular doctrinal and denominational mindset. Don’t get me wrong, some of that can be good but it can also stunt the growth and halt the spiritual advancement of everyone involved. It has the strong potential to lock us into systems of thinking that will eventually lead us to boredom, staleness and exclusivity in our Christian walk.

The argument might arise as to how one can have a certain spiritual view today and then later totally change their stance on an issue. I actually think, in a perfect world, we should be doing that all the time. If we’re genuinely on a search for the truth it just makes sense to change when we get a better, clearer view on any subject. We all have ‘some’ truth….but none of us has ‘all’ the truth. We should be open to others’ perspective, give it a listen, weigh it out in light of Scripture, let it ‘marinate’ in our mind and spirit, test it in real life situations and pray about it. By doing so we’ll stay in a perpetual state of spiritual growth (as we should be!) and not high-centered in our own limited little, tunnel-vision view of truth.

There will surely be those detractors out there who would want to accuse me of compromise or being wishy-washy about the truth. I’ll be quick to tell you that where I am today…..is not where I’ll be a year from now. I intend to keep growing, changing, adapting and shifting based on my understanding of the Truth. I’m a learner…..and learners must be flexible and open to change. There’ll be plenty of times that the change won’t come easy…..but for the most part….it’ll be for the better.

Don’t tie the ends up!! I’ve given this advice many a time over the past 25 years. It isn’t always received with open arms. In fact, here in the ‘ol Bible Belt that kind of advice is often met with harsh criticism and some pretty mean-spirited indignation. But, it’s good advice.

Don’t be so locked into your little piece of the truth that the Holy Spirit, Himself, can’t break through the crust to enlighten you more. 

Check these out:

The Bible Does Not Have All Your Answers!

$$$ – Being a “Thousandaire” Might Just Be Better Than Being a “Millionaire”!

2016WordpressSignatureSM

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Resistance Training

I’m far from a fitness guru….but I have been going to the gym several times a week for the past 10-12 years. It’s hard to tell by looking at me, though! In fact, in a conversation with a friend a couple years back I mentioned that I regularly go to the gym. He looked at me kinda funny, laughed a little smirky laugh and said, “Really”?!! … It kinda hurt my feelings.

But, seriously, going to the gym is something I do enjoy. I read a lot of fitness articles, get a half dozen health and fitness emails and blogs a week. I’ve always been ‘health minded’, so to speak, and I still enjoy learning about health and fitness issues. There’s a lot of information, and a lot of opinions out there. Occasionally there is conflicting information but for the most part it’s pretty consistent.

A good, balanced workout plan should have some cardio exercise such as running, walking or biking. But along with the cardio, one of the things that all the fitness experts agree on, for all ages, is the need to include ‘resistance training’ into our workout regimen. “Resistance training can come in various forms, the most common being the use of free weights (barbells, dumbbells), universal weight machines, rubber exercise bands or even our own body weight. There are significant benefits of resistance training including bone, muscle and ligament strength, improved joint function, increased metabolism and improved cardiac function. If we’re serious at all about our own physical fitness it makes sense to include some resistance training.

I’m thinking that our spiritual health and well-being should also include a good dose of ‘resistance training’. If you think about it there’s hardly ever a time that we’re not enduring some kind of unpleasant situation in our life. It might be a relational challenge, financial situation, dealing with a problem child or family member or it might even be a physical ailment. Anytime you’re going up against any of these things….that’s resistance. And, just as physical resistance training helps to stabilize and grow our muscles, these things we go through go a long ways in strengthening our faith and our overall spiritual life. As hard as they might be, going through them,….in the long haul they’re very good for us. We’re being conformed into the image of Jesus….at least that’s what the Book says. And the trials of our lives are critical in that process.

So, if you’re going to the gym and getting your body in shape…be sure and add some resistance training. It’ll be good for you! And while you’re going through the fires in life….don’t forget…..resistance training is vital for your spiritual health, too!

Pass these on to your friends if you like ’em!

Check these out:

What If It’s Not to ‘Break’ You,….but to ‘Make’ You?

‘Betrayal’ – Nothing Easy About It!

2016WordpressSignatureSM

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Here’s Our Chance!

“I came here looking for something I couldn’t find anywhere else.” It seems to be the heart cry of a lot of people these days who are willing take a chance on the Lord…..or maybe even willing to take a chance on the  church. We’re living in, what seems to be, very uncertain times. But there is a growing undercurrent of people looking for some ‘real’ answers to their real problems. They don’t want the ‘religious’, churchy, ‘holier than thou’ thing….and who could blame ’em? That never actually worked for anybody,anyway! No, they’re looking for something genuine, authentic, real. They don’t know what it looks like, or feels like……but they know what it doesn’t feel like. The church in America really needs to adjust to be relevant for the times we’re in. Our message is timeless…..but the methods of reaching the world are stale…..and everyone knows it except the people in the church. For some reason they’re the last to get the news. We won’t get many chances with these ‘searchers’; we better get it right!

Many of these people are desperate, desperate enough, in fact, to gamble and see if this God they hear us talking about exists or not. They’ll try, and try hard. At least that’s what I’m seeing of late. But when we make them feel like they can’t make it or make them feel like they’re not good enough…..they’ll believe that’s how God sees them, too. They think, “Hey, you don’t know me, but you don’t like me…..and you say you care less how I feel.” If we don’t act like we care and make them feel important ….they’ll, in turn, believe that they’re not important to Him. They won’t hang around for that! ….and again, who could blame ’em? Tragic!

Deep down, they all wonder if the Lord could really love somebody like them. They have an inner sense of destiny (that’s a God-given thing!) but they haven’t found anyone who can give them the key to help unlock those secrets. They’d say, “I ain’t tryin’ to be nobody, I just want a chance to be myself.”.

Here’s our chance! Let’s get it right!

*Oh, and by the way…..“I came here looking for something I couldn’t find anywhere else. I ain’t trying to be nobody, I just want a chance to be myself.” That’s the first two lines of the #1 country song by Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakum, “Streets of Bakersfield”! click here to watch.

Share these blogs if you find them helpful! Thanks….AT

2016WordpressSignatureSM

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Silver Bullet Lounge

If you were around in the ’80’s you’ll surely remember the Silver Bullet Lounge. The Silver Bullet Lounge was the name of the pub in a Coors Beer commercial. Coors introduced their Coors Light beer in 1978. It contained significantly less calories than their regular Coors beer, which appealed to anyone who was calorie minded. Beer lovers could enjoy their brew without compromising on taste (or so I hear! lol), and not worry about stacking on more pounds. I’m still not sure if that was a great win for our culture or not but there are plenty out there who would sure argue that it was!

Coors Light was produced in an attractive silver can that quickly took on the name, likely due to a brilliant marketing ploy by Coors, Silver Bullets. As far as I know Coors Light drinkers are still calling them that nearly 40 years later.

Just about the time my life was turning around that Silver Bullet Lounge commercial was airing on TV (you can watch it by clicking, here). The setting was in a local pub; everyone was happy and laughing, lots of friendly conversations going on; there was a real sense of community, authentically pleasant relationships and most of all….genuine joy! Now, whether or not that actually happens all the time is anybody’s guess but it probably does happen quite a bit. I thought, as I watched that commercial, “You know, if I could find a church that had that kind of atmosphere…..I think I might go”!

My impression of the church in those days  was that, almost everyone I saw didn’t really look happy or content. And, it seemed that all the good characteristics that the Silver Bullet Lounge had…..were somehow missing from the church. Now, agreed, that’s not a fair assessment of the church seeing that I wasn’t in it….but that’s how it looked from a distance.  But honestly, after all these years……doing what I do, I still see a lot of church people who don’t display any degree of joy. Kinda sad if you ask me.

Now before you get all twisted up about it,……I’m not advocating that you head on out to the Silver Bullet Lounge. (Although if you do, you won’t get any chastisement from me.) But I still contend that we should have all those qualities that they have there, in abundance around the church. It oughta be a happy place! There oughta be a lot of friendly conversation going on; People oughta be laughing….and laughing a lot! There should be an atmosphere of good, genuine and healthy relationships….all the time! If it was like that you might really be surprised who’d come and join in!

We could learn a little somethin’ from the folks down at the ‘ol Silver Bullet!

Check this one out:

Virtual Reality

Laugh a Little! …….. No, Make That a Lot!

2016WordpressSignatureSM

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: