Wednesday, January 21, 2015

He Has Loved You Too Much to Cease Loving You

Be persuaded, timid soul, that He has loved you too much to cease loving you. ~ Fenelon

O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Treasure Hunt Every Day

What if we viewed each day as a Treasure Hunt?  What if, in our early morning prayers, God revealed little clues leading us to people He treasures -- sort of a Divine Treasure Map?  What if we went forth eagerly to bless, encourage and serve?  What if we went forth boldly, filled with Holy Love?  What if we viewed life as a daily adventure with God rather than a burden to be endured?  What if the chance meetings along the way were really Divine Appointments?

Wouldn't that make a difference in how we act and react?  Wouldn't that change our attitude?  Wouldn't the world be a better place if all Christians had that perspective?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Playing it Safe

The Packers beat themselves yesterday.  Green Bay lost the NFC Championship yesterday because they chose to play it safe.   Instead of playing to win, they played not to lose, settling for field goals rather than touchdowns.  They chose to sit on first half points instead of going for broke throughout the entire game.  They attempted to win small by preservation and playing out the clock.

Many church leaders do the same thing.

Last week, I was in a seminar with John Maxwell and Kevin Myers where they discussed momentum.  They said, if you are not meeting expectations, work smarter.  If you are meeting expectations, work steady.  If you are exceeding expectations, work harder.

"When things are going your way," Maxwell said, "for heaven's sakes, don't let off the gas!  That's not the time to take it easy.  Give it more!  Ramp it up!"

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Servant of God, Remember

Servant of God, remember the stream thy soul bedewing (moistened from morning dew);
The grace that came upon thee anointing and renewing.

The cross dissolves the darkness, and drives away temptation;
It calms the wavering spirit by quiet consecration.

To God, eternal Father, to Christ, our king, be glory,
And to the Holy Spirit, in never ending story.

The lyrics of this beautiful hymn, "Servant of God, Remember" (Cultor Dei Memento), was written at the dawn of the 5th Century by Aurelius Clement Prudentius, who, after a distinguished career as a lawyer and judge, retired at age 57 to write sacred poetry.

Several of his writings have been preserved in the form of hymns translated into modern languages.  The beautiful Advent hymn, "Of the Father's Love Begotten" is one of those

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How to Find a Solution to Your Problem

If you're facing a difficult problem, the following questions mayl help you find the solution:

1. Is this a problem - or is it a fact of life?
You can do something about problems. You can't do anything about facts of life. If you can't change it, you have a fact of life, not a problem, No need to stew over it.

As Reinhold Niebuhr's Serenity Prayer states,.  "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

2. Is this problem really the problem?
It is easy to be sidetracked by the painful symptoms and neglect the deeper, more important, issues. Make sure you are dealing with the main thing. Recurring negative situations usually have a common thread. It  pays to look deeper and discover it..

3. What is the bottom, bottom line?
What do you want? What outcome do you desire? Why is this a problem in the first place? Think it through. People think "to" a difficulty, but seldom "through" it.  Instead of focusing on what's wrong, put your energy into discovering how to make it right.  I heard a leadership consultant say you should ask "why?" five layers down.

4. Have you prayed about it?
God grants wisdom to face any uncertainty. If it's big enough to worry about, it's big enough to pray about,. If your problems are deep-seated and long standing - try kneeling!

5. What are ten possible solutions?
Most of our problems have at least ten possible solutions - the trick is to think creatively and discover them! I have used this process many times with good results. Write them down! Don't quit until you have ten. Refuse to settle for just one or two. Expanding the solutions can remove the blinders from your eyes. You will be able to see the whole thing in a new way.

6. What do your wisest friends say?
If you listen to wise people who love you and heed their advice, you will spare yourself a ton of regret.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Profound Thoughts on Kindness

I went to another burial today. Seems like all my social outings lately are all death-related. Somebody needs to invite me to a party of a different sort. I need to remember what it feels like to laugh with abandon. I think I’ve forgotten.
I did not know the young man being buried but I know his grandparents. When I was the Oregon Bureau Reporter for the Tri-City Herald, I rented office space from the young man’s grandfather, an insurance agent here in town.  It was a good office staffed with cheery and affable people. They always made my day better just by being in it. The young man’s grandfather is a particularly light-hearted fellow. He has the greatest laugh, a laugh that always reminded me a little of Dick Van Dyke.
He is a kind man. I like that in any person. Kindness.  I wish kindness was as highly valued in our society as is athletic skills or porn. I can’t tell you why it isn’t. Maybe you have some ideas?
I used to think a person was either born kind or they weren’t. Now I believe it’s a skill that can be taught and learned. Some people might come by it naturally but anybody can learn to be more kind.  (HT Scott McKnight via my friend Steve Gerich)

Thursday, January 08, 2015

How Are Those Resolutions Coming Along?

This piece, from my friend, Ron McClung, is shared with his permission.  I hope you receive encouragement from it:

How are you doing with your New Year’s Resolutions? Enthusiasm waning? Ready to throw in the towel? If your resolutions are positive, I hope you’re still going strong.  May I suggest a few ideas to keep in mind for the New Year, based on an article written by Dale Foster some years ago?

1.  Travel light. 
If you are like most people, you experienced your share of failures, disappointments, perhaps even resentments during the past year. Don’t drag those into the New Year with you. Instead, travel light.

2.  Live one day at a time. 
People often fail to enjoy each day for one of two reasons. Either they put off decisions they should make today and clutter up the future with procrastination. Or they borrow trouble by worrying today about what may happen tomorrow. Either method is unproductive. Live each day as it comes.

3.  Be generous. 
There’s a great deal of need in this world. Not all of it is material and physical. Much of it is spiritual as people reel
under bitterness, prejudice, and critical attitudes. You can alleviate a lot of this by being generous with your praise and your positive comments.

4.  Face your problems with faith and courage. 
You have other options, of course. Some people run from their problems. Others resent them. Still others cower in fear. But we can face each day with courage, by God's help.

5.  If you cannot change your circumstances, change your attitude.
Life comes at us with increasing speed, it seems. Sometimes we find ourselves in tough situations – some of our own making, and some not. Either way, we can have a positive attitude and face life with determination
A college girl finished tacking a new calendar to her wall, turned to her roommate, and said, “This is going to be a beautiful year!”

“How do you know?” her friend asked.

“Because I am going to take it a day at a time and do my best to see that every day includes something beautiful.”