I decided to start re-reading “Chasing Daylight” again last night. This is one of those books that should be required reading once a year. The message seems to always be very timely. Below are a few underlines from the first time I read this book.
“There are things God does for you and things God waits for you to do. The journey begins when you choose. Stop wasting daylight. Choose a life of meaningful adventure. When you do, you will live in the epicenter of God’s activity”
“Like Rahab, we are always just one choice from a different life. At our worst, good is only one decision away.”
“Do what you know you should do, and you will know what to do. God clarifies in the midst of obedience, not beforehand”.
“All of us pass a bit of ourselves on to others. You better like who you are and make what you give to others from yourself a gift and not a curse.”
“The most important decisions of our lives will require us to forsake invisibility and risk becoming visible. Whenever you choose to seize divine moments, you move from invisibility to visibility.”
“Many times when we claim we are waiting on God, He is waiting on us.”
I need to be arrested. I have been stealing. Not only have I been stealing, but I have been letting others steal my joy. It’s no ones fault but my own. I can identify it, I just don’t seem to be able to do anything about it. So much of it is just the way I am wired.
For as long as I can remember I have approached everything in life “beginning with the end in mind”. Not only do I go directly to the end, I usually ask “what is the worst thing that can happen”? I am a certified, card carrying member and president of the “worst case scenario” club. I like to know what the worst is so I can anticipate and plan for it. I don’t think that is the problem. The real issue is when you stay there. You live in that. It consumes you and becomes the focus of your attention and thoughts.
In the meantime your joy, your moment, your life goes on right in front of you.
I am learning to live in the moment. I know my life would be so much more enjoyable if I would. The reality is that even if I know the worst case scenario, often there is not a darn thing I can do about it. I can only control here and now. What I do in this moment might even effect my “worst case”.
Lord grant me your patience and wisdom. There is a reason why you don’t give us the entire story and why the outcome is often never what we predicted. Your story is better anyway.
Many of you have been following the journey of my friend Stef the past few months either through his blog, AC180, my blog or all three. If you are not familiar with Stef, he is an amazing man of God, Christian brother, husband, father and friend. God gave me the blessing of connecting our paths and I am a better person today because of that divine moment. If you would like to know more about Stef, his journey and his family, he has been sharing it through his blog.
Today, I want to make a public call to prayer for my Christian brother and friend. He has a surgery coming on Monday which is another step in his journey. I’d like to make the request to all that read these words to join me in praying. By linking arms with one another and lifting up Stefan and his family, we are proclaiming that God is on His throne. We are placing our trust in the hands of the great physician and the surgeons that will be handling the delicate procedure. I am also asking that everyone pray specifically on Monday morning while Stef is undergoing the surgery.
Thank you to all of you that are praying. We serve a great God. We serve a BIG God. May he get the glory, honor and praise.
“Be Still” by Story Side B from the CD “We Are Not Alone”
I received an email this evening from a subscriber to my blog that has an opportunity for each of us to consider. It is my honor to share something this important through my site. Below is an excerpt of the email I received…
“I am subscriber of your blog…..I have enjoyed reading and listening your blog for sometime now…. Can you help me with something?
I am in charge of the re-release of our film Expelled…The goal is to gain 1,000 new theaters to release the film….over the summer…We are booking new theaters now…
The caveat is that we need at least one group of 250-300 to support the film with a verbal commitment and then tell me personally what theater is preferred and I will see to it that theater get the film at once…
It would mean so much if you could place something for our film telling your readers to contact me personally if they would like to see our film in their city….The film will not just show up unless someone books it with me…We only have 1000 prints and they are gone then we will not have any more to send…Please let me know if you would help me get the word out about out film…”
A few weeks ago this song by Wayne Watson came across iTunes and through my office speakers. I stopped what I was doing and listened to it several times to let it soak in. It has been resonating with me ever since. These are heavy days for so many that I know. We need Jesus to meet us where we are don’t we? So often I have heard that phrase and never really understood what it meant. This morning I witnessed first hand what it means.
This morning I was blessed and touched by a choir from a homeless shelter in Dayton, Ohio called “Target Dayton”. Friends I was moved to the point of tears by this choir. Make no mistake, this was not about music moving you to an emotional place. What I saw this morning were people that have nothing but the Joy of the Lord. They are walking, dancing, living and singing about a friend of their wounded hearts and someone who has literally met them where they are. In Gods economy, they were the richest in the room. They understand Matthew 5:3-10.
Heaven help us to reach out when we have a wounded heart. Lord grant us the wisdom to understand our dependancy no matter where we are in the worlds economy. Thank you for being the friend of a wounded heart to those in need at Target Dayton. May we all desire that friendship and allow you to meet with us….no matter where we are.
My good friend Denny taught me a trick a few years ago of folding the corner on the pages I wanted to remember. I let my fingers do the walking through those page folds tonight and below are the quotes that I found. Interesting that they mean as much to me now (maybe more) as they did when I read Chasing Daylight by Erwin McManus a year ago.
“We all want miracles and then spend our lives avoiding the context in which miracles happen” (pg 71)
“Most of life’s challenges are a test of first-dimension faith – trusting God with your relationships; trusting God with your finances; trusting God with your career; and making decisions based on His character in the midst of those arenas.” (pg 73)
“If a prayer’s ultimate intent is to fulfill God’s will, we can move with confidence, even if God doesn’t answer that prayer the way we expect. The more closely we reflect God’s heart in our prayers, the more often our request will match His response.” (pg 74)
“Faith is all about character, trusting in the character of God, being certain in who God is and following Him into the unknown”. (pg 75)
“But don’t look for God to fill in all the blanks. Don’t wait for Him to remove all the uncertainty. Realize He may actually increase the uncertainty and leverage all the odds against you, just so that you will know in the end that it wasn’t your gifts but His power through your gifts that fulfilled His purpose in your life.” (pg 78 )
“Are you willing to live a life that honors God and reflects His character and leaves the outcome to Him? Are you willing to live by faith and trust Him to be faithful? There will be days on this journey of faith when the outcome will be clear, and you will not like the implications. On those days you must, like Jesus, declare ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done’ (Luke 22:42)” (pg 81)
10 years ago, Heather and I packed up a moving truck and left our hometown of Cleveland for Columbus. At the time a song by the Dixie Chicks had lyrics which said “She needed wide open spaces. Room to make a big mistake“. At the time of our “big move” (funny now) I remember wondering if we were doing the same thing. You see the decision came from Heather and I. We didn’t feel called to it. We just decided to move. God was at work, more despite our efforts and not because of them. I don’t know that we ever even prayed about it.
Fast forward 10 years and oh how the times have changed. Never more in our marriage have we talked, thought, prayed, discerned, sought Godly advice and prayed some more. This much I know for sure…we are at peace. We are at peace because we are following what we believe God has called us to. We have a peace because we are not forcing the issue. This time around, we are leaving a wide open space, but it is there for God to be God. Like riding the bike, He initiated, we responded knowing He will initiate again.
For the first night in a couple of weeks, I will go to bed with a complete peace. No matter what happens the next 2 weeks, the next month, the next year I am at peace with the course we have set. I don’t know what the journey to get there will look like, but that is not the point. The point is allowing room for God to be God and as my friend and mentor Denny said, “being available and obedient”.
Kids and lessons from our Heavenly Father go hand in hand don’t they? The timing is sometimes scary. This morning was one of those moments. Let me explain.
Last night as I tucked my daughter into bed, we were discussing “All Pro Dad” (APD) on Saturday. She gets very excited every month to attend APD. So when she awoke this morning, she was all excited to go. One problem, APD is on Saturday and today is Wednesday. I tried to explain that to her but it didn’t seem to help her disappointment. I explained that “I said it was on Saturday. You heard it was tomorrow”. Her excitement led her to believe the thing she wanted to do would be here right away.
Hmmm ever been there? Almost audibly, I sensed God saying “sound familiar?”. Lesson learned. It was almost as if our Heavenly Father said “I said wait, you heard now”. I believe that God speaks to us in many ways. I also believe that my time table hears and sees those answers coming faster, easier and when I want them. “I said…you heard”.
Lord give me patience in my excitement in what I know you have in store for me. While I rush to have it happen in my time frame, may you grant me the patience and understanding in yours.
Interesting time around this head of mine. I am flip flopping more than John Kerry in the 2004 Election. I am interested in what others do in times of decisions that involve hearing from God. It has been my experience that you sense God is speaking through one direction. You then try to accumulate the data or signs that might also be pointing in that direction as validation of what you think you sensed. Yet if you are like me, you need to speak to others to confirm, gain input, wisdom or understanding. Or do you?
That is what the past week has been for me. I’ve been collecting data, talking to friends and people I know. I’ve shared the information with accountability partners in my life, family members and those that pour Godly wisdom into my life. Yet here we are…still no decision. I know I am not as patient as I should be, so waiting is also very hard for me. Yet I keep looking and waiting for that silver bullet of wisdom to make the decision oh so clear.
So how about you? Where do you turn for big decisions? Where do you go when you need to gain wisdom in making a very large transition? What is your pattern of discernment when it comes to decisions that effect your entire family?
4But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
6“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”
When I was growing up, I had a small cross stitch picture in my room that my mom made. It was a picture of a little cowboy with the words “Please be patient, God’s not through with me yet“. I couldn’t help but think of how prophetic that little picture was..and still is today. While I write this and ask for each of your patience with me…I think I write it to remind myself as well. God is not through with me yet.
I think so often I beat myself up over what I don’t do when it comes to my faith and family. I know I need to pray more. I know I need to be better about my devotions. I need more time with God. I need to be a better witness. I can always learn more about being a better husband, father and friend. More often than not, I set out to “live like Jesus” and before I know it, I make more mistakes than Peter. It becomes overwhelming. It can become defeating. These are my own thoughts….they don’t even count what others might think or believe.
That is where the picture came back to memory today. God is NOT done with me yet. He doesn’t demand perfection. He knew what He was getting when He created me. Nothing I do surprises Him. He knows I am a work in progress (can I get an Amen?). I’m the one that tends to forget that. I need to remember to be patient with myself…God is not finished with me yet.
10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
I have mentioned my excitement to finally get to read this book. I will keep this review short by just saying that it’s a must read. Honestly. I am seriously considering a bulk order to just have at my disposal as gifts down the road. This book will speak to everyone. If you have lost a loved one, are losing a loved one, know someone that has lost a loved one or fear death….this book is for you.
If you know someone that is going through a rough battle, a storm, a physical struggle, depression or a long road to recovery…this book is for you (and them).
If you long for the day that you will meet Jesus, fear for those that don’t know Jesus, are afraid to share the reality of Heaven and Hell….this book is for you.
When I began the book, I too questioned the reality that a man could be pronounced dead, go to Heaven and literally return to life. Yet after reading his account and knowing the message, impact and healing that his journey has and will give others, I have no doubt that Don Piper spent 90 minutes in Heaven. I believe God brought him through that experience so that all of those people listed above can find hope, healing, understanding, encouragement and strength.
Of all the books I have read and recommended…this one might be the one I recommend the most.
“Today there are thousands of people sitting in church pews every Sunday who look like they’ve got it together on the outside but are broken on the inside. People who want to grab a Christian brother or sister by the shoulders and shout, “I’m not together! I’m in trouble! My relationship with God is terrible! I feel like a fake!” Instead, they pass out another bulletin or stack another chair, afraid to reach out, because everyone else looks like they have life’s problems whipped”
I was thinking about David Eckstein in my hotel this morning. Wait…that didn’t come out right. What I meant to say was that when it comes to faith and my time on this earth, I want to be like David Eckstein. Let me explain…
If you follow baseball at all, you know that David Eckstein is a shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays. He has also played for the Anaheim Angels and won a World Series ring (and Series MVP) with the St. Louis Cardinals. Yet if you passed him in a mall or airport, you would have no idea he’s a big league ballplayer. He is about as tall as my 7 year old and weighs about 150 pounds soaking wet. His hat usually looks like it just came off the rack with a bill so straight you could land a plane on it. He’s not flashy. Yet if you’ve ever seen him play, you know that he uses every ounce of what he has. He gets more out of his frame than most people his size could dream of.
To quote Barry Bonds:
“He’s one of my favorite players ever,” Bonds said. “I told him that he’s a gift from God. Everything is difficult for him, yet he gets it done and done well.”
So why was I thinking of him this morning in my hotel room? Actually I was thinking about how I want to know that when this race is over, I left it all on the field. That’s when Eckstein popped into my mind. I was thinking to myself that I want to know that I used every ounce I had, everything I was given to impact the Kingdom. I don’t want to settle for average. I don’t want to just get comfortable where I am if there is more I can do. I don’t want to play it safe, when I could have reached higher, learned more, shared more, given more, been more for the Kingdom. I want to play the game of life like Eckstein plays every game. I want to use it all for Gods glory, and then find a little bit more.