Friday, December 31, 2010

What's your plan for planning 2011?

Happy New Year's Eve!  Can you believe that 2010 is already over?  I trust it's been a great year for you filled with passion, love and adventure.  Do you wonder what 2011 is going to look like?  Are you making any resolutions for the new year?

It appears that life keeps getting busier and busier.   The more jammed packed each day gets, the more I realize that if I'm gonna get anything accomplished, I need to have a plan.  A road map, if you will.  Without defined goals, it's very easy for each of us to get busy, or slip up, and not complete what needs to get accomplished when we do end up with a free moment.

John Ortberg, in his book Axiom: Powerful Leadership Proverbs, talks about how he plans out his life in several different ways.  The way that most struck me was that, when he plans short term, he plans 6 weeks at a time.  He plans six weeks at a time as strictly as possible, as full as possible, without being overwhelmed.

So here's my major plans for the next six weeks, in no particular order:

  1. Reread the Gospels in depth - this is going to actually happen in 30 days.  This includes reading and studying each of the four books.  Check out this and other reading plans via over here.
  2. Begin a two year advanced theological program in January, learn even more about Him and about serving Him.  
  3. Blog here at least 3 times a week.  
  4. Lose weight via exercise and eating better. I've gotta do it.   This will be a separate blog post with greater detail soon.
So what about you?  What are your goals for 2011?  What plans are you making now to help yourself reach those goals? 

 Where there is no vision, the people perish.  ~Proverbs 29:18A

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why should you "Be on My Team"?

I must be honest up front - I'm watching the tv show A-Team via Netflix while I'm composing this blog.  I remember it being this amazing show I loved as a youngster back in the day, and my recent curiosity was peaked when the new movie was released this year.  Yes, it's a bit cheesy, but the tv show is still fun to watch. Who was your favorite character?  You've gotta love Howling Mad Murdock, my personal fav!

On a slightly related note (stick with me here), my wife Becky and I are currently conducting pre-marital counseling for two different couples.  One of the couples is about my age (I'm 36 years old), while the other couple includes one of the seniors from our college ministry.  The couples share many similarities, yet each are unique.  One of the couples is just starting off, while the other couple has over a decade's worth of additional life's adventures.

During the time we spend with each couple, we share what God thinks about marriage, the roles of the husband and the woman, as well as discuss issues that could come up at some point.  One of the phrases Becky and I use is "Be on My Team"  (Team - there's the subtle A-Team tie-in).  It refers to both of us being united - one mind, one body, one voice.

Becky and I don't always have to agree - in fact, there are times we are exact opposites in thought.  But to those around us, we are united.  No one needs to know that we don't agree - it's our private business.  Couples can get into trouble when they start bringing other people into their squabbles.  It's easy for a partner to forgive another; it can be much harder for a spouse's best friend or family member to forgive and forget.

This phrase doesn't just apply to marital or dating relationships.  Think of how much better life would be if coworkers were on each others team vs. stepping on each other, trying to get ahead.  Or what about a group of friends?  Or church members?

What would the world look like if we we all on the same team - His team?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Are We There Yet?

At some point during this past week, I saw a commercial on TBS for a comedy called Are We There Yet?, which is directed by none other than Ice-Cube.  I'm gonna guess it's based on the movie that Cube starred in, also named Are We There Yet?.  It's probably a hoot  - it stars Terry Crews (no relation that I'm aware of) who is hilarious when he's not busy intimidating people.

Growing up as a fan of rap, though, I recognize that this is NOT the same Ice-Cube from back in the day.  His lyrics and lifestyle told the story of a rough and tough young man who was to be feared, not laughed at.  And he's not alone. Fellow hardcore rapper Ice-T now plays a police detective on Law &Order: SVU; wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars in a movie where he plays a tooth fairy, etc., etc.  These hardcore guys I grew up with have turned soft as they've gotten older.  They have changed.

I would dare say we have all changed as we've gotten older, or matured.  If you have Christ in your life, though, there's a different type of change.  We've not just matured, or adapted our outlook to life's different stages.  Christ in us means we are a brand new person.  Our lives are changed. Our interests are renewed. Our outlook on life is reinvented.

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 shares with us the following - But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.  And the Lord - who is the Spirit - makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.

So how is your life different?  If you are a changed person, where's the fruit, and what does it look like?   In your relationship with Him, Are YOU There Yet?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Who or what makes you say OMG?

This last week of work was probably the most frustrating/draining/overwhelming week I've ever encountered in my adult work life.  My current employer was purchased by a competitor, and they are completely changing the way we do business.  We're moving from a Windows-based computer system to a DOS-based system from the dark ages.  What use to take 8 steps now takes 13, and in those extra steps my office will be responsible for the destruction of several acres of trees each week in paper wasted.  My comfortable 8 hour workday became a hectic12+ hour workday.

In all of that, though, I somehow survived.  In fact, outside of work, I actually had a wonderful week.  The Lord graciously knew I would be unavailable and took away my teaching commitments for the week before I even knew His plan.  My time with Him was refreshing and rewarding.  I had the chance to share Jesus with several people who may or may not have a relationship with Him.  While at home, the time my wife and I had together was most enjoyable.

I spent a bit over an hour driving to Raleigh each day for training.  In my drive I had some wonderful chats with God, and listened to some great tunes.  I spent quite a bit of time worshipping through the Jars of Clay's album Good Monsters (one of the greatest album's ever imho).  I love love love the song "Oh My God," and probably listened to it 25 times during the past week.  Watch this video to hear and see what they are sharing with us.

In an interview on, the band expressed the following:
"OMG is a mediation on the reality of the power of this phrase.  All the different ways it is uttered. It is so universal, I dare say that these words from from the lips of every man whether he is cursing God or praising him, gasping in horror or in joy.  It is a meditation on all the reasons that a man might cry out 'Oh My God' and the end is left silent so that we might hear whether or not Gos is going to answer."

I had a choice - to thank Him or to curse Him. I could praise Him for all that He has done and is doing, or I could choose to say woe is me.   Did I always do what was right?  Sadly, no.  But overall, and in the end, He is gracious enough to bless me beyond what I deserve.  Why not just suck it up and do what I'm getting paid to do anyways?
"Oh my God, can I complain?  You take away my firm belief and graft my soul upon your grief."  

What about you?  When you say "Oh My God," what do you mean?