Greg McKeown is the author of an excellent book entitled essentialism. Greg contends that the disciplined pursuit of less is a major key to success. Lin Yutang says, “The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” From this premise, McKeown lays out a compelling case which helps us understand why it is important to: say “no” and not overextend; prioritize our lives; exercise the power of choice; discern what is important; know when to make tradeoffs; know when to play and to sleep; know what to select and what to eliminate; set boundaries and focus; etc.
My four year-old grandson Jadon grabbed my army hat, placed it on his head and declared, “I am Army, West Point.” It was a funny moment and it prompted me later to think about aspiration. While I would be proud if Jadon was someday accepted into West Point, that is not what my prayer is for him.
2 Chronicles 14:7—So he said to the people of Judah, “Let’s build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, with doors and bars. The land is still ours because we sought the LORD our God. We sought Him and He gave us rest on every side.” So they built and succeeded.
When we arrive in heaven will there be a Hall of Fame? Will we find an interactive display manned by select angels who share the stories of those living legends who served God exceedingly well? Conversely, will there be a Hall of Shame in hell for those who acted in the power of Satan? If Hitler was one of the worst men to walk the planet we might also find that his countryman Dietrich Bonhoefferwas an exceptional saint. This German Lutheran pastor and theologian could have successfully pastored in the United States or in Great Britain. Instead, he chose to go back to his country and preach and teach knowing that his life was in jeopardy.
I was born in Colorado Springs. I can’t remember the event but my birth certificate proves the date and location. Whenever I return to the Springs I feel like my batteries are getting recharged. Does that make any sense? Somehow, being in Colorado rejuvenates my spirit and I always look forward to a visit to that state. Yet, as beautiful as the state is, if I try to get in a workout by running at that high elevation, (lack of oxygen), I am quickly winded. After just a few days, my sinuses are affected and my lips quickly chap in the dry air.
On the plane from Atlanta to Portland, I sat next to a salesman and a lawyer. We had a great time sharing stories, food and funny video clips during our five hour flight. Matt shared with us that he was headed to Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho to compete in the Ironman competition. On Sunday, his goal is to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles in 12 hours! We pumped him with questions and he shared his training regimen, thrills and spills in past competitions. And then he told us the secret to his perseverance.
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Matthew 4:23 clearly depicts Jesus’ three-fold ministry on earth. “Jesus was going all over Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”Jesus taught us, “All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father.”(Mat.11:27) Even when Pharisees came to Jesus warning Him to leave because King Herod wanted to kill Him, He replied: “Go tell that fox, ‘Look! I’m driving out demons and performing healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will complete My work” (Luke 13:32). Facing a gruesome death, He still submitted His life under His Father’s authority. “Going a little farther, He fell facedown and prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will” (Mat.26:39).
We’ve tried hard to sell our house in Tigard but to no avail. For over a year it sat vacant. Have you ever had times when a nagging notion persistently sits in your heart? I’ve had that notion—I believe God wants our house to be used for ministry. So, with hesitant concurrence from my wife, we decided to deepen our risk factor. 12350 SW Tiedeman became a spiritual oasis, a shelter for the homeless and refuge for the hurting.
Have you ever had a day when you wished to be alone; when your heart felt crushed beyond repair and your dreams were smashed like a wooden boat against the jagged reefs of reality? Like the eye of a hurricane, misery has its own island of calm. Often it is in the center of pain where God reveals His warm will and tender truth.
There is a long stretch of freeway between Fayetteville, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia, that is mostly flat and lined by lush green pine trees. It’s the kind of drive where hundreds of miles can all look pretty much the same.
In the journey of life, everyone parades past glass windows. Eyes will watch your actions today. Ears will hear your words and attempt to define your heart. Your character will be measured. The manner in which you walk, the nonverbals you express, how you listen to what others say, each of these are the brush strokes shaping your caricature on the canvas others paint.