Have you ever wondered, What do I have to do to live a stable life, to not be twisted with every fierce wind of opposition or pulled from what is right to what is ultimately degrading? How can I have the kind of healthy fellowship with God that will bring joy and fulfillment?
My good friend Dan moved from Tigard to Albany Oregon to work with Dana, another mutual friend. Unfortunately, Dana’s business experienced a downturn and he had to let Dan go. In 2012 Dan felt led to stay in Albany and serve as an Associate Pastor in a Calvary Chapel.
Have you ever been frustrated by something that should work and doesn’t? For the last several months I’ve had a rotten time trying to charge my phone. I purchased several charging cords but the connection always seemed to be an issue to the point where many times I would have to hold the phone and firmly push the cord to get a steady charge. I was just about to take the phone into the store and replace it when I had an idea. Taking a pin I probed the cavity where the cord connected and immediately all kinds of dirt and matted hair began to come loose. Honestly, I felt pretty foolish—no wonder the phone was not properly charging—it was plugged up with debris.
Phil Downer in his book, Eternal Impact, differentiates between the value of success and significance. For success, he likes the definition Chip MacGregor and Bobb Biehl devised, “the feeling you get when you reach your goals.” Phil defines significance as “making a difference in the lives of people over time.” For Downer, the distinction between success and significance is that the former ends with the attainment of goals whereas the latter has a lasting dimension. I’m conflicted with his distinction because the ability to attain significance is a mark of success. But let’s take it deeper to the point Phil is really making—reproduction of what is important is what we ought to seek. To do this requires training.
They said they would do it, the task well defined
But then they turned left, then right, then behind.
They scorned those in power subverting their will
When sudden calamity finished their thrills.
So don’t hitch your wagon with those who rebel
Unless you would like your pain to excel.
Proverbs 24:21,22—My son, fear the LORD, as well as the king, and don’t associate with rebels, for destruction from them will come suddenly; who knows what distress these two can bring?
Some of the most passionate people on the face of the planet are those who believe they are invested in an important cause. You, like I, have probably encountered those who are zealous about taking care of the planet. Their message against pollution and warnings about callously disregarding the land, sea and sky are noble. We should be good stewards of what God created.
Others are zealous for same-sex rights, prolife or prochoice. Still others crusade against guns or for the right to bear arms, against drunk drivers or for the right to smoke weed, against corruption in the government or for laws ensuring all children are vaccinated.
The 3rd United States Infantry Regiment has three active battalions, and is identified by its nickname, “The Old Guard.” The regiment is a major unit of the Military District of Washington (MDW) and is the oldest active duty regiment in the U.S. Army. Originally called the First American Regiment in 1784, its mission is “to conduct memorial affairs to honor fallen comrades and ceremonies and special events to represent the U.S. Army.”
1 Peter 4:1,2—Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, equip yourselves also with the same resolve—because the one who suffered in the flesh has finished with sin—in order to live the remaining time in the flesh, no longer for human desires, but for God’s will.
Trenton’s wisdom is deep for such a young boy. In describing his love for Lindsay, his sister, Trenton shared, “I would take a bullet for her.” As he regained his composure after getting choked up, he added “She’s my best friend. I would do anything for her. My life would be nothing without her.” These are not trite statements they emanate from his heart.
Lindsay has spinal muscular atrophy yet from her motorized chair she beams when she describes her older brother. His example of love if followed would change the world! Watch their story at http://omeleto.com/213180/ and make sure to have Kleenex handy!
Neuroscientists discovered that when people listened to music it was like watching fireworks go off with multiple parts of the brain involved. But when these researchers studied musicians engaged in writing or performing music those fireworks turned into a jubilee—with every part of the brain engaged. What amazed these neuroscientists is that no other activity (sports, art, etc.) came close to matching what happens when we write or perform music. To see and listen to this fascinating study go to: http://omeleto.com/201067/.
Dashrath Manjhi by his own hands carved a road through a 300-foot mountain to provide his town access to doctors, education and opportunities. After his wife fell down and got hurt while trying to cross the mountain that separated two villages, Manjhi sold three goats to buy a hammer and chisel. He decided to do something to make it safer for his family and those in their village. So from 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to evening each day he attacked the mountain—pounding his way through massive rock. From 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. he plowed the fields of his neighbors to earn enough money to sustain his family.
Genesis 1:25—So God made the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and creatures that crawl on the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Revelation 3:2—Be alert and strengthen what remains, which is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before My God.
In 1915, Rabbi Jeremy’s grandfather as a teenager recognized that if he stayed in Russia he was likely to be persecuted and deprived of basic freedoms. So, he left his family and walked—all the way to Israel. It took him one and half years to reach the port of Jaffa. I would imagine it was a dangerous trip full of excitement, fighting cold and hunger as well as numerous other challenges. With a group of men touring Israel (including my two sons and son-in-law), we listened to Jeremy share life lessons at Yad Hashmona Country Hotel.
Every evening at sundown, 78 year-old Don Brittain stands on his back porch, places his trumpet on his lips, and plays Taps. At the first sound of the 24 notes his neighbors stop what they are doing and walk outside to stand at attention. Most of them have never served in the military. Nor has Don who suffered polio as a child. Yet, like this aerospace worker who chooses to honor our military veterans, they are gripped and inspired by the solemn music he so carefully plays. And as much as his ritual is for the military, it is also for his neighbors. Lyle shared reporter Steve Hartman’s story with me and you can view and listen as well if you go to
3 John 5-8—Dear friend, you are showing faithfulness by whatever you do for the brothers, especially when they are strangers. They have testified to your love in front of the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God, since they set out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from pagans. Therefore, we ought to support such men so that we can be coworkers with the truth.
Romans 13:14—But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.
There is an insightful television program called Undercover Boss. Each episode, the owner or CEO of a company is disguised and then works for several days with different employees with differing responsibilities. Often the boss is inept at the tasks the employee is to teach him which puts pressure on him to do better. As he works with each selected person he also finds out what life is like in their shoes. Some are struggling financially or dealing with challenges that make life difficult.
Jamaal and Hannah spend hours each day playing video games. Their mother Roxanne*, says it is “okay”—at least they are not doing drugs or out on the street involved with the wrong crowd. Today we have Jamaals and Hannahs in their mid-thirties who devote hours each day to gaming. Their spiritual lives are mediocre and their contribution to advancing heaven’s agenda is abysmal. Their parents let them feed their infatuations when they were younger so long as the obsession was “harmless.” But there is no such thing as a harmless infatuation.