Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Happiness to me is based on what is happening around us, those external things that cause an emotional response. We all love those things. We receive a good mark at school, we get the job, we buy a cool new gadget (like an Iphone), we have our first child, we win the lottery (that might make you really, really happy).
But the problem is, those moments come and go. They change all the time and so our happiness changes. It becomes a temporary feeling.
Joy is not like that. Joy is something that comes from being plugged into the right source. Joy is not based on what is happening around us. It comes from something else. It comes from being plugged into God. He is the source.
I know you might be thinking, “What is he talking about? Internal God source?” That’s right! It’s possible to be plugged into God and He be your source of Joy. Does that mean that sadness will go away or that we will never cry? Of course it doesn’t. We will still have those moments but joy is something that grows inside a person. It happens when we are pursuing a relationship with God.
Today, if joy is absent, then maybe what you need to do is look and see what you are plugged into. If you are not plugged into the right source, perhaps you should consider unplugging from that and plugging into a source that will cause your joy to overflow.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
So this past weekend, my family and a few friends went to watch the Toronto Supercross – whenever you have a large amount of rednecks together in one place, it’s a Nascar race or Supercross.
Since our family is into motocross (my youngest son rides), it was a great day. We watched practice, took in the smell of race fuel, and watched incredible racing as the top Supercross riders in the world tore up the track.
There is something interesting that happens at the end of every race: All of the focus is on the top three riders as they head to a podium where they will receive their trophies. It’s an exciting moment for the rider and the fans, especially if the guy you are cheering for is on the podium.
There are lots of smiles, photo ops, and reporters. As each of the riders makes their way to the podium, a reporter intercepts them and shoves a microphone in their face to ask all kinds of questions.
One thing I have noticed about this moment is that every rider on that podium thanks the team around him. They take the time to point out that they would not be there if it were not for the team manager, mechanics, fitness trainers, sponsors, and of course, their parents.
It got me thinking about how life works.
We need a team to do life. It’s not a mechanic or a team manager, but a trusted friend that we can celebrate with when there is reason to celebrate. We need those few that we can go to when life is tough and they are willing to listen. We need someone that will pick us up when we stumble and have our “stupid moments.”
We all need that kind of team.
I would not be where I am today if it were not for the team of people around me. You have been part of helping me discover how God has wired me up. You have challenged me to become more then I ever thought I could be. I am especially grateful to those who have spoken truth into my life.
To my team, I say thank-you!
If you have a team, take the time to thank them. If you don’t have a team, maybe you’d better consider finding one.
Monday, March 28, 2011
In those backpacks students carry everything from books, pens, pencils, paper, gum, and things I’m sure every parent would not want to know about. The purpose is to carry the things they need to be in school.
When you think about it, we all wear backpacks. We don’t carry school supplies, but we carry all of life’s stuff. All the high points and low points go in our backpack.
Some of our backpacks have things like:
Some of us have some pretty ugly stuff in our backpacks.
The thing is we were never meant to carry all of this stuff in our backpacks. All these things do is weigh us down. Hold us back from living free in life. Keep us from living into who God wants us to become.
I guess what has been running around in my heart these days is this – we need to stop letting the things in our backpack rule our lives.
God knew that we would not be able to run through life with all this extra weight so He did something about it. He sent his son to take our backpacks for us.
Today, maybe what you need to do is give your backpack over to him and let him carry it. Or at least begin to replace the stuff in your backpack with new things like:
I don’t know about you but it seems like a pretty great exchange of what we have in our backpacks.
Monday, March 21, 2011
It was in a coffee shop around the corner from my office (I like to meet people over coffee. It’s not an addiction but an appreciation). The guy I was meeting with told me the reason why he left his secure, good-paying job to start his own business.
He said, “I found myself thinking and dreaming about retirement, hanging on for 20 more years so I can get full pension.” It hit him that this is not what he wanted from life; he wanted to live his dreams now. So he quit his job and started his business. He said, “I have not regretted one minute of it. I am living the dream”.
He took a tough business call when we were meeting and I asked, “Still living the dream?” He responded, “Yes, even with this stuff.”
The twinge of “hmmm…” hit me. A few weeks ago I met with my financial guy to see if I could ever actually retire at all. I figured I would need to work until I am 120 years old. He told me I will be fine and I will be able to retire about 65. I found myself dreaming after I met with him. I only have 24 more years and I can stop working.
Today I went “hmmm…”
What am I doing that I love? What I am doing today to fulfill that God-sized dream that is screaming to get out of me? I literally thought, “Stop living for the future and start living now”.
Let me ask. Are you living for that retirement number or are you living in the now?
The way I look at it, God has placed great dreams inside all of us and we need to discover what they are. It might not be quitting your job but it might be as simple as take a risk, step out of your comfortable and see what happens.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Ever notice how life is filled with interruptions? We can be spending quality time with some great friends and a cell phone will ring or beep with an incoming text. We can be dialed into a great conversation and another person comes right up and interjects as if life was all about them.
Some interruptions are more significant. You back into another car in the parking lot at the mall. Your favourite TV show is interrupted by breaking news or a severe weather alert. You get a health scare that has the potential to be serious.
Then there are those interruptions that are in their own category. These interruptions have the potential to change the direction of your life.
My good friend got one of those interruptions the other day. His dad was on the mend after being sick for a number of months. My friend’s day was interrupted by a phone call with the news that his dad had suddenly passed away. Some interruptions are so filled with pain we don’t even know which way is up anymore.
It got me thinking. How do we handle the interruptions in life? What do we do with them?
You see, how we handle the interruptions defines who we are becoming. Some of us might get angry and shake our fist at God with blame, or we might feel the loss and sadness but know that what is happening is going to make us stronger.
I guess what I hope we all do when an interruption comes (and it will) is step back and see that this is now part of our story, and that something will come from it that has the potential to make us stronger.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I really love to watch movies. I am sure many of you can identify a great movie when you see one. A great movie gets us and we don’t even realize it. We forget that we are in a theater surrounded by a few hundred people, or that we are simply sitting at home in our living room. Great movies make us feel like we are part of the story. That’s why we like them so much.
We all have our favorites, the ones we watch on a Friday night when we are bored and wondering what we should do.
My family (I mean my two teenage sons and I) love to sit down and watch the Ironman movies. I know, some of you just rolled your eyes and clicked the little x up in the corner of the screen. If you are still reading it means you are wondering where I am going with this.
I won’t get into the whole story behind the movie but it’s basically a rich guy who designs a really cool suit that he wears to fight bad guys. It’s the whole ‘good vs. evil’ thing that has been around since time began. The suit gives him super powers.
In Ironman 2 there is something that is happening to the main character that nobody knows about. The suit is killing him. His computer companion (don’t ask) is the one that reveals this horrible truth and he deals with this problem on his own. He doesn’t tell anyone, not even his assistant.
Think about this. The more he wears it to fight back evil and darkness, the closer he steps to the end of his life.
Jesus told his followers one day that they were to die to self. Take up the cross and follow him. In some ways, each time we serve we experience this process of dying to self. We are putting ourselves on the line to meet the needs of others.
Now, the great thing about this dying to self for someone who is striving to follow Jesus is that we don’t actually die. We find life. New life. We find the path of Jesus.
Ironman was willing to put the suit on and walk closer to his death. I wonder how many would be willing to do that in real life.
If we want to really live, then we should consider giving up our lives in order to find life.