Some days I wonder how Cal Ripken, Jr. felt.
Not that I’m Cal Ripken Jr. He played in 2,632 consecutive baseball games, breaking Lou Gehrig’s seemingly unbreakable record. He was an iron man when many would sit out a game with a hangnail.
My friend, Jim Woods, calls me the Cal Ripken of blogging. I won’t go that far. I don’t blog every day, but I do go hard at it six days a week. I don’t make a dime and I just do it because I love to write. Often, it’s easy peasy. Lately, though, it’s been tough.
Work has been hard this summer. My team lost two experienced people this spring. I hired two great ones, but it takes a while to get them trained and up to speed. One of my supervisors has been on maternity leave. On top of that, we are in the middle of a system change . I’m not complaining. Facts are facts. However, here’s the effect it’s having on me.
To write you have to be able to draw from a well. To get the water flowing, sometimes you have to prime the pump. But no matter how much the pump is primed, no water will come if the well is dry. I just haven’t had time to keep the water flowing. To put it another way, my saw is dull and I can’t find time to sharpen it.
So, where do I go? I’ve got to find time to motivate myself. Zig Ziglar says that some “say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
I’ve got to carve out more time to be in the word of God.
I’ve got to spend more time in prayer.
I need to read more good books.
I’ve got to fill up on that which is good.
I need to fill up my well so that when I prime the pump, the water will flow. Writing will be easier. Everything will be easier.
What do you do when you need to prime the pump and get the water flowing?
We get it backwards. Not just you. Not just me. We. We get things backwards.
Take, for example, those of us who follow a life of faith, a life of following Christ.
We believe that it’s about morality. We believe that our faith is about being good and doing good. We believe that strictly following religion is our way to God.
Instead, it’s about life. We were dead, but God has made us alive through His Son. Our relationship with Christ is our hope to be good in God’s eyes. He did the work on the cross for us. Not only is He the Truth and the Life, He is the Way.
How about us turning things back the right way.
Have you ever gotten things backwards?
I’m not sure how old I was when I first heard that Mother Goose had written some nursery rhymes. Perhaps it was my mom who told them to me. Maybe it was the book that someone gave me. I learned about Jack and Jill, Jack Sprat, and others. The one I always liked the best, though, was one about a great fall.
Of course, I’m talking about Humpty Dumpty. It’s a silly rhyme about an egg who sat on a wall. He had a great fall and shattered into pieces. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t t put him back together.
Little did I know that this particular children’s poem would turn out to be a picture of my life. Not only that, it’s a picture of your life too.
We have all had a great fall. The first one happened with Adam and Eve in the Garden. And just like Humpty Dumpty, none of the King’s horses or men can put us back together.
Only the King can do that for us.
We can’t do that for ourselves. It has to be done for us.
Today I just want to ask you one question.
Has the King put you back together? Why or why not?
I was listening to a podcast the other day. The speaker asked a question about how you would want to be remembered. As I continued to listen, a thought occurred to me: What if I wrote my obituary?
As I continued to ponder the question from the podcast, I wondered about writing my own obituary. I’ve joked over the years that I would video myself and preach my own funeral. But what if we took the proactive steps of writing the obituary.
Most of us spend some time every year planning a vacation. Few, if any of us, plan how we will be remembered when we die.
How do you want to be remembered?
Do you want to be known as a great parent? Put in there. Get busy. Write it in that obituary.
You want to be known as a great spouse? Add it in.
You want to be called a great friend? Put it down.
Being known as a follower of Christ is important to you? Write it down.
I don’t care exactly what you want to be known as. Write it down.
Then get busy making it happen.
Be what the obituary you have written about. Make yourself into what and who you want to be remembered.
Have you written your obituary?
Last week I wrote a post called Ask Me A Question….Or Five. I was asked a few questions, so I want to take the opportunity today to answer those questions.
I’ll start with the question Matt Cannon asked me. Matt is an old friend. I used to be his supervisor where I work. Now he’s a full-time pastor. He blogs as the Seeking Pastor, so make sure you check his blog out. Matt asks, “Is Rocky Road your favorite ice cream or are you a weirdo?” That is an easy one to answer. The answer is no and yes. No, Rocky Road is not my favorite ice cream. Yes, I am a weirdo. My favorite ice cream is plain chocolate. There are so many reasons why I am a weirdo.
Next up is my friend Rob Shepherd, or as those in the game call him, Rob Shep. Rob is always taking his pastoring to the Next Level. He is a blogger and the father of twins. Rob asks, “What is the best super hero movie of all time?” Rob, that is a tough one. I’ve been there for all of them. I watched Superman when it first came out. I watched Batman in 1989 four times within the first week. I love Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, but Batman Begins is my favorite of the three. I think The Avengers is the best, though Captain America: Winter Soldier is hot on its heels. And I’m not sure that Guardians of the Galaxy won’t be the best product Marvel has put out when all is said and done.
Scott Smith took the challenge and asked me five questions. I don’t know Scott very well, but appreciate him asking and look forward to getting know him more going forward. Scott asks the following:
1. Is 5 the limit on the number of questions, or can we ask more than that?
2. Are your posts written ahead of time, or do you post what you write on the same day?
3. How much time do you spend writing every day, if you write that often?
4. How thankful are you that the Vols aren’t playing LSU this year?
5. Creamy or Crunchy peanut butter and why?
- Scott, you can definitely ask more than 5.
- Kind of both. I got ahead by about 90 days at one time and slacked. Sometimes I’m a week ahead. Sometimes I write them just before they post.
- I probably write, on average, about 30 minutes per day. I would love to do more.
- Dooley almost beat LSU in 2010. I’m not terribly intimidated by the Tigers. However, I love Les Miles. He makes me smile.
- Creamy all day long.
The final question comes from good old Arthur 2 Sheds himself, Ricky Anderson. Ricky asks, “What’s the worst injury you’ve ever had?” For a bonus, he wants me to make this up. For a bonus, I’ll throw in three and let you guess which one I made up.
First, I once was stung on the eyelid by a hornet. My eye was swollen shut for about two days.
Number two is when a friend of mine and I were shooting basketball. The net came loose, so he was going to boost me up to the rim and let me fix it. I stepped into his hands and my knee twisted when I went up. Cartilage was chipped and I had to wear a leg immobilizer for six weeks. My mom had to drive me to college during that time.
The final one happened on Mother’s Day, 1997. I was riding a four wheeler by myself in Rudd Holler, which the next holler over from Dunn Holler. I was a mile back in the mountain and rode it off a fifty foot bank. I rolled to the bottom and the four wheeler got stuck in a tree. I was scraped up and walked stiff for a week. X-rays indicate that it looks like I had a hard collision.
That’s it for now. Let’s do it again sometime.
What would you give up for Christ? That’s the heart of what we discuss today. Last week we basically said that your resume’ doesn’t matter. Today it’s whether you would give everything up simply to know Christ. Paul did. He gave up everything on this resume’ to simply travel around the world proclaiming the Gospel. Once Paul realized who Christ was, he was all in.
Today we pick up with verse 7 through 11. Paul describes exactly where he is in relations to his resume’ now.
Paul writes, But whatever things were gain to me. The things that Paul had previously mentioned were gain to him at one point in his life. Prior to Christ, all of these things were what Paul derived his worth from. They were his resume’ and he was proud of it.
Paul continues, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Now Paul counts them as loss. They are not important to him. He does this for the sake of Christ. Christ is more important to him than anything else he could find on Earth.
He goes on to write, More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, Even more, Paul counts not only those things, but all things as loss. The center of his life is knowing Christ. Everything he is about is about Christ. Christ is the most valuable thing in life. Christ is Paul’s treasure.
Next he writes, for whom I’ve suffered the loss of all things, and count them rubbish so that I may gain Christ, Paul has given up everything to know Christ. He counts his resume’ and everything else rubbish so that he may gain Christ. Rubbish is a tame word. Excrement is a better word. All things are excrement compared to knowing Christ.
Paul continues, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, Based on Paul’s resume’, Paul would have based his righteousness on being the kind of Jew he was. He sought the Law to become righteous in God’s eyes.
Continuing, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God, Instead, now Paul has come to faith in Christ and his faith delivers his righteousness from God.
Next, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; Another reason that Paul counts those things loss is so that he may know Christ, the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to death. Paul’s grip on the world is continually lessening as He knows Christ greater every day.
Finally, in order that I might attain to the resurrection from the dead. What is Paul’s endgame? What is his ultimate goal? He seeks the resurrection from the day.
So what? That was good for Paul, but I’m not Paul, someone might say. Paul is describing what the life of following Christ is like. You might not have to give up a prestigious career path to follow Christ, but you will face losing something. The question that each of us has to answer is if we will follow through and count Christ more valuable than anything else.
My on-line friend, Jon Stolpe, is on a a short term mission trip this week. He and his family are making a return trip to Guatemala, where they are serving the Lord and building houses. In the meantime, several different people are guest posting over at Jon’s place.
I spoke with Jon about writing a guest post for this week, but it just didn’t work out. I ran out of time and couldn’t quite get it done. However, if I had managed to write something, this is something like it would have been:
Go on a mission trip.
If you aren’t going on a mission trip, get ready to go on one.
Do something that is totally outside the norm. Get out of your comfort zone.
Start preparing now. Get your passport. Be ready to go when you have the opportunity.
Prepare to be stretched. You won’t be the same when you’re finished.
Do you know Jon Stolpe? Do you read his blog? Have you been on a mission trip?