What I Learned From U2’s New Album

September 19, 2014 6 comments

If you didn’t know it, U2 released a new album last week.  It seems to have been in conjunction with Apple’s new product announcement.  It was free to everyone who has an iTunes account.  It impressed me so much that I finally created my own iTunes account.

A few days ago, someone I work with asked aloud how to remove this album from her own iTunes.  My question back was, “Why would you want to remove it?”  Her response was that she didn’t like U2.

At this point, my head about exploded for the first time.

Another person on my team chimed in that he didn’t like U2 either.  I didn’t put the pieces of my head and brain back together again.  I quickly proclaimed U2 one of the top five bands ever and we debated this friendly enough for a bit.

Of course, I couldn’t let it lie, so I went home and found that Rolling Stone listed them number 22. in their greatest artists of all time.  This included solo artists and bands.  Sure enough, they were near, if not in, the top five bands of all time.

****

Most people would probably be satisfied with being “right”, but that isn’t quite where I landed.  I didn’t really gain much satisfaction.  I’m a U2 fan and I have been for over three decades now.  I don’t really need validation for what I like.

Instead, it made me pause and think about how we like to rank things.  We like to make lists of the best and greatest of all time.  Soon, we’ll have all sorts of top ten lists for the year.  We just like to list and rank everything.

*****

Jesus faced this.  James and John’s mom came to him and asked that her boys get to sit beside Him in the Kingdom.  She wanted a place of honor for her boys.  She wanted them to top the list of the Twelve.

Jesus ended up telling them that it was not his decision to make.

*****

Let’s face it.  Most of us want to be number one.  We want to reach the top.  We may not have the capacity or ability to get there, but it doesn’t stop us from dreaming.  We want to be Jesus’ number one.  We want to be near the top of our business.  We long to be the favorite child.  You name it, we want to be number one.

In the Kingdom, there won’t be a number one.  Instead, Jesus is number one.  He’s at the top of the charts.  He’s on top of the world.

Just like He’s meant to be.

Do you ever struggle with wanting to be number one?

 

 

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , , , , ,

How To Love God With All You Got

September 18, 2014 4 comments

Jesus was asked a question once.  The question went something like this: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”  I’m sure the law expert expected Jesus to give him a series of tasks to perform or to keep the Law.  I’m not sure that he was truly prepared for what Jesus said.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind.”  That is how Jesus answered him.

Heart.

Soul.

Strength.

Mind.

Four key components to loving God.  If these are what make up who we are, then doesn’t it make sense that we would do what is necessary to build those areas up ever chance we get?  Check that, shouldn’t we seek to build these key components up?

Knowing this, what is our challenge?  What are we to do if we are going to love God like this?

Let’s start with the heart.  This is the core of who we are.  It’s who we are when no one is looking, when we are tired and when we are stressed.  Proverbs would tell us that the heart is what the springs of life flows from.  Truly, in this context, our heart is who we truly are.

It makes sense that we should work toward building our “heart.”  It is here where our character comes from.  Our morals reside here.  What we feed our heart will truly determine who we are.

Next up is our soul.  The best way to describe our soul would be to say that this is where our emotions lie.  When Jesus said that His soul was troubled in the garden of Gethsemane, He was saying that his emotions were running high.  He was stressed to the max.

We should do everything we can to keep our emotions in check as much as possible.  We have to work to keep them under control.  Letting them run wild to the point of living under constant stress will shorten our lives.

Up next is our strength.  Unlike Matthew, who used mind to describe both intellect and strength, Luke divided the two.  Strength would be used to describe both physical strength and energy.

We are physical beings.  We need to pay attention to our physical well-being so that we are strong enough and fit enough in life to continue to worship Him with all we have.

Finally, we arrive to our mind.  Our intellect.  We have been blessed with brains with the ability to learn.  We are How To Live Like Jabez | Deuceology
https://deuceology.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/how-to-live-like-jabez/able to understand complex thought
and discussion.  It is here where we can dwell to worship the Lord.

The Lord has made us with these four ares of our lives.  We are made up of these pieces.  It is our responsibility to love God with each of them.  To do that, we must build each of them up, we must strengthen them, work toward meeting their potential.  It’s then that we can love God with each of these.

How would love God with your heart and soul and strength and mind?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , , , , ,

How To Live Like Jabez

September 17, 2014 7 comments

We have all probably heard about Jabez.  At least those of us who live in the church world do.  Many others do too since the book, The Prayer Of Jabez, was popular a dozen years ago or so.

While many of us might debate the theology of that little book so many of us read, we can learn some basic things about how to live a godly life from Jabez.  Let’s take a look.

First, Jabez was honorable.  More honorable than his brothers.  We don’t know what his brothers were like.  We don’t know if they were just normal honorable or not honorable at all.  Whatever level of honor they held, Jabez took it to another one.  I tend to think Jabez’s honor was out the roof.  If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have this little section of scripture detailing his life.

Next, Jabez had a handicap that he overcame.  His mother said he was a pain.  She bore him with pain.  The pain was so bad that she passed it along with him.  How would you like to go around telling everyone that you are a pain?  Many of us do through our actions.  Jabez did every time he introduced himself to someone.

Jabez wasn’t afraid to ask God to bless him.  So many of us won’t go to the Lord with things that we want or need, thinking they are too small to bother God with.  Instead, God welcomes this and Jabez rises to the challenge.  He doesn’t shortchange his prayer.  He asks God to bless him.  When have you simply asked God to bless you?

Jabez has an expansionist mindset.  Many think that what they have been given is enough.  They focus inward and don’t try to grow what the Lord has blessed them with.  Too many are like the guy who hid his talent, not taking a risk so as not to lose what truly belongs to God.  Instead, Jabez is like those who grow their talents.  He is looking outward, seeking for the Lord to expand his territory.

Jabez then invites God to be involved in his life.  He asks that God’s hand be with him.  He wants the Lord to guide his steps and lead his life.  He wants God’s strength to be his strength.  He doesn’t expect God to just show up.  He opens the door for Him prior to His arrival.

Finally, Jabez seeks a healthy life from the Lord.  We know from reading Job that this doesn’t always happen.  God could allow something to happen in life in  order to grow us.  What Jabez shows us is that, despite all of this, that we should go to the Lord and seek a healthy life.

I don’t think we should pray this prayer over and over in the hopes that we will be blessed like Jabez.  Instead, this prayer should be more of an attitude and philosophy of life.  We should attack life like Jabez did, seeking God to be involved in every aspect of our lives.

Have you ever read The Prayer of Jabez?  What have you learned from this little prayer tucked away in the Bible?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: ,

Why I Failed At Being A Small Groups Pastor (And I’m OK With That)

September 16, 2014 12 comments

Some of you might recall that my church asked me to head up our small groups a while back.  The purpose was to pastor the small group leaders and help lead our groups to another level.  The result?

I failed miserably.

I think some might try to be kind and say that isn’t so, but based on my own view of the situation, there is no other way to describe it.

So, why did I fail at this very important position?  I can think of at least three reasons.

One is that I don’t think I was equipped for a position like this.  I believe that a small groups pastor is someone who has to able to connect to people easily.  This is one of my greatest weaknesses.  Being able to connect to people and connect others is extremely important.  I have absolutely no idea how to go about doing this.  In fact, too often I’m just the opposite.

Another is time.  During 2014 the demands of my job have increased.  I have had to spend more and more time working that has played a factor in my failure.  Since July, my son has been practicing football until 7:00 p.m. each night.  When school started, we had to have him to school at 6:45 each day for a strength and conditioning class.  I leave my home just after 6:00 a.m. each morning and get home around 7:30 p.m.  I just haven’t had much more to give to anything else in my life.

The final reason that I failed is that I simply don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing within my church any more.  Due to everything else, we have really only been able to attend our Sunday morning service each week.  That’s the only connection we’ve had for two months now and it won’t let up until November.  Quite honestly, I feel like I’m barely hanging on by a thread right now.  I’m plumb worn out.  I simply don’t know what my role at church is any longer.  Please don’t confuse that with any dissatisfaction on my part with my church.

So, why am I ok with this?

I think it’s a season.  It’s a season that I will have to go through one more time after this year.  It’s a season that I’m spending a lot of time with my family.  I’m there for my son daily.  He won’t be here forever.

So, what’s next?  I don’t know.  I’m looking forward to November when we will be able to get back to our Breaking Bread on Wednesday nights.  There will be some other opportunities during the next few months to connect back to our brothers and sisters at church.  Things will get better.

Do you ever have weird season in life?  Have you ever struggled to know your role 

Categories: Christianity, Church, Faith Tags:

How I Walk/Run 20,000 Steps Everyday

September 15, 2014 14 comments

I have written about my FitBit before.  It has helped keep me accountable to my fitness goals over the last nine weeks and I’ve seen quite a bit of progress.  My energy levels are higher and my stress is lower.  I’m confident that my blood pressure and pulse rates have dropped as well. The big one is that I have lost 20 pounds during this time period.  However, at work, and on the Internets, I am asked one question.  In fact, I was asked this question at least twice last week.

How do you get so many steps?

The daily number of steps that are recommended is 10,000.  I double that.  Actually, my average is 24,000 steps.  So, if you are interested, I will tell you how I do it.

I wake up every morning at 4:30.  I shower and get ready for work between then and 5:30.  We are normally out of the house by a little past six.  During that time, I don’t sit down.  I am bustling about.  I make the bed and do any number of morning chores.  I often have 2,000 before I leave the house.

Once I arrive at work, I park as far away from the door as I can.  I walk a very circuitous route on my way to the company workout facility.  That adds another 1,200 steps to my total.

Once in the gym, I hop on the treadmill.  I normally run and walk a total of four miles.  This will add another 8,800 steps to my total.  Then, after another shower, I head to my desk.  By the time I sit down to begin my day, I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 11,000 steps.

After I work for a couple of hours, I have to get up and move.  Depending on the weather, I walk around the parking lot or do fifteen minutes on the treadmill.  This will somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 steps.

I usually go eat lunch  around 12:45.  After eating for about 30 minutes or so, I hit the treadmill again.  I walk for 30 minutes, which will be 1 1/2 miles or about 3,000 steps.  Then it’s back to work.

After hitting it for a couple of hours, I have to move again.  I spend another 15 minutes on the treadmill.  There’s another 1,500.

So far I’m up to 17,000 steps.  This doesn’t count the incidental steps I get from normal activity, such as walking to the bathroom or to other ares of the workplace where I have to go.

When I leave for the day, I take the same circuitous route that I walked when I came in for the day.  That will put me up to just over 18,000 steps.

With all of the other steps that I’ve gotten, I’m normally over 20,000 for the day.

Now the question is do I think that you should walk/run 20,000 steps every day?

No. Not necessarily.

I was talking to someone just a few days ago who maxes out at 7,000 each day.  That’s all her knees will allow her.  Guess what?  That’s great.  Each person has to determine how many steps they need or how much exercise they should get.

Here’s what I ultimately think you should do.

Exercise. Period.  Get moving.  It will make you happier, more energetic and healthier.  I believe it will improve every facet of your life.

Are you currently in an exercise program?  What impact is it having on your life?

Greetings And Grace

September 14, 2014 1 comment

Today we finish our journey through Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  I wondered to myself all week while thinking about these last few verses if there was anything we could learn from Paul in a conclusion and farewell.   I think there is.

First, we get to talk about greetings.   Paul says to Greet every saint in Christ Jesus.  Paul is leaving the Philippians by really emphasizing fellowship within the Philippian church.  He says to greet Every saint in Christ Jesus.  He doesn’t use the term all saints in Christ Jesus.  Paul seems to be focusing on each specific individual rather than the broader all.  Fellowship in Christ means that each individual in Christ is important.  No one in the Church is more important or less important that another.

Next, Paul says that The brethren who are with me greet you.  It would have been easy, once Paul was arrested, to abandon him and leave him to his fate.  Instead, the church in Rome did the opposite.  They visited him.  Besides that, he had visitors from other churches like Epaphroditus who came to him during his time of need.  Paul probably spent much of his time speaking with them and they sent their support of the Philippians back with Paul’s letter.

The final greeting of Paul is exciting news.  Paul says that All the saints greet you especially those of Caesar’s household.  Paul was hearing from the majority, if not all, of the saints, the brethren, in Rome.  They couldn’t all come visit him, but those who did brought greetings.  The entire church in Rome was hearing about the church in Philippi.  They were sending their support through Paul to them.  Specifically, though, were the saints that were in Caesar’s household.  These were probably slaves of Caesar who had come to Christ.   This had to be a shot in the arm to know that Christ was known by those in the house of Caesar.  The focus of the entire letter has been the progress of the Gospel.  How thrilling to know that it was progressing within the government of the empire.

Paul completes the letter by wishing The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.  Paul always ended his letters with grace.  He began this one with grace.  He doesn’t want the Philippians  to forget that their faith depends on grace.  They have done nothing to deserve their relationship with Christ.  The didn’t work for it or earn it.  It is simply the Lord’s unmerited favor.

So what are our takeaways from these two short verses?

  1. We need fellowship within our faith.  We aren’t meant to be Lone Ranger believers.  We are all connected by the Spirit.  Without that fellowship, an important dynamic is missing from our lives.
  2. We should seek to encourage other believers.  We don’t know what a word to someone will mean to them.  Some people are just sitting there needing a word.  Sometimes no one would even know it.
  3. The Gospel in powerful.  It reaches all facets of life, from what the world considers lowly to what the world esteems.
  4. Grace transforms.  It establishes the relationship with Christ, but it doesn’t end there.  It continues to affect us long after our initial conversion to Christ.

Do You Want To Change Your Life?

September 12, 2014 Leave a comment

So, do you?  Do you want to change your life?

If I’m a betting man, everyone who reads this blog, and one who writes it, wants to change something about their life.  And if you can change something in your life, then you can change your life.  Want proof?

I changed one thing.  I increased my activity level.  One simple change.  The results?  Weight loss.  Higher energy.  Better stress management.  Blood pressure down.  Heart rate slower.  Better disposition.  Increased efficiency at work.  And those are the things that I can think of.

So, how do you go about changing your life?  What does it take to make it happen?

First, you have to acknowledge the need for change.  Has your weight crept up?  Does your marriage need work?  Do your work skills need improving?  Admit to yourself that something in your life needs to give.  This is your first step.

What do you do once you admit that change is needed?  Focus on one thing to change.  You want to get your weight under control?  Get moving.  That’s it.  Don’t worry about your diet yet.  Do one thing and make it a habit.  You want to gain ground with your spouse?  Get up and make their coffee, even when you can’t stand the stuff.  That’s it.  Do that every day for three weeks.  Pretty soon the spouse will realize that it’s not just a flash in the pan.

What do you do once you establish a habit that benefits you?  Add something else.  Tweak your diet.  Quit drinking soft drinks.  Lower your calorie totals.  Do a job that you hate for your spouse.  Take something off their shoulders.  They’ll love your for it.

Guess what happens if you do these three things?   Your life will change.

Let’s look at another example.

Let’s say that you’re a follower of Christ, but you struggle with regular reading of the Bible.  What do you do?

Admit that you struggle with it.  Be truthful to yourself and everyone else that you haven’t ever read the entire Bible from “kiver to kiver.”

Focus on reading one chapter a day.  Don’t worry about those fancy reading plans that pop up but leave you feeling inadequate.  Just one lonely chapter.

Finally, after you’ve established the habit, add something to it.  Begin reading a chapter from the Old and New Testament.

It’s that simple.  Is it easy?  Hardly.

Establishing new habits in the place of old ones is a tough job.  The payoff, though, is incredibly huge,

Do you want to change your life?

Categories: Blogging, Christianity, Faith Tags:
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