Archive for the ‘Looking Foolish…’ Category

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imagesCAC31X6DIf someone gave me $50, would it change my life? A night out to dinner with Ann Marie and it’s gone. What if i had a new car? Give it a month and there would be a newer model, a better one with more bells and whistles. On the other hand, one thought can change my life. For me one of those thoughts is Colossians 3:10 (NIV) “(ed) has put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” That means to put on new thinking. This new thinking will keep me from being foolish, but will require me to do foolish in others minds, but what is obedience in Gods’ mind. Change my mind, everything changes. Foolish becomes obedience!

Many of the police drama’s refer to the witness protection program. It’s when a witness whose life is threatened is given a new identity. They get a new name, a new home, new ID, but… are they a different person? Without a change on the inside, they will go back to the same habits resulting in the same outcome wherever they go: stealing cars, doing dope, whatever.  Change my mind, everything changes. Foolish becomes courageous!

I need a renewed mind, and a new vocabulary. Ephesians 1:5 says, He foreordained me (destined me, planned in love for me) to be adopted (revealed) as His own child through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]

I heard this recently, “I can not think something about me that God would not think about me.” What does that cause me to remove from not only my thinking but my words and actions? Change my mind, everything changes. Foolish becomes willingness!

Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right.” If I am expecting to feel foolish i probably will. Why not expect to be a man after God’s own heart. In Mark 2:3-5 four men brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus. They came expecting, and when they couldn’t get in because of the crowd they tore a hole in the roof to get their friend to Jesus. They didn’t mind believing to the point of looking foolish. Change my mind, everything changes. Foolish becomes determination!

One of my favorite things about the word is how honest it is about the shortcomings of the men of God. i think that is so i can realize that i can overcome my shortcomings like feeling foolish and not accepting an invitation to join God in someone getting healed.

  • Jacob, in Genesis 27, used deceit to get Esau’s birthright as firstborn.  Jacob continued to pay for that character flaw.
  • Moses suffered from low self-esteem. Moses whines, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
  • Gideon is hiding in the wine-press when an angel shows up and calls him “a mighty man of valor.”
  • Peter’s first reaction to Jesus was “Depart from me for I am a sinful man.” Later he denies even knowing Jesus.
  • Paul, David, Elijah, Noah, Samson, Jonah… They all had their faults but they didn’t stay there and neither am I staying there.

When these men got the understanding that they were God’s mighty men, they became the leader God needed. They changed their mind, and everything changed. I understand better today about feeling foolish and how I found myself in that place. As Paul often said, I have not attained perfection in these matters but I am pursuing the prize of the high calling. Change my mind, everything changes.

What is required for mind renewal? Joshua 1:8 commands, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Why? Change my mind, everything changes.

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So what’s the difference between being God’s “fool” and just being foolish? Paul says… “Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)

OK, so i need to know what God’s will is. Simple enough right? Not so much sometimes. That could be a week of posts, in and of itself. For me to know God’s will i would probably be praying, reading my Bible, spending time with other believers — putting God first in my life. Paul goes on to add a few other things… “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:18-20) Okay so, for me I should have no problem understanding what the Lord’s will is. All the elements Paul speaks about are active in my daily life. But I feel like there is more than just that so let’s look at a couple seemingly foolish guys.

This story comes from Acts, 16. Paul and Silas have been preaching the word in Philippi. Paul cast a demon out of a slave girl, which in turn has caused a riot. After they had been stripped and severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Talk about crazy Christians! Here they are stripped, beaten and in jail, and all they do is pray and praise God. These crazy guys travel half way around the known world, and preach about this guy Jesus — who was killed, but is now alive(???) — and now here they are in jail.

Is it too far of a stretch for me to think that obviously, they were not where God wanted them to be. After all a good Christian would never end up in jail like these guys. They are obviously not in God’s will. And making all that noise. … Foolish Christians!

But, let’s keep going with the story… Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. Wow, maybe God was listening… The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household.”

Because of faith. … Paul and Silas knew that God must have had a reason for them being there. That’s why they were praising God. It may be said that they were very foolish. But, they knew that God had a plan for them that night. Romans 8:28, says… And we have known that to those loving God all things do work together for good, to those who are called according to purpose. They listened to God’s calling and allowed themselves to be right where God wanted them to be. Because they were foolish, and got themselves flogged, and put in jail, and then were foolish enough to praise God for all this and rejoice in his presence — because of this, the message of God’s salvation was preached that night and people were saved, Also, Paul and Silas ended up with a hot meal and a nice bed to sleep in.

So. here’s the key? In every case, Noah, David, Paul and Silas and hundreds of others cases, God blessed those who were “foolish”. God blessed those who listened to him. God blessed those who praised him. And, God blessed those who trusted him. Proverbs 3:5-6 says it best. .. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and don’t depend on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct and make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

One final note. When you look at these stories — Noah, David, and Paul & Silas — I need to remember who was really the foolish person, and who was the wise person? They were doing God’s will, doing God’s work. Am I… and how about you? What was the last foolish thing you did for God?

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DavidYesterday i shared how Noah had God’s point of view, Noah knew what God was thinking and he accepted the invitation to join God in what He was doing, despite looking and sounding foolish. The only way for me to have true wisdom and understanding is to look at things from God’s point of view.

Let’s take a look at another possibly foolish person, David. Everyone knows David. He’s the one who slew the giant Goliath and succeeded Saul as king. He was also the one who God said was a man after His own heart.

David was ruling all of Judah and Israel, and decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant up to the City of David. What a party! 2 Samuel 6 shares the story. You have the people carrying the ark. You have sacrifices every 15 feet. All of Israel has turned out for the party. They’re shouting and playing their trumpets, having a good time. David is partying with everyone else, wearing just a linen ephod. An ephod is two squares of cloth, one to cover your front and one for your backside, held together with straps at the shoulders and a rope belt. The ephods for the temple were very ornate, with gold threads and jewels and things, and usually worn over other clothing. But David’s ephod this day was just a simple cloth deal. And, remember, there were no Hanes or Jockey underwear back then.

So, imagine…

All Israel is happy. They’re bringing the Ark home. Everyone is in a party mood. There’s lots of dancing and shouting and music. King David is in there with everyone else — not as King, but just one of the people being blessed. Everyone is dancing up a storm and just having a good time. In fact, David is dancing so much that the rope around his ephod came off and, how do we say, “things were exposed”.

Let’s keep going…

As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart. (2 Samuel 6:16)

Now skip down to verse 20… When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!” Translation: David, you looked like a fool out there, exposing yourself to everyone, and letting even the slave girls see “what your made of”! Jerk!

In verse 21… David responds to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel — I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death. (2 Samuel 6:21-23)

David celebrated because of the things the Lord had done for him. He, the King of Israel and Judah, had no problem being undignified or humiliated. He knew who was really in charge … and what really mattered. It was not people, or a person’s opinion, but God’s that counted. And David was going to worship and glorify God. David wanted to let God know that he was grateful and happy — and he didn’t care if any man or woman thought he was foolish or not.

In 2 Samuel 22:4, David says, “I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise”. David knew who the real king was. It wasn’t him, but God.

So what about this seemingly  foolish King David? What happened to him? He went on to write most of Psalms and was one of the most important people in the Old Testament. God says of David… “I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” (Acts 13:22)

David was certainly no fool in God’s eyes. He was used over and over though to do what seemed like foolish things for God. Let me make this perfectly clear, i have no plan to ever dance as David danced! In my opinion that would be wise and not foolish. In closing, just as it was with Noah and the ark, in the end it was those around David that looked foolish and not the man after God’s own heart.

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So were these guys foolish or did they just do foolish things and… does that in and of itself make them foolish? Or… quite possibly it was something else?

Courage and foolishness are sometimes mistaken for each other. Ambrose Redmoon’s quote helps me to differentiate the two. “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

Noah was on my list. When God created the earth, there was no rain. Genesis 2 says… the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth, but streams (or mists) came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. But, now there was a problem with the people. They were wicked and God decided to send a flood to cleanse the earth. He spoke to Noah who was the only one listening at the time. Genesis 6:1-22 says that, Noah should build a boat, and Noah did as God commanded.

Some interesting facts concerning this undertaking. Noah was 480 years old when he started to build the ark and i’m concerned about starting over at 62. Noah had no children for the first 20 years of building the ark. It took 120 years for Noah to build the ark which he and his family were only on for just over one year. They sat in the ark after it was done for seven days before one drop of rain fell. The ark had no means of control for where it went. There was no rudder, no sail, it was simply a floating vessel.

So, what’s that look like?

Noah’s out working on this boat with his sons. This is going to be a big boat, 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high, plus the roof, which is comparable to a 5 story building. All that for eight people and some animals. Along come some guys from town. They want to see what Noah’s up to. “Hey, Noah!”, “Whatcha doing?” Noah replies, “building an ark, a boat.” They respond, “Uh, Noah, the water is way over there. How are you going to get the boat from here to the water?” Noah replies, “I’m not. God is going to send water falling down from the sky, and it’s going to flood the whole earth. I’m building the ark to save me and my family and the animals.” “Water falling down from the sky?” “Noah your being foolish, you’ve gone crazy.” “You’ve got to be joking! Water has never fallen from the sky!” “God’s never done that before!” “Well”, Noah replies, “God is going to do a new thing. He is going to flood the Earth. You should repent and get ready.”

At this point, the guys go back to town, laughing and talking about “that crazy Noah, what a fool”.

Now, the rest of the story…

Matthew 24:38-39 “For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.

The people didn’t have a clue, not because they weren’t told, but because they used their free will to ignore what God was saying. They didn’t know, because they did not want to know. They didn’t listen.

There is no record of Noah having any fear or feeling foolish regarding the task that God had given him other than he was a mankind. Previously I said that Noah was the only one listening to God at the time and perhaps that in and of itself gave him the courage and the peace of mind to just do it as Nike says.

Noah was a “foolish” man, to those around him. But Noah was the only one at the time listening to God and doing what God wanted him to do, regardless of looking foolish. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:25)

What looked foolish to man — “you’re building a what?” — was wise before God.

“There’s a fine line between courage and foolishness. Too bad it’s not a fence”

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Let’s begin with a quote from John Piper. “My feelings are not God. God is God. My feelings do not define truth. God’s word defines truth. My feelings are echoes and responses to what my mind perceives. And sometimes – many times – my feelings are out of sync with the truth. When that happens – and it happens every day in some measure – I try not to bend the truth to justify my imperfect feelings, but rather, I plead with God: Purify my perceptions of your truth and transform my feelings so that they are in sync with the truth.”  John Piper

A few more thoughts on my foolishness which I shared about yesterday. It was not a matter of disobedience but it was in some way a matter of the heart. Regardless it must be changed. Here’s the ridiculous part of this. For two months I have been focusing on repositioning myself to be in the place where God can use me. Did you get that, the place where God could use me?

i’m finding that some people wear there looking foolish proudly, shirts, hats, coffee mugs, etc.. Not me, i’m not one to even wear logos of companies so posting my looking foolish moments is not enjoyable but is required. I do my best to not selectively post things. The goal is that you get exactly who i am without the filters.

CoffeJohn Maxwell says, “need to take success and failure concerning ourselves much less seriously and take God much more seriously.
We need to seed a risk taking mind-set. We need to constantly be planting seeds that will develop a mind-set that is willing to take risks.” And i’ll willing to look foolish.

Quite honestly I think that there is always risk of looking foolish involved when i stand at a cross roads. Those are dangerous times, but, that is no reason to be paralyzed with fear of looking foolish.

So why is it that in some cases i’m so image-conscious and afraid of what other people think while in others I could care less?

The question is not, “Will i ever look foolish?”  Of course i will. It’s unavoidable.  The question is, “What am I willing to look foolish for?”  Looking foolish because i’ve done something stupid, or i’ve gotten myself involved in something really doesn’t matter, is beneath me and a waste of my time.

So, is there something i want to do, something I need to do, a MUST do,  then i must dare to look foolish and embrace it. It’s said that the opportunities of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of the opportunity. There will be opportunity for struggling. Ann Marie and I have a new phrase we are using as we face the struggles, “we can’t go around it, we can’t ignore it, oh no, we must go through it.”  i have to sometimes risk looking foolish in order to hit the goal.

With regards to my looking foolish incident, how could I look any more foolish than I do now. The individual if for whatever reason wasn’t healed instantly would simply be in the same place as they are today. But what if they had? i’ll never know because that opportunity is in the past and while I didn’t look foolish then, I certainly do now.

Mark Batterson says, “Faith is the willingness to look foolish.” People in the world often look foolish in what they’re doing but they don’t care if it’s going to take them to a place of accomplishment, a place viewed as successful.

The founder of IBM Thomas Watson says: “The way to succeed is to double your failure rate.” That means double my opportunity to look foolish.

Thomas Edison said “There is only one good idea in 100 so I want to discover the 99 failures as quick as possible.” That means i will look foolish 99 out of 100 times.

Approximately 60% of all basketball shots made don’t go in. 25% of all batters make it to first base. In an oil company, only 10% of oil wells drilled hit oil. For actors, only 1 out of 30 auditions turns up in something that is of value. Nobody thinks they look foolish.

Here’s my “Take Away,” Do I view looking foolish as an opportunity for growth or as a personal indictment? And one last thing… which of the gingerbread people are you?

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Someone has probably been thinking that i had no God time yesterday because i didn’t post. That would be incorrect, in fact i had an entire day of God and looking foolish. Can i just say that looking foolish comes in all shapes and sizes.

imagesCAR6PKKXYesterday I got up at my appointed time to get alone with God. Everything was going great until… Ann Marie comes into the room and asks me if we were supposed to do the once a month catering today. And of course we were and feeling foolish flooded my mind. In one hour we will have 50 to 60 people arrive at the campus which is 40 minutes away and… they will be expecting continental breakfast waiting for them and most importantly COFFEE!

Now for the next paragraph don’t hate, judge or presume! As I sprang to my feet and began to leave Ann Marie began asking what I was going to do. She asked if she should call someone to help and rattled of a couple of options. As for me, my mind wanted to remind me how foolish i look and how much more foolish i’ll look when those people arrive and the building is locked. i told her no, i’d take care of this but she could call someone to pick her up as i had to leave NOW! One foot out the door, she feels led to say, “what are you going to do, there is no coffee, no pastries, no anything because we didn’t shop yesterday… because, we were both busy but i didn’t check the calendar. Ann Marie please stop it! It was as polite as i could be at that moment. i’m now driving at an unmentionable speed especially for me as I don’t speed, well, i guess i do under the right circumstances, she calls again and i again asked her… no told her to stop it. Go to Youtube and watch Bob Newhart Stop It.

The usual 40 minute trip was 25 min and I arrived before anyone got there. Immediately  i borrowed coffee from one of the churches which is a no-no without permission so i guess i also break rules under the right circumstances. Coffee’s going, tables and chairs all set up and no one is there. During all this i am trying to figure out how i can own this but not look any more foolish than required. Somewhere in all this i told God, thanks but that i didn’t need anymore blog material, especially on my feeling foolish. Not having a clue at that moment as to what i would do for food i felt fairly certain that i was not going to get off easy. i was going to looking foolish.

The first person arrives and i put my explanation to the test. She responds, those things happen in business, what can I do to help? my mind instantly went to the Dunkin Donuts just down the street and she offers to go get whatever i need. Randomly i said 6 dozen would take care of it. Later i found out that 6 dozed is a lot of donuts!

The second person arrives and i share my foolishness with her, she asks what can I do to help? She puts the table cloths on all the tables and now it looks as though nothing is wrong. i put out anything i could find in the way of food. It was nothing compare to what we usually do. The lady arrives with 6 dozen donuts and she chips in and helps put them on plates. It was at here that i realized 3 dozen would have been sufficient.

That pretty well summarizes the event and while i still felt very foolish it could have been much worse. The feeling foolish in part was about feeling foolish to Ann Marie. Now listen carefully! There is no husband and probably no man who is okay with feeling foolish in front of their wife. Why? Because they never forget! I am resolved to the fact that this story will come up at some time in the future and deservedly so, at my expense.

i’m going to look foolish if i’m going to do anything in life and as yesterdays photo said “Until i’m ready to look foolish i’ll never have the possibility of being great. With the exception of 4 people who assisted me and encouraged me with kind words nobody else knew the difference.  Oh yah, the coffee was only ten minutes late.

The “Take Away.” When i moved past my fear of feeling foolish and went after a solution wholeheartedly, i become free and the possibilities became endless.

foolishPlease click on player or link to listen.

i wonder… has anyone besides me, not done something because they were afraid of looking foolish? Perhaps  foolish   may be a little strong, maybe i just don’t want to feel foolish? Regardless of the reason, it’s my not wanting to looking foolish that concerns me. i wish there was an option not to share personally but if i do that this time, it may become a habit and take away from the integrity of the purpose for me posting. Once i spill my guts you’ll understand my concern. Honestly, i’ve been trying to put this off. How’s that working for me?  It’s not.

Not wanting to look foolish, is not just being afraid, sometimes, it’s not being absolutely sure. i’d rather not look foolish because of being wrong. Here’s a quick example. i’m not one for jumping up and down in a worship service and i feel uncomfortable not joining in but, not enough to feel foolish. That’s not to say that those who jump are foolish, it’s a me thing. Another example is when i’m in a service and the speaker wants me to repeat certain things as if i’m agreeing with him. Because i’ve not had time to process what he said, i don’t say it. It may be that after thinking on it, i may not actually agree at all, but if I’ve already repeated it just to fit in… well, now i may look foolish, in having to explain or take it back. If these were the only two instances of my not wanting to look foolish i could live with it, but they’re not.

So it’s time. This is what’s caused my concern. A few days ago someone was at the Onething Campus. As we were finishing up our conversation they mentioned that they were feeling the effects of some back or neck problems. In that very instant i felt that i had the faith and an anointing to lay hands on them and that they would be instantly healed. BUT… seconds slipped by without my doing so, the what if’s and the not wanting to feel foolish thoughts came rushing in. Ultimately those thoughts won and the person did not get their healing, God did not get His glory and i rejected my invitation to be used of God. The whole incident started and ended in less than 15 seconds. You talk about going from zero to sixty in seconds, well i went from feeling anointed to feeling foolish in less than 10 seconds. SECONDS! Here’s another part of it. This person is within the small group I’ve shared about. You know the one’s i’m repositioning myself for by interceding, fasting, praying and being a hedge of protection around them. This was more than feeling foolish, this was being foolish!

Now, i’m posting about not wanting to feel foolish and i’m feeling even more foolish just for a different reason. i’m not entirely sure of why i have this resistance to feeling foolish other than to say, in our world being foolish is not an admirable quality.

What exactly is “foolish”? The dictionary defines foolish as, “having or resulting from poor judgment, unwise, absurd, ridiculous”. Some synonyms for foolish include crazy, harebrained, idiotic, nonsensical, preposterous, sappy, silly, wacky, and zany. That’s exactly what i don’t want others to think of me. Is it wrong of me to not want people thinking that i have poor judgment, am unwise, absurd or ridiculous?

i think there are many people in the Word who were “foolish”. Or were they? Maybe i think they were because they did absurd, ridiculous, crazy, and nonsensical things.

People like… Abraham, who was actually going to sacrifice his own son. Joshua and the Israelites, who marched around the city of Jericho for seven days and seven times on the seventh day. Zacchaeus, a tax collector, who climbed into a tree just to get a glimpse of Jesus. And how about John the Baptist, who wore clothing made of camel’s hair, ate locusts and wild honey and preached about a man he didn’t even know.

i going to start ending each post with what i call a “Take Away” something i can focus my thoughts and attention on through-out the remainder of my day, something to help me pivot my words and actions toward I Am. Here’s my “Take Away” for today.

All those people looked foolish to the world, but, they were exactly where God wanted them to be, and doing exactly what God wanted them to do. And God blessed every one them.