Archive for the ‘What’s Next…?’ Category

Because of the conclusions i made in the past and shared yesterday these actions have been and are required of me to now manage them. My beloved wife pointed out after yesterday’s post that i also made a decision to blog so that my children and grandchildren could remember me after i’m gone. So i guess that “What’s Next” is for me to simply manage that decision as well as a few others and not look for anything new. Being a creative person i eventually end up looking for the “new” when the things at hand have nothing wrong with them. So… to sooth my urge for something new we rearranged the Onething Campus and Café Holy Grounds. It was refreshing to walk in today and experience “new.”

i have concluded that nothing less than loving the Lord my God with all my heart, my mind, my soul and my strength, that i may love others as myself in everything I say and do will satisfy.

These other things are just an extensions of that.

i honor the past but i don’t live in it.

i live in the now, the present with simple glances toward the future.

i view past events – successes and failures – as stepping-stones not stop signs.

i pursue learning to be transformed not in order to know.

i am a person of engagement not observation.

i focus on what could be and not on what has been.

i am not limited or restricted by the walls of any building. my influence is not restricted by location.

i am concerned by how many i send into the world not how many come to a location.

i help raise up world changers not tour guides.

i view each day, not as good or bad, but as a day of grace.

i am a person of destiny not history.

i have concluded that i would rather reach for the impossible and fail, than succeed by settling for less.

i have concluded that nothing less than Thy Kingdom come, His will be done in our world as it is in heaven will satisfy.

i have concluded that i have not discovered some new way but rather i have rediscovered the path followed by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

This path is a path of liberty, freedom, and healing.

On this path i find significance, purpose and destiny.

It is the path less traveled, yet it is not a path that is only available to a select few.

It is a path that whosoever will. 

Regardless of where i am in my journey there is room for me on this path.

i am Experiencing Intentional Living!

“If we fall short, let it be said of us that we failed because we dreamed too big, tried too hard, believed too greatly, compromised too little, prayed too long, and sacrificed too much. Let it be said of us that we were fools for Christ, foolish enough, in fact, to have trusted God for the impossible. We are interested in nothing less.” – Dr. Earl Creps

Advertisements

What’s Next? i am no closer or farther from an answer to that question. John Maxwell says “to make my decisions early and then all i have to do is manage them.” Maybe in my asking “what’s next” i’m looking for things that have already been decided? Decisions, conclusions that i have already made and now… i should be managing them. That being said i am going to review some decisions, some conclusions.

The context of these words resonate within my spirit. They are not a reaction to anything other than the place where my heart was and is today. They are not meant as criticism of church. They are not meant as a platform to speak out against any ministry or individual. These conclusions are solely for the purpose of presenting the battle that i am engaged in.

i have concluded that teaching the Word without demonstrating it is not enough. Good teaching, good doctrine and being a good person is not enough.

i have concluded that good fellowship and being a good member is not enough.

i have concluded that good Bible studies and good small groups is not enough.

i have concluded that just making it to heaven is not my goal, and that knowing about God without truly knowing and experiencing God is meaningless.

i have concluded that change without transformation is intolerable and that staying the same is not an option.

i have concluded that gifting without character is worthless.

i have concluded that singing songs without worshiping is hollow.

i have concluded that having meetings without God showing up is pointless.

i have concluded that having faith without works is not enough and having works without love is not acceptable – that my response or function is out of revelation of the relationship with the Father and then with others.

i have concluded that reading the book of Acts or about the book of Acts without experiencing it is unthinkable.

i have concluded that hearing about the Holy Spirit without experiencing Him is pointless, that believing in His presence without seeing it manifested in signs and wonders is empty.

i have concluded that i must be Holy Spirit filled, Holy Spirit led, and Holy Spirit empowered – anything less is not enough.

i have concluded that i want to be the ones telling the stories of God’s power, not the ones hearing about them.

i have concluded that living saved, but not supernatural is living below my privilege and short of what Christ died for.

i have concluded that i am a battleship, not a cruise ship, an army, not an audience, special forces not a spectator, a missionary not a club member.

i have concluded that i am both a pioneer and settler, not a squatter – a person who takes up space without having fought for it or improving it.

i have concluded that i am to be contagious instead of quarantined.

i have concluded that i am to be a radical lover and an outrageous giver.

i have concluded that I am to be a mission outreach and not a museum.

Because of these decisions or conclusions there are actions that must be applied which i will share tomorrow, Lord willing.

“If you have health, you probably will be happy, and if you have health and happiness, you have the wealth you need, even if it is not all you want.” – Elbert Hubbard

1 Thessalonians 4:4-5 Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God.

The ed translation. ed, acquire knowledge of, gain a habit, mannerism, by experience, value,  place a high estimate on.

Dignity: bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect, nobility or elevation of character, worthiness.

According to the definitions i am to bear conduct, elevate my character or worthiness.

Now all together, ed, acquire knowledge of, gain a habit, mannerism, by experience, value, place a high estimate on, yielding somewhat, granting permission, in conduct, and elevate your character, as well as your worthiness.

One line in the definitions of dignity stands out to me. It’s the words indicative of self-respect. In it’s simplest form if i am a person with self-respect i like myself. Self-respect is not contingent on my success because there are always failures to contend with. Neither is it a result of comparing myself with others because there is always someone better. Those are tactics usually employed to increase self-esteem. Self-respect, however, is a given. We simply like ourselves or we don’t. With self-respect, i like myself because of who i am and not because of what i can or cannot do.

But there is another side to self-respect and that is the heart of what Paul is trying to get me to see. If i have self-respect then i will give dignity to my body, i will appreciate my body, i will do things that show the creator of my body my gratefulness for it. i will not intentionally harm my body. This is why Paul says that i am to learn to appreciate. It is like everything else when it comes to the Word. Romans 12:2 says, ed, don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Transformation!

With self respect comes certain behaviors which Paul says are “not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God.” The way i hear this is, that if i am not giving dignity to my body then i am abusing it which puts me in association with those who… know nothing of God. It is never my desire to intentionally be categorized as one who knows nothing of God. These words are disturbing. At this exact moment it’s all a little overwhelming. It seems like every part of me needs something, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically.

i noticed that Paul does not give a list of things. If Paul isn’t going to list things then i am not inclined to share my list. BUT… i am aware of the things he is speaking to me personally. Some small and some larger things. My teeth were one such item.

“If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?” unknown

Okay my days are all off and i posted tomorrows post today. Nothing to do but post today’s also and i’ll rest tomorrow. Dare I ask is first!!

All  labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. Martin Luther King  Jr.

Do i dare ask… learn to appreciate and give what?

1 Thessalonians 4:4-5 Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God.

Oh boy! I should have stopped with dignity and “GIVEN myself” another day. Ha Ha! The words “dignity to my body” sounds like health issues, and my health is nobody elses business. i do not talk about “MY” health issues. Ann Marie will talk about anything and everything with everyone but, it’s not my bag. i have always hated that when i am around people especially older people, eventually every conversation ends up being about aches, pains, and every other personal health issue.

Mark Twain expresses my sentiments perfectly, “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.”

i’m aware that my attitude may not be “Healthy.” i just don’t want to talk about mine nor anyone elses bodily functions or lack of. Fortunately Paul is telling me that the real story and benefits of “MY” good health comes from focusing on the positives of health, what i gain through living well.

Some time ago Ann Marie convinced me to take “a” vitamin. Now i take over a dozen different things. Give an inch… i’ll leave it there. Last year “i” prepared myself for what i knew was going to be some serious dental work. It was a God thing not my thing. It started by going to a dental clinic, getting an evaluation and a plan of treatment. Even that was painful. Cost, about $7,000 but, i need to see a surgeon regarding his part. We borrowed the money from an insurance policy and planned to start. At the same time Onething Campus was moving and… well, the money got used for construction. What i realize now is that i did not really appreciate the dental work and so i let the opportunity slip away. This year i was told to call a local dentist that he might be able to help. The short of the story is, this week i had my upper bridge permanently attached. It’s been two months and there is more work to do but i so appreciate having teeth. Cost was over $25,000 of work but all we had to pay was $3500.00 which many of our friends contributed to.

Here’s my take-away. i had to hear God, accept His plan, then begin to move in response to His invitation. Yes invitation. God is inviting me to join Him in what He was doing. I know it sounds crazy, being invited to be involved in what God is doing in my own life. It has been a God thing every step of the way. On the first visit i had 8 extractions and a root canal and i experienced not one moment of pain and that’s been the case to this day, not one single moment of pain or discomfort. i appreciate my dental work, God, Ann Marie and my dentist for the part each played. i still don’t have the answers as to why God is so interested in my teeth, but i’m not asking, i’m resting, appreciating, knowing, that He is and why is not important.

“Few things are harder to put up with than a good example.” – Mark Twain

“You are the same today as you’ll be in five years except for two things: the books you read and the people you meet.” – Charlie Tremendous Jones

1 Thessalonians 4:4-5 Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God.

Learn to appreciate and give.

Give: to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation, hand to someone, place in someone’s care, impart or communicate.

For God so loved that He presented voluntarily without expecting compensation His only Son.

In my mind i owe God a debt of love, not because He expects it, but because i have learned to appreciate.

Jesus shares a parable about two men. Debtors with no ability to pay the debt they owed. Jesus explains why this woman who had washed his feet with her tears is filled with so much love and is willing to engage in any kind of service for Him, while Simon the Pharisee sits there with nothing but judgment for the woman.  It’s very simple. There was a man whom Jesus calls a creditor, and he had two debtors. One of them owed him five hundred denarii and the other fifty. Both of these men find themselves not able to pay anything. But instead of putting them in prison or punishing them, the creditor decides to cancel the debt of both of them.  After telling this short little parable, Jesus asks the questions, “Which one of these two debtors will love him most.”  Simon the Pharisee answers, “The one that he forgave most.” Jesus said that Simon had answered correctly.

i owe a debt of love to God that i cannot pay. i was born into this world as a debtor, and the longer i live, the more that debt grows. Remember in the Lord’s Prayer, sin is called a debt, “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone  who is indebted to us.” The words “sin” and “debt” are used interchangeably because sin is a form of debt.

God full of grace and mercy, freely forgives me. For God so loved that He GAVE.

Some might object, to the idea that i owe God a debt of love.  Jesus paid for all my sins, when i realize how great my sin is, when i realize how great my debt was, when i realize the terrible price that was paid on Calvary for my sins so that my debt was cancelled, then i want to GIVE my life in doing nothing but show appreciation and not only love but works of service to my Father.  i am not learning to appreciate and giving in order that i might win his favor.  i already have that. He has already shown by his death on the cross that i am in his favor.  i give from a debt of love… love for all he has done for me.

Paul says, learning to appreciate, causes me to give. If I learn to appreciate God then I will “GIVE.” If i learn to appreciate Ann Marie then i will “GIVE.” If i learn to appreciate others then i will “GIVE.”

The  aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and there is no sense in having more of them if you have less appreciation of  them. – Gilbert  K. Chesterton

As  we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. – John F.  Kennedy

1 Thessalonians 4:4-5 Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God.

Paul says, “ed, learn to appreciate, not when i get time or if i even want to, simply LEARN TO APPRECIATE. What a great day for this word appreciate and learning to do it. It’s one of those “there is nothing wrong, but something is not right days.” It’s a day where i must focus on appreciating as everything within me is telling me i have nothing. i know that’s not the truth but never the less there is a battle and it is disturbing. But how great is it that God would have this post which was started a week ago end up being todays post. It helps to see that God does know and cares enough to send me a personalized message.

Learn: acquire knowledge of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience, become informed of or acquainted with, gain (a habit, mannerism, etc.) by experience, exposure to.

Appreciate: to value or regard highly, place a high estimate on.

Honestly i believe… no i know most of the time, that i am learning, that i am becoming aware of knowledge that is changing my life as i apply it. It’s funny because i am doing a study with some others called “Experiencing God” and this weeks unit taught that truth is revealed and not discovered. Truth is being revealed to me, i am learning to…

As for appreciate, i believe the proof is in the pudding. If i truly appreciate what is being revealed to me then i am applying my life to it. That’s the sign that i place a high estimate on it. Every once in a while i receive a gift that i do not use, in fact it gets put on a shelf or in a drawer and as the saying goes, “out of sight out of mind.” That being said, it leads me to believe that i do not regard it highly, and based on my usage the value is low. I posses it but it plays no part in my everyday life.

Example, my first car was a 1960 Buick station wagon. It had no rear window, no air conditioning, no emergency brake, and no working speedometer. No problem… that is until i got a ticket for speeding and suddenly i had a new appreciation for speedometers. I placed a high enough value on it that i repaired it. Eventually that car taught me to appreciate a working transmission as the reverse gear went out. Imagine driving a car with no reverse and all the adjustments that have to be considered. i learned about those adjustments one day when i went to drive the car. It was not where i had left it but rather at the bottom of a hill at the end of our back yard which just happened to be next to a neighbors garage which my car was now parked in. Oh, it didn’t get there through the garage door but rather the side wall.

Today i will fight to appreciate being a simple creation of God even though it “feels” like i am missing out on something great, something big. God says, ed, gain appreciation (a habit, mannerism, etc.) by experience, exposure to, value and regard highly, place a high estimate on our relationship on My guardrails, My rhythmical pattern of steps. COME TO ME!

Appreciation  is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as  well. – Voltaire

We  learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or  to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. One becomes  in some area an athlete of God. – Martha Graham

1 Thessalonians 4 reminds me of Matthew 11:28-30. It’s one of my favorites, it’s encouraging and so visual. It’s an invitation, not a prison sentence. It’s written to me by one who understands every part of me and my life. As i often do i will personalize the scripture to help me experience the intimacy with which these words were written.

ed when you, Are tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me.

When life seems overwhelming, when i seem to have no more strength and when i feel completely exhausted. Jesus says, Look my way. See the compassion in my eyes. See my open arms. See my open heart … and come. Come to me.

ed if you Get away with me you’ll recover your life.

There needs to be a change, with where i am, who i am with, where i am going, what i am doing, how i am thinking, etc… Jesus says, Get away from the crowd. Steal away with me. Find out who you really are. Find out who you were created to be. Live fully. Live completely … in me.

ed, I’ll show you how to take a real rest.

The understanding i have of rest needs to be adjusted and it won’t just happen, i must take it. Jesus says, Walk with me and learn from me.  I’ll lead you beside the still waters.  We’ll lie down in green pastures. I will restore your soul, your mind will and emotions.

My beloved son, come, Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.

Participate. Jesus says, Keep your eyes on me. Match my steps. Move when I move. Stop when I stop. Do only what you see me doing, just as I do with My Father.

ed it’s time for you to Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

It’s time to learn how to move in freedom without the restraints of sin, guilt and condemnation. Jesus says, Dance with the wind. Move to the rhythm of my heart. No scheming. No striving.  Simply embrace the naturally supernatural flow of my love.

My chosen one I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.

What do i have to lose? Jesus says, I know who you are. I know how you’re wired. My plans and purposes are custom designed just for you.

My beloved, Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

This is an invitation to keep company with Jesus, to learn. Jesus says, I want to be with you. I love to be with you. You were created to live and move and breathe in me. And in me … you’ll find the freedom to become who you really are.

So come away with me … move with me … dance with me …

ed there is no other place where You will find rest for your soul.

(Matthew 11:28-30 The Message)

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” – Muhammad Ali

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, Love like you’ll never be hurt, Sing like there’s nobody listening, And live like it’s heaven on earth.”   ―     William W. Purkey

1 Thessalonians 4 1-3 One final word, ed. We ask you—urge is more like it—that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance.

While i don’t dance, i love the words in this verse about “living in a spirited dance.” i can’t read it without a visual picture coming to my mind. There is a sense of things being lighter, carefree, melodic.

Living – having life, being alive, not dead, in actual existence or use, active or thriving, vigorous, strong, a living faith, burning or glowing, and lastly flowing freely.

Spirited – having or showing courage, vigor, liveliness.

Dance – to move one’s feet or body, or both, rhythmically in a pattern of steps, especially to the accompaniment of music.

Guardrails can be looked at as restraining or freeing. They are restraining if i want to go beyond them, if i want to go to places that are dangerous or off-limits. On the other hand they are freeing because i don’t have to be on guard all the time. i know what the guardrails are and where they are. John Maxwell says that i should make my decisions early and then all i have to do is manage them. It’s so true, i never get up in the morning and think about whether i am married to Ann Marie or not. i made that decision over 43 years ago and all i do now is manage that decision. When i’m driving home at the end of the day i don’t struggle with whether i have a home or not as seven years ago i made that decision. i have a home and i know where it is. Now each month i simply manage that decision by making the mortgage payment.

Once i choose to dance these rhythmical pattern of steps, i have made my decision and now all i have to do is mange it. When my happy feet, my flesh wants to dance in a certain direction, which may be dangerous or off-limits,  i see the guardrail, a previously made decision not to go there because it is dangerous and off-limits. i manage my dancing feet, away from the guardrail.

Guardrails for me are a rhythmically patter of steps. As i dance these rhythmical patterns my life takes on the purity made available through my relationship with the Father.

Verse 3 says ed, you know the guardrails we laid out for you from the Master Jesus. God wants you to live a pure life….

Pure: free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind, free from extraneous matter. God wants me to live free from extraneous matter, free from contaminating influences, free from being inferior and that’s why He gave me guardrails, some rhythmical pattern of steps so that i would “be” safe.

“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” ― Voltaire

If i want a Godly relationship, i’m going to have to pay the price for it. i must be disciplined, focused & committed to pleasing God.

Don’t think that I have figured out “what’s next” just because i am posting today. Nothing has changed, but that’s exactly why i am posting. i am not one to quit just because i can, because of some self-serving reasoning. Been there and done that! i am reverting to my long-standing guide of “when in doubt say no.” Not as in stop everything and do nothing and say no to everything but as in make “no” changes.

Again Paul invites me to yet another word in 1 Thessalonians 4. Paul feels that a gentle reminder (according to the commentaries) is needed for these people regarding some things they already know, that I already know.

1 Thessalonians 4 1-3 One final word, ed. We ask you—urge is more like it—that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance.

Paul is urging me to keep on track, to stay focused with what i learned from Colossians 3. That it was not a destination, but a part of the process.

This weekend i was flipping channels and ended up watching Pastor Andy Stanley teach on Guardrails. Last year i spent much time watching the entire series more than once. It was no coincidence that i was to re watch it now.

Andy Stanley says, “Nobody plans to enter into a violent marriage. Nobody plans to ruin his or her finances. Nobody plans to struggle with an addiction.” Then he asks, “What steps do i take to make sure these things don’t happen?” It’s a great question! And the correct answer is…, set up guardrails. i can tell myself that i’ll “be careful” but that has not worked well for me in the past. Setting up guardrails is better than “being careful.”

Guardrail – a protective railing. System designed to keep vehicles from straying into dangerous or off limit areas. How about a system designed to keep ed from straying into dangerous or off limit areas?

GuardrailTitus 2:7-8 ed, show your own self in all respects to be a pattern and a model of good deeds and works, teaching what is unadulterated, showing gravity [having the strictest regard for truth and purity of motive], with dignity and seriousness. ed, let your instruction be sound and fit and wise and wholesome, vigorous and irrefutable and above censure, so that the opponent may be put to shame, finding nothing discrediting or evil to say about you.

The entire series is available on the web. It’s the word guardrails that caught my attention. As the definition says, guardrails are protective. They keep me from…. Proper guardrails are protective of my relationship with God, my wife, my children, the body of Christ and with my employer. In any one of those relationships i can stray into areas that are dangerous or off limit to me. Life is filled with danger but i can do something about it by being aware of the guardrails that have been set in place by God.

One final word, ed. We ask you—urge is more like it—that you watch for the guardrails we told about, so you would please God,.

We  must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting  for us. – Joseph  Campbell

Over 600 posts and the conclusion of Colossians 3 as well as 40 plus other topics and I am wondering “What’s Next?” Do I quit posting? Do I go to once a week posting? Do I keep doing what i’m doing? It’s societies way. Continually thinking and asking “what’s next.” Trying to figure things out and decide where i’m going. i asked not only myself but others, “what’s next” hoping for some insightful word from God or at least a good idea form a reader and if not that some encouragement to go on or bring blogging to an end.

A perfect example for me of asking “what’s next” are electronics. i got an ipad2 a little over a year ago. Within a week after hearing about the ipad mini i was looking for a way to exchange what i had for what could be and i did. Then, you guessed it i heard about the new android pads from Samsung and to this day i am thinking on how to make the switch. Not because my mini doesn’t do what i need but because…. well “What’s Next” comes into play. i am always curious about “What’s next” when it comes to electronics and never satisfied for very long with what i have. Mind you, i am not saying this is right or wrong. i’m just sharing where i am today with regards to “what’s next” in my life. i see many endings coming over the next 18 months. The problem for me is that I don’t see any of “what’s next.”

Next: in the place, time, importance, nearest or immediately following, on the first occasion to follow.

So when i posted on Friday the final Colossians 3 post, the question became, what will be in it’s place, what is to immediately follow, what is to be on the first occasion to follow or another wards what will happen on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and so on? Actually it’s kinda obvious what is going to happen on Monday as here it is, but, “what’s next” from here on?

Life  was always a matter of waiting for the right moment to act. – Paulo  Coelho

What I don’t want is to live the rest of my life in limbo. i’m not saying i must do something great or noticeable but if i am to live the rest of my life content being just a simple creation of God so be it but let me know so i can quit with the “what’s next.” As i think on that, it sounds like, for me anyway, that “what’s next” is me feeling a loss of control. For many years i knew that when i got up in the morning i would post regarding my life and the issues of applying my life to the consistency of the word. For whatever reason i no longer have that assurance. The older i get the more i feel like i have no control over my life. And for the life of me i don’t know why i feel that way because i don’t believe that, that is entirely true.

At the time of this post i have no real sense of “what’s next” But if i hope for what i do not see, i wait for it with patience. — Romans 8:25