Monday, July 27, 2015

What is power to you?

Three executives were defining what power means, and how to know when you have really arrived. One said: "I'll tell you what real power is. It's being invited to the President's House for a personal conversation with the President."

Another said: "No, that's not it. You know you have arrived when you've been invited to the President's House for a personal conversation with the President, the hot line rings, and he just looks at it and decides not to answer it."

The third executive said: "You both have it all wrong. Real power is when you’re invited to the President's House for a personal conversation with the President, the hot line rings, the President answers it and says, 'Here, it's for you.'"

I guess we’re all looking for ultimate power, aren’t we? And I guess we all define it differently.

It’s especially easy at this time of year to define power by the one who has the most toys. Define power differently this holiday season. Define power by the one who has the most love. You define power as love as you listen to your life and make a life, not just a living. That’s how to find real power in God’s love.

How do you prepare for life?

You know, painting a bedroom really doesn’t take all that long. I guess you can paint a bedroom in several hours, can’t you?

What takes so long is the preparation. First, you have to move all of the furniture, either taking it out of the room, or moving it into the center of the room. If it stays in the room, then you have to cover it. Next, if there are pictures on the walls—and who doesn’t have pictures on the walls—you have to remove them. Most of us then spackle over the holes, sand them lightly, and create a smooth wall surface. Now if you have wallpaper up and you want to paint, removing that is a whole other matter that involves more tools and chemicals and more patience than I have some weekends. But all of this preparation, when done properly, is what insures a beautiful paint job. 

Sometimes life is a lot like painting a bedroom. It takes a lot longer to get ready to actually do something than it does to just do it. 

What's life like?

Have you ever thought about life as a board game?

Think about it. In a board game, you’re always trying to advance your playing piece, regardless of whether you’re playing Life, Candy Land, or Monopoly. You’re on your way somewhere. Sometimes you draw a card and have twins or get stuck in Molasses Swamp or land on Baltic Avenue and other times, Boardwalk. Sometimes you draw a “Get Out of Jail Free” card and other times you land on “Go Straight to Jail. Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200.”

Sometimes you roll or spin your best effort and you advance 6 spaces and celebrate. Other times, you give it your best effort, and advance 6 spaces, only to discover that you’ve got to go back twenty.

Life is like a board game. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. But you keep playing, don’t you? I guess that’s because you’re going somewhere and will get there someday. 

Since life is like a board game, as you’re going somewhere, go with God as your traveling companion. And listen to life so you can make a life, not just a living.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Who decides how fast you go?

I was recently standing around talking with a group of people. One of them talked about driving during a recent trip. His speedometer stopped working while he drove down an interstate so he had no idea of how fast or slow he was going.

“What did you do?” someone asked.

“I just kept driving,” he said. 

And another person said, “How did you know how fast you were going?”

“Well,” he said, “the truth is that I didn’t. What I did was to just go with the flow of the traffic. However fast they went, that’s how fast I went.”

I stood there thinking to myself, “You let other people decide how fast you’d go.” 

And you know, that’s what a lot of us do with life. You may let other people—at work or home or the Jones family next door—set your pace, determine your actions, choose your sense of right and wrong. Try letting God set your pace as you listen to life and make a life, not just a living.

Is God real to you?

Did you hear about the skydiver whose parachute failed to open? That’s right, Levi Cave went sky-diving for the very first time. His chute malfunctioned and he fell 3,500 feet, hit the ground, and lived.

He was asked about what went through his mind while he was free-falling. He said he prayed. Here’s what he prayed while hurtling through the air toward the ground at about 50 mph: “Okay, God, I trust in you. I believe in you. And I’d love to see my family again.” Cave said he then felt “this big hug, this big warm embrace” which he understood to be God’s arms around him, letting him know everything would be fine; that he would get to see his family again. Cave said he knew then that everything would be fine. And it was. 

How real is God to you? Do you expect God to give you a big hug, a warm embrace when you’re in trouble? Are you ready to ask God to help you, to bless you, when you’re in a tight spot?
Wherever you find yourself today, know God is real as you listen to life.

Do you know that you're special?

Will you take just a second and do something for yourself? Put down what you’re doing—unless you’re driving; just pull over—and think about all the special people in your life. Make a mental list or just randomly run through some faces and think about all the special people in your life.

Now as you think about all of these people, who was the very first person to pop into your mind? In your mind’s eye, see her or his face. Watch a smile emerge on that person’s mouth. Look into those sparkling eyes. 

Now begin to thank God for all of the reasons why this person is special to you. Name the reasons one-by-one. Take it easy as you breathe your thank-you’s. No need to be in a hurry.

Now decide on three of those reasons why this person is special to you and share them with him or her by a phone call, email, or letter.

And know that while you’ve been doing this, so have lots of other people around the world and at least one of them thanked God for you.

Are you stuck?

I read recently about a new, hi-tech water fountain. Now, most water fountains you walk up to, find the handle, turn the water on, bend over, and drink, right? This water fountain you simply walk up to, bend over, and drink. It has an infrared sensor or something like that which picks up your presence when you bend over and switches on the water.

What’s amazing is how many people look for the handle or button, search all over the fountain for it, and not finding it walk away, still thirsty; thinking, “Somebody needs to fix that water fountain.” All they had to do was bend over and get all the water they wanted. They were so stuck in their usual way of getting water, they couldn’t get their thirst quenched.

What “usual way” of doing something are you stuck in? Are you open to trying something different, maybe even more convenient?

The fact is many of us choose to stay stuck. So today, do something differently like drive home a different route. And see if God is on that path, too, as you listen to life and make a life, not just a living.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

What are you Learning?

Here are some more lessons I’m learning as I listen to life:

It’s a lot easier to talk about someone than it is to get to know them.

Sure there are some mean people in the world, but I don’t have to be one of them.

Love overcomes fear even in times of terror.

There is a direct correlation between not going to the gym to workout and how much harder it is to get out of bed in the morning.

Prayer definitely changes things…and people because the more I pray, the more I change.

Puppies melt the hardest of hearts.

The only person I can control is myself, and frankly sometimes I’m not so sure about that even.

Everyone loves to laugh and the best way to get to know someone is to laugh with them.

God wants to bless us with everything our hearts can hope for and more than our minds can imagine.

Do you know enough to worry?

Let’s say I give you an apple seed. It’s a seed from a Washington Red Delicious. You love and have eaten bushels of them. You’ve even picked them. You know a tree-ripened apple from one picked early and sprayed to ripen. You make your own apple pies. You know just about everything there is to know about apples…

…except one thing. I ask you to look at that apple seed and tell me how many apples are in it. You can’t. And of course you can’t. You don’t know what the future holds. It’s reasonable to assume that seed contains bushels and bushels of apples in it, but it may hold none. You don’t know enough to say.

Just as you can’t look at that apple seed and tell me how many apples are in it, you don’t know enough about the future to worry. You can’t look at a life situation and tell what it contains. Sure, you can worry about a lot of possible outcomes, but you can’t with certainty say what will happen. 

When you start to worry today, remember: God knows. And God is in control.

Friday, July 24, 2015

What does God's voice sound like?

I walked into a restaurant recently, recognized someone and spoke to him for a moment. I moved on toward my table when someone called my name. I turned around and there was another friend. She said, “Even though my back was to you, I heard your voice and knew it was you.”

Some sounds are just more familiar than others, aren’t they? There are three trademarked sounds that I know you will recognize immediately: the NBC chimes, the MGM lion roar, and the Harley-Davidson engine sound. We hear and recognize these sounds quickly, like my friend did with my voice.

But there are some other sounds that we don’t recognize so quickly. What does God’s voice sound like anyway? God’s voice can sound like any voice, at any time, and anywhere. It sounds like goose bumps up and down your spine. Or a baby’s soft breathing. Or an “I love you.” God’s voice is more than a sound. It’s a feeling, too. So listen to life today for God’s voice with your ears, your eyes, and your heart as you make a life, not just a living.

Are you making a life?

Have you ever been so tired that all you wanted to do was sit and zone out in front of the TV? Too worn out to concentrate, you really don't watch anything but spend all your time channel surfing. After about a half-hour of this, you're so exhausted all you can do is stagger off to bed or, worse, don’t make it that far but fall asleep in the recliner. 

Have you ever settled down in your favorite chair with your favorite beverage, your favorite snack, and your favorite magazine, all ready—and you've earned it—to enjoy a little quiet time; only to have a short visitor show up with these big eyes, an impish grin, and say, "Mommy, would you read me a book?" or "Daddy, would you play catch?" or your spouse with a “How was your day, honey?” Now, which helps you make a life: a half-hour with glossy pages about baseball or beauty aids, or a half-hour with a snuggly child perched in your lap or with a budding All-Star in the back yard or spent talking with your spouse? 

Now I know it’s easier to channel surf or read a magazine, but listen to life today for what God has to say and make a life, not just a living.

How's your vacation?

Why is it that to take a week of vacation, so many of us have to do two weeks of work before we leave and two weeks of work when we return? You’re only gone a week! Does the work multiply while you’re gone?

This reality can produce a certain amount of guilt about vacation times. For instance, let’s say you go to the beach, pick up a seashell, and put it up to your ear. Do you hear the soothing tides of the ocean gently rolling in on the shore? Or do you hear, "So you thought you'd get away from work for a week, did you? Don't you feel guilty? Just think of all the work you’re missing. That associate could be moving up to take your place, you know…"

When making a living interrupts your making a life, when work intrudes on recreation, remember that the word “recreation” comes from two words meaning, “to create again.” Your vacation is a time to re-create your spirit, your family relationships, and your passion for life. 

So listen to your life today and focus all of who you are on making a life, not just a living. And enjoy your vacation!

Are you patient?

You're standing in the express line at the grocery store and the person in front of you has eleven items in the basket. You know because you counted them. And the sign clearly reads, “Express Lane: 10 Items or Less.”

So you decide to do something about it. You tell her that lane 2 is for shoppers with more than ten items. And she just looks at you like, “So what?” or “Who cares?” and turns back around, waiting in line.

And then she pulls out her checkbook and starts writing a dreaded check; dreaded because you know what’s coming next. The check needs the manager's authorization. So the manager is paged. And you wait and wait for him to show up. Finally you decide he must have left the building and then he shows up and approves the check. The person in front of you picks up her groceries, smiles at you, and says, “Goodbye.” And what do you say?

Patience as a theory is great. Patience as a practice is hard.

Do you pray in the bad times and the good?

I guess it’s just a part of who we are as human beings to pray the most when something’s not going right in life. We pray when we’re in trouble, or worried about our health or a loved one’s health, or scared, don’t we?

A father asked his son one evening, “Gary, do you pray every night?”

“Yes sir,” Gary said, “I sure do.”

“Well good for you,” the dad said. “And do you pray every morning, too?”

“No sir, I don’t,” said Gary.

“Why not?” the dad asked.

“Because,” Gary said, “I’m not scared in the daytime.”

I’m like Gary sometimes, aren’t you? I only pray when I’m scared or in trouble or worried. But you know, there are other times to pray like when something good happens to you and you want to thank God for blessing you. Or, when you or a loved one recovers from an illness and you’re grateful.

Do you whistle while you pray?

The minister is praying, leading the worshippers to ask God to supply their every need. All is quiet in the worship service.

All of a sudden there’s this loud, shrill whistle from one of the back pews. Everyone’s head jerks up and looks back as the whistle goes on and on.

Little Johnny’s mother is mortified. She pinches him until he stops.

All red-faced, she jerks him up out of the pew and marches him outside. “Johnny,” she says, “why in the world did you do that?”

And Johnny rather sheepishly says, “Well, I was praying and I asked God to teach me to whistle…and He did!”

Like Johnny, do you expect God to answer your prayer as you’re praying? Or, do you just sit there waiting for something to happen, but only half-heartedly expecting it?

One of the key ingredients to listening to life is puckering up while praying to whistle; expecting God to do something miraculous and listening for it! So as you pray today, whistle while you pray and you’ll make a life, not just a living.

Life changes, doesn't it?

A passenger in a taxi tapped the driver on the shoulder to ask him something. The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up over the curb and stopped just inches from a large plate glass window.

For a few minutes, nobody said anything in the cab. Then the driver said, “Please don’t ever do that again. You scared me.”

The passenger said, “I didn’t realize that a tap on the shoulder would frighten you so much.”
And the driver said, “I’m sorry. It’s really not your fault. Today is my first day driving a cab. For the last twenty-five years, I’ve driven a hearse.”

Life changes for us, doesn’t it? And sometimes, like this driver, we don’t change with it. We carry over our previous patterns, expecting them to work, and they don’t. So we wreck our lives, not updating our driving habits for today’s life highway.

To cope with all of the change around you, and to have the courage to change with it, exchange your ways for God’s ways as you listen to life and make a life.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Do you have wandering eyes?

You’re sitting in a restaurant in an end-of-the-aisle booth. Your back is to the front of the establishment. The person sitting across from you has a view of the dining room. You have only the person in front of you to look at; there’s even a large petition behind her, separating you from the kitchen.

You’re enjoying your conversation with your friend, but occasionally her eyes dart off to the side and she looks with anticipation at some person moving to a table. You see the anticipation as one of those 

“Do I know this person?” looks. 

“No problem,” you think.

But then it happens again. And again. And again. And pretty soon you find yourself leaning out into the aisle just to catch your friend’s eyes.

Do you think your friend’s glad to be with you? And really enjoying your conversation?

Probably not. So the next time you’re with someone, listen with your eyes. And the next time you’re praying, listen to God with your eyes and make a life, not just a living.

You can learn something new every day. What are you learning?

I’m learning that everyone I meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I’m learning that God didn’t do it all in one day so what makes me think that I can?

I’m learning that underneath another person’s hard shell is someone who wants to be love and appreciated.

I’m learning to be glad that God doesn’t give me everything I ask for.

I’m learning that opportunities are never lost. Someone will take the ones I miss so I should leave a few lying around.

I’m learning that a lot of people want to live on the mountaintop, but most of my personal growth happens while I’m climbing it.

I’m learning to keep my words soft and tender because I may have to eat them later.

And finally, I’m learning to listen to life and make a life, not just a living.

You can learn something new every day. What are you learning?

Who's your daddy?

You know, there’s a difference between being a father and being a daddy.

Being a father is about biology. Being a daddy is about being there when you learn to ride your bike or hit a baseball or score a soccer goal.

Being a father is about buying a house. Being a daddy is about creating a home, a place and space where you know you can go no matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done.

Being a father is about not sparing the rod. Being a daddy is about teaching you how to measure up to your full potential as a person, about having integrity and playing fair and treating others the way you want them to treat you.

Being a father is about ruling your household. Being a daddy is about respecting your wife and children, and earning their respect by doing the right thing by them.

Being a father is about making a living. Being a daddy is about listening and making a life, and taking time to hear about your wows and your woes.

I pray you can wish “Happy Daddy’s Day” to yours!

Do you assume you know a lot?

A teacher gave a test to her first grade class. “Give me a sentence about a public servant," she said. Johnny wrote, “The fireman came down the ladder pregnant.”

Later in the day, the teacher was grading the papers. She read his answer and decided to take him aside to correct him. “Don't you know what pregnant means?” she said.

“Sure,” said the young boy confidently.

“Well,” the teacher said, “what does it mean?”

And Johnny said, “It means carrying a child.”

I don’t know about you, but it seems that you and I are a lot more like Johnny than we want to admit. We think we know more than we do. We write our own life sentences without asking God what we should write.

Today, before you assume you know more than you do, stop for just a minute, and ask the Master Teacher what your life means, and what you should write down. That’s a great way to listen to life and make a life, not just a living.

Mid-May, Might Be Marvelous!

This is a story of one popular person. It is being told by him a few years ago, but as i can to know now, i'm sharing it with you.

That's a picture of my(person) dog, Freddy, standing on frozen Lake Superior a couple of months ago. In the distance, you can see ice-fishing-tent/houses. Now it's July, and the ice is gone. But as you can see, Freddy is looking into the sun and into the future, towards the warmer time of year.

At Pierce & Piszczek, warmer weather means we are busier than ever! Our store has been host to 2 student recitals, an Art Crawl, and the biannual meeting of the Piano Technician's Guild. We had a store full of pianists and parents, artists, and piano tuners on 3 consecutive days!

I was particularly proud of how our store performed as a student recital venue. Angela Tengesdal's students performed in duets, sometimes one-piano-4-hands, and sometimes 2 pianos. The seats were all filled, many parents were standing in back, the students were able to play on a brand new C2X grand piano by Yamaha (shameless plug) and the ambiance was everything we could have wished.

We hope to host more such recitals in the future. There is nothing better than seeing children and adults show the fruits of their labors, using great instruments, performing in a great acoustic to a "sold-out" house!

I bet you didn't think this posting was going in that direction after looking at that picture, eh?

Got a sign?

What’s your sign? If you’re a plumber, it might be: “We repair what your husband fixed.”

Or, if you run a tire shop: “Invite us to your next blowout.”

Or, have a tow truck: “We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows.”

Or, put on the maternity room door: "Push. Push. Push."

And, if you’re an optometrist: "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."

And a podiatrist: "Time wounds all heels."

And, if you run a car dealership: "The best way to get back on your feet—miss a car payment."

Or, own a muffler shop: "No appointment necessary. We hear you coming."

Or, if you’re a veterinarian, you could put up this sign in your waiting room: "Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!"

Or, if you’re God: “I love you this much!”

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Are you a planner?

Are you a planner? You know, one of those people who has a Palm or Pocket PC and you carry around with you “the plan,” that day’s schedule and all of the days from now until the twelfth of never. And you know what’s going to happen. At least you think you do…

…sometimes life doesn’t go like you plan. Just ask the guy who walks into a Louisiana convenience store, slaps a $20 bill on the counter, and asks for change. The clerk opens the drawer, the guy pulls a gun and asks for all the cash in the register. The clerk gives it to him and the robber takes off, leaving the $20 bill on the counter.

Care to guess how much was in the register? Fifteen dollars.

Sometimes you plan, expecting certain results, but it just doesn’t work out. There’s some bit of information you didn’t have, or something changed.When you’re making plans, don’t ask God to bless them after you make them. Involve God on the front end of the process. When you do, your odds of success are a lot higher because you’re listening to life!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Have you seen enough?

The story is told about legendary baseball pitcher, Walter Johnson. He was a pitching phenomenon at the time, striking at batters at will.

A rookie faced Johnson for the very first time. Before he knew what happened, the rookie had two called strikes on him. He just shook his head and walked away.

The umpire took off his mask and called after the rookie, “Son, where are you going? That was just strike two.”

“You keep the third strike,” the rookie said. “I’ve seen enough.”

It happens, doesn’t it? You see enough at work and you just want to walk away. Or, you see enough at home and you just want to say, “You keep it.”

But there’s something to be said for staying in the batter’s box, even when you think you’ll strike out. When you walk away, you learn nothing except how to quit. When you hang in there, you learn something—about yourself, about the situation, and what it takes to succeed.

God wants you to succeed today so stay in there and listen to life.

Does it seem like you just can’t get it right?

Does it ever seem like you just can’t get it right some days? And no matter how hard you try, life just won’t come together for you?

A guy in Michigan knows exactly what you’re talking about. He walks into a fast food restaurant about five o’clock in the morning, pulls out a gun, and tells the clerk to give him all the money.

“I can’t do that,” the clerk says.

“Why not?” the robber asks.

The clerk says, “Because I can’t open the cash register without a food order.”

“Okay,” the robber says, “Give me some onion rings.”

And the clerk says, “I’m sorry, we don’t serve those for breakfast.”

The would-be robber just shakes his head and walks out the door.

For days that life just won’t come together for you and nothing seems to work, remember: consult with God when making plans and listen to your life. God converges everything you need and a lot of what you want at just the right time so that you can make a life and not just a living.

Do you just not get it some days?

A woman leaves a New York City convenience store when, all of a sudden, a man grabs her purse and runs. The clerk calls 911 immediately. The woman gives the police a detailed description of the thief. The description is so good, in fact, that police catch him in about half an hour. They put him in the police car and drive him back to the store.

When they get back to the store, the officer takes the purse snatcher out of the car, makes sure his handcuffs are snug, and says, “Okay, just stand here against the car for a positive identification.”

And the thief says, “Yes, officer, that’s her. That’s the lady I stole the purse from.”

Yes, I know, you’d never do anything like that, now would you? Yet, aren’t there some days when you just don’t get it? And you stick your foot in your mouth or say something that you wish you could take back? Sure you do. What do you do when that happens? About all you can do is pray to God for mercy, isn’t it? Listen to life for mercy as you make a life, not just a living today.

"Do you think someone else has it made?

A mechanic was busy removing a cylinder head from the motor of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle when a well-known heart surgeon entered his shop. The surgeon was waiting for the service manager to take a look at his bike when the mechanic shouted across the garage, "Hey, Doc, can I ask you a question?"

The surgeon, a bit surprised, walked over. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked, "Doc, look at this engine. I open its heart, take valves out, fix 'em, put 'em back in, and when I finish, it works just like new. So why do I get such a small salary and you get the really big bucks, when you and I are doing basically the same work?"

The surgeon smiled, leaned over and whispered to the mechanic, "Try doing it with the engine running."

It’s easy to think someone else has it made, isn’t it? That we do what they do, maybe even better, and don’t get the recognition or rewards we’re due. It takes all of us, doing what God created us to do, to make the world go round. Celebrate with others as you make a life and not just a living.

You haven't given up, have you?

Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment, said in 1977, “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” A Western Union Telegraph Company internal memo in 1876 read, “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.” When Gary Cooper turned down the lead role in Gone with the Wind, he said, “I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper.” When in 1962 Decca Recording Co. rejected the Beatles, it was because “We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”

“Given-up thinking” is everywhere, isn’t it? But don’t you give up. Conventional thinking isn’t always on target. God’s thinking is. The dreams you have in your heart are God’s gift to you. Follow those dreams. Never give up pursuing no matter how old you are.

Hang in there as listen to life and make a life, not just a living today.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Are you hooked up?

A guy had just started his own firm. He’d rented a beautiful office and furnished it with antiques. Sitting at his huge oak desk, he saw a man come into the outer office. So the businessman picked up the phone and pretended he was working on a big deal.

“I’m sorry,” he said, “that’s just too small an account for a firm like ours. We only deal with accounts worth $1 million and higher. Now if you want to bundle some accounts together in your company and let us handle all of your business, we can do that.”

He waved the man in from the outer office and motioned him to a chair.

“Sure, we can take care of $250 million for you. No problem! Okay, let’s talk again soon,” he said. He hung up the phone and turned to the man in the chair. “And what can I do for you today, sir?”

And the man said, “I’m here to hook up your phone.”

Are you hooked up? I mean, with someone other than yourself?

Hook up with God today as you listen to life and make a life, not just a living.

What do you understand?

A second grader came home from school and said to her mother, "Mom, guess what? We learned how to make babies today."

You can imagine that the mother was more than a little bit surprised, thinking that she should have signed some sort of paper stating the teacher could start offering such information. And she thought, "Isn’t second grade a little early?" But she kept her cool anyway.

"That's interesting," she said to her little girl, "How do you make babies?"

"It’s simple," the little girl said. "You just change ‘y’ to ‘i’ and add ‘es’."

Amazing, isn’t it, how you think you know what someone is talking about and you don’t? That’s why listening to life today for what God has to say is so important in your spiritual growth. That’s why listening to life and making a life, not just a living is so critical to your joy. You assume you know what someone means, even God, and oftentimes don’t.

So as you listen to life and make a life, not just a living today, listen with an open heart. God may mean something different than what you’re thinking.

Do you keep an “ought to” list or a “want to” list?

So what kind of lists do you keep? Not just the ones you write down, but the ones running around in your head—what do you call those lists?

Do you keep an "ought to" list in mind? You know, I "ought to" do this. I "ought to" do that. I guess most of us do. I’m not exactly sure where we get these lists.

What about a "want to" list? Do you keep one of those in mind? The kind where you list your heart’s desires, your soul’s longings, your spirit’s passion.

Which list gets more of your daily attention?

If you discovered today that you’ll die around 8PM, which list would you go to—the "ought to" or the "want to"?

Yea, I thought so. Your "want to" list is a part of your spiritual DNA that God put in you. Your "ought to" list was installed by someone else.

Today, remember that you’re free to choose which list to live from. Use your freedom wisely and choose God’s list, okay?

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Do you have any gifts to exchange?

Three sons were discussing their Christmas gifts for their mother. The first said, “I built a big house for our mother.” The second son said, “I sent her a luxury automobile with a driver.” The third son said, “You remember how our mother enjoys reading the Good Book and now she can’t see very well. I sent her a remarkable parrot that recites every chapter and verse. It took the elders twelve years to teach him. Mama just has to name the chapter and verse and the parrot recites it.”

When the mother wrote her thank you notes, she wrote to the first son, “The house you built is too big. I live in one room, but have to clean them all.” To the second son she wrote, “I’m too old to travel and the driver is rude.” To the third son she wrote, “Thank you so much! The chicken was delicious!”

So do you have any gifts to exchange? Whatever you exchange, make sure you keep at least one gift—God with us.

Got success?

Duke basketball player J.J. Redick scores a career-high 41 points against Texas and says, “I was just feeling it tonight. The basket was huge.”

Tiger Woods wins yet another PGA tournament and says, “I had my A-game this week. It was like putting into a bucket today.”

Barry Bonds sets a single-season home run record and says, “It was like swinging at a grapefruit up there. I couldn’t miss.”

What do all three of these athletes have in common? Success.

How did they get to their current level of performance? Success.

You see success brings more success. That is, you succeed in a small way, in a little thing, and that builds your confidence. You begin to see yourself as successful because you celebrate the small wins. The small wins build and build until pretty soon, you are successful.

And that’s how you accomplish your New Year’s resolution. Celebrate one pound lost or one hour at the gym or one bill paid in full. See yourself as God sees you—as a successful person who listens to life! And celebrate as you make a life!

Who are you with?

Once upon a time, I had an exercise bike. I rode it for a while, but pretty soon I threw a pair of jeans on it, then a shirt, then some clothes waiting to be ironed, and it became an expensive clothes rack. So one day I moved it to the storage room.

Then I got a ski machine. It was great, after I became coordinated enough to swing my arms and legs simultaneously. And I used it for a while, but then one day I threw a pair of jeans on it, then a shirt, then some clothes waiting to be ironed, and it became a super-expensive clothes rack. So I moved it to the basement.

Then I wanted a treadmill. And I remembered the bike and ski machine.

Instead I bought a membership at a fitness center. And I go exercise there several times a week.

What’s the difference? At home, I exercise alone. At the gym, I’m with lots of people, all of them doing the same thing. I discovered I’m encouraged by people doing what I’m doing.

Surround yourself today with people who make a life and not just a living.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

"Words really do matter, don’t they?"

A blind man sat on the steps of a building on a beautiful spring day. His hat was at his feet along with a sign that read, “I am blind. Please help.”

A woman walked by and stopped to observe the man’s situation. She noticed that the blind man had just a few coins in his hat. So she dropped in a few more coins and, without even asking permission, took his sign and began writing on it. She replaced the sign and left.

The woman returned to see the blind man later that afternoon. She noticed that his hat was full of not just coins, but bills also. The blind man recognized her footsteps and asked, “Are you the one who stopped earlier and did something to my sign?”

“Yes,” the woman said, “but everything I wrote was true. I just wrote the message a little differently than you had.”

The new sign read, “Today is Spring and I can’t see it.”

Words really do matter, don't they? Look for the words you can best say today as you listen to life and make a life, not just a living.