Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Home Improvement- Chapter 3

Chapter 3- Choosing the Proper Building Material

"For a dream comes with much business, and a fool's voice with many words."  Eccl 5:3

I was talking to a friend of mine today about the business venture he has been working hard on over the last few months.  My wife has even helped him out designing a few of the things he needs for it.  If you are a college football fan, be on the lookout because there are going to be some super cool things coming out that you will have never seen before, but want to get your hands on because of their uniqueness.  I will plug his ideas later on if he allows me (and after I ask him first).

Anyway, after we talked today, I sensed the passion and hardwork that has gone into such an undertaking as starting a new business, or designing a line of clothing, or inventing something.  There are two undeniable tenets to being a success at work, at home, etc.:  tenacity and dedication.  By the way, that does not translate into 18 hour days for 60 years straight. 

And through my friend, I have learned one huge fact of success in any facet of life:  success comes not from what you know or don't know, how well you talk the talk or don't, or how well you dress or don't dress.

Success comes from dreams; that are shaped into reality; then worked at for weeks, months, and mostly years; but ultimately achieved after allowing Christ to work harder on us than us on our dream.  Ultimately, success of a dream is not what comes out of our mouths, but what pours forth from our heart through our character and actions as we strive to be successful at work, home, school, and for Christ.

So what's your dream?  Quit talking about it and start acting on it.

Talk is the house made of cards.  Action is the house made of cinder blocks. 

Lastly, failure is still successful if we learn and grow.

Building with better materials,

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Home Improvement- Chapter 2

Chapter 2- Hurricane Protection

"And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly.  I perceived that this also is but a striving for the wind."  Eccl 1:17.

So I am sitting at the Village Inn last night with a couple guys that I meet with and just talk about life and throw out biblically based challenges to one another.  Now I'm really digging my scrumptious cherry supreme pie on Free Pie Day at the Viking Village Inn (that goes out to you C brotha), and I get this yearning for more to eat.  So I order the cheese omlette, the hash browns and some really greasy bacon to top it all off.  In order not to feel guilty that I am eating too much, I look at C and ask him to order what he wants as the fourth item.

We talked for close to an hour about all the things going on in our lives lately and how the last challenge went for all of us.  Grace was the topic.  Yah, exactly.  We didn't quite hit even par on that one.  All kidding aside, we really did work hard on giving grace and working on turning that other cheek, but as human as we are, that's like trying to hold in a burp after drinking a 2-liter of soda sometimes.

So as C and H are talking, I pull out my bible and go back through the first chapter of Ecclesiastes I had read the night before.  I remember reading about Solomon's loathing over all he had worked so hard to gather and accomplish and how it was like "striving after the wind."  I really started thinking from the shoes of the second smartest man who ever walked the face of this earth.  He had it all, including some astronomical number of wives, boundless amounts of money: the Bill Gates or Warren Buffett of that time.  It just struck me that despite the fact this man had everything in the world, including the biggest, wisest brain, he sat down and wrote a book about how vane his life was. 

Then I threw it out there like a poker ante on green felt: "What wind are we chasing after in life?" 

What's the one thing, whether now, in the past, or in the future, we are chasing, have chased or could possibly chase, which would be like trying to grasp at the wind in a hurricane?  What do we do about stopping the "madness" and re-focusing on those things which are most important?  What do we need to do now that will stop the frantic, swirling chase and help us find the eye of our hurricane, the calm amidst the storm?  Lastly, what are those "things that are most important?" 

Here's my challenge to you all:  find your wind and enjoy life as it whips about you but doesn't knock you down and instill fear in you.  Is it time to cut back on work hours and spend an extra hour at home with your kids?  Is time to settle down and stop chasing after your favorite TV show while your spouse tries to talk with you about life?  Is it time to devote the bar hours at night to digging into the Word and finding solice in scripture and the God who loves you, instead of at the bottom of the bottle? 

Where's your storm?  Figure that out, and then chase after the eye of the storm.  I guarantee God will be at the center of your storm, pushing out the wall and providing solice in a place which is typically brimming with "madness."

Calling on THE Weatherman,

Monday, August 23, 2010

Home Improvement- Chapter 1

Chapter 1- Preventing Erosion

I have been reading the blog of a certain pastor in the United States.  You may have heard of him: he wrote the book "The Purpose Driven Life,"  he gave President Obama's Inaugural Prayer, and he is the lead pastor for a well known church out in California.

Now Rick is one of the most successful pastor's of the modern era in spreading the Good News "to all nations."  His teachings are a beacon of hope and challenge to many people around the world  Yet, they can cut straight to the bone. Like a surgeon performing neurosurgery in a hurricane, God's divine power to use Rick in so many precise and personal ways while life swirls around us like a tempest, I felt as though his last 5 posts were custom tailored for a character surgery. 

So let's define procrastination:  in the McBride English Dictionary, procrastination is defined as the art of finding every way possible to avoid doing the stuff we don't want to do or that just isn't any fun, until the last possible second.  I used to say it was just my way of waiting on "God's timing" to do something.  Ahhhhhhhhhh, yah. in the words of Jim Carrey looking for Mary Swanson in "Dumb and Dumber, "Sammy........Swawmy.........Swa.........Sw.........Swanson....-Look on the briefcase, maybe it's on there.  - Samsonite!  I was way off!"

God has hit me right between the eyes through the fine words of Rick Warren (here's the link to his blog, good stuff:  http://profile.purposedriven.com/dailyhope/ ).  Slowly, through my fine craft of procrastination (perfected over many years of believing I could ace a paper by writing it the night before because I got a C on the one I wrote a week early), I have been eroding the very foudnation of service to my God, my family, my job, just my entire worth to this world and the next.

And God has been speaking to me for a long time.  I'm just so thick headed, I didn't want to understand or had the delusion that I had things under control and thought, "God, I got it from here. Take a break." I used to have a monetary goal for my business on my wall.  Now the goal on my office wall reads like this:

"Go to the ant, O sluggard: consider her ways and be wise.  Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.  How long will you lie there, O sluggard?  When will you arise from your sleep?  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man"  Proverbs 6:6-11.

Now I can be really hard on myself.  I'm talking debilitatingly hard on myself to the point that I think God doesn't even want me.  But that's not the truth either.  Procrastinatorial (is that even a word?) tendencies and all, God loves me and accepts me.  Now I just have to be willing to let Him put me to the grinding wheel and shape who He wants me to be.  Otherwise, the very foundation of my life will erode away like the man's house that was built upon the sand.

Awakened to shore up my foundation,