my search to understand the bigger picture

Friday, August 24, 2012

This Should Go Over Well

it struck me this morning while reading a book on leadership...............while i believe reading is a good discipline to have, i began to wonder about the false sense of accomplishment reading can bring.

just because i've read dozens of books on leadership does not make me a good leader.  it doesn't make me a leader period.  the only way to truly increase my leadership abilities is by trying to lead, not just reading about it.

the same is true with any other subject.  reading only does so much for you.  at some point you've got to get out there and start doing........

the same is true about Jesus.  we can read all the books in the world about Jesus, but unless we are reading the Bible and actually (gasp) spending time with Jesus, the best we will end up with is a knowledge of Jesus, not a relationship with him.

i can read up on what my wife's friends think about her, their interactions with her, their descriptions of her, even read her own thoughts, but unless i spend time with her, i won't truly know HER.

sorry for the soapbox, but this kind of just hit me square in the face today.  if i want to be a good leader, i just need to actively lead in the areas i can.  i'll make good decisions and bad ones along the way, and hopefully will learn from them both.  if i want to be a good husband, i can't just read books about it.  i've got to spend time with my wife.  i'll make good decisions and bad ones, and hopefully will learn from them both how to be a better, more loving husband to my wife.  if i want to be closer to Jesus, i need to spend time with him.  i'll make some good choices and bad ones, and hopefully i'll learn along the way not only how to better follow him, but that i love him more and more every day.

at some point, we gotta put the book down, and start doing something.  you can't steer a parked car........

Monday, August 20, 2012

Deer, a Prayer House, and Unexpected Thoughts

the church that i work at has a prayer house that we keep for people to utilize every so often.  recently i've been going there more and more to seek insight from God about different things, and it's been great.  always nice to get away for a few minutes, just to be free from distractions and allow the Holy Spirit to share whatever He wants.

a friend was there for a good portion of the time, and we were able to share some thoughts and feelings with each other, help each other open our eyes to some things, and generally just encourage each other. always great to have friends like that in your life.  the funny thing is we haven't known each other very long, but have definitely developed quite the bond.

i also had God share some thoughts regarding an expected topic that i did not intend to give thought to. very interesting.  so, maybe that's something i'll have to revisit in future visits.  at the end of my time i locked up, walked out the front door to this:

i was able to stand around for a good 5 minutes just watching these peeps eat and walk around.  it was awesome to watch they just eat and eat.  definitely felt like a gift from God to watch them from so close.  one of the fawns had a noticeable limp and couldn't straighten it's front leg.  it was kind of sad to watch.  nonetheless, it was the perfect way to end my time at the prayer house today.  totally unexpected much like the rest of my time there.  thank you Jesus for gifts like these.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How Great Is Our God

yesterday i took some time to be at our church's prayer house.  in part to just get away, and some to get some work done without being interrupted.  i spent part of this watching How Great Is Our God dvd, part of the Passion Talk Series with Louie Giglio.  i always enjoy watching this, and it's probably been 2 years since the last time.

this time through a quote by Augustine caught my attention that had slipped past me in previous viewings.

"Men go abroad to wonder at the height of mountains, the huge waves of the sea, the long course of rivers, the vast compass of the ocean, the circular motion of the stars.........but they pass by themselves and don't even notice."

such a good reminder for me, since i'm more apt to notice the beauty of nature than i am in people, or even in myself.  this moved me in a powerful way yesterday, so much so that i'm still thinking through this, wrestling with it, and allowing it to penetrate my mind.

Monday, August 13, 2012

When Friends Gut Punch You, and You Enjoy It!

so, i've got this friend.  serve with him at church.  solid dude.  loves Jesus with everything he's got without the "super-Christian" persona.  every once in a while he sends me these emails.  things God shared with him about me.  things he's meant to build me up with.






today, he sends me this........

Okay, you are undoubtedly a child of our father. You live like him, always lifting others up and calling them into the purpose and identity that you see in them. Your ability to see this and to call others into it is one of your greatest gifts to the church.
However, I feel like you get down on yourself too easily. I don't think it's necessarily "false humility," because you are truly one of the most genuinely humble people I know. What I think it is is that you're a person who has their identity coming from 2 sources simultaneously. You live like Christ, then you slip up and you think of yourself as no better than scum. This is what the enemy tells you, and you have to stop buying into it.
Godly humility is a tricky thing, and I think you know this far better than me. But you have Christ in you, you have the mind if Christ, and you live like Christ. Then when something arises that feels contrary to that, it feels easier to buy into that thing than to stand on who the Word and Spirit say you are.
You can't do that anymore. Spank the enemy and don't even give him a chance to make you dwell on your not-good-enoughs. You have been given the mind of Christ! Align your thoughts to that truth. And stop getting down on yourself. Godly humility allows us to walk confidently in who our Father says we are. It's not tooting your own horn (as you know), but it certainly isn't rolling around in the dust and dwelling on when it feels like you didn't perform at 100% either.
Don't move on too quickly from this. I think it's a season in which you can have A LOT of transformation if you'll let the Spirit search you.
Love you bro

this stemmed from a verse he's been chewing on as of late. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,

what he shared is no secret to me, and yet was the gut punch i needed this morning.  do you have this in your life, a friend who can lovingly speak truth to you?  

admittedly, it's not one of those things that you just go to walmart and grab off the shelf.  friends like this kinda just fall into your lap.  love how God did that with this friend.

so, if you don't have someone like this in your life, begin to pray about it.  ask God for it.  i can tell you that this friend has proved invaluable over the past 2 years or so.  

Friday, August 3, 2012

2 Videos That Are Vastly Different, But Both Are Extremely Aweserous

so here's another video in a long line of awesomeness on Kilian Jornet.  what i love about this video, and ultra trail running in general, is that many times, fierce rivals and competitors are also close acquaintances, and even close friends.  it's rare to find that in any other sport.  i'm sure there are exceptions out there, but i love the overall family feel of ultra running.  it's rare to find something like this in the world today.  people who have never met before instantly become close in races/events all over the world.  there is tremendous amounts of community in this world of ultra running.  i love how that impacted many in the running club we started at our church.  it was great to see so many come together who had never run before at our local marathon/half marathon/10k/5k back in may.  it's inspiring to see so many support each other in attempting serious challenges.  

now this next video is from a friend of mine from the good ole college days.  i've never been to one of his events, but i absolutely love the idea of going to where the people are, and reaching out to them by catering to some of their needs and desires.  you gotta get their attention somehow.  these guys have found that those they are trying to love on appreciate good music, and congregate in bars.  so, why not provide them with good music right where they are hanging?  they don't water down their message, or keep things at a surface level.  they do their thing, use the gifts that God's given them, and share truth and love with those around them.  brilliant.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What's Your Story?

before i get too far into this, i need to warn you.  what lies ahead initially is sort of...................crude.  forgive me.  however, i think it's worth it if you stick it out.

i got into work around 7:15am this morning, eager to get under way.  i've been up since 4:30 to run, so my morning "routine" began to express the need to happen.  so i headed to the bathroom, and as i so often do, took out my phone to check twitter.  not surprisingly, the phone locked up like it has been doing a lot of lately.  i put it back in my pocket and caught myself saying, "guess i'll spend a few moments with jesus."

guess what i heard as a response?

"so i'm a consolation prize?"

DOH!  (think homer simpson voice.  really spiritual, i know)  so i'm not exactly sure if this was God's response or simply my own thoughts as to how that must have sounded.  hmmmmm, i can't be on twitter so i guess i'll talk to God.  boy, jesus must have been so thrilled at that!  (insert heavy, heavy sarcasm)  what followed were not thoughts of condemnation, but that of love.  i didn't feel guilty, more felt God looking lovingly on me, saying "Thad, I wish you knew HOW much I love you and want to spend time with you.  I want to show you this."

in a country with so much freedom, many times i subject myself to so much slavery.  often i wonder if i'd be better off without a tv at home, internet, or a cell phone.  this morning, my thoughts turned to wondering what would happen if i gave all that up for a month.  at least once i get home at night and am with my family.  when i die, will i regret not having watched more of the olympics, not having watched Braveheart one more time, not having spent more time online?  hmmmmm, not sure those are the things i'll regret.

a friend passed away unexpectedly last week.  that brought back to mind some things i've been thinking on lately.  thoughts about 2 things when we first meet Jesus in heaven.  

first, i think we will be greatly surprised at the level, depth, width, etc of the love God has for people.  i think it's so far beyond our comprehension.  and second, i think we will be greatly surprised at the level of commitment He wanted from us that we didn't give while alive.  actually, i'm not sure if that will be on our minds, the moment we are in God's presence.  not sure we will be occupied with regrets.  but if we were able to look back at our life, i think we'd find ourselves wishing we had spent our time a little differently.

so, yesterday, in an all staff meeting, our senior pastor at the church i serve gave us some updates on our current season, a season of Crescendo.  one thing he asked in that meeting was "What is our story right now?" meaning, what is God doing in our lives right now.  i could have come up with answers, but this morning i received clarity on that question, in that bathroom stall.  right now, God is calling me into a Crescendo of time spent with Him.  my commitment level to doing things FOR Him is high, but my commitment level to BEING with Him is not always at a level i want it to be.  so, it makes me wonder about things like taking a break from the tv for awhile.  taking a break from thoughtlessly wandering the interwebs.  to some extent i've got to remove distractions from my life.  i also need to be more in touch with Jesus on a regular basis throughout the day.  

so, what's YOUR story?  what is God doing in YOUR life?  He's calling me to intimacy with Him.  i'm going to accept His invitation.  what about YOU?