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 Pastor's Blog 
Monday, June 23 2014

Encouraging Word from Pastor Thomas

To be successful you must accept all challenges that come your way. You can’t just accept the ones you like. 
— Mike Gafka

Good morning, friends!  I hope you are having a great start to your week.  Monday is only a "Monday" if you let if be!

Wouldn't it be nice if success in the endeavors we seek were easy?  Wouldn't it be wonderful if every road down the paths we follow were lined with roses and lighted with sunshine?  Wouldn't it be great if every week somehow magically Mondays simply disappeared?  Snap out of it!  Bone fide successes in life are not separate experiences from the life we normally live, nor are they supernatural experiences of everyday life, either.  Honest successes are experiences when we deal with everyday life in better, more effective ways.  How can you deal with life in better, more effective ways?  For starters, try dealing with every challenge you face.  Think of avoided challenges as baggage.  Success becomes less and less attainable while the baggage piles up.  Deal with the challenges, poorly if you must, successfully if you can, but better to be dealt with than carried like baggage.  One of the great lies we tell ourselves is that life is, or should be, easy.  It isn't, and it won't be.  Shed the baggage of your life by dealing with every challenge that comes your way, and measures of success will become more consistent and pleasurable.  Now wouldn't that be great?!  I have great faith you will effectively face the challenges of your journey.  Believe in yourself; I do!  Have a great week.

P.S.  I will not send out an encouraging word next Monday; I'll be at the beach and technology is not my ally in this effort.  I wish you well next week and will be back online in two weeks.  

Matthew 10:37-39

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, June 17 2014

One of the hardest decisions you'll ever face in life is whether to walk away or try harder.

Good Tuesday morning, friends!  Yes, I know it's Tuesday and I ask for grace.  I was at camp with my boys yesterday.  They had a great weekend and it was a blessing to be with them.  Still, I'm glad to be back to a comfortable bed and healthy food!

It really is remarkable the number of decisions we all make every day.  Retirees, children, parents, homeless persons, prisoners, single persons, everybody... we all make many decisions every day.  Our quote speaks of one of the more persistent decisions we all face every day, the choice of commitment allocation.  We are all managers of our energy resources, and many decisions concern the expenditure or saving of our energy.  Interestingly, success very often requires the expenditure, investment, and risk of energy.  Jesus told a parable about three guys entrusted with various talents; one guy got five talents, another got two, and the last got one.  Typically these talents are interpreted at money, but for our sake lets interpret them as energy (which in many ways is similar to money).  The guys with five and two units of energy expended them, invested them, risked them, and they found success in greater energy.  The guy with one saved his energy, and as expected ended the period with just the one unit.  The decision to expend, invest and risk energy is hard.  The possibility of losing energy is real.  But the potential of success only becomes possible when we face the hard decision to expend, invest, and risk ourselves and our energy... in other words to try harder.  What opportunities have you lost because you saved your energy?  Which ones have you reaped by investing energy?  How can you create more and better opportunities in the future by managing your energy more wisely?  I have great faith you will manage your energy well.  Have a great week!

Mark 10:17-27

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:41 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, June 10 2014

At the end of the day, how long it takes to form a particular habit doesn’t really matter that much. Whether it takes fifty days or 500 days, you have to put in the work either way.  The only way to get to Day 500 is to start with Day one. So forget about the number and focus on doing the work.
— James Clear

Good morning, friends!  Grace and peace to you on this muggy Monday morning here in Winston, or whatever the weather in your neck of the woods.  I pray the week has begun well for you.

The end of Spring and the beginning of Summer is a busy time for superlatives.  Graduates are recognized for achievements, popular professional sports conclude their seasons with champions, and even the northern hemisphere of the earth seems to be peaking with life.  We all seem to love the champions among us, but who among us pays attention to the preparation that creates the champions?  This morning I was a proctor for a class of middle school children, sixth graders, in a challenged neighborhood where my wife teaches.  Twenty kids took a standardized test under the watchful eye of a teacher and me.  As I looked at the kids I wondered if any of them were aware that their journey to success has already begun?  The habits and efforts they give today, and everyday, will impact the opportunities of tomorrow.  In thinking so, I turned the mirror onto myself, and now I turn it onto you.  What are you doing today that will support, create, inhibit or destroy the champion you hope to be a year or two from today?  That person, the champion possible within you, will not suddenly arrive, or bloom or blossom in some surprise fashion.  That champion will simply reveal itself, or not, based on what you are doing today, tomorrow, and every day.  Gino Auriemma, the incredibly successful coach of the women's Connecticut basketball team, says of his championship teams that what sets them apart is that they play for the championship every day, not just at then end of the year.  In what ways are you playing for the championship of your life today?  Will you support or inhibit the champion within you today?  I have great faith you will do the things today, and everyday, that will lead to your great successes.  Don't worry about the time or the outcomes; just do the things today that create a better tomorrow.  And enjoy!

Matthew 10:1-15

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:42 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, June 02 2014

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships so that you may live deep within your heart.
- A Franciscan Benediction (shared by Brian McLaren)

Good afternoon, friends!  Yes, I know the work day is almost done, but sometimes Monday is really a Monday, even for me!  It's been a Monday, for sure!

I love today's quote in more ways than I can say.  How about you?  I'm a "yes" person.  I say "yes" to any request for help regardless of what it costs me.  I say "yes" to most anything; saying "no" is a conscious act with which I struggle.  But what about the "yes"es we all say to easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships?  Don't those cost us more than a momentary inconvenience?  Absolutely!  How many easy answers are correct?  Not many, if any.  How many half truths are true at all?  Not many, if any.  How many superficial relationships are worthwhile at all?  Not many, if any.  Yet think about all the times you say "yes" to all of these false realities without ever counting the costs.  If we can't break ourselves from the habits, may God bless us with discomfort in them.  When was the last time you asked God for discomfort?  Me either.  What we want is comfort, even when what we choose is uncomfortable.  What uncomfortable realities are you living with  today that you have said "yes" to, when what you need is the discomfort sufficient to say "no"?  I hope you can see those uncomfortable realities, but if you cannot I pray God will bless you with enough discomfort to seek real answers, whole truths, and special friends.  Forgive me for seeking your discomfort, even if it is good medicine!  And have a wonderful week!

Matthew 5:37

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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