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Monday, January 26 2015

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”  - Helen Keller

Good morning, friends!  I must first apologize for last week’s absence.  I was out of hand for two days with the family.  I wish I had prepared for the absence, but alas, I did not.  Please forgive.  Also, welcome to the new few who have joined the ranks of the encouraged!

If anyone can speak with authority on trials and suffering, it is surely Helen Keller.  Her story is well known, and greater respected.  She overcame tremendous odds to achieve a wonderful life at a time when such an outcome was nearly unheard of.  The resources of today make her story far more possible.  Yet the resources of modernity must never diminish the achievements of history.  We rightly applaud her.

Yet nothing I have ever read suggests she ever sought applause.  She simply sought achievement, to not be constrained or limited by simple abilities.  She never lost sight (no pun intended at all) of what mattered to her: a healthy and happy life as a normal part of society.  For Ms. Keller to reach her goal she had to walk a road paved with nearly everything negative one can imagine.  Yet she carried on.

I wonder… with all the resources of modernity, what keeps you and me from reaching our goals?  Are we too easily defeated today by simple obstacles?  Is our sight less clear than that of a blind woman?  Are we too undone by weak ambitions?  What is keeping you from the honest success of your dreams?

Perhaps you simply need to clarify your “Why?”  That’s what carried Ms. Keller to success; she know exactly why she was needed to keep on going.  Why do you want to succeed?  Why do you want something different?  Why will a different outcome mean everything to you?  Nail down your “Why?”, make it mean something powerful to you, and then watch the character in you carry you.  And believe me, with a powerful “Why?” your character will carry you very far, all the way to success.  So what’s stopping you now?  Only your courage to name “Why?”! 

I know you have a dream, maybe many of them.  Perhaps you want something different.  Maybe you have a great need.  Focus on that outcome, focus clearly enough to own it, and follow your character home.  I have absolute faith you will do it.  Why?  Because you want to!

James 1:2-4

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, January 12 2015

“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

Good morning, friends!  I hope your Monday is off to a great start and you are riding the wave of success.  Let’s keep it going!

True story.  Back in the day when I was earning my MBA I was engaged in a conversation with a smart guy one day about management possibilities.  He asked me, “Would you rather manage a team of talented people with no motivation or a less talented team with high motivation?”  Experience in management had prepared me for my answer.  “The hard workers.” I said.  “It’s easier to teach somebody how to do something than it is to make them want to do it well.”  He chose the talented, unmotivated group.  I haven’t seen my classmate since graduation day 25 years ago, but I’m sure both of us are still seeking our nirvana.

I’m not sure today I would take such an extreme position, but likely I would nuance it.  What I am sure of today is that Ali is right; champions are formed with hard work, not talent.  President Calvin Coolidge said something similar in his day.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful (men) with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Your talents are what they are, and changing them is difficult, time consuming and often expensive.  But there is a greater success available to you through the simpler change of effort.  Do a little more, give a little more, help a little more, something a little more, and you will succeed a little more.  Do a lot and likely succeed a lot.  The choice is yours.  Is your choice to succeed?  I’m sure it is, and whatever price you pay is the return you will get.  I have faith you’ll choose the big prize in your life!  I hope this helps you today, and have a great week.

Galatians 6:7-9

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, January 05 2015

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Happy New Year, friends!  I know, I know, it’s January 5, but for me, and for this effort, it is the first day of the new year.  So  greet you in that New Year way!

I neither want to, nor have the expertise to, dive too deeply into the psychology of dreams, but I think we make way too little of our dreams.  They are really important stuff.

One of my children talks in his sleep, nightly, and loudly.  About an hour after he goes to sleep, most nights anyway, we can hear him talking loudly in his sleep.  Usually the talk is unintelligible, but we have gotten years of joy listening to his sleepy rantings.  For most of us that’s about all we make of our own dreams, sleepy rantings.  But what about the dreams you have not when you are ranting sleepily, but with your mind and eyes wide awake?  Do those dreams matter?  Sure they do.

For one thing, they represent the true leanings of your heart and mind.  I’ll bet most of your successes in life have stemmed from your passions, some place within you that touched your commitment.  Likewise, I’d be surprised if you have more than a glancing story of success that came from a lack of interest or accident.  Success tends to partner with passions and commitments, so why not trust those expressions earlier in the process?

Not every dream has the legs to succeed, but must we snuff them all out because of no guarantees?  Can we at least give them a hearing?  Can we give them the chance of respecting their beauty?  It seems like a reasonable wager if a better future awaits.  What dream do you have for yourself?  What imagined future for you really stokes you?  Give those dreams a chance, I say, and see where they take you!  You really have little to lose, and much to gain.  Your dreams are beautiful, and you know it.  I believe in you, and your dreams!  Have a wonderful week, and happy new year!

Matthew 19:13-15

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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