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 Pastor's Blog 
Monday, May 25 2015

Defeat may serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out.

Edwin Markham

Good afternoon friends, and happy Memorial Day to you!  If you are working today, and many people must, then know that you are appreciated for the sacrifice you make on a national holiday.  And if a member of your family died while serving our country then know also that the sacrifice of your loved one is a blessing to everyone working, playing, resting and remembering today.  May today remind you of the appreciation of your country.
Take a moment to think about an unresolved goal, dream, ambition or plan you have, particularly one thats been lingering for a long time.  Im not a mind reader, but I am a reader of humanity, so Ill bet theres more than a little fear holding you back from moving forward.  Some fear is reasonable, but one most unreasonable fear is the fear of failure.
I tend to do things only when Im confident of success.  Do you ever do that?  I often wonder how much success we delay by this fear of failure.  What success are you delaying by a fear of failure?  More than youre willing to admit, Im sure. 
History teaches us over and over again that success is rarely achieved on the first try.  Almost universally success is the result of consistent effort, overcoming many failures, and steadfast belief.  I often wonder how many great things we take for granted are the result of someones willingness to overcome failure.  More than we know, Im sure.
So back to you and your dream.  What might result if you gave one good effort this week to move in the direction of success?  Maybe you dont get there; maybe you fail; maybe lots of things.  But certainly you will learn something, and perhaps achieve something, and it may be the step that creates success.  So take the step!  You have nothing to lose, except losing a fear of failure.  Lets both take a step towards success this week, big or small.  I have faith in your courage to succeed.
Acts 9:10-18

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 07:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, May 19 2015

It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves. 
 Edmund Hillary 
Is it Monday already?  It is?  It was?  Oh, I guess we all need a little encouragement to start our week.  Yesterday was just such a day for me, but I appreciate your grace as we get back on track.  Here we go!
In case you dont remember your history, Sir Edmund Hillary was a New Zealand mountaineer and explorer who, with his Sherpa guide, is the first known climber to summit Mount Everest.  The story of how he completed the journey is incredible, yet the story he tells is not of the challenge of the mountain.  The challenge he faced, and the story he tells, is how he strove to overcome himself.  What is your story, the mountain or yourself?
Surely we all face challenges.  I could easily overwhelm myself if I began listing all the challenges I currently face.  Thats life, one challenge after another.  A deceptive stumbling block for many people is call the when condition.  When I get to this point I wont have challenges anymore.  When I reach that goal, no more challenges.  When I get to that age, challenges go poof.  So please tell me when you get there, because I have no knowledge of anyone who has ever eliminated challenges; the challenges simply change.  Even Hillary, after summiting Everest, had to come back down, and down was as challenging as up.
Avoiding challenges doesnt work, obviously, and deceiving oneself about challenges doesnt work either.  So what does help one successfully navigate life and reach goals?  The solution seems to be on focus: are you focused on the mountain or on yourself?  Is your challenge really the mountain, or is it yourself?  Are you going to be walking uphill the rest of your life, or will you learn to walk powerfully no matter what the terrain?
Dont overwhelm yourself, but think for just a moment of any challenges facing you right now.  In time they will all pass.  You will either meet them and beat them or they will be behind you, unmet.  And then there will be new ones.  Life is like that.  Now quit focusing on your challenges and begin focusing on yourself.  Begin developing the strengths of commitment, dedication, courage, hope, forgiveness, etc.  When you conquer yourself in these ways all your mountains will seem like molehills, and what a story you will then be able to tell.  I know you can do it, conquer yourself, that is.  So get to it!  And have a great week (whats left of it!)
Matthew 25:14-30

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 07:40 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, May 11 2015

Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; its holy ground. Theres no greater investment.

Stephen Covey
Good morning, friends, and a belated happy Mothers Day to any mothers reading this encouragement.  The older I get the more aware I become that Mothers Day is a mixed bag for many women, so my prayer is less for joy and more for peace.  I hope you all had a peaceful weekend.
Not to get too preachy, but Jesus once enjoined us to pray for our enemies.  When you think of your enemy, do you think of someone out there?  To wit, praying for ones enemies surely means to consider the jerk who harasses you at work or anywhere, or the idiot who makes your life miserable, or the something else person who is just plain mean or unthinking all the time.  We have no problem thinking of outward enemies, but what if the enemy is inside us?  What if the harm we do ourselves is far worse than all collective harm from outside us?
Of all the harms we do ourselves one certain one is the failure to be patient with ourselves.  I confess to this weakness.  Do you?  
To illustrate the harm and potential good of self-patience, let me offer a few examples:
* Improving ones health takes time, effort, and persistence.  Without patience it will never happen.
* Any goal worth its salt involves many steps.  Without patience it will never be reached.
* Any change one wishes to make certainly requires time.  Without patience it will never be.
* Any achievement one seeks is likely out there.  Without patience it will never be found.
How do you turn those nevers in to likelys?  Patience and persistence with yourself.  Get better health; reach your goals; make your changes; find your achievements.  By all means, quit being your own worst enemy.  If anyone should be patient with you its you.  You know the truth about you.  You know the real and imagined obstacles in front of you.  You know it all about you, so be patient, and keep on persisting.  It will, I agree, be the best investment you can make in yourself.  Be your own friend, not enemy, and get going!  I have all the faith in the world in you!  Have a great week.
Colossians 1:11-12

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 07:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, May 04 2015

If the wind will not serve, take to the oars.

Latin Proverb

Happy Monday to you, friends!  If that seems oxymoronic to you then I hope today is an exception!

I cannot tell you how many times it has happened to me.  I have a problem.  The type of problem really doesn’t matter, all that matters is that I was in the hunt for a solution.  That seems simple enough, to find a solution for a problem, right?  But the real problem is the problem behind the problem.

Still with me?  The brain is curious thing.  Whenever we look for solutions, or answers, the brain aggressively grabs on the first reasonable one.  The aggression is so strong that the brain effectively blocks thinking about other possibilities.  But what do you do when your first thought isn’t the right one?  What do you do when your first idea doesn’t lead to success?  What do you do when your brain is no friend in solving a problem?

A second thought is very often the first step to success.  I’ll bet you’re dealing with a problem right now, or a challenge of some sort, and either your first thought isn’t being successful or you are not confident in the first thought for good reason.  Consider the problem from a new perspective.  Or think of the outcome you desire and see if that opens up new lines of thought.  Or list 5 possible first steps, no matter how outrageous.  Just do something to give yourself a chance to succeed.

Can you imagine sitting in a still boat never noticing the oars?  Probably not, but I’ll bet you have a problem with a solution just as simple but also just as hidden.  Look around, the oars are right there, the ones to get your life moving.  Get rowing, and I’ll see you at the finish line!

Acts 9:1-9

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:51 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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