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 Pastor's Blog 
Monday, July 27 2015

“Why not chase what some see as impossible? Why not believe in yourself? Why not dare to be great ... even if it means being different?”
John Smoltz

Good morning, friends!  I sure hope you had a great a weekend as I did.  Too many things to share, but I hope they pale in comparison to your great weekend.  Let’s start the week off right.

Only the faithful few will know the name of today’s quotable giant, John Smoltz.  Smoltzy, as he was affectionately called, was a fantastic pitcher for the Atlanta Braves during their unparalleled run of success from 1991 to 2005.  Yesterday, July 26, 2015, Smoltz was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, recognizing his sustained excellence.

Only Smoltz didn’t see himself as anything great, at least not inherently.  In his own words, he wasn’t the most talented, athletic or gifted.  His great talent was hard work and absolute belief in himself, and look were it got him!  Do you ever evaluate your dreams or ideas in light of your talents and/or giftedness and allow them to die?  Pity.  I wonder how many of your dreams and ideas would be real today if you had instead banked on your hard work and belief in yourself?

Something true of myself and of many people I meet is an excellent ability to evaluate the past but a poor ability to translate the gained knowledge into actions for the future.  We look back and realize that a bit more effort here and there, or a reasonable determination applied in the same places, would have made all the difference in the world.  If then, why not now?  Surely you have a dream or idea begging today for your hard work and faith in yourself.  Why not give them a try?

Halls of Fame are not erected for ordinary people like you and me.  In most cases our greatest achievements will only be known to ourselves.  Can you draw a line with your hard work and self-worth to achievements worthy of fame in your own mind?  I’ll bet you can and I pray you will, and if you need a speaker to introduce you on that great day of recognition, call me.  I’d be honored!  Don’t sell yourself short; give yourself a great effort, believing you can do great things.  And have a wonderful week!

Amos 7:10-15
Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 07:56 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 20 2015

"If you set your goals ridiculously high and it's a failure, you will fail above everyone else's success."

James Cameron

Greetings, friends!  I hope today is off to a great start.  If not, there’s plenty of time to start over or course correct!

I have a confession, but it’s one plenty of people know of me.  I have a fear of failure.  It’s not a simple fear; it’s a powerful fear of failure that drives most everything I do.  It is most apparently manifest when I suspect I cannot do something well.  In those cases I tend to not do anything.  I just can’t stand to fail.  How about you?  How do you deal with failure?

Half a century of life has taught me many things, among them the need to challenge my fears of failure.  Often fear of failure is a deceptive voice, more akin to uncertainty or unpreparedness masquerading as impending doom.  In those times of life when situation (marriage, school, parenting, etc.) has prevented me from avoidance, pushing me into imperfect action, I’ve learned that 80% or 90% of success is actually pretty satisfying.  How do you define success?  As 100%, or can it be some percentage of complete?

Another lesson life has taught me is that I am a participant in a low achieving world.  All around me, and within me, I see passive acceptance of little or no achievement.  Again, I too am guilty.  Are you?  The outliers around me (you?) are those people who give the simple and reasonable efforts to achieve.  We see them fly, though not to the moon, and marvel at their greatness.  So often it’s not ability, or opportunity, or circumstance.  So often it’s simply effort to break the gravity of passivity.  Are you the outlier today?

However failure masquerades in your life, unmask it.  Whatever you achieve is great and no measure of failure.  The only failure is not trying.  Be the outlier today.  Do the thing you want to do.  Be the person you want to be.  Fly, while everyone around you watches.  Just make sure you fly my way so I can cheer for you, too!  And have a great week!

Luke 10:1-17

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 07:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 13 2015

“It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants.  The question is: what are we busy about?”

Henry David Thoreau

Happy Monday, friends!  Wow!  What a two week stretch it’s been for me.  A vacation at the beach, then a fast turnaround to chaperone kids to camp in the mountains.  I hope you’ve had a smoother groove than me, for sure!

I wonder how many of us ever stop to consider the effectiveness of our busy-ness.  I imagine we’re too busy to do so.

Any life could be a case study for energy typically wasted.  Take your own life in the past year.  How many experiences did you have in the year when you were so busy it wore you out?  How many times were you so busy you prayed for a break?  How many times were you so busy you forgot something, or many things?  I have those times at least once a week; how about you?

What do we get for those times?  Do you typically achieve great successes?  Do you often reach your greater goals?  Do you ever find things better or improved?  Or do you more typically find things simply over, done, finished, or completed?  Those are good outcomes, but are they all the outcomes you want?  Are they worth all the energy you have?  Do you need to diversify your energy expenditures?

Just this weekend, listening to the TED Radio Hour, I heard that Americans have combined 1 trillion expendable free hours.  The host of the show said he had none, but upon reflection noted that he gave his free time to simple, non-productive, wasting activities, and sometimes he was even busy doing those things.  How about you?  Do you celebrate your busy-ness in activities that don’t satisfy your dreams?  We all do.

This week, when you find yourself busy ask yourself: when this activity is completed will the outcome be “done” or will it be a step in the direction of your dreams?  Will the energy you spend this week be dutiful, or will it be satisfying?  Will you choose to give some of your energy and busy-ness this week to your goals and dreams, or will it all be spent on simple, less productive, wasting activities?  It is your choice, and I have faith you will make a great one!  Have a wonderful, effective energy spending week!

Matthew 25:1-12

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 06 2015

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“Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.”

Theodore N. Vail

Good morning, friends!  I sure hope you had a fun and safe July 4th celebration.  We had a blast at the beach last week and today I’m off to camp with kids from church for a few days, so life isn’t slowing down for me.  Clearly, we all need encouragement!

Of the many lessons I’ve learned in my years as a minister, the most profound one by a long shot is the power of the unknown.  I’ve seen the unknown do terrible damage to persons.  I’ve seen the unknown take persons down.  I’ve seen the unknown be the end of persons.  Every time I’ve encountered the unknown, even when it’s come to me, I’ve seen the worst…almost happen.

The thing is, as I have learned, our brains apparently don’t know how to handle the unknown, so they begin to believe the worst.  It will be the worst outcome.  It will be the worst prognosis.  It will be the worst eventuality.  It will be the worst everything… but only in our mind.

Do bad things happen?  Sure they do.  Do worst things happen?  Absolutely, sometimes, but never as often as we imagine them.  Our prediction rate of the worst is pretty poor, yet predict we do whenever we encounter the unknown.

But what if you took one moment, just one simple moment, to examine the thing objectively?  Maybe the thing is a problem, or a failure, or a pain, or a mistake, or an obstacle.  Whatever is the thing, take an honest look at it.  I’ll bet the size of the boogie man in your life isn’t as big as the monster in your mind, and more often than not you can take that boogie man down if you try.

So try this: when a problem comes along this week take that honest look before the unknown monster comes around.  Formulate an action step or two do deal with it while it’s manageable, still in the known.  And before you know it you’ll be headed towards success while the unknown is still tying its shoes, and you will be developing a habit that will serve you well the rest of your life.  Can you do it?  Absolutely you can, I know that about you!  Have a great week, and be encouraged!

1 Samuel 17:1-50

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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