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 Pastor's Blog 
Monday, August 31 2015

Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

Will Rogers

Greetings, Monday people!  I hope the weekend was a quality experience for you in whatever way you sought.  Mine was a bit tiring but also a bit excellent.  Now it’s Monday and it all begins again.

Will Rogers was a quote machine.  Look him up someday and marvel at his insights into humanity and culture.  You would think he was a product of our time, or any time.  Today’s quote is relevant to every day that has ever been, even to you and me today.

Among the more important lessons life has taught me is that success is less an experience or a destination than it is a journey.  Seven years ago I took a hard look at my health and decided it needed a change.  Using my naïve knowledge of the time I set a weight goal and started working.  Small changes, simple efforts, gradual improvements, and four years later I reached my goal.  And then I did what 90% of all people do who set weight goals: I celebrated my “success” and began to regress.  I saw success as a destination, not a journey, and it cost me.  This illustration applies to any goal or dream: personal, professional, spiritual, relational, etc.  If the vision is a destination then success will be short lived.

Why?  Because at some point you will relax, settle, pause to appreciate, and there will go the turtle right by you.  What turtle?  She of the tortoise and the hare fame of course!  The better visions of our lives focus on the current moment and what we are doing to move in the chosen direction.  When the journey becomes the point then the success is the constant transformation of ourselves.  The only success we will honor will be the consistent reinvention of ourselves into something better.  I should know; I’m trying to get back on track.

Assuming you’re on the right track, how’s your movement going?  What is your focus: the destination or the journey?  What are you celebrating?  Clue me in; I’d love to celebrate with you!  Have a wonderful week.

Romans 12:1-2

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 07:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, August 24 2015

There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.

Aldous Huxley

Good morning, friends!  I hope your day has begun with gusto.  Mine began pretty early today; it’s a first day of school for the kids.  Let’s have that excitement, too!

My encouraging words frequently touch on the issue of improvement and more often than not the idea is to do something or add something better.  I stand by all those thoughts.  Yet as with all thought, this weekend I was enlightened to a new perspective.  I was reminded of the power of addition by subtraction.

I suppose it’s natural to think that we have to “do” something to improve.  We assess the moment, our starting place, consider our goal, and naturally think, “What must I do to get there?”  Why we naturally think “do” is to add I do not know, but I sure do know we add or avoid more often than not.  How might it help you to consider “do” as to reduce, eliminate, and/or stop?  There’s a novel idea!

As you consider your starting point today and look to your goals, I’ll bet you feel stretched to the maximum.  I’m certain you have filled your life to the brim with everything, just like all of us.  What if improving yourself in any way could best be achieved by such a powerful focus on your goal that elimination of non-essentials is the best way to go?  Eliminating is hard, but achieving is great.  Climb the mountain without the unnecessary luggage on your back.  Run the race without the unnecessary stuff shackled to your legs.  Think about your goals today and the unnecessary things in your life that might be holding you back and consider a bit of addition by subtraction.  It may be the new math that sets you free!  Give it a try and have a great week!

Luke 5:27-28

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, August 17 2015

Is this article an encouragement to you?  Join the encouragement team and e-mail me at and I’ll add you directly to the list.  You’ll be glad you’re on the team!  Please forward this encouragement to everyone you know.

“Its hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world.”

Dolly Parton

Happy Monday, friends!  I hope the day has begun wonderfully for you; if not, there’s still time to turn it around.  Let’s get started.

Dolly Parton is not a typical source for inspirational quotes, but today she fits the bill.  Consider the challenge of “standing out”.  It’s not easy, that’s for sure.

This past Saturday I was with my family in the NC mountains for a day of great fun.  We saw and experienced a waterfall in the morning, and then had lunch at McDonald’s before heading to Sliding Rock and another waterfall.  It was a diamond of a day, but in the middle was a rhinestone experience: lunch.

Nobody expects greatness out of McDonald’s, certainly not me, and Saturday was no different.  We were the only people at the counter and still our order was slow developing.  Then the drinks (all waters and one tea) were improperly prepared.  Then at the table my son’s order was not filled.  Then my wife’s order was not correct.  Read this clearly: I am neither angry nor complaining.  I simply bemoan the opportunity missed by McDonald’s to offer a diamond experience in a rhinestone setting.  We left with a bad taste in our mouth (pun intended).

Before we begin a community bashing of McDonald’s, let us consider our diamond opportunities and rhinestone realities.  How many times today do you expect to interact with someone?  Plenty.  How many of those times will the person view you as a diamond of kindness, respect, happiness, joy, forgiveness, etc.?  Or will you be a consistent rhinestone?  Consider your work efforts, your fun efforts, your support efforts, everything.  Will it be a diamond or a rhinestone? 

In every moment we feel the pressure to conform, to take the easy road, to set the bar low for many reasons.  Life is a wasteland of such moments and no one is the better for them, yet here and there are diamonds.  What diamond experiences can you create today with a bit of effort?  How can you bless other persons, and yourself, by giving the extra effort to excel even in simple ways?  Dolly’s on to something here.  You can be a diamond in a rhinestone world, so start shining!  I know you’ll be brilliant.  Have a wonderful week.

Proverbs 13:4

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, August 10 2015

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”

Pablo Picasso

Good morning friends!  Wow, what a difference a few days can make.  Last week seems a world ago; today is a fresh start.  What will you make of it?

In the last few years I’ve been introduced to a pretty smart and successful guy, Marshall Goldsmith.  Mr. Goldsmith is an international figure of success and a very smart man.  He’s worth listening to, for sure.  A lesson he likes to use to help people improve is to imagine you are on your death bed, gruesome as it may seem.  Imagine you are laying there at some elderly age and still cognizant.  And then by some miracle you had the opportunity to speak to a 30 years younger version of you and share one bit of wisdom.  What would it be?

Bronnie (that is correct) Ware is an Australian palliative care nurse who has recorded last wishes of many, many people.  Did people say, “Invest in Apple.”?  “Put all your money on American Pharaoh.”?  Or “Don’t touch Enron.”?  None of the above.  The wishes of dying people were consistent.  “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life tru3e to myself, not the life others expected of me.  I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.  I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.  I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends.  And I wish I’d let myself be happier.”  So again, what advice would you like to give the younger you?

As I see it, we only have this one life lived day by day, moment by moment.  I believe fully in progress, goals, success, and the like, but only to that which enhances life in this moment.  To wit, do you think you’ll be happier in 10 years if you don’t start practicing now?  Do you think your friends will come back to you 20 years from now?  Do you think the world will wait for you, hold it’s collective breath, and reward you later?  Don’t count on it. 

We have this moment, this precious gift of now.  Think of the time of now as money; how will you spend it, invest it, or waste it?  Some day we will all realize the valuable resource we were all freely given, and mostly wasted, was time.  Old you will wish you had told young you, but it will be too late.  I’m telling you now.  Enjoy now.  Live now.  Bless and be blessed now.  Love now.  And if I can help you in any way it will be my blessing.  Have a wonderful week.

John 4:1-30

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, August 03 2015

Limitations live only in our minds.  But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.

Jamie Paolinetti

Good morning, friends!  I hope the weather is as beautiful for you this morning as it is for me.  Of course, it’s North Carolina in the summer so it can and will change in a minute!

Picture in your mind for a moment an image of the person you truly, honestly, really want to be.  Maybe you want to be a better wife or husband, son or daughter, friend or neighbor.  Perhaps the image is of a more financially secure person, or a more healthy person, or a happier person.  The list is long, but the question is the same: how do you get from the person you are to the person you want to be?

I’ll bet as quickly as you manufactured your image you began to list the reasons you cannot, or cannot easily, become the person you want to be.  Limitations, we call these thoughts, and limitations are commonly thoughts of environment.  We think of things outside ourselves that prevent us from becoming the inward person we want to be.  We have become so controlled by our environment we hardly know any other way to think.  I’ll share this thought with you: when it comes to you and who you want to be, your environment is a marshmallow wall.

What is a marshmallow wall?  The mental walls we construct to prevent us from movement we imagine are brick walls, or concrete, or steel, something permanent and unbreakable.  Whatever walls you imagine preventing you from becoming who you want to be are anything but permanent; they are wimpy marshmallow walls.  Knock them down with one hand.  Kick them over.  Run through them.  Just don’t be intimidated by them.

The real challenge to your life is not at all your environment; it’s purely you.  You make the choices that determine who you are.  You’re not genetically designed to be a bad wife, husband, son, daughter, father or mother.  No genetic gene makes you financially insecure, or unhealthy, or unhappy.  Nor does any environment factor.  It’s all you, your choices and commitments.  Decide who you want to be and then start doing it, day after day, hour after hour, every day, every hour, all the time.  When you mess up, forgive yourself and then get to it again.  How long will it take?  I don’t know.  What I do know is it will take at least one day longer if you don’t start today.  So start today.  Be the person you want to be.  Tell me about it if you want to.  I’ll celebrate with you!  Have a great week.

Luke 19:1-10

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

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