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 Pastor's Blog 
Monday, October 29 2018

“Fear makes come true that which one is afraid of.”

Viktor Frankl

Good morning, friends!  It may be a week made for kids but we adults have our boo scary times, too.  Let’s get to the good times.

Recently I read an article on camping from an expert who said we pack what we fear.  We fear the darkness so we pack flashlights.  We fear thirst so we pack water.  We fear wild animals so we pack repellant.  You get the point; whatever goes into the bag helps us overcome something we fear.  But the fears of camping are both known and unknown (or at least hopefully avoided).  Life has its nuances…

I do not believe, not in the least, that positive thinking has any power in and of itself.  But I do believe, pretty conclusively, that our attitudes heavily influence our actions.  So what is the influence of our attitude?  Well, let’s consider a few life experiences… We face prosperity issues.  We face relationship issues.  We face health issues.  We face faith issues.  In every discrete area of our lives we face issues that can and are influenced by our attitudes.  Negative feeds negative and positive feeds positive.

* Dread of health makes health worse, while hope of health makes health better.

* Frustration in work makes work worse, while encouragement in work makes work better.

* Fear of poverty makes finances worse, while hope of resources makes finances better.

* A downer attitude makes relationships worse, while a positive attitude makes relationships better.

Again, I’m not at all talking about some magic pill.  I suppose I would compare attitude to momentum.  Momentum doesn’t determine “winning or losing” but it powerfully aids the journey in one direction or another and can turn things around under the right circumstances.  What areas of your life could use some good mojo, some helpful momentum?  Turn your attitude to the positive side and see where that mojo takes you.  And have a wonderful week!

Matthew 6:25-34

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, October 22 2018

“There is no doubt in my mind that there are many ways to be a winner, but there is really only one way to be a loser and that is to fail and not look beyond the failure.”

Kyle Rote Jr.

Good morning, friends!  I hope you are well today and well on your way to a great day.  I’ll not slow you down.  Let’s get to it!

Most American lives begin with dreams.  Not all, of course.  I’m mindful of the less fortunate people in our society, but even in the less fortunate homes are little boys and girls who have dreams.  We all did when we were children.  We wanted to be something great, however we defined greatness.  It may be one of the most beautiful times and sights in our culture, the birth of dreams.  But then something happens in the early stages of the birthing process.  Some persons go on to achieve success while other persons fall way short.  What gives?

More often than not failure is not the culprit but in fact the reaction to failure is the culprit.  Something happened, in school, at home, in life, just somewhere, that was a failure.  Maybe the failure became consistent for a while and eventually the failure wore them, and maybe you or me, down.  And we quit.  But let’s take the thought out of the grand story of culture and bring it home to you and me this week.  We may not call our plans and goals for the week “dreams” but we do hope for success, and lest we are very fortunate we are bound to experience setbacks, roadblocks and projections of failure.  How will we respond to the failure?  Can we see beyond the failure to envision positive movement towards success?

* You bombed on the test.

* You didn’t get the promotion.

* You didn’t get accepted.

* You lost the relationship.

* You got a negative diagnosis.

Failure comes in many, many disguises but it only wins when we admit defeat.  Victors have all experienced failures but they see beyond them to the prize, the goal, the possibility.  Whether in the grand scheme of things or the short term of this week you have the choice to be a victor or something less, all based on your reactions to inevitable failures.  Reject that one certain path to losing and move beyond your failures with new knowledge and renewed confidence.  Tomorrow is ready for a new dream.  Make it great!  And have a wonderful week.


Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:13 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, October 15 2018

“If there is no wind, row.”

Latin proverb

Good morning, friends!  Once again we connect with people in our lives and hearts struggling from a force of nature.  Encourage them as you can.  Let’s get to it.

Whilst mowing this weekend I was listening to an interview with Bear Grylls, the survivalist par excellence, promoting his new book, “How to Stay Alive: The Ultimate Survival Guide for Any Situation”.  Needless to say, the table of contents reads like a Boy Scout manual or a caveman drawing: pretty sparse and simple.  But in spite of all the sensational knot tying, fluid drinking, and food finding facts, Grylls ultimately said in the interview that the one common characteristic among successful survival persons is an absolute commitment to never quit, a rock solid determination to keep going.  Sounds like a life lesson to me.

Think about the number of times in life when you’ve found yourself, just like our quote, in a situation with absolutely no wind at your back but miles to go.  I can think of plenty of my own experiences being dead in the water; can you think of any for you?  Work.  Relationships.  Projects.  Health.  It really isn’t hard to imagine the scenario, is it?  Something is going along wonderfully, practically effortlessly, and then.... nothing.  What happened?  Well, the wind quit blowing.  This isn’t about motivation, or goal setting, or anything fancy or teachable.  This is about what’s inside of you.  

*  How badly do you want it?  

*  What is success worth to you?  

*  Are you willing to work hard for what was once perhaps easy for you?

I doubt the day will ever come that I have to consider the nutrition of my own fluids or craft a fire from nothing.   Most of us won’t face survival needs any time soon, if ever.  But quite regularly we’ll all face situations when the wind of ease stops blowing and the energy for rowing begins.  At this moment the spirit within us is revealed.  Not every situation deserves our greatest efforts; only we can determine which situations do.  What will you do when those situations arise this week?  I have faith you’ll row, and survive!  Have a wonderful week.

Acts 9:10-19

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:14 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, October 08 2018

“Ninety percent of those (persons) who fail are not actually defeated.  They simply quit.”

Paul J. Meyer


Good morning, friends!  It’s great to connect with you again today and I hope it is the beginning of the best week in a while.  Make it that way and let’s get to it!


October is my favorite month of the year.  By far.  It is the month of the MLB playoffs resulting in the World Series.  Yep, I’m a baseball man and have been my whole life.  And I find many, many metaphors for life in baseball, chief among them lessons on winning, losing, success and failure.  Boy, is baseball a game of persistent failure!  Tony Gwynn, the greatest baseball hitter I’ve ever seen, was a wizard with a bat and yet his lifetime batting average was .338.  In other words he failed almost seven out of ten times at bat.  Remarkable.  


Yet Gwynn was not stymied by such persistent failure.  He studied pitchers with abandon, perfected the art of his swing, and even worked to improve his ability to “see” the pitches coming his way.  For his efforts, and with his gifts, he was an easy first ballot hall of famer, regarded by the best pitchers of his time as the best hitter they ever saw.  And during his time in baseball thousands of players came and went, many perhaps wondering why they could not hit like Tony Gwynn or some other successful hitter.  But did they put in the time, effort and dedication to craft Gwynn did?  Likely not.


Whenever we engage in life in experiences that are intended to last we encounter a similar MLB experience as the nameless masses who come and go.  Making it to “The Show” is a nice achievement but is that what we really want?  To go beyond a photo op and a quick show will take work, dedication and effort that exceeds whatever got us there in the first place.


* Are you giving the effort that success in your endeavor requires?

* Are the efforts you are making in need of revision or addressment?

* Could you use a bit of encouragement to help you hang on?  Where can you get it?


If success were easy then every place would be Lake Wobegon, where everyone is above average.  Success is usually a challenge, one that requires more of us than we expected and is just beyond an easy reach.  If you believe in what you are doing then give it your all and stick with it.  You may be surprised what you find when you’ve been with it for a while and no longer worry about what you will achieve.  I have faith in you, that’s for sure!  Have a wonderful week.


Luke 18:1-8

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, October 01 2018

“You’re more likely to act yourself into feeling than feel yourself into action.”

Jerome Bruner


Good morning, friends!  I hope you are all well today.  With all the divisiveness in our culture today I’d like to think this e-mail is a healer, a weekly idea that brings people together, that doesn’t separate us into camps.  With that prayerful thought, let’s get to it!


Think for a moment about the list of changes in your own life and/or circumstances you’ve been wanting to see for a while.  I’ll play first.  I’d like to get back to my health efforts.  I’d like to be more intentional with a side project.  I’d like to make a new friend sometime soon.  I’d like to… well, I have plenty of “I’d like to’s”.  Have you thought of any?  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t.  Young or old, we all do.  So what are you doing with your “I’d like to’s”?


Well, if you’re common at all then you’re waiting for some kind of motivation.  Let me let you in on a little secret, and pardon my language, please.  Here it is: motivation is for suckers.  That’s it.  Motivation is for suckers.  Motivation is simply another way of saying, “I’d like to… but I need something to get me going.”  Time, money, opportunity, energy, something.  Guess what?  It’s never, ever, ever going to happen.  Let’s take a minute now to grieve the passing of your excuses…  That’s what motivation is, a premeditated excuse.  I’ll pause… Now, let’s do something that works for you.


The author today is not unique to this idea.  He’s simply the one I read most recently.  The idea that is prevalent is that action leads to motivation, not the other way around.  The challenge is to make yourself take first and second steps in the direction of your goal without “motivation”.  


* Get out and move even if it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient.

* Contact someone and make a connection, even if there isn’t a reason.

* Do the thing you want to do even if you’re not so ready.


The author is not suggesting, nor am I advocating, “Fake it until you make it.”  I’m not saying fake anything.  I’m saying, “Be real.  Be honest.  Be courageous.”  The first time I exercised I looked pathetic; the last time I exercised I was impressive.  I didn’t exercise the first time because I had motivation.  Far from it.  I exercised the first time because I wanted a different reality for myself.  I acted, and acted, and acted until the feeling began to emerge and then I was unstoppable.  Maybe health isn’t your gig but you have your “I’d like to’s…”  Do something today.  And again tomorrow.  And the next day, and the day after that.  Eventually your actions will lead to the feelings you want and other people will marvel at your motivation!  Be kind to them and tell them the secret and all the while enjoy the feeling you sought.  I have faith in you!  Have a wonderful week.


Luke 17:11-19

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:18 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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