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 Pastor's Blog 
Monday, June 25 2018

“The only things that are increasing in cost while everything else heads to zero are human experiences—which cannot be copied.” 
Kevin Kelly


Good morning, friends!  I hope you are well today.  By the time you read this e-mail I will hopefully have filled my bucket with more than a few shells and shark teeth.  But that’s my problem, let’s get to the encouragement!


I’ll bet you’ve never thought about the power of copying but it is devastating.  When music became easily copied via technology it clobbered the industry.  Fake diamonds that are indistinguishable from natural ones are challenging prices.  The induction burner I received for Father’s Day is a legal copy of a product that has cost much more for years.  The moment something “becomes” powerful forces begin an unstoppable process to duplicate it, reducing the value and quality all the time.  It is the economic version of “Name that Tune”. 


Kevin Kelly, whom I would eagerly encourage you to read, explains that human experiences are immune to the forces of quality/value duplication.  A current movement in America that mimics a movement that is common in the rest of the world is called “minimalism”, a life of less stuff and more doing.  It is certainly counter-cultural in our culture but not counter-intuitive.  I’ll bet you agree…


·         Do you remember more gifts from your life or more great experiences?

·         Would you rather own another doo-dad or have a new great experience?

·         Do you look around your life and think, “I have too much stuff.” or your mind and think, “I’ve done too many wonderful things.”?


See, it is intuitive that experiences are better and more valuable but for some reason we yield to stuff, worthless, copy-able stuff.  What would it take for you to value your life more than your stuff?  What stuff would you sacrifice this year so you could add more value to your experiences?  What choices can you make going forward to prioritize the precious experiences in your life?  Whatever you do, understand the depreciation of your life that parallels the depreciation of your stuff.  Appreciate your life!  I sure do!  Have a wonderful week.


Luke 12:13-21

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 09:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, June 18 2018

“Our minds are generally lazy and like to get rid of problems as quickly as possible, so they surround first ideas with a lot of positive chemicals to make us “fall in love” with them.  Do not fall in love with your first idea.  This relationship almost never works out.”

Bill Burnett and/or Dave Evans

Good morning, friends!  I hope you celebrated Father’s Day well yesterday.  It is a joyful day for many people and a painful day for a few but if seen as a day of healing and connection it has power.  I hope you felt the power.  Now, let’s get to it.

I remember the very first girl I ever took on a date.  I’ll spare you the silly, gory details but it was not the stuff of legend.  Nor was the second or the third or the… fiftieth.  There were some great times along the way with many dates and some pretty terrible times.  I shudder to think where I would be now had I attempted to engage any one of those early dates, particularly the first.  I’m shuddering now!  But how many times have you fallen in love with and married your first idea of many things?  Like me, too many times, I fear.

Evidence supporting the “multiple ideas” superiority is all around us yet still we resist.  Are you what you began to be when you were first a job seeker?  Precious few persons are 20 years out.  Would you consider buying the first house a real estate agent shows you, or would you prefer a few choices?  We don’t need much convincing of the success of multiple ideas but still we yield to first ideas.  First ideas are the junk foods in the decision world; we know they are bad for us but we have a hard time resisting.

·          In a meeting, someone has an idea, BOOM, conversation ends.

·          Considering supper, someone makes a suggestion, BOOM, conversation ends.

·          In a conference, someone speaks up, and BOOM, conversation ends.

·          Planning something, have an idea, BOOM, thought ends.

The power of the first idea is incredible.  We seek that first idea like great hunters, patiently (?) waiting, watching, expecting, until it appears and then we pounce, triumphantly and finally.  Experience shows that multiple ideas produce the best results in most, if not all, cases.  So don’t marry that first idea.  Date it, and four or five more ideas, and eventually one worth loving will come along.  Have a wonderful week!

Matthew 16:13-20

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 09:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, June 11 2018

“And I suddenly remembered a lesson a professor had taught about brain function.  When people speak, they aren’t just expressing their ideas; they are, even more, expressing their emotions.  And it’s the emotions that they really want heard.”

Atul Gawande, to the 2018 graduating class of the U.C.L.A. Medical School


Good morning, friends!  I hope you are on top of the world today.  It was a great weekend in our home, with our first graduate experience.  But that’s my stuff.  Let’s get to the real stuff!


Picture the scene: you’re in a bad situation.  Somebody is angry, something has happened, something is askew in someone’s world, and everything is coming at you.  Could be a boss, or a spouse, or a neighbor, or a child, or a customer, doesn’t matter.  What matters is the inflamed flow of words coming at you.  What do you do?  A very natural reaction is to give it back to “them”, fight fire with fire you might say.  The person is the words so fight them off.  But the very notion of competitive language suggests a winner and a loser.  I have no memory of such encounters ending well for anyone.


Now imagine you are the angry person in the story, you are the spewer of words.  Surely you can remember being this person some times in your life.  Were you the words?  Or was it something else?  Sure was; you were not the words.  The words were simply the reflection of something broken, hurting, angry, etc.  You didn’t want to be heard so much as you wanted to be felt.  This effect isn’t only true with angry words.  It also is true with loving words, casual words, indifferent words, any words.  Our words express our feelings.  Who feels them?


·          We love the friend who “gets” us.

·          We marry the person who “knows” us.

·          We attach to the pets who reach us deeply.


The best relationships are with the people who know our feelings.  Why?  Because everyone wants to be “felt”, as in, we want others to know how we feel, what our emotions are, even when we say it poorly.  How can you be the boss, spouse, neighbor, child, customer, or friend who listens beyond the words to feel the emotions?  Professionals call this act “non-complementary” behavior, not fighting back but sensing and speaking to the deeper emotions.  Just think of all the relationships you have that could use some of that magic!  Try it next time, and experience something amazing.  Have a wonderful week.


Luke 23:32-34

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 09:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, June 04 2018
"The roads of evolution are strewn with the bones of creatures that could not survive in the next environment."
Ronald Heifetz
First, let’s make it clear that our quote for today is not intended to create any theological debate.  Far from it.  This quote touches us all in every facet of our lives.  Truly.  Let’s just do a little swap of words, “life” for “evolution” and “people” for “creatures”.  Is that more palatable?  And concerning?  It should be.  And this is the season for recognition.
Yesterday we celebrated “graduation Sunday” for our grads.  Graduations happen all over the country at this time of year in a season that lasts about a month, kind of like strawberries.  Graduations used to lead to the step of skill development then straight into job satisfaction for a lifetime.  Precious few among us, though, live that life now or have for the past 30 years.  That life is gone but how many of us were prepared for the life of constant change?  Bones are everywhere.  We celebrate our graduates and send them into a system that prepares them for one job; the bones of the system will be evident soon.  My point is that whatever comes next will either be a reaction to or improvement of what just was.  It will not repeat itself.  Who among us will be prepared?
·          Sears will join the pile of bones soon enough, along with Xerox, Kodak, Blockbuster and Polaroid.
·          Notice the visceral reactions to driverless cars and sustainable energy.
·          Underneath the unemployment numbers is a silent throng of people who quit rather than change.
I’m celebrating neither success nor failure, only recognizing the powerful momentum of change.  When you see a system repeating itself, or a person holding on to one model or way, start digging a grave.  Does that scare you?  I hope not.  I hope it encourages you to embrace life as it comes, not as you want it to be.  Old bones like mine often struggle to dance but they will die when they refuse to move.  Dance with the changing times and live.  I have faith you can do it.  And have a great week.
Matthew 16:21-23
Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 09:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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