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 Pastor's Blog 
Monday, July 30 2018

“Change is a part of life and if you choose fear you won’t like change.  You will do everything in your power to create a world that is predictable, controllable and safe.”

Dr. Frank Thomas

Good morning, friends!  I hope your Monday morning is off to a grand start.  Let’s not hold it back; let’s get to it!

Take a ride through most any small town these days and you can get a grand vision of the past, and it won’t be pretty.  Empty storefronts, vacant parking lots, run-down buildings, and a general awareness of dust and dirt everywhere.  The causes are plentiful but they all center around fear of change.  When opportunities or necessities to create positive change appeared in past years courageous leaders were nowhere to be found.  Fear and all its cousins won the day. 

Every single system of life (health, work, family, church, friends, on and on) is naturally a change system.  What is decidedly unnatural is stability, yet what do we crave with all our beings?  Stability.  “If only things could stay ‘this’ way forever, or at least for a long time…”  The longer I live and more observant I become I am increasingly convinced that the worst day in a person or system’s life is the day stability is chosen.  The desire for predictability, control and safety may be genuine but it is positively unnatural. 

* What are the stable systems in your life (and I’m not talking about relationships!)?

* Are you managing change, resisting change or being trampled by lack of change?

* How can you open yourself up to comfort with small changes?

The big bugaboo in most lives is fear and few challenges create more fear than change.  If success and quality and continuity are important to you then change is necessary.  That old small town shows how hard it is to change once stability becomes rigidity.  That’s not your story.  Don’t change for change’s sake; change when the time demands it or the opportunity presents it.  It may be uncomfortable but it’s perfectly natural.  Have a wonderful week!

Matthew 17:1-8

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 23 2018

“Are you spending time with the right people for your health and happiness?”

Tara Parker-Pope

Good morning, friends!  Has your week just past been a blessing or something else?  I hope it was good but I know it was likely what you made of it.  Today is a new start.  Let’s get to it!

Way back in the day, the dinosaur days my kids call them, I came to a remarkable revelation for a high school boy.  I suspected, then confirmed, that my educational experience would be equivalent to that of the people I hung out with.  This wasn’t new logic; my dad had always taught me this truth, “If you lay down with dogs you’ll get up with fleas.”  But I never associated fleas with good grades until I was a senior in high school. (I wish I had experienced my revelation as a freshman!)  So I hung out with smart, hard-working people.  I did what they did.  I ate lunch with them.  And wouldn’t you know it, my grades improved mightily.

The author of our quote today is making a point about health and happiness but the point is the same.  Our environment powerfully influences us.  I think most of us get that point.  How we apply it, though, is the challenge.  My wife and I have three children and we have been front row witnesses to the powerful effect of environment.  The friends they’ve chosen have unwittingly manipulated them, for good and ill, away from the central characters we know our children to be.  It isn’t a static situation; it is completely fluid, and the flow is in the direction of environment.

* What about your environment?  What’s it doing for (to) you?

* Are you intentional about your environment?

* Are you even intentional about the flow you want?

It’s easy to be good with good people, and bad with bad people, but life isn’t that explicit.  We live in a milieu of trends.  Our challenge is to influence and nudge the trends when we have choice.  Make environmental choices (people primarily, places secondarily, and things last) that move you in the direction you prefer.  The race of life is still yours to run but choose a downhill portion if you can!  And have a wonderful week!

Matthew 26:57-68

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:37 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, July 15 2018

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 02 2018

“Most people think that building better habits or changing your actions is all about willpower or motivation. But the more I learn, the more I believe that the number one driver of better habits and behavior change is your environment.”

James Clear

Good morning, friends!  I hope you had a wonderful week just past and have great and safe plans for this week.  Now it’s time to get started so let’s get to it!

This past week my family and I were at our nearly yearly experience at the beach.  For all but one of the past sixteen years we’ve been to one beach in the same house every year.  If you do something for sixteen years you can establish some pretty strong routines and habits.  One of our beach routines is that we eat a little less healthily than we typically do.  A common beach occurrence is the purchase of Oreos for dessert; we never buy cookies at home. 

I’m pretty committed to my health.  I move well, eat well, and try to do things for health and avoid things that detract from health.  I’m no star but I’m fit for Lake Wobegon, above average.  But you’d never know it at the beach.  If there is a package of Oreos in the house I’ll eat them by the handful.  I’ll sneak them like a child.  I struggle to stop myself even though I can go a year without eating anything like an Oreo at home.  Is there something wrong with my willpower?  No.  There’s something wrong with my environment.

So many studies have made it beyond question that environment is a powerful player in habit change.  My dad was on to something when he told me as a child, “If you lay down with dogs you’ll get up with fleas.”  Even the best dog can get fleas in a bad environment and even the best of us can fall prey to bad habits or rise to better habits if we consider our environment.

·         Do you want to have more healthy habits?  How can you change your environment to effectuate them?

·         Would you prefer more outcomes of success?  What environmental changes can assist you?

·         Could your relationships use a boost?  Consider changes to your environment to make them happen.

Toss out your soft drinks and fill your fridge with water.  Buy a quality set of walking shoes and place them by your bed.  Put a network list of contacts by your phone.  Get rid of your TV (!!!)  Create your environment so that the hard change you want is an easy choice.  Create enough environment changes and your habits will change soon enough.  Trust me, I know!  Have a wonderful week!

Luke 19:1-10

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 09:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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