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 Pastor's Blog 
Monday, January 28 2019

“The moment a question comes to your mind, see yourself mentally taking hold of it and disposing of it.  In that moment is your choice made.  Thus you learn to take the path to the right.  Thus you learn to become the decider and not the vacillator.  Thus you build character.”

H. Van Anderson

Good morning, friends!  How has this day begun for you?  No matter; you have plenty of time to turn it around, starting right now.  I hope this word helps.  Let’s get to it.

There is a modern science field that concerns the issue of “dark matter” or “dark energy”.  They are one and the same thing.  I cannot speak fluently the language but I think the field studies the space between things that are seen.  In our world that is so concerned and convinced of knowledge, awareness and understanding it seems the awareness of the unknown is the most troubling reality of all.  I suspect my lifetime will never know of any understanding, conclusively, of what comprises the space between things seen.  And in my mind there is a different “dark matter” that is equally elusive and even to me more troubling.  That is the world of the undone, unchosen, undecided, unfollowed, uncommitted.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news today but imagine the difference in your life if you had given reasonable effort towards any one of the many positive dreams you had?  It is the thought that comes to all of us at various times in life: I wish I could…; I wonder what would happen…; What would it take…; I’d like to be….  The life we have is the one we chose, or in many cases the one we defaulted to.  It is not the only life that could have been.  From whatever source you trust you’ve had many ideas in life that had the spark of greatness.  What did you do with that spark?  Like most of us you gave it no oxygen; we starve most of our best ideas.

* The book that never was written.

* The business that never was created.

* The job that never was pursued.

* The relationship that withered away.

* The trip that never was taken.

* The opportunity that never was pursued.

Now I know already you have your excuses that support the life you currently have.  That’s the narrative we all create to mollify ourselves; we would go mad if we did not create positive narratives.  What is common in our “dark matter” threads?  In most cases it was the worst of us: apathy, indifference and fear.  Fortunately the system of dream creation carries on and even today something will “come” to you.  What will you do with it?  Will it be worth a little oxygen?  Can you risk even a step or two?  Or will it become just another death bed regret of dark matter in your life?  Say it won’t be so.  Take a dream, take a few steps, and live a little.  I suspect there’s a lot of life in the “dark matter” of our lives.  I may not recognize you if you do, but I sure will celebrate you!  So get to it and have a great week!

Matthew 26:36-46

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 09:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, January 21 2019

“Years ago there was a belief that the world was flat. People were born into that belief and they took it on faith that if they went too far from the shoreline in a boat they would fall off the earth. Columbus sailed on.”

Les Brown

Good morning, friends, and happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  I hope you have the ability to honor this day in a positive way.  Let’s do our part and get to it.

I have a thing for shark teeth; my collection is large.  When my children were young their fascination with my finds encouraged them to want to seek with me.  Rarely would they begin the day with me; six thirty comes mighty early in the summer at the beach, but later in the mornings they would find me on the beach and fall in line.  Looking and looking and looking they would come up empty handed, while I would find one, then two, then three.  Finally they would ask, “How do you do it???” and I would tell them they were using the wrong senses.  Don’t look, I said.  Listen for them.  They call my name, I hear them, then find them with my eyes and pick them up.  (Abuse my fatherhood later…)  The gig lasted a few years, watching them walk up and down the beach silently listening for shark teeth calls.  Then they grew wise and now they find their share.

While I may have been facetious with my children your flat earth beliefs are anything but facetious; they are huge barriers to your growth.  Assuming none of you hold to any flat earth beliefs there is little doubt you have equivalents.  I’m not talking about false beliefs but simply beliefs that do not support or encourage your life. 

* You may have failed a few times, now consider yourself a loser, and success is nigh impossible.

* You may have had a tough start in life and now see every obstacle as a wall.

* You may have been on one track for a while and now think that’s the only track possible.

* You may have had success a few times and now consider failure something to be feared.

* You may have been judged negatively and now see yourself only through negative eyes.

The list of false beliefs is long and damaging, but guess what?  None of them is true and all of them come down to the same falsehood.  Let me set it straight: the past doesn’t determine your future.  You do.  Your choices, your efforts, your sacrifices, your hungers, your vision, you.  Believing in any version of a flat earth in your life will only hold you down from the future you deserve and desire.  And the only way to prove to yourself that these beliefs are false is to confront them and defeat them.  Can you name your limiting beliefs?  Can you see yourself confronting them?  I see you on the other side of them!  Get to it and do the great things you dream.  And have a wonderful week.

John 8:1-11

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 09:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, January 14 2019

“If you don't know what to do, focus on the fundamentals.”

James Clear

Good morning, friends, and happy Monday to you!  I hope you were not inconvenienced by the ice storm that was prevalent around my parts yesterday.  Weather is wonderful, and a mystery.  Still, let’s get to it!

Recently I watched a TED Talk (google it) about the learning curve. The talk explained the time it takes to get good at something rather than to master it.  The classic idea of mastery is 10K hours, or five (!) years of full-time work to master a subject or action.  The speaker, through research, decided that 20 hours of dedicated practice, from a beginning of nothing, will get someone to “good”.  But there was a catch; the 20-hour clock didn’t begin until the first step, action, or effort was taken.  That time could take forever!

We all know that the first step is the hardest of all in a journey.  Breaking the gravity of inertia is incredibly difficult and stymies the supermajority of all good plans.  That’s why Woody Allen is mythically credited for saying “90% of success is showing up.”  But no one has ever given me a good idea how to “show up” until I encountered James Clear.  Most of my plans are doomed from the start because I over-plan, over-think, or over-schedule and intimidate myself out of action.  Has that ever happened to you?  That’s why Clear’s suggestion of focusing on the fundamentals is genius!

* Your plan for a new career is going nowhere; what is the most fundamental step you could take?  Take it!

* Your idea for a new initiative is on serious hold; what is the most fundamental step in the process?  Do it!

* Your dream for better health is good but grounded; what is a basic fundamental step for you?  That’s the one!

The list goes on and on.  Plans are great but action is hard to come by.  So why not change your focus from success to simplicity?  After all, step one comes before all others.  Take fundamental step one, then two, then momentum takes over and plans become dreams which turn into success.  That’s how eagles do it, with a jump!  Take off and fly my friends, and if you forget how to fly, first try to jump!  I’m sure you’ll be great!  And have a wonderful week.

Luke 10:1-12

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 09:20 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, January 07 2019

“There comes a moment that defines winning from losing.  The true warrior understands and seizes the moment by giving an effort so intensive and so intuitive that it could only be called from the heart.”

Pat Riley

Greetings, friends!  It’s been a while, I know.  Christmas, New Year’s, and ancillary responsibilities cost me the past two Mondays, but now we start 2019 with a fresh slate.  I hope you are off and running.  Let’s get to it!

Let’s forget for a moment the personal shortcomings of Pat Riley.  He’s not perfect and neither am I.  His experiences have taught him many valuable lessons on leadership and achievements so he deserves at least that respect.  His point today is so true.  We don’t waltz into success.  We don’t lollygag into success.  Nobody hands us success.  We have to work for it, fight for it, and overcome whatever tries to get in our way.

I’ve never offered in one of these e-mails a link to a video but today I am.  You can check this video out if you want to; it will help you understand.  Click on this link or copy this it into your browser, get through whatever advertisement pops up and watch the 1972 Olympic 800m Final from Munich, Germany.  It takes just bit over two minutes to catch the race.

I recently read a commentary by Dave Wottle on this race.  Unlike the commentators who suggested he was running with strategy, Wottle said he was dying out there on the track.  Halfway through the first lap he began regretting running the race.  His legs were killing him.  His motivation was shot.  He was genuinely considering a nice jog to the finish, accepting his last place.  But at some point he decided to give it one big kick, just a push as hard as he could to the finish to see where he might place.  And if you watched the video you saw something amazing.  Running against the very best 800-meter runners in the world Wattle closed the lagging gap, passed every runner on the course, and won by a nose at the finish line.  It is inspiring to watch every time.

I wonder if the rest of those runners experienced any regret after the race?  I wonder if any of them considered how much effort they left on the track?  I wonder if any of them thought about the kick, the push, the effort they could have given but didn’t?  It is a terrible moment to look back and wish in reverse.

* I wish I had tried harder in school.

* I wish I had taken better care of myself.

* I wish I had fought harder for the opportunity.

* I wish I had (fill in the blank).

Riley is completely correct.  There is a moment, a pregnant moment, in any endeavor where the conscious person realizes the priority of the moment.  NOW is the time to give it all or give it away.  NOW is the time to surrender all effort or sacrifice success.  NOW is the moment to push with everything you have to the finish line or pleasantly jog to the end.  The winning mentality seizes the moment with no regrets to be had.  Whatever your endeavors are today you may not control winning and losing but you sure do control the winner’s effort.  If it matters to you will you step up now?  I’ll only encourage you to consider what matters to you this year and give it everything you have.  I have faith in you.  Have a wonderful week.

Luke 21:1-4

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 09:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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