Faith is in Order

The military is a way of life. From the early mornings to the long days, there is a pattern to the military lifestyle. A part of that design is orders. Just about everyone in the military takes orders from someone. Most of the time the orders make sense. Occasionally the orders don’t make sense, but one follows them anyway because that’s a part of the lifestyle. This part of military life is a critical one. Not only does it keep one from trouble, but it teaches a service member a key part of life: faith.

Yes, there is a connection between practicing faith and taking orders in the military. No, it’s not because God is a cosmic Drill Sergeant seeking to enforce divine push-ups for disobedience. Rather, the connection rests on the idea that God often leads us, calls us, or asks us to do things we do not always understand. He might use our current circumstances. He could ask something from scripture. Either way, his request is a timeless command that will make life easier if we trust and obey.  Continue reading “Faith is in Order”

Film Critics and Life

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

How did the critics grade it? Did it get a high or low score on Rotten Tomatoes?

Do you even care about their critique of the film? Of course not! It’s your favorite movie after all. So, you don’t care that it has a bad storyline, you watch it for the action. Perhaps, it’s the love story you enjoy, despite the bad acting. Maybe it does have great acting and storytelling, but the budget was so small that it’s a B-grade movie. None of these factors matter because it’s your favorite movie, period! You then forget, ignore, or never even bothered to see what the critics said because it would your favorite film no matter what.

Why then can’t we do the same when it comes to critics and criticism in our daily lives? We should and we can if we, Press on!

Steve Jobs said, “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Continue reading “Film Critics and Life”

Beautiful Perspectives

Mountain top outlooks are gorgeous. Growing up near the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky I hiked to many mountain tops. Rarely did the view disappoint, which made the journey to their summits worth the effort. At the pinnacle of each mountain, I could appreciate the view, and the path required to reach my peak destination. Mountain tops are a great illustration of life too.

Within the journey of life, we each experience a host of paths and obstacles towards our eventual destination. Challenges might be steep hills, tight trails, or various animals like snakes. These adversities cause us to question our need to continue our journey. We must weigh the risk over the reward. After all, the view might not even be worth the trip. Though if we only desire a beautiful view, then our journey is already wasted.

No, a mountain peak both literal and in the journey of life is not just about the view we see. Rather, it’s about understanding and appreciating the path taken to one’s current outlook. It’s at the mountain top we can understand, appreciate, and see our past obstacles with appreciation. This 20/20 hindsight lets us reframe the good and the bad of our journey into even more optimism. We may look back and be frustrated that we didn’t handle an issue with more grace, calm, or poise. However, such self-criticism is not the point because it’s a journey into our negativity.

No, our point is that we are to use our accomplished outlook with appreciation. We can rejoice that we handled things as well as we did. Then we can choose to learn from our mistakes. We learn because we are reframing our past errors towards future hope. That’s the beauty of the mountain top. Not that we see something we’ve never seen before, but now see both the big picture of the past while we view the beauty of our future. Let’s then journey through our paths in life because a beautiful perspective is just over the horizon.

The Depth of Anxiety – Applying Grace

Anxiety confronts us all. Circumstances will always arise that cause a fight or flight response from us. Sure, we may manage stress, but it does not make us immune from it. This fact should not discourage us. Rather, we should be encouraged because we are no different than anyone else. Plus, there are effective coping techniques to assist us, if we will use them.

As Christians, our primary coping mechanism should be faith in Jesus. Not just a faith that saves, but a faith that comforts us daily in each circumstance. See, we forget that the grace of Jesus is available to us so we can rest in Him than in ourselves. In fact, I believe God allows anxieties into our lives to serve as constant reminders that we need to rely on Him than ourselves. In other words, if you are a very anxious person, then rejoice because God loves you. He loves you so much that he allows anxiety as a discipline in your life so that we will relate to Him more intimately (Heb 12:5-8).

Personally, this lesson is one where a continue workplace conflict taught me this lesson. Continue reading “The Depth of Anxiety – Applying Grace”

We Need Messy Bibles For Our Lives

In high school, my friend Eric Wren told me, “If you’re Bible is in good shape, you’re probably not!” His phrase suggests we should have marked-up Bibles than pristine. Despite this truth, it can be hard to highlight or write in our Bibles; but we need to be messy!

In a previous post, I shared my Bible highlighting system, which I try to follow when possible. However, there are times when a deviation is needed. The exception creates a dilemma because I feel if I’m going to mark Bible I want the marks to be consistent. Having talked with others I know I’m not alone in this struggle. A challenge that can impact our Bible intake, so, what to do? Again: Be messy!

Our faith rests in a relationship with Jesus. It’s not a set of rules; it’s not indulgence in ourselves, it’s a dynamic relationship when led by the Spirit can look different than other Christians. Like other healthy relationships, our faith with Jesus can be messy, not because He is a wreck, but because He is taking our mess and turning it into His message. Jesus creates this message for His glory as we grow in our relationship with Him. Therefore, our Bibles don’t have to be consistent when we mark in them. Again: Be messy! Continue reading “We Need Messy Bibles For Our Lives”

Limited Texting: Final Thoughts

Today is Fat Tuesday, which is also the day that New Orleans and Mobile celebrate Mardi Gras since Mobile is where Mardi Gras originated. As many celebrate Mardi Gras, they will also participate in Fat Tuesday before a season of fasting begins. See the day after Fat Tuesday is Ash Wednesday when many Catholics (and now Protestants) choose at least one thing to fast until Easter. Personally, I have decided to “limit” my texting over the month of February. Therefore, today is the final day of my limited-texting lifestyle and here is my last assessment of my exercise.

1. Calling Is Now Preferred Over Texting. – There are times when texting is needed. For example, when my wife says, “Could you get some milk on the way home?” is better than a call. However, for more serious topics I prefer a phone call.

2. Relationships Matter. – By forcing people to call me, I’ve created deeper and better relationships with others. The best part of this is that it’s happened within my family. So the fact that I can say that I feel more confident in some of my family relationships due to phone calls over texts are a value I’ll cherish forever.

3. FLEXIBILITY & BOUNDARIES!!!!!! – Continue reading “Limited Texting: Final Thoughts”

Sticking Through A Tough Job Is Important!

Life is full of transitions. Perhaps one of the toughest transitions is the change from one job to the next. Not only does one have to determine when it’s time to leave a job, one must search for a new one. Such a search can take weeks, months, even years. The process can be exhausting. Then, finally, once the new job is found one must make the transition between the two employers. Since then the process is so emotional it’s important we know when to make changes.

There is both a lot of good and bad advice on job searches. Perhaps one of the worst is, “You start looking for your next job when you start your current one.” The sentiment of this statement suggests one always remain open to new possibilities and advancement. But, the other side of the phrase promotes an endless dissatisfaction with one’s current employment. By “looking for your next job” you’re always working with your focus beyond your current position. Not only is this stressful, but it will be hard to hide your discontentment as you work. Therefore, to contrast this advice, I suggest my phrase: “Run to another job and never from your current job.”

In a job I recently held I saw a very high turnover with the employees. For example, there were around 40 full-time positions. Within a year, only six other people had a longer tenure than when I left. That’s not a healthy organization! However, the sickness was not just the companies fault; no, other employees had a choice: they could have waited to run to a better place than run from their current employer.

Many of us have been in jobs we hate. It’s not uncommon, but there comes the point in our career maturity where we must choose to stick it out. Not to the point where we accept abuse. Rather, we stick it out until we discover a better place of employment. We need to,

“Run to a place than from a place.” Continue reading “Sticking Through A Tough Job Is Important!”