Known…

catalyst

For may of you out there you don’t know that this exists but a wonderful conference is put on in Atlanta (HOTLANTA!) every October called Catalyst Conference.  It is a convergence of leaders from all over the country to come together, learn, grow deeper and worship a king that is worthy.  

I sadly could not go this year.  But I plan on going to Catalyst One Day in Chicago.

Every year they have a theme.  Last year’s theme was MADE.  This years theme is KNOWN.  What is to be known?  Why is it so important to be known.

A few weeks ago a young woman took the stage at an awards show and proceeded to make decisions on live TV that well now forever make her known for something that many liked and something many people didn’t like.  Now she is known.

I would never want to be remembered for something stupid I did.  I’ve failed at many things in my life but for just as many things I’ve failed at I’ve also succeeded at.  What’s funny…I tend to look more towards those things than that negative things anyway.  I don’t want to dwell on the negative except for to learn from it.  I know where my self worth lies…. and that is within the grace of Jesus.

But you are not ever going to see me on TV or write a book with my picture on it.  I don’t want to be known in those ways.  And honestly it’s not something God has really put on my heart yet.  But what I do know is that I want to share the message of grace with people by any means necessary.  I’ll let God take the mic and I’ll just play the background.

But the truth is…it’s not really about what we do that makes us known.  It’s about who we know that makes us known.  Andy Stanley says, “Your appetite for known will never be satisfied by a number but by a Name.”  We must know Him before we know our selves. Because when we truly know ourselves then we can replicate Him and then we can be known for something.  It does not become about what we are doing but it becomes about what He can do though us.

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Who you gonna call?

Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts.

We all have a past.  We did things that when we look back on them now…we’re embarrassed, hurt, maybe even ashamed. Those are our ghosts.  They live in the walls of the house we built.  At that point those feelings put us in bondage.

It’s very easy to live in the bondage of our past mistakes.  They cloud the mind like fog clouds a road so you can’t see it.  But that’s it right there…that is what the goal of living in your “ghosts” is.  They want to make the future look so hopeless that it makes it not worth it to continue.  They want to strip you of your self worth.

Here’s the great news… they don’t have to continue to live there rent free.  The memories and the thoughts that we allow to hold our soul hostage has no jurisdiction over the rest of our life.  They can be evicted and told not to come back.  They can be given a pink slip and be told to leave.

The only way of letting this happen is give into the grace that Jesus gave to all of us.  We have to accept that God loved us so much that He sent His son to this earth to die for our sins.  (John 3:16)

I won’t lie to you.  There will be some foot work that needs to be done.  There may be some relationships that you may need to get rid of.  There will still be pain but know you won’t have to go though it all alone.  You will have a family to stand with you.  You won’t have to go though an “extreme home makeover” by yourself at all.

Image credit: “love Don’t live here anymore…” – © 2009 Robb North – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic

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Open letter response to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

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Dear Howard Schlutz,

You can argue that guns are the issue all you want but until we get to the root of the real problem we will always have these situations. We have to look at the heart and help people that are hurting. We have to look at ways to improve the mental health system and end the hurting in people. I say instead of trying to police people and their choices to carry a gun why not give to many projects out there that stand to improve mental health awareness. You probably won’t ever read this but at least I did my part. #mytwocents #starbucks #myopenletter

Photo Credit: http://onlyhdwallpapers.com/nature/coffee-grass-starbucks-desktop-hd-wallpaper-329861/ (careful, website had many popups)

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Not all consequences are bad…

Here’s some great motivation for your Tuesday.

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September 17, 2013 · 3:01 pm

Book Review: Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World by Craig Groeschel

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For a long time I had been looking for a book that helped me make sense of many things going on in my hamster wheel of a brain.  Seriously…my brain does not turn off.  The switch is broken.  But, I think it’s also “START”-ing to get stuck towards awesome mode but that is another book I need to start and share a review on another time.

I got the chance to listen to Craig share his heart about leadership while attending the Catalyst Conference 2012 at Atlanta.  Much of what he shared was amazing to me.  If a man can communicate like he does he sure must write well too.

I was right.

Right away Craig is able to help put focus on everyday behaviors that must be stopped right away.  Not only are some of these behaviors toxic for ourselves but for others as well.  Craig uses his own ideas and thoughts to help make us better people.  Not just that, he is able to help us find where we can find grace for our lives instead of carrying the baggage of yesterday.

Many of us live each day knowing that there are things in our life that are eroding our soul.  These things tear us up on the inside and we don’t even know where to begin.  This book goes though many of those things that we give the control of our lives to and Craig explains in deep detail on what to get the control back and live under God’s grace.

Each chapter not only speaks to not just how we handle ourselves but also the type of people we allow into our lives.  Craig starts with toxic behaviors then moves to the toxic emotions they create then moves to the toxic influences we must avoid. This is not just a book that talks about finding religion but points towards Jesus the entire way.

Thanks to this book I am able to slow the hamster wheel down just slow enough so I don’t get tripped up into my thoughts.  It helped me bring to life some of the emotions that I allowed to imprison me for a long time.  Thanks to Soul Detox I know I can walk each day in God’s grace and know that I can live my second chance that who I was is not who I am.

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National Suicide Prevention Week 2013

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There are many things out there that people are fighting for.  Some are fighting to keep species of animals alive.  Some are fighting to un-dairy their favorite pumpkin flavored drink.  (Yes….really.)  Some are fighting to justify going into another war.

But, what some people don’t know is that some people are fighting with themselves.  Do they live or do they die is the thought that goes though their mind.

I personally have never lost someone to suicide but I know it breaks my heart when I hear about someone who does this.  I hear and read about it way too often.

I was not going to write this post but the more I thought and prayed about it the more I had to.  We need to get this message out.  If you are hurting and you are struggling please understand… You cannot be replaced, there is hope, there is a way. There are people out there that love you.  Please find someone that can help you.  There are tons of resources available.

Most of all know this:  Jesus loves you.  In the Bible we read many stories where He wants us to keep going in times of turmoil and struggle.  For those that lived though the strife in their life were rewarded in many instances.  For those who may have looked back…..well their fate was not at all pretty.

I don’t want to sit here and overload you with Bible verses so I just want to share one with you that always gave me hope in very hard times.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
– revelations 21:6 –

If you are hurting…find help.  It’s worth it.  If you know someone is hurting…be the help.

You are not alone, you cannot be replaced!

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Protection

See the picture above?  That’s a beat up safe.  I’m sure it has seen better days than this one.  At one time it was probably shiny new and it stood strong.  

But I started thinking what could have been inside of it.  I wonder what was trying to get in.  What was in there must have been pretty important.  Or was it….

To me a safe is like our hearts…beat down, torn apart, broken, seized up or shiny, standing strong, and sealed.  We as humans fight hard to keep what is in our heart safe from the world just like this safe did at one time for the possessions it held.

I know I did.  At one time I kept a tight grip on everything outside my heart. I did this because everything inside my heart was in chaos because I could not make sense of what was in my heart.  It was that way because of the decisions I made and were ashamed of.    I guess what I mean to say is that I was not dealing with what was going on inside my heart, that like the safe, my heart started getting beat up by things on the inside and the outside.  

We need to find ways to deal with what is in our heart because if we don’t what ever is trying to get in or out will eventually turn our heart broken or beaten.  

How do we do that?  

  • We need to seek God and His grace.  We needs to know He loves and forgives us therefore we need to forgive ourselves.  
  • We need to find wise counsel.  It could be a friend we trust or an actual counselor.  
  • Journal, Journal, journal..I keep an “analog blog.”  Just writing down my thoughts and feelings helps me see it versus just thinking about it.  Seeing something on paper is interpreted way different than just thinking about it and analyzing it.  

These are just a few things.  Not all will be easy but the first step is just accepting that your hearts condition may be beat up and it’s OK but you want the answer as to why it is that way.  

Trust me, we don’t want our hearts to look like that picture of the safe.  And honestly neither does God or those that truly care about you.  

It won’t be easy and it will be painful.  But in the end worth it.  

Remember, you are not alone…we’re all in this together…

 

 

Image credit: “safe” – © 2007 Paul Keller – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic

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