Friday, October 10, 2014

The most dangerous soundtrack of all

This coming Sunday at Hub City Church I'm going to be talking about the Soundtrack of worry.

Everybody I know worries to some degree about something. Some people I know are professional worriers. It's their full time job.

But worry is dangerous. In fact, it may be the most dangerous Soundtrack of all. 

One reason worry is so dangerous is that while worrying we forget that this life is preparation for eternity. 

Liz showed me this C.S. Lewis quote that I had to cut from my sermon, but it's so good I have to share it.

“If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.”

That's good stuff.

I hope you'll join us Sunday at 10 AM at Spartan 16 movie theater as we learn how to push stop on the soundtrack of worry.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

SPACEPETS

If you're not getting Rick Warren's daily devotion then you're missing out on some great content. He's in a series on why you should read the Bible and it's priceless. (You can sign up here) Today's post was worth sharing:

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” (James 1:22 NLT)
Christian meditation means thinking about Scripture. You meditate on Scripture in the same way a cow chews her cud: by chewing on it and chewing on it and chewing on it.
The “probe-it” method of Bible study is a great way to do that. When you use this method, you probe the text with questions, almost like a jackhammer. To help you do that, I’ll share with you one of the strangest acrostics I’ve ever used: SPACEPETS. Each letter in the phrase is the first letter of a key word in a question you ask of God’s Word.
  1. Is there a SIN to confess? Does God’s Word make you aware of something you need to make right with God?
  2. Is there a PROMISE to claim? There are more than 7,000 promises in God’s Word. Ask yourself if the passage you’ve read contains a universal promise. Ask whether you’ve met all the conditions of the promise. Every promise has a premise!
  3. Is there an ATTITUDE to change? Is there something you need to think about differently? Do you need to work on a negative attitude, worry, guilt, fear, loneliness, bitterness, pride, apathy, or ego?
  4. Is there a COMMAND to obey? Is there a command you need to obey, no matter how you feel?
  5. Is there an EXAMPLE to follow? Are there positive examples to follow or negative examples to avoid?
  6. Is there a PRAYER to pray? Paul, David, Solomon, Elijah, and Isaiah, among others, pray in the Bible. You can use their prayers and know that they’ll be answered because they’re in the Bible and in God’s will.
  7. Is there an ERROR to avoid? It’s wise to learn from experience, and it’s even wiser to learn from the experience of others! We don’t have time to make all the mistakes ourselves. So what can you learn from the mistakes of those in Scripture?
  8. Is there a TRUTH to believe? Often, we’ll read something in Scripture that we can’t do anything about. We simply have to believe what it says about God the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the past, the future, Heaven, Hell, or other topics in the Bible.
  9. Is there SOMETHING for which to praise God? You can always find something in a passage you can be grateful to God for, like something God has done or protected you from.
Every question in this list has a verb in it; there is something you can do associated with them. Write them in your Bible or put them on a notecard you keep with your Bible. They’ll help you be “doers of the Word” every time you meditate on the Bible.

Monday, October 06, 2014

All you need is 66 days

Every once in a while I read something that I can't stop thinking about. This rare phenomenon happened last week. It comes from a book called The One Thing by Gary Keller. I'll quote Gary:
     Contrary to what most people believe, success is not a marathon of disciplined action. Achievement doesn't require you to be a full-time disciplined person where your every action is trained and where control is the solution to every situation. Success is actually a short race--a sprint fueled by discipline just long enough for habit to kick in and take over.     When we know something that needs to be done but isn't currently getting done, we often say, "I just need more discipline." Actually, we need the habit of doing it. And we need just enough discipline to build the habit.
I don't know what goes through your mind when you read Gary's words, but to me, it is profound. Here's why:

Our lives are shaped by our habits. Most of the time, what keeps us from getting to where we want to go are our wrong habits. They could be bad habits, but they could also be good habits that aren't the best habits. As Jim Collins says, "Good is the enemy of great."

This immediately gets me thinking about reading the Bible and spending time with God. I say all the time that the best habit you could ever develop is the habit of reading your Bible on a daily basis. I believe that down to my core.

But the number one excuse I hear all the time from people who don't have that habit developed yet is that they just need more disciple. That is both wrong and right. You don't need more discipline forever. You just need discipline long enough to develop the habit.

Gary shares that, on average, a habit is developed after 66 days.

So, why not count out 66 days from today and put a big "H" on your calendar. Start today reading your Bible. Discipline yourself to do it for the next 66 days. You can do anything for two months. You might just develop a habit that will transform your life.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Regret

This past Sunday I started a teaching series called Soundtrack. The premise is this: 

Great movies have great soundtracks. When it comes to soundtracks, even though they aren't the focus of the movie, they impact us emotionally. The affect how we feel. Each of us has a soundtrack playing in the background of our minds. Too often, however, we're listening to the wrong soundtrack and it's affecting us negatively.

It's been difficult deciding which soundtracks to discuss. There really are so many. We started off talking about the soundtrack of guilt and shame. Related to guilt and shame is the soundtrack of regret. I didn't have time to talk about regret this past week, so I wanted to share a few thoughts that will hopefully be helpful to someone.

Regret is the feeling of sadness or loss over something in the past.

Last night Liz and I were talking about how to get rid of the soundtrack of regret. Here's what she reminded me of: 

Warning: It's simple but not easy.

The only way we know to get rid of regret is to forgive yourself. You know this, but sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself.

The only way you can forgive yourself is to focus on the fact that you've been forgiven. I've said before that forgiveness only makes sense if you've been forgiven. For those of you who call yourself a Christian, remember you've been forgiven because of what Jesus did for you on the cross. (If you aren't a Christian, that forgiveness is free and it's available. All you have to do is ask.) 

The forgiveness we have received is what motivates us to forgive others. It's also what should motivate you to forgive yourself.

Liz reminded me of 2 Corinthians 10:5 which tells us to "take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ." We need to take captive the thoughts of regret that run rampant in our minds and replace them with reminders that we've been forgiven.

I like Colossians 3:13 which says: Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Sometimes the "others" we need to forgive are "ourselves."

I know way too many people who are consumed with regret. Hear this. Let it sink in: You've been forgiven. You can forgive yourself. Take captive every thought, including your regret. Make it obedient to Christ by forgiving yourself. And trust what God's word says about you, ie. you're forgiven, more than your feelings. Move forward doing things right the second time.

You can't change the past, but you can shape the future. The right soundtrack can make all the difference.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Three questions that will help you make wiser decisions

I have an article coming out in this Friday's Herald-Journal. I had trouble deciding what to write about so I ended up writing two articles. This is the one that's not going to be in the paper. But even though it's not going to be in print, it will now live online forever. Enjoy.

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done? Actually, you may want to keep that to yourself. I’d hate for you to get arrested. But all of us have done some dumb stuff. We’ve made some dumb decisions.
 We may have never met face to face, but one thing I want for you is I want you to be better at making wise decisions. I don’t want you to get to the end of your life and for you to have a boat-load of regret. And I’m convinced that the key to avoiding regret and dumb decisions is figuring out how to make wise decisions or wise choices, and while I’m no expert, I have a few questions that help me make wiser decisions. I’ve learned that honestly answering these questions helps me in my decision-making. Feel free to steal these and start using them today.
 First, am I running from something or running to something? I think it’s smart to run if you’re being chased by a bear or a zombie. Too many of us, however, run from things that we need to work through. For example: We run from a bad marriage instead of working for a better marriage.
 What if we made sure we’re running to something instead of running away from something? What if we made sure we were running towards our calling or towards the vision for who we want to be in 20 years or towards healthy bodies and relationships? Running from never fixes what’s broken. It just pretends it not longer exists. That never works. Second, what do people I love and trust say they would do if they were me?
 When you make a decision it always affects someone else. Since this is always the case why not get someone else on the decision making process before you make the decision? Other people can see things in your blind spots. Other people know things that you don’t know.
 Third, from Andy Stanley, In light of my past experience, current circumstances and future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do? Andy calls that “the best question ever.” I agree. We can ask it about any decision from buying a TV to changing a job to who you should date and marry.
 What gives power to this question is asking it at the three levels of past experience, current circumstances and future hopes and dreams. Now be honest, the reason you don’t want to ask questions like these is because you already know the answer and you don’t want to let a little wisdom get in the way of what you’ve already decided to do. But how’s that working for you so far?
 It’s time to start making wise decisions. These questions are the be-all-end-all, but they are a great place to start.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Stop the name-calling

You think we'd know that calling people names isn't the way to win friends and influence people. You would think we'd know that. But in practice, we don't act like we know it.

How often do we call our opponents, the very people we'd love to win over to our side, some kind of name that immediately turns them off?

I'm reading a book right now called, Think Like a Freak, and currently I'm in a chapter titled, How to persuade people who don't want to be persuaded. It's my favorite chapter of the book so far because the title's sort of at the core of who we are as Hub City Church. It should really be a guiding pursuit of anyone who calls themselves a follower of Jesus.

One of their profound pieces of advice is to keep the insults to yourself. The authors say, Have we mentioned that name-calling is a really bad idea if you wish to persuade someone who doesn't want to be persuaded?

Reading that I'm sure you're saying to yourself, "Well, duh."

But even though this seems like common sense we're constantly putting down, insulting, or name-calling those who think/believe/act/behave differently than us. We say things that further the divide of us vs. them.

So how's that working for you?

Maybe there's a better way to persuade others who don't want to be persuaded. Instead of name-calling we need a strategy that has as it's foundation respect and dignity. We need a strategy that prioritizes relationship. 

If you call yourself a Christian, that's the exact strategy your heavenly father used to persuade you. Maybe we should all follow his example.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Soundtrack


A good soundtrack can make or break a movie. Epic movies have an equally epic soundtrack.

What's interesting about a soundtrack, however, is that most of the time we don't even know it's there, but it's there, and it's impacting how we feel and perceive what's going on around us.

But soundtracks aren't just for movies. We all have a soundtrack playing in the background of our lives. Too many of us have the wrong soundtrack.

Join us at Hub City Church this Sunday as we kick off a new series called Soundtrack. 10 AM - Spartan 16 Movie Theater.