Your greatest enemy isn’t the opposition, it’s the distractions. – re-posted Jan 4, 2011
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams – re-posted from Jan 5, 2011
Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races, one after another. – Walter Elliot re-posted from January 7, 2011 at 2:58pm
Modern mankind can go anywhere, do everything and be completely curious about the universe. But only a rare person now and then is curious enough to want to know God. A. W. Tozer – re-posted from Jan 1, 2011
DO IT ANYWAY!
It’s been 26 years now, since Kathy and I moved our family from Hampton, VA to Glen Burnie, MD to
become the pastors of Abundant Life Church. Looking back I remember when I began to realize that the longevity and legacy that we dreamed about was actually taking place. While I was attending a conference and sharing a meal with a number of other attendees, one of them asked me, “How long have you been at your church?” I responded 20 years. I can still hear and see the shock on this person’s face and then he replied, “Well, you’re either crazy or you really love it.” I responded, “It’s possible that it’s both, it just depends which day or season you’re in.” We all laughed because we all knew how true it was.
Last weekend as I was teaching about how God would like to use each of us to change the world and in particular encouraging us to love people outrageously. I repeated a quote that I hadn’t used for quite some time. And, it struck a particular chord in many of our hearts. It reminded us of how important our motivation is for what we are doing, enduring or enjoying. It refreshed me as it refreshed others and in reflecting on its influence I was sure it may be just what some of you might need to read. It also struck me that it could be an important key to longevity in anything we are doing.
“People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People who really want help may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway. Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it’s all between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.”*
It’s true serving people can be hazardous. On the other hand there are few more satisfying and rewarding experiences in life than to know you’ve made a difference in someone’s life even if it takes a while to be able to see it and celebrate it. I received a phone call yesterday from a widow whose husband I had conducted his funeral service for over a decade ago. She reported that a young family member made a commitment to follow Christ at that service. He said he was actually made fun of by his siblings for his decision that day as he recounted his story to her. Now a decade later, he’s been living his life in following Christ, serving others and providing a wonderful legacy of faith to his family. It’s a good thing he didn’t let the ridicule keep him from doing what he decided that day. Listen, whatever good thing you’re thinking about not doing, do it anyway. It’s likely to pay greater dividends than you can ever imagine.
*Taken from the book, Do It Anyway: The Handbook for Finding Personal Meaning and Deep Happiness in a Crazy World author, Kent M. Keith. According to the author, Mother Teresa was so moved by these statements that she hung them on a wall in her orphanage in Calcutta, India.
Wow, has the summer flown by this year! My wife, Kathy and I have enjoyed many special moments with friends, family and even few on our own. A special trip that we made this summer was to Springfield, MO to visit with Kathy’s family. We did that as a road trip which is something we haven’t done in quite a while. It was rather refreshing to ride across country seeing a lot of familiar sights. One of the common activities of road travel is looking for recognizable milestones along the way.
According to Wikipedia, milestones are constructed to provide reference points along the road. This can be used to reassure travelers that the proper path is being followed, and to indicate either distance traveled or the remaining distance to a destination. Another definition of a milestone is that it can also be an important event, as in a person’s career, the history of a nation, or the advancement of knowledge in a field; a turning point.
It is this latter definition I’d like to reflect on for a moment.
Kathy and I are celebrating two significant milestones in our lives this year. One is a wedding anniversary, and the other is our 25th year in leading Abundant Life Church. On August 23, 2010 we passed the milestone of 35 years of marriage. It truly has gone by so quickly. We’ve created so many wonderful memories and best of all we’re still best friends and lovers. Both are equally important to a healthy marriage, at least in our book. Don’t worry, I’m not writing that book now.
So now you may be wondering, are you doing anything special for your anniversary? The answer is “absolutely”. We’re returning to Belgium where Kathy’s brother Terry lives. Over a decade ago, on our first trip to Belgium we visited a little town called Brugge. Kathy immediately fell in love with this place. It’s a very hospitable medieval city built on canals. It’s often referred to as the Venice of the North. Well, as any savvy husband would do, I proceeded to really like this place too.
First of all, it has water all through the town so you can ride a boat through the most picturesque parts of the city which is very cool. As you may know from my first blog, I’m a big fan of water, boats and any place near them. Secondly, it has a fabulous Market Square with a huge bell tower that rings on the hour, magnificent historic buildings, shopping and lots of fine restaurants and outdoor cafe`s.
One of the greatest lessons Kathy and I have learned in 35 years of marriage is to learn to love what your spouse loves. It is a gift to each other. I believe it is saying, you are so important to me, that I cannot imagine missing out on experiencing the joy this activity brings to you. This is something we do for each other. So, we’ll be spending three nights again in Brugge, while we’re in Belgium in September.
Family connections can be a wonderful thing. Thanks Terry and Ruthanne for hosting us, we’re looking forward to being with you.
I’m posting a 3 minunte youtube video to give you a glimpse of what we enjoy. I hope you enjoy some of the picturesque scenes in this short clip.
What is a midlife crisis?
According to Kathleen Doheny of WebMD, it’s the stuff of jokes and stereotypes — the time in life when you do outrageous, impractical things like quit a job impulsively, buy a red sports car, or dump your spouse. For years, midlife crisis conjured those images. But these days, the old midlife crisis is more likely to be called a midlife transition — and it’s not all bad. The term crisis often doesn’t fit, mental health experts say, because while it can be accompanied by serious depression, it can also mark a period of tremendous growth. The trick, of course, is to realize when the transition is developing into depression so you can get help.
Okay, now that we’re all worried about me buying two Jaguars, I guess I should make it clear right away, I’m not depressed and it was two Jaguar bicycles that I bought. (see pics below) However, I do like the line in Kathleen’s article about “a midlife transition marking a period of tremendous growth” as a statement about where I’m headed with my life. I’ve always believed if a person isn’t growing they’re dying. So, I’ve always tried to keep pursuing knowledge and growth experiences both in my vocation and in everyday life. In fact, writing this blog is one of those new life experiences for me. I’m not to sure about this, we’ll see how it goes.
Ok, sorry to disappoint you if you thought I meant I bought two Jaguar automobiles. If it wasn’t what you were thinking, it sure was what I was thinking when I bought these bicycles. I love telling my friends that my wife, Kathy and I bought a pair of matching Jaguars just for fun. Of course, then I explain.
Kathy and I decided a couple of years ago we needed a fun way to get a little more exercise so we ventured out to buy two bicycles. We had rediscovered the joy of riding bicycles again in August of 2000, when we were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in Cape May, NJ, a historic Victorian bed and breakfast beachfront town. So, you guessed it, the bicycles had to be beach cruisers. No laughing please, especially by you serious long distance cyclists who think you’re Lance Armstrong. Like I said, we were out to just get a little exercise in a way that was fun. And, it’s worked. We really enjoy riding our beach cruisers around our community, on bike trails and especially along beachfront towns.
Regardless, of the season of life you are in, it’s a great idea to keep pursing learning and growing to experience all that life has to offer physically, relationally, mentally and spiritually. I don’t know about you but I’m determined to keep pursuing each season of life as a period of tremendous growth.
Well, do you think my purchase of two Jaguars was an outrageously impractical thing to do? Check my blog from time to time because surely I’ve done some other stuff that may qualify for sure.