Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Random Thoughts, nearing Age 50

I’m soon to turn 50 years old, and the hour glass suggests that I may have gathered some wisdom.  These are some lessons that I wish I had learned a whole lot earlier.  I could have saved myself a lot of grief.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Lighten up and laugh at yourself.  Most things are not such a big deal.

A thankful heart is a happy heart.  – Madam Blueberry

Assume that other people like you, whether friend or stranger.  Assuming they don’t like you makes you defensive.  Wondering if they like you keeps you probing and focused on yourself.  Besides, if they really don’t like you, that’s their problem—usually.  If you assume that people like you, then you become more likable.

Confidence comes from preparation, says John Maxwell.  The best way to become more confident is to become more prepared.

Everything seems worse in the middle of the night.  I can’t tell you how many times I have worried about something in a restless night, then in the morning wondered, “How could that have bothered me so much?”

When I am worried, it helps me to remind myself that I don’t want to live that way.  I have spent far too much time being torqued out over big things and small things.  Looking back, I realize that I have missed out on the joy of too many occasions.  I don’t want to live that way.  I want to experience the joy every day.

Sabbath is not a luxury.  Life goes much better when I take time to do nothing.  Stillness gives me emotional space, increases my joy, and makes me do a better job at whatever I do.  Even Jesus observed the Sabbath every week.  I gain energy not only from the time of rest, but also from anticipating the time of rest.

I understand now why grownups so often asked me to read small print for them when I was a youth.  It may be annoying to the kid, but it’s even more annoying to the grownup.  And for the presbyopic, digital watches are impossible to reprogram.  The readout shows a constellation of blobs around the digits.  These blobs represent functions and alerts, but I never know what they are.  Even the directions require a magnifying glass to read, and it’s not worth the effort.

I can control my attitude.  It can be done.  It takes work.  I have an enemy who wants to turn me negative all the time.  I let him win far too much.  I have an Advocate who put him in his place.  What I put into my mind makes a big difference.

 Technology is great, except when it isn’t.

It’s not easy to be yourself.  I’ve spent most of my life trying to figure that out.  But life is much more fun when I’m being myself.

 You are never too old to have fun.  Some things need to be done, just because they are fun, and for no other reason.  I think that puts a smile on God’s face.

I have always wanted to write an article of random thoughts.  Now I have, and I did it before turning 50.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I learned something today.  Well, I hope I learn something every day, but I was surprised to hear of a country for the first time.  Eritrea is across the Red Sea from Saudi Arabia and Yemen.  It is a mostly Muslim country, but has a strong population of Orthodox Christians.

Praying with Operation World's prayer guide, I learned about the strong growth of the church there, in spite of government regulations.

Jesus is on the move.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Notes on Amendment 1

The state of North Carolina has taken a lot of heat since passing Amendment 1 last week.  The amendment provides that marriages recognized in the state can only be between one man and one woman. 

After the election, the whole nation seems to be looking at us.  As far as the media are concerned, North Carolina voters are stupid and backwards.  Oddly, the media rarely mention that NC now joins the ranks of 30 other states with similar constitutional laws in place.

It seems that the media want to paint the picture that NC is way out of step with most of the country.  Actually, it looks like we are very much in step with most of the country.

But then, we are on dangerous ground when we believe that morality can be determined by majority vote.  Most states ban gay marriage, but that doesn't prove that it is wrong.  And when polls seem to say that most Americans favor gay marriage, that doesn't mean that it is right.

Ultimate truth is not determined by majority vote.  Suppose by majority vote we legalized murder.  Would murder then be right?  Morality is really based on something beyond human opinion.  When we can make right things wrong and wrong things right by merely voting, we live in a bizarre world where campaigning and media blitzes determine "truth."

I prefer real truth.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Making a Difference

We all want to make a difference in life. Some things make more difference than others.

There are some small things we can do that will make a big difference in the world. Here are a few suggestions.

Skip the pizza and buy untold meals for a needy family. At, you can buy two chickens for $25 for a family in the Phillippines. They can eat the eggs, and sell the offspring. That could change a family forever.

You could skip a couple of cups of coffee and for $10 support the World Vision education fund.

You could make a point of reading the international news once a week, and pray for the needs you learn about.

I would rather do small things that make a big impact, than big things that make little or no impact.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Twenty Day March

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, spoke at Catalyst last fall.  He talked about two teams who were seeking to be the first to reach the South Pole.  One group aggressively moved forward when the weather was good, but stayed in camp when the weather was bad.

The second group only marched about 20 miles every day, in good weather and bad.  They missed lots of opportunities to cover great distances, when they could have traveled more than 20 miles.  They also pushed ahead, even when conditions were not favorable.

The result was that the first team perished, the second team achieved their goal.

The moral of the story:  push hard every day to do those things that advance your goals.  Do it every day, in good weather and bad.  Don't over do it when you can.  Don't indulge your laziness when you don't feel like working.

Author Daniel Steele has a similar work ethic.  She pushes herself to write every day.  Her idea is that if you write 300 pages and only have 85 good ones, you still have accomplished meaningful work.  And she has dozens of best-selling novels to show for it.

What's your twenty mile march?  Are you moving ahead today?