Following Your Passion

Cheerful smiling funny boy on a green background.

(The Spiritual Passion Edition)

What happens when senioritis and spring fever hit at the same time?  That all depends, I guess, on whether you’re the student who’s writing or the one who’s grading.

But even if you’re neither – if you’re the poor soul who must trudge off to work, there is something to be learned and something to be challenged by.

So while I’m plowing through papers in search of the next little nuggets of profound writing, I thought I would share some insights from former students.  These aren’t about spring fever, but spiritual passion. And they’re very well put. It’s a quick read, but I think you’ll be blessed and challenged.  And if you’d like to see more of these, click here and here.

So slow down a minute, enjoy these seven nuggets of great writing, but also take your spiritual pulse while you’re at it. You’ll be glad you did. [click to continue…]

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Be the Light

I don’t think I’d have to argue long to convince you we’re living in a dark world.  Tune in your favorite news source and it seems that it’s a daily reminder that whatever was dark yesterday has only gotten darker today, and – get this – the only “fix” for it is to change the rules and make yesterday’s “dark” today’s “light.”

Pardon my cynicism, but pay attention to what everybody is calling “evil” today. All other things being equal, a decade from now people will openly declare it as “good” or “right” or necessary.

I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be surprised that the world has its own answers to the messes it’s in.  Even now, in the United States of Iowa, one Democrat and 72 Republicans are mixing it up with the locals, presenting themselves as the light of the world.

I think you know better. [click to continue…]

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Shoes on the Altar

Update:  You can see the video here:

Love where you live.

That’s the theme at our church for the next few weeks.

There are lots of planned ways to do that over the next few weeks, and it’s fun to be a part of that.  But the goal, as Pastor Alan explained yesterday, is to help us get to the point where we do it in the moment.  Don’t just plan to love where you live sometime next week.  Love where you live in this moment.

His inspiration, in part:  Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan.

Alan said he’d been reading that story over and over, and was impressed by the fact that the Samaritan loved his neighbor in the immediate.  He didn’t say, “Hey, if you’re still in the ditch when I come back through I’ll stop and help you.”  He helped him as soon as he encountered the need.

I loved it.  He said it kinda funny, so I laughed, but totally agreed with the point.

Then came the curve ball. [click to continue…]

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Web

It was spring 1973 when I happened to catch a little announcement in my home church bulletin that would change my life.  It was an invitation to “Mission 73” – a youth choir trip to Virginia Beach, Virginia, for anyone who had completed the ninth grade.

To say the trip was life-changing is to cheapen the phrase, and the memory of the trip.  You can read more about that here.

In the wisdom and economy of God, He decided that the best way to grow me up, call me out, expose my weaknesses, and reveal my gifts was to put me on a bus or plane with a group of people for a short-term trip, where the mission was serve Him well or fail terribly.  It started with that one trip, continued on through my high school and college years, including a couple of individual or personal partner trips for extended periods, then later internationally to places like the Ukraine, Prague, Vienna, and Thailand.

Now this year we are pleased and excited to announce the launch of a ministry that provides that opportunity to others. After months of talking, praying, planning, and waiting,  LifeVesting International will officially open its doors sometime near June 1 of this year, for the purpose of supporting the work of Christian pastors or other Christian leaders worldwide by providing assistance in the form of volunteer labor, consultation, and/or training.

We recognize that there are many different organizations, large and small, whose purpose is to fill Christ’s Great Commission.   What does the world need with another one?  Why are we doing this?  Aside from simple obedience God (the ultimate consideration), here are seven reasons. [click to continue…]

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Your Purpose Green Road Sign

Welcome back to the tour.  Hope you enjoyed the break, and I hope you have a good, roughed up version of a personal mission statement.  We’re ready to move to the advanced part of the lab.  Before we go in, remember, this is MY lab and it’s still messy.  Also remember that this work was done because of a felt need for change.  If you are absolutely satisfied that your personal mission statement is something you can organize your work and life around, with conviction and passion, leave it alone.

Oh… and if you haven’t taken the time to do a little soul work and put your mission statement together, back up to the first part of the tour and get caught up.  Otherwise, we may hijack your tombstone and just say, “He (or she) was too busy to wonder why.”

Ready to go in?  Let’s to this. [click to continue…]

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Plasma Ball

Hello everybody and welcome to the laboratory.  I hope this is educational or helpful to you, and we’ll go inside in just a minute.  Just a couple of guidelines first, so you can benefit the most from the tour.

First, this is MY lab.  It’s up to you to set up YOUR laboratory however you think best.

Second, it’s a little raw and messy because I just finished a major project redesign.  At least I THINK it’s finished.

One other thing… as your tour guide, my job is to remind you, this is not a museum, but an active living and learning space.  So every once in a while I’ll ask you to stop and apply this to your own life and learning.  Deal?  Okay, let’s go… [click to continue…]

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Beautiful view of silhouette of airplane

(A Fable)

Aging and sad, a grand hulk of useless machinery sits in an airplane hangar when it probably should have been sold for scrap.  Designed by an Engineer as an elegant flying machine, this plane has never left the ground or even taxied the runway.  For reasons that still don’t make sense, when the time came to assemble all the parts, in the end the plane looked more assaulted than assembled.

To an untrained eye everything appeared to be in place.  There was a fuselage, wings, wheels, and engine shrouds.  But if you looked closer, you would see that the assemblers failed to actually install the engines.

The assemblers did other damage to the interior of the plane as it was being put together – so much, in fact, that the order was canceled and a new plane secured. Having royally failed inspection, the plane was unwanted and unneeded.  It would have cost more to fix what was broken than it would have simply to start over.  So for years, lost in the shadow of what could have been, the airplane sat, exposed to the elements, powerless, lifeless, and unwanted.

Word reached the Engineer of the plight of the flying machine. Moved by a sense of love for his designed creation and a conviction that airplanes were made to fly, the Engineer did the unthinkable.  [click to continue…]

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Man with hands folded in prayer

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.

Yes, I have searched you and known you.

Now I want you to search me and know Me. 

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

I want you to know when I sit down and rise up.

You understand my thought from afar.

I want you to understand my thoughts,

even in the places that seem distant.

You scrutinize my path and my lying down,

I want you to search Me like that.

And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

I can be found!

I can make you intimately acquainted with all My ways. [click to continue…]

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Against the Wind

It’s one of the loneliest of all encounters,
The most agonizing of all relationships,
Where it seems as though the very air you breathe
Pushes hard against you as you try to move forward.
Yet move you must.
The calling is too strong…
The need is too great…
Press on …
Press on against the wind. [click to continue…]

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Alpha Symbol

Something keeps you moving.  It gets you out of bed in the mornings.  It narrates your hopes and dreams.  It defines your values and informs your motives in all you do and say.  It’s often invisible or subconscious, and at times can act as a puppet master or a judge.

Call it your Alpha, or your First Life.  Some people call it “Lord,” “boss,” or “Prime Mover.”

Regardless of the name, the good part is that you can decide who or what your Alpha is.

Meanwhile, despite what you may be reading in the latest edition of the Not-My-Home News, you have been included in a cosmic Master Plan for all time.  God has His own Alpha, and invites you to enter into that experience with Him.

“He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything” (Colossians 1:18).

“He Himself,” of course, refers to Jesus Christ.  And because He is the first to rise from the dead and remain alive (to this very day), Paul says He is our First Life… our Alpha. [click to continue…]

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