Monday, April 30, 2018

March 31, 2018 Comparisons

Brotherly Competition

We did a lot of wrestling at home
Wrestling in the house
I grew up with my brother - we were 'Irish Twins'.  We were born 355 days apart.  As a result there was a lot of self-imposed competition between the two of us when we were younger.  When we got into high school and our natural abilities became more obvious, it was pretty much pointless for us to compete against each other anymore, so we became friends.  This was great.  However, I still have this competitive nature inside me that wants to show people that 'I can do things well, too.'  And it gets the best of me sometimes.  I still see this happening in my life now in comparisons I make - comparing my life to others and getting 'worked up' and/or 'uptight' about feeling second class or passed over.

A couple of examples:

Garden Valley Baptist Church

I lived for almost 4 years in Texas. While I was there I got involved playing piano with a small country church - Garden Valley Baptist Church.  I felt like I made a difference there - with the youth, with the services and the singing.  I was 20 at the time and still not entirely comfortable in my own boots, but trying to make a difference.  And I felt I had done that to some degree there.  In fact, I had turned down a real enticing offer to be involved with a praise band at another church because I wanted to be loyal to what I was doing there. 

Browsing for antiques in Mineola, Texas, I bump into pastor friends from 20 years ago
Browsing through an antique store
A couple of years ago we went back to Texas as a family.  My daughter wanted to for her graduation trip, so we showed the kids where my wife and I met, and some of the places we hung out and restaurants we went to.  Browsing in an antique store in Mineola one day during that trip, we bumped
into the couple who were pastoring Garden Valley Baptist Church back when I was playing piano there.  This was a surprise for everyone as over 20 years had passed.  We quickly caught up with each other, and then the pastor told me about a young fellow who had made 'a huge impact' in the church after I had left.  How this other young fellow had made such an impact that one of the ladies had paid his way through college, etc.

I didn't let on at the time, but I was thunderstruck.  Here I thought I'd made a big impact, and it turns out that someone came after me and had a larger influence.  Someone else had a 'bigger story than me' in the life of that church.  I was disappointed, particularly because I had passed on the opportunity with the other church in favour of what I thought was a good thing.  Did I miss out on something better God had for me?  Did I blow it?  Would my life be totally different now if I had taken that chance with that other church and tossed loyalty to the wind?

Software Contracting

I've been a software contractor for 13 years now.  I've worked in a variety of companies and industries and got a fair bit of experience under my belt.  I recently started a contract with a company I've actually contracted at in the past - they asked if I could come back and help them again in a different department.  It had been almost 2 years since I'd worked there previously.  The timing and other details worked out well (I've got another God story about that) so I went back contracting with them.   Upon return, I've found that some people who have worked there through the duration now have more knowledge and experience specific to the company than I do - which has changed since I worked there previously - and this has been a challenge for me.  What if I had stayed and never left - where would I be now?  I have to swallow my pride and ask lots of questions, even though I knew the answers to them in the past.  I end up comparing my standing and situation to others and feeling... bad.

What to Make of This?

So how do I get out of this 'funk' I find myself in when I start making comparisons like these (because I definitely get into a 'funk' and it can totally mess with my attitude)?  I need to remember a few things:
  • My perspective, or other people's perspective about me - its not God's perspective.  He's got a different view on things.  I need to learn to look at my life through Heaven's eyes.
  • My responsibility here is to do what God told me to do, and not worry or be concerned about my results, and how they compare to others.  I have to encourage myself to do what He's given me to do with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. To trust Him with my life.  He knows me best.  He knows what I'm ready for and when.  He knows what would ruin me.  I need to trust Him.  He makes all things 'right' in His time.
  • All of us that are working for the kingdom are on the same team.   Paul said something like 'I planted the seed, Apollos watered, and some one else harvested.' Its teamwork for the Kingdom and I can't get our knickers in a knot about who does what, or who appears to get the accolades. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

March 25, 2018 Look At My Life Through Heaven's Eyes

I've got to remember where my value lies and look at my life through heaven's eyesA Heavenly Perspective

When I get a message from God three times in one day, I pay attention.  It felt like that happened today (March 25, 2018).  I generally try and start my mornings by reading Rick Warren's 'Daily Hope' blog/devotional.  Today's was about God being aware of me and my needs.  Click this link to read the full post for today.   The part that caught my attention was 'God knows my faithfulness' and how that He sees everything that I do that is good and right.  Nothing good I do is ever done in vain.  Galatians 6:9  'So we must not be tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don't give up.'

Then in church today, Pastor Jess was talking about Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40), and how Philip was a more 'ordinary' disciple.  God wants to use ordinary people.  (link to the podcast - Sermon is titled 'The Power of One')   I didn't realized that a few chapters after where the Eunuch was reading in Isaiah, the prophet Isaiah talks about 'Salvation for Others' - specifically calling out Eunuchs.  Jess pointed out how they were ostracized in society back then and seen as nobodies, through no fault of their own.  God wanted them to know that they mattered, too.  That they could have a place in His kingdom, and that he would give them an everlasting name that would last forever.  They aren't outcasts or good-for-nothings in His eyes.

How can you see what your life is worth or where your value lies?  Through heaven's eyes!  Prince of Egypt dance
Finally, one of my daughter's favourite movies is The Prince of Egypt.  We happened upon the DVD this weekend so we bought it and started watching it this evening.  We hadn't seen it in probably ten years.  What a powerful animated flick!  When Moses leaves Egypt and is accepted into Jethro's family, they have a party in his honour.  Moses tries to play it down because he felt he hadn't done anything honourable (still thinking about abandoning his extended Jewish family back in Egypt).  Jethro says 'Nonsense!' and sings a song called 'Through Heaven's Eyes' that has lyrics that completely line up with what I felt God was encouraging me with today:

A single thread in a tapestry,   Though it's colour brightly shines,
Can never see it's purpose,   In the pattern of the grand design.

And the stone that sits on the very top,  Of the mountain's mighty face,
Doesn't think it's more important,  Than the stones that form the base!

So how can you see what your life is worth   Or what your value lies?
You will never see through the eyes of man,
You must look at your life,  look at your life through heaven's eyes!

So how do you judge what a man is worth?  By what he builds or buys?
You can never see through your eyes on earth,
Look at your life through heaven's eyes!

You are someone special in God's eyes.  What you do for Him is important - no matter how small, trivial, and unnoticed it seems. God says you valuable to Him - He bought and paid for you with a price.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A Purpose Driven Life - Chapter 40

A Purpose Driven Life Chapter 40 - Living With Purpose

Chapter Overview:  This was the final chapter. Rick encouraged the reader to spend some time with God and work out in a paragraph or a page what their purpose in life is (in the context of the 5 purposes of the book)

2011 (40 years old)

The thing that stuck with me from what Rick said in this chapter was a phrase in Acts 13:36 'David served God's purpose in his generation'  It's a pretty good challenge.  After stewing over it for a bit I realized that to be successful at something like that you have to take it one day at a time. Just try and serve God's purpose for my life today - let tomorrow worry about itself.

Pastor Dave had a good message in church in Sunday about Moses and excuses. Do I fall back on excuses so I don't have to be obedient to God? I do. I have a few of them. God, help me to not use them anymore.  Instead, please will move/change them.

David served God's purpose in his generation How do I do that?
Then yesterday in small group we talked about God and joy/celebration. I thought it was interesting that most had a different view than me on Genisis 1 - creation. '...and God said it was good.'  I have always taken that as 'satisfied.' Others saw God as more of a little kid really enjoying creation and having fun with it.
Did God say things in the Bible with a smile on his face and we don't know? The calling of Moses for example  - did God push Moses to go to Egypt with a laugh? What kind of a filter are we listening to God with or reading the Bible with?

2016 (45 years old)

Living with purpose.  It's the only way to really live. 'For David served the purposes of God in his generation' Acts 13:36. When will I take time to write down the answers to life's 5 great purposes?  When will I put my purpose on paper?

  1. What will be the centre of my life?  The question of worship... When God is at the centre you worship.  When he isn't, you worry. 'A sense of God's wholeness will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life'.  Phil 4:7
  2. What will be the character of my life?  The question of discipleship. What kind of person will you be (not do). 2 Peter 1:5
  3. What will be the contribution of your life? Question of service.  Knowing how your combination of spiritual gifts. Heart, abilities, personality, and experiences make you a good fit for a particular role in the family of God. 
  4. What will be the communication of me life?  Question of mission to unbelievers. Being a father who raises Godly kids is part of my mission 
  5. What will be the community of my life?  Question of fellowship. Involvement with church family

I started to get a little annoyed with Rick trying too hard to make his statements sound cool - having key words start with the same letter etc.

For background on what these 'Purpose Driven Life' posts are about, click this link.

Monday, April 23, 2018

A Purpose Driven Life - Chapter 39

A Purpose Driven Life Chapter 39 - Balance

Chapter Overview:  In this chapter Rick talks about balancing the different 'purposes' from the book in your life. Ha also talks about doing periodic self evaluations of your spiritual walk.
Balance in the Christian walk. How would Jesus live today?

2011 (40 years old)

It bothers me a bit that he is so self promoting in his book. I think Appendix 2 is exclusively books that either he has written or are from Saddleback church.
Looking at my life from the perspective that he writes from, there isn't much room for life the way I live it now. Frankly, I was a little surprised that this chapter on balance didn't once mention marriage or family. Quoting scripture the way he does in the book I could easily see him using some quotes from the Gospels about leaving all to follow Jesus. Is that really what Jesus wants?  Leave our kids behind to share His good news? Where's the balance in that?

2016 (45 years old)

'Live life with a due sense of responsibility, not as those who do not know the meaning of life, but as those who do.'  Eph 5:15. Which of the four activities will I begin in order to stay on track and balance God's five purposes in my life?  The four activities were:

  1. Talk it through with a spiritual partner or small group.  I think it would be good to try and do this with my wife. 
  2. Give yourself a regular spiritual checkup
  3. Write down your progress in a journal (already doing this, ha ha!)
  4. Pass on what you know to others

For background on what these 'Purpose Driven Life' posts are about, click this link.

Friday, April 20, 2018

A Purpose Driven Life - Chapter 38

A Purpose Driven Life Chapter 38 - Becoming a World-Class Christian

Chapter Overview:  The great commission is my commission. 'Send us around the world with the news of your saving power and your eternal plan for all mankind. Psalm 67:2. This chapter is similar to the last one. It could probably get summed up in one of the sentences that Rick wrote: 'You are either a world class Christian or a worldly one.' 

2011 (40 years old)

Absolutes like 'You are either a world class Christian or a worldly one.' really frustrate me. We are all working out our salvation, aren't we? What is the point of the scare tactics? Unfortunately preachers everywhere like to use fear to motivate people.  I'm really not sure I agree with that. Perhaps there are good arguments for it in situations, (Jonah and Nineva, Sodom and Gomorrah) but I still find it frustrating. Maybe that's just me.

Rick spent a good bit of the chapter talking about how small the world had gotten in the last 2000 years and how much easier it is (or it should be) to fulfill the great commission. That all made sense to me.

2016 (45 years old)

What steps can I take to prepare to go on a short term missions trip this year?  I don't know.  Short like a concert with Grace Revolution or taking the BCS band downtown?  God, you'll have to open my mind and open the door for this one to happen. Rick made some good points in this chapter though about changing my thinking. Mature Christianity is changing from 'me' centred thinking to 'other' centred thinking.  The difference between children and adults...  Kids think about themselves.  Adults (parents) have to think about others.
Prayer is the only tool that non-Christians are defenceless against. Our most important tool. Shift from here and now thinking to enter all thinking. 'Fix our eyes on what is not seen'. 'Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts upon you'. Shift from thinking of excuses to thinking of creative ways to fulfill your mission. You don't need a special 'call' to fulfill the great commission - you've already got one.

For background on what these 'Purpose Driven Life' posts are about, click this link.

You don't need a special 'call' to fulfill the great commission - you've already got one

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Purpose Driven Life - Chapter 37

A Purpose Driven Life Chapter 37 - Sharing Your Life Message

Chapter Overview:  Sharing your life message. God wants to say something to the world through me. 'Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, but do it with gentleness and respect' 1 Peter 3:15.

2011 (40 years old)

I really like what Rick said about 'being witnesses'. Our responsibility is to share our story, not to argue or advocate our position. We aren't supposed to be lawyers. Just share about our personal relationship with god and what he's done for us. I was thinking about this in the shower this morning and wondering... So if I'm sharing my story with Jim here at work, he would be fine with it, but he'd say 'what's in this for me that I don't have already?' My answer should be 'an assurance and a hope for the future and a relationship with the king of kings.'

Sharing my life message.  Being a witness and not a preacherHowever, given some of the things that Rick and Jesus said in the previous chapters - do I have an assurance? I'm feeling today like the message is confused, quite frankly. There's the sheep and the goats, and there's being saved by grace through faith so no one can boast. How is there assurance when one message is contrary to the other?

2016 (45 years old)

As I reflect on my personally story, who does God want me to share it with?  This was another really good chapter. I felt grace reading this one and chapter 35. Quite different than how I felt 5 years ago. Our own personal experiences are powerful. We forget that. We are called to be witnesses - not attorneys. In answering the question above, I think of the coming Friday piano lunch session at the church and how I can share my experience with a song.  I also think of sharing it with the youth band. I have watched a couple of excerpts of talks done by Darlene Zschech lately, and really touched by the smile, joy, and grace and acceptance that flies from her.  '...full of grace and truth'. We are called to be like Jesus.  How can people see the hope in the verse above if I don't reflect it and act it out. I liked the questions Rick asked in the different sections in this chapter: things to ensure you cover when you write out your testimony; questions to jog your memory about your life lessons. Those are great. I think I had a story for every question he posed...

I actually took some time and answered those questions here (published May 7th, 2018 in this blog)

For background on what these 'Purpose Driven Life' posts are about, click this link.

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Purpose Driven Life - Chapter 36

A Purpose Driven Life Chapter 36 - You Were Made for a Mission

Chapter Overview: You were made for a mission. 'Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age' 
Matt 28:19-20.
Ministry is my service to believers.  Mission is my service to unbelievers

2011 (40 years old)

Rick differentiates between ministry and mission. He says ministry is service we do for the Body of Christ and we also have a mission to everyone that doesn't know Jesus. He talks about his father who was a preacher for 50 years and how on his deathbed in delirium he was still trying to save one last soul. Rick also mentioned the great commission and how it must have been important for Jesus to mention it 5 different times.

2016 (45 years old)

What fears have kept me from the mission God made me to accomplish?  What keeps me from telling others the Good News?  Probably what they think.... They won't care... It won't mean anything to them... I won't do it affectively.
Ministry is my service to believers. Mission is my service to unbelievers. It's a responsibility. Rick's story about his dad is certainly inspiring.

For background on what these 'Purpose Driven Life' posts are about, click this link.

Friday, April 13, 2018

A Purpose Driven Life - Chapter 35

A Purpose Driven Life Chapter 35 - God Uses Our Weaknesses

Chapter Overview:  God's power in your weakness. God works best when I admit my weakness. 'My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness' 2 Cor 12:9

2011 (40 years old)

Probably the example that sticks in mind the most from this chapter is Jacob. He was dependent most of his life on his own devices, but then when he wrestled with God and asked God to bless him, God dislocated his hip, forcing Jacob to be dependent on God for the rest of his life.  Rick listed a bunch of others with weaknesses - Paul and his thorn, Moses and his temper, Peter and his mouth, Jonah...

Today through Wednesday the church is having a prayer and fasting time.  Frankly it's a little scary to me what God would/could do through this time. I really struggle with trust. I guess there's a good weakness for my list. Actually, there's nothing like some fasting to expose some of your weaknesses. Fear and lack of trust for both God and my wife are right up there, too.
Christians, like snowflakes are frail.  But when they stick together, they can stop traffic

2016 (45 years old)

Am I limiting God's power in my life by trying to hide my weaknesses?  What do I need to be honest about in order to help others?  I'm socially awkward. I don't think fast on my feet.  I was actually thinking a bit about the subject of this chapter this week with school band starting back up. I liked 2 things Rick said in this chapter...  While strength breeds an independent spirit, our limitations show how much we need one another.

'Christians, like snowflakes, are frail. But when they stick together they can stop traffic'.  

Our strengths create competition, but our weaknesses create community. You must decide whether you want to 'impress' people, or 'influence' people.  Impressing people is done from a distance, but you must get close to influence them.

For background on what these 'Purpose Driven Life' posts are about, click this link.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

July 10, 1990 An Epic Journey

An Epic Journey - July 10, 1990

Craig and myself standing on rocks by the Clearwater River during our epic bike journey
Craig and myself standing on rocks by the Clearwater River
 during our epic bike journey
Craig, Kelly, and I went for a long bike ride today.  We rode up the Clearwater River Road all the way to the top (37km one way) and back. The mudslide at kilometre 10 still blocked car traffic, so we were on our own past that point.  It was Hot.  Kelly's chain broke at the farthest point we could possibly be from civilization 2 km in on the Sylvia falls trail.  It was a trying day for all of us.  I thought about somethings while I was unwinding later at home that I was not too satisfied with myself about and maybe could have done better.

Somewhere in the past year - I'd say treeplanting, since that is the ultimate test of human fellowship and goodwill, I've started to be totally honest with people about how I am feeling - whether it be in general or about them.  No Filter. Whatever have you.  Craig, I'm sure can verify this.  On numerous occasions I told him outright that I thought he was a cheap jerk who didn't care about anyone else on the job, hinting about his planting partner (me), and who could only think about himself.  I also told him on one occasion that I thought he was so cheap, he didn't have friends - to him they were acquaintances that operated on a give and receive basis.  I always told him this when we were on good terms.  Usually he knew when we were on bad terms because I'd give him a look.  Craig is a good guy at heart, though.

It's funny... it seems that the only time I get in the real ornery mood and I'm honest with people is when we're in a bad situation or I'm tired (physically, mentally - of brain or of the people from hanging around too much).

Kelly at Sylvia Falls on the Mahood River - the furthest part of our journey
Kelly at Sylvia Falls on the Mahood River -
the furthest part of our journey.  Kelly's chain had already
snapped at this point
Today, I was getting tired of the way Kelly was riding his bike after his chain broke.  He'd always cut in front of me just far enough ahead so it wouldn't seem like a bother but I couldn't see the road.  I snapped once but he didn't understand (which was good)  Also, on the way down we were towing Kelly and I was getting real tired.  Him and I were going down a hill with potholes and he was trying to choose an alternate route to what I had chosen.  This resulted in him pulling on the knapsack which I thought was an inefficient use of the hill.  So I said quite audibly 'I hate this'  I didn't feel real bad about it until I thought about it in later.  He had had a bad enough day (he found a wasps nest) as it was.  He sure didn't need me making it worse.  But I was being honest about my feelings.  I think I need God to help me change my feelings back to the way I used to be.  SLOW TO ANGER.  Craig does this well and it impresses me.

Being honest about feelings is good - always try feeling the best of the situation.

2018 Reflections

Reflecting on this day now (2018), its one I'm sure none of us has ever forgotten it.  Not only did Kelly get mixed up with a bunch of wasps and break his chain 37kms away from civilization...  When we got back we biked straight to my house and made milk shakes.  In my tired stupor, I put a large scoop of ice cream in a full, running blender without a lid.  As soon as that scoop hit the blades, the entire contents of the blender exploded out all over the kitchen ceiling.  What a mess to clean up!  We laughed about it, though, and were able to clean everything up before anyone else came home.

I was discovering things about myself that day, that whole summer in fact.  I wasn't as 'good' as I thought I was.  And now, looking at my comments and some of the things I said to people, I'm not proud.

I've definitely noticed in the years since that exhaustion has an impact on my attitude and ability to discipline my thoughts.  If I can help it, I try not to get myself into situations where I'm that tired.

Sometimes I've wondered if the relationships in my life are just 'acquaintances'.  Was that me projecting my fears and concerns about my friendships on others?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Purpose Driven Life - Chapter 34

A Purpose Driven Life Chapter 34 - Thinking Like a Servant

Thinking, acting, living like a servant of allChapter Overview:  Service starts in your mind. Rick writes about 5 attitudes that real servants serve God with
  1. Servants think of others more than they think of themselves.
  2. Servants think like stewards, not like owners.
  3. Servants think about their work, not what others are doing.  The old comparison trick.  This one is pretty key.
  4. Servants base their identity in Christ.  You are loved by God even if you are unproductive.
  5. Servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation. "..serve the Lord with gladness"

2011 (40 years old)

It's been interesting this week as I've been on the cusp of making some big decisions regarding projects. I needed to know what God's will was for them.  Did he want me to take them on?  Leave them?  God, what is your will?  Eventually God lead me through a series of scriptures that helped me get some peace and clarity.  Rom. 12:2 "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to prove what the good and acceptable will of the Lord is."  "Renew your mind with the washing of the water of the word"  and Micah 6:8 "He has shown you, oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee.  But to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God."  I don't have the specific answer I wanted, but I have the peace and assurance that God is with me.

A quote in small group tonight I really liked was something like this:
The best advertisement for Christianity is Christians serving God with Joy and gladness.
The worst advertisement for Christianity is Christians being grumpy complainers.

2016 (45 years old)

To be a servant I must think like a servant. 'Your attitude must be the same as that of Christ Jesus'. Phil 2:5. Am I usually more concerned about being served or finding ways to serve others?  I think I'm ok here, but I have to remember to watch my attitude. Definitely there are times at the hospital when I falter and get frustrated or prideful and I can't/shouldn't do that. It's about the heart. I liked 3 points in this chapter:  
1. Servants think more about others than about themselves (is your service self-serving?). 
2.  Servants think about their work, not about what others are doing (comparing). 
3. Servants base their identity in Christ (let go of insecurity and truly loves others - serve out of a heart motivation and position of love)

For background on what these 'Purpose Driven Life' posts are about, click this link.

Monday, April 9, 2018

A Purpose Driven Life - Chapter 33

A Purpose Driven Life Chapter 33 - How Real Servants Act

Chapter Overview: We serve God by serving others. 'If you give even a cold cup of water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.' Matt 10:42.  Rick talks about:
  • Real servants makes themselves available to serve.  We should be on God's time-table - not trying to fit God and service into our time-table.
  • Real servants pay attention to needs.  They serve where the need is.
  • Real servants do the best with what they have.  We don't wait for perfection, or the perfect conditions, or procrastinate.
  • Real servants to every task with equal dedication
  • Real servants are faithful to their ministry.  Faithful and loyal. 
  • Real servants maintain a low profile.

2011 (40 years old)

I've heard a lot of teaching about the 'servants heart' and being a servant over the years - especially when I lived in Texas, so this seemed like a lot of 'review'.  But Rick made some interesting points just the same.  I had a hard time reading this chapter and not being cynical/critical in a couple of spots.  He starts writing almost in absolutes that makes it hard for me to find a balance.  I don't like that.  Perhaps it's the perspective I'm reading it with.
Serving - paying attention to the needs of others and doing something about it

2016 (45 years old)

Which of the characteristics of real servants offers the greatest challenge to me?  Probably the first two. Real servants make themselves available to serve; and, Real servants pay attention to needs. The way he writes it sounds like we need to jump to help every need. His words: 'real servants do what's needed, even when it's inconvenient'. That can easily be taken too far. We need to be discerning, I think.  Another quote from the bible he takes perhaps out of context a bit?-  'Whenever we have the opportunity, we have to do what is good for everyone, especially for the family of believers'.  Where does our own family fit into that?  How many families have been destroyed because the needs of the church came before the needs of the family?  I'm getting fuzzy on priorities in my life reading this.  There's definitely tension in my life between serving at church and serving at home with my family. This book doesn't talk about families much.

For background on what these 'Purpose Driven Life' posts are about, click this link.

Friday, April 6, 2018

A Purpose Driven Life - Chapter 32

A Purpose Driven Life Chapter 32 - Using What God Gave You

Chapter Overview: 'What you are is God's gift to you. What you do with yourself is your gift to God'. Danish proverb.  God deserves your best. 'Do you best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.' 2 Tim 2:15.

2011 (40 years old)

I pretty much had the idea where Rick was going in this chapter based off of the last chapter.  He encourages the reader to prayerfully look at who they are, what they are good at, what they aren't, what they enjoy, and what they don't. He has a few other suggestions that I thought were good. He says the reader should be very aware of where their gifts/abilities are confirmed by others, and not just trust their own judgement. Rick also suggests trying different things to see what you are good at rather than guessing or simply not knowing. He said he never would have known he was a good teacher unless he had actually tried it. I think this is good advice but at the same time people need to be aware and objective (if that's possible) about their 'try'. If I based my whole computer experience on how things went at Computability, I don't know if I would be where I am now. The context of the 'try' has a big (and perhaps skewed) bearing on how it goes for you. Providence is also a factor in all of this I believe....   So any more thoughts on who I am?

2016 (45 years old)

How can I make the best use of what God has given me?  This is a great chapter full of good, wise thoughts. Two spring out at me off the top of my head:  don't compare yourself to others - if you fall short you'll get discouraged; if you come out better you'll get prideful. 2 Cor 10:12  The second is start doing things to find out what you're good at.  Look for the fruit.  If it didn't work, call it an experiment. If there are people following you then you're a leader and you've got fruit.

For background on what these 'Purpose Driven Life' posts are about, click this link.

Analyze and test the fruit in your life. Where does God make you fruitful?
Where does God make you fruitful?

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A Purpose Driven Life - Chapter 31

A Purpose Driven Life Chapter 31 - Finding Your Specific Purpose

Chapter Overview:  Continuing with the SHAPE acrostic, Rick writes about our Abilities, Personality, and Experience. He equates abilities to our natural talents and had a long list of jobs in the bible of different occupations that used these. 
Finding my specific purpose - many hands making a heart

2011 (40 years old)

The differentiation between these and how he described Heart wasn't entirely clear to me. This one did seem more broad and less 'spiritual' as he mentioned that 'being able to make money and grow a business' as falling into this category.
I don't remember the word that R---- stood for but Rick correlated it with personality, saying that Jeremiah was melancholic, Moses was sanguine, etc, and there is a place in God's family for every personality type.
Experience was the word for the last letter. I'm so glad he included this one because it's huge. All of our experiences have a huge influence in making who we are and what we can do.  That is the reason I think I am a good teacher - because of my experiences with teachers growing up. He had a great quote about experience at the end of the chapter: 'Experience isn't what happens to you, it's what you do with what happens to you'
So what does this all mean to me? I'm good at teaching. I'm great at execution. I have no desire to be a leader at the level of a CIO. I enjoy the thought of being an author, but I'm challenged to find the time to write. I'm great with clients. I'm not great with communicating technical architecture to other architects. I'm musically gifted. I enjoy goofing around with songs with kids. I'm confident in what I know.

2016 (45 years old)

Only you can be you. No one else can be you. 'God has given each of us abilities.  Be sure to use them to help one another, passing on to others God's many kinds of blessings'. What God-given ability or personal experience can I offer to my church?  I like this SHAPE acrostic Rick has been working with for the past two chapters. This chapter was Abilities, Personality, and Experiences. Some good thoughts: Aldous Huxley said 'Experience is not what happens to you.  It's what YOU DO with what has happened to you'. 2 Cor. 1:4 'He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us'. You personality will affect How and Where you will use you spiritual gifts and abilities.

For background on what these 'Purpose Driven Life' posts are about, click this link.

Monday, April 2, 2018

A Purpose Driven Life - Chapter 30

A Purpose Driven Life Chapter 30 - Our Place in Serving

Chapter Overview:  Rick has an acrostic that he is using on this chapter and the next - SHARE. The first letter was spirit. Rick wrote about how all of us are giving spiritual gifts by God. We can't add more to them or retract them. We need to be aware of what they are and exercise them for gods glory. The second letter was Heart. Was the first letter service?
Serving God with heart and passion

2011 (40 years old)

The basic jest I got out of this chapter was there are things that you inherently have a passion for. And because you are passionate about them, you are good at them and working at them is not a bore or a drain for you. These are part of the heart purpose that God has put in you.

Yesterday Jim and I were comparing notes on transformation at work as the ERCB (the company I was contracting at back then) is going through a big transformation in IT. Many people including us don't know exactly where this transformation is going, what their involvement will be, who and what all the new people are, and why they are all required. It seems like a lot of resources for change. What is our target - do we have tangible results that we can shoot for to say we have achieved a successful transformation. Currently a lot of titles have changed, but the people in the roles seem the same or no improvement...

2016 (45 years old)

God never wasted anything. 'God works through different people in different ways, but it is the same God who achieves his purpose through them all'. 1 Cor 2:6. In what ways can I see myself passionately serving others and loving it?  Music in a band, playing piano at the hospital. Teaching. Writing. Hacking?  Where am I the most enthusiastic?  'Whoever does not have the spirit cannot receive the gifts that come from the God' Spirit'. 1 Cor 2:14. I need the spirit of God moving in my life, manifested in love. Without it I am nothing, and I'm just noise.

For background on what these 'Purpose Driven Life' posts are about, click this link.

Career Change and Work in Calgary

Some Context... Ewa and I knew that I would not be in the printing business the rest of my life.  The job at Webco in Leduc, Alberta was shi...