Heart or Hustle?

I am learning a lot about myself these days. I am changing, growing, and trying new things at a fairly fast rate. Maybe it is because I have been so cautious for so long and needing to be strong, responsible, and very much the adult that now I want to spend some time learning to play (read that again, it is not a typo). 

Playing is when you spend time lavishly, staring into space, wandering around the block, sitting in the yard staring at a slow burning fire in the fire pit, riding your bike – the one that has sat in the shed for half a decade or more. My goal is to become and then remain flexible, silly, ready-to-play, ever-so-slightly irresponsible. 

What I have been delighted to find is that it is not that our real, every day life is all wrong, by any means – and it is not that what I do for a living (called work by some) is something I hate because I love what I do. It is just that once-in-a-while I think we need to let go of the fast paced life we usually lead and slow things down a bit. I call it learning to play.

It is a time to leave hustle mode and return to feeling my heart. For all sorts of reasons it seems I tend to default to hustle mode all too often. Because I enjoy what I do for a living and think it is important, I can slide back into hustle mode without even thinking about it. And, hustle mode is the opposite to heart mode.

I was reading on one of my recent plane rides and the author stated: “…one of the tiny little things I’m learning to do is to play – essentially, to purposely waste time. Strategically avoid strategy, for five minutes at a time. Intentionally not be intentional about every second. Have no purpose – on purpose.” 

I related to that and have adopted this approach to life for the summer we are now in. I am spending more time in my garden just smelling and admiring the flowers. More time sitting on the porch drinking coffee and talking to my dog. More time riding the bike I finally brought out of the shed and fixed up. 

There are a lot of conversations right now about how to do everything better/faster/smarter, how to streamline, multitask, layer, balance, flow, juggle. How to monetize, strategize, and on and on. This is good stuff. Necessary stuff.

But, this summer I am planning on wasting time, playing, becoming aware of the internal engine that always wants to go faster, faster, faster. And, do more, say yes to more, write more, preach more…That engine is not the best part of me. My heart is the best part of me.

And, I am finding that my heart loves to play and relax. To rest and reconnect with the other me who is also part of the real me. So, more heart and less hustle.

What would our lives be like is our days were studded by tiny, completely unproductive, silly, nonstrategic, wild and beautiful five-minute breaks, reminders that our days are for loving and learning and laughing, not for pushing and planning, reminders that it’s all about the heart, not about the hustle? 

Three Big Lies

Henri Nouwen, a very famous and well-known Christian – comments on the three big lies that destroy people’s lives … I borrow the three main points from him but the comments are mine. 

1> I am what I have

We have bought into the consumer culture that is now world-wide thanks to the internet and on-line shopping. And this culture states in a loud voice that you are what you own. A bigger house, a better car, nicer clothes, more exotic holidays, and on the list goes. We find our identity in what we own and in the lifestyle that we are living. To continue this lie we find ourselves going into more and more debt. And then we are debt driven in all of our decisions and, as the Bible states, in bondage to the lender.

2> I am what I do

Many today, in every nation, are finding their identity and sense of worth and value in what they are doing for a living. If you ask most men how they are they will answer by telling you what they are doing. Their identity and sense of value and worth is found in their job or profession and not in their relationship with the Lord and with others. And, when they lose their job or retire from their job they really have little to no idea who they really are. 

3> I am what other people say about me

This is a real killer when it comes to a sense of self-identity and self-worth. You are responding to the demands and expectations of others – allowing their expectations to form and create a “you” that is not who God created you to be. This is especially true if you are co-dependant and need to be needed – finding your self-worth and identity in helping others and how that makes you feel. 

Peer pressure is a main element here in this third lie. And, of course, the media and how music and movies transform people as they try to fit into what they understand as the “norm” because others are being formed by the same media and movies and they want to fit in. 

Regretfully these three lies are very common in every generation and in every nation. 

The Bible states, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (Romans 12:2) So, we, as believers, are to read and believe God’s Word and live life according to what we are reading in His Word. Then we will not believe the three big lies and will be free to discover the real “you” as we journey with Jesus and become more and more life Him. 

This journey will reveal to us what it means to be a “new creature in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17) and to discover who this “new creature” really is. And, we are all unique as God has created each of us different than all others. This journey allows us to be formed and transformed into His Image. Then we will not fall for the three big lies that we are what we have, we are what we do, and we are what other people say about us. 

It is time to stand tall as believers and disciples of Jesus and to become who we really are – new creatures created in God’s image. Powerful, unique, and different than the world. 

Just Be You!

“God’s voice thunders in marvellous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding.

He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’” (Job 37:5-6 NIV)

This is a great passage and I received some insight into it while flying recently to the nation of Kazakhstan. I read on planes because I can’t sleep. 

God says to the snow, “Fall on the earth.” That’s it. Just do one thing. Just fall. And then He says to the rain shower, “Be a mighty downpour.” Essentially, He is saying, “Just do the thing I have actually created you to do. You’re rain: so rain. You’re snow: so snow.

I love the simplicity of that, the tremendous weight that this takes off my shoulders. God’s asking me to be the thing He’s already created me to be. And He’s asking you to be the thing He’s already created you to be. 

He doesn’t tell the snow to thaw and become rain, or the rain tp freeze itself into snow. He says, essentially: Do one thing. Do the thing that you love to do, that you have been created to do.

So many of us twist ourselves up in knots trying desperately to be something else, someone else, some endless list of qualities and capabilities that we think will make us loved or safe or happy. That’s an exhausting way to live, and I know that because I have done it.

God tells the rain to just pour down. He tells the snow to simply fall. What are the things He is asking you to do, the things He made you to do, the things you do effortlessly and easily?

What do you do with the ease and lightness go falling snow? Many of us have wandered so far from those things. We’ve gotten wrapped up in what someone else wanted us to be, what we thought would keep us happy and safe and gain us approval.

But there’s tremendous value in travelling back to our essential selves, the loves and skills and passions that God planted inside us long ago.

When I look at my life these days, I see the threads of passion and identity that I have carried through my whole life: a love of books and reading, a desire to write, connecting with people, gardening, camping, and being outdoors not surrounded by people. These are the things I have always loved, and they continue to bring me great joy and fulfillment. 

Think about your adolescent self, your child self, the “you” you have always been. God imprinted a sacred, beautiful collection of passions and capacities right into your heart: what do you love? What does your passion bubble over for?

So much of adulthood is peeling off the layers of expectations and pressure, and protecting those precious things that lie beneath. We live in a culture that shouts, that prescribes, rather narrowly, what it means to be a man or a woman, what it means to be a success, what it means to live a valuable life.

But those definitions require us to live on a treadmill, both literally and figuratively, always hustling to fit in, to be thin enough and young enough and sparkly enough, for our homes to be large enough and spotless, our children well-mannered and clean-faced, our dreams orderly and profitable. But that’s not life. That’s not where the fullness of joy and meaning are found.

The snow is only meant, created, commanded to fall. The rain is only meant, created, commanded to pour down. You were only meant , created, commanded to be who you are, weird and wonderful, imperfect and messy and lovely.

What do you need to leave behind in order to recover that essential self that God created? What do you need to walk away from in order to reclaim those parts of you that God designed, unique to you and for His purposes? 

You Claim to Know God!

Many people call themselves believers and truly think that they are Christians. However, many of them are deceiving themselves and don’t actually believe.

To be a believer, a Christian, one must have an encounter with the living God that we call being “born agin.” You are born physically into the world but, to enter the Kingdom and have a relationship with the King, Jesus, you must be born again – born spiritually (John 3). 

This happens when you hear the good news of who Jesus is and what Jesus accomplished by dying on the cross and being raised from the dead. As a person hears the Gospel the Holy Spirit convicts them of their sin (John 16:8-10) and they respond with godly sorrow and repentance (2 Corinthians 7:8-10). Then they ask for forgiveness, receive it, and are born again.

To be born again means receiving the gift of eternal life from God Himself (Romans 6:13b). This gift is the supernatural ability to have a personal, in-depth, unique, ever changing, love relationship wth God the Father and with Jesus whom He sent (John 17:3). This encounter and relationship changes our whole life as you become a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Then you embrace God and welcome Him into every aspect of your life. Jesus spoke these words to those who were religious and held to a set of rules that they thought made them ‘good’ with God… “But my Father is the One who will prove it and will glorify me. Isn’t he the One you claim is your God? But in reality, you’ve never embraced him as your own.” (John 8:54 The Passion Translation)

Before this Jesus commented…”I speak to you this eternal truth: whoever cherishes my words and keeps them will never experience death” (John 8:51 The Passion Translation).

So, if we will embrace God the Father and His Son Jesus – embrace Him as our God, our Lord, our Saviour – then we will believe the words that He has spoken and left for us in today’s Bible. Not only will we believe them, we will cherish them. We will actually apply His words to our lives and thus live differently. Our lifestyle, our words, our thoughts, our attitude, and the way we relate with people will be guided and directed by God and the words that He has spoken. A life that has totally changed will prove that we have had a real encounter with the living God. A life-changing encounter and a continuing daily relationship.

This is a heart thing. Being convicted by the Holy Spirit that leads to repentance is not a “head event.” Knowledge does not get us saved, born again. It is a heart event. So, a person can know the Gospel or Good News that “Jesus saves today” and still not be saved. They can know their Bible from front to back and still not be going to Heaven when they die. The words of Scripture must be “cherished” and embraced so that they become the foundation of our daily life. Knowledge is not enough – application is the key. You really only believe what you have applied and live. 

So, there are many who attend church on a regular basis and understand the message of the Gospel but have not had a heart encounter with the Living God. They have never experienced conviction with godly sorrow and true repentance. And, Paul the apostle states. that “without repentance there is no salvation.” Thus, although they are good church attenders they are not true believers, true Christians, and so will not be welcomed into Heaven by a loving God when they die. They have not embraced God as their own. 

Being a believer is more than knowing the truth. It is having had an encounter with the Living God and embracing Him and cherishing (and thus obeying) His Word. 

A Fountain of Understanding

I am amazed at God’s Word. I have been reading it for well over 5 decades and still, every time I sit down to read, it still speaks to me. In fact, it does more than speak to me. It encourages me, it strengthens me, it teaches me, and leads and guides me. Yes, it answers questions. Yes, it gives me greater insight into the God whom we worship and serve. Yes it transforms the way I think. It even convicts at times. 

As I switched versions that I am reading several months back it is speaking even louder. The reason – old truths and understanding expressed in fresh and vibrant new ways. Recently in Proverbs I hit another one of those fresh insights. 

Proverbs 2:6 ESV (my old version) reads, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding…”

The Passion Translation renders this as: “Wisdom is a gift from a generous God,

and every word he speaks is full of revelation and becomes a fountain of understanding within you.”

Now, that speaks to me. Every word that God speaks to us – in prayer time, through a teaching, in the written word – is “full of revelation.” If we will take the time to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us personally through the Word we received, we will receive revelation and insight. We will have fresh insight into our lives and maybe even one specific aspect of our life. We will sense the presence and power of God moving in and through the Word as the revelation of truth and new insights become real and are integrated into what we already knew and believed.

This revelation – God speaking to us through ‘a Word’ is something many don’t wait for. This revelation is not revealed to those who rush read their way through so many chapters a day to fulfill some type of self-imposed religious standard or rule. When we take the time to sit quietly in His presence, being still both on the inside and outside, then the revelation will come. You will see old truths in a new light. You will receive insight into a current situation, doubt, or question. You will understand the will of God a little clearer. You will sense the peace of God invade and take up residence in your heart. You will begin to think more clearly as you grab hold of the ‘mind of Christ.’

Once the revelation is received and integrated into what you already know and understand then it adds greater depth and “understanding within you.” This is powerful. Pause for a minute and think about that. When you receive a revelation and integrate it into what you already know and understand, it becomes “a fountain of understanding” with the water splashing over all aspects of your life – physical, emotional. mental. relational, spiritual. It is not simply another piece of information – it has been stirred into everything that was already there and thus adds new insights and understanding to every aspect of your life. New flavour. New life. New enthusiasm. A new dynamic that was not there before the revelation was received.  The revelation rises up big within you allowing you to see things the way God sees things. 

So you have fresh insights and understanding along with increased wisdom as you move forward in life. But, all of this only happens when you understand and obey “Be still and know that I am God” as then you rest in His presence and revelation can be received.

A Revelation of the Power of God

I am of the opinion that believers today need a fresh and new revelation of the power of God. The power that raised Jesus from the dead. The power that brought each one of us from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of His dear Son Jesus. The power that lives in us because we are born again. The power that enables and empowers us to be witnesses for Jesus and move in supernatural gifts because we have received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. 

We acknowledge all of the above because we have read about it. We hear it preached. We have a limited understanding of all that it means if it is really true – and it is. But, I don’t think most believers have truly grasped what all of this means to us personally and to the Church that Jesus is building. It is as if we acknowledge it and then simply put it to one side. We believe it but brush it off. We even celebrate it when we come together as believers but place it on a back burner when facing our everyday life among the non-believers.

In 2 Timothy Paul is writing to a young spiritual son and apostle named Timothy whom he has been discipling and mentoring  – fathering – and he writes: “…overcome every evil by the revelation of the power of God.” (2 Timothy 1:8b The Passion Translation).

I believe every born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit believer needs a fresh “revelation of the power of God.” It may be a refreshing of what they have already experienced and know or it may be their first true encounter with the power of the Spirit since their salvation. Either way, every believer needs to be praying for “the revelation of the power of God.” 

Every believer in their own life have this power to “overcome every evil.” But, by their lifestyle and even their own admission they are not overcomers. They are struggling with their faith. They are fighting temptations and often losing. They are living at the same moral levels as most of their non-believing friends and neighbours, watching the same television programs, listening to the same music, and even viewing the same pornography. 

I was recently at an event where a believer and I were in conversation together. He drew my attention to one of his grandchildren. This young man was sitting near where we were standing. This proud grandfather was telling me how on fire for Jesus this young man was. Well, as the night went on this young man continued to drink and then drink some more until he was no longer in control of his faculties. And, his conversation was anything but becoming of a believer – especially one on fire for God. And, he was not the only believer not “overcoming every evil by the revelation of the power of God.”

Every one of us needs a fresh revelation and encounter with the “power of God” on a daily basis. It would serve as a reminder that we can overcome all temptations and every evil we may face during the day. It will remind us in a powerful way (no pun intended) that God is still God and He is most certainly still in control. And, it will allow us to minister to others and see them set free and come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Without a revelation of the power of God and walking in that revelation we are simply followers of another religion. 

Have You Listened Recently to Christians Sharing Their Faith?

Have you recently heard someone share the Gospel of the Kingdom with a non-believer? I haven’t either. The reason – very few believers are telling others about their faith. The reason? I am sure there are many…

1> They have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour but believe that there are many ways into Heaven and that all religions or faiths are fairly much the same. Not true in the slightest but, if believed, it removes the need and the urgency to share the one true Gospel.

2> They think they are safe and saved because they have said a sinner’s prayer but never repented of their sins or experienced conviction and godly sorry before praying. The Bible clearly stats that without repentance there is no salvation. So, they don’t share the true gospel that they really have not accepted themselves.

3> The are born again (see John, Chapter 3) and have a personal relationship with Jesus. However, they are not following Him as they have not died to self and so are walking to the beat of their own drum. If they were truly following Him then He would be making them into “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).

4> They are born again and following Jesus but after a number of attempts to share the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 24:14) and failing to bring anyone into the Kingdom they are discouraged and have simply given up fishing hoping others will have more success than they have.

5> They have tried to share the gospel but failed to present it in such a way that others could understand and receive it. They assumedly know enough to be saved but have yet to learn to share it in such a way that others can understand the simplicity and yet the depth of the salvation message.

I think that for many believers the last reason for not sharing the good news that Jesus saves is the most prominent. 

The Gospel of the Kingdom is simple but profound. And, many people believe it and understand it in their head and even in their heart. But, they have not trained themselves or been trained in how to share the Gospel with others. Sharing involves more than knowing the details and substance of the Gospel. It involves…

1> Being a good listener and hearing, really hearing, what others are saying so that they know they are in a safe place and accepted. This helps a person to be more open to listening to and receiving the message of the Gospel when you do share it.

2> Being aware of the culture and society you are working in so as to be sensitive to what people believe and how they live their lives. This way you can speak into the culture and not create unnecessary barriers that prevent people from receiving the message.

3> Carefully weighing your words so as not to use Christianeze. Many of the words we use to express the Gospel are no longer in current use in society and many people do not have any church background. As well, some words have changed meanings within their cultural context. Example: we redeem coupons – so the word redemption has lost a lot of its punch. So, the words we use to speak to other believers are not words you want to use when speaking in everyday life to a non-believer. Words like sin, saved, repent, atonement. 

4> Learning to notice the open door to present the Gospel. As you listen to anther person often there is an open door for you to swing the conversation towards more spiritual things. And, as well, learning how to open a door within a conversation should the person you are in conversation with not give you an opening. One of my mentors taught me that if you have not moved the conversation towards spiritual matters in 20 minutes that you won’t. 

5> And, being good at sharing the Gospel takes practice and so, as a believer, you need to practice until you feel comfortable talking about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And, doing so in numerous ways that are natural to you so that you don’t come across like you are following a canned evangelistic program. 

Let’s work at becoming good ‘fishers of men’ as we follow the real Jesus.

Today and the two previous blogs are just some random thoughts on conversations I have been in or observed in the last few weeks.  

Have You Listened Recently to Christians Talking to Non-Christians?

 

Blog for May 16, 2019

Have you been in a situation recently where you had opportunity to observe Christians speaking with non-believers, those who are not followers of Jesus? Did you pay attention to what was being said? I recently attended a wedding where the non-believers far outnumbered the believers. In fact, believers were in the vast minority.

Well, you can tell a true believer by the behaviour and what they speak about. And, there were some there who would tell you that they were believers. However, as the night went on you would have to question if they truly were. Why, you may ask? Because of the amount of alcohol they were drinking. I am not against Christians drinking. The Bible does not say a true believer cannot have a drink. But the Bible is very clear that believers do not get drunk. Yet, there they were – obviously under the influence of both the wine, beer, and hard alcohol that was flowing freely. So, there were fewer believers than one would have originally thought at the beginning of the evening. 

Back to the non-believers … Listen to what they were talking about – their favourite team in a variety of sports, their latest night out and what they did, their job – how good, awful, hard, or easy it is – their home, their latest purchase, the car they just bought, their family, the next trip they are planning to take. They are talking about themselves even if no one really cares. And, often to total strangers as if they were out to impress them for some reason.

Now, think about the true believers (not the drunk ones) and what they were chatting about. Well, let’s see. Their work, their home, their family, their health, their recent trip, the trip they are planning, the cottage or camper or trailer … Gee, sounds a lot like what the non-believers were talking about. Nope! Not “a lot alike” – exactly the same. Listen carefully the next you gather in a larger mixed group of believers and non-believers. And, you will realize that they talk about the same things. And, to their shame, the believers seldom if ever talk about their faith in Jesus and the hope that they have in Him. Yet, that is exactly what the non-believers need to hear about.

Oh, I know, it’s not politically correct. So what? Well, it is not socially acceptable. Again, so what? I don’t think it is socially acceptable that people drink too much, talk too loud, and make complete fools of themselves. However, they do. It seems to me they might know better but they really don’t care what I think. Well, maybe it is time the believer took the same approach and simply shared their faith and the reason for the hope that they have regardless of what the non-believer thinks. Sharing regardless of what the others may say or feel. I mean, so what? Can’t have double standards here, can we? They get upset. So what? I get upset with loud and obnoxious drunks who are talking too loud and saying things that don’t need to be heard. I have to put up with their non-social behaviour, you know, because they are just being themselves. Maybe that gives me permission to just be myself and to say – in a polite way – what I want to say. Just maybe.

But, not happening. Generally Christians feel either out of place in such a setting or totally at home. If they feel out of place – they seldom speak up. If they feel at home – they simply fit in with what is going on around them and what is acceptable for the crowd they run with. You know, don’t rock the boat. yet, this is exactly the place where the boat can and should be rocked. 

Christians should be comfortable enough in what they believe to speak up in any situation and share what they believe and why they believe it. They should look for (even make) opportunities to share what Jesus has done in their lives recently. We must be ready at all times to earnestly contend for the faith that we have received and believe with our whole heart. It is time to be less concerned with what non-believers might think and be concerned with what the Lord of the universe is thinking about us. It is time to worry less about being politically correct and socially acceptable and simply speak boldly about the truth that we believe. 

Jesus said that if we were not willing to acknowledge Him before men that He would not acknowledge us before His heavenly Father. That’s a tough comment. Don’t discount it. Jesus told us that we were to share our faith at all times and in all situations as we go about our daily lives. That was a command actually and not just a suggestion. Jesus said, that if we are truly following Him we would become fishers of men – those who are seeking and saving the lost. So, if we are not fishing we are not following.  

So, time to speak up and be socially unacceptable and politically incorrect. Of course, this is assuming you know how to share your faith in a way that non-believers can understand and receive. But, that is a topic for another day. 

Have You Listened Recently to Christians Talking to Christians

Have you spent time recently listening to believers when they are chatting with one another? Or when they are chatting with non-believers? As someone who works with believers and spends time with non-believers I have a few observations to make.

When Christians gather together most of the conversation is about their favourite subject – me, myself, and I. Listen carefully and you will seldom hear a mention of the Lord Jesus or God the Father. Their conversation may sound spiritual but as you listen you will realize that they are talking about themselves – the day they shared the gospel with someone; the time the spent helping someone in need; the praying they have been doing about a particular situation. Sounds spiritual or God-centered but scratch the surface and it is really all about them. Their focus is me, myself, and I.

Of course, they may share prayer requests with each other but even those are mainly about themselves or the concern they have regarding another person or a particular situation they are involved in. Listen carefully and catch the undercurrent and you quickly realize that it is still all about them – the me, myself and I cycle. Even if they are sharing prayer requests regarding others – the wording often brings the focus back on the believer who is sharing. You know, how close they are to the person needing prayer, the relationship they have with the leader, the insider knowledge they are sharing while asking for prayer, how they are feeling about the person or situation. At times, it borders on gossip.

Listening carefully you quickly realize that many believers spend a lot of time talking about their medical conditions. Maybe it is because I am getting older and those around me are also aging but it seems to me that one of the first things believers talk about with each other is what their current medical condition is, what doctor so-and-so has said, the results of the latest tests, and the ton of medicine they are taking. It’s like they are trying to see who is in the worst or best condition as if it was a competition.

When believers are not talking about themselves with others believers they are talking about other people that they know – believers and non-believers. They are not giving insights to aid in a prayer request that has just been mentioned. No, they are simply talking about other people. And, often the ‘other people’ are family members and these family members would be horrified to hear what is being shared if they were there to hear it – which they never are. Again, maybe we could get real and honest and call this what it is – gossip and not interesting. 

And, need I mention, that if the believers attend the same church their conversation is most often about other members or the pastor. And, often show how critical and judgmental they are as people. 

Here is what I feel when I am with them. Some of the thoughts that zip through my brain.

1> Ashamed of how believers are not glorifying God in their conversations or even talking about Him at all. Like He doesn’t exist or, at least, isn’t all that important or interesting

2> Concerned that most of what I am hearing is “the bearing of false witness” or gossip which is a breaking of one of the Ten Commandments. See Exodus 20

3> Amazed at the lack of a real reference to the living God in all that is said – maybe pointing to the lack of a real relationship with God

4> Bored – I mean seriously bored. Do you hear me, bored! Going once, going twice, going three times. I have heard it all before. It is repetitious. It was not that interesting the second time I heard it and even less interesting the 100th time

5> I want to scream, “Get a life and do something important” – which, of course, is more pleasant than saying, “Oh, for goodness sake, shut up”

6> I want to ask them if they are really paying attention to others as they speak – because if they were they would be aware that most have faded and stopped listening soon after they begin talking and long before they stop talking

Something needs to change. Drastic change is required. 

We follow an amazing God who is doing amazing things. Lives are being transformed by the Holy Spirit; people are being delivered and set free; others are finding salvation in the Name of Jesus; and the Kingdom of God is expanding and pushing back spiritual darkness. Churches are making a difference and touching lives. Nations are hearing the Gospel of the Kingdom for the first time. Churches are being planted. Some are being replanted and coming alive once again. Great things are happening.

So, let’s stop talking about me, myself, and I. Let’s get over the issues we are facing and realize everyone has issues and maybe we need to listen more than talk and discover that our issues are really not that big or even that important. Let’s stop the organ recital – my bladder leaks, my liver aches, my heart skips a beat; realizing that everyone has medical issues and pop prescription medicines daily and so your medical condition is really not that unique nor that interesting. 

Let’s talk more about Jesus and how amazing and wonderful He is. Let’s live the truth that “The Lord is my Shepherd and I shall not want.”

Please, and thank you!

Bookaholic

My name is Ralph and I am a bookaholic.

 How do I know that? Because I have rooms full of books? Yes, that is true. I always have a book in my hand? Yes, also true. Because I collect books of all sorts, hardcovers, paperbacks, ebooks? Also true. I enjoy going to book stores and just looking, reading covers, enjoying the atmosphere? Very true. Because I read every time I sit down for a few minutes? Guilty as charged. You see, I read everything in front of me – even cereal boxes and catalogues.I admit it, I am a bookaholic.

Right now in my study, I have…

2 books that I must read and computerize notes from before May 15th

4 books that I am currently reading (not counting the above 2)

10 books piled behind the desk that are partly read because they were not ‘clicking’

31 books read since the start of the new year

75+ in piles purchased and not read yet…

The shelves are all full in the three rooms that I control … two of the three rooms are large. So, yes, I am a bookaholic. Even the front seat of my car holds books that I am currently reading – because there is often a few minutes before my appointment shows up, or a cancellation could happen (I get excited even typing that comment) … and then I have new found time to read.

Every once in a while I am drawn to a book and just know I am suppose to read that one. Obviously, because there are some books I started and didn’t finish yet, this ‘leading’ is not always a right one. I am currently just starting a book called “Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist. I picked it out of the ‘to read’ pile and it caught my eye because the forward to the book was penned by Brene Brown who is one of my all-time favourite authors and whose books have changed my life. So, that is one of my two current new reads for the week beginning Sunday.

A past mentor of mine taught me that “Leaders are readers. And, if you stop reading you will stop leading.” He also taught me how to read a book a week (now two a week)… take the number of chapters in the book and divide them by 7 and then read that number of chapters every day. So if a book has 14 chapters you have 2 chapters a day to read to finish the book in a week. I’m now reading, on average, two a week using the same idea – more when travelling overseas as the fights offer a lot of free time to use in a constructive manner – and there is little that is more constructive than reading. And, it beats watching three or four movies per trip.

So, yes, I am a bookaholic. But, of all the things to be addicted to books rate high on the list.