How is it that life seems to go by so fast? How is it that we more often than not look back on our life - the things we did and what we became - with a measure of regret, knowing that we could have been more or contributed more? Have you ever stopped to think of what makes life happen? It is actually a pretty simple equation: TIME + EXPERIENCES = LIFE. Now I know that is an oversimplification, but stay with me. If we can accept that life is the combination of time and experiences, then wouldn’t solving the issue of making one’s life fuller and more meaningful be easier to understand? Time is measurable and predictable and we all have the same amount each and every day. Experiences, be they physical, observational or thoughts, are essentially the sum total of what we do with the time given to us each day. So, what can we do to make our time and experiences produce a rich, fruitful and contented life?
Christmas has come - the hustle and the bustle, the lights, the music, the trees, the ornaments and the garland. Christmas has come – Santa and reindeer and elves and Frosty and movies and presents and gift wrap and cards. Christmas has come – whether you feel you can say “Merry Christmas” or just “Happy Holidays,” we are wishing well to those around us, for it is the season of good cheer and smiles. Christmas has come – family and dinner and cakes and pies and cookies and giving and receiving and football and dressing in new clothes. Yes, Christmas has come. It has certainly made its indelible mark on us yet again…. You know Christ has come – the prophecies said that he would and God’s plan said it was time. Christ has come – he was born to live so that he could die and redeem all of humanity. Christ has come – his gift was simple, yet it was the greatest and most powerful gift that could ever, that would ever be given to this world. Christ has come – and as a result, all of the human race has the opportunity for eternal life. Christ has come – has he made his indelible mark on you?
What a pain in the neck – or my back or my arm or my leg. None of us like physical pain and when we have it we usually try and do all kinds of things to get rid of it. One really great way to do this is to go to a physical therapist and let them understand the problem and its source, evaluate and act on that understanding and then help us work through the process to regain our strength and health. What they help us do will probably bring us more pain for a short time so that we can have less or no pain for a long time! If you ask me, that is a winning formula! Can the process and treatment we receive from a physical therapist translate into steps we can take to identify, treat and alleviate the pains and malfunctioning of our spiritual lives? The best way to find that answer is to ask a physical therapist, so we did!
Stress is all around us and unfortunately, within us. We know stress is not good for us. Physically it wrecks havoc with our bodies. Mentally it causes us to make poor, rash decisions and not work up to our full capacity. It causes us to lash out at those around us and causes damage to relationships we once cherished. Having the peace of God does not mean all is quiet in our lives. It means that even though everything is falling down around us, we are still able to hold onto our anchor in the storm and remain balanced and content. Easier said than done! What are some practical ways we can accomplish this so we can have a strong, steady walk with the Lord instead of being distracted and always giving our second best? Stay with as we explore true peace to combat all of the anxiety this world has to offer.
Here’s a question...what do the 4th of July and Thanksgiving have in common? The most obvious answer is these two celebrations are uniquely American in that their very founding was undeniably linked to the founding of the United States. The less obvious answer is that these two holidays were also founded in humble recognition of God Almighty. Just read the first and last parts of the Declaration of Independence and the first declarations for Thanksgiving and you will see that God was first and foremost. Here we are about 240 years later and God is no longer first and he certainly is no longer "for most." So, as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday what can we do to relight our own fire of gratitude towards God and towards one another? Let’s start by talking about it!
People want to be happy. They think about it, they talk about it and they do things do find happiness. The United States' Declaration of Independence speaks of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Yes, we all want to be happy but have you ever thought about “joy”? Have you ever heard of people wanting and pursuing joy in their lives? Happiness and joy have several similarities in that they are both elusive and often fleeting. But joy, well, there is something profoundly special about joy. You see, joy is deeper than happiness. It can become a state of mind that unequivocally transforms you. Here is the catch – if you go looking for joy, you are actually pushing it further away from you. So, how do we find joy? Or more clearly stated, how do we let joy find us and change us in our every day experiences?
What does it mean to be a Christian? Seriously, what is the real bottom line true meaning of following in the footsteps of Jesus? Is being a Christian like an entitlement program? By professing Jesus do we receive protection from evil, deliverance from trials or the healing of our maladies? Do we receive a promise of an abundant and prosperous life? Or, is being a Christian more like a “getting whipped into shape” work and endurance program where we lose our own will, learn to do without and have to somehow rejoice in tribulation every day of our difficult lives? Is the price of true Christianity a simple acknowledgment of Jesus being in your life or is it a “sell all that we have and change what we are” mentality? What DOES it cost to be a true Christian? Is it a price we are willing to pay?
Lying. Okay, we know it’s bad but is it really always a bad thing? From a parent’s perspective, it is one of those things that is perched at the top of the “never do this” list of moral and ethical behavior. With children, the boundaries are clear and easy to define, because as we show them the difference between honesty and dishonesty, we reinforce what it means to take the high road, to be trustworthy and to be an honest and dependable friend. But what about the myriad of circumstances that arise as we become adults and begin to live in a world that is not awash in a bold contrast of right versus wrong but instead is overwhelmed with delicate shades of grey – with value judgments, personal rights and the fine line of being offensive? Are “little white lies” always wrong? What about only telling part of the truth – does that constitute a lie as well? Can lying ever be good?
Gossip – is it ever useful or good or is it always a waste of time and bad? Have you ever stopped to consider just how much of our present culture not only accepts gossip but places it in the enviable and important position of being a core and driving value of our everyday existence? Think about just how many publications, TV programs, talk shows and news items are driven by gossip. Now think about how much of our conversations at our work place or with our friends revolve around gossip. If you see it as I do, we are relentlessly inundated with gossip at every turn. So, what can we do about it? What should we do about it? How can we reduce the role of gossip in our lives and what should we replace it with?
Faith is a part of life. Faith is not reserved for those of us who claim religion. On the contrary, faith is an integral part of human life, no matter what perspective you come from. We have faith in the people in our lives that they will be there for us. To varying degrees, we have faith in our doctor’s ability to take care of us, our employer’s responsibility to be fair to us and our co-workers sensibility to do their fair share with us. We have faith in the internet as a window to the world, and we have faith in the antivirus software we use to protect that window. So, how does the faith we find everywhere in life compare to religious faith? Is one kind of faith reasonable while the other is sensational or are they the same?