If you don’t, then you will never know. Make a decision. Take a step. Explore.

Explore - Dare to dream - Lend a hand - Love

How can we ever know what we can do if we never explore our world?
How can we ever know who we are if we never dream?
How can we ever if we never …

Is it not God who knew us before the beginning of time?
Is it not God who gave us a world to explore?
Is it not God who gave us a desire to succeed?
Is it not God who showed us the power of friendship?
Is it not God who gives us perfect moments?

Explore your world and know the beauty of creation.
Dare to dream and know the beauty of your mind.
Lend a hand and know the beauty of friendship.
Decide to love and experience perfection.

Discover a God who has so much.
Discover a God who has given us so much.
Discover the greatness of God as Isiah wrote about in Isiah 40:9-31

9 Go on up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good news;[e]
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good news;[f]
lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Behold your God!”
10 Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
11 He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
and weighed the mountains in scales
and the hills in a balance?
13 Who has measured[g] the Spirit of the Lord,
or what man shows him his counsel?
14 Whom did he consult,
and who made him understand?
Who taught him the path of justice,
and taught him knowledge,
and showed him the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
and are accounted as the dust on the scales;
behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.
16 Lebanon would not suffice for fuel,
nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering.
17 All the nations are as nothing before him,
they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.

18 To whom then will you liken God,
or what likeness compare with him?
19 An idol! A craftsman casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
and casts for it silver chains.
20 He who is too impoverished for an offering
chooses wood[h] that will not rot;
he seeks out a skillful craftsman
to set up an idol that will not move.

21 Do you not know? Do you not hear?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
23 who brings princes to nothing,
and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.

24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows on them, and they wither,
and the tempest carries them off like stubble.

25 To whom then will you compare me,
that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:
who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name,
by the greatness of his might,
and because he is strong in power
not one is missing.

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

Praise be to GOd

I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday. And, the three Cs don’t help.

I may not be there yet

Does peace come from a critical heart?
Does progress grow from condemnation?
Does happiness erupt from a complaining tongue?

The three Cs are criticizing, condemning, complaining. The three Cs do nothing to forward my cause. They stop my progress. They seek to push others backwards. Being critical is only seeing the bad. Condemning says that I want to tear your down. Complaining shows that I’m not content. The three Cs create defensiveness. They vocalize that I am not willing to work with the other person.

How can I climb the mountain – when I’m not looking at where I’m going? How can I see the steps that have been made for me – when all I see are the problems created by someone else? How can I see the good – when all I am looking at is the bad? How can I benefit from another’s skills – when all I am doing is tearing them apart?

Seek first to be thankful and see the good that is already there.

Seek first to understand their opinion and not to impose my own viewpoint.

Seek first to see the problems as opportunities for me to help others to fight the struggles that they are fighting. All of us have our own battles to fight.

I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.

Seek first to have a balanced viewpoint so that I can know where to place my foot next.

Seek first to show loving and caring and respect.
Because God loved me before I even knew He existed.
Because God loved them before I even knew they existed.
Because God has already offered forgiveness before any wrongs occurred.

I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.

Luke 6:37-42
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure–pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” And He also spoke a parable to them: “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit? read more.”A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher. “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.

Thank you Lord for always fulfilling you promise that I will have enough light for the next step (psalm 119:105).

Should we fight the fear of failure head on? There’s a better way.

Twist the fear of failure into a pretzel of caring

The fear of failure can knot us into stagnation.
Twist the fear of failure into a pretzel of caring
sprinkled with our own flavorful uniqueness.

Let’s take a look at John’s fear of failure.

“I joined Toastmasters because it’s a great place to learn public speaking.” That’s what John told me when I met him. This was his third Toastmaster’s meeting. I should have been more curious because he was about to truly amaze me.

I responded, “My boss was nice. He gave me the choice of joining Toastmasters, join Toastmasters or get laid off.”

John laughed.

The president of the club started the meeting and we took out seats.

The president introduced the first speaker. He walked to the front of the classroom and gave an interesting speech about learning how to scuba dive. He even brought all of his scuba gear in. He entertained us with amazing pictures of fish and coral as he explained what all the gear was and how he learned to use it.

The second speaker engaged us with great tips on how to save money for retirement.

Both speakers were very entertaining.

Then came the portion of the meeting that I will never, ever forget – impromptu speaking. That’s when the audience get’s asked an impromptu question. Then they have to walk to the front of the room and answer the question in two to three minutes.

Today’s question was, “If snow had a flavor, what flavor would it be?”

We had answers like snow reminds me of my childhood. It tastes like good memories, strawberries, and even planter’s punch.

John walked slowly up to the front of the room. We laughed when he told us to not eat the snow because it was yellow. But, he didn’t stop there. And, we didn’t stop laughing.

Fast forward many months and after John had delivered seven great speeches.

We wondered why John had joined Toastmasters. What we didn’t know was that John was terrified of public speaking – enough so that he had blacked out when he gave the answer about what snow tasted like. John didn’t even remember his answer. A pity, because he won for best answer.

As John put it. “When I tried to fight my fears head on, I couldn’t get out of my seat. So, I had a choice. I could sit in my seat and be terrified, I could have just sat in my seat and never discover my sense of humor. Instead, I looked away from my fears and to how much I cared. Then, with time and the help of my friends in Toastmasters, I overcame my fears.”

John amazed me. And, he taught me a great lesson about not letting my fear stop me. He taught me that the reason that I fear is because I care about it. He taught me that when we conquer our fears, we will always have a great message that will help to inspire others.

What’s even better is that all of us have unique stories of overcoming our fears because of our unique skills and experiences.

Thank you John.

The fear of failure can knot us into stagnation.
Twist the fear of failure into a pretzel of caring
sprinkled with our own flavorful uniqueness.

“Together, we are stronger.”

Ideas are like fish. Do you want to stay in the shallow water? Or, go deeper?

Photo credit www.vehiclehi.com
Photo credit http://www.vehiclehi.com

Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But, if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep the fish are more powerful and more pure. They’re huge and abstract. And, they’re very beautiful. ~ David Lynch

With a wetsuit, mask, fins, air tank, and a tool belt, John stood in the shallow water. Behind him was a short walk across the beach and back to the parking lot where his car was parked. The ferry docks were off to the left. Million dollar homes ran up the coast to his right. But, ahead of him lay an underwater park filled with exotic plants and fish and sunken boats.

The real question is how much trust does John have? If John trusts his equipment and his training, he will dive into the water and see the magnificant underwater park. If John doesn’t have any trust in his equipment, he will see very little standing knee deep in the water. The choice of what to do lies with John.

To think that John, with no diving experience, just showed up at some shop and bought whatever equipment looked right. Then, took that equipment and just started diving is absurd. John spent time with an expert training and learning to trust in his equipment and his own skills so that he would have no trouble diving into the water and seeing that underwater park.

Ideas are like fish.

As followers of Jesus, it’s the same way with us. Just like John choosing to dive into the water, if we really want to dive in and search for, and find, the really cool, big ideas, we have to develop trust in the equipment that we’ve been given.

What equipment have we been given?

We’ve all been given special gifts, skills, and talents that are made unique by our unique experiences. All of us are special and have unique messages for the world to hear.

So, where do we develop trust in using our gifts and talents and skills?

We need to read the bible and start studying God’s promises to us. If we take baby-steps and learn to trust in those promises, then the really big and cool ideas for how to effectively use our gifts and talents and skills will come into focus.

Using our skills and talents and gifts is like searching for fish. Do you want to stay in the shallow water? Or do you want to go deeper.

The decision to dive deeper is up to us. It’s up to us because we’ve been given the greatest gift of all, freedom of choice.

God’s hands are out and are full of wonder.
He’s waiting for us.
He wants to help us.
He’s given us the bible as an instruction manual.
The big fish are waiting for us.
The choice to dive deeper is ours to make.
I don’t want to stand in the shallow end any more.

All relationships have one law …

All relationships have one law

All relationships have one law: Never make the other person feel alone, especially when you’re there.

For God so loved the world that He gave.
He knew who we were.
He knew what we’d done.
He knew what we were going to do.
God gave anyway.

What can we do to create newness and respect in our relationships?

What can we do to build the other person up?

What can we do to feed the needs of what both crave?

For God so loved the world that He gave.
Shouldn’t we do the same?

Courage does not always roar

Courage does not always roar
Courage does not always roar

‘Courage does not always roar. Sometime courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” ‘ by Anna Radmacher at icanread.tumblr.com

I’ve been told many things.
One manager told me, “Sit down, shut up, and let us work.”
One boss told me, “You have $10 ideas and we have $50 ideas. Just do what you’re told.”
I’ve been told by a close friend, “You’re really screwed up.”

The list goes on and on of the many mean things that have been said to me. I wish that I could say that I’m unique in hearing these things. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. When I get the privelege
of hearing people open up, 100% of them have many, many tales of the cruelty they have experieced.

At the end of those horrible days, all of us struggle to just take one more step. The prayer shoots upwards over and over, “Please God, make it stop! Please, please make it stop!”

And then I read the stories of all of those wonderful people stocking the food pantries so that people who are starving have something to eat. I hear the stories of people running shelters so people have a warm place to sleep. I hear the stories of people whose job is to hold babies in the
hospital so that those babies feel loved. Then I hear the stories of incredbile courage and strength of missionaries who lay their lives on the line day after day just to deliver a message of hope.

Surely all of these people suffer the same cruelty of life that we do. What keeps them going? Where does that quiet voice at the end of the day come from? For me, I found the answer. In the bible, God has the most amazing opinion of all of those people whom He can call His children.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved”

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Colossians 2:6-7 “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”

Hebrews 12:28-29 “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.”

And, I’ll leave you with psalm 23.

The Lord the Shepherd of His People

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

“Courage does not always roar.”

Is silence worth the cost? Is it worth it to gripe and complain? What choice do we have?

Is Silence Worth it? STGrimes
Is Silence Worth it? STGrimes

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.” Martin Luther King Jr.

I stepped into the doorway and was greeted with 6 angry faces. The manager’s words directed that anger at me. “Sit down! Shut up! And let us work!”

Now, the ball was in my court. As the replacement project manager of a project that was in trouble, how should I respond?

Anger? That would permanently damage relationships that hadn’t even formed yet.

Silence? That’s how I used to respond. I would tell myself that I was big enough to handle the insults. The problem was, I wasn’t really letting the problems go. I was storing them inside. And they were festering. They caused my temper to become shorter, my depressions to be greater. I wasn’t doing anyone any favors by keeping quiet. Is silence really worth the cost?

Gripe and Compain? That’s how most people that I know react. They start complaining and complaining about the situation to everyone that they know. They become all angry and self-righteous. The trouble is, all they’re doing is complaining. They’re hurting the target of their complaining. They’re hurting themselves and they don’t even know it. And, they’re hurting everyone around them. They’re not actually doing anything to solve the problem. That means that they’re only making the problems worse.

In my mind, griping and complaining and silence are equally bad options that cause more damage then we’ll ever realize.

So, what did I do?

I made the decision to take every thought captive and give them to Christ. That means treat people with respect – whether they deserve it or not.

So, what did I do next?

I listened to their problems.
I asked questions to show that I understood, that I cared.
I shared my experiences in dealing with this situation.
I shared solutions on how “we” could get out of the situation.
We brainstormed for more solutions.
We became a team.
We worked together.
We became friends.
We solved the problem.

Is silence worth the cost?
Is griping and complaining worth the cost?
What is the cost?

What is the cost of respect?

What is the cost of making new friends?

What is the cost of deepening relationships by working together to get out of bad situations?

What is the cost of taking every thought captive and turn them into opportunities to build something new through respect?

What is the cost of being able to work as a team with enough trust to openly share all of our creative solutions to solve challenging siutations?

Is Silence Worth it? STGrimes
Is Silence Worth it? STGrimes

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.” Martin Luther King Jr.