New Year Thoughts

Today is the day of almost new beginnings and changes. Tomorrow people will be starting their resolution process. The resolutions will begin, as they do every year, which consist of losing weight, exercising more, going to church more, reading more, and the list can go on and on. For this who will partake in this practice let me give some thoughts and encouragement:

1) Allow yourself to have flexibility. If you mess up or miss a day, don’t stop and avoid the things that have caused the setbacks.

2) Stay focused on the goal(s). There will be events or individuals that will try to sway your concentration. Make a poster with your goals, a journal, or some other notes the night before that keep you encouraged and motivated.

3) Make your goals attainable. Don’t be unrealistic. Set the goals by month so they can be looked back on at the end of the year as success.

Finally,

4) Have fun! Don’t make goals that will stress you out or weigh you down. Find friends that will take part in it with you. Hint: if you can’t find one friend to do a goal with you, look back at 2 and 3 and see which one describes your goal.

Have a happy New Year celebration and good luck! Peace.

Encouragement

“Encouragement is the fuel that powers our efforts to engage, educate, and equip. Nothing does more to lubricate the rough spots than a good dose of encouragement.”-Tony Dungy “The Mentor Leader”

 It started off like any other day at the gym. I got out of my car, grabbed my gym bag from the back seat and walked towards the entrance. As I came to the first set of double doors, two young girls (the oldest no more than 10 and the youngest no more than 7) came running up behind me, I am assuming they were racing to the front door like kids normally do, when I hear the oldest one yell “Dad, hurry, we want to get in!” In my mind I was thinking, “Wow, these young ladies really want to get to the day care section or youth basketball”.

I move through the second set of double doors and hold them for the girls so they can sit in the lobby waiting for their dad and I to sign in. While walking through I see the typical high school athletes working out in the weight room, watching themselves in the mirror lifting a little more than they could handle; an older gentleman getting help from a physical trainer; and youth basketball in the gym across the hall. I continue walking to the cardio room and this is where the typical day changes.

I step up on the treadmill to start my normal 30 minute run, which turns into 20 or 25, and the oldest girl comes through the doors with her dad by her side. She steps up on the treadmill next to me and starts walking for a few minutes and goes to her dad to see what he’s doing. I am pretty pleased to see this, so I smile a bit. Then, my cardio time is finished, so I walk to the weight room and the athletes are gone, but the older gentleman is still there. I begin lifting and all of a sudden the dad and the daughter come walking in together and you can see there is a plan. They start doing a forearm workout then, he helps her through a shoulder exercise, and moves on to doing leg exercises. All the while I am watching this occur, I am still lifting, but I was and still am very encouraged by what I was watching.

I was wrapping up my workout and I couldn’t help but feel the need to go and talk to this man. So, for those of you that know me, this was not something hard to do and I asked him “Is this your daughter?” (Tried not to sound creepy) and he replied “Yes” (in a, you-better- not-be-a-creeper way). I then said “I want to let you know I think it is awesome to see this. It is not every day a dad…” he then interrupted and said “gets quality time. It is awesome.” To which I replied with “Yeah, quality time is great, but I wanted to say gets encouraged for being a dad. So, I just want to say, great job on being a dad.” He smiled heartily and said “Thanks!” As I walked away I heard him tell his daughter “That was awesome” and his daughter then said “YEAH Dad!” (I think I heard them high five too).

There were three people encouraged that day, the father being recognized as a father, the daughter recognized that she has an involved dad, and me knowing that I am going to do that too and there are men out there taking responsibility as the dad God has allowed them to be.

To all of the dad’s out there doing their job, well done! To all who know dad’s doing their job, encourage them because they may not be getting it very often! To mom’s, well, we all know you are awesome! Keep up the good work!

Our Prerogative

Bobby Brown had a song that came out in the 1980’s entitled “My Prerogative”. The intro to the song went something like this:

“Everybody’s talking all this stuff about me now
Why don’t they just let me live?
I don’t need commission
Make my own decisions
that’s my prerogative”

These lines are very telling of the current state of our society. We live in a culture that puts emphasis on YOLO (You only live once) and making a point to say “I’m my own person, if you can’t handle it, then I don’t need you around”. The only issue is–that is not how we have been created to live. Yes, we are individuals, but we are still connected and whether we like it or not what we do still impacts the lives of many around us.

As I watch things being posted on Facebook and Twitter without filters or sensors, people do not realize the damage they are causing to people around them. They wonder why people “unfriend” or stop “following” them and respond with “if you can’t handle what I say, then I am glad you’re not my friend or following me anymore”. We have lost our connectedness.

President Obama made a great statement after the Connecticut event saying “These kids are our kids” and I agreed openly about that statement, but I feel like it is much more than that. We all have been affected by the event and those with kids were posting they would be holding their children closer, but what about the kids down the street? What about the orphans? What about (fill in the blank)? That community was our community too? “These kids are our kids” was a powerful and meaningful statement, but there is something to be said about us, as a society, recognizing that everything we do affects someone else.

Mr. Brown had a catchy song. In fact, I think I danced to it at Medieval Times in Southern California in their little bar section when I was a kid. However, the lyrics are damaging to people who want to think that living their life they want to live it doesn’t affect their families, their friends, or the community in which they live. Our prerogative should be to care for, lift up, encourage, and love one another ALWAYS!
 
Just for laughs, here is a link to the music video of Bobby Brown’s song. I think after he was done making the video he was making telemarketing calls (hint: look at his mic)

Is He Really Missing?

The tragedy in Connecticut has been really hard to handle for many. It has been a difficult situation for parents, for students, for teachers, and for families across the nation. Many parents are trying to figure out how to communicate the events that took place and what it means to their children. It has created an opportunity for some to discuss important details of their family and to love and hug each other more.

However, it has also created a religious frenzy too. I have seen posts calling for “God to be brought back into the school” or “This occurred because prayer isn’t allowed in the classroom” or even more tragic “God is using this to teach our country a lesson.”  I subscribe to none of these.

As a Christian I feel like this is a great opportunity for God to be lifted up and Jesus to be brought back to the forefront of discussion around peace, love, and reconciliation, but I am not sure if I feel comfortable saying God is not in the schools or prayer isn’t allowed or that God is vindictive. This is a time for Christians to reveal the Gospel, the truth of the good news of Jesus–and those messages do not add up to what I hear as the good news of Jesus.

There are three things we teach and believe as Christians, but for some reason during tragedies they seem to disappear:

1)      God is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient: In all these Omni’s we find God being all of something. He is all powerful, all knowing, and present everywhere. If we believe this as Christians then why do some of us feel like it is alright to say His power is taken away due to some laws and that His presence is gone due to some laws. To the last Omni, Yes, He did know what was going to happen, but He is not a God that wants to demolish young children to make His point clear. (Before someone says, well what about Herod or the Pharaoh in Egypt, think about the situations: Herod was jealous and gave into sin and Pharaoh had God’s people captive and was given fair warning. Oh, and it was before Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to redeem His people.) He allows for it to happen because He does not want to destroy His deal with mankind by taking away their free will.

 

2)      We teach our kids that God is everywhere and He is in their hearts. But if this is the case, why do we display these messages, negating our whole lesson? What kind of fear is in the hearts of our children then? We need to teach them that no matter what the circumstance God never leaves them. Our God never fails! (Deuteronomy 4:31)

 

3)      Finally, prayer should never leave the school regardless of laws. If we are instilling in our children the hope of the Lord and guiding them to learn how to pray, then they will know that prayer never leaves. We need to raise them in the ways of the Lord and teach them scripture. We need to have a house that is filled with prayer so they know how to do it. It should be something they embrace whether in school or out. It is their freedom to do so and they can do it with friends or on their own. (Joshua 24:15; Psalm 78:4-6)

 

During the 400 years of silence people felt that God was missing, but He was still there, waiting for the right time to reveal His plans. At this time, people may feel God is silent, but He has already revealed His plan to reconcile His creation back to Himself and it is the Christian’s duty to pass that along. Our role is to share that Gospel, the truth, and help people recognize that God is not missing and He never will be!

Thoughts

Well, here I am again, three months behind on my nblog post and feeling like I have a lot that hasn’t been written. It has been an interesting few months trying to get things ready for our baby boy coming into the world, friends having kids all around us, one of my best friends sharing that he is going to be a dad and their baby will be here a couple months after Liam, and I joined a gym. Yep, I bet you didn’t see that last statement coming into the picture, but it fits if you think about it.

I have wanted to join a gym for awhile now, but just haven’t found the right time. In fact, I procrastinated a lot. I found myself judging myself and even the people in the gym I didn’t know yet. Thoughts like “Dude, you haven’t lifted anything heavier than a liter of soda for over a year” (ok, slight exaggeration, I did P90X, but never over 25lbs.)or “Those people in there are going to look at me like ‘oooh, look at this 30 yr. old chubby guy trying to relive his football weight lifting days'” or…well, you get the picture.

I have needed to get in shape so I started running, but felt really unfulfilled. I love running, in fact I am running the DisneyWorld Marathon again in 2014, but it still wasn’t enough for me. So, here I am, a 30 yr. old chubby guy trying to get back in shape. However, I have much more riding on this than a marathon or football glory days (if you can call them that), but I have a son that is depending on me to be healthy. This baby, as with all the other babies that are now around us, needs his father to be healthy. He needs me to be active with him and ready to be here as long as I can be here. This gym membership and my running is now not just for my life, but for my son to enjoy my life as well. I cannot hold off any longer on making sure I get in shape again.

As I look in the mirror today weighing 242lbs. I have to commit to achieving some goals. I have to meet thsoe goals and not lower my expectations. Liam has to see his father succeed, especially if I want him to succeed too. My example starts now, so later on he can say “My dad could do it, so can I.” Whether or not it has to do with his weight ro any some other goal he sets for himself, he needs to know that if his dad could do it, he can too. His dad won’t quit, especially since his life (not physical, but emotional) depends on it.

Seeds

Today has been a pretty good day. In fact, I think these past few days have been great. Natasha and I found out we are having a boy, which is pretty exciting. This is an awesome time for both of us as we prepare to be parents.

As I look forward as the father of this boy I am getting anxious. The fact that I am going to be responsible for raising this boy to be a man is quite overwhelming, but exciting. Natasha will be a great mom and passing on motherly wisdom, but I am going to be the dad which means I will be responsible for guiding his understanding of manhood. I will be educating him on the ways of being a man, how to treat a woman, how to take care of his wife, and how to love his mother and how that translates into his love for his wife, and much more.

These are seeds that I will be planting right away. I like to think that he knows now how much I love his mom from all the nice things I do for him and her ( I say that partially in jest). There is some truth to that though. If I am not loving her with all of me now then how can I do it later? If I don’t find it important to care for her now, then how will it be important later? I need to be doing things now, but not just for the sake of our son.

Natasha needs to know the value I hold for her. The actions I make later should not come as a surprise because they are actions I am already making. I want the seeds to be planted now. Our son will come into a loving household with two loving parents that will not be riding on tense lines. His mom will be loved prior to his birth so he will sense that love from the very beginning. God has given me a responsibility to be a father and a husband. I will take that role and I will do it to the best of my ability.

Workmanship

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do- Ephesians 2:10

At times I forget this part of God’s message to His creation. Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians encouraging them in their walk. They needed to hear these words so they could move forward in sharing the Gospel, living the Gospel, and loving the Gospel. The good news of Christ is the fact that we are given new life in His sacrifice and resurrection. This act alone was done to reveal how important God’s handiwork is to Him. It is not a “was” statement it is an “is” statement. The creation is important and valued and is meant to continue the good works of Christ and reveal the good works of Christ.

Like I shared earlier, sometimes I forget this part of God’s message. Due to my faults and failures I tend to think that there is no way that God looks at me and says “Man, that’s a nice piece of work”, I mean He may say “Bobby is a real piece of work”, but not meaning it in a flattering way.

I am wrong in this thought. I am His handiwork, or in one translation it says workmanship. I am a piece of work; His! This goes back to Iron Man 2 when Stark’s dad said “The greatest creation I ever made was you” (speaking to Tony). God is constantly saying this to us, especially through His Word. His Son came to show how valuable this workmanship is to Him NOW! If He could He would put us in a special case to protect us, but He doesn’t. He put us in this world in order for us to reveal His good work and to show that He recognizes each person in this world as His greatest creation. We are His and He will not let that go. He has created us with purpose and love with His great hands and longs for us to embrace the great news of being part of His great work! How great is that! (The overuse of great is on purpose).