Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Importance of a Personal Mission Statement (What Donald Miller Didn't Say)

Ten people read my blog---I’m being too hard on myself---maybe eleven.  Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller went Platinum, selling over a million copies.  In short that’s why I find his advice valuable.  For his newest project, Author Launch, he took part in a Webinar; ‘Ask An Author Anything.”  In that interview about writing a book he said, ‘new writers should practice by writing a book’, “Practice what you want to do.”  He advised not to blog or Instagram; but write the book.  I get it.  I just find it interesting that while writing his newest book, “Scary Close” Miller was blogging for Storyline and running Storyline conferences.  The reason for this is that Donald Miller’s vision is larger than writing a best-selling novel. 

“The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either,” so begins A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.  Miller’s heartbeat is to live a great story.  His mission is to stimulate others to live a great story as well.  Whatever your vision is; whatever your art is, it needs to be defined.  Your vision must be clear; your goal clearly established. 

My neighbor works all day at the Marine base; comes home, turns on the television and sits in his favorite chair while his wife makes dinner.  The television shows change but the routine remains the same.  My neighbor is a great guy—he goes to church, cares for others, loves his kids, and loves his wife.  Is his personal goal five hours of TV a night?  That’s doubtful. His goals are not defined.  He has no mission statement.

I don’t want to die like that.  When my last breath comes; however it comes (or doesn’t come) I want to have few regrets as possible.  I need to know I rode hard---even if it was only for one good season---still I want it said that I rode hard, played hard, tried living full, stumbled certainly, but pushed harder than most.  Focus means there’s a target.  Pushing hard means there’s a goal.  Beating my best means there’s a baseline.  Let’s take some time to dream and evaluate.  What’s our vision?  What fires us up?  What’s that look like lived out?  What dies if we succumb to the comfort of our living room Barcalounger?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

I Blame It On Y2K

It was the midnight the world was going to come to a roaring crash.  Abbreviating the four-digit year 2000 with two-digits meant 2000 was indistinguishable from 1900 which would cause computers world-wide to implode.  When the world woke up on New Years’ Day only the calendar had changed.  For months we’d heard that there was going to be this pandemic failure of systems sending us back into the dark ages.  It didn’t happen.

I hear whispers on the wind of Shemitah and Blood Moons.  To quote one site, “Bestselling author of The Harbinger and the new book, theMystery of the Shemitah, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn has uncovered a startlingconnection between the Shemitah and the financial markets here in the US.”  Huge cataclysmic disasters are coming upon America in 2016.  I’ve not read the book but apparently that’s the message.  Unless we change direction; the Old Testament cycles predict demise. 
No doubt, barring a change of direction, these United States will suffer some financial upheaval.  As far as these conspiracy theories go I take them with a grain of salt.  I could be wrong.  There’s nothing wrong with stockpiling food and water (I stop at munitions).  I’m cynical. 

Let me note a caveat and a concern.  The concern is that I’ll miss a serious message that God has for the church; that in my measured, calculating sobriety I will dismiss what I should have responded to.  The caveat is that there will be a judgment.  Christ will come once again; not as Suffering Servant but as ruling glorious king.  Hope will be met with its’ fullest reward; faith will then be sight.  The Bible lays all of this out for us.  Not so for any conspiracy---even ‘Bible based’ ones.

The same article states that these authors “believe God is trying to send a message to mankind- repent and seek Him while there is still time!”  I agree with the message but dismiss the media being used.  I’ve seen too many prophesied dates come and go.  I blame it on Y2K.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Living Here And The Beauty I See

The visitor gasped; astounded he couldn't believe that I hadn't visited the aerial tramway which is only miles away.  “And you live here!” He exclaimed.

Though I've not been atop the tram its true,
I’ve seen the night sky rich and darkest blue, 
I've seen the citrine moon, (like a balloon),
Resting on the desert sands somewhere,
Between fingertip and edge of the horizon. 
While out away from city street,
I’ve seen a ram, heard its’ bleat,
Seen a moose—six point rack;
Stood waist deep in the Narrows,
Not a care upon my back.

Transients pushing their baskets,
Skin brown-red from years in the Sun,
They walk down street, through parks they troop,
I’ve seen many from the seat in my air-conditioned coupe.
And I’ve seen a boy, his little head without hair,
A face covered with mask to keep out any bad air;
Leukemia---cancer; blood, bone and brain,
I’ve seen it take both the young and the aged.

A woman with her children, her home cinder block and dirt,
A life without hope or means for food and shirts;
Behold brilliant bold colors, variegated texture, the fabric woven woof, warp and square,
A Missionary family from here and local body in Christ; living proof, hope and care.

Though I’ve not been on the twirling tram,
I have to think through all I’ve seen,
Through human stuff and natures’ splendor,
That there’s some kind of human ‘dark’,
And some kind of majestic creator.