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PERKS OF AGING…answering mom’s challenge…

Yesterday was my birthday. 46.

Facebook proved to be an amazing tool on my birthday.  I posted today that I received “Happy Birthday!” wishes from Indonesia, Peru, Uganda, Liberia, New Zealand, Israel, Canada, Florida, California, Kansas, Texas, Alabama, New Mexico, and good ol AZ…someone commented quickly and said, “and now from Idaho too!”  The world has definitely gotten smaller…its pretty easy to contact people all over the world!

I ended my Facebook post today with,… “BTW, getting older has its perks!”… My mom responded with,

“What perks does getting older have? List them for all of us.“– Mom

Alright mom…here are many…but not all.

A perk to getting older…agingwine

…is it becomes clearer each day that Heaven is real, the Bible is true and God loves us more than we’ll ever know.

…is we appreciate the laughter of child a bit more than when we were young.

…is we have a deeper appreciation for when somebody experiences positive life change.

…is we now understand that life isn’t going to serve us like we wish it would. In fact we realize that life doesn’t think about us, fulfill us, or give us success…it must be earned and is never guaranteed.

…is we have a better understanding that if we do earn success, it can be gone tomorrow, so we appreciate success a little deeper. A side perk of getting older…we have learned that success doesn’t guarantee happiness.

…is that we realize happiness is never an entitlement.

…is we know for a fact that stuff will never make us happy, but we understand that we will be tempted to think so.

…is, Every year we live, we realize it will go by faster.  The perk…is we are better at slowing down and enjoying each moment a little longer.

…is we know we will never be free from temptation and we have learned to not pray for protection as much as for strength to resist it.

…is we have learned the hard truth that most people in our life will hurt us, but we know we don’t have to hurt back…and no matter what happens, we have learned that bitterness and un-forgiveness are actually worse for us than what the people did to us.

…is the knowledge that forgiveness is mostly for my personal benefit.

…is we have learned that it’s good to care about what people think, but we know better than to allow it to influence our self esteem.

cheese-shelf4…is we have learned that God uses pain to refine us. If we don’t like that fact, we have learned that it won’t do any good to get mad at God about it.

 

…is we have learned that we are going to hurt people. But we don’t ever want to do it on purpose, ever.

 

 

…is we have learned that“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”… is true, they really are just words.

…is we have learned that Hurt people….hurt people. So…when someone hurts us, we have learned to think about what has hurt them that causes them to now hurt us, and it helps us have more compassion and ability to forgive.

…is we have learned that promoting the progress and purpose of others…is truly the good life.

…is we have learned that a majority of people will never win the lottery, or have 15 minutes of fame…and we know for a fact that anything worth having, never come easy.

…is we have learned that If something is worth doing, it is worth doing…even poorly.

…is we know our spouse knows us better than everybody, except God. Listen to them unless they tell us something different than God tells us.

…is we have learned that a secret is the beginning of sin taking over our lives.cropped-happy-old-people

…is we know it is good to Speak the truth even if it makes our voice shake.

…is we know that we will never feel like forgiving someone who hurt us, but we should forgive anyway and often if necessary.

…is we have learned that it is a mental health requirement to have a sense of humor about ourselves because the more we laugh at ourselves, the lighter life can be.

…is we have learned that we all are idiots, just in different areas, se we are getting better at not pointing fingers.

…is we know with confidence that we can’t control anything.

…is our knees/ankles/hips/whole body….hurts because we have lived a full and adventurous life that has worn us down.

…is we know…there’s not much we’d change if we could do it all over again…but the things we would change…would make all the difference!

…is we fully understand that just because someone has aged, it doesn’t mean they have these perks.

…is we fully agree that youth is wasted on the young. 🙂

There are so many more…go ahead, add some in the comments section.

I love growing older and I pray that I am fortunate enough that I will have lived my life to a ripe old age, in such a way, that people will want to care for me when I can’t care for myself.

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During my Elders Meeting today…Renner Family Transitions…

Over the last 5 years the Renner Fam has had some head spinning life transitions take place from Arizona to Florida and back to AZ again. These 5 years have given me the ability to encounter many different types of leaders, staff, church members, and leadership teams. It is astonishing to me how different each one of these experiences have been.
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My most recent is my accepting the lead pastor role with CCFH = Christ’s Church of Fountain Hills. Earlier today, I sat in my 4th meeting with the CCFH Elders, and I am simply blown away at their love, camaraderie, and Kingdom mentality. As I post these thoughts, 7 hours after the meeting, I am still reeling with a heart that is full, and am so encouraged. This kind of team is what I’ve been looking for since the Parkway days.

I’m experienced enough to know it will not always be easy…but the foundation that the Founding Pastor, Don Lawrence has built over the last 32 years has created a church, a staff, and an Elder Board that is humble, hungry for Kingdom growth, and has strong spiritual, social, and emotional health. I ask for your prayers as this journey continues. If you don’t live in Fountain Hills…make the time someday to come out on a Sunday, visit CCFH, and say hello to me! If you live in FH, then it’s a no brainer, come to Church! 🙂 I’d love to see you and introduce you to an unbelievable Church called CCFH. I am grateful and will hit the hay tonight with a full heart.grateful


March Madness! 7 Ways Basketball is like Life…

elite basketball

I love March Madness!  I love the game of basketball, but you’ll rarely see me taking the time to watch any games unless it’s my kid’s games or it’s officially March Madness!  March Madness is when the phrase “Game On!” truly incarnates into the 10 young men that step on the NCAA basketball floors all over the USA.  It is the time of year when the Elite players gather in 5’s and live out other vital phrases such as, “Give it your all!” — “No Regrets!” — “No Retreat!” — “Bring it!” — “No do-overs!” — “Go Big or Go Home!” — “Do or Die!”.

With that…it seems Basketball and life have a lot of parallels.  Here are 7.  I’m sure there are more.  If you have another one, write it in the comments section!

Here you go…7 things about March Madness Basketball that relate to real life…

1.  I play better relaxed. 

In life, when I’m frustrated, I live horribly. When relaxed I focus on wise and pro-active choices. When frustrated I tend to argue and fight and that just rarely ends in productivity.

2.  The measure between in-bounds and out-of-bounds is the difference between ASSERTIVE and AGGRESSIVE.

Assertive actions are focused on what is necessary towards what you want. Aggression clouds my focus and causes fouls from a heavy hand. Assertive behavior leads to goals achieved. Aggressive behavior causes pain and harm.

3.  Practice does = Permanent.

Work hard and smart because we all know it will be worth it.  Find what works and repeat until it doesn’t work anymore.  Practice…a lot.

4.  Good Self Esteem = Good Performance.  Performance does NOT = Self Esteem. 

5.  It’s a TEAM game. 

You can’t win basketball or life on your own.  Many Christians mistake the passage of Philippians 4:13 as a passage that means you can do everything on your own.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me.”  Most people stop with that verse…but verse 14 says, “yet it was good of you to help me.”  

There’s a lot of arguing going on about this in our culture from prominent people such as Barack Obama, Michael Jordan and others.  Somebody told Michael Jordan that there is no “I” in team…His reply was, “But there is in “Win.”  🙂  Makes me smile, but it’s just not true.  Some have discovered that there is actually an “i” found in the word “team.”  See pic below to figure it out yourself.

The-I-in-Team1

My spiritual gift of immaturity causes me to laugh and shake my head at that pictorial proof that there is on occasion “i” in team.

6.  You have to score to win.

Basketball is like life because it is vital to set goals and be assertive in pursuing them.  It is important to understand that great goal achievement in basketball is at between the 50% – 60% success rate.  And…basketball is like life in the fact…The tougher the shot/goal the more satisfaction there is in attempting it and scoring it! Man…some goals can just make the crowd go crazy!!

7.  You cannot hold on to your mistakes for long…

So…you gave the ball away.  You missed a crucial shot.  You tripped and looked silly in the moment.  LET IT GO!  The game of basketball and life is fast.  It moves on with or without you.  Dropping our heads to pout will only be another error.  The best players in the world miss 50% of their 2 pointers and nearly 70% of their 3 pointers.

Philippians 3:13 says, “But one thing I do…forget (let it go) the past and strain (assertive) to what lies ahead.”  

 

Basketball and Life do have a lot of similarities.  There are others…I’ll leave it up to you to add them to the comments section if you’d like.  We could brainstorm many other parallels with basketball and life… Boundaries. Refs. Coaches. Racing the Clock. Strategic plays. Momentum. There’s always a crowd watching. Retaliators get called for the foul. Locker Room talk. Having the right shoes. Dunking! Having the right players on the team.  Making the Cut. Rest and Recovery. Shirts and Skins…etc. etc.

Let’s get our game on!

 


Your Greatest Battle…right now!

You will become what you are becoming right now.

You, at this very moment, are in the greatest battle you will ever wage in all your life. You are fighting for what, one day, you will become.

wagingwar

There are forces, seen and unseen, clashing for influence in your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  These forces can typically go unrecognized by you.  You might or might not feel the stress of the war being waged.  You likely won’t understand the battle until you are able to look back on the whole thing, years from now…and see what you’ve become.

You can influence this war’s result.  You can influence what you will become.  You are becoming it right now, whether you feel like it or not.  The people who have become something remarkable…the people who have become something extraordinary…they are not better than you, smarter than you, and most definitely not luckier than you.  No, they just chose to notice the battle being waged. They made a choice to influence the outcome of what they become.  They made a decision to influence the minute by minute battle waging on them, right now.

They accepted the fact that they will become what they are becoming right now.  They chose to deliberately steward what the end result would be.

What do you want to become? end-result-wide

 

Until you can answer the question above…you will be at the mercy of the consequences of the war being waged on you right now.

It’s kind of like a summer boat party that happens everyday in your town’s closest lake.  If you’ve got several friends, then the odds of you being pushed out of the boat and into the lake everyday are highly likely.  If you know you are going to get pushed into the lake everyday, then you can predetermine how you are going to respond to that spontaneous splash everyday.  When you predetermine how you are going to respond, then you will control your response when it actually happens.    fall-in-water-660x371

Everyday, you get pushed. You get pushed in areas of life way more important than boat parties and lakes.

If you don’t predetermine how you are going to respond when you get pushed, then you will be at the mercy of emotion and other external forces that want to determine how you will respond.

This is the same as your end result as a person.  What do you want to become?  Predetermine it and don’t let any other forces determine your end result.

This is easier said than done.

If you want to be a person who determines your own end result…then you can only be successful at becoming that end result when you have clearly defined the end result you desire to become. (Maybe read that again…)

What do you want to become?  Write it down.  Clearly define it. Then make minute by minute decisions that help you become it starting right now.

Maybe that is what God had in mind when He had Jesus say, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

You will become what you are becoming right now.

 

 


Motives Matter

Our motives matter to God.

He’s sees right through our disguises.

For instance, as a Christian it would be very easy to disguise my selfishness and fear as a desire to be in a small, intimate Church. We could hide behind the Bible verse that says “God is love” and excuse our desire for a small church as all about love and knowing everyone, just like God knows everyone.

And, it would be easy to disguise my competitive spirit, greed, & pride, as evangelism and church growth.  It would be easy to have the ends justify the means.  We could say, look how big my church is, God must be so proud of how many people attend my church.  We could excuse our sin by disguising it as evangelism.

Motive pic

It doesn’t matter what people believe our motives to be, only what God already knows our motives are.

I’m a “Why Guy”.  When was the last time you really did a self-aware check?  When was the last time you got in a closet with God and spoke to him about your motives?

Why do you do what you do? God knows, but do you?

We cannot be fake with God.  Someday we will all stand before Him…

intellectually naked    —    emotionally exposed    —    physically insufficient.

Don’t fear it….be ready for it.

Remember that nothing can separate you from the love of God.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”  Romans 8:38

And Jesus said,

“If you love me, obey my commandments.”  John 14:15

Do not forget that Hell is full of people whom God loves.  God didn’t send them to Hell, he only honored their choice to not obey Him. He honored their motives.  Our motives matter to God.  Are your motives about humbly serving, loving, and obeying Jesus?

Let’s triple check our motives.  If you are ashamed of what you find, then never forget that…

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

If Jesus is who He says He is…then He is returning someday…with passion…to settle the score once and for all.

Don’t screw around with Him and your eternity simply because of the shallowness of the temporary.

Motives matter.

Know your motives.

God will not control your motives.

He left that up to your own stewardship and care.

God will honor your choices that are born out of your motives.

Your motives will lead to your choices, and your choices will be extended by God into eternity.

Heaven and Hell are in the balance.  Eternity is at stake.  For your eternity’s sake, check your motives.