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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.

5-myths-of-hospice-care_0


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


A Warning To My Enemies…

To those who have been in my way for so long…you are my enemy!  You have tried to block me, stop me, haunt me, taunt me, belittle me, embarrass me, and forget about me.

It is not working.  It will not work.  May the lyrics of the song “I Want It” by my fav band, Blue October, teach you why you have failed…and any further attempts from you, my enemy, will never succeed!

To all of you in the way
I push you aside
Flames burn down together
I refuse to ignite
I won’t walk away (that is not in me)
I’m here to stay

So I raise my hand in grace
Pray for the ones I wish I could erase
Cause we are who we are and we’ll be who we’ll be
Live for the moment and the mystery of everybody owns a scar
To show us how we got this far
Cause we are who we are and we’ll be who we’ll be
Don’t ever think you’ll take away the fight in me

I want it…
I want it more then you ever did…

Here’s to starting over
I heard you’re shutting down shop
Boy I’m taking it over
I’m never gonna stop
Here’s to the ones who said that you couldn’t win
Here’s to the crazies getting under your skin
They’re always gonna talk
But I’m never gonna stop
I won’t walk away
(I want it, crave it, bottle up and save it)
I’m here to stay
(I want it, crave it, I won’t behave I’ll turn it up more)

So I raise my hand in grace
Pray for the ones I wish I could erase
Cause we are who we are and we’ll be who we’ll be
Live for the moment and the mystery of everybody owns a scar
To show us how we got this far
Cause we are who we are and we’ll be who we’ll be
Don’t ever think you’ll take away the fight in me

I want it…
I want it more then you ever did…

In case you are wondering who my enemy is…let the Holy Word of God make it clear…know-your-enemy3

12 “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”  Ephesians 6:12

To the reader of this short blog.  Your enemies are not people! There is one thing I am positive about.  Every one of us are fighting a battle. Please make sure you are not confused as to who the real enemy is.  Kick your enemy’s butt, by wanting “it” more. Jesus is THE ultimate “IT” factor!! The devil is defeated by the power and blood of the Lord and Savior Jesus, the Christ!  If Jesus lives in you…then welcome the scars…He has them too.  They make us better.  They create the story that inspires the life change in others.  Fight the good fight…never give up.

If you need to go further and read more from the Word of God, then click these passages below for further battle prep…

Ephesians 6:10-17

Romans 8:31-39

Philippians 3:12-21

Philippians 1:21

If you have other Bible passages that encourage you and strengthen you, then please add them to the comments section so that others may benefit from them too.


How do I know my name is written in The Book of Life?

There is this list.  This list hasn’t earned the superlative ranks we call Oscar’s, Santa’s, Schindler’s, Craig’s, America’s Most Wanted, or My Bucket…but the day will be upon us sooner or later where this list will be parallel to none.

In the Bible, specifically Luke 10:20, Jesus said to a group of His Disciples, “Rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.”  Specifically in the Book of Revelation chapter 3 verse 5, the list is mentioned again, “They who overcome will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase their name from the book of life, and I will confess their name before My Father and before His angels.”  

Book of Life

Every human being has been given a gift…our names have been written in THE Book of Life.  Every person that Jesus died for has their name written in this Book of Life.  What a gift! You didn’t earn having your name penciled in. You are not so outstanding that your name got written in, and other’s, who didn’t put in the work ethic like you, did not.

This is no human standard’s list.  No, this list has written on it every name that the Blood of Jesus was shed for.  This list contains every name that was ever knit together in a mother’s womb, plus Adam and Eve.  Every human, from the beginning of time, has their name written in this book. Jesus’s death, His obedience to the Father, secured your name being written on The List.  You weren’t asked, and you did not earn it. You aren’t capable of earning such an entry in The Book of Life.

But…

Be warned. Every name is written in pencil. Please note, in the Revelation passage above, the critical words, “overcome”, and  “not erase”.

To keep the free gift of having your name written in The Book of Life, the only thing required of you is to LOVE JESUS.  Jesus said, and it’s recorded in John 14:15, “If you love Me, obey Me.”

It’s a fair standard.  This standard is the exact same standard the Father requested of Jesus, as He was sent to become one of us, and live in obedience to the Father’s commands on earth.  Such a request to Jesus from the Father, killed Him.  He laid down His life.  He laid down His own desires. (Don’t forget Jesus asked the Father, in the Garden of Gethsemane, to find another way to pay for our sins.) God didn’t change his way, so… Jesus obeyed and laid down His own desires, to honor the Father’s desires.  Jesus, did all that was necessary to Love/Obey the Father, specifically this, “NOT MY WILL BE DONE, BUT YOUR’S”.

Jesus referred a lot to laying down your own life, picking up your cross, suffering for Him, etc. He earned the right to command such of us. Your life is not yours.  Your desires are not your God, Jesus is.

Keep your name written in the Book of Life.  Our life choices influence the great eraser mentioned in Revelation 3:5.

Speaking of lists…is the list below full of items that are worth doing so as to cause “The Great Eraser” to erase our name from The List?

Manipulation-Theft-Pride-Arrogance-Unforgiveness-Cheating-Dominance-Unfaithfulness-Disbelief-Disobedience-Apathy-Porn-Gluttony-Laziness…

My goodness…that list could go on for eternity. Did you read that list and think to yourself, “Impossible…My name is going to be erased…there is no way I can live my life free of those…”

First, let me challenge you with this.  Re-read that list again and ask yourself which ones on the list you HAVE to commit?  Which of the listed, or unlisted items, are you FORCED to do today or tomorrow, or the next?  Never forget the Bible verse that says, through Jesus, we can do all things. Never forget that those who confess Jesus as Lord of their lives, are titled OVERCOMERS, and CONQUERORS, and VICTORIOUS!

When Jesus said, “If you love me, obey me.”  Repenting and confessing your sins are things we do to obey Jesus.

My challenge is this…have your repented of your sins?  To repent doesn’t mean to simply say “sorry” like an apathetic child, who called his sister a bad name, and then was told by a parent to apologize.  No, to repent means to stop and go the opposite direction. 

The Bible says in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  Receiving the Holy Spirit is what gives you the strength to witness your name NOT being ERASED from The Book of Life.  The Holy Spirit is what gives you the strength to be what I wrote above…overcomers, conquerors, and victorious ones.

Ultimately…you have a choice of what you want to be a slave to…Be a slave to the obedience/love of Jesus, not a slave to the sins of this world.  What sin is so fulfilling that if it ultimately means having your name erased from The Book of Life…you will say to yourself, “That was worth it!!”?

This post, should strike a little fear in our hearts and lives.  The Bible, written in Proverbs 9:10 says, “Fear of the Lord, is the beginning of wisdom.”  What do you need to repent and confess of? If you have been keeping secrets and living in sin…Get on your knees before God and stop the sin you are commiting, confess it all to Him, and work diligently the rest of your life to live a forgiven and free life!

“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

It will be a very cool day, when you stand in line to meet The Creator of the Sun, Moon, and the Stars, receive a handshake and hug, watch The Book of Life be opened to where your name is written, and be told, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

There are two great eraser opportunities while our hearts still beat.

The first is to live our lives selfishly by ignoring the commands of Jesus, and thus erasing our names from the Book of Life.

The second and best opportunity is to dedicate our lives to the Teachings and Commands of Jesus, thus erasing the sins in our lives, through His blood sacrifice, so that we can be forgiven and remain in the Book of Life for all eternity.

If I can personally help you give your life to Jesus, please just ask in the comments section or email me and I’ll do all that I can to walk with you through such a life changing decision.


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!

 


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