:::: MENU ::::
Posts tagged with: joy

Hydrate — Winning From The Inside — The Preface

Is your happiness portable?

What do I mean by, “portable happiness?” Think with me…

What if you lost your job today and couldn’t find any work for the next six months?
What if your son went undefeated in his basketball season but lost the championship game because he missed his final free throw?
What if a tornado or a fire completely destroyed your home and everything in it, including your family’s creative memories albums?
What if your four year old daughter were diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and were given a 10% chance of living to age six?
What if you lost your wife and children in a car crash as they drove home from Walmart today?

The “What If’s” game is not a fun game to play. But, the “What Ifs” are a likelihood for each and every individual, everyday. A likelihood for you. Please understand that I am not deploying fear tactics here. I am simply reminding us all that the “What Ifs” are realities for people, everyday.

The hard reality is this. If we place our “ultimate” joy and happiness in these temporal elements of our lives, then we potentially face, each and every day, such a heart wrenching reality that we would not be able to live the rest of our lives with joy or happiness.

Introducing — “Hydrate.” Winning from the inside.”

What do I mean by “Hydrate?”

There is a story-of-old about a man who encounters a woman drawing water from a well for her family at noon on a hot and dry day. At this encounter, the man begins to converse with her, he simply asks, “would you be so kind as to draw a drink of water for me?” She is quite surprised by the inquiry because he was of different ethnicity than she, and it was counter-cultural for such conversation to take place. However, she agreed and drew up some cool water from the deep well. After being refreshed by his drink of water. He said, “If you drink this water, you will only thirst again, but if you drink the water that I can give you, you will never thirst again. It will be like a bubbling spring of water and life inside of you. ” Then the woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw the water!” And, so, the conversation went on.

If you don’t know the “characters” of this story-of-old, this is a woman from Samaria speaking with Jesus of Nazareth. You can read all the details in the Bible in the book of John, chapter 4.

“HYDRATE”

If Jesus of Nazareth is who He says He is…then I would think that we should deeply consider and learn from Him. One of His teachings actually commands us “to teach people to obey everything that I have commanded.” (We’ll get to that teaching in this Hydrate series…but not yet!)

There are approximately 300 different teachings that Jesus publicly declared in His lifetime. I am hopeful that you will devote yourself to drink in this material as often as you can. Do not “drink it in” out of duty. Have you ever consumed a bottle of water out of duty? Its not refreshing, is it? I hope that you will place this material at your easy access and when you “thirst,” you will take it up and drink it in. And, as you continue to drink, my hope for you, is that you will find a “bubbling spring of water and life welling up inside of you.” I call this joy and happiness.

When your Joy and Happiness begins to flow internally.

Then it is portable.

Each teaching of Jesus will be an entry in the Hydrate series. You will see that each entry will be in two parts. First there will be an easy to understand history of what Jesus said and I will call that section, “Drink It In.” Then there will be a simple practical challenge for you to consider and activate into your life after learning about what Jesus taught. This second part will be called, “Sweat it out.”

Drink it in and sweat it out.

Its totally portable!

I hope you enjoy it and are forever impacted.

Please keep me updated along your journey.

Trent


Retweeting Jesus “RT@JesusChrist #14”

Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands! –JC
Luke 23:46

The very next sentence that Luke records in the Bible is, “And with those words He breathed His last.” (Would you pause for a few seconds and quietly thank Jesus for what He suffered through so that we, His followers, would be forgiven and free?)

Jesus’ last words on the cross were a Tweet of Trust. Of Letting go. Of ultimate submission. He could have controlled. But He chose to trust His Father in Heaven with the control.

The way Jesus “behaved” on the cross must have made quite an impression on the Roman Guards. Luke records that one of the guards said something right after Jesus breathed His last. Its recorded in Luke 23:47, “When the Roman Officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.”

Can you imagine the burden and sorrow this Roman Officer carried home with him? I imagine it haunted him the rest of his life. I wonder if this Roman Officer was aware of what happened 3 days and 3 nights later. If he did know that Jesus rose from the dead, was it good news for him, or did it only make him feel worse about how he had to oversee and approve of in the killing of Jesus?

I hope to meet this Roman officer someday. It says that he worshiped God, so I am hoping he became a true follower of Jesus after Jesus rose from the dead. I’d like to ask this Roman officer some questions about that horrible day at the cross. I’d love to hear his full version of the story.

So Jesus says…”Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands.”

The human side of Jesus at the tweeting of this sentence must have been a bit nervous. Of course Jesus knew He was going to raise from the dead in 3 days and 3 nights. I still think the human side of Jesus had to of struggled in this final moment. He spent 33 years walking the land, encountering people and representing the Father in Heaven perfectly. We know that the Father never let Jesus down…but the “what-ifs” might have tempted Jesus to have bouts of nervousness while hanging on the cross. I wonder if those 33 years flew by or if it was one long day after another. He sure was mistreated a lot. But I also believe that Jesus laughed a lot. I mean…most of His time was spent with 12 other guys. You know how guys are when they camp together, walk together, spend a lot of time with each other. The fun side of Jesus had to of played some pranks on the guys. When a group of guys get together, somebody is trying to scare someone, sooner or later. Have you ever wondered if Jesus’ miracle of walking on water wasn’t to top a previous attempt by one of the Apostles’ at one of their “Gotcha!” moments? I don’t know. It sure seems like Christians have settled into believing that Jesus didn’t have any fun. We all know He faced many hardships and sorrows. The book of Isaiah says this in a couple prophecies about the Messiah. We know that Jesus faced unbelievable mistreatment at the hands of His own created people. But I still hold onto the hope that Jesus laughed…a lot. Surely, after Jesus caused the Blind man to see, while walking away from this miraculous moment and talking with the Apostles about it, surely Jesus said….”Hey guys…did you see the look on the faces of the religious leaders when I healed that blind man?” Or when He raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus had been dead for four days. Lazarus’ sister warned Jesus that it was too late and not to open the tomb for the smell would be unbearable. I wonder if Jesus, after raising Lazarus from the dead whispered in Martha’s ear, “I told you so,” and then laughed a laugh of love and joy…while giving her the perfect hug. Think about it…you have to be a pretty “fun guy,” to be accused by the religious leaders of being a “drunkard and a glutton.” We know Jesus wasn’t a sinner of any kind…but He must have had some fun to be blamed for being a drunk.

Well…as I wrap up this “Retweeting Jesus” series, I am wondering if you and I can trust like Jesus did. “Father…I ENTRUST my spirit into your hands.”

Its crazy what we ENTRUST in. How much trust do you put in that Red Light really causing everybody to stop and not go through the intersection? How much trust to do you place in that dotted line as you drive on that two lane highway? How much trust did I place in the parachute when I sky dived? How much trust do we place in the hands of pilots and airplanes as we fly through the air at 30,000 feet? How much trust do we place in the hands of construction workers and architects as we drive over their bridges, live under their beams? How much trust do we place in the hands of physicians as they “put us to sleep,” and then use a scalpel and cut us open and literally replace organs of our bodies? We really are a trusting people. It doesn’t seem like it, but if you really think about all that we trust…we are a trusting people.

But do we really “Entrust” God…enough to…

forgive?
tithe?
help a stranger?
let go of controlling your spouse?
commit to a church every weekend?
apologize for harm we caused?
not judge others?
resist temptation and peer pressure?
not manipulate the situation?
not abuse or manipulate our power of position?
not belittle others to boost our own self-esteem?
let go and let God?

On that cross…Jesus died and His Spirit left the earthly physical body it was borrowing and went into the control of God.

Its a safe and perfect place to land. You can be confident leaving your full trust In the hands of a loving God. He really is a God of love. If you don’t believe that right now, then I challenge you to read the other Tweets I have posted in this series. You can’t read them and walk away thinking God isn’t totally love!

If you are struggling letting go of anything in your life and you are trying to control whatever it is that you can’t let go of…is it working for you?

Its hard work to control.
Its stressful.
It takes a lot of focus.
Its tiring.
It will wear you out.

There is a lot of freedom that comes with being so fulfilled and whole in Jesus Christ that you don’t have to control anything.
That’s the good life. It fees you to serve, and give and love.

What are you controlling?
What would happen if you chose to let it go and trust God with the results?

Q: How do you do let “it” go and trust God with the results?
A: You put all your focus and energy in behaving like Jesus Christ and leave the results in the hands of God.

The early church was great at this. In Acts chapter 2 it says that the “Christians” gathered everyday and they DEVOTED themselves to the Apostles teaching, to fellowship, sharing in meals and to prayer.

Think about those “actions.” Can those actions be actions blamed for being CONTROLLING?
Have you ever heard anybody say, “You are so controlling…all you do is pray!”
Have you ever heard anybody say, “You are so controlling…please stop reading the Bible and learning!”
Have you ever heard anybody say, “You are so controlling…all you are is a good friend to others.”
Have you ever heard anybody say, “You are so controlling…please stop sharing your meals with others.”

Those statements are almost too ridiculous to type them out. Those are actions of trust and faithfulness and have nothing to do with control.

Are you thinking about what you might be controlling right now?
What if you asked somebody who really knows you well? Would they say you are trying to control something in your life?

Let’s keep going for clarity on this issue.

If you are just focused on getting a certain end result…then you are probably trying to control it.
If you are just focused on responsibility and doing what is right and focusing on holy behavior…then you are probably not being controlling.

Maybe a good way to look at it is through what we call, Cause and Effect.

You can’t control causes.
You can control effects.

What are some causes in your life that you simply serve? (trust)
What are some effects/outcomes that you are trying to force to happen? (control)

You are going to have to think on this one.

Here’s what I know for sure. You are made in the image of God and Jesus Christ.

Jesus ENTRUSTED everything into the hands of God the Father.
You are to be like Jesus because you were made in His image.
What must you let go of when it comes to the final results and just trust God by being faithful and let God take care of the results?

Can you and will you pray the following prayer right now and then back it up with action?

“Father in Heaven…I entrust everything in my life into your hands. Help me have the strength to behave like Jesus and leave my life results in your control. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.”

If you really want to get specific and let go of control.
Then ask a trusted person in your life to listen to you pray the above prayer out loud in front of them. And instead of praying using the word “everything,” replace the word everything with a specific thing you are controlling. Be specific…in the presence of a trusted witness.

Now that would take a lot of trust and would force you to let go of control. That is true accountability.

I know how good this would be for you and your whole life. It would be so good for you I would like to force you to do it.

But that would be controlling.

I want to ENTRUST!
How about you?


Retweeting Jesus “RT@JesusChrist #1”

Quick Intro to this project.

I am presently sorting it out, but it seems that there are 14 truly self-standing complete sentences that Jesus said in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that are no more than 140 spaces…And not connected to any other statements He made. These are true Twitter-Like Phrases. Only 14 in the whole Bible. What does this mean? It means that if Twitter would have existed I’d like to think that Jesus would have tweeted these out for his followers to read. Some are deeply serious and some are a bit obscure. I hope you will read one a day with me as we retweet Jesus. This is not a theological thing…this is a devotion thing. When this is all said and done and you find a 140 space sentence that is completely self standing that I have missed…meaning not a part of another statement or paragraph that Jesus spoke then let me know. I’ll retweet it into this material and give you credit for the “find!” BTW…I’ll be using different Bible translations and I’ll pick the one I feel is easiest to understand. Also, I’d like to think this blog platform for this retweet Jesus project is the precursor to a pretty cool book for people to use to inspire them to focus more on Jesus’ way.


RT@JesusChrist” #1
Matthew 7:12 (NLT)

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” JC 9

Oh, what an easy thing to say, and seemingly impossible to follow through with. I don’t even think that Jesus had an easy time with this tweet. Think about it…there were times when Jesus called people(pharisees) names. i.e. “Sons of Vipers, brood of snakes, white washed tombs.” Another time He used a whip that He hand made and used to whip people out of the temple. He must have been okay with others doing the same to Him or He would not have done these to others. Strange to think about that. He was called names and also whipped. This makes me think about what Jesus said to Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane. “Peter…put your sword away…Those who use the sword will die by the sword.”

Do to others what you would like them to do to you.

I wonder if Jesus were living in this day and age of suicide bombers and self-mutilators if He might have worded this tweet a bit different? Because, after all, a Suicide Bomber that kills 40 innocent men, women and children actually did to others what he did to himself. A terrorist that did this brutal act of horror actually followed what we call the Golden Rule. Make sense?

Now as to whether or not Jesus would say it differently today…I don’t want to open the door of someone thinking that I think Jesus made a mistake here. That’s not my point. I am thinking that maybe Jesus…if He were living in today’s culture wouldn’t use the Golden Rule, as tweeted above, as much as He might have used what I would call “The Platinum” rule. I think the Platinum Rule, if spoken by Jesus, would read “Do to others what I have done and will do for you.”

Out of the mouth of Jesus that is a game changer. The Platinum rule seems to squelch all possible neglect and abuse from the speaker of the rule. For today, we would have to quote the Platinum Rule this way. “Do to others what Jesus did for you.”

The Platinum Rule makes the following comment from Jesus pop! “There is no greater love than this…He who lays down his life for another.” He commands us to give, share, reward, encourage, hold accountable, even die for each other. These would be things that Jesus did for all of us. These are things that fit the Golden Rule also. Do to others as you would have done to yourself.

If Jesus actually tweeted this to you today. “Do to others what you would like others to do to you.” And you knew it was directly from Jesus…how would you live your life today? Think about the free gifts that Jesus gave you. Hope, Joy, Forgiveness, Purpose, etc. Would you give these to others today? And then tomorrow as well? And then….

Spend a few moments and meditate on that. Think about what you should do today in regards to the Golden Rule.
Think about your day and what’s coming. Who do you know that you will encounter today? Make a decision right now to treat them like you would like to be treated. Be prepared. Don’t be caught off guard.

I hope as you live your day that you will dwell on this Golden Tweet. Do to others what you would like done to you. If that passage makes you feel guilty about selfish decisions in your past…ask God for forgiveness and the person you offended and then take care of today. Don’t let the past distract you from what you can do right now. Right now is more important. Today is more important than your past.

Its crazy to think that the Golden Rule sums up the Law and Prophets as the Tweet says. The law and prophets include way too many things to actually remember. 613 Old Laws from the Old Testament and then all the things the prophets said. Jesus gives us the cliffsnotes to the Law and Prophets! I like how Jesus thinks. “Do to others what I would like to have done to me.” Jesus had a way about Him in keeping things simple.

So, be like Jesus and keep it simple. When we start treating others the way we DON’T want to be treated…things get complicated.
So focus on this tweet today. “Do to others what you would like to have done to you.”

It will impact and change how you live each moment. How incredible would it be if you could remember this tweet all day every minute?

Practice makes permanent.
tr


GENERATION NEXT… The Crossroads


What are you a leader of? You lead something.
I have found myself preparing to lead again. The time is close. I’m excited. I’ve had some extended time off from vocational ministry and have had a lot of time to think, read and study. I have enjoyed it. I have learned immensely about the next generation and have been able to compare them to the current old school generation. Here’s some thoughts about what I’ve learned in the last year.

The next generation(Millennials aged 11-33) naturally have a knack for leading like Jesus…they just don’t know that’s what its called! They don’t do this deliberately, they actually do it instinctively.

We are at a crossroads that America has never experienced before in her culture. From this point in American History there has been nothing but building from an Agrarian type culture to an Industrial assembly line culture where bigger and more is always better. This has happened even within the church. The next generation has realized that bigger and more isn’t always better. The Millennials don’t know what the Industrial Revolution is. They have been raised in the “Service Industry” where customer service is king. There is a movement towards personal service and small. Nobody wants a great big cell phone. A great big flash drive.” A great big iPad. A great big corporation. I’m not saying any of those are wrong…I’m just saying….they are “out.” I won’t go so far as to say that small is the new big. I used to incorrectly believe that “Small is the new big.” But through the school of hard knocks I learned differently. This really isn’t about Big vs. Small.

Q: So what is the new big? A: The natural tendency of the Millennials.

The New Big is to be able to work using your ability/strength and be appreciated for it by the people you surround yourself with…especially your supervisor/boss.

The New Big will be led by the Leader in your organization who knows your gifts and strengths and gives you the freedom to use them effectively towards the goals and values of the organization.

The New Big has a Leader in the organization that knows your best work mode hours and lets you use those hours to be effective for the organization, be it morning, noon or night. (It no longer is about 8:30 to 5)

The New Big is led by the Leader in your organization who knows how you do your best work for the organization and they free you to pursue the organizational goal in the way you are bent to achieve it.

The New Big is led by the Leader in your organization who knows you have a group that you relate really well with and he/she will give you the freedom to accomplish your goals for the organization using the people you choose to accomplish the goal with.

The Next Great Leaders know the Next Generation is inspired by a leader who will generate a list of things to be achieved for the success of the company and then give his/her staff the ability to choose what they want to tackle and pursue. Can you see the energy of this system? The group excitement?

The Next Big Leader that leads like this…is a leader that is like Jesus. The Leader that leads like this will take his/her company into the future successfully and with significance and joy.

A new generation of young people is rising up. They have a lot of friends and would do anything for those friends. They want to work through motivation and not get so caught up in compensation. They want to work for significance and they aren’t that concerned about the comparisons and competition. They want to live a life of peace and camaraderie and they want to do a lot of good for our world.

Some companies that have already grasped these facts are proving very successful. Some examples are…

Zappos
Apple
Rock Harbor Church
Facebook
Venture Church
Southwest
Northpoint Church
Google
Life Church
Virgin
Twitter
YouTube
Tom’s

The list is actually extensive.

We are at a Crossroads…in our American Society.
Here’s the great news…
The Millennial Generation has unbelievable potential. They are deeply technologically savvy. They want to live for significance. They are highly relational. I’m sure there is some maturing yet to be done in this generation before their true colors shine. But don’t we all still have some maturing to do.

The future looks bright!
tr


Just another day? Really?


This photo is riveting to me. Haunting. It evokes powerful emotions in me. It creates a squeeze inside of me that could only come from the part of my body that is called soul.

I am just one week from my return from Uganda Africa where I met thousands of people just like the child in this picture.

Every time I see this picture I swear I hear God saying to me all kinds of things. Here are a few things that I think God has spoken to me in the multiple times I have viewed this picture; “This world is not about you and your plans.” “You are back home with everything you need, she is still there praying for many things to happen in her life.” “She just wants to crawl up in your lap and be held.” “Its not stuff she wants…she wants to know if she matters.” “She is wondering if she’ll be thought about again.” “She is wondering if you’ll ever come back to see her again.” “I’m not the answer to her prayers, you are.”

So here’s my questions for you and me today…
“Can you lay your life down, so a stranger can live?”
“Can you take want you need and take less than you give?”

Here’s the deal with this little girl in Uganda Africa and the millions of other children around the world in circumstances like hers.

She didn’t choose to be born where she was born. You didn’t choose to be born where you were born. I sometimes wonder if I got the lucky sided flip of the coin that allowed me to be born in a place with ample food, clean water, education and conveniences; “Heads!” And the young girl,in the picture, got the unlucky side as the coin spun on the floor and came to its final rest. “Tails!”

The fact is that I know better. There is no coin toss in matters such as these. God chose me to be born where I was born and to have the things that I have. It doesn’t make me better or you better. It actually puts more pressure on you and me. “To whom much is given, much is required.” I will be held more accountable because of the material I’ve been given and will have to give an account for how I used God’s material that He loaned to me. Will I have used it all on my self? Will I take what I need and take less than I give?

During my life, I suppose that I want to give as much as this little girl gives. When I showed up, she smiled and waved and crawled up into my lap and gave of her love and friendship and affection, her trust. She gave me everything she had. It was a gift for Kings. I felt like a king in her presence. Accepting the presents of her self.

So…now…I’m back home. Her wave goodbye haunts me. I don’t know how you will respond and how you will give and what “sacrifices” you will make to contribute back to the life of this little girl and the millions like her that weren’t born here. All I can do is speak for myself.

I, until God makes it clear to stop, will spend the rest of my life being an advocate for these little ones and big ones who are just like this little girl. I will be asking for your help. Your gift. Your time. Your service. I will ask you to never stop thinking about these. The people Jesus calls, “the least of these.” The people that Jesus says if we invest in their lives we are actually and personally investing in Jesus’ life. “That which you do for the least of these, you do unto me.”

She’s waving at you. You hold the choice to make that wave a wave of Hello or Goodbye.
Stay tuned.
I will ask you someday to respond to the wave of this child. Respond with your money, your time, your talents, your prayers and your heart.

Trent

I