The Choice Not To Chase by Regi Campbell

The following blog  post was not written by me but was so good I had to re-post.

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THE CHOICE NOT TO CHASE…

Regi Campbell, Nov 13, 2013 07:01 pm

A good friend is celebrating his 60th birthday this month. As his son raised a toast at his birthday party, he said something that peaked my interest. He said,

“My dad is the most content person I know”

I started processing those words and realized his dad is the most content person I know too! So I asked him for his ‘secret sauce’ and here it is.

1. A heart of gratitude – His default setting is gratitude. No matter what may be lacking or missing, his focus goes back to “thank you God” for all he’s been given.

2. A historical perspective – Doing the research and remembering where he came from, he knows the poverty of his ancestors…the hard work and sacrifice of his parents, his modest means growing up. The past reminds him how far he’s come and how blessed he is.

3. A choice not to chase – This is a big one. He’s decided not to chase riches or titles or relationships or popularity or fame or power. He’s opened the door to let God send whatever He wants, and he’s decided to be satisfied with it, whatever ‘it’ is. He’s called, not driven. He’s not lazy, complacent, or fatalistic. He’s motivated, challenged and engaged with people, their stories and their work. He’s ‘on purpose’. He works before an audience of One. And most importantly, he has faith to trust God with outcomes. All of them, large and small.

Money is such a big part of the deal for most of us, in part because we believe things we chase will come if we have it. But who among the super-rich do you truly admire? Whose life would you swap for? God reminds us, (in Hebrews 13:5) “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have”, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” My friend doesn’t have a lot of money but he has enough. His contentment comes from the last part of the verse…in God’s promise “Never will I leave you.”

When I think about the people I know, those who are the most content are the most grateful (Imagine that!). They have a good grasp of where they’ve come from. And they aren’t chasing anything. They’re pursuing God and His righteousness in their lives and families. They’ve figured out that “… godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).

Solomon, the wisest man in history may have summed it up best…

“What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun?  All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.

 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?”  Ecclesiastes 2:22-25

Question: Are you content? What are you chasing? Is it worth it?

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An Olympic Lesson

I admit that I do enjoy the Olympics – although I am tired of the overly produced nature of the nightly broadcast!

While watching one interview with an American coach (I can’t remember the sport) the coach mentioned how he tries to ready his athletes for competition. He talked about the normal routines any athlete would include in his training – repetition, muscle memory, reviewing video… However, he then mentioned something he had picked up from Phil Jackson (famed basketball coach). Phil talked once about the mental aspect of any competition and how an athlete needs to be ready for anything that might cause a lack of focus during a competition. We all know that sports involves a mental game – but I was curious what this might loos like at an Olympic level. How do you “train” an athlete to deal with a break in concentration or the mental doubt after not making a shot?

The next night, while watching Michael Phelps do his thing – WIN, I was listening again and heard his coach talk about how he would throw little things at his team to upset their “normal” routines. Even something as small as bumping a practice time could help an athlete learn to cope with last minute changes. Brilliant!

God uses the same training method in our lives. I am convinced that this is why the Bible mentions the phrase “fear not” over 350 times!

If an athlete needs to learn how to calm his mind and stay focused when a coach does something as simple as move a practice time, how much more do I need to have my mind “refocused” and my spirit calmed when the “routine” of my daily life gets upset?

As Christians, our lives are to be centered on the person of Jesus Christ. It is tough to stay centered on Jesus when you are constantly struggling to “order” your world and “win” at life. “Fear not” is God’s way of transforming our hearts – keeping us centered on His will and purposes for the race we run.

My day may not go as I had planned today but Jesus keeps reminding me to “fear not”. Those words energize me and keep me focused on the ultimate prize – eternity!

Now, no matter what comes your way today, “fear not” and keep pressing on towards the upward call of God in Christ Jesus! (Philippians 3:13-16)

 

 

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The Heart of Faith

In John 7, Jesus gets into an interesting situation with his “marketing minded” brothers.

It seems that the brothers have determined the best way for Jesus to get recognized as Messiah is to attend the big festivals and do some big miracles. Get his name out.

Jesus reacts very differently. He denies their request and even takes a completely opposite approach – choosing to remain more hidden.

The author reports that the brothers did not yet believe in Jesus.

They believed he could get a crowd.

They believed he could get the title “Messiah”.

But their belief was not the kind of belief for which Jesus was looking.

Sometimes, my belief is more like the disciples. Sometimes I would prefer the large crowds, the in your face articulation of “right and wrong”, the public recognition and praise of others.

Sometimes my heart does not hold to the quiet, strong, empowering confidence of faith in the Father.

It is imperative that we keep our hearts in front of Jesus all day long. A heart out of the presence of Jesus can lead us away from the faith that satisfies the Father.

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Bumperstickers and Church Buildings

ImageSo I pulled up behind a car recently driven by a young person. This teenager was extremely zealous in informing me of their opinion on issues from abortion to world peace to their favorite local punk band. All messages plastered via bumperstickers to the back half of their car.

It reminded me of a time in the 80’s when everyone was wearing these little buttons that contained inflammatory or rude comments or just plain obnoxious statements.

I suppose every generation has some form of expression by which they try to exert their independence, their indiviuality, their manifesto. Tattooing has become the newest popular way to tell your story.

Churches do the same thing. Not with bumber stickers (although some churches do print their own bumper stickers) but more in the buildings we build and the way we decorate the places in which we meet.

What does the place where you worship say about your churches beliefs?

Does anyone else get the message other than the people who come on a regular basis?

Sometimes I think we live our lives thinking that “bumper sticker” statements are the way to introduce ourselves to others and a holy God.

My views of bumper stickers (and buildings) has been radically reshaped!

I have come to value getting to know people before advertising my beliefs in a way that may send that person headed for the hills.

It is tough to love others if your bumper stickers – no matter how right they are – actually cause people to avoid personal interaction with you at any cost!

Just a thought along the way.

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What Drives You

What Drives You

Dave Gibbons posted the following quote online recently….

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up. -Anne Lamott

I would add that the hope which “begins” in the dark has to have another starting place. There has to have been a time, a moment, a point in which the person in the dark can go back to a memory – or a collection of memories – on which hope can stand.

It’s that ethereal experience where the unseen and seen meet.

It’s the paradoxical moment when God’s voice is loudly heard by only your ears.

It’s the same kind of moment that Elijah had while tucked away in the cleft of the rock and the chaos of the external world gave way to the overpowering strength of the voice of God.

I have found my middle of the night concerns that can easily fill my heart and mind with paralyzing fears seem to melt with the display of God’s power we call “sunrise”.

What troubles you today? What has you close to giving up or giving in?

Push on God. Search out that starting place. Bug Him to meet you in a way that binds your heart to the power of His name. Become persistent like the friend in Luke 11 who finally gets his way.

 5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

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December 27, 2011 · 1:42 pm

Rob Bell is going to Hollywood!

Eugene Cho just made me aware of this announcement. Hey, it can’t get worse than the programming already on television – I say GO FOR IT!

Read Cho’s post here.

Any thoughts?

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Measuring Faith & Life…

In John 3:30, John the Baptist makes this statement,

He must increase, but I must decrease.

Sometimes we take this to mean that our personalities are of no use to God. I would encourage you to think differently about this passage.

John was a bit of an unusual guy – hanging out in the desert, wearing camel hair and eating off the land. My guess is that none of that changed as Jesus “increased” in his life.

So what did change? How can we measure our lives by his bold declaration?

John had a specific job he was to do for Jesus – announce his arrival! All of John’s life was to point people to Jesus as the awaited Messiah. He was not perfect. He was not the Messiah. He was the one to publicly announce Jesus’ arrival and ministry.

Jesus left me with a job as well – “make disciples”.

My personality, my hobbies, my likes and dislikes all need to fall under the rule of the Messiah! In doing so, I will decrease in how I see and promote myself while discovering something better than personal “likes and dislikes” on which to build my life.

How can Jesus increase in my life today? Am I willing to allow Him to use me to direct others to Him? Or am I too wrapped up in my own “likes and dislikes” to even consider what Jesus thinks about my life?

Everyone has a way they “measure” their life. How will you measure yours?

 

 

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