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Archive for July, 2013

Perspective

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In this rare image taken on July 19, 2013, the wide-angle camera on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured Saturn’s rings and our planet Earth and its moon in the same frame. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Space. It’s what we see when we go outside at night and look up. We see all these white sparkles in the sky and we have learned to call them stars. We gaze at them and think about how beautiful they are. Then we go back inside and watch TV. Nothing negative, that’s just what we do.

Today, I want to challenge you to see things from a different perspective. I’m going to challenge you to stop what you’re doing. Really, actually stop and pause. Now look at the above picture. That is a picture taken from a satellite that is 900 million, not thousand, miles away. Again, that’s 900 “million” miles away. This little spacecraft was launched in October 1997 and has been flying around taking various snapshots of our solar system. Many images have been taken from space, but there’s something special about this one.

The main object in the image is Saturn. You can see how big the planet is and how large the rings are that surround the planet. It’s absolutely beautiful. The spacecraft was orbiting the planet and taking some shots. Now, what I really want you to see is the little blue dot to the right of the center of the screen. I hope you were smiling when the picture was taken, because you’re in it. That’s earth from 900 million miles away. That little blue dot is our BIG planet.

I want us to stop and think about something here. Our solar system has nine planets. Earth is number three. Saturn is number six. Saturn is not even at the end of our solar system! There’s three more planets to go (if you count the planet pluto). Now think about this. Our galaxy is called the Milky Way. It holds our solar system with thousands of other solar systems. In fact, if you shrunk everything down to a size that we can fathom, it would go like this: Our solar system, with the nine planets, would be the size of a basketball; and our galaxy, the Milky Way, would be the size of earth.

Did you get that? Our galaxy is HUGE. It’s estimated that we have more than 200 billion Suns in our galaxy alone. Scientists have found more than 500 solar systems in our galaxy so far. That’s solar systems like ours. That’s only the ones they have found and that’s just nearby (if you can count that as nearby). In fact, scientists say that there may be tens of billions of solar systems in just our galaxy, maybe around 100 billion. This is just in our galaxy.

Now, are you ready for the next part? We know we have our solar system (our sun and nine planets). We know we have our galaxy, which is named the Milky Way, that has our solar system and most likely billions of other solar systems. Now guess how many galaxies there are in the universe as a whole?? A supercomputer tried to help us guess. It estimated around 500 billion galaxies. That’s billion with a B.

Now, from this we’re supposed to say that everything that happened was accidental. It just happened and we’re all here by chance. We formed from another animal and I guess we’ll form into something else down the road. Well I’m sorry, but the facts about our universe tell me otherwise.

“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth…”

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Is This It?

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Photo credit: departing(YYZ) / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

As we work toward our dream sometimes a strange thing happens. We wait for the heavens to open and angels to come down and circle us to proclaim that we have arrived. Well, It doesn’t exactly work that way.

I haven’t fullfilled my dream as of yet, but i’m working my way there. In fact, I’ve had a moment or two where I actually asked “Is this it?”. It’s not that I wasn’t excited or getting fulfillment from what I was doing. I just had built everything up so much in my head that when I actually started acting on all of those thoughts in my head, I was a litle dissapointed when the earth didn’t stop because I was trying.

As I’m going forward I’m learning a lot of valuable lessons.

First – “I’m not there yet but I’ll get there”.

Second – As quoted by Thomas Edison “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”.

Third – “Sometimes I will feel like giving up but all I need to do is take a short break and rest my mind. Then I’ll feel like going on again”.

Fourth – “Procrastination is a very real thing and can trap you into an endless cycle of doing nothing. Stop and decide that you’ll do something toward your dream every day”.

Fifth – “Don’t get discouraged. If you think about something every day. If you just can’t seem to shake it no matter what happens. If after facing adversity, you still know your supposed to follow this dream, then quit worrying about it and follow it already”.

What’s keeping you from your dream? Are you going to give in and quit or do something about it?

We Need Adventure

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Photo credit: GORE-TEX® Products / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

I’m piggybacking on a post that Max Lucado, my favorite author, wrote for today. It is posted on his site at http://maxlucado.com/audio/daily-audio/gods-adventure/.

His topic brought up adventure. That word is a cool word. According to the dictionary, here are the top three definitions of adventure:

1. an exciting or very unusual experience.
2. participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises: the spirit of adventure.
3. a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome.

Now I ask you this question:

Is your life an adventure?

Are you pursuing life at its fullest or are you sitting in a lawn chair sipping some tea? Are you climbing life’s challenging mountains or are you sitting in the valley just taking in the view? Are you fulfilling your dreams or giving in to mediocrity?

We were made for adventure. It’s how we’re wired. When we were children we had to know what was over that hill. We had to know what would happen if we pushed that button. We just had to know.

Somewhere along the line someone with “reality” has veered us off course saying that we need to grow up and let go of our childish dreams. Today, I say the opposite. We should fulfill our dreams.

Jesus told us “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein” (Mark 10:15). I believe he was giving us permission to seek out why He created us; why we were put here on earth.

I may not know you and you may not know me, but today I’m going to give you something. Permission. I proclaim this day that you have permission to chase your dream. You have permission to ask why you were created and to seek out the adventure of what you are to do with your life. You have permission to step out by faith onto a new, perhaps unknown, path to seek your purpose for being alive.

Strap your backpack on and get the walking stick ready. The path is now in front of you. It’s time to start walking.

Shut Up

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Those are the words that keeping going over in my mind when I start to say or do something. Sometimes it’s very legitimate and I should listen. That is often the case. But sometimes it’s just fear trying to keep me silent. We have to be able to discern when we should keep our mouth shut, and stay out of a situation, and when we should speak up. Here are some things that help me.

(1) Pray about it. If I’m supposed to be involved in the conversation, I should feel the same way I did before I prayed.

(2) Ask yourself “Will I be helping or hurting the situation”. If I’m helping, then maybe I should speak up. If I’m just adding fuel to the fire & further confusion to a situation, maybe I should shut up.

(3) Pray about it again. I’m the one that sometimes opens my mouth and then realizes “I probably should have prayed about that before I spoke”.

Sometimes it’s better to stay clear of situations. I had a situation happen yesterday that made me mad. I felt that maybe I needed to speak up. After a while it became clear that the answer was to just stay out of it and shut up.

Sometimes there is a need to speak up. Sometimes the need is to stay silent. The challenge is to figure out which.

How do you decide?

We all breathe and we all bleed

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Are we really that different? We think we are. Some have college education. Some work in ditches. Sometimes that is the same person. Some have money; most don’t. We tend to place people in “classes” that we have created with our mind. We do it in our physical world and also do it in the spiritual world. We classify some as holy and some as sinners. I’m talking here within the church. We tend to have confidence in this person, but not that person. We look with our eyes and judge with our heart. We sure have things backwards.

1 Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him:for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

If God looks at the heart shouldn’t we? But you ask, how should I judge them if I can’t see the heart? Well, that’s the point. We’re not supposed to judge.

What do we do then? What is the answer? It’s simple, really. We need to quit doing God’s job for him. We’re not qualified. He didn’t call us to judge people. In fact, he warned us not to. We have a limited view. We can’t see what He sees. Then what is our job? Witness to people. Give them hope. Encourage them. Tell them to keep going. There’s an invisible hand at work that will take care of the rest.

Finally, it’s over

Around a year ago there was a great tragedy. Something was taken from me that was unthinkable. I didn’t know if I would have the chance to see it again or not. It was all over the news. People everywhere were in shock just like I was. It was too hard to swallow the fact that it was now gone.

The community came together and voiced their love for it. Candlelight vigils were held. Signs were made. Children cried from Mississippi to North Dakota. Life would never be the same.

The news media helped. They got the word out. People were talking about it. I was even interviewed by a local news crew about my loss. It was the bottom of the barrel.

It all finally changed a few months ago. Word got out that it might be coming back. Hope was starting to creep it’s way back into the lives of the people.

The wait has been exhausting. Many sleepless nights I’ve been awake thinking this day would someday come. I often sat at my desk during the day and pondered what it would be like to finally know that life was true again. That day is now here. The wait is over. Life has begun anew.

I bought a box of Twinkies last night.

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