Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Keep Your Eye on the Ball: HOPE

Keep Your Eye on the Ball:  HOPE

I want you to dominate the game of life so I say you must focus on the correct point.
Ever play baseball?  If so, you know this saying … Keep your eye on the ball.  It is exceedingly hard to hit or to catch unless you keep your eye on the ball.  

How is your 401k?  Playing the penny stocks?  Mutual funds?  Each friend has a new strategy, yes?  Focus seems to be a key, yes?  Focus on the correct points is integral to success.

I have coached sports teams and entrepreneurs.  All require special focus to succeed.

When I was a young boy, my Dad and I were playing catch in the front yard.  The conclusion of one exchange was the hard dirty baseball landing square on my eye.  I have no scar.  I do have a greater appreciate for focus.  Dad threw the ball well.  Had I focus, my glove would have protected my eye.

The Bible is an amazing source of opportunity for you and I to dominate the game of life.

If we read it with proper focus.  The story of the Garden of Eden is a prime example.

Too often, we read the garden story with a terrible focus on self.  We obsess about the apple and Adam and Eve.  We worry about our relationship with the serpent.  ETC.  

I believe we were meant to focus upon the choices made by God.

Take a moment to re-read that story with a focus on what God is doing.  Please ignore what our human brother and sister do.  Genesis 2:4-3:24


Yes it is difficult to ignore Adam and Eve.  They make so many terrible choices.  I can name at least 5 opportunities to do the right thing and they do the wrong thing.  From talking to the serpent to hiding from God, they perpetuate the mistake.

What of God’s choices?  In the face of Adam and Eve’s terrible decision making, what does God do?

God loves them.  God searches for them until God finds them.  God forgives them.  God provides for them.  God makes them clothes.

At every turn, God is doing everything to make right the relationship between God and God’s people.  

I want you to dominate the game of life so I say you must focus on the correct point.

God is the correct point of focus for you.  Regardless your right or wrong choices, God is the correct focal point.  Regardless your benefit / suffering from other’s choices, God is the correct focal point.  Regardless the unfair nature of life, God is the correct focal point.

God made you, named you good, and sent God’s only Son to die so that you can live forever.

Focus … it is key to your success.

Friday, April 15, 2016

How to Pray for Hopes and Dreams

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
 the conviction of things not seen." ~ Hebrews 11:1
Do you pray?

Do you pray about your hopes and dreams?  

How does that prayer sound?

Let us name something up front.  Not everyone has hopes and dreams.  Too long is the list of dead ends preventing some from having them.  That is a different, necessary, discussion.

I have amazing hopes and outstanding dreams!  I want my son to grow up to be strong and wise and to love God.  I want the church I serve to be vibrant in its worship of God and service to neighbor.  I want to live in Christian community that cherishes the ancient, thrives in the present and celebrates a radically open table of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I would like to be remembered well.

Does any of that resonate to you?  In the midst of the list are my extended family, my friends, classmates, and so many more.  I want to name that to have hopes and dreams is to have the opportunity to be thankful.

Do you pray?  If so, do you pray about your hopes and dreams?  How does that prayer sound?


Typically, that is how mine sounds.  You?

Matthew 6:9-13 or Luke 11:1-4

Jesus taught us to prayer for our daily bread.  It is in the Lord’s Prayer.  “Give us . . .”  Jesus taught us to pray for God to intercede in our lives … “protect us from evil”  Jesus taught us more than this.

I’ve been blessed with some miraculous mentors.  Their lives are a witness to me.  Here are things I have learned from observing my mentors . . .

Hopes and Dreams become a reality when our lives are in harmony with God’s hopes and dreams more so than when we ask God to bless our hopes and dreams.

A second thing I learned from my mentors . . .

God’s hopes and dreams for me and mine are more beautiful than my own hopes and dreams.  God dreams larger than we do.

How does it sound to pray for our lives to be in harmony with God’s hopes and dreams for us?

Simple!  “God, may your dreams for me be my dreams and may they become reality.”