Thursday, May 28, 2009


I apologize for getting this out to you a little late this week, but I’ve been on vacation the past week. Vacation, that’s a nice word isn’t it. It implies vacating (empty or not occupied) somewhere like our homes or jobs for a time to get away. As a matter of fact, Webster’s dictionary defines vacation as “a period of time away from work for pleasure, relaxation, or rest.” Sounds good doesn’t it. At least if we would use the word for what it means.

Some people never take a vacation and some that do have their schedule so packed they leave little time for relaxation or rest. But our bodies, minds, and souls need to relax and rest on occasion. Vacation is not necessarily about location as much as it is about relaxation. I couldn’t afford to go anywhere like the mountains or beach this year and my summer is packed with church activities and events, so I decided to head back home to West Virginia to just get away for a week and spent my time doing nothing in particular, except not think about work and normal routine for a few days and spend my time enjoying family and friends and doing nothing. Nothing is nice. We should incorporate “nothing” in our weekly schedule and have little mini-vacations often.

Take and enjoy your day(s) off weekly. I know we all got projects and “to-do” lists, and sometimes church, family, and children obligations, but ultimately you have control over your own schedule, so if it’s filled up, it’s because you didn’t, couldn’t, or wouldn’t’ say NO!!!! If you are not giving your body and mind rest your slowly killing yourself soon than later. You’re also probably making it difficult for others to enjoy your company because your grouchy, moody, or always tired. We need rest. We need to learn to relax regularly. Whether it’s watching tv or a movie, going fishing, scrapbooking, sewing, or playing golf. Take and make time to vacate from busyness and work to do something you enjoy that is relaxing and restful to you.

Not only take time on a weekly basis, but take time 2-3 times a year (depending on how much vacation you get), even if you can’t take a vacation use a 3-day weekend, for yourself, marriage, or family to enjoy nothing in particular. If you can’t afford that trip to the beach, mountains, Graceland, or Disneyworld take a trip to the zoo, a state park, a city park, a museum, or sleep in, watch all the star wars movies, or something that takes your mind away from work, strife, struggles, bills, and stress for a day or two or a week.

God did not create us to go, go, go and not rest. Even God took a day as an example to us to rest and relax. Our bodies are designed in a way that they need regular rest and sleep. Our minds are created in such a way where it needs time to recharge, refocus, and refresh. We greatly damage our bodies, minds, and soul when we abuse them with little or no time for rest or relaxation. It will catch up with us and it will leave a trail of damage in our lives and possibly others if we do not take care of this one life God has blessed us with. I challenge you today to vacate these premises and find time weekly, monthly, and annually to find pleasure in the simple things in life and rest and relax.

“ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Jeremiah 6:16(NIV)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Passive Aggressive Faith

According to the definition of passive-aggressive behavior is:

“Of, relating to, or having a personality disorder characterized by habitual passive resistance to demands for adequate performance in occupational or social situations, as by procrastination, stubbornness, sullenness, and inefficiency.”

It is a behavior that some people use as a defense mechanism and is diagnosed in people as a personality disorder, but really is a behavior. People have this behavior for many reasons, but they can use this behavior to avoid tasks or chores they don’t want to do by making excuses for why it wasn’t done and they also use it to avoid conflict and unpleasant confrontations. Maybe you are like this or maybe you know, live, or work with someone like this with this type of personality or behavior? It can come in many forms.

The book Living with the Passive-Aggressive Man lists several responses that may help identify passive-aggressive behavior such as being ambiguous(speaking cryptically), chronically being late or forgetting things, fear of competition, fear of dependency, fear of intimacy, making chaotic situations, making excuses for not performing well, obstructing others from doing well, sulking, or playing victim, and there may be other behaviors.

I’m not trying to play psychologist, but I wanted to give some background on passive-aggressive behavior so we can understand it, so that I can apply it to a spiritual situation. Many times we are passive aggressive when it comes to God. People won’t change their lifestyles to surrender control to God to become a Christian, or many Christians won’t deal with problems in their lives to overcome negative behaviors or habits that are keeping them from growing or maturing in their faith. Many Christian leaders avoid confrontations or tasks in their roles because they are uncomfortable or unpleasant.

We all have chores at home that we don’t like to do and it’s easy to make excuses and procrastinate. We all have responsibilities in our jobs/schooling that we don’t look forward to and it’s easy to put them off last or try and get out of them. But, when it comes to our soul and our faith, we cannot afford to be passive-aggressive. The opposite of passive is active. We need to be actively aggressive when it comes to pursuing God. We need to be active in serving God with our gifts, time, and resources. We need to be active and aggressive in overcoming obstacles in the way of our faith, baggage that holds us back, and mental and emotional issues that are hindering us from giving things over to God.

Now, being active instead of passive is not easy. It takes effort, growth, motivation, and trust, but if we are passive aggressive in our faith we are going to suffer. Just as people who are passive-aggressive effect those they work and live with, in a negative way, being passive-aggressive in our faith effects people in our same way. Our families, our friends, our churches, our example, and our influence. Be active, be aggressive, and do whatever it takes to discover, develop, or deepen your faith in God.

“Each one should test his own actions.”

Galatians 6:4A(NIV)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009



What helps our lives or hurts our lives? Patterns. If we get in a pattern of eating healthy, exercise, and making better choices we feel better, maybe lose weight, better moods, live longer, etc… We develop a pattern of losing our temper, abusing alcohol, using drugs, being lazy, not exercising, and being resentful we will develop addictions, hurt others, isolate ourselves, become bitter, etc… you get the idea of what I’m trying to say. It’s all about patterns.

We have to develop positive, healthy, productive, and good patterns in our lives, personality, relationships, and lifestyle or our lives are going to suffer. Whether it’s in our careers, education, relationships, or our spiritual life if we don’t develop good habits of healthy patterns in our lives and break the cycle of unhealthy, destructive, or negative patterns in our lives we are going to slowly destroy our lives and hurt ourselves and others with our actions, attitude, and patterns.

I’ve had to take a hard honest look at myself lately and realize I have to make some changes because I have some unhealthy and unproductive patterns in my life. I’ve also tried in the past month or two to develop some healthy and positive patterns by starting to exercise and eat smarter. It can be done. Feel your pulse on your wrist or neck. If you still have one, you’ve still got time to make changes. As long as we are alive we have a chance to break harmful patterns in our lives and create helpful patterns.

Maybe your friendships and relationships keep failing or falling apart because you need to change some destructive patterns. Maybe your job or education is suffering because you have negative study or work habits? Maybe your body and health are failing because you have harmful eating or lifestyle patterns? Maybe your faith is crumbling or non-existent because you have unhealthy patterns of not reading God’s word, never talking to God, not committed to church attendance and service, or making lifestyle changes to mature in your faith. You can change. You can break the cycle. You can make a choice to change the patterns in your life.

There are things you can do immediately. There are things that may take time to overcome. Any bad habit takes time to create so sometimes it takes time to overcome it. Maybe you’ll need the accountability of a friend or loved one. Maybe you’ll need spiritual or professional help? All help that is positive is will help you overcome bad patterns and develop good patterns. Remember take one day at a time, change bad habits to good habits one at a time, be brutally honest with yourself and start today to change the negative patterns in your life. It can and will change your life. I know I’m trying myself. I know I can change. I know I need to change. I know with faith in God I can do anything. Start today.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2A(NIV)

Monday, May 04, 2009

Christianity Optional?

Christianity Optional?

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24:12(NIV)

I love this verse in the OT book of Joshua. The prophet lays it out directly for the Israelites. You have an option. Make a choice. If you want to serve the false gods your ancestors served, then choose them. If you want to choose the false Gods of the country we are currently living in, choose them. But, if you want to choose THE God, then choose Him. No matter what your choice, me and my family are choosing God.

We do have a choice in who or what God we serve. THE God created us, but despite us being His creation He allows us the choice of whether we want to live for Him or not and serve Him or not. What makes that more difficult is that our churches are full of part-time Christians. They choose to follow God when it’s convenient, when they have time, when it fits into their schedules, or they have nowhere else to turn. The problem with that type of Christianity, is it’s really not Christianity. Christianity is about commitment, service, faithfulness, and relationship. Those type of things take priority. Christianity is not about convenience, comfort, preferences, or adapting to our schedule. Christianity is not fitting God into our lives, schedules, or lifestyle, it’s about us fitting into God.

We teach our kids to never miss practices, games, or performances and how they need to be committed to the team, their sport, or their hobbies, but then teach them church attendance or involvement is optional. We choose playing golf, going fishing, shopping, or traveling, over our service and commitment to God. I think we are trying to have the best of both worlds. We want the benefits of Christianity (salvation, heaven, etc…) without the commitment. No relationship will last, thrive, or work, if we only take and never give.
Would you treat your relationship with your spouse or kids the way you do with God?

The truth is we do have a choice, but we are choosing the wrong thing when we try to put other things in front of our faith, yet still try to have some of our faith.
Our date book, planners, and calendars will show us what we really choose. That’s scary isn’t it? I’m not advocating giving up our hobbies, quitting our jobs, or taking our children out of extra-curricular activities or never having a social life. I’m suggesting we stop choosing those things over our faith or the faith of our family.

Joshua was simply saying to the Israelites back then, you have a choice, so make a choice! Stop trying to serve them all, you can’t. You have a choice. You can’t serve them all and you can’t have the best of both worlds. Let’s put God first where He belongs and let’s model that to our families, our co-workers, our friends, and those yet to know God, but may because of our choice. Choose the Lord.