How We Think!

I was recently invited to prepare a presentation for a group of Scouts, 10 years old, on energy. The Scouts now have a pin, Building A Better World, teaching about energy, sustainability and our planet.

Processing my thoughts and attempting to communicate complex issues with 10 year olds, kept pushing me back to my underlying belief system. I can’t do it, but I would like to start with the following questions.

  1. Do you believe there is a God or do you believe there is no God?
  2. If you answered yes, there is a God, do you believe He is personal or distant, involved or disconnected?
  3. If yes, God is personal, do you believe He has a plan for life on planet earth or He has none, letting nature take its course.

If the answers are affirmative in each question (the Biblical understanding of life on planet earth), one is forced to believe He gave us in the planet all the natural resources to advance our lives. We believe he gave us intellect and technological advances to be good stewards of the resources. If the answer is negative in each question (A secular worldview), one is forced to become like chicken little believing the sky is falling. Everything is either out of control or we have some idea that we can control or steer the outcome by our efforts.

My point is, our underlying belief system shapes the way we approach everything. Our view of relationships with people, animals, work, government and the planet are all guided by our beliefs.

Giving serious consideration to your underlying beliefs intentionally solidifying foundational concepts will impact all aspects of your life. No matter what conclusions you embrace, all aspects of your thinking and living will be shaped by those deep-seated beliefs.

I think this is worth pondering.



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The Remedy for Burn-Out

Where are you right now? I mean, where are you on the inside. Look at the following four options and see which one most identifies your present spiritual condition.

  1. You are full. Full of joy, excited by life’s opportunities.
  2. You are on auto-pilot, just doing what you need to get by.
  3. You are empty, striving to fill some empty spot thinking more money, a better job, a new relationship or location will fill you, but you are lonely, depressed, angry or medicated.
  4. You have the F-its. You are giving up. What’s the use.

I’ve experienced each of those over the years. I’ve also discovered the remedy for numbers 2, 3 and 4 and how to move them to number 1.

Reflect on what it means to be created in the image of God. He has given you gifts and a purpose in life. Genesis 1:27

Take some time to be still and know that He is God and you are not. Psalm 46:10

Run to Jesus and His Word to change the way you think. Surrender. Romans 12:1-2

Create some margin in your life both in the morning and the evening to focus on your relationship with God. Psalm 92:2

If you are really struggling create margin, morning, noon and night to connect. Psalm 55:17

Don’t run to religion, getting busier won’t solve your dilemma. Read this passage from Matthew 11:28 in the Message.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me (Jesus) Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me. Watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”




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Better Than or Less Than

Pride has deep roots in our human family. A case can be made that pride is the root of almost all our internal and external conflicts. I’ve discovered many subtle ways pride has flavored my life with less than ideal outcomes.

When inside I believe somehow I am better than anyone else for any reason, it sabotages relationship opportunities. If I think I know more, look better, have more, believe the right stuff or I am right in my views, then anyone who falls into the opposite of those attitudes, I view as “less than.” If you are “less than,” then I think I am “better than.”

I may never verbalize this and it may not actually enter my conscious mind, but it poisons every interaction I have with others. Pride can fill me whether I think I am less than as well as when I think I’m better than.

What I am learning is neither of those options is true. I just am. I am a human being, flawed in so many ways yet have many gifts as well. I have a contribution to make to life and society. But I also need what you have. Our role in life is to help each other along. I’m learning that those who have had much different life experiences than me, those who believe differently, those who think differently have far more to teach me than those who are most like me. It is uncomfortable at times, but I have learned thinking my way is best and your way is wrong only leads to tension and argument rather than understanding and relationship. I have to learn to love and accept you whether we ever see eye to eye or not.

Humility requires a view that says, I’m neither better or worse than anyone else, I become “right sized.” I go on a quest to know and be known, to understand and to be understood rather than proving I am right and you are wrong.

Though I believe God wants all humans to know and love Him, though He is right and has all power, He does not force anyone to see things His way! Rather He invites us to, “Come let us reason together,” and He allows us to choose our own path, whether to join Him or not.

I believe over the course of life I’ve come to understand many things that could be helpful to others. I’m guessing the same is true for all humans. But when I am in the better than or less than mode my approach to people is already starting from a place that guarantees I won’t be useful. If on the other hand, I can value all human life and allow people the right to be on their own journey and engage them as fellow travelers, we can reason together and both will be better as a result.




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When My Number is Up!

Jesus taught us in Revelation 1:18, I am the living one. I died, but look–I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. God is God and I am not! Since my motorcycle wreck, I’ve been given many, many, many sermons from well-meaning people about the dangers of motorcycles. So, I want to share my life philosophy on living and dying.

I belong to Jesus Christ and have for over forty years now. I believe I am indestructible till God is finished with me. I also believe I was knit together in my mom’s womb and am created with my own unique hard wiring. I have always loved adventure and life on the edge. I don’t believe I foolishly take unnecessary risks with my life but neither do I live in fear.

In Florida in 2012 an equal number of pedestrians were killed by accidents as motorcyclists! I recently heard of a woman at Virginia Beach who was struck by an umbrella that caused cardiac arrest and she died. People die riding bicycles,  walking, sleeping and believe it or not, a funeral director told me many people die while sitting on the toilet! Thousands die each year driving their cars. I have a friend who was struck by lightning playing golf and died. I remember a dear friend who was out talking to people about the Lord. They had just went to talk to a lady who wasn’t home and when they stepped off her porch, he had a massive heart attack and dropped dead on the sidewalk.

If we stopped everything that possibly could lead to an accident and our death, we would all just sit down and cower in fear. I could become a hermit, a recluse, never venturing out from the confines of my home and guess what. I’m still going to die when my number is up!

I refuse to live my life that way. I live in total confidence that when God is done with me, when I’ve finished my purpose, He will call me home no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I may or may not get another motorcycle but if I choose not to, it won’t be because I fear something may happen. Fear not is one of the most used phrases in the New Testament. Live your life with vigor. Examine yourself and see how much fear controls you.

100% of every generation dies, at least so far. Fear more that you haven’t lived than that  one day you will die! Settle the question of being right with God and realize your number will be called when He decides and not before!



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Happiness From Within


One month ago tomorrow, two of the things I’ve enjoyed most over the last couple years were removed from my life. Since November of 2014, every time I had a chance to feel the wind in my face riding through the country on my Harley, I’d say to myself, It doesn’t get any better than this. I loved to ride. In a year and a half I put 7,200 miles on that bike, mostly on a bunch of 45 minute rides. It was exhilarating to me. For the last month, though, I’m still not totally healed from the wreck, I’ve very much missed those rides. I’ve thought all I need is to heal and be able to get another bike just like the one I wrecked.

As a consequence of injuries, I’ve also not been able to go to the gym. My second enjoyable thing was working out four days a week. Getting in good shape and feeling really great, looking half decent was very important to me. Going to the gym made me feel alive.

During this time, I’ve been pondering, so where does my happiness come from? Can I be happy without some external stimulus that makes me feel alive? Is God trying to teach me that true happiness can only come from Him and from within? If I need something outside myself to know happiness, is it really achievable, sustainable and realistic?

Just a couple of days ago, after being somewhat depressed about my losses, I’ve come back to the basics. My life does not consist of the things I own. My life consists of a surrendered life that seeks to know and please God. To stay in a place where I am teachable and humble. Life is about surrendering as fully as I know to do God’s will and to serve other people on a daily basis. Out of that foundation life flows.

When I am in that sweet spot of surrender, then all of life’s external things can be icing on the cake, but those things in themselves can never be the cake! Getting this truth turned around always brings me to a place of discontentment. Getting this right, always brings me a settled sense of peace and contentment from within.






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Close Call Brings Awakening

Over the past several months, I’ve begun each day with a simple three-part prayer. I asked God to allow me surrender fully to Him just for this day; I ask for anything in me that isn’t good to be made clear to me and finally, I ask Him for someone to serve during the course of the day with no expectation of return.

Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, we went to church as always, then I headed out for a little motorcycle ride before lunch. In November of 2014, I bought a small Harley Sportster 1200 custom with some money I inherited from my mom. I’m sure she’d be thrilled with my choice! I’m learning so much about being selfish and self-centered over the past year and a half, but my pride and joy, that sweet blue Harley never entered my mind.

Sunday morning about 11:30 when the bike and I were both down after having a car turn into me, the bike down in the road with parts and pieces scattered and me in the back of an ambulance waiting to be transported to the hospital, I began to have my eyes opened. I’m not speaking for anyone else in the world, this is just for me. I realized spending that much money for something only I would enjoy, knowing Gayle would never ride and then when I rode, it was just me usually going off for some personal enjoyment while others waited and wondered if this ride would be the one I don’t come home.

I couldn’t slice it any other way than this was not something I had ever thought about. Now it seemed like one of the most selfish choices of my life. At the hospital, Gayle said, this was my second most feared call. I said, what is your first, she said, someone other than you calling to tell me you’d been in a wreck. She also told me every time I went for a ride and came home, when she heard the rumble coming down the street, she felt some relief. Mind you, she never said anything to me but enjoy your ride and be careful.

Always liking life on the edge, I’ve really enjoyed having the bike. I’ve seen how quickly things can change. I know I could be killed any number of ways when my number is up. I also believe I’m indestructible until God is done with me. The issue isn’t the bike, it is how self-centered the entire choice and effects have been. I’ve come to see at the heart of most my life’s issues is selfishness and self-centeredness.

PS I fractured my left foot and am bruised and scrapped up pretty good but not bad considering!




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Love or Fear

I read recently, our two primary emotions are love and fear. Most other emotions are secondary to these two major ones. For example, most agree anger, is really fueled by fear. If this theory is true and I believe it is, then almost all our thoughts and actions are motivated by one or the other.

Wow, has that had me pondering for a week! Like most guys, I thought I really didn’t have much fear in my life. But when I consider my actions based on what is motivating them, I’ve come to see I have more fears than I realized.

I fear, I may lose something I want or may lose something I already have and I fear I may not have enough. But there are some deeper seated fears like the following example.

For example, I catch myself regularly “sharing,” things that in my mind make me appear to be more important than I feel inside. Self-promotion is driven by the fear of not living a significant life. Ultimately, it comes from a place of insecurity and is seeking something from outside that is lacking inside.

My goal is to have my actions fueled by a genuine love that is seeking to serve others while guarding against anything self-centered, self-seeking or self-promoting. To humbly serve others with no need for recognition or accolades would let me know love is the fuel.





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