Sunday, April 20, 2014

Check the Lost and Found

At most sporting events, there will always be a lost and found section. When we lose or leave something valuable or meaningful to us, we are the first in line to contact or search the lost and found for that missing item we left. At some point in our life, we have all lost a wallet, a phone or a credit card  or even a child in a mass audience or crowd somewhere. We have all felt broken or lost in our life. We have all felt confused, questions our journey, lost loved ones or had relationships and friendships that have failed. It's when we experience our darkest moments that the Son always rises. He is there to find us and search our hearts to mend the brokenness and the pain.

As we celebrate Easter Sunday and the resurrection of our Savior, let us all reflect and aim to be renewed with a energized spirit. Let us understand the importance of this day and how it reminds us that no matter how empty we feel, how unsure of our journey we are or how we question why things happen that He loves us anyway. We were the nails in His wrist, the thorn in His brow and the pain He endured. And when Mary and the disciples thought His body had been lost, He arose so that we can have eternal life. He was not lost, but He was found and told us "Do not be afraid." Just as Mary did not recognize Jesus, sometimes we fail to see Him but He is all around us. His fellowship is free to us if we just talk to Him and spend time with Him.

Losing will always be part of our lives. we lose games, lose our jobs, lose friends, lose loved ones and even sometimes our minds, but never forget that no matter how lost we feel that God is always there waiting to find us. He is there to create a new slate and renew a right spirit. May we all strive to revive and restore our passion for life so that we can find God's unending and amazing love for us.  And if you ever feel lost and empty, check the lost and found because God is always there waiting for us to call on Him and realize that He is all we need.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Keep it Simple

In sports, we always hear the words "Keep it Simple." So many times we try to complicate not only a sports game, but the game of life. Sometimes it's getting rid of the clutter in our life. Those things that don't add value to your life. I have always been a simple person. So many times we think we have to wear the best clothes, have the best watches or drive a fancy car. That is not what really matters in life. People can't buy your love, money doesn't buy happiness and life is not about things. There are often times in our life when we feel hopeless and helpless. We feel like we are not good enough. But there is always one person that never lets us down....The Good Lord. His love never fails.

A couple of thoughts on simplifying your life:

1. Spend time with the right people: There are people in your life who love you for who you are, who appreciate you and who encourage you. These people are there in the darkest of hours to bring you a light and help embrace and go through the tough times with you. Find those people and when you do, don't let them go. If you are surrounded by people that only make you an option, turn and run now. God puts people in our life for a reason...some are blessings and some come as lessons. Some people are blessings because they are true to you, don't lie to you, don't betray you and have a backbone to talk to you face to face. Other people come as lessons. They are the ones who turn out to be someone other than what you expected, their actions speak louder than their words and they disappear out of your life without any hesitation. God knows who belongs in your life. Trust Him and learn to let go of what isn't meant to be. God has a better life waiting for you.

2. Don't worry about what everyone thinks and wants for you: One of our greatest freedoms is simply not caring what everyone else thinks about you. Be who you are and keep striving to be the best that you can be in this short life. God is there. He has a journey mapped out for us long before we even know. Don't accept the safe and easy: Dare to be different and don't be afraid. The only person you should be concerned with about what he thinks about you is the Man Upstairs.

3. Look for the Good: When things are hard and you feel like it's not going to get any better, take a few deep breaths and look for the silver lining. Count your blessings and your small daily victories. Did I say hi to someone? Did I send a text just to say I'm thinking about you?  These are the small victories that make a big difference in life. Focus on what you have and not what you have lost or who has left you. God is good all the time and He never leaves us.

So smile every chance you get, not because your life is perfect, but because you choose to be happy and grateful. Accept that life is not perfect, people are not perfect and you are not perfect. And know that everything works out for the good of those that love Him and are called according to His purpose not our purpose. So keep life simple. Enjoy the outdoors, enjoy the people that care about you and find value in the little things in life because quite frankly they end up being the big things anyway.

Live a Simple Life!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Are you a Season Ticket Holder?

I'm a huge sports fan as many of you that read my blog probably are. My family has had season tickets to Vanderbilt and the Tennessee Titans for as long as I can remember. I'm a competitive person, I don't like to lose and rarely did I miss many games growing up in Memorial gym or at LP Field. College Coaching has hindered attending some games, but I do try to go to as many as I can. When you are a season ticket holder, you feel invested in the program that you support. When your team loses, you take it hard. When you attend the games, sometimes we turn into those people you never want to sit by, we tell the refs how bad they are and we get in the car and can't talk to the family because we are so mad at how "Our" team played. Yet, we cheer as loud as we can when someone hits the game winning shot or scores the winning field goal. We are a "True Fan" and because we invest money to get season tickets for our favorite sport, we feel like we are part of the team. Win or Lose we love our team.

I've often thought about Life. What if we invested in buying season tickets on God's team? What if we cheered as loud when someone accepted Him as their Lord and Savior as we do when our team scores a touchdown? Investing in buying tickets on God's Team is free and His team, in the end, will achieve the ultimate victory. So let's get on board and support the most successful team that has a membership that is always available at any time no matter how much money you make, many free perks and gives us the reward to know that no matter how hard the game of life may get, we will always be winners. We always have something to cheer about and so many players to support in their walk with Christ.

Are you a season ticket holder? Are you cheering for the right team?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

What's on your playlist?

Music has always been one of my passions. I listen to all genres of music and taught myself how to play the guitar about 10 years ago. Music is all around us. We hear it in our automobiles, televisions,  Ipods, at athletic events, concerts, restaurants, races, in the comfort of our own homes and even in the beauty of nature that is free to all of us. About 3 years ago, I went through a really tough time in my life. I remember driving around one day and hit scan on my radio. It landed on WAYFM out of Nashville. If you don't believe in God's timing, on this day I did.  Lead Me by the Sanctus Real came on the radio station that day and blew me away. At some point in our lives we all need that reminder that we need to renew our faith and start over. I had reached that point in my life where I was at a crossroad and needed a change. I needed someone other than me to lead me and help me find my purpose.

After that day, WAYFM and K-Love became my favorite radio stations. They have been my favorite radio stations for the past three years. With all the songs that promote violence, drinking and drugs, it was refreshing to find stations that were uplifting and encouraging for my drive to work. I took the 30 day challenge on K-Love where you listen to Christian music for 30 days. It's been life-changing for me. The music that our youth listen to today becomes part of their vocabulary and how they think.
Music has and will always be controversial. We have a choice, though, to what our radio station is set on in the car, to what we download on our Ipods and what we play in stadiums.  So what's on your playlist? Is it encouraging and uplifting? Does it help you make it through tough times in your life? Music and lyrics provide comfort, peace, soothe the soul and often help us to reminisce of the past. Sometimes when we don't have to words to say to express how we are feeling, there is a song that says exactly what we want to say. So I encourage all of you to evaluate your playlist.

Also, if we listen God's creation plays music for us every day. Sometimes we fail to listen to the sounds outside. Listen to the creek that runs through the trees, listen to the waterfall that crashes down over the rocks, listen to the birds that chirp outside the window each morning, listen to the wind blowing through the trees, the rocks that fall down the mountains, the sticks that fall from the trees in the forrest  and listen to the ocean crashing into the shore. It is then we are assured of how small we really are and how He is everywhere around us. Sometimes all we need to do is just stop and listen and evaluate what's on our playlist.

A few of my favorites to add to your playlist:

Captivate Us by Watermark
Born Again by Third Day
Love song by Third Day
Lifesong by Casting Crowns
Praise you in this storm by Casting Crowns
Oceans by Hillsong United
Background by Lecrae
Every time you run by Manifest
Overcomer by Mandisa
Lord I need you but Matt Maher
Hello, My name is by Matthew West
Worn by Tenth Avenue North
Steal my show by Toby Mac

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Take Flight

Every day there are thousands of flights that travel the world. Flying has always been one of my biggest fears, yet I do it quite frequently. However, it is one of the most intriguing things that has always amazed me. The events that occurred during 911 and how all those planes had to be grounded had to be a nightmare. Air traffic controllers gained a new respect from me on that day and the years that followed after that. Their job has to be stressful to know  every flight pattern, when to land and when to take off and every specific time frame to make that happen.

When you think of all the flights that travel each and every day, I think about God as our air traffic controller. Though we cannot see Him, He has a major job of keeping track of all His people each and every day. So many times in our life, we start out on a journey and try to fly through the journey on our flight pattern and not His. Just as we have no control over where our plane is going when we board, God already has planned out a flight pattern for each of us. It is up to us to trust His plan.

What an awesome God we serve when you think about all the people that He has to coordinate plans for and all the logistics of our crazy lives that He has to figure out. Some of our flight plans are totally different each day. The people we meet, the situations in which we face and the places where He calls to go all shape where we end up according to His plan.

So the next time you take flight, look out the window and think about how wonderful our God is and how He is control of how we choose to fly each and every day....

Who is controlling how you fly today??? Spread those wings and trust and listen to Him.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Battle Scars

Scars usually never go away, but leave little marks that are always there to remind us of the storms that we have gone through to get where we are, accidents that we have experienced, surgeries that we have gone through or the loss of loved ones. These scars help you realize how thankful and blessed we are to understand the importance of growing and becoming the person we are meant to be, for friendships and for our families. Scars can be on our body or in our minds, but they all have some meaning into helping shape who we are.

We all have battle scars which are those scars that represent the hard work and preparation that we have put in to make a team, get a job or build ourselves into the people we have become. These scars are a reminder to us that nothing comes easy in this life and our reward after our battle here on Earth is over will be well worth the wait. The scars we bear are a sign that we are competitors and that whomever or whatever tried to hurt us did not win. Scars give us strength to know that we persevered through a tough time in our life.

Along with battle scars, we all have emotional scars. These scars represent the tough times in our lives, the people that have disappointed us and the loss of those we love. These emotional scars rekindle memories, give us hope that God puts people in our lives for a reason and and teaches us to persevere  through adversity. Sometimes our scarred hearts rekindle a strength to push us to become better people, better friends, better teammates and appreciate the gift of family.

If you are going through a tough time or have many scars remember: Every storm cloud runs out of rain and that we have a God that His love never fails and never gives up on us! When we think we have ot hard, think about the fact that we were the thorns in His crown  and we were the nails in His wrists, but He loved us anyway. Because of His scars, we get to wake up every morning with a chance to make a difference and help others heal their scars. "Turn your scars in to stars."...

Monday, February 17, 2014

What do you do with your F.R.E.E. time?

"I don't have time." How many times have we said this in our lifetime? No matter how old we are, we often use these words…I don't have time. Time is one of the most important things in life in which we have no control. Once a minute, an hour or a day passes we can never get it back. The best things in this life are frequently the things we overlook the most. The best things in life are "Free." A few of the the freedoms that we enjoy that we often take for granted consist of: the freedom of religion, the freedom to participate in healthy activities that we enjoy and the freedom of speech. What we do in our free time shapes who we are and helps us develop our identity.

F. First: Put God First!
In the Bible, Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom of God. Without putting God first we become hostage to the the freedoms that God has granted to us through forgiveness. We wake up each morning fresh, alive and able to breathe this wonderful breath of life. When you wake up each morning He wants to be the first thing on your mind. Hit your knees and thank Him for the day, His beautiful creation and for the freedom we get to live this life that He has given us. So many times we forget just to breathe and enjoy this life!

R. Relationship with Him is the Most Important:
Relationships are an important part of our lives. Our friends, who we date, our co-workers and our families all shape us into the person we become. It is so important to find people in your life that bring out the best in you, that love and support you not only during the happy times, but when the storms hit as well. Sometimes we got caught up in trying to fit in, trying to be popular or trying to settle down with the right person. There should be no rush because if you don't have a relationship with God, I truly believe that many of your earthly relationships will never succeed. The ultimate companion that we have on this Earth is Him. He never lets us down, His love never fails and He knows the plans He has for our future. So don't be in a hurry....Make sure you have a Relationship with Him before you try to make anything else in your life work. There is no love like the love He has for each of us.

E. Encourage:
We are all human and like to be appreciated and encouraged. Encourage, don't discourage. We are all on the same team in this life. We are all here for a short time, so we need to help and encourage one another to live our life to the fullest. Help your teammates, help your neighbors, help a stranger. Our actions always speak louder than words. So our life speaks more than our sermon. Live your life as a encourager. Smile, give someone a compliment, write a little note to someone that needs a pick me up. Be a good teammate!!

E. Be Energetic:
Give this life your best every day. Life is about energy. God gives his best for us every day so we should return the favor. Have positive energy. Don't be a grumpy person that noone wants to around. Remember, we all have struggles and hardships. It's part of life. How we handle ourselves in times of struggle is who we are. Find something positive in every day. We have so much to be thankful for and most of all we are alive!! Let your spirit and your life be contagious. When people meet you, let them know that there is something different about you.

Remember you are all "Youniquely" made by Him. You are all gifted, skilled and talented in some way. We all have a purpose in this life. The gifts and relationship that God offers us are free of charge. don't ever think you are alone because His fellowship is free. So make time for your family, your friends, for a cause that you are passionate about, for a stranger and for Him. Your time is limited on this Earth so don't ever think you are too busy to enjoy this life in which God has blessed us. Get outside, think outisde the box and enjoy the freedoms that we are so fortunate to have.
Be F.R.E.E.!!!