Sunday, April 15, 2018

Blame it on the Rain

Today, as rain and chilly temperatures cover most of the state, I want to encourage you to find time for yourself. Blame it on the rain or blame it on just needing to refresh and renew your spirit. The Bible mentions numerous times our need for rest so that we are able to thank Him for the blessings that He pours on each of us in our lives. We all at times get caught up being so busy, we literally forget to just be still and quiet. I know I'm often guilty of this frequently in my life. I don't know how to say "no." I feel I'm not being productive if I'm sitting still. 
My plans this afternoon are to take a couple of hours and participate in the Sabbath, a day of rest. God intended for Sunday to be a day of celebrating His love for us, followed by rest. I encourage all of you today to read a good book, watch a good podcast, write in a journal of your weekly blessings or just take a deep breath. Take a walk outside and let the raindrops remind you of God's continuous showers of His love. Listen to worship music, dust off your old guitar or sit in your favorite chair and pray for the week ahead. Find a place to just be peaceful. It is in the still and quiet places where we can most feel God's presence. I know we get tangled in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives that we  forget to replenish our souls. 
Don't be afraid to blame your relaxing, prayerful and calm day on the rain. So many times we repeatedly spend our days with to-do lists that we forget that not only our bodies, but our souls need rest. I once heard that "It's not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised. The mosquito is swatted." - Mary O'Connor
Happy Sunday my friends. Take time and spend with God. Inhale, Exhale be thankful!!! 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Run your Race

I attended The Village Church in Nolensville yesterday morning with my sister and her family. Each time I attend services there, I leave with a fire in my soul. The sermons always relate to real life situations and how each of our Christian journeys are different. I will try my best to elaborate on today's sermon that touched my heart. On Easter Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and His love that ultimately wins the race of this earthly life. His last words on the cross were " It is Finished." And He deserved to be finished. Jesus had run His race and fought the good fight on this Earth. Yet, he arose from the dead to circle back around to run our race with us. He didn't give up on us. He is calling our our name when we feel broken, shameful and guilty. He doesn't care where we are in our life or what we have done. He wants to be enough to meet us where we are in our race of life.
     Whatever your pace and whatever lap you may be on in your life, God wants to be our pacesetter.
If you have been running with Jesus for a long time and he sets your pace each day, then go and tell as many people as you can about the love of Jesus. Circle back around and run someone else's race with them. Help them and love them to continue on when they are tired and support and encourage them during the tough times in their race.
   Sometimes during our race, we end up on a detour. We feel like we can't continue on our race and we just want to take a shortcut to the finish line. This is not what God has intended for us. Sometimes God sends the obstacles to help strengthen and equip us to know that our race is not finished. It is our sign to stand back up and start running again.
  Then there may be some people who have never decided to run with Jesus. Find those people and tell them you are ready to start training and running with them. Some may just need a kind voice or a helping hand to kick-start their race.
   Wherever you are in your Christian race, know that God is there beside you. He fought the good fight and came back to prove we would always have Him here with us. And the same power that rose Him from the grave lives in us. I encourage all of you to take a deep breath and know that you are running your own race. It matters not if you are in the front, the middle or the back. What matters is that you are running and each of our us will run at our own pace in life. Allow God to pace your steps. There may be times when you need to slow down and catch your breath, or there may be times when you need to push forward and run faster. No matter where you are, don't lose hope. Keep persevering whether you on the paved concrete, the bumpy trail or climbing the highest mountain. God is there beside you every step of the way....KEEP RUNNING MY FRIENDS!!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

God's Easter Eggs

As Easter rapidly approaches, my hope is that we can all slow down and comprehend what this upcoming Holy Week means to us as Christians. People often think our lives as Christians are without pain, hardships and struggles. The truth is, as Christians we are imperfect and flawed. We believe that God is constantly searching for us to help us grow in our faith.
I find it coincidental that one of our most celebrated Easter Traditions is hunting Easter eggs. Young children (and Adult children) spend an afternoon searching in familiar and unfamiliar places to see how many shiny, colored and oddly shaped eggs they can find.
I often wonder if God views us as His Easter eggs. He is constantly searching for us in dark, uncovered places or He can quickly spot us out in the open to pick us up and put us in His basket.
He doesn't care what color we are, what shape we are or where we have been hiding. He is consistently trying to find us no matter if we are buried or stuck in a shallow crevice. We are God's Golden eggs and He spends each day choosing us to fill His basket. Inside each egg are the
broken-hearted, the misfits, and the lost souls. He can't wait to crack open each of His eggs to examine and help change what's on the inside of each of us.
As you go through this Holy Week, may you constantly observe the little hidden eggs of your life. Whether your hidden egg is a friend that encourages you,  a prayer for someone you love, a sunset,  a long walk or just a breath of fresh air; take time to realize how blessed we truly are if we just Believe.
God sent His son to die for ours sins so that we may have everlasting life in Him. Jesus' death was only the beginning of His victory. It's the little victories in life that we often forget to appreciate. May we strive each and every day to  live a life worthy of God's faithfulness to us. Each day we walk this Earth, know that we are God's Easter eggs the He is persistently searching for daily to mold and love  to be more like Him.

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