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Archive for the ‘Daily Life’ Category

Being Proactive

This past week I started a book called Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  Its a book written by Steven Covey about motivating people to live to their full potential in life and achieving success.  In his introduction, Covey makes the argument that the way we think affects our lifestyle choices and behaviors.  He states that the paradigms that we have form the lens that view our world.  He gave the example of how people used to think that the earth was the center of the universe and when the idea arose that the earth revolved around the sun, people mocked it and dismissed it.  But when it was proven, a paradigm shift occurred and people were able to see their world in its proper perspective.  

The same is true with our lives.  Perspective is everything.  There is a story in the Gospel of Luke that illustrates this point very well.  Two disciples of Jesus are walking towards Emmaus and they are discussing the death of Jesus and the strange reports that Jesus had risen from the dead.  They were confused and did not seem to believe that he rose cause their hearts were heavy.  As they are talking, Jesus comes to their side and begins to walk with them.  Their eyes are veiled and don’t recognize him.  Jesus begins clarity to the situation as he shares the scriptures concerning himself.  And there is a critical point in the story where Jesus breaks bread with his disciples and suddenly their eyes are opened to who he truly is.  They have an “Aha” moment and their once veiled eyes are opened.  Their perspective has changed and instead of being discouraged they are now filled with hope and joy.  That is the power of perspective.  

In relation to perspective, Covey encourages people to start to practice the first habit, which is to be proactive.  Many times when people face problems and difficulty in their lives, they blame their circumstances for their inability to find solutions.  Yes there are some things that are outside of our control like the weather, how people react to us, etc.  But Covey argues that instead of focusing on things outside our control, we need to focus on what we can control.  

He states that there are many people who have a victim mentality and relegate their sorry state on others.  They makes statements like “I can’t do this”  “I have to do this project because I’m supposed to.”  “This person makes me feel angry and sad.”  All these statements refer to something outside of a person that keeps them immobilized and paralyzed.  However, instead of focusing on what we can’t do or on things we can’t control, it is important to take steps to finding a solution.  Instead of being part of the problem, why not try and find a solution.  Other people do not have control over our attitudes and how we feel. We are in charge of our ability to make decisions and take action.  

So take a step towards what you thought couldn’t be done.  Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, why not take little steps forward and focus on what is in your immediate sphere of influence.  Like the serenity prayer says, “Give me the courage to change the things that I can, and to accept the things I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference.” 

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So many times life can be so complicated.  Worries about relationships, finances, the future all end up becoming like a huge rock tied around my back.  It becomes so heavy that the normally easy daily tasks become extremely hard.  But over the past few days I have tried to simplify things and start getting back to the basics of life.  This has been as simple as going to bed on time so that I don’t wake up all groggy and start the day in a bad mood.  I’ve also begun exercising again, which surprisingly helps me feel happier.  Also eating more fruits and vegetables has helped (thanks mom!).  But also I’ve been praying more throughout my day and whispering short phrases to God like “I love you,” or “Thank you.”  This has helped my heart be more tender and receptive to all the blessings that God has given to me.  What joy there is in returning to the simple things in life.

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Lovers outwork workers

“Lovers outwork workers.”  This was the phrase I remembered when I first heard Mike Bickle speak at the CALL in 2003.  He said that those who are in love with God will actually do more work for him than those who have a “worker” mentality.  Therefore, he declared it extremely important that we encounter God’s beauty to sustain believers in the work of the kingdom.

Although, this simple but powerful concept marked my heart years ago, in recent times I had forgotten about it.  But about a month ago a friend shared a dream where she saw me in a lethargic state.  I was sleeping during a time when I needed to be active and moving to help minister to someone.  As she tried to get me up, she saw that my hands were covered with a sticky black substance.  After removing it from my hands, I was able to get up and go with her to do ministry.

After she shared her dream, she explained that she felt like the black substance that was holding me down was because I was serving God out of a worker mentality more than a lover.  Without knowing, she told me exactly what I had heard from 2003: “Lovers outwork workers.”  I knew that the Lord was speaking to me through her to remember to return to my first love.  My heart had grown cold in the midst of the busyness of ministry.  So I committed myself to placing the Lord before me and doing my responsibilities as an act of love God.

The interesting thing is, the worker and lover can look the same externally.  They both do the same ministry, however, the lover has a deeper heart connect with the work and can sustain the intensity of ministry for the long term.  So I encourage you, whether you are in full-time ministry, the marketplace, in school, a parent, or a missionary, place loving God at the forefront of your life.  Everything else will fall into place when you do that.  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33).

 

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Hello world!

So after a four month hiatus from my blog, I have returned!  I know, I’m being quite dramatic.  But I thought I’ll give a quick update on my life cause a lot has happened.  As always I’ll summarize in list form:

1.  Transitioned from part-time staff to full-time – Since graduating from IHOPU, I have been on part-time staff at IHOP.  But I decided that I wanted to transition into being on full-time.  After taking a prayer retreat at a monastery, I realized that I would like to give more of my time and energy into being an intercessory missionary.  Initially I was afraid that by switching to full-time, I would lose a lot of time and completely swamped with responsibilities.  But once I made the change, it has been so enjoyable and amazing.

2.  Got over a 3-4 month long sickness during the winter – From December to about March, I was sick with a sinus infection that would not go away.  I ended up being really tired, unable to focus, and quite depressed.  And I was really struggling during this season.  But I kept reminding myself that each day is new and to forget the past and press forward to seeking God.  This really helped me and when I got better, I was able to get back into the flow of my life again.

3.  Joined a worship team on the Nightwatch – After being off a nighwatch worship team for 3 1/2 years, I decided to join a worship team about 3 months ago.  I had been frustrated playing on a worship team years ago because I wasn’t very confident as a musician and felt out of synch with how playing electric guitar connected with prayer.  I really just wanted to be in the prayer room without having to play an instrument.  So I took a break and thought I would never return.  I almost sold my gear, but a couple of friends convinced me that someday I would regret it if I sold my guitar and pedals.  So I kept them and then a couple of months ago, I felt the desire to play my guitar again.  So I decided to take lessons and improve my skill.  I also bought a new guitar and some pedals and now I feel much more confident when I play.  I also feel more purposeful with God as I play my instrument and see it as a time where I can not only have fun, but prophesy on my instrument.  I am amazed at how much the Lord has changed my perspective on music.  And I am really enjoying playing.  I never thought that playing close to 20 hrs. live a week could be this enjoyable.

4.  Contentment – Back when I was in my teens, I had a pretty pessimistic attitude towards life.  My picture of the future was hardly ever rosy.  But nowadays, I am really content and happy with my life.  I am doing the things that I really enjoy.  Seeking the Lord in prayer and the word, playing music, leading a small group of people to grow in God, and even taking a yoga class.  I am really grateful to be at IHOP as an intercessory missionary and I am grateful for all God’s benefits.  He truly is good to me.

 

So that’s a short summary of what have been going on in my life.  And hopefully I can continue to blog and keep writing about the Acts of God, and other things.  I won’t be writing about the IHOP basketball league because I’ve stopped playing because of an injury I sustained during one of our games.  😦  But look forward to more blogs to come!

My surprise visit to my mom to Columbus, OH on for her birthday

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Day 2 has arrived!  Yesterday’s workout was great and I was ready for today’s 20 min. cardio workout.  I decided to exercise on the stationary bike and started at a leisurely pace.  Each progressive minute I pushed my intensity limit to a 9 out of 10.  I did this in for 3 sets.  Then the last set instead of stopping at intensity level 9 I pushed it till a level 10 for a whole minute.  My legs were moving at a frenetic pace and my heart was racing.  I finally finished as cooled down for the last minute as sweat was dripping down my face.

After getting off the bike, my legs were shaky.  I never realized that just doing 20 minutes of cardio could be that intense!  Week 1 is going well so far and I look forward to continuing this journey.

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Living a Focused Life

I recently listened to Mike Bickle’s “Power of a Focused Life” series and was greatly motivated to live out my destiny. This series came in a timely season of my life as I just completed IHOPU and am transitioning into staff at IHOP. Bickle said that time spent in a focused manner translates into destiny. If we do not focus our resources (particularly time) we will end up squandering our lives by the tyranny of the urgent. Being swayed from one important task to another. Yet, if we spend a little bit of effort into managing our time and making a schedule we will be that much more in line with our destiny.

Another thing that Bickle encouraged was the reading of biographies of great men and women of history. By looking at the lives lived in the past, we can learn from them and live our lives accordingly. I was struck by this simple fact and went immediately to the library and borrowed three biographies. The first one was on Abraham Lincoln. It was struck by two main things. First, he was an avid reader. In his early days he only had a few books, but he read them repeatedly. Second, he was a very melancholy person. He had fits of depression and loneliness throughout his life. He was disliked by many people and had many critics, but he really sought to bring change to the world.

He came from meager beginnings and never would have expected him to become president during one of the most tumultuous times in America’s history. But he was appointed to provide leadership in that time. Who knows what may come of my life? From being faithful with a little, we may be called to be faithful with much.

(The other two biographies that I will attempt to read are Mother Teresa and C.S. Lewis.)

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After being in the Midwest for the past four years, I’ve gotten the chance to be in LA for a more extended period of time. As I pass the halfway point of my trip in the city I feel a sense of gratitude for my time so far.

I write knowing that I may not have such an opportunity once I go back to Kansas City so here are some things that I am thankful for.

1. Food – As a guy, this obviously tops my list of things I appreciate about LA. There are so many diverse and great cuisines in this city that it would take a whole lifetime to discover all of them. Here a few highlights: Carne Asada Fries, Tofu soup, In-n-out burgers, sushi, and black sesame seed ice cream.

2. Weather – It is the middle of July and the weather is great. It has been in the mid 70s and low 80s throughout my time here, with sunny skies and light breezes. I’m gonna miss this.

3. People – The diversity of people in LA is also wonderful to see. I’ve been the minority for most of my time in Missouri, so it is nice to be in LA for a change.

4. Faith – Many times people associate LA with evil and wickedness, but I have seen many young people on fire for God. Some from my church and other churches that I have visited. Their way of walking out their Christian faith is a bit different from mine, but I can see their hunger and desire for God.

No matter where we live or who we meet I believe in making the most of where we are at in the present. I am glad that I have had the chance to come to LA for an extended time and I hope that the latter half of the trip continues to be that way.

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