Tempted to Gush & Rush?

Standard

The time is approaching when the gates that have held us in will be opened, and like the mighty steed in a Kentucky Derby pen, we will burst out! Gushing and rushing forward to catch up on all that we missed in our locked down, stay-at-home, quarantine restrictions. …

…and perhaps like the out-of-shape weekend-warrior-athlete, we will pull something, probably a hamstring…

So how do we handle this sudden “return” of freedom? My suggestion—and caution—is with self-controlled moderation. The Gush & Rush is like getting off a diet. It will only make you sick. But as we reenter the “new normal”, make it as “old normal” as possible, with a dash of wisdom and common sense added. But in all wisdom, do not try to catch up all at once. It will only result in more heartache and frustration, and maybe a little social “impact”…. Think about it.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. … . [Galatians 5:22–23]

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. [2 Peter 1:5–7]

Will you join me in practicing a self-controlled reentry?

Peace,

Pastor Mike

“Smell the Roses?”

Standard

When my roses begin to blossom, I take an early morning walk stopping at each bush to capture their fragrance. And, yes, I do think to “stop and smell the roses.”

Now you may not have roses or flowers to stop and smell, and you may not even be a morning person, but let this not deter you from stopping and smelling the moment. In the midst of all that we have been through these past few weeks, it is all the more imperative to do this.

Step out of the slipstream of panic and hysteria and worry and ultra-concern and take time to rest in the presence of Jesus. Let the Prince of Peace be your Peace:

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For He is our peace … . [Ephesians 2:13-14a]

Will you join me, then, in stopping to smell the Flower, the Rose of Sharon?

Peace,

Coach Mike

“Spring–Renewal”

Standard

Spring cleaning is a challenge, especially when we do not take the time, right? Too often we are too busy and spring cleaning becomes summer catch up or worse, nothing is done at all….

Perhaps this is indicative of our spiritual lives, too. We do not slow down—even a little— to enter into a spiritual renewal. The rush of the holiday season seems to ripple well passed January into February. And as we get to March, stopping to take a deep breath is near impossible when we can’t even catch our breath.

The solution? I’m trying to deliberately take time to pause, grab a text from the Word, and simple ruminate over it. Then let the text grab me. Maybe even seeing Psalm 49:3 come to fruition in my life:

My mouth will speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart will be understanding.
[Psalm 49:3 NASB95]

Will you join me, then, in pausing for a spiritual spring renewal?

Peace,

Coach Mike

“Beyond Twitterpation”

Standard

I have often wondered how “love” would be if we were like more like Thumper (from Bambi) and merely “twitterpated”. Is this the love that will stick with me in the hard times? Is this the love that will go out of my way to be inconvenienced? Is our zeitgeist so shallow or is there a more profound love out there?

Now I know the Lord Jesus not only gave us Love but demonstrated Love. I know that He encouraged His disciples to Love one another as He had loved them. I know that we struggle with this because of big and small issues, but what shouts louder than any shouting match or warms a cold shoulder is His Love. His Love Sacrifices but doesn’t complain; His Love Initiates but doesn’t impose; His Love Listens and doesn’t assume; His Love Cares but doesn’t possess. …

And I know that His “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Co 13:4–7 New Living Translation). Why? Because He is Love!

Will you join me, then, sharing this Love with each other and others?

Peace,

Coach Mike

“The ‘New’ on My Terms”

Standard

If you’re like me, you like new things. In fact, we may go out and “comfort buy” to get something new in our lives to feel “good.” But of late I’ve been noticing that I seem to only like “new” when it is on my terms; when I can control the purchase, situation or event. When “the new” shows up unannounced or spontaneous, well, I appear to be less receptive, and sadly, sometimes even critical. …

As the Lord is transforming me to understand that He works all for the Good—even the unplanned, unannounced “new”—I need to receive these “new” as well. I do not need to feel out of control because He is in control, nor do I need to feel put out, left out or taken advantage of because He is allowing this new into my life for “the Good” which He may not have revealed to me yet.

How about you? Are you more comfortable with “the new”—even from the Lord—it is only on your terms?

“Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? — (Isaiah 43:19a NASB95)

Peace,

Coach Mike

“Too Busy to Behold?”

Standard

 

And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.     10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people—(Luke 2:9-10 NASB95, emphasis added)

The angels implored the shepherds to “Behold” the Good News they were announcing. To “behold” something is to “look, pay attention, and listen.” The shepherds stopped what they were doing, even though it was very important, and gave the angels their full attention—and listened.

During this sometimes-self-imposed busy season, Perhaps you can join me in three simple actives: (1) pausing or maybe even stopping what we are doing; (2) pay attention to the Lord’s whispering to us; and (3) listen to the Good News He has promised. During a time when good news seems so rare, let us remember that Jesus is the Good News that brings great joy to all, especially those who Love Him.

Peace,

Coach for Life Mike

Too Busy to Be Thankful

Standard

An episode in our Lord’s life:

11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11–19 ESV)

I’m not sure if they were too busy, per se, but they were clearly too something to not return and thank the Lord.  I don’t mind being a foreigner, especially to this planet, if I were one of those who “returned and give praise to God!” How about you?

Join me in pausing and thanking our Heavenly Father for all the wonderful healings/gifts/blessings He has so graciously showered on us.

Coach Mike

Do Not be Distracted

Standard

Another lesson that the Lord exposed to me on my sabbatical was: “Do not be distracted”.  It was consolidated at a friend’s church as he was speaking from Nehemiah.

Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.” But they were scheming to harm me; so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer. (Nehemiah 6:2–4 NIV84)

Many people will distract us. Some will do this intentionally, but the majority will innocently “interrupt” us. But I have found the greater battle is internal. I get so distracted between a good “task,” “project, or “activity” and the best. I must pause and seek the Lord’s face prior to engaging in any activity. A simple, “Lord, what do You want me to do now?” prayer should be sufficient for most times, but the larger projects, do you think these would require a more deliberate special seeking of the Lord’s face? Join me on this journey to stay focused and  “not be distracted”.

Peace,

Coach Mike

“Perfection vs. Perfectionist”

Standard

After my sabbatical few months back, I have given myself permission to take more thought time than I had before. And permission to understand that this time is not a waste of time. This was a big hurdle. I have so much I can be doing, but fortunately the Lord clearly grants permission for such times, right? Pondering His Word. Meditating in His Presence.

So the other day during one of these Pondering His Word Moments, the phrase hit me: “Jesus was Perfection, but He wasn’t a perfectionist.” Intriguingly, this staggered me. Being a recovering perfectionist and being one who wants to be like Jesus, the gulf between the two was so glaring. Why hadn’t I seen this before? And worse, I pondered all that Jesus did pleased the Father (cf John 8:29)! And He was never uptight, anxious, frantic that “it” needed to be just so,…. Then I started to laugh and picture Jesus  being this frantic, etc. perfectionist …. It didn’t fit. 

If He were, people wouldn’t want to be around Him  because He would be so demanding. His quality standards would be well beyond what anyone could achieve.  …

And in the juxtaposition of all these thoughts, I could see the Lord Jesus smiling at me: “Yes, Michael, I am perfection, but I need not fret about it, demand it of myself or of others. I just do what comes natural to Me.” The thought was so calming and reassuring.

As I let the Lord Jesus’ Life flow through me, He is perfection in me; even in my mistakes. (And this is another topic for another discussion!) He accomplishes through me what I could never accomplish. And so gracious, so peaceful. No demands upon myself or overly burdensome expectations on others. Just Calm.

What are your thoughts? Do you struggle with being OCD or a perfectionist? Share a few moments of your journey with us.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.(Colossians 2:9–10 NIV84)

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. (Colossians 2:9–10 NIV84)

“Receiving the New”

Standard

The New! It is often unknown, unfamiliar, and hard to integrate into our daily lives. Kind of like getting a new device with the buttons in a different place…, or no buttons at all.

How do you incorporate the New? Is it welcomed? Or do you hesitate?

What if the Lord is doing something new in your life? Do we let the past tarnish our view of the New? Or do we, by faith, receive the New?

Let us trust the Lord has good “things” in store for us. Let us yield to the Holy Spirit to re-tool our minds so we can receive the New with the Joy and Gratitude–as we should. Join me in embracing and celebrating the New.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD (Jeremiah 29:11–14a NIV84)

Praying Blessings of Peace & Joy in throughout this New Year,

Coach Mike