A new direction, a new outlook

It has been sometime since I’ve updated this site, it’s always been on my mind to do more with this, but it seems like life just gets in the way.  Isn’t that the truth with so many things we strive to accomplish.  We start off excited, full of vigor, ready to share with the world all that we know (or don’t know) and then after that initial fire burns down and we just have some embers in place, it’s hard to keep that momentum going.   If the fire is not kept fed, it will eventually burn low, then just down to warm embers, and eventually will cool completely.

That is where I fell with this blog and with aspects of my life as well.  As I posted before and gained a few readers (very few I’m sure), I found that each and every post became more of a chore to do.  I felt the pressures (self-induced) to produce that perfect post that would inspire the masses.  Those posts that were produced then were awful and many never made the cut and actual got posted.  The ones I felt most proud of were the ones that came from my heart, from my own emotions, from my own life experiences.  Those were the posts that I feel made the most impact on those few that read them.  If nothing else, they made the most impact on me writing them.

Writing for me has always been a release, a way to take my thoughts and feelings and get them out there.  Get them out of my own head, where they bounce around and ferment into sometimes nasty and not very helpful things and expose them for what they are.  Usually just irrational thoughts that ballooned out of control.  So the writing of this blog has always been therapeutic.  It has always been about helping me and if others are helped by it then so much the better.  Hopefully, someone will see things that I’ve dealt with or am thinking and they will see the similarities in their own situations and perhaps gain some insight into dealing with them or if nothing else, perhaps just give them a sense that they are not alone.

I don’t want this to sound negative. I don’t want this to be a negative, depressing blog.  Because the reality is, I want this to be a blog about rejoicing.  Rejoicing in the resolutions that God has provided in difficult times.  Rejoicing in being able to share our thoughts and feelings in a way that may help others, or that we may gain help from others.  I intend  this blog to share my hardships, my struggles and fears, not to receive pity, but to inspire those with similar fears and thoughts.  I also will share my triumphs and good news and tips to give encouragement.

We are all developing Christians, from those that are new Christians to the pastor that leads the church.  We are all developing to become more like Christ and will do so until the day we die.  I want this blog to share my development and to encourage others in their development.  I hope that if I gain readers, that a small community of developing Christians will emerge and we can all share and encourage each other.  Thus the new name for here… Developing Christian.  We still strive to become exceptional Christians, but we are always developing towards that goal.

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Experiencing God

This post was originally posted on another blog that I wrote back in 2008 that I no longer maintain.  It was posted Christmas morning of 2008 and while it talks about the birth of Christ, the message in the post applies year round.  I stumbled across this once again and thought I would share.

Experience God this Christmas

I’ve been reading through Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby the last few weeks and one of the things that you learn is the seven realities of experiencing God.  Number 3 on that list is, "God invites you to become involved with Him in His work."  Looking back over the Christmas story, we find that God was at work in a small manager in Bethlehem 2000 years ago to give us the greatest Christmas gift of all.  We see that the wise men were invited by God to become involved in that work.  The shepherds were invited to become involved in His work.  In fact, Mary and Joseph were invited to become involved in His work.  This Christmas season, as I search for places in my own life that God is working, I realize that God has invited us all to become involved in His work started 2000 years ago under that star.  The work he started 2000 years ago continues on to this day and we all can take part in this work.  This Christmas season we have the opportunity to take part in perhaps God’s greatest work since creation, the salvation that he provides us through Jesus Christ.  The angels spread the news 2000 years ago that a savior was born. 

Today I can share that news with anyone who reads this and can continue working with God in the great work he invited everyone of us to join in on.  God bless you all this fine Christmas day!

Attitudes are Contagious

I’ve got four kids that range in age from 5 to 15.  You can guarantee this time of year, that when one brings home a cold or flu bug, that most if not all of us will share in the joy. 

Have you ever watched someone laugh and even if you don’t know why, you can’t help but laugh along?

How about if you watch someone yawn, you’re almost guaranteed to join in.  In fact, I bet over half of you reading this now just yawned, I did.

So many things are contagious and your attitude is no different. 

I saw some friends last night that I hadn’t talked to in a month or so.  We’re both struggling with some of the same issues in our personal lives in varying degrees of severity and duration.   But nonetheless, we’ve found a kindred spirit with each other and can relate.  But the thing I want to talk about with him, is that no matter the situation, no matter the difficulty, he seems to always see things on the bright side.  Perhaps inside he is stressing more than he shows, but his outward attitude is one of filled with positive thoughts and hope for the future.  This attitude is contagious. 

We talked for an hour or so last night and it was amazing the change in my own attitude after he had left.  Before he got to my place, I was pretty stressed and just in a terrible mood.  After he left, my spirit was uplifted and hopeful.  Not perfectly, but better than before. 

I strive to always carry with me a positive attitude despite what I may be feeling inside.  I find that I can usually talk myself into a good mood if I try hard enough, but there is nothing better than a good friend to help you along. 

I try to stay positive in all situations for my family’s sake as there is no gain in being negative.  If you’re negative you tend to live in the past and focus on the problems, while if you have a positive mindset, you will focus on the future and the solutions to your problems.  Focusing on the solutions, help you to achieve your goals and often solve your problems.  Much better way to live I think.

None of us are perfect.  And none of us will live a trouble-free life. 

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. –John 16:33

But we have hope that God will provide for our needs (not necessarily our wants) in all situations.

When you say ”it’s impossible”, God says “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” –Luke 18:27

When you say, “I can’t go on”, God says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

When you say “ I can’t do it”, God says “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” -Philippians 4:13

When you say “I’m not able”, God says “And God will generously provide all you need.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8

When you say “I’m always worried and frustrated”, God says “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

When you say “I feel all alone”, God says “…Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

Keep a positive attitude as it will take you farther towards living an exceptional life and it will be the contagion that spreads to all those around you.

BTW:  To my friend I talked about above, you know who you are (you told me you read all my posts, perhaps the only person!)  I say, “thank you” and the future is bright.

The Power of Positive Thoughts

This is my first post, other than the introduction, in my series reviewing and discussing the book Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyers

The power of positive thoughts really is the main point of this entire book.  The power that positive thoughts releases in your life is truly incredible and can be seen even in small portions.  Even practicing a few of the concepts presented throughout this book has resulted in an amazing turnaround not only in my own attitude, but indeed in how circumstances occur around me.  Positive thoughts breeds positive results.

Joyce gives us five rules to make an attitude adjustment that allows us to think positive thoughts and in fact make it habit forming.

  1. Maintain the right attitude when the going gets rough.  This is very difficult for me and I imagine it so with others as well.  You have to make a conscious effort to maintain positive attitudes throughout your trials and tribulations.  The trick I found is to begin positive at the onset.  As soon as a negative pops into your head, stop them.  Stop them right in their tracks.  Determine right from the start that you will not agree with the negative thoughts and that you will not listen to them anymore.  Stand strong with your positive thoughts in all circumstances.  It’s not difficult to recognize that negative thoughts have entered your mind, but it is difficult to keep them from taking over your thought process.
  2. Realize the rough times won’t last forever.  Again this is a difficult one to work through.  When you are in your deepest, darkest seasons in life, it’s tough to remember that all seasons pass.  Winter becomes spring, spring becomes summer.  God uses trials to produce good results in our lives.  He always wants to bless us.  Remember as you go through your tough times that this probably isn’t your first challenge in life.  You survived the last one, probably learned some valuable lessons and you will survive this one too.
  3. Don’t make major decisions during a storm.  This can be tough to do because often the storms in life bring life changing decisions that need to be made.  But try to stay as still as possible.  Our thoughts often run wild in the midst of chaos, but we need to be still and know that He is God.  We need to trust God that He will do what we cannot.
  4. Stay in touch with the “control tower”.  The analogy that Joyce uses here is the air traffic control tower.  The air traffic controllers are the only people who can see the whole picture of what is going on in the sky and who have the knowledge to tell planes where to go and how to fly.  They see the storms and can tell you how to fly around them or take alternate routes.  Just as airplane pilots maintain contact with the air traffic controllers, we must stay in touch with God.  He sees the big picture and can help direct our lives around and through the storms of life.
  5. Try to keep things in perspective.  We tend to look at our situation as the worse possible situation we could be in.  We tend to view minor crisis as major events (and in fact often do the opposite as well).  It helps to keep a proper perspective.  Try to make a habit of looking at the whole of life instead of centering on the one problem we are dwelling on at the moment.  Try to remember all the good that has come in your life and thinking about the good that will come.  Doing this makes problems seem so much smaller.

A positive attitude enables you to make the best of every situation and keeps circumstances from having power of your life.

We are what we think.

My wife recently purchased some books from Joyce Meyers.  One book caught my eye and as I sat down to flip through it, something about it grabbed me and I’ve been reading it ever since.  I struggle sometimes with the power of my own thoughts.  When some thought starts flitting through my mind, it tends to stick and I tend to roll it over and over in my head.  When these are good positive thoughts, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, however when the bad thoughts come to me as they do to all of us, then the never resting mind becomes a huge distraction to a healthy and happy life.

What Joyce is trying to show us through this book is summed up in the following quote.

Where the mind goes, the man follows.

Joyce moves through 12 of what she calls Power Thoughts.  Each is Biblically based and even without her commentary on each, are powerful scripture that we could all stand to pay attention to.

  1. I can do whatever I need to do in life through Christ.
  2. God loves me unconditionally!
  3. I will not live in fear.
  4. I am difficult to offend.
  5. I love people and I enjoy helping them.
  6. I trust God completely;  there is no need to worry!
  7. I am content and emotionally stable.
  8. God meets all my needs abundantly.
  9. I pursue peace with God, myself, and others.
  10. I live in the present and enjoy each moment.
  11. I am disciplined and self-controlled.
  12. I put God first in my life.

I’ve already read through the first four of these as I am reading and re-reading the sections as I find each applicable in some way in my life. I think what I’ll do here on this blog is over the next few weeks (or longer) I’ll go into deeper detail on each of these and a few other points that I’ve taken from the book. Purchase the book yourself as it something worth reading and I’ll come no where near covering things as broadly and as eloquently as Joyce can.

This should be fun and will help me take what I’ve learned in this book to heart and apply them to my life.

Other posts in series:

  1. The Power of Positive Thoughts
  2. Thoughts are Powerful

What is an Exceptional Christian?

What is an Exceptional Christian? It is not, in my mind, what many may think it is at first glance.  I have a feeling that many will see the title of my blog and think I’m talking about those Christians that are perfect in their faith, or who are the most compassionate, or those that go to church every Sunday and do all the “right” things.  That is no where near what I think of as an Exceptional Christian.  So how do I define an exceptional Christian?

  1. An exceptional Christian is one that loves Jesus.  Without Jesus we would not have the hope that we have in Christ.  We would live without hope that life has meaning and that the future, indeed eternity, is within our grasp.
    “And this is what he promised us — eternal life.”  – 1 John 2:25
  2. An exceptional Christian is one that is not perfect, yet strives to remember that God loves us, no matter what.  We will never be perfect. We are sinners and will continue to sin.  But God loves us just the same.
    “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, …” – Romans 3:23
  3. An exceptional Christian is one that despite the struggles they may be going through, whether it is financial struggles, health problems, marital issues, or some struggle against a sin, remembers that God is there for us.  He will never give us more than we can handle.
    “And God is faithful;  he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
  4. An exceptional Christian is one that realizes that God gives us enough.  He may not give us what we “want”, but he gives us all we need.  The exceptional Christian is one that despite the lack of our wants, he realizes he has all he needs.
    “… My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…” – 2 Corinthians 12:9 

    “Look at the birds of the air;  they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?” – Matthew 6:26

Can any one of us be Exceptional Christians?  I don’t think so completely.  I’m no where close.  However, I think we can strive to be one.  I think if we understand what God has done for us by sending his son, we can get better at it.

This world we live in today, here in America, here in 2010 provides many struggles.  Many of us are deep in the pit of troubles. If we strive to become exceptional Christians the troubles we find ourselves facing seem less troublesome and we can see hope where many do not.  I imagine we will find that when we work towards becoming exceptional Christians, our lives become more bearable, more joyful and more fullfilling despite our trials.

I hope that this blog can provide some insight on how I’m struggling to become an exceptional Christian and in some way can give others hope that they are not alone and that there is hope beyond our current struggles.

You won’t find this blog being overly “preachy” as that is not my intent.  Yes there will be Bible verses as I find them applicable, yes I may talk about some Christian theology as it strikes me as important, but mostly this will be a journal of my struggles as an average “Joe” (or Jason as the case may be) and how I strive to deal with my temptations, my trials and my triumphs.

But you may also find some practical advice on different topics, perhaps anything from politics, recipes, relationships, to computer skills, blogging topics, books to read and raising of children.  In other words expect anything.  However, one constant that I hope to keep in all of my posts will be the underlying theme of how a particular topic applies to becoming an exceptional Christian.

Come join this journey of mine or continue your own journey and lets become “exceptional Christians!”