Discovering True Healing

Number 33 in the series “God Rocks: 101 Amazing Everyday Gifts!” Stories and promises of the awesome blessings God gives us each day. I hope it encourages you today!

 

When I pastored I can’t tell you how many times I talked with people struggling with unresolved guilt.

 

Photo Credit: Hartwig HKD

Photo Credit: Hartwig HKD

 

Regret over actions which broke up their marriage. Words they spoke which estranged their children. Destructive behaviors which ruined their health. Poor choices which led to financial collapse.

Frankly, I look back occasionally with regret at things I’ve done, in some cases decades ago. I’m still haunted at times and wish I could undo a word or action but I can’t.

Then compound that with so often the religious response to someone struggling. “I wonder what they did. Boy they must have done something really bad. Wow, God must be punishing them for something big.”

 

No wonder we’re left feeling helpless and hopeless at times.

 

And the real tragedy? It so often keeps us from finding the real healing that releases us to move forward into the amazing life God offers.

[Read more…]

Sunday Music: “The Prayer” with Andrea Bocelli & Celine Dion

An absolutely stunning performance that brings tears to my eyes when I watch it.

A heartfelt prayer, written beautifully in song and sung by two amazing singers.  What more could we ask for?

I hope you find it as uplifting as I do.

 

 

If you have trouble watching this video you can watch it here.

 

Do you have a favorite music video?

Please share it on Facebook, Twitter or in an email.  Thanks.

Finding Confidence to Weather a Storm

Number 32 in the series “God Rocks: 101 Amazing Everyday Gifts!” Stories and promises of the awesome blessings God gives us each day. I hope it encourages you today!

 

I come from a long line of worriers. My family could take worrying to a new level.

I remember one weekend when our daughter was driving back to college. My mom called her and said, “Let me know when you’re leaving so I’ll know when to start worrying.” And she was serious.

 

Photo Credit: Ken Douglas

Photo Credit: Ken Douglas

 

So I grew up worrying constantly. And I’ve spent a life time learning how not to.

Yet, I’m not alone. A whole lot of people struggle with worry.

In my profession I see people filled with fear at times. Terrified to stay invested yet afraid to miss out.

I’ve watched friends stay in a job they hated because they were afraid to try something else.

Many of us have worried about a suspicious report from the doctor.

 

Yet, fear leaves us paralyzed which causes us to respond irrationally often. And frankly it’s just a horrible way to live.

 

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Freed from Religion to Really Live

Number 31 in the series “God Rocks: 101 Amazing Everyday Gifts!” Stories and promises of the awesome blessings God gives us each day. I hope it encourages you today!

 

I enjoyed the church I grew up in as a kid. I hung out with my buddies, talked with cute girls in our youth group. I mean what’s not to like?

When I was really young I didn’t have to go to worship services which I thought was pretty cool.

But then as I grew older I had to attend the services. Singing hymns I didn’t understand. Not a catchy tune in the bunch. Rituals that seemed mysterious. And sermons delivered with fervor yet somehow detached from my life.

 

Photo Credit: Eric Magnuson

Photo Credit: Eric Magnuson

 

So after high school I left. I set out to find my life apart from religion and I did.

 

Yet, eventually it became a bit messy.

 

[Read more…]

Sunday Music: “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion

A beautiful song and video filled with scenes from the movie “Titanic” of which this was the title song.

Having lost loved ones, as you have, I think it’s a great reminder that there is a quality of love that truly transcends time and place.  It is a gift from God who himself is love and it lasts for eternity.

I hope you find it uplifting and perhaps healing on this Sunday.

 

 

If you have trouble viewing this video you can watch it here.

 

Do you have a favorite music video?

Please share it on Facebook, Twitter or an email.  Thanks.

Seeing Everyday Miracles

Number 30 in the series “God Rocks: 101 Amazing Everyday Gifts!” Stories and promises of the awesome blessings God gives us each day. I hope it encourages you today!

 

We all face challenges. They seem to come with way too much regularity. And sometimes they simply seem insurmountable.

 

Photo Credit: Theodore Chen

Photo Credit: Theodore Chen

 

An illness, a financial crisis, a broken relationship.

We wrestle with it and worry about it. And sometimes just can’t fix it.

So how do we respond? And I’ve done all of these.

Sometimes we give up. “I can’t do anything about it. I’m helpless. It’s useless.”

Sometimes we pray super spiritual prayers. “God if you’d like to do something here that would be great. And in case you do here’s kind of what I would like to have happen.” Then we end with, “Not my will but thy will be done.”

Sometimes we pray super miracle working prayers. “Ok God here’s what I want. And this is how and when I’d like it delivered.”

Interestingly, I find the results often pretty similar. Frustration and despair.

 

And sometimes we miss seeing the miracle God wanted to or even did perform.

 

[Read more…]

Looking Forward to the Best That’s Yet to Come

Number 29 in the series “God Rocks: 101 Amazing Everyday Gifts!” Stories and promises of the awesome blessings God gives us each day. I hope it encourages you today!

 

Recently a long time friend sent out a group email with a poem about how fast life goes by. Not sure I’m really thankful for  that reminder.

 

Photo Credit: Peter Kurdulija

Photo Credit: Peter Kurdulija

 

When we were in high school life stretched out forever. Yet, now in the blink of an eye many of our friends are retired.

The endless days of raising kids somehow turned into having grand kids for many.

Most of us have lost parents and some siblings and friends.

And I stop and wonder sometimes, “Where did the time go? How did it go by so quickly?”

I find we all deal with it in a variety of ways.

Some speed up activities. If they just stay busy enough they avoid thinking about it.

Others seem to deny it hoping it’ll all go away, I guess.

 

Yet, for all of us when we lose another loved one we stand face to face with our own mortality and how brief this life really is.

 

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Sunday Music: “God Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts

A favorite song that has so many layers of meaning.

I think we can all relate to the broken times in our lives.

For me this song speaks of how God has used those broken roads to lead me back to him and into his amazing life.

I hope you enjoy it on your Sunday.

 

If you have trouble viewing this video you can watch it here.

 

Do you have a favorite music video?

Please share it on Facebook, Twitter or in a email.  Thanks.

Surprised by Gifts in the Midst of a Storm

Number 28 in the series “God Rocks: 101 Amazing Everyday Gifts!” Stories and promises of the awesome blessings God gives us each day. I hope it encourages you today!

 

We all get slammed by storms we don’t expect. That’s just real life. And it happens whether you’re a believer or not.

 

Photo Credit: Roy Wangsa

Photo Credit: Roy Wangsa

 

A medical report that punches us.

A marriage blowup and blowout.

A note in our work mail slot telling us we’re no longer needed.

The sudden unexpected death of a loved one.

Storms that slam us and tear us apart.

And how do we usually react?

Often with denial, “This can’t be happening.”

Or with anger, “How could this happen to me?”

Or with guilt. Christians are really good at this one. We tell ourselves and each other, “Well, it must be something you did.” Or, “If you just had more faith.”

But the problem with all of those?

 

None give us the ability to calmly and rationally deal with the storm. And they often leave us worse.

[Read more…]

From Boredom to a Fruitful Life

Number 27 in the series “God Rocks: 101 Amazing Everyday Gifts!” Stories and promises of the awesome blessings God gives us each day. I hope it encourages you today!

 

To be honest I find most churches boring.

I know that seems odd coming from an ex-pastor. Yet, I found seminary and pastor’s conferences to be even worse.

 

Photo Credit: Julie Falk

Photo Credit: Julie Falk

 

I can be a bit irreverent towards institutional religion. Talking about stuff that really helps no one I find detached and wastes time.

All the long faces and serious theological discussions just tees me up to say something off kilter to get a response.

But the real problem I see is so many people attending those churches live bored unproductive lives. Just going through the motions putting up with life until Jesus beams them up.

 

And so many people outside the church look on and with good reason say, “No thanks.”

 

That’s the real shame because I believe God intended this life to be powerful, productive and exciting. [Read more…]