Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dream Big!!

Are you a dreamer? If you are not sure, let me ask you a few questions. Do you ever find yourself thinking about the future when others are talking about the present? Can you picture what your house will look like in 5 years (down to the paint color)? Do you get strange looks from others when you talk about the future?

If so, you are a dreamer, or as I prefer to call it a visionary. What is so wrong with dreaming big? Are we afraid of failure? afraid of success? overcome by the present? or consumed by the cynics?

I think many times we tend to forget that the God we serve is a big God and has done a lot of big things. Just as a reminder, He parted the Red Sea, caused a city to collapse at the vibration of footsteps and trumpets, fed 5,000+ people with a boy's lunch, and rose again after being dead 3 days. Why do we think He will only do small things in our lives and churches?

As we think about the future of our ABF, church, ministry, and families, let me encourage you to Dream Big, Pray Big, and live in faith anticipating big things from a BIG God.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Week of My Dreams!!

Someone pinch me, I must be dreaming. At least this is the way I felt last week. There are many things you dream of in your life, but I never thought I would cram them all in a couple weeks.
It all started with the trip to Europe with my wife. Okay, okay, I have already talked about this so I will not go on and rub it in. So then, Monday, April 6th we returned home. Even with the delays, I arrived in my front door in time to give Mackenzie a great big hug and kiss just as the ball was being tipped. You guessed, the NCAA Men's National Basketball Championship game. With my head still in a fog, I watched as my Heels dominated for their 5th national championship.

As if this wasn't good enough, Tuesday after work I drove to Augusta, GA. For those who don't know, this is the home of The Masters. This is the most prestigious golf tournament and one I had only dreamed of attending since I was little. And here I was, driving to Augusta to enjoy an all expenses paid trip to see the Masters on Thursday and Friday. Since many of you may not be as big of a golf fanatic as I am, I will only say that the experience was unbelievable and as wonderful as I had imagined.

As I drove home on Friday night, there was no way to get the smile off of my face. I was exhausted, still jet-lagged, and could only reflect on the week I had just experienced. A trip to Europe, Tarheels National Champs, The Masters; I couldn't help but pause, look up and say thank you. Aren't you glad we serve a God who not only blesses us far above what we need, but at times gives us a week of our dreams. "Oh how He loves you and me."

Monday, April 6, 2009

Traveling is Great, When You Think About It

As most of you know, I have been traveling quite a bit this year. I have been to Las Vegas, Mexico, Netherlands, and Paris. During this time I have learned valuable lessons. Lesson one, when things go smooth they are great, when they don't you just wait and wait and wait and wait. I have traveled by plane and have figured out that only idiots travel through Newark. I have learned that it is difficult to figure out the schedule and tracks for European trains if you do not do it frequently. By the end of the trip we were pros, but at the beginning, we had a few challenges. I have learned that sometimes paying for a shuttle or taxi may be the more expensive approach, but much of the time it will prove worth it. Just bite the bullet, fork over the cash, and relax.

And finally, I have learned that traveling with my spouse is much better than alone. No lonely dinners and quiet hotel rooms. Those were traded for romantic meals in the cafes in Paris, taking in the scenery from the top of the Eiffel Tower, enjoying a romantic river cruise in a glass boat while viewing the lights of the city, seeing the Mona Lisa... All of these are memories that as a couple, we will never forget. While the negative things can overwhelm and cloud our thinking at the time, it is then we need to pause and reflect on how good we have it.

What a great life lesson!!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Never Leave Your Partner - Part III

Last time we talked about smoke and the role it plays. Today, I want you to think about the partner's role in reading the smoke. Okay, I know that some of you may struggle reading a good book, much less smoke, but let me explain.
As a firefighter approaches a burning building, one of the things that they are trained to do is read the smoke. The smoke can tell them the location of the fire, size of the fire, and most importantly what the fire will do next. By reading the smoke they have a better understanding of how best to fight the fire.
Hopefully, you can already see the analogy. As a partner in this thing called marriage, we should try to become proficient at reading the smoke. In our relationships, there will be fires from time to time. How will you know? Read the smoke. What do I mean by smoke? Well, those are the reactions, harsh words or none at all, attitudes, hurt feelings and mannerisms. You see if the smoke is light in color and thin you would handle that much differently than if the smoke is dense and rolling.
Become proficient at reading your spouse's smoke. It will be valuable in keeping away the roaring inferno.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Never Leave Your Partner - Part II

Okay, I know that I promised part II and some of you have been waiting eagerly. Actually, I was out of town on business in Mexico City. Let me just say that I will never complain about the traffic again. Unbelievable!! I am sure that the first part to wear out on the cars in Mexico City is the horn.

Anyway, I will continue with part II. Based on my research, the number one cause of death related to fires is smoke inhalation. An estimated 50%-80% of fire deaths are the result of smoke inhalation injuries rather than burns. You may ask so what. Well think about it. You and your partner are called on the scene of a fire. You enter the burning building due to the fire, not the smoke, with a goal to put out the fire. Yet almost 80% of the time the fire is not the most deadly element.

So how does this relate to your marriage? I am glad you asked. Many times marriages go through very difficult times. Times that are intense with flames that seem to be hotter than you think you can stand. It is during this time that we focus on putting out the flame and forget about the deadly by-product. What we say and how we treat one another during that time is not the fire but it is the smoke. It is the smoke that will remain and cause damage and sometimes even the death of a marriage, even after the fire has been extinguished.

Encouragement: During the fires that will come, don't forget about the smoke. May our attitude and love for one another be so evident during the fire that there is no residual hurt when the fire is over.

Stay tuned for Part III....