Thursday, April 9, 2009

Insight 1: We Aren't Perfect

INSIGHT ONE


…Admit We Are Not Perfect


This is our initial insight into handling some of life’s major challenges. We must become willing to surrender to one simple fact: We are imperfect human beings. We all experience similar challenges and difficulties. Sometimes, we do not have all the answers. Before we can admit something is a problem for us, especially something which is controlling our thoughts and actions, we have to be willing to acknowledge the existence of a problem. Often, we stubbornly maintain we are able to manage our difficulties, even after our families and friends have tried to convince us otherwise. Who wants to hear their lives are unmanageable? Who enjoys surrendering anything? Who wants to admit weakness in any area of their life? The simple answer: None of us. Before we can actually find any solutions however, we first have to be willing to surrender, to ourselves and to others, whatever is causing our lives to become unmanageable.
Admit a little unmanageability – maybe! Surrender – No way! This is our first reaction to the word surrender. One definition of surrender is: “…an act of relinquishing control or possession to somebody or something.” The actual word presents many of us with a dilemma. We equate the word surrender with negative phrases like giving up or being defeated. For one’s country, the act of surrender has very negative implications; however, the word also has a very positive connotation when understood in a different context. In certain situations, we have the choice to surrender something which has been dragging us down, such as an addiction, compulsion, or some unshakable fear--just to name a few. In this context, the word surrender needs to be understood as: “an acceptance,” “a relief,” or “a new freedom.”
Once we become willing to understand surrender in this context, it does not mean our specific issues or problems will miraculously disappear. On the contrary, we still have to face them; however, by identifying and accepting them, we finally allow ourselves to give up the pain associated with them. We are willing to admit these issues or problems have caused our lives to become unmanageable. We want to do something about them! Generally, it is impossible to arrive at this level of acceptance on our own. We need the support of people who have experienced similar problems. We need to hear the solutions others have used to introduce manageability back into their lives. More importantly, we need to realize: “We are not alone.”

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Making Life Work

Over the next week I will be posting what we call our "lobby brochure". Because the format is longer , so will be the posts. If this resonates let me know. Thanks to Mike Brennan for help with the writing.

INTRODUCTION


“Making Life Work”…These words describe a program that starts us on a journey to experience a “New Way of Living.” The primary goal of this program is to guide us in our efforts to embrace the joys of Christian living, while also supporting us in coping with the realities of daily life. By using a combination of the Bible, various other materials, and the “shared common experiences” of community, we begin the process of better understanding ourselves, our relationship with God, and our relationships with our neighbors. Who among us would honestly admit the following: “Life is always perfect,” or “I never have any problems?” As human beings, we all experience a variety of problems; but many of us also share one common dream: the ability to experience “Peace of Mind.”
“Making Life Work” is not a quick solution to all our daily problems. It requires a sincere commitment to honesty, willingness, and open-mindedness. It allows us to develop a plan for living that is focused around the following principles:

We come to accept the realities of our past by developing an honest appraisal of ourselves.

We come to understand that we are not alone on this road of life. We begin to experience the presence of God, through the love and compassion of our community.

We come to appreciate the joys of Christian living that are available to us, both in good times and during rough times; if we are willing to commit ourselves to an open-minded program of “sharing” and “action.”

“Making Life Work” provides us the opportunity to look at our individual circumstances and honestly ask ourselves: “Why have I been trying to solve all life’s problems on my own?”Most of us have attempted to manage the realities of life, solely by relying on our own self-will. We have insistently depended on ourselves in searching for solutions to every problem, believing that self-knowledge and self-determination was our only alternative. Usually, this approach was self-defeating. Over the course of our lives, all of us have experienced confusing issues and difficult challenges, which sometimes have progressed into terrible problems. It is not the mere existence of a problem that creates havoc in our lives; it is our reactions to them. The easiest thing for others to see is also the hardest thing for us to admit: sometimes, we allow our problems to drown us in a sea of unmanageability.
In many situations, there are underlying issues hiding deep below the surface which we are unwilling to address; however, it is the escape mechanisms that we employ (alcohol, drugs, food, sex, anger, lying, infidelity, abuse, etc, etc…) that usually trigger the first signs of unmanageability. Even when our lives are in the midst of complete downward spirals, we still keep trying to convince, not only ourselves, but also our families, friends, co-workers, etc., that our actions are justified by saying to everyone: “My situation is different. If you had my problems you would “fill in the blank” too!”
“Making Life Work” is a program for everyone. We might consider the following passage from scripture: “Do not be afraid!” (Luke 1:30… Matthew 1:20) This phrase should be our call to action. We will never solve any of our problems by ignoring them, hoping that God will miraculously make them disappear. Life continues to present us with challenges and problems. We need to be honest, willing, and open-minded in addressing the underlying fears that are at the root of our problems; along with the pride that prevents us from reaching out to others for assistance. The ability to experience a better way of living on a daily basis is within our reach. The only requirement for travelling on this journey is a genuine desire to discover true Peace of Mind.
The following “Insights” provide the framework that we employ on this journey.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Can't Do It Alone

I was having breakfast with a friend the other day and asked him the secret to his success. He said "I always create projects that are too big to complete alone so I have to ask other peoples' help, then I make sure they get the credit".
Good Advice.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Be Joseph

Whenever things are going a little rough I like to think about Joseph. You know, the technicolor coat and all that. He knew he was destined for a purpose by God and never faltered. He did the right thing even when it cost him, and persevered to success finally becoming the second most powerful man in Egypt. Even then it was not all bright.

Remember his boss was a tough guy to work for. He impaled the baker on the stake and the cup bearer was so afraid of Pharoah he wouldn't mention Joseph even though he'd promised. Life is like that sometimes. Keep focused and keep moving.

Peace

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's Working!

It's been a year since we began Making Life Work! Congratulations to Cheryl, Jim and Mary K. who have made it happen. You guys are the best!

I am thrilled that the concept is working allowing people to let God make a significant effect in their lives. I look forward to carrying the message to other churches in the coming months.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Denial

A week ago I received the news I'm getting laid off from my job. I was ticked. You see it didn't have to happen, but that's another story. You know what, that's life. I have a little money in the bank. People are sending me leads. Soon I will see what assignment God has in store.

My friend says these things are "high class problems".

Life is good.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Broken

I've been doing a lot of looking at churches recently and something I've discovered about all of them...is that they're broken. Go figure, a group of broken people getting together for a singular purpose still creates a broken organization. Shows that we need to rely on God.

Peace