In Light of the Facts

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Reposted from Radical Mentoring

“Just give me the facts.” We men say it all the time. But sometimes our biggest problems stem from not accepting the facts. From deceiving ourselves and believing something other than the truth. This is particularly true of optimists like me. I’ll tell myself all kinds of lies to keep hope alive . . . to see a pony in the pile, to think a particular problem can be solved. Here’s a painful principle . . .

A problem without a solution is a fact.

To illustrate. Suppose I decide my problem is that I can’t dunk a basketball. Now I’m about 5 feet 10 inches, and I can’t jump. At all. I can lose weight, work out, hire a personal trainer who works with the ‘vertically challenged,’ practice jumping 8 hours a day, whatever. But this side of heaven, I’ll never dunk a basketball. There is no solution to this problem. So failing to dunk a basketball is no longer a problem, it’s a fact. I cannot dunk. Period.

Think about how much time and effort we spend on unsolvable problems. To call it a fact seems so final. So hopeless. The ‘cold hard facts.’ But wouldn’t it be smarter to accept the facts and then live in light of the facts?

Okay, that’s the post.

So what’s bothering you these days? Are you stuck, trying to solve a problem that has no solution? Will you accept the facts and set yourself free?

God is with you. He might not take away the problem, but He’ll help you deal with it. He won’t change the facts, but He’ll be with you as you live in light of the facts, no matter how hard they are to accept.



Why Imagination Matters

Open book of fantasy stories

Open book of fantasy stories

Reposted from Radical Mentoring

I’m not a ‘fantasy’ guy. Never finished a Harry Potter book . . . never read or saw The Lord of the Rings trilogy. But when Reggie Joiner explained the connection between imagination and empathy, he got my attention. He said, “Encouraging imaginative thinking in your kids can help them be more empathetic when they grow up.”

But how?

Last Saturday, my church held the Commencement Retreat for their most recent round of men’s mentoring groups. One of the guys shared about how God had changed him through the 10 months of mentoring. The stories he told resonated with me and everybody there. Here’s one . . .

“I’m about to exit the interstate when this car cuts me off . . . like cuts right in front of me. Before this mentoring season, I would have gotten really angry, maybe screamed some words, honked the horn or flashed a gesture if you know what I mean. But instead, I imagined the driver to be a single mother with her two kids in the back seat, running late to a job interview because her babysitter didn’t show. This interview means everything to her and her family. Instead of pitching a fit, I prayed for the driver, whoever it is, to be safe and successful with wherever they’re going.”

Not too long ago, I listened to a speaker tell about being in the car with some of his mentees when they came upon a police officer directing traffic. The guy had a scowl on his face and seemed just plain mean to everyone. One of his guys said, “Man, is he ever having a bad day . . . hope my wife never runs across him.” The mentor said “Oh, I know that guy. He lost his wife to cancer a few months ago. His daughter is really struggling with accepting the loss of her mother and has turned to drugs and drinking to hide her pain. The cop asked for a leave of absence but his boss told him to “get over it” and made him come back to work. Because of his personal anger and instability, his boss took him off regular patrol and relegated him to directing traffic, adding insult to injury.” “Is that really true?” asked the mentee. “No, I totally made it up. But it might be true. We’re called to love him, right?”

I’m most peaceful when I believe the best about people, especially when they haven’t given me reason not to. But that’s kind of ‘general.’ When I interact with someone personally and pause my thoughts and feelings so I can pay attention to their thoughts and feelings, I’m forced to imagine what they’re facing, the environment they’re living in, the dynamics of their relationships and how they really feel in that moment. Imagining can give us a head start on empathy, realizing we must stay in conversation and truly listen to learn what someone else is facing.

I’m reminded of Scripture’s challenge to husbands in 1 Peter 3:7, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect . . .” This is important here because I think it’s safe to say God would have us treat everyone in this way. Other versions translate “be considerate” as “give honor to” or “live in an understanding way” or (and I especially like this one) “dwell with them according to knowledge.” Listening is loving. We learn by listening and learning allows us to love better.

Taking the time to empathize and imagine another person’s ‘world’ is the first step toward showing them the love of Jesus and building a stronger relationship.

Life Explained

Reposted from A Time To Laugh

dog eagerOn the first day, God created the dog and said: “Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years.”

The dog said: “That’s a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I’ll give you back the other ten?”

So God agreed.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said: “Entertain people, Do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I’ll give you a twenty-year life span.”

The monkey said: “Monkey tricks for twenty years? That’s a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the dog did?”

And God agreed.

On the third day, God created the cow and said: “You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves, and give milk to support the farmer’s family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years.”

The cow said: “That’s kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I’ll give back the other forty?”

And God agreed again.

On the fourth day, God created man and said: “Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I’ll give you twenty years.” But man said: “Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?”

“Okay,” said God, “You asked for it.”

So that is why the first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family. For the next ten years, we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last ten years, we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

Tomatoes are Christian


Reposted from Hurriyet Daily News

A Salafi group called the “Popular Egyptian Islamic Association” has warned Muslims against eating tomatoes on the grounds that the fruit is a “Christian food,” has reported.

The group based its claim on the fact that a shape resembling a cross is revealed when one cuts a tomato in half.

The association published the warning on its Facebook page with a photo of a tomato cut in half, revealing a cross-shaped interior.

A message posted on the page read, “Eating tomatoes is forbidden because they are Christian. [The tomato] praises the cross instead of Allah and says that Allah is three [in reference to the Holy Trinity].”

The message went on to say, “I implore you to spread this photo because there is a sister from Palestine who saw the Prophet of Allah in a vision and he was crying, warning his nation against eating [tomatoes]. If you don’t spread this [message], know that it is the devil who stopped you.”

The message caused outrage among Facebook users, which prompted the group to clarify their warning, saying they did not tell people not to eat tomatoes. “We said don’t cut it in [such a way that it reveals] the cross shape.”

The Old Cowboy

An old cowboy was riding his trusty horse followed by his faithful dog along an unfamiliar road.  The cowboy was enjoying the new scenery, when he suddenly remembered dying, and realized the dog beside him had been dead for years, as had his horse.  Confused, he wondered what was happening, and where the trail was leading them.
After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall that looked like fine marble.  At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch topped by a golden letter “H” that glowed in the sunlight.  Standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like gold.
He rode toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.  Parched and tired out by his journey, he called out;
‘Excuse me, where are we?’
‘This is Heaven, sir,’ the man answered.
‘Wow! Would you happen to have some water?’ the man asked.
‘Of course, sir.  Come right in, and I’ll have some ice water brought right up.’
As the gate began to open, the cowboy asked;
‘Can I bring my partners, too?’
‘I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t accept pets.’
The cowboy thought for a moment, then turned back to the road and continued riding, his dog trotting by his side.
After another long ride, at the top of another hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a ranch gate that looked as if it had never been closed.  As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.
‘Excuse me,’ he called to the man.  ‘Do you have any water?’
‘Sure, there’s a pump right over there.  Help yourself.’
‘How about my friends here?’ the traveler gestured to the dog and his horse.
‘Of course!  They look thirsty, too,’ said the man.
The trio went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with buckets beside it.  The traveler filled a cup and the buckets with wonderfully cool water and took a long drink, as did his horse and dog.
When they were full, he walked back to the man who was still standing by the tree;
‘What do you call this place?’ the traveler asked.
‘This is Heaven,’ he answered.
‘That’s confusing,’ the traveler said.  ‘The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.’
‘Oh, you mean the place with the glitzy, gold street and fake pearly gates?  That’s hell.’
‘Doesn’t it make you angry when they use your name like that?’
‘Not at all.  Actually, we’re happy they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind…’

RC Round Up

I’m not sure who was herding who, here…
I kept waiting for the cows to stomp the living daylights out of the little
truck….but they were like curious cats.
What a hoot! Darnedest thing I ever saw. I bet you’ll laugh, too.

Head em up…..move em out! Rawhide!