Three Word Legacy


Reposted from Radical Mentoring

I’ve never been much of a funeral guy . . . not that anyone is. The first one I remember was for my father when I was a sophomore in high school. I’ve attended plenty since then, but not until my 40’s did I notice a distinct shift in my perspective.

Before 40, my dominant funeral emotion was numb. Aware of the sadness, but not overwhelmed because death seemed so far away.

Post 40, my emotional state changed. Possibly because I’ve attended funerals of people my age, but more likely because the idea of ‘legacy’ is now more of a priority for me. Sitting through these funerals, I catch myself wrestling with questions like . . .

  • What will my family say about me at my funeral? What about my friends?
  • Who will attend my funeral and why will they be there?
  • How do I want to make others feel when they are around me?
  • What do I value most and how am I living out those values daily?

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the funeral for the mother of a family member. Even though I’d never met her, attending seemed like the right thing to do. My family member would have been there for me if the roles were reversed.

This funeral was unique as this lady suffered a stroke almost 30 years ago. She spent the past 30 years trapped in her temporary ‘earth suit’ . . . wheelchair-bound, with a limited vocabulary. It was said at the service that she was a “prisoner in her own body.”

As her grandchildren spoke and reflected on her life, they shared the words spoken to them most often during their visits . . . “I love you” and “Thank you.” Even with her physical limitations, she still let them know she loved them and was grateful for them. That is a legacy.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul reminds us “not to lose heart because while we are wasting away outwardly, we are being renewed every day” and to “fix our eyes on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary.”

Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is Thank You, it will be enough.”

Funerals are never events we hope to attend, but they can undoubtedly shape our perspective on eternity and remind us of the temporary nature of this life. After attending that funeral, here are some of the things I’m pondering. Maybe you’ll join me . . .

What are my eyes fixed on?

Am I allowing myself to be renewed every day?

Am I allowing the temporary circumstances I face every day determine the words that come out of my mouth?

If I could only speak three words or less, what would they be?

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Don’t Worry


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What’s Unpacked Sometimes Unravels


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Reposted from Radical Mentoring

Imagine coming home one night and your wife of 20 years says she’d like for the two of you to get a prenuptial agreement. How would you react? “What’s going on?” “Is she getting ready to leave?” “Does she think I’m ready to hit the door?” Would be pretty tough wouldn’t it? Eventually, you could probably sort out the money and property . . . the ‘who brought what’ of the marriage. You might figure out what to do with the stuff you’ve bought together. And you might even be able to agree on how you’d manage your future finances, probably with separate accounts and a huge helping of complexity.

But the damage to the relationship would be done. Your trust would forever have an asterisk.

I’m a big believer in being transparent and dealing in facts. Don’t deceive me and if you really love me, don’t let me deceive myself. But there are some questions better left unasked once you’re married. The value of the answer is far less than the impact of asking the question. A few come to mind . . .

  • If I die first, will you remarry? Nobody can answer that question until they get there.
  • Tell me about your sex life before we were married? Nothing good comes from talking about sins of the distant past after you’re married.
  • Prove to me you’re a Christian. No one can prove their faith to another person. But putting them in this spot is like telling them to stand in the corner of a round room.

What’s my point here?

Big questions need to be asked early in relationships. My friend Dennis says, “Mist from the pulpit yields fog in the pews.” Clarity is critical before you get too involved.

Discussing how to handle your money and property should be done way before you get married! If we don’t share our pasts with our girlfriends and boyfriends before we get serious, we’ll always wear masks and have secrets to keep. If the person we’re interested in can’t do the same . . . can’t forgive and give grace, then they’re probably not who God wants for you anyway. On asking someone to prove they’re a Christian, it’s better to observe than to question someone’s faith. And those discussions need to happen well before there are entanglements of romantic love or business partnership.

My dad always told me, “curiosity killed the cat.” Sometimes it’s better to leave things alone.

Scripture: Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues. Proverbs 17:28

Why The Bible Matters


bibleReposted from Radical Mentoring

Why do so few people read the Bible?

I’m not talking about a random verse pulled out to make a point, I’m talking about the book itself . . . the entity . . . this thing that’s integral to our faith. It’s one of the most important topics!

God’s Word is eternal . . . it’ll last beyond the internet, the Super Bowl, the iPhone, the Final Four . . . everything. In heaven, we’ll recognize the words, the wisdom, and the authors, and we’ll never tire of learning what it all means.

So why bother now? Why not wait until heaven when we’ll have all the time in the world? (. . . or out of the world?) Besides, is this stuff really important? Is it really true? Why do we struggle to ‘get into it’?

There’s the fact that God’s Word has been around . . . unchanged for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and almost half the world’s population believe its essence. A friend of mine was ready to commit his life to the nine ‘insights’ spelled out in The Celestine Prophecy. I asked, “Wow, what if the author changes his mind, or discovers some new truth?” Shortly after, he published The Tenth Insight. My friend later became a Jesus-follower.

Isn’t it smarter to build your life on a time-tested plan?  The New Testament approach to life is wise, effective, stable, practical, and true.

“But isn’t the Bible just a compendium of stories and folklore, pieced together by church people with a motive?”

Sounds convincing, until you try to explain how the Dead Sea Scrolls perfectly matched earlier manuscripts and were untouched by church people from their recording until their discovery in the 1950’s. The Bible is true. You can depend on it.

“But is it relevant?” You bet it is! Here’s just one example . . .

You get a new job or have your first child or move to a new church. You’re scared out of your skin! But when you read 2 Timothy 1:7, God reminds you “the spirit of fear is not of God, but God is love, power and a sound mind.” Suddenly, you realize “Hey, I can do this! God loves me! This fear I’m feeling isn’t coming from Him . . . I have His power within me . . . I can discipline myself . . . I have a sound mind . . . let’s get on with it!” You’re no longer afraid.

And one more point . . . the Bible is supernatural! I’m not kidding.

Remember Hebrews 4:12? For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Paraphrase: God will use His Word to help you sort out your thoughts and attitudes regarding what you want (i.e., your “heart”).

I take that to mean when I read the Bible and ask, “God, what are you teaching me here?” or “Lord, what would you have me do?” He’ll often give me wisdom I’m not smart enough to discover on my own.

And then I try to obey. I also write it down in my journal, because I don’t want to forget. I’ve unearthed much of what’s written in my blog posts this way.

So . . . read your Bible. And chat with the Author as you read. Pray. Ask questions. Listen to His answers and instructions.

From A Mustard Seed


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Reposted from The River Walk

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:20)

I remember going to a conference when I was a student at Central Bible College. Tommy Barnett was doing a leadership seminar and Nixa Assembly was sending its ministry team to go and hear him. Pastor Barnett was speaking on faith, I don’t remember the specifics, but at the end everyone was to write their dream on a little piece of paper, go up and leave it at the altar, and pick up this mustard seed in exchange.

Up to that point I’d never seen a mustard seed before. I knew conceptually that they were small. I’d been told so in countless Sunday School classes. This little seed was tiny. I’d say it was less than half the size of the little bullets you would use for a BB gun. On the flip side I knew that mustard trees were a pretty good size. I saw them on those Sunday School flannel graphs. I just didn’t realize how big they really can grow. From a seed that is less than two millimeters in diameter can grow a plant up to twenty-five feet high and nearly twice as wide,

There are different gifts given to different people in the church. Some people have faith. I can look at them, listen to them, and I am amazed. I’m more of a “trust, but verify” type of guy. You might say my faith is as small as a mustard seed. Good thing that is enough. I remember there used to be a magazine called Mountain Movers. It was chuck full of miracle stories of missionaries in other parts of the world. Each of those stories seemed to have two things in common, the missionary needed, God provided. There would come a point when a missionary realized they couldn’t possibly do what needed done, and then God would step in. Sometimes it was protection, sometimes provision, sometimes healing, always God would move.

I don’t need a lot of faith to see God do the miraculous in my life. All I need is to attempt the impossible. If I am always doing what is easy, if I am always living in the safe and the comfortable, I will never see a miracle. There won’t be any need. It is only when I step out that I will see Him step in. If I want to see Him move in big ways, I need to take my tiny faith and attempt big things with it. It will grow, but only when plante