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Archive for the tag “Andy Andrews”

The Butterfly

I am feeling a bit uninspired lately. I am in between projects with no motivation to move onto something new. You ever feel that way? I know there are things I should be doing. There are multiple projects around my house that I could be doing. But nothing seems to be creating an interest for me. In the meantime, I’m thinking.

Andy Andrews threw down a challenge a few weeks ago that has me contemplating my future. He asked his blog readers to come up with a personal mission statement. Sounded like a good idea at the time, but as I read over his questions to consider for my mission statement, the more I withdrew from pressing into the project. I got overwhelmed with the task. I started then stopped.

Andy tells of the “butterfly effect” that what we do or don’t do matters. Each person creates a ripple effect that affects generations with the things done or not done. An example he gives is a person winning a noble prize for an agriculture breakthrough that changed crop outputs. That person won the prize, but really it could have gone to the one who inspired the winner to go into the field in the first place. Andy went on to tell how the winner was ultimately connected to George Washington Carver who began the whole process with all he did for agriculture progress. Each person contributed a small piece of the pie all the way back to Carver through the ripple or butterfly effect. Each person had an impact on another person through their actions even though they didn’t know it at the time. What we do or don’t do matters.

Andy gave me another thought about intention. Intention doesn’t do anything but convince the thinker they are doing something – their intention was good. But their follow through didn’t make it into an action. I am a good thinker, but my follow through has a lot to be desired. I can think of all the things I should be doing, but until I actually do something, intention gets me nowhere. There is no prize for intention.

In The Greatest Salesman in the World (Og Madino), there is a sentence in this month’s reflection that has been drawing my attention (pg 64). “The prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginning; and it is not given to me to know how many steps are necessary in order to reach my goal.” We are told “to persist until we succeed.” My pastor keeps telling our Church Body to take the next step. I am reminded that if I am still breathing, then there will always be a next step to take. But the thing is we have to know where we’re going in order to get there; hence, why we need a personal mission statement.

The personal mission statement sets boundaries for the future. We understand who we are, what inspires us, who we want to become and what stamp we want to leave as our legacy – ultimately – what is the butterfly effect for our lives. It’s the vision we want to cast for the future. It helps define our next steps and keeps us on the right path to get to our destination. It helps with making decisions that will lead us where we want to go without getting off course.

Andy got me thinking; but I haven’t come to the conclusion. I haven’t finalized the mission statement. I got stuck in the big picture. I know what I should be doing, but I haven’t found the right motivation to do it. I haven’t been given a next step to move forward. I am stuck in the process of thinking. Sometimes we just need help getting unstuck. Sometimes mud floods the road, and we can’t move forward without a little help. It’s not bad to ask for a little help.

Actually, involving others in our lives is a very good thing. It takes a willingness to open up and share where we are. But involving the right people to speak into our lives is the key. Just as we all need a personal mission statement, we all need a team of people as our “board” members like a corporation would have to evaluate company progress and make course corrections to stay on mission.

I need to get these things in place. Thinking about it won’t get it done, but it is essential in the process. To go forward, I need to fix my eyes on the prize, get my intentions and my actions working together and just do it. My new word is PERSIST until I am done with this life. Do you feel the wind shifting? The butterfly will take flight.

I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made. Philippians 3:13b-16 NLT

What is truth?

This past week, I have been studying the Belt of Truth in Priscilla Shirer’s Armor of God. This is the first part of the armor that Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 to put on. For armor, the belt or girdle was essential for a Roman soldier. The soldier carried about 60 pounds of armor. After the girdle was in place, then the soldier could take up the other pieces of armor while the girdle bore some of the weight.

This week’s first day of the study, Priscilla said the belt of truth is like our core strength. In order for our body to stay strong as we grow older, we have to strengthen our core – our abdominal muscles. These muscles help us keep us stable; helps with balance; keeps our stamina over time and helps us to resist injury (pg 40). Resistance. Balance. Stability. Stamina. This is the essence of truth. It is resistant to the devil’s schemes. It gives us clarity; unification; balance; as the Body of Christ is held together with the same truth. It provides stability; we are no longer tossed about like waves on the ocean driven by the winds of change. God’s truth gives us stamina for the long haul. It gives us perseverance.

What is truth? This is the question that Pilate asked Jesus (John 18:38). But Pilate walked away before he heard Jesus’ answer. When I think of truth, the first thing that jumps into my head is this: “You can’t handle the truth.” You remember that line from A Few Good Men? Can we really handle the truth? Experts say in order to know real currency is to study the real thing. When you study real currency in all its details, you will know a counterfeit when you see it. Just as with Jesus, when you study His life – His actions and what He said – we will know the truth. Jesus says that when we know the truth, it will set us free (John 8:32).

I have a book by Andy Andrews called How do you kill 11 million people? Why the truth matters more than you think. This little book is a must read for every person in this nation – Christian or not. Spoiler alert: The answer to the question was this: You lie to them. Everybody hears what they want to hear and believes it. The book centers on the Holocaust. The people didn’t question the establishment because it really didn’t affect them until it did. Everybody had a badge who was not of the “pure” race or who was not in line with Hitler’s ideology. It has been reported the Jews got the yellow badge. But did you know that Christians had a purple badge? Or that brown badges were for ones with Roman descent? Pink were for the sexual “immoral” (homosexuals, rapists, pedophiles, etc). There were many more badges handed out. Hitler was “cleaning up” the Aryan people. One day, it all mattered; but it was too late to do anything about it. The trainings were already rolling down the tracks.

That’s pretty scary when you really think about it. The truth is fundamental in discerning a leader’s heart. Andy wrote it isn’t what a person says; it’s about their character. It’s the pattern of their behavior – past and present that will lead to their future behavior unless something or someone intervenes to change their behavior. Andy Stanley called this the Principle of the Path. Andy Andrews stated from another one of his books (The Final Summit), a conversation with Abraham Lincoln. “Power corrupts. Trust me on this. And because power corrupts, humanity’s need for those in power to be of high character increases as the importance of the position of leadership increases.” (pg 65 from How to Kill.)

This isn’t a political statement. This is a life statement. We need to be in pursuit of truth. We cannot discern lies if we do not know the truth. This week, I listened to a teacher from Dallas Theological Seminary. His taught from Genesis and mentioned Jacob and his deceptive practices. Jacob practiced deception when he received the blessing from Isaac. When Jacob was in pursuit of a wife, Laban deceived Jacob by giving his first daughter instead of the promised second daughter. You would think Jacob would have spotted the lie, but Jacob was thoroughly deceived. The teacher gave this profound statement: “When you live your life by scheming and cheating, you lose the ability to recognize a lie.”

We need the essential foundation of our faith – truth – to be at the very essence of our being. Without it, we will surely be bound in deception and ultimately be led down the wrong path because we couldn’t judge between truth and lies. Like discerning the real thing from a counterfeit, we have to study truth. God’s truth is the foundation for our lives. It will keep us on the right path for us as individuals and for our nation. Can you handle the truth?

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. John 16:13

Sources:
Shirer, Priscilla. Armor of God Bible Study. Nashville: LifeWay Church Resources, 2015.
Andrews, Andy. How do you kill 11 Million People? Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011.
Allman, Dr. James. Dallas Theological Seminary. Study of Genesis, 2007.

What are you doing?

Several weeks ago, I read a couple of Andy Andrew’s books. I love his writings. He has great insight. He said in one of his earlier books that his mentor, Jones, gave him biographies to read. Jones said biographies give perspective. Andy went on to write in the Traveler’s Gift about what he discovered in those biographies.

In the book The Noticer, Andy writes about Jones. In one of his meetings with Jones, they were sharing a meal on a beach. Jones asked Andy what he was doing right then. Andy responded eating fish and chips on the beach. Jones said that was the problem with people today, they lacked perspective. Andy asked what he meant. Jones replied – “you’re eating fish and chips on a beach; I am eating surf and turf with an ocean view!” It’s all about perspective. We all need a new perspective.

Several years ago, I mentioned to my aunt I would love to quit my job and just write. Guess what I am doing today? I quit my job five years ago; and I write blogs, I write a monthly newsletter on health and wellness, and I wrote two books. I never told my aunt how I could afford to do it because there was no way I saw myself doing it. It was insane to even contemplate such a thing. But somehow, I took that step of faith; and God has sustained me throughout this time. Sometimes I get down and out because I can’t afford to do the things I want to do – like travel or buy things I want instead of things I need. I see the things I lack instead of the things I can do. I have a very flexible schedule. I love to be able to talk with my neighbors in the yard on a sunny afternoon. I go to the gym when I want. I can sleep in when I have had a bad night, etc.

Before I left my job in 2011, I had a dream or a vision. The only thing I remember about this dream was a sliding glass door that I tried to close. The door popped back open when I attempted to close it. When the door popped open, I immediately woke up and was very afraid that someone was in the room with me. But God gave me peace, and I went right back to sleep. So, what was that vision all about? Was it about leaving the job? I hadn’t thought about it for years until this week when Christine Caine spoke about the “moving past the past.” She also spoke about perspective.

In her talk, she said we all have a gate (or door) of opportunity right before us. The past is on one side, and the future is on the other. Many times we are stuck at the gate. The gate is not to keep us in but to let us out. If there was no gate, then it would be a prison. But Jesus gave us a gate. He said He is the gate (John 10:7, 9). He is the one who opens the door of the opportunity to go out and help other prisoners be set free. With freedom comes responsibility. Our current circumstance is not a prison. It’s just a training ground for what we need in the future. The season we’re in currently will pass one day. It’s what we learn in the current circumstances that can bring a blessing from it and benefit someone else.

Christine said (commenting on 2 Kings 7:1-6) there’s power in the question “Why stay here until we die?” We sit at the gate waiting on something to fall from the sky – like the supernatural manna from heaven. The gate is not the end point. God could provide manna from heaven while we wait at the gate, but what if the best thing lay just beyond the door? It may take a risky step or three to get out of the comfortable, complacency where we sit today. When God says move, it’s time to move. We can go forward in the confidence that God goes with us. We might be afraid, but we still need to move forward. The future is out there, not behind our prison walls. It just takes a new perspective to see the possibilities. So, what are you doing? Are you eating fish and chips or surf and turf with an ocean view?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. You, my brothers (and sisters), were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. Galatians 5: 1-2, 13

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