How Long Does it Take to Change Your Mind?

How Long Does it Take to Change Your Mind?

This week I was reading through the story of the Apostle Paul meeting Jesus when a new detail stood out to me. You can find the entire story in Acts 9:1-19. Saul goes from actively pursuing Christians to kill them and then changes into one of the dominant figures to propel the new church forward in the New Testament. That’s a cataclysmic shift in perspective. The catalyst for the transformation was Saul hearing the audible voice of Jesus and losing his vision as a result of a blinding light. Then,

“Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.” Acts 9:8-9

After this, a man named Ananias comes to Saul and the transformation kicks into overdrive. This quickly became, and still stands, as one of the greatest transformations we’ve ever seen. Which is why that small detail about three days is so interesting to me. Imagine Saul contemplating his life for three days. He’s blind. He’s not eating or drinking. He’s processing. All his life up to this point has been misguided. The person who He assumed was a phony is  God Himself. Everything must change. His relationships with his friends and his family. His career. His future. All that he holds dear is now different.

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64 Ounces of Commitment

64 Ounces of Commitment

I stink at drinking enough water each day. On the flip side, if there was a paid competition for who could regularly consume the most Dr. Pepper, I’d need to quit my day job. A common refrain on daily water consumption is that you need eight, eight-ounce glasses.

Every. Single. day.

That’s sixty-four ounces of tasteless torture. Like anything with our health, there are also people who argue for more than that. But here’s the point: I’m never the guy in danger of hitting my daily water quota.

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How to Revive a Dream When it Becomes a Nightmare

Each one of us wakes up in the morning brimming with dreams and aspirations. We might attribute the source of those dreams in all different directions, but as followers of Christ I believe most of them probably come from the Spirit living and dwelling inside us. Having a dream to accomplish something significant, start something new, or try something out of the ordinary makes you part of the human race. But learning how to bring those dreams to fruition sets you apart from the rest.

The was the shed kit we found on Costco.

This was the shed kit we found on Costco and used to develop our plan.

Last year Michelle and I moved into a new home with no landscaping in the backyard. We factored this into our purchase price and had the opportunity to build a yard based on the needs of our family. In those conversations my wife Michelle stunned me by suggesting we should build some type of shed for me to have a place to write and work from home. As you might imagine, trying to work from home with the gentle hum of our five-child-chaos can make efficiency difficult. I thought this was a terrific idea but as we looked into it we realized our HOA didn’t allow for this type of structure. But once we tasted that momentary dream it felt difficult to let go of it so easily.

After discussing it more, our idea escalated to the next level and we decided to “sink” the shed a few feet into the ground so the roof would match the height of our walls. Crazy right? But dreams don’t listen to logic. As we started to landscape the backyard we had a hole dug where we wanted the shed to go.

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Who’s Laughing Now?

Who’s Laughing Now?

Ever had the feeling that people were laughing at you behind your back? Or worse (maybe), you saw them laughing at you to your face? None of us want to be in that position. Seth Godin recently wrote a great post about failure and choosing pessimism (see: Sharpening Failure). One of his lines stood out in particular:

“The universe is not laughing at us. It doesn’t even know we exist.”

I agree. That’s an excellent way to overcome the nagging appeal to choose pessimism when a situation doesn’t play out the way you hoped it would. Despite what you read online or heard from that one friend of yours (we all have one), the conspiracy theory against you isn’t real. That’s good news.

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Of Fear and Finances

This weekend I preached our second week of the Money Wise series at Central and looked at how to manage your money without stressing about it. We looked at Matthew 6 and some brilliantly practical teaching from Jesus. We worry less about money when we focus more on God.

Here’s a link to the video on the Central site.

Ethics

EthicsI recently finished an entire class on the life and theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a German pastor and theologian during the rise of Hitler and National Socialism in Germany. As a pacifist, he later joined a plot to assassinate Hitler. As you might imagine, there are lots of complexities to all of this and we have numerous books he wrote to unpack his thinking along the way. One of my favorites is his book Ethics. I don’t agree with all of his conclusions in this book but I find his arguments intriguing and worth spending time considering. Some of his comments in the book even seem to help us understand the rise of guys like Donald Trump (see: The Successful Man).

Ethics gets into the gray area between right and wrong and looks at the complexities of how to live out our faith in the midst of trying times. Bonhoeffer didn’t argue that it was okay to kill Hitler because Hitler was extra evil. Rather, he argued that he willingly assumed guilt for his part in the assassination attempt because assuming this guilt on behalf of others was ultimately the right thing to do. Parts of the book can get a bit theologically dense, so the following are a few of my favorite quotes from the book to give you a feel for it. I group them into four categories: Jesus, assuming guilt, the will of God, and general thoughts.

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