5 Ideas for Renewing your Spiritual Passion TODAY

Recently in our home, 1 of our 4 children though they would help mom and dad by watering our flowers in the front of the yard.  While normally we welcome and expect this type of help, this time the unknown offender left the hose on all night.

While we do have a hose head sprayer, it was not as tight and snug as it could have been.  Needless to say, as my wife and I woke that morning with coffee in hand and looked out at the beautiful morning, we saw a muddy pond we used to call our flower bed. The hose had leaked all night.

At some point or another we ALL find ourselves leaking spiritual passion.  The reasons are plentiful (fatigue, burnout, hurt, imbalance, neglect, laziness, oversight, boredom, etc…).  But if left unchecked, leaking spiritual passion for extended period of time can cost us greatly.

As you examine your spiritual passion this Monday, and perhaps find it leaking, let me suggest 5 Ideas for Renewing Your Passion TODAY:

  1. F.A.I.T.H. SIZED GOALS:  Often times we lose our spiritual passion because we get bored with what we are doing.  There are moments of greatness that cross our minds, but we choose to stifle that voice of faith and settle for something less.  Mediocrity will suffocate your passion.   My wife knows this about me, and constantly challenges me with the question, “What ‘mountain’ are you climbing next?”   (http://rickwarren.org/devotional/english/how-to-set-a-faith-goal)
  2. LEAD YOUR MIND:  Remember what your mother told you when you were young:  “Garbage in, garbage out!”  Well come to find out, mom was right (don’t worry, you don’t have to admit this to her).  What you allow access to your mind through your ears and eyes, you give permission to influence you.  From the music you listen to, the shows you watch, and the friends you spend the most time with… All will influence you heart, mind and family.  So I just want to suggest that YOU lead your mind, and don’t delegate this to others.  Here’s a few possible ways you can do this for you and/or your family:
    • Start off your week as a family worshiping God together at church.  For some, your schedule will not allow this setting to occur, so you may have to get creative in your home or with a group of friends who have similar goals.
    • Now that school is starting, let your kids wake up to some uplifting and energy filled Christian music.  I’ve even had the audio Bible playing as they are eating breakfast.
    • Begin each morning with reason why you are thankful and express that gratitude to the Lord in prayer.
    • End each night in prayer with your spouse (if married), once again thanking Him for His blessings, but this time your doing it together.
  3. REST:  The Biblical concept of rest is found in the Sabbath.  Instituting a Sabbath into your week is extremely important, and is a way in which we honor and worship God (of course the opposite is true as well).  To incorporate the principle, instead of the law, taking a Sabbath each week is separating 1 day per week in which there is NO creative or productive activity.  It says, “God is more source, and I trust Him with my six day to accomplish his purposes through me, that I separate this one day as holy to Him.  It is kind of like tithing.  It is not a requirement for salvation, but it should be a result of salvation.
  4. CONNECT:  Whether you consider yourself social or not, we grow best in relationships.  Take time to build Christ-centered relationships with others which will replenish your soul and in which you can bless others.  At our church (Shrewsbury Assembly) we have seasonal LIFE Groups, Discipleship Courses, Sunday School classes, and other settings to connect and grow.  They keep us focused and moving in the right direction.
  5. SERVE:  While this last idea may seem counter-intuitive, blessing others gives us new life.  Perhaps the words from the wisest man to ever walk the earth (King Solomon) might convince you, “Generous persons will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)  From helping a complete stranger at the grocery story, to volunteering to teach a class at your church, when we bless others, we are blessed.  Do something for someone this week without expecting anything in return.  In fact, if you can do it anonymously, even better. 

While none of these ideas will make my water bill any cheaper or will keep my kids from forgetting about the hose, They may help stop you from leaking any more spiritual passion, and instead, start filling up instead.

Remember, life is what you make it, so make it great!

How to RESTART your Week on TUESDAY

Mondays have notoriously been known for being the most difficult day of the week.  While sometimes this is because of poor decisions over the weekend (i.e., hangovers, staying up too late, etc…), other times we dread the new week because we dread what we do for a living.  To quote one friend who worked at a credit card collection agency… “Sundays I touch heaven and on Mondays I sit in hell.”

If you start off your week and this picture above is you on Mondays, let me suggest 5 strategies to start re-start your week on Tuesdays with a bang:

  1. REST:  Go to bed early on Monday night.  Don’t try to make Monday an extension of your weekend, get to bed early, turn off the TV and wake up refreshed on Tuesday morning.
  2. DIET:  Drink lots of water and eat a salad for dinner.  Your diet is your fuel.  If you want to have a good week, the food you eat will make all the difference.  For me, I like to start my week with a “green-drink” a mixture of blended Greens (spinach or arugula), water, honey, cinnamon, blueberries and frozen mango.  It doesn’t look good, but it is the drink of life.
  3. LISTEN: Don’t listen to the News, but energize your mind with some positive energy music on your way to work Tuesday.  If you’re not a music person, find some podcasts that feed your mind energy and positive thoughts. .
  4. ORGANIZE: Map out your whole week and the major accomplishments you want to sink your teeth into.  Tuesday morning, begin your day doing what matters most.
  5. DRESS:  Wear bright colors.  I know it sounds strange, but your clothes make a difference in how you feel about yourself.  If you have baggy clothes with dull colors, your mood will be sloppy.  To pass on a line we feed our kids, “Dress for Success.”

Life should not have to revolve around your weekends.  God didn’t create you just to survive, but to thrive.  Life is what you make it.  Begin TODAY to make your life GREAT!

So if Monday wasn’t your day, MAKE TUESDAY GREAT!!!

The Pathway to Freedom

Summers were the highlight of my life.  As a young 7 year old boy there were long days playing with my friend, sleeping into 8:00 (if I was lucky later), popsicles on the front porch, building forts with my friends, riding our bikes to the local store for baseball cards, and shucking the corn on the cob for dinner that night.  However, the most special Summer-time treat was going to my grandparents’ house.

PapaJohn_Motorcycle

Both sets of grandparents were good people who believed in us grandchildren.  My one grandfather was my greatest “cheerleader” and with him in my corner I felt like I could conquer the the world.  My one grandmother would try to stay up late with us at night telling us story after story until she fell asleep at our side on the living room floor.  We would giggle because once again my sister and I outlasted her.  With her, it wasn’t that I could conquer the world, but I knew when by her side, the world wouldn’t conquer me.

As I reflect on my time at my grandparents, the one word that summarizes the feeling I had was FREEDOM.  I was free to be me, free to explore, free from chores, free from school, and free to try new things.  I dare say that this is the reason most kids like Summers, there is another sense of FREEDOM that come.

Now in my adult years, with kids of my own, and watching my parent in the role of Grandparents, I’ve reflected on that feeling of freedom, how I can capture that in my life, but more importantly how I can provide that for others (my family, those I lead, friends, etc…).  For me, I FELT FREE, because certainly environments were made available to me to BE FREE.  Let me explain below:

  1. Freedom to EXPLORE:  While my grandparents always had appropriate boundaries, I always found myself exploring my grandfathers 6 port garage with 100’s of hubcaps, and more junk (aka. treasures) than a young boy could explore.  Or I would head out the back door of my grandparents in Missouri and explore the wooded forest they owned.  Exploring releases creativity!  In what ways are your still EXPLORING LIFE?  In what ways are you allowing those in your life to have the freedom to EXPLORE?
  2. Freedom to FAIL:  From spilling oil on my grandfather’s garage floor to knocking over the flour in my grandmother’s kitchen, unless I was being disobedient or naughty, I never felt their displeasure when mistakes were made.  Since I was free to FAIL, I was free to TRY.  May we never get so “grown-up” that failure isn’t okay for ourselves or for others.  Failure is how we learn and grow!
  3. Freedom to FEEL SPECIAL:  When we went to our grandparents house, the world revolved around us.  We were valued, although we also knew our place among adults.  In our kid-centered society where too often kids DOMINATE, we never felt like we RULED the house, but we always felt special!!!  The above picture of me and my grandfather on the motor cycle.  My grandmother would arm wrestle me to see how strong I was getting.

Freedom is not something we take, Freedom is a Gift!  This week, I’d like to encourage you to offer this gift to those in your life.  Even if you have never experienced it yourself, invite others on the Pathway to Freedom.  What you’ll find, is when you give this gift to others, you find the FREEDOM yourself!

(And YES, I’m the cute kid on the back of the motorcycle).