"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Monday, October 31, 2011

Dream on Dreamer (re-post 10.4.10)

Enthusiasm: absorbing or controlling possession of the mind by any interest or pursuit; lively interest: He shows marked enthusiasm for his studies.

Dream big dreams

Understanding how to "achieve" one's dreams is just as important as dreaming.  Listed below are four points Charles Swindoll mention as keys to understanding and achieving one's deepest desires... four keys to realizing your dreams.

1. Life's greatest achievements are not accomplished without joint efforts. 
  • It's always a collaborative & team effort. 
  • Stay involved & available in your life as well as others... people need you and you need people.

2. Achievements are never achieved without obstacles.   
- Get your eyes off the obstacles and on the goals.

3. Hindrances are overcome by sustained hope.
                                       - Stay focused.

4. Enthusiasm... Enthusiasm... Enthusiasm
  • Nothing is achieved without enthusiasm
  • Stay positive (don't ignore the reality of your particular situation but don't focus on the negative).
 Good night and sweet dreams...  

sbb  4.10.10  

Dream On Dreamer  .  The Brand New Heavies 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Letting Go

Move: to pass from one place or position to another.

Eventually you have to let go

"I think most of us have control issues. We try to control the environment for our kids, we want to protect them, want to help them choose the people they hang out with, want to help choose the right attitude for them. We want to control things that especially affect our life." Those were the words of our Senior Pastor, Ken Murphy, this past Sunday as he wrapped up the sermon series entitled "The Island".

I agree with those words. 

Many times our challenge is to recognize the destructive path we take when we want to take matters into our own hands and make a futile attempt to control the environment and people around us.

Good luck! 

Let go... everything will be OK. 

The one thing that I've learned during my short time on this earth is that I can't control anything except my behavior and attitude.

That is really about it. 

Everything I try to control outside of that speaks to my arrogance, ignorance, immaturity and vanity.  

When dealing with control issues in life and relationships there are three important steps to take into account.

Let me share. 

Giving Up vs. Giving Over

In reading Luke 5:1-11 the reader finds out quickly the dissatisfaction and frustration Simon Peter and his fellow fisherman were experiencing.  

"When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
-Luke 5:4-5
Two things that stand out when reading those two verses, and the complete passage, are the astonishment the men felt concerning Jesus and His ability, and desire, to perform this miracle on their behalf. God wants to help us and aid in every area of our life, all we have to do ask and wait with an expectant heart. It is called faith. The second point that needs to be acknowledged is the fact that many of us, when confronted with things beyond our control, tend to give up and give ourselves over to despair and resignation. What we need to be reminded of is if we really want to take complete control all we have to do is give it all to God; don't give up, give over complete control to the One that knows the beginning, the middle and the end of each situation and problem we encounter. When we give over instead of give up we display for the world to see that our hope and trust is in God not our self.

Letting Go

The key to giving over requires practicing the art of letting go. Do have children, adult children that are making poor decision after poor decision? Is an ex treating you with complete disdain and malice? More tragically is your ex treating your child poorly? Lost money in a business deal? Have you experienced a child being mistreated by a peer or coach? Or both? I could keep typing for days about the many things we hold on to with what we think is good reason. What we all need to recognize is that fully giving over control when it comes to our relationships, our dreams and our problems calls us to be willing to let go of our own issues; the issues that we hang onto and the ones that hang onto us. The core issues many of us struggle with are in the areas of unspoken and unresolved hurt, insecurity, low self esteem and the "I'm nobody" mentality, pride and the need to always be first and always be right, unrealistic expectations of our self and others, and finally, guilt and the inability to accept and receive God's forgiveness and to also forgive ourselves. With all of these issues, and any issue that holds us back, we at some point have to move on and let go.

Grabbing Hold

Ephesians 2:8-10 states:

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, --and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." 
It is God's grace that we are to grab a hold of and cling to everyday like our life depended on it...  we need to because it does; our life does depend on God's grace. Picture yourself in the middle of a lake on a boat with your legs tied together, your arms tied behind your back and a 500lb stone was chained and wrapped around your waist. Then imagine you were thrown overboard. At this point death would be a complete certainty. And then, when all hope was gone and complete despair had taken residence in your heart and mind, another person out of nowhere appears with a life preserver and tells you to "grab hold". And as you grabbed hold they came to you, pulled you to safety and then cut all the ropes that had you bound and removed the stone that was weighing you down so you could be free. If that were to happen to you that person would be known as your Savior, the one who saved you and freed you not so you simply could return to the depths of the ocean; to your old way of life, but to live with renewed passion and purpose; to experience life anew. Remember, after we give over and let go then we are to grab hold and grab hold tightly to His grace.

When we let go we are free to travel to a new and different place.
...a better place

Finally, is there anything or anyone you need to turn over control to the Lord? Is there anything, or anyone, you are carrying around with you like luggage that you would like to let go of and leave with God? If so fix your eyes on God, focus on the One that can rescue you, deliver you and redeem you. 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 

What do you have your eyes fixed upon?

Is your vision focused on your problem or the One that can provide a solution?

Are your eyes fixed upon the seen and temporary, or the unseen and eternal?

 sbb 25.10.11

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Into the Great Wide Open

Wonderful: excellent; great; marvelous: We all had a wonderful weekend. Of a sort that causes or arouses wonder; amazing; astonishing: The storm was wonderful to behold.

The sky is the limit.

In Tom Petty's song "Into the Great Wide Open" he sings:

They moved into a place they both could afford
He found a night club he could work at the door
She had a guitar and she taught him some chords
The sky was the limit

Pretty simple...

My wife and me do have a place we can afford, and while I don't work in a night club and she doesn't own a guitar, I do work hard every day to get home so I can walk through our front door and she has taught me the sweet chords of generosity, companionship and love. It's wonderful. She's wonderful.

Pretty Simple...

My wife... she is truly wonderful.

The sky is the limit for us.

Below is a wonderful piece my wife wrote last week for the "Daily Devotions" at Cypress Wesleyan on the topic of relationships.

Her words on the issue of relationships were sent to the entire email list at our church.

The topic is part and parcel to the sermon series Pastor Ken is preaching on entitled "The Island." 

We cannot afford to be an Island. We have to be a part of the main land. A part of the continent. A part of the body. 

Ken continued the series "The Island" this past Sunday by bringing us a message on the awkward situations in which we often find ourselves in the relationships that we have.

We all have those awkward moments, but what do we do with them?

"No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main."
-John Donne

Below are my Wife's thoughtful words...

The Great Wide Open

Central Thought:  When it comes to relationships, step up, step in and don't step back.

Key Verse: Matthew 7:7  (read the chapter)

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."  

"Into the great wide open under them skies of blue out in the great wide open a rebel without a clue." Those lyrics by the great Tom Petty describe my thoughts on becoming a step-mother. When my future husband "popped" the question. I already knew he was a package deal. So becoming a step-mother to four boys became my new reality. I myself am a product of a blended family and I'm very aware of how difficult it can be to feel accepted into a "new" family. That experience, along with thoughtful prayer, helped me learn to incorporate myself into their lives in a non-threatening way. In Matthew 7:7 it says, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."  My prayer was, and still is, for the Lord to give me realistic expectations on developing relationships with my stepsons; that they would see me as someone who loves their father very much and is committed to him and them as well. I have to say God answered my prayer. I have a great relationship with each one of them. They are all such amazing young men and I'm so blessed to have them in my life.

Discussion Questions:     

1. Do you have any expectations, for yourself and the other person, when forming a new relationship? If so, are they realistic?

2. When it comes to relationships do you take the lead or let things just happen? Why?

3. Are you a giver or a taker in relationships? Why?

4. How do you want to treat others? What do your actions say on how you treat others?     


Rhonda Bailey 

My name is Rhonda Bailey and I'm married to Shawn Bailey. We have been married for five years and have attended Cypress as a couple for 5 ½ years. We have two children together, Ryan and Reese. I also have four stepsons; Logan, Austin, Bryce and Addison. I work for ExamOne as a paramedical examiner and have been there for almost 10 years. Thanks to the "Bases Loaded" sermon series I will begin volunteering in the Children's Ministry this fall and I am very excited to help out any way I can.

Cypress Wesleyan Church

Did you miss this weekend at Cypress? Click here to listen to or watch the message

Would you like to read a previously published Daily Steps again? Click here  to find the archived devos.

Click here to receive Pastor Ken's weekly email

sbb 20.10.11

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Surpassing Awkwardness

Bail: the state of release upon being bailed.

Sometimes relationships stink...

Last week I ask my son, Austin, to be part of a writing team that I lead at our church and ask him to participate by writing a 200 word "daily devotional" on the awkwardness of relationships that would be distributed to our church's entire email list. 

The topic is part and parcel to the sermon series Pastor Ken is preaching on entitled "The Island."

We cannot afford to be an Island. We have to be a part of the main land. A part of the continent. A part of the body. 

Ken continued the series "The Island" this past Sunday by bringing us a message on the awkward situations in which we often find ourselves in the relationships that we have. We all have those awkward moments, but what do we do with them?

I'm extremely proud of you Austin and thank you very much for taking the time to express your feelings in words.

I love you, Dad.

"No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main."
-John Donne

Below is what Austin wrote.

Surpassing Awkwardness 

Central Thought:  We are all brothers and sisters in Christ

Key Verse:  Proverbs 1:33 (read the chapter)

"But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear"


Being a 19-year-old male, the awkwardness associated with meeting new people can be overwhelming. Forming new relationships, especially WITH the opposite sex, is something that can be very awkward. Generally, my peers say if meeting someone is awkward, "forget it, just bail." I disagree. Yeah, meeting new people proposes a threat because we're forced out of our comfort zone and most of us fear that. But listen to what God has to say about fear in Proverbs, "But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear". (NLT 1:33)  God created everyone in his image; we are brothers and sisters in Christ. No fear there. When you look at it that way, forming a new relationship isn't that intimidating because everyone is united in Christ; we're all "OF" God, we're all his children.

The more daunting task is starting a relationship with God. For many people it may be awkward or uncomfortable to talk to God and accept his love, or His existence. But, as Christians we see firsthand the victory in having a relationship with God, and experience the power of surpassing awkwardness for the sake of a meaningful relationship. Let that truth be our guide when entertaining relationships on earth and remember we're all brothers and sisters in Christ. What's so awkward about that?

Discussion Questions:
1.    Do you fear developing new relationships? If so why?

2.    Do you bail when a relationship becomes awkward and uncomfortable? If so why?

3.    Is God seen and involved in every one of your relationships? If not why?

Austin Bailey 

My name is Stephen Austin Bailey. I'm 19 years old and I attend Denison University. I am predicting to be an International Studies and Communication major because I have a passion for diversity and international happenings, as well as how societies and cultures communicate. I am the sophomore catcher for the Denison Big Red baseball team. My parents' names are Shawn and Tracey, and I have five brothers and two sisters. Their ages range from 21 to 2 years old.

I enjoy meeting and talking to new people whenever the chance presents itself. I am currently applying to become a Presidential Ambassador at Denison, in order to greet speakers and artists who speak and perform at Denison.

Since I was young I have always had a passion for Christ. I would say that my grandmothers, Karon Swan and Chris Bailey, have been the most influential Christians in my life, and I owe a lot of who I am today to them.  

Cypress Wesleyan Church

Did you miss this weekend at Cypress? Click here to listen to or watch the message

Would you like to read a previously published Daily Steps again? Click here  to find the archived devos.

Click here to receive Pastor Ken's weekly email

sbb 19.10.11

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Joke Is on Me...

Funny: providing fun; causing amusement or laughter; amusing; comical: a funny remark; a funny person.

Sometimes we feel as if the joke is on us...

Do you ever feel like the joke is on you? The things that you prioritize, the series of items and issues you attach value to are at times amusing at the very least; laughable and futile at best. When you look, and think, about your dreams and goals; hopes and aspirations do you imagine a room full of people previewing, and reviewing them, via a PowerPoint presentation and laughing at what they see?

Do you find yourself amused by your own blind pursuit of something, or someone, that the circumstances surrounding that very thing has never been promising or displayed any shred of evidence that something was going to change regarding this very thing that dominates much of your thought process from more than time to time?

Ever feel like the little hope you have in your life is hinged on hope itself?

"Things will never change" plays in your mind like a record that keeps skipping, and more importantly, and disturbingly, your heart quietly say's the very same thing with complete confidence.

Have you ever silently reflected and thought, even smiled, and said to yourself; "The joke is on me?" 

Will I die before my dreams, hopes and aspirations will be realized?

Am I in fact dreaming the right dreams and hoping for the correct things?

Why are the things that I hope for and dream of important to me?

And how will these dreams, hopes and goals, if realized, affect those around me? 

There are times, many times that I have more questions than I do answers.

It says in 1 John: 14-15; "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him."


I'm not being cute, I just feel completely lost at times with all things spiritually, scriptural or Biblical.

What is your will for me God?

And can you help me with the part of me that believes that You can do anything, anywhere and at any time for anyone, but it doesn't apply to me? Can you help me with the disturbing thought pattern and belief that I can encourage and counsel anyone, and give them advice that I believe with my entire heart, but I can't accept that same counsel, encouragement and advice for me?

Why do I think this way?

It's also particularly perplexing, and uncomfortable, to read your word in Hebrews 11:6 when it says; "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

Sometimes I don't understand that verse; mostly I'm devastated by the outcome for lacking in faith that is stated in that very verse. 
Why can't I have the same faith that I wax poetically about for others to entertain in their daily lives?

I'm not mad.

I just can't understand for the life of me why at times I entertain the thoughts that I do, speak the words I speak and behave the way I behave. I'm amazed how behaviors that you thought you gave up like clothes that were too small or relationships that were too debilitating can rear their ugly head anytime they want. I can't understand how these "things" have the ability to challenge your beliefs and how they can separate you from what you know is true.

You, I, we speak of mercy and grace, but often times we don't accept it for our self, or sadly enough, extend to others. 

Having understanding would be nice.

Times like these make me realize that understanding is more precious than power, prestige or position. Wealth can never take the place of knowledge, nor can it provide the peace that understanding can provide.

These were my thoughts last Friday at lunch, and as I sat their SCRIBBLING them on paper I realized, as I was writing the very thing(s) that troubled me, that child-like faith was the answer.

When I fail miserably God still cares for me.

When my thought process, or lack there of, is less than it can be God's love still remains constant.

When my words don't add up to what I profess with my heart, or my actions do a good job of convincing another that I'm not familiar with Jesus Christ and that I wouldn't be confused for a man of faith, God still pleasantly remains by my side.

I have heard it said in the past that "God's grace is getting what we don't deserve and His mercy is not getting what we do deserve."


I still don't know why at times I put value on certain things, why I grow envious over certain things and why I chose to believe I need a certain something.

I don't know why I have the ability to praise and curse with the same tongue, notice a woman when I'm actually praying in my car and how I can pray, fight and gossip all within the same hour of the day. I'm not always sure why I don't notice the log in my eye, but that I'm more than willing to aid you with removing the spec in your eye.

At times I feel paralyzed by my inability to understand why I do the things I do.

But wait; there is some good news...

What I do realize is that my faith need not be based on what I say, what I do or in the areas that I fail. My faith is to be centered around, and based upon, God and what He say's through His word.

It's to be based on his promise, love and sacrifice. 

My faith is based on the cross not the crosses I have to bare.

If I give it all, and the rest, to Him, then and only then, can I truly rest and have it all.

Hopes and dreams are important; failure and defeat need not be final, but in both instances they are not as important as my faith.

Let me never lose my faith in you God.

Bless me with understanding. Give me discernment, knowing what to believe in and what to hope for. Give me your vision for my dreams and aspirations. Help me to understand that your word, sacrifice and love is for me too.

Help me to understand your will and way for my life.

Give me faith.

Help me top realize that you, and only you, are the only thing that really counts; the only thing worthy of my faith. Help me not to put my faith in my success or my failure, but only in You.

Help me to realize that when I stop dreaming, hoping and aspiring, when I stop believing that you have a plan specifically for my life, then and only then, is the joke on me.

And we all know it's not too funny when the joke is on us.

sbb 18.10.11
Don't stop Believing . Journey