"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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Want Change? (re-post 2.6.2012)

Growth: the act or process, or a manner of growing; development; gradual increase.

Positive change in one's life is about growth.

This past week I had the privilege to listen to our senior pastor, Ken Murphy, speak during a live interview on the radio.

As I listened to Ken speak I realized that I've been listening to him share his words of spiritual wisdom and thoughtful counsel for over ten years. As I stated earlier, it has been a privilege. I consider Ken as our church leader, my pastor and, more importantly, my friend. Ken has challenged, encouraged and inspired me to become the man that God has purposefully created me to become. Again, I will reiterate, it has been a privilege and an honor to have spent the last ten years developing a relationship with him.

Ken Murphy

As I mentioned in the opening sentence; "positive change in one's life is about growth."  During the course of Ken's interview it struck me as ironic as he talked about our churches tremendous growth over the last two years -which I have to take this moment and say it has been nothing short of amazing-.  In listening to Ken's words I realized that growth has very consistent qualities no matter where the growth is taking place. Whether you're trying to grow a business, grow an institution or grow a church the qualities that aid that growth are the same. With this being said, I think it is important to remind ourselves that growth is more than about numbers. Growth in our families and personal lives has more to do with developing a high emotional IQ, increasing our knowledge, maturing as an adult and growing in our acknowledgment and recognition that God should be the cornerstone; the foundation of our lives. 

The only number that is important, and recognizable, in that equation is the number ONE.

The one is you. 

Before we go anywhere, before we experience life at its fullest, with the greatness amount of purpose, we must first resolve in our heart, mind and soul that life wasn't meant to be lived without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

We were created by God, for God.

And if we are to grow in the right direction we must first acknowledge this simple truth. 

John 14:6 shares this truth with us when Jesus states; "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

It's pretty simple.

Many would like to believe that change that leads to growth is simple also, but it's not.

Change and growth are difficult.

Growth should be everyone's goal.

During Ken's interview he touched on four attributes; qualities if you will, that have been paramount in the growth of the Cypress Wesleyan Church over the past two years.

All four of these specific choices can be transferred to any area of our personal and professional lives if we choose to emphasize positive growth as a goal for our self as we travel this land that is called our life.

What needs to happen for change to occur you ask?

Allow me to share.

Better said yet; "Be Intentional." In order for any growth to occur in the home, in the work place or in the church you must become more intentional in your thinking. Dreams are important, wishing can be inspirational and having hope is important because at times it can sustain you, but until we collectively learn to deliberately think with a specific purpose in mind where we want to go, and what we want to accomplish, we will never accomplish what we set out to do or get to where it is we want to go. Again, its that simple.

Specific and intentional are not the same. Specific by definition is having a special application, bearing, or reference; specifying, explicit, or definite: to state one's specific purpose. Once we become specific on what we want to accomplish then we can become intentional in our thinking, being specific will aid us in planning with a purpose.

Pastor Ken has said any times that the most important thing a new person must see when they step into Cypress for the first time is an inviting smile and a helpful hand. That first experience will often determine if that person will come back again in the future. Hospitality is everything; hospitality is about attitude. You show me a person that opens their home with an inviting smile and a warm heart and I will show you someone that values the importance of a good attitude. In my first work experience upon graduating from Wittenberg University a man from Atlanta by the name of Bob Paige, my regional sales manager at the time, shared with me that attitude determines outcome; attitude determines altitude. Twenty-five years later that simple belief concerning attitude is one the most important keys in how I choose to live my life. Attitude is everything.

Psalm 86:1 recites a prayer by David with these words:

1 Hear me, LORD, and answer me,
   for I am poor and needy.
2 Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
   save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; 3 have mercy on me, Lord,
   for I call to you all day long.
4 Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
   for I put my trust in you.
 5 You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
   abounding in love to all who call to you.
6 Hear my prayer, LORD;
   listen to my cry for mercy.
7 When I am in distress, I call to you,
   because you answer me.

For any consistent, powerful and life changing growth to take place in one's life prayer has to be an integral part of the plan. I find it ironic that the very things that are needed for growth; intentional thinking, specific purpose and a correct attitude, are also part and parcel of what it takes to engage in "powerful praying." When a person participates in a prayer life that is intentional, specific and with an attitude that is Christ centered and not self centered is when real spiritual growth takes place. It is the kind of growth that acknowledges the need for Jesus Christ to become the Lordship of our life, accepts His forgiveness and allows His grace to transcend our lives. When this truly takes place we experiencing growth at its best. In the end, our prayer life is to be intentional, specific, with the proper attitude that will open the door of acknowledgment, acceptance and allowance of all of God's treasures that He so wants to graciously bestow upon us.

Some grow faster than others...

This past Saturday after my two youngest boy's basketball game I started down the path of joking with them concerning their lack of offensive prowess during their weekly game. As their coach, and father, I find it very easy to share with them how I feel about certain, if not all, things. And it was during the course of our back and forth that my youngest son, Addison, shared with me his thoughts. "Dad", he said, "If you didn't make the tallest player on the team guard me then I could've made more shots." I looked Addy straight in the eyes and I said; "you're correct." See, we as coaches in the youth league determine what player will guard what player and because of that I should've realized that Addy, and Ryan, would struggle mightily with a much taller player guarding them.

I was humbled.

With all the basketball I played as a youngster, and with all my playing experience in high school and college, with all the games I've watched and coached its very easy for me to falsely, and arrogantly, believe I know everything. And in the end, when its all said and done, - and trust me, there is always more said than done - a little six year old shared with me the most obvious thing; he is short and the player guarding him is tall... and I could've changed that dynamic.

God has a wonderful, if not clarifying, sense of humor.

Hebrews 11:1-39

Sometimes growth comes when we least expect it. Sometimes, if not most of the time, it takes others to aid us in that process. Positive change that leads to growth can be very difficult to experience and because of that we need all the help we can get.

Remember, work the process of change by being intentional, being specific, maintaining a great attitude, praying and in the end never becoming too full of pride, or arrogance, to accept the help of another that is trying to aid you in growing.

It's that simple.

sbb 6.2.12 

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