Countdown to 2017!


newyears

Looks like the Sky will bleed with Colors tonight @ Marina Bay… Wishing everyone a wonderful evening of fun & excitement! Happy New Year from Singapore! flickr photo by williamcho shared under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

5 Blogs I Posted

I’ve really enjoyed writing again. Just short (1-2 minute) devotional thoughts each week day. If you’re looking for a devotional as you read the Word for the new year I invite you to check it out (and sign up to get them to your e-mail). Here are 5 from this year.

  1. Seeing Jesus
  2. Treasures of the Heart
  3. When You Feel Alone and Isolated
  4. The Value of Family
  5. Seeking God or Seeking to Use God?

4 Books I Enjoyed

  1. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero – The subtitle sums it up perfectly: It’s impossible to be spiritually mature, while remaining emotionally immature. I can’t recommend this book enough. Extremely helpful for me this past year as I worked through conflicts and immature emotional responses (still have a long way to go, but this book has moved me along in the process).
  2. The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt (audio book) – Helped me to understand the contentiousness and polarization found in this year’s political season. Written by someone from a much more liberal perspective, I really appreciated much of his insights even if I didn’t agree with all of his premises.
  3. Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang (audio book) – Fear of man is an issue for me. And while I do believe there are certain circumstance where there is “harm” in asking, this book helped me realize how much I may be missing out on because of my fear of rejection.
  4. Loving Our Kids On Purpose by Danny Silk – Helping me to realize my goal in parenting (by my actions) is obedience and compliance. I need to work changing my perspective. “Love and relationship are the bottom line of the Kingdom, and they must be ours if we wish to establish a Kingdom culture in our homes.” A book I’ll re-read in 2017.

3 Insights From 2016

  1. Keep it simple in love and writing
  2. Being faithful > Being famous
  3. Watching TV is not relaxing, just distracting

2 Things That Worked For Me

  1. 280 Daily – Been doing this consistently for about 3 years now. I love most that it gives me perspective. In 5 minutes every morning, I can record either what happened, what I’m feeling, and/or what I’m learning AND get reminded of what happened last week, last month, last year, and some random day in the past. It has helped me gain perspective, especially on events that created such strong emotions at the time. That I’m limited to 280 characters makes the writing and reading quick and sustainable over the long haul. This is one habit I’m glad I developed!
  2. Seeing a counselor. A good counselor is invaluable. Got great insights and perspective as I process through emotions, mindsets, and life. Finding a good one can be a challenge. I’ve really appreciated Guy Ascherman at Higher Ground Counseling.

1 Final Thought

  1. 2016 seemed tumultuous in so many ways, yet God is faithful. May He continue to go before us and behind us, lighting our way in the new year and sustaining us through His presence. Happy 2017!
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Great Quotes

  • “Probably the greatest obstacle to worship is we’re very rarely alone. We’re very rarely in a position where we can be overwhelmed by the size of the galaxies or the sound of the waves. We’re in a busy culture with a lot of static and a lot of noise, and that typically causes us to miss out on the rhythm of the universe.” (Louie Giglio)
  • “The goal of life is to walk with God; not just simply to have a ten minute quiet time with God.” (Louie Giglio)

Books I’m Reading

Articles That Resonated

Devotional thoughts I’m reflecting on

What about you? Any great quotes, books read, or articles struck you this week?

New Blog Site


I’ve started a new blog site called Devotional Thoughts for those interested. You can find it here.

I want the “God kind of life” in my everyday experiences. I believe at least a part of that comes through the renewing of my mind. As my thoughts line up with His, as I see through His filter (truth), I can experience the abundant life Jesus promised.

It’s my way of doing this, with the hope that it may one day be passed on to Hannah and Joshua and all who would come after me.

I would love to see you there!

What I’m Working On (Investment, Growth and Significance)


comfort and significance

The principle of sowing and reaping applies to so many areas of life, including our personal growth. Here are some areas of my life I’m sowing into and some articles helping me to do so.

The Average – “Everything you do is either going to raise your average or lower it…Progress is almost always a series of choices, an inexorable move toward mediocrity, or its opposite.” So often I’m a passive observer of life, letting it “happen to me” instead of actively making choice that move me forward. In all that I do, let me choose doing it for the glory of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:31)

The Many, Many Problems With “Follow Your Passion” – Experientially, I’ve found the point of this article to be true. Engaging work matters more than what I think I’m passionate about. Perhaps we limit ourselves too much when we stick with our passions. You may not be where you think you want to be or should be, but God can and will bless when we sow into the place he plants us (cf. Jeremiah 29:5)

What Your Comfortable Life Might Be Costing You – More than anything else I want to be comfortable. And I want to make a difference, to live a life of significance. Unfortunately, one always comes at the cost of the other.

Why Keeping A Gratitude List Will Change Your Life – I wrote an entire post on this here, but the article that inspired it is worth mentioning again.

What areas of your life are you sowing into? What have you been learning this week?

Growing in Gratitude


gratitude

For years now, my wife has wanted our family to make entries into a “Grateful Journal.” I’ve been resistant. I didn’t know why.

On the surface, gratitude seems like a great idea. Who doesn’t think growing in gratitude is a good idea? I’m sure there are all kinds of benefits, and, if necessary, you or I could come up with dozens (if not hundreds) of verses from the Bible supporting this practice.

I’ve even tried to keep my own written log of what I’m thankful for. But after a few weeks (and usually after a few days), I stop.

Why does gratitude come with such great resistance?

Just recently I read a great article on keeping a gratitude list. There, I discovered why gratitude lists and journals never really worked for me before.

When gratitude is something we say, rather than something we feel, it stops being gratitude.”

-Claire De Boer

I practiced the discipline of gratitude without actually experiencing gratitude.

I love discipline and disciplines. They absolutely help bring growth and take us to our goals where feelings never would (or might even work against us). Nevertheless, gratitude must be experienced. It must be rooted in taking time to fully experience our present moments. Maybe not all of them, but at least some of them. To become aware of what I’m experiencing right now.

And so today, I’m grateful for fresh, clean water to drink (especially as I remember not being able to drink yesterday for hours before a medical procedure).

I’m grateful for particular meals my wife has prepared as I enjoy the taste sensations in my mouth.

I’m grateful that my sins have not simply been forgiven, but completely wiped clean.

Where are you experiencing gratefulness today? What moments are you fully savoring (and not simply passing through to get somewhere)?