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Lent/Ash Wednesday (…and hump day! woot woot!)

5 Mar

There is no place in scripture (that I have found) that instructs believers to observe Lent. Just as there is no place in scripture for believers to celebrate the birth of Christ (Christmas), or a day set aside for Thanksgiving. However, we are called to observe regularly and celebrate (probably more than once a year) the death and resurrection of Jesus (“The Lord ’s Table” or Communion – 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with celebrating Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any other religious/historical/traditional holiday/celebration. But there is the danger of missing the point of the celebration among the traditionJust look at what our culture has done to Christmas and Thanksgiving.

What’s the point of Lent?

Sacrifice (of Christ). Cost (of Christ). Meditation (on Christ). Refocusing (on Christ). Many people accomplish this by purging their lives of “extras” that often consume their time, money, and attention in order to spend more time reflecting on Jesus.

The point is not for you to lose weight or quit smoking…or anything else you’ve wanted to do that you think will make you a “better person”. The point is not “what can I do/give up for ME?” or… “what can I do (or give up) for God?” because Jesus already DID EVERYTHING (and gave up everything) for you (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

I do not see Ash Wednesday in Scripture, although the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes is found in: 2 Samuel 13:19, Esther 4:1, Job 2:8, Daneil 9:3, and Matthew 11:21. I do not see Lent in scripture, but I do see the spiritual discipline of fasting, but again…for the purpose of prayer and focus on God and his strength, wisdom, and provision.

LET CHRIST BE YOUR FOCUS

Whether you decide to give something up (or add something) for Lent, let me encourage your focus to be on Christ and his finished work on the cross.

Blessings

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Choices and Decisions

10 Feb

These two words could be used interchangeably, but I believe there’s a difference (thanks to John Hilliard for pointing it out to me). 

The word “Decision” literally means to DECLARE and CUT-OFF, it has in mind the END RESULT, implying a long-term mindset/focus. 

The word “Choice” means the power, right, or liberty to choose; a selection of multiple options, a short term, in-the-moment focus.

My wife and I have made the DECISION (declared) to make healthy eating part of our lifestyle and because of that DECISION we are confronted daily with many CHOICES that will either support or oppose that decision…therefore our food CHOICES have been intentional and have often been sacrificial in order to support our DECISION to eat healthy.

Every choice you make moves your life in a specific direction (whether you are aware of this or not). Are your choices consistent with the decision you made to _______?

Choices reveal a decision.  

As the old hymn sings, “I have decided to follow Jesus”…and that DECISION should wield great influence over everyday CHOICES.

Have you decided what kind of person you will be?

Are you a giving person? Are you a loving and compassionate person? Are you a successful person? Are you an encouraging person? Are you a strong person? Are you a healthy eater? Are you a loyal friend? Are you a faithful spouse? Are you a professional athlete? Are you a peacemaker? Are you an artist? Are you a hard worker? Are you a life-giving mentor?

No one just “happens” to become a certain type of person…they DECIDED to be forgiving, encouraging, supportive, helpful, and faithful…and have put in years of consistently making the everyday CHOICE to be.

The choices you make today will continue to shape the life you live tomorrow. 

Choose wisely.

Surviving the Super Bowl

3 Feb

I work with teens and where there’s teens…there’s pizza and wings. 

Yesterday was the first day that my wife and I started our Whole30-official-header1challenge (click the pic for details) where we’ll be eating “whole foods” for 30 days…pressing the restart button on our bodies, and all this the day before the Junior High Super Bowl Party. I knew it was coming, and I had a strategy…

I want to share 3 things that keep me focused on my goals. I started doing a semi-whole30 type thing back in September when I first read the book, and stayed pretty consistent up until Christmas…and then let loose 🙂 so hopefully some of these tips will help you with your goals.

But First…I have to tell you that I loves wings. My wife made buffalo chicken dip. There was tons of pizza, chips, soda, cookies, brownies and left-overs of all of thee above!!! I would be lying if I said my mouth didn’t water when I opened the crockpot to see how much buffalo chicken dip was left and caught the scent. 

chicken dip*Hold on…I have to get a paper towel to wipe the saliva off my keyboard.*

All right, here are some things that help me stay the course.

# 1. It’s NOT hard. 

-There was a line in the book where the authors beat this point into you! They hate hearing people say it’s too hard. So what do the authors say? *put your seat belt on*  “Beating cancer is hard, losing a loved one is hard, birthing a child is hard…Drinking your coffee black is NOT hard.” Ouch, right!? When you put “eating healthy” in perspective…it’s NOT hard.

#2. I am responsible for 100% of what I eat

-No one is pointing a gun to my head forcing me to eat anything. 

#3. The power of “No”. 

-I had a mentor once tell me to say “No” to at least one thing EVERY day, just to get in the habit of saying it. Our lives are made up of billions and billions of *Decisions and *Choices (which will be the blog topic of another day) and although you and I can’t control many of our circumstances, we can absolutely control how we respond to our circumstances. Saying “No” is a tool many of us don’t use often enough.

These three things have helped shape the path of each day ahead of me…especially days where I know there’s gonna be tempting delicacies. 

-Blessings

Pushing The Reset Button

31 Jan

How many people are completely content with the way their life is?

Is there anything you’d want to change? Is there anything you wish you could do better? Is there anything you are working towards…or know you should be working towards?

Even if someone answered that they are completely content with how their life is, there is always something new to learn, discover or accomplish that has the potential to increase your quality of life or the lives of others.

Tomorrow is February. A new month. A new day. A time of new possibilities, challenges, and opportunities. Time to press that RESET button and live life a little more deliberately tomorrow than you did yesterday. For my wife and I, we have decided to do the Whole30 challenge, based off of the book: It Starts With Food.

We both try to eat fairly clean, but we wanted to push the reset button on our bodies. It’s so easy to order out or go out and consequently…pig out.  And this doesn’t only effect our bodies, but our budget as well. These are two areas of life that most people could benefit in by being a little bit more intentional.

But what is it for you? What part of your life needs the reset button pushed?

Take some time over the next couple of days with your spouse, a roommate, or a close friend and talk about some areas of life that could be done better…that you could work on together!

Heather and I hope to post some of the recipes and food that we’ll be enjoying if you’re interested in cleaner eating. Don’t wait until next January to make a resolution, push the reset button tonight and make tomorrow morning the start of a more challenging but rewarding life!

My notes from: Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl

14 Dec

 

Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl was written by N.D. Wilson. The other books he has published are all children’s books, and in his writing style you can sense a childish-playfulness that carries you along through each chapter. This has come to be one of my favorite books to read….”read” may be  an insufficient word – enjoy, experience, get lost in…I felt at times that reading this book was like taking drugs. It made me see differently, feel differently about my everyday experiences, leaving me a thirst for more…

The book was written to wake you up to the world you live in, to break the numbness most of us have because of the culture we’re shaped by (too much technology). The author answers a lot of philosophical and academic questions with very poetic, common-sense, real world answers.

This author generates within you a child-like curiosity to the world, at the same time moving around the great themes of philosophy, theology, nature, and art.

The book has a very creative structure moving you through the seasons of the year: winter, spring, summer, fall…

My favorite chapter is The Problem of Kittens: Cuteness and Beauty. In this chapter he addresses a popular philosophical question of the problem of evil in the world we live, along with the goodness of God.

This book is worth the read just because of the one-liner gems you’ll find in it, but also the exceptional creativity behind the writing.

Check it out! 

Christmas Music

22 Dec

COME IN, AND KNOW ME BETTER, MAN!!!! HAHAHAHA 

I love saying that during Christmas time…especially when company comes over. It’s probably my favorite line from “A Muppet Christmas Carol”. 

If you haven’t already seen it, I just recorded and released a Christmas EP that you can download for free at http://noisetrade.com/yieldtopeds (or click on the pic!)

The other album “God Makes Summer Plans” is currently not available for download, but I will be posting it back up in early January, and taking the Christmas album down.

For those of you interested, I am working on another album – I have six solid songs ready to be recorded and am working on four more – hopefully to be released within the next year at some point. I will also hopefully be playing some more shows this year, now that my wife and I are settled in from moving and finding good life rhythms with work and such.

Look out for my next post: “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

yield to peds! 

The Great White Sheilah Re-modeled!

9 May

It’s Mother’s Day!!! I love my mom! She is such a giver and a lover! I really thank God for giving me the parents He did. It’s sad to think that there are people in the world who have a great mom and take her for granted 😦  *give your mom a hug today* or in the words of Soulja Boy  *Kiss her thru tha phone!*

Sometimes I think I’m the most impractical person ever. I will be graduating with my Masters degree on Friday and I don’t know anything about sewing, carpentry, gardening, farming, working on cars…nothing! The next phase of my life is definitely going to involve getting an education in some trade skills. And the best way to do that is experience! Bring it on!

On this Mother’s Day, my mom came down to Lancaster and helped Heather and I remodel our first “home” – The Great White Sheilah! Our 1984 VW Vanagon is gonna be our home for the summer while we travel across country. Here’s a video of Heather, my mom, and I doing some interior designing…

The next steps we need to take care of are: Getting the dent in the back repaired and getting a sweet paint job!!

Look out for more videos!!!