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Be Here Now

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Here-and-nowOn family movie night, we decided to watch ‘A Dog’s Purpose.’ It was a cute movie that revealed much about human interactions with not only each other but also their beloved canines. Without giving away too much, the movie allowed you to venture into one dog’s world over and over again in differing scenarios but the question that kept surfacing was the same; why I am here? What is my purpose? As I sat there and watched, I realized many if not all of us ask the same question in the differing seasons of life we find ourselves: what is my purpose?
Henri Nouwen, in his book, Discernment, writes, “Who am I? This is the core question that every person asks and answers throughout life. Naming ourselves, seeing the shifting roles we play during our lives and seeking to live by the values and beliefs at the heart of our existence are lifelong challenges.” Nouwen continues, “As beloved children, our core identity is secure in the memory of God. Whether we do anything worthwhile, prove anything important or give anything of value, God still loves us unconditionally. It is a strong, vital and active fatherly and motherly kind of love that holds us safe and affirms our worth, wherever we go and whatever we do. Can you or I remember that we are the beloved of God when we fail? When we hurt someone? Even then we are God’s beloved called to remember that beneath our woundedness or frailty is the deeper call to live out of the inexhaustible riches of God’s love.” You see, all of us ask the questions, who am I and what is my purpose? The trick is, what are your answers to those questions? I will not give you your answers b/c asThomas Merton notes, “You cannot tell me who I am and I cannot tell you who you are. If you do not know your own identity, who is going to identify you?” So, how do… you identify you?
Back to the movie…the climatic end is summed up with three powerful words, “Be Here Now.” Throughout the seasons of our lives, and in varying degrees, we will continue to ask, who am I & what is my purpose? But in that, let us not to forget to…be here now. I sent a text to a friend the other day; it read, “Praying that your day is filled with unexpected blessings and intentional moments.” As I reread what I wrote, I thought, is it not in being intentional with our moments that unexpected blessings happen the most; we just have to be looking for them; we just have to…be here now!

Click on one of the resources  below to help…you identify you:
1. Who are you? (a) Identity (b) Two questions (c) God’s eyes

2. What is your purpose? (a) A choice (b) Significance (c) Existence

The Will…A Choice

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kalequesI am a chiropractor and I love it. I love everything about it. The laying on of hands to stimulate and motivate the body to heal & self-regulate. It’s magical to watch. I am always amazed at the power of a simple adjustment. And yes, I love the noise of a joint being adjusted; eight ball in the corner ball I think to myself. Was it the will of God that I become a chiropractor or was it a choice I made to apply to chiropractic school from a seemingly random question in my living room some 18 years ago? Maybe a little bit of both?
Ever heard from yourself or someone else this question: what is the will of God for my life? Such a broad sweeping question isn’t it? Is there one specific answer for each person in the world? Maybe. Maybe not. Is it a tightrope of sorts to walk the will of God – ever hoping to not make a wrong step as to fall off? Always wondering if I get it right or wrong? Seems this tightrope walk could bring fear and lack of movement. And lack of movement leads to decay and decay leads to death. Or is the will of God more like an eight lane highway with freedom to change lanes as choices present themselves? Yes, there are ditches on each side of the eight lines that we can slip into (outside of the will of God – sin) but does not having eight lanes bring freedom and movement. And movement brings growth and growth brings life.
1 Thesl. 5:16-18 puts it this way, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Straight-forward don’t you think?
What’s the will of God (in Christ) for you: Could it be a 3-stranded tightrope made of up daily choices to: (1) Rejoice (2) Pray (3) Give thanks. Seems you can do this anywhere, anytime, anyhow and with anyone? If those 3 strands make a tightrope to walk out God’s will for my life – that has to be the biggest tightrope I have ever attempted to walk on (maybe as big as an eight lane highway?)
Look, the bottom line is this: It may be His will but He still gives you a choice. Do not make God’s will so elusive or exclusive that you miss out on a remarkable journey into the very heart of God.

but the Brevity

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O. Pamuk stated, “Life is short, and we should respect every moment of it.” As I was driving recently with the family – this song, “Little Bird” by Misty Edwards came on. We love the song but what caught my attention that day was these words:
“Because life, life is a vapor
But the brevity is what makes it a treasure
So feel it all like a love letter”

As I heard those words, I literally looked at my wife to the right of me and in the rearview mirror at my four children and thought: Do I treasure the time – this breath of a life – I have with these precious ones that have been given to me? Yes, some days seem to drag on with problems, distractions and pain but do I, do you, treasure all of this? I so desire to but I know certain days I take it for granted or just am not intentional with this life I have been given. May I read this life like a love letter – taking in each word, each experience, and each breath – and know it is significant…it is special…it is a treasure. V. Mortensen stated it this way, “Life is short and the older you get, the more you feel it. Indeed, the shorter it is. People lose their capacity to walk, run, travel, think, and experience life. I realize how important it is to use the time I have.”

Three verses I thought of:
(1) James 4: 14: “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” This verse can help us remember that we have today and tomorrow is not promised. Let us grasp hold of today – carpe diem!
(2) Philip. 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Let’s be thankful more than we are anxious. Can we allow peace to rule out hearts? I think we can if we learn to treasure what is important.
(3) 1 Cor. 16:13-14: “Be watchful, stand firm…be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” May we be watchful each day for opportunities to love!

The Voice

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urawesomeNo, I am not talking about the show although I do like it when I get a chance to watch it. Ya know what I like – the judges can not see the person, can not judge them by the way they look – too big, too small, too fat, too skinny, too young, too old, etc…they-only hear their voice and from that and that alone – they can choose to turn their chair or not. They listen to the voice! My question for us: What voice are we listening to?
You and I, each and every day may have to listen to hundreds of voices telling us what to think/say or how we should act & look. The question, are the voices we are listening to truthful and beneficial to our lives or are they hurtful and a hinderance to our lives. What voice do you hear the most? The voices of the world telling us to seek power, success, beauty, comfort and releveance at any cost. Or the voice that spoke over you from before the beginning of time and declared (and still declares): “You are relevant. You are powerful. You are beautiful. You are successful. You are loved!” Henri Nouwen says it best, “Long before your mother and father, your brothers and sisters, your teachers, your church or any people touched you in a loving as well as in a wounding way – long before you were rejected by some person or praised by somebody else – that voice has been there alway, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” That love is there before you were born and will be there long after you die.” That voice (the voice) that erupts from eternity – the voice that spoke creation into being – that voice whispers your name with a smile on His face & a delight in His heart. When you speak, He, with all the excitement from all time – hits his buzzer and spins His chair around to look at the one whose voice moved His heart. And He sees you. You. Then in a voice that is steady and sure and awe-struck, He simply says, “Wow!”
Yes, as we recognize the power of God’s loving voice over our lives, it changes everything. But how do we hear that voice. More often that not, that voice – that love – is shared & experienced through how we speak to others. What voice – negative or positive, beneficial or hurtful, loving or unkind – do we give to those around us. Let me illustrate my point with a story that is not 100% accurate but based on true events. “One day, as a small child, Thomas Edison came home from school and gave a paper to his mother. He said to her “Mom, my teacher gave this paper to me and told me only you are to read it. What does it say? Her eyes welled with tears as she read the letter out loud to her child… “Your son is a genius. This school is too small for him and doesn’t have good enough teachers to train him. Please teach him yourself.” Many years after Edison’s mother had died, he became one of the greatest inventors of the century. One day he was going through a closet and he found the folded letter that his old teacher wrote his Mother that day. He opened it… The message written on the letter was “Your son is mentally deficient. We cannot let him attend our school anymore. He is expelled.” Edison became emotional reading it and then wrote in his diary: “Thomas A. Edison was a mentally deficient child whose mother turned him into the genius of the Century.” Can we look (and listen) past the voices of the world that discourage, disqualify and degrade and like Edison’s mom, speak dignity, hope and love. Remember, your voice with just one positive word of encouragement can help change anyone’s destiny.
Each day, listen for the voice that speaks love (true, everlasting love) and when you hear it, turn your chair to receive what He speaks. But remember, just as HIs voice moves your heart; your voice moves His. It is mutual. It is true. it is powerful. And as you learn to hear the voice, let the grace, hope and love you receive be passed on to others. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Eph. 4:29)

What lives where?

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hatenohomeFirst, right up front – let me be clear; this is not a political post or agenda trying to get a certain view across. It is the farthest thing from that so please, if you are able, receive it in the heart it is written. Second, it is observation and a conversation that ensued from that observation. Third, it has been on my heart for weeks now so I finally decided to share.
As Jen and I was walking with the kids in our neighborhood, I noticed a yard sign that read, “Hate has no home here” with an American flag in the shape in of a heart. It also had multiple languages underneath it which I assumed meant the same thing. That is the first time I had seen or heard of that sign (another reason this is not a political post and I have waited to write).

Here is the conversation that ensued (paraphrased of course):
Me: Do you think that is an anti-trump sign?
Jen: Not sure but probably.
Me: Do you really think hate doesn’t live there?
Jen: What do you mean?
Me: I mean, it is a great sign – catchy theme, heart shaped flag. I like it. It is even Biblical b/c we do not want to hate our neighbor or those God brings across our path. We are commanded to love – love God first and then others as ourselves. Heck, all the other commandments hinge on these two. Is the sign true? If it is an anti-trump sign; should it not read, ‘Hate does not live here (except toward one person).’ Wouldn’t that make it more accurate – more honest?
Jen: Probably but who is going to put that sign in their yard?
Me: Noone.
Then as we continue to walk, another voice joins in. It is that of our 10 yr old.
Eilam: That sign, said, “Hate does not live in that house.” What does that mean and why don’t all the houses have that sign?
Jen: That sign is saying, we do not treat people differently based on their color, where they came from or who they are? It means we treat people equally with kindness and to show love whenever we can. The other houses I am sure do not have hate in them either just decided to not buy a sign.
Eilam: Well, we do not want hate to live in our home either.
Me: Yep. You are correct buddy. We want to love others as best we can.
We continued to enjoy our family walk but essentially that was the end of conversation.

That may have been the end of conversation but not the end of my thoughts. I decided to go and read about the ‘Hate has no home here’ sign (movement if you will). I not only looked on the website but also on their facebook page and a few other links I came across. Many, many kind & generous words/actions I found about loving our neighbors and treating others with equality. On the website, it is plainly stated that this is a non-partisan movement bringing hope to people & neighborhoods which I found refreshing. However, what I found interesting, is that many of the posts I read that pictured ”Hate has no home here” also had a very anti-trump sentiment feel to them,  even stating the sign helps make a stand against His intolerance, bigotry and hate speech.

As I sat and thought about my conversation on our family walk & what I read, I heard a question in my spirit: “Do you have hate in your home?” My initial response was, of course not! Our home is loving, welcoming and open. Then a little deeper it went:: ‘Not your physical home per say, but your spiritual home (your heart)?” So, I have been pondering that question for myself. You see, It starts with me and my home. I cannot control what my neighbor does, thinks or says but I can control what I do, how I speak and act. So, do I say (either within myself or with a sign) I love everyone but if honest, there are those few or maybe just one I do not agree with, can’t get along with , think differently from and possibly harbor bitterness, anger or envy against. For myself, I have to ask; if there is just one, can I truly say, ‘Hate has no home here?”

And a thanks to those who created the sign b/c without it; I would not have had that specific opportunity to chat with my wife and child nor would I have sat & read thus prompting a search of my own heart. So I will continue to search those deeper parts of my heart because from the heart flows the springs of life and what my mouth speaketh forth (Luke 6:45 & Prov. 4:23). My prayer for myself (and you) is that our heart will continually grow & change as we recognize/experience the depth, intimacy and reality of His love and as that happens, we will be able to say with all confidence: Love does trump hate!

Distraction or Deliverance

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YogaDo I seek distraction or deliverance? Even as I type those words out; it seems rather strong language but is it not true? Skye Jethani writes, “Rather than helping us experience the joys, sorrows, victories and defeats of life more acutely…a great deal of our contemporary efforts are designed to help us get along, to make us most comfortable in this journey…but distraction is not the same as deliverance…” Whether it be physically, spiritually or relationally, we often prefer to be distracted rather than dealing with certain issues – especially if these issues cause pain and/or fear.
Let’s for a moment speak of pain. Most – if not all people – do not want pain but is not pain a major motivator to seek help? But even when we seek help, are we wanting to be delivered from the cause of pain (i.e. poor lifestyle habits, relational dysfunction, and spiritual unrest) or merely distracted from it so it is no longer a hindrance to our comfortable lifestyle? I will admit – I often want a quick fix – a distraction if you will – so i do not have to deal with deeper issues. I mean, who has time or energy to be delivered? Maybe we should ask, who does not have the time to be delivered? Apparently, many of us!
We all have distraction techniques that can distract in the short term but do we realize pain (and/or fear) is what helps us stay alive. Again the question arises: do I want to be distracted from pain or delivered from it? Skye Jethani continues, “Physically, pain (and fear) helps us stay alive in a dangerous world. Spiritually, pain (and fear) awaken our souls to seek a beauty, a justice and a freedom beyond what this present world can provide.” It is time to stop being so distracted and understand that to be delivered is to first be awoken to the reality of pain and its purpose.
Did you realize than pain is a good thing? It is a warning system that something is wrong. The question is: are we listening to that warning system? Dr. Brand, a physician who work with lepers in India, states, “Most people view pain as an enemy…I thank God for pain; I cannot thank of a greater gift I could give my leprosy patients.” Dr. Brand goes on to explain that leprosy can destroy nerve endings so patients feel no pain. This may at first glance seem good but it is not. Without pain, a leprosy patient could be injured and left untreated – could lead to infection or death. Being distracted from pain could lead to death – now that is something to think about when it comes not only to our physical bodies but also our spiritual lives and our relationships.
Maybe CS Lewis says it best, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience but shouts to us in our pains: It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Are we so distracted that we cannot hear the shouts? I pray not.

CHRISTMAS all year

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The season is over. The presents have been worn & played with. The decoration are coming down & being put away. How are you feeling?xmas all year Is it possible to be as joyful & giving in January/February as you were in November/December? Of course it is! However, you may have to make one small, yet significant, change in your New Year mindset. Instead of the same ol’ resolutions that often disappoint; why not try CHRISTMAS all year! Think about it; everyone loves the season because of the joy, giving, lights, family, laugher, etc…so why not practice it all year!
C – cherish.
H – hope.
R – relax.
I – intentional.
S – simple.
T – thankful.
M -meaningful.
A – act.
S – significant.

Can we learn to cherish the moments that bring hope and learn to relax in the moments that don’t. Be thankful. Do intentional & simple acts that are meaningful & significant. You don’t need resolutions to change your life; ya just need a little bit of CHRISTMAS spread throughout the year! Maybe Roy L. Smith said it best, “He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”

Tourist or Traveler

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hand_shaped_heart_in_sunsetIn his book, ‘Courage & Calling” – Gordon Smith writes, “Observation is a critical means by which we learn about people – especially those who are different. Here, travel can be very formative in enabling us to see others and appreciate the human differences and the diversity of human experience. But a traveler is not the same as a tourist. To travel is to be with and among the people. A tourist is the center of attention; a traveler intentionally stays to one side and does not draw attention to her or himself.”
As I read those words, I had to ask myself: Do I approach my life – my everyday interactions with people – as a tourist or traveler? Do I make myself the center of attention or do I observe and learn with/from others?
I think of a verse: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another…” (John 13:35) How do I (how do you) love others? As a tourist – expecting all my wants to be met or as a traveler – intentionally observing and then loving them on purpose. Truth is, sometimes we need to be a tourist – we need others to bless, encourage and affirm us (“makie it all about us for a moment”) but let’s not forget; we are not to be tourists forever. We are called to be travelers – the very fragrance of God to those we are with & among (2 Cor. 2:14-15) Ahhhhhh, to be a traveler…to experience ‘This Love…”

Mobile World

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bosaltlake Trinity has launched its mobile-friendly website. I know, I know… It is about time! Now you can find the health info you need & want quickly. Check it out HERE, then share it with a friend. (yes, you have to be on a mobile device to appreciate it). Listen, we live in a mobile world. We love to be able to stream, text, facebook, tweet, instagram, snapcahat, etc…wherever & whenever. But in our mobile world, have we lost something…our own mobility? I simply mean this – we have the capability to be mobile – to connect to anyone…anywhere..anytime but we seem to be more sedentary than ever. Could it be our mobile world – with all its benefits – is causing some problems such as ‘text neck,’ joint/muscle pain, headaches, relational tension? I am not saying we should not be mobile but what I am concerned about is our lack of health (physically, mentally & spiritually) that can & often does accompany that mobile life. Use the mobile world – including Trinity’s new site – to enhance health not hinder it!
I got to thinking about this for two reasons: (1) well, did I mention we launched a new mobile site :)  (2) This past weekend, I taught some kiddos about Solomon and the building of the temple. I asked the kids, ‘Do you think Solomon kept the temple clean or allowed it to get dirty?” All said clean then they gave me reasons why & how. I used that to transition to talk about how our ‘bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.’ (1 Cor. 6:19-20). I asked them, “Should we keep our temples clean or allow it to get dirty?” Of course, all said clean. I asked, ‘How do we keep it clean?” They answered, “Take a shower.” That made me smile b/c that is the simple honest truth. Kids, love them! We then spoke briefly about drinking water, eating good food, exercise and thinking healthy thoughts. We ended by playing a game to get the kids moving (both physically & mentally) and I told the kids they would be wise (like Solomon) to keep their temples healthy! So, what about you? Do you wish to be wise? If so, be mobile in a mobile world!
To help you be wise & keep your temple clean, here are two helpful links: (1) A blog post about being flexible (aka: mobile) both physically & spiritually (2) Eight Healthy Habits to keep you mobile.


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oct2016walkAs I was working out the other day – the word focus came to my mind. As it did – I formulated an acronym for it. Not sure why I did but that is me I guess :) FOCUSFind One Cause U Support. I was sure that acronym had already been used. Guess what? It has not. But apparently if you google acronyms for the word focus – you will get 32 – yes 32 – other options.
As I have let my newly coined acronym steep in my brain, this thought occurred to me: Are we ADD in our pursuits – going from one good thing to the next without every taking the time to understand why we support what we support? Is there a common theme in each of those pursuits? Plus, I wonder how many people are supporting too many “good causes” which can dilute their time, energy and financial resources for the one cause (the one thing that deep down drives & pushes & calls) that may give them the most passion, purpose and enjoyment while at the same time benefiting others? Are we fearful of saying no to more because of what others may think of us? Do we say yes just to please other people? You see, to find one cause u support -it takes a bit of personal inventory and reflection on what brings you the most enjoyment and purpose in life. Are we willing to risk the pursuit even when others may not agree or understand?
I am currently reading a book titled, ‘Courage & Calling.’ The author, Gordon T. Smith, writes, “In John 17:4 we have the remarkable words where Jesus says to the Father, “I glorified you on Earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” I long for the same; that I am able to come to the end of my life and know before God that I had fulfilled my vocation. But we will not be able to do this unless we learn to say no. We will not have this privilege unless we come to clarity about who we are and what we are called to do. This requires focus, discipline and courage. But the results are freedom – freedom from ambition, freedom from the pressures and expectations of others, freedom to be who we are before God. It is freedom to embrace the call of God upon our lives with joy and hope.”
Let’s be honest: We all desire lives of freedom – filled with joy and hope but that does not just happen. It takes discipline and courage to be your unique-beautifully created self in a world filled with ambitions, fears and expectations. Simply, it takes…FOCUS?