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but the Brevity

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

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

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

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?

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

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

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

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

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

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

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

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

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

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.


by Bo Bryson | No Comments

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?

Prepare my heart…

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

As I was reading & writing this morning, this phrase came to my mind: ‘Prepare my heart to receive it’ – not fully sure all what that means yet but as I let it sink in – I thought about a few things:
(1) A farmer preparing a field. The farmer does not and would not expect a harvest without cultivating and planting.
(2) A team preparing for a game. The players and coach would not expect to win without preparing during practice.
(3) A band preparing for a concert. The band would not expect to hit all the right notes without hours of prep beforehand.
(4) A teacher preparing for class. The teacher cannot nor should not expect a great learning environment if he/she is scrambling to get a lesson together.
(5) An employee preparing for a presentation. The employee cannot expect to hold the attention of the employer if they ‘wing it.’
(6) A pastor preparing a sermon. The pastor should not expect a great response if he/she has not taken the time to hear from God.
(7) A spouse preparing a surprise. The spouse must pay attention to what the other’s likes/dislikes are if the surprise is to be of great value.
(8) A parent preparing to discipline. The parent may not get the result they want if all they are concerned with is behavior and neglect the heart behind the behavior. That takes much prep!
As I thought about all those scenarios and the degrees of variation that can occur within each of them – I did notice one thing. Being prepared is the key to receive what comes our way no matter what it is. If we are not prepared, how can we expect to not get anxious or worried? A friend gave me a verse: Matthew 6:34 (msg) - “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Being prepared is giving our attention to what matters.
Two other verses I found that speak to preparing the heart. (1) Ezra 7:10 – “And Ezra prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” Ezra not only prepared his heart but followed through with action. Let us be people that throws off passivity and prepares our heart to receive and gives attention to what God is doing right now! (2) Job 11:13-19 - “If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to him in prayer! Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you. Then your face will brighten with innocence. You will be strong and free of fear. You will forget your misery; it will be like water flowing away. Your life will be brighter than the noonday. Even darkness will be as bright as morning. Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety. You will lie down unafraid, and many will look to you for help.” Did you catch it – a prepared heart leads to walking in confidence.
How are you preparing your heart to receive all God has for you?

leave off the IF

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

A friend and I were speaking about what it looks/feels like to love unconditionally. We were sharing how often we put conditions on our love – on our generosity – on your time, etc…We say something to this affect: I will love you if…I will give you to if…I can help you if… Sound familiar?
As we continued to chat – he shared with me something he read. He said that the author of this book stated (and I paraphrase), “How many people did Jesus restore their sight only for them to go and have lustful/greedy thoughts based on what they could now see? How many people did Jesus restore their shriveled hand only for them to go steal or murder? How many people did Jesus cast out demons of to restore their sanity only for them to call him crazy? How many people did Jesus restore their ability to walk only for them to walk away from him? How many people did Jesus restore their voice that later was in the crowd that yelled crucify him?” It seems Jesus did not put ‘if’ at the end of his statements…I will restore your sight if you never look away from me. I will heal your legs if you only follow me. I will restore your voice if you only share your faith. It appears that Jesus just said, “I will love you. I will heal you.” Unconditionally – unapologetically – unashamedly – love manifested itself.
Now the next question to ask: Did Jesus really not expect anything? I think he did. He often stated, ‘Sin no more.” I think he expected the person’s life to be changed. But his love/healing was not based on if it did or did not. His love was based on his heart’s motivation to share the love of the Father – costly yet free.
So, what is our love based on? Is it based on what we can get -how we benefit or is it based on our heart’s motivation to share the love we have received? Are we called to love and serve and give at the cost of our health or immediate family – of course not. Do we need to set boundaries with certain individuals – sure we do, that is wisdom but do not call it healthy boundaries when it is nothing more than, ‘I get nothing in return.” Let us evaluate our heart’s motivation when it comes to loving others and take seriously the call of 1 Tim. 1:5, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
Can we learn to leave off the IF & dare to say: I will love you. (period) I will help you. (period) I will listen to you. (period)