Ever heard of a “slow watch“?

February 3rd, 2016

A cool new product inspired today’s word-of-the-week…

SLOW

Ever heard of a “slow watch“?slow

It’s a real thing. Basically it’s a 24-hour watch with a single hand. The idea is that we don’t need to know the time down to the minute and second. So if we wear a watch that doesn’t measure life in small increments, perhaps we’ll slow down and make time for important things.

It’s kind of a a cool idea, and I suspect that a slow watch would be a great conversation starter. However, since I don’t wear a watch I don’t think I’ll spend a few hundred dollars for a high-tech sun dial.

The slow watch raises a question. What do we lose by chopping our lives up into tiny segments and accounting for every moment?

How often are we too busy for a conversation?

How often do we fill the time with urgent and miss important?

Do we hurry to somewhere that doesn’t really matter and neglect somewhere that does?

Do we pretend that quality time is a substitute for time?

Is God an appointment on our morning calendar rather than a partner throughout our day?

A slow watch won’t trick you or me into re-prioritizing our time. At best it’s a silly reminder that life wasn’t meant to be divided into smaller and smaller chunks in the name of a false sense of efficiency.

Jesus didn’t use a watch or a calendar. He was fully present with the people and tasks before Him. We probably need to learn from His example.

Let’s find some time this week that would be best measured by a “slow watch.”

 

From Pieces to Something Beautiful

February 1st, 2016

My doorbell rang, and I dashed to the door. The garage door technician arrived with my new garage door.

I stared at his pickup truck and asked, “Where’s the garage door?”

“On the floor of the truck in boxes.”

On my tiptoes, I looked into the truck and saw the boxes. I could hardly wait for him to tear down the old garage door and install the new one. Have you ever experienced that anticipation over something new?

Like a child waiting for a present, I opened my kitchen door every forty-five minutes or so to check the technician’s progress.

I cheered when he removed the old door. He said, “Besides being noisy, the door had two cracks in it. It wouldn’t have lasted much longer.”

I swept my hand across my forehead. “I’m relieved I had the door removed before serious trouble occurred.”

When I saw the beautiful new door in place, a smile spread across my face.

Next the technician mounted the light, the keypad, and other wonderful features.

As I looked at the pile of pieces from the old door and admired the new one, I thought of how God takes the pieces of our broken lives and makes us beautiful through his Son Jesus Christ.

Have you experienced that new creation?

2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Dear God, I don’t want a life full of broken pieces. Amen.

Application: What day this week will you allow God to make you a new creation?

Do You Shine Or Reflect?

January 29th, 2016

EarthForty-seven years ago, two humans first stood on the moon.

July 20, 1969 offered an historic opportunity for perspective. Many folks saw an opportunity to look toward the stars. Others turned and gazed homeward.

The shining blue Earth reminded me of a curious bit of advice I saw recently. The author suggested if you want to grow and learn you must “Get out of your own light.”

Sounds sort of profound, huh? There’s only one teeny, tiny flaw in the logic. You and I are just like that bright blue Earth… we have no light of our own. The Earth only reflects the sun’s light.

We only reflect the light of Jesus.

We can’t “get out of our own light.” We can, however, turn toward the Light.

If we reflect Jesus’ light, we become a beacon shining in the darkness. We show people the way as surely as that small reflective disc guided explorers home.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Do you hear what I hear?

January 25th, 2016

“Do you hear what I hear?” Is your heart strangely warmed within you–like the men who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus right after he was raised from the dead? Or like Francis of Assisi have you heard the ‘call’ to walk away from the riches and stature offered in ‘Babylon’ (the world) and to care for the destitute and most marginalized around you?

Hearing the call of Jesus is not about having “it” all figured out. Neither is it about arguing doctrinal positions or whether your grace experience can be characterized as “hyper” or “balanced.” And it’s not shoving a Bible down someone’s so called “lost and headed to hell throat”; whether it be an Authorized KJV (only by the way), The Message, The Mirror, or the NIV translation.

The holy call and mandate that all followers of Jesus share in common is to take the Kingdom/Grace Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world! This clarion call demands that we who carry this awesome message be a reflection of the passionate love of Jesus!

1 Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. 2 Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that! (Ephesians 5:1-2, Msg)

Jesus called twelve of his followers (and now us as well) and sent them into the ripe fields. He gave them power to kick out the evil spirits and too tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives… Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the Kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons… You don’t need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment… (Matthew 10:2-4, 6-7, The Message, emphasis mine)

This call hasn’t changed. The fields are riper than ever. The Kingdom is still here. People are just as bruised, hurt and confused. Our power source is still Jesus. Our authentic testimony of saving grace still brings healing, raises the dead, comforts the afflicted, kicks the enemies butt and brings light to the darkness. The untouchables still need the tender touch of Jesus through us. We are still ‘the equipment.’ This is not a job for sophisticates and know-it-all’s. No, it is our job and calling. The simple; the humble, those whose lives have been completely re-ordered and healed by Jesus himself—these are those who readily respond and are daily listening for the next ‘call’.

This is simple enough. The call and provision of Jesus elevates our daily purpose. Can you imagine a higher purpose? Can you find a more meaningful investment of your life? The return is phenomenal and eternal! We don’t need to wait on slick marketing, fund-raising campaigns or complicated, “high browed” elitist strategies. Christ in us, through His indwelling Holy Spirit is more than enough! The motivation of Father’s heart will beat and course through every cell in our bodies us as we simply share His message of grace. His loving, fiery passion will capture our hearts as we share His heart with the world around us.

In the grip of Papa’s loving and graceful call,

Ron Ross

Copyright by Ron Ross.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.

A Lesson Learned from Actors

January 22nd, 2016

Life is determined by what we rehearse.

An actor reads the lines once and they’re words on a page. Great actors rehearse until they become the character represented by the words.

One person looks at a long bike ride and says, “I could never do that.” He practices that speech enough times until it becomes part of his identity. He’s the person who could never do a long bike ride. Doesn’t matter if he really could, or even if he wants to. He’s rehearsed himself into being the guy who knows he can’t do it.

Another says, “I wonder if I could do that.” The wonder leads to questions and choices. Whatever the decision, this is the person who decided about the ride.

See the difference? One rehearses I can’t; the other I wonder if I could.

I think we rehearse all sorts of things, but today I’m focused on fear and courage.

I’m afraid confronts the fear, names it, allows me to lean on Jesus and move forward. I’m afraid is an act of courage, a way of not allowing fear to control me.

Rehearsing the fear is different. Rehearsing makes fear part of me and gives me an excuse to avoid moving forward.

One incidence of courage…nice. Repeat it a few dozen times, and courage becomes a way of life.

I find some aspects of life terribly frightening. I really don’t want to rehearse those fears, and I’m grateful I don’t have to get there on my own.

How about you?

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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Have You Been Beside Quiet Waters?

January 20th, 2016

“Great, I’ll meet you in the Outer Banks,” I told my friend Deborah. Thursday morning I left for the beautiful Outer Banks beach area in North Carolina. Have you looked forward to a vacation?

In spite of a forecast of rain for four days, we enjoyed lovely sunny days. It rained twice, but we were in for the night once and at dinner the second time. The rain didn’t change our plans. Has the rain ever changed yours?

God led us beside quiet waters without Internet access and the proper cable box to hook up the new television in the home. The lack of “technological advances” over the holiday weekend gave us more time to walk at the beach, listen to the ocean waves, to collect shells, read, pray, laugh, and talk.

I needed to post my fieldwork for an online class. I found a café with free Wi-Fi, enjoyed a cup of hot tea, talked with the local people, and submitted the assignment.

God led us beside quiet waters in the Outer Banks without cable television and Internet service. He refreshed our soul.

As Deborah and I look back on the four days, we agree we wouldn’t change a thing. We wouldn’t trade the blessings for those technological “conveniences.” Would you be able to say the same thing?

Psalm 23:2b-3a: “He leads me beside quiet waters. He refreshes my soul.”

Dear God, I long for your quiet waters. Please lead me beside them. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to allow God to lead you beside quiet waters and refresh your soul?

Do You Agree?

January 18th, 2016

Recent events got me thinking about today’s word-of-the-week…
AGREE

Monday Wouldn’t it be great if we could all agree on every issue?

Sadly, The Good Ship Lollipop hasn’t sailed down my street recently and I haven’t taken up residence in Fantasyland. Since I don’t live in a bubble, I’m going to encounter people with whom I disagree.

In fact, I’d argue it’s my job to do exactly that, because that’s what Jesus did. He made a point of hanging out with the very people the hyper-religious types avoided. He went to their homes, attended their parties, ate their food…and asked us to follow Him.

Do you think He entered a house and started by saying something like “I want you to know I hate your sinful lifestyle and I’m only here because it’s my duty”? Do you think He felt like He was lowering His standards? Did He send someone else because He didn’t want to associate with some particular class of sinner?

I think He hung out with people because He loved them. He wasn’t worried that the neighborhood (or the country) might lose God’s favor because He honored, reached out to, respected another human being.

Jesus said it’s easy to love those who love you in return. He called us to do the hard thing, to love and serve those who aren’t so easy to love. (Luke 6)

I won’t speak for you. I think others see my faith in how I respond to those with whom I disagree. Honestly, I miss the mark a lot and I’m sorry for that.

I’m trying. I want them to see Jesus.

How Can You Avoid Being Deceived?

January 15th, 2016

“How could I have believed all of Pete’s lies? Janie said through tears. She sat across from me in my office and twisted the shoulder straps on her purse.

“He said he loved me and wanted to marry me.” Janie looked at the floor and shook her head. “He told me he lost his job because he defended mistreated employees.”

“I sense your shame and guilt for believing Pete. He must have sounded convincing.”

Between sobs, she said, “He sure did. He said he would have more money but he had house payments and utilities in his home state and the apartment rent here. All the time we dated, he had a girlfriend in his home caring for his children. She paid his utility bills and enough to cover the rent.”

“You didn’t completely believe him, Janie. I want to congratulate you for taking your time in the relationship and not marrying him.”

With a smile, she said, “At least I did that much right.”

How about you? With online dating services, social media, singles events, etc. you could meet someone like Pete too. How can you avoid it?

The Test of Time
First, take your time. Don’t rush into a serious relationship or marry on impulse. If someone tries to rush you, take it as a danger signal.

His Family, Friends, and Coworkers
Secondly, get to know the person’s family, friends, and coworkers. See how he treats them. Observe their conversations and behavior. If he makes excuses to keep you from them, consider that trouble.

Your Family, Friends, and Coworkers
Third, let him meet your family, friends, and coworkers. Ask them later for an honest opinion and listen. They care about you.

Social Media
Fourth, if he is on social media, compare what he tells you against the social media profiles and posts. Check his friends or connections.

Criminal Background Check
Fifth, do an online free criminal background check.

Prayer
Last but not least, pray daily. Ask God for wisdom and discernment.

2 Thessalonians 2:3: “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way.”

Dear God, keep me from deceitful personal and business relationships. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to avoid being deceived?

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Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Copyright by Yvonne Ortega, LPC, LSATP, CCDVC
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Yvonne is a Speaker, Author, Counselor, Cancer Survivor and
serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery.
She is the author of
“Moving from Broken to Beautiful: 9 Life Lessons to Help You Move Forward”
Download her One Sheet at http://www.yvonneortega.com.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Religion stifles imagination?

January 13th, 2016

I surprised someone in a conversation about today’s word-of-the-week…

IMAGINATION

A lady said religion stifles imagination.

I agreed, which surprised her. “But,” I continued, “religion isn’t necessarily the same thing as following Jesus.”

We had a cool, though brief, discussion about human-created religion with its often burdensome rules and constraints. She didn’t know anything else existed, so I explained that Jesus essentially spent three years poking at established religion. I encouraged her not to confuse Jesus with His followers.

I proposed that there is nothing stifling about Jesus.

J.R.R Tolken… Lord Of The Rings. C.S. Lewis… Chronicles of Narnia. Are those enough imagination?

To me, God is infinitely creative and we’re made in His image. How can imagination NOT be integral to who we are?

I suspect my friend was telling me that the “religious folks” she knows don’t show a lot of imagination. So perhaps she just hangs out with the wrong crowd.

Or… maybe we’ve allowed ourselves to become a little too predictable, a little too safe.

Where can you and I demonstrate this week that Jesus was anything but safe and predictable?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Every new beginning is just a first step away!

January 11th, 2016

‘Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth,
do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.’ Isaiah 43:19

The day of our birth is actually the start of our own individual new year.

I often send birthday greetings to loved ones that reflect my wishes for their coming year to be filled with many blessings of health and happiness.

That makes the first day of January, the commencement of our collective new year, which, when taken as a whole, seems like a long stretch of time.

Newly begun, it is equated with new beginnings, with the promise of the future, as it becomes the new days of our lives.

There is no denying that we are living in times of upheaval and unprecedented change that is being experienced around the world. We can consciously close the media out and yet, somehow, we are still aware of
the tumult and energetic dissonance that is present.

Indeed, in dark times, it is often the chance to begin
again which helps us to make it through.
We take each day, each step, each breath,
one at a time, in order to survive.
Remembering that each new beginning
holds the potential to change things for the better:
To lighten the darkness;
To ease the load
To heal the wound
To forgive and love again ~Wayne Visser

Every new beginning is just a first step away. And so we begin 2016 with anticipation of what is promised in faith and what may be actualized in our trust of the peace that surpasses all understanding.

~*~
Becky and Jim Gabriel

Since 1980, Jim and Becky Gabriel have helped multiple numbers
of patients in Georgia and Sarasota and graduated a thousand
massage therapists from ASHA, the Academy of Somatic Healing Arts,
their Atlanta massage school.Their mission is to provide innovative, effective health care services,
educational materials and classes as well as holistic health and wellness
products for the entire community. They may be contacted via:
The Gabriel Center for Massage Therapy