Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Out of Gas

If you have ever run out of gas then you know the feeling. And it’s not a great one. I’ve run out of gas twice in my life. The first time I had just bought a ‘new’ 1967 Camaro project car. My wife and I headed out for a short drive with what I thought was a quarter tank of gas. I thought wrong, or at least the gauge lied. The best part of the story is that my wife was pregnant with our first child. So I had to leave her with the car, jog back to our other car, drive home to get a gas can, drive to the gas station and then back to the car. It wasn’t one of my best moments!

The next time was legit though. My wife and I were headed home from a conference that was on an island just off the coast of South Carolina. We had enough in the tank to get a ways down the road where fuel would be significantly less expensive. We set the cruise control and headed inland. When we drive we talk; about everything and nothing and this trip was no different. We got involved in some deep conversation and the next thing I knew the cruise control kicked off, the car sputtered once and then we coasted to the side of the road. At least she wasn’t pregnant this time! Fortunately we made it to the shade of an underpass but there was no running to the nearest gas station. I climbed the embankment to see what was around and the only thing I found was some barbed wire hidden under some vines. So back to the car I retreated with a hole in my pants and a matching one in my thigh. We called roadside assistance and waited an hour or so before we were back on our way.

So here is the lesson. The lower the level in your tank the greater the chance you will run out. Obvious right? I know people who seem to perpetually drive around with the gas light on. I also know people who start looking for the nearest station as soon as they get below a half of a tank. Running out of gas is more than a minor inconvenience. It costs time, energy, money (yours and sometimes others) and has the potential to cause greater damage. When you run a tank down to the last drop you often suck up trash that can clog filters, lines, injectors, etc. And that costs LOTS more time, energy and money.

You might be getting the idea that what I’m getting to isn’t just about cars. See we have all kinds of tanks in our lives. Health tanks, love tanks, relational tanks, emotional tanks, financial tanks, spiritual tanks and that’s just scratching the surface. And when one of those tanks runs out bad things happen. And often they don’t just affect us.

Just like cars we have to fill those tanks up on a regular basis to keep running. And we have to fill them up with the right fuel! So let’s take a minute today and look at the levels in our tanks. Some may be full which is great, some may be running a little low so let’s make sure to get those filled up and some may be completely dry (which is called a crisis). Not all crises are avoidable, but some are. And when our tanks are full we are definitely better able to handle them when they do come our way.

One last quick thought – Did you know that you can fill other people’s tanks? That’s right! Some of what God has given you doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to Him and He has entrusted you with the responsibility and privilege of passing it along to someone else. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

0 Dark Thirty

It’s 5:45 AM. It’s dark. And I’m awake and writing this.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against sleep. I know that the Bible says -

“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.” – Proverbs 6:10-11 NIV

But it also says -

“In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.” – Psalms 127:2 NIV

If there is one thing I know it’s that God loves me. They say, ‘The early bird gets the worm’, but I haven’t ever eaten a worm and I really don’t plan to. After all we’re not on Survivor! I’m not typically what you would call a ‘morning person’. Actually I would be more or what you would consider as a ‘night owl’. So why am I up so early this morning? Well to be honest I’m just too excited to sleep. I’m running another Spartan Race today and I’m fired up! 13+ miles of mud and barbed wire and obstacles are calling my name. You know when I was a kid there were certain days I would wake up way before I needed to – Christmas morning, trips to Disneyland, the day of our annual family camping trip; I was just too wound up to sleep.

I’ve realized that there is another day when I find myself awake long before my alarm goes off – Sundays. I am just so excited to be in God’s presence, to hang out with God’s people and to see what He has in store for us. He is the Creator of the universe after all! Now I know that God is there on Monday and Tuesday and every other day of the week but when we gather together as the church it’s just different. It’s full of potential and promise and power. And if I’m preaching that day I’m not even sure how I ever fall asleep!

Jesus said the greatest commandment is –

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” – Mark 12:30 NIV

There is so much there in that statement. Our heart, our soul, our mind and our strength – our desires, our emotions, our thoughts and our actions. To me the key word in that verse is ‘ALL’. God deserves nothing less than our everything. We should be so passionate about Him that it changes our whole world. I know it has changed mine. See passion is all consuming, it can’t be parked off in some little corner only to be dusted off every once in a while. Life has a way of redefining our priorities without us even realizing it. Maybe you’re realizing that your passion level is a little lower than you would like it to be. The good news is it’s not hard to fix. See passion is a product of priority. Make it a priority to spend more time with God, more time with His people and I promise that your passion problem will fix itself. I can’t promise that you won’t lose a little sleep! God bless.

God's Promises.

Earlier this week I was working on a log cabin I have for sale. As I was driving over to crawl back under the house for the 3rd day this is ...