Wondering What Happened  

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Have you ever returned to a town you used to live and noticed that in your time of absence things changed? Changes like: Businesses closed, buildings torn down, town expansion, etc. We reflect back "in the day" when we lived there and the way the environment used to look. I remember taking my wife to a town where I used to live. It was very small and it only took about 15 minutes to "tour". I enjoyed trip down memory lane of returning to the "Prairie Chicken Capital of the World", with a population of 130 (in 2000), according to the Wikipedia website.

Change is happening in our world all the time. In order for change to take place, someone must be willing to work and carry out the work that creates change. For those that do not put in the work, they may wonder what happened while "they were gone". This brings us to a quote that challenges me as I think about change and the effort it takes implementing change...

There are those that work, there are those that talk about those working, and there are those that wonder what happened. ~ DudLee Brennfoerder
Which category do you generally fit into? Are you a "get involved" kind of person, a "talk about whose getting involved" person, or a "when did this change" kind of person? As a society we are infected with this mentality. It affects us in various facets: communities, jobs, churches, etc.

Usually those in the latter two categories have a difficult time seeing the purpose in a project. The more we're a part of a project the more we see the purpose and develop a passion in the project.

As you look around your community, workplace, or church, think about how you will be involved with a project/program. If there isn't a work going on that you want to be involved in, think about an area that you are passionate about and see what might happen. Your passion will may end up being magnetic to others, causing them to desire to be involved, also.

It is very enjoyable to be involved in areas you feel strongly about. It motivates you so much that you may find it hard to quit or not look forward to the time when the project is finished. Get involved...who knows what fun adventures are right around the corner that you never would have known about if you didn't pursue your passions.

Energized by being involved...
Picture came from: http://www.thelope.com/2006/09/three-meals-in-kansas.htmlShare/Bookmark

Being Strong  

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A lot of people have what is commonly referred to as a "sweet tooth". I'm one of those people. I tend to want to have something sweet, even if small, after a meal. Sometimes I come up with quirky things to satisfy that craving. It can be really difficult to resist. Maybe one of the things that you crave is chocolate...which brings us to this quote...

Strength is the ability to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of those pieces. ~ Judith Viorst
Strength is defined by Webster as "the quality or state of being strong". This can cover different aspects. For instance, knowing when to say no to things, standing up in the midst of trials, or lifting great amounts of weight.

Life is full of choices. May God give you the strength, as you end your week, to make good choices.

Seeking strength...Share/Bookmark

Unleashed Imagination  

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One question every American child is asked sometime during childhood is "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Some will state the occupation of a parent. Others may say to be a sports star, an actor/actress, or another type of celebrity. What was your answer?

Why didn't we make it to that goal? I think that part of the problem lies in this week's quote...

Nothing limits achievement like small thinking;
nothing expands possibilities like unleashed imagination. ~ William Arthur Ward
At some point, either you or someone very close to you will start to limit your achievement by thinking small. In the movie "Rudy" there is the transitional scene where the main character, who happens to be the baby of the family, says "Someday, I'm going to play football for Notre Dame." Laughter and doubt comes forth. "Yeah right" are the thoughts. This small thinking and the many obstacles in life didn't stop him from making his dream come true. If you saw the movie you cheered along with him when he accomplished his goal.

What small thinking has limited your possibilities? Financial, doubt, fear, whispers from your conscience, life going in a different direction, jeers, faded passion? What about seeing where you're at and re-routing your direction so you can still expand the possibilities? Don't let things stop you, just use the obstacles as opportunities to be re-routed and see what is around the next bend, but keep on going! Imagination is absent of boundaries. Let yourself dream, then start seeing how you can get from where you're at to that point!

Don't think small, and maybe one day you'll get to "play for Notre Dame" too!

Enjoying imagining...Share/Bookmark

Beyond 99.44% - I Peter 1:22c  

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How pure is your love...to your spouse, your family, your friends, or your church family? "Ninety-nine and forty-four percent pure love..." was the words of Ronnie Milsap as he sang the song "Pure Love" over twenty years ago. He is wanting to let the woman he loves to say that his love is very pure. What stops him from going on to 100%? How about the rest of us?

Yesterday, we looked at the first chapter of Peter's first letter and verse twenty-two, the last part. This part of the text says that our love for each other should be "pure". For me, this is a constant challenge to strive toward that goal. As we focus on this goal, let's look at some applications to choose from to use in our everyday life...

  1. None of us are perfect and imperfection means flaws. Saying this to say we may not be perfect, but our goal should be to become as close to perfection (at least in certain areas) as possible. May we pray that God will reveal our imperfections and show us how to love beyond 99.44%.
  2. We've all probably been told "You don't hate anyone". However, the reality is, the word basically means "love less". We've all felt that way toward someone. The phrase is an adage to help teach children a lesson, one that adults seldom practice. If you are feeling hurt, offended, criticized, etc., by someone, pray for that person - believe me it helps a lot!
  3. Love is not like clothing that is put on and taken off when we feel like it. It is something that should be "inside" and not on the "outside". Love is an action which comes from making a decision. A decision that says "No matter what, I want to keep our relationship out of Satan's reach so that he will not damage it in any way." Pray a prayer of maintenance so that when relationships are severed, you will have "prepared your mind for action" (I Peter 1:13) and be able work through it, completely.
One of the biggest lessons that I realized through this lesson was to ask myself, "What if Jesus were only to have died for 99.44% of my sins?" WOW! If that were the case, I'd be without hope! Praise God that Jesus died for 100% of my sins. As He is my example, I am challenged to extend that same percentage of love toward others!

Have a great week!

Aspiring to Always Extend Christlike Love...Share/Bookmark

Kick in Teeth...Good?  

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Walt Disney, the man, was so poor, at one point, he was forced to eat dog food. He also realized that releasing Bambi (1942) during wartime was not the best thing to do (imagine seeing Bambi's mom being shot and it reminding you of loved ones at war). (website reference at bottom)

Walt suffered through lots of difficulties, but if you look at what Disney has become, the end result is definitely worth the persistence and perseverance. Look at this week's quote about Walt Disney...

"All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me ... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you." - Walt Disney
I did some searching and found that Walt Disney Incorporated did a total of over 37 billion dollars in revenue in 2007. That looks like 37,000,000,000 with the zeros involved. That is over six times more than the population of the planet! Success doesn't come in a short time. Success doesn't come without troubles.

What are you passionate about in life? What are one of your goals for your life? If you could do anything for a hobby or job, what would it be? What keeps you from pursuing that goal? Walt had a talent and dreams. He pursued them and found success. May we look for ways we can pursue our goals - who knows what the future holds!

Anticipating the future...


Stretched Out Love - I Peter 1:22b  

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"Stretch out and touch those toes...Now hold it...1, 2, 3,...Keep holding...c'mon, don't give up...27, 28, 29, 30, and stop."

For some of you there may have been a mental relapse from a time in your life you were involved in some sort of formal exercise class. You may have been straining to hold on for that entire time. It may have been an uncomfortable feeling. If you stayed with it, it may have become easier to stretch as you did it more frequently. Generally, this is the case for everyone. If we would just push ourselves past the uncomfortable stage, the end is worth it. As we looked yesterday at Peter's instruction to "love one another earnestly" we, too, are asked to stretch out our love to one another. Here are some applications to choose from to use in your life...

  1. Peter challenged his readers, in the midst of major persecution, to be active in reaching out to their fellow brethren, wherever it was needed. Pray that you will be more and more willing to reach out your love to every brother and sister here. Regardless of any wrongdoings on their part, if you've been burned before, or if you just want to brush this instruction off to the side. If this is easy for you now, then pray a preventative prayer that will not hinder your spiritual relationships in the future.
  2. Make a personal commitment that you will do whatever you can when a need is brought up. For example, that you will look at your schedule and see if you can put that off to help your spiritual family with their needs. Or you will see the need as trying something new and work through what may be uncomfortable to stretch yourself...who knows, it may become your new passion!
  3. Pray for each person in our congregation, throughout a given time.
  4. If reconciliation is needed, pray about it, and make a point to create an opportunity to mend fences.
  5. Write a note of encouragement to each person, not just families, throughout a given time.
May we be "guy wires" for our fellow brother or sister as we are constantly stretching out our love to each other, regardless of what is given to us.

Have a great week!

Holding my own...Share/Bookmark

Oliver's First Fireworks and his 6th Month Birthday  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , ,

originally uploaded by A Day in the Life of Oliver.
Only a handful of people get to celebrate their 6th month birthday on July 4th. Oliver had the chance to see his first fireworks (his silhouette) this year. He loved them...especially the continual "fountain-like" ones. Noise didn't bother him a bit.

He's such a joy and a blessing!Share/Bookmark


Posted by Jarrod Spencer in

Enjoying my flotation ring
What a life!,
originally uploaded by A Day in the Life of Oliver.
We recently returned from vacation...there are lots of pictures that can be seen of Oliver at his picture website. Just click on the slide show in the right hand column.

Oliver learned to sit up on his own, his first tooth came in, he swam in a big pool for the first time, and lots of other fun things!


Solution or Problem?  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

Opinions are prevalent about most anything. Currently, ask someone about the gas prices and they will have an opinion about it. Ask about the government...there will be an opinion. Ask about your school...there will be an opinion. Ask about your church...there will be an opinion. There is nothing wrong with opinions, per se. What makes them create problems is when we don't use our opinions to create something positive, as a result. This quote makes me stop and think about what I'm doing with my opinions...

It doesn't matter how strong your opinions are. If you don't use your power for positive change, you are, indeed, part of the problem. ~ Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King, wife to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had to have a stressful life. Especially, as she was at the side of a man who was bold in making his "dream" become a reality. Not living in the 1960's, nor ever living in a place of racial segregation, I can only imagine what it must have been like to be her. Racial segregation definitely had, and continues to have, its fair share of opinions.

However, she played a part in using the energy, that formed her opinions, into action to help bring about change. That is where the application comes in to play. No matter what you have an opinion about, where can you be a part of the solution instead of the problem?

When you are thinking of all the things that need to be changed in a particular area, person, group of people, etc., turn it around and start thinking of ways in which you can help bringing those changes into a reality from a positive aspect.

Rethinking my thoughts...Share/Bookmark

Smiling at Daddy...  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , ,

It is probably safe to say that practically every parent soaks up every smile their child gives them, especially when they are babies and just learning to smile.

Our six-month-old has been smiling for a few months now. Even though I'm not able to compare, since this is our first child, he seems to be one of the "smiley-est" babies that I've ever known. He smiles at his mom and me. He smiles at family and friends. He even smiles at strangers when they talk to him.

His smiles are infectious. I smile every time he smiles. Oliver lights up a room with his ear-to-ear smile.

Parents must love it when their children look up at them and smile. I can only imagine what God, the Father, must feel like to see His children "look to Him" and smile...it must bring so much joy to Him, too!

Look over in the right hand column for some pictures of Oliver to see his smiles.

Taking in each and every smile...Share/Bookmark