I Do It Because… (A Poem)

I do it because it has become a part of me.
I do it because I can’t not do it.
It has grabbed a hold and refuses to let go.
I do it because it is a part of me.
It lingers in my head,
Until I can let it out.
I do it because I love it.
Words mingle together like star crossed lovers in a dark room.
I do it because if I don’t who will?
I do it because it makes me feel alive.
I don’t do it to be famous (though some recognition is always nice)
I do it because it’s in me.
Who can tell me not to do it?
What reason do you have??
If you want me to stop ask, I may consider it.
Then again I do it because I have to.
Not out of compulsion or obligation,
but out of desire and of will.
I do it to bring pleasure,
Mainly I do it for the thrill.
In the end I do it because….

Getting Things Done (Will Power vs Spirit Power)

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Over this last week I have learned a lot about myself and the nature of things. I learned that I try to hard to do things on my own. I don’t trust in God nearly as much as I should or even as much as I tell other people to. I know I guess that makes me a hypocrite and for that I must repent. (I’m a work in progress please give me grace).

One thing I can say is that at least I am becoming more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit to recognize that I am relying on my own strength too much. Don’t get me wrong sometimes pure dogged determination will get a lot accomplished. However, when we need to do things in the spiritual realm that type of determination just doesn’t cut it. I am learning that the hard way. But at least I am learning that and not being so hard headed/hearted as to completely ignore it.

Why is it so hard to live in step with the Spirit? I would venture to say it is because he is perfect and we are not. We have a hard time trusting in things we cannot see. We see things in the natural form forgetting that there is a spiritual side to life as well. Just like the graphic there are steps we feel we need to take and we tend to think that only we can accomplish them. Instead we need to be more like Martin Luther, he would pray for two hours a day, except on days he had much to accomplish he would then pray for three hours. He recognized the importance the spiritual plays with the physical.

This week I have had a major amount of reading and studying to do and to be honest with you I will not complete all that is laid out in front of me. At least not of my own accord. I guess you can say that I am a doubting Thomas in a sense. I don’t see how the Lord will be able to help me get through all of the reading I have to do to get certain assignments completed. Sure I should probably be using the time I am writing this to be reading, but for whatever reason it just feels futile.

I know I will get the work done maybe not on time but it will be completed. There is one assignment that is already behind, but If the others are done by the due date it is because the Lord gave me the strength and wisdom to accomplish it. There is no other way for it to be done.

There will be some who discount what I have to say in this post and I’m okay with that. I know it is hard to think the Holy Spirit has any control in our lives and how things turn out. I struggled with this idea for years, but have come to a place of acceptance. Knowing that God is sovereign has made a huge impact on how I live day to day. It doesn’t mean I get a pass to be lazy because God will take care of it. It does however free me from guilt knowing that God will have me accomplish his will in his time and not my own. If he wants me to pass a class or to fail then that is what is going to happen. I still have to bear down and do my part, God is not just going to give me “A’s” because I’m his child. I have to work for them.

This is where the age old debate of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility come into play. D.A. Carson has an excellent book on the topic. All of this to say we are not the product merely of our own strength but a combination of our work and the work of the Holy Spirit.

Question: Do you tend to trust in yourself more or the role of the Spirit in your life?

What Do I Read?

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It’s an intriguing question. One not so easy to answer. At least not for me. I read things which interest me. Right now all kinds of things interest me. Especially learning how to be a better author/blogger/person. If you have read this blog for any period of time you have probably heard me mention a few names before, but two who are main stays are Michael Hyatt and Jeff Goins these two men are writing articles that get me going. They inspire me to be better.

 

Better how? Well, better at making content not because I want you to read it but because I’d want to read it. I have just finished Hyatt’s book Platform and did a review of it. I am in the process of almost finishing Goins book The In-Between it has been a very interesting book and will probably get a review as well.

 

Along with material like that I generally read things on theology, biblical studies, being a good pastor, church stuff. It is rare for me to read some thing that is fictitious. There is one author who I do enjoy who writes fiction and his name is Andy Andrews he wrote a book called The Noticer which was very good, I have the second book in the queue to be read.

 

The reason I tend to read so much churchy stuff is because of my chosen profession. I am studying to become a pastor (hopefully sooner than later). Therefore I tend to have to read this kind of stuff.

 

However, I do enjoy a good blog which can be transparent and down to earth. Or they can help me to understand my oldest son a little better (he has Aspergers). Don’t get me wrong I still read blogs associated with church things. Not because I have to but because I love God and want to serve him well. One of my favorite sites is 9Marks they publish great articles, journals and books.

 

I read a lot of dead guys, preferably Spurgeon he is my favorite. I am learning to read more biographies too.It allows me to learn from the wins and losses of men who came before me. Why reinvent the wheel when I don’t need to. A great little biography I’ve read recently was on Samuel Rutherford.

 

If you go to my about me page there is a link to my Amazon wish list it shows you the kinds of books I am looking forward to.

 

As you can see my reading is sometimes rather diverse  and other times it is centered on one or two topics due to classes and the amount of time they take up. As I write this post I am getting ready for a class in systematic theology and another in the history of Baptist later in the spring. Can you guess what I will be reading then?

 

What about you, what types of things do you enjoy reading? What books, blogs or articles would you recommend for me to read?

Finding My Voice

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I have been writing constantly for a month now. I cannot guarantee that I have found my voice, but what I do know is that I am finding it. I thank all of you who have shown an interest in my blog and made the choice to follow me. THANK YOU.
I am still learning who I am as a writer as as such I may have sometimes i veer off course. I hope you will stick with me through those times, and possible encourage me to find my way back to what made you enjoy my writing to begin with.

I may end up slowing down a little bit in the coming months with school getting ready to start back up. I plan on writing you guys (and gals) good quality content. It is my hope to post 3x a week. If there are things you would like for me to consider writing about, please contact me and let met know. I will do my best to do it.

While I may be alone on this side of the keyboard I know we are creating a great community here. In the next couple of months I will be moving to a self hosted site and hope that you all will continue to follow along. I love to talk about God, my family and even my health (as crazy as it is).

Thank you for coming on this journey with me as I find my voice and attempt to lead this tribe.
God Bless,
Paul

Do What You Love!

     What does it look like to have a child like faith? It’s a simple enough question isn’t it. I believe that it is having to do with having an awe and wonder about things. This is how we are supposed to approach God right with a child like faith. Why is it so hard to do that? It has to be because we have lost that sense of awe and wonder.
How do we regain that sense? To be honest with you I don’t know. What I do know is that in the Bible in the book of Revelation when Jesus is talking to one of the seven churches he told them go to back to their first love and do the things they did at first. Go back to what you first loved doing, whether that was writing, drawing, or some other activity. GO BACK!
Start over because you love it, not because someone else is making you do it. I love to write and had forgotten how much I enjoyed the process until this last month. Start to do something because it is what you want to do, and amazing things will begin to happen.
You’ll feel alive again. You begin to think I can do this. Most of all you feel like you are doing the thing you were created to do. Jeff Goins says that if you do it for yourself then it will resonate with other people. When it resonates with other people you are finding your “tribe.”
We all have one it is just a matter of finding it. I am in the process of finding mine. I am finding out who I am and who I am not. It is a hard road to hoe. In the end it will be worth it. People believed enough in me to help me get to this point I don’t want to let them down. I also don’t want to lose myself either.

Let’s Talk About…

     Let’s talk about the Bible for a little bit, shall we. The Bible is an awesome book, it is inspiring, it is helpful and most of all it is the inspired Word of God. That last fact alone should make you excited, especially if you are a Christian. Now I know we all have our preferred versions of the Bible(for me it’s the ESV). Yours could be the KJV even though I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone personally. That is for another  post. What I do want you to think about is your Bible and how often you are reading it. Not only how often you are reading it, but for how long and how much of it? 

Now lets not become legalist here and say that every person should be reading their Bible for at least a half an hour each day, reading from mall the genres of the Bible. I do not recall anywhere in Scripture where that is commanded. What I do know is David speaking to God says I have hidden your word in my heart (Ps 119:11 NIV). Now how can one hide something in their heart when they don’t spend anytime with it. Take marriage for an example, a married couple cannot do well if all they do is live together, then they are nothing more than roommates. We have to take the time to speak with our spouses so we can know their hearts and how to love them well. God is no different in that respect. We cannot know about God if we are not spending time with him in prayer and reading his word. Prayer is our communication with God, while the Bible is God communicating with us. I don’t mean to sound like God cannot use what ever means he chooses to speak to us, trust me I always remember Numbers 22 when the donkey speaks to Balaam.

     
     Why do you think some people become so dogmatic or legalist about Bible reading. I would recommend the habit of reading it everyday even if it is just one chapter a day. You will get through the entire Bible in just about 3 years(give or take a few months). Again nowhere is it written that you have to read the Bible in a year! If that is something you are interested in there are several different programs out there for reading the Bible in a year, they even have Bibles specifically designed just for that goal. My suggestion is to go about it at a pace that is comfortable for you. I personally love the NT and generally read it more than the OT. But of late I have been reading bits from different portions of the Bible. Just as and example I am reading from 1KIngs, Psalms, Micah, and Revelation. I generally read one chapter from each book, except for the Psalms I may read several depending on how i feel at the time. This will usually take me anywhere from 15-30 minutes to read. There are several things you can do to develop a good habit of daily Bible reading. 
  1. Pick a certain time each day to read. 
  2. Have a certain spot you like to read.
  3. Set a plan for what you are going to read.
  4. Decide how long/much you are going to read. 
Like our post from yesterday said, consistency is key to anything. If you want to become good at something you have to work at it. The same goes for Bible study, make a plan and try and stick with it. If you miss a day don’t beat yourself up about it just pick back up from where you left off and keep going! 
What things would you suggest for making Bible study easier to keep up with?

Consistency is Key!

     

How many times have you heard that in your life? Whether it is in child-rearing, work, hobbies, or whatever. Consistency is key! That rings true as a bell through the air when it comes to journaling and/or praying. I have found that the more often I do something the more I want to do it. If you look at the life of Jesus he spent a lot of time in prayer. It did not have to always been long periods of time he was praying like when he asked the disciples to keep watch for him. (Matt 26:38-46). Then there are the times he had what Dave Earley in his book Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High Impact Leaders calls arrow prayers. These are prayers that get right to the heart of God. A great example of an arrow prayer is when Jesus blesses the five loaves and two fish, or another time when he teaches the disciples to pray the Lord’s prayer (Matt 6:5-15). 

     I have recently been trying to write for my blog more than before. In just the last week I have posted something at least once a day. I believe on Friday I had several post, along with today. I am trusting that this is what the Lord would have me do to bring glory to HIs name. While it is easier for me to journal than it is to blog I hope to do both on a regular basis for the rest of my life. At the advice of Michael Hyatt I have been using Evernote, as my new journaling program. It has been rather helpful instead of using Pages on my Macbook Pro. With Evernote it is searchable, by date keywords, tags, all kinds of cool stuff. I can easily add pictures to it. I mention this because the level of comfort you have with something will also help determine how well you stay with it. I mention in another post how I engrave glass. If I started with the hardest piece and failed I probably would not have kept up with it. I have had to slow down because I have run out of room to store my pieces and there hasn’t been too many more people willing to buy them. ( I have however sold several pieces in the past.)
     All of that to say don’t become discouraged if you are starting something new take it easy at first, don’t think you have to do what everyone else is doing in order to feel like you are doing it right. If it is something the Lord has laid on your heart, you will get through it because he wants you to. 

I would love to hear what you are doing to be consistent. What are some things you could work on, and what are you doing well with?


P.S.
     It is my hope that you all have been enjoying reading the material that is being produced. If you are would you mind signing up to any of our means of keeping you up-to-date on what we are producing. If you look down the right side of your screen there is a plethora of options on how you can keep in touch with us. We would also love to hear from you, your ideas and opinions. So we have added Disqus as our new commenting system. If you would like for your comment to be more discrete we have a contact us form at the bottom of the page. We look forward to a great month as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and a blessed New Year. 
Life is hard, but God is good,
Preach

Top 10 Post over the Last Month (Nov-Dec6,2014)

Learning From Others

     Learning from others is sometimes easier said than done. As of lately however I have been devouring certain blogs spending hours reading what they have to say. Or watching videos that have been produced or listening to podcast to learn more on how to be more effective as an author and as a person. Some of those people have been Michael Hyatt, Jeff Goins, Cliff Ravenscraft and Leslie Samuel. Each of these men is an authority in their field. Michael Hyatt is teaching me how to build my platform and about leadership. Jeff Goins is teaching me how to be a better writer. Cliff Ravenscraft while is the Podcast Answerman is teaching me about branding also along with technical things such as how to do interviews,(be on the look out for some in the future). And Leslie Samuel is teaching me how to handle my blog a little bit better.

     While I cannot afford to pay each of these men for their products I can learn from them in the things they offer for free. All of my content is freely given away and there are times I wonder if I shouldn’t find a way to collect email addresses or charge for some of my content. I do it because I want the world to have sound theology and to experience my insights as I come across them. I have enjoyed learning from these men over the last few weeks for some for others I have followed on social networks for close to a year now.  
     Just so you all know Michael Hyatt suggest setting goals, while Jeff Goins is against that. I have written down several goals I would like to see happen by the end of 2015. First I would like to see the blog and twitter reach 100(+) followers by the end of the year. My wife and I are planning a trip to Haiti and still need $1500 to make it there in August to train pastors, lay leaders and work with orphans. I also hope to write at least three blog post per week that can include school work and personal thoughts. And I would like to read more, so I am going to target my reading time and number of pages I would  like to read each day. 

Who are you learning from? And what are some goals you have set for yourself?