1 New Year; 3 Words – What will you be known for

1 new year; 3 words.

Last week, I read an article about someone who visited the grave site of Michelangelo. Being someone who loves not only history but places and people of significant historical values, my eyes couldn’t help but soak in her experience at such a hallowed place. 

Of all of the details of the site, she described 3 specific statues that stand there. These are not random relics used to accessorize a headstone. They are intentional in their creation and their placement. The three stand there to represent and proclaim the 3 words left from his extraordinary life.

The lady of painting.
The lady of sculpture.
The lady of architecture.

The lingering legacy of Michelangelo summed up in three words: Painting. Sculpture. Architecture

Begs the question: What 3 words will I (we) we known for?

This week marks, for most, the start of a new era and time. Even if you don’t have kids going into a school, the beginning of an academic year sets the pace for routines and schedules.

This week is a place to not only launch into a new grade but to begin to write a legacy of what this year will be known for. And this can happen by asking the question: When June hits, what 3 words would my neighbors, classmates, co-workers, and educators say of me this year? What will the 3-word legacy I leave behind?

It’s not just questions for children going to school but questions for us adults to ponder. And the answer lies in having a prophetic vision.

Proverbs 29:18 ESV, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.

I love the way the ESV (English Standard Version) says that. By “prophetic,” it means it that which encouraging, edifying, and compelling. It’s looking past what the natural eyes can see and chooses to see that which God desires us to see in order to move us into His vision for our lives.   A “prophetic vision” is a God-given/inspired picture that launches us forward. And the words He speaks and the pictures He gives may seem like they don’t exist in the present but set your feet to a path to follow.

It makes me think of the story of Gideon. A man who thought very little of himself and his clan, was living in fear of others. It was in this mental and emotional state where an angel approached him and said the words, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” These 7 words didn’t necessarily describe who he was in the moment but what God wanted to draw out of him.

What 3 prophetic words can you speak over your kids this school year? What 3 words can you speak over your marriage? What 3 words can you speak over your life?

It may be a sentence of 3 words (“Love one another” “Embrace and forgive” “Engage in love”). It could be 3 separate words (“Grow, deepen, listen” “Watch, encourage, serve”). But quieting yourself before the Lord and listening to His voice this week can not only change the trajectory of the year but the tone of which each day is lived.

3 words.

What 3 words do you hear the Lord speaking to you? What is He speaking over your kids? What 3 words are you speaking over your kids?

Discover them. Write them down. Say them over each other. Live them out.

1 new year; 3 words.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

A “Yesterday Marriage”: 5 ways to help your marriage to not live off of re-runs.

Of all of our differences, Anne and I don’t really walk in agreement with the concept of re-runs.  We both love shows and enjoy watching them together.  But re-runs are a different story. I can only think of one show series in the past 17 years of marriage in which she’ll entertain the re-runs. But other than that, she watches a show and moves on.  I am her polar opposite.  I thrive on re-runs.  M*A*S*H, The West Wing, Taxi, and Whose Line are just a few I can’t get enough of (not to mention I’ll watch old football games…she totally doesn’t get that).  I love the nostalgia of it as well as the opportunity of passing great shows onto my kids.  Cammi loves a few of them (Saved by the Bell, Cosby Show).  Ethan shot down most of them after 5 minutes of the first episode. (Macgyver, A-Team, Battlestar Galactica).

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Re-runs take you back in time (without a flux capacitor).  Even just hearing theme songs, you can picture yourself in another time and place.  Things seemed much simpler…less complicated. They can even provide you with a sense of security.  Unfortunately, instead of enjoying the reflective nature of nostalgia, we tend to make it a place to live.  

This is a dangerous place for marriages.  I call them “Yesterday Marriages.” They are couples where someone (or both spouses) are living in the past.  They have the inability to move forward because they are living off of the re-runs of their marriage.  You can’t change your marriage living on re-runs. 

5 ways to help your marriage to not live off re-runs: 

1. Drop your subscription to unhealthy storylines.  Anne and I are Hulu and Netflix people (this blog isn’t sponsored by either).  The reason we subscribe to them is they provide us with the entertainment we desire.  Some of you are subscribed to attitudes that are unhealthy to your marriage. By “subscribe,” I mean you know you are doing it but do nothing about it.  Lack of action is an action in of itself.  It means you are welcoming it. Bitterness, negativity, ingratitude, and the like are attitudes that are designed corrode any sibilance of joy in your marriage. They’ll create storylines that are unnecessary.  Drop your subscription to that storyline and move on. 

2. Know your ratings; check your emotions. I’m an emotional guy and I believe that feelings are important. To have emotions proclaims our humanity. Yet, like anything in life, we are called to be stewards of our emotions.  A few weeks ago, I challenged our congregation to do exactly what the Psalmist does in Psalms 42: question your emotions. He questions his emotions 3 times.  Why? We base truth by how we feel.  I know this doesn’t apply to you, but my emotions change daily. I can be (not all the time) irrational.  If truth is how we feel, then truth shifts and changes based upon whether we had coffee, had sex with our spouse, or our NCAA bracket is going okay. Call your emotions into question and base truth upon who Christ is.  We are to bring truth to our marriage rather than allowing feelings/circumstances to dictate truth to us.

3. Shut off the drama.  We were meant to live in community/relationships. I believe God moves in community.  But that which God uses, Satan perverts. People that crave drama love to create it and feed it.  They’re easy to identify.  Look at what they post on social media. Look at what they reference whenever they contact you to you.  If they’re poking at your past and/or asking about business that isn’t theirs to know or be involved with, then they’re trying to get you to entertain “re-runs.”  Get some boundaries with them.  Draw some lines and shut off the drama.  They’re not propelling you towards health.  They are an anchor to you moving forward. 

4. Cancel the series.  Anne and I have mourned the cancellation of certain series (Jericho is one that comes to mind).  If you’re entertaining unhealthy thoughts of the past, then it’s time to stop subscribing to them.  It’s a choice.  Don’t tell me it’s not.  You may not be able to stop the thought from popping up in your head but you DO have a choice on how long that thought lingers. Lust, unforgiveness, comparing marriage, fantasies about having a different spouse are all networks that have not right being in your head feeding re-runs of what life “could have been.” Shut them down. Cancel the series.

5. New episodes cannot happen without new material.  You can’t develop anything new if you don’t do anything new. Marriages can’t move on from re-runs if there’s nothing new to work with.  Memories are created with opportunities.  Some of the reasons your marriage might be boring is, well, you are boring.  Get out and do something.  It doesn’t have to cost anything.  Anne and I enjoy taking walks (zero cost) and talking about our day (zero cost).  We love sitting on our bed watching shows together ($7.99 a month). New material for new memories doesn’t take much money if all, but it  Take a drive. Get some ice cream.  Be simple but creative.  Your spouse would rather you fail trying than fail to try.  Make time.  Your spouse is worth it. 

You can’t change the your world on re-runs.  It’s time to move forward.  Most people are looking for the fresh start because, in their mind, it’s the only place to start.  Instead of thinking you need a new spouse for a new start, start with a new you for your present spouse.  

Living on “re-runs” places a whole lot of trust in ourselves and in a fantasy world of “what could be.”  There is no promise in that.  But people just cast their marriage aside with empty hope, praying that the next time through will be better.  The problem is: you carry the same “re-run” issues into the next marriage.   1 Corinthians 5:17 says

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

Instead of scrapping your marriage, scrap the old you and put on the new you in Christ.  Instead of placing your trust in you, place your faith in Christ and live life from that place.  What you will discover is the hope that we have in Christ moves our fixation off of us and our past, and places our focus upon who we are in him.  You need a fresh start and a fresh place to work from? Become new in Christ and let him, not your re-runs be the foundation of a new future for your marriage.

Don’t have a “yesterday marriage.” Get out of the past and see the future you two have together in Christ. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

2 Minute Devo: What are you thinking Day 13

We’re focusing on what the Bible says about the “mind” and how that affects us.  Spend time on the devo and take a minute or two to ponder what the Word is challenging you to do.

2 Corinthians 5:17

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

2 Minute Devo: What are you thinking Day 12

We’re focusing on what the Bible says about the “mind” and how that affects us.  Spend time on the devo and take a minute or two to ponder what the Word is challenging you to do.

Ephesians 4:22-23

22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,

2 Minute Devos: Crash – Day 35

Welcome to “Crash”…3 things to do every day:

Glorify God.
Pray over the daily prayer point.
Pray for the lost.
Today’s Scripture: Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Crash Prayer Card 6

2 Minute Devo #31Days – “Never ceases…never ends”

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We started a new series this month called “#31Days.” What “#31Days” means is we are encouraging everyone to take the challenge of encouraging someone via social network for 31 days.  Make sure you use the hashtag!

Today’s scripture: Lamentations 3: 22-24 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

2 Minute Devo #31Days – “Release the past”

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We started a new series this month called “#31Days.” What “#31Days” means is we are encouraging everyone to take the challenge of encouraging someone via social network for 31 days.  Make sure you use the hashtag!

Today’s scripture: Isaiah 43:18-19 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. 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.