Christ Following

Fear of the Deep End

October 10, 2017 • By

I remember when I was just a grade-school boy. One of my favorite summertime activities was swimming. If I had a chance to be in the water, I would take it, even if it wasn’t terribly hot outside.

There was a community pool in our city, called Anderson Pool. For just 25 cents, you could spend the entire day there. I still remember the smell of the chlorine, the pre-swim shower that felt like needles against my sunburned shoulders, the stubbed toes, and the lifeguards continually telling me to WALK!

There were 3 pools at Anderson Pool. A shallow pool for small children, a 3 to 5 foot deep pool for kids like me, and deeper pool that you could jump off the diving board into.

I remember one summer when I really wanted to jump off the diving boards. I was still pretty small and swimming in the deeper pool required little guys like me to pass a swim test. I was with several friends but only a couple of us were brave enough to take the plunge (literally).

The lifeguard told us that we had to be able to swim from one end of the deep pool to the other. I had already attempted this the summer before, and failed, but this time I wasn’t going to give up. It felt like everyone was watching, and I wanted to look strong. When the lifeguard yelled GO, I jumped in and doggie paddled as hard as I could. I swam to the other end of the pool, and back again! I was exhausted but I passed the test. I was now able to jump off the diving boards!

I discovered that summer that the diving boards were the most fun thing at the pool! I never wanted to go back to the less deep pools ever again! I loved the feeling of plunging into the water, and that brief moment of weightlessness as tiny air bubbles surrounded me. I would spend hours jumping, diving, and flipping into the deep end.

Unfortunately, some of my friends wouldn’t take the test. They were afraid, or they just didn’t want to do it. No matter how many times I encouraged them, or told them how amazing it was in the deep end, they just wouldn’t do it. They were content with splashing around in 3 feet of water, or just sitting at the edge of the pool dipping their feet in while they worked on their tan.

I find following Jesus a lot like that. There is a deep end, and it’s amazing!

In the deep end is peace. In the deep end is purpose. In the deep end is revelation, intimacy, joy, wisdom, and adventure!

The deep end requires of us. It requires time in prayer, time in God’s word, silence, fasting, sacrifice. But, just like I never regretted taking that swim test, I’ve never regretted paying any price to go deeper in my faith.

Yet, there are some who are content in the shallows. They don’t really know what they’re missing, and they don’t feel like finding out. Just like I wish I could have gotten my friends to take the swim test, I wish I could get all believers to take the plunge into deeper, more meaningful experiences with God.

How about you? Are you still splashing around in the shallows? What’s keeping you there? Do you lack motivation? Are you afraid?

Push past those things, jump in, and discover the awesome adventure that is the deep end.

You won’t regret it!


life, Wisdom

Eight Wisdom Bombs That Will Help You Get Your $#!% Together!

September 23, 2017 • By

“Get your $#!% together!” Has anyone ever told you to do that? I remember being in my early 20s and having a mentor tell me that. Those weren’t his exact words but the sentiment was the same. I complained constantly about my job, I wasted a lot of time watching TV, I didn’t put much effort into my physical well-being, and I was lucky to have any friends because I was so sarcastic all the time.

In a way, those words saved my life.

Now I have three sons between the ages of 14 and 22. Every day, I do my best to teach them things that will help them succeed, get along with others, and avoid unnecessary pain and frustration. I’ve noticed that I find myself repeating particular lessons to them more than others. They are a core of eight things that most of life’s problems seem to stem from. They’re the eight things that took me from frustrated and failing to fulfilled and succeeding.

Put these eight things into effect in your life and it will really help you get your $#!% together!

1. Spend time like it’s a precious commodity.
Here’s the thing about time: it’s deceptive. We usually THINK we have more time than we actually have. A quick glance at Facebook and, before we know it, 20 minutes have gone by. We put off writing that book, earning that degree, or taking that trip, and years pass without making any progress. The time that we waste watching one more YouTube video, reading one more Twitter post, or posting one more selfie to Instagram is time that we’ll never get back to spend on what really matters.

2. Never underestimate the power of your words.
People listen, and they don’t forget. Speaking out of anger, “venting”, and off-the-cuff insults will have consequences. Speak the truth in love, speak life, and build people up with your words, and those words will have consequences too (Good ones!) Manage your words well because they will steer the direction of your life!

3. Never stop growing.
If a plant stops growing, it means it’s dying. Many people complain that their faith doesn’t do much for them. Most of those people can’t remember the last time they prayed more than they looked at their phone, or read the Bible more than they read Facebook posts. A commitment to growing applies to EVERY area of life, not just spiritual life. Read some good books, take a class, set new fitness goals, get some wisdom about parenting, marriage, LIFE. Whether you’re 8 or 80, you should never stop growing!

4. Don’t blame others for your unmet expectations.
Don’t blame the rich because your poor, don’t blame your boss for your lousy performance, don’t blame your unbelieving spouse for your spiritual condition, and don’t blame the poor behavior of others for your volatile temper. The sooner we take responsibility for our own actions, the sooner we can grow into people who live out their dreams instead of sitting around wishing.

5. Avoid laziness like the plague.
This one goes with number 1. Work hard, work smart, and don’t cut corners. Laziness leaves us open for all sorts of bad things. Poor health, difficulty finding or keeping a worthwhile job, frustration in relationships, financial hardship, the list goes on. The rewards for hard work don’t always come right away but they do come. No one owes you a thing. Success in life is NOT THE DEFAULT. We don’t just move toward success naturally. If you want it, you have to work your butt off to get it.

6. Treasure contentment.
My son owns three video game consoles. The other day, he told me he really wanted another one. Seriously?? Most Americans already have more than they need, and many of us even pay to store stuff in garages because there’s not enough room for it all in our houses. We throw away more than some countries consume and it’s pretty gross. What’s even worse is that some people can’t help others need because they’re too broke from buying crap they don’t really need. We need to realize when enough is enough, be content with what we have, and learn a better way of living than this excessive consumption. Contentment gives us financial margin and helps us to be generous toward others. It also lightens the burden of having to take care of so much stuff!

7. Great relationships take work but give back some of life’s greatest dividends.
Friendships, marriages, being a good neighbor; they take work! I thought being married was going to be easy. I was wrong. I’ve read books, talked to counselors, and gotten advice from those who have been married longer than me, but the rewards of working hard on my marriage are outstanding. At the end of the day, it’s the people in our lives that add the most value to it, and not the stuff we own. Work hard to be a good friend, spouse, and neighbor, and it will come back to you with interest.

8. Take risks.
You never really know what you can accomplish until you step out on a limb to do it. There are a lot of people with successful businesses inside of them but we’ll never see them because they won’t take a risk. There are other countries to explore, artworks to produce, and friends to be made if we just refuse to listen to fear and take risks. We won’t succeed at everything we try to do but we’ll fail at everything if we don’t at least try to do them. Take a risk. You might be taking the first step toward something amazing!

Well, that’s my eight. If you have any wisdom bombs that would help people get their $#!% together, then leave them in the comments. You might just help save someone a whole lot of frustration!