Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Key to Wholeness

How do we overcome our past? How can we be healed from our brokenness and become people who give more than we receive? Is there a way to develop the integrity and wholeness the Scriptures describe? What is the path that leads us to healing?

I submit the only thing that makes a person whole is developing a heart that is filled with gratitude. The only thing that moves us from brokenness to healing, from one side of the spectrum to the other, is gratitude. This is a very practical and personal issue, but it is extremely difficult for us to practice.

We have been told for our entire life that everything is about us, and that people should learn how to value us correctly. All our relationships are meant to meet our needs, and people need to learn to relate to us correctly to avoid conflict. Everyone has to look out for themselves first. The problem this creates is the dysfunction and brokenness our society is filled with today! Can you imagine if EVERYONE took the attitude of themselves being #1 over everyone and everything else? It would be chaos, and unfortunately we are seeing that today. It seems right to tell a hurt and broken person to focus on loving themselves, but ultimately that advice is doing a great disservice to people.

The only healing from our brokenness is learning how to value others above ourselves, and to have an attitude of thankfulness regarding our lives. Too often we see life as the sum of things being taken from us and only negativity experienced. We see the glass as being half empty and we wonder who has stolen from us. When you have an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude, then you realize how much you have received in life. We can see clearly how little we actually deserve, and that all of life is really a gift from God. Believing this changes everything. We start to see the glass as being half full, and we wonder who has shared so much with us.

Practice gratitude in your life and watch how God can heal even the deepest wounds.

50th Post!!!!

That's right, the blog just turned 50 just over a month we have registered over 280 visits and over 650 page views. You guys also average spending about 3 minutes on this site. Way to go! Keep referring this blog to friends, and I will keep plugging away on here. If there are any topics you want addressed, email me at or post a comment.

Our 50th post features Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning congratulating us on a great milestone.

"This blog rocks! I read it everyday, except when Eli blocks me as a user on his laptop. That kid has gotten so annoying since the Superbowl. Keep up the good work!"

Thanks Peyton!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Make Your Life Count!

I have participated in far too many funerals for my age. Every single one of those ceremonies is intended to honor the memory of the one who passed and to help the surviving loved ones deal with their grief. A funeral is one of the most profound moments of humanity; it is during these moments when we focus on what is truly important to us.

Let me tell you something incredibly important. Not one of those funerals mentioned how much money the deceased had earned. There was not one mention of the final total in the checking account or how many assets were in the portfolio. Very few of the services even mentioned what the person did for a living.

Instead, family members and loved ones share stories and memories from good times in the past. They speak of challenges that were overcome together. They relate values their cherished loved one held dear to his or her heart. They speak of faith. More often than not, there is focus on generosity in both time and love.

There is something about this that speaks to our core. We have been trained from birth to think life is about getting all we can get, yet that path leaves us unfulfilled. Everything inside of us screams there must be more to life than this. Your heart is giving you insight into a spiritual truth. The sum of your life is not found in what you get; it is found in what you give. We are not put on earth to consume; instead, God asks us to contribute. Giving is the most practical expression of love because a person cannot love without giving. It is impossible.

This Sunday, March 2nd, Higher Calling will be having a special offering. We are trying to raise $10,000 above and beyond our normal offering so we can reach out into our community. The money will fund advertisements and outreach resources, primarily in the form of a mailer to be delivered in the week before Easter. I am asking for your support for this offering. Together, we can reach our community with the love of God!

Don’t ever fall for the trap of thinking life is about the acquisition of things because that path will only lead to disillusion. None of the things you acquire will have any significance to you when you evaluate the impact of your life. What will matter is the contribution you have made in the lives of others and for the kingdom of God. Choose to focus on what is truly important in life. Make your life count in eternity!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Pursuit of Wholeness

Our society tells us the key to happiness and fulfillment is in getting more and more. To be happy, we need to get more attention, affection, affluence, acclaim, more, more, more. This message has been preached to us since we were infants and we never were weaned off of it.

What has this message produced? A society of broken people. We are promised that more would lead to joy and happiness but somewhere along the way we realized it was not the case. A person gets everything their heart desires and yet they feel empty. We look at a person like Britney Spears or Paris Hilton and see that excess does not produce happiness. If riches provided happiness then the richest people in the world would be the happiest people in the world, but we know that is not true.

What we fail to realize is the depth of our own richness. A person living in the United States is one of the truly blessed and rich in the world, and yet we are not fulfilled. The U.S. probably has more people in therapy or counseling than any other nation. School shooting are on the rise. Teen suicide rates are up, and a recent poll found that 1 in 5 teens have seriously contemplated ending their own life. We get richer and richer but instead of getting feeling better inside, we feel worse.

What is the cure to this madness? To move from brokenness to wholeness. What is wholeness and what does it look like? Very simply, a whole person gives more than they receive. That may seem simple, but I promise you it is harder than it sounds.

Let's begin the journey this week. Let's seek to give more than we take in. Find a way this week to give of yourself.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Thoughts for the Weekend

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:9-15 (NIV)

Jesus came to make you His friend. Let this knowledge liberate you! Love the way that God loves, completely and unconditionally. See you on Sunday!

Back for Friday

Thanks for continuing to stop in throughout the week! I hope that all of you enjoyed your weeks and I want to give a big thanks to everyone who came to the different events during the week featuring our guests from Guinea and Senegal. These missionaries are doing some incredible work and they had a great time interacting with all of you; I hope you felt the same and got some valuable info from the experience.

On to some links, the first one here is a neat church fundraiser! All we have to do is get someone on the moon....

Speaking of the moon, here are some neat images showing the eclipse take place on Wednesday. If you feel like you missed a great opportunity to see one of nature's incredible displays, there is still hope....the next easily seen lunar eclipse over North America will be in December 2010. Mark your calendars!

Those Patriots just can't seem to avoid videotaping other teams....

I will keep looking for more. Stay tuned!


Don't let your dog drive your car!

If you steal a car, please don't drive it to a police station.

This guy in Australia threatened to blow up half of the city...and fears the resulting probation could interfere with his humanitarian work.

Monday, February 18, 2008


We have two guests at Higher Calling this week. Dian Harner and Wes Nevius are both missionaries who are serving in Africa. They are on tour here in the US and we get to host them until Friday. This is a great opportunity to see the church from a global perspective and hear how God is moving across the world. Dian spoke at our Sunday gathering and I got so much positive feedback on how you enjoyed the service. We all hope to see you tonight here at the building at 7 pm!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Fun Friday!

Its Friday again, and that means a new set of links for all of you to enjoy. Let's get right down to it.

Really funny story about a guy who was going to have his house torn down due to some rules in the UK, but hid his house by piling up hay bales around it.

Here's a couple stories for you tech guys out there. First, one for everyone. This woman is suing Best Buy for 54 million bucks after the store lost her laptop. It goes a lot more in depth, but if you lost a laptop at Best Buy, you could be getting paid!

Another big tech story is the recent battle between HD DVD and BluRay for supremacy in the HD video market. It appears that BluRay landed the fatal blow in the war after both Netflix and Best Buy announced they would be exclusively using the BluRay format. If you own a HD DVD player.....I'm sorry. This would also affect those of you who have a X-Box 360, since I believe it uses HD DVD as well. Playstation 3 users will be happy, since it uses BluRay.

Here's a parenting story, aimed at parents of "tweens." This lists some things that parents can say to help diffuse conflicts with emotional middle school aged children. Some interesting takes in there.

That's all for now, I may have more later, you can keep checking this post for updates. I also plan on getting a movie review out today, as well as a final post before the weekend. See you guys later.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I am sure all of the guys that are reading this have already got a present, made a reservation, etc for their significant other. If you haven' is too late for you. I'm sorry. May God have mercy on your soul.

It is easy to look at Valentine's Day as a sappy pseudo-holiday that Hallmark invented so procrastinating men buy their incredibly romantic cards. I suppose there is some basis for that belief. Call me crazy, but I actually don't mind this particular holiday, even if it is completely made up and fabricated in order to remove more money from my checking account.

Take this opportunity to express your love for the important people in your life. The most important trait we can ever have is love. It is the universal language of appreciation and hope. Love sustains everything, and the love of God is the only reason we are all alive today. Love is the most powerful force in the universe; it brings people together, it inspires people in the midst of pain, it overcomes overwhelming odds, it never quits in the face or adversity. The story of the scriptures is an overwhelming story of love, and the story ends with love as the victor. Love wins. Life wins. God wins, and we are a part of that story and heritage.

Celebrate the gift of love in every way you know how. Hug your kids and tell them how much you love them and appreciate them. Tell your spouse the same thing. Choose to love today because none of us are promised tomorrow.

You will not regret a decision to love.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Life's Toughest Questions: Is Jesus the Only way to God?

In less than an hour, Roger Clemens will appear before a Congressional committee to answer questions regarding his alleged use of steroids and HGH. The smart money has Clemens strongly denying any use of such drugs. That will be a problem because the federal government has one of Clemens' former trainers as a witness saying Clemens DID indeed take steroids. All of the TV and radio sports shows are going nuts here and around the country wondering who will commit perjury today in front of Congress. They all say, "There is only one truth! One of these two guys is lying; they both can't be right."

You are probably wondering what this has to do with anything important in life. Good question! I think this illustrates a key idea for our next topic in the LTQ series. Many people believe there is no one correct religion or way of thinking and that every religion points to the same God. If you have ever heard, "It's all the same God," then you have met someone who has that belief. Maybe you believe it yourself. As right and as good as that belief sounds, it runs into some serious problems. For one thing, all major world religions make some very strong (and opposing) claims and most even claim to be the only way to God. So we have multiple, different stories that are all claiming to be true. Just like Roger, not everyone can be right. However, the problem is even deeper than that.

To me, this is not about "being right." It isn't about getting all the facts straight. It is easy to think that way, but it is a pointless exercise. The real question is this: Who brings life to the human spirit? We will explore that on Sunday, and I hope you bring yourself and anyone else you want to hear this message.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Life's Toughest Questions: Is Faith in God Nonsense?

Here is something else I cut from this Sunday, that I think a few of you may find interesting. In the Matthew 12 passage starting in verse 43, Jesus talks about an evil spirit leaving a man and then coming back with seven other wicked spirits and leaving the man worse than he was before. This is the battle we all fight, and in a real way, this is the journey of the human spirit. We are spiritually permeable and this spiritual reality is real even thought we cannot perceive it with our senses.

Here is the passage:
When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.

I left out this observation: I think this could be a biblical explanation of the view of reincarnation. There are people who have memories of past lives, and I believe they are real memories. The issue to me is who these memories belong to. I do not believe that people die and then come back as another creature, neither animal or human. You remain uniquely you in eternity and you live ONE life here on earth on this side of eternity.

How then do we explain memories of past lives? Well, it is not that these people have lived in a different time or place, but that these spirits have. These spirits carry with them the memory of history, of ancients and moderns.

We are spirit, this reality is inescapable. Could it be that our universe is more complex than we ever imagined? Is there more going on than we can see or sense?

Life's Toughest Questions: Is Faith in God Nonsense?

I had to cut so many things on Sunday to get everyone out of there on time, so I thought I could throw in some of the stuff I cut here on the blog.

I read a passage from Isaiah 6, where Isaiah has an encounter with God in His throne room. He sees angels flying everywhere and praising God. The entire temple is filled with smoke because of the glory of God. Isaiah thinks he is doomed. Instead, his lips are seared with a live coal and he is told his sins have been atoned for and he can experience God's goodness. God asks for a divine volunteer to speak for Him, and Isaiah says he will go for God. In verses 9-10, God tells Isaiah what to tell His people.

"Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving. Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."

This is God in one of His most ironic moments. He looks at humanity and sees many people who think they are alive but are merely existing, and they are blind and deaf to the reality of the spiritual all around them. God looks at them and says, "Fine, be blind! Hear but not understand! Have a calloused heart! Because the alternative would be to turn to me and be healed, but you don't realize it."

More to come.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Thoughts for the Weekend

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Cor. 4:7-10 (NIV)

We are God's treasure, even though we are flawed and imperfect. The glory of God, the incredible truth of His existence and power, the truest proof of who and what He is, is seen through us. It may not seem like the best plan, but God tells us his light dwells in us, and though we are like cracked clay vessels, His glory shines through our brokenness.

Because of this, we can have hope. We can endure in any circumstance, we can learn to be content when we have little. We can absorb any blow, and handle even the most violent of storms. Never forget who you are, and who you belong to. God bought you with a price, and so we honor Him with our lives.

Let the life that God offers to everyone be seen in you. See you Sunday.

Fun Friday

I thought I would change up our usual format here with something that will become the new Friday format. I am going to post links here and you guys can browse through them and see if anything interests you. The links will range from happy to sad, fun to serious, and will deal with the happenings in our state, nation, and world.

If you find an interesting story, please pass it along to me by emailing a link to me and On to the links.

You guys know its almost time for baseball right? Obviously, I'm rooting for the Cardinals who play in the NL Central. You can read a preview of the division here.

From the anti-Patriots division, here is a story about a former Pats video assistant who claims he has inside info on past cheating by the Pats. Bwahahahaha. The commish is willing to give this guy legal protection if he squeals. Do the right thing, Mr. Walsh. Take em down!

Anybody want this shirt? How about this one? This may be my favorite of the bunch. I want one that says "18-1*" on the front and then says, "Nobody's perfect" on the back.

Here is an incredible story of a baby that survived in the recent tornadoes after being thrown 100 yards into a field. Incredible story.

Any of you guys have bad knees? Good news! Although it will probably still hurt, here is a knee brace that uses the energy in your knee to charge your cell phone!

That's what I have for now, if you have anything else, pass it along and I will give you credit for finding it.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Does God Care About Our Sexuality?

We talked about this last week at Higher Calling. Here are a few more thoughts I wanted to add to that message:

About Homosexuality: When someone tells me that I must accept them because they are homosexual, I feel like I have lost the opportunity for a friendship. Here's why: I don't tell you that you must accept me because I am heterosexual! I don't say you have to accept me because I was born in Tulsa, OK. I don't tell you you have to accept me being a Cardinals fan (this is good for some of you...) Do you know why that is? Its because none of those things are the truest expression of who I am.

When you start identifying yourself by your sexuality then you stop being honest with yourself because we are not primarily sexual beings; there is much more to it than that. This is graphic, but if you were in a terrible accident and were castrated and lost your sexual drive, would you be less human? Of course not! The reason for this is simple: there is more to being human than our sexuality, and when we identify ourselves by our sexual orientation then we aren't being honest about who we really are at our core.

The Answer: Many people think the solution to sexuality immorality is marriage, but it isn't the case. If you are immoral as a single person then you will be immoral as a married person. Some people think the cure to homosexuality is heterosexuality. That is not true either! The only solution to our broken view of sexuality is a proper view of how relationships are important. We must relate correctly to God and who He is and who He created us to be, and that relationship will affect how we relate with each other. It is as simple as entering into a relationship with God and then allowing His power and presence to transform how we interact with everyone else.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Busy, Busy

Look for some new material in a few hours. Until then, you can scan the archives on the right hand side of the page. Talk to you guys soon.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday

All over the country, people are voting for who they want to run for President. Primary season is one of the purest forms of entertainment for the political junkie and one of the purest forms of boredom for just about everyone else. Turn on any news station today and you will likely see at least three people arguing back and forth. If you didn't know better, you would guess that the winner of the argument is not the one with the most compelling case, but the one who yells the loudest.

What is a person to make of all of this hoopla?

Remember this: politics does not change the hearts of people for good. If anything, it hardens hearts. I know when I was interested in politics and engaging in the "discussion" of the day I was a more bitter and difficult person. Do you know what does change hearts? God. I think of a guy like Saul in the Bible who was a politically minded person and he became a hateful person in his passion for what he thought was right. His passion led him into throwing people in prison for what they believed and even sentencing some to death. One day, however, Saul changed so drastically he had to change his name to Paul to reflect that difference. He even became the biggest proponent of the people he used to persecute! Do you know what changed him?

It wasn't laws or rules. It wasn't a vote in a popular election. Saul was changed into Paul because he met God. Just one encounter with Jesus changed Paul forever. The same can be true for you. God wants to take all of your hate, anger, aggression, sadness, pain, mistakes, and mess ups and exchange it for His joy and goodness. He came so we could be different.

So, have you met God?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Finishing the Job

There is a lot of talk about the Superbowl today throughout our country. There may have been a better Superbowl game, but I haven't seen it. Part of the interest, of course, is because of the Pats failing to complete their bid for a perfect season. It goes to show that we can never give up or assume defeat. No matter how long the odds are against us, we can never give up because we would miss out on the opportunity to do something unbelievable.

The Patriots teach us a lesson as well. The lesson: Finishing strong is all that matters. A person can rack up accolades and awards, acclaim and influence for his/her entire life and then lose it all in one moment of self indulgence. Our application? Finish strong. No matter what your life race looks like; this is good advice. If your life feels like a disappointment to you, take heart because the finish could be a moment of redemption. If you have success and are connected to God, don't quit running until your race is complete.

Paul said it best when he looked back on his life. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Tim. 4:7 (NCV)

Could you say that about your life if it ended today? We all have a race to run, but we won't experience the best of what God has for us if we quit before facing a huge challenge (like 18-0) or if we fail to finish our race with strength (18-1*). Be encouraged today on several fronts. We have a new day, filled with opportunity. We have love that can be experienced. God is still real, and He still cares. Because of all of this, we can run our race with confidence, hope, and purpose.

Run your race well!


Wow. Awesome game. Speechless still. I am just happy this Patriots team will be remembered for a massive choke job for the rest of my life instead of being called the best team of all time.

This is a good day if you are a Colts fan and it really sets up the Manning Bowl at some point in the next two seasons.

Talk to you guys again in just a bit.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Superbowl Picks

Alright, its time for everyone to get their Superbowl picks in. Comment if you want, and the closest score will get a wonderful prize......details to come.

Here's how I see it. The Patriots are the best team that has come around in a long time, I assume the reason for this is their prolific video taping schemes and the hidden steroid ring they run. Regardless of that, the Patriots are very difficult to beat in big games, and they are 14-2 in the Tom Brady era in the playoffs. These guys rarely choke. Must be nice to watch.

The Patriots adjust better than anyone in the league to in-game situations, and I don't really expect this game to resemble the Week 17 game because of that. The Pats won't blow the Giants out, but the Giants won't really be in the game either.

Final score: Patriots over Giants 30-23, and the commercials will be excellent. Ground opens under the trophy presentation (fingers crossed!)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Movie Review: 27 Dresses

Here is a fun feature that I will bring up whenever I watch a movie of interest and have a recommendation to pass along. Every once in a while there will be a movie that is a cultural phenomena and I will comment on it if I have seen it.

This movie is definitely in the fun category. I have to admit, I was more than a bit skeptical when Sara wanted to watch this movie, but I decided to go along with it. It helps to branch out outside what you traditionally enjoy because sometimes things outside of your normal liking will surprise you with how much they entertain you.

I was genuinely entertained by this movie. Katherine Heigl, who plays Jane, was excellent and she was surrounded by an excellent cast. There was some inappropriate behavior and language, although I would be lying to you if I told you I wasn't laughing through it. Basically, Jane is the extreme example of the saying, "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride." She cannot say no, and this puts her in awkward and funny situations. The conflict comes when her sister flies into town and falls for Jane's long-time crush, who also happens to be her boss. Hilarity ensues. If you love weddings, hate weddings, been in a wedding, or heard of a wedding, you will probably relate to this movie on some level. It is well written and directed extremely well, and its hilarious. Have I mentioned its funny?

Guys, if your wife, girlfriend, crush, whatever is forcing you to watch a movie that she will enjoy and she isn't the Rambo type, then suggest this one. It is the best case scenario for you in the chick flick genre right now. I cannot stress this enough. You will laugh, you will like most of the characters, and assuming you don't pay 18 bucks for a ticket, 7 bucks for a Diet Coke and 6 bucks for nachoes, it will be worth the cost of admission.

Seriously, how long has it been since you took your significant other on a date anyway? Get to it!

The Best Three Peyton Manning Commercials EVER!

Here it is, the final chapter counting down the best commercials starring Peyton Manning. Literally tens of you have written in our expressed some amount of glee, anticipation, shock, horror, or apathy in this list. So, in honor of Superbowl week, here they are, the greatest Peyton Manning commercials of all time......


Going old school on you here, this is an ad for an X-Box game several years ago. This is Peyton learning his craft as a comedic actor.

NFL Fever


The Sprint ad that started a revolution. This became part of watching football just as much as John Madden and Al Michaels. Peyton Manning, absurdly disguised, talking about his favorite player......himself. In this commercial, you can cheer on your favorite actor/QB.....maybe like Peyton Manning, maybe.

Lazer, Rocket Arm

And here we are, the best Peyton Manning commercial of all time, as decided by me. This one is from Mastercard and is one of the original in the series. Enjoy.


Cut that Meat!

Thanks for joining. You can see the other commercials by scrolling down or clicking on the Peyton Manning tag on the right hand side of the screen. What's your favorite commercial?