03.22.10

Champions are Made, not Born

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:23 pm by Zane Brown

 I had to face the fact that I was no Wayne Gretzky.  My adult-onset love for the game of hockey compelled me to try “in-line” skating at the tender age of 41.  I had already dreamed of moving across the driveway with the grace of Scott Hamilton, the speed of Eric Heiden, and the moves of the Great One.   I sat on the front steps, buckling the skates, eagerly anticipating bursting into the International Roller Hockey League as a 40 something superstar rookie.  But alas . . . my ankles were weak, my balance uncertain, and my speed could have been measured with a calendar intead of a stopwatch.   Ten (10) minutes after stepping into the skates, I was taking them off.  My legs were quivering as I climbed the steps toward the front door.  My dream had crashed into the cold, harsh reality that I was not Scott Hamilton, Eric Heiden, or Wayne Gretzky.

What was the difference between them and me?  Discipline, commitment, hard work, and the investment of time.  I wanted to do in ten minutes what had taken those men a lifetime to develop.  The grace, speed, and skills they displayed on the ice resulted from years of commitment, focus, discipline, and practice.  In spite of “natural talent,” they might have been as uncomfortable on skates as I was when they started.  But over the course of time,  it was their focus, discipline, hard work, and tenacity that made them superstars.

That sports principle is true in the spiritual realm, too.  Spiritually, we can desire to be prayer warriors, bold witnesses, and people of faith.   But desire in not enough to help us handle the pressures of life as Jesus did.   We must practice the same discipline, focus, commitment, and tenacity that helped maintian His intimate relationship with God the Father.  It requires hard work.   We must be totally committed to His cause, clearly focused on His will more than ours, and ruthlessly disciplined in our walk with Him.   The apostle Paul wrote these encouraging words to young Timothy:  “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and the life to come. “  I Timothy 4: 8 (NLT)

Remember!  Desire is not enough.  Commitment, discipline, and focus, along with the passage of time, will help us in dealing with the pressures of life and becoming more effective workers in building His Kingdom.   After all, champions are made, not born.

03.10.10

Where’s Jesus??

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:25 pm by Zane Brown

A military chaplain, sitting in a poorly lit railway station, was trying to show a young soldier the way to eternal life.  Opening a pocket-size New Testament to John 3:16, the chaplain asked the young man to read it aloud.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only forgotten Son.”  Certainly it was a mistaken reading; yet it is tragically true for too many professing Christians.  It is easy to walk out of an uplifting church service and into a stress-filled world and have our awareness of the presence of Jesus dulled by our worldly responsibilities.  There’s bills and scout meetings and soccer and bills.  There’s sickness and sorrow, disappointment and discouragement, pain and pressure,  and don’t forget the bills. 

In Luke 2:41-52, Mary and Joseph were caught up in the busyness of their departing caravan.  They were probably tired after the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  Now, dozens of people and tons of frenzied activity surrounded the them as the group began their trek back toward Nazareth.  I imagine they assumed their young son was somewhere in the group, perhaps playing with other children.  Their awareness of his presence was dulled by their busyness.  So much was happening that they simply assumed that everything was OK and they’d catch up to the young Jesus later.  For a time though, Jesus was forgotten.   Not intentionally, but simply replaced by the stresses and responsibilities of life for a while.

Far too many professing Christians today struggle through life doing the very best they can spiritually while feeling frustrated and utterly inadequate.  Perhaps it’s because this Jesus, Who is very real to them in their Sunday worship and Wednesday small group, seems to disappear amidst the pressures and responsibilities of day to day life.  They tend to forget that He IS present and desires to be intimately involved in every part of their lives. 

Do NOT tie the hands of Jesus by limiting His involvement in your life to church-related events.  Jesus said, “. . . the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life and those who find it are few.”  (Matthew 7:14)  But, He also said, “I have come that they might have life and have it in abundance.”  (John 10:10) 

In the midst of the stresses and difficulties of daily life, Jesus is NOT missing.  He is there and wants to be involved in every circumstance, every issue, and every decision.   His desire is that our status quo be replaced with adventure, our anxieties replaced with peace, and our questions about the meaning of life replaced with a sense of eternal purpose.   All you have to do is remember that He is there and submit to His will and purpose for your life.  Call on Him for strength when you feel weak, guidance when you are uncertain, comfort when you are hurting, and boldness when you are afraid.  You won’t be disappointed!   And you’ll experience the abundant life that He has promised to those who submit to His will.

03.01.10

Can You Hear Me Now?

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:25 pm by Zane Brown

    As I’ve arrived at the official age of senior citizenry, I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that my hearing seems to be a bit dull.  It’s becoming more difficult to screen or distinguish words in the midst of background noise.  In the car with the radio going or at home with the TV and the dishwasher doing a duet, my wife’s voice becomes muffled sometimes by the competing sounds.  I have learned that in order to really communicate with her, I need to turn off the distracting sounds and focus my attention on her.  That might be in the quiet of a darkened bedroom at bedtime, in the car as we drive to our next “event,”  or over a table for two at our weekly date time.   When the busyness level drops and the distractions of the day are blocked out, I can hear and understand her.  And that makes for a happy wife AND a happy husband.

But you know what?  My spiritual ears grow dull from time to time, too.  With a job, an avocation or two, and family demands, it’s easy to let my life become overrun with noises and distractions that dull my sensitivity to the presence of God.  In the midst of a schedule that never seems to let up, it can become increasingly difficult to discern the voice of God over all the other “voices” demanding our time and attention. 

Perhaps we all need to schedule time regularly to follow God’s admonition to “Be Still and know that I am God.”  (Isaiah 46:10)  Perhaps we need to turn of the computer, the TV, and the telephone for while.  Perhaps we need to bow out of a responsibility, give a little less time to a time-consuming hobby, or give up some overtime on the job.  Effective communication and genuine intimacy don’t just happen.  Those things are nurtured by attentive, intentional communication. 

So nurture your family and yourself with the gift of high quality communication.   Get silly on Wii with your children.  Sit quietly with your spouse and watch the changing colors of a late winter sky.  Kneel reverently at the bedside of that sleeping child or grandchild and remember that it is God alone Who creates and sustains such beauty.  Take a few moments each day to meditate on His goodness.  Listen for His still, small voice cutting through all the frenzy of life to remind you that He will never leave you nor forsake you.  (Joshua 1:9)  Take some time every day just to Be Still and Know That (He) Is God and His desire is for you to know Him better.