Posts Tagged ‘choices’

What Will Baby Choose?

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

babyI overheard some folks talking about being pregnant. One said this: “It is like if I am having a bad day or a little down, he will move a bit and his movement will pull me out”. How is that for a poignant statement? I think what she is actually saying is when her baby moved it shifted her focus off herself and onto him — nothing new here.  2000 years ago Jesus essentially said the same thing. Matthew 20:26 Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave.  Many people will tell you that, from their personal experience, the quickest cure for a case of “ain’t it awful” is to get your focus off yourself and onto someone else.  I find that to be true and I expect you do too.

Perhaps the most miserable and insecure people seem to also be the most self-absorbed. By and large every waking moment is about their life, latest deal, new toy or their whatever. In one way or the other they are the subjects of all their conversations. Of course, not surprisingly, all the bad in life is somebody else’s fault. They seem to have a perpetual “I’m fixing to have a root canal” look etched onto their faces. Life is pretty much one big wad of negativity.  I doubt if all of that is a coincident. On the other hand, one of the happiest and most confident guys I know is just the opposite. Perpetually positive and upbeat, he is constantly looking outward to doing something for somebody else. At a time when I was at my lowest, he took me under his wing and in just a few months gave me a life’s worth of “how to love others” lessons. In the process he helped pull me out of the deepest and darkest hole I have ever been.  Whenever I see him he’s wearing his trademark big ear to ear smile. I doubt if that is a coincidence either.

Hopefully that baby boy will choose to live his life more like the guy with the smile. I hope I do too because ultimately the quality of our lives hangs in the balance!

Something to think about

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab, forgiveness and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

Isolated

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

mobile food_180867803-thumb-380xauto-3210I’m having lunch at Wendy’s. Across from me, there is a couple with a little boy about five; he is watching a movie on a device. Mom and dad are both playing with their smartphones.  Occasionally, one will show the other something on their screen and they will laugh and then go about their separate “smarting”. The entire time they have been over there, other than telling the little boy to stop kicking the table, they have ignored their son. He looks bored and left out as his parents continue to be enmeshed with their screens.

Honesty requires me to tell you that I have been guilty of the same thing. If you spot it you’ve got it, I guess. There is no question, that one of the greatest causes of social ills in this country is our lack of personal communication. Until recently, one of the few places folks actually talked to each other was when eating together. With the near universal preponderance of digital devices, that bastion is now gone.

According to Pew Research today 91% of adult Americans have cell phones; yet, we are perhaps more isolated than at any time in human history.

Something to Think About

Couple of Idiots

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

This past Sunday my message was about why God allows bad stuff to happen to good people. About an hour before the service started God gave me a painful and nearly tragic illustration. As I was hanging a sign, a 30” bungee cord that I had stretched much too far came loose and hit me in the head just above my left eye. I saw stars and think I remember hearing the coo- coo birds! Another inch and most likely I would have lost an eye. Here I was literally doing the Lord’s work on earth and that happened. What kind of God is that?  The same one that allowed me to get an education so I could read the warning label that said “Bungee cords are extremely dangerous. Always wear eye protection and never stretch a bungee cord more than 50%.” It was the same God that blessed me with a free will that allowed me to choose to disregard the warning. I have gone through life disregarding warnings as a matter of routine. Let those of you without sin cast the first stone. “It can never happen to me” is the mantra that has infected humanity since  before Eve plucked the apple off the forbidden tree.

Last week I was in line at Kroger when the woman in front of me bought two cases of beer, some frozen pizzas and two cartons of Marlboros. The woman behind me remarked that she did not see how people could afford to smoke. The cigarette lady retorted, “Honey, I’ve had a bout of throat cancer, but I’ve still got to have my smokes”.  At the time I thought she was an idiot. Each time that I have looked at my black eye in the last few days, I have understood that she is not the only one that I know.

Something to think about

Our False Claim

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

This morning at the “Y” a man asked me what is the most difficult part of being a pastor. I think getting people to fully trust God by moving from selfish to selflessness is the greatest challenge. My experience is that it is relatively easy to get seekers to accept Jesus’ incredible offer of mercy, grace and forgiveness. That means to accept Jesus as their Savior. But getting them to accept Him as the driving force of life (Lord), while not impossible, it is extremely difficult. We are all selfish. We all want to be in control. I do and so do you. We want to write the rules for life. I do and so do you. We want to love whom we want to love and hate whom we want to hate. I do and so do you. We want to choose the people we will forgive and the hell with the rest. Most all of us need someone or some group to look down upon. We want to do what we want when we want. With few exceptions we are this way. Oh, how we do want to be in charge!

The night before Jesus was murdered He modeled for us what should be the mantra of every Christ follower when he said, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet, I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Matthew 26:39 NLT)

Earlier he had summed up, in two succinct bullet points, exactly what God expects from us.

● Love God with our whole heart.

● Love everybody.

That is Jesus’ action plan for life. My guess is that nobody reading this is actually doing either. Think what would happen to us and everybody else if we did. We would be like Jesus — the Man most of us are falsely claiming to follow.

Something to Think About

Sweet Jodi

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Unless you have been living in a storm shelter, you probably know that Jodi Arias is on trial for first degree murder in Arizona. In the sensational trial, which is being covered gavel to gavel on cable, she admits to killing her ex boyfriend in 2008, but said it was not her fault. Yet, according to the prosecution, she planned it out in minute detail, drove across two states, hopped in bed with him one last time, then stabbed him 29 times before slitting his throat from ear to ear and for good measure shot him in the head. In the trial she is meek and mild dressed like an old maid Sunday School teacher. Said she loved him and that she was simply defending herself. I’m betting the jury will see otherwise.  How do you explain doing that to someone you love?

What is behind all the wicked stuff that we see in the news?  Of course none of us would ever do anything like that. But tell me why we do things that turn our backs on God?  Why do we choose to hate instead of love? Why do we betray our spouses with affairs that wound our children forever?  Why do we berate people? Why do we lie, cheat, steal, envy and do a thousand other things that we know are contrary to God’s Law?  Why do we simply choose to ignore God whenever He becomes an inconvenience? Why? Because we want what we want; that is the reason why.

Something to think about