In the United States, weekends in the fall seem to revolve around football for many people. As we approach another weekend of football action, I happened to read an article lately that used a football reference when talking about God's blessings in our lives.
The author was writing about lessons from Elijah, and he was making a point about God blessing us OVER THERE. The author connected the importance of being faithful to following God's direction for our lives (like when Elijah listened to God and went to the brook so that he could get provision from the ravens) to the art of a football pass.
The quarterback doesn't throw the ball to where the receiver IS, he throws it to where the receiver WILL (or NEEDS TO) BE in order to catch the pass in the amount of time that will transpire between the receiver running his route and the quarterbacks' throw traveling through the air to that common destination.
*we could miss some of God's blessings (or drop the pass to continue the fo...
As I reflect on all of the life that is going on both within my own circle and all around me, these journeys that we share during our brief time on earth seem to intertwine to form a beautiful symphony of life — a viewpoint that I hold in contrast to the one expressed by the band The Verve, in their hit song “Bitter Sweet Symphony.” But, I suppose, this world does offer a “bitter sweet” element when measured based solely on its own merit. When I approach it from an overall eternal Christian worldview, however, the temporary here and now struggles that often occupy our attention, soften to far more palatable classification than “bitter”, one that I would go so far as to declare a beautiful symphony.
We play different parts/roles within the symphony at different times in our lives. In certain seasons of our journey we step up to play a solo act, while on occasion we come alongside others to play duets, and at still other times we linger in the background as we celebrate the successes, and...
It's not about me.
Often more is accomplished as a collaborative "We."
But ultimately, we miss the point if we don't make it all about HE!
Leadership is a crucial component in many areas of life, including within our career, marriage, parenting, etc. As Christian leaders, we must strive to adapt our leadership styles to model the examples of humility and grace that are given to us in the Bible, while also always being mindful of submitting to the greater/higher ways of our sovereign God.
me: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." (Philippians 2:3-4)
"whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave -- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthe...
It's a simple yes/no question, but when we pause to think deeper about it the answer might not seem so cut and dry.
Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous and beloved painters in history. His stunning works include "The Starry Night" (seen below). All told, van Gogh produced more than 2,000 artworks, consisting of around 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches.
The Starry Night, by Vincent van Gogh (all rights reserved)
Was van Gogh successful?
That depends what your definition of success is...
Despite all of his beautiful works of art, van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime. ONE PAINTING! He also struggled with his emotions throughout his life, at one point cutting off his own ear and then sadly took his own life at the age of 37.
So, I ask again, was van Gogh successful?
I ask the question, and use van Gogh's story, merely as an example how the "are you successful" question isn't always as cut and dry as it sounds. I am not here to judge or determi...
Let me quickly bring you up to speed regarding the free agency saga ofMajor League BaseballplayerBryce Harper. “Harper’s bazaar”, as his agent Scott Boras has dubbed it, has unfolded in spectacular fashion throughout the MLB offseason, and seems to be on the brink of reaching it’s climax in the near future as Harper is expected to sign a record breaking contract sometime in the coming days.
Without getting too much into the MLB free agency rules, or Harper’s notoriety as a baseball prodigy turned MLB phenom (including being drafted with the number one overall pick and then going on to win both the National League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards before his 23rd birthday), let’s just say that a player of Harper’s pedigree, proven success, marketable personality, flare for the spotlight, and still young age (he will only be 26 years old during the 2019 season) make him a once in a generation type of free agent.
"If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” -Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Where are you going? Today, tomorrow, three years from now…
Do you have a 2020 vision for where your life will be next year (in the year 2020)?
2019 is off and running, and as we quickly approach the end of January it seems a good time to pause and take stock of how the year has begun, and to start to cast a vision for where we want to be in 2020.
You see, the best time to start working towards our New Year’s resolutions isn’t January 1st of a new year, but rather months ahead of time so that when the new year does arrive we will already have a well thought out/planned strategy, have taken the preliminary steps to position ourselves to be successful, and (hopefully) have already started forming the habits that will ensure not just instant, but sustained, success.
It may not be as sexy as waking up on January 1st with the promise of starting fresh in a new year,...
I have made A LOT of mistakes in my life. As I look back over my life I would like to be able to say that I made more impulsive, “heat of the moment”, type of mistakes at a younger age, but I also know that that is not entirely the case. In fact, I’ve made several mistakes already this morning. I am not proud of that, but I have come to grips with the realization that I am a sinner, that I have an endless sinful nature, and that I live in a fallen world where things are not (and will not be) perfect. That worldview doesn’t make my sins any less egregious, but it does help me to understand that when I fail to see eye-to-eye with others that we may both be partially at fault.
(Photo from CNN.com -- all rights reserved)
Even with this understanding I find it can be challenging to avoid jumping to conclusions, rather than trying to take a more measured response. And, in the heat of the moment, I am not surprised that over and over again I, and we (yes “we”, as a collective human race), see...
Am I becoming a holiday Scrooge or Grinch? Lately I have wondered...
Let’s do some word association. I want you to think about what your very first thought is when you read each of the words/phrases listed below. Do not try to outthink this, keep it simple and just let your brain react. Don’t worry if you have the “right” response. Only you will know what you think -- no judgements. Here we go!
A few examples to get us started…
WORD/PHRASE FIRST WORD THAT COMES TO MIND
I’ll be home forChristmas
Ok, do you get the idea? This time, mentally fill in the blank for yourself after each word/phrase listed below.
“I am not a role model.” Do you remember when Hall of Fame basketball player Charles Barkley uttered these infamous words in a1993 Nike commercial?
Barkley’s point was that being a famous entertainer does not make someone a role model, and he went on to identify who he believed should be a role model to kids — their parents.
I agree with “Sir Charles” in that regard. Parents should serve as positive influences, guides, mentors and, yes, even “role models” for their children. The truth is, whether in a positive or negative light, parents do serve as role models whether they intend to or not. It comes with the territory, and anyone who is blessed with the responsibility of being a parent knows just how fragile and beautiful this parenting dynamic is.
But that is not the point of this post.
See, the point that I do want to address is this; I, Shane Hansen, am not a role model.
As I review my own life, knowing my personal thoughts/words/actions, my day-to-day life as a husband and father, how...
The band plays triumphant notes of celebration, cheerleaders rally the masses through energetic chants, “old timers” come back to rekindle friendships and share laughs while telling stories from their glory days, a boisterous parade procession marches down main street, the entire community is adorned with images of the mascot and associated team colors, even a dance is scheduled to further enhance/celebrate the festive atmosphere — this most certainly is a time of great rejoicing.
It is the traditional time of “Homecoming” for many communities across the United States, and scenes such as the ones described above will unfold all over the country. It is a time of joy, and of celebration, and of energy, and of life.
It is when we rally around our shared community pride, and when we literally get to welcome home and embrace those who we hold dear in our hearts, but who we may have been apart from in body.
“Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit.” (1 Corinthians 5:3)...