Posts Tagged ‘Self-Reliance’


The Challenge:
I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, if we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Think of a time when you didn’t think you were capable of doing something, but then surprised yourself. How will you surprise yourself this week?

My response:
The first time this manifested was when I preached for the first time. There was a time in my life where I was terrified to speak in public and so this was momentous. It’s funny, I now believe this (along with art) is what I was born to do. I had to overcome fear to do it and I had a lot of help, but in overcoming, I have found my life’s purpose.

How will I surprise myself this week? I don’t really want to surprise myself, I want God to surprise me. I hope that I will finish everything that I have before me, but not just that I finish it, but that is I finish well. I have the opportunity to speak to two groups of middle school students this weekend about finding and living their life’s purpose, I am going in with expectations high, but I want to see God surpass them. I want to see him use me to speak into the lives of these young people and set them on a course to being more than they can ask or imagine. My purpose is to help people find their purpose, my prayer is that I will be used to do just that.


The Challenge
These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Is fear holding you back from living your fullest life and being truly self expressed? Put yourself in the shoes of the you who’s already lived your dream and write out the answers to the following:

Is the insecurity you’re defending worth the dream you’ll never realize? or the love you’ll never venture? or the joy you’ll never feel?

Will the blunder matter in 10 years? Or 10 weeks? Or 10 days? Or 10 minutes?

Can you be happy being anything less than who you really are?

My Response:
No fear is worth the beauty of the vision I see. It’s a vision of helping people to find the purpose in their life by helping them develop and use their God-given gifts. If I don’t get there, if I let fear stop me, not only will I miss out on what God has created me to be, but I may make it more difficult for the people I could have reached. When I get to that point I realize there is a lot riding on this and it would be irresponsible to turn back on account of fear. I will make mistakes, you can’t create without them, but God is good and He can work even in my mess-ups. I will persevere, I can’t imagine being happy doing anything less than God’s will for my life. I must live this vision and in order to do this I need to fear not doing it more than I fear doing it.

Bible Reading Guide
An important part of following God is knowing what He wants and a great way to know what He wants is to read His Word. Follow this plan and you will finish reading the Bible in a year.
1Kings 1; Proverbs 13; Psalm 52
1Kings 2; Proverbs 14; Psalm 120
You can also download your own chart here.


The Challenge:
To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is burning deep inside of you? If you could spread your personal message RIGHT NOW to 1 million people, what would you say?

My Response:
Jesus loves you. I don’t say this as some holier than thou type. I say it as someone whose been broken and hurting and defeated. I say it as a person who had a major drinking problem. I say it as a person who has screwed up royally and who still messes up far too often. No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, He loves you and He wants to help. He wants to show you a better way. The old cliche holds true, He loves you just as you are but He loves you too much to let you stay there. On behalf of all the Christians who’ve judged you, turned you off and offended you, I am sorry. We don’t always represent Him well, but He is good, even when we’re not and He loves you with a perfect love that He will never take away. The Bible tells us that God demonstrates His love for us in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

No Christian is a Christian because he is worthy of it. We are Christians because Jesus is worthy. We’re not saved because we’re good and He doesn’t love us because we are good. He loves us and saves us because He is good. I tell you this because He has radically changed my life and He is helping me find the purpose in my life. My life has value because He values it, not because I am somehow worthy. What He did for me He will do for you.

He is worth it. So trust Him. He loves you and nothing can separate His love from us.

Bible Reading Guide
An important part of following God is knowing what He wants and a great way to know what He wants is to read His Word. Follow this plan and you will finish reading the Bible in a year.
2 Samuel 20-21; Proverbs 10
You can also download your own chart here.


Who do you think you are?

Who do you think you are?


The Challenge:
The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson says: “Always do what you are afraid to do.” What is ‘too scary’ to write about? Try doing it now.

My Response:
The one thing that I find too scary to write about sometimes is my vision. The reason is simple. It’s big, really big. Too big for me. If I post it will people laugh? Will they think I think too highly of myself, that my ego has gotten the better of me? Then of course there is this little voice in my head that says who are you to think that you could ever do that. You’ll never make it. Be realistic. (This is from the prompt of a few days ago that I kept to myself and will tie in here as well.)

Well I often tell people that they need to do things afraid so here goes. I want to travel the world and paint and preach. I want to go to events and arenas and festivals and paint my pictures and tell my story, The story of a God who gave everything for me. I want to speak to multitudes and be used make a real difference. I want to encourage and resource people to do what they do all over the world. I want to be like the guys who inspired me. I want to create new ways to share the “old, old story” and I want to share them with the world.

About now many of you will start to want to correct me and tell me numbers don’t matter or you might even be tempted to say who is He to want that. Do it on a small scale and be faithful. I’m with you on that and I have been and I will keep on doing that, but that wasn’t the assignment. The assignment was to write about that which is too scary to write about. Writing like this leaves one open to criticism, irritation and on and on. It’s risky, but this is my vision, what I see when I close my eyes and when I pray. I’ll be faithful to whatever God asks of me with His help, small or large, but I am a subscriber to the theory that if your vision is small enough that you can do it all by yourself it’s too small. Sometimes you have to trust God and jump.

There is a place for realistic thinking and a time to get practical, but if you start out there you will never create what doesn’t exist. There is a better reality for those who will hold God’s hand and create it. Don’t be afraid, Dream big.


There will be an agreement in whatever variety of actions, so they be each honest and natural in their hour. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What would you say to the person you were five years ago? What will you say to the person you’ll be in five years?

To the person I was five years ago, I would say, “It’s going to be rocky at times It’s going to be a long road. I might be tempted to tell him a few different turns in the road to make a few people I should not have trusted, a few areas where I should have made different decisions, but all this is tough because the experiences I’ve had are part of what makes me who I am. We can’t really change the past anyway so it’s a little pointless to ask this question.

As to what I would say to myself five years down the road. Hopefully I will live these days in such a way that I can say “You’re welcome.” What really matters is what I do with today.

Bible Reading Guide
An important part of following God is knowing what He wants and a great way to know what He wants is to read His Word. Follow this plan and you will finish reading the Bible in a year.
2 Samuel 18, Proverbs 7, 8, Psalm 50
You can also download your own chart here.


Where would I like to go before I die? A few places come to mind. The first is Israel. I really want to go to the places where Jesus walked. I also would love to visit the Louvre in Paris and I’d equally love to see Michelangelo’s Sisteen Chapel. To get to these places really for me involves me being proactive is accomplishing my life goals. The ultimate goal in each of these is to not just get to go but to take my wife with me.

Beyond those places, I have been to many great places in my ministry to which I have gone alone that I would like to return to with my lovely wife Dawn. Places such as Kauai, Nashville, even my most recent trip to Boise Idaho, etc. I also have a goal of getting the two of us back to Sanibel Island, FL. I know this may sound small by comparison to those listed above, but it was a very special trip for us and the place holds a special place in our hearts. I have also had a dream of taking my son Chris and my wife Dawn to Disney World. The instability of my job the last few years have prevented us from making this trip, but eventually we will get there.


The Challenge:
Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you had one week left to live, would you still be doing what you’re doing now? In what areas of your life are you preparing to live? Take them off your To Do list and add them to a To Stop list. Resolve to only do what makes you come alive.

Bonus: How can your goals improve the present and not keep you in a perpetual “always something better” spiral?

My response:
If I had one week to live would I still be doing what I’m doing now? Yes and no, but this question is difficult. With one week to live, I would spend it with my family and friends because I owe it to them and I doubt that is the answer the challenge is looking for. In truth my family would be who I would miss the most and I would devote most of that time to them.

What would I still be doing? I’d probably post a few blogs and maybe release my book, trying to challenge the tribe and leave something behind. Maybe a better way to ask this question for me is what would I pick up and what would I lay down too accomplish my goals with the time that’s left. My mission in my “professional” life is to use my talents to tell people about Jesus. Professionally this is what I really want to do with the rest or my “working hours.” That means I would most certainly be changing occupations, devoting more of life to ministry. This is the area where I am preparing to live. I envision a day when I will travel the world painting pictures, making art and telling people about Jesus.

To reach this goal I need to prepare the messages, make the connections and get the “gigs.” I have several things close to ready to go, and I ned to devote myself to finishing them, getting the Word out and developing a few items I can sell to help with the finances. Other than that I need to devote myself too prayer and the word. What do I need to stop doing. Largely I need to get better discernment on what is “make work” and what is truly important to reaching this goal. I am redevoting myself to making this vision a reality.

I’m starting now. I could use a few people to help me make this vision real and a few people to help me book speaking/painting opportunities. Any takers?


This was today’s challenge from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance.

That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? . . . Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Identify one of your biggest challenges at the moment (ie I don’t feel passionate about my work) and turn it into a question (ie How can I do work I’m passionate about?) Write it on a post-it and put it up on your bathroom mirror or the back of your front door. After 48-hours, journal what answers came up for you and be sure to evaluate them.

Bonus: tweet or blog a photo of your post-it.

Here’s mine!

Post-it Question for me. What's Yours?

Post-it Question for me. What's Yours?


Today’s #Trust30 Prompt from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self Reliance:
It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?

My Response:
The most obvious choice here would be my faith. Some in my family and among my friends don’t share my faith in Christ. Some who do share my faith in Christ have polar opposite views on the “proper Christian response” to the issues of the day.

Quite honestly what drives my beliefs is my understanding of the Word of God and the works of God in my life. God has transformed so much of my life that I have no choice but to try to live it out and cling to what I believe. Interestingly this is also what helps me to live it out. To follow Jesus is to live in tension with the world around me. This means not everyone will accept me, my beliefs or my point of view. Knowing this is helpful and liberating. Jesus didn’t command me to make everyone agree with me. He commanded me to love my neighbor as myself. He didn’t ask me to fight with those who oppose me, He commanded me to love my enemies and pray for them. He commanded me to return good for evil and He commanded me to trust Him for justice. When I live in this place, I find peace.

Living for Christ in this world implies a life of tension because this world lives in tension with Christ. Love alone beats the tension, so I choose to love and let God sort it out.


Today...

Today...

Today’s prompt:
Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. The force of character is cumulative. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

If ‘the voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tracks,’ then it is more genuine to be present today than to recount yesterdays. How would you describe today using only one sentence? Tell today’s sentence to one other person. Repeat each day.

Here’s my sentence:
Today is filled with Wonder and possibilities!