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Let It Go!

I wanted to talk today about letting it go.

There was this child playing outside and he ran into the house frantically and he was upset. His mother asked him what was wrong and the little boy said that the neighbor boy was teasing him and called him a bad name. The mother asked if he hurt him in any way or was injured. The boy responded he wasn’t hurt. Then the mother said, “Then let it go.” What advice! 

Many things happen to us in life and we do the opposite. We hold on to it. Someone may cut us off in traffic and we can’t let it go. Maybe someone at work made a snide comment and we can’t let it go.  Maybe our spouse isn’t having a good day and maybe our words cross and instead of letting it go, we tend to hold on to it. Maybe your boss did or said something and instead of overlooking it, we hold on to it. The Bible says, “Great peace have they which love thy law and nothing shall offend them.” Ps 119:165.  

We get offended so easily. Instead of letting it go, we hold on to it. How many of you guys have had your wife hold up this jersey that you use to wear back in high school or in college and tells you that you have to let it go?  You tell her no and tell her how long you’ve had it and it really doesn’t look that bad. Then she tells you how terrible it looks on you. There’s things like that in our life, like that old jersey, that we just can’t seem to let go.

I’ve known people during football season whose favorite team is having a losing year or their fantasy football team is flopping and it ruins their day. (Or two or three or their whole week!) They are down in the dumps until next week. Now, if you’re a player on that team or the coach or the owner of that team, I can see how it’ll affect you; but if you’re just a fan, are you kidding me? We have to learn how to let things go.    

Here’s the thing that can hinder us if we’re not careful; if we hold onto something we should be letting go, then we aren’t letting “come” into our life (something God wants to bring into our life). Until you let go, you can’t let come. By holding on to the things we shouldn’t be holding on to, we are then not holding on to the things we should be holding on to.      

I think the advice to take from this message is: do you have anything in your life right now that you are holding on to? Do you have a grudge, unresolved issues that would be better if you were to just let it go? Maybe you put in for that job promotion and it didn’t happen. Let it go. Maybe you were looking to start a new career and went through the interview process and it didn’t happen. Alright. Learn whatever lesson you need to learn and just let it go.  

I want to give you a quote from A.W. Tozer ” In the kingdom of God, the surest way to lose something is to try to protect it and the best way to keep it is to let it go.” That is powerful!  Sometimes it seems like a slogan that Christians use but “We got to let go and let God!” I think there’s a deep spiritual truth to that. I think there’s a time when we need to just let go of something and let God come in and work.    

I hope this was of some use for you today. Maybe if something happens later in the day, you can think about it and tell yourself to just let it go and not let this fester inside of you. There are more important things that are happening in our lives than being put on pause because of something that occurred that we didn’t enjoy.    

As always, if you are in the Lubbock area and don’t already have a home church, come to Trinity Church this weekend! One of the most important messages that I’ve ever preached is going to be this weekend. We are going to be talking about “Partial Victories – How to Avoid the Passivity Trap”.   Have an awesome rest of the day. Go out and win for Jesus. Remember, learn the lesson of Letting it Go

 

God Bless!

Carl

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Resistance

Something on my heart today is resistance you experience anytime you are moving towards a goal in your life. We all should have goals. Set a goal, revive your soul. I was thinking of the importance of setting goals.  By doing this, you can revive your soul. We get to where we are just going through the same cycles and end up just going through the motions in our life, in our work, in our relationships, in our marriages, in our friendships and even in our relationship with God. It’s like we put ourselves and our relationships on “autopilot”. 

I was thinking of the importance of setting a goal. A goal can re-energize us. For example, you should have a goal related to your health. Maybe you’re not at the place in life where you can exercise 30-45 minutes per day. Sometimes small goals can lead to bigger goals. But you have to start out with a goal. Where do you want your health to be in the next month, 6 months or a year from now? Sometimes it’s as easy as standing in front of the tv and marching in place for five minutes. Do that every day and work up to 10 minutes; then 15 minutes. It’s kind of like the “snowball effect.”

Do you have any financial goals? Do you want to save towards your future? Do you want to begin practicing generosity more often? Would you like to give to the Lord’s work? Sometimes you have to be willing to work small and work your way up. 

How about goals in your career? It’s important that we set goals for our personal careers. The Bible talks about this. The Apostle Paul said to press towards the prize of the high calling of Christ Jesus. He urges us to be more like Christ. It’s good to set goals for your career.  I had a goal to be in ministry and I thought how I would achieve that. I knew I would have to attend Bible School. Then, I felt I was called to be a pastor so I had to get involved in a good church and begin to serve. I did this in Albuquerque, NM. I volunteered, I was a home fellowship leader and then became a Singles Pastor for 10 years. My next goal (call it a Holy Ambition – I wasn’t trying to climb the ladder but I knew I had to show myself faithful in different stages of my ministry) was to be an Executive Pastor. I knew I was gaining experience so that one day I could be a Sr. Pastor. Low and behold, 15 years year ago this past weekend I became the Sr. Pastor of this great church, Trinity Church here in Lubbock, TX.

Once you’ve achieved your goal, it doesn’t mean you stop setting goals in your career. Do you have any career goals? Maybe it’s to get through high school, college, or your post grad work. Then what’s your goal? What’s the dream career you want to have and once you get there, you have to continue to set goals. Continue to set goals that challenge you. 

For those of us who are blessed to be married or those that one day would like to be married, you set that goal to one day, get married. Then in your relationships you have to set goals. This is so you don’t get stagnant and stay in one spot. 

Spiritually we should set goals. Remember, I started out saying – “Set a goal, revive your soul.” There’s something about moving towards your goals in life. It’s important to set spiritual goals; to pray every day, to spend time in God’s word consistently. For some of you, a goal to read through the Bible for the very first time.  Maybe it’ll take you two years. Most people have reading plans where you can do this in a year. These are important goals.  

Once you’ve set a goal and begin to move towards it, there can begin to be this force that starts working against you of resistance. It seems like the closer you get to achieving your goal, the more resistance you will begin to experience. We see this even in the life of Jesus. The closer He got to His Heavenly goal, which was Jeruselum and dying on that cross for us, the greater the spiritual attacks and resistance He had to push up against. So sometimes if you are facing resistance in your relationships, your marriage, at work, in the pursuit of your career, your educational goals, your financial goals, or generosity goals, you’re going to face resistance. There’s going to be some headwinds. That could be a sign you’re getting closer to fulfilling those goals. Keep in mind the old saying, “Persistence wears down resistance.” I want to encourage you, whatever your goals may be, continue to be persistent because it will wear down the resistance. I was thinking about Nehemiah in the Old Testament, the closer he got to finishing his goal, to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem (completed in 56 days!), the greater the resistance. Greater were the attacks from the people, greater the attacks from within, greater the scandals, but he had to push through the resistance. 

I want to encourage you, if you are encountering some resistance in the pursuit of your goals, I want to breathe life into those goals and those dreams. That resistance isn’t a bad thing necessarily. It can be what helps strengthen us and develops character. It can actually better prepare us to step into our bigger self when we actually reach those goals. Once we reach those goals, we begin to set new ones. 

So, set a goal and revive your soul! Remember, persistence wears down resistance. I pray God’s best over you. 

God Bless!

Carl

Procrastination

I want to talk to you today about procrastination. Do you ever struggle with procrastination and put off something important for later? Instead of doing what we need to do, we tend to do what we want to do.  I heard someone say once that procrastination is “assassination”. Think about that for a moment. What’s the psychology behind procrastination? It’s referred to as replacing of a high priority act or task with a lower priority action or task. It’s putting off something we need to do with something we enjoy doing instead. That’s procrastination. Sigmund Freud said that procrastination is based on the pleasure principle. Humans prefer to do something positive rather than do something negative.  So we tend to hand off those stressful tasks until later in order to do something more enjoyable. For example, let’s sit down and watch a sporting event instead of going out and mowing the lawn. Or, let’s talk on the phone with a friend instead of going out and straightening up the garage or whatever the case may be. We all have tasks that we know we need to get to and that we postpone or delay.  But, in life, our effectiveness is based on the ability to get something done and being able to do what needs to be done in a timely fashion. Those who get promotions are those who know how to execute tasks and do them exceptionally well.

So what tasks do you have hanging around in your life right now?  You know what those unfinished tasks are doing?  They’re siphoning your energy! They’re distracting you because you know you need to get this task done because it’s important but you keep postponing and delaying it. Those unfinished tasks and projects begin to zap us of our energy and creativity. We all need to change the effort and energy that we use to procrastinate and instead, channel that energy into what we need to do; then we could begin to capitalize on our energy.

Here’s what Jesus said in Luke 9:62 (MSG) “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.” The message for today – Seize the day! What do you need to seize in this day?  What are you procrastinating on? Starting to exercise, talking to that co-worker about that delicate but important conversation that you know you need to have with them,  or maybe there’s something in your relationship with your spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend that needs to be addressed but you keep putting it off, or maybe it’s making a business or school decision or project? Sometimes there are debts where we are keeping that are unnecessary debts and they are screaming for our attention. Could be that your finances need attention. Set that budget. Make some of those hard choices and hard decisions that you need to make.

If you’ll not procrastinate and do what you need to do today then you’re going to find new strength and energy, motivation and creativity for the other important things going on in your life. I want to encourage all of us that if there is anything you have been delaying to go ahead and get it done. I hope this message today can help motivate you and give you that gentle nudge in the right direction. Identify what it is that you want to accomplish today. Identify what it is that you need to accomplish this week. Put the top 2-3 unpleasant difficult tasks you need to do and knock those out first.  Then, you will find motivation and energy to enjoy the lower priority and enjoyable tasks that you need to do. You know the saying – Carpediem? This means – “Seize the Day.” You’ll find that at the beginning of the day you will have most of your energy. By completing tougher things at the beginning of the day when you have higher motivation and energy, you’ll be able to be more successful in the second half of your day. That’s why starting today, spending time in your devotion time with the Lord or some type of exercise or getting to the important priorities in our life at the beginning of each day will make us more energetic and effective for the remaining responsibilities we have throughout the rest of the day. I think all of us can be challenged in the area of procrastination.  

There may be something that’s dangling in your life, that wants your attention and you keep delaying it until tomorrow.  The Mañana Syndrome –  always tomorrow.  So instead, do what needs to be done today and then watch what will happen. See how God will come and undergird, strengthen and support you. I hope this was helpful to you. Procrastination was on my heart and thoughts for today. Get out there and get it going! Knock it out! Check off that “to-do list”. Tackle the tough things first and keep moving towards your goals. Keep moving towards the blessed life God has for all of us. 

 

God Bless!

Carl

Have a Seat

I want to talk today about waiting. If you go to the doctor’s office or appointment, the receptionist says “Please have a seat”, what does that tell you?  That tells you it’s going to be a while. I don’t know how many of you out there are good at waiting. By nature, I’m not very patient. We all should know that life really is all about “having a seat”. It’s about waiting. I know we live in an instant society. We want everything instantaneously. We want our wifi to connect instantly. We don’t even like to stand in front of a microwave to warm our food. We just don’t like to wait. 

I came across a story from NASA on the Mars Rover called “Curiosity to the planet Mars”.  Once the rover entered the atmosphere of Mars, it landed in seven seconds. But, it had to travel millions of miles at the speed of 13,000 MPH and took eight months for it to arrive at the planet Mars. All the NASA engineers could do was to take a seat and wait. They waited eight months! But once that rover got into the atmosphere, it only took seven seconds for them to be able to witness that incredible scientific foot.

It’s kind of like our life. Sometimes life is all about waiting and waiting. I remember when I was single, I had to wait for God’s timing for the right person to marry. It seemed like it took forever. Then, once you are married, you are waiting to have kids. Then, you’re a parent and you’re going through different seasons of having to take a seat as your kids grow and go through the different stages. All of life really is about waiting. Isaiah 40:31 is one of my favorite verses about waiting. It states “ Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They’ll mount up wings like eagles, they’ll run and not grow weary, they’ll walk and not faint.”

I’m wondering what you are waiting for? Maybe you’re waiting for that breakthrough in a relationship, a prayer to be answered, or to plow through the season of education and getting through school. I can remember when I was in high school, I couldn’t wait to get out and when I was in Bible school, I couldn’t wait to get out so I could start ministry. Then, when I started ministry, I couldn’t wait to be a senior pastor. 

All of life is really broken up into segments of waiting. We have to learn to wait upon the Lord. That’s a lesson I’m still learning. I’m now a senior pastor, married, have two incredible sons but all of life is still about waiting. There’s still many things in my heart I am praying for that haven’t yet materialized and I will have to wait. 

So, what are you waiting on? Do you sometimes get impatient? There are times when we can get impatient where we can get ahead of God. That’s never a good thing. I think one of the most challenging things to learn is to learn how to wait. Another favorite verse I have is Luke 21:19 Jesus said, “In patience, possess your soul.” One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is patience. I know, living in America, and our culture, it’s hard just to wait. 

So what are you waiting on? What areas does God saying to you “Have a seat”?  

Not all waiting is inactive. Waiting can be a time of preparation. You know, the Rio Olympics just concluded and so many of our incredible American athletes displayed professionalism, character, and integrity (a few did not). The women’s track and field ladies that won the gold medal, they were such great representatives of our country. Many of them love the Lord. I think about how they had to wait for this moment. Everything was continuing to build for this one moment in order to compete at the highest level for the gold. Then it’s gone! Life is a lot like that. We have to wait, but waiting in not inactivity; waiting is preparing. 

What is God preparing in you? Wait on the Lord and as you do, He will renew your strength. I believe you will mount up with wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, and you will walk and not faint. Don’t be weary in waiting! Sometimes we can get weary in waiting. Be patient and trust in God and look to Him. 

I hope the rest of your day is successful. I hope you don’t get impatient and you don’t get ahead of God. 

God Bless!

Carl

The Happy Majority

If we aren’t careful, we, here, in America, could think that everyone has some kind of ax to grind. So many people seem to be on a warpath in our country right now. I know I don’t live in a bubble and there are some really difficult times. You can do one of two things: you can focus on all the negative out there in the world or in our lives or we can choose to look at the good spots.  Neh 8:10 says the joy of the Lord is our strength.  The Message version states ” Don’t feel bad. The joy of God is your strength!”

I was thinking, what distinguishes you from everyone else?  If you keep a positive outlook, you keep God’s joy in your heart and say to yourself “You know what, I’m not going to let life keep getting me down.”  What distinguishes someone who wants to soar and not sink. I think what distinguishes them is that every day you live with a sense of purpose. You know that God is on your side and your life has value. You know that today is like a miniature lifetime. What we do today is what we do throughout our lifetime. This day matters and this day counts. Scripture says that this is the day the Lord hath made (Ps 118:24) We can rejoice and be glad in it.  I think that’s what sets apart the Happy Majority from the Unhappy Minority.  They live with purpose.

I read something once that said the opposite of bravery isn’t cowardice, instead, it’s conformity. It’s so easy for us to conform. With the stress of our times, it’s easy to conform to those living around us. The Bible says we are not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed (Rom 12:2). How can we be transformed? We should renew our minds every day, choosing to focus our minds on what God says, not what the world is saying.

If we’re not careful, we could end up having a Goldfish Mentality. Goldfish have a three-second memory span. That’s it! Three seconds! That’s why a Goldfish is happy to swim around in a fish bowl all day long. They think they are in “Fish Heaven” because they have a three-second memory span. We don’t want to have this mentality. We don’t want to have the latest images or news coming our way having that kind of influence over us. We want to conform to what scripture says. That allows us to go through life not being pulled down by others but allowing us to pull others up. It is said that it’s easier to go through life cursing the darkness instead of lighting the candle. The best thing we can do is not to curse the darkness around us but light a candle instead.  

So how are you going to go out today and lift someone up? How are you going to make someone’s world brighter today? Maybe paying someone a compliment, an act of service, or you don’t allow someone annoying you to get under your skin or don’t retaliate when provoked and instead respond in love. Each of us can make the world brighter each and every day.  Life is too short and God is too good to go through life letting things around us pull us down.  

I’m challenging everyone today! Let’s all be a part of the Happy Majority. I believe that happiness is an inside job. It’s God’s joy inside of us and not based on the circumstances around us. It’s based on that relationship we each have with the Lord. 

I hope you have an incredible rest of your day! Keep your spirits up and don’t let anything or anyone rob you of that joy.

God Bless!

Carl

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