Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Really?!

Think on this…I love sketch comedy and one of my all-time favorite shows is Saturday Night Live. They have a recurring segment called, Really?! It’s aimed at asking that old question that need not be answered. My life in so many ways reflects this sketch.

Leave your job, really?! Walk away from a job that has help you provide for your family for 10 years, really?! That’s like telling a lion to leave a fresh zebra kill to search for food in the desert. Really?! Right a book, really?! That’s like asking Animal from the Muppets to do story time for a high school English class, really?! Become a primary care giver, really?! That’s like asking the crazy cat lady from your neighborhood to keep a brand new puppy, really?!

Trust God with your finances, family, and future, really?! REALLY?! Actually, that is not a bad idea, really! We have a tendency to do only the things that make since to us. But, trusting God is never wrong. The Bible says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” Psalm 3:5 That is the biggest lesson God has been teaching me, lately. In which areas of your life are you struggling to trust God? How can you trust Him this week? The most secure place you could ever be is right where God leads you. Really!...Just a thought.

(for your viewing pleasure http://www.hulu.com/watch/56636/saturday-night-live-really-michael-phelps )

Friday, June 25, 2010

Patience Please

Think on this…it seems like the theme of my life for the past 10+ has been patience. Patience is one of those character traits that we all wish to have, but like many things it doesn’t come easy. I think about the dreams that haven’t happened yet, patience. There are areas of my life in which I thought I would be so much farther than where I am and again, patience. How is this elusive value learned? It’s developed while hanging on to hope as you wait.

When I decided to step out onto the waters and pursue a life of full time service to God and people I thought things would move faster then they have. In my mind I was walking into the great future and everything I desired would be on the other side of my obedience. No, that did not happen. I was diligent to finish my book and to send books to key relationships that I have nurtured. Now, all I can do is wait. Wait for what, you ask? Wait for people to read the book. Wait for those who have read it to book to tell others about it. Wait for people to ask me to come and speak on the matter. Waiting.

I realize one key thing. I am one connection, one endorsement, one mention away from everything I have worked so hard to accomplish with this book to gain momentum. The thing is, I am not on some ego trip, it’s all about accomplishing what I believe God has for me. Even when doing what God has for us there is often a time of challenge and struggle. Jesus had his time in the wilderness; David had to tend his father sheep, Moses lived in exile. This is my time to develop the patience I need to fulfill God’s desired purpose within me. The Bible says,I pray to God—my life a prayer—and wait for what he'll say and do. My life's on the line before God, my Lord“ Psalm 130:5-6 What are you waiting on God to do in your life? It’s a hard lesson, but a good one…Just a thought

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Purpose-versary

Think on this...I just crossed a major anniversary in my life. No, I am not referencing my 10 year wedding anniversary, that has just past(that is an awesome thing). My Purpose-versary is the 1-year celebration of my leaving corporate America to walk in what I believe God has for me. This was a major transition in my life and I have learned lessons that have drawn my heart closer to Christ. It’s not an easy path that we have been on, but it is one on which we are glad to follow God on.

You see there have been some things that have required us to live differently then before. With one of our incomes being eliminated and the other person working for a church (nobody works for a church to get rich) things have been tighter then ever. We aren’t able to have the things with which we have become accustomed. Even our ten year wedding anniversary was scaled all the way back from Japan, to a Japanese restaurant.

Instead of a steady check for coming as a form of income now my income is based on speaking engagements and book sales. Neither is moving at a substantial pace, although I am grateful for the opportunities that have come. So, we are ever in a hurry up and wait situation. Self-employed people understand that struggle all to well.

Then you must consider my son’s special needs into the equation. He has nonstop therapy sessions, equipment needs, basic requirements that come with having his challenges. Those financial needs have only increased as he has grown. Life is challenging at best!...[Expanded blog http://www.damianlboyd.com/college-impact-blog/ ]

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Power of a Father

Think on this…with Father’s Day approaching I am thinking about the power of a father. We need not look far to see the effects of poor examples of fatherhood. I see it often as a minister. There are many people that come to me for pastoral care that are dealing with issues stemming from their dads. Some people struggle with abusive dads that have destroyed their since of self worth, and left them with little esteem. Others are left trying to teach themselves lessons that should come from a father, but due to his absence they have to figure it out on there own.

Then you have the overly permissive fathers out there that either didn’t have a backbone enough, or didn’t know how to put healthy boundaries in the home. Their children have a tendency to explore so many pursuits that they can wreck their lives. There is still the adoring fathers out there that can, with great intentions smother, their children and give them the false impression that life is about them. Then when those kids grow up they run into a world that is not centered around them.

The harsh truth is that fathers have a lot of influence over who their children become. It’s not easy being a good, well-balanced dad. It takes everything you have to figure out how to show the right amount of discipline, guidance, and affection. I don’t want my son to have to deal with issues because I was ineffective in my raising him. Especially when my son will use my relationship with him as a template for his relationship with God. That’s a lot of pressure. But, I wonder how many people’s lives would be better if more fathers would wrestle with these thoughts.

Whether or not you have had an exceptional dad in your life or not its good to be grateful for positive they have done. Sometimes we need to be grateful for the areas in which our fathers were good, even if that is hard to identify. If you had no father at all(like me) then thank God for the father figures you have been able to interact with. Why? The bible says, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction." Malachi 4:6 You see, God cares about the fathers in our lives. Honor the men in your life that have taken on this vital challenge and responsibility...Just a thought

Thursday, June 10, 2010

10-Year Anniversary

I have officially been married for 10 years today. It has been one crazy journey, but I truly love that woman more today than I ever have. She is not only beautiful, but she is also extremely intelligent and so spiritual. She is such an encouragement to me, and with her I know I can accomplish all my dreams. She makes me a better man. To add to that she is an incredible mother. I truly have a hard time believing that I have done anything in my life to make me worthy of her. So, I see her as an extension of God’s love and grace towards me. And I get to sleep with her. I apologize if that offends any one but…no I am not I GET TO SLEEP WITH HER :P

To appreciate why this matters so much to me you have to understand that I didn’t grow up with a healthy view of marriage. The few men I saw around me either cheated on or treated their wives horribly. I have no context for having an amazing marriage and I am 10 years into one. That blows my mind! She didn’t have the greatest examples either yet she is a wonderful wife.So you see, why I am so happy to tell the world of my love for this woman? The thing that fires me up is that we have only touched the surface of what we believe we are supposed to accomplish together. Our future is so much brighter than our past.

Now, I want to encourage anyone who is in the rough place of relationship, it’s worth it to stick it out. It’s worth it to go the distance. It gets better if you allow it to. For those who long to be married, I will give you the lessons we learned leading up to June 10, 2000. Love God with everything you have and serve Him faithfully. That’s it! To my bride, I love you with my life. Except for Jesus, you are the love of my life! Thank you for a 10 wonderful year and here is to 50 more. “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.”

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lessons from the Sitter

Think on this…my wife and I had a chance get away recently and of course we had to find a sitter for our son. Our usual go to folks were away so we had to find some new people to cover us. Due to my son’s special needs we don’t leave him over night with just anybody. We decided to go with an older couple that both love him, and us, but they had never before watched him. The night before we left, he was up all night and understandably in a funky mood when we dropped him off. I was completely prepared to go back and get him had he “showed the wrong side of himself.”

We picked him up and he was as content as can be. He was smiling and playing. We expected the worst based on how we left him (we felt a little guilty for leaving him with them while he had such a bad attitude). They told us that he didn’t misbehave in the least bit. He didn’t cry once. The husband told me, “He represented you well”. I was relieved to hear that. Then it dawned on me, all parents want their children to represent them well.

I remembered my upbringing and my mom warning us to behave over other people’s houses. She didn’t want us misrepresenting her. My mom was in no way a perfect parent, but she taught us better than we(rather I, as the problem child) often displayed. I remember the look in her eye upon hearing that I had been, in a fight, suspended, or the time the police brought me home. I made her look bad. Now, as a child that was the least of my concerns, but it was at the top of mother’s. My son in this moment had made me as a father look good.

I think that is how God views many Christians. It’s obvious that we belong to him, but sometimes we misrepresent him with our behavior. We are usually not thinking about His reputation as a parent, just our wants and needs. I do it! I think about how sorry I am at following up with people after saying I will. That makes him look bad. I wonder how his face looks when we are brought back to Him because of our horrible behavior. That thought should break our hearts. The Bible says, “As it is written: "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”. Romans 2:24 Do people reject Him because of how we, His children behave? In what way can you better represent Him this week?...Just a thought.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Peace?!

Think on this…I have been talking to some friends about the concept of peace; in light of our countries current wars it is a good conversation to have. In the late 60s John Lennon’s song was the anthem “All we are saying is give peace a chance.” The thought was that where peace is there is no conflict. I don’t know that I agree with that philosophy. One reason is that I have been in plenty of environment were there was no conflict and still no peace. The second is that peace sometimes comes at the end of the sword, sad as it might be.

Have you considered that war is a part of the human condition? I believe that is God’s plan for us to have to work through the difficult moments for the purpose of creating peace. It’s in the fighting that we see who we are, what we are capable of, and hopefully see whom the real opponent is. For that reason I think many peoples perspective on peace is a little na├»ve.

The Bible says, “God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 In scripture peace didn’t always mean the absence of war. In this context peace starts on the inside and was settled on the inside. That’s why we need it to guard our thoughts and emotions because there would be things that would challenge our peace. So, peace is not something that is easily attained, whether in an individual or a nation. …Just a thought.