UNORTHODOX: not conforming to rules, traditions or modes of conduct REVOLUTIONARY: sudden, complete or marked change

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Are you doing God an injustice?

My pastor said something this morning that caught my attention.  He’s been teaching the last few weeks on mercy.  Today was about how God loves us enough to not leave us where he found us.  He reminded us how discipline from God is not pleasant at the time, but we are thankful for it later.  And then Pastor said, “We do God an injustice when we run away from His mercy instead of trusting Him enough to run to Him.”

I have always been one that hates to admit when I’ve done something wrong.  With my loved ones, I shy away from saying something I fear may displease them.  I’m the same with God.  I know I can’t hide anything from God – He sees all the horrible things I do or even think before I can yank them back.  I think I feel that when I admit something, it somehow makes it worse, or more real. 

When I’m thinking clearly, I know that’s silly.  But now, I know it’s worse than that.  I’m doing God an injustice.  God has given me a multitude of reasons to trust Him.  He’s given me a whole Bible full of stories of people who have messed up and God has forgiven them and used them.  And when I don’t act like God is who He says, I shortchange Him and myself, and my witness to others.  I don't want to do that anymore.

I can trust in God’s mercy when I mess up.  I can trust that He is who He has shown Himself to be – a loving Father who wants the best for me.  Sometimes getting to the best comes through discipline or even pain. 

I often think of God as a wise coach.  As a sports fan, I can think of many examples of coaches that people thought were crazy until they turned out to be successful.  If you want a couple, see the classic sports movies “Hoosiers” or “Miracle”. 

I’ll share a personal example.  In college, I took a weightlifting class.  I know that’s funny, but it was a credit.  (For those who don’t know me, I’m 5’1” and at the time 100 lbs. soaking wet.)  I was doing lat pull-downs in the weight room.  My coach walked up behind me and pushed my elbows in to my body and held them there.  That made it a lot harder, but also a lot more effective exercise.  Coach D said “Don’t cheat yourself.” 

I’ve heard that in my head a hundred times since.  I think of it this way:  if I don’t do things the correct way, or to the best of my ability, I’m cheating myself.  If I don’t trust in God’s mercy, I’m cheating myself…but I’m also doing Him an injustice.  I don’t want that.  I want instead the benefit of the right relationship with God and I want my life to do Him justice so that others will see and also trust His mercy. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gratitude Challenge

 I recently finished One Thousand Gifts A Dare toLIVE FULLY Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp.  I picked it up because I felt like I was in a place where God was stretching me. Something that could help me live exactly where was interested me.  It is a book I’m sure I will read again.  I think it has much to teach me or anyone else interested in a deeper relationship with God. 

A friend challenged Voskamp to list 1,000 things for which she was grateful.  She started and hasn’t stopped counting since.  You can learn more at her blog

A theme of the book is “eucharisteo”.  Luke 22:19 says “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them…”  Eucharisteo means to give thanks.  “Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis.  But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning ‘joy’.” 

The very short version is that thanksgiving leads to understanding that all is grace which leads to joy. 

To give thanks for everything, the good and the difficult is to recognize that everything comes from God’s hand.  It is to acknowledge that He sees the whole picture, knows the whole story…and that we don’t. 

To give thanks is to open our hearts to relationship with God instead of refusing Him.  

I am thankful for my parents who gave me so much, including a solid foundation in this life.  I’m thankful for my husband who is the best gift God ever gave me.

That's the start of my list…how about yours?

This author has no affiliation with Ann Voskamp

Monday, September 19, 2011

Allow me to explain the name….

If you’re anything like me, you are curious how or why people choose titles for blogs, bands etc.  This blog title comes from an inspiring book I recently finished. Golf’s Sacred Journey by David L. Cook is now a movie titled Seven Days in Utopia starring Lucas Black and Robert Duvall.  I highly recommend both the book and the movie. 

David L.Cook has been a coach to professional athletes as well as Fortune 500 executives.  In the book introduction, he says “I have compressed my twenty-plus years of peak performance coaching into a story of two fictional characters: a rancher with a passion for teaching truth and a young golf professional at the end of his rope. They represent each of us in the various stages of growth.”

Johnny is the rancher/teacher and Luke is the student.  Johnny offers Luke one week of lessons to regain his golf game.  I know very little about golf, but it’s easy to see these lessons are more about life than they are about a game.  Here is a small summary of what I learned from this book.
  1. Have conviction: know why you do things in the manner you do them.  This keeps you from being shaken when others question you.  
  2. Find your rhythm and balance, these allow you to have freedom and patience.  This keeps you in control of your emotions instead of being controlled by them.
  3. See your target or goal.  Feel your rhythm and balance, both emotionally and physically.  Trust your senses, and swing.
  4. Respect tradition, but seek truth.  Sometimes tradition should be challenged by creative wisdom.
  5. Prepare with a mental checklist by observing and strategizing to perform in any situation, including emergencies.  Confidence comes with being completely prepared.
  6. Without accountability, people don’t change.  Keep score of your “concentration” by counting the number of times you use your mental checklist
  7. Bury the lies that you have believed so far in your journey.  Believe what God says about you.  The way you live will determine what your epitaph will say.  It is your choice.  Count the lies or count your blessings. 
Johnny challenged Luke with something new: face-on putting.  It was different, but it made sense.  But no one was doing it yet.  It was truth versus tradition.  Johnny said, “Someone is going to lead the revolution.  It just might be you.”

Johnny also said, “I believe greatness is revealed in the unorthodoxy of life.  It is in thinking out of the box labeled ‘comfort zone’ that we discover truth.  Our box is nothing but a self-imposed prison, a trap set for unsuspecting souls. My passion in life is to set people free from their boxes.”

In the last chapters of the book, Luke wonders why there aren’t more people like his coach to teach wisdom.  The story comes full circle when the student Luke becomes a teacher and shares what he learned with someone else. 

So that’s the reason for this blog title.  By definition “unorthodox” means “not conforming to rules, traditions, or modes of conduct.”  “Revolutionary” refers to a “sudden, complete, or marked change; something radically new or innovative; outside or beyond established procedure, principles, etc.”

I am a Christian.  The rules I don’t conform to are those of today’s world or culture.  The new and innovative thinking I would like to share with you comes from God’s Word.  I write this blog to share wisdom.  But you should know that it doesn’t come from me.  Everything I have comes from God. 

And oh yeah, calling myself a revolutionary is way out of my comfort zone.

P.S.: This author has no affiliation with David L. Cook or Utopia Films LLC