iPainting: Jason Potter

Jason Potter

Today’s iPainting is a portrait of one of my dearest friends “Jason Potter”.  He is one of the Pastors at our Church, Point Of Mercy in Nashville, Tennessee.  Jason is one of the hardest working men I know, and he makes such a difference in so many lives.  He is also one of the most important people in our lives. So much so that he and his wife Brittany are more than friends, they’re family. 

Outrunning Your Boulders

 

Wikimedia Images
Wikimedia Images

In life, you will touch many things, dabbling in this or that hobby, but your steps will be more telling.  Your steps reveal how you spend your productive hours.  So I ask this question, if something is important enough for you to step into, why not put your all weight behind it? 


If we’re not careful we can allow events to make a bigger impression than we do.  Whether I’m the catalyst of the situation, or the recipient of the impact, I have a choice. I can either let it move me, or I can move it.


Leaving the emotion out of what occurred, ignoring for a minute if it is good or bad, we’ve got to make a decision.  Will those I’m impacting remember how this affected me, or how I reacted to it?  In life, we may not always be prepared for what happens, but we can be ready to answer it.


This doesn’t mean that we will never be blindsided by something, we will. No one in this life will be untouched, unhurt, or unaffected by something.  What we can be however, is unstoppable, undeterred, and undefeated by it.


Whether it’s spiritual, financial, educational, or career related, you face something today.  Regardless of what it is, you can be the Indiana Jones of your adventure.  He wasn’t perfect. He hated snakes, who can blame him? He got hurt a lot really, but people don’t remember what he faced nearly as much as what he stood for.


You don’t have to be the biggest or the best. We cherish the footprints of a little baby, and they’re the smallest in the room. No one is looking for the most handsome or the strongest to step up, just someone to stand in the gap. 


What you do have to do is finish the course. People won’t quit, if you don’t. Children succeed when their parents get up every day and confirm the importance of a child’s dreams.


Businesses rise when one employee cares enough to go the extra mile. Communities are revitalized through one volunteer adding her voice to those around her.  Governments are changed when good people care enough to run for office.  Whatever your journey, no matter your adventure, lean into it.


Shoot the guy with the sword, grab the treasure, out run the boulder, and reach for the prize. Whether the situation is as small as shutting down a near sighted fear of failure, or something of epic proportions like getting your degree you can succeed.  Take the next step, it may not seem like much, but each one moves you closer to your goal.

The Sea Horse: Easter In Oceania

The question had been asked to Henry by a young patient, “Do heroes go to Church?” His answer was, “A better question is How could they not?” He would remember that later in the day. Henry and Carla joined their adopted son and his girlfriend for Easter morning services and dinner. Afterwards Elizabeth and Henry noticed that Aaron had slipped away from the group.

“I’ve been gone for so long, do you check on him or me?” Henry smiled, “Let me for old times sake. I expect he’ll be your responsibility from now on.” Henry wasn’t as strong as he used to be, but he could still climb the tree that lead to the roof. He found the young man that had become part of their family staring at the ocean. Ever since Aaron was a teenager, this was their spot.

The two men just stood there silent for a few minutes. While physically opposite, the two were very much alike. The older African American Chief Of Staff and the young caucasian doctor loved the sea. “So what brings you up here when the woman you’ve been wanting to date is in the kitchen?”

Aaron smiled and pointed upward. “Him and them. I was thanking Him for giving her back to me, and wishing they were still here.” “Reagan and your Mother were very special, I miss them too.” “I was also asking a question. Is it too early to give Elizabeth, I mean Leah this?” He showed Henry his Mother’s ring.

“I don’t think so, considering all you and Leah Wanda have been through.” “Speaking of that, why do you always reference her middle name Wanda?” Henry laughed. “Now who’s going to be nostalgic. Her Grandmother and namesake, Wanda, introduced Carla and I. Did you tell her about her?”

“I did, she had always suspected it. Her Dad tried to protect both of them.” “He succeeded, even if he risked his life in the process.” “How can I ask her to marry me in the middle of all this chaos?” Henry had been waiting for that question. He knew it was the one Aaron had been asking himself ever since they could date again.

He pointed out at the harbor. It’s Easter, a reminder that you don’t wait for peace to live, you have peace because new life was given. God doesn’t intend for you to fight this battle alone, that’s why you have all of us.” Aaron smiled, relieved at the answer. “I haven’t said it in a while, but thank you for helping me. I’m not just talking about the night you rescued me, but each day after it too. I’m glad you’re always there.”

“I wouldn’t be anywhere else. Easter isn’t just about a one time rescue, it’s about a life of freedom. You have a job to do, and to Oceania you are a hero, but your shoulders aren’t strong enough to carry it all, neither are mine. That’s why Heroes go to Church, not because they are perfect, instead because they know The One that is.”

Easter: Three Witnesses

By Ipigott (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Ipigott (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Have you ever asked yourself what three particular people felt during Christ’s death? What did Lazarus say? How did the widow of Nain’s son take the news? Finally, how did Jairus’ daughter react? These three people had experienced something none of those around them had. Let’s imagine for a moment what might have happened.

They knew by experience that Jesus had power over death. All three had crossed the vail of this life for the other. What went through their minds? When his sisters were crying, what did Lazarus answer? Perhaps Martha may have said, “I haven’t cried like this since …”, and they both looked at their brother. Maybe they said, “I don’t understand it, but I know he (Lazarus) lives.”

The widow may have been sitting in a chair when she got the news. If her son was also a carpenter, maybe he had even built it. No doubt she was beside herself and bewildered, but then her son walked through the door. The messengers may have left them to their grief, and one said to the other. “I don’t understand it, I can’t explain it, but I know he (her son) lives.”

I imagine Jairus and his wife stared at their daughter as she went about that afternoon. She may have already been interested in a boy, after all she was a teenager in a culture where they married early. Can you imagine, when they got the news, how confused they must have been? All they knew was that they would have a wedding one day because she lives.

Of the three, I’m confident that while he probably didn’t understand, Lazarus held to his faith. In the midst of the bewilderment and confusion he stood faithful. That faith was rewarded three days later when like a fire the news spread through the country. “Yes He was dead, I watched Him die, but He lives! I’ve seen Him, He lives!

It was no accident that in this post, when referring to the three people I said “He lives, He lives, and she lives.” For you see, as the old songs say because He lives, I live! We rejoice that there is a Heaven to gain because The Lord made His body the bridge to safety.

Colossians 3:1-4

1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

4 When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. That accounts for the first two, but what about the third one?

In a very real sense, while The Lord walked out of that tomb alone, prophetically He walked out with His Church. The Bride Of Christ became a reality because she was taken from the last Adam’s side. He lives, and because He lives, she lives for evermore. There was a march in the mind of God at the tomb, but it wasn’t a funeral march. It was a much more joyous song, “Here comes the bride.”

Sunday is Easter, and there is a blood moon this weekend. I don’t know how many Easters we have left before the wedding, but I want to encourage you today. If you know Him, take heart and get ready for the ceremony. If you don’t know Him, or if you haven’t spent time with Him in a while, He has extended you an invitation. Meet Him at the cross, and join Him at the wedding!

Vital

  

You are vital to those in your life, you may not realize it, and you may not recognize it, but you are.  Perhaps something has happened that has hampered your self worth.  When your self confidence is at its lowest, and you are weak, temptation whispers, “They only care about what I do, and not who I am.” Today, I wold like to refute that lie, because it can destroy  you if it lingers.

 What you do isn’t separate from who you are.  You are far more to those who care for you than your skills and abilities. Are there some shallow people in the world who are only concerned with their own needs? Yes, but they are not in your core group.  The people who you interact with on an individual level see how important you are to their lives.  

What we forget is the fact that our abilities communicate our feelings.  When a child is born, how does it know it’s loved? Because it’s Mom and Dad feeds, clothes, and cradles them.  As they get older they’ll learn to appreciate their parents for their personalities, but that’s not how we learn.

As a Christian, we were the same way.  We knew God loves us by the act of His death on Calvary.  We learned to appreciate so much more about Him, but it started with the act of the Cross.  The Lord didn’t mind that, He invites us to the foot of the Cross, and walks with us through a life of relationship.

As part of a Leadership team, I can tell you, your Leader values you.  Leaders are fueled by passion, they know firsthand the pitfalls and the heartache of feeling alone, and under appreciated.  They know this because they’ve been there themselves. That is why they invest so in the care of those around them, laboring to ensure we all know how much they cherish us.

That’s what The Lord Jesus did with Simon.  He told Him, prior to the denial, “Simon, the enemy wants to destroy you, but I have prayed for you.” God was saying, The One you saw pray for the leper that was made whole, is praying for you.  The Blind Eye Healer is interceding for you. Jesus, who knew no sin, knew what it was like to feel uncared for, and that was something He never wanted any of us to experience.

Before the rooster ever crowed, Christ spoke to reassure, and to drown out the torment that would echo in Simon’s heart.  “Peter, you will deny me, but it’s going to be okay.”  God knew Peter loved Him for more than what He could benefit from Him. Jesus wanted to remind Simon that He had loved Simon first.  

An even though, after his denial, Simon Peter’s self worth was at Rock bottom, Christ made sure He had hope. After the Resurrection, Jesus told them, “Go tell my Disciples, even Simon”, to meet me.  In other words, It’s okay Peter, I still value you, you are more than your mistakes.”

So are you by the way, whatever action or event has made you doubt your importance to others doesn’t remove you from the hearts of those you love.  Will there need to be repair and restortion in some cases, of course.  That doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed.

Simon was valuable to The Kingdom, not just what He did, but who he was.  An yet, because of who he was, he did what he did.  The same God that loved him, gave him the keys to the Kingdom. You may not think that your abilities are that important to you or others.  Except that God gave them to you, and gave you to those around you.  Don’t let mistakes, events, or a low sense of self worth rob you of your vitality.  

Wherever you are, you’ve been placed there on purpose.  Whatever you do, those skills were given to you by The Master.  Who you are may not look like much to you, but He made you.  God only makes treasures, their value may sometimes be hidden, but He also makes treasure seekers.  Christ placed people in your life to recognize how precious you are, even when you don’t.  The One that journeyed to save you sent others to value you. He sent them to you to accomplish what is vital to their survival, to do the one thing that only you can do.

Rest

  

Psalms 127:2
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

A man, or woman, slips out of bed.  They head to the kitchen, make the coffee, take a comfortable chair, and they wait. They’re in no hurry, they are letting their loved one sleep.  It’s the closest human analogy we can get to this Scripture.


David knew what it was like to lay on the cold, dark, hard floor of a cave.  Many times he had to go to sleep somewhere that night, and flee to another hiding place before the morning light. Even in the scariest of times, he found rest.

The reason for this, The God who’s heart he was after, watched after his. David’s name meant beloved, and God was giving His beloved child sleep in the midst of chaos.  The Lord, who is no respecter of persons, still performs this nightly ritual without fail for us.  Someone even more precious than the Angels watches over our nights. 

When a loved one is hurting, we feel so helpless.  We pray, “Lord, if they could just get to sleep, they’d have rest from their pain.”  He hears, and grants our request, knowing firsthand the power of it.  After all, He created rest with us in mind.

After six days of Creation, the Invincible God wasn’t tired, yet He rested, establishing a principle.  He stayed Himself from activity to illustrate a very important fact.  The God that we love, that made all things, knew we would need rest. It was a physical reference to the rest He wanted to give us through His Spirit.

So many today are hurting, they stay up late trying to figure a way out of their troubles.  We get up early when worry invades our waking thoughts.  However, God has something better for us, in the midst of our battle, no matter what we are facing.  He has established a rest for His people, both a spiritual, and a natural one.  

The Lord knows that every night won’t be perfect, that there would be some sleepless nights.  His beloved David also said that “my sore ran in the night, and I refused to be comforted.”  The Lord realizes there will be sleepless nights, He spent many of them Himself, on earth in prayer.

The Bible talks in many places of The Lord Jesus spending all night in prayer. Was He ignoring His own counsel? No, He was doing in the flesh, what He had always done before becoming a man, prior to wrapping Himself in flesh.  Christ wasn’t missing sleep for His sake, He was praying for us. Just as He interceded for David in the cave, for the Disciples through the storm, and last night for that financial problem you’re facing.  He was working while we were resting.

He also took a nap on the boat when He needed rest.  I submit to you today, there’s no greater place to rest, than on a vessel manned by your loved ones.  He wasn’t worried about the storm, He knew its capacity.  He also knew the boating skills of His Disciples.  

He was on their boat, but they were in His ocean, it would be all right.  Today, rest assured, your Beloved is captaining your boat.  Jesus can still the waters, He made them. 

He let you sleep in this morning, as He sent the moon off to bed, dismissed the nightly stars, and greeted the sun. Whatever you’re facing, trust today that He’ll bring you through. Then tonight, yawn, go to bed, dismiss your worries, and greet your dreams.  He’s blessed you, His precious child, with beloved sleep, and it’s time for a long, quiet rest.

iPainting: Mickey Memories

This morning’s bonus iPainting is a house warming gift that a friend of ours had expressed interest in having, so we surprised her with it as a gift.  We hope you enjoy it, and for comparison’s are, here is “Mickey Memories” beside the original Steamboat Willie.

  

Creativity

Wikimedia Images
Wikimedia Images

The word Creativity is used a lot in this day and age. It wasn’t always the case, Plato said that you can’t say a painter truly makes something, he imitates what he sees. Creativity is a buzz word that sounds good, and it most certainly has it’s place, but I think we’ve forgotten what that place is.

[tweetthis]”He brings order out of chaos, not with the physical world, but in our hearts and minds.”[/tweetthis]


To understand Creativity completely, we must return to the point of first reference, the most brilliant example of Creativity since the world began, the beginning of the world. As a Christian, I believe that God created the Heavens and the Earth in six 24 hour periods. He made the Heavens so He could make the Earth, He made the Earth so He could make man.

The act of creation was used by God as a means to an end. He used it to make man, and then God rested on the seventh day. As grand as the physical Creation was, it’s not something that God intended to on a continual basis. Please don’t misunderstand me, God still creates, but He does it differently.

Today, He creates peace in troubled lives. He brings order out of chaos, not with the physical world, but in our hearts and minds. The physical in the Old was an example of what He hoped to do daily in us. Like the sun and moon, light shines in our hearts, no matter what the season we’re going through, whether sewing or harvest.

Creativity is a servant. It’s meant to produce something, to be relevant, not merely revered. Everything I make may not be life altering, but I do believe that it should be life enhancing. On most mornings at work, I make coffee. It’s not a life altering task, but it most certainly improves my life. It opens my eyes, it clears my throat, and I enjoy it. It has a purpose, it also serves others.

Other acts we perform are much more effective, for example, I process the calculations that pay our Sales Reps. This feeds their families, buys their children clothes, and helps them pay for their car. I don’t create their salaries, do the work for them, or make the deals. I create the spreadsheet that pays them, it’s not a huge act, but it’s a vital one.

What are you doing that you don’t think is making a difference? The feeling of insignificance is felt by people all across the globe. Perhaps the reason for it is that we have a skewed idea of Creativity. We watch a movie and think, “I’d be rich if I could only write like that.” “If I could build that, sing like her, or invent like him we’d be great.” The problem is that we judge our effectiveness in a way that robs us of perspective.

Consider for a moment two famous men, Thomas Edison and Dr. Seuss. One invented the sustainable light bulb system, the other wrote children’s books. In the sense of originality, both were creative. In the sense of value, would you argue one was more effective than the other? All benefited from the electric light, but it’s Dr. Seuss’ Oh The Places You’ll Go that’s read at Commencement Ceremonies.

Your creativity doesn’t have to impact the world to have an impact on others. If you’re doing something, no matter how grand or how small, ask yourself something. Will it help someone in some meaningful way? Will it put a smile on a child’s face? Will it make someone’s day brighter? Will it show God’s love through me somehow? If the answer is yes, then you had better get cracking. Create something, not so people can stare at it in a museum, but so they can use it as a roadmap on their journey to a better life!