I set a B-HAG, a big, hairy, audacious, goal, each year. My b-hag for 2019 is to bicycle from my house to Portland, Maine, and to touch all 48 lower States as I travel. The map above shows my route. It will be about 8,200 miles, and will take about 4 months. I will go by myself unless someone decides they want to go with me in the next two years, and I will carry everything I need with me in my pannier bags on the bike. My goal is to write a book of about 100,000 words on the trip.
One of the reasons for the goal is to help from getting bored with life, and to keep my passion for my future alive and strong.
I like watching and keeping track of College basketball, and right now we are in the middle of the NCAA tournament called “March Madness”. It starts with 64 of the best teams in the United States and ends up with one team that is given the title “National Champions”. One of the fun things is filling out a “bracket” that is your guess on who will win each round and go on to win it all. I filled out my bracket, but there have been a number of “bracket busters”, that is teams who are not supposed to win, winning. 3 of the teams I picked to be in the final four are still in it, so I might not finish to bad. Why does a not so good team beat a good team? There is all kinds of writing and and sports experts pontificating on that one. It seems like an inferior team can win if they somehow ramp up their desire to win to a level that their will to win lifts them to a level of playing that the superior team can’t match. It seems only to happen periodically, just enough to “bust a bracket”. Will, passion, desire, want, drive, fire. How do I get it in regular life, how can I maintain it day after day, can I? I am working at it. I want it for myself even as I get old, and I want to be able to give it to others. I have discovered for myself that having at least one B-HAG, a big, hairy, audacious goal is a key. Having a goal that is near impossible, border line crazy keeps me dreaming and alive on the inside.
Tomorrow is a first for me, I am going to do a two day seminar in a mortuary. I flew to Santa Ana today and tomorrow and Wednesday I will teach most of the day on the topic of prayer, leadership, leadership training, and evangelism, basically the same stuff I teach at our “Pastor’s Seminar” that we host at JBC in January every year. The fellow who owns the mortuary heard me speak about 10 years ago in Utah, and wanted to host this for the local pastors here. He is funding the entire thing, even the catered lunch, because he really wants to see renewal come to the churches in this area. As he described the general condition and mood of the church, I am sure that he thought it was worse here than any place else, but I told him, yep, that is the way it is everywhere that I have been. And, you are right, the only thing that will change it is prayer, but it is so hard to get people to pray, and it seems like it is getting harder. It is a spiritual war. The devil and his demons fear prayer more than anything else because they have no defense against it, so they work diligently to keep believers from praying. They work at controlling our behavior by talking to us, and we hear them in our thoughts. With that talk they are attempting to weaken our faith in the power of prayer to change anything, and they create an unreasonable fear of praying with other believers. The best thing to do is pray, because when we pray our faith grows, and when we pray demons are pushed back out of the airspace around us. It would be great if you would pray for me these next two days that I would be anointed by God’s Spirit and that I would be clear and motivational as I teach.
I heard a song today called, “I am Over Half Way to Heaven”, written by a guy who was 42 years old. It seems like it was a long time ago when I was 42 years old. It was a good, positive song about our faith in eternity with God. Well, if I were musical I would write one about being 3/4’s there, though it might be hard to get things to rhyme. It is getting closer, for sure, the day that I am out of here. I haven’t written any goals past 2035, when I will be 87 years old. That is actually quite a bit of time left yet if I make it that long, almost 20 years. It is going to be really cool to get my new body! I am so curious what it will feel like, and if we can fly, and how sharp my mind will be, and how well I will be able to see, and how strong I will be, and how well I will be able to sing, and what everything is going to look like. Sometimes I literally can spend an hour pondering, imagining, wondering about eternity. There was a time in the past that it seemed almost morbid to think about my impending death, but now it is like when I was thinking about going to Hawaii. I think about it with great anticipation. There is still a lot I would like to do before I go, but if I die tonight it has been a great life with lots accomplished and experienced, so I am ready. The cool,thing about getting to the point that I am now at in my faith where I have zero doubts about heaven, God, my salvation is that I have zero fear about getting cancer, my Parkinson’s getting worse, or getting run over while I am bicycling this summer. God has my life planned, and I am going to make the most of whatever I have left to live.
I write this blog almost every day averaging about 300 words per blog entry. It takes a fair amount of time to write it as I think and ponder on the content, and attempt to write it using just the right words so that it communicates clearly what I am trying to say. So why do I do it? The “why” question is always the hardest to know the answer to, what is my motive, really for what I do? I think and reflect about this often, because I know that motive is important to God, and determines much of the blessing He will give to me for what I do. As I have often said, “I can do all the right things, for all the wrong reasons, and not even know it”. I may not know my own heart, but God does, and I want to, and I am working at it.
So, my stated purpose is, “I write this blog to communicate the truth of God’s Word in such a way that it makes sense, motivates those who read it to live it, and in the process entertains them so that they come back day after day, tell others about it, and the number who are reading it grows steadily.”
Motives can also change, so it is important for me to read this purpose statement often so that I don’t drift. I do that just before I write each one, and then I pray and ask God for wisdom as I write, and I ask Him to bless me and to work in a way that only He as God can so that the number of readers grows as my ability to communicate and motivate grows as well.
The word perfect seems to be the new word for “cool”, or “great”, or as I usually say “super”. It really doesn’t mean perfect in the sense of zero flaws just above average. The Bible uses the Word perfect to describe our character. The Bible says Jesus became perfect as a man through the things which He suffered. Now for Jesus the word perfect would mean perfect, without character defect or flaw. God’s desire for each of us is that we would become perfect, and for us that means “becoming like Jesus” in character. How do we do that?
If getting phisically stronger was our goal, and we heard about one exercise that would strengthen every muscle in our body rapidly and in balance we would probably give it a try. There is one exercise that will make us strong in our inner strength, and develop our character to be perfect, and do it rapidly.
James 3:2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.
The one exercise that will make us mature and grown up in our character is working hard to control how we talk. Eliminating rude, mean spirited, critical, speech, eliminating gossip and slander, and eliminating argumentative, vindictive and angry speech will be hard but very possible, and the effort will spread to every area of our life and we will become perfect.
I like the idea of becoming fully grown up, like Jesus in character, and I like challenges. I think I will take on this challenge and work hard to control every word that comes out of my mouth. The cool thing about being a Christian is that as I pursue the character of Christ, God will honor that pursuit and give me the strength to accomplish it successfully. I know it won’t happen overnight, but I will be faithful in my pursuit of it.
When we forget our ability to choose, we learn to be helpless. Drip by drip we allow our power to be taken away until we end up becoming a function of other people’s choices—or even a function of our own past choices. In turn, we surrender our power to choose.
A verse in the Bible says, “Do not be conformed to this world”, that is don’t try to fit in, be different. Not different weird, but different good, different right. All day long we all make choices. Some are simple such as what we will eat for breakfast, and other choices have significant influence on others, such as the choosing of the words we will speak to another person who is hurting, depressed, discouraged, confused.
Non-choosing is mindlessly acting, speaking, spending like those around us. It easy that way. We don’t stick out, look different, make waves. Just fit in.
Every morning I declare my choices and commitments. This is what I will do today. Today I choose to follow Jesus fully, to obey Him in every detail of my life. Today I choose to love my wife, to be a one-woman man, today I choose to love anybody and everybody God soverighnly brings into my life no matter how difficult they might be to love, today I choose to forgive anybody and everybody of anything they may do to me, today I choose not to get angry, not even a little bit irritated, at anybody no matter what they may have done.