Critics

“I’ve got a lot of critics out there… In my business, I’ve learned that success is 50% plus one; I’ve got a responsibility to advocate what I believe and speak my principles. It’s very important to be part of the debate, that’s what I intend to do. I feel strongly about these issues, I feel the republic is in danger, I have the responsibility to stand up and be heard.”  

Former Vice President Dick Cheney            

Heroes

Tim was a hugely successful businessman, influential, high visibility, deeply honored, admired. Before business, he had played football for the Miami Dolphins and won two Super Bowl Rings. Anyone invited into his circle got glow from his halo of fame.

 

Which is why I was thrilled when, while traveling to Denver to hear him speak at a conference, I got word that Tim wanted to meet with me! ME! In an instant, I went from the shadowy perimeter to Inside the Circle, Baby! 

 

People took photos while we talked; I earnestly dug in with questions, and Tim put his full focus on me. For 20 minutes it was him and me, me & him, riveted, on point. We were focused and intent. At the end of our conversation, infused with enthusiasm, I was forthright in my admiration and told him I looked up to him. He gave me a terse smile and said, “Aim higher.”

 

We shook hands and went our separate ways. I was exhilarated. The honor of being ‘wanted’, the recipient of his undivided attention, the wisdom he shared and his offer to help me go forward, was invigorating and deeply encouraging. Hope came alive! 

 

    ‘Thank you God!’, I clapped my hands—and a tiny thought occurred: Had I ever been as excited to meet with God as I had been to meet with Tim? 

        

“—that’s not fair,” I interrupted, “That’s a stupid thought. You’re just trying to make me feel guilty.” But this just started a debate. My little thought butted back in: 

        “Hey, nothing against Tim. Honor and gratitude to the man, applause for his achievements, and his willingness to help. But remember, when you told him you looked up to him, he said: ‘Aim Higher’. So I ask you again (still the little voice): Have you ever been as excited to meet with God as you were to meet with Tim? Does Tim know anything God doesn’t know? Has he achieved anything God hasn’t enabled him to achieve? Does Tim have powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men? Is he superman?” 

 

        ‘No,’ I replied, ‘but this is stupid. Tim is flesh & blood, here & now, wholly audible, with social cache, whereas God is …intangible.’

 

The little voice asked: Is God intangible to you?… 

 

        I sucked air to respond, but the voice said, ‘Pause. Think about your life. Think about the miracle that IS your life. Think about the answered prayers. Think about your son, Casey, who is a physical manifestation of an astoundingly miraculous answer to prayer. Is Casey intangible? Are you perhaps not making the connection to God as the source of your very tangible blessings, thereby relegating Him to the status of intangibility?

 

        ‘Look, heroes are great. Heroes are wonderful. We need heroes, we need great role models. Seek heroes and be a hero. But here’s the question: Is God your #1 Hero? Is He your mentor? Do you idolize God? Do you love His companionship, hunger for his guidance, His Fatherliness, his ‘so-much-better-than-anything-elseness’, that when you think of him, all else fades to distant second?’

        

        If your answer is yes: You are worshipping God.

        If your answer is no: Aim higher.

        

        So how do you ‘aim higher’? 

        Answer: Go deeper. Go deeper in your knowledge and relationship with God.

 

In a letter to one of his generals, Napoleon Bonaparte wrote, “The Gospel possesses a secret virtue, a mysterious efficacy, a warmth which penetrates and soothes the heart…. The Gospel is not a book; it is a living being, with action, a power, which invades everything that opposes its extension. …Once master of our spirit, the faithful Gospel loves us. God even is our friend, our father, and truly our God. The mother has no greater care for the infant whom she nurses.” 

 

God is Love. Worship is Love reciprocated; it’s responding to God’s love for You. 

 

God loves you—do you get that? God Loves YOU—and worship is you receiving his love and loving him back—not out of guilt or obligation, but in awe and delight. It’s an issue of the heart, and it’s a reflex of intimacy, which comes from closeness of hearts and knowledge of each other.

 

So have heroes, yes; but as Tim said, ‘Aim higher’.

To aim higher: Go deeper.

 

 

Pokemon Generosity

“Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’ And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” –2nd Corinthians 9:6-8

Our 9 year old son, Casey, collects Pokemon cards [like baseball trading cards], and he always wants to go to the store & buy some more. And we are trying to teach Casey how to get what he wants: by earning money.

Casey has a checklist of chores, and if he executes those chores with a good attitude, we give him an allowance. If his attitude stinks, well…he still has to do the chores, but he gets no money. 

When he gets the money: 10% is given to church—no choice—and 20% is saved—no choice. The remainder is his to do with as he pleases.

 

Here’s where it gets good: Casey loves his Pokemon cards. They cost $4.19 for a pack of 10. He buys them, makes a big deal over opening each pack, plays with them, sorts them, ‘knows them’, trades them at school, organizes them into little file folders, etc. He’s INTO it.

 

So…on Valentine’s Day, our middle daughter Michelle was not feeling good, she was sad, depressed, felt lonely and blue. You know what Casey did? He made a heart out of construction paper, wrote a love note to his sister, CUT UP SOME POKEMON CARDS!! –glued them to the Valentine’s card and gave them to Michelle.

 

·      How do you think that made me feel?

 

·      In response to his generosity to his sister—my daughter–what do you think I did?

Answer: I went to the store, spent $20 bucks and bought him a big ol’ tin box full of Pokemon cards!

 

·      And if my son’s cheerful generosity touched me that way, how do you think God feels when we are generous & love one another?

 

God loves us, and He wants us to be generous with each other. When we are generous, He promises to cover our needs and expand our capacity to give.

 

Thank you, God, for your Fatherly love: for teaching us your principles, and for being patient while we foolishly and tepidly tip toe into your truth and ‘try out your principles’ to see if they work’. 

God, help me to be like my son—help me to be like YOUR son.