Sometimes We’d Rather Just Complain

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Sometimes we’d rather just complain.

It feels good. It’s kind of addictive too – once we get going, it’s hard to stop.

One complaint inspires another.

Speaking out the complaint seems to boost our confidence that we’re right.

Complaining is nice because it places the burden of responsibility on someone or something else.

I think we often choose to complain because it’s safe – it ensures that we won’t have to change.

But maybe safe isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, one final thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:6-8)

Don’t worry (stress, whine, complain, freak out)… instead, pray!

Something happens when we pray. The circumstances may or may not change… but WE are certainly changed!

When we pray, God gives us a peace that goes beyond all our thoughts, cares and concerns about the situation.

When we pray, we take on a responsibility… to trust God and to get our thoughts right (to fix our thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise).

I know, sometimes we’d rather just complain… but if we have enough energy to complain, we have enough to pray.

Live dangerously and pray!

The risk is that God might change us… but it’s a change for the better anyway(being stress-free, worry-free and filled with a peace that supersedes our circumstances).

Live the adventure. Pray about everything.

Adventures in Prayer – Talk Like a Child

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Prayer is simply talking with God.

It’s not reciting a script or repeating a mantra.

It’s honest and real.

It’s spoken in everyday language.

In prayer, there’s no need for Shakespearean language!

There’s no need to speak in Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic or Latin.

You don’t have to put on a southern accent or preacher’s voice when you talk to God (He hears you all the other times you speak – just use that same voice).

We’re His kids! Kids don’t come to their parents and use fancy language or unusual voices. In fact, parents are especially gifted at understanding and interpreting what THEIR kids are saying.

Here’s what it says in Romans:

(This life you received from God) is adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “what’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. (Romans 5.15-16 MSG).

God knows and loves the real you.

You’re His child.

He wants to hear from YOU.

We don’t have any reason to be shy.

Kids aren’t shy around their parents.

Our parents have seen us naked, changed our diapers, bandaged our wounds, caught us lying, wiped away our tears…

Parents know their kids, flaws and all, and still love them.

“Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” (Ephesians 3.12 NLT).

Be bold.

Come to the Father confidently.

He’s inviting you into His presence…

Come on in and have a conversation with your Heavenly Father!

In a Funk? Try This…

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First, let me give proper credit. This post is from Steven Furtick and can also be viewed here:  http://www.stevenfurtick.com/

If you’re in a spiritual funk today, you might want to…

Pray out loud.
Write your prayer out.
Read your Bible out loud.
Apologize to someone.  Even if it’s not primarily your fault.
Talk to someone you trust. If you don’t have someone, hire a professional.
Rest.
Exercise.
Start eating better.
Drive around listening to a sermon.
Turn up some worship music really loud. Shut the door. Sing along.
Go back and do the thing you know you were supposed to do.
Get organized.
Repent.
Encourage somebody who would never expect it.
Get back in church. Serve somewhere.
Quit complaining.
Go on a date with your wife.
Tell somebody thank you.
Give some money away.
Call on the name of Jesus.
Remember how far He’s brought you.
Realize that He’ll never ever leave you.

Just a few ideas to get you started.

You can take it from here…

Adventures in Prayer – Take a Hike!

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The Gospels often mention Jesus going somewhere to pray – into the hills, out in the wilderness, to an olive grove and on a mountain).

What a great idea: go on a prayer hike, prayer jog, prayer walk, prayer bike ride, etc.

I enjoy jogging a trail that runs from my neighborhood in Maple Valley out to the “wilderness” of Black Diamond. It takes about 2 hours round trip. I have some of my best conversations with God along the way!

Go on adventures in prayer. Get alone with God. Pour out your heart to Him. Ask Him to speak to you. Listen.

Take a hike with God!

“After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.” (Matthew 14.23)

“Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” (Mark 1.35)

“After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.” (Mark 6.46)

“They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.’” (Mark 14.32)

“But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” (Luke 5.16)

“Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.” (Luke 6.12)

“One day Jesus left the crowds to pray alone.” (Luke 9.18)

“Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray.” (Luke 9.28)

“Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives.” (Luke 22.39)

Grace Reaches Across Boundaries

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In Jesus’ day, lepers were separated from the rest of society. They were outcasts and labeled “unclean.”

People were more afraid of getting what lepers had and less concerned about the needs of the lepers.

Jesus reached across the boundary.

In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy.

When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”

Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. (Luke 5.12, 13)

Jesus reached out and touched the man even though he was unclean. That’s what grace does… it reaches across boundaries.

When grace and the “unclean” collide, grace always wins.

We need to be less afraid of people and more full of grace for people!

Enlarge your circle of influence. Reach across boundaries. Love. Bless. Include.

Reach out with grace towards others and live the adventure today!

Unexpected Friendships = an Interesting, Adventure-filled Life

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If you want safe, boring, routine and mundane, don’t ever invest in “unexpected friendships” (people outside your usual circle of interest, comfort and preference).

Want an interesting, adventure filled life? Get outside the circle! Reach for unexpected friendships.

Jesus did this with Zacchaeus. When Jesus went to Zach’s house, it shocked the religious crowd – “they all grumbled: he has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” (Luke 19.7).

Here’s what Jesus had to say about it:

“If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that.”

“If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that.”

“Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us: generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is Kind; you be kind.”

“Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier.”

(Luke 6 selected verses MSG)

Adventures in Friendship… The Power of Giving Gifts

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Do you want to be remembered, appreciated, valued, loved?

Of course you do.

So be memorable. Invest in your relationships. Give value. Be generous, kind, uplifting and encouraging.

On a practical level: pay the bill for lunch, give surprise presents, write an encouraging note and send it…

“Giving a gift can open doors…” – Proverbs 18:6

“Everyone is the friend of a person who gives gifts!” – Proverbs 19:6

Jesus said, “Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends.” – Luke 16:9.

There is a real power in giving.

Think of someone else today.
Buy someone a cup of coffee or send them a gift card with a little note.
Gifts don’t always have to be big or expensive. Even the smallest gift sends the message: “I’m thinking of you”.

Live the adventure today. Invest in friendship.
Give. Love. Enrich. Bless.

Adventures in Friendship… Invite Yourself In!

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When it comes to friendships, don’t be the passive observer.

Take initiative. Risk something. Relationships are adventure!

I love the story of Jesus going to Zacchaeus’ home for dinner because Jesus invited himself over. Yup, that’s right… He invited himself over to Zach’s house.

Here’s how it reads in Luke 19:5 & 6…

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.

The cool thing about this story is how excited Zacchaeus was that Jesus wanted to hang out with him.

Here’s a little secret: most people are lonely and bored. Americans today have fewer close friends than ever before. People want friendships but often lack the courage to initiate.

Be the initiator.

Invite people into your world… and invite yourself into theirs!

RE: Worship… Less Drama & More Jesus

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You ever have tense, argument-filled rides to church with your family? Yeah, me neither…

The truth is, we easily get distracted from the main course. Tension, stress, anger and frustration often cloud our view of Jesus.

The Apostle Paul said, “what I want mostly is for men to pray – not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God.” (1 Timothy 2:8).

Remember the story of Jesus having dinner at Mary and Martha’s house – Martha was shaking an angry fist, but Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Re: Worship… less drama and more Jesus!

Book Review: Hear No Evil

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Hear No Evil by Matthew Paul Turner (reviewed by Brian Dolleman)

Review
I love the honesty and humor Matthew Paul Turner uses to talk about growing in a Fundamentalist home.

One of my favorite excerpts:

“For as long as I could remember, I had lived a separate existence from normal people. I don’t believe I comprehended to what extent my life was different from the lives of other people my age, but I wasn’t naive to how odd and detached we were. Sure, my parents installed a chastity belt around my brain to keep out unwanted predators like Pee-wee Herman and the anti-God propagandist who wrote 1984, but I wasn’t ignorant. I knew my family was different. We liked being different.

Why wouldn’t God find pleasure in my holy brown-nosing? Most of the people at my church did. As far as I knew, the faith I lived was built on nothing less than the state of my own righteousness.

I wanted to go to the theater, But I did fear that when the movie was over, I’d struggle to envision God looking at me with the same delight as he did before.

At my church my sins weren’t so much saved by grace. They were taunted by it.”

If you enjoy music, stories, satire, honesty and humor, this book is for you.

Summary of Hear No Evil:
If you’ve ever had the opening bars of a song transport you back in time or remind you of a pivotal spiritual moment, Matthew Paul Turner’s honest—and frequently hilarious—musings will strike a chord. Straightforward and amusing, Hear No Evil is Turner’s “life soundtrack,” a compilation of engaging personal stories about how music—and music’s ability to transform—has played a key role in his spiritual life. Groove along on his journey as young evangelical Turner attends forbidden contemporary Christian concerts, moves to “Music City” Nashville, and dreams of becoming the Michael Jackson of Christian music. Cosmic and compelling, keen and funny, every page is a new encounter with the people, places, and experiences that have taught the music-editor-turned-author

some new things about God, forced him out of his comfort zone, and introduced him to a fresh view of grace along the way.

Author Bio:
Matthew Paul Turner is a blogger, speaker, and author of Churched: One Kid’s Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess, The Christian Culture Survival Guide, and several other popular books. After a childhood in rural Maryland, Turner attended Nashville’s Belmont University, where he received a BBA in music business, and was the editor of CCM magazine before leaving to pursue writing as a career. Turner has written for Relevant, HomeLife, Christian Single, and other magazines. He and his wife, Jessica, have one son, and live in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit his website: http://www.matthewpaulturner.com/

Win a free book:
Be the first one to email me (include your name and address) and you will receive your very own copy of “Hear No Evil” – FREE!

email: briandolleman@mac.com

Where to purchase this book:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hear-No-Evil-Story-Innocence/dp/140007472X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1266431625&sr=8-1

Note: This book was provided for review by RandomHouse publishing…