Top 10 reasons when you know your life is too busy

isolated 3d golden text "TOP 10"Back when I was in college for both my undergraduate and graduate degree, I had the privilege to travel to many different countries.  One particular year I was able to take an international course in Rome, Italy.  This was a two-week course in graduate school, which allowed some of my friends and me to travel all around Italy, Greece and Switzerland.  I thoroughly enjoyed this time and was in awe of how laid back the Italians were especially during their siesta.  Literally, in the afternoon there was a four-hour siesta (time for rest) and the town that we were staying was literally shut down.

There is a lot to be said for that, sometimes when we find ourselves in life’s fast lane, we need to take a break and slow way down, and even get off at the proverbial rest stop.  This got me thinking about this post and how important time management is as stewards of God’s time.   How important are some of the most little things in life that we are so busy (world standards) that we miss God’s standards.

So here it goes, my top 10 reasons when you know your life is too busy:

#10   You worry too much  - the demands in your life keep pulling you in every direction (Job lists keep growing, there is always more to do, your kids activities are taking you in every direction – family dinners are in the family vehicle going from one sport to another instrument).  You have not been keeping up with the goals that you set for yourself when you were younger.  You are not sure about this economy and what that means for you your loved ones.  You don’t give these worries to God (let’s be honest, if you worry too much, I want to challenge your prayer life)

#    9   You are too busy to forgive others – you let everything else pull you in every direction and to do things that really don’t matter.  Relationships that need to be edified and nurtured and cultured.  Sometimes we neglect loved ones (our wives, kids, family members and friends) You need to say you are sorry and make them a priority.   You need to forgive if you let life get in the way of forgiveness.

#    8   You are lonely – let’s be honest here.  You can be successful, you can technically have it all and you could have a wife and family that loves you and friendships that would do anything for you, but you are too busy to notice and to busy to realize that you are wealthy in friends and family and relationships – so you feel lonely

#     7  You are in debt – because of the busyness and the time pull you justify the debt in your life due the demand of this rat race called life

#     6  Your family and friends’ relationships are suffering – as point #8 said, because you are so busy the very things that give you peace, contentment and happiness are left out in the cold of this busy and the time away both by being their presently and or being pulled away by life still keeps you disconnected from the ones that you need to cultivate and build up and invest in

#     5   You procrastinate too much – you have so many good ideas and dreams that will bring you to levels of contentment and happiness, yet you are too busy to take the tasks to hand

#     4   You are truly bored – life is crazy, you are way to busy to slow down and breath in the life of peach and tranquility, therefore you believe that you are bored instead of busy – so you make your life busier and busier pursuing the very things that are in front of you (slow down smell the roses)

#     3   You have no spiritual life – the way you used to pray, the way you used to spend time in the word, the way you used to devotion – where is the time

#     2   You are lacking community – what more needs to be said, refer to #8 #4 and #9

#     1   You are not making time for the right things – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, body and strength.  The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as your self.  Put God first.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, acknowledge Him in all of your ways and He will make your path straight.

LDWhen you reflect on these things (and be honest) my next post will point us to Scripture to meditate on (Start with Proverbs 5).

Blessings,

Dante

Integrity: Lessons from Daniel

in·teg·ri·ty

noun

integritythe quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

  • “he is known to be a man of integrity”
  • synonyms:          honesty, probity, rectitude, honor, good character, principle(s), ethics, morals, righteousness, morality, virtue, decency, fairness, scrupulousness, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness
  • “I never doubted his integrity”
  • antonyms:          dishonesty

the state of being whole and undivided.

  • “upholding territorial integrity and national sovereignty”
  • synonyms:          unity, unification, coherence, cohesion, togetherness, solidarity
  • “the integrity of the federation”

In the book of Daniel, we read two stories:

Daniel 3 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Fiery Furnace

8 Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. 9 They declared[b] to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10 You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. 11 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.[d] 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

billboardintegrityDaniel 6 English Standard Version (ESV)

Daniel and the Lions’ Den

6 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; 2 and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. 3 Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. 5 Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”

6 Then these high officials and satraps came by agreement[a] to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! 7 All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.

———–

Let’s put this in perspective, evil men (call them angry, bitter, sinful men that can very well be in our lives today) who completely bend the rules knowingly deceiving the Law (in this case, the King) for an outcome that they want for themselves.  Was this fair?  No!  Was this equal? No!  Could evil have prevailed?  Perhaps, if God willed it.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego even said that if even they were to parish in the fire that they would still worship God – that is Integrity of body, mind, spirit and strength.

What about for us today?  What if we work in an office or community or are collectively volunteering by others and this occurs to us (what if this even occurs to us by other professing Christians)?  Then what?  How should we proceed?  Do we fight, do we run and quit or how about this – we hold our integrity!  How about we let the Holy One work his greater plan out for us.  What if we pray for our enemies and for those who have us struck down and/or maligned?  What if, just what if, we prayed for God’s will in our life and lived in such a way that we heard His will for us on how to handle it, what to do?

So did the two stories in Daniel work out for these Godly men who trusted God and relied on their integrity to see them through:

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. 27 And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. 28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside[f] the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

19 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” 23 Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. 24 And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.

—–

Sometimes when we live in these circumstances (and I have) it seems unbearable and unfair and that no one can ever understand the difficulty and stress that we are in.  Pray for these situations and ask God to give you the wisdom and discernment of how to proceed.  Try never to act out of anger – for that is not God’s will for our life.  When in doubt , seek His will first in our life by prayer and petition.

Stand on your character (that God has given to those who love Him), live by God’s word and His integrity.  Above all, trust the One who has gone before and will come after everything.

I like this poem:

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. (by Frank Outlaw)

Thoughts?

Blessings,

Dante

 

Ordinary Men – Final

So what has been my point? I think it’s fairly obvious?

From the beginning, throughout history and still today; God takes ordinary men and women and makes extraordinary things happen.

legacy-church

You may have a sketchy past, you may not have the skills required, you may not feel like the right person for the job, you may not have the education. God still wants you, needs you and will use you if you let him.

Legacy Dad is a testimony in this very fact. I fought God about starting this ministry and I still struggle to trust His plan. I’m not a pastor, I don’t have a Theology degree from Fuller or Dallas Seminary and often I don’t understand the Scriptures or what God wants me to do or say.

The Noise in my head often tells me to quit, stop writing and give up this Ministry. But God tells me He is not done with me.

Every day I have to get up and remember that it’s not by my power but by His power.

God has a plan for each and every one of us: in our marriage, with our children, in our churches and in our communities. We may not understand the calling, feel qualified or up to the task but we have to trust in His plan for our lives.

Andy Stanley said that the true measure of spiritual maturity is a believer’s ability to trust in God’s plan, put our fears aside and walk boldly in faith.

What is God calling you to do? What ministry big or small has been etched in your mind and heart for some time? What signs and tests has God put in your life which you may have ignored?

There basically have two choices we can make: Ignore our calling and let fear keep us in mediocrity or trust in God and His power to meet us wherever we are and use our lives for extraordinary things.

Almost 2000 years ago, 11 men decided to trust God. The walked in faith and 10 were martyred for their faith, their ministry and their commitment but they changed the course of history and the world as we know it today.

What will history speak of you? What will your Legacy be? What might happen if we followed the example of these 11 ordinary men and let God use our ordinary lives to change history again?

-  Lance

It is the Veteran

“IT IS THE VETERAN”

It is the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the Veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Veteran, who salutes the Flag,
It is the Veteran, who serves under the Flag,
To be buried by the flag,
So the protester can burn the flag.

Author: Anonymous

To all of you who have served, are serving – we at Legacydad would like to thank you for your sacrifice (of time, of talent, of treasure and even unto death) we thank you for your integrity, bravery, fortitude and all around real american hero!

May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you and give you the peace of Christ -

Best wishes,

Lance & Dante

 

Ordinary Men – Part 3

James: 

Boanerges “Sons of Thunder” was the nickname Jesus gave to the brothers, James and John. James, the eldest, was obsessive, passionate, fervent, and thunderous. He was also ambitious and bloodthirsty. James sometimes had a tendency to let such misguided zeal get the better of him. James wanted a crown of glory; Jesus gave him a cup of suffering. He wanted power; Jesus gave him servanthood. He wanted a place of prominence; Jesus gave him a martyr’s grave. He wanted to rule; Jesus gave him a sword, not to wield, but to be the instrument of his own execution. James became the first disciple to die for his faith. Although James started out as “in it for himself” when he met Jesus, by the grace of God, he was transformed into one of the leading apostles and his life became less about himself and more about God’s Kingdom.

the-disciples

 John:

The younger brother of James was zealous, passionate, fervent, and thunderous, just like his brother. How did this man become known as “the apostle of love?” John wrote more about love than any other New Testament author. He focused on Christ’s love for His church, a Christian’s love for Christ, and the sign of true believers, love for one another.

Love did not weaken John’s passion for truth. Truth remained John’s passion to the end of his life, but the love he learned from Christ gave him the necessary balance that enabled him to proclaim truth to his last day on earth.The balance of love and truth, John wrote, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4). He used the Greek word for truth twenty-five times in his Gospel and another twenty times in his epistles. In his early years, truth was “it.” He had no concept of love by which to balance this zeal.

Then, in Mark 9, we see him confess to dealing with a man who was driving out demons in Christ’s name by telling him to stop. This showed intolerance, rebuking the man for using Jesus’ name because he wasn’t part of the group. Jesus corrects him, “Do not stop him. No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us” (verses 39-40). With this, John began to transform, to understand the need for balance between love and truth. The truly godly person must cultivate both virtues in equal proportions…Know the truth, and uphold it in love.

 Matthew:

We know very little about Matthew, which is interesting since he wrote the Gospel that bears his name. We do know that he was a tax collector. Tax collectors were the most reviled people in Israel.  The best answer we can deduce is that whatever Matthew’s tortured soul may have experienced because of the profession he had chosen to be in, down deep inside he was a Jew who knew and loved the Old Testament and realized something when he saw Jesus and Jesus called him to follow. Matthew was spiritually hungry, so the draw of Jesus was irresistible. For the rest of his life, he was a quiet and humble man who cared for the outcasts of society and introduced them to Jesus.

Thomas – The Pessimist:

It is easy for an optimist to be loyal, after all, optimist think positive and believe everything will be okay! How much harder it is for a pessimist to be loyal? A pessimist is convinced the world is full of evil and pessimist are quite skeptical of things especially faith and the supernatural. In spite of Thomas’s pessimism, Thomas was determined to be at Jesus’ side. This may be pessimism but it is heroic pessimism and that takes incredible courage and faith! As a pessimist, Thomas realized he wouldn’t have all the answers or facts, his faith couldn’t be scientifically and mathematically proven, yet he chose to believe and follow Christ and spent the rest of his life fighting his skepticism and teaching others about Christ.

 Simon The Zealot or Terrorist:

Simon was probably a former member of a political party known as the Zealots, a feared outlaw political sect in the fist century. The Zealots objected to Roman rule and violently sought to eradicate it by generally targeting Romans and Greeks. Another group, likely related, was the Sicarii or dagger men, who raided Jewish habitations and killed Jews they considered apostate and collaborators, while also urging Jews to fight Romans and other Jews for the cause. Simon was a modern day member of something like ISIL/ISIS.

In both Matthew and Mark, he is listed just before Judas Iscariot, which indicates they were probably a team and the low listing probably means he was despised or not trusted by the others. Simon probably had political reasons to follow Jesus initially, possibly thinking Jesus was there to overthrow the Romans, but along the way Simon actually accepted Christ and became a true believer. Simon and Matthew were at opposite ends of the political extreme, like putting a liberal and ultra conservative together, yet they became spiritual brothers who worked side by side to spread the gospel of the Lord they both worshiped. They put their political differences aside for the greater good and the advancement of God’s kingdom.

Is there a point to all this, besides a nice history and Sunday School lesson?

Stay tuned for the final post on what all this means and how it applies to our lives today.

-Lance

 (This post includes research and highlights from the book – Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur. I’ve read this book multiple times and it is one of the best resources on the 12 Apostles of Christ.)

Ordinary Men – Part 2

These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him – Matthew 10:2

Enlight

They were ordinary in every way. They were not orators or theologians. None of these men was a scholar or well versed in the Scriptures. Their natural talents and intellectual abilities were in no way outstanding. They were prone to failure, none more so than Peter, the leader of the twelve. Jesus even stated that they were slow learners and spiritually dense (Luke 24:25). Yet, after little more than eighteen months of training, they changed the world.

The disciples had faults and character flaws. They were all sinners. They were incredibly ordinary men, just like you and me. Yet these men were transformed and empowered by the Holy Spirit and God used these ordinary men for His extraordinary purposes.

Peter:

His birth-name was Simon Bar-Jonah, in Aramaic this means “Simon, son of Jonah.” But Jesus gave him the additional name of Peter or Simon-Peter.

Throughout the New Testament, Peter displays the following leadership traits and qualities:

Inquisitiveness: Curiosity is an important element of leadership. Leaders are hungry for answers and often ask questions and sometimes rock the boat. According to the gospel, Peter asked more questions than the other eleven combined.

Initiative: Drive, ambition, and energy are important components of effective leadership. Leaders make things happen. We often hear Peter speak boldly, as seen in Matthew 16:13–16. When Jesus asks, “Who do men say I am, the Son of Man?” Several ideas are expressed. Then Jesus asks, “But who do you say I am?” Peter boldly and decisively asserts, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter was always ready to take hold of every opportunity, a characteristic of a natural leader.

Involvement/Courage: Leaders are most comfortable in the middle of the action piloting others in the right direction. In the story of Peter and the boat (Matthew 14:26–28), while the others wondered if they were seeing a ghost, Peter said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” Jesus said, “Come.” And out Peter went. While Peter’s lack of faith is often criticized, the fact is, he got out of the boat! He took action and had faith. Even today, many Christians are happy to stay safe in the boat rather than walking out in faith on the water. But the water, the dangerous area, is where Jesus is.

Besides Peter’s leadership traits, we also saw evidence of his character traits as taught by Jesus:

Submission (John 6:38)

Restraint (1 Peter 2:21–23)

Humility (Matthew 26)

Love (Mark 9:35)(John 13:1-7)

 

Andrew:

Andrew was the first disciple to be called by Christ and therefore had a close, personal relationship with Jesus. When others wanted to personally meet Jesus, it was Andrew who brought them. While Andrew lived his life in the shadow of his dominant brother, Peter, Andrew had an amazing ability to see the value of small, modest things such as:

People, even broken ones: Andrew appreciated the value of every single soul. Both Andrew and Peter were evangelists, but their styles were dramatically different. Peter preached at Pentecost and 3,000 were converted. While Andrew never appeared to have preached to the crowds, it is important to remember that it was Andrew who brought Peter to the Lord; therefore, the fruit of Peter’s ministry was also the fruit of Andrew’s ministry. You and I would never know at the time but we might have the chance to bring the next Billy Graham to know Christ by our actions and personally testimony.

Gifts – Spiritual and Otherwise: While the other disciples were convinced that the best way to handle the hungry multitude was to send them to the village to buy food, it was Andrew who said, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish” (John 6:9). He identified to Jesus an available food source. With it, Jesus fed the people and had food left over. Andrew knew that no gift is insignificant in the hands of Jesus.

Service behind the scenes: Unlike his brother and friends, Andrew was more interested in bringing individual souls to Jesus than in being given the credit for doing so. Being hidden in the background was not a problem as long as the work was being done.

Many of us will never be on the center stage or preaching before large crowds, but we could lead a small group, pray with someone in need or even pour coffee on a Sunday morning. Each one of these tasks helps and advances God’s kingdom in some way.

Stay Tuned for more in Part 3

-Lance

 (This post includes research and highlights from the book – Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur. I’ve read this book multiple times and it is one of the best resources on the 12 Apostles of Christ.)

Ordinary Men

A few years ago, I was asked to sit on a steering committee to find a new youth pastor for a church, the following is some highlights from this experience.

I had attended this church for a while of highly religious people, you know, “church” people. They went to church each week, tithed and gave money to the poor; they studied their scriptures and read them daily. These people dressed nice, smiled, and were good, Godly people. These people also believed in a strict interpretation of the Scriptures and to that end they were at times prejudice. They looked down on those who were different or those who did not believe what they believed. They often spoke harshly of people who were outside their religious group or used passages of scripture to point out the sins and flaws of others in an effort to help these outsiders repent. Overtime, this church developed an “us” versus “them” mentality but it did not really matter because there was more of “us” then “them” and we knew we had the true faith.

Preach

Then along came this young man, a youth pastor for a nearby town, he was very knowledgeable of the Scriptures but believed that the Scriptures was to be interpreted and used for grace, mercy and kindness. He invited everyone to come to his youth group and service and hear his message – those who had premarital sex, criminals, and drug users. He seemed to attract a rough crowd. He didn’t care how these people had sinned or what they had done; the youth pastor allowed them to come to our church and often told them they were forgiven. At first, the elders from our church were shocked but they merely dismissed this youth pastor as ignorant. In fact, the youth pastor came from a part of the country that was uneducated and poor and therefore the church elders chocked his actions and teachings up as misguided and that the youth pastor was simply uneducated.

But the youth pastor didn’t stop there, he kept preaching and even started preaching against the senior pastors and the church elders saying there were corrupt and misguided. The youth pastor also started to attract a following of some rough men – laborers, a former convict, and a CPA who had been caught in tax fraud. All these men were flawed; sinners and none of them were well versed or educated in the Scriptures. They were ordinary men but the youth pastor told them they should start teaching everyone about God. The situation got so bad that there were many altercations between the senior pastors and church elders, and this youth pastor and his band of criminals and sinners. Even worse, many of the people at our church were starting to follow the youth pastor instead of the senior pastors and elders. Finally, the senior pastor and the church elders decided they needed to take action, they could no longer allow this youth pastor to teach his interpretation of “their faith” or corrupt their church and their way of life. Something needed to be done.

What happened next was amazing and something that I will never forget, the senior pastors and church elders felt threatened by this youth pastor. He was contradicting everything that the pastors and elders had taught their congregation for years. He was overlooking sinners and those who had questionable morals and allowing them to be a part of “us”. The youth pastor was splitting our congregation in half and appointing criminals and untrained laypeople to speak on behalf of the church. The youth pastor was challenging our church, its authority and our rules. So they killed him. That youth pastors name was Jesus.

While this story in itself was amazing, what happened next was a true testament of faith in God. Those fishermen, a terrorist, a tax collector and the rest of the untrained, ordinary men – went on to change history and our world as we know it. God used these ordinary, untrained men to change the fate of the world and history forever.

Stay tuned…

- Lance

A prayer for spiritual strength

prayer1FOr this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭3‬:‭14-21‬ NIV)

Often I find myself in life’s circumstances that make me question why and how some things seem to be what they really are not.  Some call this spiritual warfare and/0r our spiritual lives in the desert place.

As we read Ephesians 4 we have to realize that Jesus Christ is the center of it all.  Surrendering our will to God and trusting Him is the way we should go!

Lance and I pray this spiritual strength for you!

 

blessings,

Dante