Category Archives: Intentional living

I Am Apathetic, But I Don’t Care

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I think apathy is a major problem in our society that is producing to a culture that is impotent in meaning. We are so wrapped up in nothingness that we are producing nothing more than a vain existence. What is it that we are living for? What is the meaning for our existence? You probably don’t know or care, but why not? Where did the lack of caring come from, and our neutered vigor for life and the pursuit for the furtherance of our betterment?

When I read some authors of old, in the 18th and 19th century they seemed to have a greater veraciousness for life and a deeper understanding for you they were and how they fit into this world. They had direction, conviction, and the resolve to see things through. What if our founding fathers were born in this century, would be have a free country? Is this in part because they didn’t have mundane distractions like we have know to occupy their time. We spend so much time watching T.V., surfing the internet, and spend hours playing or watching sports. Where does that lead us?

Is Technology to Blame?

I used to work with a guy who blamed MTV for all the ills of our society. I can’t say I agree with him, but I agree with where he was coming from. With shows like Jersey Shore, Housewives of “name your state”, or any host of  “reality” shows leads us to a degraded outlook in life. It lowers our desire for greatness. We are also living in a time where there are a ton of other distractions. Video games are at a all time high for kids and adults as well. Males average 23 hours a week playing video games and the average age for gamers is not 13 like you might think, but rather 35. If you add that to 19 hours a week on average we Americans spend watching T.V., that adds up to 42 hours a week or 6 hours a day. This does not even include the time surfing the web or updating our Facebook status.

This fills our time and our thoughts with mediocrity at best and a lower standard of living with degraded morals at worst. We are being dragged into a life of complacency, and diverted from any real meaning. We no longer think of the deeper things of life, but are spending time thinking about what is going to happen in the next episode of some fictitious show or how can I get to the next level of some game that leads nowhere.

Are We Running in Circles?

Picture a person running on a treadmill, isn’t that our lives sometimes, both figuratively and literally?  We are running, running, running, but going nowhere. I think another thing that leads to apathy or maybe an outcome of it, is our tirelessness activities. We fill our time with hobbies, exercise, and leisure that it also consumes so much of our time and energies, that it keeps us from caring about the greater more pressing things in life. Now I am not trying to be a downer here, or say any of these things are bad. Activities and exercising are definitely beneficial to our well being. I am actually thinking about writing  a post about depression and mountain biking, but that’s another topic for another day. What I am getting at is that we fill too much of our time with things that have little impact on meaning, invention, poverty alleviation, raising kids to make greater differences in their circle of influence.

This constant busyness and submersion into such prosaic pastimes feed into our apathies and can keep us there for a life time. We need to break out of the commonplace distractions and strive for betterment, strive for finding our place in this world. In the Bible it says “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10.  You see, we are made for a purpose, but how are you going to realize what that purpose is unless you start living with a purpose in mind? Instead of life just happening around you with your head stuck in the ground, realize you were created by a maker. This maker has a plan for you to do good works, not watching T.V. or countless hours on the internet, gaming and working out. Life is more than that. The Bible also says “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ”. Php 1:6

Let us spend more time learning what it is God has planned for our lives, what good work were we created for, knowing that He will bring it to completion. Let us live our lives intentionally, filled with the purpose we were made for.

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Filed under Daily living, Intentional living

T.V or not T.V. That is the Question

tv-watchingI have recently been focused on living my life with greater intention, resulting in taking most of my T.V. watching out of my daily routine. It is quite easy to become a non T.V. watching snob by the way. With quick retorts of “I don’t watch that low grade form of entertainment” when someone in the lunch room asks what I thought of  “Dancing With the Stars” last night. Of course you can’t come off sounding so smug so I would usually respond with “I don’t watch that” or “I am too busy to watch T.V.”  All the while thinking to myself “what a waste of time”. Until one of my coworkers pointed something out me something I didn’t think about. She said, this takes away a lot of opportunity for you to converse with others because you have nothing to add to the conversation. So I had to ask myself, is it better to rid myself of the idiot box and continue to be a T.V. snob or do I start to watch a few programs to be a part of the conversation.

This past week, I had the perfect opportunity to delve into the world of mind numbing hours of sitting in front of the boob tube. I was on a business trip in the middle of nowhere for 5 days. So every night I would go back to my hotel room and proceed to flip through the channels. During this experiment I have discovered a couple of things.

1) The Pink Floyd song which contains the lyrics “There is 13 channels of S**t on the T.V. to choose from” needs to be increased to 120.

2) If there is a risk/reward associated with watching T.V., it is not worth the reward.

3)What on earth is wrong with us?

4)Duck Dynasty rules!! If you don’t know what that means, check it out

On more of a serious note, I believe that the media is steering our society. When we are blasted with marketing propaganda every 15 minutes of you need this product for your life to be better in addition to a great percentage of shows conforming our minds to what is to be considered normal. Shows telling us it is normal to go out and drink nightly to the point of annihilation, pick up girls and have meaningless sex with them just to start over and doing it again the next night.  I know what you’re thinking, this guy must be old. Cause that’s what I am thinking as I am typing it. But when you add this show upon show in combination with commercials filling our heads with catchy slogans to buy there product so our life will be more fulfilled. It is causing a shift in the way we perceive reality and what is meaningful in life.

So how do we respond to this? Well, with the word of God of course. This brings to mind Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” The next logical question is how do I transform my mind? The answer is the same way it is being conformed to this world. If we are inundated with programs promoting an agenda and commercials with there empty promises of gratification, fill your mind with the life giving words of the Bible. Col. 3:2 “Set your minds on things above, not on things that are on earth.” Be transformed with the washing or the word and let it guide your thoughts and actions.

I am not saying not to watch T.V. cause Duck Dynasty really does rule. Rather we are to watch it in light of the reality of God’s perspective, so that we may “discern what is good and acceptable” and not the T.V. and it’s programmers. So go ahead and join the lunch room conversation, just make sure you lead it and it doesn’t lead you.

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Filed under Christian living, Intentional living

How Much Does It Cost?

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Have you ever made a big purchase in your life that you had to really sit down and do the numbers before buying it? For many of us it was buying a house, but it could also be a car, college tuition, a wedding, or maybe a big vacation. Before you do any one of these things the first thing you need to do is find out how much it costs. It would not be wise to go look for a home, see one you like and say “I’ll take that one” without first asking how much it is. For most of us, before buying a home you sit with a mortgage brokers or a banker who goes over your finances to see how much money you make, how much is going out in bills then what is left over to afford a house. It doesn’t end there though, once they tell you what you can afford then you begin to weigh in other factors. What if  hot water heater goes, or one of us loses a job, or medical bills, or saving for a vacation and emergency reserves. We need to consider all of these factors first, then we come up with an amount that you decide you can afford and go from there. It is the same with all large purchases, we need to make sure we know what we are getting ourselves into before we decide  buy. We need to follow through on our commitment.

How about in your decision in what God you follow? Did you consider what it costs? Did you weigh in all the factors If and when you made a decision to follow Jesus as your Lord, Jesus warns us to consider the cost. I know what your thinking, if you are on the fence on this, this may not be pushing you into accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior. But these are His words, not mine. I feel so many Christians are trying to convince people to believe in Jesus, and they talk a lot about forgiveness of sins and love and the assurance of salvation, but not a lot are saying “hey, you know what, it is not going to be easy”.  Jesus on the other hand was saying this. He says in Luke 14:28  For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
14:29  Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,
14:30  saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
14:31  Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
14:32  And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
14:33  So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

It Will Cost You Everything

Oh so wait a minute, it will cost me everything? I don’t remember the preacher saying that in the alter call?  Hmmm, I am not sure I am willing to give up EVERYTHING. Jesus also says in Matthew 16:24  “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” I know, crazy right?  What does all this mean? What on earth does take up his cross even mean? Why do I have to give up stuff in order to follow Him?

This is kind of like asking, “why do I have to stop dating other people after I get married?” You had to consider this cost when you got married. Is this the person that I love? is this the person I want to spend the rest of my life with and give up all other women or all other men for. This is what Jesus is asking. He is in effect saying do you love me enough to give up others for me. Do you love me enough to give up other things for? Are you willing to take up your cross, meaning die to self, no longer living for your own desires, rather living for the will of God?  Or are you just buying fire insurance to stay out of hell?

Giving up Everything to Gain Everything

What is the result of this cost, Jesus continues by saying in Matt 16:25  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Yes it will cost us everything, we will go through hardships, Jesus even says the world hated me, they are going to hate you too. (paraphrasing) But in the end Jesus says “Whoever loves his life loses it and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” These are tough words to understand, and even tougher to live out. Who are you living for? If you are living for yourself, for your own gain and your own wants and desires, Jesus is saying this leads to death. But if we relinquish our desires for His desires and follow Him where he leads, this leads to eternal life.

God came to earth as a man and humbled himself as a commoner, a carpenter. He lived a sinless life to give it up as a ransom for many.  Where we deserved death, he took our place on the cross. He died so that we would have eternal life. He calls us to follow him, how do you respond?  Count the cost.

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You Are Going to Die

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You may not know when it will happen, where it will happen, or how, but either way, you are going to die. This is one thing that you can be sure of 100% unless you think you will be raptured, but for the sake of the argument let’s say not in your lifetime. If this is the one thing that you can have no doubt about, why do we not discuss it more? We will spend time talking about politics, work, sports, hobbies, vacations ad nauseam, but not what happens to us when we die?

I work at a cancer center so maybe this topic comes up with me more than others, but it is still a topic of taboo. When the topic of death does comes up, it is usually followed by a God forbid, or someone knocking on wood. We will venture to discuss death about other people occasionally, but rarely if ever about ourselves. Well let me be the one to tell you, you are going to die. How does that make you feel? Does the thought scare you? If so, what are you scared of? Is it the fear of the unknown or the fear of what you are leaving behind, such as children, a spouse or loved ones? Is this what keeps us from talking about it, fear?

A more pressing question would be, if you ARE going to die why do we not spend more time trying to find out what happens to us when we die?

I know many people who when asked what happens when we die they respond, I have no idea, or say I don’t like to think about it. When I was in my late teens into my early twenties I was searching every religion to try and make sure I was on the right path. I am not saying I am better, or smarter than anyone, rather it does freak me out therefore I searched, studied, examined, prayed to whoever would listen for the truth to ensure peace about my eternal resting place. So it doesn’t make any sense to me and confounds me that more people don’t also agonize over their death and where there soul goes and what are the requirements to enter into a heaven if there is one.

Are we just turned back into dirt when we die and that’s that?

I have heard it from atheists who say there is nothing more to this life then what we are living, and when we die that’s it. Our bodies will turn into dust, we have no soul, there is no heaven, no hell, just nothingness. I have a hard time believing people actually believe that, because if this were true I think they would be living their lives differently. Why live a moral life? Why not step over everyone and take  what you want and live with a more reckless abandon. Although I guess if I did believe that, I wouldn’t want to think about death either.

If there is a Heaven and Hell are you 100% sure you are going to the right place?

I  will ask people who believe there is a heaven and hell, how do you know you are going to heaven?  Many will respond “hopefully I was good enough”.  I think hopefully? hopefully? Again, why is it that if we know we are going to die we don’t make sure we know where we are going and how to get there. Why is not our every waking hour consumed with making sure you are going to heaven especially if you think hell exists. The results are final and eternal. But instead we just hope we might be right and continue going about our daily routines like it is never going to happen.

Fortunately or not, you can not be good enough to get into heaven, so you don’t have to hope about being good enough or not. It says in the bible in Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast. But rather we need to follow Jesus, and accept his free gift of salvation that he offers to all who call upon him.

Act 2:21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved…
Act 2:28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence…
Act 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…
For “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 Jn 1:9

How Can I Be Sure I am Going to Heaven?

Well if it is God’s heaven He makes up the rules and He gives us promises in His word. Like in Ephesians 1:13-14  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. And similarly founnd in 1Peter 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,

So you can be sure of your final resting place, and not fear death, but rather curiously anticipate it with hope. So you too can say with confidence, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1Cor 15:55-57

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Filed under Christian living, Daily living, Intentional living, Religion