Weird Guy at the Bar

In Uncategorized by Caleb

Once in awhile I’ll sit and work at the bar of a restaurant during lunch or happy hour. Today was one of those todays, and I was sitting in the outside patio-bar of a large restaurant on the beach. 

There was a strange man sitting near me, nursing a margarita and chatting up the bartender on both sides of the hour I was there. Occasionally, he got on his phone and his voice changed to be more serious, business-like, but I didn’t eavesdrop. 

He didn’t talk to me and I didn’t talk to him. I wasn’t unkind, but I wasn’t kind, either, careful to avoid eye-contact. And I probably judged him in some negative way instead of engaging him, because I can be an idiot. 

Then, as I was leaving, I overheard the hostess talking to another staff person about how the owner of the restaurant was still hanging out in the bar and how cool it is that he acts like a normal person here. I felt dumb. 

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

I want to be someone who defaults to kindness and generous engagement with strangers. First of all, it’s better this way. Second, you never know…

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Buy The Coffee Shop

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The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down. Proverbs 21:20

What if instead of just paying $5 for coffee everyday you set aside $5 per day and invested it in the coffee company? You instantly go from passive consumer to active investor. Now, your caffeine habit is also adding value to your financial future!

My boys are just reaching the age where the concept of saving is understandable. “Instead of spending the dollar on the cheap thing you think you want right now, let’s put the dollar in the jar and save it for something bigger and more special in the future.” 

How about you? What small step can you take, today, that would put you in a stronger financial position tomorrow? What could you spare in your spending now that, if you save it, will make a difference years from now?

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Never Stop

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“Never stop praying.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17

This verse seems unattainable. Indeed, it’s impossible… in the Matrix. 

But… when you see the Matrix… when you catch a glimpse of reality—outside of the materially-motivated anxious hustle of normal life—it might not seem so far-fetched. 

Have you heard athletes talk about being “in the zone”? They are referring to being so locked into their sport that it feels like being in the “flow” and the game comes to them with relative ease. They don’t have to think, but just react and play—and they end up playing their best. 

Praying constantly is kind of like that. It doesn’t make any sense when it’s about discipline, morality, or earning points with God. But when you realize that God’s Spirit is mysteriously connected to your breath… and you’re (hopefully) not going to stop breathing today… that’s when prayer, awareness, and connection to God becomes a different conversation. 

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Choose Joy

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Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

It’s the three ideas together that make this genius. 

It’s easy to be joyful when your hope is built on positive present circumstances. But being joyful when you’re hoping in the middle of suffering is another matter. And a matter that requires consistent (“faithful”) prayer. Not just a decision on Sunday when the music is playing. But a decision Monday morning… in the car… during the meeting… after the fight… before you open the front door… in that awkward moment… and as you lay down for bed.

“Faithful in prayer” is not about being uber-religious or super-spiritual. It’s about being desperate and still choosing joy and belief in the middle of your painful reality. 

“Patient in affliction” does not mean to be a doormat. It means you believe better days are coming and, 

“Joyful in hope” means you’re wearing that belief on your face. 

We’re not fake or out of touch with reality. We feel pain. We just choose—over and over and imperfectly—to let the joy of the Lord be our strength. The shopping, stiff drinks, and sexual stuff doesn’t last.

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Misunderstandings

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There was a misunderstanding I overheard recently. One person was really mad. The other was unaware of the infraction. Then, the others were trying to go-between. 

A lot of our people-troubles are misunderstandings. 

  1. They misunderstood what we meant.
  2. They misunderstood what we care about. 
  3. Or we did the same to them. 

Some will say, “if you can be there, that’d be great,” but what they meant was, “I desperately need you.” We mean different things, though we say the same words. We have different expectations, though we communicate the same instructions. 

People are rarely trying to disappoint you. 

Let’s be as clear as possible. And then full of grace for the space between us. 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

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Little Mouth

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“Be careful little mouth what you say”

It’s from a cute children’s song. Do you know it? 

But I fear that those of us who grew up singing it may have missed the point. 

We’re not going to be careful of what we say so as not to provoke the wrath of a policing God in the sky. Instead, as we experience the God who is “looking down in love,” we’re compelled to being loving to all—to ourselves and to others. 

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6

We want our always-talk to be loving and compelling. That way, people are drawn to the God in us, and we’re ready to respond lovingly when they say so. 

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Momentum, part 5

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Follow the favor!

In my book, Favor With Kings, I examine the amazing story of Nehemiah.

Most people focus on the building of the wall—and rightly so—but we can’t miss the path that got him there. Nehemiah found uncanny favor with the most powerful leader in the known world—the King of Persia—who not only blessed his pet project, but funded it.

God will bring the support you need and light the next step on the path. Ask for what you need, seek wise counsel, cast the vision for what’s next… 

… And follow the favor. 

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Momentum, part 4

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Know the season you’re in. 

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… Ecclesiastes 3:1

There are rhythms of growth that add to momentum. We work for six days, but rest for one. We sleep at night and trust God to keep the world turning. 
When we exercise, we push, then recover. When we run, we finish by stretching. 

All of it matters; all of it produces healthy rhythms. 

Know what time it is. Push when it’s time to push. Rest when it’s time to rest. And pay attention to your rhythms of growth.

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Momentum, part 3

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You can’t play it safe. 

Jesus talked about three guys who were given assets by their employer. He charged them with deploying the assets to advance the cause. Two did that, but the last one just buried the resources, so as not to lose them. He played it safe. In the end, the owner took those assets and gave them to the guy who did the most with what he had. 

Momentum is lost when we play it safe. 

Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Matthew 13:12

When we are good stewards of the resources we have, momentum is generated, and it seems that what we have grows. 

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Momentum, part 2

In Uncategorized by Caleb

Be generous.

The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. Proverbs 11:24 (MSG)

Are you motivated by gaining or giving? 

We were designed to be contributors, giving our gifts and abilities away in the service of others. 

Sometimes, our projects lose momentum because we become self-focused instead of sensitive to the needs and desires of outsiders. Or, we decide that we know the right way instead of generously and graciously continuing to learn and grow. 

Generosity in serving leads to increased momentum. 

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