Monday, June 29, 2009

Noah and David

I taught this weekend about Noah.  Couple weeks ago about David.  What I have been seeing lately in these familiar tales is the idea that David killing Goliath and Noah building the ark is not really the story.   The story really is about what happened before.  The story is more about the prequel than the sequel.  I am seeing God more at work in the preparation leading up to these events than the actual events.  

There are so many circumstances that prepare David for Goliath.  So much so that I really wonder how much of Dave Vs. Goliath was actually God actively working that day.  I see the hand of God guiding David through his life to prepare him for that point more than God miraculously working through a young David to kill the giant.  David is the youngest in his family.  This gives him the task of watching sheep. This task give Dave the opportunity to kill bears and lions. This develops incredible courage and fighting skills. Watching sheep also give Dave a lot of time sitting around being able to work on his harp playing.  The harp playing creates a relationship between David and King Saul.  David plays the harp to soothe him.  The killing of Goliath required great courage, skills, and David knew the king which gave him the OK to go fight the giant.  Also David is at home watching sheep when Goliath is taunting the “army” of Israel.  David wasn’t in the army.  If he had approached Goliath with army tactics he would have been killed.  Was God more at work making David the youngest in his family or guiding a stone into a giant’s forehead?

Take also Noah.  Ya Noah built an ark and saved all of humanity and the earth’s wildlife.   Was this the big deal? We certainly make it out to be. Or was it more significant that the beginning of Noah’s story said he was a righteous man, the only blameless person on the face of the earth and that he walked closely with God?   

I think we as followers of Jesus like to focus more on the event rather than the preparation.   The event is sexy and exciting.  A boy killing a giant or a single man saving humanity from God’s wrath.  I think we do this because we want God to use us in incredible ways without the work God needs to do in us to prepare us for incredible things.  We want God to wave his wand and do something magical through us. 

Ephesians 2:10 says that God planned the good he wanted us to do and then created us to accomplish that good.  You are the way you are so you can do what God wants you to do.  

Do I want God to do something incredible through me with wanting God to do something incredible in me?

You will never accomplish an audacious mission from God without audacious obedience to him.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Caleb says "Hi" to everyone all the time.  This is his go to word.  I think he has figured out that if he says this word people will say it back to him. “I don’t know what it means but its kinda fun to hear other people say this word back to me.”  When we take him to a restaurant he will say “Hi” to people as they walk by our table.  When he wakes up in the morning and we walk in to his room he probably says “Hi” about 15 times before we get his diaper changed.  “Hi” is his go to word. He has mastered it and it usually works for him they way he wants it to.

What is our go to thing?  What is that thing that we are comfortable with and so we use it over and over?  It has worked in the past.  It works most of the time I use it.  I use it and get expected results.  The results are not outstanding they are just consistent and comfortable. 

What if Caleb switched it up.  What if Caleb busted out a “Greetings”?  Two year old saying “HI’ is expected, two year old saying hello to you with a “Greetings” unexpected.  Could he say “Hi” and get a “hi” back?  Yes.  If he busted out the “Greetings” I believe he would get more reaction.  

Take a risk and switch up your go to thing.  Change your order at your favorite restaurant.  Get water instead of soda.  Go to a different park with your kids.  Go a different direction on your evening walk. Read a translation of the Bible your not used to.  Kneel while you pray.    Change something.  Switch up your go to thing.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Five Percent Better

Ok so in my recent years I have been more a fan of watching golf than I have previously been in my life.  I love to watch Tiger play golf.  It is always amazing to see what he does on the golf course.  Now that I have, in the past couple years, actually started playing the game it is that much more amazing to see him do what he does.  

It was frustrating, as someone who loves to watch him do what he does, to see his play at this most recent US Open.  To see him only lose by four shots and be only one of a few players to hit under par on the last round is disappointing.  I'll admit I would love to see him keep winning and get the most majors of all time.  I want to be able to say I saw him play.  I watched him do that.  But there is something more that bothers me about this most recent tournament.  

4% was the difference between winning a fifteenth major victory for Tiger and placing where he did.  If Tiger had shot par on three holes that he shot double bogeys on and par on one more of the holes he boggied he would have been repeat US open champ.  That is only 4% of the holes over the course of four rounds of golf.  Could I approach 4% of what I do differently and have it be the final outcome be dramatically changed?  

You want to get more specific?  If Tiger’s shot total would have been two percent lower he would have won the US Open championship.  What is the difference between being the best and being good?  Two percent, Four percent. This is the margin between good and best?  That bothers me.  

If I did 5% of what I do better would it make that dramatic of a difference? To give 50% more energy or time into something is overwhelming.  But 5% I can do.  How do I become 5% better at what I do?  

Tiger said that his putting was off this week.  Ok that boils it down further.  Could I do one thing five percent better. If he had putted 5% better he would have won.  Could I do one thing that I do five percent better and have that mean the difference between average and exceptional?  What if I put that 5% extra into the wrong thing?  What if I only gave 3% more?  But what if all i needed to do to be exceptional was put 5% more into one thing and my outcomes would totally be different?  

What thing can I/you need to do 5% better at? 

What do I/you need to do to be 5% better at that thing?