OMTL Day 8:Full Throttle

The greatest power we need in our lives is the power to begin again.

That’s a quote from today’s reading that I highlighted because it seemed to be reactuate.

On a side note don’t you wish we could only get depressed about things that have actually happen, and not about things that might happen? Or that feelings, especially bad ones, didn’t sometimes show up first and try to find something to attach to. I was ecstatically happy yesterday, and I woke up this morning depressed. It’s crazy.

OMTL has the some of the same underlying themes as Fight Club. Fight Club is the personally violent, testosterone filled version. The central question “Is your safe, middle class, secure existence what you want? What you were made for?”

There is a scene where Tyler is driving a car irradically down the road and asks the two guys in the back “What would you do if you knew you were going to die?”
“Paint a self-portrait”
“Build a house.”
Came the immediate responses because these guys had thought about it. But Edward Norton’s character couldn’t come up with anything. I’ve always liked that movie because to me it is about middle class existential angst, something I can understand.

Anyway, back to the questions from the book.

OK, after reading them this isn’t a day I want to blog. It requires a list of past failures and how you dealt with them. A list of reasons you don’t trust God with your problems, and how it would change if you only had one month to live.

Writing that made me think of one thing. I worry my actions will screw up my kids. If I had one month to live I’d have to give that up. It’s out of my hands. I’d tell them I loved them and wanted them to be good men, but I’d realize if that was going to happen only God would be able to do it. But when I “know” I’ve got forever to live, or at least until they get out of the house, I think it is my job to make them good men. Mmmm. Makes you think.

OMTL Day 7: Dreamsicle

Today is a beautiful day here in Houston. One of those 70 degree spring days that just begs you to come out and play. The reading today was something like that to my heart. My wife and I have been talking all day about some professional opportunities that just came our way.

First here’s one of the quotes from before the chapter.

There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say,”Yes, I’ve got dreams, of course I’ve got dreams.” Then they put the box away and bring it out once and awhile to look in it, and yep, they’re still there. – Erma Bombeck.

Currently how connected do you feel to your dreams? Does your day-to-day life reflect an active pursuit of your dreams? What prevents you from such a pursuit?

Right now I feel very connected to my dream. I guess a lot of that has to do with the OMTL study, and it has to do with new ways of accomplishing it opening to me. There have been a number of risky things I’ve done in my life on faith and I get a feeling in my head when I know they are going forward. I’m getting that feeling.

There are a number of obstacles to accomplishing these dreams, but I know if God wants it to happen it will. Money is an issue, though not one that scares me. There is a relationship issue, but only one when I thought there would be two. I thought I’d have to sell the Mrs on pursuit of my dream, but she discovered her own dream inside and we’ve got two dreams moving in the same direction together.

How do you distinguish between your own selfish dreams and the God-given dream planted in your life? How has God revealed and reinforced His dream in your life?

Last night at church I wondered the answer to this question. I even wrote it on my bulletin during church. In today’s chapter Pastor Kerry gave an answer.

First, God’s will never goes against his Word. My dream isn’t against God’s Word. I could do things with it that were, but the dream is able to be used for good or evil.

Second, is the dream must require faith. This was a new one to me. It can’t be easy. “If a dream is from God, it will be so big in your life that you can’t do it on your own.”

Third, it makes a difference in the lives of others, it is not a selfish dream. Again my dream could be used selfishly, but I think it could really help people as well.

Fourth, it comes from your heart. “He wants you to go for it because it’s incorporated in your being, not because He’s trying to hijack your life. He doesn’t give you a passion for one dream and then call you to fulfill a life plan that’s completely unrelated.”

Pull out your “dream box”. What’s in there? Write out a description of one dream you have that you believe is from God. How has it “floated to the top” in your life?

Been talking about my dream as a secret. Well here it is. I want to be a filmmaker. Not a big surprise to readers of this blog. When I was a teenager is said, “I want to make movies like John Hughes, but with a Christian theme.” John Hughes was the writer/director of 80s teen flicks, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Buller’s Day Off. All of which really touched me. Today I’d still like to do that. Though now there are more adult films I’d like to see done with a Christian point of view, like Hughes’ She’s Having A Baby But not an over the top approach like many Christian movies are. I want to make “secular” movies, movies that appeal to a wide audience, but have Christian themes.

Now the question is how. When it comes to dreams that God is going to do, it is best not to be real specific how he should do them. He has a way that I may not know at all. So I’m putting out fleeces. There are two main ways I’m doing that today.

I’m going to be shooting my Beauty and Brains show next weekend for the purpose of creating something I can take to SXSW in March. Maybe something will come of that. May seem B and B isn’t Christian, but you might be surprised. We’ll wait and see.

The other how I’m pursuing is going to film school. Specifically I want to go to Full Sail in Florida. I’ve been doing a lot of research and find there are varying views on Full Sail. Some people hate it, some love it. Having been on the internet for decades I’ve started feeling if there is a serious hate filled rant against something, then that something is probably good. How twisted is that?

A lot of the negatives people have with Full Sail are about the cost and the lack of regional accreditation. Cost is always an issue, but I don’t think they are much different from any private college. Accreditation would be an issue if I didn’t already have two other BA degrees. I’m going to learn the stuff not get a degree. I want to learn is quickly which Full Sail better than anyone else. I want films to show for it at the end and Full Sail promises that for every film grad.

So that’s my dreamsicle. And God will have to make it happen. Please pray he does.

OMTL Day 6: Monkey Bars

I read my reading this morning but didn’t get around to blogging it till now. Just got back from going to the Emerge service – which I don’t think is all that different than the other services – this evening. Kay Warren spoke and she really made me think about what is significant.

What are you clinging to right now that you need to let go of in order to move forward in your life? What keeps you from trusting that God will catch you?

I’m not sure how to answer the first question. I don’t really feel there is much holding me back, only my lack of clarity. I think the second questions is answered my responsibilities. I don’t live in a vacuum. If I did, my life would be different. Not better honey, just different.

In which areas are you more likely to take a risk – personal, professional, relational, or spiritual? In which areas do you tend to play it safe? Why is it easier to take risks in some areas than others?

Its easiest in my personal life to take risks. I used to take professional risks often, and they worked out every time. Now I am totally secure in my job, and comfortable with boredom. I even don’t know what it means to take relational risks. Spiritual risks are something that comes in waves for me. There is a build up of focus, and then suddenly I am willing and aware of risks to take.

You know after 6 days of Live Passionately, I’m starting to think Pastor Kerry equates passion and risk. If you aren’t taking risks, you are being passionate. I’m not sure that is all there is. There is perseverance. There is sacrifice, which may not be related to risk.

I think the other questions, the Make It Last for Life questions, are a little more personal than I want to blog, right now.

OMTL Day 5: Oxygen Mask

Every chapter has quotes at the beginning and interestingly this one included the Airline Safety Announcement. That’s where the title comes from.

What’s the biggest physical challenge you face? What one step can you take today toward improving your physical health?

Getting truly motivated. Seems there are a lot of things I can do, too many things. Maybe that is what overwhelms me. Stop drinking full-sugar drinks. Do some kind of physical exertion each day. Actually I did that second one, with a walk at lunch.

How do you usually handle powerful emotions?

I kind of let them wash over me and stand very still and quite. For me powerful emotions don’t last, if I sit quietly for a few moments I’ll get myself back under control. So I’ll wait to keep from blowing up.

How would you rate your health in each of these four areas – spiritual, physical, emotional, relational – from one (terrible) to ten (fantastic)?

Spiritual – 7
Physical – 4
Emotional – 5
Relational – 4

I almost forgot to blog this. I sat down to do it first thing and ended up writing that treatise instead.

123 Meme

Ben didn’t tag me but his 123 meme seemed interesting and I happen to have a book next to me so I tried it. Of course the book was One Month To Live, because I have it at work today for my lunch meeting with a coworker.

  1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. No cheating!
  2. Find page 123.
  3. Find the first 5 sentences.
  4. Post the next 3 sentences.
  5. Tag 5 people.

Here’s the three sentences.

“God can never use you. In fact, God is ashamed of you because you’ve blown it. And blown it again and again and again.”

Talk about context. The fifth sentence, the one right before this quote, is “Satan comes to us and whispers,”

Tag: The Mrs, Linoge of Walls of the City, Countertop, James of Hell In A Handbasket, Shelli.

OMTL Day 4: Power Surge

The power surge is based on being connected to God. Jesus says he is the vine and we are the branches. He is our source of energy.

One concept I like was to stop focusing on spiritual growth and focus on spiritual health. Healthy things naturally grow. To be spiritually healthy we need to be connected to our Creator. Connected to the vine. Growth will naturally happen as a result.

In what area of your life are you struggling the most to change? Are you trying to change with willpower or God’s power?

I’d say getting physically fit, developing daily spirituality, and doing what needs to be done without putting it off. Pretty much all of these are on my will power.

Though just doing OMTL is developing a daily spirituality. Maybe not as spiritual discipline focused as I wanted, but I’m reading daily, meditating on spiritual things, and journaling. Haven’t done that in awhile. Journaling never for even a week, and I’m on day 4 right now.

What are some ways you’ve seen God prune areas of your life? What has been the result of His cuts into your life? Where are you still waiting to see results?

This is a tough one for me to get a handle on. The teaching is based on John 15:1-5, where Jesus is talking about our being the branches and he the vine. The gardener prunes the branches that bear fruit. We don’t think about God pruning those that are bearing fruit. I’ve never grown grapes, but I’ve been involved with other fruit bearing trees and roses. In those cases you have to trim back perfectly good branches, even cut off buds, to ensure that the fruit that is finally borne is big and full.

I’ve seen a bunch of things in life were I had to choose between good and best. That’s where I see this pruning taking place. I don’t know where I’m still waiting for results right now.

What are the current barriers to spiritual health in your life?

Just remembering to do it is a big thing. Pastor Kerry talks about having a conversation all through the day with God. I kind of just forget he’s there to talk to.

He also talks about confession, how we should just say to God “I messed up” and ask for forgiveness. And we shouldn’t wallow in it. There was a time right after I read The Divine Conspiracy, where I could do this easily. I don’t know if it is harder now, or if I’ve lowered my standards, or if I’m just forgetting. But I need to get back to it.

“Spend More Time With My Family”

After reading my wife’s interaction with the material in One Month To Live – (like a Hatfield interacts with a McCoy) – I got to thinking about something.

I’ve asked a number of people the questions “What would you do if you only had one month to live?” The top answer has to be “spend more time with my family/friends/kids”.

What does that mean?

Obviously means you think you aren’t spending enough time with them now, or you wouldn’t say “more” time. But set that aside for a minute. If I didn’t work and was home all day, – because everyone says they would quit their jobs too – what would I do with my boys?

This is a good point about the material by the way. It’s a simple question but the more you attempt to actually apply it, the deeper the question goes.

To answer my own question, “I don’t know.” My boys don’t like to do anything, but surf the internet, watch TV and occasionally play video games or go to church. I watch TV with them, though not really what they watch. I could just sit in the same room with them while they surf the internet and wait for them to want to tell me something, or show me a cool site. They do do that regularly if I’m in the room with them.

Pastor Kerry says he meets with his boys weekly and talks to them “to see where they are coming from” or “keep up with what is going on in their lives”. I’m not sure how that works either. Our family eats out a lot. When we do we often talk about stuff. I’m not sure that’s really getting to know them better. Maybe it is and I just expect something different.

They don’t want to go experience anything new. Don’t want trips or adventures. So if I were dying and wanted to visit Europe, they’d to it for me. But if they were dying I don’t think there would be anything they’d want to do.

Guess we’ll find out as they are going to be part of the the study too.

OMTL Day 3: Time Squared

Todays reading talked about using our time meaninfully. Every minute and second gone is gone forever. If these were my last 30 days I’d think each second was precious.

What consumes most of your time each day? What exactly consumes you at work? How much of any given day to you spend doing only what you do best?

Work is the biggest part of my day. As a computer programmer I’ve never felt like time management was intended for me. It is for people who have a bunch of different things they need to make sure they get done. Me, I just sit in front of a computer all day and churn out code. It is lucrative, but I don’t find it meaningful. It used to be fun, but now its just something I do.

That being said, there have been many times in my work life where I’ve got nothing to do. Between projects. When there is no project. I wrote a book in that time once. I wasted a year like that when I worked for Apple. Right now, that’s what work is like. My boss pulled me off a project a couple of months ago to work on another short term project. Well that short term project was finished two weeks ago. But my boss got sick and with him out the project can’t ship. So there has been nothing to do for 2 weeks. If he is still out on Monday, I’ll go back to my old project. It will take awhile to get my head back into it, so I don’t want to start to get pulled back off.

I have used the time productively. Learning Final Cut Express and preparing for my TV show.

I’d say I spend about 20% of my time doing what I do best. Of course I like to think I spend some time doing the best thing, even if I do it poorly.

In general do you agree with the 80/20 principle? What activities in your life to you consider wasted time? What keeps you from using that time in more meaningful ways?

I like to fight against the idea, but it just keeps coming up. At our last church there were people I called 20 percenters. I actually didn’t want to be one of them, but eventually I was. The problem is what the church thought was the important 20% wasn’t. So spending your 80% energy on a 20% project is frustrating.

Most of my wasted time is on TV. The only times it is a waste is when I’m trying to learn stuff, when it is quality, and when I’m spending time with the Mrs doing it. Surfing the web is also a big distraction.

It is hard for me to do something if I don’t see how it can be done in my head. So I sometimes don’t do meaningful things because I can’t see how they will be done. I can always see how TV should be done, and everything I surf on the net seem important when I click it.

How would you describe your current season of life?

Finishing the raising of my children and preparing to have an empty nest. I’m in the home stretch with the boys. I now need to teach them to be adults. On Monday they got their drivers permits. One is already going to college, and we were almost late this morning because I didn’t check to see if he was out of bed till it was time to leave.

Keep a time journal this week.

I’m not really sure how to do this, though I’m sure it would give me valuable insight into what I’m doing with my time.