Apr 01

Happy Anniversary!

To my daughter, Jessica.  It was ten years ago today that she had balloon-angioplasty at the tender age of six.  She came into this world with three heart defects which required surgery.  This surgery was required to let her scar tissue grow like she did.  We should have known how much she would change our lives when we decided on her name.  It means God exists.

To my wife, Connie.  It was five years ago today that she had surgery to remove “tumor of the bone” from her pelvis.  The golf ball sized hole was filled back in with bone-cement.  She has been everything to me and this family.  I wish simple words could convey her impact, but that’s not possible.  However, I promise to try.

These are two beautiful young women that God has put in my life for a purpose.  They’ve showed me how to do it.  They’ve made my third anniversary possible.

If you’re interested in learning how we do it, you’re welcome to attend our “Come See What I See” conference calls or the “Activating Your Vision” conference, on June 6th.

No foolin’.

Mar 16

The Master In The Art Of Living

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”

― L.P. Jacks

Mar 10

Perspective-What I learned from lighting birthday candles

Perspective matters.  When you live in a two-dimensional-world, perspective matters even more.

Perspective helps me tell how far I am from other cars, where a hand is that I’m about to shake, when I’m close enough to the drive-up ATM. it even helps me determine the lengths that I need to go to in order to achieve a specific task.

It didn’t help me when I was trying to light the candles on Grant’s birthday cake.  He turned 19 last week. Knowing him a year ago has given me the perspective to see what a man he has become.  It’s awesome!  As I leaned over the cake with the “butane torch” and went to light the first candle, I was questioned.  “Brian, what are you doing?”  To them, and judging by the frosting on the torch, I was apparently trying to light the icing.  Well, that wasn’t my intention.  I quickly lost the torch-duty and the candles were lit by someone more capable.

Perspective is easy when we’re comparing pebbles to boulders.  It’s not as easy when we compare frosting to candles.

To become better at keeping these things in their proper place it takes practice and reflection. More than ninety percent of the people in the world just live without ever really reflecting.

When does perspective not matter?  In the dark.  This is where the majority of people live.  That’s another reason to seek light.  How do you do that?

Don’t be part of the ninety-some percent.  If you want to know how I do it, just ask me.  I’d be happy to tell you.

Feb 17

The Christian Way

There is the Fool’s Way, there is the way of the disillusioned ‘Sensible Man’ and then there is the Christian way of handling those things in life that lose their novelty.

Remember from Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis, when he wrote. “There was something we grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality.”

“Now there are two wrong ways of dealing with this fact, and one right one.”

C.S. Lewis went on to discuss the right one.

“(3) The Christian Way— The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well , there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death ; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.

There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of ‘Heaven’ ridiculous by saying they do not want ‘to spend eternity playing harps’. The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them. All the scriptural imagery (harps, crowns, gold, etc.) is, of course, a merely symbolical attempt to express the inexpressible. Musical instruments are mentioned because for many people (not all) music is the thing known in the present life which most strongly suggests ecstasy and infinity. Crowns are mentioned to suggest the fact that those who are united with God in eternity share His splendour and power and joy. Gold is mentioned to suggest the timelessness of Heaven (gold does not rust) and the preciousness of it. People who take these symbols literally might as well think that when Christ told us to be like doves, He meant that we were to lay eggs.”

Lewis, C. S. (2009-05-28). Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics) (p. 137). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

We were not meant to lay eggs.  We were meant to make the main thing, the main thing.

What do you think that you were made for?

 

 

Lewis, C. S. (2009-05-28). Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics) (pp. 136-137). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

 

Feb 10

The Way of the Disillusioned ‘Sensible Man’

There is the Fool’s Way and then there is the way of the disillusioned ‘Sensible Man’ of handling those things in life that lose their novelty.

Remember from Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis, when he wrote. “There was something we grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality.”

“Now there are two wrong ways of dealing with this fact, and one right one.”

After discussing the fool’s way, C.S. Lewis went on.

“(2) The Way of the Disillusioned ‘Sensible Man’— He soon decides that the whole thing was moonshine. ‘Of course,’ he says, ‘one feels like that when one’s young. But by the time you get to my age you’ve given up chasing the rainbow’s end.’ And so he settles down and learns not to expect too much and represses the part of himself which used, as he would say, ‘to cry for the moon’. This is, of course, a much better way than the first, and makes a man much happier, and less of a nuisance to society. It tends to make him a prig (he is apt to be rather superior towards what he calls ‘adolescents’), but, on the whole, he rubs along fairly comfortably. It would be the best line we could take if man did not live for ever. But supposing infinite happiness really is there, waiting for us? Supposing one really can reach the rainbow’s end? In that case it would be a pity to find out too late (a moment after death) that by our supposed ‘common sense’ we had stifled in ourselves the faculty of enjoying it.”

Lewis, C. S. (2009-05-28). Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics) (p. 136). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Spoiler alert:  The third way is the “Christian Way.”  You’ll read about that in my next post.

As I type these words, I’m reminded of our church service this morning.  It was one of those watershed moments when I couldn’t hold in my fear, my excitement, my anxiousness, my love, my brokeness, my passion, my desires and my tears.

This is a good day.

I look forward to telling you all about it when we meet again.

Jan 28

The Fool’s Way

There is the Fool’s Way of handling those things in life that lose their novelty.

Remember from Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis, when he wrote. “There was something we grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality.”

“Now there are two wrong ways of dealing with this fact, and one right one.

(1) The Fool’s Way— He puts the blame on the things themselves. He goes on all his life thinking that if only he tried another woman, or went for a more expensive holiday, or whatever it is, then, this time, he really would catch the mysterious something we are all after. Most of the bored, discontented, rich people in the world are of this type. They spend their whole lives trotting from woman to woman (through the divorce courts ), from continent to continent, from hobby to hobby, always thinking that the latest is ‘the Real Thing’ at last, and always disappointed.”

Lewis, C. S. (2009-05-28). Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics) (pp. 135-136). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

You’ll hear about the other two ways in the upcoming posts.

Jan 20

More HOPE…it’s needed

This past week marked a major milestone for Eye Need Hope.  We’ve just announced our first conference.  What?!

That’s right on June 6th, from 9:00-12:00 we will hold our inaugural event.

This makes the writings C.S. Lewis ring even more true.  Here’s the second paragraph from the “Hope” chapter.

“Most of us find it very difficult to want ‘Heaven’ at all— except in so far as ‘Heaven’ means meeting again our friends who have died. One reason for this difficulty is that we have not been trained: our whole education tends to fix our minds on this world. Another reason is that when the real want for Heaven is present in us , we do not recognise it. Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts , would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy. I am not now speaking of what would be ordinarily called unsuccessful marriages, or holidays, or learned careers. I am speaking of the best possible ones. There was something we grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality. I think everyone knows what I mean. The wife may be a good wife, and the hotels and scenery may have been excellent, and chemistry may be a very interesting job : but something has evaded us. Now there are two wrong ways of dealing with this fact, and one right one.”

Lewis, C. S. (2009-05-28). Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics) (pp. 135-136). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

We’ll go into the 3 ways that things allure “fade away in the reality.”  I think of this also as things losing their “novelty.”

Stayed tuned for more information on how you can attend Eye Need Hope’s inaugural conference.

 

Jan 12

HOPE

My passion for inspiring others to have HOPE and helping them OVERCOME adversity has impacted many lives already.  The largest impact has been to my own life.  It’s inspired me to do things I never before even dreamed of or thought possible.  It’s inspired me to form an organization, EyeNeedHope.com. It’s inspired me to read books that I never would have read before.  Okay, I never read many books before.

One of these latest books is “Mere Christianity”, by C.S. Lewis.  Up until now, I knew him for his movies.  🙂  I know, he didn’t create the movies, but he did write the stories.

In this book, he wrote a chapter entitled “Hope.”  Over the next few post, I intend to share the chapter with you.  Here’s the first paragraph or so.

“Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither. It seems a strange rule, but something like it can be seen at work in other matters. Health is a great blessing, but the moment you make health one of your main, direct objects you start becoming a crank and imagining there is something wrong with you. You are only likely to get health provided you want other things more— food, games, work, fun, open air. In the same way, we shall never save civilisation as long as civilisation is our main object. We must learn to want something else even more.”

Lewis, C. S. (2009-05-28). Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics) (pp. 134-135). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

If you enjoy reading and even if you don’t, I highly recommend “Mere Christianity.”  It’s even better than “The Chronicles of Narnia” or “The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe.”  🙂

Excerpt taken from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, published by Harper Collins, available here via Amazon. More info www.amazon.com

Jan 03

Adversity #4 – Financial Troubles

I’ve got’em.  Maybe, you do too.

At this time of year many of you are reeling from an expensive Christmas gift giving season.  You approach November saying, “I’m not going to do that again.”  But, you did.  I’m right there with you.

I’ve got reasons, really excuses, for all of my expenses.  Some of them are unavoidable  Some of them I failed to prepare my family.  Some of them are inexcusable.

It’s time to own up to all of this.  It’s time to meet this beast head on.  It’s time to quit blaming someone else.  It’s time.

Fortunately, I know my problem and have identified it.  Have you?

Are you following certain principles about…

how much you spend?

how much you save?

how much you give?

Do you just plan to work until you die and you’re at peace with that?

what if you’re disabled?

what if others around you are in need?

how can you tell if you’re in trouble?

Are you just hoping to hit the lottery?  Do you really think that would last?

I’ll be the first to admit that I probably have more questions than answers when it comes to this topic.  In a strange sort of way, this makes me an expert.  Funny, huh?  I know many of the tricks on how you can fool yourself and reason why you should make a certain purchase.

This takes a stomach and a true desire.  Even then, it won’t be easy.

Dec 28

Adversity #3 – Eternal, Existential and Physical Struggles

That’s a mouthful of a subject line.  This may sound like a catch-all for adversity that doesn’t apply to the first two and it should.  I challenge you to think about it.

We all struggle with our faith and eternity.  Is it real or not?  I know how I would answer this.  How about you?

A friend of mine wanted me to let him know when I went “all” Existential.  This may be the time.  Have you ever questioned your existence?  Why do we have certain things in our lives?  What’s the point of entertainment?  Is it so we can laugh or be distracted from the life in front of us?

Some might think that I’m the “poster child” for Physical Struggles.  I’d disagree.  There is a long list of people that have more struggles than me and still live fulfilling lives.  Bethany Hamilton (young surfer in Hawaii who lost her arm to a shark), Lauren Scruggs (model hit by an airplane propeller), Aimee Copeland (woman in Georgia that lost limbs to flesh-eating bacteria) … just to name a few … would be on that list.  The only difference is that one of my Cavernous Malformations hasn’t gone away.

This addresses the entire body just as Matthew 22:37-40 does.  This is where Jesus gave the Great Commandment.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  Notice he didn’t say “should” he said “shall”.  Notice how he made it clear when he said, “with all your…” each time.  He could have just said “heart, soul and mind.”

When you hear me talk about the REEF in life you can draw a direct corelation to this bible passage.

We will refer to this tomorrow as my brother undergoes surgery for prostate cancer.  Please join me in prayer that God will cleanse his body from this horrible disease.  Ask God to use this experience to bring Dan closer to Him and allow others to see His light shine in places it hasn’t seen.  Give God thanks for the birth of His son and glorify His name in all that we do.