Why You Should Let Go Of Your Crap

FullSizeRender-4My dog The Roc gets walked 3 times a day. He goes to the bathroom on every trip. Multiple times.

Seriously – I can’t understand how this 20 lb. Min Pin can carry around so much waste inside of his tiny body.

At my old house this wasn’t such a big deal. There was plenty of space to let Roc do his business. I could also let him out in the backyard when necessary.

But at our new apartment in Atlanta there are no woods. There are no big grassy areas. Just a few patches of public walking space.

So 3 times a day I get to bend over with a green baggy and pick up my dog’s mess.

I carry it around as we walk. When we’re all done we head back down into the apartment.

Then I take the little green baggy and store it in the closet for safe keeping, adding it to the collection I’ve gathered over the past few months.

Ok – that’s almost too disgusting to even joke about.

Obviously the first thing I do when I pick up The Roc’s poo is toss it in the closest trashcan. I hold it out at arm’s length, refusing to carry it around with me any longer than necessary.

Keeping my dog’s waste stored in my closet would be weird. It would be unsanitary. It would be unhealthy for both of us.

I am my dog’s master. My job is to pick up his mess and dispose of it. I don’t hang onto it and lord it over him.

Our Master does the same thing. He walks beside us. When we make a mess, He picks it up and disposes of it.

God does not hold onto our garbage. He does not store it in his closet. He does not hold onto our crap to lord it over us.

He hurls our mistakes into the abyss, farther away from us than the east is from the west.

So if God doesn’t hold on to our crap, why do we?

Why can’t we let go of our baggage? Why can’t we forgive ourselves of our sins?

If our Father tosses our sins away, why do we ravage through the garbage? Why are we so reluctant to let go? Why can’t we forgive ourselves?

I think we don’t feel like we deserve forgiveness. So instead of tossing our sins in the garbage we carry around their baggage. We hoard our mistakes in our minds.

When our Master tosses our sins away we ravage through the garbage.

It’s like we’re maintaining our guilt when the judge has declared us innocent.

If God is content with tossing away your crap, maybe you should be as well.

If there is sin in your life you’re unwilling to let go of, it’s time you took out the trash. After all, you wouldn’t keep a pile of dog crap in your closet stinking up your house.

So why are you holding onto your own garbage, letting it affect your life? Toss it away and get back to enjoying your walk with your Master.

God is not a hoarder. He does not crowd his house with the records of His children’s mistakes. He tosses them in the recycling bin and creates something worthwhile out of the waste.

 

There Are No Rules

Hulk Hogan is 61 Years Old.

Seems like just yesterday “The Immortal” was threatening to body slam Andre The Giant through the center of the earth and carry Donald Trump to safety (seriously, this interview is amazing):

In sports (and even in sports entertainment) years Hulk Hogan is way past his prime. He hasn’t wrestled a match in 3 years. He’s had multiple back and knee surgeries. He really should never compete athletically again.

Yet The Hulkster can’t keep himself away from the ring.

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WWE.com

Even in his AARP years Hogan still wants to fight. It seems in every interview these days he’s talking about the possibility of one more match.

John Cena, Steve Austin, Roman Reigns, The Rock. To Hulk Hogan these aren’t just the stars of today – they’re all potential opponents.

Hogan’s been a master comeback artist for years. People have been calling his career dead for two decades.

Time after time though the Real American refuses to believe he’s too old to offer anything to the wrestling business.

Some might make an argument that he’s desperate. Sad. Out of touch with reality.

These are all fair points. I just don’t see it that way. I see hope in Hulk Hogan.

Hulk Hogan doesn’t see himself as too old for wrestling. He still thinks he can go in the ring. He still thinks he can draw money. He still thinks he has something to add.

And why not? There are no rules that say you can’t have a match when you’re 61 and nearly crippled. So why shouldn’t he?

Hulk Hogan’s refusal to retire isn’t the sad posturing of a guy who doesn’t know when to go away. It’s the inspiration for all of us who want to believe There Are No Rules.

I think for many of us The Bible is not the only book we live our lives by. I think instead there’s an imaginary Rulebook which dictates a lot of the decisions we make.

This Rulebook has been developed from years and years of too many people telling us there’s only one way to live our lives.

Here’s the truth: There Are No Rules. 

There Are No Rules that say you can’t go back to school when you’re 30.

There Are No Rules that say you can’t get married when you’re 40.

There Are No Rules that say you can’t switch jobs when you’re 50.

The rules about ages are just one chapter in this imaginary Rulebook.

There Are No Rules that say what you have to look like.

There Are No Rules that say what shape your body has to be.

There Are No Rules that say you can’t move away and start over.

There Are No Rules that say you can’t fix what was broken.

There Are No Rules that say a dying person can’t be healed.

There Are No Rules that say a blind person can’t see, a deaf person can’t hear, a lame person can’t walk.

Really the only rules we need to remember are, to paraphrase Bob Goff: Love God. Love People. Do Stuff.

When we live our lives by those rules we are free to toss life’s imaginary rulebook out the window.

I admire the people like Hulk Hogan who live their lives like there are no rules.

Because the truth is the Rulebook is just like wrestling.

It’s fake.

What’s an imaginary rule you’ve been living your life by that’s been holding you back? What could happen if you threw away the rulebook today?

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For more lessons from the world of wrestling check out some of these posts:

The Difference Between Ordinary And Ultimate

Why I Love Fake Things

The One Lesson Anyone Can Learn From Wrestling

A House Is A Home

FullSizeRender-35 years ago next month I bought my first home. And starting on Friday I’ll have my first renter in that home.

Becoming a homeowner has been a strange journey, one I never could have (or would have) scripted the way it played out.

In the fall of 2009 I had just gone on full time as the Director Of Student Ministries at The Hill Baptist Church. I was back living at home after moving out for a bit in college.

With a freshly printed degree, a full-time salary and a wide-eyed optimism I was eager to move away from home. Originally I wanted to rent a small house in town.

At the time, though, the government was giving an $8,000 tax credit to first time homeowners. My parents and I decided this was a deal I couldn’t pass up.

So I found a 2 bedroom townhome a few minutes away from work and decided to pull the trigger on the American dream of becoming a homeowner.

It wasn’t long after that the dream started feeling like a nightmare. 

I had lived on my own before, but I learned fast that owning a house is vastly different than renting an apartment.

You see, I’ve never been the best at budgeting. While today I am a Financial Peace University Graduate, back in 2009 I thought I could keep track of all my payments in my head.

It wasn’t long before overdraft fees became a regular line item on my checking statement. The full-time youth pastor’s salary that made my eyes grow wide at first did not stretch as far as I thought it would.

Not to mention the constant upkeep that goes into owning property. No longer could I just call the maintenance man for any air conditioning leaks or plumbing problems. Now I was reaching into my own toolbox and bank account to repair the house.

The success of buying a house gave way to the stress of keeping it paid for. 

In any other situation I might have tried to downsize to something cheaper. There was just one little problem.

Remember that $8,000 gift from the government? The only stipulation to receive the money was that you could not sell or rent the house for 3 years.

If I wanted the money I was stuck. And considering how quickly I blew through $8,000, I knew I’d be living in my townhome for a few years to come.

So the years passed by until this summer when my fiancé and I decided to move to Atlanta to start our life together. Finally I had a reason to release the weight of my first house.

I was always so thankful for the opportunity to own a house. I’m so grateful for all that my parents did to help me purchase it, maintain it and sell it.

Still, after working all summer to clean, paint, and move everything out, part of me was glad to lock the door this weekend and turn the key on this chapter of my life.

But as I drove down the driveway one last time I began to reflect on what happened within those walls.

I thought about the friends who celebrated our new hangout spot with board game nights. The morning coffee and writing at the kitchen bar.  The roommates who moved in and kept me company. The dog(s) who found a new home and changed my life.

I remembered the miles I logged running up the hills preparing for races.  The D-Now weekends and Super Bowl parties where I hosted the youth. The Monday Night tradition of watching wrestling and dissecting Young Life club with my closest friends. The special date nights with a lovely young lady.

It was the place where I took care of The Roc as he recovered from major surgery. It was the place where I built relationships with men who will stand next to me at my wedding. It was the place where I first asked my future wife to be my girlfriend. It was the place where the foundation of our relationship was built (and where we nearly burned the foundation down cooking country fried steak).

Whether I realized it or not, that house became a home over the years. 

You never realize how much stuff you have in a house until you move. And I don’t think you realize how many memories you made in a home either until you have to say goodbye.

Too often I let these memories pass by as I worried about making my next bill payment. Instead of savoring these moments each day I spent each night stressing over how to pay the cable bill.

What good did all my worrying do? Nothing – except steal the joy away from some truly special times until it was too late to cherish them.

As I prepare to pass on the keys to a new tenant and settle into my new apartment in Atlanta, I want to treat my next home differently.

I want to be a little less like the Homer Simpson standup which adorned my old home. I don’t want to look over the land with arms crossed and a frown on my face.

I don’t want to see my house as a home only when I drive away from it one last time with a tear in my eye.

I want to settle in and settle down. I want to let my fears slip away.

I want to scrape my doubts and worries off on the welcome mat. I want to paint these walls with memories and laughter.

I want to worry less about turning in my rent on time and more about turning a house into a home.

3 Lessons From The Color Run Finish Line

Apparently it’s not enough just to run a 5K anymore.

You either have to have extreme obstacles – Fire. Mud. Barbed Wire. Zombies.

Or you have to have color.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not cynical about the rise of themed 5Ks. I’m a participant.

I recently got the chance to do The Color Run in Augusta, GA. For the past few years The Color Run has been sweeping the nation inspiring hundreds of thousands to get off their couches, do something healthy, and have fun along the way.

The race starts off with thousand of participants like us all perfectly clean:

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By the time they all reach the finish line they’ve been doused in colored powder after an exhilarating race filled with singing, dancing, and celebrating:

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I’d been wanting to do a Color Run for the past couple of years. It was just as much fun as I had hoped it would be. Aside from a nice T-Shirt and a sweet headband, here’s 3 lessons I took away from the “Happiest 5K On The Planet”:

1) You have to have rules: At the starting line for the race an MC from the Color Run informed us of two rules for the 5K: Walkers on the right. Runners on the left.

That was it. Besides that we were free to run the race however we wanted.

You might think this is a pretty insignificant rule. After all it’s The Color Run. It’s just supposed to be a free-for-all of rainbow-colored fun!

But without this one simple rule there would have been chaos – serious runners trampling over those who just wanted to take their time on the course with their friends and family.

Fun can’t always be a free for all. Rules aren’t always there to restrict us. Sometimes they exist to ensure we all find more joy in life.

2) You have to work for the color: The color blasting during the race took place at 5 stations across the course. There volunteers waited with bottles of color powder ready to douse runner after runner.

I have to admit though: after the first color burst station I was a little disappointed. My clothes were still pretty white. I expected the color to completely consume me.

It wasn’t until the next station I realized that you have to work for the color.

The volunteers stay in one spot. And there are a lot of runners passing through at once. If you want to get covered in color you have to get in the right spot and pause for a second to get hit with it.

In life I think you get all the color you work for.

The super fun things we want most don’t always get handed to us the way we just expect them to. Sometimes we have to put in a little effort.

3) You can do hard things while you’re having fun: It took me a good 2 hours after I got home from the race to realize I had just run a 5K.

I didn’t train for this race like I normally would have. My fiancé scored us some free passes to run just days earlier. We pretty much ran the race on a whim.

I wasn’t too worried about completing the course. After all, The Color Run isn’t timed. It’s not competitive. There are no winners and losers.

The Color Run is a celebration of life. It’s a collection of thousands of competitors and colors bleeding together, rejoicing down the city streets.

It’s also a legit 3.1 mile race course. That can be daunting for an inexperienced athlete or one who hasn’t trained in a few months.

There’s something comforting about all the color. The common joyful spirit being spread amongst every person in attendance helped us all ignore the pain our legs were feeling as we crossed the finish line.

When you approach difficult tasks with a joyful spirit your productivity multiplies. Whether sing a song while you work or playing a game with the tasks in front of you, keeping a smile on your face can make the race fly by.

So throw a little color on your life today. Be sure to obey the rules and do the work you have to do along the way.

When you get out there to run have as much fun as you can. You’ll be amazed at just how far you can go.

 

Monday Morning Music: Jesus Is Just Alright

(Click Here if you can’t see the video above)

“Do do do do, do do do do,

Do do do do, do do oh yeah”

If you’ve ever listened to classic rock radio, you recognize the riff from The Doobie Brothers classic “Jesus Is Just Alright”.

I’ve always thought the song was pleasant enough but never really understood it. Like so much of what’s on the radio it was one of those songs where you just kind of hum along but don’t try to dig too deep into the lyrics.

“Is the song about how these guys are cool with Jesus? Or are they saying Jesus is just ‘o.k’ and they’re not too interested in what he has to say?” These are the questions I had about the song. 

After I heard the tune on the radio the other day I decided to finally do a little research. I think what I found might surprise you. And I think it might be an important reminder as you begin your work week this Monday. Continue reading

How To Make The World 100 Times Better

The last thing you expect when you offer a homeless person some spare change is for them to pay you back.

You certainly wouldn’t expect the beggar to multiply your generosity by 100 times.

But on this hidden camera prank from Jimmy Kimmel Live, that’s exactly what Jimmy’s Cousin Sal does.

(Click Here if you can’t see the video above)

Dressed in disguise as a down on his luck window washer at an L.A. gas station, Cousin Sal offers to squeegee the cars of unsuspecting customers.

We’ve all been there. It’s an awkward and uncomfortable situation.

You feel pity for the unkempt beggar. You know you should help.

On the other hand, you don’t want to help too much.

We awkwardly allow the person to wash our windows for a few dollars, all the while wondering, “What if he’s a thief? Or just lazy? Or a drunk? Or a psychopath?”

Not once do we ever think, “What if he’s a writer for one of the most popular late night television shows in the country?”

Today you will be afforded an opportunity to be generous to someone in need. It will seem like an opportunity you have everyday. It will probably seem like a bit of an inconvenience.

It may not involve a homeless person. It may not involve money. It may just be someone who needs a little of your time or a tiny bit of kindness.

Instead of ignoring the opportunity or just trying to survive the moment, what if today you embraced that opportunity? What if today you gave cheerfully?

I’m not saying you’ll get your money back, much less have it multiplied. Nor do I think we should ever give expecting anything in return.

I am saying that God loves a cheerful giver. And what’s just a dollar or a breadcrumb or even a moment of time to us can make someone’s life a hundred times better today.

The hidden camera is always on us. Our actions are never hidden from His eyes. You never know when a simple act will pay dividends.

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)

Happy Friday.

What will you do today to