Overreacting to Correct a Problem

We recently sold our house and purchased a new condo.  It’s been over 10 years since we made a real estate transaction, so this was quite an experience.  Apparently much has changed in the housing market, since we were last participants. (Understatement!)  We learned that purchasing any real estate is more difficult now.  We learned that purchasing a new condo can be especially difficult.  Along the way, we continued to hear from real estate agents, bankers, attorneys and appraisers that the amount of regulations added to real estate transactions has tremendously increased the potential for difficulty in the process.

My question: Has the government overreacted to correct a problem…to the point that they have made it unnecessarily difficult to purchase a new home?  Could this be one of the reasons for a continuous sagging real estate market?

I realize there was a problem…banks were giving loans they shouldn’t have given….something needed to be done…but the problem wasn’t as much in my city.

I wonder though, if this reaction…or overreaction…isn’t representative of what we do as churches, organizations, and individuals.

Sometimes one person is the problem, so we create a policy that impacts everyone. One department may be the problem, but we change the rules for everyone.  Often there is one complaint raised, so we change our structure to appease an individual.  Sometimes we have a couple of bad months…or even one unusual Sunday…and we react…or overreact…like the trend is permanent.  Our children make one mistake and we react like it’s who they are…rather than like it’s a mistake…one they can learn from…

Have you ever overreacted to correct a problem?  Do you have any examples to share with me of when you’ve seen this?  When is a time we tend to overreact in the church or as individuals?

(I realize some will be far more schooled on the housing issue than I am, so feel free to educate me.  I simply know what I experienced and what I was told along the way.)

Where Do You Look When in a Valley?

I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? Psalm 121:1 NIV

When you are in the valley, I mean really, deep in the valley, the only place to look is up!

Life has a way of placing you in the valley for seasons. Have you ever been there before? Are you there now?

Have you ever lifted up your eyes, heavy, burdened with guilt, mourning with hurt, drooping from the strain of sorrow, to see the mountains where your heart longs to be again?

Have you ever been so low that you barely have a dream of what it is like to be on top?

All of us will one day have a heart that needs to be filled. Each of us find ourselves at times expereincing that empty painful, awful hole in our heart, the size that only God can completely fill.

In those times, it’s important, more than ever, to remember where your help come from. Your hope lies in a Savior, in a man like no other man, who came, who loved, who shared, who died, and who lives again! Your hope is in Jesus! Your help is found in Jesus! In that most desperate moment…there is no substitute!

If you are in the valley today…look to the hills….look to Jesus!

Can my readers and I pray with you about an issue?  Leave a comment on this post.

A Weather Reminder…About Life

This has been a wild winter…

“They” say it’s not our worst…not even close…but it certainly has seemed to be more intense than usual this year…

Every morning I look at my Google Home Page and see the current and future weather forecast.  Seeing the -2 degrees this morning caused my initial reaction to be “Wow!”  I was bummed.  I’m ready to get outside.  It could have affected my mood for the day (probably will to some extent), but then I looked a little further into the weather future forecast.  Do you see that number?  54!  Fifty-Four degrees!  My thought was “Yippee!”  If I can hang on a few days, it’s about to get wonderful outside!  It changed my disposition.

I wonder how many times we need to do that in life. That weather picture could also serve as a picture of our life at times.  Some days it’s cold and dreary…other days it’s bright and sunny.  We struggle during the rough weather seasons, forgetting that this day will change.  When we only look at our current situation, we can be disheartened, but a new day is coming!  As believers, we have the promise of a greater future.  If not today, or tomorrow, soon and very soon, God is going to make everything beautiful!

I’m reminded of a few favorite verses of truth:

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him 1 Corinthians 2:9

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:18

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Do you need that reminder today? Perhaps you need to take your eyes off today and look a little further down the road.  Good days are coming.  If you’re in difficult days, I’m praying God brings better days soon, but He has promised that the best days are yet to come!

Let me hear from you…

Are you currently living in a -2 degree time of life…or is it 54 and sunny in your world during this season of your life?

The Path to a God-Given Assignment

God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.

1 Thessalonians 5:24

I’ve learned that the path to accomplishing a God-given assignment is paved with faith.

When you experience fear, face risks, have set-backs, encounter critics and realize frustrations, it’s the faith of knowing the God who called you to the task will be faithful to complete it that keeps you moving forward.  If you are facing the temptation to give up a God-given assignment, perhaps instead of quitting, you need to spend some time renewing your faith in the God who chose you for this assignment.

Have you experienced this firsthand?

Do you need this reminder today?

When You Can’t See Victory

I wonder how many times this is our picture when trying to attain victory…

  • In Business…
  • In Marriage…
  • In Parenting…
  • In Church…
  • In Life…

I wonder if, at times, victory isn’t  just over the hill. We can’t see it…the path is difficult…almost seeming to be unbearable…so we quit…just as we were about to reach the pinnacle of success…

Just wondering….

Have you been tempted to give up a little too soon?

Are you tempted to give up now?

You may want to read my posts:

7 Reasons You May Not Be Achieving Your Dreams

5 Steps to Getting Unstuck

7 Steps to Achieving Your Dreams

The Inner Resolve to Overcome: Lesson from this week in Chicago

I’ve been amazed this past week at the resolve of the people of Chicago. Reportedly this week saw the worst snow storm since 1967.  I’ve not been through a blizzard before, so this was an experience.  You can read why I’m here in THIS POST.

What amazes me is how the people responded so quickly.  Even before the storm hit, people were taking precautions, but during and after the storm, people spread salt, shoveled snow, pitched in to help one another, and quickly got back to normal.  Many places were closed early Wednesday, hours after the snow ended, but many were open by the afternoon.  By Thursday everyone was seemingly back to normal. There’s still a lot of snow on the ground, you have to be careful where you walk, but people have gone about their business…in spite of the largest snow the average Chicagoan has ever seen.

Watching the quick response of the Chicagoans this week prompts me to ask:


Because there is an inner resolve in people to survive…to recover…to succeed!

  • We saw it in our city after the devastating flood last year.
  • We saw it in our city after the 1999 tornado destroyed most of downtown.
  • We see it in the aftermath of earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and famine.
  • I’ve seen that resolve firsthand in Brazil, and Lithuania and Sierra Leone.
  • I’ve seen it in families who lost everything in a house fire.
  • I’ve seen it in individuals whose lives were wrecked by adultery, cancer and financial devastation.
  • I’ve seen it in individuals, who in spite of paralyzing injuries, continue to live with great joy.

There’s an inner drive in people to overcome.

I love seeing it…

I think it’s God-given…

I’m thankful for the times I’ve been able, by God’s grace, to pick myself up and move forward.

If you are experiencing the bad side of life these days, may I be a voice encouraging you to draw from that God-given inner resolve to push forward! The best is yet to come if you will pursue it!

Who has a story of recovery from tragedy that inspires you?

Do you have a story?  What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you…you lived to tell about it?tell me NOW!

I’ve written before about failure in these posts: (Click on the title to read)

7 Ways to Recover from a Major Failure or Mistake

How to Recover from Failure

5 Principles I’ve Learned from Failure

Failure Can Lead to Success

7 Traits of Courageous Leadership

Recently I posted 7 Characteristics of Cowardly Lion Leadership. In that post, I discussed the characteristics of leaders who fail to have the courage needed to lead well. I thought it only fair to share the reverse post. There are many courageous leaders in our world today, as evidenced by the strong organizations that thrive even during difficult economic times.

Here are 7 traits of a courageous leader:

  • Doesn’t bail on the team when things get difficult…
  • Not afraid to make big requests of others…but willing to pull equal weight to accomplish them…
  • Willing to take the first move into unchartered territory…pursuing the unproven by willingly taking risks…
  • Moves forward by faith…even when the outcome is unclear…
  • Makes hard decisions regarding people…trusting responsibilities to others early and acknowledging when a team member is no longer a good fit for the team…
  • Protects the God-given vision in the midst of criticism, hard economic times, and setbacks…
  • Implements needed changes even when they are uncomfortable or not immediately popular…

Thanks to all the courageous leaders who are leading well! You are making a difference!

Make this post better:

When you think of courageous leader, who comes to your mind?

What would you add to this list?

Friday Discussion: Can a Pastor Be a Politician?

Should a pastor be involved in politics?

or…another question…

Could a pastor be involved in politics?

I’ve often wondered this question…help me think through it today.

Let me explain a little of where this discussion is coming from today.

I’ve been involved in the political process all my life. When I was in elementary school I started following politics any way I could.  I watched presidential speeches, kept up with world, national and local politics, and couldn’t wait to vote.  I worked on my first campaign when I was 16 years old and continued through my twenties to volunteer on campaigns.  I spent a summer interning in Washington, DC for a congressman.

During my thirties I served as an elected official on our local city council and even served as the vice-mayor of our city.  The love of politics has never left me, but my life has changed.  I’ve been called into ministry.  I mostly remain neutral on issues of politics these days.  I still vote, but I’m a silent participant.

While I have no plans to run for anything and doubt that I ever would, the interest in political matters remains in my mind and sometimes I think about what it would be like to be in political office again.  Just to be clear, I’m not asking for permission for me to do anything…I’m just seeking opinions and sharing my story as an example to spur discussion.

I seriously want your thoughts. (I previously discussed this subject in a more general way concerning Christians and politics…read that discussion HERE.)

  • Would it be wrong for me to run for a political office some day?
  • Should pastors stay out of politics?
  • Should pastors be in politics more?
  • What are the advantages?  What are the disadvantages?
  • Could politics be a part of a Christian’s “calling”?

Help me….I’m seriously curious! Plus I love a good discussion…even a politics or religion discussion!

Add your thoughts now!

Common Struggles

The first sermon of the new year at Grace Community Church was a difficult one, because I encouraged our people to let go of some of the burdens they had been carrying in 2010. We wanted to start 2011 with a clean slate and make it a better year. I challenged people to write the one issue they wanted to leave behind on an index card. We captured those, and though they didn’t have names on them, we recorded the general issue to see what people in our church were dealing with this year. For me personally this is helping to shape the way I preach.

Here is a graph of the over 1,000 cards we collected:

You can view the sermon from that day here:

What would you have written on that card? Does this graph represent some of your struggles?

Friday Discussion: Why People Don’t Attend Church

Let’s discuss church attendance today.

I specifically want to know why some people choose not to attend church.

I want to hear about your experiences, but I also want to hear your opinions.

One of my passions is the local church.  I grew up in church and there’s never been a time in my life when I didn’t want to go to church.  (The picture in this post is one of my favorite churches…the Lutheran church my mother attended as a child and I attended with my grandmother when I was a child.)

Recently I was interviewed for a local online newspaper about the launching of our second campus.  (You can read the article HERE.)  In the article I stated a statistic that 86% of people in our county do not go to church.  That’s what the latest numbers I’m hearing indicate.  I didn’t make the number up, but I didn’t do the research either.  Regardless of the accuracy of the number, no one who believes in church doubts that it is higher than we would like it to be.

So, today, I’m wonder why people don’t go to church. I’m not being naive.  I realize many simply don’t share my faith, but I don’t think that’s the only reason.  Somehow, I think if we understand why people don’t attend church, we can better address the issue.

Dialogue with me. You might consider some of these questions:

  • Did you grow up in church?
  • Do you go to church regularly now?  How often?
  • Has there ever been a time you didn’t attend church?
  • If so, what kept you from attending?
  • Do you think church attendance is necessary for a believer?
  • Do you have friends or family who do not attend church?
  • What do you think is their reason for not attending?

In your opinion, why do people not attend church these days?

Also interesting to me, in many surveys a large majority of people indicated that if a friend invited them to church they would likely attend.  Sounds like we have some work to do.

Share your thoughts today...Perhaps we can learn from each other.