Sunday, March 22, 2015

Open Doors

Last Sunday at my church,

I heard John Ortberg speak about the open doors in our lives.

I have to tell you.

I was struck by it.

Because after hearing the message the first time.

I went upstairs to my studio later the same night.

And listened to it again.

This time.

With my journal open.

Taking notes.

You know if I'm taking notes.

The message must be all up in my business.

It was.

I'm opening my journal this morning.

And sharing a few of John Ortberg's comments with you.

What I learned about open doors.

"Open doors are never just about me.
    You're blessed to be....a blesser.
       Your mission is to add life to someone."

I'm pretty consistent.

Consistent in usually making everything.....about me.

So, the idea that God blesses me. (And I have no problem with that statement.)

Is really so that I turn....bless someone else?

"open doors are never just about me."

I don't think I've ever considered it.

He may bless me with my job.

So that I can, in turn, be a blessing to someone else who works with me.

He may bless me in my walk through cancer.

So that I can, in turn, be a blessing to someone else that faces the same diagnosis.

He may bless me with incredible experiences in Africa.

So that I can, in turn, bless others by encouraging them to go and serve there.

My blessings are not just for me.

It's sad, but it was quite a revelation.

"God is more concerned with the person I become
    than the circumstances I inherit."

My circumstances.

What have they been?

Problem - free.

Full of difficulty and conflict.

Times when money and family budgets were tight.

Times of financial abundance.

Circumstances of loss, disappointment and grief.

Times of fun and laughter.

Circumstances when I've been completely overwhelmed.

And stressed.

Times of relative peace.

No matter the circumstances I find myself in.

God is more concerned that I look more like Jesus.

Than giving me an easy time of it.

So, whatever is going on around me.

His greater interest.

Is the person I become.

"Who you become when you go through the door,
   is often more important than getting to the other side."

"People won't go through a door God has provided
    because they don't have peace.

Peace lies on the other side of obedience, not this side."

I think I've heard this in church my entire life.

"If it's God's will, then I should feel peace about it."

Maybe not.

When God told Jonah to go to Nineveh.

He didn't have peace at all.

He didn't want to go.

When God told Moses to lead the Israelite's out of Egypt.

He didn't have peace at all.

He felt completely inadequate for the job.

I've used this as an excuse in my own life.

Because something made me totally uncomfortable.

And anxious.

It must not be God's plan for me.

Maybe that's just an excuse I've used.


After being uneasy and uncomfortable,

I have occasionally taken a step anyway.

and....after the step.

After responding in something I believe He's called me to do.

Peace does come.

But.......I didn't consider.

Peace might not come before.

"You are not the first person to receive a hard assignment from God."

Who ever feels total peace about a hard assignment?

About an assignment that isn't necessarily safe or secure or manageable?

None of us do.

I don't.

I have to remember.

He's with me while I'm walking through that hard assignment.

Through that difficult loss.

Through that season of discouragement and conflict.

He doesn't promise an easy time.

He promises to be with me.

"Reject the myth.
   if I make the wrong decision.
     if I chose the wrong door.
        I'll be on God's Plan B for the rest of my life."

I believed this.

I've made wrong decisions.

I know I've chosen the wrong door in my life.

Countless times.

And in the back of my mind.

I believed it.

That God's plan for me was so narrow and specific.

That if I didn't make all the right steps.

I'd miss my entire purpose in life.

And would have to settle.

For Plan B.


Who can measure up to that kind of pressure?

Not me.

But, the idea.

That God loves me.

That He walks with me.

Even when I make the wrong choice.

Even when I go through the wrong door.

And that He can make good come from my missteps.

And my bad decisions.

And my wrong choices.

And redeem them all.

That was a big one for me.

And finally.

"As we get older, we regret what we didn't do....
   the words of love never spoken,
   the chance to serve that we never accepted,
   the costly gift that we never gave,
   the scary risk that we never took."

"If you're not dead, you're not done.

    God always has an open door for you."

"What will you do for me?"

What will I do for Him?

All quotes from John Ortberg.   To watch this message, go to 
and click the link to sermons - March 17th 2015.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Holding Back In the Short Term

There's several things I've done in my life.

Over the long term.

My marriage.

32 years.

My career.

28 years, I believe.


I still have many from my childhood & high school.

The area where I live.

In Greenwood since 1985.

Long Term.

When I've invested myself.

With people, places and opportunities.

It's been for the long haul.


In my view, it mattered more.

In my understanding, it was more worthwhile.

But not the case.

When I've found myself in the short term.

With people.


Or opportunities.

That I knew wouldn't necessarily last.

They were temporary.

Brief commitments.

Short term.

And, many times.

I made an intentional decision.

To hold back.

And not invest myself.

I'm only going to be here for a few weeks or months.

There's really no need to get too close.

It's really not going to matter one way or the other.

I intentionally put up walls and boundaries.

Because it was only for the short term.

Have you ever done that?

I have.

I remember one time in particular.

Scott had been taking short term church assignments.

Doing bi-vocational preaching & teaching.

Many times for churches that were looking for a full time pastor.

Or just needed someone to fill in for a specific period of time.

We left our home church.

And for a period of about four or five years.

We moved from one small church to the next.

I'm really a homebody.

It wasn't easy moving from church family to church family.

And after the first assignment.

I could feel myself pulling back.

And not wanting to invest in what I though would be the next short term.

I held back from making relationships.

I held back from giving of myself.

I just plain held back.

Was any permanent damage done to those around me?


Likely, not!

But,  did I miss out in anyway?

That's the much better question.

I'm certain that I did.

In friendships I didn't make.

In lives that might have blessed mine.

In opportunities that God might have wanted to give me.

But couldn't.

Because I wasn't willing to invest in the short term.

Your short term might be your physical location right now.

Your job might be moving you somewhere else in the next few months or years.

And you're not wanting to invest.

Or it might be in relationships around you.

That co-worker that's in your office.

Or the young mother that lives on your street.

We sometimes see those people as temporary.

And we chose not to invest.

It's easier.

Not to invest.

But, easier.

As I have learned.

Is not always better.

I'm reminded

That God has short term assignments for me.

Short term opportunities He wants to provide me.

But I have to be willing to invest.

Invest myself.

Where I am.

Right now.