Saturday, October 29, 2011

Procrastination

What if my procrastination led to the death of some of my friends and family? That is a question I had to deal with this week.

Procrastination is one of my sins. That's not saying that putting off things is sinful but in my case sometimes it is. There are many things I do not do when they need to be done. In my misplaced priorities I get certain things accomplished I want to do each day while other more important things are not.

On our car the brake rotors were warped and needed to be replaced. It was a job I was going to do with supervision. The weeks and months went by as I always hoped for a better or more convenient time. The brakes worked okay; just a rumbling stop sometimes.

Well last weekend two friends, my son and I were coming back from a retreat near Woodland Park. It was a 90 mile drive, mostly on the highway at 75 mph. After dropping the two friends off, we soon noticed something was wrong. There was a strange noise and then another. We investigated but couldn't find the source. I drove on and soon my brakes went spongy. I pulled over and we looked for fluid leaks or something else. I decided to drive home slowly. After about a mile there was a grinding noise. Now it was apparent: a wheel bearing on the front was bad. Bad is too mild a word. It was seized and had almost burned and ground the retaining bolt away. If that had happened, the wheel would have come off.

All of a sudden, there was an incredible sense of protection. This catastrophic failure could have happened at a much less convenient place or it could have happened at 75 miles an hour. It could have been a fatal accident.

A sense of chastisement came: my stupid procrastination! Look at what almost happened. Over and over in my mind I replayed what happened and what could have happened. The car was at the repair shop Monday and Tuesday; it gave me a lot of time to think.

I was let off the hook a little when the mechanic told me that the brake rotor problem probably didn't cause the bearing problem. But I also knew that if the brake job had been done sooner then maybe the bearing would have been replaced or at least lubed better.

So did I learn my lesson?  I will confess that I probably have not. Sure I will be more sensitive to brake issues in the future but my sin is much deeper than that.

I am learning something from the Samson Society meetings I go to. Here is the first step of the path I am learning to walk: ...I surrender to God in simple faith - making no promises but merely asking for His aid. So I know it will do no good to promise that I will never procrastinate again or to resolve to do better. I am a broken, messed up guy who needs God's help. I need a power that doesn't reside in me. I have no bootstraps to pull up.

I also have confessed my sin to other people. I admit that I need the strength of community and I want to break the power that secret sin has.

I also feel foolish. Isn't it ridiculous that I can't be better motivated or better organized so the to-do list gets done in a timely manner? That is where I need God's help. I need Him to help me do what is important. I need him and others to bring the resources that will help in that process. What I need is not more of me.

So this is my story and my confession. I am not victorious. I can't talk of the way I used to be. This is me right now. I trust God's grace and power will come into my life and make the changes that need to happen.

I would be glad to hear your input, especially if you have dealt with this sin yourself.

Philip

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Drift - How did I get here?

Drifting....

It was the stuff good stories are made of: a beautiful summer day, a raft, a lake and a few boys. What fun to play in the water and drift around on the raft. Time stands still or it passes. On this day both happened.

This lake was no pond. Marston Reservoir is near what we now call Southwest Plaza. When I drive by it my thoughts always go back to that summer day. I see how big it is and picture that day in my mind.

One thing that makes drift dangerous is that it is silent. We easily miss what is going on. I also think it is the opposite of intentional. To be intentional on that day could have meant riding a power boat very fast in a straight line. A clear goal helps: Where do we want to end up?

My life is full of drift. There are many things I need to do but days drift by and they remain undone. The oldest item on my to-do list is dated December 1, 2010. I have things I can do to promote my Handyman business that I do for awhile and then forget.

Two events in my life help correct my drift. One is a weekly Samson Society meeting where I meet with some other guys. It reminds me of the important things I need to do in my life. The other is a monthly business meeting where I am reminded of the principals of cultivating business by referral. Every week and every month I am reminded of the basic things.

The raft drifted and the boys played. Time passed and it was getting close to meal time. If they drifted to the opposite shore it was going to be a very long walk back. Stevie decided he was going to swim back to their starting point.

Another problem with drift is many times, when we realize where we have strayed, we over correct; a radical move to get back on track; a move that may make things worse. We forget the basic things - the fundamentals, and come up with a whole new plan. What we need is calm and appropriate correction. 

Things could have been different that day. The boys could have joined together or taken turns and paddled back to their starting point. But that's not what happened. Stevie started swimming back; swimming way too far. Soon he was in distress, soon he disappeared.

Stevie's family was our old neighbors. He and my older brother were friends when they lived across the street. We visited their family at their new house sometimes.

I remember the next day the newspaper had a full page of pictures of the search. This was back when reporters and photographers wandered around looking for news. There were boats on the water, people who were watching and the one I remember the clearest: a picture of the hook they used to retrieve the body. For Stevie, his family and many others, time stood still that day.

One thing we can do to prevent drift is to have anchors in place. These are the fundamentals that keep us in line or that we go back to when we stray. The most important is Scripture. This anchor needs to be set daily because every day the world is trying to pull us its way. We need something firm to hold on to.

When drift is small it's not too hard to correct. As time goes on the distance back to shore can become almost insurmountable. Thankfully we have a God who can overcome the impossible if our stubbornness doesn't sink us.

Philip

Friday, October 14, 2011

Happy 33rd Anniversary Wendy

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Today is my 33rd wedding anniversary. On October 14, 1978, I married Wendy. We have a lot to celebrate.

We have eight children that we get to see on this earth and four that died before they were born. We will see them someday in a much better place. That is the Faustin nation.

God has blessed us in so many ways. Through all the trials and tribulations of life, we have stayed together. It’s not always easy but the reward is huge.

I love my wife and appreciate the daily blessing she is to me.

I celebrate another anniversary today. On October 14, 1973, Jesus became my savior and lord. Here is my story.

I have much to be thankful for on this day. I thank you Jesus and Wendy for being in my life. Thanks to both of you for putting up with me. Thanks to both of you for not giving up on me. Thanks for loving me.

Philip

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Castaway

...but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be a castaway. 1 Corinthians 9:27

Why the body? 1 John 2:16 points out that the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes are the source of many problems. Think of the struggles in your own life. Don't many of them come from these two?

What really struck me about this verse is the castaway part. Many versions use the word disqualified. The word is used elsewhere in the New Testament as reprobate. It has a very strong meaning.

The great apostle Paul didn't have a casual view of what sin can do and even the capability of his own heart. He realized that diligence in spiritual discipline and battle was essential. He realized that he could spend years preaching about salvation and heaven and then end up missing out on it himself.

I wonder if we might see more holiness in the church if people didn't have a false sense of "eternal security".  As things are now in many places, grace has been cheapened. Many have a sense that they can pretty much live however they want and God is obligated to let them into heaven because they prayed a sinner's prayer at some point or asked Jesus into their heart.

There will come a day of rude awakening for many people. Hopefully it will come before they enter eternity.

Philip

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Burger King Religion

"Have it your way!" Many people not only want food choices their way but also want the same pick and choose when it comes to God.

A couple of mornings ago I was reminded of this verse in my morning reading: Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. 2 Timothy 2:5

As Christians these days we bristle at the word rules; it seems so rigid. We like flexibility. When we are telling a pagan about God we want to avoid telling them about the rules. We don't want to tell them that if they are going to follow Jesus there are things they can no longer do.

But what is really on my mind is people who call themselves Christians but want to be the Burger King; they want to have it their way.

I think of some people I know of who divorced their spouses. It wasn't for the reasons that Scripture would allow. One even proclaimed they were "happily divorced" yet God says he hates divorce. These people are now preparing to marry someone new. In Scripture, God says they are going to commit adultery.

So what if we really believe the verse I mentioned above? What if people who decide to have it their way end up not getting the prize? Maybe the rules are important, inflexible and only broken with serious consequences.

Now I'm not saying that people lose their salvation when they sin; 1 John 2:1 shows that forgiveness is available. But there is much Scripture that makes it clear that once you are saved you may not always be saved. For that reason we need to be careful not only of how we live our own lives but of what we excuse in others.

Philip

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