Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010, Not Again!

I have never been a big fan of new years resolutions, but as I survey this past year, I have one for 2010, "Not Again!". What was 2009 like for you? As you inventory this past year, what would you say was your underlying emotion throughout the majority of the year? I believe for a lot of people it was fear. If you go back and survey the major news stories of the year, most of them were gloom and doom stories that painted a very bleak outlook for our future. I guess it's these kinds of stories and negativity that has "pushed me over the edge". I mean, you can only get so close to the edge of the abyss and then you have to decide whether or not you're going to 'jump off' or stop and take an honest look at where you are and what you're doing.

What has brought us to the cliff's edge? For the most part it has been greed, corruption, deception, and propaganda. So let me ask you; Are you a greedy person? Are you a corrupt person? Do you purposefully deceive people for you own gain? For everyone reading this blog, I think I can confidently answer "No" for you. Isn't it ironic that a minority of people with an agenda for control through power have cast upon us a fear so great that it seems we have no alternative but to entrust them with that power and ask them to 'save' us? What is driving this mentality? FEAR. Fear of losing a house, a job, a car, a dividend, a privilege, in other words, fear of failure.

Wow, we have become afraid of the one thing that has made our country so great!

Go back through our history and you will find that most of the great inventors and businessmen of all times experienced 10X the amount of failure as they did success. You can't succeed without failing! Failing is what teaches you to persevere, it's what teaches you to change an ingredient or procedure, or way of thinking. Take away failure in a society and you produce a nation of slaves. And guess who the master is? It's that power hungry, greedy, corrupt, group of people who are living off of your fear. And living quite comfortably I might add.

I've had enough gloom, doom, anxiety, and fear!

So for 2010 I say, Not Again. My resolution is to cast off all fear and anxiety and go for broke! If that's where I end up, then I'll get back up, dust myself off, and go at it again. That's a life worth living. That's a life that has flavor, excitement, and danger. That is the kind of life we were created to live. We were created to fight in the wilderness like lions, not grope in the pasture of fear like cows!

So what is that dream that you have? What is it that you want for your family? How do you see your future? Are you looking through the lens of our media and politicians? Theirs is a lens of empty promises and false hope. You were created to be free, truly free, to be all that you can be. Know who created you, know His character, and then find the courage to risk failure. After all, failure produces success. You need to hear that again;

Failure produces Success!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Christmas Matrix

The Matrix is one of my favorite movies. In the movie, people are kept asleep to what the real world is like by computers that are using them to their own benefit. In return, the people live in a virtual world that they think is real. When the hero of the story "wakes up" he finds that he is in the middle of a war for the survival of the human race.

This Christmas has given me a glimpse of that war in our world. Just like in the Matrix, every year at Christmas people go into autopilot and enter a dream like state where Christmas is all about falling asleep to the real world around us. Each swipe of the credit card is like an inoculation that brings a sense of euphoria and dulls the pain of the woes around us. It's about the gifts, the parties, the persona I put off. In essence, there is a force that seeks to "cheapen" Christmas and what this special holiday is really all about.

Why am I even thinking such things? What has me stepping back to take a different look at Christmas? This Christmas our family knows four couples who are very dear and close to us that are struggling with life and death issues.

One couple sits in Boston by the bedside of their 10 month old son who has never been out of the hospital since his birth. He just underwent another surgery to save his life and hopefully ensure a near release from the Hospital so that his family can return to their home in Charleston. Another couple struggles with a rare disorder in which the mother, who is now pregnant with their second child, is deathly ill and struggles to force down enough nourishment to sustain the life of them both. Before they could even enjoy the beautiful pictures of the first ultrasound, a feeding tube was inserted into mom, and will be the lifeline for her and her baby for the next nine months of nonstop nausea and the accompanying effects it brings. Another couple deals with the tragic and sudden loss of their son to a senseless death. And a wife is now at home with her husband and father of her two young children. He is in Hospice care now after fighting a long and hard battle against cancer.

How do you celebrate Christmas in the midst of such struggles, pain, suffering, and loss? Just like in The Matrix I suddenly see glimpses of the "Real World". I visit and talk with those families and I see the "real" Christmas. Because Christmas is all about struggles, pain, suffering, and loss. The true Christmas Story is full of examples of all of these. It is a story of war, and Christmas is the day we celebrate our ultimate victory over that enemy that seeks to steal joy, kill dreams, and destroy life. Christmas is when we celebrate the fullness of God coming to this planet to save our race. Through the lens of this truth, now things look different.

Because for every one of those couples there is now hope, peace, joy, courage, and the faith to know that they are going to be okay. They are "living" the real Christmas story. Instead of the darkness of the unknown, there is light. Instead of the hopelessness of unforeseen tragedy, there is hope. Instead of the unrest of anxiety, there is peace. And instead of the fear of facing insurmountable odds, there is courage. And the "game changer" in all of these circumstances is faith.

Do you feel that? Do you sense that thing rising up on the inside of you? That, my friend, is Life. Wake up! And don't let another precious moment with friends and family pass you by.

Because that ... is Christmas!