Archive for November, 2016

Three Builders

November 30th, 2016

Last November I found myself in a church library waiting for an event to start.  Being a curious soul I started to review the collection of books and eventually found myself draw to an old book that was a collection of poems.  I noted several of these pieces and stored those away.

For months I didn’t think about them at all, but last month I rediscovered the selections and since that time this particular one continues to surface in the front of my mind.  It’s called Three Builders.  You have probably heard it before. This version is told like this:

“What are you doing?” a man asked of three laborers beside a building under construction.

The first man replied “Stone-cuttin’.”

The second smiled, “Puttin’ in time –until a better job comes along.”

The third man waited a moment and then said simply, “I’m building a cathedral!”

Sometimes when I go to work, I forgot that I’m there to build big things – like a cathedral.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the mundane, the chaotic, the trivial and the political mumbo jumbo and develop a view that I am just there to cut stone or to put in time.  Instead, I long that my days are filled with thoughts of creating and building big things. I love those big transformational project with incredible vision and earth changing direction, and I have been fortunate enough to be a part of many of those in my working days.

But really most days, I do look at work more than work, but as steps on the way to building a masterpiece.  A masterpiece that should have lasting value.  I am reminded of the one thing I think about when I think about my father-in-law.  Well, maybe one of four things!  Early in my career, he pointed me to this quote, and it has impacted my work days, and my personal life ever since.

Therefore, when we build, let us think that we build for ever. Let it not be for present delight, nor for present use alone; let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say as they look upon the labour and wrought substance of them, ” See! this our fathers did for us. – John Ruskin

I thought about these thoughts when I built my house.  I kept this quote on my cube wall and thought about it everyday back when I wrote code.  (Interesting enough, there’s still code I wrote 20 years ago that is still running!)  I still think about ‘buiding forever’ and  future generations saying ‘our fathers did for us’ when I work even today.  I think that is why the Three Builders story spoke so loudly to me.

All of this applies to more than just physical work.  It also applies to our responsibilities to impact people in a way that they are changed forever, and that future generations are glad they were changed.  It’s in building relationships, treating others with respect, making the other’s day better and pushing others to find more in themselves.  Those construction activities bring glory to the Creator and can impact the lives of others for forever.

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Let us always build big and build for the future in everything we do.




November 30th, 2016

On Wednesday mornings I have started to attending Anna’s spin class.   I had heard for months that her class was hard and to avoid it, which of course is the reason I choose to start attending.  It’s hard.  She pushes the pace, works the class and encourages the spinners to reach deep and get more out of themselves.

It’s tough!   

But at the end it’s good.

I like the class.   I find myself looking forward to Wednesday mornings, even though I know my body will hurt and struggle for 45 long hard minutes.  It makes me search deep inside myself and find and get more out of myself.

But I know that energy output is short lived and there’s an end to the struggle.  And I know I have the strength to make it to the end.

It’s not always that way in life.  We can fight, we can have encouragers, we can dig deep inside ourselves, and sometimes we need a little more to make it through.  Fortunately, there is someplace we can turn.  The strength of the Lord provides that extra bit to push us through the times when we need more to made it!

“Search for the LORD and for his strength; continually seek him.” Psalms‬ ‭105:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Keep seeking his strength. Keep pushing.  Make today great!

Great Work

November 28th, 2016

Every Monday I have an email sent to myself with these ten words.

I’m doing a great work and I can’t come down.

It’s the words the Nehemiah (6:3) used to answer the other leaders who wanted to stop him from rebuilding the wall.  Today, I use it as a reminder to keep myself away from the distractions and temptations that the world throws our way every day.  Distractions that would keep me from doing the great work that lies in front on me.  Distractions that would take me away from my purpose – which in the end is to bring glory to the Creator!

It’s Monday! Stay on the wall!  Keep up the great work.  Why would you go down to them?

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

November 24th, 2016

Years ago, on a normal evening with a normal dinner, an old girlfriend’ mom reemphasized the importance of being grateful in the small things to me.  She talked about a Tom Holland sermon that she had heard a few weeks before and how he showed that being grateful was an attitude that a follower of the Christ should always exude in multitude! There was a huge implication that I could work on this a little.  And that was probably true!  That talk has stayed with me over the years, and I try to remember to be grateful as I go alone.

In fact, a few years ago, I sent this mother a small note thanking her for teaching me about being thankful.

Today is a day we give thanks in a big way.  And we should.  All of us have so much more than we can really comprehend.  Enjoy today!  Celebrate!  Give Thanks.  And find a way to keep a part of this spirit front and center as you continue to run your race.  Especially if you plan for whatever reason to be out shopping Friday morning.  ( I’ll be opting outside!)

Anyway, Be thankful — always!  No matter how small, or how big the thing is.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Will and Alignment

November 23rd, 2016

Will is a strange thing.
And I am not talking about my nephew.
Figuring out the balance between what we should do and what we want to do is a strange complex place. Add in the whole ‘Lord’s will versus our own will debate’ and a whole new complex web of weirdness is created.
Until the will’s are aligned. And really that’s the issue – alignment.
That’s what I like about this passage.

“That’s when Thomas, the one called the Twin, said to his companions, “Come along. We might as well die with him.”” ‭‭John‬ ‭11:16‬ ‭MSG‬‬

It’s an awkward resignation to aligning wills.

Jesus was about to walk about into ‘enemy’ territory and I just imagine his followers throwing up their hands and saying ‘ok, I guess we’ll go to!’.

And sometimes that’s how we get alignment. We can fight against it, and make ourselves miserable, and lose.

Or we can step out on faith and ‘die with him’.

The irony there is that really in order for us to step out on faith and align our wills, we have to let a part of ourselves die, just like he did.

Today, and everyday going forward, lets us ‘die with him’. We might as well, after all he did create the world and is responsible for our righteousness!!