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What Will You Give Your One Little Life For?

What would your life look like if you found the one thing you were called to do? Think of the great leaders of the past. Men and women who gave their lives for something that mattered. People like Benjamin Franklin, Ronald Reagan, Aimee Semple McPherson, and Martin Luther King, Jr. People who actually changed the world. At some point they stepped into their God-given destiny and pursued it with all their might. …now think about what matters to you. What do you constantly think about? What makes you mad? What do you want to change? These are hard questions to answer. Figuring out your “calling” is not easy if we’re honest. For me I think a lot about the future of our Nation. I hate communism and socialism because they are destructive ways of thinking that end in death and oppression. I’m irritated that so many of us are content with playing church instead of getting empowered by God’s Spirit and then going into these systems and changing them. Instead of standing at the sidelines, complaining and waiting for the world to burn we could be on the field and actually doing something to help. But what do we do? Take politics for example. In church we’re taught to avoid this topic because of it’s divisive nature and the danger of falling under the influence of the political spirit. But if we all dismiss ourselves from this critical part of culture… assuming “someone else” will step up and do it, then we lose the war before the first shot is fired. I’m not sure what’s more destructive: apathetic Christians or devoted Atheists....

Thankfulness Is A Choice

Is it possible to always be thankful? I think it is because the Bible commands us to. So how do we do it? How do we cultivate a thankful heart and attitude despite what’s going on? I don’t know. But I want to find out. I do know one thing though… thankfulness isn’t dependent on circumstances or things going our way. At least that’s true for me. For example, I’m a goal oriented person. I enjoy starting new projects, getting things done and taking steps towards my goals. I guess you could call me Type-A. And I realized there’s a danger to constantly living this way if I’m not careful to pause to be thankful. The danger is that I could always be living in the future and never take time to enjoy the present. This hit me hard this morning, let me explain… We have three kids, ages 3, 1 and 2 months. Needless to say we don’t usually get a full uninterrupted night’s sleep. But last night was harder than normal. Our Lily (1-year-old) is teething has a rash. So she woke up multiple times. And our 3-year-old, Emma Grace, loves life so much she bolts out of bed as soon as she can… which is usually before 7:00 am. So anyway, after a rough night I get up and immediately I’m in a grumpy mood. The thoughts going through my head include: I have to talk to Lacie about our whole “traveling in a motorhome idea” and let her know it’s not going to work if it’s going to be like this… I need rest to work....

The Lost Art Of Saying No

No is a powerful and important word. And now that I have a 1-year-old daughter I use it now more than ever. “No Emma, don’t touch that!” “No Emma, don’t crawl up the stairs!” “No, Emma don’t take Daddy’s chess pieces!” I say no a lot. But I’m also learning that saying no is important in other areas of life. When I first became a Christian I was pretty much incapable of saying no. I’d say yes to every volunteer activity, church meeting and group. So much so that I wound up having a commitment 6-7 nights a week! And after a while I realized that being busy with Christian activity was not the same as growing spiritually. I also realized that I didn’t like to say no because I really wanted to please everyone. Fast forward 9 years and I no longer say yes to everything. In fact, I say no to most things. And I don’t feel bad about it. And it’s not just because I’m “too busy.” It’s because in order to focus on what I’m called to do I must say no to a hundred different things in order to focus on the big yeses. So that’s all I got today. An admonition to say no more often. For obvious reasons this message isn’t a popular one at most churches. But most churches focus on Christian activity instead of spiritual growth. Remember that. And remember that you only have one life to live. When it’s all said and done will it matter how many church activities you were involved in or that you took the time to know Him?...

Why Introspection Is A Waste Of Time

Should you be more introspective? Well, it depends what kind of life you want. If you want to rob yourself of joy, stunt your spiritual growth and become a more self-absorbed person than yes, by all means, you should be introspective. But seriously, think about it. Have you ever felt empowered after an intense time of introspection? Did you examine all your motives and then walk away feeling refreshed and closer to God? If you’re like most people then probably not. And why would you? The nature of introspection is to look for things that are wrong in your life. Areas of your life that need to be corrected. Trying to judge yourself according to your own internal belief system. And from my experience (and observation of many well meaning Christians) introspection does little to change your life for the better. If you really want a heart change. If you really want to be free from sin then turn your gaze away from yourself and onto God. The Holy Spirit is perfectly capable of doing this work without your help. So is the living Word of God. And so are the people God has placed in your life. If you need to be corrected simply ask the Holy Spirit to convict you when you need to be. Ask him to guide you by His Word. But I strongly encourage you to refrain from spending countless hours “naval gazing.” You will have more joy, mature spiritually and become a more selfless person by gazing into the heart of God instead of into your own soul. If you don’t believe me just try it....

2 Reasons (aka “excuses”) Why I Haven’t Posted in 10 Months

It’s been a good 10 months since I’ve posted here. And I’m tired of letting this blog sit here and collect dust while I wait for “inspiration” to strike. So I decided to commit to posting on here at least every other week (If more than 14 days go by without a new post you have my permission to email me and ask what’s up… my email is jmonen@gmail.com). The truth is I have 23 “draft” posts I’ve written but haven’t published on here. Why? Well I have two excuses reasons: 1. My struggle with perfectionism 2. I’ve allowed myself to become too busy OK. Enough about me and my excuses. Bottom line: I’m back. Now let me ask you a question: Do you ever feel like you need to “make a comeback” after it’s been a long time since you’ve done something you think you should’ve been doing all along? Let me explain… Take exercising for example… instead of just working out do you feel like you need to “make a comeback?” Buy all the right fitness clothes, join the expensive gym, start the insanely crazy diet, etc. You know what I mean? Or what about spiritual disciplines. Instead of simply reading your Bible and praying in the morning again we have to read through the entire Bible in 6 months, go on a 3-day fast and fly to Africa to go on the next short-term mission trip. OK. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks like this (but I doubt it). So what’s the answer? I don’t claim to have a magic pill but here’s something I’m trying...

8 Years Ago Today I Woke Up After Relapsing on Cocaine

8 years ago today I woke up in my parent’s bedroom after another relapse. The night before I took my new ADHD medication, Adderall, and it reminded me of the feeling I got when I used cocaine. So I took some more Adderall, called some friends and went and bought an 8-ball of cocaine. My mind immediately returned to a state of paranoia as I crept around the house peering out the windows looking for cops. This is how I spent countless nights before I was set free from addiction. I would usually drink a fifth of Malibu Rum and about 6-10 Coronas, snort/smoke about $400 worth of cocaine, smoke a pack of Camels all while looking out windows and peepholes in fear that cops were watching me and about to break in. It was not what you call fun. I didn’t use or drink to “have a good time” like many do. I used because I didn’t feel normal sober. I used because drugs were my master. I worshiped them, sang songs to them and desired to be with them 24/7. And on May 23, 2004 I thought my life was over. I hadn’t used cocaine — my drug of choice — since the prior September (although I relapsed on alcohol and marijuana 2 months prior). So when I used again I heard voices in my head tell me, “See, God gave you 2nd and 3rd chances and you screwed it up. You’re going to die because God is going to teach others a lesson about what happens when you screw up.” It was a horrible night. Even as a...