Worst Year Ever?

Do you think there is something you can specifically do in the next week that will make your personal life, your family life and your business life all worse?

Do you think there is something you can specifically do in the next week that will make your personal life, your family life and your business life all better?

Do you believe that the choice is yours?

Do you believe that every choice has an end result?

Do you believe making the right choice is your responsibility?

If you answered these questions honestly you likely answered them affirmatively. Using that as my assumption, here is what you just said, Continue reading Worst Year Ever?

Doubts

Do you ever have any doubts? If you are being honest with yourself I doubt the answer to that question is no. We all have doubts but those doubts are as varied as our own unique personalities. We all face our own doubts in one way or another. We all either let our doubts affect us negatively or work through them and usually emerge stronger on the other side of our doubts. Continue reading Doubts

Right Thinking

Thoughts Banner 2From the title of this post you might think this was a political book expounding on the virtues of how right thinking, in the political realm of thought, is powerful. Let me put that thought to rest for you. It’s not.

What the author does provide in “You & Your Thoughts: The Power of Right Thinking” is much more powerful than any political thought ever…and there have been some powerful political ideas or thoughts.

Enough about, or not about, politics.

From the Foreword, “Many Christians are trudging through life without any compass, unaware of the transcendent yet everyday practicality of the timeless truths of God’s Word. Rediscovering a life of confidence and hope is what this book is all about.”

In this updated version, the original was published in 1977, a few minor changes have been made to bring the text up to date, but all the original ideas of Dr. Radmacher have been retained. The purpose of this book is to “allow Christians to use their minds to lift up the name of Jesus, advance the Gospel, and boldly proclaim God’s free grace.” I believe this book will help all who read it make progress toward that goal.

As Dr. Radmacher explains, using the computer related example of GIGO – Garbage In Garbage Out – our minds function very similarly. Just as computer programmers understand this truth and do their best to keep the garbage out, we should do the same for the computer God has given us, our minds…but do we?

This book will remind you of the importance of not allowing garbage into your mind and will go one step further in encouraging you to put the Word of God into your mind and heart instead.

You may be thinking, I don’t have time to memorize scripture. Regarding that thought the author poses a few convicting questions.

“Do we Christians have time to eat daily, but no time to get into the Word? Do we have time to read the newspaper every day, but not the Bible? Time enough to glue ourselves to the TV set, but no time for the Scriptures? What does all of this say about our values?

Do those questions hit you as hard as they do me? Do you really pay attention to what you are allowing into your mind? 

This principle reminds me of what Zig Ziglar often said, “You are what you are and where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You can change what you are and how you are by changing what goes into your mind.”

David said it best in Psalm 119, “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

What are you hiding in your heart?

If this sounds like something you would like to explore to refresh your memory or understanding or learn for the first time get your copy of You and Your Thoughts today and start re-programming your mind and thinking right. “It will make a difference.”

Until next time…

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I Am A Thief

I am a thief, I am a murderer.

Are you a thief too? A murderer too? I am.

Cross & Sky Christian Wallpaper Background a G...
Cross & Sky Christian Wallpaper Background a GIMP edit of my original (Photo credit: † David Gunter)

My blog is called Peculiar Perspective and this might just be one of those but maybe it shouldn’t be. I have been a Third Day fan for years. I love their music, their ministry, and Mac Powell, the lead singer, just happens to be an Alabama fan so that works for me too.

There are many of their songs I like and could and probably will at some point write about here. However there are none that affect me more at this time of year than one call Thief. They have two versions of this song. The original came out as a live version on their album named Third Day in 1996 and is my favorite version. Third Day_Third Day

They did a studio version for their Chronology Volume 1 Album in 2007 as well. The words are the same. The sound is just a little different.


Third Day_Chronology Volume One

I suggest you click on one of the links below and watch it and listen to the words. It will move you if you are a Christian. If you are not a Christian I think it can move you too if you watch and listen with an open mind, something that is rare these days but it can still be done.

A New Perspective

I liked this song before I ever really understood it. Let me try to explain. I like Third Day and their music and their “sound” so just for those reasons alone I liked the song. When I first heard it I liked it because it was different. I had never heard a song from perspective of the thief on the cross beside Jesus. I thought that is interesting and something I have never thought of that way, a new perspective.

It wasn’t until a few years ago when I really began to understand the gravity of what this song was saying, at least to me. That is when I realized I am that thief on the cross, as well as part of the mob yelling, “Crucify him”, as well as Judas, as well as Peter, when he denied knowing Jesus. If you listen to this or think of this story as the thief got what he deserved that is OK. You are right. However if you don’t also realize that we would all get what we deserve if it wasn’t for what Jesus did by staying on the cross then you are missing the point completely.

Here are the lyrics for Thief by Third Day.

Thief

I am a thief, I am a murderer,
Walking up this lonely hill.
What have I done? I don’t remember.
No one knows just how I feel;
And I know that my time is coming soon.

It’s been so long, oh, such a long time,
Since I’ve lived with peace and rest.
Now I am here, in my destination,
I guess things work for the best;
And I know that my time is coming soon.

Who is this man? This man beside me,
That they call the King of the Jews.
No, they don’t believe, that He’s the Messiah,
But, somehow I know that it’s true.

They laugh at Him in mockery,
They beat Him till he bleeds,
They nail Him to the rugged cross,
And they raise Him, yeah, they raise Him up next to me.

My time has come, and I’m slowly fading,
But I deserve what I receive.
Jesus, when You are in Your kingdom,
Could You please, please remember me.
Well He looks at me still holding on,
And the tears fall from His eyes,
And He says I tell the truth,
Today, yeah, you will live with Me in paradise, woah yeah.

And I know that my time, yes my time, is coming soon, woah yeah.
And I know that my time, yes my time, is coming soon, woah yeah, yeah
And I know that paradise, paradise is coming soon.

Writer: POWELL, JOHNNY MAC / ANDERSON, SAMUEL TAI / AVERY, BRADLEY B. C. / CARR, DAVID / LEE, MARK D.

Here is a link to a GodTube video of the song with lyrics.

Thief by Third Day (Lyrics) – Live version

Here is a link to a YouTube video of the song with images from The Passsion of the Christ so some of the images are graphic.

Thief by Third Day – Passion of the Christ images – Studio Version

I believe the song speaks for itself but do have a couple of observations.

I am a thief, I am a murderer

We are all sinners. You may not think your sin rises to the level of a thief or murderer, that people who commit those sins are somehow worse sinners than you are. That is not true. God sees all sin, even a “little white lie” as sin. 

And I know that my time is coming soon

All of our times are coming soon so if you are waiting for the “right time” that time is right now. We are not promised tomorrow so take care of this today.

No, they don’t believe, that He’s the Messiah,
But, somehow I know that it’s true.

I believe that somehow you know it is true too but might not want to admit it for fear of what others might think of you. That reminds me of a quote I heard from Zig Ziglar that says, “You wouldn’t be so concerned about what others think of you if you realized how little they did.”

You will spend it somewhere. Where you spend it is your choice. My prayer for you is you will choose wisely.

If you have questions about how you can accept God’s gift of salvation for you, please visit Peace With God or ask questions in the comments. I will answer with what I know and would love to hear from you.

Until next time…

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Have YOU Read It?

In this post, prior posts and probably future posts too you will see me reference the Bible. I don’t do this as any type of authority or Bible scholar. I do believe the Bible is inspired by God and it is His love letter to us. The principles and precepts taught in the Bible are the lens through which I see the world. If I am not quoting or referencing it explicitly it is still there in my thoughts and view of the world. If you don’t share this belief then I would not expect you to understand this perspective. It is really not possible for you to understand.

That does not mean that we cannot have a dialog on this subject or we have to just agree to disagree.

My intent is never to force my beliefs on anyone but when sharing my beliefs I will be honest with you about what I believe. If that is offensive to you then, as mentioned earlier, I would be happy to discuss. I will not apologize for any part of it. However, my suggestion should this ever occur will always be for you to go to the source, the Bible, and read it for yourself and come to your own understanding. It doesn’t matter what your current belief or understanding is right now. Just as I would not expect you to understand the Bible if you haven’t read it, the flip side of that scenario is your arguments based on what you have heard or read about the Bible will not have any credibility until you have read it.

God’s Word – The Bible – is the standard and guidebook we as Christians use as our instruction manual for life.

English: The Bible
English: The Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

Just so there are no misunderstandings this does not mean we are perfect and do not get it wrong…often. There was only one who was perfect, Jesus Christ, and that standard is what we strive for but will never reach. I am a sinner just as you are. My sins have been forgiven and yours can be too but you will have to make that decision to accept the gift of salvation God has given us all. You cannot be “good enough” to earn your salvation. You just have to accept the gift.

That seems too simple for some but God wanted it to be simple so someone as simple and me could understand His plan of salvation for everyone. You see, God does not want anyone to perish or go to Hell. Yes, I do believe in Hell too. However He leaves that choice to accept His gift of salvation up to each of us.

If you have children it is easy to understand. Just as you would not force your children to love and obey you, God has chosen not to force us to love Him. He gives us free will and the ability to make that choice. An excellent way to learn more about this is to read His Word, the Bible.

I challenge you, if you have never done it to give it a shot and see what you learn.

Zig Ziglar said and I paraphrase, it’s not what people don’t understand about the Bible that bothers them. It’s what they do understand. Read it for yourself and see what you understand.

There are numerous Bible translations or versions and Bible reading plans available so there is one that will work for you if you really want to find out for yourself, what this book says. If you have a smartphone or tablet you can get the YouVersion Bible for free on either. With this software you choose from among many different reading plans and you will get a reminder every day reminding you to read. It is what I use for my daily Bible reading and I recommend it to anyone. I may address other tools, versions, and plans in a future post but my prayer and challenge for you is you will be curious enough to pick up a Bible or download a software version and read it for yourself.

Of this I am certain; God has a message in His Word for YOU but you have to open it and read it to receive it.

Until next time… 

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Un-Thanksgiving

Since this is Thanksgiving Week I thought writing about the holiday and some things I am thankful for would be appropriate. I expect this will be the only blog post on that subject this week so it should really stand out…NOT.

Anyway, I talked it over with all three of us (me, myself and I) and that that is what we decided to do.

The reason I distinguish between the Thanksgiving holiday and giving thanks I see those as two uniquely different events that intersect at this time of the year. It is really nothing other than my peculiar perspective at work again I suspect.

Thanksgiving – The Holiday

I don’t expect and have really never seen, except on TV or in the movies, everyone or really any one giving a grand Thanksgiving speech on what they are thankful for over the past year. It just hasn’t happened that way in my experience.

I do enjoy the holiday, getting together with family that we don’t get to see as much as we would like and eating turkey and dumplings and sweet potato (not pumpkin) pie. I have many fond memories of Thanksgiving and expect will have more after this week.

If you are expecting secret family recipes here then you will be disappointed. I know of none. My role has always been the consumer in this situation, not the manufacturer. Someone has to do it and it is a role I have practiced for many years. I believe I am pretty good at it. It is one of my callings. How would it make all the cooks feel if there was no one there to eat what they had prepared?

The First Thanksgiving…and a few more

I remember our first Thanksgiving together on my side of the family at Aunt Edna’s. Sharin and I were dating at the time. When it was time to eat I got up to go eat as I had always done. I had not mentioned to Sharin that it was our tradition for all the men to eat first, then the women because I had not given it a second thought. It was how we had always done it so I assumed everyone did it that way. Well, Sharin explained to me later that was not true. We did survive that Thanksgiving and 30+ since that one as we will celebrate 30 years of marriage next August. It is one we often talk about at this time of year though.

I have many good memories of Thanksgiving with Sharin’s family. Her mother would be cooking cakes and pies for days and it was always a fun time getting together with the entire Clark family. I miss those a lot. She enjoyed getting ready for Thanksgiving, probably only second to Christmas. We had turkey & dumplings, lemon pie, and later sweet potato pie when she learned that was my favorite. I was, after all, her favorite son-in-law (for those who might not know I was also her only son-in-law).

They were differences in the way our extended families celebrated Thanksgiving but there were also many similarities. Both had turkey, dumplings and lots of desserts. Both included getting together with family and catching up as well as naps in the afternoon before we would go back for leftovers. We had to rest up to get ready to eat again.

I Miss the People

I miss those times because of the people that are no longer with us. We can and will eat regardless of what day it is but it is the people that I miss the most, my parents and grandparents, Sharin’s parents and grandparents. We will see them all again one day but I wish we could see them here this Thursday.

Now, we are at the stage of life where we are excited to have our children who are not living with us come home and spending time with them. That is the highlight of the holidays now for us. The eating is necessary and still very enjoyable but it is secondary. It probably always was but we are now wise enough to realize that truth. We get together with brothers and sisters and their families as we continue to grow. We are expecting to add at least a couple new members next year.

Thanksgiving – Giving Thanks

The giving thanks part of Thanksgiving is done and having the holiday itself provides an emphasis for all to give thanks. I believe that is a good thing. However, giving thanks should be something we do on the 364 Un-Thanksgiving days every year as well.

Here are some of the things and people I am thankful for

* My Salvation – I thank God for the gift of salvation, sending His only son, Jesus Christ, to this earth to live and to die in my place and then to rise again and is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven and lives in my heart.

* My family that I have been blessed with – Sharin, Sarah, Amy, Rachel, Thomas and Tyler. To borrow a phrase from Dave Ramsey, I am doing much “better than I deserve.” I am thankful for that.

My Family
My family on a recent trip to the Magic Kingdom

* Salvation for my family – I know that when we are done passing through this place call planet earth we will see each other again in Heaven. I look forward to seeing parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles and others who are already there and then those that will follow after I am gone. This is the hope and promise we have as Christians.

* My extended family – Brothers, Sisters, Aunts, Uncles, In-laws, Out-laws, Cousins, Nieces and Nephews – too many to try to name but I am thankful for having them all in my life.

* Friends – I am also blessed by many more friends than I deserve both old and new friendships that have just begun this year. Thanks to all of you for being part of my life and allowing me to call you friend.

* Health – I have been blessed so far on this journey called life with good health.

* Job – I am thankful for a job that helps provide for my family that I actually enjoy. I know many do not have jobs in today’s economy and many that do don’t enjoy the jobs they do have.

* Freedom of expression to be able to live, worship, and express our thoughts, ideas, and opinions. This is something we, as Americans, often do take for granted. If we continue to do that we might wake up one day and realize they no longer exist.

* YOU – If you are reading this I am thankful for YOU for taking the time to stop by here and read the thoughts I assemble here from time to time.

I could go on for quite some time but I think you get the point. I am blessed far beyond anything I could ever earn or deserve. I am thankful for these blessings on Thanksgiving but also on every other day of the year as well.

I am reminded of the old hymn Count Your Blessings written by Johnson Oatman, Jr., Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you, what the Lord has done! If you are not familiar with this hymn or if you just want to here it now you can click Guy Penrod and he will sing it for you.

One of Zig Ziglar’s quotes also fits here I think, 

and by far, the most life changing.

Zig Ziglar_Attitude of Gratitude
Zig Ziglar – Attitude of Gratitude ~Ziglar.com

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Un-Thanksgiving too!

Until next time…

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Unfinished…but Jones is back!

This is a first for me. Not the fact I am writing about a book I have read on my blog, but the fact I am writing about a book I am still reading on my blog. I just reached the 50% point reading The Noticer Returns by Andy Andrews on my Kindle and am enjoying the book so much I could not wait to finish the book before sharing some of my thoughts. I want you to get your own copy and enjoy this book too. That makes this an unfinished book review, but Jones is back!

Regardless of how the story ends I am hooked. I know I like this book, have learned from it and my expectation is I will enjoy the second half just as much as the first, so I have no problem with recommending it to others even before I have finished it myself.

The Noticer Returns is a sequel to The Noticer. Our first exposure to Jones, the title character, was during our trip to Tybee Island last May for a family vacation. I had the audio version of the book and had read the first chapter and it looked like it would be an interesting story so we listened to it on the drive. We were taken in at the beginning and, needless to say, (actually that was needless to write wasn’t it?); it held our interest the entire way.

An interesting side note that doesn’t really mean anything – except maybe the fact I noticed it – one block up from the house we were renting was a street named Jones Avenue.

Jones Avenue - Tybee Island, GA

In any case, when I heard that Andy Andrews was working on a sequel and the Jones would indeed be returning I knew I would need to get the book when it was available and see what Jones has been up to lately. Well, the book was released this week and that is what I have been doing.

Even though this is a sequel you do not have to read The Noticer to be able to understand what is going on in The Noticer Returns. I suspect you might want to go back and read it though once you meet Jones and Andy Andrews.

Jones, as mentioned earlier, is The Noticer. He is described as having white hair, blue eyes and wears a t-shirt and jeans. He seems to show up when the characters in the stories need him to show up and help them notice things that were there the whole time. They were just not seeing their situation from the proper perspective.

is a quote from the book. That could be one of the reasons I can identify with Jones. I tend to think my perspective on life is a bit peculiar as evidenced by the name of this blog – Peculiar Perspective.

Another reason I believe I have become a fan of Andy Andrews and his work lately is that he lives here in Alabama, in Orange Beach, and we have spent a lot of time in that area recently. He also writes about the area where he lives.

We vacationed in Gulf Shores last year. Our high school football region changed last year most of our region opponents are now located in the Mobile area so we have traveled to the area often over the past couple of years to watch our son and the Wildcats play football. Two of the areas mentioned in this book, Fairhope and Baldwin County, are two of our region opponents.

If you have never read anything by Andy Andrews you should. You may become a fan of his work like me or you may not but if you don’t pick up one of his books and give it a try you will never know. I believe you will be glad you did if you do. I started with The Traveler’s Gift, then The Final Summit, then The Noticer, and now The Noticer Returns.

Now to some quotes and thoughts from The Noticer Returns. Quotes will be italicized in blue.

“The old man could make me laugh, and he did so quite often; but mostly, he made me think. Not necessarily about a certain thing . . . He made me think in ways I had never considered. Jones had a knack for turning a situation or a deep-seated belief upside down or sideways in such a manner that it became perfectly clear and made total sense. ” 

The old man is Jones and he will make you think or remind you of something deep down you already knew but just haven’t thought of lately or how it might relate to your current situation.

Jones defined himself as an Inclinational Archaeologist.

When she asked what that was, he said he specialized in “the excavation of thoughts by which living subjects were inclined to do great things.” She had no clue what he meant, of course, but I did. Jones’s conversations were designed to reveal a pattern of decisions that eventually unearthed one’s very thinking.

Jesus taught by asking questions and telling stories. Jones does too.

Skipping back to the prologue, the author makes the statement below that Jones helps the characters in the book to learn by the questions and stories he tells.

Through the years and many hard lessons, I have found that no matter how long it takes or how desperately a person battles or denies, the truth always—always—makes itself known.

I am not going to try to re-tell the stories included in the book. I believe that is best to be read and discovered as you go which is what I am still doing myself. I do recommend you get this book and enjoy the stories and principles shared. Some may be new to you but even if not, we all need to be reminded from time to time of truths we have learned in the past.

The best way I can describe the style of Andy Andrews is he uses his storytelling talent, which reminds me of my favorite storyteller, Walt Disney, to remind or teach basic life principles that can benefit anyone who endeavors to read and learn them, which reminds me of Zig Ziglar, another of my favorites.

For me that puts Andy Andrews in good company. I believe if you choose to pick up a copy of The Noticer Returns you will be intrigued, entertained, will learn something too. That is kind of what I look for in a book. I am finding it and am looking forward to learning more in the second half of this one.

You will likely have a new perspective too. As the subtitle of the book says,

If you would like to see the official book trailer click here.

Postscript: Since this blog post was published I did finish reading the book and I did love the second half just as much as the first, as I expected.

Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar on the left and subscribe. This is the only way to ensure you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is published.

 

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Opportunity

Opportunity – what does that word mean to you? To me it carries a positive connotation or meaning.

I could have an opportunity to meet someone or someone famous.

I could have an exciting job or career opportunity.

Tonight I will have the opportunity to watch my son play football again.

I have had the opportunity to talk to all three of my daughters this week.

I have the opportunity and good fortune to be married to and share my life with the most unselfish, giving, loving woman I have ever known, the best mother those aforementioned children could have asked for, and my best friend.

I am taking advantage of the opportunity of writing this blog post right now. Whether anyone reads it and comments on it is really irrelevant. This is my opportunity to practice my writing. I do hope that views, reads, comments and shares are by-products or results of some of these posts but that is not the reason I write.

In this country we still have the opportunity to worship as we see fit. Some would say they have the opportunity to not worship at all but I doubt that is true. If you are not worshiping God you are worshiping something. Look at how you spend your time and your money if you are confused. That is what you are worshiping.

I “have to” or I “get to”

A principal I learned from Zig Ziglar is sort of related to this word in that how you look at things or your perspective. Remember I do claim mine is a little peculiar.

You might have a parent or loved one you are caring for now and you say I have to go do such and such for my father, mother, son, daughter, wife, husband, friend – you choose. However, if you can make yourself look into the future when that person is no longer here or needs your help, you will long for those days. So if you look at it from that perspective you would begin to say I get to go and do such and such for whomever.

It is true that you often never realize what you have until it is gone. These are opportunities you never get back or a chance for a do-over so make the best of them.

Disclaimer – Constitutional Conservative 

I do pay attention to current events and do have an opinion that is based on my beliefs which are best described as constitutional conservative. However, as best as I can the following comments are unbiased and just factual common sense.

Why I chose to write about this word today

I had the news on the other day on Tuesday I believe and President Obama was in the Rose Garden at the White House talking about his Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. They are the same thing.

He used the word opportunity when talking about this health care act saying that it gives people who were previously not able to get health insurance the “opportunity” to go online and select a health care plan that is affordable for them. I am just focusing here on one word used – opportunity.

I believe it is being mis-used and is misleading in this context. As is often the case in politics only part of the story is told to show whatever that politician is promoting in its best light. Often, what is intentionally left out is never explained or heard by most.

As I mentioned above opportunity is something positive that one chooses of their own free will today within the laws of the land. The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land but the opportunity the President spoke of is more of a threat than an opportunity. Let me explain.

Opportunity or Threat?

You see, what he failed to mention is the flip side of this “opportunity.” If you are one of those who have made a decision that you do not want or need health insurance you are free to make that choice. However, there will be a check box on your IRS Tax forms next year where you will have to check Yes I have insurance or No I don’t. If you indicate you do not have health insurance the IRS will add a penalty to your tax return that you will be required to pay. That penalty will start small but will increase every year and could be up to 1% of your income.

So in reality this “opportunity” is the American people being forced to either buy health insurance or pay an IRS tax penalty. When you look at it as it really is it does look a little different, doesn’t it? It doesn’t sound like an opportunity at all to me.

Webster defines opportunity as “a favorable juncture of circumstances.”

The Affordable Care Act or

Opportunity_01

 

I like Webster’s version better. What about you?

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 10/4/2013

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Carried by Angels

Carried by AngelsWhen I decided to read Carried by Angels by Phillip Hatfield I was not sure exactly what to expect. After finishing the book I no longer have to wonder.

A lot in common with the author

I knew he worked for the Ziglar Corporation and that is an endorsement that carries a lot of weight with me. Zig Ziglar has had a positive effect on my life since I first saw him speak on November 12, 1991 in Little Rock, Arkansas. He encouraged and continues to encourage me, as he does millions of others, even after his death last year.

I knew he had a motorcycle accident which resulted in his leg being amputated. Two of my daughters were hit head on by a drunk driver 8 years ago so I thought I could identify with the accident part of his story. If you are interested in that story you can read more at Unlike Any Other.

I knew he was a Christian. I am a Christian so I knew I could identify with that.

I knew he was a real person in that I had heard him speak on the radio and via webinars. I am real person too.

Another book about angels?

So there were several things I knew I could identify with and were all indicators I would enjoy and learn something from this book and Phillip’s journey so far. However, even knowing all that, I was still not sure what to expect – another book about angels? I wondered what his take on angels would be and would it agree with or be at odds with mine?

No longer have to wonder

As mentioned earlier, before reading Carried by Angels I wondered. Since I have now finished the book I no longer have to wonder. I know I was moved by the story, inspired by his attitude, and challenged by the examples of service from Phillip and all those around him, his angels, throughout his life and during his recovery from his accident. I suspect most who read the book will experience similar enjoyment and benefits.

The description of his accident, which became his greatest tragedy and his greatest blessing will draw you in and have you wanting to learn more about what led to this event. The story of the black radio preacher will make you laugh. There is also murder, gambling, business, and dating in this book so there is something there for most anyone.

What I don’t know and what I do

I don’t believe you have to have all of the markers I had in common with Phillip to enjoy, learn, laugh, and cry while reading this book.

I do know if you do get a copy and read it, and do share just one commonality, you are a real person too, you will benefit from having done so. I am glad he heeded Zig’s encouragement and wrote the book.

Get your copy of Carried by Angels today. It might just change your life.

Until next time…

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Awesome!

That word is often used to describe everything from your most recent meal to the creator of the universe. That covers a lot of ground.

I have had issues with using that word for some time ever since hearing the song “Awesome God” written and released first by Rich Mullins and then covered or released by every other contemporary Christian artist on the planet, or at least it seemed that way.

Here is the issue as I viewed it. If “Our God is an awesome God” as the song states, then anything or any other person described with the word awesome I was now comparing to God. It made sense to me and I even taught, or tried to teach, my children the same thing, to be judicious in the use of the word awesome.

I do think the word is over-used which negates its effectiveness as an adjective that really means anything. If everything is awesome then awesome becomes average and the word does not really maintain its original meaning.

I was really giving the word awesome too much weight or credit. When you really think about it there is no word we, as humans, can create or use that will adequately describe God. To think that we can come up with such a word is giving ourselves way too much credit.

God is God. (period)

What has caused me to rethink my legalistic view and use of awesome is a book I just finished reading. The book is Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that MattersOn the cover of this book is a toggle switch with Average on one side and awesome on the other. You can see this in the image below, the sidebar or at the link above.

START Cover

How did I get to read a book before it was released?

A little background is necessary here to catch you up on how I came to have the privilege of reading this book as it is not due to be released until Monday.

I have been a Jon Acuff fan since listening to his audio book Stuff Christians Like on a road trip to Tuscaloosa a couple of years ago. I was in tears due to laughing so much. Since then I have also listened to the audio version of Quitter. My wife and daughter went to the inaugural Quitter Conference in Nashville and I think that did play a part in my daughter changing jobs and getting her dream job at Walt Disney World.

I followed Jon on twitterFacebook and his blog and have seen his stature as an author, speaker, and a genuine “good guy” continue to rise. Due to those connections I was asked to join the START Book Launch Team. After contemplating that request for about half a second I responded and was selected to be a member of this team. That is how I was given the opportunity to read this book before the official release date and I am grateful for that opportunity. It has allowed me to connect with many other Jon Acuff fans and bloggers similar to me.

Everybody has them

You will learn or be reminded that fear and doubt are common hurdles that everyone faces when they decide to start working on their dream. Jon describes how they work together to foil your plans and what you can do to jump those hurdles or just knock them down and walk over them. In his words he exhorts you to “punch fear in the face.”

He uses his own brand of humor, which, apparently is a lot like mine because I really enjoy it. Where else will you read about wiffleball CSI, Ferretopia, corncob pipe whittling, and being a presentist? I am confident the only place you will find these mentioned is in START. Those words have no suggestions in my spell checker either.

It IS up to YOU

Jon’s premise that he supports very well is that there are five stages every awesome life goes through but the timing of when one goes through these stages has changed and no longer need to be defined by one’s age. The timing is defined by you and the choices you make.  These stages are learning, editing, mastering, harvesting, and guiding. You will learn what these stages include and how to determine exactly what stage you are in now and what you need to do in order to move to the next stage for you.

“The greatest way to ensure you fail at something new is to attempt to be an expert at it on day one.”

That statement has encouraged me in writing this blog. I know it is a long way from being awesome, but I started this blog in order to practice and improve my writing skills and the fact that I am continuing is awesome for me.

Help others

So, I have lightened up on myself and my legalistic view of awesome and have a new perspective on what that word means to me. If you are reading this and would like to  explore finding your own awesome and make an intentional change from the average path you are on, if that applies to you, then make a very small investment in your future that just might help set you on your own path to awesome.

If this does help even one person then I have followed another of the principles of START that says,

“If you want help for your dream, start by helping someone else with their dream. If you want support for your hope, start by giving support to someone else’s hope. If you want encouragement as you work on your calling, start by encouraging other people. Giving support is often the best way to get it.”

I will be giving you help, support, and encouragement as well as Jon with the sale of one more book.

Bold, or maybe not so bold prediction

That last principle reminds me of one I learned from Zig Ziglar which says, “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” I mention that here because I think Jon Acuff is worthy of being mentioned as being in the same mold as Zig Ziglar. I know there will never be another Zig Ziglar but Jon reminds me of Zig in many different ways such as his writing, sense of humor, and character. I believe he is on course to helping many many people in his career with his books and speaking just as Zig did. In fact I expect that to happen so remember you heard it here first.

I urge you to begin your journey to awesome today. Get START to help you punch fear in the face and flip that switch from average to awesome.

In case I didn’t make it clear above let me state it plainly here, I think START is awesome!

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 04/21/2013