Leaving the Circus Well

Maybe you’ve heard this saying, “Not my circus. Not my monkeys.” If not, you probably get the meaning. Basically, I know what and where my circus is, and that, right there, isn’t part of it.

The circus reference could apply to many areas of life: business, family, neighborhood, church, relationships. Some of these we choose to join, and some we don’t get that choice. But we all get the same choice about how long we stay in the circus.

What is interesting to watch is how people react after they’ve chosen to leave a certain circus of life. Some leave quite well; others seem to not really understand what they actually chose when they decided to leave the circus. Reality takes time to set in, and unfortunately, for some, it never does. These thoughts are for those who haven’t left well, who are struggling with their new circus.

When you choose to leave a circus…

  • …accept that the next circus is going to have monkeys also.
  • …you no longer get the popcorn and cotton candy from that circus.
  • …the acts of your new circus aren’t interested in how things ran in your last circus.
  • …over time, the acts of the old circus won’t call to see how you’re doing…and they don’t owe you that unless you actually mutually committed to it.
  • …you have to own your choice. Odds are, you made it, so own it.
  • …respect your old ringmaster’s commitment to the acts still with him. You’re not his monkey any more.
  • …embrace your new ringmaster and the other acts, monkeys and all.

Choose wisely. When it’s time to leave, leave. And leave well.

Fruity Fridays: External Bridge to Internal Goodness

(A series about the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5)

post by Eric Vorhies

You ever hear the phrase, “Fake it till you make it”? I became aware of the power of this in high school. Everyone in class had to do a speech of some sort multiple times throughout the year. I was a high schooler. I didn’t know what I was doing. Like most, I was nervous to talk in front of people. I was consumed with what they must be thinking while I was speaking. I was consumed with fear.

But after a couple of speeches, I realized that those people listening were probably thinking similar things as I was when they were giving speeches. For instance, “Did I finish that Spanish homework?” or “I wonder what’s for lunch today?” That’s when I decided I could just fake my confidence in public speaking until I actually figured it out.

Let’s be clear, I haven’t figured it out, but I can talk to a large group of people with way more confidence then I should. The reason why I say this is because of how I perceive Kindness and Goodness relating to each other. To me, kindness is this external interaction that bridges people together. Goodness, in my opinion, is an internal feeling that motivates kindness.

I hope you see where this is going.

I don’t always have goodness inside of me toward people or situations. I can look at a situation and think, “Well, I could have done better.” Or if i am trying to figure out what other people are thinking about me…I internalize all the excuses of why things played out the way it did or why they shouldn’t be commenting on it. It is far too easy to train ourselves to react selfishly or out of fear. That’s why we think bad things about people or assume the worst. But it’s more empowering to learn to feel goodness instead.

Let’s be honest though, feelings are complex, and we can’t just change our feelings. I mean, we don’t have total control over them…They CAN BE conditioned though. So, this is where we fake it till we make it, and we do that through acts of kindness.

  • Do you want to have goodness in your heart toward someone? Stop talking badly about them.
  • Find yourself always judging people for the way they do things? Take time to tell them something you think they are doing really well (do not follow it up with what they could do better…no compliment sandwiches)
  • Have anger toward someone for what they said? Buy them a cup of coffee and have a conversation. 

We can’t just change the way we feel about something or someone, but we can choose to lead with kindness in those instances. And it is amazing how doing so will soften our hearts. Then, over time, the external bridge of kindness will lead to internal goodness. You won’t have it all figured out, but you will be able to judge a situation more honestly and with more understanding and forgiveness than most.

We are not good, but God leads us to goodness. Share some of it today.

Whether You Want That Hat or Not

Hats. We all have them. Some of them we like and chose, and some we wish we didn’t have and didn’t choose. Of the latter, we may even go so far as to try to not let anyone know we have them or try to walk away from them.

To be clear, I’m not talking about hats you wear; I’m talking about skills and abilities you were born with or have learned; you could also look at the various positions you have in life (parent, child, worker, volunteer) in this light.

Whatever these skills or positions are, there is one truth that should keep us on the right path of what to do with them: these were directly given or allowed by God. 

  • That talent with numbers. Given by God.
  • That choice to marry. Allowed by God.
  • That ability to teach. Given by God.
  • That choice to join the military. Allowed by God.

Sometimes we get off the right path with these skills and positions. We may get off the right path because we don’t know what to do with them, decide to run from them, or choose to ignore or hide them. We may get to the place where we just wish we didn’t have them.

The reality is we should stand in them whether we want them or not. We should find God’s purpose in them, whether we want that hat or not. Over the last few decades, there’s one thing I’ve learned about hats: the best thing to do with a hat you don’t want is to share it. Let God show you the purpose of that hat. You might be surprised, maybe even decide you want it after all.

Fruity Fridays: The Only Goodness in Us

(A series about the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5)

post by Jeremy Nixon

Webster’s Dictionary defines goodness as the state or quality of being good; moral excellence, virtue; generosity, strength or the best part of anything. I particularly like “the best part of anything.” When talking about goodness you have to understand the opposite: evil. I think we all know what evil is, and it’s not the Descendants of Disney! However, my girls love that show, and as a “good” dad I oblige. Evil is everything derived from Satan, badness. The very thing that makes you happy (God) is good, and the thing that makes us imperfect…our flesh.

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with my flesh and doing the right things at time because of my fleshly cravings. I know it’s hard to believe that I’m not a good person all the time…just ask John; he’ll tell you the truth. We all know that our struggle with sin is real (Romans 3:23). Paul writes in his letter to the Romans in 7:18-20 “for I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but the sin that dwells within me.”

Paul’s struggle with sin was real, so real that he cried out for rescue! Our lives, if we are honest, are really no different than Paul’s. I know as having been a pastor that everyone looks to leadership in the church and seems to think that they are perfect; that if we could just be like them and have it all together then we’d be happy and good. I’m here to tell you that we don’t have it all together, and we are all not GOOD on our own. We struggle with sin just like you, maybe different or maybe the same. Pastors extort goodness and we see all the good that they do and so we see them as goodness. As a member of the body of Christ, we are urged to walk by the Spirit and one of the fruits of the Spirit is goodness.

Since we belong to Christ we are to strive to be good, not for salvation but because of Christ’s love in laying down his life for us and saving us. Because of God’s great sacrifice our response is the fruits. As a Christian that doesn’t work in the church, I find it harder to display the fruits, but it’s more rewarding when we are able to. To God be the glory because we can NOT do it without him. He is the only GOOD in me. This week our fruit is goodness, and I encourage you to demonstrate goodness to others. It’s encouraging knowing that Paul and others in the Bible struggled with their sin and being good…but the Lord delivered them. Our hope is in Christ and through him goodness can be displayed through us to reach others.

I get it wrong more than I get it right…but if you love God and love others like you love Him, I can promise goodness will prevail and the Lord will be glorified.

Be You

There’s only one you. Be you.

God created one you. Be you.

God knows you because he created you. Be you.

God knows you better than you know you. Be you.

God doesn’t need you to be like someone else. Be you.

God didn’t create you to be like someone else. Be you.

God created you exactly the way you are. Be you.

God created you exactly how he wanted you. Be you.

God loves you as you are. Be you.

God knows your flaws. Be you.

God wants to share life with you. Be you.

God will never reject you. Be you.

God wants the best for you. Be you.

God wants more for you than you can comprehend. Be you.

God watches your every move. Be you.

God celebrates your wins. Be you.

God mourns your losses. Be you.

God offers you freedom. Be you.

God has mercy for your mistakes. Be you.

God has grace for your oddities. Be you.

God will take you back. Be you.

God desires to give you your heart’s desires. Be you.

God enjoys the one and only you. Be you.

Easter Preparation

Thank you for leading us in the Lord’s Supper last night. One of the most precious times I’ve ever experienced it. I think there is something wrong in our hearts if we don’t get emotional every time we take it.

This text came to me this morning from a choir member in reference to our time together before last night’s Good Friday service. 

Yesterday was a day of solitude and remembrance at my house. Mostly reading, listening to Easter songs, and resting. The day prepared me for the night.

One of the songs on my Easter playlist is “O The Blood,” by Kari Jobe. It’s what we listened to in remembrance last night. You can follow this link to remember and to prepare your heart for tomorrow. 

O The Blood [feat. Kari Jobe] by Gateway Worship on Amazon Music

https://music.amazon.com/albums/B00FB34LGU?trackAsin=B00FB34MKA&ref=dm_sh_SA94ziMGUHXXiOWqj7RbsVJrp

The Drought is Over!

This will come as great news for my fellow employees and friends…the cheesecake drought is over!


First thing I had to do was check the cupboard. After throwing out the butter that expired in 2013 (I’m crazy, but not stupid), the drought recovery started by restocking.


The restocking allowed for the trying of a new recipe. This will make some readers happy and others envious. 

Note to the single people: When you’re the only living creature in your dwelling place, you can lick anything you want however you want.

The Oven is Now Open! Happy Easter to me and to those blessed with any leftovers!

80 and Counting!

Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love…Psalm 33:8, 18

I read these verses this morning, the day we celebrated our mother’s 80th birthday.

She stands in awe of God. She fears him. She hopes in his steadfast love.

His eye is on her.

Happy birthday, Grandma Lola!

All Airports Aren’t the Same 

I fly 3-5 times a year. I’m sitting in TPA right now. And here’s my observation: The suggestion to get to the airport at least an hour early doesn’t always apply.

If you have to return a car rental, are using long-term parking, are traveling with a large party, or have baggage to check, sure-give yourself enough time. That isn’t always the case. 

TPA has rarely presented a time challenge for me. Today, from walking in the door and exiting security, it took maybe 10 minutes. Yes, 10 minutes.

All Airports aren’t the same. Certainly all travelers aren’t either. Resist traveling hysteria. Know yourself and your airport. And remember, suggestions aren’t rules.

Happy flying!

“How Could You Not Be Happy For Them?”

It started yesterday when I got to the office. People who I’d never heard talk about the Cubs were suddenly all about them. It takes just one look into my office to know I root for the other team – the Cardinals. We (they) had fun with it, and we moved on.

Since I’ve been home the last 24 hours, I’ve been soaking in all the post-series bonanza. All the tweets and videos. Rewatching some of the game on mlbnetwork. And then taking in three hours of the parade coverage today. Yeah, you read that right. This Cardinals fan watched three hours of it. Never watched any parade for three hours. It was a wonderful way to spend a portion of a day off (no sarcasm).

I texted a friend, who somewhere in his fanhood deserted the Yankees (excellent move) and became a Cubs fan, to see if he was watching the parade coverage. He was working, and the answer was “no.” I had yet to text him since the game, so I told him I was happy for them – Cubs nation. Here was his reply:

I don’t know how you can’t be. Even if you are a Cards fan. At least for them to get one finally.

Four hours of thought later, here’s my answer. You could not be happy for them if…

  • …you believe the sports world revolves around “your” team
  • …you think people make just way too much on how championships impact a community
  • …you stink at celebrating
  • …you are challenged in the “rejoice with others” category of living
  • …you have little respect for other’s genuine feelings, even when you don’t share them

After taking in all the bonanza, with more to come, here’s why I am happy for them:

  • This victory was not about the team as much as it was about the people of Chicago
  • This franchise was not about themselves as much as they were about the people of Chicago
  • The team leaders love the game, love each other, and love the people of Chicago
  • The fans love the game, love their team, but more importantly love their families
  • All of Chicago seems united from the victory fostered by patience, suffering, and faith

Come Spring, I’ll still be a Cardinals fan. Like the Sox fan who lost a bet and had to don a Cubs jersey on TV, I don’t want to feel dirty. But today, I am happy for Cubs nation. How could I not be?