If you ever think about deep-sea fishing, head for Marco Island, FL. It’s a direct flight on Airtran from Indy to Ft. Myers, FL, It will take about an hour to drive to Marco Island. There are plenty of places to stay. In our case, a family friend offered their rental home, complete with swimming pool.
Check out Enterprise Charters and head out into the deep with Captain Rich. He’s a pretty colorful guy who has the best boat on the island and knows where the fish are. Make sure you check out his photo gallery.
On our first day out we set a boat record. My brother-in-law Rolly hooked a Goliath Grouper (Jewfish) that was 7.5 feet long and 6 feet in girth. Captain Rich estimated that it weighed over 400 pounds. It took nearly 45 minutes to get into the boat.
Apparently we’re all going to be in the Marco Island newspaper this week. Here's a few more photos. Heartfelt thanks to my father-in-law, David Cawston for making this trip possible!
Last week I took my son deep-sea fishing in Florida, off Marco Island. It’s something I’d been promising for a long time. You see, he’s just turned 14 and will enter Hamilton Southeastern High School this Fall. Nick is a wonderful son, turning into a strapping young man. We have a great relationship already. These next few months of extended time together will be all about building shared memories … the relational glue for the high school years.
I learned this from my dad who took me on the fishing trip of a lifetime when I was 13. Just me and him. Looking back, I see how critical the memories we created on that trip were foundational for our relationship during my teenage years. It was a special time, something I will always look back on with great fondness.
On the flight home, we talked about everything. No iPods, no magazines or books. No PSP or laptop. Just two hours or solid conversation. As we landed, Nick said, “Dad, we should hang out together more often. This is great that we can talk like this.”
Imagine the relational foundation that’s going to be in place to build on during the next 4 years. It’s worth everything to me.
Philippians 4:13 (NCV)
“I have learned the secret of being happy at any time in everything that happens, I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength."
Romans 8:28 (NLT)
“God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purposes.”
Psalm 125:1 (LB)
“Those who trust in the Lord are steady as Mount Zion, unmoved by any circumstance.”
Isaiah 26:3 (NCV) “You, Lord, give true peace to those who depend on you., to those who keep their eyes fixed upon you.”
Psalm 112:6-7 (LB)
“Such a person will not be overthrown by evil circumstances. God’s constant care of him will make a deep impression on all who see it. He does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is settled in his mind that God will take care of him.”
Psalm 46:2 (NCV)
“God is our protection and our strength. He always helps in times of trouble. So we will not be afraid even if the earth shakes, or the mountains fall into the sea.”
2 Corinthians 1:10 (LB)
“We were really crushed and overwhelmed, and feared we would never live through it… we saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us… And he did help us and saved us… and we expect him to do it again and again.”
I've not steped on a scale since January 2, 2007. Since my conditioning specialist was concentrating on muscular development, he didn't want me to weigh myself. I've learned that weight is only one factor for measuring improvement. So we've been concentrating on things like strength, endurance, tone, flexibility, coordination ... i'm creating a new lifestyle.
No special secrets. Just watching intake and interval training.
So I'm not supposed to care, but a lifetime of old thinking dies hard. I thought, "What can it hurt?" I stepped on the scale and discovered, (drumroll, please) ...
I've lost 37 pounds since January.
Thank you, Steve and Devin!
I spent the evening last night with a wonderful friend and mentor Tom Philippe, Sr. The man "drips wisdom" after being in ministry for over 50 years.
I love being around him. He loves me and embraces my vision. He knows just what to say and he strengthens me. He stretches my thinking. I always come away with fresh eyes and new ideas. I always expect to be challenged and changed by his questions and insights. He inspires me to be better.
My ego is checked. I'm humbled. I'm aware of God doing something bigger in me than I can imagine.
1 Corinthians 2:9-13 (The Message)
"No one's ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it— What God has arranged for those who love him.” But you've seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you. The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you're thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he's thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don't have to rely on the world's guesses and opinions. We didn't learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we're passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way."
Seth Godin has a new book out called The Dip. The Dip is a book about quitting.
The old saying is wrong ... "winners do quit, and quitters do win."
Every new project (or job, or hobby, or company, or church) starts out exciting and fun. Then it gets harder and less fun, until it hits a low point-really hard, and not much fun at all.
Seth says, "There will come a point in your pursuit of your vision where you find yourself asking if the goal is even worth the hassle. Maybe you're in a "Dip"-a temporary setback that will get better if you keep pushing. But maybe it's really a Cul-de-Sac, which will never get better, no matter how hard you try. What really sets superstars apart from everyone else is the ability to escape dead ends quickly, while staying focused and motivated when it really counts." Read more here.
In a recent post on The Dip blog, Seth writes, "Howard Schultz took a really good (but by no means unique) coffee shop called Starbucks and pushed it through a Dip that got it to 100 stores. That Dip eludes almost every small businessperson. It's too scary. The end of the tunnel is just a little bit too far away, a little too intimidating. So most people don't try."
I've experienced The Dip personally in the church I am leading.
My church-planting coach, Gary Rohrmayer, (who is one of the most sought-after church planting coaches) talked to me about this early on in our relationship. Of course this book wasn't out yet but the principles are some he's been teaching for a while. Gary has taught as one of the 5 Laws of Spiritual Leadership, the Law of Responsibility: "Leaders don’t wait for others to take action. If God has given them direction to accomplish a task; they proactively take steps to see that it is done."
I believe every church planter needs a coach to get through The Dip.
What do you think it takes to please God?
I think I say one thing, and "feel" another.
"Jesus loves me, this I know," ... I can't remember not knowing that song. Yet strangely I find that my default mental position is to try and get a withholding God to be benevolent towards me. Somehow, this is how I got wired: God is many things, but not lavish, not generous. God is very ready to harshly punish me for my mistakes. He is VERY hard to please. He's tempermental.
Consequently, to this day I have a very hard time with the idea of NOT having to please God. It sounds almost heretical. "Of course you have to please God!"
What if that's not true? What if that's a lie you're believing?
I know the default lie that shaped my life was, "What do I have to do to get you to like me?" I applied that to my relationship with God too. What would it take for God to be proud of me? What would it take to get his approval? His blessing? His "atta-boy"?
I know that I am deeply wired to do/not do certain things to receive the favor of God. So I used work harder to be perfect, give more, serve more, pray more ... and it never felt like it was enough. Conversely, I used to feel I was going to be slammed for my sins and mistakes.
Maybe it was the constant stream of messages I heard in church growing up: "Are you really ready should Jesus come back tonight! Get your heart right! Recommit! Be pure! Be holy! Stop it! Pray more. Read the Bible more. Really, really mean it this time!" That was "the Gospel?"
I clearly remember a preacher one time talking about how he left a worship service full of the presence of God, and entered a room with the TV on, blaring some coarse humor. He said, "Instantly the presence of God left me. I had offended the Holy Spirit."
That's all it takes for God to leave me? Wow. Better try harder to please God!
Some amazing freedom and joy came into my life when I saw this a huge lie I was believing. I didn't have to struggle to please God. I didn't have to work hard to make him happy. Nothing I did or did not do was going to cause him to love me any more or less. One sentence opened my eyes:
2 Tim. 2:13
"If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for he cannot deny His own nature."
He will remain with me. He will never leave me. God getting mad at me because I am a sinner would be like getting mad at the sun because it's hot. He knows what I'm like and he loves me anyway.
I chose to believe He loves me.
When I started believing that, my life changed. I'm not all that I should be yet. The wheels still want to go into the old ruts. I have to chose to think differently, but real joy comes to my heart every time I believe the truth. It sets me free.
Rather than "recommitting" your life to God and the implications of trying to keep that commitment you cannot keep, I have found freedom in "surrender." It's a prayer that goes something like this ...
“Father, apart from You, I'm nothing. If You leave me to myself, I will repeat the past. I surrender to you and ask you to keep me from falling, and mend what is broken. Thank you ... for loving me, just as I am."
What would God need to heal in your life in order to accept these next statements as true?
2 Tim. 1:9 (NLT)
It is God who saved us and chose us to live a holy life. He did this not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan long before the world began—to show his love and kindness to us through Christ Jesus.
Philip. 3:12-14; Jude 1:24
I don't have it all together. I am still not all I should be. I'm not an expert. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. So I'm not looking back with regret or shame. I'm focused on my future. I've got my eyes on the end of the race, to receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven. I give the glory to God, who is able to keep me from stumbling, and who will bring me into his glorious presence innocent of sin and with great joy.
Philip. 2:14-15 (NIV)
"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe ..."
Richard Foster made this really practical and personally challenging in his classic book, Celebration of Discipline: “Starting today, go 24 hours without saying anything negative, anything dishonest. No complaining, no whining, no gossip, no excuses, no minimization, no rationalization, no denial, no defensiveness, no blaming. Don’t pass judgment. This includes body language: no eye rolling, no sighs of exasperation, no cold shoulders, no clucking of the tongue. For 24 hours, assume the world can exist without you correcting everybody and managing the flow of information.”
John 15:4-5 (NASB-U)
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."
Lord Jesus, will I see You today? Remind me of Your faithful presence. I can do nothing without You. But I can do all things through you, who gives me strength. Amen.