Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Video Message To Bullies: It Gets Worse

I am proud to say that I know Matt McKeown. Matt, his brothers and father have been a big part of repainting my Christian journey. Matt posted this brief video message on my Facebook wall. Please share this with others.

"Don't Take Anything Personally" (repost)

I have a hot and cold friend. One minute he can't wait to hang out with me. Sends me emails. Calls me. Then all of a sudden. No phone calls. No emails. No lunch invitations. I suddenly go from Rock Star to the Ugly Girl at The Dance. I literally rack my brain trying to figure out what I did or didn't do. I take what he does or doesn't do personally. I feel like such a fraud as I write this post. I take everything personally.

Have you heard about "The Four Agreements"? One of the 4 agreements is "Don't Take Anything Personally". Below I posted The Four Agreements along with scriptures and quotes. I pray that they are helpful to you. I need to read these at least once a day.

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Matthew 5:37 (The Message)
"And don't say anything you don't mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, 'I'll pray for you,' and never doing it, or saying, 'God be with you,' and not meaning it. You don't make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say 'yes' and 'no.' When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.

“Words should be used as tools of communication and not as a substitute for action”

2. Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

Acts 7:59-60 (New International Version)
While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.

Matthew 18:21-22 (New International Version)
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times

Luke 23:34 (New International Version)
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."[a] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

QTIP: stands for Quit Taking It Personally.

3. Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.


Mark 2:15-17 (New International Version)
While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Luke 10:25-28 (The Message)
Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. "Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?" He answered, "What's written in God's Law? How do you interpret it?" He said, "That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself." "Good answer!" said Jesus. "Do it and you'll live."

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.”

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

2 Timothy 2:15 (New International Version)
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth

Colossians 3:23 (The Message)
Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn't cover up bad work.

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” Abe Lincoln

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Back of Ray's Head

I love my friend and pastor Ray Kelley. Ray, his wife Susan and the Men of Faith ministry are on their second trip to Haiti since the devastating earthquake. I love how Ray and Susan do mission trips to Haiti. They don't want any plan except God's plan. They don't go to Haiti to fix buildings or dig wells. Ray, Susan and company go to Haiti to serve up love in extremely large doses and then share the rocking good news of Jesus Christ.

In the photo above you'll see the back of Ray's head. I'm not in Haiti but I know Ray. It might be the back of his head but I know that he is loving someone. It might be the back of Ray's head but I know that he is not judging anyone. It might be the back of his head but I know that Ray is sharing hope and encouragement with someone. It's the back of Ray's head but I know that he is making someone laugh or smile. If this person is sick Ray is praying for healing. If this person is hungry Ray is giving them something to eat. I can only see the back of Ray's head but I know that he is showing someone Jesus.

On Facebook, Ray's wife Susan said that things hadn't changed much since their last visit. I disagree with her. I guarantee that each time Ray, Susan and the Men of Faith leave Haiti minds, hearts and lives are changed forever.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bullying Sucks

Andrew Marin wrote a commentary at Don't miss Andrew's words from this commentary:

"Each of the four teenagers who committed suicide in the last few months reached out at least once for help after being bullied - to no avail. News sources have reported that, whether to their parents, school administration or friends, none of these requests were taken as seriously as they should have been.

This one article and everyday people like you or me are not going to change the system. Fine. Then let the talking heads and gatekeepers keep doing the one thing they know how to do - politic. Meanwhile, it is up to you and me to start making a difference within this broken system and world we have been given. I want you, as I am, to go to your local middle school, high school, youth group, gay-straight alliance (GSA) or street corner, and get this message out:

Bullying needs to stop. We have a responsibility as children of God to strongly communicate a message that bullying, making fun of, or not including "the other" - especially in the case of sexual orientation - is wrong, unbiblical and it will not be tolerated. There is no room for such destructive patterns to occur under our watch. It is our time to set an example of who we are and what we believe. Our faith compels us to run towards the things that everyone else is running from."

Monday, October 11, 2010

One night. Two homeless men.

Saturday night while I was on Beach Street two of my homeless friends crossed my path. One was Jake. The other Kevin.

Kevin was walking with his bike. He saw me and said, "Mike, I sure miss you. It's been awhile. I just need four dollars and I'll be able to spend the night at the Sally (on the streets "Sally" means Salvation Army). Can you help me with a couple of bucks?" I learned from my friend Ray Kelley to never give the homeless money. I made another offer. "Kevin, how about if you put your bike in my truck, I'll drive you to the Sally and pay for your room?" Kevin seemed unhappy with me and stormed away.

After a few minutes I jumped in my truck and spotted Jake. Jake was sitting on a bench reading a book. I pulled over, parked the truck and walked towards Jake. I knew it was Jake by the gleam in his eye. But I didn't recognize the rest of his body. Cancer had ravaged his body. He was very skinny. I walked towards Jake and we hugged. I spent a few moments with Jake and listened to what he had to say. Before I left I asked Jake a question, "Do you need anything to eat?" Jake said, "I'd sure like a sandwich. I love those Burger King double stacks." I gave Jake another hug and drove off to get him a hamburger.

I came back to Beach street with two hamburgers. Jake was still sitting on the bench. He smiled when he saw the bag of burgers. He gladly took them out of my hand. "Jake, where will you be sleeping tonight?" I said. Jake said, "Somewhere, I'm not sure yet. Thanks for the burgers." I hugged Jake and told him I loved him. He hugged me real hard. I love hugging my homeless friends.

I found out where I can find Jake so I can check in on him. He needs a winter coat and a new tire for his bike.

What should you do if a homeless person crosses your path? The brief video below will help you.

5 Ways To Help from Los Angeles Mission on Vimeo.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Stop Bitching (Re-Post)

I am a whiner, complainer and grumbler. I whine, complain and grumble way too much.

I want more _____ . I want a bigger _______ . I want a smaller _______ . I want my friends to_________ .

I've got so many things to be thankful for. Instead I complain, whine and complain.

"Do everything without complaining....."----Philippians 2:14

Did you notice the word "everything"? The Word of God says that we should do everything without complaining.

Helen Keller was deaf-blind and mute. She could have spent tons of time complaining. Check out her quote below:

"Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content." ---Helen Keller

I am going to ask myself the following question: "Mike, are you deaf-blind and mute? Then stop Bitching!"

Check out this extremely rare video of Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan. Listen to the last thing that Helen says in the clip. It will knock you out.