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    Taking the Leap!

     

    I’ve always said that if I’m going to do something in front of other people I’m going to do it with excellence or I’m not going to do it at all. I had no idea when I walked into our church’s student center that I was going to throw that rule out the window. Little did I know that I was walking into a karaoke ambush! Students and parents alike were singing the important musical compositions of my generation- “Don’t Go Breakin’ my Heart,” “We are the Champions,” and “Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting” and it was an amazingly fun experience. That is- until the entire room began to chant my name. Every bone in my body wanted to bolt but when a pastor hears church members chant his name, he shall not leave. 

    Trust me. It’s in Leviticus. I think.

    So I bid adieu to my pride, dignity and reputation as I nervously grabbed the mic- the instrument of degradation for that day. The chosen lyrics flashed on the big screen. The tune: “Achy Breaky Heart.” The DJ went for the mother-load of all tacky country songs.  The other concerning aspect of this moment was the number of video phones that seemed to pop up like petunias on a spring day. I said to myself:  OK. Go big. If you’re going to lose all dignity, lose it with great enthusiasm.  And yes, the video is now somewhere on facebook and YouTube.  It’s not quite as viral as the Star Wars Kid but just as outrageously silly.

    That night of Karaoke craziness underscores one of my chief goals in life. Every month do something that scars the stuffing out of you. It will remind you that you have a pulse. Whenever we stop doing new things we stop living life the way God intended it to be lived. Life is a series of opportunities to try new stuff. Most people live lives of relentless repetition, concerning themselves with comfort rather than calling. Helen Keller said it like this: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.”

    So take the leap!

    This month, my new thing is a little more important than crazy crooning in the youth room. I’ve started teaching “The Purpose Driven Life” at the county jail. This isn’t something that I have always wanted to do but it began as a whisper and after a few weeks the volume grew until I couldn’t ignore it.  I’d be a fool not to obey. Once again I approached a new challenge with fear, trembling, a stack of books and a box of donuts. All I can say about the experience is WOW! Whoever said that I would find God at work in prison? Oh, yeah, Jesus did.

    The list of new things you could try is endlessly overflowing with big and small blessings. Check out the sidebar for a few examples of things you might want to try. The important thing is to give new experience a fighting chance. It might just extend your time here on Earth, because newness is a sign of life.  Most brain researchers and sociologists believe that trying new things ultimately leads to brain health and longevity.

     

    As you try new things don’t focus on sudden success.  Just try it. Inventers would attest that innovation is borne from a long series of failures. If you fail at what you try, great! You are on your way, my friend.

    Taking the leap into new things could breathe life back into your marriage. What new things are you experiencing in your marriage?

    • ·       A new way to talk to each other?
    • ·       A new experience as a family?
    • ·       A trip to a new location?
    • ·       A new way to communicate how much you love your spouse?


    These things will affair proof your marriage, because taking the leap is not only spiritual. In marriage, it’s sexy!

    God wants us all to experience new things. He’s all about new things! In Isaiah, He says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:22) Jeremiah underscores this as he says, “The Lord will create a new thing on Earth.” (Jeremiah 31:22)  There’s something about newness that stirs God’s heart. Sometimes a new experience revitalizes our heart for life. Even an achy breaky one!

     

    TAKE THE LEAP!  (Side Bar)

    Taking the leap is a scary idea.
    Whether from Pennsylvania or far off Tanzania
    from safety to danger is as arduous trip
    and leaps in your life might seem like a slip!
    There are high cliffs and blizzards!
    There’s deserts and plains!
    There’s baboons and lizards
    and exciting campaigns!
    When you leap to new things
    like a mission or group
    you suddenly see the divine alley-oop!
    It’s a test of your faith it a chutzpah of love
    It’s danger worth knowing.
    It’s grace from above.
    So listen to whispers and banish your fright.
    Then man your position
    Get ready for flight!
    Take the leap,
    Soar into new,
    Splash into all.
    God is waiting for you.

     

    Have you tried… (Side Bar 2)

    sky-diving,

    learning at an auto mechanics school
    picking up the guitar
    learning sign language
    being a mentor
    taking ballroom dancing with your spouse
    going on a family scavenger hunt
    learning to paint
    taking a swing at writing a novel
    eating the food of an obscure culture
    writing an affirming anonymous note to a friend
    going on a weekend data fast.
    tithing!!!
    serving outside your comfort zone.
    taking Yoga
    connecting with someone a world away
    Creating  a website or blog to tell your story
    Sharing your faith with your neighbor
    getting scuba certified
    visiting a third world country on your vacation time
    going vegetarian for a week
    writing the president
    learning a skill that your spouse does around the house