Angela Jane Thye SansoneHappy Life Anniversary, Angela Jane Thye Sansone

Awesome
Noble
Generous
Enduring
Loving
Adorable

Joyful
Amazing
Narnian
Enthusiastic

Truth-Teller
Hero
Youthful
Extravagant

Strong
Adventurous
Nice
Smiling
Organized
Nimble
Extraordinary

Mike Sansone and Angela SansoneMy closet is filled with blacks (slacks) and blues (shirts). Occasionally, I get a glance or a question about my color choices. I offer this explanation:

Wearing Black and Blue

I often wear a uniform of Blacks and Blues
Just an anecdote in a story full of Good News.

In this world, we will get hurt, maybe even bleed
But there’s more to this story found in the Bible I read.

Living in this world presenting its troubles and woe
In times of both better and worse, to the Rock I go.

For there I find His promises: faithful, true, and tight
Washing away blacks and blues, turning them to gold and white.

If you find you’re at a junction, not knowing what to do
Fix your thoughts and focus on Jesus: Faithful, Sufficient, Everlastingly loving you.

John 16:33

Faith is a Muscle

October 1, 2014 — 2 Comments

Cross at Fire Pit - Wind River RanchLast year, Angela and I attended a conference at Wind River Ranch in Estes Park, CO.

The flood stopped the conference short, but what a wonderful time to witness the power and presence of God – in the earth that moved and in the people that served. The testimonies of the event were and are numerous. The transformation of grounds at Wind River continue.

At this year’s conference, we saw new faces AND new places. Simultaneously, my jaw dropped and my cheeks smiled wide at seeing the beauty of what took place in just a year.

I shared the testimony of the event and God’s work often at this year’s conference. Someone mentioned that it must have been a scary time. I smiled and shook my head. Scary? Perhaps. But that’s where faith comes in. Faith is a muscle.

Faith is a Muscle

We exercise our bodies. We exercise our minds. We know about these muscles. Is faith a muscle? Is gossip or worry a muscle?

What’s in better shape? With a strong faith muscle, peace is always present (Psalm 119:165) and you’re less likely to stumble. For me, I sometimes put too much emphasis on my doings and neglect to consider God in the matter. And that’s the starting point of my fear (Matt 8:26).

I don’t think it’s that I don’t trust God, it’s that I don’t trust myself. Focusing on my faith rather than myself is where I gain strength. not by my own doing, but simply by relying on God, abiding in the Vine (John 15:4).

My faith is a muscle. The more I work it out, the stronger it gets. No fear. Faith. No worry. Faith. No confusion. Faith.

It’s a good workout.

 

Bread and BibleMost folks are familiar with the verse from “The Lord’s Prayer”, requesting

“Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt 6:11)

But is that really enough? And is it only about food?

One focus of the book Enough by Will Davis, Jr. is a powerful section of Proverbs, Proverbs 30:7-9. The writer (Agur) asks God for two simple things:

  1. Keep lies away from his own lips
  2. Supply him with just enough. Not more. Not less. Enough.

Our nature – my nature – is too often to be so focused on the concerns of tomorrow, I miss out on how God answers my prayers today. God is faithful to provide my daily needs (Matt 6:25-34).

Why do I have so little faith, that rather than rest in His promise, I worry about tomorrow.

Enough.

*A Proverbs a day, keeps the enemy at bay.

 

Never Falter, Never Fail

September 29, 2014 — Leave a comment

Mountain Train

Life is like a mountain railroad, with an engineer that’s brave …

Our lives may have lots of turns and dips, peaks and valleys. But have courage my friend, for we have as an Engineer, the One who designs and directs our paths.

We must make the run successful, from the cradle to the grave …

When we think of a cradle, we think of birth. But it’s not only birth, but re-birth and even the dawn of each new day.

Watch the curves, the hills, the tunnels; Never falter, never fail …

If you seek Him in all your journey, short or long, you will find His faithfulness and love endures no matter what – in our successes and in our failures (learning experiences).

Keep your hand upon the throttle, and your eye upon the rail …

Stay contagious and courageous in your forward movement. A friend recently said, See Present Future, Rather Than Present Past. Remember Lot’s Wife (Luke 17:32).

Mike Thinking About WritingWhile I much prefer to write first from the heart, and then rewrite with my head (Finding Forrester clip), occasionally during a quiet time I find myself writing (rehearsing?) in my mind.

As she came into the room, she asked what I was doing.

“I’m writing,” I said, and continued looking out the window.

Truth is, I had already written a draft and was simply polishing the thought, though many additions and addenda came about during this pondering.

And there was a tablet for notes on the table before me to help capture keeper thoughts and wild bones.

Early to Rise

September 6, 2014 — Leave a comment

Toronto SunriseAs I begin to write this, I sit in a quiet dining area of a rural McDonalds. Not quite 5:30 on a Saturday morning, it will remain quiet for a time.

I enjoy the quiet of an early morning. On this morning, I’ve enjoyed quiet for a couple of hours already.

I am early to rise. It’s weird for others; It works for me.

A dozen years ago, I was a bi-vocational pastor, also serving as a property manager for a large self-storage property. Working at two full-time jobs, both of which I enjoyed immensely,

I had to find ways to carve time within time to get what needed to be done and still have the freedom and flexibility to pivot on a day’s need.

  • A 24-hour Walmart.
  • A Home Depot that opens at 5 AM.
  • A Cracker Barrel open at 6AM
  • A self-storage property with no one around until after 7 AM.

I got more work done before sunrise than most people get done all day. By doing so, I was able to answer calls that seemed urgent to others while remaining calm and patient. Able to schedule for serendipity. I got hooked on the early mornings because of the freedom to pivot. I stay with it because of the quiet.

I value the quiet of an early morning.

I am early to rise. Not so much because I can’t sleep. Not because I can’t wait to get to Panera or McDonald’s. I like the crisp and fresh feeling of the beginnings of the day. It works for me. It’s not right for everyone – and that’s good.

I thirst for the quiet of an early morning.

photo credit: paul bica via photopin cc

storm-clouds-brewingAlso, there was a time I was using my Facebook to post a lot of personal or spiritual thoughts. That wasn’t too comfortable. Not because the response wasn’t good (it was) or that it was controversial (it wasn’t), but it didn’t fit.

Facebook is really rented space. While valuable for updating distanced friends and family of happenings, the numerous changes that happen to how Facebook presents items in my stream reminds me – it’s rented space. Free, but borrowed really.

And if Facebook ever shuts down, there goes my … everything I posted.

On this space,while it can go quiet – as it has in the past year – if it goes completely away, it’s by my own doing.  I can post non-business thoughts in full, without limitations, with plenty of experimentations, and share it on Facebook when I deem appropriate. Sharing it there still updates friends and family (if they see it in their stream), but it resides here – on my site.

There are often things and thoughts I want to record somewhere, but it’s not appropriate on either business site (ConverStations or SmallBizTracks). These things might include:

  • Cooking
  • Movies
  • Sports
  • Music
  • Books
  • Scripture and Spiritual
  • Politics (not a chance)
  • Family/FriendsFun stuff
  • Uncategorized Images and Insights.

For weeks I’ve been thinking about reinvigorating this site with thoughts stuck in my head and heart, aching to get out, if for no other reason but to make room for new images and insights.

Occasionally, this kind of site is great as a whiteboard for ideas, even business ideas. A personal site like this is great for that kind of writing. It’s like a driving range for writing and articulating thoughts (Now that’s a business blog post, hmm?)

The way I began this post was as iff the conversation here never took a pause. And on a site like this, it’s more appropriate than an apology for being away so long. I never really went away, I just wrote and spoke elsewhere. So the conversation continues…

Photo from picjumbo

I really like it when a singer sings one from the heart. Here’s a rendition of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home.” by the originator, Steve Winwood.

This version seems to “feel it” and that transfers over to this listener.