Category Archives: Determination

Life Lessons from Albert Einstein

Follow Your Curiosity:
  • “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
Perseverance is Priceless:
  • “It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
Live in the Moment:
  • “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”
Imagination is Powerful:
  • “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Make Mistakes:
  • “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
Create Value:
  • “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”
Change Can Be Good:
  • “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Knowledge Comes From Experience:
  • “Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.”
 Which one is your favorite?
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Determination, Encouragement, Inspiration, Just for fun, Life in General, Wisdom

What would happen?

You and I live in a culture where we gather in stadiums and around televisions for hours at a time to watch guys run around a field with a pigskin ball in their hands as they try to cross a white line.

We express enthusiasm, emotion, and affection for football and other sports, and it begs the question, what would happen in our culture if the church prayed with such passion? What would happen if Jesus dominated our affections more than the superficial trivialities that garner our attention? What would happen if we spent hours before God praying on behalf of the church, the lost, and the poor around the world?

Of course, your Radical Experiment does not have to start in a stadium. It can start in your living room or prayer closet. Anyplace can be the place you begin to connect the practice of prayer with the purpose of God in the world.
~ Excerpted from Radical by David Platt

He’s right you know. We spend a boatload of time and energy and resources on things that are only temporary.

One day we will all stand before our Maker. Imagine Him asking:

“How could you spend all that time on games and stuff that turned to dust when men, women and children all over the world were lost and needing to know me?”

I don’t offer that to make you feel guilty but as a gut-check. Are we paying attention to what matters most?

Beyond arenas and games, there are even good things that can distract us from the more important work of praying for those who don’t know Jesus.

I read the David Platt quote yesterday morning as I was gearing up for a big week of activities surrounding Easter. With three messages to prepare, three services to plan, and a fourth service to participate in I was already feeling some pressure.

These are good activities surrounding what is arguably one of the most important days for all followers of Jesus. I want to do a good job and that’s one of the reasons they hired me.

But even preparing for our church activities should take a back seat to praying for those all around the world who do not yet know the grace and truth of God made real and available through Jesus!

What would happen if we spent hours before God praying on behalf of the church, the lost, and the poor around the world?

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Christianity, Church, Compassion, Determination, Easter, God, influence with the world, involvement with the church, Jesus, Loving others, Prayer, Priorities

Why all the facial hair?

My good friend Jeff is one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet, but if you saw him right now coming down the street you would likely duck into a store or make your way to the other side of the street. Why?

His beard is menacing!

Here, in his own words, is why he is growing it out.

“Rick, I am growing my beard after one of the most humbling experiences of my life at Kid’s Kamp (our version of VBS) 2011. Last year our children and youth ministries were raising money for Dave and Jen Bell, missionaries our fellowship supports in Kenya. In a moment of craziness I agreed to have PART of my head shaved if the kids were able to meet the financial goal we set for them at Kid’s Kamp. We set the goal high, or should I say, I set the goal high. Not surprisingly, the kids and their families far exceeded the goal that had been set for them.”

“After that experience “the Holy Spirit” gave birth to an idea in my heart. There is one thing I do in my life that receives more unsolicited comments than any other thing that I do: that is growing a beard. My unscientific research suggests that 95% of people that comment are strongly opposed to the beard while the remaining 5% are tight-lipped about their opposition. Needless to say, I thought I could use the beard for the cause of Christ.”

“So Sunday, August 7, 2011 is the last time I shaved or trimmed my beard with the exception of my mustache. My much publicized (among our fellowship) intention is to leverage my beard as a means to raise financial support for some very dear friends of mine, Gianni and Stephany Bruno, missionaries with Italy for Christ (click to learn more). The Bruno family will be the missionaries we highlight this summer during our week of Kid’s Kamp and 100% of the financial support raised that week will go to support their ministry.”

“In a typical beard growing year, I never make it past six months of growth, in fact, only one time has that happened. I made it a few days past 6 months and my wife informed me that if I didn’t shave I wouldn’t be present for the delivery of our 2nd child, Hannah. That was all I needed to hear to shave the beard. I’m glad I did since Hannah was born a week later.”

“Thankfully, my wife isn’t pregnant this time around, so I am pretty sure I will be able to make it to the day the beard will be sheared, Friday, July 13, 2012. In fact, in a rare show of affirmation for the beard, my wife recently said, “The beard is growing on me.” To which I replied, “Me too.” Now I am convinced that with God all things are possible.”

We can’t all grow a beard of epic proportions to support those taking the good news of God’s grace and truth to people all around the world. But we can all do something!

Are you making yourself available to God?

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Compassion, Determination, Holy Spirit, influence with the world, Inspiration, involvement with the church, Loving others, Missions, Serving

We can make a difference

It’s impossible to ignore all that’s going on in the world but sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming.

With all the negative, heartbreaking things going on all around the globe how can one person make a difference?

By doing one small act of compassion at a time!

As we grow in our love relationship with God, we begin to empathize with God. We feel what He feels. Then we begin to sympathize with others.

We experience sympathy breakthroughs as we see the image of God in others. And when those empathetic feelings turn into compassionate actions, they set off chain reactions with eternal ramifications.

Don’t underestimate the spiritual significance of even one act of compassion done in the name of Christ. That one act of Spirit-prompted compassion can change the course of history.
~ Excerpted from Primal by Mark Batterson

What we observe going on in the world may come to us as one big mess but it’s really the culmination of many, many small decisions. We may not be able to change the whole world by demonstrating compassion through one small action; but we can help to tip the scales towards making things better.

I would rather do something and come up short than toss in the towel early and do nothing!

What will we do today to express and extend God’s compassion?

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Compassion, Determination, influence with the world, Loving others

I have great intentions but…

Most of us don’t start a project without first having a game plan. We vacation after first mapping out a destination and how we plan to get there.

But how many of us really take the time to consider where we’re heading in life?

How would you describe your life? Are you achieving what you desire? Are you accomplishing the things that are important to you and God? How do your prospects look for the future?

I am the master of great intentions. I intend to…

  • Get the house projects done…
  • Pursue greater intimacy with God…
  • Eat better and exercise more…
  • Enjoy my kids while they are still around…
  • Be more involved with my church family…
  • Romance my wife more…

I have great intentions but… what am I actually doing TODAY to get there?

You can have the loftiest goals in the world but if you’re filling your days with other stuff, you’ll never accomplish those things that matter most.

We tend to associate success and failure with one big event but that’s not the real picture.

I believe that the secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda. If you make a few key decisions and then manage them well in your daily agenda, you will succeed.

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. You see, success, doesn’t just suddenly occur one day in someone’s life. For that matter, neither does failure. Each is a process. Every day of your life is merely preparation for the next. What you become is the result of what you do today. ~ John Maxwell

The very course of a river is changed by the daily push of water in a new direction.

We need to routinely pause long enough to evaluate our daily agenda. We need to pay attention to the little things we do daily.

What are you doing today to move in the direction that God wants you to go?

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Determination, Life in General, Priorities

Extraordinary is a “disposition of the heart” sort of thing

Ever feel like your daily routine gets… routine? Every ask yourself how you got where you are? Ever wonder what happened to the spark?

Whew! I’m glad I’m not the only one!

The truth is, God not only desires you to live extraordinarily but also has equipped you to do so. Don’t ever forget these words. Etch them on the tablet of your heart. A remarkable, amazing, extraordinary life is not restricted to certain individuals or professions. It doesn’t matter who you are or how you serve in life.

If you’re a schoolteacher, businessperson, government leader, stay-at-home mom, athlete, factory worker, hairstylist, student, pastor (the list is endless), it doesn’t matter, because you were created for extraordinary achievements in that role.

The power to accomplish remarkable feats and live an exceptional life is not tied to an occupation but to a disposition of the heart. This is not only God’s will but also His great pleasure.
~ Excerpted from Extraordinary by John Bevere

Living extraordinary lives is a “disposition of the heart” sort of thing.

A disposition is a habit, a preparation, a state of readiness, or a tendency to act in a specified way. In this case, it means having a heart inclined to bring God glory by doing our very best at whatever it is we are doing.

It’s a new day and a new week, how’s your disposition?
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Commitment, Determination, Glory of God, God, influence with the world, Life in General

Keep learning!

For 91 years, James Henry, a lifelong fisherman, did not know how to read or write.

Now 98, the Mystic, Connecticut man has not only learned to do both but has even penned a memoir full of short stories.

“I felt so ashamed that I couldn’t read or anything like that, but I covered myself pretty good in certain respects. I had to because I didn’t know what to do,” Henry said.

He sought his wife’s help several years ago, but she was too sick to help. After her death, Henry’s granddaughters encouraged him to learn and were able to get help from the Literacy Volunteers of Eastern Connecticut.

His nephew Bobby helped in a different way. Bobby stopped taking phone calls from him and only communicated with Henry through handwritten letters.

Mark Hogan, a retired English teacher, met with Henry twice a week and taught him everything from letters to punctuation.

“He was very willing to do this thing, but he had his own prejudices against things like punctuation, apostrophes, he called them butterflies,” Hogan said.

After nearly a year of tutoring, Henry began writing short stories and from those came the memoir “A Fisherman’s Language.”

Can you imagine reading and writing after spending all those years just guessing; just faking it to get by?

I usually go for one main point but there are just too many aspects to this incredible story. So I’ll mention some and you take the path that resonates with you.

Never too old: Age is not the limit that we make it out to be. Many of humanity’s best contributions have come from our senior citizens.

Perseverance: The finish line is reached by those who keep putting one foot ahead of the other. Life is a marathon, not a sprint!

It’s not too late: As long as there is breath in our lungs, there is still time. Go for it!

Traveling companions: James had others who rallied around him to share the journey. We all need traveling companions!

No faking: James felt shame about not being able to read and write. When we get real with needing help we lose the shame and live into our full potential sooner.

Until Jesus comes back for us or death ushers us into His presence, let’s keep learning!

***

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Authenticity, Determination, Inspiration, involvement with the church, Teamwork

The danger of being even slightly off course

Heading in the general direction of where you want to go is not only disappointing but dangerous.

Mount Rainier is a massive stratovolcano located 54 miles southeast of Seattle in the state of Washington here in the United States. It is a very prominent mountain with a summit elevation of 14,411 feet. It is also considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of its large amount of glacial ice.

Only 4 paths, each with a very different level of difficulty, lead to the summit. But there are hundreds of paths, heading in the general direction of the peak, that lead to dead ends, cliffs, avalanche prone glaciers, and ultimately…

…a high risk of death!  

Obviously, heading in the general direction of the summit is not good enough. And the real danger is being unaware that you’re off course. Even on a wrong path the terrain looks familiar and you can still see the summit.

Most of us are not heading in the opposite direction of pursuing God to live in His Kingdom and because we are heading in the general direction we are lulled into thinking that we will one day get there, but this may not be the case.

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” ~ Matthew 7:21-23 (NLT)

This is not about getting everything in life perfect because that’s impossible and would negate our need for God’s grace. This is about people who participate in certain godly activities but fail to live fully surrendered to Jesus as Lord.

We can attend church, throw something into the offering, read the Bible and even participate in good activities or projects with other christians – things familiar to us – but that doesn’t mean we’re on course with pursuing God.

The key to avoiding the wrong paths up Mt. Rainier and staying on the right path is consistent interaction with a trained, experienced guide. Our guide through life is Jesus and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Staying on course goes beyond familiar activities to actually doing life daily in consistent interaction with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

It’s an awareness of their divine presence that we grow into as we interact – asking and listening – through prayer.

The apostle Paul encouraged us to “pray without ceasing because he understood that we can live in constant fellowship with God through prayer. He is with us in everywhere, always – as we get ready in the morning, as we drive down the road, as we go about every activity of an ordinary day.

How are you doing at pursuing greater intimacy with the Lord and living in daily fellowship with Him?

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Determination, Discipleship, Divine presence, God, God's Will, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Surrender

Keeping our vows

The Vow is a movie that came out in theatres a week and a half ago. It is based on Kim and Krickitt Carpenter’s story. Since I’ve not seen the movie I’m not endorsing it but simply referring to it.

According to the Carpenters, the romantic movie is not even close to telling the true story of faith and commitment that has kept them devoted to each other for 20 years.

It began 10 weeks after their wedding on Sept. 18, 1993 when a serious automobile accident left Krickitt with no memories of her husband or their new marriage.

A severe brain trauma wiped out 18 months of her life — the entire time she and Kim met, dated and married.

While he was still madly in love with her, he was a stranger she wanted nothing to do with.

The glue that kept them together was their faith in Christ and the promise they had made before God.

“Both of us know unconditionally we would not have made it through this ordeal without the Lord being in the center of it all,” says Kim Carpenter.

Krickitt spent months in a coma and then months more in physical therapy, but she has never regained those 18 months of memory. Her recovery was slow, her personality changed and at times she told Kim she hated him.

“At a low point in my life, I didn’t think this marriage was going to work. I didn’t have the faith that we were going to make it,” Kim said. “At the same time, I wasn’t going to leave her in the state she was in; I was vowing to stay with her.”

The media first learned of their story when a reporter came to interview Kim about his work as a baseball coach. In the course of the conversation, the story came out.

When the Carpenters renewed their vows at a second wedding in 1996, it was a media frenzy. People were amazed and encouraged by their story, so Krickitt asked God to use their story to show others His amazing love and power.

“We enjoyed the movie but we were a little frustrated by the artistic license they took,” Kim said. “The dramatization in the movie was much greater, but it is hard to put 20 years of challenges into 103 minutes.”

Krickitt’s faith never faltered, and she never considered divorce.

“A Scripture I really hold onto is Philippians 4:13: ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me.’ I believed I was called according to God’s purpose, and I followed with my whole heart,” she said.

Kim said he has taken offense to some of the media reporting him as “heroic, courageous, manly.” They insist they are an ordinary couple with two children, Danny and LeeAnn.

“It is amazing we live in a world that there is such a big deal made about a man and woman who simply did what we said we were going to do,” Kim said.

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Commitment, Courage, Determination, Faith, Inspiration, Loyalty, Marriage

The value of discomfort

I recently read about a long-distance runner named Dean Karnazes. Check out his list of accomplishments:

  • He ran fifty marathons in fifty states on fifty consecutive days.
  • He once ran 350 miles in three days—without stopping and with no sleep.
  • He’s run the Badwater Ultramarathon seven times. It starts in Death Valley, 250 feet below sea level and concludes, 135 miles later, halfway up Mt. Whitney, at 8,360 feet. He won the race in 2004 on his fifth attempt.
  • He runs 100 to 170 miles a week.
  • He couldn’t find time to run 4–6 hours a day, so he began sleeping less. He currently only sleeps four hours a night.
  • His resting heart rate is 39 beats per minute!

Can you begin to fathom the kind of energy and effort and discipline it requires to accomplish such phenomenal physical feats?! It truly staggers the imagination!

In another interview in Outside magazine, Dean offers a unique perspective that many of us have forgotten:

Western culture has things a little backwards right now. We think that if we had every comfort available to us, we’d be happy. We equate comfort with happiness. And now we’re so comfortable we’re miserable. There’s no struggle in our lives. No sense of adventure. We get in a car, we get in an elevator, it all comes easy. What I’ve found is that I’m never more alive than when I’m pushing and I’m in pain, and I’m struggling for high achievement, and in that struggle I think there’s a magic.

I believe that in every area of life – spiritual, physical, emotional, relational, vocational – God desires to stretch us and grow us. He longs to bring the real us out because each of us is His gift to the world. We each have a role to play in furthering His kingdom plans here on earth.

Are we settling for comfort or giving ourselves to be stretched and used for His glory?

***

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Filed under Choices, Determination, Glory of God, Health & Wellness, Inspiration, Morphing