Random Notes From What I’m Reading

The story of my life is the story of my faith…

Archive for the ‘Steve Case’ Category

Tell God You Love Him Without Waving Your Arms In The Air

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Love God. Start there. End there. Live there.

God is the reason you are on this planet and He is the reason you are reading this book. Tell Him so, without fanfare or waving your arms in the air. Tell God you love Him, that you want to know His presence all the time. When you wake up in the morning, thank God for the day. When you go to sleep at night, thank God for the day behind you and the night ahead. Thank God for sheets and pillows. Thank God for your spouse and the smell of her hair and the feel of her back pressed against your chest.

As you move through the day, be aware of God. Thank God for the teeth you are brushing. Thank God for the school you attend or the job you have to go to. When your boss yells, thank God for the pay cheque. Say grace over your meals. If it’s winter, feel the cold air as it enters the lungs that God gave you and thank Him for the air. Think about the creativity involved in designing snowflakes. If it is summer, thank God for the warmth of the sun on your skin.

Are you getting the idea? Make God a part of your every day. Many people don’t think about God until Sunday, and then they wonder: “God, where have You been? I’ve had such a crummy week.” Then God is out of their life for another seven days. You don’t have to recite a prayer before you switch the station on the car radio. But make yourself aware that God made music. You don’t have to go into a lengthy theological dissertation before making a copy of the annual report, but remember that God is in charge of all things.

These little “flirts” with God need only be a moment. But they must be a part of your life to attain the presence of God.

By Steve Case in “God Is Here”

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Written by Ryan

October 19, 2007 at 12:27 am

Posted in Books, Christian, Steve Case

We Are Not God

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One of the hardest things for us to get through our heads is that we are not God. We don’t get to make the decisions. We don’t get to decide what is and what isn’t. We have some power, but not complete power over nature. Every time we start to push the limits of God, He gives us a little reminder. Does the phrase “even God couldn’t sink this ship” ring any bells?We get mad at God because grandma died. We get mad at God because we didn’t get the girl we were after. We get mad at God because we lost a job. We get mad at God because He didn’t answer our prayer for that new car.

In order to fully experience the presence of God, we have to get over the fact that God is God and we are not.

When we get down life’s road a little more, we often find out what God had in mind. We didn’t get that job we wanted and then found a better one six months down the road. We finally realized how much pain grandma was in, and it wasn’t God who made her suffer – it was God who let her suffering end. And if we really want to stand on the mountaintop and scream at God because of the car, we might want to sit down an-evaluate our priorities.

By Steve Case in “God Is Here”

Written by Ryan

September 17, 2007 at 12:36 pm

Confession

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“Confession is good for the soul. God will look at the pile of baggage that you put before Him, and He will sweep it away. Dump it. Run it through a garbage disposal. Then God will look at the empty parts of your soul. Those spaces that have been taken up too long by guilt and fear and pain, and He will fill them with His love and peace and joy. But until you are ready to empty those spots, you can’t have the good stuff.”

By Steve Case in God Is Here

Written by Ryan

September 6, 2007 at 12:14 am

Posted in Books, Christian, Steve Case

Faith Grows

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Have you had one of those moments where you break out  into a spontaneous grin while reading? When your trying to casually read something on the bus without drawing attention to yourself but something grabs your attention that you have to nudge the person next to you and share what you read. Or when something comical grabs your funny bone and you can’t help but laugh out loud. Those times are few and far between but I had one while reading this section of “God Is Here” by Steve Case:

One of the important parts to remember is that faith grows. You will not have some kind of super faith when you begin the presence. Children do not jump up from infancy and dance. Kids do not climb on a bike and ride the first time without skinning their knees.

Faith grows.

You failed tests and learned to study harder; you drank to excess and spent a day with your head in the toilet and didn’t drink that way anymore.

Faith grows.

We must learn to use our faith. Faith grows and becomes more alive when we learn to connect with God. When God is a part of our everyday lives, our faith becomes central to w ho we are. We no longer doubt. We no longer expect black and white. We learn that some questions have no answers and others may not be answered right away.

I’ve always been a Christian – I guess the buzzword for that is “inherited faith” – so there are times where I become incredibly frusterated with myself for not being as “mature” in my faith and relationship with God as I would. This exceprt was a great reminder that God doesn’t expect me to be perfect because my relationship with him and my faith is meant to always be growing.

Written by Ryan

August 31, 2007 at 11:35 pm

Posted in Books, Christian, Steve Case

We Must Say “Thank You”

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I tend to go through the motions sometimes and life just tends to blend into the background. Kind of like life is stuck in cruise control. It’s time like these that I really appreciate this excerpt from Steve Case’s book “God Is Here” because it reminds me to slow down, appreciate life and take time to thank God for the blessings he’s given me:

God created us. We must say “thank you.” The bible tells us that all good things come from God. Below is a partial list…

Trees, rain, snow, hot fudge, Chuck Taylor high-top tennis shoes, Ben &Jerry’s, peanut butter, bus drivers, ambulance drivers, garbage collectors, candles that smell like the ocean, books, CD’, The Simpsons, Starbucks, matches, sleeping bags, stars, planets, rocks, telescopes, movies, DVD’s, warm socks, warm hearts, families, vacations, vacations with the family, vacations without the family, the Grand Canyon, rest stops, public toilets, indoor plumbing, agriculture, corn, peas, jalapeños, pizza, cheese, cows, chocolate milk, Oreo cookies, plastic bags to put your lunch in, metal lunch boxed, thermoses, cool mountain streams, the smell of pine needles in the woods, the smell of pine needles in your living room, Christmas, Easter, vaccinations, vitamins, laughter, giggles, smirks, grins, smiles, laughter through the tears, tears through laughter, jokes that make you squirt milk out your nose, onions.

Say “thank you.”

This is not a “thank you” the way you say “thank you” to your grandmother who still gives you PJ’s because she has labored under the delusion that you have been eight for the last fifteen years. This is a “thank you” from deep in the depths of your soul. This is a “thank you” that is a realization that all good things come from God. Everything you take for granted. Everything you never thought of. Everything.

This is a “thank you” that should be shouted from the mountaintop. This is a “thank you” that should be heard from your driveway when you walk out in the rain to get the paper in the morning. This is a “thank you” that comes from the heart. Say “thank you” with your life.

The best way to say “thank you” to God is by taking the gifts he has given you and giving the back to Him. If God has given you the gift of being able to sing, sing for God. Volunteer to do a solo on Christmas Eve. If you have a God-given gift to cook, cook for God. There’s a shelter in your neighborhood. Or maybe you can cook for your church youth group one night.

God gives everyone gifts. All good things come from God.

Say “thank you.”

Written by Ryan

August 29, 2007 at 8:22 am

Posted in Books, Christian, Steve Case

Lessons Hurt Sometimes

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I was skimming through some books I read this winter and a highlighted section in Steve Cases’ book in God Is Here stuck out and I wanted to share it with everyone:

Ever get your rear smacked when you were a kid? Spend a lot of time-outs in the corner contemplating your thumb?

Even though we acknowledge God as “Our Father who art in Heaven” every Sunday morning, it is hard to accept Him as a loving parent who must discipline His children.

Lessons hurt sometimes.

Maybe once your mom said, “don’t touch that; it’s hot.” Did you find out the hard way that moms don’t lie?

As you grew older, perhaps you hooked up with some loser, and all your friends and family offered advice to dump them, and you didn’t, so you got burned again.

Lessons hurt sometimes.

The Bible tells us: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Heb 12:11).

Sometimes God gives us a time-out. Sometimes God wants us to know exactly who is in charge. Sometimes God allows us to hurt ourselves so that we learn what we need to learn in order to move on.

This does not make God a vengeful and vindictive God. This does not mean God is punishing you. This means that God is trying to teach you something, and the more your resist, the more it’s going to hurt.

It’s like those finger traps common at kids’ birthday parties when you were little. Stick one of your fingers in each end, and you can’t get them back out, no matter how hard you pull. It’s only when you stop and relax and step back that you can ease your pinkies out of the toy.

Stop fighting it. Step back and look at the problem. Learn what you need to know. Pull your fingers out and move on.

Have you ever had a lesson that’s hurt? I could list a ton and while it’s easy to chuckle at most of these now it’s amazing the amount of times God has needed to teach me something the hard way or the times he’s forced me to slow down and “pull my finger out” before moving on.

Written by Ryan

August 13, 2007 at 3:32 am

Posted in Books, Christian, Steve Case

Rest

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I’m reading through a book by Steve Case called God Is Here and a section of the book that caught my attention is when he wrote:

Imagine the greatest rest stop in the world. You are on a road trip, and the drive is long and hard. You are out of munchies. You’ve listened to that one CD too many times, and all the radio stations are sounding the same.This rest stop has a gift shop the size of a mall. Everything is on sale. The food looks great. Fresh fruit and sandwiches instead of overpriced vending machine cheese-and-peanut-butter crackers.

There’s a guy standing nearby with a guitar, playing music. He’s good. He’s selling CD’s for $5 each. The bathrooms are immaculate. You buy a sandwich and a slice of fresh apple pie. You sit on a clean bench and listen to the man sing. You plan to buy the CD for the road….

Are you going to stop and think, “this is so nice, maybe I’ll just spend my vacation here?” No. You are going to rest and then continue on. Brother Lawrence said that to stop moving forward, even if you are really, really comfortable, is to move backward. The longer you stay at this rest stop, the closer you are to where you started.

One of the hardest things in the world is to move on. To get back in the car and keep driving even though you know you have a longer drive ahead of you than you do behind you. But you keep going anyway.

You may have noticed as you begin to live the spiritual life that the little things don’t bother you like they did. The life you are living is just fine. You start to think, “yeah, this is good. I can stay here.” but you can’t. Just like you can’t stay at the rest stop, you can’t stop during your spiritual journey. The presence of God is a continuing process. You keep going. You keep trying. You keep connecting because that is simply what you have to do. If the threat that you could wind up back where you started isn’t enough, then the goal of what you could become should be.

The road hurts. There’s construction. There are long delays. A drunk driver is weaving in and out of cars, just missing your bumper before cutting back into the lane and avoiding a head-on collision.

So you pop in your new CD. The voice fills your car and eases your aching shoulders. The melody is sweet, and you start to sing along.

How often have you found yourself content when God has something bigger and better planned for you? I know I have – far too many times – and I’m thankful for God urging me to keep moving despite my laziness wanting to get in the way.

Written by Ryan

July 26, 2007 at 7:57 pm

Posted in Books, Christian, Steve Case