November 2014

When I was 8 or 9 years old, I had this Nerf basketball that I played with in my house all the time. It was bouncy enough to feel like a real basketball and soft enough to throw around the house without breaking things. Since I didn’t have a hoop inside the house I would make up ways to score “points.” One of those ways was if I was able to hit the door frame between the door and the ceiling without the ball bouncing off the ceiling. I got pretty good at it. The only problem was if I missed the ball would bounce into the kitchen and right onto my moms head while she was cooking dinner. After a few big accidents, one including a Nerf ball covered in spaghetti sauce, my mom gave me a warning. Of course, I thought my basketball skills would keep me safe, thinking I would never again miss another shot. Well, I did. The ball hit the ceiling, bounced off my mom’s head yet again and she had had enough. She grabbed the tattered old Nerf ball, ripped it in half and threw it in the trash can. I had learned my lesson. She later took me out and bought me a new, nicer toy basketball because she felt badly about destroying the other one. I still have it to this day. It actually sits in my home office because of the funny story with which it is associated. Growing up I just loved basketball, when basketball star LeBron James decided to join the Cleveland Cavaliers again this summer, I was pretty excited that basketball would be fun to watch again. The season is now 6 games old and my beloved Cavs are 3-3. Not the most terrific start to a season filled with promise.

James has spoken to some of the losing habits and defeated mindset some of his teammates have and his goal is to help them start thinking like winners. This got me thinking. How do I look at my life? What kind of habits do I have that promote success or failure? What do I fear more, failing or not trying at all? I’m not a big adventure seeker. I don’t like unnecessary risks. I don’t ride roller coasters. I don’t do any extreme sports. I rarely go more than a few miles over the speed limit. Some of that is just smart thinking, but there is another factor where I ask this question, with my vision for what God has called me to do.

Refuge is more than a job. It’s my calling. My purpose on this planet (aside from being a devoted, present husband and father) is to provide a safe environment that allows students in my community to come face to face with their Creator and help them become devoted followers of Jesus Christ. But sometimes I can get very comfortable. Comfort breeds apathy. Sometimes I need to remind myself to take some risks. To be a little crazy. To make decisions that might not make sense to everybody else. Sometimes I can be timid in a way that blocks God from doing amazing and life changing things. God has been challenging me on that. To be more of a risk taker. To be more bold in my challenges of my staff, volunteers, peers, students and parents. To ask big questions. To chase big ideas.To ask “Why not?” more than just “Why?”

Everyday is an opportunity for Refuge to reach at least one kid for the glory of God. Everyday is opportunity for you to get one step closer to what God has called you to do. Maybe you do not even feel confident in what God has called you to do. Well today is an opportunity for you to realize your purpose. Maybe you have known your purpose for years, decades even, but sometimes it can feel stagnant and boring. It’s time to take a risk. Ask a hard question, give someone an honest, hard answer. Look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Why not!?” What is it you have developed a habit of waiting for rather than going for? Do you have a defeated mindset? Where you prep yourself for what seems to be definite failure before you even get your foot out the door? Shake that off! Zig Ziglar said, “Failure is an event, not a person.” Failure happens, set backs occur, but you’ll never experience success if you do not experience failure. Don’t be so afraid of failure that you never chase the dream God has called you to. What is it? To be a mother that dedicates all her time and energy to raising her children? To start a non profit that helps homeless people? To build a business that employs college kids as they gear up for the work force? Maybe you’re already doing it, or maybe you don’t know how to start. But do something. Ask questions of anybody you come in contact with. Grab a phone and make a call. Stop by Refuge and tell me about it! Whatever it takes to get you moving toward your vision and dream as you pursue God’s call on your life.

You will face adversity, but you’ll never regret your decision to chase your God given dream. It’s in you and you’re the only one who can do it. It’s God’s gift to you. Don’t waste it. You can do it, but you can’t do it alone. May you find the courage to change your mind, your habits and your focus from what you think you can’t do, to what you believe God can do. In that you will find the confidence and courage to strap the fear on and push forward anyway. Be blessed. Run hard. Run focused. On Jesus. Only Jesus.

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Youngstown, OH 44505
O: 330.759.0658 // C: 330.219.3170

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