“A” is for _______________

Posted: December 29, 2018 in Faith
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Several years ago, I introduced an annual focus for my church group as we moved into a new year. What I thought would be a theme for the year has turned out to be a running emphasis that I have accepted as a life guide. I woke up this morning with a new addition. A point of clarity may be a better way to put it.

To begin, I want to list the guiding principles for those who aren’t familiar with what they are. I extrapolated them from my study of the life of Abraham who is known as the father of faith. These guiding principles of life are Vision, Work, Rest, Accounting and Worship.

To summarize: We all should have a vision from God that helps prioritize work that we are involved in on a daily basis. It is just as important that we maintain balance in our lives with proper rest. (Note: There is a time to rest.) If we are working, we should expect a harvest or fruit of our labor. An accounting of our harvest helps us to divide it for various uses. Finally, we should never assume that what we have is simply the fruit of our own strength and ability. We should worship God in every phase of our journey. Thank Him for the vision, rest, the harvest and the wisdom to know what to do with every portion of our harvest.

Now back to my new edition to these guiding principles for life. For some reason, I always struggled with including Accounting as a guiding principle. This concept seemed less obvious to me when I related it to the life of Abraham. Including it required more explanation as if it didn’t quite fit with the others. Despite grappling with including it, I was ultimately satisfied that it did fit and had great importance in the entire process.

While we all could struggle with applying any one of these life principles, I believe Accounting is the most underrated life practice of a believer just as improper accounting is often the downfall of a promising business.

Money, opportunities and other resources can go unnoticed and become underutilized or even stolen from us if we don’t keep a careful watch over them.

We must learn how to protect, invest and manage all of our possessions, including spiritual gifts if we want to enjoy the bountiful life that God has for us. This moves me to expand on the concept of Accounting by introducing another closely related practice that also starts with “A.”

This “A” is for Auditing. As much as many people don’t like accounting, even fewer get excited about the idea of an audit because with an audit comes responsibility and accountability.

Some might ask, what’s the difference between accounting and auditing.

From a bookkeeping standpoint, when the accounting process ends, auditing begins, for the purpose of determining the true and fair picture of books of accounts.

This is when the results of our habits and what we allow in our lives start to manifest.

Thank God we are not saved by works, but that does not exempt us from walking by faith just as Abraham did. We are called to follow the same principles of faith that we observed being practiced by Abraham and all of the heroes of faith we read about in Hebrews 11. (It would be worth your while to read all of Hebrews 11 as you walk into the New Year.)

I will elaborate more on my new “A” word in my next post. In the meantime know that Audit is not a bad word. It’s a useful word for those who want to grow beyond their current harvest.

May God richly bless you in 2019.

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By Alan Delery

Whenever I still myself long enough to reflect on things, I usually get clarity on life. Past, present and future. It gives me a great sense of peace when I am able to celebrate my accomplishments, forgive myself for my mistakes, enjoy the moment and plan for the future.

When I am not intentional in my practice of reflection, I can easily spend the majority of my life stuck in the unproductive or even harmful thoughts in my head. I noticed this issue when I decided to spend extra time to reflect on and celebrate some accomplishments of my day. I decided to spend 1 minute during a mindfulness practice to simply treat myself by enjoying thinking about and celebrating one particular accomplishment.

While I had a sense of which accomplishment I would enjoy for one minute, I had a hard time naming it in my head. My mind continued to wander on other things. It was like I was determined to dwell on things that I still had to do rather than enjoy the moment of my accomplishment. I began to reflect on the moment that I first completed my task and realized, even then, I hadn’t given myself 1 minute to celebrate. I had done a mental check off the list and quickly moved on.

I got lost in the criticism of myself for not allowing myself to savor the moment. Our minds are good at that. They are always thinking and we have to train ourselves on what we will think on. I was determined not to judge myself and managed to settle on the target of my intention. I regained focus and tasted the satisfaction of my success. It may have only been a minute but it was more than I had allowed myself to do before.

This exercise should be a part of our mental health like lifting weights should be a part of our physical health. There is a physical exercise expression that says, “No pain, no gain” but I’d like to add another one that says, “When we don’t train, we feel pain.”

I am in physical therapy right now for pain that I had been experiencing and after just 2 sessions, I am noticing relief. I thought to myself that if I had simply been doing these exercises sooner, I would not have been in the pain that I was in for as long as I was in it. Some of us are in mental distress because we don’t practice mindfulness or take time to be aware of our thoughts as we think them.

Your mental therapy prescription for today comes from Philippians 4:8-9 and says,  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Stay Peaceful.

P.S. Don’t forget to read our previous post  “Cause for Dogs” and support our youth in their fundraising effort to provide heart-worm treatment for dogs that are eligible for adoption at the LA-SPCA.

Positive Impact Shirt 3 (1) copy

2017-18 Youth Service Learning Project

Identified Need – This year the youth decided to focus on a population that cannot speak for themselves — animals. They brainstormed lots of ideas on what they could do to help address the needs of vulnerable animals in their community and landed on raising funds for heartworm treatment for the adopt-a-dog program at the Louisiana SPCA.

Purpose – This plan will help 5 dogs that are in need of heartworm treatment, which is required before adoption.

Outcomes – We expect to raise enough money to treat 5 dogs. The cost per dog is approximately $350.

Deadline: March 1, 2018

Support our cause by making a  donation safely and securely online HERE.

Every Day​ is Game Day

Posted: January 22, 2018 in Positive Impact
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Some people don’t have a problem receiving instruction and discipline from an athletic coach but seem to have a problem with a pastor or life coach. Some have a problem with receiving any type of coaching and wonder why their life is a mess. May we each have someone we can follow who has experience in life and can give us some pointers and encouragement to pursue our calling.

Get off of the sidelines, find your position and discipline yourselves so that you can be the “Most Valuable Player” in your game of life. It’s only when we commit that we find opportunities presenting themselves for us to play and have success.

Finally, I hope you don’t mind me slightly contradicting my title. Don’t forget to take necessary rest and recovery days. This is an instruction from our heavenly life coach. Learn from Him and you will have good success.

Study Matthew 11:28-29 in the playbook.

Have a blessed day and stay peaceful.

Uh Oh!

Posted: January 17, 2018 in Uncategorized

I was sitting down working on the computer while my granddaughter was in the room.  She was getting into just about everything she could see and get her hands on. She would even try to climb up to things she couldn’t reach. I was continually redirecting her as things came down, were turned on, were handed to me or found resting on her head or around her neck.

Ever so often, I would hear her say “uh oh.” I would look over and see a new mess. I began to think how this is the story of some people’s life. Uh oh is a phrase used to express alarm, dismay or realization of a difficulty. This is one of the first expressions that a child learns. It’s a good thing to have a curious and exploring spirit throughout our lives but as we mature we should have fewer uh oh’s as we learn to think before we act.

If uh oh is the story of your life, maybe it’s time to grow up a bit. Be willing to be corrected and learn from your mistakes. Have fun, be adventurous, be willing to make mistakes; but to whatever extent possible, prepare, count the cost, and consider the impact of your actions on yourself and others. It makes life a lot easier for you and those around you.

Have a blessed day. I’m going help someone clean up their mess.

Misunderstanding the Word “As”

Posted: November 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

Guest Post by Bob Kuhn (Positive Impact Board Member)

Several years ago, I was preparing a sermon on a verse found in Matthew 22: 39, “… Love your neighbor as yourself.” This was the second part of Jesus’ response to a question about the greatest commandment of Jewish law. He claimed that the command to love your neighbor as yourself is only second to, and in many ways equal to, the command to love God. Being one of the two commands that Jesus ranked above all others, I knew that loving one’s neighbor as oneself was not to be taken lightly. In fact, I understood it to be at the very foundation of Christianity. Although I grasped its importance, my research soon made me realize that I missed its impact. It seems that the word “as” was being misunderstood.

My online search for commentaries on the all important commandment led me to a sermon by Methodist Bishop F. Gerald Ensley titled, “On Loving One’s Neighbor As One’s Self.” This was a keynote address delivered at the Second Methodist Conference on Human Relations held in Chicago during the high-point of the civil rights movement in the early 1960s. In his sermon, Bishop Ensley points out that the “separate-but-equal” philosophy, which was prevalent during that time, was not in accord with the type of love described by the commandment Jesus quoted. The Bishop explains that the type of love we are called to observe is more of a qualitative love than quantitative love. Quantitative love would mean that we love our neighbors “as-much-as” we love ourselves. In other words, we desire as much good for him or her as we do for ourselves, thus justifying the separate-but-equal idea of segregation. Qualitative love goes a step beyond. Loving your neighbor as yourself, according to the Bishop, is loving “not as much as yourself but as though he were yourself. It means tying my sensibilities to my neighbor’s nerve-endings so that I feel things as he does.” (Ensley)

Considering our neighbor to be our equal can be different from considering our neighbor to be one with us. Bishop Ensley feels that equal in quantity is a good concept for a mathematical formula, but when speaking of equality among human beings, we need to take a different approach. In fact, qualitative love totally avoids the question of equality. Although there are differences, the concept of equality should not be applied to human qualities since none are intrinsically superior to any other. (Ensley)

While we no longer face the same issues of the early 1960s, such as separate-but-equal laws, we still struggle with attitudes similar to those common at that time. Even our language betrays our attitudes towards others. We often speak of Christian “outreach” instead of Christian embrace. We sometimes find it easier to condescendingly “give” what we think others should have, rather than try to find out what they want. To again quote Bishop Ensley, “Christian love … means tuning in on the other man’s aspirations.” (Ensley) This would mean that instead of treating others the way we think they should be treated, we show them the same type of dignity we would want to be shown.

I am far from being able to say that I truly love my neighbor “as” myself, but I am praying that I come closer daily to obeying the heart of that command. It is my hope that you would pray for the same.

Work Cited

Ensley, Bishop F. Gerald. “On Loving One’s Neighbor As One’s Self.” The Florida Methodist,

ed.Jack Detweiler, Editorial Director O.B. Fanning, Volume 23, No.4, (Sept. 15 1963): p. 5. From digitized document of The Florida Methodist, Volume 23, July 1963 – June 1965, p. 58. Digitizing sponsor: University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries. Digitized by The Internet Archive 2016. Web. 23 November 2017. <https://archive.org/stream/floridamethodist2319flor#page/n57/mode/2up>

Dogs Included

Posted: November 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

PuppyI’ve begun working with a group of about 10 students on the development of a service learning project. It appears that this semester’s  identified cause will revolve around animal protection and care. This was not my selection but I thought, “Hey, it’s not about me.”  I was hoping they would choose a project around Peace, as the previous group had done. The world needs Peace (Inner peace, Non-violence, Equality, and Freedom). My attitude was that we don’t have time to focus on animals when people are hurting, dying on the streets, being treated unfairly and bound with all sorts of addictions. Once again I had to remind myself that it wasn’t about me.

Knowing that animal protection was not my specialty, I contacted the Louisiana SPCA and one of their community outreach coordinators came out and make a presentation. By the end of the presentation, I received a better appreciation for the importance of their work and my attitude about this project began to shift. Maybe our community could benefit from a little more attention to the needs of our four-legged friends.

I’ll leave it up to the students to develop their plan to make a difference in the plight of animal endangerment but I have to share one heart-wrenching statistic. Over 400 dogs are dropped off at the shelter in Algiers EVERY MONTH. Over a fourth of them don’t make it out.  If they could speak, they would have their own stories to share. The things that they witnessed and the human interactions they encountered are varied but they all find themselves in the same predicament.

It has been said that dogs are a man’s best friend. Would they say that about man. I believe the way a society treats animals is another reflection of the condition of its humanity. Dog’s can be a blessing to man when they are properly cared for. Let us all become more aware of the state of animal care and safety in our community. Maybe in doing so, we would notice a difference in our care for one another as well.

I will keep you informed of the development of the service project. Your help might be called upon in some way. Working together we can all make a difference in the symbiotic relationship between man and the rest of God’s creation. [Dogs included]