Reflections Feed

Where Is Tom? Who is Oden E. Lockhart?

It is the sort of question that you hope people will ask when you "go missing" for a few days.

"Where is he?"

Well, I'm here, checking in and having nothing to say - at least until now.

I start to write something and stop. Writing is a discipline for me, but it is also a joy. It tends to flow, but I often need to prime the pump.

I've had a few things on my mind and I am technically on vacation, out of state, away from my routine, visiting family, and changing my pace in a different time zone.

I've been doing a little problem solving from a distance, worrying more than I ought, applying my mind and heart to a new sermon series, visiting my mother and her new husband (whose wedding ceremony I performed last Sunday), and reading.

Here is what got me from question one to question two.

I jotted down a note on the back of a post card today to a man who meant much to me in my early ministry. I called him, "Preacher." He first introduced himself to me in 1974 as "The Old Time Preacher Man from Way Back." His real name is Oden E. Lockhart and this Saturday night, in Bluefield, West Virginia, they will be celebrating his 90th birthday and 60 years of radio broadcast.

The more important of the two questions posed in the title is, "Who is Oden E. Lockart?"

A follow up question is, "Where is he?"

The answer to that is that he is doing what he has been doing for many, many years.

Oden was the reluctant, but faithful pastor of East End Baptist church in Bluefield when he took me under his wing as Associate  Pastor and Youth Director. He gave me the opportunity to conduct my first Lord's Supper and my first baptism. He taught me more about visiting, evangelizing,  and  loving people than any one pastor before or after.

I say he was a reluctant pastor only because his heart was in evangelism and his radio ministry. He was unique in that second ministry in that he actually pastored the people who were his regular listeners. Since the  broadcasts were  on regional stations  in  a number of Appalachian states, he could visit their churches and homes. He took the prayer requests he received very seriously, and often followed up with calls and visits.

When was the last time your favorite radio or TV evangelist personally contacted you?

The Preacher was in his late 50s when I met him and he was married to "Mama." I must have known her name at some time, but I never really learned it. They lived in a "holler" in Abbs Valley, Virginia where the Preacher had worked in the coal minds for over 30 years and contracted Black Lung. he wasn't supposed to live much past his early 60s. That is something for a 90 year old man to chuckle about, especially when he is still preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I've been doing more than my share of fretting this week in spite of our Lord's unambiguous directive to "fret not." I never saw Oden E. Lockhart fret.

He was and is an Independent Baptist, Fundamentalist, King James-Only preacher and yet, I learned more progressive ideas and deeper compassion from him that from 10 other more "enlightened" preachers. Some of his more memorable quotes and terminologies were:

"I don't need a doctor to work on my Bible. It never was sick."

"I don't need a Living Bible. Mine never was dead."

Hollywood was "Hellywood" and television was "Hellivision."

In early marriage, my wife and I had the opportunity to stay in the Lockhart home together and I took delight in pointing out to her the side by side, his and her bathrooms to the left when you went in the main entrance, the studio where so many broadcasts originated, and the unique way that the folks stored all their dishes in the dishwasher because it saved several steps and you might as well wash them all at the same time.

Mama Lockhart passed away years ago. One day in recent years I received a call from a lady named Betty Quick and I quickly remembered her as the clerk of East End Baptist Church. I always liked Betty but I remembered that she and the Preacher had always had a running battle. She was always on his case about something and he sought to remain as sane as possible while getting a little gleam and twinkle in his eye when ever he had the chance to antagonize her a bit.

After renewing my memory for a moment, she said, "I have someone here who would like to talk to you."

"Tommy, this is Oden E. Lockhart. How are you? Betty and I got married."

Nothing shocks me any more - almost nothing - this did.

She returned to the phone after a while and wanted to make one thing perfectly clear. He had contacted her after her husband died to provide pastoral support, comfort, and prayers.

"We didn't marry for convenience (she might have said, "companionship)," she declared, "I fell in love with that old man."

So there.

Every Christmas he sends me a thick envelope with a nice card and a whole pile of evangelistic tracts to give away.

I fell in love with that old man too - many years ago. He was a mentor, friend, father figure, and discipler in my life.  Sometimes I stop and ask myself if I am being faithful to the investment that he and other elder pastors and teachers have placed in my life.

Where is Tom? I'll tell you this, I would not be anywhere near where I am without folks like the Preacher. I honor him and think of him fondly, thanking God for him. I wish I could be present at the party. I will be at a big one with him someday and there will be lots of folks there because of his witness.

- Tom Sims, The Dream Factory

You can still hear the preacher on various stations including WGTH 105 FM and 540 AM. Check with WGTH  for listings or listen live on the Internet:

10:00 - 10:30 Weekdays

I Just Felt Like Giving You All a Gift

Here is some happy candy just because I love and appreciate you all.


Growing up is tough when it is good. It helps to have a friend and a prop or two. At some point we have to leave those friends and props behind as we move toward maturity until we take them up again nostalgically and warmly with songs like this.

We always have our memories.

Make sure you feed the child inside you regularly.

Write It Down

I have boxes of notes. Some are disorganized, mis-categorized, and undated, but they have had and may continue to have a function in my life.

You see, somewhere in the maze of thinking that occupies the landscape of my muddled mind is some machinery that operates only in response to what I commit to paper. If I don't write down a goal, objective, intention, thought, or strategy, it almost doesn't count. Is that just me, or do you have such a mechanism?

I think most of us do and that for many it is in mothballs waiting to be reactivated into the service of our dreams.

You may ask what good are notes that cannot be found?

Good question. When you "make a note of it," something happens in your brain and a corresponding note is made and filed and that machinery goes into operation to bring other mental, physical, and spiritual resources to the aid of your stated intention.

When you make the note, you are sending out a memo to your entire internal "staff" to get busy on today's project. Consciously, you are reminding yourself. Subconsciously, you are activating an army of support and guidance.

If it is the intent of your heart and the direction of your thinking, you are also praying and rallying the forces of Heaven.

Of course, it is always best to have a good filing system, but until that comes into play, keep writing down your thoughts. Keep making "to-do" lists. Write down your dreams, goals, objectives, action plans, deadlines, and strategies. Use symbols, shorthand, words, and misspelled words. Write all over the paper or napkin. Stuff it in your shirt pocket. Look at it if you have a chance. Lose it if you must, but start by writing things down.

I have said it before and will say it many times again: Goals that have not been written are not worth the paper they are written (or not written) on.

It is an exercise with verified results. Practice the discipline of making notes to yourself and see what a difference it makes in what you accomplish.

Here is to your success. - Tom Sims, The Dream Factory

Some Enemies of Success

It has been my practice and spiritual discipline for several years to read a chapter of Proverbs each day that corresponds to the day of the month. That landed me in Proverbs 23 today.

It is also become a discipline to apply some of what I have read to the realm of business and incorporate these truths into my coaching. Let me briefly touch on several today that seem to fall under the category of things that impede our success. What they all seem to have in common is the avoidance of the lure of instant gratification and all of it's manifestations: gluttony, drunkenness, envy, and the like. These are enemies of success.

I am quoting some of these verses today from The Message (See copyright and link information below).

It begins with some extremely practical advice:

When you go out to dinner with an influential person, mind your manners:
Don't gobble your food,
   don't talk with your mouth full.
And don't stuff yourself;
   bridle your appetite. (1-3)

Sometimes, people attend business meals with the idea that it is all about the food and their own gratification. Not so. It is about the meeting and the person of influence you are trying to influence.  Gorge yourself later. It has been said that J.C. Penny would take potential executives to dinner and decide whether or not to hire them by whether or not they salted their food before tasting it.

He needed no impulsive associates.

Don't wear yourself out trying to get rich;
   restrain yourself!
Riches disappear in the blink of an eye;
   wealth sprouts wings
   and flies off into the wild blue yonder. (4-6)

Keep everything in perspective. pace yourself. Don't become so addicted to your moment by moment, immediate success that you lose the long term benefits of those things that endure the test of time.

Don't accept a meal from a tightwad;
   don't expect anything special.
He'll be as stingy with you as he is with himself;
   he'll say, "Eat! Drink!" but won't mean a word of it.
His miserly serving will turn your stomach
   when you realize the meal's a sham. (7-8)

Again, do not let your gluttony interfere with your judgment. Whoever said that there is no free lunch was being overly cynical. However, there are not many. people operate with some degree of self-interest. Honest people in business are open about this and seeking win-win scenarios. I operate on the principle that I want you to get something from our transaction so that we can all be happy when it is done. Again, gluttony and naiveté are enemies of success.

Don't bother talking sense to fools;
   they'll only poke fun at your words. (9)

Have you ever done business with someone who "just didn't get it?" Another enemy of success is the compulsion to teach that person by banging them over the head with truth. Forget it. Move on to your own success. Don't let addiction to being proved right interfere with your success.

Don't stealthily move back the boundary lines
   or cheat orphans out of their property,
For they have a powerful Advocate
   who will go to bat for them. (10-11)

Dishonesty, based on greed and desire for momentary advantage that leads to cheating people is what is railed against here. god will Himself step in to thwart the success of those who build it by cheating the poor. The hand of justice may not strike quickly, but it will eventually set things right.

Don't for a minute envy careless rebels;
   soak yourself in the Fear-of-God
That's where your future lies.
   Then you won't be left with an armload of nothing. (17-18)

Envy is a major enemy of success. it takes our attention away from what we need to be doing, pollutes our attitudes, and poisons our relationships. Put it away before it gets in your way in a big way.

This includes all sorts of comparisons with other people.

The genius of network marketing is that you succeed by actually cheering for people to succeed.

Oh listen, dear child—become wise;
   point your life in the right direction.
Don't drink too much wine and get drunk;
   don't eat too much food and get fat.
Drunks and gluttons will end up on skid row,
   in a stupor and dressed in rags.(19-21)

In contrast with wisdom is the success enemy we call substance abuse. Include in that category all forms of alcohol, illegal drugs, excessive use of legal drugs, and addictive sexual behaviors (which produce drugs through our endocrine system). Add addiction to food, called gluttony which produces lethargy and  so many ailments and you have a cluster of enemies to success. we could go on and on about ways they rob us of vitality, resources, time, energy, motivation, and positivity

These were as much of a problem in Solomon's day as they are today  for those who indulged in them. The problem is that there seems to be a growing trend toward these forms of self-indulgence accompanied by media affirmation that we should do the things that make us feel good and that pleasure is our ultimate god.

Not only is that not spiritually true, but it is practically disastrous.

How do we avoid that enemy? Moderation is the key to avoiding addiction in some behaviors. In others, absolute abstinence may be in order because of the  power of certain substances to establish a quick and certain foothold in a person's life.

Addiction is a major enemy of success and friend of poverty today.

Consider these symptoms:

  • Drowsiness
  • Sleeping late
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inattention
  • Irritability
  • Uncontrolled spending
  • Health problems
  • Missing appointments
  • Incarceration
  • Inability to drive safely
  • Broken relationships
  • Legal entanglements of a civil nature
  • Exposure to severe liability
  • Loss of drive
  • Preoccupation with satisfying momentary urges
  • Laziness
  • Much, much more ...

All of these are problematic in and of themselves. Together, they decimate your capacity for success.

Get some victory in this area of your life quickly if you wish to succeed. Hint: A vital, growing, committed, and healthy relationship with Jesus Christ and a local church is a beginning context for all sorts of life liberation and personal growth.

Listen with respect to the father who raised you,
   and when your mother grows old, don't neglect her.
Buy truth—don't sell it for love or money;
   buy wisdom, buy education, buy insight.
Parents rejoice when their children turn out well;
   wise children become proud parents.
So make your father happy!
   Make your mother proud!  (22-25)

A know-it-all mentality is an enemy of success. Stop listening to elders and mentors and your will stop growing. Listen. Read. Study. Attend workshops. Read the Bible as if you have never read it before. Spend whatever is necessary, literally (money) to educate yourself. you are your most valuable resources. never stop investing in yourself.


Dear child, I want your full attention;
   please do what I show you. (26)

Don't just learn truth. practice it. Another enemy of success is gathering knowledge and storing it up for the future. Put new knowledge into practice quickly. Don't hide it in your conference notebook files.

A whore is a bottomless pit;
   a loose woman can get you in deep trouble fast.
She'll take you for all you've got;
   she's worse than a pack of thieves. (27-28)

Sexual indiscretion has been the downfall of many an otherwise successful man or woman. Don 't fall for it. Compare a few minutes of pleasure with a lifetime of success, fulfillment, and significance before wandering down the path of momentary ecstasy.

Who are the people who are always crying the blues?
   Who do you know who reeks of self-pity?
Who keeps getting beat up for no reason at all?
   Whose eyes are bleary and bloodshot?
It's those who spend the night with a bottle,
   for whom drinking is serious business.
Don't judge wine by its label,
   or its bouquet, or its full-bodied flavor.
Judge it rather by the hangover it leaves you with—
   the splitting headache, the queasy stomach.
Do you really prefer seeing double,
   with your speech all slurred,
Reeling and seasick,
   drunk as a sailor?
"They hit me," you'll say, "but it didn't hurt;
   they beat on me, but I didn't feel a thing.
When I'm sober enough to manage it,
   bring me another drink!" (29-35)

In short, all forms of self-indulgence and drive for immediate satisfaction and  instant gratification are the enemies of your success. Conquer them and conquer the world!

All the best for your success - Tom Sims, The Dream Factory

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002  by Eugene H.  Peterson

Justice for All

These words and ideas are mine and reflect only my opinions, but  they are deep convictions and they have led me to forms some relationships with organizations that address some of the inequities I have observed in society.

Is the American ideal of liberty and justice for all a reality?

It may be more so in the setting of criminal law than practical law. Even in criminal law, the outcomes are often inadequate.

The Justice for All Act of 2004 (The Justice for All Act of 2004 (H.R. 5107, Public Law 108-405) is, like most legislation, a bit deceptive in  its name. It covers an important, but severely limited issue of allowing victims to speak at sentencing hearings for perpetrators of crime against themselves.

In a system where there is little relevance in the trial and punishment to the victim and minimal relationship between the entities and issues involved and the final outcome, this is an important consideration - the right of the victim to address the victimizer and confront that person with the impact of his or her crime.

Of secondary, but great importance, is the impact that such speech makes upon juries and judges in sentencing.

What it fails to address is any notion of restorative justice, reconciliation, or restitution, but merely fits within the status quo of a systems that tends to run on its own steam in its own predetermined direction.

Nor does it address the inequities in the system where the poor are often inadequately represented, where dispute resolution in civil matters is weighed to the advantage of the privileged, where prisons are becoming factories for the training and production of hardened criminals, and where victims get warm and temporary feelings of being "vindicated," but no resolution comes to address restoring what they have lost.

It is a rather unimaginative system where advocates of reform generally look within the system as it is to revise and improve rather than affect radical overhaul in thinking and implementation of justice.

Justice is not retribution, but neither ought it be divorced from the emotional realities that crime actually damages relationships, causes pain, and brings loss to people. That is is true for crime, and equally true for injustices in business and family relationships that fall into the arena of civil law.

Other considerations in the matter of justice for all include assuring the integrity of the  gathering and presentation of truth by enforcing civil rights protections to all citizens equally. It requires giving equal access to all citizens to courts and due process as a way of  redressing civil concerns. It necessitates fairness that balances a sterile dispassionate process with a fair, compassionate, and empathetic cadre of real people dealing with real people.

There are some real heroes in the system and  have recently featured one in a posting,

Criminal justice is meaningless and punishment is a mockery if the state is not compelled to prove its case against its citizens beyond a reasonable doubt with honesty and the purest of motives. It is equally meaningless unless every effort and overture has not been made toward restoration of the victim and, if possible, the broken relationships.

An adversarial system, at its best is designed to insure fairness. In practice, it sometimes circumvents the possibility of reconciliation, full disclosure of truth, public safety interests, and redemption of human potential. The awful truth is that we are all flawed human beings with an imperfect system and inadequate resources.

We just have to do the best we can, but we must keep striving.

A disturbingly and tragically growing minority of the population will come into contact with the criminal justice system as defendants or victims. Each must be afforded their rights and laws must address the process that insure accurate verdicts, appropriate sentences, and proper restitution.

However, a majority of Americans will come into contact with every day law, legal questions, contracts, covenants, and matters where legal advice could give them an advantage and, at least, a fair shake.

At the moment, we have the system we have. It is imperfect, but it is what it is and is among the best in history for large societies. we all partake of it and the question is, how well we can avail ourselves of our rights.

Everyone needs a will.

Everyone will sign legal papers at some point in their lives.

We all make major purchases. We all come into conflict with perplexing legal questions. Most of us marry and have children. We get sued or threatened with suits. We get traffic tickets, have accidents, incur liability, and have job related disputes - often between well meaning and decent parties.

Whenever possible, mediation is the best course. However, knowing the law and receiving good advice can often help people avoid legal entanglements, broken relationships, and financial hardships.

The sad fact is that most people fall into the great middle place between those who are entitled to free representation and those who can afford private counsel.

That was the place that Harland Stonecipher found himself in years ago and became the impetus for his vision to bring "Justice for All" to a reality for ordinary people through Pre-Paid Legal. Though I am an independent associate, my comments here in no way reflect their official position. What will accurately portray Pre-Paid Legal's views and story is a documentary set to air on Court TV on September 29. I urge my friends to watch and  become informed. For more information, anyone can check out my  links back to the company's web sites.

Justice For All

For more information on Pre-Paid Legal services, click picture or go to my site.

If you are interested in Identity Theft protection, check out the IdentityTheft Shield site.

If you are interested in referring others or developing your own business as a Pre-Paid Legal Independent Associate, go to the Get Paid Daily on the Internet site.

For my fellow theologians and Bible scholars who wish to do a quick overview of uses of the word, "justice' in scripture, GO TO THIS LINK.

In fact, the book of Proverbs informs the system some well that these stand on their own without necessity of comment.


”I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice …” - Proverbs 8:20

”The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth should not betray justice.” – Proverbs 16:10

”A wicked man accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the course of justice.” – Proverbns 17:23

”It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the innocent of justice.” – Proverbs 18:5

”A corrupt witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.” – Proverbs 19:28 

”When a king sits on his throne to judge, he winnows out all evil with his eyes.” – Proverbs 20:8

“When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” – Proverbs 21:15

“Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.” Proverbs 18:28 

Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court,” – Proverbs 22:22

”… do not bring hastily to court, for what will you do in the end if your neighbor puts you to shame?” – Proverbs 25:8

“By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.” – Proverbs 29:4

”The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” – Proverbs 29:7 

”If a wise man goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.” – Proverbs 29:9 

”If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will always be secure.” – Proverbs 29:14

”Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the LORD that man gets justice.” – Proverbs 29:26 

“Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." – Proverbs 31:19 

(Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society)

The point is that it is an American, practical, and spiritual value - justice for ALL.

- Tom Sims The Dream Factory



Oh See, Can You Say?

If, with star spangled enthusiasm one might gasp, "Oh say, can you see," might one also find an opportune moment to ask, "Oh see, can you say?"

I am most likely to speak what I see and express what is temporally or metaphorically visible to my consciousness.

In other words, if I can get it, I can give it. If I can grasp it, I can pass it on. If it inspires me, I can use it to inspire others.

Bottom line- If you are a producer of ideas, thoughts, words, and encouragement, your output cannot exceed your resources. You had better be getting positive input if you are going to keep value flowing through and from your life into the lives of others. Deplete your supply and you have nothing to give.

What are you reading?

In my life, everything I produce comes from the overflow of what is being deposited into my life. It crossed my mind the other day that I was getting behind in my reading and that sent up all sorts of warning flags.

If other people are coming regularly to your well to drink, it will run dry unless you dig deeper and find fresh rivers of truth. There is no shortage of Living Water; it is just flowing most freely beneath the surface.

Seeing may be believing and believing may be seeing, but seeing always precedes saying.

Oh see, can you say?

- Tom Sims, The Dream Factory

Don't Pan the Plan

There is a seemingly disingenuous urge on the part of practitioners of spiritual things to shun strategic planning as something outside the realm of the Spirit. It is as if we do not believe God cannot enter into the process of preparation, but must show up at the last minute in order to get all the glory and save us from any mental or physical effort.

Don't pan the plan.

At some later date, I will do a study of the concept of planning in the book of Proverbs and throughout the scriptures, but for now, i will limit myself to a few verses which live in proximity to each other.

The first reminds us that it is better to plan well and with many advisers than to proceed like a charging bull against all odds to follow our hastily formulated ideas of what needs to be done.

"Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed." - Proverbs 16:22

It does not mean we follow all the advice we get. It means we seek it, hear it, consider it, and formulate our strategies in view of it.

Of course, "There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan  that can succeed against the LORD." - Proverbs 21:30

That is an ultimate safeguard, but no one wants to butt up against that wall of last resort. We would prefer to apply Proverbs 16:3 which says, " Commit to the LORD whatever you do,  and your plans will succeed."

So, somewhere between stubborn, willful confidence that excludes all voices but our own on one side and hyper spiritual "go-with-the-flowism"  on the other is the place of good planning.

Good planning happens when we start with commitment to God. If you are not at that place in your spiritual journey, then at least go for truth. We start there and finish there.

It is a deficit of truth in planning that is often responsible for failures. We either did not have enough information or we did not interpret it accurately.

Then, we need good human advisers who are wise, informed, or skilled. These come in many forms:

  • Experts in their fields who make up for areas where we are not as well informed.
  • Generalists who have the ability to analyze data and strategies across a wide spectrum of disciplines.
  • Strategists who understand how processes work and how to map out the progress of a pan from start to finish.
  • Consumers who can tell us of their own self interests. They are the sources for much of our demographic information.
  • Spiritual mentors who help us seek God and examine our own motives.
  • Prayer partners who encourage us, mirror our hearts, and intercede for us.

We don't need to pan the plan; we need to plan the "I can!"

Our problem is not that we over-plan and exclude God; it is that we exclude Him by not planning enough and unconsciously exclude Him that way.

The commitment is the start, finish, and every breath of the planning process.

Therefore ... Keep On

People have differing views of work ranging from dread to excitement - but very view people relish working in vain. We want something to show for our efforts.

In the fifteenth chapter of his first letter to Corinth, the Apostle Paul admonishes his friends, "Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

Perhaps the Corinthians suspected that it all might be for naught.

Everyone who uses a computer to communicate deeply felt convictions and intricate concepts has had the experience of seemingly working in vain. We have labored over thoughts and words for intense periods of time and have finally formulated those ideas into concrete sentences when the computer suddenly crashes and all is lost.

All of that for nothing! But not really.

We have meditated, wrestled, and have been shaped by truth. We may have to step away, take a break, or lick our wounds. However, the next time we write the same thing, it comes out a bit differently, but it comes nevertheless.

The process was about what was happening inside of us and not what was occurring on the screen or the page.

It is often that way.

The occasion for Paul's encouraging words was twofold. It came in recognition of the people's present concerns. All truth is wrapped in a veneer of present reality. We live in context and experience the full range of what it means to be human. We know pains and joys, satisfaction and discouragement. It is all a part of life. Add to that the ever-present, looming threat of death that eventually will overtake us all and we may wonder, "What is it all about?"

The second occasion he addresses is the future conviction that people of faith are going somewhere, that the resurrection of Jesus Christ has something more than an historical significance to His followers. In the earlier verses of the chapter, he expresses the conviction that resurrection hope is shared among all who embrace Jesus and live in the power of His death and life.

Everything has meaning, even the mundane and tedious experiences of life.

What follows is a threefold admonition. The NIV uses the words, "Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself to the work of the Lord."

The first admonition is to STAND.

It is hard to stand when the ground is shaking. For that reason, people who intend to live forever must find deeper grounding for their lives. They (we) cannot be controlled by our circumstances or our emotions. These are a part of our reality; they are not the sum total of it

"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness."

Another way he could have said this might have been, "Don't lose your footing." Remember what you believe. Remember where you are going. remember why you are doing what you are doing. Reconnect with what stabilizes you in your resolve and commitment.

Someone has said that if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

The second admonition is to WITHSTAND. "Let nothing move you."

We have some choices to make about what we will allow to move us. I choose God and God alone.

It is easy to place one's life in neutral when bombarded by a cacophony of voices and a barrage of influences all vying for our attention and compliance. Everyone wants our ears and our acquiescence.

Political, social, peer, commercial, moral, and familial voices tantalize, rationalize, and intimidate us into uncertainty about our core values and commitments.

That is what Paul is saying when he encourages the folks not to be moved.

Of course we need to challenge our presuppositions, prejudices, comfortable notions, and assumptions. He is not addressing these. He is talking about our life mission, or unchanging purpose for living, our devotion to God and His vision within us, and the work that we are called to do.

Keep on keeping on. Be not easily dissuaded from the cause. Persevere. Expect to be maligned, attacked, challenged, and inconvenienced, but stay with it.

The third admonition is to ABOUND.

He says we are to abound in the work of the Lord, always giving ourselves to it. The first admonition was abound grounding; the second was about rebounding in the face of opposition. Now we are looking at the call to be abounding in work itself.

It is about full engagement, heart devotion, energy investment, and enthusiasm.

"Whatsoever your hand findeth to do, do it with thy might."

You can stand with deep conviction and withstand with stubborn tenacity, but it takes the power of the Holy Spirit within you to abound. You must rely on a strength greater than your own to fully engage.

The word "enthusiasm" means "God within."

The word, "inspired" means "breathed upon," as though by the very breath of God.

"Motivated" really means "moved to action."

Abound. As you know in the physical world, the body requires rest, replenishment of energy through nutrition, and exercise to abound. The health system Kaiser calls it "thrive."

In the realm of work that has abiding significance and eternal implications, the same is true. We must nourish ourselves spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically to abound in our work. Paul says that our labor is in the Lord which means that He supplies the tasks as well as the ability to do them.

Some of the tools we have for abounding are true for ministry, business, and social endeavors:

READ - For me, part of the diet, the biggest part, is the Bible, but I also read instructive, encouraging, motivating, and challenging books and articles from many sources.

PRAY - Engage in an honest, ongoing, satisfying, and open relationship with the Source of your life. "Pray without ceasing."

RELATE and PARTNER - In Christianity, we call this fellowship. In business and entrepreneurship, we call it networking. In any realm, it is the reality that we are not alone and the assurance that others are engaged in the mission that helps encourage us.

FOCUS -Christian words for this are obedience and faithfulness. We focus on what we are doing and  let lesser things go. We keep eyes on the prize and invest our time, energy, and love in what produces lasting results and deep change.

Stand, withstand, and abound or, you could say, ground, rebound, and abound. That is the threefold admonition.

Finally, he gives a grand assurance - Your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

God knows it is hard.  You know it and God knows it. Sometimes you just don't want to get up and have no idea where the energy will come from or how to muster the will, but you do in faith and it comes.

God knows it is discouraging. You will not always be complemented, appreciated, or affirmed. Stay with it. It is not in vain. There will come a day. The story has been told so many times that no one really knows the source or whether it is fiction or history. It may not be true, but it is truth:

An old missionary couple had been working in Africa for years and were returning to New York to retire. They had no pension; their health was broken; they were defeated, discouraged, and afraid. They discovered they were booked on the same ship as President Teddy Roosevelt, who was returning from one of his big-game hunting expeditions.

            No one paid any attention to them. They watched the fanfare that accompanied the President's entourage, with passengers trying to catch a             glimpse of the great man. As the ship moved across the ocean, the old  missionary said to his wife, "Something is wrong."  "Why should we have given our lives in faithful service for God in Africa all these many years             and have no one care a thing about us?  Here this man comes back from a hunting trip and everybody makes much over him, but nobody gives two hoots             about us."

            "Dear, you shouldn't feel that way", his wife said. He replied "I can't help it; it doesn't seem right."

            When the ship docked in New York, a band was waiting to greet the President. The mayor and other dignitaries were there. The papers were full of the President's arrival. No one noticed this missionary couple. They slipped off the ship and found a cheap flat on the East Side, hoping the next day to see what they could do to make a living in the city.

            That night the man's spirit broke. He said to his wife, "I can't take this; God is not treating us fairly". His wife replied, "Why don't you go in the bedroom and tell that to the Lord?"

            A short time later he came out from the bedroom, but now his face was completely different. His wife asked, "Dear, what happened?"  "The Lord             settled it with me", he said. "I told Him how bitter I was that the President should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one met us as we returned home. And when I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put             His hand on my shoulder and simply said;

            "But you're not home yet."

That is because God knows the outcome. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him."

You are going somewhere and your labor is not in vain.

Keep on keeping on.

- Tom Sims The Dream Factory

Judge William Kent Hamlin on Getting a Life

I had an occasion to sit in Judge William Kent Hamlin's court for half a day this week as an observer. He did what most judges do, moved agenda, shuffled papers, read obligatory minutia over and over, and granted requests from lawyers with predetermined outcomes. Primarily, he did what we pay him to do - clear calendars.

But from time to time, he had the opportunity to be a wise judge and in one brief statement, I saw that blatantly demonstrated.

Without looking up except to glance briefly at the man in the dock, he rather shyly and without fanfare muttered these profound words that should be addressed by every person who is engaged in dead end behaviors. They ought to have been shouted, engraved, published, and disseminated widely.

Since he probably won't, I will. Good job, Judge.

He was sentencing a repeat drug offender to 3 years (2 plus an enhancement) for burglary - rather routinely, dispassionately, courteously, and with the agreement of all the lawyers in the room.

He asked and observed, "Can the dope be that good that for the last 13 years of your life you've done nothing but steal stuff and do time to get it? I'd like you to think about that for the next year and a half or so in custody and maybe on parole. Maybe this time you'll decide to kick the habit and get a life."

As a pastor, encourager, coach, and friend, that rang a bell with me. We work with people regularly who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, failure, negativity, sin, professional victimization, bigotry, and chronic lethargy among other self-destructive attitudes and behaviors. Some result in societal crimes; others are more personal; all affect other people. All keep people from "getting a life" and rising above their limits on the road to success and significance.

Judge Hamlin might want to consider becoming a network marketing trainer once he has done his time on the bench reading long, boring edicts for a living because he hit the nail on the head and his words could not have been truer. No pastor I know could have said them better.

And he did a really good job of not being condescending or letting on that his heart was truly broken with genuine human care and concern for the guy that stood before him. I saw it and I am exposing him here and now as a compassionate judge who really cares about his people.

More so, we can all take the words he so truthfully spoke to heart. How long will we let dead-end attitudes, behaviors, and habits keep us from becoming the people we were made to be? how long will we let such lesser things cloud our dreams, obscure our goals, and sidetrack the activities and commitments that get us what we truly desire in life?

What is stopping you?

Would you be willing to stop what is stopping you?

Judge Hamlin gave that man a gift. If he has any active sense at all that has not been repressed by years of drug use, he will see it as a gift and avail himself of the opportunity of considering his ways. I pray that his eyes will be opened, his heart warmed, and his life redeemed. I also pray that for you and for myself because it is housecleaning time for all of us.

It is time to lay aside what Hebrews 12 called, "the sin that doth so easily beset us" and begin to run "the race that is set before us."

What is the sin? It is whatever keeps you from running the race.

Thanks, Judge Hamlin. Good work. Thanks for doing my job. Will you start today or can the dope be that good?

- Tom Sims, The Dream Factory

Do You Know?

I imagine that you know this, but in case you have forgotten, you are a very important part of something that is far bigger than yourself.

You are integral to something that without you is not complete and without which you are incomplete.

I know it is a mind bender of a concept, but your life and success are interwoven with the lives and successes of the many upon which you rely to encourage and equip you for greatness. We are a part of each other.

In giving we receive; in encouraging, we are encouraged; in helping we are helped; in lifting up another, we are lifted up.

It is a timeless, eternal, and enduring principle with divine authorship and perpetual power.

And it is for you to exercise.

In affirming your own place in the greater scheme of things you are not abandoning humility; you are applying it. You are not becoming prideful; you are overcoming pride. In letting God love you through you, you are not becoming narcissistic; you are accepting a gift that is being freely, graciously, and extravagantly offered by one who desires nothing better than for you to receive it.

You are qualifying yourself to be a conduit of love, acceptance, encouragement, and empowerment for others. Not to accept such love and affirmation is to take yourself out of the roll that others disparately need for you to embody this very day.

As you pass through the maze of responsibilities that are yours within the next 24 hours, there will be divine appointments which have been calendared for you so that you can add value to the lives of others. Someone is waiting for what only you can give them. If you have not first received it, you will be ill equipped to give it.

And if you do not give it, you will not be open to receive the one they have been entrusted with for you.

In case you did not know or have forgotten, your success at being the you that you were made to be is vital to someone else becoming the person he or she was made to be. It is your calling to be yourself, fully, faithfully, joyfully, and successfully.

It is not just about you, but neither is it without you. I have shirts that never leave the hangers in my closet because they are missing one tiny component - a button. You are never so small or insignificant as to not make a big difference.

You are you and you are special.

So go out and be the best you that you can be by God's grace and with His help, knowing that you are loved and that you are are very important part of something that is far bigger than yourself.


It is 9-11 and every blogger, commentator, and preacher is waking up with a feeling of obligation to say something.

I think almost everything has been said somewhere by someone.

It happened. It was awful. We must never forget. It changed some things ...

... but not nearly as many things as some folks predicted.

True, it was the reason for one war and  at least the stated reason for another where many more lives have been lost than in the initial attack. We have some longer lines. We have opened ourselves up for compromises of our personal freedoms without blinking an eye. We have become more tolerant of secrecy in government.

In those respects, perhaps the terrorists have won a few battles. They wanted to make us more like them and they have, to a degree, succeeded.

In another respect, they have lost. Young men and women have stepped forward to defend their country sacrificially. People have been more cooperative than they once were with minor inconveniences. Certain legitimate security measures have been taken to close loopholes. Our eyes are more observant of our surroundings. We have sought to understand how the rest of the world thinks.

It is years later and the remarkable thing is that this grotesque act of utter futility and devastating evil did not destroy western civilization or dramatically alter our lifestyles. It did not destroy us. Even the stock market quickly bounced back.

History is full of conflict, ideological and political. It is full of atrocities, some of which "our people" have committed.

Civilization has survived and God is still in charge of the final outcomes.

Starbucks Online

In the Field of Dreams, a character asks Ray, "Is this Heaven?" He answers, "No. It's Iowa." I know Starbucks isn't Heaven, but I can't think of anyway for the Internet to get better than for Starbucks to go online. Here is the evidence:

I'll take mine venti with room for cream.

Wake Up

There is a device at the head of my bed with which I have a love/hate relationship. It gives me a degree of comfort - the kind that comes with discipline and safety while also being an enemy to my comfort.

The very name of the device evokes images of fear, terror, shock, and awe: ALARM.

"Don't be alarmed," is a common way of assuring people that there is no reason to be disturbed, frightened, or unsettled.

But  that is what my alarm clock does to me every morning - so much so that I often wake up on my own to avoid being jarred from my rest by its sudden and obnoxious emission of offensive sound.

It alarms me.

So, I subconsciously avoid hearing it, wake up in a sluggish manner, turn it off, switch it to radio, and listen to the news while I wake up gently.

I've been known to wake up every half hour or more and look at when I am scheduled for an extremely early morning assignment.

I've been known to shake it and perform other bizarre behaviors surrounding it in my half-wakeful, half-asleep states.

No one likes to be alarmed.

However, I need this backup plan. The demands of our lives mandate a reminder that it is time to wake up, get up, and get going whether we are ready or not. We have appointments to keep, jobs to do, and responsibilities to administer. We simply have to wake up and we may need some sort of alarm to assure that we do.

So, what is there to be alarmed about every morning at 4, 5, 6, or 7? What are the requirements and where is the wiggle room (the snooze button factor)?

We are to be alarmed at the possibility that we will miss the possibilities that the day has in store.

Of course, there are practical considerations such as loss of job, missing classes, not getting the kids to school on time, and having to rush through breakfast and quiet time, but the real issue is possibility.

Every day has something in store to be embraced with enthusiasm and wonder. Missing that something is cause for alarm, so we sound the alarm at a predetermined time.

You needed no alarm as a child for Christmas morning, but now, as old fuddie duddies who have lost some of that childlike wonder, we need a little help.

What are the alarms in your life that alert you to wake up to the possibilities around you? They are not always pleasant to hear.  They may help you wake up on your own to avoid hearing them. Yet, they are necessary reminders that life is good and that this day could be a major turning point in your life.

Wake up. You may meet the person today who hands you a key to a great mystery or a marvelous future. You may read one idea or hear one insight that will unravel the tangled mess of confusion with which you have been struggling.

Today is yours. Don't stagger through it in a flog of oblivious indifference. Don't sleepwalk through this day.

If you miss the possibilities, that is something to be alarmed about!

The Dream Factory

Jonah 4 – Running Ahead of God – His Heart or Our Agenda?

Jonah was doing fine. He was doing what he had no desire to do and getting the kind of success that he never wanted.

It was an ideal ministry – sort of.

The hand of God was upon him, but the heart of God was not in him. Yet, he was running with God up until the time that the people of Nineveh repented and God relented. Then, he pouted and began to run ahead of God.

Here is the Word of the Lord:

“ 1 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live."“

Jonah was greatly displeased. Make no mistake about it. He was not merely displeased with the circumstances. He was displeased with God. He didn’t like the way God handled things. He didn’t agree with God’s purpose. He liked absolutely nothing about this situation.

So what did he do?

Out of his intense displeasure, Jonah did what most of us are afraid to do. He prayed.

So, are you angry or displeased with God or something He has done or not done according to your expectations, ideas, or preferences? Have you discussed the matter with Him? I think the first step toward coming back into sync with Him is coming clean about where your heart really is.


Here is what He prayed:

“God, if you really want to know why I didn’t want to go to Nineveh, this is it. You are a compassionate God. You are slow to anger and full of love and, frankly, I thin k you are a little “wishy washy” about how you carry out your threats. The least little repentance from these yahoos, and you change your mind. So go ahead and kill me, because this kind of life is not worth living and I really don’t want to be a prophet who is known for his prophecies not coming true.”

And what follows is …. NOTHING!

No lightening bolts from heaven, no sudden death, just a question:

“4 But the LORD replied, "Have you any right to be angry?" “

We would really like to get angry and be left alone most of the time – or heard with the desired effect of someone being completely caught off guard and then changing their behavior to our desired outcome.

God answers Jonah’s rant calmly, but firmly – not the way Jonah wanted. He did not desire to have his rant challenged, but god did it anyway.

He asks Jonah if he really thought he was within his rights to be angry about this matter. Jonah does not answer. He can’t answer. Most anger is not rational. When we are confronted with our irrationality, we have no answer. We just storm off and pout.

We truly believe it is our right.

Aren’t you glad we have a patient God who gives us a little space to work things out and come to our senses? And then, when we don’t, He gets back in our faces and tries again … and again .., and with increasing intensity until we confront the real issues.

When we run ahead of God, we abandon the heart of God.

Our hearts are not beating in rhythm with His.

“5 Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city.”

Jonah takes his pout outside the city and there are some interesting characteristics to it.

 The first is that he sets himself apart from what God is doing. He removes himself from the city. When we get ahead of God with our own agendas, we often do just that. We remove ourselves from the center of His activity. If you are feeling apart from what God is doing, ask yourself if you have moved.

 The second characteristic is that he attempts to make himself comfortable. Arrogance and pride crave comfort. We desire the comfort of our own preferences, of peaceful shelter, of a detached view of things, and of our biased opinions.

 The third characteristic is that is evident in Jonah’s pout is a strange sort of denial that continues to hope that God will come around to our way of thinking and act in the way we think he should. Jonah had seen the city repent and had seen God relent, but still he sat down from a distance to watch them fail and come under the wrath of God. He was cheering for the wrong side.

"6 Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine."

There is no human explanation for the love, compassion, and patience of God. The same grace He showed to Jonah when he was running away and later in midst of the sea, is what he showed to the people of Nineveh. It is the same that he now offers to Jonah again.

As much as Jonah does to make himself comfortable, he is still in a state of discomfort as we all are when we are outside of the will of God and the rhythm of His heartbeat. Running from God is not a comforting place to be, so God gives Jonah some temporal and temporary comfort – just to get him to the next place where He can deal with his heart.

At the moment, Jonah was happy. He was beginning to rely upon the temporal, temporary comfort of the vine in much the same way that we take for granted the blessings God gives us and become addicted to our comforts.

He could almost forget how displeased he was with what God was or was not doing about Nineveh.

But God was simply waiting for Jonah to be ready for the next encounter with truth.

Don’t get complacent with your earthly comforts. God is not averse to shaking things up to move you beyond where you are to where He wants you to be.

"7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live."“

God provided a fish in the sea and a worm in the desert. Both were about grace and neither were obviously so.

The temporary, temporal blessing of the vine was gone and now Jonah was back to where he had begun at the start of this chapter. He was left only with his disgruntled attitude and again, he wanted to die.

The pout was back and so was the question God had let ride for a season: “Do you have the right to be angry?”

Now Jonah is not only angry, but he is faint and depleted. His fight is gone. He is depressed and lethargic and yet, he answers with a resounding, “YES I DO!”

“9 But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?"

      "I do," he said. "I am angry enough to die." “

Just how angry is one when one is “angry enough to die?” People commit suicide every day in this world to get back at other people. They shoot themselves in the feet, sink their own ships, and sabotage their own lives because they are mad at someone else.

But God does not deal with his threat. He has a larger purpose and a larger issue. If Jonah can get this one, he can get over wanting to die and start to live at a higher level, his heart beating with the heartbeat of God, running at God’s pace, living in His grace.

“10 But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"”

The vine had been an object lesson. It was about a larger lesson that God wanted to teach.

Like many of us, Jonah was thinking it was all about the vine, but it was not. Nor was it all about Nineveh – or Jonah’s wounded pride or damaged reputation or loss of power and influence. It was about the heart of God, a heart that beats with compassion for people.

That was the lesson for Jonah. It was the lesson that God wanted to teach Israel centuries later as the story was told and retold and eventually written down.

God’s love and compassion are not just for you. They are for the world.

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”

It is not about the vine in your life, not about your pride, reputation, preferences, prejudices, power, or comfort. It is about the mission of God. It is about the heart of God.

Anything else is your own agenda.

Anything else is running ahead of God.

It is an unholy pout.

God gets the last word in this book and He had better get the last word in your life.

What could Jonah have said? Actually, it is unimportant. We know that He told the truth about it because no one else could have known and told the story. He told it. He gave God the last word. He made himself out to look like the bad guy. He obviously learned the lesson. Otherwise, we would have never heard.

But the response is left blank at the end of the book of Jonah – for us to fill in the blanks – for us to ‘get it,” and modify our attitudes and behaviors.

This day, each of us has a decision to make in each of our hearts. Will be step back from our own feelings, beliefs, and preferences and listen to the heart of God? Are we willing to put aside our own agendas and take up His? Are we willing to repent of wanting our own way and desire only His purposes?

Are we willing to run with God with full heart engagement and absolute submission to his will?

God may be using you and have His hand upon you, but you will be miserable until your heart beats with His.

Make the change today. It is a simply change of mind and He will do the heavy lifting in your heart.

Now is the time.


With the death of Pavarotti, a great voice has been silenced and the world is a poorer place. He defined "tenor" for a generation and interpreted opera, art music, and culture to masses of humanity who would have otherwise shrugged it off as a mere remnant from an irrelevant past.

He made music live with every role he played and every song he sang.

Fellow tenor, Placido Domingo, said, "I always admired the God-given glory of his voice — that unmistakable special timbre from the bottom up to the very top of the tenor range,"

It is hard to imagine a world without a Pavarotti in it.

Italian tenor Pavarotti dies at 71 AP

D. James Kennedy

Simply put, D. James Kennedy taught me how to simply, boldly, and effectively share my faith in Jesus Christ and lead people gently, respectfully, and positively to the place where they could make their own informed decision to trust in Him. Dr. Kennedy did this through Evangelism Explosion. Through this one ministry, now in every nation on earth, Dr. Kennedy has impacted hundreds of millions of lives for eternity.

Much of what I now know about evangelism and faith-sharing, I first learned as a student of D. James Kennedy's teachings. It may also be said that most of what I have built upon as a Christian business person and entrepreneur, pastor, encourager, and salesman, I first wrestled with in his lessons on how Jesus used the laws of selling to influence people.

In Evangelism Explosion, I first encountered the importance and simplicity of multiplied ministry, influence, and time leverage through training other people a few at a time and through geometric progression, exploding potential into massive movements of truth and grace.

I am grateful for the gift of D. James Kennedy, saddened by his loss, and joyful that he is now in the presence of the One to whom he has led so many.

Watch Coral Ridge Hour

Click picture to view video tribute.

Running With God - Jonah 3

In Jonah 3, we find a man who has had a turn-about in his life reluctantly relenting and pursuing the call of God to go to a strange and hostile place to proclaim a message that will have one of two results.

The first possible result would be that his message would be received with characteristic hostility, rejection, and perhaps, violence. These folks, after all, had never listened before and they were the enemies of his country.

The second possible result was almost unbearable for Jonah to stomach. It repulsed him. It was the glimmer of chance that the people might receive the message and find mercy. The judgment that he, as a prophet, had been announcing would be diverted and God would have compassion on his enemies.

That is exactly what happened.

The Man of God

Jonah became, once again, the kind of man of God that God could use. This involved three areas of submission on his part. The first was a willingness to follow orders. He didn't have to like them; he just had to follow them. The second was mobility. He had to be willing to get up and go wherever it was he needed to go to do what he needed to do. The third was integrity. That meant he had to deliver the message he was given in all its simplicity and without adding to it or taking away from it.

Jonah met those three requirements. He was not perfect, but he was available to be the man of God that God was calling for that hour.

The Hand of God

The second and more important feature of this portion of the story is the visible outworking of the hand of God through Jonah and among the people of Nineveh.

Three principles of God's handiwork can be seen here.The first is that God works through proclamation. It does not have to be complex or eloquent; it must be His Word and it must be faithful, to His Word. The second is that God works from the bottom up. He started a stirring among the rank and file people of the city and it made its way up the ladder of power. The third is that God works from the top down as well as the King of the city received the message, he also responded and exercised his leadership to issue a proclamation  of repentance.

The Heart of God

In the response of God to the repentance of the people, we see His heart. It beats with compassion. It is flexible in methodology, but persistent in purpose. God cares about people. That is His compassion. He has a purpose to be known and worshiped by all and He is persistent in it. That means that He is willing to change His announced methodology to accomplish what He wants to do.

Jonah would not be happy as we will see in subsequent verses, but God was delighted. He accomplished what He had always intended to, the redemption of a people and reconciliation.

Demands and Dread

I am facing today with a mixture of excitement and dread. The excitement of anticipation comes from the developing reality that the day is pregnant with possibilities and packed with responsibilities that I relish, opportunities for good and for exercise of my gifts.

The dread is for the same reasons and the gap between the two extremes is that there is no gap. All gaps have been filled. The day is packed tight. I have not allowed processing time, down time, or preparation time.

I enter this day as prepared as I will be and I turn on the engine knowing that it will run until bedtime.

I am not sure that "dread" is such a bad word. It is like the fear of the Lord, the beginning of wisdom, the fear that dispels all other fears and depletes them of their power. This dread is in the knowledge that the day will be demanding, awesome, and somewhat unknown.

How do I make this DREAD work for me in meeting the demands of my life today?

D - Dependence - Everything about a demanding day points toward our dependence on some positive things - God, our teammates, our preparation, our inner resources, our conviction that what we are doing is true to our calling and must be done.

R - Reflection - That is what I am doing now - before the day really begins. We build it in upfront or we die. I am way too busy not to have read scripture and prayed this morning. There are far too many demands on my life today for me to hit the ground running thoughtlessly or haphazardly.

E - Eagerness - I am truly eager to embrace these demands because they are part of the reason I am on this planet. I was born to do the things I will do today. My dread is really more about what will be left undone, the things I must postpone, and the nagging suspicion that I am not quite ready. Eagerness allows me to embrace the wonder of what God will do in spite of and sometimes, because of my inadequacies.

A - Acceptance - The day has begun. I have just a few minutes to wrap this up, grab a shower, and get out of the house. The clock does not lie. The calendar is accurate. The day is what it is and things are scheduled. At any time, God can change everything, but for now, I accept that it is what it is.

D - Do It! - It is time to begin. I can wimp out or step up. If I wimp out, it will not be the first time, but it will also not be the last. It will make it easier to quit next time and that is something I ought to truly dread.  Just do it. Take a deep breath and step into the day with both feet.

As I will find pockets of rest, moments of refreshment, and much energy for whatever is demanded. Whenever I am caught up in the middle of my calling, I am renewed.

- Tom Sims
The Dream Factory

Jonah 2 – Running Toward God

1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God.

This is the first time that we actually see Jonah praying. Even the crew of the ship, made up of pagans was praying.

Doesn’t it irk you when you are the supposed to be the religious one and everyone else is more pious than you? This week, I have been reading numerous discussions of the revelations of Mother Teresa’s spiritual struggles and honest doubts. 

She was in good company and she was brutally honest with God. Ultimately, she proved by her life, obedience, and devotion that she trusted God. 

It has taken Jonah three days and nights in this dark, smelly, and dismal place to come to the point of prayer. 

What does it take to get you to pray? 

I’ll be honest. There are times I simply do not want to pray. Like Jonah, I have found myself running in the opposite direction of God, seeking to avoid Him as much as possible. Jonah knows what he will face and he will pray when he is good and ready. 

Finally, he is good and ready. 

Are you ready?

What storms have you already been through? From what calling or nudging have you been running? What conflict have you been avoiding? What task have you been procrastinating into oblivion? 

2 He said:
       "In my distress I called to the LORD,
       and he answered me.
       From the depths of the grave [a] I called for help,
       and you listened to my cry.

There is a footnote [a] here to alert us to a textual issue. The word for “grave” is sheol. It is dark abode of the dead in Hebrew theology. It has been erroneously translated as hell, but it is not a place of final judgment. It is dark and gloomy and lonely and despairing like the bottom of the sea.

Jonah was sinking when God sent this fish and it was through the fish, a never before, never again miracle, that God rescued Jonah. 

Perhaps Jonah had been praying in some way. Nothing in the record says he prayed, but he says that he called on the Lord. If so, perhaps it was without words or premeditation. Perhaps it was without voice and so feeble that even he could not be sure. 

I. It happened in DISTRESS. 

3 You hurled me into the deep,
       into the very heart of the seas,
       and the currents swirled about me;
       all your waves and breakers
       swept over me.


4 I said, 'I have been banished
       from your sight;
       yet I will look again
       toward your holy temple.'

5 The engulfing waters threatened me, [b] (Jonah 2:5 Or waters were at my throat )

       the deep surrounded me;
       seaweed was wrapped around my head.

6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
       the earth beneath barred me in forever.
       But you brought my life up from the pit,
       O LORD my God. 

7 "When my life was ebbing away … 

D – Dissonance – “Lack of agreement, consistency, or harmony; conflict.” The dissonance is between Jonah and God. It is a disagreement. God has one plan; Jonah has another. That will cause you profound distress. 

I – Inconsistency – There was a gap between what Jonah believed and preached and what he was doing. He proclaimed, as a prophet, the Sovereignty of God. Yet, he could not let God be sovereign over his own life. Have you ever considered the kinds of people God uses and how He must work in our lives to bridge this gap of inconsistency? 

S – Separation – In the sea, Jonah is severed from everything and everyone. He has no assurances there. He has nothing to which to cling. To drown is to be surrounded by separateness. It is lonely in the depths of death. He is, according to verse 3, swept over by the waters that are separating him from life itself. He declares that he has been banished. 

T – Truth – The truth can be very troubling. In his distress, Jonah sees himself for who and what he really is and he cannot escape the reality of his own inadequacies and rebellion. He is a coward and a bigot and he is dying. The truth hurts. Have you ever been so confronted by raw truth that it shook everything in your world and disturbed every self-concept you ever held dear? 

R – Restricted – The word, “distress” comes from a Latin word that means, “hindered” as a person in a strait jacket. He is out of options, out of ideas, and out of time. Verse 5 says that the deep surrounded him. 

E – Ebbing – Life was ebbing away from Jonah. It is a terrible feeling to lose one’s strength, vitality, and fight. He is dying slowly. One day you wake up in the waves and you there is nothing you can do about your condition. You are fading and it is a distressing feeling. 

S – Surrounded – That is the word Jonah uses in verse 5. What is surrounding you? What is it that presents itself in every direction you look? 

S – Sinking – Nothing was getting better. Everything was getting worse. That was Jonah’s condition of distress. 

Look at some of the other descriptive words that Jonah uses to describe his distress: 

Hurled – There is a note of violence as he is not gently placed in the sea. He sees God hurling him. 

Swirled – The currents were swirling around him. He had no power. 

Swept Over – This is neither comforting nor comfortable. It is a bad situation. 

Banished from Your sight – Even God, it would seem, could not see him. But there is a glimmer of hope here … “yet I will look again toward your holy temple.” Perhaps that is when he perceived that he called out to God. 

Engulfed … Threatened … Surrounded … seaweed wrapped around his head … He was not pretty sight. 

Again, let us see verse 6: 

6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
       the earth beneath barred me in forever.
       But you brought my life up from the pit,
       O LORD my God.


When you go as far down as you can, and God sends something along, a fish or a line, or a person … anything … you see it as a sign of hope. In that fish, Jonah realized that God had brought him up.


So, he bided his time and considered the possibility of return. He prepared his own heart and attitude to run in the direction of God with as much fervor as he had run away in chapter 1.

II. The next step came at the point of DEATH.


Jonah was in the doorway of death when God intervened. Hear again his description of his condition:


7 "When my life was ebbing away,
       I remembered you, LORD,
       and my prayer rose to you,
       to your holy temple.


In his depleted condition, Jonah can do nothing about his circumstances except let the fish swallow him. I am not even sure he could have resisted that, but he could have chosen whether or not to pray.


By choosing to pray, Jonah acknowledged his helpless condition and the death that loomed over him.


Jesus and Paul both called this dying to self and coming alive to Christ.


It was as his life was ebbing away that Jonah found something to cling to. For Jonah, the whole idea of death turned inside out.


D – Depletion – You cannot die as long as you hold out an illusion of your own self-sufficiency in your own strength to save your own life. We don’t even have enough faith. We depend on God for even that.


E – Effort – None will help even if you could exert it. You are at the end of everything.


A – Attention – Suddenly you remember something – GOD! Jonah said, “I remembered You!” How long have you actually gone without even a thought of God? It is a mini-conversion to think of Him again.


T – Talk – Now you start talking, but not to yourself or others, but to God himself. That is what prayer is. That is what Mother Teresa never stopped doing even as she experienced all of these Jonah moments and more – and she had not even run away from  Nineveh.


H – Hope – One thing Jonah did seem to understand in the depths of his heart was that God really did hear him. That brought him hope. He also remembered the temple, the reminder of God dwelling with men upon earth. Somewhere between God’s call to Jonah to go to  Nineveh.and his escape to Joppa his flight to Tarshish lay the one place on earth where Jonah knew he could find God. Yet, this same God had found him in the midst of the sea… And he can find you there too… at the point of death.


III. Finally, Jonah returns with determination to his DUTY. He runs to God and to his calling. It is not that he suddenly likes what it is that God wants him to do, but he realizes that he loves God and likes living.


“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”


And the proof of real faith is saying “yes” to God. 


The word “duty” is not all that common in the Bible. It is used of responsibility to family, to pay taxes, secular duties, and often, in the Old Testament with regard to Temple service. What Jonah was running from was his duty to perform that for which he had been created and called. He owed God his service to go where he was sent and preach what he was told to preach.

Jonah continued praying: 


8 "Those who cling to worthless idols
       forfeit the grace that could be theirs.


9 But I, with a song of thanksgiving,
       will sacrifice to you.
       What I have vowed I will make good.
       Salvation comes from the LORD."


DUTY meant, for Jonah four things:


D – Despise – He had to go to a people he despised, swallow his pride, get over his hatred and bigotry, and put his own opinions aside to do God’s will. Sometimes you have to go to places you dislike among people you dislike to do something you dislike doing because you just haven’t learned to love it yet and God has called you anyway. In those cases, suck it up and do it. Jonah had to go to the very people who clung to worthless idols and forfeited grace that could be theirs. Yet, in this process of having to return to God, he had come dangerously close to becoming one of those people who put personal preference and opinion ahead of God.


U – Useful – The essence of duty is sacrifice and the essence of sacrifice is making ourselves useful to God. The sacrifice God desired most from Jonah and desires most from us was and is obedience. We were made to be used by Him in marvelous ways, but we must present ourselves before Him for that purpose.


T – Thankfulness – Jonah finds what we need: an attitude of gratitude. He does not desire for us to come and do our duty to Him with a begrudging attitude or a hateful spirit. He desires cheerful givers of themselves, their time, and their resources.


Y – YES!!!! – This is the bottom line of our duty to God, saying “yes” to Him and truly meaning it.


Yes, Lord, Yes, to Thy will and to Thy way.

Yes, Lord, Yes. I will trust You and obey.

When Your Spirit speaks to me, with my whole heart I’ll agree,

And my answer will be Yes, Lord, Yes!

- Shirley Ceasar


10 And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.


It is not the most elegant conclusion to a Sunday morning sermon, nor is it the conclusion of the story, but it does point to a reality:


Before we can move on, we have to get out of the hole we are in and before we can get out of the hole, we need to prayerfully run in the direction of God. What follows is a man running alongside God and seeing amazing results.

Other Thoughts on Mother Teresa's Faith Struggle

Henry Neufeld is always on target and in this particular Thread from Henry's Web, he makes personal application and offers a first hand understanding of how real believers struggle with the darkness of doubt. I thoroughly agree with his statement:

"I suspect the faith that is without any doubts of being shallow. Trust and endurance are separate things. Faith, however, is not so absolute as some would like to make it."

I was further encouraged with what I read here:

Songwriter, singer, pianist, actor, and protoblogger Steve Schalchlin responds to the recent news about Mother Teresa's prayer correspondence - actually her deepest, most personal prayers to a God she ultimately and effectively trusted with her life - and shared with her spiritual advisers.

Steve makes the assertion at the end of his excellent reflection, Living In The Bonus Round: The Doubting Faith of Mother Teresa:

"Faith is not belief. Faith is what you have when belief is out of reach."

Mother Teresa and Faith Struggles

From Patricia O. , Message #1636.1 The Religion Forum - Mother Teresa Lost Faith?   

According to a new book by CBS correspondent Mark Phillips, based on a compilation of letters she wrote, Mother Teresa lost her faith early in her work in Calcutta, and never really regained it.

"Where is my faith?" she wrote. "Even deep down… there is nothing but emptiness and darkness... If there be God — please forgive me."

The priest who is pushing for her beatification says that these letters make her work even more impressive.    I'm not sure I agree.


Join the discussion at the Religion Forum. Here is my response:

Thanks for addressing this, Patricia.

I have been reading the TIME article and some of the quotes. I need to read the whole book to be fair. However,  I am not getting the impression that Mother Teresa lost her faith, but that she struggled with profound issues of faith.

Compassion is a word that comes to my mind when I think of her. Compassion means "to suffer with." I think this is part of the burden of compassion she took upon herself.

There are also symptoms of classic burnout and depression.

All humans are vulnerable to these conditions - even Christians and especially Christians who immerse themselves in the plight of the poor and pour out their own lives for others. If people in helping professions are among the most susceptible, how much more so one who embodies Christ in the heart of the most blatant pockets of poverty in the world and becomes as poor among the poor.

Teresa bared her soul to these confessors. it was raw and honest and God-directed. These were not just her conversations with friends and counselors, but with God Himself. When she had dount, she did what might have seemed counterintuitive and contradictory. She took them to the One she doubted with intimate honesty and brutal self examination.

Then she continued to act in and live by faith.

Spirituality is paradoxical and Christianity teaches a dual nature within believers in Romans 7.

Then, there was the man who came to Jesus and said, "I believe, help thou my unbelief."

Esther took on a mission, rallied her friends to fast for her and yet declared, "If i perish, I perish."

Jesus said, "My God,my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

This glimpse into the personal, deep, spiritual struggle within Mother Teresa makes me love and appreciate her more because she moved beyond the superficial religiosity of one who never asks and struggles with hard questions. She not only wrestled with the doubts and questions, but like Jacob, she wrestled with God himself.

For her, it always came back to an embrace of her calling and devotion to God.

I don't think she lost faith; I think she took it deeper.

Good question.

- Tom

Join us for the discussion.

More Dreamers

Another  example of dreamers and doers has surfaced in Fresno of all places.

Fresno Famous
chronicles the success of  Ann McAtee and Ferry Santoso in "Teaze Me, Pleaze Me." They opened Teazer World Te Market in Fresno's Tower District three years ago and are already expanding.

Famous Whitewater wrote the story of their journey.

I love this quote:

" ... people can find 100 reasons why you’ll fail. And that, McAtee doesn’t have time for."

We can always find reasons for failure and thus, for not making any attempts to try. I appreciate the inspiration of this and other reports and the reality that there are two more people out there who are  investing their time in doing whatever it takes.

The road to success is paved with the cobblestones of failure but it is not called the road to failure. Failures are just what we walk over on the path to our own dreamlands.

The next time I am in the Tower, I think I'll have  spot of tea.

- Tom
You Can Do It!
The Dream Factory

Lessons from Kaibian

Being a grandpa seems qualitatively different from my experience of fatherhood. Part of that may be that, as an adoptive parent, I entered into my sons' lives a little later. Now that we have had the opportunity to help raise a baby, now tottler, we are experiencing so many new things. At fifty two and then some, I am a young man again observing life, learning, and love-bonding at new and wonderful levels.

I am learning things about God and how He relates to us from Kaibian who I often call, "Kaibo."

For instance, this morning, Kaibo and I were outside. Our home is like a giant Montessori school because most everything is allowed and explorable that is not dangerous or destructive. Water and dirt and bugs are all inside the bounds of propriety and exploration. It is a wonderful world and it needs to be discovered by inquisitive 19 month old whose primary language of worship includes the words "oooh," and "ahhhh."

During our walk, with me following, we discovered a friendly kitten, numerous insects,mounds of loose dirt waiting to be distributed, puddles of water, and a tree big enough to give shade and young enough to be swayed by my relatively strong hand.

I swayed the tree to get Kaibo's attention and he hurried over to imitate my actions. He pushed from below, focusing on the tree. Out of his view, I pushed in response to his actions and the tree swayed every time he acted.

It reminded me of faith.

I did not push the tree until he did. He did not have the strength to push the tree on his own and I did not have the resolve to push it until he did. I had the strength. He supplied belief, curiosity, and wonder.  He acted in faith and his faith triggered my response. In the process, he learned about cause and effect and I learned something at least tentative about God.

God chooses to teach us to pray and act in faith by exercising His strength in response to our prayers and faith acts. That nurtures in us a sense of wonder, trust, and personal responsibility for our choices, actions, and beliefs.

God chooses to work in us, with us, and through us and supply what is ;lacking in our strength and power. If we were to sit down and assess every aspect of our own ability to affect change and build our dreams, we would come to the conclusion that none of it was worth the bother because all of it was impossible.

That is not the case living in the dimension of faith and Spirit. God has a difference economy and God supplies where we are weak, but willing.

Kaibo helped me remember that this morning.

The Dream Factory
Tom Sims, Pastor, Coach, Encourager, Friend
[email protected]

Fight, Flight, or Flow? - Jonah 1


                       Notes on Jonah 1 - Running From God

There are four keys words and three key principles. I will explore: Flee, Storm, Sleep, and Fish.

The three principles are that you can choose, lose, or cruise.

First, God called Jonah and Jonah fled from God. At least he attempted to FLEE. God never leaves us without choices. we can choose fight, flight, or flow with His purposes. Fight becomes less and less of an option the more we know God. Flow requires surrender of our will to His. too often, we choose to FLEE.

The principle here is YOU CAN CHOOSE.

    F - FROM God. It is always away from Him.
          You can't resist His will and enjoy the same fellowship as ever.
    L - LUNACY - It is an absurd idea that we can run from Him.
            The psalmist said that even in Sheol, He was there.
    E - EFFECT on others.   
           As Jonah endangered others, so do we when we disobey.
    E - EVIDENT - You can't really hide it. It all hangs out.

There is another spelling possible that helps us understand some of what causes us to have a flight impulse and run from God:

    F - FEAR - We fear what we don't know and what we do know.
    L - LISTENING to the wrong voice within/
    E - EGO that has gotten out-of-control.
    E - EFFORT - We just don't want to give it.

Fight, flight, or flow, YOU CAN CHOOSE.

Second, when Jonah fled, God sent a STORM. God wasn't being vindictive. He was being insistent and persistent. The principle of YOU CAN CHOOSE must be understood in conjunction with a second principle: YOU COULD LOSE! But you still have choices. God uses storms sometimes to influence our choices. They may come in various ways:

    S - SINKING SAILOR SYNDROME - You could go down.
    T - TEMPESTS - Sometimes rocking on the waves gets attention.
    O - OUTCRY - Sometimes others notice first and cry out to you.
    R - REBUKE - Sometimes those same people come to you and speak truth.
    M - MAYBE God will help attitudes around you.

Jonah ignored the storm and went below to sleep. He was oblivious. Unlike Jesus' sleep of perfect peace through the storm, Jonah's was the sleep of denial. look at it. How do we resist the voice of God in storms? The text tells us:

    S - SLUMBER - It was real, literal retreat into unconsciousness.
    L - LYING to self and others.
    E - ESCAPE from reality, but it is not possible.
    E - EJECTION becomes the only option.
    P - PEACE comes only through surrender.

Note that Jonah, with the option to CHOOSE, would rather LOSE than go to Nineveh.

Third, we see a FISH. the fish is a reminder that while we can always CHOOSE and we may LOSE, we can also CRUISE with the flow of God's purpose and will. You can choose to cruise.

Jonah had resisted profoundly and he was in for a grace cruise. Having been ejected from the ship by his own choice and the reluctant consent of the crew who, by the way, became his first unwitting converts, he is flailing in the water. Then god prepares a FISH:

    F - FIRST time we have ever seen it happen - and the last.
            Besides that, Jonah has just had his first converts - the crewmen.
    I - IN the water and going down. Jonah was hopeless.
    S - SOVEREIGN God decides to give him another chance.
    H - HEAVENLY intervention rescues John for a time of refocus.

  1. What is your FISH? You can cruise in it for a while by grace, but even it will bring you back to the point of choice. will you choose fight, flight, or flow?

Toastmasters at Kaiser

We just completed a summer project at Kaiser with their youth internship program. Each Friday, the youth who were assigned to mentors in various departments of the health care system, experienced education day as a way of exposing them to the broad range of services and careers in health care. As part of that day, Federal Toastmasters was invited to facilitate a Toastmaster's meeting for the young people.

It was a wonderful experience.

Watching these outstanding youths grow in confidence and ability to formulate ideas, lead meetings, and speak in public was a real inspiration.

At the helm of this program was an outstanding and enthusiastic woman named Gretchen Fritz. She invested time, energy, and love into each of her students with a flair for innovation and a commitment to their development. I would recomend her for any local coaching hall of fame.

Unfortunately for Fresno, she is being transferred to a new location with greater responsibilities. She will do well.

Some lessons I learned this summer were:

1. There are pockets of innovation and creativity in places where you may not expect to find them.

2. Everyone brings something to the table of human experience. Even and especially the young among us have much wealth of experience and insight to contribute.

3. Everyone can learn to communicate better. Not everyone will be a professional public speaker, but  each person can learn to be a competent communicator

4. That a new generation of leadership is training itself at an accelerated pace and that they bring competencies and skills that are much greater than those of my generation at the same stage of life.

Leadership Summit Thoughts

Thoughts from the Leadership Summit, 2007

Here are a few thoughts from some of the speakers.

Carly Fiorina:

"Everyone is afraid of something. Every time you overcome, you are stronger."

"Leadership is about unlocking potential in others."

"Every time someone took a chance on me, it motivated me."

"There is a gift in everything if we will see it."

"Innovation means taking risks."

- Carly Fiorina at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, 2007 (in an interview with Bill Hybels)

Floyd Flake:

" ... moving people beyond their self-serving motives." (When describing one of the goals of leadership)

"You don't need a unanimous vote, but you need a majority support."

- Floyd Flake at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, 2007

Marcus Buckingham:

"Build on strengths and manage around weaknesses."

"You cannot understand excellence by studying bad examples." (paraphrased)

"What percentage of a typical day do you spend playing to your strengths?"

Marcus Buckingham at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, 2007

John Ortberg:

Ortberg told this joke:

Man to wife:  When I think about facing (any challenge), my palms get sweaty.

A little while later, same man to wife: When I think about (same challenge), my mouth gets dry.

Wife:  Why don't you just lick your palms?

He spoke about a leader's greatest fear. "The greatest fear is not what can happen to us, but what can happen in us."

From Esther, he  drew out this question: "Why have you been brought to this place in your life?"

he noted several examples, from Esther of the difference between one's mission and one's shadow mission which is just a click or two off of the real mission, but keeps us from fulfilling it.

John Ortberg at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, 2007

You Have Today

You have today to do, to be, to experience, and to share whatever it is that burns within you heart to do, be, experience, and share.

You have today, and while it may not be enough for you, it is what you have for as long as it lasts.

You have already begun today as you read these words. You have stepped into the stream of life in the division of time that we name as individual days and you have begun to participate in this one day that is absolutely unique, It has never been before and never will be again.

You have it and, if you are like me, you have already wasted part of it.

You will probably waste a bit more, but just thinking about how precious the day really is, you have also already begun to consider how you will make the best of it. You are plotting a course for  what you will accomplish and how you will enrich other people because, having considered the remote possibility that this is your only day, you want it to be significant.

You have today - at least part of it because you are already in it. If it should be cut short, you will have lived this day. If you make it to the end, you will have tomorrow. Within one short second of completing a day, we have another.

This is not rocket science. Nor is it breaking news, but it is very, very important.

You see, days tend to slip away and as they slip, they fall into an abyss of neglect and despair. We look back and wonder where they went and wish that we could recapture them and redeem all of our lost opportunities.

We cannot - except in the sense that what we accomplish today can bring meaning to yesterday. We can slowly transform what is lost into something of meaning and hope. It has some of the benefits of time travel without all the messy risk.


T - Temporal, temporary, and tempestuous. It is fleeting, but it is also unpredictable and partially unknown. All we know for sure is that it will end and that it will move in some way toward our intentions while having a mind of its own and a tendency  to surprise us.

O - Our Opportunity to do something about our lives, enrich the lives of others, reinterpret the past, and reinvent the future. It is one of a kind and it is pregnant with possibilities.

D - Definite. We definitely have today, right now to do something. Perhaps this is an incentive to avoid procrastination of that thing that is burning in our hearts. Make the D into a DO and DO the thing that you know you Desire and need to do, that thing that relates to your Dream, that which your fear has prevented until right now.

A - About Attitude. I use the word "attitude" repeatedly in my acronyms, not because I can't think of any other A words, but because it is so crucial to everything about today, tomorrow, and the future. It determines our course; it drives our dreams; it infects our motives; it orients our thinking; it makes us or breaks us. We must see TODAY with an attitude of joy, wonder, optimism, and responsibility as we embrace its power for good.

Y - YOURS! It is yours. What will you do with it?

May your today be wonderful and may you have many, many tomorrows. You do have today.

- Tom Sims
The Dream Factory

Not in Vain

I Corinthians 15:58 -  "Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,  forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

We gathered in the shade of an old oak tree that stood sentinel over the neatly placed markers that signified the lives of ten or twelve souls whose earthly remains were interred beneath its shadows. We joined hands as we sang together, “God be with you till we meet again … till we meet at Jesus’ feet.”

Minnie had labored hard for many years in God’s vineyard. It was time to say goodbye and consign her to that sacred place of memory that occupies such precious real estate in every person’s heart. Her soul was safe. She had committed that decades before to the care of a redeeming Savior. Her body

Her body, beyond our care, we committed to the earth.

I opened her well worn Bible to a passage she loved. “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.”

Thoughts of her unsung heroism passed from one person to the next with memories of kind words and deeds, encouraging notes, and humble service. Minnie had achieved neither fame nor fortune in this life. She had written no books, created no fine art, or founded any great institutions. She had simply loved those who came across her path and lived a life of quiet devotion to God and others. This was her life’s work; this was her great contribution and even now, it was bearing fruit in the lives of those who would carry forth her legacy from this place.

God loses nothing. He wastes no effort, no labor, no tear. Not one moment of our lives. We who honored Minnie that day were reminded, by her example, to be steadfast, consistent, and abounding in God’s work.

He labor in the Lord was not in vain; nor is yours.

First Things First and Cute Kids

Last night I looked at our assemblage of Vacation Bible School graduates and I thought, "cute kids."

They really were - donned with their cowboy hats, encouraged by an impressive staff of workers, and admired by parents and siblings.  By the time it was my turn to fulfill my only responsibility of the entire week, to give a five minute wrap message, they were wiggling beyond their ability to contain themselves.

I had to think fast. What was the first and most important thing I could say at that moment and very quickly? I remembered something that their wiggles brought to the forefront of my mind. I remembered and it spoke to where I have been living with a combination of exhilaration and frustration.

First things first.

My life has been about some pretty major ministry projects these last few weeks - really since early June. As a result, I have gotten far behind in my writing, blogging, and correspondence. I have about a week left in the planned frenzy and then I can settle back into something that somewhat resembles a routine. I will be leaving shortly for the small city of Earlimart to conduct a block party and food distribution. It is the thing of the moment and I am leaning into it. Camp, Vacation Bible School (just being there), and "Feeding Those Who feed Us" projects have dominated my time, energy, and focus.

First things first.

It is not how I want to live my life every week. I am ready for some serious study and writing, some concentrated quiet and some "think time."

Our grandkids will arrive Monday night unless there is some precipitating crisis that necessitates early arrival. It will be 3 and a half days of kid focus with cute kids that I dearly love and they will be the first things on my schedule. I love being around when they wake up in the morning and I enjoy reading our six year old a bedtime story at night. last week, he read one to me and it was full of expression and inflection. Cute kid. First things first.

People often call and open with, "Are you busy?" I chuckle and snort, "Of course I'm busy. I am always busy. Busy is good. What do you want me to be? idle?"

Then I quickly add, "But I always have time for you and I need a break."

At least I think that.

First things first - the moment and the movement of God in the moment.

I have several businesses and they have fallen into neglect. I have a number of serious long term projects and books in the making, but they are on hold. When it comes to a choice between making money and hearing God for my next sermon, I am going to prepare my sermon. I am not complaining. Like Jesus said about the poor, the businesses and projects will always be with us. We must always be working toward our goals and focusing on our vision, but we do so at our own rhythm and we  sense the rhythm of God in our lives and go with his flow putting first things first.

Cute Kids! What is that all about and how does that relate?

As I looked over the hats of those kids last night and thought those two words, a story from the life of Jesus came bouncing into my consciousness. He was teaching, probably a well considered, but spontaneous lesson on living when the children of  the villages  started  jumping in his lap, pleading for tickles, and giggling over the questions of the grown up seekers. Jesus may have appeared to be distracted, but he went on teaching as he played with the children. They were no doubt yanking on His beard, asking Him silly questions, and vying for His attention - which He gave them, eventually turning all His focus to them.

They saw things in Jesus that the grownups failed to see. The adults reveled in intellectual discourse. The children had come to a grace party.

At least that is the way I see it playing out until the disciples decided that someone had to do something and they started breaking up the party.

After all, the Master had important things to do, vital lessons to teach, and adults upon whom to focus. Besides all of that, it was beneath the dignity of the rabbi to be tormented by little kids. Sure they were cute kids, but first things first.

First things first indeed.

The problem was that the disciples had not yet learned what things came first, but they were about to be taught.

FIRST - Cute Kids Are the Core of the Kingdom!

"Don't stop them! Let them come to me!" Jesus demanded, "This is what my Kingdom is all about. They are what constitute the Kingdom of God. If you want to be part of my Kingdom, you must become like them!"

Yes, they are cute, but they are also CORE.

Yes, they are kids, but they are also KINGDOM kids.

They are CUTE because they are:

  • Cuddly
  • Unpolluted
  • Tempestuous
  • Energetic

They are CORE because of some qualities that they alone can teach us, which reside in us in some sort of repressed state waiting be be released by grace:

  • Curious about the mysteries of life, including the vast and wonderful mysteries of God.
  • Open to what is fresh, new, awesome, and undiscovered - open to God.
  • Responsive to God's love, grace, and "tickles," whereby He directs us into new adventures and calls us to grow beyond who and what we are now.
  • Energized by expectancy and expressive of the love and wonder that they experience as they discover God in new ways.

This is the stuff of the kingdom, the cute part and the core part. Our calling is to live on tiptoe, to welcome interruptions, and to go with God's flow. If that means that we sometimes feel out of control and off-course, so be it. It comes with the call and it calls forth the kid in all of us.

To those who are so gracious, faithful, and kind in reading my small offerings, I apologize for my absence, but I will soon be back here at the Dream Factory. For now, I've just been putting some first things first.


The only thing that is consistently predictable in the universe is the consistent persistence of chaos...

And in that, we behold the emergence of divine order at a magnitude that stretches our minds ...

Beyond their capacity. - Tom Sims

Just Be

Tonight as you prepare to rest, just be.

Being is what you were meant for, made for, and are maturing into.

You are, after all a being, human and developing.

Be yourself. Be REAL - Responsible, Evolving, Authentic, and Loving.

Be what you are becoming as in what you will COME to BE (BE -COME). Your future is as real as your past and present. There are just more obvious unknowns.

Be strong, courageous, honest, and full of wonder.

And since it is Saturday night ... Be-HAVE Be-CAUSE there is a new day tomorrow and we need you on the team.

See you in church.

Henry Neufeld - Author of the Month

Henry Neufeld is our distinguished Author of the Month in both the Religion and Christian Fellowship Forums. Pick up copies of Henry's books and join the discussion.

Author of the Month
What's in a Version? To the Hebrews: A Participatory Study Guide Revelation: A Participatory Study Guide
What's in a Version?
by Henry, E Neufeld
To the Hebrews: A Participatory Study Guide
by Henry, E Neufeld
Revelation: A Participatory Study Guide
by Henry E. Neufeld
Identifying Your Gifts And Service I Want to Pray! Not Ashamed of the Gospel: Confessions of a Liberal Charismatic
Identifying Your Gifts And Service
by Henry E. Neufeld
I Want to Pray!
by Perry M. Dalton
Not Ashamed of the Gospel: Confessions of a...
by Henry E. Neufeld
Identifying Your Gifts and Service: Small Group Edition Discipleship: Jesus With Us When People Speak for God
Identifying Your Gifts and Service: Small G...
by Henry, E Neufeld
Discipleship: Jesus With Us
by V., Riley Richardson
When People Speak for God
by Henry, E Neufeld


Projects and Rejects

Projection often requires rejection. If I take up one project, let me interject for conjecture sake, I must reject another, at least for a juncture of time.

If I inject, into my schedule a new project, something is ejected from the slot where I have placed the new variable.

What I am saying is that I am involved in something out of the ordinary and temporary and it causes me to reevaluate my schedule and put other things on hold - like being prolific and terrific in my blogging.

I never was very good with balances.

But I am getting better and things are coming together.

The key for me is not to let go of the momentum created by progress while at the same time, relaxing in the Spirit and rejecting the notion that I ought to play God, even with the unknowns in my own personal schedule.

I have a project here and another there and one is calling at the moment but there are several that are consistently active no matter what else is happening. Whatever I am doing, the REASON I was born dominates my driving and striving toward the big prize for which i press on.

So, when one of you is encouraged or blessed and I find out, there is a moment of suspended animation where everything stops to celebrate. You and your success become the primary project in that moment and I am energized for the piddly little tasks on my desk that so predictably overwhelm me.

That core calling of my life is the one thing that cannot be rejected or ejected whatever else is projected.

Forgive my rambling stream of consciousness and find that ONE thing that you are always doing no matter what else you are doing and let your best energy and commitment gather around that core calling. You can do many things in life as long as you are fully consecrated to ONE great thing.

Multiple focus comes out of singular focus. Find it with God's direction and live it.

Make a Decision

Can you make a decision right now, without mulling it over, without agonizing, without gathering a stack of research or consulting a room full of advisers? It is a simple decision, perhaps a "no-brainer." It is a decision to live, really live this moment for all it is worth and all it is meant to be. It is a decision to stand up where you are, reach out your hands, and draw them back toward yourself in an embrace of the sacred NOW.

I believe that you can do it, whether physically or symbolically. Do it NOW and then repeat it in the next moment and the next until it becomes a part of the fabric of your day.

All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other until you learn and internalize the pattern of walking a new way of faith and expectancy. In this very moment you will make the crucial choice to live and overcome.

Can you make that decision?

I am cheering for you!

The Dream Factory - WWW.PastorTomSims.Com


File:Larus michahellis LC0045.jpg

A little bird fell to the ground, but it was not harmed. Soon, a larger bird swooped down and picked the little one up, carrying it back to the place where it would try again. After several attempts, the little bird began to fly and then, to soar. You have witnessed a miracle, the kind that happens every day.

The little creature didn't know any better than to keep at it.

Here is an acronym to remind you to SOAR above the circumstances of your life, the babbling murmurs of your critics, and the nagging indictments of your sinister accuser who slivered through the garden and now creeps into your consciousness to keep you earthbound.

  • Your circumstances are real, but it is not their purpose or prerogative to determine the course of your life or drive your direction.
  • Your critics are real as well, but they don't know what you know and they don't have your heart. They are stuck and would like for you to stay stuck with them.
  • Your accuser is Satan and he will do everything he can to demoralize and debilitate you so that you will not achieve your potential or live your God-given call.

You can and must soar above these.

Soar above it all and remember four words today that will launch you from the pad where you have anchored yourself:

S = SUCCESS - Success is movement toward a goal or objective that is worthy of your time, effort, energy, and commitment. It is taking more steps forward than backward. It is seeing the vision and moving resolutely toward it. It is progress. Progress makes us soar. As long as you are moving forward, you will catch a current that moves you more decisively toward success. Psalm 118:25 says, "O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success."  You have a powerful ally in your quest for success.

  • Pray for it.
  • Believe it is possible.
  • Celebrate it in increments, small victories and large.

O = OBJECTIVE - Your objective, goal, or vision is that picture of an outcome that dominates, motivates, and even aggravates. it demands your time and attention and gets you up and going in the morning. Paul talked about forgetting everything else except the goal of the prize set before him. He wrote about having a goal of pleasing God, a goal of love, and a goal that is too big for human effort alone. There is an objective on your heart that will cause you to soar if you allow it to. No plane takes off without a destination in mind. What is yours?

There are seven instances of the word, "goal" in the scripture (New International Version):

  1. Luke 13:32 - He replied, "Go tell that fox, 'I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.' 
  2. 2 Corinthians 5:9 - So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 
  3. Galatians 3:3 - Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 
  4. Philippians 3:12 - [ Pressing on Toward the Goal ] Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 
  5. Philippians 3:14 - I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  
  6. 1 Timothy 1:5 - The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  
  7. 1 Peter 1:9 - for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
  • Make it your primary objective to please God. Then seek His vision/dream/goals for your life.
  • Keep love at the center of  all your objectives - love for God and love for others.
  • Make sure your objectives are always greater than your ability to accomplish them without God. Set yourself up so that you must depend upon the Holy Spirit.

A = ACTION - Actions follow attitudes, but they are ultimately indispensable. You must take action to move yourself toward your objectives. Progress depends. on doing something to move yourself along. You cannot measure a good thought or a positive attitude, but you can tell if one is present by the behaviors that result. Do something measurable today, something that is visible and positive and directly related to what you are trying to accomplish. Actions propel you to flight and in flight, you will soar.

  • Create a set of action plans.
  • Write them down.
  • Read them.
  • Divide them into incremental tasks.
  • Check them off as you do them.
  • Reward yourself for actions with a pat on the back.
  • Do something every day to move toward your goals even  if you don't feel like it - at least something!

R = REJOICE - There is a thrill in flying that makes the heart sing. The heart soars before anything else. Anticipate the thrill of success. Live the wonder of soaring before you leave the ground. Rejoice in the prospects that your future holds. Laugh before you hear the joke; smile before anyone else does; sing before the orchestra receives the downbeat; rejoice for the daybreak while it is still dark. Let your rejoicing precede your reality and help shape that reality.

Rejoicing is more than  just a positive attitude. It is a witness of faith in the One who is real even when we cannot see Him working. He is faithful and He is the One for whom we are living, dreaming, and moving toward success. Our soaring is an act of worship toward Him.

Philippians 4:4 says: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Today, you may soar if you believe you can. First, you must be grounded in a purpose that defines your success and move toward it in faith, hope, and commitment.  Second, you must define and dedicate yourself to certain objectives that are part of the BIG DREAM for your life that the "Dream Giver" has planted in your heart. Then you must takes positive, daily actions that are calculated to advance those objectives. Finally, and actually,m first. you must rejoice in the unrealized reality of flight. Shout for joy as if the soaring had already begun and you were flying over all of your trials, critics, and accusers.

You are ready to soar! 

Happy Birthday

This is for all to whom it applies. I just jotted it down for my MySpace friends with birthdays and decided to share it:

It’s time to say, “Happy Birthday!” 

Happy Birthday to You.
I need to say something new.
I’m glad you were born here
And you’re going somewhere too,

OK! That was corny.

How about …
As you face the anniversary of your birth, I know the mixed emotions that gather around such a day:

The perplexing poles of gratitude and regret,
Pictures in the mind we cannot forget,
Unwritten sonnets, unsung songs,
Unfulfilled wishes, un-righted wrongs.
Tempered and enveloped by words aptly spoken,
Mended hearts which once were broken,
Loves requited, love extended,
Hearts united, truth defended.
All of life is blended in a stew
Of all and everything that comes to you.
Blended and seasoned by all you believe,
Life is all your heart will receive …
By faith, willing, hopeful, and eager.
All that is impressive and all that is meager
Is life, and life is very, very good.
Have a happy, happy birthday. You should.
- Tom Sims

Do It

What is that on your heart?
Is it just another attachment,
Or is it part of the whole?
Can it be severed as part?
An incidental detachment ?
Or must it remain as your very soul?

I think it is more than you know
More than you suspect
More than you can part with.
I think it is ebb and flow,
Something you must protect,
That which you must daily start with.

It is - Is it not, your dream?
It is that essence you embrace,
That core of being driving you on.
It is the radiant, pulsating beam
That neither time nor trouble can erase.
It is what keeps you striving when hope's gone..

You are a dreamer, fashioned with purpose.
You are a schemer, designed for greatness.
You are a believer, infused with boundless hoping.
Live your dreams surrounded by the circus,
Under the big top with crowds predicting a fate less
Wonderful than what you know as groundless coping.

Reality is what you dream.
Activated by what you do.
Empowered by who you are.
You are far more than what you seem.
Your reach extends beyond your view.
Do it now and you will go far.

God be with you as you dream and do.

Just a thought to encourage you to embrace your God-given dreams with your God-given resolve, passion, and love and go for it.

I am cheering for you today.


When I was a young man, I used to hear the local "Up With People" choir singing a song that has stuck with me for decades.

It went like this:

"Freedom isn't free. Freedom isn't free.
You've got to pay the price; you've got to sacrifice
For your liberty."

Everything comes with a price. Today we give thanks for those who have paid the price with blood, sweat, tears, words, and years of steady vigilance. Furthermore, we recommit to the principles of liberty and government of, by, and for the people that have made us strong.

There is an ongoing price to pay for freedom and we must pay it or lose the blessing.

God helps us to highly value what we have received and to pass it on to our children as well.

Sermon on Time

I just want to be very clear in case you don't want to read a sermon this morning from me. This is one. it is not a motivational message or a business focused inspirational tidbit. It is an extraction  of principles from the scripture governing our approach to and use of time as Christians.

So, you can ignore it if you like, but I invite you to read along and be encouraged with me.

I will be preaching this in a couple of hours.

Time Principles from Romans 15:23-33

The Apostle Paul gives us a rare glimpse into his understanding of time as he explains  in what may seem to be a routine note, to the Romans, his plan for a visit.

What principles of time are you employing in business, ministry, and life? I would like to suggest seven that we can extract from Paul.

Principle # 1
Free Time

¬“ (from the NIV) Romans 15:23 - But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to see you,”

Here we catch a glimpse of an unspoken concept – that of free time. Free time is time to do the things that your heart desires but your priorities prevent.

For Paul, his missionary work took priority in his schedule. If he could be useful and busy about his mission, that came first. At the same time, he desired to spend his time in certain places with certain people when and if the opportunity presented itself.

That was free time.

What do you desire to do with your free time? It is a legitimate desire. It is a possibility. Make a list and then work to free some time for doing that very thing. Who will you be with? What will it be like? State it as Paul did.

God has given you a big picture dream and vision which drives your life mission, but it does not erase all of the things that you would like to do when you are free to do them. Life is never primarily about vacations, side trips, and lunch breaks, but these things occupy our longings and give us both incentives and diversions.

Let’s get our work done and then play a bit.

Principle # 2
Passing Through Time

“ (from the NIV) Romans 15: 24¬ - I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.”

So often, our free time is the time we grab when we are passing through on our way from somewhere and to somewhere else. It is an entirely valid pursuit to fit things in to the cracks of our lives. If we didn’t, so many things would never get done.

Businesses would not be built.

Hobbies would not be cultivated.

Friendships would not be nurtured.

Books and music would not be enjoyed or even created.

So much of what is good in life happens when we are passing through life. If we do not take advantage of the opportunities along the way, they will be lost.

Paul had two excellent reasons for stopping by Rome along the way. One was to have the Roman believers assist him on his journey. The other was to simply enjoy their company.

Do not discount either motive.

Principle # 4
Service Time

“ (from the NIV) Romans 15: 25 - Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. 26 - For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.”

The primary reason for Paul being on this upcoming journey is service. Specifically, it is service to God’s people in Jerusalem. They were experiencing a time of need. Perhaps it was because, as Barclay suggests, that they had lost their jobs in the industries that supported Temple worship. These were controlled by a small and select group of men who were particularly opposed to the Christian movement.

Having been excluded from the economy of Jerusalem because of their faithfulness to Jesus Christ, they were hungry. Paul saw it as an obligation and an opportunity to help them.

Another group of poor believers in Macedonia and an Achaia had embraced the opportunity and had freely given of themselves and their limited resources. They understood that whatever had been entrusted to them was a stewardship and that the only way to preserve resources is to give them back to God.

So it is with time. Time spent in service is never time wasted, nor is it lost.

What are you doing with your time to serve other people? Is some part of your day spent, each day, in reaching out to others and touching human need? Is your time filled with significance?

Principle # 4
Obligated Time

“ (from the NIV) Romans 15:27 - They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews' spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. “

What made this use of Paul’s time and the other believers’ money and obligation?

Fellowship is the reason.

Fellowship is partnership and sharing. Paul reminds the Romans that they have shared the spiritual heritage and benefits of the Jewish people, the legacy of the law, the rich traditions of the God’s hand at work in the history of Israel, and especially, the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

They owe something to the believers in Jerusalem.

Material and spiritual blessings are sometimes interchangeable. They are not equal, but they are in close communication, one with the other.

Likewise, we are a part of each other and owe each other love, respect, fraternal caring, service, and help. God has molded and melded the church from a conglomeration of people groups and backgrounds and has gathered us into one family.

If nothing else, we need to spend time together and to take the time to meet one anothers’ needs.

Principle # 5
Opportune Time

“ (from the NIV) Romans 15:28 - So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. “

The opportunity has arisen, in the mind of Paul, to do to things. The primary thing is to go to Spain, the western frontier of his known civilized world, a place bustling with opportunity and influence where some of the most innovative thinking on earth was taking place in Paul’s time.

It was time for the gospel to go to Spain – at least it seemed that way to Paul.

Paul was always looking for opportunities.

The second opportunity was to stop by Rome on his journey – to visit with friends and share the benefits of fellowship.

Opportunities can sometimes be planned and at other times, simply emerge.

Curiously, this opportunity did not materialize, a fact that we will visit in a moment. However, Paul was ready for it and we need to be ready for the opportunities that come our way.

What opportunities might await you this very day and how will you greet them?

Principle # 6
Precious Time

“ (from the NIV) Romans 15:29 - I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.”

Time spent in cultivating friendships in Christ is precious time, blessed and valuable.

We must cherish such time and see it as part of the full blessing of Christ. Isn’t it wonderful that God, in His love, mercy, and wisdom gave us such wonderful comrades on the journey of faith and service?

I have been sitting over a cup of coffee with dear Christian friends, in the midst of a conversation about deep matters or heart and eternal truth and suddenly realized, “The is holy ground.”

There are sanctified moments in our memories, flashes of time, indelibly etched upon our consciousnesses that nurture us at the core of our being.

Are you allowing time for precious moments in your life? Are you making time for those snapshots of seconds, minutes, and hours that give you great strength and encouragement for how you will use the rest of your time in the service of the master?

So often in our businesses and ministries, we do not value the shorter, precious moments that God affords us. We must appreciate them as we anticipate them, as we participate in them, and as we look back upon them.

Principle # 7
Prayer Time

“ (from the NIV) Romans 15: 30 - I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 - Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there,”

Perhaps the most neglected time in the day of any busy Christian is prayer time. It is time spent in the struggle preparing for the struggle. It is time when we can identify closely with the challenges that are faced by our brothers and sisters near and far.

The word used for struggle has the same root as that for “agony.”

This call to pray together is rooted in the very person of Jesus Christ whose entire life was about intercession and in the love of the Holy Spirit.

“Pray for me,” Paul suggests, “and you will be part of me.”

When we pray for someone, we join them. We share in their successes as well as their pain and disappointments.

Paul had two pressing and legitimate concerns:

First, he prayed for deliverance from those who were “gunning for him” in Jerusalem. He was a man with a price on his head and he had many enemies. This was such a legitimate request that it may come as no surprise to learn that God answered this prayer in a funny sort of way. When he did make it to Jerusalem, Paul was arrested and spent four years in prison.

The deliverance came in the fact that those became ironically effective years and productive times. Epistles were written. Influence was shared. Lives were changed. Believers were encouraged.

So the second prayer request was of even greater significance. Paul prayed and requested prayer that his ministry would be effective and acceptable.

God allowed something that seemed to be Him ignoring the first request in order to accomplish the second. In fact, God never stopped answering Paul’s prayer for deliverance, but that is a different story.

Time spent in prayer is never wasted.

Principle #8
Refreshing Time

“ (from the NIV) Romans 15:32 - so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. 33 - The God of peace be with you all. Amen.”

What Paul looked forward to most was a time of mutual refreshment with the Roman believers. They needed it and he needed it.

While it would not happen the way he predicted, he relished the thought.

In fact, Paul would come to Rome within a few short years – in chains. Yet, he would also come in joy and his presence would bring refreshment and courage to the church there.

He valued, as must we, the will of God and gladly submitted to that will. He associated it with joy and refreshment.

The most refreshing experience of time is to be found in the will of God, doing what He wants us to do, being where He wants us to be, speaking what he wants us to speak, enjoying the company of those He brings into our paths, and exercising our ministry and influence among them.

So, we see that Paul values time and takes the expenditure of time very seriously. You have today – at least for now and you may have tomorrow. What will you do with it?

The Dream Factory - PastorTomSims.Com

Virginia Satir and My Telephone

I should think through my telephone greetings more strategically. This one just slipped out today on our home phone, "Good afternoon, Sims' People Factory."

I apologized - sort of - since the person on the other end was, up until that moment, unknown to me. Actually, the explanation, before I even asked who it was or what she was calling for, was most likely more of an imposition. I mused that we are all in the business of building people.

Eventually, I let her ask for my wife.

Andrea was not in the house so I, without prior permission, gave her cell phone number.

Satir And I remembered Virginia Satir.

Wouldn't you at a time like that?

Dr. Satir was the founder of conjoint family therapy, the forerunner of the self-esteem movement, and the author of books on family such as, "People Making" and "The New People Making"

She taught that families were in the people making business and we have a house full of folks being made. She also taught that adults can take responsibility for their own development by the choices they make.

Perhaps her best known quote is an affirmation:

I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it -- I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know -- but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay.”

I believe that God is shaping us, but that He will not override our choices to make us what we are unwilling to become. At the same time, we need the freedom and power he provides to shortcut a l.ot of the garbage that is holding us back. Nevertheless, Dr. Satir speaks to my heart about the people making factory that is me and that is also my home.

It is a high calling for family, ministry, business - to help people become all that they can be upon the foundation of what God has already given them to be.

Here are some examples of the wisdom of this remarkable woman:


“Problems are not the problem; coping is the problem.”

 “Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible - the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family”

 "We can learn something new anytime we believe we can”

 “Over the years I have developed a picture of what a human being living humanely is like. She is a person who understand, values and develops her body, finding it beautiful and useful; a person who is real and is willing to take risks, to be creative, to manifest competence, to change when the situation calls for it, and to find ways to accommodate to what is new and different, keeping that part of the old that is still useful and discarding what is not.”

 “Life is not what it's supposed to be. It is what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”

 And one of my favorites…

 “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

Thanks to ThinkExist.Com

For more information on this extraordinary and gracious woman, visit the Virginia Satir Global Network. Dr. Satir died in 1988.

Substantive Faith

Faith, according to Hebrews 11:1 is substantive and evidential in an of itself.

Does that suggest that faith in anything proves the thing?

Yes and no.

Yes, faith, because of divine and universal principles set in motion from the time when God first created wisdom, dictates laws of belief and reality. No, because some things are real and other things are not. Truth is not relative, but it is dynamic.

There are realities that can be changed by our beliefs. Mountains can be moved. Circumstances can bend. Choices made in faith between a positive or negative outlook on the moment can change the meaning of the moment. Faith can change the individual who is doing the "faithing." Often that is enough to change the truth of the moment itself.

On the other hand, there are eternal truths and realities outside of our influence that simply are what they are and cannot be manipulated by our beliefs about them. God and His Word are constants in the universe and not even the universe and universal principles can alter them.

In the case of God and His Revelation, the only valid faith response is to conform, by faith to faith in Him and His will. It is unchanging and persistent and greater than our own realities or beliefs about them.

You may call it limits without limitations - the kind of freedom I give my 18 month old grandson when I define parameters within which he can wander at will and in which he feels absolute liberty to explore, express himself, and grow while enjoying, often without his own ability to understand, the safety of my watchful eye and protective gaze.

If he transgresses the limits into the realm of unknown dangers, I am there. As he grows older and more accountable for himself, he will venture forth into areas where I do not guide him. He will hit some walls and consequences which are real. Love compels me to let him grow and discover these for himself.

Even now,I must be willing to let him fall down on occasion. when he does, the ground below him does not move.

Grounding is real whether we believe in it or not.

The faith that the author of Hebrews addresses is faith founded on  foundational fundamentals and in the person of Jesus Christ. With Him are infinite possibilities but also, unbending truths. "Faithing" is what we do when we embrace the reality of God's sovereignty and filter everything we believe through faith in Him. It becomes the substance of all that we embrace and the evidence of all we proclaim in spite of all other indicators to the contrary.

Ask me how I am. I am great. It doesn't matter how I feel in the moment. By faith I know, it is well with my soul.

Go move a mountain!

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Just a Word

You are the best you there is.
There is no competition.
You can do it better than anyone.
No one can take your place.
Along with that dynamic truth there are two,
Seemingly contradictory, but ultimately
Paradoxical and mysterious:
You are not yet the best you can be ...
Or will be ...
And ...
You can duplicate yourself and your efforts
In others who are  each, individually,
One Of A Kind
Like you.
The keys are ...
Appreciation ,
Investment, and
Stand in awe and wonder at God's creation of you.
Appreciate your own uniqueness and that of others.
Extend yourself beyond your immediate reach.
Invest in people and in your own development.
Commit yourself to the long haul.
By God's grace and power,
You can do it.
You are well on your way and you are ...
Oh So Special!
- Tom Sims

Yes! I Went to the Potholes

For whatever reason, perhaps knowing that Pastor Dave Wainscott would encourage me to do so, I went to the potholes. It was a mile down and a mile back. I was there long enough for all the kids at camp to see that I had made the trek, have a little fellowship, and cheer some of the kids on there hike back.

I'm glad I did it, Dave.

I Am Back

It is good to be back even if no one knew you were gone and even if you enjoyed where you went. Back is a wonderful place and suggests that there is somewhere we belong.

So I am back which suggests the question of where I have been. The answer is: CAMP.

I was at camp with Junior High students for the first part of last week and Elementary aged kids for the second. I was focused, absorbed, and squeezed dry of all my energy. it was a great week!

The key words for today are Focus, Camp, and Back.

Focus is what we give to what we are doing while we are doing it if we want to make the most of the experience and bring something back after it is over. Focus is the energy to stare down the moment and milk it for all it is worth. Focus is what enables us to engage ourselves and others in the importance of the present. It does not preclude multi-tasking and other wonderful ADHD hunter gifts, but it is a necessity for the success of any assignment.

Last week, my assignment was kids. Everything else took a back seat. Here is my acronym stew of the moment for focus:

Find Our Current Usefulness Satisfying.
Filter Out Conflicting  Urgencies Sincerely.
Float Over Crud. Unleash Significance.
Fail Often. Collect Understanding. Soar!

Or we might say:

F is for the Filter that tell us what must be done now and what can wait.

O  is for Opportunities that can be lost if we let ourselves be distracted from our primary goals.

C is for Concentration which is necessary in one degree or another if we are to accomplish our tasks. It is a concentration of energy and attention on where we are and what we are doing.

U is for Understanding the moment and embracing it with our strength, enthusiasm, and passion.

S is for significance. It is knowing and believing in the importance of our current assignment and throwing ourselves into it.

That is focus.

The second word is Camp. The idea of a camp reminds me of a temporary dwelling. Camping is not forever. For that reason, we can suspend normal activities and accept inconvenience. Camp is a short experience that can have long lasting benefits and can create deep and abiding, nurturing memories.

Our camp focus was the needs of the children and their opportunities for a giant leap of development in a few short days. it can happen quickly, but it requires that some adults sacrifice their living conditions, habits, lifestyle, and goals for a short time.

C for Children -Children come first at our camp. Even if you are having a camp-type experience for adults, it is the emerging child in you and them that you are seeking to develop with a new leap of progress.

A for Anyone - Anyone can go to camp and should. what is your "camp?" You might be able to even do it at home, but you need breaks from the routine for the sake of what can be accomplished through such concentrated refocus.

M for Meetings - When you go to camp you need to attend the meetings, meet new people or some new part of yourself. An essential for a good camp is gathering over a cup of coffee with new and old friends early in the morning and sorting out the problems of the world.

P for Pavilion - You will be sheltering yourself in conditions that may not be as comfortable as home because you are not at home. The Bible says that we are pilgrims tenting on earth, that our home is beyond this world and this life. It is good to get away from our luxuries occasionally to refocus.

The last word is BACK - It means that we have a place that is normal for us, where we belong, where we spend most of our time, and where we have a certain pace, lots of challenges, and countless opportunities. It is home.

B for Bed - My Bed is the most comfortable place in the world. I rest better in my own bed than anywhere on earth. Thanks to God for my bed, my home, my family, and my life.

A for Activity - It is my normal activity even though it changes. I make my calendar, schedule my priorities and act toward my goals.

C for Contentment - I am happy to be home. I am actually content as a learned function according to the Apostle Paul, anywhere. But I am most content where I spend most of my time. In these days, we can take many of the comforts of home anywhere we go. it was not lack of Internet access which curtailed my Internet activity in the mountains; it was lack of time. I am not an extremely routine person, but I do value the routines I have such as making my breakfast, studying in the mornings, writing my bulletins, and enjoying the familiar things in my life.

K for Keenness - Hopefully I have returned home sharper in some ways. I did not go to camp for myself, but I cannot help but benefit from it - even as I reflect upon it.

Greetings from Camp Sierra

I have a laptop and internet access here at Camp Sierra, but little time and the kids are our priority. This is the first opportunity I've had to post anything and it will be short.

I'll post something on top of this that is more of a reflection. At the moment, I am considering whether or not to hike 1 mile down to the "pot hole" and shock everyone to death.

I think I might - just doing the unexpected jazzes me up.

The Big Deal about Father's Day

I'll be heading for the mountains till next Saturday, so I won't be posting till then. It's all about camp. From today till Wednesday, we will have 6th-8th graders and from Wednesday through Saturday, 3rd - 6th graders. It is going to be wild and fun.

I am trying to get things in place to leave and it is tough. One of the toughest thins is to say something quick and profound about Father's Day and fatherhood.

On one hand, I say, "What's the big deal?" On the other, I know that it is a very big deal.

Our tendency is to congratulate mothers on Mother's Day and scold fathers on Father's Day.

That is not right. There may be a shortage of active fathers in this world, but there are many, many fully engaged dads, real and surrogate who are active in the lives of their minor and adult children, setting an example of manhood and integrity, and teaching a new generation what it means to live for God and others in a turbulent world.

It is a BIG deal.

B - We recognize the BEST of manhood in a good father. It is the best of manhood because it is an expression of the image of God in Him where he exercises the gifts that flow from the Fatherhood of God through his life and into the lives of his children. When a man is connected to the best God has to offer, he can give his best to others. Men were built for fatherhood and challenged in that role.

I - We celebrate INTEGRITY. My father taught it to me and I have tried to teach it to my children. I try to pass it on to my grandsons and the young men and women I mentor. Integrity is who you are when there is no payoff for doing the right thing, when no one is looking, keeping score, or rewarding your efforts. Integrity is being fully integrated in what we profess, possess, and practice.

G - The big deal about fatherhood is that it is a GOOD thing because it is a GOD thing. It is such a GIANT task that we need God's guidance, strength, and love to fulfill the role. It is such a GRAND thing that when your children have children, you become a GRAND-father. Our model for fatherhood is a Heavenly Father who loves us sacrificially and unconditionally and who holds us to a higher standard than we even imagine for ourselves, shaping us, encouraging us, and training us for GREATNESS.

Happy Father's Day.

I will see you in a week!

Ruth Graham - On to Glory



Ruth Bell Graham now knows what we will have to wait to find out. She knows what it is to stand in the presence of the Lord she has loved and served all these years, free of pain, young again, and rejoicing with the angels and saints of the ages. She is home.

I first heard of Ruth's death from some blogger friends and there has been a swelling of emotion in my heart and moisture in my eyes. What a giant among women! I have often wondered how I would feel when I received word of Billy's passing. I am feeling some of that now with the death of this grand and faithful lady. My heart is with Billy and the family and there are tears in my eyes. She was the heroine behind the hero. She held a family together and caused it to thrive while Billy traveled the world. She was a giant among women and a true soldier of the cross. In these recent years, she has been very ill and frail and Billy has been by her side daily, reading the scriptures with her and loving her.

I know he rejoices in her victory and is devastated by the loss.

Here is an excerpt of his statement:

"Ruth was my life partner, and we were called by God as a team," Billy Graham said in a statement. "No one else could have borne the load that she carried. She was a vital and integral part of our ministry, and my work through the years would have been impossible without her encouragement and support.

"I am so grateful to the Lord that He gave me Ruth, and especially for these last few years we've had in the mountains together. We've rekindled the romance of our youth, and my love for her continued to grow deeper every day. I will miss her terribly, and look forward even more to the day I can join her in Heaven."

It is what I call happy/sad to say goodbye to Ruth Graham. Thank you for letting me know. Here is a news link:  Ruth Graham  and here is the tribute from the Billy Graham Evangelisitc Association: Tribute The daughter of missionary doctor, Nelson Bell, Ruth began life in China and  always had the heart of a missionary. She was a prolific and inspirational writer and a devoted mother and wife.

Once asked if she had ever considered divorcing Billy, she joked that she had never considered divorce, murder maybe, but not divorce.

Everyone who knew her understood it was joking. Her humor was legendary. Her pastor's wife wrote:

This is just an instance of her sense of humor. She was always so kind to think of giving me gifts at Christmas—she did this for many people. But one Christmas she gave me a needlepoint pictue with a mule on it, and the words on it were, “If at first you don’t succeed, nag, nag, nag.” She always had such a cute sense of humor. Dorothy Thielman, wife of Calvin Thielman, the Grahams’ longtime pastor in Montreat

She created a refuge for a world citizen to which he could retreat from the limelight and be himself. Without Ruth Graham, the ministry of Billy Graham could not have happened.

Congratulations to Ruth Graham on her graduation to glory!



Network Marketing Update

I am here primarily to write and to encourage people in ministry, network marketing, and other entrepreneurial endeavors. If that is all I do, that is fine. A few years back while I was preparing to turn 50, I asked God what my life mission would be. The answer became clear to me that it was to encourage people to become all that they could be by His grace and power. I do that best as a pastor, writer, coach, and speaker.

I am also a network marketer  - for several reasons:

(1) I believe in creating multiple streams of income in this chaotic world.
(2) I have the entrepreneurial "URGE" in business and in ministry.
(3) I believe in the concept of creating residual income.
(4) I believe in time leveraging so that we work smarter as we work harder.
(5) I enjoy people and network marketing is all about people.
(6) Some of the best educational systems for encouraging people, on earth, are in network marketing organizations.
(7) It is a tremendous outlet for sharing my faith in Jesus Christ.
(8) It is one of the few ways i know for ordinary people to get ahead.
(9) It is something I can put in peoples' hands when I am encouraging them and  ministering to them that can help them with their goals, dreams, and personal finances. Much of my pastoral care during 32 years of ministry has touched to the financial struggles of families. Here is a practical way I can help them, plugging them into a support system while I focus on the more important spiritual issues in their lives.
(11) The field is full of positive thinking people who refuse to give up.
(12) The principle of helping others is vital to success in the industry. You focus on the success of others and your own success follows.
(13) There is an emphasis on teamwork.
(14) I need to be in it, at least somewhat, in order to teach about it.
(15) The principles are universal, transferable, and biblical.
(16) Extraordinary time freedom and flexibility.
(17) you are your OWN boss and it is YOUR business.

My business pursuits are decidedly not number one in my life - my relationship with Jesus Christ comes first, then my family, and God's specific calling on my life as a pastor and preacher - but supporting myself and encouraging others in business are a part of the mix.

I recommend that many people find a home-based business in the network marketing industry, be sensible about it, commit themselves to it, and incorporate it into their lives and ministries. I recommend this for families young people, retired people, and folks who need to supplement their income in ministry. I recommend that they find a product and system they can believe in, a team they like and trust, and a company that is credible.

Some will ask you to give yourselves exclusively to one venture. Others will allow for more.

I will encourage you no matter what organization you get involved with. After all, my life work is to encourage. I would also be willing to sponsor/mentor you in one of my affiliations or one with which I am indirectly associated through my company, Workshops to Go and its associates.

If any of my links intrigue you, check them out. These are good opportunities, but you need to find the one that is right for you. I am not adding any new ones at the moment, but I am happy to recommend you and yours if I see something powerful.

Let me say that every one of these companies owes a giant debt of gratitude to the vision of Amway and Quixtar in creating the concept of multi-level marketing and to Dexter Yager for inventing a training system that is second to none. While I am no longer affiliated with them, if you find a team that is right for you and their marketing plan appeals to you, go for it.

I would love to hear from some of my young friends as well  as pastors and my senior friends.

I am your pastor, encourager, coach, and friend,

- Tom Sims (559-647-2203, [email protected])

The DREAM FACTORY - PastorTomSims.Com 

Tom's Blogsphere - I have quite a few blogs on any number of subjects, lots of affiliates, and

My primary network marketing commitment is Prepaid Legal. it would be an honor to help you build a Prepaid Legal business. To find out more, visit this site: Getting Paid Daily.

I am now working with some people who are distributing ACT energy drinks as one of my streams of income and helping people set up profitable businesses in that growing industry. Visit this ACT site.

Health and Wellness Business - the Next Trillion Dollar Industry
Drink XanGo™  - Mangosteen Journal - a blog on the benefits of mangosteen for health.
Healthy Foods For You - A blog with news and views of nutrition and the nutritional industry.
Mangosteen Health Benefits and Business Opportunity - This company offers a patented product using the whole fruit puree of the mangosteen fruit, rich in Xanthones. They also have a powerful compensation plan and business model. This is one of the fastest growing companies in the industry.
The Three Hour Diet - An affiliate of mine.
Eniva - VIBE - It costs nothing to join and the products are outstanding. Everyone needs supplements. I was impressed with one of the distributors and what I read about the product and the company.
ACT Energy - a solid and growing business with a healthy energy drink as its core product.
PrePaid Legal
Get paid Daily on the Internet - Prepaid Legal is a wonderful opportunity, a solid  and unique product, and an extremely credible company. This is my primary network marketing venture.
Protect Your Identity
Identity Theft Shield
Legal Services for Less than a Cup of Coffee a Day

Other Business Opportunities
Free Ticket to Income for Life - An online business through Global Domains International building on the WS domain explosion.  This may be right for you.

On Fear, Faith, and Failure - RIPE-O with TYPEOS

Feeding and Starving

You have heard that fear is false evidence appearing real.

I thought I'd off a few more and it is an exercise for me because I am thinking them up as I type:

Faith-less Energy Acting Proud
Future Entanglements Affecting (the) Present
Failure Exorcising Actual Possibilities

I could go on all day and get better at this, but that would miss the point: FEAR is useful only in  three areas:

1) To protect us in emergencies when we need flight or fight responses.
2) To create a sense of awe, reverence, and worship in us for God so that we can be delivered from all other fears.
3) To remind us not to be stupid and take unnecessary risks with no hope of reward just to show off or make a silly point - and that is not so much fear as #2.

Fear was never meant to be an operating principle in our life with regard to the circumstances and challenges we encounter on  a daily basis. Nor is it to be a steady and constant nagging in our lives, relationships, and planning.

Faith is the antithesis of fear and the resting place for our emotions and decisions.

Fight faith with fear.

Feed your faith.

Starve your fears.

Whichever one you feed will grow.

The other will diminish.

Your choice. 

Starving Fear

There are some simple strategies for starving fear. I will not try to articulate them all here, but I will offer a few.

1) Choose not to dwell on them, read about them, listen to media that validates them.

2) Do not present them in conversation to someone who will advise you to live by them. You normally know the kind of advice you will get from the various people in your life and you often choose who to ask for advice based upon what you think you will hear. Admit it. Get better advice.

3) Replace fear thoughts with faith thoughts.

4) Do the things necessary to feed faith.

5) Face something you fear. Make a list of things you are afraid to conquer and take one at a time. Do what terrifies you and move the fear notation to the faith-victory column.

6) Pray.

7) Enlist a support partner/cheerleader.

What fear will you start starving today?

Let me know if you want me to pray with/for you about that. I WILL!

Feeding Faith

Feeding faith is a proactive and energy rich pursuit and yet, it is a whole lot easier than starving fear because its rewards are so obvious and immediate.

When I talk about feeding faith, I am also referring to your dreams because they are visualizations of which your faith informs you and which require faith to bring to pass.

This is just a starter for you.

1) Feed your faith with truth. If fear is false evidence appearing real and, if faith is the antithesis of fear, then faith must be truth. Feed faith truth and watch faith grow.

2) Feed faith energy. In the same way that you take vitamins and good energy enriched vegetables into your bodies, take faith pills, charged with positive energy. You do that by acting in faith daily. What comes out of you, comes back to you. It charges you.

3) Feed your faith with contact. Visit your dreams often in your mind and in person. Touch things that remind you of your dreams.

4) Feed your faith with excellent input - good books, including the Bible, positive audio and video, good conversation with positive people, and faith/dream-building functions and workshops.

5) Spend time with your support team if you are involved with network marketing. Call your upline every day.

6) Do something every day that is goal oriented.

7) Get adequate rest, nutrition, exercise, and family time. Do not allow yourself to get depressed by "wearing yourself out to get rich." balance your life, renew your energy, and stay fit for faith.

8) Turn on the lights and open the blinds. Dark rooms are depressing and discouraging.

9) Call someone and encourage them today. If you are a network marketer, call your downline.

10) Pray.

11) Smile and accept inconveniences and adversity with cheer. Find some lemon today that you can turn to lemonade.

12) Write something positive. Perhaps you could write a note to a friend to say, "You can do it!"

I'll quit for now, but know this, I always have more to say ...

What will you do right now to fed faith, not just today TIGHT NOW?

Let me know if you want me to pray with/for you about that. I WILL!

My Friends Advised Me

While we are at the feeding trough, feeding our faith/dreams and starving our fears, I have one itty bitty little concern. It is wrapped up in a recurring phrase I hear after people go away to "think about it," whatever "IT" might be at the moment.

They come back and say, "I talked to my friends and THEY advised me ..."

What follows is usually something negative or fear-feeding, any sort of support for not launching out in faith, dreaming a new dream, or making oneself vulnerable to failure or exposure.

I have no doubt that your friends, perhaps good friends and family have advised you to play it safe. That is there job, as they perceive it, to steal your dreams - AND YOU KNOW IT.

You knew it when you CHOSE THEM to ask for advise.

The question is back on you when presented with an opportunity. All things being equal, are you willing to stretch and expose yourself, risk failure, grow, try something new, and become more than you are in order to embrace a credible, honest, and powerful opportunity? If so, seek advice from winners. If not, seek out people who will feed your fears.

I hate to be blunt, but I will do it anyway < :) >

I believe in you.

What If I Fail?

Here is another question:

"What if I fail?"

What if you do?

It is not a matter if you will fail trying or not; it is more at what, how often, when, and what you you do with the failure.

You will fail by not trying, you just won't know about it or learn from those failures - but you will have the same results otherwise.

But learning is a very big deal and knowing what does not work for you is priceless and these are lessons that are never learned without risky action.

I hope you do fail. As John  Maxwell says, "Fail early, fail often; and fail forward."

Let each failure be a springboard toward future success.

You'll have to swallow pride and love of safety. You'll have to risk looking silly and exposed. You'll ha e to work a little harder than most people, dream bigger dreams, and develop a thicker skin, but you will be a more fulfilled and purposeful person.

People who never fail are simply failures.

People who risk, fail, learn, and grow are never failures. For them, as Maxwell says, failure is simply an event.

If your excuse for not attempting an adventure is that there is no guarantee for success, then understand that is a lousy excuse. it is your prerogative to use it, but don't try to convince me that it is a good one.

Nothing is guaranteed except the Word of God and His eternal grace and presence. Frankly, that is all I need. The rest is a grand adventure.

Are you on it with me?

I would love to share it with you.

What say you?


I write fast and furious and make a lot of mistakes, but I post them anyway and discover them later.

I have been online actively since 1992 and I have learned that my tuping ees somtims incerrect and that my speeklink cen be atroshious.

I correct mistake as I see them, but I try not to let the fear of them cripple me or keep me from saying what needs to be said, what is bubbling up within me.


Then Tom, what is the Meta For?

It is for YOU!

Don't be so uptight about making mistakes.

Funny I should say, "upTIGHT" because a few posts ago, I typed, "TIGHT NOW" when I meant to type, "RIGHT NOW."

I could go back and correct it and I am fixing it in my blogs, but I have decided to leave it to illustrate my point.

go ahead and risk making mistakes. Make them blatant so that they can be corrected. I learned this in the study of music in voice lessons and ensemble study. My teachers,  who had both studied with Dr. Williamson at Westminster Choir College said, "If you are going to make a mistake, make a good one so we can fix it."

What are we afraid of?

Not being perfect?

Being corrected?

Looking foolish?

That is an outstanding recipe for a lifetime of big "F" failure rather than for for success built upon little "f" failures.

Do not be afraid of imperfection, criticism, or correction. Starve that fear and move on to faith and dreaming.

Put it out there. Put yourself out there and GROW!!!!!

My stuff is RIPE-O with TYOE-Os.

Come join me.

I am your pastor, encourager, friend, and coach ...

- Tom Sims The DREAM FACTORY - PastorTomSims.Com

Tom's Blogsphere


My primary network marketing commitment is Pre Paid Legal. it would be an honor to help you build a Pre Paid Legal business. To find out more, visit this site: Getting Paid Daily

Just an Encouragement

Life is an adventure of discovery and becoming.
Every reach beyond our reach moves us toward the prize.
We grieve; we grow; we are grateful.
We laugh; we love; we lift each other above the losses and longings.
We live and in our living, we give ourselves to those whose air we share.
We are built for community.
We are hard-wired for collaboration.
We are designed to convene together and dream great dreams and attempt great ventures.
We are intricately fashioned to fathom what is invisible to the eye so that we might understand what is outside the realm of the mundane.
God has made us to encourage each other and be encouraged ourselves.
I believe in your success because I believe in your Creator.
Feed your dreams and starve your fears.
Whichever one you feed will grow.
Your encourager, coach, pastor, and friend,  - Tom Sims