Sticks and Stones

Posted: January 7th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

the words we say mean somethingWe are taught as kids, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” And it makes sense, right? By repeating this mantra, mocking, jeering, and teasing are magically reduced to fairy dust and troll farts, never to harm you or another soul again.

The barrage of negative, condescending talk from others continues into our adult lives at work, home, and unfortunately even in the Church. And again “Sticks and Stones” runs through our minds, too childish to escape our lips.

But it’s a smokescreen. Why?

Because the words we say mean something. What is said to us and about us means something.

We build walls to keep people at a distance, but still the words cut. What was meant to be spell of protection from insult and injury becomes a mask. Words used as weapons slip past our defenses and we force a smile.

But it’s a ruse. Why?

Because the words we say mean something. What is said to us and about us means something.

And we too use those same harsh words at times. We relieve ourselves of responsibility by calling it sarcasm. Do you know what that word means? Is it something harsh, yet funny? No. The word means literally, “a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter jibe or taunt.”

But we’re “just saying,” right? Wrong. Why?

Because the words we say mean something. What we say to and about others, means something.

Is this a tongue lashing directed at you, my reader? Not intentionally. I wrote this for me, the guy who claims sarcasm as “just another service I offer free of charge.” It is for me when my wife Beth and I are exchanging words of disagreement or when I tease her in what I think is a playful manner. It’s for me when my kids disappoint me with their behavior (because God knows they couldn’t have learned it from me).

See, “In the beginning was the Word.” God didn’t wave a magic wand or splash enchanted dust to create the universe: He spoke. Maybe you are thinking, “But those were God’s words.” These are as well:

“The tongue has the power of life and death” Proverbs 18:21

“You will also declare a thing, and it will be established for you;” Job 22:28

“A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue breaks the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4

So let’s be mindful of what we say, remembering that, “Sticks and stones may break their bones, but careless words may wound their spirit.”


Martin Luther King Jr. on Forgiveness

Posted: January 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »
Copyright AP Photo/PL

Rev. Martin Luther King with Harlem Hospital's Dr. Emil A. Naclerio. AP Photo/PL

On September 20, 1958, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was nearly assassinated. At a book signing, Izola Curry stabbed Rev. King in the chest with a steel letter opener. It was reported the next morning that it was so close to his aorta that if he’d have sneezed it would have killed him (source).

I cannot imagine what I would feel toward that woman those five days in recovery, but I can give you the words of Rev. King one month later.

“I am deeply sorry that a deranged woman should have injured herself in seeking to injure me. I can say, in all sincerity, that I bear no bitterness toward her and I have felt no resentment from the sad moment that the experience occurred…

“And finally, as I indicated before, the experience I had in New York gave me time to think. I believe that I have sunk deeper the roots of my conviction that nonviolence {non-violent} resistence is the true path for overcoming injustice and for stamping out evil. (source)”

Incredible. Not only does he forgo any sympathy toward his injury, he focuses on his concern for the woman that tried to drive a letter opener through his heart! Sometimes I have a hard time forgiving my own family of petty differences and incidents, yet this great man did not hold a single ounce of malice toward a woman who tried to end his life. He did not even press charges against her and instead encouraged her to seek treatment.

And then I consider the words of Jesus, “But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:15 CEV)” Wow, really? Is God saying that harboring unforgiveness separates me from him? And I see Jesus hanging on the cross looking down at the people screaming obscenities at him while demanding that he prove his claims, at the soldiers with blood splattered hammers in-hand gambling for his clothes while he gasps for air. Then I hear those final words, “Father forgive them.”

I’m left empty, praying. “God help me to be like that. Help me to let go of any debt I feel others owe me because of the pain they’ve caused and truly forgive them. And not only to forgive them but show them love and compassion.”

I’ll leave you with these words from Rev. King and a challenge. Who has wronged you that you have been unwilling to forgive? Now take the time this moment and truly forgive them.

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”


Hearers only?

Posted: October 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: It Hurts So Good, My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

I listen to a lot of teaching material and sermons at work. Many of these are from YouTube and the video plays in the background while I work (they are not a visible distraction). When I need to get up, I pause them, and I have noticed a trend.

Here are two screen captures that I took of recent YouTube teachings. One is a seminar by Jim Rohn, and incredible personal development guru. The other is a sermon at a church. Can you tell me which photo belongs to which teaching? (I blanked out their eyes for privacy)

If you couldn’t guess, the left picture is the sermon, the right is the seminar. There is a distinct difference in the two. In the sermon picture, the attendees are observing the teaching and committing it to mental memory.

The people attending the seminar are participating and writing down the information so they can go over it again later.

Given the different level of participation in the teachings, which group is more committed to the topic at hand?

Which would you say is the group simply hearing?

Which do you think are more likely act on the information they are receiving not just that day, but weeks, months, or years down the road?

Which are you?

 


Motivational Monday: How Bad Do You Want It?

Posted: October 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Motivation, Videos | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

There’s a reason this video has been seen over 11 million times. It’s awesome.

I’m almost finished writing my first draft of my first book. One of the keys to that progress is answering the question, “How bad do I want it?” When you can answer that honestly, you’ll be a giant step closer to accomplishing your dreams.

The narrator is Eric Thomas.

 

 


What I Learned From The NFL Replacement Refs

Posted: October 3rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Random | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Like it or not, the NFL ruled the last second  touchdown by the Seattle Seahawks against the Green Bay Packers to be the correct call. You didn’t see that in the headlines did you? (story link)

For the first three weeks of the NFL season, it seemed that the games were a side note to the officiating. While some despise the mishaps of the replacement referees in the first three weeks of the NFL season others found that they added an entertaining an unpredictable aspect to the games. Either way, they taught me a few things:

 

1.    Do the best you can, we all make mistakes. The regular refs were on strike and the NFL found what they believed to be the most competent replacements. I’m sure being thrust onto the biggest stage in the world was overwhelming, but they found a way to get the job done.

And sometimes we feel the same. Pressures  mount and stress is added at every point, but just do the best you can. Take what knowledge you have and apply it. Will you always get it right? No. Learn from the mistakes so you don’t repeat them.

2.    Give the other guy the benefit of the doubt. I don’t believe anyone wakes up in the morning, looks in the mirror, and says, “I’m going to be a jerk today and tick off as many people as I can.” Likewise the refs didn’t start each game with the mindset of blowing calls. I need to remember that people on the other side of the aisle from me are trying their best to be great at their work, that the customer has a right to be upset if you messed up, that service reps can have bad days too.

When in doubt, just treat the other guy how you would want to be treated if you messed up: with compassion and understanding.

3.    Don’t make excuses The post-game press conferences were full of players and coaches calling out the missed calls (that went the other teams way). They had a right to be upset, but a bad call is rarely the only reason a team loses a game. There are scores of missed opportunities: a pass that was thrown to hard, a hold on a block that calls back a touchdown, and missed tackles.

Bad things happen that are out of our control. In the end we need to take responsibility for our decisions and let the cards fall where they may. The alternative is repeating failures by blaming others for our missed opportunities.

4.    Even if the world is against you, show up.  I can’t imagine being one of these guys. It seemed every round of games, these they were less popular with the public. Regardless, they showed up. The world rejected them, but they didn’t run, hide, or quit. They clocked in and did what they had to do.

It’s the same for us. Sometimes we aren’t going to win the “Most Popular” award at work or home for the decisions we make, but that doesn’t mean we shrink into a hole. We must stand up and be proud of what we do. Half of the road to success is simply showing up.

What did you learn from the replacement refs?


Motivational Monday: Sleep is for Suckers!

Posted: September 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Motivation | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Here is the inaugural Motivational Monday Post!

Here’s a ditty by my man Eric Thomas, an incredible speaker and motivator talking about how people who really want to run after their dreams make them more important than everything, including sleep. I picked this one as a result of a comment by my friend Ron.

Follow Eric Thomas on Twitter.

Follow Ron Porter on Twitter.

Buy Eric’s book “The Secret to Success” at Amazon!

Enjoy!


aka “Fast Food” Jesus

Posted: July 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: aka My Jesus, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

What’s your favorite fast food fix? You know, your go to “heart-attack-in-a-sack.”

Mine is a double cheese burger value meal at McDonald’s. Unless it’s breakfast, then it’s a breakfast burrito meal with what they consider to be “hot” sauce. It’s crazy, but I love McDonald’s food.

Once in awhile.

To eat it everyday would not only get old, but be completely unhealthy (see the Super Size Me movie). Plus I always get the same thing, so after a few trips the the Golden Arches, I have to avoid it for a month or so in order to get the craving back.

Sometimes I treat Jesus like that, like a “Fast Food” Jesus.

I get a craving for Him because I love to talk with Him. To quote local Pastor Jeffrey Smith, “I love me some Jesus.”  In these moments I open the Bible to my favorite chapter (Psalm 27) for a minute or turn on Pandora to my favorite station (Skillet/Red/Bride). They’re my go-to spots that satisfy my appetite until I can get in some real quality time.

Now, is having a Fast Food Jesus a bad thing? Not in moderation.

While McDonald’s is food, and it can sustain you for quite some time (I ate it every day for about four years in my teens), it’s not what my body required to run properly. I need more than short bursts of Psalm 27 or turning on “Jesus Radio” while my talk radio is on commercial. In themselves, they aren’t enough to keep my spirit man healthy. There simply is not enough nutrition to be found through the window of a drive thru experience with Jesus.

Only having this type of experience with God can get you in a rut resulting in a mundane Christian life. Break out of the same old routines you have and try something new! There is so much of Jesus to experience and share. Comfortable is OK but new is adventure!

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. ” ~ Jesus of Nazareth

ANd yeah, you have to tell me what your favorite is. I wasn’t joking about that part.


Venom and Song Releases Today!!

Posted: June 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Storm Amazon.com With Us!

venom and song amazon blitz

Mark Your Calendars! Light the torches and gather the pitchforks!

Tuesday, June 22nd at 7pm, EST we will storm the Cybergates of Amazon.com and seek to propel Venom and Song to great heights on the Amazon Bestseller Chart!

Last year, we Blitzed for Curse of the Spider King, and the ranking went from 73,000th to 365th in one 24 hour period! And that thanks only to my generous readers, their friends and family.

This year, we are defining and actual time to shoot for. This will concentrate the effect of book purchases and hopefully launch Venom and Song into the top 100 or even better!

If you are planning to purchase Venom & Song anyway, would you please consider purchasing it from Amazon.com. It’s very important to have the purchases fall between 7-8pm on Tuesday, June 22nd. This maximizes the jump up on the Bestseller list.

Why do this?

Books that hit high on Amazon’s bestseller list get seen by a LOT more people. That exposure tends to generate LOTS more sales, which of course, starts a wonderful cycle. High purchases in the first week of release also tells Amazon that this is a book to push, so Amazon tends to include it in their eMailings, etc. And better still, the opening sales tells the publisher to plug in more marketing muscle to a book that is succeeding. So please consider joining us on June 22nd for the 2nd Annual Amazon BLITZ.

http://www.christopherhopper.com/2010/06/storm-amazon-com-with-us/trackback/


It Hurts So Good – 4 Where is the Love?

Posted: February 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: It Hurts So Good, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

The Black Eyed Peas hit a home run with this one. Where is the love? The answer to that is that it starts with me.  I say I have faith in Christ, and I am His disciple, but where is the love?  Am I showing my family love?  Am I showing my neighbor love? Am I showing my enemies love?

We need to remember that our battle is not against men, it is against principalities and powers of darkness.  It is against the father of lies (Eph. 6:12). How can we love God, that we cannot see, if we cannot even love our brother, who we can see (1 John 4:20)?

Your thoughts?


Is there a monster inside you?

Posted: January 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Random, Spirituality, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

This song is ridiculously awesome.  To preview the album, click the picture: