Action

Posts that find “action at the end of distraction”.

Road Closed

by Larry Hehn on July 30, 2014

Road ClosedThe road to my office was closed today, as workers replaced the railroad tracks that cross it. The intersection leading into the work area was marked with pylons, a large electronic sign, and detour markers to keep drivers from wandering into a dead end.

Despite the visible warnings and suggested alternate route, I was amazed at how many drivers ignored them and continued down the doomed path.

When they reached the trench where the railroad tracks used to be, it became clear. Yep, that “ROAD CLOSED” sign really meant the road was closed.

Go figure.

To be honest, I’ve done that many times myself. Whether it be challenging a real life “ROAD CLOSED” sign and almost getting stuck in knee-high sand, or simply ignoring God’s direction at different points in my life and choosing my own way instead.

There are good reasons for both the literal and figurative “ROAD CLOSED” signs in our life.

Yes, I am thankful for the truth behind that old cliché that says God allows U-turns. But the older I get, the more I hope to notice – and heed – his “ROAD CLOSED” signs when they first appear.

And not wind up on the wrong side of the tracks.

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. – Proverbs 14:12

“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.” – Robert Frost

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How To Be a Rock Star

by Larry Hehn on February 11, 2014

rock starBack in January I became a rock star. For about 35 minutes.

When told that I’d be making my singing debut in front of roughly 400 people, my friend Dan had the best reaction.

“Wow,” he said, “I didn’t know you had it in you.”

Fact is, I don’t, really.

There are no delusions of grandeur here. I would never make it beyond the judge’s table of American Idol. Heck, who am I kidding? The producers would screen me out long before that, and not just because I’m too old.

Still, a friend was in a bind and needed a vocalist. He knew I had been on stage before, and thought maybe I could help.

Sure, Andy. Invite the hard-of-hearing introvert to be your lead singer.

But hey, when a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like this presents itself, I figured I’d be crazy not to jump at the chance. After all, who wouldn’t want to be a rock star for one night?

I let the band know that I’d come out to one rehearsal and give it a try. They could choose not to invite me back, and I would not be offended.

To my surprise, I was invited to the next rehearsal.

When it became clear that I was going to be the lead vocalist, I decided to make the most of it. I ordered some online voice lessons to help me with my range and overall comfort level. I practiced and experimented. I reviewed other performers to see what worked, and what didn’t.

I got a good, healthy assessment of my own limitations.

And you know what?

It was a blast!

The band was very gracious, encouraging, and lots of fun. The audience, even more so. The gig was a big success.

And, of course, I came away with some tips about how to be a rock star:

  1. Seize the opportunity. Every once in a while, something is going to come up that will stretch you well beyond your comfort zone. Will you take the plunge, or politely decline?
  2. Give it your all. The singers I enjoy most aren’t necessarily the ones who hit each note perfectly. They’re the ones who exude joy and passion when they sing, and connect with their audience. It’s not always about your skill level. It’s about how much “you” you bring to the table.
  3. Don’t take yourself too seriously. We knew we weren’t the greatest band. But the audience loved us in spite of it. Actually, because of it. How could someone refuse when you say to them, “I may never be a pro at this. But here’s my best, and I’m giving it to you, warts and all.”

Whatever you do, why not be a rock star with it?

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. – Colossians 3:23

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Put on your new nature

by Larry Hehn on December 10, 2013

butterflyEarlier this year we renovated our bathroom.

The old shower head hung less than 6′ above the base of the tub. It wasn’t a problem for my wife, who fit comfortably underneath it. But I always had to crouch in the shower to keep my head from smashing into the low-hanging plumbing.

One of the first changes we made was to raise the shower head to 7′ high so I wouldn’t have to duck anymore.

The change has been liberating, to say the least.

I can now stand up straight and still have several inches of clearance between me and the shower head. Gone are the threats of bruises on my forehead and the need for sloppy posture.

But still, a few days ago, I caught myself crouching in the shower again.

I had fallen back into my old conditioning.

Even though the shower head is now well out of harm’s way and there’s no need for me to duck, I unconsciously went back to my old habit.

Yes, even when there’s no good reason to go there, sometimes we slip back into auto-pilot and find ourselves in a familiar rut.

In his letters, Paul had to remind the Colossians and Ephesians to “put on your new nature” – so they didn’t slip back into the old.

So don’t be surprised or discouraged if you catch yourself slumping back into your old default mode. Know that it’s a conscious, Spirit-led decision to put on your new nature and leave the old behind.

As John White says in The Fight, “Transformation is not an overnight matter. It takes a lifetime.”

Stand up tall, and put on your new nature.

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. – Colossians 3:10

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. – Ephesians 4:21-24

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 7:21-25a

So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. – Romans 8:6

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. – Romans 8:12-13

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