The Unreachable Lighthouse

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is lighthouse-main.webp

Doesn’t it seem like simmering anger is the major emotion many of us are feeling? Even watching the daily news for a few minutes – someone or a group who is upset or angry is featured – and then I get angry watching it. I won’t even mention driving somewhere. Lord knows I need to work on my potty mouth when I’m cut off, tailed aggressively, or almost get hit by someone looking at their phone.

Enough about anger – I can sense you’re getting fired up 🙂 Let’s flip it and go on the opposite side – the emotion of happiness. This is another interesting set of feelings to take a look at. Speaking broadly and generally, it seems most people are struggling with happiness. An obvious reason is the amount of loss of health, lives, businesses, and way of living brought on by the global pandemic.

Let’s flip the script one more time. Why does it seem so many people that have been blessed with so much seem unhappy? Stretching our minds – we can think of people in politics, business, sports, entertainment, or people that we know personally – they just seem to be missing something. Besides having faith in something or someone greater than themselves – what else are they missing?

Recently, I believe I heard a great explanation on a podcast interview with a man named Dean Graziosi (The Ed Mylett Podcast October 12, 2021) that gave amazing insight into this reality. I had never heard of Dean – but the title intrigued me: “Succeed with Happiness and Confidence.” Skeptical at first. Thinking this just another multi-millionaire trying to sway us common folk into buying his product and then we’ll all be rich! I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Dean grew up in poverty. At one point, he worked 20 hour workdays to build a business while his buddies were busy partying and having fun. Now he has the goal of “impacting over 100 million people” with his trainings, charities, and philanthropy. Here is a paraphrase of his answer when Ed asked him, “Why are so many people unhappy right now? Especially those that have achieved some level of “success” in their particular field?” Dean’s answer:

Success with money, power, and possessions – but without fulfillment and happiness, equals shallow living. Some people think that they have everything they want – but they are still unhappy. Here’s what I believe the reason is. I think unhappy people have stopped stretching themselves. They’ve arrived at their goals and stopped. Or, they were not able to accomplish their goals and gave up. Either way, they’ve stopped personally growing.

Imagine a lighthouse representing any goal you are seeking to accomplish. Well, let’s say you met the goal and now you are in your mind standing next to the lighthouse. Most people stay there. They arrive at whatever destination they had in their minds and stop. They stop striving, problem solving, struggling, and fighting. Yes, that leads to a more “peaceful” life – but does it really?

What if the lighthouse kept moving every time you reached it? What if it continued to stay in the distance? That would keep us hungry and not satisfied – because there is still work to be done. And ultimately, the journey would hopefully lead us to being others centered instead of seeking non-stop self fulfillment, comfort, and pleasure.

An interesting mindshift twist that we can apply to any area of our lives. Here are some examples of keeping the lighthouse in the distance:

  1. Finances – Pretending that we don’t have any money in the bank, checking, or savings.
  2. Marriage – Seeing the relationship as we are just starting to date and I’m trying to win her over.
  3. Health – You’ve just been given a dreadful diagnosis by your doctor – and the remedy is to clean up your eating and start exercising consistently.
  4. Work – Imagine you’re on a one year contract, and the bosses have to decide whether to keep you or not.
  5. Faith – You’ve just discovered God for the first time – what would reading the Bible, serving, and worship look like?
  6. School – If you don’t get high grades and put in the effort – your alternative choice will be working 14 hour days in a coal mine.

The secret is: How can we become a better version of ourselves in EVERY area of our lives? How can we serve people at the highest level to impact the world? Even though we will never arrive at the final goal – we will continue to grow and not get stuck at complacency, mediocrity, and according to Dean’s theory – ongoing unhappiness.

Give it a try for a few days. Move those lighthouses out into the distant horizon. And if you make it to one – move it again!

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

Blessings,

Dave 🙂

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fear Factors . . .

I originally published this about two years ago. However, the theme of fear keeps rearing its ugly head. I hope this can be an encouragement to where you are in your journey of personal and spiritual growth.

Fear, anxiety, and stress can be an unholy trinity. One or more of the three are probably present somewhere in our lives right now. Watching the news or browsing the internet usually adds fuel to the fire – rarely do we walk away feeling better, encouraged, or inspired. Out of the three – Fear is the king. When we’re afraid – that smoothly leads down the path to anxiety and stress.

Fear of the future. Fears from the past. Fears about running out of money. Fear of not being able to pay off an insurmountable pile of debt. Fear of losing our jobs. Fear of a health diagnosis. Fear of terrorists. Fear of war. Fear of death. Fear of letting our kids go outside alone. Fear if our kids are going to turn out okay. Fear that someone is upset with us. Fear that a relationship is not going to work out. Fear of public speaking.

The word “fear” is really an acronym. Two of the acronyms are negative, one is positive. It all depends on our perspective we choose to take. I’ve heard these acronyms in speeches, sermons, and they are all over the internet – so I have no idea who to give credit to for creating them.

  1. FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real. The stories we tell ourselves. A thought enters our minds and a downward spiral begins. I’ve read studies showing that 85% to as high as 95% of what we fear is going to happen never does. Or, our image of what could happen compared to what really happens is drastically different.
  2. FEAR = Forget Everything And Run. Of course, there are those obvious things to run from – a snake in your path (actually, slowly walk backward with snakes), a natural disaster coming your way, or a bad decision that you need to walk away from, or someone trying to take advantage of you. I’m talking more about: The uncomfortable conversation we need to have and avoid – or better yet, go gripe to someone else about it. The position we want to try out for – but are afraid we won’t get it and talk ourselves out of even attempting it. Frustration with our finances – but unwilling to do anything to change our lifestyles. Feelings of hopelessness when you consider pursuing a dream. If any of these resonate with you – I’m right there too.

However, there is another way to confront our fears:

3. FEAR = Face Everything And Rise. Reflect on the words of Franklin Roosevelt, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Really think deeply about that statement. Author John Eldredge puts it this way, “Walk right into those situations you normally run from. Speak right to the issues you normally remain silent over . . . this is where you will discover your strength, in the daily details of your life. Begin to taste your true strength and you’ll want more.” (Wild at Heart) Sara Bareilles sings, ” . . . I want to see you be brave!!!”

Don’t get me wrong. If our children end up in the hospital – the common, normal response is fear. It’s how we are wired and is our first reaction. However, after that – we can choose to control our second reaction. Possibly filling our minds with positive thoughts, pray, talk to somebody, read Scripture,  and keep clinging to hope.

Bonus acronym from the internet!

Face It
Explore It
Accept It
Rise Above

Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear.  (1 John 4:18 NLT)

Blessings,

Dave 🙂

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

May We Please Go Back To Normal???

About six months ago I was optimistically hoping COVID-19 would be under control. Unfortunately, we’ve seen that it is still dominating the news, social media, and personal conversations. I try to seek out positive, encouraging messages or thought leaders to fill my almost depleted emotional and mental tanks. I wanted to share a few items I’ve come across that maybe can bring you hope.

“If you’re experiencing increased sadness or anxiety along with an urge to dramatically change something about your life – some of the markers of Pandemic Flux Syndrome (I didn’t know it had a name) – be assured you’re not alone. Although human beings are more resilient than we generally appreciate, it will take time for many of us to stably recover, to reflect and calibrate.”  Dr. Amy Cuddy

“We are still in recovery mode from trauma. Our reserves are at minimum if not depleted. The summer was a rush for many of us to make up for lost time. The common theme in talking with those having 1 week, 3 weeks, or even several months off – is that summer wasn’t enough. We could all use another round to recover. In fact, the little time off seemed to be somewhat of a disappointment.” Dan Allender

And in most cases – it was not the type of summer we are use to. Hotel rooms were not cleaned every day, very few rental cars were available, restaurant service seemed lower quality due to the national labor shortage, and then there was the challenge of no parking or tickets in national parks. A true sign the end is near:  Disney parks started charging for the once free Fast Passes!

Dan Allender goes on to talk about 3 effects that can result from experiencing trauma (which is what the last 18 months can be described as):

  1. Fragmentation – This explains the brain fog, forgetfulness, completely drained from work or routine tasks like grocery shopping, confusion, “Why did I walk into this room?”, “Why can’t I remember basic objects, names, or places in conversations?” – I think we’re all experiencing this one. How do we fight this? Being kind to ourselves (our inner souls) and others and realize the majority of people are going through this right now. Use lists, sticky notes, or the note app to immediately capture a thought before moving on to something else. Pull back from multi-tasking. Don’t expect a big event to solve it (Disneyland, a Caribbean cruise, or any other trip, buying a luxury car or RV, a huge gathering, a new house or apartment – those things may help – but don’t set yourself up for disappointment. “Live in day-tight compartments” (Sir William Osler) instead of becoming overwhelmed at what lies ahead. 
  2. Numbing – The list of losses continues to pile up for everyone it seems. Sometimes the immediate or the accumulation of pain has become too much. We (fingers pointing at me also) seek life, escape, and fulfillment to make up for the hurt and losses by: eating too much, drinking too much, laying in bed not asleep, too many movies or tv, watching sports for hours, wasting hours on social media, loading up my Amazon cart, procrastination of basic chores – I think we can all relate. How do we fight this? Make small changes from overindulgence to rediscovering moderation. A great resource to read is The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins. Slowly replace bad habits with good ones. Find creative ways to trade healthier food instead of sugar and salty, trade walking, exercise, or gardening for binge tv, and trade social media time for reading books. The trade can be as small as 5 minutes or a handful of food – but it is all about starting something new that ultimately makes us feel better. And also, allow we need to allow ourselves to feel grief over the losses and not just emotionally bury them. Pray about them, write them out on paper, vent with a trusted friend. 
  3. Isolation – After our lives feel disconnected mentally and physically. After we seek happiness any way we can find it – the natural progression is the desire to be alone. Why leave the safety and comfort of my home when there are so many annoying people out there? Why drive my car when so many are aggressive, on my tail, and might cause me to cuss? Why try to follow God intimately when things just seem to be getting worse and He feels distant? Many people that once followed Jesus closely are abandoning their walk with him. Nothing drastic – just focusing time, energy, and money into finding life somewhere else. How do we fight this? As pastor Craig Groeschel states, “Begin by lowering your expectations of others. We’re not perfect, so why put perfectionist expectations on others?” Attempt slow re-entry into social situations. Meet people at a neutral location to take the pressure off of you for cooking and cleaning. Try visiting church in person instead of online. Read a verse or two in the Bible instead of a chapter or reading plan. Maybe text someone different every week to check in on them. With the holidays coming up – allow yourself the freedom to feel completely exhausted after gathering with family – and allow yourself time to rest and recover. Accept at this point you probably can’t volunteer, give, have company, or “pour yourself out” like you used to. And that is perfectly all right. 

Conclusion – Mr. Allender also stated bouncing back from this isn’t a quick fix. The social, economic, spiritual, and educational “hits” that we have taken could take years to recover from. Hopefully, some of the “fighting techniques” listed can give you a starting place for your recovery process. Possibly just naming some of the struggles can offer relief that you are not the only one experiencing these symptoms – especially brain fog for me (this would be a horrible time for me to be a Jeopardy contestant). 

Remember, it is okay to slow down. We need to rediscover rest. People struggled with this concept even several thousands of years ago. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah penned this observation regarding the people of his time:

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have nothing of it.” (Isaiah 30:15)

 

Blessings,

Dave 🙂

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Can You Relate to The Cowardly Lion?

The Wizard of Oz is one of those movies that comes on randomly while flipping the channels – and I can sit and watch it like it’s the first time. The flying monkeys creep me out. The Wicked Witch of the West’s green face appearing in the giant crystal ball still gives me nightmares. And the sheer anticipation and hope of what is coming next when Scarecrow grabs the bucket of water to kill the witch.

What a great story. I feel like we see ourselves in each of the main characters – trying to find our way back home (whatever home is). Wanting to feel smarter, greater emotion towards others, and greater courage within ourselves.

All the main characters are great, but let’s focus on the Cowardly Lion. He’s supposed to be ruling the forest and living up to his title “King of the Beasts.” Instead, he puts on a front that he’s tough, lives his life in fear (even his own tail scares him), and runs away from a challenge. Sound familiar?

It feels like we’re living in one of the most fearful and uncertain times in history. We also feel out of control like there’s nothing we can do to help solve so many big problems. The global pandemic, the continual uptick in violence, natural disasters, terrorist threats, and economies that have the foundation of trillions of dollars of debt. Like the Cowardly Lion, most of us want to run and hide and be left alone. But where do we go??? And wait – if the Lion doesn’t rule as king of the forest – who will fill that gap???

A story of comparison can be found in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel chapters 9 and 10. A quick summary reveals that God was ruler over the nation of Israel – but the people compared themselves to other nations and instead wanted a person to rule over them as king. God gives them over to their desires – and that predictiably leads them to disaster. Sound familiar?

I wanted zero in on the man that was chosen to be king – Saul from the tribe of Benjamin. He started out great with limitless potential:

  1. He looked the part“Saul was the most handsome man in Israel – head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land” (1 Samuel 9: 2).
  2. God allowed it to happen, giving Saul the potential to be successful “Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance. ‘Do everything they say to you,’ the Lord replied, ‘for they are rejecting me, not you” (1 Samuel 8: 6,7).
  3. He was blessed by Israel’s spiritual leader Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it over Saul’s head. He kissed Saul and said, “I am doing this because the Lord has appointed you to be the ruler over Israel, his special possession” (1 Samuel 10: 1).
  4. Saul was initially given spontaneous supernatural power“At that time the Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them (a group of prophets). You will be changed into a different person” (1 Samuel 10: 6).

So now is the big moment. The people’s spiritual leader, Samuel, is ready to turn over the rule of Israel to a physical leader, Saul. All the people are gathered in public for the highly anticipated reveal and ceremony. All hail the new king! And here’s what happened:

And finally, Saul son of Kish was chosen from among them. But when they looked for him, he had disappeared! So they asked the Lord, “Where is he?”

And the Lord replied, “He is hiding among the baggage.” So they found him and brought him out, and he stood head and shoulders above anyone else (1 Samuel 10: 21-23).

His big moment – and he hides in the baggage??? His chance to be “King of the Forest” – and instead he chooses to be a scaredy cat??? It’s kind of like us being invited to receive an award – but we decide to hide in a bathroom stall all evening. Sound familiar?

I don’t know about you – but I can see myself in what Saul did. Empowered by God, blessed and encouraged by others, given gifts to use for his purpose – and I let fear take over.

“I probably should speak up – but my idea might sound silly.”

“I should pray right now for that person’s need – but what if someone walks by, what might they think?”

“Maybe I’ll have that difficult conversation at work or at home – but what if they get mad?”

“I should stand up for what I believe in. But what if I offend them?”

Do you see yourself in any of these statements? They probably sounds familiar.

Conclusion – So what do we do? First, realize that fear and hiding have been around since the beginning of history: After disobeying God, Adam’s reply was, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid . . . ” (Genesis 3: 10). Second, stop looking at ourselves and our limited resources – and look to God and his unending abundance and power: “With God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). And finally, put into action this advice to sabotage fear from author John Eldridge: “Step into that which you normally avoid.”

Stumble through that difficult conversation.

Speak up for what you believe in is truth even if you are outnumbered.

Send back to the kitchen that cold steak you received at the restaurant.

Find a cause you are passionate about and get involved today. Stop waiting for “someday.”

Go back to school and get that degree or certification.

By choosing to step into our fears, we are slowly building up our minds (brains), our hearts, and of course . . . our courage. We’re entering the journey of finding our way home of becoming who God designed us to be.

Blessings,

Dave 🙂

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Having a Hannah Heart

Hannah has always been one of my favorite names. Yes, it is my daughter’s name. And yes, we were inspired by Hannah in the Bible when choosing that name. Please read the entire story in 1st Samuel Chapter One to get the full picture. I’m just going to hit a few highlights of this amazing, admirable woman’s life.

Hannah shared a husband named Elkanah with a woman named Peninnah (interesting names, huh?). Hannah physically could not have children (which was severely looked down upon in that culture). Peninnah was able to have children – and would “taunt Hannah and make fun of her” (v.6) because she couldn’t. Elkanah wasn’t much help either. After finding Hannah crying and not eating because of her barrenness – he makes this clueless statement:

Why are you crying, Hannah? Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me – isn’t that better than having ten sons??? (1 Samuel 1:8) He might as well have said, “I’m Vinnie Barbarino!!!” (Welcome Back Kotter 70’s), “I’m Keith Hernandez” (Seinfeld 90’s) or “I’m Sheldon Cooper!!! (Big Bang Theory 2000’s).

Anyway, here are some key attributes we can learn from the life of Hannah.

  1. She pleaded intensely and honestly to God. Her praying was described as having “great anguish and sorrow” (v.16) and “I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord” (v.15). She even made this vow to God, ” . . . if you give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours his entire lifetime (v. 11). What a model for our prayer life. Do we lay our concerns, disappointments, and pain in front of God with upfront, raw, vulnerable truth and emotion? Or have we grown comfortable with cliched phrases, recited prayers, thee’s and thou’s, and bringing him our wish lists? As my friend says, “God is a big boy – he can take whatever you’ve got.” Plus, are we at that point where we can give up whatever he asks of us?

2) She made peace with God after getting it all out. Verse 18 says, “Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.” Just like a superstar athlete “leaves everything on the field” – she left everything with God. She got her appetite back and the sadness left her. That can only happen when we have a clear conscience and internal peace beyond our circumstances. She left that place still barren physically – but she also left trusting God and realizing only he could give her supernaturally what she was requesting. She chose to go on living her life and not let it be dictated by feelings.

3) She lived her life in the present moment. Micracuoulsy, God gave her a son (v.19,20) The tricky part was that she promised to “give him back to God” if he answered her prayer. Verses 24-27 show that she did that very thing. Here’s the deal – she learned to live every moment to the fullest with the baby before the time came to fulfill her promise. She enjoyed what she had instead of dreading what was coming in the future. There is no evidence of her having sorrow and anguish because she was going to have to eventually give him up. There are no examples of her backing out of her promise to God. She didn’t bargain with God or say, “Just kidding – do I really have to give him back to you???” She didn’t try to run and escape when the time came to deliver on her vow.

Hannah’s response is incomprehensible as she delivers the baby to the priest Eli for a lifelong commitment of service in the temple. “Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life. “And they worshipped the Lord there.

Worship, seriously? Not a trace of crying, regret, or sadness? Not a plot to go back and snag the baby? No, here is her response instead, “My heart rejoices in the Lord! The Lord has made me strong. . . ” (1 Samuel 2:1).

Conclusion – If you have a chance, also read 1st Samuel Chapter 2 verses 1-11 to see Hannah’s character on display in her prayer to God.

But the story doesn’t end there. The Bible talks about how God is able to do “exceedingly more than we ask or think . . .” (Ephesians 3:20). And the Lord blessed Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters! (1 Samuel 2:21) Wow! She went from barren to having The Brady Bunch!

Where in our lives to we need to turn something completely over to God? When do we need to start worshiping him instead of being made neutralized because of our circumstances? And where can we look back and see that God came through beyond our limited expectations? It starts with having a heart like Hannah.

Blessings,

Dave 🙂

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

You need more than a vacation this summer . . .

As someone in the field of education – I can proudly say we finally hit the finish line at the end of May. The 2020-2021 school year was brought to a close! I can assure you – everyone associated directly or indirectly with education does not “get all summer off.” However, we do get some quality time off.

I wanted to share something profound with my staff as we briefly met on our last work day of the school year. I couldn’t come up with anything. Though sincere, I didn’t want one more time of “thanking everyone for the sacrifices you made”, rehash how tough COVID has been, or try to pretend to comprehend the depth of loss so many have experienced this year.

I came across a newsletter from April 2021 that said exactly what I wanted to say. It is from author John Eldredge, from the Wild at Heart ministry. The condensed version is below:

We are now emerging, in some places sooner than others, from a year of global trauma. Your soul (mind, will, and emotions) needs some tending to.

And to be clear, it has been trauma. To be robbed of your normal routine for months upon months; to be kept in a state of uncertainty; to face serial disappointments large and small; to be bombarded by bad news; to face death; and never clear on when the finish line would appear. May I point out that this is exactly what is done to prisoners under interrogation, when their captors want to break them down?! The past twelve months have been rough on our humanity.

Now is the time to begin planning for your recovery. Because you are now, or soon will be entering, the phase of rehab and recovery.

Oh yes – there will be joy in simply going out to dinner, watching your kids play sports, seeing your family face-to-face, going to church, ball games, concerts. It will be lovely. May all those things come to you by summer!

But simply getting a hot dog at a baseball game, or going to a movie is not sufficient to address the trauma you have been through. So what I’m recommending is that you begin to map out for yourself a “rehab and recovery plan” for your soul.

For example, most of us have done a pretty good job of “rallying” over the past year, and congratulations for it. Well done, everyone! Good job! but rallying for months and months required tapping deeply into our reserves, and they are tapped out. Don’t think so? Feel like that’s just for others? How would you feel if I told you another pandemic is coming next month, and we are starting all over? I bet the very thought of it takes you to the brink. There’s not a lot left in the reserve tank.

Now, in order to replenish your reserves, you need a period of time where more is coming “in” than is going “out.” That’s the simple math. You can’t replenish your reserves if you are still spending 100% or more in your weekly output. This is why, for most people, vacations are so wonderful.

I hope you’ll give some careful thought as to how you’ll be spending your vacation time this year. It’s an important part of your recovery plan. But it’s only a part, dear friends. One or two weeks off is not going to address the harm your soul has been through over the course of an entire, unprecedented year of global tension, lockdown, and loss.

We need simple rest; working in the garden; sunsets on the deck; picnics and swimming – things that are close at hand and don’t require major effort to get to the joyful parts. More coming in than is going out. My sons call it the “Cost to Joy Ratio.”

Every outing, adventure, party, vacation, and undertaking has a cost to it. The question you want to ask is this: Does the joy that the event brings you outweigh the cost it requires to make it happen? Is more coming in than is going out? (If you need a vacation to recover from your vacation, you’ve got the cost/joy ratio all wrong!) This is important to consider anytime, but essential to think through in a year like this when we are all recovering from global trauma and need to take our recovery plan seriously.

Here’s what we can do:

Give yourself several opportunities in the next few weeks to sit down with a pad of paper and just noodle on the idea of a recovery plan. You know yourself – what would you recommend if you were counseling you over a three month recovery plan for your soul? How would you arrange for periods where more is coming in than is going out?

Just like with goals – there is so much more power and accountability when we write our intentions down. It can be as simple as a bullet point list. Maybe you’re like me in that often I feel guilty relaxing. I’m still learning the value of how to do nothing – and that’s okay. If my “to do” list doesn’t get completed – that’s okay. And if I binge watch Cobra Kai instead of doing a stack of dishes and take out the trash . . . well . . . oops . . . that’s not okay. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Be still . . . and know that I am God. (Psalm 46: 10)

Blessings,

Dave 🙂

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

1) general statement
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How can I change the world when I’m overwhelmed?

An individual on Instagram recently observed the phrase “Be the spark that changes the world!” on a billboard – and here was his reaction:

“I’m 62 and have been a vocational pastor for 39 years. I serve in a smallish church of very diverse believers, and commit around 55 hours per week to active ministry: I’ve got my hands and heart full, and don’t know that I can handle much more.

So yesterday’s billboard wasn’t helpful. It urged college students with one part encouragement and one part moral imperative to “Be the spark that changes the world.” While some are supposedly changing the world, I’ve been reinforcing the faith of the pew-6 brother who’s battling porn, the pew-9 widow who has 3 young children, and the pew-29 teen whose faith has hit the skids. I’ve kept busy trying to help my flock survive in the world and thrive in Jesus.”

thegospelcoalition from Instagram May 14th

This pastor has discovered these basic truths:

1) That changing the world is right in front of us.

2) It starts with making the difference in one life.

3) That every little bit we give can help a greater cause.

Deep inside I believe we all want to make a difference, we want our lives to matter. We desire to leave a legacy whenever our time has ended. However, the world we live in is overflowing with so many problems – hunger, lack of clean water, disease, a global pandemic, homelessness, human trafficking, crime, drugs, corruption, financial crisis, natural disasters and on and on . . . Add to that, our own day to day struggles we cope with by simply being humans on planet Earth.

Maybe you’re like me and have fallen into the false narratives of:

It’s too overwhelming – so I’m not going to do anything at this moment.

As soon as I get more money I can start giving to these causes.

What difference can I make with all of these global problems?


Fortunately, a quote by speaker/author Beth Moore recently appeared on Instagram (I promise I don’t spend all of my free time on social media 🙂

We can’t do 1000 things to the glory of God but we can do a few. Let’s do what He’s placed in front of us presently with all our might.

Nothing done in His name is insignificant or purposeless. We have this day. This one day.

Here is a simple way to start making an impact: Start with one cause you are passionate about – and start with $1. Don’t overthink it. Don’t claim, “It’s not enough.” Just get started today!

No one can stretch a dollar further than God can! (You can tweet that 🙂

Need some ideas? Here are just a few organizations near and dear to my heart:

  1. Charitywater.org – Founder Scott Harrison’s goal is that every person on the planet have access to clean water. Any donation amount is welcomed.
  2. Compassion International and World Vision – make a difference in a child’s life who is living in poverty by providing them food and an education for about a $1 a day.
  3. Gospel for Asia – You can support a missionary and his family for $1 a day.
  4. A21.org – Nick and Christine Caine have the revolutionary vision to end human trafficking everywhere on the planet. Any amount of donation is encouraged.
  5. Goals for Bowls – a ministry located near my hometown of Keller, TX. Their mission is to provide meals, clean water, medicine, and soccer balls to impoverished children all over the world. Their giving platform starts at $1. Check out their website at goalsforbowls.com.
  6. Mananutrition.org – they have created a vitamin enriched peanut butter paste called “Mana” that can save children from malnutrition.
  7. Samaritan’s Purse – Franklin Graham leads this ministry of global assistance when any kind of disaster strikes.

God looks at our hearts. We can “Be the spark that changes the world.” It starts with helping one person or cause out – and then growing from there.

While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” (Luke 21: 1-4)

Blessings,

Dave 🙂

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What is the best way to “fix” someone who needs “fixing”?

Do you have people in your life that have issues? Perhaps some folks lacking self awareness? Individuals that just don’t “get it”? You can clearly see what steps they need to take to make things right, but they won’t? Or, are you that person in other peoples lives??? 🙂

Last night I came across a scripture that I have read probably hundreds of times during my life. However, an author from a book I’m reading put it into an entirely new context. The book is called A Prayer For Orion by Katherine James. It is her grueling story of her teenage son’s battle with heroin addiction. By her own admission, how many times her and her husband just wanted God to “fix” their son. And isn’t there something more to “do” than just pray?

Jesus is talking to Peter before his crucifixion on how the disciples would abandon Jesus. Peter insisted he never would. Jesus foresaw the future and mentioned that not only would Peter abandon him, he would also verbally deny him three times. Here are the verses and what I learned from them:

“Simon (Peter), Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:32)

  1. Satan wanted to destroy all of the disciples. If Satan couldn’t take their lives, he at least wanted to annihilate their faith. I always thought this verse was about Peter alone. I never noticed the request “to sift each of you like wheat.” Sifting in those days was to separate, tear apart, isolate, and shake violently. I think all of us can recall examples when we have been sifted within the last two years. We frequently need to be reminded that we have an unseen enemy.
  2. Even Jesus needed to pray to God the Father. Frequently throughout his 33 years of life – Jesus modeled praying first instead of analyzing, controlling, and attempting to fix. Try a Google search sometime on the subject of Jesus praying. A verse that has always spoke to me is Mark 1:35 – Very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up and went to a solitary place where he prayed. If he needed to start his day this way – how much more do you and I need to? I have some good news if you’re a night owl and not a morning person! The Jews believe that a new day begins in the evening. So if you enjoy staying up late – you’re really getting an early start on the next day!
  3. Jesus prayed for Peter’s faith, not that he would be “fixed.” Jesus or the Father probably could have supernaturally zapped Peter and changed him. They definitely could have altered events so Peter would have been protected from his painful betrayal of Jesus. However, Jesus believed Peter’s faith would be made stronger through this crisis. And, he knew that Peter couldn’t have a worldwide impact in his current state (see the book of Acts to witness Peter’s amazing transformation).
  4. Jesus spoke of a hopeful future to Peter. “When you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” Paraphrased: “I believe in you Peter. You’ll have regrets – but no one is too far from my forgiveness, and you’ll come back. Then I need you to go in your new faith and strength and help others that are struggling.” Jesus easily could have shamed Peter, told him that he better not blow his big chance, replaced him, or he could have lectured him. Jesus knew Peter needed to go through the pain of betrayal and loss to truly be sold out as a follower.

Conclusion – Someday when I’m in Heaven – I sincerely and respectfully want to ask God, “Please help me understand what praying was about while I was on Earth?” Until then, it is obvious God has made it a huge priority. Next time we want to fix, label, or solve someone – let’s try praying for them first instead. Maybe if we take a deep look inside there might be an area or two we need to fix within ourselves? Jesus continually demonstrated praying first, receiving direction, and then taking action. Or, he waited for His Father to go to work after praying. Possibly it is just all of us slowing down a little bit and copying his example as we rush through life like fire ants whose pile has just been kicked. Jesus loved and cared deeply for Peter, saw his amazing potential, and was dedicated to letting him grow in his faith despite the pain involved. Guess what? Jesus wants the same for you and I.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Blessings,

Dave 🙂

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

What Does it Take to Have WaltVision?

A year ago, March of 2020 – we were visiting “The Happiest Place on Earth” located in Orlando. Little did we know that the park was going to shut down two days after we left because of a certain virus that was making its way through society. A year later, March 2021 – we are getting vaccines for the virus, temporarily staying in a hotel because of the horrific Texas storms in February, and watching the attempts to finish up a school year while some states still haven’t reopened their schools.

Let’s go back to a happy place, Disneyworld 🙂 This is the 50th year celebration of Disney World being open. Plus, hopefully the celebration of Disneyland reopening at the end of April. I’ve recently been reading the book Disney’s Land by Richard Snow. It focuses on the chaos that happened before the original Disneyland opened on July 17, 1955. The dealings with land, contractors, employees, architecture, horticulture, unions, and the big one – finances. Here are a five fun facts you may not have known:

  1. Multiple times Walt almost went bankrupt and Disneyland would not have happened. He cashed in part of his life insurance policy, his brother sold his car to pay workers at one point, and the cost of the park skyrocketed from a projected 1.5 million dollars to 17 million dollars.
  2. The names Disneylandia and Mickey Mouse Park were first considered.
  3. Ray Kroc offered to have McDonalds as a sponsor and one of the original restaurants in Disneyland. For some unknown reason, Walt declined.
  4. A plumbers strike threatened the grand opening. Walt had to decide on running restrooms or running water fountains. He wisely chose restrooms.
  5. Walt chose Art Linkletter to be the TV host and master of ceremonies for the ABC special that was airing live on opening day. Art selected two co-hosts to assist him. One of them was a marginally known actor named Ronnie Regan.

It wasn’t all magic and pixie dust dealing with Walt. His brother Roy was frustrated innumerable times by Walt’s unending borrowing and spending. Workers constantly grew upset with Walt over his obsession with details that no one was probably ever going to see or notice. And his saint of a wife, Lillian, dealt with his anxiety, wild and seemingly impossible dreams, and the amount of time he was away from home.

In spite of his flaws, Walt possessed extraordinary vision. Speaker and author Jon Maxwell defines vision as: “Being able to look forward and see what others can’t.” Walt was a master at that skill.

Maybe you have a vision that no one “gets.” Maybe you want to venture out into a new job, open a business, write a book or song or screenplay, invest in a start-up, create a new ministry, take a trip (when countries open), begin a non-profit, pursue a risky relationship, learn to play an instrument, fight an injustice – the list is endless. First of all, it is 100% normal that people won’t “get” your vision. Expect to go at it alone at the beginning. However, I believe people are looking to follow a vision they can get behind, support, and get excited about. Here are some tips on how Walt communicated his vision:

  1. Walt showed models, maps, and drawings whenever possible. Amusement parks were looked down upon in the 1950’s. The gloomy forecast was that they had no future. Walt had to continue showing visually what was in his mind – he wanted to create something amazing that had never been attempted before.
  2. Walt was a gifted storyteller. When he didn’t have visual aids, he would paint a picture using his talented speaking skills. He told the entire story of Snow White to a room full of employees for over 2 hours to convince them to move forward on creating the first full length cartoon movie.
  3. Walt realized he couldn’t do it all. He would seek out specialists that were the best in their fields and hire them (or give them rights to future earnings). And oftentimes these specialists were so gifted – Walt asked them to create never before seen rides, films, exhibits, and architecture.

Conclusion – What is your version of Disneyland? What is a tiny start you could take today to begin making it a reality? It’s time to stop over planning, overanalyzing, and waiting for everything to be perfect – (I’m speaking first to myself). As author Mark Batterson says, “You are one decision away from a totally different life.”

“Where there is no vision, the people perish . . . ” (Proverbs 29:18)

Blessings,

Dave 🙂

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Instead of “Why me?” – Try This Question . . .

“As we conclude the 14th month of 2020 . . . ” Unknown

“And the hits just keep coming . . . ” Tom Cruise – A Few Good Men

I have a whole new sensitivity when I listen to the news and hear about undrinkable water, bad storms, homes and businesses destroyed, flooding, foreign governments intentionally turning the power off on their people, and so on and so forth.

I recently told a friend, “All I really want is to coast for a little while and stop having to deal with stuff.” The friend completely agreed, he has dealt with crisis after crisis the last few years. I’m sure you would like a break also. If you haven’t been effected by COVID-19, the Texas storm, an unexpected health situation, the passing of a family member, a large financial loss – then you’ve got to know someone who has.

So what do we do? I’ve been reading an amazing book by Mark Batterson called Win the Day. He shares how his wife dealt with an unexpected cancer diagnosis:

Lora was diagnosed with breast cancer. If you’ve had cancer or have a loved one who has, you know that a thousand questions fire across your synapses. What stage is it? How do we treat it? What is the prognosis? Fortunately, we caught it early and Lora is better than ever.

Can I brag on my wife? I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of her. She participated in her own healing process by making some courageous changes. She became intentional about everything she put into her body and mind. Along with changing our diet, we did our best to eliminate toxins in our environment. Yes, that includes people. Lora started practicing meditation more regularly. We even started frequenting comedy clubs. Why? Laughter “doeth good like medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22)

When you get cancer, denying the diagnosis does no good. If you don’t own it, it will own you. For Lora, the healing process began with a brave question (for God – Dave’s words) she stumbled across while reading a poem about illness:

What have you come to teach me?

When we find ourselves in difficult situations, we get so focused on getting out of them that we fail to get anything out of them. Then we wonder why we find ourselves in the same situation all over again. There is nothing wrong with asking God to change your circumstances, but His primary objective is changing you. The circumstances you’re asking him to change may be the very circumstances He is using to change you. . . . Maybe it has come to teach you a lesson that could not be learned any other way! (Pg. 42)

That’s nice and everything, but what about:

“I don’t want to learn any more lessons!”

“This lesson is too personal and painful!”

“Haven’t we been through this one already?”

“Why do I keep taking hits and others aren’t?”

Plus, we may not get an answer right away – or at all. And if we do, it might not be the answer we were hoping for. Very rarely are we able to scratch our heads and say, “Oh, I get it now, that makes perfect sense! And that makes all the misery worth it!”

However, in spite of our feelings, pains, and disappointments – we keep asking the question to God out of trust.

We’re human beings and we feel and hurt and wonder. God loves us too much to let us stay the same. Am I going to draw closer to Him, or try to figure out His mind and reasoning? I love this quote from Christine Caine, “God asks us to love Him with all of our hearts, not understand Him with all of our minds.” Plus, if we repent of our sins and believe His son died for us – we always have the hope Jesus returning to take us to a heavenly home where there is no pain, illnesses, death, lack of resources, corruption, and so on and so forth.

“And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever . . . ” (1 John 2:17)

Blessings,

Dave :

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments