The Sheep Dog Perspective

April 3, 2009 at 5:34 am (Biblei-Octopi) (, , , , , , )

Our former pastor (Reverend Clifford F. Howery) had frequently referred to himself as a sheep dog stating that the church has but one shepherd, Christ, and as a pastor, his calling was to be as a sheep dog serving the sheep under the direction of the Shepherd.

I appreciate this attitude as it recognizes the True/Primary Shepherd (Christ) and places the role of the pastor (as well as leaders/overseers) in accountability to the role of Christ.

Sheep Dog At Work

Sheep Dog At Work

Christ clearly casts Himself as The Shepherd of His flock, the church, and nowhere is that more clearly expressed than in John 10. In John 21:16 Christ gives the command to Peter, “Shepherd My sheep,” which is further expounded in passages such as Acts 20:28 and 1 Peter 5:2-4.

The duties of the pastor do not derive their authority from the pastor himself but from Christ. Scripture is adamant that there are clear and certain character requirements that must be met to be even considered for leadership (note 1 Timothy 3), but the pastor’s role and authority is founded solely in Christ.

Pastors are therefore accountable to be diligent to look to The Shepherd for their instructions and in the integrity of that accountability to uphold the commands of Christ for the flock (church).

When the pastor conducts Himself in submission to Christ, His Word and Holy Spirit, then he does and must operate in authority to teach, encourage and reprove the flock.

As a sheep dog, the pastor should be tenacious in protecting the sheep: 1) To protect them from themselves, from wandering away from The Shepherd; 2) To echo The Shepherd and ensure that His commands are being obeyed; 3) To guard them from assailants, external as well as internal, that seek to lead them astray or devour them.

The New Testament is full of instructions and examples for ministers, pastors, leaders and the church as a whole. This discussion is in no way exhaustive on the topic of the pastor, but I believe that the humility and accountability of what we will call the sheep dog perspective serves as a valuable encouragement to pastors and the church.


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Songs of Greatest Impact

February 24, 2009 at 6:07 pm (Inspirational, Sights & Sounds) (, , , , , , , , )

I was in the car yesterday and in the middle of a time consuming detour, “Reject” by Living Sacrifice came up on my iPod. For those of you that are unaware of this Christian Hardcore/Metal milestone, Living Sacrifice was one of the bands that I believe was pivotal in ushering in a new era of clarity in message being expressed through a quality and relevant medium (ie Hardcore music). For those of you that have experienced this tasty treat, recall for a moment where you were at when Reject assaulted your eardrums and you were awakened to a reality where Christian music could challenge you as well as rock your face off.

As my long journey on roads never traveled, this detour through Memoriam (ha ha – Living Sacrifice’s last album) afforded me additional time to consider other milestone songs. I tried to compile the “best of” with these factors: 1) Song must have a clear message; 2) Song must inspire passion; 3) Song must be crisply executed (quality); 4) Must still be relevant today (still sounds good)

Hardcore: Reject by Living Sacrifice

Alternative: Jesus Freak by DC Talk

Shine by Newsboys or Big House by Audio Adrenaline – “Secret Ambition” by Michael W. Smith deserves a nod and possibly should top the list, who was edgier than MWS in his initial era?

*I recognize there is a host of songs that church going folk will have been inundated with via Christian radio and even the “special music” from church – perhaps some of those belong on this list or maybe a separate category. Some of them may be jaded by their redundancy but a few that come to mind are “Mary Did You
Know” by Michael English; “Thank You” by Ray Boltz

Rap: “What Do You See” by Cross Movement
*I will admit that this is not a genre that I have extensive knowledge of, but I think most that enjoy this arena will have to recognize the impact that Cross Movement has had.

Ska: “Unite” by Supertones

Punk: “Never Die” by Dogwood (“Control” is also another great offering by Dogwood but slightly more mellow) “JCHC” by Officer Negative also came to mind
*I recognize that MxPx owns the most widespread audience as a Christian Punk Band but in the early days of their music where the message was clearest the quality wasn’t but perhaps “Teenage Politics” deserves a nod.

Hair Metal: “To Hell With The Devil” by Stryper

*Is there really any argument here? What was better at the time than yellow spandex and weapons that only the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had access to.

Before some of you music buffs go crazy and start rioting at my house, please note that this was mainly written on the fly with only my memories to serve me. This list is certainly up for discussion and I’d love to hear back from you all. Keep in the mind the (4) distinctives that I tried to use to guide this list.

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Spending Your Life

February 22, 2009 at 5:08 am (Biblei-Octopi) (, , , , , , )

I like to read while I am in the restroom. On this particular occasion I forgot to bring some current reading material with me so I grabbed some materials out of “the drawer” where some of the unfinished magazines and books find rest. I read a small section from a trade magazine and then grabbed “The E-Myth Contractor: Why Most Contractor’s Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It”, a supplemental follow up to “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber. (As a side note, if you are looking for a book that will help you with directional values and to solidify business principles, I recommend The E-Myth Revisited)
I happened to turn to a section dealing with the subject of time:

The first thing you have to do is put Time into perspective. You’ve got to think of it as Time with a capital T…You must accept that you have only so much Time, that you’re using up that Time second by precious second. And that Time, your Time, your life, is the most valuable asset you have. Of course, you can use your Time any way you want. But unless you choose to use it as richly, as rewardingly, as excitingly, as intelligently, as fully, as intentionally as possible, you’ll squander it and fail to appreciate it. (pg 95,96)

This segment helped to bring home a principle that time is more than a component of life; in many senses time is life. How you spend your time is defining your life. The message of your life, the conclusion of your life (your legacy), is being written in time.

How altering is it to understand that spending time is more than just seconds turning into minutes, each second is life that you are spending and of which you have a limited supply?

If you are spending time in worthwhile pursuits then you can say that you are investing your life in what is important to you. If you feel that you are wasting time, you may very well be wasting life. Be careful where you invest your time for you are paying with your life, literally.

In practical terms, we exchange time for money, which means we are selling a portion of our lives for money. If we thought of the exchange rate of life for money, perhaps there would be fewer things that we were willing to pay for with our lives. There is much that we can waste our lives on, but there is also much that we can invest our lives in.

Life in this current measurement of time has a definite end. Christ spoke to the matter in this way, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 NIV) Not that you can spend your time to earn salvation, but are you spending your life pursuing things that will give it back? Is what you are spending your life on worth the investment; worth the price of your life?

Jesus set the example of spending life (time) with God as well as investing his life (time) in the lives of others. Even though He died (on the cross), Christ says that He gave His life and did so to ransom many (Mark 10:45). Christ lived to fulfill the purpose that God had given Him. His life was very much intentional and He spent His time pursuing His purpose. God raised Christ to again demonstrate His power over death (the end of life). Christ died and rose to save the lives of others. Christ died to save your life and to bring great promise as well as purpose to the living of your life – the spending of your time.

My last post (The Spiritual Reality of Busyness) promoted a series of messages by Michael Kennedy, the first of which confronts the cultural pressure of busyness and how this has largely been adopted in the lives of Christians as well as the church. 50 minutes well spent to help you identify and confront these cultural pressures that distort our focus and often cause us to spend our lives (time) unwisely.

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The Spiritual Realities of Busyness

February 20, 2009 at 10:39 pm (Biblei-Octopi, Words (Not Mine)) (, , , , , , )

Identify spiritual and cultural encumbrances that may be silently affecting your relationship with God and your effectiveness in completing the work he has put before you. This is a message of freedom from cultural pressures that if left un-confronted will distract and undermine your spiritual growth.

Enclosed is the link to the first in a series of messages from Pastor Micheal Kennedy of Faith Evangelical Free Church in Moline, IL.  If you need a formal introduction, here is Mike’s bio from the church website.

This series of messages serves to enlighten the followers of Christ on the roots of busyness, the effects of materialism and the often un-confronted cultural pressures that have been adopted even in the fabric of the believer’s thought process and the church at large. You are invited to take a humbling look into the principles of Scripture and the life of Christ and how completely different our current mindset is undermining what we often quote as our Christian mission. Allowing God’s word to test and weed out these hindrances, we can operate in the freedom and power of God’s Spirit.

Message 1 “Jesus and Simplicity (part 1)” from Sunday 01-04-09

Sermon Archive note messages entitled “Jesus and Simplicity”

I have a personal connection with Mike Kennedy as I enjoyed his love for God, love for others and practical-sincerity in his approach to Christianity. If you choose to listen through these messages, you may not have the relational context that I enjoy, but you will certainly benefit from the truths that are presented.

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Are You A Man?

February 16, 2009 at 10:07 pm (Biblei-Octopi, Parents, Words (Not Mine)) (, , , , , )

Mark Driscoll: A Study of Man From Genesis 1, 2 & 3

(Link to Audio)

In this study is not only a better understanding of the fall of Adam, the historical and current implications of that fall, but also a clear call to Biblical Manhood.

Noteworthy are the expositions on the spiritual priesthood of every man/father, the call to responsibility to be a man both for the unmarried as well as the married and clear directives/consequences of not fulfilling the Biblical call to be a man as God intended (generically in the sense of the definition of man and very specifically in the sense of being a Biblical man).

I believe this message is critical for men of all ages, but also a good message for women as you understand very practically what a Biblical man should be.

This is a worth while investment of 45 minutes of your life.  Warning, this is not a sugar coated message – if you are not offended something is wrong with your listening mechanism.

Let me know what you think.

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“What Happens When You Don’t Go To Heaven?”

February 9, 2009 at 7:36 am (Biblei-Octopi, Parents) (, , , , , , )

So, tonight we are reading a passage in a “children’s” Bible – you’ve probably read one with your kids – condensed message that outlines a bible story without a whole lot of details. Tonight’s story was about some friends who brought a blind man to Jesus to be healed and through the passage I was discussing with my 6 year old daughter and 3 year old son how important it is to choose and be a good friends.

I don’t recall how, but the conversation progressed into believing about Jesus and somewhere in there my daughter asked, “So what happens when you don’t go to heaven?”

I should preface by saying that my wife and I have a strong commitment to the principles of 1) being available to discuss ANY topic with our children and 2) not glossing over the truth but working to help our kids understand truth to the best of their ability to comprehend. The topics of hell and sex are obviously some of the biggest challenges to these principles, but here we are in real time.

“Well, heaven is where Jesus is, where those who believe in Him get to live with Him forever. When you don’t believe in Jesus, you go to a place called hell, that is where Jesus is not and it is not a very nice place at all. Those that do not believe in Jesus have to go to hell, where they will not be with Jeuse, they will be with the devil.”

6 year old daughter: “What does the devil look like?” (Note, this is a 6 year old and the progression of questions are quite logical but also reveal an exposure to spiritual topics and a hunger for truth)

“Well, he probably is very beautiful to some degree as he was created by God and had a very important job but decided that he wanted to be like God. Since only God can be God and the devil had decided to do something other than what God had created him for he had to be sent out of heaven.”

6: “Isn’t the devil red?”

“No, that is an incorrect creation of people, similar to many of our religious images (talked about the wimpy images of Jesus).”

6: “Did great grandpa go to heaven?”

“I didn’t know great grandpa really well and only Jesus decides who goes to heaven. From what I understand of great grandpa I don’t think that Jesus was a priority for him, I don’t know that he believed in Jesus.”

6: “So then he didn’t go to heaven?”

“I don’t know for sure because I didn’t know him but it would depend on whether he believed in Jesus.”

I don’t remember just how she worded it, but she mentioned something about when we die we our eyes are closed so we can’t see in heaven. We talked about physical bodies and spiritual bodies, I turned to Philippians 3:20, 21 and we discussed that we will have perfected physical bodies. Since the word transform was in the text and my children are quite familiar with Transformers, I used that as a discussion point to talk about transformation through Christ.

Some nights we have good discussions. Some nights the discussions are brief. I think the important thing is that there is an open format for spiritual discussion and when times like these come along, there isn’t a fear of diving into difficult topics. Tonight was about 45 minutes of deep topics all centering around heaven, hell and death.

As my wife and I were reflecting on the conversation, we were discussing the natural consequences of our commitments and the deeper truth that was revealed by our 6 year old. We were enlightened to just how much of a hunger for truth our 6 year old daughter was displaying, just how logically she was processing the information (granted, 6 year old logic, but none the less logical) but also the reality that she is receiving information that is of a spiritual nature with or without us. If we do not create an open door for our children to discuss ANY topic they will find some other source to feed them information about those topics. If we are not honest with our children, they will not get the information that they yearn for as they search for truth and the trust they have in us as a conduit for truth will deteriorate over time.

If you didn’t catch that, let me sum it up: IF YOU AREN’T DISCUSSING (fill in blank) WITH YOUR CHILD, SOMEONE ELSE IS. If you aren’t discussing spiritual things or sexual things or any other thing with your child, then someone else will and they probably won’t be framing topic in the proper moral context.

A resource that has been pivotal in changing our mindset towards youth ministry and parenting has been “You Want To Pierce What?” by Walker Moore (available as a book and/or movie presentation). We were so blessed when we were working with youth to have attended a presentation at a SBC Youth Conference where Walker presented his ideas. What struck us was that you could tell Walker had put his time in understanding how not just to create a successful youth group but how to actually help youth develop into spiritually functioning adults.

Last I checked on Amazon there were 6 avaliable (92 cents plus shipping) – type in “You Want To Pierce What?”

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Churching Peoples – A Renewed Perspective

January 31, 2009 at 7:12 pm (Biblei-Octopi) (, , , , , )

A good friend, or spiritually should we say brother, peeked my interest in Mars Hill and pastor Mark Driscoll’s work (particularly in the arena of Christian sexuality – I encourage you to investigate). I’ve added the churches blog The Resurgence to my bloglines and recently found this posting:

Most church-goers conceive of church as a building. On Sunday mornings they get up, get dressed, and “go to church.” However, this is not how the early Christians conceived of church. They did not go to church—they were the church. Church is a community, not a building or a meeting. Church is all week, not just on weekends. Church literally means a “public assembly of people.” It has to do with people gathering, not with program-participating. (Jonathan Dodson)

This posting struck me, as I have often been of the mindset that the ministry of the church is the reason we arise on Sunday mornings and struggle to get our family out the door. I’ve also been blessed with the deep benefits of Christian relationships that have challenged and encouraged me. Church, as the Bible (Acts 2 in particular) describes it, is not just a polished message that we dress up for nor is it a social gathering for like-minded people. In these extremes, the church takes on 2 basic forms:

  1. Going to church only to be ministered to by the message and/or the music, in this focus the people can easily become unnecessary and often your “edification” is predicated on whether you felt the music or were touched by the sermon for that day. If the church has this perspective then the ministries/programs, the tools of ministry, can become more important than real connections or actual spiritual growth
  2. Going to church as a social gathering. This doesn’t just affect teenagers, there are plenty of adults that get fancied up for their spiritual parade while building up the body and being spiritually fed are a distant second in their priorities for the day. I’ve been around leaders who believe that getting more people in the door is the main focus of their efforts. Their theory is that as long as they are coming eventually they will reap something of benefit.

Acts 2 shows us people who were committed to people with a clear purpose of learning and living the teachings of the disciples (agents of Christ). Of vital importance is the understanding that both elements must exist in unison in order for the Biblical picture of the church to play out. In a separate post on The Resurgence, author Tim Chester summarizes this concept by stating:

The content of our ministry is the gospel. It’s a word: gospel means good news. So being gospel-centered means being word-centered. And it’s a word to be proclaimed: gospel means good news. So being gospel-centered means being mission-centered. That’s the content of ministry. The context is always the Christian community. Ministry is not an event, still less a performance. It takes place in and through the shared life of the Christian community. So whether it’s evangelism or social involvement or children’s work or apologetics or pastoral care or training, these two principles shape what we do: gospel-centered and community-centered.

Chester’s post further elaborates on the concept of fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19) to be more of, “As you are GO-ing,” as opposed to the static command to GO-for-a-time. When you understand the content of your ministry (the gospel of Christ) and the medium through which this content is to be communicated to the world (the church) the natural application for the individual is to always be about living the truth in all aspects of life. Chester does well to summarize it this way:

Here’s another way of thinking about it. One of the catchphrases we use to capture our vision is “ordinary life with gospel intentionality” or “ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality.” In other words, what we do is ordinary life together: household chores, trips to the movies, meals, neighborhood volunteering. But running through all these activities is a commitment to speaking and living the gospel. We pastor one another at the kitchen sink. We evangelize by talking about Jesus over a meal.

I believe that Christ made things very simple and clear, His commands are far from easy, but He made them simple. I found these posts from The Resurgence to be refreshingly simple and applaud the application of these principles. Let Christ prepare His bride.

The two posts referenced can be found here:

Dodson’s post – Gospel Centered Community

Chester’s post – Ordinary Lives With Gospel Intentionality

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A Chain Letter for Christmas?

December 29, 2008 at 6:01 am (Inspirational, Parents, Seasonal, Words (Not Mine))

I received another chain-letter email, something I don’t normally read as 1) who knows if they are even true and 2) I think the, “Do this or Jesus will smite you” references are appauling. But for some reason this one caught my full attention. I’ve removed the chain-letter plea, even though this one is far better than most as it simply called for you to pray for four people.

What struck me about this story though is the resillience of the woman – life is a challenge and often throws circumstances at you that are ominous, you can either fold under pressure or make the best of your situation. The woman in the story isn’t a victim, she rolls up her sleeves and gets creative with her solutions. We need more of this spirit in individuals, corporations and even government.

The second thing that grabbed my attention is the reality that we all have opportunities to be that heart warming Christmas story. It is that time of year and while you may not have a sleigh that travels the world over in under 12 hours, a small act of kindness can be a big deal to someone in need.

In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket.
Their father was gone.

The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two. Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared. Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway
they would scramble to hide under their beds.

He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries. Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either. If there was a welfare system in effect in southern
Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it.

I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress, loaded
them into the rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job.

The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town. No luck. The kids stayed crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince who ever would listen that I was willing to learn or do anything. I had to have a job. Still no luck.

The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop. It was called the Big Wheel.

An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids. She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning. She paid 65 cents an hour, and I could start that night.

I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people. I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night. She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep. This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal.

That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers, we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I started at the Big Wheel.

When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money– fully half of what I averaged every night.

As the weeks went by, heating bills added a strain to my meager wage. The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home.

One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires! There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires. Had angels taken up
residence in Indiana ? I wondered.

I made a deal with the local service station. In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office. I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires.

I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn’t enough. Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids. I found a can of red paint and started repairing
and painting some old toys. Then I hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to
deliver on Christmas morning.

Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boys pants and soon they would be too far gone to repair. On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. There were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe. A few musicians were
hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were dropping nickels in the pinball machine. The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.

When it was time for me to go home at seven o’clock on Christmas morning, to my amazement, my old battered Chevy was filled full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes. I quickly opened the driver’s side door, crawled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat.

Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box. Inside was whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10!
I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans. Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes. There was candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes. There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie
filling and flour. There was whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items. And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll.

As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude. And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones
that precious morning.

Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop….

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Petey The Farting Dog

December 29, 2008 at 5:53 am (Humor, Words (Not Mine)) (, )

Watch Out For The Farting Dog

Watch Out For The Farting Dog

This was emailed to me, it was an actual posting on Craigslist.

I have a mastiff with a problem–I fear for my life

I have a male Cane Corso/English Mastiff who we will call “Petey” (this could damage his reputation). He will be 2 in March and, at 140 lbs, is still growing. He’s the best dog in the world–friendly, energetic (yet will take naps with me, his sleep-deprived mom), and he loves his brother, a Chihuahua. He’s never chewed on anything that I own (which is good, because I think he could fit my entire dresser in his mouth. Including the lamp.) But, we do have a serious problem.

Petey is…flatulent. To an extreme degree. Now, I know a lot of you out there are saying, “Hey, my dog (husband/boyfriend) farts all the time, so what’s the problem?” I don’t know how to explain it, but the best way to describe Petey’s gaseous expulsions is with this word: “heavy”. Like a dense fog settling on the mountains, Petey’s farts will settle in the lower 3′ of the room–about the altitude I inhabit while asleep. Thus, I fear that he may kill me (accidentally, I hope) in my sleep. Let me explain how the routine (when you go through this about 100 times a day, you make a routine) works:

-I’m in bed, innocently typing on the computer when I hear it: “FFFWWWWWPPPPPP”

-I look over at Petey, who was asleep next to my bed, and he is now fixated on his butt, with a look of confusion and wonder (“What was that!? Where did it go?”).

-Petey looks up at me (no doubt wondering if I saw the little creature that he thinks ran out of his butt while he wasn’t looking), and, after taking in my terrified gaze, thinks that he has done something HORRIFYING and he must move away from me before I yell at him.

-Petey jumps to his feet as I throw my comforter over my head to prevent my eyes from watering due to the noxious gas. In his attempt to slink out of the room unnoticed, he has shaken his intestines, which, in response, proceed to expel gas with his every step. In his mind, lots of little butt-dwelling critters are escaping, foiling his stealthy exit. I have yet to break it to him that he isn’t stealthy at all, with or without the butt-dwelling critters

-Hearing him exit the room, I crack the window behind my bed and shove my head out. 3 minutes later, I am in the clear. I shut the window and continue on with my work–shaken, but alive.

(At times I will get up to find him in another room, intently staring at his butt in hopes of catching one of
those pesky critters.)

I live in fear. These are SO BAD that I actually wake up in the middle of the night. Please, does anyone have any sort of home remedy? I’ve changed his food, stopped giving him rawhide, tried to eliminate tasty treats that I know cause gas in humans (cheese, anyone?)–everything I can think of, but my life is still on the line! I am a student, so money is tight, please keep this in mind! Thanks!

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Rocket Fuel – Rich Franklin

December 29, 2008 at 5:44 am (Inspirational, Sports, Words (Not Mine)) (, , , , , )

Rich Franklin (UFC)

Rich Franklin (UFC)

I received this as a bulletin from Rich Franklin’s MySpace and thought it was an encouraging note from a positive sports role-model.


Many people are desperate to escape – it could be a dark childhood; maybe alcohol or drug abuse; perhaps excessive eating and neglected fitness; or just a dispiriting, everyday routine. There is an aching need to escape personal gravity.

The force I’m talking about is that irresistible pull that keeps us gravity-bound to a place we no longer want to be. Which brings us to NASA. A rocket, fire-blasting off its pad at Cape Canaveral, burns 90% of its fuel at take off – in the first seconds. Once the rocket does break earth’s gravitational pull, however, it sails through space with comparative ease. So it is with us.

Breaking away from our everyday world requires us to expend extraordinary energy – to achieve lift off and create a new trajectory. When accomplished, we are free.

I know a few people who, through bad breaks or bad decisions, found themselves on a personal planet where they no longer wanted to be. But through the burning of their own rocket fuel – of determination, focus, work and discipline – launched themselves into new space. When training for a fight, I stay in a city far from Cincinnati, to break the gravitational pull of my home routine. This was especially critical in the weeks prior to the Travis Lutter fight in Montreal. Due to my father’s unexpected death, it took all my concentrated will to blast away from my overwhelming sadness and prepare in Seattle.

For those determined to rise to another orbit – intent to someday look back to the place they left behind – what is needed is rocket fuel. It lies deep within our souls – you can summon it, you can ignite it. eventually, you will soar.

Keep Striving,

Rich Franklin

See More of Ohio school teacher who became Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) Former Middle Weight Champion and American Fighter Founder Rich Franklin:

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