All posts by jimazing

What’s next?

For the last several months I have been focused on two events. My daughter, Erin’s wedding and the 10K bridge run. Now that these are past, I find myself asking again, “What’s next?” My “to do” list has grown and my “to be” list beckons. What’s a “to be” list? It’s a constant question nagging at me to know more of who I am. What makes me tick? Does my life matter? For many years since reading and re-reading the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, I have struggled with my Personal Mission Statement. Answering the question, “What am I here for?”

A tight group of my friends and I are exploring this together beginning with our values. Together we are wrestling with defining what it is we value in life. I find it difficult to narrow down and nail down what I value. There are so many things that I value in different ways. I think that there are different ways to approach this whole exercise in naming values. I can identify values by where I invest my scarce resources. My friend Mark (who writes a blog here) calls this revealed preference. We value what we value because… well, we just do. This is revealed by examining what we are already doing. In Matt 6, Jesus said, “…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” That makes perfect sense to me, and it is a start, but it isn’t enough.

There’s a part of me that wants more than just whatever feels comfortable in the moment. This part of me realizes that I have tendencies to do what I don’t want to do. I also know that I can make choices that will get me to what I’m after in the long run (even though they are not comfortable). I know that I’m no good at fighting my urges alone. I need the power and Grace of God and the help of my friends. I know that God has made me the way He made me for a reason. As I learn more about that reason, it will help me know what I want to value and where I want to go. Ultimately, I want to live for Christ… and if you know me at all, you know that when I say that, I do not mean becoming more religious. I mean being the best damned1 Jim Anderson that I can be, infused with the Holy Spirit of God living in me.

I don’t fully understand it, but i know that God is calling me to be more me and more Him at the same time. One thing I am sure of… when I am fully me and God is fully Himself in me, it will look like no other person in history. We aren’t supposed to be identical. He gave us different gifts, strengths and talents for a reason. He loves variety!

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1Sorry mama. I know you don’t like bad language, but I needed to write that word. It wasn’t against you, it was for me.

Father of the Bride (updated)

pict0192c.JPGSomehow I held it together (on the outside) on Sunday as I walked my lovely daughter down the aisle. What a beautiful bride!

I don’t know if anyone can understand what I was feeling at the moment this picture was taken. A few people might argue with me, but I believe I was the proudest person in the room.

My vision for the events of the weekend leading up to and including the wedding and reception were for connection, encouragement, celebration, fun. I got my wish. We had a blast at the rehearsal and dinner. Saturday, we had a huge crowd at our house as friends and family from out of town came over for a cookout. It was a special treat to have each parent get up and say a few words, then to have the sisters and some friends get up, unprompted to share their memories and wishes for a happy future.
At the cookout, Jack (Justin’s dad) said that Justin and Erin’s marriage just “feels right”. I concur. It does feel right.

I pray for many years of happiness, love, mutual affirmation and success for the newlyweds. I pray that they will always be free to show their love for one another and that they will have respect and honor for one another even when it doesn’t “feel right.” This weekend, I saw what a great impact they have been with their friends and family. I pray that they continue to have that kind of impact in their world. The world needs people with a passion like they have. I believe it will be a better place because they are following their dreams.

Bless you, Erin and Justin. I’m glad I get to be your dad (one of them anyway :))

P. S. (Can you do a P. S. on a blog?)… Lots of friends and family took digital photos. As I get them I will post them. Come back soon for a slide show of the best shots.

P. P. S.  Click to see the slide show.

Carnegie Mellon Wants Erin (Updated)

newsflash.gif… Update…

Johns Hopkins is now offering her a full ride too! Johns Hopkins, Carnegie Mellon, Berkeley… Everyone wants Erin!


Before this week, I didn’t know much about Carnegie Mellon University. I knew that they are in Pittsburgh, PA. I knew that they are a world class engineering school specializing in robotics. Now I know something else about them… they know talent when they see it. Continue reading Carnegie Mellon Wants Erin (Updated)

Can a Muslim become a Christian?

I experienced a stark reminder yesterday that all Christ followers do not believe what I believe. I was connecting with someone who I met at church a couple of years ago, but I had not seen in a while. He and I chatted about church. He’s in the process of looking for another church to attend and my family has visited a couple of other churches too. I told him about one that we had enjoyed visiting. But when I mentioned that the pastor was a former Muslim, he said that there was no way he would ever go there. He couldn’t ever trust a Muslim.

I was flabbergasted! From the beginning of knowing about this church and its pastor, I thought it was very cool to be this close to a man who made such a radical life change (he left his family and his homeland) to follow Jesus. He can never go home again! Not knowing quite what to say to my friend, I asked him if he believed that God was unable to reach someone who is Muslim? He only said that he would never trust one of them. I asked him whether God could reach a Hindu, and he replied that he didn’t have any particular mindset about them… only the Muslims. He said he believes that they are the “root of all evil in this world.” I challenged him about that. He said, “I’m just being honest.”

I sincerely thanked him for being honest. I believe that honesty is the only beginning place from which we can find healing in Christ. If we are not honest about where we are, God cannot influence our lives. Jesus said that the truth would set us free. (Although I’m taking that quote out of context, I believe it is true). We cannot move forward if we are less than candid about our starting place. Having said that, personal honesty is still just a starting place. God loves us where we are, but he loves us too much to leave us there.

I challenged my brother to reconsider his (honest) position on the matter. If God cannot reach someone because they are Muslim, then none of us stand a chance. We are all on equal ground before him. None of us “deserve” his favor.

Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Colossians 3:11

I disagree with my brother’s position wholeheartedly. I believe that our only hope is in the sovereign, undeserved grace of God. I feel passionately about this. My passion is not against my brother. My passion is for my desire to see the healing peace of God in this world. My passion is for partnering with Jesus to bring a little bit of heaven into this hellish world that we live in.

whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward. And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. Mark 9:40-42

I remember a story about the ten Boom family in the Netherlands during WWII. There was a scene in The Hiding Place in which Corrie’s father, Willem, who was a Christian, sewed a star of David on his sleeve to confuse the Nazi oppressors. He said that if we all wear them, they won’t be able to tell who’s a Jew and who is not. I like that.

I don’t want to hide terrorists from justice. At the same time, I vehemently oppose generalizations that reduce the problem to “us and them”. I understand the basis of the mistrust. I understand that there is a people group who by and large hate Christians. I understand that they mean to harm us and will do so at any cost. I do not believe that all Muslims fit this mold. Call me a fool, but I believe that God can and wants to touch the hearts of Muslims and Christians.

I pray for the shalom of God in this world beginning with me.

Disappointing Run

This year will be my third year running the 10K Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC. I started running when I was about 45 years old, which is not an easy feat to do. I really wanted to run the bridge. My buddy, Curt ran it every year and inspired me to run it too. The first year, my goal was to “just get over it”. My finish time that year was 1:17. Last year, I ran it with my friend, John in 1:07 and wrote about it here. This year, my goal is to run it in 60 minutes.

Continue reading Disappointing Run

The Secret

I was unfamiliar with The Secret until a friend asked about it tonight. I just did a quick search and my first inclination is to say “SCAM” Here’s what I read on Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

…As put forth in the film, the “Law of Attraction” principle posits that our feelings and thoughts affect real events in the world, from the workings of the entire cosmos to interactions among individuals in their physical, emotional, and professional affairs. The film also suggests that there has been a conspiracy to keep this central principle hidden from the public.

Continue reading The Secret

The House that Ken Built

My brother, Ken, built a miniature mansion for our mom. That is no exaggeration. He started with one of the standard floor plans that his company, Jessco, builds and then upgraded it to the max. The extras and the details he put into it are beyond anything that she could have imagined. She said, “I am going to be living in luxury the rest of my life!”

  • Nine foot ceilings
  • 6 foot tall windows
  • Decorative Concrete all the way around the house
  • Landscaping Upgrades
  • Crown Molding everywhere
  • Chair rail molding in every room
  • Privacy fence
  • The prettiest patio you ever saw made with decorative concrete with a curved edge.
  • much more…

As I was walking through the house last weekend, I thought about the 80/20 rule… you know, you get 80% of the benefit with 20% effort. But if you want to get that last 20% benefit, it will take 80% effort. I believe mom’s house is what you get when you give 100%. Please take a look at the photo slide show of the house, and check out the video.

Continue reading The House that Ken Built

A Dangerously Good Story

From the book To be Told by Dan Allender, PhD. (all emphasis is mine). (Thanks for loaning it to me, Curtis.)

Death is Not the Ending

We all believe we can’t die because we simply have too much left to do. We have children to raise and goals to achieve and appointments in our PDA for next week. There is obviously a natural resistance to considering one’s own death, but what i am saying is far more than “I don’t want to face the fact that life will not last.” The harder question by far is, “Does my life really have meaning?

Continue reading A Dangerously Good Story

Family History Pages

coatofarms.gifI just added a section to the site for family history stories. See the menu to the left and the tab above or click here. I hope to keep adding stories there about those who have gone before me because they are a part of my story too.

The first story is in my grandmother’s own words and describes of their trip to the “Holy Land” when they unexpectedly found themselves detained because of the October 1973 War (or Yom Kippur War) between Egypt and Israel. I copied it from a newspaper clipping that my dad gave me over the holidays.