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May 10, 2012 / joelmalm

I Moved

Hey Guys,

For several reasons (scandalous ads appearing on my blog being one of them) I moved my blog over here.

May 4, 2012 / joelmalm

Stupid Stuff I Say

I’ve nearly recovered from a phone conversation I had on Monday with a retired pastor.  That man of faith nearly drove me to give up – on everything.  I’m not exactly sure what he was trying to accomplish, but that was the result.  I found myself thinking about that conversation all week.  Ever had one of those conversations?

Then yesterday I was talking to someone who has written a great book.  She asked me to look it over.  I was trying to encourage her, but for some reason everything that came out of my mouth sounded discouraging.  I was saying stupid stuff.  I had to write to her and apologize.

It made me realize something.  That pastor who was discouraging me was just saying stupid stuff.  He probably thought he was encouraging me.  It just didn’t come out right.  How tragic would it have been for me to give up because of one conversation with him.

I imagine lots of people give up on all sorts of things everyday because they have a conversation with someone who says stupid stuff.  I have to remind myself that there is only one opinion that matters – God’s opinion.  We need to listen to advisors, but they are only human and sometimes they are going to be more discouraging than encouraging.  Hold on to what you know God has called you to do and keep pressing on.

May 2, 2012 / joelmalm

Let It Die Man, Let It Die

A few years ago a friend asked us to take over his ministry in Mexico.  We went to Mexico and ended up closing the guy’s ministry down.

I don’t usually put that on my resume.  People don’t like to hear that you closed things.  They want you to start things that “leave a legacy.”

Sometimes I look back at that experience and think, What the heck was that all about God?  I just recently came to this conclusion about the experience:

I think God was trying to teach me that it’s ok to bring things to an end.

God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 21:6)  Only the government starts programs with no stopping date.

Sometimes we want to hold on to things that were for a season.  The honeymoon phase of marriage.  The unique worship experience.  That church we loved.  They served their purpose and God used them, but now it’s time to move on to bigger and better things.  To more depth.  Hanging on to them will really only hold us back from what God has.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted…
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)

(Note: Marriage is an obvious exception to the bringing things to an end rule.)

April 30, 2012 / joelmalm

My Plan? Uhh…

I used to go around asking people what their five year plan was.  I thought I was being really inspirational and “visiony.”  Most people gave me a blank stare.  I just figured that meant they were wandering aimlessly through life and needed me to motivate them.

I really hope no one asks me what my five year plan is any time soon.  ‘Cause frankly, I can’t see past June right now.

I still think people should have some goals they are shooting for, but I’m beginning to realize there are seasons where life is going to blow your planning to smithereens and force you to live in day by day faith.

Maybe that’s what Jesus was talking about when he said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt. 6:34)

If you are in a season where you can’t seem to wrap your head around a five year plan – fear not.  I’m convinced God doesn’t really care that much about your five year plan anyway.  He just wants you to focus on serving him today and becoming who he wants you to be.  That’s his five eon plan for you.

April 27, 2012 / joelmalm

Thanks God, This Really Stinks!

Have you ever prayed something like this?

“Dear God, I just want your will.  Please open the doors that I’m supposed to walk through and close the ones I’m not.”

I pray like that a lot.  But I realized something recently.  When God actually closes a door I don’t usually like it.  I feel all rejected and downtrodden.  I start thinking negatively.  I guess they didn’t want me. I’m not good enough.  Maybe my best days are behind me. 

That leads to me praying like this:  “Thanks a lot God, this really stinks!”

So I have to remind myself that if I really want God’s will I need to learn to accept the open doors and the closed ones as an answer to prayer.  I need to thank him for truly leading me – and making things really clear.

…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thess. 5:18

April 25, 2012 / joelmalm

Anger, The F-Bomb and Your IQ

I watched a guy get really mad last night. He tensed up. He started interspersing F-bombs as his adjective of choice, using it in front of nearly every noun. He pounded his fist a few times.

I thought about how I must look in those moments when I lose control and get angry.

It’s been scientifically proven that when you get angry your IQ actually drops. You lose intelligence and get dumber. For some of us, that’s really dangerous. I need to hold on to every little bit of intelligence I have.  J

So it served as a good reminder. I need to keep my anger under control. I need to walk away from situations when I feel tension in my neck and my fists clenching. Because “ the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20)

And it keeps me from looking dumb.

April 23, 2012 / joelmalm

When You Run With the Bulls

One day I hope to run with the bulls in Pamplona.  So I’ve been reading up on safety rules.  Rule #1 is:

If you go down, stay down and cover your head.  Do not try to get back up.

They say every person who has been killed running in recent years didn’t follow that one simple rule.

Yes, people die doing it.  But in spite of the danger, I still plan to run with the bulls.

Here I am talking all brave about running with the bulls, but what’s funny (or maybe tragic) is – I frequently don’t try things that actually have eternal significance for fear of ending up flat on my face or being trampled.   I’d wager I’m not alone on that.

So I have to remind myself of this:  If I run with the bulls and end up on the ground I’ll cover my head and wait for the chaos to pass.  Then I’ll get up, dust myself off and start bragging (humbly of course).

“Hey, I ran with the bulls!”

All the people on the sidelines who weren’t brave enough to try will look at the dust and hoof prints on my previously white shirt and say, “Ooh.  I wish I could do that.”  To that I’ll respond.

“You can.”

(I’ll actually say: Si, se puede!  ’cause it sounds more inspirational and they speak Spanish in Pamplona.) 🙂