Note Taking Done Right Is Like Having a Memory Filing Cabinet (part 2)

In Addition to Expanded Memory, it Can Also Serve as Meeting Preparation

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing the issues of note taking and how this can be an overwhelming and daunting thing.

We started out with the importance of determining the why before the how. Next, we discussed the struggle of deciding whether to do digital or use paper. Last week we talked about the additional memory storage that is available with notes and storing them in a way so they can be found.

Last week’s focus was on taking notes for learning – lectures, classes, webinars, podcasts, books, etc.

This week we’re going to look at meeting notes and how they differ from learning notes. Meeting notes are more about actions than learning notes.

They are about discussions during the meeting, decisions made in the meeting, actions that need to be taken, when these actions need to be completed, etc. Meetings should have an agenda. An agenda is a form of note taking prior to the meeting. If you’re responsible for the meeting, you’re responsible for the agenda.

There are two different motivations for meeting notes

  • Preparation of a meeting that you’re responsible for organizing
  • Taking notes in a meeting that someone else has organized

An agenda is a form of “preparation” note taking.

Like learning notes, I prefer OneNote for my meeting notes. This is a Microsoft note-taking program for information gathering and multi-user collaboration. It can gather notes, drawings, screen clippings, and audio commentaries.

Notes can be shared with other OneNote users over the Internet or a network. OneNote is available as part of the Microsoft Office suite; it is also available as a free, stand-alone app via the website and the app stores of: Windows 10, MacOS, iOS and Android.

If you’d like to know more about why and how I use it, you can open my toolbox and look at OneNote.

On some occasions I will use a Word document. This may be because some people in the group need it in this format or it is an agenda that someone else has prepared previously.

The most important thing to remember when preparing a meeting agenda is…WHY are we having this meeting?

Here’s an example of a simple meeting agenda in OneNote.

Just like last week, if you look at the upper left corner to see what notebook we’re in, you can see that we’re in the Business & Organization Notebook. The Section is the second one from the left, the Team tab. Looking at the right side of the screen you can see we’re in Sunny’s subpage entitled Daily Meeting.

Below the heading of Daily Meeting in the upper left, you can see the date and time of the meeting. This is created automatically when a new page is started. These can be changed at any time.

You will also see another date on the left side above the agenda. This is because in this format I take notes during the meetings and keep each one in the same OneNote page so that that can be reviewed later.

In this view you’ll see the previous day’s agenda with notes. There are two additional colors on this agenda. The blue is notes I make to myself as reminders prior to the meeting. The red are notes made during the meeting.

Here is an excerpt from a Word document meeting agenda/notes. This was prepared by the church secretary and sent out to people on the committee ahead of time.

If I am responsible for reports or if there are things I want to remember during the meeting, I will add notes prior to the meeting – blue. During the meeting I take notes on my tablet, these are in red.

This can seem like a lot of work, but for me it’s worth the effort.

There was a time years ago when I was a young chairman of a committee at the church and was asked a question.

I couldn’t answer it because…I forgot what was discussed in the previous meeting.

This was a traumatic experience for a young man just out of high school.

Situations like this are, in part, what has led to me being the note taking nerd that I am. For me it’s about being accountable to those who have given me the responsibility, whatever that responsibility is.

Next week we’ll look at note taking as a way to sort our thoughts.

How Would Your Balance Sheet Look if God Took an Accounting of Your Life Today?

This is a Question We Should Be Asking Ourselves Continually Every Day

A young man who was working at his first job had made some mistakes. He was called into the boss’s office and demanded an explanation for the poor work and mistakes. The young man began making excuses and blaming other people.

Then the boss pointed out the window and said, “There it goes.” The young man turned to look, the boss said, “It’s a buck flying by.”

Have you ever seen a buck flying by? This is known as passing the buck.

When we are called to account for our mistakes, it’s tempting to “pass the buck”.

President Harry Truman used a well-known phrase, “The Buck Stops Here”. This means that I won’t blame other people for my situation. I will take responsibility for my actions.

We all need to take responsibility for our actions.

In Luke 16:1-13, Jesus tells His disciples a story about a manager for a rich man. The employee had been wasting the rich man’s money. The employee began passing the buck.

Jesus is preparing His disciples for when He is no longer around to watch over them. They will be responsible for sharing the message with the world accurately. He’s warning them that it will be easy to become weak and give in to worldly temptations.

 He was telling them to not PASS THE BUCK.

Like the man in the Scripture who is called to account for his actions, we too will be called to account for our actions. If you were called to heaven today, how would your accounting look?

Have you been a wise manager of your life?

Ten years ago, when I fell and hit my head, I was unconscious in the hospital for three days. While recovering, I asked myself this question. This was a point in my life when I became more intentional about living my life the way God had designed it.

Too often people go through life without seeking or finding their purpose. They meander through life without even looking for their purpose. Or they come up with their own worldly vision for what they want and go for that.

God is the creator of our lives. He has given each of us a purpose. Our lives were designed by Him.

We are given the choice of how we live. God doesn’t force us to live the life He designed.

Imagine a highly skilled architect that designs amazing homes. Everyone wants this architect to design their home. People are willing to wait years to get this designer.

Then, when you finally get to that long-awaited meeting, you hand the architect your own amateur plan. The one you drew on a napkin. Then you ask this master architect to simply approve your design.

This is how most people approach life.

Without any regard to the blueprint God has given us…we ask God to approve our design.

We need to step back and ask ourselves, are we doing the designing or are we building the life that God has designed for us?

At some point we are going to have to answer this question to God.

It’s a whole lot better if we ask ourselves now rather than waiting. If we ask now, then we can start remodeling our lives if need be.

Note Taking Done Right Is Like Having a Memory Filing Cabinet (part 1)

It’s Up to You to Determine If You Need the Additional Storage or Not

Last week I promised that we would look at my note taking system and how you can have a system that works for you.

Previously, we discussed the how’s and whys of note taking and the pros and cons of different systems. We talked about the fact that most people want a simple, “one size fits all” fix for note taking and there simply is no such thing.

But that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated either.

Note taking is relative to the level of organization and detail that you want to accomplish.

It can be as simple as writing it on a piece of paper or as complicated as you choose to make it.

The important thing to remember is…it’s your system!

I have been asking “note taking” questions of family and friends over the past few weeks. The answers I got were as wide ranging as the number of people asked.

The one thing that I don’t understand is why some people don’t take any notes.

All I can say is that either they have a lot better memory recall than I do or it’s just not important enough to put forth the effort.

There is just so much information that I want to remember or review later that I need a way to store it and then be able to find it when I need or want it.

Of the four different whys that I listed in the previous two posts…

  • Learning – lectures, classes, webinars, podcasts, books, etc.
  • Meeting notes – decisions made, actions to take, etc.
  • Sorting thoughts – pros and cons, cost comparisons, getting clarity, etc.
  • Preparation – outlines for presentations, ideas for sharing, agendas for meetings, etc.

We will look at learning today:

The foundation of my note taking system is OneNote. This is a Microsoft note-taking program for information gathering and multi-user collaboration. It can gather notes, drawings, screen clippings, and audio commentaries.

Notes can be shared with other OneNote users over the Internet or a network. OneNote is available as part of the Microsoft Office suite; it is also available as a free, stand-alone app via the website and the app stores of: Windows 10, MacOS, iOS and Android.

If you’d like to know more about why and how I use it, you can find that by following this link to open my toolbox and look at OneNote. There are a wide variety of similar systems, but this works the best for me.

Keep in mind that I’m a bit of a detailed organizational geek. I do love me some note taking.

Don’t let my system scare you off.

Here is an example of note from a Thrivable You course I took.

You can see in the upper left corner we’re in my Education Notebook. The tabs across the top are the different Sections in the notebook. We’re in the fourth Section from the left, Thrivable You. Looking at the right side of the screen you can see we’re in Session 23.

Below the Session 23 in the upper left, you can see the date and time of the class. This is created automatically when a new page is started. These can be changed if they need to be.

I usually take notes in an outline format, but this is just me. One of the things I like about OneNote is the ability to hide content (see the plus signs). This means there is more information there and I can open it by double clicking on the plus sign.

The Notes and Questions on the right side are things I think of during the learning and don’t want to forget but was not something that was presented as a direct part of the learning.

A great thing about OneNote and most digital systems is being able to search.

Notice the Search box in the upper right corner. Searching can be done by Page, Section, Notebook or the complete OneNote.

There is so much more about OneNote note taking that we could go into…but not today. If you would like more information and options about my learning note taking or OneNote in general, let me know in the contacts below.

Next week we’ll look at meeting notes.

People Love Drama and Will Give it Their Full Attention

If You Catch on Fire, People Will Watch You Burn

Why is it that when people drive by an accident along the road we want to slow down and look. What is this attraction?

Why are we so captivated by car crashes?

According to Roland Maiuro, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington, we tend to look at car accidents because “The accident provides a close encounter without yourself being directly involved being put at risk.”

In a paper on our fascination with crashes both economic and vehicular, the researchers equate driving with gambling and say the joy is greater because of the risk.

If you extrapolate this out, then, watching car crashes makes driving more exciting because we’re somehow more aware of the risk but, simultaneously, less attached to the actual consequences.

Maybe this why I like car racing?

People are looking for something to get excited about.

John Wesley said, “When you set yourself on fire, people will come and see you burn.”

When you are firmly grounded in your true passion you are on fire for life.

Life is a journey much more than it is a destination. Finding one’s passion can take years to find and often does. There are a few who find their fire early on. But there’s something to be said for the knowledge and experience you pick up along life’s path. Whether you have found your fire or are still in search of your passion, here are eight tips to keep you moving forward.

1.) Live with an open mind and open heart.
2.) The darkest hour is just before dawn.
4.) Let the bridges you burn light your way.
5.) Eagles soar alone while buzzards flock together.
6.) Always be thankful for what you have.
7.) Listen to your gut.
8.) Follow your heart.
10.) Never give up. Be patience.

God has given each of us a purpose, a fire. Whatever yours is, set yourself a blaze and let them watch you burn with passion.

As a Christian, part of our purpose is to share God’s message and look for the lost.

In Luke 15:1-10 Jesus tells a couple of stories about looking for things that are lost. One is looking for a single lost sheep. The shepherd doesn’t need to be concerned with the ninety-nine that are safe.

The other story is about a woman who has ten coins and losses one. She is looking for the single missing coin…the others are safe.

If you’re lost, look for the Shepherd and let Him find you. If not, then look for lost sheep.

Catch fire and let people see you burn. The brighter your fire burns the more people you can help find their way. Just be sure that it’s the right fire.

Digital vs. Paper – What Are the Pros and Cons of These Systems?

This Needs to be Determined Before We Can Decide Which System to Use

Last week we discussed the how’s and whys of note taking. At the end of that post, I told you that we would look at my note taking system and discuss how you can have a system designed to fit your specific needs.

Not so fast.

There’re still some more things to consider about the different forms of note taking before we can get into the system to use.

Let’s break down the pros and cons of paper vs. digital.

Reasons for paper over computers:

It’s a proven system and you’re used to it.

  • Paper and pencil have been a sure way to takes notes for a lot longer than computers.
  • Writing notes on paper is something we all learned in school…computers, not necessarily.
  • Digital note taking can be complicated and feel overwhelming.
  • Computers can crash and notes can be lost.
  • Paper is pretty safe unless the building burns down or is destroyed by a storm.
  • Most people can write faster than they can type.
  • There is evidence that the action of physically writing improves the retention of the information.
  • Paper and pencil are often more readily available than a computer.
  • Some people just like the feel of paper and pencil.

Reasons for digital over paper:

It’s much easier to search and find a note on a computer than digging through piles of paper.

  • Computer systems can link notes across different devises and programs.
  • It’s nice to be able to prepare the notes one time and it automatically be available to others.
  • There are a lot of different “cloud” storage options out there that have multiple back processes for protecting your content.
  • This is easier and safer than paper.
  • If you want a paper back up, it’s easy enough to print it out.
  • With almost everyone having a smart phone or tablet now, I would argue that these devices are now easier to find than paper and pencil.
  • The options available with digital note taking and the flexibility it provides make digital note taking a great option or addition to paper.

Considering these reasons should help as we move forward developing a clearer direction for your note taking system.

Last week I listed some of the why’s for taking notes. They include –

  • Learning – lectures, classes, webinars, podcasts, books, etc.
  • Meeting notes – decisions made, actions to take, etc.
  • Sorting thoughts – pros and cons, cost comparisons, getting clarity, etc.
  • Preparation – outlines for presentations, ideas for sharing, agendas for meetings, etc.

These different why’s need different note taking processes.

Going forward we’ll break them down and look at how I take notes for each.

I know that I said we would look at my note taking system and how one can be designed to fit your specific needs.  We’ll do that next week…I promise. 😊

We All Need Grace, and Getting It Comes Down to a Choice

This Is True for All Life’s Important Decisions

Our whole life is made up of decisions. It’s up to us to make the right choices.

Too often we don’t.

Sometimes it’s because our life situation is all we’ve ever known.

This was the case for Johnny Lee Clary. He grew up in a family full of hate and fear. His family was racist and full of aggression.

“There was a lot of alcoholism in our home and fighting all the time. My mother was constantly cheating on my father. My mother drove my father into bankruptcy, and then my father was faced with losing everything he had worked hard for.

I watched my father, one night, take a pistol and put it to his head and blow his brains out.”

Johnny was only 11 years old when his father died. Immediately after the funeral, his mother put him on a bus and sent me out to California to go live with his sister.

“That just made me hate that much more. So, I was hating everyone. At 14 years old, I felt like committing suicide myself.  I was thinking seriously about ending my life so I could go be with my dad.”

Then he saw David Duke, head of the Ku Lux Klan on television telling everybody that the White people needed to stick together. This made him feel some kind of a weird connection to his dad.

Johnny wrote Duke a letter telling him his life story. Before long, there was a knock on the door.

“I opened up the door, he shook my hand and said, ‘I’m a friend of David Duke’s.  We’re here to protect you, son.  What you need is a family.’”

The Klansmen taught Johnny the ways of the KKK. When he was 18, he returned to Oklahoma to start his own Klan chapter. Eventually he rose to the rank of Imperial Wizard, the Klan’s top leadership position.

“I finally felt like I’d found something that I could amount to in life.

The FBI opened an investigation on Johnny. He knew it was just a matter of time before he was going to end up getting arrested.

Johnny decided his only shot of staying out of prison was to step down as Imperial Wizard. But when he did, the Klan turned on him, fearing that he was an FBI informant.

Once again, he became a person without any friends. He started drinking, and the fear and hate consumed him.

“I thought of my daddy and I thought Daddy had the right idea. I sat down and was looking at the gun and there was a Bible sitting there. I thought that there is no possible way that the good Lord can forgive somebody like me, because I had been so full of hate. I had all the violence and lived such a bad life.”

He flipped open the Bible and it opened to Luke 15, the story of the prodigal son.

Johnny read Jesus’ parable of the young man who demanded his inheritance from his father, then squandered it all. He returned home to the father remorseful. His father did not chastise him, instead he celebrated his return.

“I finally got on my knees and said, ‘God, my life is screwed up.  God, I’m in a mess.  I need Your help.’”

He went to a nearby church. What he saw there amazed him: Blacks and Whites sitting together.  This moved Johnny’s heart, and at the end of the service, he gave his life to Christ.

“I felt like a new person, brand new creation.  I felt like I had had a weight lifted off my shoulders.”

Johnny wanted to share this with others but didn’t know how to get started, so he called on the Rev. Wade Watts, Minister of an African-American church that the Klan harassed.

“The Klan had set fire to his church and did everything under the sun to harass this man. I remember he debated me at a radio station one time. He looked right at me, and he goes, ‘You can’t do enough to me to make me hate you.  I’m going to love you. I’m going to pray for you whether you like it or not.’”

Johnny went to Rev. Wade Watts and they became good friends.

Johnny learned how to love and live in unity with all people.

“Not only has He given me a good wife to stand by my side, but He’s given me good friends. He’s given me a good life here on earth.  He’s given me hope, gave me the gift of love. Taught me what love’s all about. Isn’t that what God is? 

God is love. 

I’m not that mixed up kid looking for a family anymore.  I’ve got a family. I’ve got a relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

More of Johnny’s story

Most of our have not experienced or done the things that Johnny did, but we all need grace. If he can receive it, so can you.

Receiving grace is a choice and available to anyone who asks for it.

How Do You Know the Best Way to Take and Store Your Notes

The Hidden Secret to “Note Taking” Success is in the Word YOUR

Note taking is a complex challenge that’s been around for a long time. It’s the practice of recording information from a variety of sources including classes, discussions, meetings, podcasts, books, etc.

What’s the best system or method? How and where should notes be stored? How do you find them later when you’re looking for them? How should they be organized? And on and on and on…

Taking, storing and finding notes can be overwhelming.

The number of processes, systems and products that are out there is evidence of this. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just pick one and the work would be done.

These “note taking” questions arose in a recent conversation, and I can’t seem to quit thinking about it. So, my therapy is to write about it.

Like a lot of life’s struggles…we just want a quick simple fix.

I would say, note taking is a lot like life, in that we are all different. We have different purposes. We have different personalities. Who I am, isn’t who you are.  What works for me, won’t work for you.

Like life, note taking is a journey that will constantly be changing. There will be new ideas, thoughts, products and people showing us new ways.

Note taking, like life, is not a plug and play one time thing. It will need constant review and updating to keep us moving toward our best.

I never was much of a note taker in school. This probably explains my grades. Now I’m obsessed with note taking. But like everything, there’s still room for improvement.

Here are some of the common “note taking” questions –

  1. Should I write my notes on paper or type them digitally?
  2. How can I store my notes in such a way that I can find them later?
  3. How should my notes be organized?

These are important questions that can be hard to answer. The key to answering them, is to ask the why questions first.

Before how, you need to determine WHY…why am I taking notes?

  • Is it part of the learning process? A way to record the information being presented in a lecture, a class, a webinar, a podcast, a book, etc.
  • Are these notes something that I’m going to want to refer back to? If so, why and how would I use them?
  • Is it just that the process of taking these notes will help me comprehend the content? The act of note taking has been shown to improve comprehension.
  • Am I taking notes as a process of sorting through my thoughts to make them clearer?
  • Are these notes a form of preparing for a future presentation, speech, blog post, podcast, book, etc.

The note taking process will vary, depending on the reasons that you’re taking them. After you’ve determined the why, we can discuss a variety of how’s.

Ultimately, YOUR best note taking and storing is going to be specific to YOU.

This doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Or that there isn’t help available for answering both your why and how questions.

Check back next week when we’ll look at my note taking system and how one can be designed to fit your specific needs.

Be thinking about your WHYs for taking notes so that you’ll be ready to go.

Competition Is a Part of Life, But Not the One and Only Thing

When Everything is Just a Competition There’s No Room Left for Celebration

Competition is a problem when it’s the thing that gets all our attention. When no matter what we’re doing we’re trying to be better than them, whoever them are. This won’t end in a true celebration.

Keeping up with the Joneses” was a popular saying when I was growing up. It refers to comparing yourself to your neighbor. It was a benchmark for how you measured up in social class or the accumulation of stuff.

When some of the super-rich throw parties it becomes a competition to see who can spend the most. It’s all about doing it bigger and better. There are times when these events will exceed one million dollars for a one-night party.

This seems like taking competition a little bit too far.

It’s the level of importance we give to it, whatever it is. If in everything we do, we want to beat everyone…everyone becomes the enemy. Making everyone the enemy is not a good plan.

In Luke 14:1-14, Jesus tells a group of people who are having dinner at a Pharisee’s home, to be careful to not set yourself at the head table, presuming that you’re the most important. This is a problem when someone more important comes in and you are moved to a lower place.

We need to keep our egos in check and not let them rule us.

When competition becomes our one and only focus things get out of balance. Everything else begins to take a back seat to our being first and best.

Being competitive isn’t a bad thing in and of itself.

Healthy competition helps us grow and be better. Competition in the right way helps us grow past mediocrity.

Why are we competing? Who are we competing against? Where is our focus? What is the cost?

There was a couple whose life dream it was to own and run a restaurant. After years of working and dreaming, it was coming true…they were just days from the grand opening of their new restaurant.

And then everything changed when a hurricane came through town.

Their building was still intact, but there was a lot of devastation and damage in the area.

One of the existing restaurants, one of their competitors began taking advantage of the situation and raised their prices.

The couple saw this and were shocked. They decided to compete in a different way. They had a freezer full of food and no electricity, so they started sharing it with their neighbors.

Then a strange thing happened. Those neighbors began bringing food and giving it to the couple. The restaurant was full of people. Then neighbors began cleaning tables and helping out.

Who do you think was the winner in the competition between these two restaurants?

Too often competition comes from the perspective there is a limited amount to go around and if we don’t take what’s ours, someone else will get it.

This is the wrong perspective. There is plenty to go around. If we approach things from a scarcity mentality, we will never win. We will always be battling to take. This will leave us feeling empty.

If our focus is always on winning, we will never have time to celebrate the things in life that are truly important.

Don’t Go Through Life Angry at the World…There’s a Better Way

Regardless of Your Situation, Being Angry Will Only Make It Worse

We all find ourselves in situations that make us mad. The question is what are you going to do about it?

Gary Christian took his first step straight into his own dark, cold, hellish hole on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2007. 

That’s when law enforcement told his family that his daughter Channon’s body had been found.

Family and friends had been searching for her for two days,

What happened to Channon Christian and her boyfriend, was one of Knoxville’s most horrific crimes. The young couple was ambushed and carjacked on Jan. 6, 2007.

Both were beaten, tortured and raped.

The anguish never leaves Gary Christian’s voice when he remembers being told his daughter was murdered. 

“That was my baby,” he says.

After being told what had happened, he walked to the far edge of the police parking lot, away from anyone, and looked toward heaven. 

He screamed at God. Then he turned away from Him. 

“I told Him I am done with You. I don’t want You in my life. I don’t need You in my life, and I don’t trust You with anything.”

This was a dramatic turn, a first step into his hell on earth.

Saved at age 8, Christian had grown up in church. If the doors were open, he was there. He went on mission trips, played drums in a Christian band and witnessed for Christ. “I loved the Lord,” he says emphatically.

As a parent, every morning, he prayed. In every prayer, he asked God to watch over Channon and her older brother Chase.

Then God failed him.

“All I asked Him to do for my kids was to protect them. And He didn’t.”

That anger, mixed with deep hate and a desire for vengeance, was all he felt for years. He existed in a cold, dark abyss. Even in a crowd, he felt alone. 

“I couldn’t depend on nobody; I didn’t trust anybody,” he said. “Alone had a lot to do with everything.”

About a year after the initial trials, Christian found a way to keep Channon’s memory alive. He bought a motorcycle and started the Shepherds RC riding club.

The club hosts an annual Channon and Chris Memorial Ride to raise money for charity. 

The ride is one way the families remember their children while helping others.

Then, the Shepherds rode Christian back to a place he didn’t want to go. 

Some club members asked him to attend their church. Come to Easter service, they said. It was almost like a dare. He didn’t want to go. But he did, mostly just to shut them all up. 

“I never denied God. I just didn’t want to have anything to do with him,” he says.

He knew Easter service would be about the crucifixion. But the Rev. Jim Cummings first preached about Peter, the disciple who denied Jesus and whom Jesus restored. Then he talked about Christ on the cross.  

Two weeks after Easter, Christian was back at the church. “I got convinced to go again,” he says with a wry smile.

That Sunday was the day of the Shepherds’ club-only ride to remember Channon’s April 29 birthday. Before the ride, Christian and other Shepherds went to church.

The sermon was different than the Easter message. But Christian felt it was directed right at him. “I couldn’t shake what this guy said the first time, and he’s doing it again.” 

It’s about 24 miles up Pellissippi Parkway from the church to the cemetery. The whole ride that last April Sunday, Christian says, “the Lord was tearing me up.” 

When he got off his bike at Channon’s grave, “I was just so tired. I just couldn’t do it anymore.

“I went down on my knee, and I asked him, ‘Just like you did with Peter, restore me.’ And he did.”

When he got to his feet, he realized the Shepherds around him “were all Christians … Everybody in the club then, some longer than others, had been praying that one day I would find my way back.

“I hadn’t done that when I started the club. Never once did I ask a man about his faith. But all I knew that day, all the ones standing there with me were Christians.” 

He knows now how it happened. 

“When I turned my back on God, he never left me. He never stopped loving me. He never stopped protecting me. He never left my side. And I didn’t even know it.”

Amy McRary, Knox News

Restoration and healing aren’t always easy. For Gary this means revisiting and talking about death, loss and anger.

Anger causes a lot of unnecessary pain. To be healed from that pain we need to ask for help…both from God and others.

In Luke 13:10-17 Jesus healed a woman who had been suffering with a crippling spirit for eighteen years. She came to Jesus and he healed her.

Jesus can heal us too.

Sometimes the healing is different than what we’re looking for, but God knows better what we need. The key to this healing is to ask.

Don’t waste your life being angry.

Faith Is Better Than Magic… Magic Only Goes So Far

It Requires Action from Us for Faith to Do Its Magic

Faith’s magic is different than magician magic. It’s not a slide of hand, distract you over here while they do the “magic” over there.

There were two boys that were always trying to out prank each other.

One of them stole three candy bars and showed his friend. The friend told him that was no big deal, he could get the store clerk to give him three candy bars.

The first boy didn’t believe him. He had no faith.

The second boy went to the clerk and asked to show him a magic trick. The boy said he would need three candy bars and he would give them back when he was done. The clerk agreed.

The boy took the candy bars. He unwrapped the first one and ate it. The clerk was puzzled. The boy took the second and did the same thing. Now the clerk was getting concerned. The boy now repeated the process again and ate the third one. The concerned clerk says, “Okay, where are the candy bars?”

The boy says, “They’re in my friend’s pocket.”

God’s magic isn’t magician magic. It’s faith.

Faith requires action. In Hebrews 11:1-12 there are examples of people of faith taking action. Noah had faith and built a boat, even though it had never rained. Abraham had faith and went to a country where he had never been that became the promised land. Sarah in her old age believed and had a son.

Faith is like a staircase. You know there’s another floor up there. But if you don’t climb the stairs…you’ll never experience it. Faith without works is dead.

Faith is more than just believing. Faith is where the rubber meets the road. Even the demons believe.

If we don’t act on our faith, it’s useless.

Faith is more than knowledge. To become a musician, it requires more than just learning how to read music or knowing how to play an instrument. It requires practice. This is true for faith too.

Faith is not about information…it’s about transformation. God tells us in Jeremiah, that His plans are for us to prosper. He has plans for our hope and future. To0 much of life is spent doubting beliefs and believing doubts.

When a trapeze artist lets go of the trapeze and reaches out for the catcher, they must believe that they will be caught. The flyer simply stretches out their arms and trusts that the catcher will catch them. This is faith. We need to stretch out our arms to God and trust that He will catch us.

We all experience faith daily in varying degrees. The more we believe, practice and climb the stronger it becomes.

Faith is a better guide than reason. Reason can only go so far…faith has no limits. I will expect miracles in my life because faith produces them every day. I will believe in the future that I do not see. That is faith. The reward of this faith is to see the future that I believed.

Andy Andrews, Seventh Decision