I refuse to accept 50/50 in my marriage. No way. Not me. I know what the statistics say – that 50% of marriages end in divorce. And I know that the other 50% are mostly just sputtering along – keeping it together but not really finding the true intimacy and closeness that they each so desire. I know all of that. BUT I REFUSE TO ACCEPT THAT MY MARRIAGE WILL BE LESS THAN GREAT!
50/50 odds are not good enough for me. I want better for my wife, and for my kids, and most importantly, FOR MY SELF! I don’t want the same results as everybody else – and that is why I believe I must live differently than everybody else.
So with that said, I want to talk about what I believe is the most important factor upon which a successful marriage is built. There is one factor that I believe will contribute to your success in marriage more than anything else. This one commitment, if you keep it, won’t lead to a perfect marriage at all times – but it will certainly lead to one that is long-lasting and fulfilling for many years to come. Read More
Imagine baking a cake and only using half of the prescribed ingredients. Imagine building a car and using only half of the needed parts. Imagine building a house and only using half of the lumber needed to build the house properly. No one in their right mind would ever expect that cake, or that car, or that house to turn out right…right?
But what if we do that with our Christian faith? What if we have the same approach toward being a follower of Jesus? What if we leave out half of the equation? Read More
In my line of work, I get all kinds of questions from all kinds of people. People want guidance: “can youhelp me make this decision?” People want answers: “why would God do that?” People want comfort: “what can I do to get through this?”
But there’s another line of questioning that’s become quite common recently and it might surprise you. People want ASSURANCE – they want to know that what they’re doing is the right thing and that they’ve done it correctly. This applies to us more today than ever before – especially to all of my fellow perfectionists and "results-oriented" friends out there.
If that's you, beware: the spiritual life poses a significant challenge to you. Read More
Below is a post I wrote at the start of this year and given the current state of our nation, I thought might be relevant today. Its message is one that I believe is at the core of our Christian faith (and our national identity as well). I pray that one by one, more and more people in our country - especially within the Church - would see DIFFERENT doesn't mean WRONG. It just means different.
Can two people think differently and BOTH be right? Is that possible?
One thinks we should open our borders; another thinks we should close them.
One thinks we should help the poor; another thinks we should hold them accountable.
One thinks we should focus on evangelism; another thinks we need more Bible study.
Can they both be right? Or does someone have to be wrong? Read More
"For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore TURN and LIVE!” (Ezekiel 18:32)
We're halfway through the Spiritual Sweat journey (and Lent) and now it's time for the rubber to meet the road. It's time to put our humility and honesty into action through the practice of REPENTANCE.
What is repentance? It's more than a feeling... more than just confessing my sins. Repentance = CHANGE and if you want to know what that change looks like, check out Part 4 in Spiritual Sweat II above. Read More
I’m talking leadership again today and this week I want to share the 2nd MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION when it comes to be being a great leader.
Last week, I said that the #1 question is “what would a GREAT LEADER do?” Or what would a great PARENT do? Or what would a great FRIEND do? Or what would a great SERVANT OF GOD do? Whatever the context may be, find someone you consider to be “great” in that area and ask yourself “what would that person do in this situation?”
That was question #1. Read More
"Dear Fr. Anthony, I was really moved by your message and began to really believe that through the power of the Resurrection I can change and can overcome my old habits. But it seems like every time I believe that and start to move in the right direction, I inevitably fall and end up even worse than when I started. How can I make a change that will last? Is it even possible for me?”
That’s one of the most common questions I get asked: can I really change? Is it really possible for me to overcome my bad habit? Will I ever be able to stop worrying? Is there really any hope that my life can be different?
It’s not that we don’t believe that it’s possible. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. We believe 100% that it’s possible because we know that “with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37) and “the things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27) and of course, everyone’s favorite, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
We know the verses. We’ve heard the sermons. We’ve seen Jesus change the lives of so many other people around us.
SO WHY CAN’T WE CHANGE? That’s the million dollar question Read More
I’ll say a phrase and you say the first thing that comes to your mind. Ready? Here’s the phrase.....…THE WELL. What do you think of? What comes to your mind? Anything exciting or earth-shattering? My guess is that the answer is probably no, but there is one lady I know who is filled with emotion whenever she hears that phrase. To her, THE WELL is much more than a big hole in the ground filled with water. To her, THE WELL is the place that her life was changed forever.
Who is that lady? She is the lady written about in the New Testament, John 4, commonly known as the Samaritan Woman. To her, THE WELL is an ordinary place that took on extraordinary meaning and significance through her encounter there with a Man called Jesus.
She showed up at THE WELL one way, but she left a completely different way – completely transformed on the inside and the outside. Her life took on new meaning ever since that day at THE WELL and that’s why to her, THE WELL is the most important place on earth. It’s the place where she met Jesus and her life was changed forever.
Because of that, when we wanted to come up with a name for our post-Liturgy Sunday meeting at STSA - the weekly event that we use as a chance to invite our friends to come to church and hopefully meet Jesus there - we decided to name it THE WELL. Read More
What would you do today if you believed you won the lottery? Would that change anything in your day? I’m not talking about if you played the lottery and thought you had a chance to win. I am saying imagine you just got a certified letter, hand-delivered to you by Regis himself, saying that you’ve just won $100 million and the check is in the mail.
Would that change your behavior?
YOU BET IT WOULD! Are you kidding me? I’d be dancing in the street! I’d be screaming so loud that the neighbors would hear! I’d drive straight to my workplace – with resignation letter in hand – but before I submitted the letter, I’d go around and tell everyone how I REALLY felt about them!
(Note to all who work with me now: please don’t be offended by the last sentence. Of course I was just exaggerating to make a point. I’d never want to work with anyone other than you guys and as long as I don’t win the lottery any time soon, I’m sticking with that as my story :) )
Call me crazy but I am actually going to do it. I am going to do something I never thought I’d do. I’m going to do something that I’ve never even understood why others do it – to me it always seemed a bit crazy. But now I am officially one of the crazy people. Why? Because I am going to run in a race – a 5k race on the 4th of July.
Those who know about running know that a 5k isn’t that big a deal (it's a little more than 3 miles) but the point is that I’ve never done this kind of thing before and to be honest I’ve never really understood why people pay money to run. I always said that I’d pay money to sit or to lie down, but never to run. I never understood it.
And actually not only have I never run a race before, but I’ve never been someone to even run outdoors. I enjoy taking walks outdoors with my wife and/or kids, but I’ve never been one of those people who exercises outdoors. I usually do my exercising indoors so I can catch up on ESPN'S SportsCenter while I workout. But ever since I signed up for the run, I’ve been running outdoors. The weather has been great and I have fallen in love with my new workout program. Read More
Ok, it’s time for a confession. While I might be looked down upon for what I am about to confess, I will do so honorably and proudly and with no shame. I LOVE WATCHING PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING.
There I admitted it. Go ahead and judge me if you want, but let me just say this. When I grew up in the 80s and 90s, wrestling was a lot different than it is today. I am talking about the glory days of wrestling – back when you had the WWF, not the WWE; back when the good guys were good guys and everybody cheered for them because you knew they were always going to find a way to pull it out; and most importantly back when the fighting was real, not fake.
[I know, I know, I know. You think it’s all fake. Well, I agree that it might be choreographed, but I won’t go as far as fake. There is no way you can watch this video and tell me it’s fake. This is the infamous Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs Macho Man Randy Savage match from 1986. It still sends tingles up my spine.]
If you’ve ever watched wrestling, you know that the goal in any wrestling match is to either a) pin your opponent to the ground for 3 seconds, or b) to make your opponent submit/surrender. Read More
Yesterday I preached a sermon based on the story of the Prodigal Son (which I’ll assume everyone knows but it wouldn’t hurt to go back and read it as a refresher, see Luke 15:11-32). The story is an exact fit for all that I wrote about last week. When I read the story in the morning, what jumped out at me was how deep the boy had fallen and how amazing his deliverance was. He went from the deepest pit to the highest palace in no time.
How deep did he sink? We often have this picture of the Prodigal Son eating pig’s food with dirty animals in a pen. But actually that is NOT what the Bible says. The Bible doesn’t say he ate food with the pigs; what the Bible says is actually that it was even worse than that.
“And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.” Luke 15:16 Read More
"Water You turned into wine, opened the eyes of the blind. There's no one like You, none like You" - Our God, Chris Tomlin
Yes, the good ol' miracle that we've heard of that seems so beyond us and our abilities. As recorded by the Gospel according to St John, this was the first miracle performed by Jesus Christ. A small summary of the story - Jesus was at a wedding in Galilee and they had run out of wine. His mother, St Mary, kinda put Him on the spot to do something about it. He had people bring jars of water, He turned it into wine, and the people loved it - asking "Why didn't you bring out this good stuff before?!"
According to the customs, the 'good' wine was always brought out first so people can be impressed with the wine. Then, when people had a little too much to drink, the host would replace it with 'bad' wine because the guests were already getting a little buzz, so they wouldn't be able to tell the difference. There was something about this 'transformed' wine that was like no other they've tasted before. Read More
It’s March 1 and that means that we’re two months into 2012. Now be honest… have you kept your resolution for 2012? Be honest. Are you still doing what you said you’d be doing? Is your year going the direction you thought it would by now? Did you know that by the end of January, 40% of all New Year’s resolutions have been tossed aside? And that number jumps up to 75% by the middle of February!
It’s amazing how easy it is to come up with things about our lives that we want to change and yet how hard it is to actually change them! Why is that? Why can’t we keep our resolutions? Why can’t we make those changes that we know we need to make?
Did you know that:
- 95% of those who lose weight on a diet regain it, and a significant percentage gain back more than they originally lost
- Even after a heart attack, 6 out of every 7 patients DO NOT make any enduring changes around eating or exercise
- The average person makes the same New Year’s resolution 10 separate times without success