Attitude Check: what our attitudes are really telling people right now


Been thinking a little bit about that word lately.

So last week, I decided to type in “attitude quotes” into my Google search bar to learn a little bit about people’s perceptions of “attitude” and how it impacts our lives.

“Attitude is everything,” is one of the more common viewpoints out there. And, even though it’s kind of an oversimplification of how our attitudes impact our lives, there’s a lot of truth in that statement.

Our attitudes really do impact not just our lives, but the lives of those around us. Two historical figures have summed it up this way…  

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” – Winston Churchill
“Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.” – Albert Einstein

Turns out that our attitudes matter…a lot.

Especially as Christians.

It was Paul who wrote in Philippians 2:5…

“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”

If you go back and read verses 1-4 of that chapter, you’ll find examples of what having a Jesus’ attitude looks like. Paul says things like…

Stop being selfish (v3)

Stop trying to impress people (v3)

Be humble (v3)

Start thinking of others as better than yourself (v3)

Stop being proud (basically all of verse 3)

Stop doing only what’s best for you (v4)

Start paying more attention to the interests of others (v4)

Okay, so here’s the deal.

Our attitudes as Christians matter…A LOT.

The people around us (think your family, neighbors, coworkers, friends, etc.) are learning from us. Among other things, they are learning how we react and respond to the things going on around us (good and bad)…in our communities, in our nation, and in our world.

And, our attitudes (and the reactions that go with them) are giving people either a good and positive view of who Jesus is or one that makes Jesus look petty, selfish, arrogant, and condescending.

Clearly, these are difficult, divided days that we are all living in.

Right now, the division and disagreements we have are centered primarily on politics, race, COVID-19, and the economy.

But, even if/when these issues fade away or get resolved, there will be other things for us to divide and fight over. And the people around you will always be looking to you to see how you react and respond to them.  

So, ask yourself, what is your attitude telling people right now?

Is your attitude helping people see what having a Jesus’ attitude looks like?

Are you pointing people to Jesus these days or are you just pointing fingers?

Attitude may not be everything, but our attitudes as Christians say a lot.

May we be a people who have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had and consistently point people to Him.

Even when…especially when…it’s hard.

Monday Musings: free drinks for life

“Free is a very good price!”

Growing up in Portland, I used the hear that phrase a lot.

It came out of the mouth of a local businessman who used it to promote his business on TV and entice people to come into his stores…and spend money.

Ahhh the catch.

Seems like there is always some kind of catch when something is “free” doesn’t it?

Buy one get one free.

Free drink with 12 points.

Now, don’t get me wrong…I like free stuff.

It’s just that we often have to spend money or work at something before it actually becomes “free.”

Because nothing in life worth having is truly free…right?


The truth is that the best thing you can have in life is free.

The prophet Isaiah put it this way in Isaiah 55:1…

“Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink-even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk-it’s all free!”

And, then there was Jesus, who told a woman who was filling up her empty bucket with water at a well…

“Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

Both the prophet Isaiah and Jesus understood that we’re all thirsty…and not just physically thirsty.

We all have spiritual thirsts.

We all have relational thirsts.

We all thirst for significance, security, and acceptance.

We all thirst for meaning and purpose.

The bottom line is, we were all created to be thirsty beings.

And, we all go after all kinds of things to quench our thirsts.









But, here’s the deal…

All of those things will cost you something.

And only leave you more thirsty.

God created us to be thirsty beings, but he also gave us the opportunity to quench all of our thirsts forever in Jesus.

At the end of the day…

At the end of your days…the only way that your thirsts will be quenched forever is by accepting something that is actually free.

So, take Isaiah’s advice back in Isaiah 55 when he says…

“Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near.”

Jesus paid to quench your thirsts forever with his life. But, there will be a day where your time on this earth will run out.

A day when this free offer is no longer available for you to accept.

A day where Jesus will be the one sitting on his throne in heaven saying…

“It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega-the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.” (Revelation 21:6)

Free is a very good price…especially when it’s truly free.

The invitation is there from Jesus.

Free drinks for life.

Are you ready to accept his invitation before it’s too late?

Monday Musings from Psalm 37

March 2020.

A month and a year that won’t be forgotten any time soon…or ever.

March 2020 started like any other “normal” month, but halfway through everything went sideways.

It started in the United States with the NBA shutting down its season on a Wednesday.

By Friday, schools were closing their buildings.

That Sunday, it was churches.

And the dominoes continued to fall with theaters and restaurants and parks and pretty much any “non-essential” public space closed or heavily restricted by the end of the month.

Fast forward six months and September is starting like a new “normal” month.

The NBA season is back…playing games in a bubble.

Schools are starting back up again…online (at least for now).

And churches are slowly starting to gather again indoors with guidelines for social distancing.

Same with many businesses and public spaces.

Welcome to the new normal.

As many of us go kicking and screaming into the final stretch of 2020, we need to stop and listen to the wise words of King David in Psalm 37.

Beginning in verse 7, he writes…

“Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper-it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land.”

In a country that is becoming increasingly louder and more polarized may we all as Christians daily choose to…

Be still in the presence of the LORD.

Wait patiently for him to act.

Stop worrying about evil people.

Stop being angry.

And trust in the LORD.

Perhaps if we all choose to live these last days of 2020 like this, we’ll be in a better place to receive whatever God has for us in 2021.

And in a better place to point people to the only One who can bring lasting hope and peace and healing to this broken world.

Advent Musings: how will you react to Jesus?

When you hear the name “Jesus” what’s the first word that comes to your mind?





How about this…what reaction do you have when you hear the name “Jesus”?

Is it positive or negative?

Is it for him or against him?

Is it a reaction that reflects belief or unbelief?

Words matter…and words that reflect what we believe and lead us to action (or reaction) really matter.

So, how do you react to Jesus?

In the original story of Jesus’ birth, people reacted…

All who heard the shepherds wondered at what the shepherds told them. (Luke 2:18)

Jesus’ mother Mary treasured up all that was being said about her son. (Luke 2:19)

And, the shepherds praised God for all that they had heard and seen about Jesus. (Luke 2:20)

Later, the wise men searched for Jesus, and when they found him, they worshiped him. (Matthew 2:9-11)

But, not everyone reacted that way.

The birth of Jesus troubled Herod the king. (Matthew 2:3)

And, he reacted with deceit, and lies, and fear; and ultimately with a hatred that drove him to kill all the male children in Bethlehem. (Matthew 2:16)

The point is this…

The name of Jesus provokes all kinds of reactions. And, those reactions go one of two ways…

Positive or negative.

For or against.

Belief or unbelief.

This Advent season is an opportunity for you to react to Jesus.

It’s an opportunity for you to wonder (to be amazed) at who Jesus is, like the people who heard the news from the shepherds.

It’s an opportunity for you to treasure the Good News of salvation, like Mary did.

It’s an opportunity for you to praise God for the gift of his Son, Jesus Christ, like the shepherds did.

It’s an opportunity for you to search for him and worship him for the first time, like the wise men did.

Or, it’s an opportunity for you to continue living in fear and unbelief, like Herod did.

What’s your reaction to Jesus going to be this Advent season?

Advent Musings: what a new watch and a pile of Legos taught me about the gift of Jesus

I still remember the Christmas when I got my first real watch.

For some reason, I’d always wanted a watch…not the cheap digital watches you got in Happy Meals back in the 80’s, but a real analog watch.

So, it’s Christmas morning back in 1980something, and I open a gift that’s a small, square plastic container with the word “Timex” on it.

I can’t see the watch at this point, and I have no idea what “Timex” means, so I just kind of set it aside and start playing with some new Legos.

I still had no idea that the watch I’d really wanted was sitting inside that plastic container, buried under all the wrapping paper next to me.

At the time, I actually thought I had been given a useless plastic box.

Imagine waking up on Christmas morning and opening the one gift that you’ve always wanted…

Just think for a second of the feelings that you would have the moment you realize that’s what it is…





Love for the giver.

And the list goes on…

Now imagine that you open that same gift, but you have no idea that it’s the gift. What would you do?

All the feelings of excitement and joy would be replaced with feelings of…





Kind of like me and my Timex watch.

I got what I always wanted, but I let it get buried under a heap of wrapping paper, because I had no idea that there was a real analog watch inside that plastic box.

So, what does this all have to do with Advent and the Christmas season?

Jesus is the gift that we’ve always wanted.

Receiving him is the only way that we will ever find true peace and joy and hope and meaning in this broken world we live in.

But, the problem for many is that Jesus isn’t the gift they expected.

Ever since Jesus was born in an out-building in a small village instead of a palace in a large city, he’s been marginalized and misunderstood by the masses.

And so instead of remembering Jesus’ birth with feelings of excitement and joy and anticipation and gratitude, we bury the meaning of Christmas under a pile of wrapping paper.

Instead of accepting the greatest gift any of us could ever want, many in our culture today look at Jesus at Christmas time with indifference, apathy, and disappointment.

And, even for those who have already received the gift of Jesus, there is still the danger of distraction…

We can all get easily distracted by the holidays, and then forget what we’re actually supposed to be celebrating in the first place.

So, what about you?

This Advent season are you experiencing the joy of receiving the gift of Jesus and celebrating him?

Or, are you being distracted by everything else around you…

And settling for that pile of Legos?

Advent Musings: Is God’s Way the Only Way?

Religion is like a mountain…so the saying goes.*

And, we’re just all at the bottom of that mountain trying to figure out the best way to climb it.

My path may be different than your path, but that’s okay…

Because all the paths lead to God (or whatever you call him).

The Buddhist path.

The Hindu path.

The Christian Scientist path.

The Muslim path.

The Mormon path.

The Christian path.

(Insert your path of choice here).

One mountain…many paths…same destination.

The question is, can this even be possible?

Can all religions by true?

Or, to put it another way, can all religious paths lead to the same place?

For all religions to be true (and lead to the same place), two things would have to happen…

  1. God would have to be a universalist.**

2. We would have to be able to achieve the impossible…

We would have to be able to save ourselves.

But, the reality is, we can’t save ourselves.

We can never be good enough.

Nice enough.

Generous enough.

Holy enough.

Separatist enough.

Perfect enough.

Or religious enough to save ourselves.

Because religion doesn’t save anyone…only God saves.

So, God looks down on His creation from the top of that mountain and sees the impossibility of anyone reaching Him…

And He makes a way.

The way.

He sends an angel named Gabriel to a virgin named Mary, who tells her that she will bear a son whose name is Jesus.

This Jesus will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.

The Lord God will give to Him the throne of his father David…and of his kingdom there will be no end.

Because, as Gabriel says, nothing will be impossible with God.***

God did the impossible.

God is doing the impossible.

God will do the impossible.

He has made the impossible possible by sending His Son Jesus down the mountain to us.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

He is the way, because He is the path.

He is the truth, because He is the only path that truly leads to God.

He is the life, because the end of His path is eternal life with God.

Every religious path requires faith.

But, the Christian path is the only path where you’re putting your faith in someone other than yourself.

And, that someone is Jesus Christ.

The Bible says that God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, and that whoever believes in Him will not die…but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

God’s way to salvation is Him coming down to us and doing the impossible.

All of the other paths to Him require us to find a way to save ourselves…

And, that’s just not possible.

*Oprah made this viewpoint popular back in the early 2000’s, and it’s still going strong in our culture today.

**A universalist believes that all humankind will eventually be saved.

***For the rest of story, read Luke 1:26-38.