Chapel Service

Douglas County Speedway

June 29, 2019

“Doing Life Well”

Bob Butcher

John 10: 9-10

“Yes, I Am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

We have a strong desire to do life well, to maximize our potential, and most importantly to reflect the image of our Creator.

I cannot offer magic formulas, but I do believe there’s a particular path that ends in a life well-lived and a lasting legacy. That path starts (and ends) between the ears. The Bible speaks often about the power of the mind and our thoughts. I think it’s easy to glaze over this and overlook the connection between thoughts and transformation. Maybe it’s to simplistic and we’ve been turned off by all those self-help books, but if they’re Biblical, more and more, even science is confirming Scripture, not contradicting it.

Our minds are powerful, and our thoughts shape who we are and will become. Our life matters!

Here are 7 verses about the power of your thoughts and mind:

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”  Deuteronomy 30:19

For years, this verse haunted me. I didn’t believe life — particularly love, joy, peace, etc. — were choices. I always thought circumstances played a role. Simply choosing love and joy was too easy. But what if it’s true?

Dr. Caroline Leaf says this in her book Switch On Your Brain:, “As we think, we change the physical nature of our brain. As we consciously direct our thinking, we can wipe out toxic patterns of thinking and replace them with healthy thoughts.”  In essence, she says, science is proving free will and relationship between thoughts and reality.  (She is a very interesting lady to google and check out her clinical work.)

“Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”  Romans 12:2

Changing the way you think changes your perspective which changes how you act in the world. Paul’s words aren’t new. “Change your mind” is the central theme of Jesus’ first sermon in (Matthew 4:17).

Jesus challenged people to change their thinking because regardless how many times you read through the Bible, if your mind doesn’t change, you will simply impose your biases and labels on the words you read.

“God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”  2 Timothy 1: 7.

Basic fear says “Hey fool, if you jump off that cliff you won’t make it. Get away from the cliff.” This type of fear is healthy and good.

But fear and distrust of life and people isn’t from God, yet it seems hard-wired into our minds. We’re afraid of being afraid. The Spirit always breathes love. Always!  When you choose fear, your life and legacy suffers.

“I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents up on their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected — even children in the third and fourth generations.”  Exodus 34:7

That’s another haunting verse that speaks directly to the power of our thoughts. Not only do your thoughts shape your life. They also influence the lives of your future kids and their kids.

Science has confirmed this truth. The science of epigenetics has shown that our dispositions, bad habits, anxiety, and hatred of cats can impact our kids even before they are conceived.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  2 Corinthians 10:5

Take every thought captive. What a great idea. But is it even possible? Well, if we trusted God’s word, we would know it was possible.

The answer to capturing your thoughts is right there in Scripture, hidden in plain sight. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”  The powerful effects of prayer and meditation have been well-documented in recent years, again confirming what Christians should already know.

Capturing your thoughts requires stillness, something most Americans, and many Christians, have no time for. And as long as we have no time for prayer, our thoughts, emotions, and feelings will continue calling the shots.

“Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8

Every now and then I meet someone who is different. You know the ones. These people see the world differently. They’re calm. Nothing seems to shake them. Ever. They’re almost impossible to offend, and they listen much more than they talk. They love everyone, even their enemies. Their joy and peace are infectious.  When I encounter someone like this, I leave wondering what awesome daily vitamin they take and where I can buy a jar.

People who are different understand Philippians 4:8. They chose love. They chose to see God’s image — in everyone. They choose good, and ruthlessly eliminate negativity.

What you choose to see determines your reality. You have the power to change your reality by shifting your focus.

“As someone thinks within himself, so he is.”  Proverbs 23:7

We are not victims of biology or circumstances. If you’ve chosen to believe otherwise, this verse sounds like hogwash. But again, science is proving what Scripture already says.

Dr. Leaf one more time: “When you think, you build thoughts, and these become physical substances in your brain.

You were created in the image of God, full of love and grace. What might happen if you started believing this?

There are many others verses in the Bible highlighting the power of our thoughts. But I hope you see the truth behind God’s timeless words. What you allow into your mind determines your reality and ultimately your legacy.

So, start capturing those thoughts.  Start Self Assessing yourself periodically to stay on track of your life which has been the focus of this last series.  If you missed them, check them out here.

One last thing.  Everyone wants to be remembered: not only remembered, but remembered well.  We can make that happen at any point in our lives.  I have heard it said that there are two kinds of virtues: “Those that look good on a resume and those you want said at your memorial.”

Sometimes these overlap, but more often they compete. What do you want said at your memorial?  What will be said?  It’s not too late to make what will be said change! 

As for Kathy and me, I know that Kathy would want our daughters and grandkids to testify that “She rocked Proverbs 31.”  For me?  “Papa was a racer after God’s own heart.”  …That they both inspired people they served to love Jesus and care for others, on or off the track, whether in the heat of competition or laughter and fun.

“Follow my example; just as I imitate Christ Jesus.”  1 Corinthians 11:1

Remember that “Death is the destiny of everyone; so the living should take this to heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:2

So, Live your life well.  Begin a habit of regularly evaluating yourself with these self-help tools and keep on top of yourself!