One Thing for Men Presents – That Day

that-day-bema-seat-leveraging-life

That Day is a play about Daniel Scott Mathewson who has been pursuing the American Dream since graduating from college. His lifelong focus centered on the next deal, the next promotion, the next bonus, and how far and fast he could climb the corporate ladder.

Today Daniel is on the cusp of achieving everything he’s ever dreamed of…right up until the plans he had for his life comes to a screeching halt as he suddenly faces the reality of eternity.

Our endless pursuit of aspirations, goals and dreams come with a price, one which is paid by our family, friends, and co-workers if we are not careful. 

One Thing Men’s Ministries is excited present a performance of That Day at Independence High School theater in Alpharetta, Georgia on Saturday November 8th at 7:00 pm.

The Bible Miniseries – Must Share TV

the-bible-miniseries

This Sunday, 3-3-13, the History Channel will broadcast a 10 hour, 5-week miniseries called The Bible. An epic docudrama which will walk viewers through the Bible, from Genesis through Revelations, featuring key IMAX moments from both the Old and New Testaments in a way they have never been visually told before. With the help of the Oscar awarding winning crew from Gladiator and the latest in computer generated imagery epic stories like Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood, Daniel in the lions den, David and Goliath, and Moses parting the Red Sea all come to life before your very eyes.

Milestones

I’m not sure if I should classify today as a milestone or an anniversary? Truth be told four months ago a conversation took place which caused me to circle this date on the calendar and I hoped I would reach this milestone.

milestones-leverage-your-life-now

iStockphoto © Victor Correia

4 months, 4 years, or 40 years

I always envisioned the day my fiance and I applied for our marriage license would be a fun day. Unfortunately March 3, 2011 was anything but fun as we had to squeeze in getting our marriage license between a series of doctor’s appointments. The last two weeks were a blur of activity as Shari and I learned my cancer I not only returned but had metastasized to the point where I was now categorized with Stage 4 merkel cell cancer. Our plans for a Fall wedding were radically changed with the cancer news and we found planning for our wedding which was only 21 days away. Sadly I never allowed myself to experience fun or joy this day, I was too busy feeling sorry for myself, being angry, and I was looking for someone to blame…God!

Leveraging Faith

iStockphotos © Michel de Nijs

Sixteen hours in a car driving to and from Indiana for a wedding last weekend afforded me a good bit of time to reflect on the first six months of 2011. In the moments when my family dozed, one thought emerged almost as often as overpasses appeared on the horizon:

I had not “paused” as often as I hoped to this year.

My first inclination was to go through a long list of excuses why, and those familiar with my story might consider most to be legitimate. Regardless of the excuses, though, one question lingered.

Is there a correlation between pausing and being grateful?

When you live your life at a pace life dictates, you miss what opportunities are present to go deeper, past those surface level observations. At the surface everything is a blur, much like when you lie in bed at night and the day just plays through your head like a movie preview trailer. But if you truly desire to see the real story being written by your life, you need to make an effort to look past the obvious and find the picture God is painting.

Cancer Confessional – Behind the Mask

iStockphoto © PeskyMonkey

If you were to take the time to poll my family, my friends, and my co-workers asking them to describe my outlook on life, most if not all, would described me as an optimist…a glass half-full guy. Dig a little deeper into what makes me tick and spend a little time reading through my DISC profile (high D & I) you would learn that being an encourager is another characteristics which makes up who I am. Optimism and encouragement come naturally to me and throughout my career they have been utilized to build teams and help grow businesses.

However in the scope of writing blog such as Leveraging Life, I have a genuine concern, what comes naturally (optimism and encouragement) could be taken out of context or be misconstrued leaving readers with a false impression that I never have doubts, that I live my life without fear, or that I somehow trust blindly when facing trials or adversity. 

“saying trust God period and living trust God period are two totally different mindsets…one is contingent on circumstance and situation warranting that trust, and the other is influenced by a relationship which is nurtured through circumstance and situation creating an environment of trust.”   

HE IS RISEN!

 Luke 24: 1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.

[tentblogger-youtube brVIlXlJRkQ]

 

Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead

Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead

Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead

Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead

Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead

 Jesus paid it all

All to him I owe

Sin had left a crimson stain

He washed it white as snow

Thanks for taking this journey with me and I do hope today…Easter Sunday represents a celebration. One where you, me, and everyone who accepts the Gift that was given acknowledges their lives changed that moment. And by simply accepting that Gift into our hearts we can now have personal relationship with our Heavenly Father and the promise of an eternal life.

~Tom

trusting God period

Starting next week Peaks & Valleys series – my cancer confessional

I have included links at the bottom post & on the side to make it easy to share what is posted here with your friends on Facebook and Twitter…just a click or two on the Sharing is Caring links at the bottom is all it takes! 

Are you new to Leveraging Life? If so did you know you can receive Leveraging Life as an email every time I update?  If interested all you have to do is click here to subscribe to Leveraging Life. (It’s free.) That way when I update you’ll be notified via email. 

Good Friday

 

iStockphoto © Ricardo Reitmeyer

My prayer has been as much for me as it has for everyone who has visited Leveraging Life these last few weeks is that we all would take some time to reflect on what Jesus was called to do, then chose to do, and actually did for us to be NEW AGAIN!

So with Easter weekend upon us and today being Good Friday, I’ll share another video to set the stage. Yes, another featuring scenes from Passion of the Christ, but not to worry this one may be easier to take as it steers clear of the brutality of those final hours. For me this one is more moving because both the song and the video are from the perspective of what Mary witnessed as Jesus’ mother. 

The song, New Again, is a duet by Brad Paisley and Sara Evans. Special thanks to my friend Jesse Whitfield, from OneThing, for recommending this video which for me captures the spirit of what Good Friday should represent to all of us.

[tentblogger-youtube J7wEa8YTGhM]

 

My hope and my prayer through this series of posts is that Easter for you has gotten a little more personal and you’ve been impacted by what you’ve seen and listened to.

When God Winks On Love

when-god-winks-on-loveWhat you see here is what greeted Shari on the afternoon I proposed. Most people would say three weeks is just too short of period of time to plan a wedding.

We crammed a lot of life and so many experiences into those 21 incredible days leading up to our wedding day. Our decision to be married, despite the circumstances surrounding my cancer‘s return, was met with so many affirmations which lead us to move forward with our decision to be married in the Spring rather than later in the Fall.

Shari and I were were so grateful for the affirmation we received from family and friends who saw in us what we believed God was doing in our lives and in our courtship. We were also blessed by the God Winks which became apparent during this period and helped us to choose to become husband and wife on March 19, 2011.

The Greatest Day of My Life!

Regardless of the size wedding, planning and coordination are key when planning an event of this magnitude in one’s life . The planning should take in all the aspects which create memories which span a lifetime for you and your wife along with the special guests who attend.

Time usually is the best friend for the bride and groom in the planning as they have months to prepare for the big day. Unfortunately Shari and I didn’t have the luxury of time as circumstances dictated there were only 21 days for us to plan and celebrate our wedding day. Despite all the obstacles and the coordinating of all the logistics, somehow, everything all fell into place for us to be married.

when-god-winks-on-love-proposal

Our God Wink Story

Shari and I met in 2008 while we attended different locations (campuses) of North Point Church. We met, but for this part of our story it started and ended with this meeting.  Despite meeting then, both of us would go on our separate ways for the next two years but the meeting in 2008 would be an important footnote in our story which would come together two years later.

Random, Fate, or another God Wink

Fast-forward to the spring of 2010 where we both find ourselves in the North Point Church Singles environment called Fusion. Despite the odds Shari and I find ourselves placed same host home as opposed to the other five during this cycle. We believe the odds for us to be placed in the same host home twice in two years was astronomical and we believe this fate of our placement to be a big defining God Wink in our lives!

This time something clicked, and in our re-connection something was different; and we were different! As we came to know each other through the North Point singles ministry we also connected on another level as learned we had both battled cancer. It was through this connection we grew closer as news of my cancer spreading impacted both of our lives.

How Is It Going?

A Hard Question to Answer

How is it going? It seems like I get asked this question a million times a day.

Image Couple Praying at Sunrise

Have you ever been in a life situation where you honestly have a hard time answering a question like, how is it going? If so, you know how I feel.  

For me, it is a moment in time where you’re experiencing the highest of highs and the lowest of lows precisely at the same time. How is that possible, some may ask, but I think most of us have experienced it at some point in our lives.

 

  • Picture a work life where everything is going up and to the right….quarter after quarter…yet the home life is disintegrating from the inside out.
  • Picture your house in order financially, emotionally, and spiritually….yet a family member is struggling and fighting all efforts which can provide help and healing.
  • Picture being in the best health of your life….yet that promise of a second interview call never comes.

 

Right now I’m in that exact place. In a recent post Out to Lunch, I mentioned a clear PET scan which was awesome news and started the year off in glorious fashion. Some unexplained pain in both legs began shortly thereafter, however, and subsequent tests suggest the possibility of some scary scenarios. Results are pending for other tests, and even more are on the horizon. In the midst of all this, I am experiencing love in a way I never thought possible. Having someone in my life who happens to be a cancer survivor is a gift from God to this cancer fighter, and that’s further compounded by her periodic reminder that it’s one thing to end each post with Trusting God Period, and it’s another thing to live it out.

We believe there is a big God, a God of healing, a God of love, a God of comfort, a God who walks with us every step of this journey, and a God who is in control!

So if you were to ask Shari or I, “how is it going”, our reply would be: “good… oh so good. But not because our questions have been answered, because we choose to leverage our Faith by trust God period!

~Shari & Tom

 

Thanksgiving and Gratitude

I was having a conversation with a close friend the other night and she shared with me the story of an uncle who passed away from cancer this past summer. As I listened to story after story I couldn’t help but notice the impact his life had made on hers. But it didn’t end there; sprinkled in each story was tales of how other family members lives were touched in similar ways. Over and over I heard, “you just can’t comprehend how special he made everyone feel, each in our own individual unique way” or “when I was with him it made me feel so important every time I saw him.” As I was driving home, that conversation caused me to pause and take inventory of the people in my life, past and present, who left similar marks on my life.

The thing I love about Thanksgiving is the fact that the only exchange which takes place is the exchange of stories in the midst of sharing our time with friends and loved ones. So before settling into your Thanksgiving routine this week, the food and the football, I challenge you to take a similar inventory of those who left a mark on your life, and to do it prior to Thursday.

-Who is the person or persons who impacted your life in such a way that it left such a mark on your life that you now feel compelled to share it with them?  

-And if they are no longer with you, is there someone close to them whose Thanksgiving would be so much more meaningful, and may be even a little less painful,  if you shared with them the difference that their loved one made in your life?

-What’s stopping you?

Remember that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated to give thanks to God for helping the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony survive their first brutal winter in New England. So in that tradition….please don’t won’t let this Thanksgiving pass without sharing your appreciation to those who made a difference in your life. And I do hope you will leave a comment below about the person or persons whose life impacted yours so everyone who reads this post share in honoring them this Thanksgiving.

I’ll be the one to start in the comment section, but I also want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you who have visited Leveraging Life the last four months. I know your world is a busy place, so for you to spare a moment or two and read what I post is something I value greatly.

So I thank each and every one of you and hope you have a Safe and Gratitude filled Thanksgiving!

~Tom

trusting God period

I hope you’ll stop back by on Wednesday as I put the Christmas twist on Worship Wednesday.

If you are not doing so already, you might want to subscribe to Leveraging Life. (It’s free.) That way when I update you’ll be notified via email.