Two Perspectives on Pull-ups in the Pool [An Encouraging Word]

The clock was ticking, and we weren’t getting anything done.

My son Bradley loves the pool, and this particular morning I had agreed to join him in “training” together, practicing laps to help us both prepare for the triathlon he wants to do with me in the fall.

Pull-ups in the PoolThere, in tepid waters of our little neighborhood pool, I started out by explaining the difference between “lengths” and “laps,” and we started swimming… but not for long.

Instead of doing significant training, we explored new ways to splash each other, played make-believe for a little while, and yes, got in a bit of exercise, though not as much as I would have liked.

Then, as our alotted time was almost up (I had to get to work), Bradley decided he wanted to get a little more exercise, not by swimming, but by doing pull-ups… in the water on the side of the pool.

Pull-ups in the pool.

To be honest, I didn’t quite know what to say. I’d already been a little annoyed at having done very little actual training, and while I’m all about encouraging physical fitness in creative ways, I was pretty sure doing pull-ups in the pool wasn’t actually doing anything!

Or was it?

Maybe the greater purpose of that morning before work wasn’t helping my son strengthen his body, but helping the two of us strengthen our relationship. Maybe the real value in those moments wasn’t found in the exercise, but simply the experience of us being together and him feeling like his ideas had value and worth.

Maybe I needed to adjust my priorities.

Another thought occurred to me in the water that morning. This one not about relationships, but effectiveness.

I wondered, what are the “pull-ups in the pool” that I’m doing right now in other areas of my life? What activities am I doing that keep me preoccupied, but don’t produce much progress? What things are giving me a busy schedule, but aren’t helping me build success?

Maybe I need to adjust my work habits.

How about you?

You see, when our relationships become all about productivity and progress, we can lose sight of the bigger picture. We need to remember that “pull-ups in the pool” are okay, because what matters most isn’t accomplishing goals, but cultivating hearts.

On the other side of the equation, when our work becomes more about routine than results, we’re out of balance there, too. We need to remember that “pull-ups in the pool” must be avoided at all costs, because life is too short to spend it doing things that don’t really make a difference.

Wherever you are right now, relationally or professionally, here’s my encouragement to you today.

Ask God for the clarity to evaluate your priorities and activities, and the courage to make the changes that lead to the result He wants for you: a flourishing life.

–Pastor Phillip

God gives you discipline to bring you peace

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  (Hebrews 12:7-8, 11)

Think of the ruin that comes from a flood.  Torrents of water can cause great harm as they rise, undirected and spilling everywhere.  Dams and riverbeds restrict the water, but in doing so they channel it into something useful, something good.

So it is with our lives.

When God disciplines us, it is not intended for our punishment, but for our peace.  It is God using any means necessary to channel our lives and hearts into the good purposes He has for us, purposes that sin will inhibit if not dealt with.

God may allow or even cause pain in your life, but it is always because He loves you, and it is never His first choice.

Listen to His whispers and pay attention to His Word today so that you’ll have no need of stronger discipline.  If and when it comes, though, don’t lose heart, and don’t misunderstand what your Heavenly Father is doing.  Far from showing you His wrath, God is showing you His love, so be encouraged by this truth.

God gives you discipline to bring you peace.

–Pastor Phillip

God’s Word prepares you for God’s work

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 2 Timothy 3

GOD’S WORD PREPARES YOU FOR GOD’S WORK

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.  (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

God has a goal for all creation.  The universe was created to bring Him glory, and even though sin has stunted the process, His desire remains the same.

In order to accomplish this desire, God could have chosen to micro-manage the process, but He didn’t.  Instead, He chose His people to make it happen, despite our inherent lack of worthiness for the job.

But Jesus made us worthy.

Not only that, but God gave us a guide, a toolkit, an empowering resource that contains all the knowledge and power we need to accomplish all the assignments He’s given us.  What is that resource?  It’s His Word, inspired and illuminated by His Holy Spirit.

If you find yourself feeling unqualified for great things, turn to Scripture as your source.

If you find yourself feeling unprepared for good works, turn to Scripture as your supply.

No matter what your background may be, the Bible can give you the tools you need for Kingdom success.  So, rest in God’s provision and read God’s Word, and let this truth set your mind at ease: God’s Word prepares you for God’s work.

–Pastor Phillip

God gives you discipline to bring you peace

Scripture Notes on Hebrews 12 

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:7-8, 11)

Think of the ruin that comes from a flood. Torrents of water can cause great harm as they rise, undirected and spilling everywhere.

Dams and riverbeds restrict the water, but in doing so they channel it into something useful, something good.

So it is with our lives.

When God disciplines us, it is not intended for our punishment, but for our peace. It is God using any means necessary to channel our lives and hearts into the good purposes He has for us, purposes that sin will inhibit if not dealt with.

God may allow or even cause pain in your life, but it is only and always because He loves you, and it is never His first choice.

Listen to His whispers and pay attention to His Word so that you will have no need of stronger discipline. If and when it comes, though, do not lose heart, and do not misunderstand what your Heavenly Father is doing. Far from showing you His wrath, God is showing you His love, so be encouraged by this truth.

God gives you discipline to bring you peace.

-Pastor Phillip