Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Opportunity Knocks, Part 2

We need to learn to recognize opportunity. It seems to me that oftentimes people, and specifically, God’s people, fail to recognize opportunity when it is all around them. I see many individuals and families struggling to figure out what to do next. They’re trying to go to the place of opportunity; many will move away because they think there’s greater opportunity somewhere else.

Many times what appears to be opportunity is a result of not seeing what’s right in front of us. Do you know that you’re surrounded by opportunity right now? Others, because their perspective is so clouded through disappointment, failure, or whatever, simply can’t see what is around them. It’s like the proverbial saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” Many think that if they can just get to a different field, that they will find new opportunity.

I know those who have relocated, and they did indeed find a measure of success. But it wasn’t necessarily that there was unique opportunity where they went; I believe what happened is that their perspective changed as much as their geographical location. They moved somewhere looking for opportunity.

Sometimes people say that opportunity is lacking in Fayetteville, yet I know people who have had lucrative success. In my twenty-three years of living here, I’ve seen some who have actually moved here to be successful, and they are. I believe that oftentimes opportunity is not based so much upon where we are, but upon what we see. And it’s easy to fail to recognize the opportunity around you when you’re in a place that’s become common to you. When you relocate, there’s an air of excitement, and you‘re looking for something new. Suddenly there’s a surge of boldness that rises up accompanied by a determination to seize the day.

But we’re not going to dwell on that aspect of opportunity right now. This message focuses on taking advantage of the here and now.

And you can do what you want, but you don’t have to chase opportunity. Chasing opportunity is like pursuing the blessings of God. My Bible tells me that if I obey the Lord, His blessings will overtake me. I won’t have to chase the blessing, but that’s where many people, God’s people, get hung up. They’re chasing the blessing instead of seeking to be obedient.

Deuteronomy 28 is just one of the many Scriptures that makes it abundantly clear that obedience brings abundance. Obedience leads to greater success. Obedience leads to being overtaken. God says if you obey Him, these blessings will overtake you. You’ll walk in a measure of favor that relatively few walk in because others are chasing the blessing. You can have a measure of blessing, but I’d rather have the blessing chasing me. That means that every time I stop. Boom. Blessings are bumping into me; I’m not just bumping into blessings. I love it when that happens!

My wife and I went up to Durham the other day to get my computer worked on. We don’t always walk in the type of favor I’m getting ready to tell you about, it was kind of unique for Vickie and I. But we got to the store, and we were told that it would be over $1,000 to repair the first computer. But the young man working with my wife said that the warranty had worn out and that it wasn’t going to be covered by Apple Care. But then he said, “Well, let me try something,” and so he punched in some numbers and said, “Hmm, I think I was able to do an end-around. And because we’re going to be able to attribute this problem to this cause, and this is connected to that, it looks like it’s going to be covered.”

Well, then they got to mine, and we found out that my warranty had never been registered. I didn’t even have a warranty. So we were told that we’re sixteen days past what would have the warranty deadline. And then she said, “Wait a minute. If you do this, you can do that, and if it’s never been registered, we can do that now.” So instead of being sixteen days late, I now have six hundred and sixty-two additional days on my warranty, AND they’re covering a $500 repair! Fifteen hundred bucks. Boom!

Then we went to one of our favorite restaurants. We love this restaurant. Every time we go to Raleigh, we look forward to eating there. We were eating dinner, and yes, it was Italian. Everyone’s favorite restaurant ought to be Italian.

In the midst of our meal, the young server said, “By the way, I want you to know that because of what you selected, you get a complete dinner “to go” with each entree that you’ve ordered.” That’s like four for two, and four for two is better than two for one any day! We simply looked at each other and my wife said, “Do you want to go buy a lotto ticket?” We didn’t, we didn’t.

But there are days that the blessings simply hit you. You’re not even looking for them. I love walking in that measure of favor. Remember, your perspective affects the ability to see opportunities, and we don’t need to chase them. Let them find you!


Friday, June 24, 2011


I remember leading my Dad to the Lord. He was seventy years old and lying in the hospital bed. Dad had suffered a massive heart attack; they didn’t know if he was going to live or die. We immediately drove to Asheville, and my father made it through the night. He was actually miraculously recovering. It was amazing! Even the doctors were incredulous as they didn’t think he would live.

I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to tell my dad something, and it was this: “I just want you to know that I believe you were the best dad you could possibly be, and I believe that with all my heart.” And he started to cry; I had never really seen my dad cry. He said, “Son, you know that’s a lie—that’s not true.” I said, “Oh no, no, Dad, in my heart, I believe you did the very best you could possibly do as a dad. I just want to say ‘thank you’ for being the best dad you could be.” And ultimately, he and my stepmother made a profession of faith in Christ and confessed past mistakes.

You know what happens? We make mistakes sometimes, and we don’t know how to recover, and so we just keep going on. We keep pressing forward sometimes because we don’t know how to go back and fix the situation. Sometimes situations are not repairable, so then the best thing we can do is to move forward.

If you have the opportunity to still be able to talk with your father, call and tell him that you love him.

Without dads, none of us would be here. We hear that said a lot about mothers, but we need dads, too. And if ever there was a time when we needed more dads to step up and be fathers, it’s today. There are segments of our society where over two-thirds of the children are being raised in fatherless homes, and it is having an impact on our culture and our society. It’s crossing all racial and economic boundaries because it is a cultural and social issue.

The bottom line is that we need to honor fathers, and we, as fathers, need to act honorably as well.

This is the first installment in a series of blogs that deals with recognizing and seizing opportunities. One thing that has become apparent to me over the years is that every negative situation has the potential to become a positive opportunity.

By the way, have you called your dad yet?