Tag Archive: Choices


Only thing is missing is a Frisbee

Only thing missing is a Frisbee

I love sports. Sports to me just are something amazing. When two teams, individuals or whatever are competing in fair, honest and skillful competition it just seems to be one of the most beautiful acts. I could spend hours and hours playing different sports and they just never got old and its not like there is one best sport, all have good things in them, we all just have favorites.

 

So what does my love of sports have to do with changing , well a lot actually.
In Ultimate Frisbee there are many different ways to throw the frisbee. You throw the Frisbee to work it down the field and your ultimate goal is to have a team-mate catch it in the end zone.

Throwing a Disc

Throwing a Frisbee

In Ultimate there are many different throw types but the most common ones are flicks and backhands. Anyone can pick up a frisbee and usually they’ll be able to throw the frisbee one of these two ways.

It will fly fairly straight, not wobble till the end and can get to the destination.

It will be a good throw. However when the game is on the line you don’t want just a good throw, you want that throw to be absolutely perfect. You want it to be your best throw you’ve ever thrown.
This is where the change comes in.

 

Before the game, before you need to be ready you can choose to be good, you can choose to put in some effort to get better or you work your tail off in an attempt to be the best.

 

You can decide at any given moment you want to change. That you need to act different and be a different person.

 

In our mission we have a phrase, Good, Better, Best. Taken from Elder Oaks talk called Good, Better, Best.

 

At any time we can decide whether we want to settle for being good, or whether we want to be the best.

I like being the Best, what about you?

I like being the Best I can, what about you?

We can live forever just going about doing what we’ve always done or we can strive to be better and work at improving. This change, this becoming better has a name.

Repentance.

 

When we repent and try to become more Christ-like, become perfect we change for the better. There are so many ways to become more like Christ. To list a few, when we serve others, study the scriptures, when we make God the center of our lives, when we stop worrying about things and start taking care of people. All of these ways force us to look outward and change.

 

Change for the better.  Now we won’t become perfect overnight, you don’t become the best you overnight without work. It takes work, so much work.

Work, work, work

Work, work, work

 

We always have someone on our side who will never let us down. When we want to change to become better we have Christ, the perfect coach, motivator, leader to help us become better.

 

Christ always stands at the door knocking and ready to come in and help us, but its up to us to let him in. In order for him to change us we have to let him in.

So will you let him in?

He's ready are you?

 

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So this last Sunday Elder Pemberton and I were talking with Brother Le Bel, our Ward Mission Leader about church standards and doctrines. So while we were talking Bro. Le Bel made an interesting statement that really stood out to me.

 

“As much as we like to think we aren’t like the children of Israel, we are. How often do we look for exact rules or ask how far is the limit on various things.”

 

That made me wonder, there often is a lot of gray area that is left open to members of the Church. Yes we have a prophet of God who leads us but how often are exact stances left unsaid.

 

I’ve realized more and more on my mission its very often.

 

We aren’t given exact rules because you don’t learn anything with rules, you can always find ways around the rules. So there’s this dilemma you face, which path to follow, which way do you go.

 

Which way do you go?

Which way do you go?

So lets compare life to this path a little.

 

Neither one is particularly special, one goes left and one goes right and both look to be about the same. Without some further knowledge or outside help you’ll be making the decision of which way you choose to go blind.

 

So to the uninformed hiker either path is good.

 

We can be like this in life.

 

When we come into this life we don’t have knowledge, we’re born with a clean slate and we come here to learn and get experience.

The great thing about this life is that we don’t have to go at it alone. We have the instructions and leadership that we need.

 

Our Heavenly Father has given us the scriptures to guide us home. In the Book of Mormon we can learn life lessons from the writings of prophets and just ordinary people who tried to live their faith in their every day life.

 

So the hiker with the map will be able to look down the map, see what the terrain with each path is like and know which one is the best one to take.

 

In real life the Church provides us with the necessary maps, resources and other such stuff that we’ll be able to find our way on our own. But they don’t force you to follow the “straight and narrow”.

 

We have to figure things out on our own, we can always ask our Heavenly Father and he’ll give us the answer but not when we think we need it.

 

Our Heavenly Father has given us the tools to figure out right and wrong on our own, he wants us to learn and grow and that’s what he’s going to let us do. He’s going to let us work for answers.

 

Work can cure a lot of things

Work can cure a lot of things, and not just cattle

So maybe that’s one reason life is so hard, so confusing and without exact doctrines defined by our prophet and the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

We already have the tools to find them, they’re in the scriptures and its our job to find them.

 

I know that by studying the scriptures we can find answers to many of life’s greatest questions and always know that what we are doing is right.

 

How do you learn what is right and wrong?

So for me and for most other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints there can be a lot of ways living our faith can be hard.

This would be me, a normal Mormon boy

This would be me, a normal Mormon boy

 

Being a born and raised member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or Mormon many people have asked why am I a member.

 

Those who tend to have an unfavorable outlook on the Church and all members will say I am just a member because it is what I was raised with and I was brainwashed into it.

 

Others will say that there are many great benefits received from the Church by being a member and that would be why.

 

Others say that it might have a peaceful feeling and it’s what feels good to me.

 

Yet others will say how I am a member because I couldn’t handle reality without a crutch and that crutch being my beliefs in deity.

 

And still more will say I am merely following in my families footsteps because my family would be disappointed in me if I left the Church.

 

Whenever I encounter these sentiments I have many thoughts but one thing that always comes up is how none take into account that I might have been able to use my free will, my agency to choose to be in the Church and have that belief in Christ.

 

To be quite frank, if I hadn’t believed this Church was Christs church there is no way I would have kept going as a teenager. For a long time I didn’t know that this Church was true, I didn’t know that there were indeed prophets on the Earth, I didn’t even always know if Heavenly Father really was there.

 

But I wanted to know.

 

However throughout this time I believed it might be true. I had lived in the Church, seen my parents examples of living the Gospel and I had seen many of the blessings that the Gospel brings. Despite all of those examples, I still couldn’t say I knew my Heavenly Father knew me, that this was Christ’s Church and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.

Effort

 

It took studying and work for me to learn that all of this is as it claims it is. It took my own actions     to get me motivated to serve a mission and to stay a member of the Church.

 

 

 

That’s the thing so many people do not get about Christ and life in general.

 

The good things, the things that actually last take that hard work. Knowing that God is there, that Christ really died for us, that will take work.

Work can cure a lot of things

Work can cure a lot of things

One of my grandmothers was a firm advocate of this. One of her favorite quotes that permeated my families lives and mine was entirely about this principle.

 

 

“Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and anything worth doing will take time to do.”

 

So what is ultimately important is not so much about the stuff of Earth. But the knowledge we can gain about our Heavenly Father, Christ and the morals that can only be learned from right and wrong.

So what are you doing that is worth doing well?

 

Christ and children

Christ doing whats worth doing

Children of God

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and famous?”

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us.
It’s in everyone, and as we let our own light shine,
we consciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

a poem by Marianne Williamson

 

This poem is powerful, it has truth and to me it is inspiring.

 

What stands out to me the most is the second stanza. Its so common in life for people to take the easy way, or to take the backseat in life and to just go through the motions. Rather than using the talents their Heavenly Father has blessed them with they prefer to be comfortable and just do the minimum.

 

This is especially huge in pianists in the Church.

 

So some background, in the Church music is an integral part of life. We sing hymns in nearly all our meetings and so what’s needed is people to lead and accompany the music and its the leaders responsibility to find those people.

 

However that is something far easier to say than to do.

 

For many Bishops and other leaders though finding ward musicians can be a challenge to say the least. To begin with there usually are only a handful of people who can play or know enough to lead the music.

 

And out of this handful there are those who don’t feel comfortable using their talent because their afraid to make a mistake.

 

So all this accounts to making it very hard to fill those callings.

 

Back at college my bishop when he learned I played the piano immediately asked if I was willing to play at church. I responded I was but I didn’t understand why.

In our ward there were several music majors, all far more talented than me. Why did I need to play when I make common simple mistakes while accompanying when there were those who will one day be master pianists in the same congregation.

 

In response to my question Bishop Hall responded, “You are needed to play, because you have the ability and the will, its not about who is more accomplished than you, all that matters in a calling is whether you will do your best.”

 

Wow, it doesn’t matter that I’m not the most skilled, it doesn’t matter that I make mistakes as we sing the closing hymn.

 

That was a new idea to me, I thought the most qualified were the best but that’s a common misconception.

 

One I had had for quite a long time.

 

Bishop Hall taught me right there. A wise man imparted the simple truth to an 18 year old boy that is true for every child of God no matter the situation.

 

Use the talents God has blessed you with to bring light to others.

 

By keeping that light hid we serve no one and we should want to serve everyone.

 

Just as Christ taught in Mathew 5:14, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.”

 

So use that light, that talent that God has given you and inspire others. You might make mistakes but that’s okay because as others see you striving to be the best you can be you will be that example they need to let their light shine forth.

 

So no matter what you are asked to do, do it and know that as you strive to do your best and use the talents your Heavenly Father has given you you will be living to your potential.

 

Your potential as a Child of God.

 

So use your talents, be wonderful, magnificent, amazing and serve with all your heart might mind and strength. I can promise you it will be worth it.

 

After all you don’t want to just go through the motions in life, you want to live life to the fullest and that dear brothers and sisters is done by using all your talents and abilities, not just some of them.

 

So go be amazing. You are a Child of God.

 

Child of God

Being Exceptional

So when I first became a missionary in the missionary training center or the MTC, my group was headed by a branch president, someone who presides over meetings, offers us advice and keeps going in the right direction. Basically he oversees us. My group was lead by President Stice.

 

Now President Stice was in his early 50’s, like a coach who is extremely firm in his beliefs but doesn’t force them. He always would explain them and try to help us see why he acted the way he did.  He does it his way and tried to be the best example he could for all of us new missionaries. He would use enough fire to really get our attention and to motivate us but not enough to really hurt us.

 

So our first night in the MTC he asked us a simple question. “What type of missionaries do we want to be?”

 

Pretty simple question right?

 

Now this was our first night so keep in mind we were as timid as little rabbits still venturing into the great unknown of missionary life. So as you can imagine it was pretty silent for a little while.

A couple of the bolder souls started trying to give answers . “Good, obedient, diligent, the best.” were some of the answers.

 

President Stice looked at us in a loving but firm way and informed us of what answer he was looking for.

 

“Exceptional.”

 

“I want you all to be exceptional missionaries. It’s easy to be an average missionary but to be an exceptional one, that takes something special but it will make all the difference, I promise.”

 

Now this doesn’t just apply to being a missionary, it can go for everything. So think about what type of student you are, what type of worker you are, spouse, brother, sister, discipleship of Christ.

 

Just like its easy to coast through being a missionary. Doing what’s required what everyone else does, just going with the flow. Being average.

 

I however want to focus on being a follower of Christ.

 

Do we live as Christs followers at all times? Do we really do what Christ would do? Do what Christ wants done?

 

Of course the answer for all the time is no. We all make mistakes we’re human. The important thing is are we trying. Are we trying to be exceptional followers of Christ?

 

Sometimes the hardest thing in the world is being exception. During those hard times when everything goes wrong, when you feel you just can’t do it by yourself. When you feel you just can’t stop making mistakes.

 

Its during these times we need to remember, God gave us our weakness’s.

 

In Ether 12 we are taught we’re given our weakness’s by our father so that we can grow. We grow in the hard times because its in the hardest situations that we learn the most.

 

Just like the finest steel is forged in the hottest fire so are the strongest testimonies and strengths are forged in the hardest of times.

 

An apostle of the Lord taught this in his talk of Come What May and Love It. In this talk Elder Worthlin taught that when we are going through those hard times we can choose to be discouraged by it or we can choose to move on and learn from our experiences.

 

As we learn to love the hard times with the good we’ll be able to grow, in faith, in strength and in understanding of our Father’s plan for us. We will become exceptional sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Our father may have left obstacles in our paths, mountains to climb but I promise you, if you rely on Him you will be able to overcome.

 

In closing I would ask you all to watch this video, “Mountains to Climb” and try and relate with those in it. Think of a trial you’ve had or are having in your life and after seeing how these people overcome think how the Gospel can help you just as it has helped them. I promise that with the Gospel of Christ as the center of our lives we will be able to overcome our mountains.

We can be Exceptional.

Path of Life

Path of Life

So many people ask why is this life so hard, why do bad things happen to good people, why would our Heavenly Father allow so much suffering to go on? All of these questions come down to a very simple answer. Agency. The freedom to choose. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much and yes that does include everyone on this earth, that he won’t restrict our ability to choose what we’re going to do. Now that will not make us free from the consequences but others choices often will hurt us. So yeah this life is hard but that’s what will make the good so much the sweeter. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us all and that through Christ we can be one family again in Heaven. To quote an ancient prophet “Come unto Christ.” Its through Christ we will be able to get through life, through Christ we will be able to survive all the craziness that life throws at us.