It’s easy for a musician to play covers.

Singing songs that you know other people like seems like a good option for someone who is looking to make a living.

It’s safer, it’s more convenient and it make sense… unless of course you want to be a true artist.

It takes courage to expose your original songs to the world.

It takes courage to risk rejection.

It takes courage to put your innermost thoughts to music and perform it in front of an audience.

And it’s that kind of courage that we need more of.

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When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon in Judges 6, he called him a “Mighty Warrior.”

At the time, Gideon was far from a mighty warrior, in fact he was in hiding from his enemies, but God saw what Gideon could become if he took action towards his calling.

Gideon’s response?

“But how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

He chose to define himself, not by how God saw him, but by his own insecurities and perceived limitations.

It’s not an unusual response.

I’ve met many people who knew, or thought they knew, or suspected they that knew, what they were supposed to do with their lives.

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Boston Strong. Image from www.tauntr.com

Boston Strong. Image from http://www.tauntr.com

I’ve always had a lot of affection for the city of Boston.

Since I was a child, I have been a fan of the Boston Celtics as Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish led them to multiple championships in the 1980′s.

It’s a beautiful city and is one place that I would love to visit one day, but my heart was lifted even more when I watched the city respond with such resilience in the lead-up to the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.

To see the way the Boston Red Sox organisation and fans honoured the survivors of this tragedy was wonderful.

To see runners from all over the world determined not to be kept away from Boston by fear is magnificent.

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In his iconic western, High Plains Drifter, Clint Eastwood’s character chastises the town of Lago with these words:

“You don’t want your shops or houses burned.

You don’t want your women touched.

You don’t want anything to happen.

Except you’re afraid to do anything about it.”

Sound familiar?

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crossIn the lead-up to Easter, our resident theologian, 6 year-old Madison, asked me, “Why is it called Good Friday?”

She has a point.

It was on that day that Jesus went through his sham of a trial.

That’s not good.

It was on that day that Jesus was betrayed and abandoned by those who had previously followed him.

There’s nothing good about that.

It was on that day that Jesus was mocked and beaten and had a crown of thorns pushed down on his head.

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There are people who consistently perform at a phenomenal level.

The standard that they have established for themselves over the years is one of excellence and they are recognised and respected for their professionalism and brilliance.

Of course, every now and then, they make a mistake or momentarily drop their standard, but those who know them understand that this is just an exception to their usual standard.

Then there are those who perform at a much lower level.

They aren’t renowned for anything other than average, they don’t try particularly hard and no-one expects anything remarkable from them.

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Doing good deeds can be a messy business; far messier than seems necessary.

Some people won’t appreciate your kindness.

Some people will be oblivious to your efforts and not even notice your actions.

Some people will attempt to take advantage of your generosity.

Some people will be rude to you or complain about your good deeds to others.

There will be times when you feel inadequate to make a difference when the challenges are so great.

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Carousels go around and around, always ending up where they started.

Our kids used to love them, but after a while they got sick of the monotony and wanted to get off.

As with many things, the ride is fun for a while, until we realise that no progress is being made.

So, if this year looks a lot like last year (and the year before)… get off the carousel.

If you keep using the same excuses for not making progress towards your goals… get off the carousel.

If you have been in the same dead-end job, doing nothing meaningful with your unique skills… get off the carousel.

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There will come a day when I’m old and grey.

My back will be sore and my gait will be slower.

I’ll be less capable and my mind won’t be as sharp as it once was.

On that day, I’ll have a few moments up my sleeve to sit and ponder my life.

Will I be proud of my achievements?

Was I the best husband and father I could be?

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A young runner was very excited.

After months of intense training, he was running in his very first marathon.

After the starter’s gun went off, he started with great enthusiasm, taking great strides and building a strong rhythm.

However, after a few miles, he began to tire and he felt like stopping.

“Don’t stop!  If you can’t run, at least you can jog,” said a small voice in his head.

So, he slowed to a jog and was able to continue along the road, if a little slower than before.

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