Archives For Dr. Don Worcester

Local Young Life Clubs will sometimes play a game called Bigger or Better. The High School students are thrown into groups of 10-15 kids and given one shiny penny. The groups are then given 30 minutes to canvas the neighborhood and begin trading what they have for something Bigger or Better. The original penny is quickly upgraded to something Bigger or Better. The group then tears off to the next house ready to trade again. Under just the right conditions, one Shiny Penny can turn into a real treasure.

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In the second chapter of Genesis we find God

inviting Eve into his version of Bigger and Better.

 

She is invited and led into a Bigger Story that God is telling.

A story that extends beyond her life;

a Big Story, a beautiful garden, an intimate relation with her creator,

a partner who is both similar and different at the same time, a naked freedom with a total absence of shame.

 

Eve represents the final brush strokes of the Master’s Painting called Creation. The incomplete and not good become the Very Best with the introduction of Eve to the Creation account.

 

She joins this Big Story and brings something new and beautiful,

She makes the Good even Better.

 

 

She does not join as a Clone of Adam

She is the First Woman not the second Human

 

She is crafted out of Adam, not out of soil.

She is formed with a capacity to compliment and contribute to the relationships with both God and Man

 

She is designed with a capacity to bring life and to give life.

She is an image bearer of God in her gender, in her gifting, in her unique physical, emotional, spiritual expression.

 

In marriage she is designed to be her complete and unique self

and to be blended and mingled into a union with a complete and unique man.

 

Two different beings held together and united by a Greater Being, a Greater Love, a Greater and Bigger Story.

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Are we helping our daughters enter into the Bigger Story?

 

Are we helping them celebrate and enjoy their unique design and beauty?

 

Are we asking and encouraging them to want more than small comforts?

 

Our daughter’s have a calling and a destiny that goes beyond the comfortable and the convenient.

Let’s cheer them into the bigger story.

Let’s support their best convictions.

Let’s imagine their biggest and best contribution.

 

Under just the right circumstances, a shiny penny or a shiny girl can transform into a real treasure.

Let’s keep falling forward as we love and lead our families.

 

Grace and Peace,

Dr. Don Worcester

 

 

You don’t practice things because they are natural

You practice things so they will become natural.

This has been true our whole lives.

walking, talking, reading,

listening, waiting, sharing, forgiving

and loving have all at one point in our lives

been Unnatural.

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The things we do “naturally” go largely unnoticed by the human brain. Our brains are much more interested in novel activities then normal activities. Our brains are running mostly on Autopilot when we follow your normal routines.

This turns out to be a pretty efficient way of managing things. The danger is that we become so satisfied and comfortable with the efficiency of our natural routines that we resent and resist opportunities for more, different and better.

 

When efficiency replaces effectiveness we begin drifting into deeper and deeper ruts of “good enough.” Our natural routines create their own momentum as they cycle and recycle through our lives. The pattern gets set and then we get set. All of this happens naturally without much fanfare.

 

The upgrade from doing things naturally is doing things intentionally.

Doing things on purpose is not the same as pretending or posing.

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It is the process of leading ourselves into our best relationships and our best future. This requires us to be active participants in our own lives.

 

Intentions require an active awareness, not an Autopilot response.

Intentions require that we vote ourselves in, that we put chips on the table and skin in the game. We cannot be really “In” until we have something to lose. Intentions require that we surrender some of our comfort for the sake of our convictions.Comfort and convenience are hollow substitutes for conviction and passion. Comfort and convenience do not have load-bearing capacity. When pressure tested, they tend to collapse.

 

You didn’t learn to walk by wishing, wanting or whining.

You learned to walk by trying to walk, falling down and then trying again.

This is also how you learn to love, to serve, to forgive and to parent.

 

Your daughter does not need you to be a Perfect dad

She needs you to be Practicing Dad.

You practiced learning to walk, until you could walk naturally.

The process is hard, hopeful discouraging and uneven.

There are no short cuts or work arounds. There is no reason to be anxious about falling or failing; both are guaranteed to be part of the process.

Welcome to walking.

Welcome to parenting.

Welcome to life.

Keep falling forward!

 

Grace and Peace

Dr. Don Worcester

 

A Sack Lunch

Dr. Don Worcester —  February 12, 2016 — Leave a comment

A sea of hungry people and one sack lunch, this is not the kind of

situation that ends well for anybody, particularly the guy with the

lunch bag. A more “reasonable” plan could have avoided this dire

scenario. Several of the guys in this story saw the train wreck

coming, “It’s getting late, these people are hungry, and they need to go

buy food, Send Them Away!” This was a reasonable plan. Men tend to

like “reasonable” plans. We are good at evaluating, anticipating and

strategizing. The men in this story were working hard to solve

problems and manage circumstances. It’s hard for most of us guys to be

around or in front of a need that we cannot meet.

Men often carry this internal tension wondering if their resources and

abilities will make any real difference when the time comes.

 

This account is part of the “Good News” recorded by the Gospel writers

in the first century. I am not sure it felt like “Good News” to the

guys in this story. Jesus opted to not send the hungry multitude away.

He ignored this reasonable plan and offered another solution for this

hungry crowd, ” You feed them.” You gotta know that these men thought this was a crazy, impossible bad idea.

“We have nothing to meet this massive need!” was their reply; “Nothing”, said Jesus.

It turns out that they had next to nothing; their combined efforts had produced one sack lunch.

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What happened next in this story was crazy, it was impossible and it

was very good. Turns out that sometimes God likes to do crazy,

impossible and good things with nothing more than some nervous men and a sack lunch.

Dads with daughters are often looking out over a sea of needs, many of

which they feel inadequate to meet. Many of us are paralyzed by the

responsibility to show up with something that will really make a

difference in our daughter’s life. It can be discouraging to work,

scramble and pray and find we have nothing more to offer than a ” sack

lunch.”

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It turns out that Jesus can do some crazy, impossible and good things

with even our smallest contribution.

 

“I don’t really know how to help you right now, can I just sit with

you for a few minutes?”

 

” Seems  like things are kind of hard and crazy. I’m sorry.”

 

” I am really glad that I get to be your dad, you’re beautiful and amazing”

 

“ I am not sure how this is all going to work out, but I love you and I am not going anywhere”

 

” Jesus, thank you for my daughter, please comfort her and bless her, amen.”

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These are Sack Lunch offerings. A dad with next to nothing, has something, bring the something you have.

 Don’t believe the lie that a little thing will make little difference.

We have a big God, write your daughter’s name on that Sack Lunch, then give it to Him and see what He can do with it.

 

Grace and Peace,

Dr. Don Worcester

Unstoppable

Dr. Don Worcester —  February 5, 2016 — Leave a comment

Are you stoppable?

Take a deep breath and a good look in the mirror before you answer that question.

I want to feel a deep, clear and resounding cry emerging from my soul that I am Unstoppable!

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What emerges from my own soul is more timid and less impressive than I would like it to be.

The unpleasant and uncomfortable reality is that I have been stopped many times and in many places.

There have always been reasons, none of them very noble or satisfying.

 

I have been stopped because I was tired of trying and failing.

 

I have been stopped because I was afraid that I would fail.

 

I have been stopped because someone told me I could, or I told myself I could.

 

I have been stopped because it would be really hard or really costly to continue.

 

I have been stopped because I believed a lie about God, myself or someone else.

 

I have been stopped because I lost my courage,

Because I lost my way,

Because I lost my hope.

 

I have been stopped too often and by too many things.

So I am praying and asking God to help me stop, stopping.

I am asking Him for help because he was really good at not stopping.

He ended up rejected and betrayed by everyone he loved, blessed and served.

No one came to his defense when he was accused and arrested,

no one challenged the powers that condemned and crucified him,

no one stood with him or by him as he was stripped, whipped and nailed to a Cross between two condemned criminals.

No one, they were all Stopped. But none of their stopping, or my stopping, or your stopping, stopped him.

He was the one person both then and now who is truly Unstoppable!

He was the one and only person qualified to pronounce a verdict over the significance of his life and his death.

His verdict was and is true, that there is now no barrier that can now stop us

from entering freely and boldly into His Thrown room of Grace, Mercy, Power, Love and Hope.

The Unstoppable One has removed all the “Stops”.

Jesus last words may have been his most important

“It is Finished.”

The Gospel promises us a Fresh Start for every place we have been stopped.

We are dads with daughters; we need lots of Fresh Starts.

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We are not done as dads and it is not over.

So lets say yes to a Fresh Start wherever we have lost momentum, connection, hope or vision.

As soon as we begin again, we are Unstoppable!

 

Peace and grace,

Dr. Don Worcester

 

 

 

If you were watching the Nature Channel and a show came on titled “Sheep Among Wolves”, it would probably carry a disclaimer for younger audiences. Sheep hanging out with wolves seem likely to have a quick and tragic end. Sheep are famously ill equipped to defend themselves against predators of any type. They tend to get a little jumpy in the Petting Zoos’ around 5 year olds. Sending sheep into the midst of wolves is just plain crazy. What’s more crazy, is that according to the Gospel of Mathew (10: 16); Jesus is the one doing the sending.

It does not seem loving or wise to lead lambs into harms way. Wolves are ravenous and sheep are slow, defenseless and taste a lot like chicken. My dad instincts in this area are fairly simple and straightforward: arm the sheep, kill the wolves and call it a day. The directions we are given in the Gospel would be impossible to receive or believe if they were not coming from a really good shepherd. He is the Great Shepherd. He knows how to protect sheep and how to handle wolves.images

As we go out among wolves, we are encouraged to be “shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” On the surface these qualities sound pretty different. We are not told to embrace one or the other. We are instructed to be both shrewd and innocent. Read the Gospel accounts of Jesus. He was not naïve or unaware regarding men’s hearts and motives. He was cunning. He was bold. He was humble. He was innocent.

He was in the world but not of the world. Are we preparing our daughters to do the same?

To be shrewd means to be aware. It means to see all that is going on, to be wise in anticipating and navigating danger. Are we helping our daughters develop this type of discernment? Are we having honest, age appropriate discussions with our daughters about relationships, sexuality and lifestyle choices and pressures they will face?

An innocent person does not become contaminated by the world. They are strong without being hard. They are not so much protected from the world, as they are equipped for the world. Our daughters do not need to be Worldly to survive and thrive in the world. Purity is not perfection. It is a heart issue, not a performance issue. Lets encourage our daughters to know who they are and whose they are.

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Lets help our daughters hear and recognize the voice of their true shepherd. He is worthy of their trust and ours. Keep following. Keep leading.

 

Grace & Peace,

Dr. Don Worcester

So last weekend I spent three days in the Los Angeles Convention Center. Several hundred Club Volleyball Teams converged in Downtown L.A. for this Mega Tournament hosted by the Southern California Volleyball Association. Thousands of 14-year-old girls along with their friends, families and coaches flooded the Convention Center floor from early in the morning until late at night. The energy in the convention center felt a little surreal. It was a bit like being on the inside of a NASCAR track at a giant Chucky Cheese Pizza place with Taylor Swift in Concert. If you can’t imagine that, it’s O.K. I can tell you that it was very exciting, very fun and a little exhausting, in other words a perfect family adventure. We loved being there.

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14-year-old girls bring a certain energy when they gather, connect and compete. This was a big event in a big facility with lots of talented teams hoping to advance and eliminate one another from the top spots. For some of our daughters, this kind of Tournament last four years and is called High School. The emotions at this tournament tended to surface with three primary flavors; Fears, Cheers and Tears.  As dads these are emotions we need to recognize, engage and support if we are going to be great fans and great fathers.

 

Fears:

Our daughters will need to navigate and negotiate new situations, challenging circumstances and face important decisions with uncertain outcomes. Our goal should not be to eliminate all stress and strain from our daughter’s life. Our goal should be to help them find their courage and their voice in the hard and scary places they are called to walk.

Helpful Statements/Questions:

What do you need right now?

What are you telling yourself right now?

Take a moment, take a breath and find your courage, it is in you, I promise.

Can I pray for you?

   

Cheers:

Cheer often. The best fans and best dads are generous with their cheering. You do not need a Special occasion, an Epic event or a personal invitation to offer some encouragement and support. Cheer for your daughter, not just her performance.

Helpful Statements/Questions:

I really liked how you…..

How did you feel about your contribution?

Where do you want to go after the game?

I love watching you play/participate

Thanks for working hard and encouraging others

 

Tears:

Tears do not follow a schedule; they often appear unannounced, good dads lean in when the tears come. Words are not always that important or helpful when the sadness spills out on the surface. A quiet hug is usually better than some mumbling advice. Tears on the outside are always better than tears on the inside. Stay close, listen and wait, you are doing the most important thing.

Helpful Statements/Questions:

I am so sorry

I love you so much

Thanks for letting me be with you

I am so glad to be your dad   

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Let’s listen, let’s love, let’s lean in. We have front row seats to our daughter’s lives.

There is no better place to be.

Grace and Peace,

Dr. Don Worcester

 

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