Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Servitude is offering your God-given resources, to anyone or anything, as contributions to the greater good of all that is. Servitude is a strand of Love that allows God’s divine Love to shine through you as you give to someone who needs what you have to offer. God provides you with an individually unique abundance of resources that you can offer as gifts to the overall wellbeing of the world. Your God-given resources might be in the form of time, talents, skills, knowledge, emotional support, physical labor, friendly gestures, respectable character, material offerings, or spiritual presence. By practicing servitude you give away what God has given to you. You provide service to others who need your abundance for their growth in God’s Word. You “pay it forward” to honor God who first gave it to you.

The dimensions for servitude are boundless. You can practice servitude toward a person or an animal, to a friend or a stranger, at home or at work, while on vacation or in your own town. It can be practiced anytime, anywhere. Whatever you do, when you use your resources for God’s work, you are practicing servitude. Servitude does not require extensive effort to make a meaningful difference. It can be exercised as a simple smile or friendly “hello.” Or, it can be performed to the extent of laying down your life for a meaningful cause.

When serving others, you are serving God, carrying out His will for your unique words, actions, and behaviors to leave a positive imprint on the lives of those He graces through you. And, as you practice servitude toward others, you also serve yourself because, ultimately, you receive more of that which you give away.

When you exercise servitude by offering your resources for the greater good, God gives you more. He ensures that you have an abundance of that which you give away through His name.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mother's Day 2009







Click the image below for a printable version of the card

Monday, April 27, 2009


Gratitude is expressing appreciation toward any of the infinite wonders that bless our lives. And, truly, everything in our lives is a blessing in some way. We can express gratitude toward our selves, others, and God. In essence, when we genuinely express gratitude toward our selves or others we are also thanking God because He is within each of us. When I say, “thank you” to you, I am not only expressing appreciation toward you, I am thanking God for shining his light through you.

Our lives are graced by a continuous stream of God’s blessings. A keen awareness of the present moment will help us identify the infinite blessings that enter our lives. When we identify these blessings, we ought to express gratefulness toward God for bestowing them to our presence. A long, thought out thank you isn’t necessary; just a simple genuine expression of thanks is fine. You will realize that when you express gratitude for the blessings in your life, you are rewarded for your appreciation. You are given more of that which you expressed gratitude toward. Appreciate the beautiful side of life and you will see even more beauty.

Gratitude can be expressed not only toward the circumstances perceived as favorable by our perceptions, but also toward the struggles and discontented moments injected into our lives. Although the unfavorable immediate outcomes of struggles are sometimes difficult to appreciate, we can be grateful for the presence, patience, and persistence that helped us overcome the challenges. God gives us struggles to promote meaningful growth in our lives. For these opportunities we can be thankful, especially because God provides us with all of the tools we need to achieve favorable growth results. We simply must open our hearts, clear our minds, and let Him guide us through the struggle toward peace and love.

With each struggle God grants us, we can thank Him for the tools he gave us to overcome the challenge. If we get sick, we can be grateful for the strength, perseverance, and encouragement that helped us recover our health. If we face a conflict with a friend or relative, we can be grateful for the open-mindedness, understanding, courage, and language that helped both parties agree on a constructive solution. When approached from a loving perspective, conflicts can actually serve as relationship building exercises. As we express gratitude toward a struggle, we learn to see the light, or the meaning, through the difficulty that is often associated with a tribulation.

Every experience in our lives has shaped us into who we are today; we have much to be thankful for.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


The road to love begins with forgiveness. Forgiveness is relieving yourself of all negative energies toward your self, others, and God. It is seeing the luster of God’s light through the internal and external distractions that restrict you from living in the present moment. When you see His light shine through the conditions of any circumstance, good or bad, you know that everything is okay; you know that the conditions were perfectly designed for the greater good of all that is.

Forgiveness is of God. When you forgive, you are with God; you see the world through His eyes. You realize that not all outcomes align with your expectations, but you know that if you choose to dwell on such outcomes, you reject the presence of God. You react to everything with complete acceptance. Whether or not you deem an experience as favorable, you acknowledge what happened and move forward without attachments.

Forgiveness is not conditional; you do not forgive because you expect something in return from the one you are forgiving.

Forgiveness does not occur out of spite; you don’t forgive when you are angered with a situation and simply don’t want to deal with it anymore.

Forgiveness does not occur out of superiority; you do not forgive so that you can be perceived as the better person.

You forgive so you can stop rejecting God with negative attachments and join Him in the everlasting present moment.

Just as with love, you must cultivate forgiveness within your soul before it can be articulated outward. It must reside in your heart before you can offer it to someone else. It is much like a muscle. You cannot share with others physical and mental muscles that you do not have. You must adequately strengthen them with exercise before they can be shared with others. Certainly, you can strengthen your physical and mental muscles by exercising them with other people, but you must strengthen the muscles enough for yourself before you can exercise them with someone else. Similarly, you build your spiritual muscle of forgiveness by identifying a spark of forgiveness within your heart and then exercising that forgiveness toward yourself and others.

As you learn to forgive yourself, the love in your soul grows stronger and you can begin to exercise forgiveness toward others. As the love in your life continues to magnify, you evolve toward a life absent of all negative energies, a life blessed with complete forgiveness.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

True Love

True love is believing in yourself, having faith in your abilities, selflessly nurturing your gifts, and offering your God-given energies as contributions to the greater good of the world. It is intending outcomes that contribute to the common welfare of all that exists and making choices that align with your intentions.

True love exists when you love not from the mind, body, or emotion, but when you love from the soul. It is genuine, unconditional, nonjudgmental. It is of God. It is persistent enough to express itself, but patient enough to wait for the right time. Love exists in the moment, without anticipation. It gives, without expectation. It operates, without dissonance. It simply feels right when it is expressed and received.

To express true love, you must possess that love within yourself, for yourself; for you cannot give to others something that you do not have. Share the beauty of love with the world by identifying a spark of love within your soul, then cultivating that love until it naturally radiates from your very being. It will be expressed through the words of your mouth, the touch of your hand, the glisten in your eye, the gleam of your smile, the work you perform, the music you play, the art you create, the books you write. Your simple presence will emit love toward all who are in the vicinity of your being.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Appreciation gives you more

This post is comprised of two parts. Part I shares some basic thoughts about appreciating and wanting. Part II derives from a speech about appreciation that I delivered to employees at our annual employee appreciation banquet.

Part I
Appreciating and wanting

When we always get what we want, we weaken our capacity to realize true happiness with what we have. Always receiving what we want strengthens our desire for more, weakening our appreciation for what currently exists. To live without wanting strengthens our gratification for what we have, and when the timing is right for us to obtain more, we appreciate what we receive.

Appreciation for what we have can be expressed towards our knowledge, relationships, physical abilities, spirituality, money and other material items, and many other identifiable and sometimes unidentifiable components that comprise the totality of our lives. As we express true gratitude toward each of these existing variables, we foster growth for each variable, resulting in the acquisition of more…more knowledge, more healthy relationships, improved physical abilities, enhanced spirituality, and even more money.

Appreciating all variables that comprise our lives will help us maintain balance. The desire for more of any one component results in a lack of appreciation for one of more of the remaining components.

Part II
The following content derives from a speech that I delivered to employees at our university's annual appreciation banquet.
Good afternoon! Welcome to the 2009 employee appreciation banquet.

For these opening remarks, I thought that the topic of appreciation would be a good fit. So, I decided that I would share a wise quote and reflect a bit on my perspective of appreciation. The quote comes from the Dalai Lama, who states that “The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” In other words, more goodness grows through an appreciation of the goodness that already exists

I’ve learned that appreciation can be very powerful and rewarding. Through genuine appreciation of that which we have, regardless of what it is, we will receive more. Through our care for the vast array of things in our lives, they become even more beautiful. To illustrate, think of a flower. When we care for a flower, the flower blossoms and brings even more beauty to our world. Or, consider a student entering the university as a young freshman, a new seed ready to be cared for and appreciated to blossom into a flowering graduate.

This blossoming effect truly applies to all areas our lives.

For example, when we care for our belongings, we prove to ourselves and others that we are worthy of having more and, subsequently, more comes to us. Think of a child who appreciates his toys…his parents are much more inclined to buy him more toys because he cares for them. However, if he does not appreciate his toys, his parents will be less likely to buy him more because he isn’t expressing proper care to those that he already has.

The same is true for our relationships, knowledge, bodies, money, and more, even higher education. When we care for our relationships, we utilize the strategies necessary to strengthen our relationships, proving to ourselves and others that we are capable of entering more.

By appreciating our knowledge, we use that knowledge to gain even more as we study and open our minds to the teachings of others. When we care for our bodies, we exercise and eat right to gain more strength and health. When we care for our money, we invest and save properly as a means to increase financial wealth.

So, how does all of this apply to us at the university? Well, here are a few examples that come to mind. When a supervisor expresses genuine appreciation for the good work performed by her employees, the employees are eager to perform more good work. When an employee expresses appreciation toward the constructive remarks and favorable responsibilities given by his boss, the boss is inclined to offer more constructive feedback and opportunities to the employee. When an employee expresses appreciation toward a coworker for helping her with a task, the employee is likely to receive more help in the future from that coworker and other colleagues because she truly appreciates the assistance. In the classroom, when an instructor expresses appreciation for the students’ good work and classroom participation, the students are eager to perform more good work and continue their participation in class. When students express appreciation for the instructor’s efforts and feedback, the instructor is more likely to offer even greater efforts and more constructive feedback for the students.

Try to view appreciation from the perspective of a giver. As we give something, and it could be anything…a compliment, a smile, a lending hand, a tangible possession…and the recipient expresses appreciation, we feel good inside. When we keep in the forefront of our mind that pleasant feeling, we will be inclined to express much more appreciation toward others.

Appreciate everything in your life, whether it is seemingly small or large, at home or at work or anywhere else for that matter…care for it all. True wealth exists through the genuine appreciation of all that you have.

Thank you!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Beyond the chain link fence - by Nathan Anderson

(This was written in November 2008 after I woke up from a vivid dream that spoke quite loudly to me)

The dream

I had a dream last night. I walked over to my neighbor’s house to share with her an experience that I had the night before her husband passed away. As I arrived, she welcomed me into her home so we could talk. I attempted to share the details of the experience with her, but I lacked the ability to clearly convey my experience to her. When trying to talk, I made noises that occasionally projected themselves as words or phrases with some relevance to what I was trying to say. I knew what I wanted to say, but realized difficulty expressing the message. My neighbor responded with, what I perceived to be, a slight understanding masked with copious confusion. Here ends the dream.

The significance of the dream

What is the significance of this dream? Yes, I had an experience, a very peaceful experience the night before her husband passed away. When I learned about his passing, I realized that my experience was more meaningful than I originally thought. Ever since I connected the husband’s passing to my experience, I have been meaning to put the analysis into writing and share the story with my neighbor. However, I have procrastinated the writing of this experience, and I have not yet shared the story with my neighbor. Because I had not written anything yet, I had considered simply sharing the story with my neighbor prior to processing the experience through writing. I believe that this dream was a message to me that I need to write down my story so I am better prepared to share the experience with her. Writing down the details will ensure that the message is clearly conveyed.

The experience behind the dream

I am now adhering to the message of this dream to write a description of the experience and how I believe it to be connected to the passing away of my neighbor.

The back yard was dark, dimly lit by the moonlight. I was hanging ghost decorations on the chain link fence for the kids’ Halloween party on Friday. I had hung ghosts on the south fence and proceeded to hang ghosts on the north fence. The north fence runs east-west to separate our yard from my neighbor’s yard. When I was about halfway done hanging ghosts on the north fence, I dropped a ghost. As I bent over to pick it up, my awareness of the surrounding environment heightened. The meaningless thoughts that had clouded my mind began to evaporate. I reminded myself to be still, to simply be aware. I gazed north, beyond the chain link fence, into my neighbor’s back yard. As I stared into the yard, I saw/heard/felt a Presence that I am unable to accurately describe with words, although I will try. I was surrounded by an intense sense of serenity…comfort…peace. I felt the gentle touch of comfort, heard the stillness of serenity, and as I peered into the backyard, I saw the beautiful image of peace. Fear did not exist, nor did any form. Although the Presence was not of form, it was intensely realized by the senses of touch, sight, and sound. For the moment, everything was perfect. I was grateful for the opportunity to live such a beautiful moment. I knew the Holy Spirit was near. As my mind began to allow the residence of thought, I remember thinking that nothing could scare me at this moment. I was completely safe. I did not see a ghost that night, nor have I ever seen a ghost, but I remember thinking that even if I saw one I would feel no fear. I remember thinking that if I had been a child in this moment, that my mind would have allowed fear to block the beauty of what I had just witnessed. Following the beauty of the experience, I finished hanging ghosts on the fence and continued to decorate other areas for the party. I went to bed with a special thank you to God for allowing me to experience a special moment of grace that evening.

The next day, I woke up and went to work just like I would any other day. I decided to go home for lunch that day, and on my way home, I was passed on 6th street by a police car with lights flashing. As I turned on 16th Avenue, a fire truck was racing toward me before taking a turn on 10th Street. I turned on 10th Street toward our house and saw the fire truck stop across the street from our next-door neighbor’s house. The police car was already there, and an ambulance also pulled up in front of the house. I watched the firemen and ambulance personnel race into the house. Curious as to what was happening, I stood inside my front door to see if anyone would be taken out of the house. Minutes later, I watched the ambulance personnel and firemen leave the house. They walked slowly without anyone in their care. They entered their vehicles and drove away with far less urgency than they displayed as they arrived. The police officer was still there. I did not know what had happened. As time for my lunch break began to expire, I walked toward my car and saw my neighbor’s daughter-in-law outside. She appeared sad and had tears in her eyes. I asked what had happened. Her soft spoken words said that her father-in-law had passed away. I expressed condolences, offered to help in any way that I could, and returned to work.

When I returned home from work for the day, I saw my neighbor outside. I approached her, gave her a hug, and again expressed my sorrow for her loss. She provided me with more details about what had happened. She said that the previous night, her husband said that he must’ve eaten a bad hamburger because he didn’t feel too well. She said that he stayed downstairs to watch TV and she went upstairs to go to bed. The next day she found his dead body downstairs at about 11:00 am. He died of a heart attack sometime between the time she found him and the time she talked to him the previous night.

As I heard her words, I began to see the connection between my experience the previous night and her husband’s death. The Holy Spirit was near that night, not necessarily to comfort me, but to ensure a safe journey home for my neighbor. I was simply still enough to witness His Presence.

Now that I have documented this experience, I feel better prepared to share it with my neighbor.