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Jim Buchan's Blog (77)

Breaking a Most Difficult Addiction

Just one week into my much-needed sabbatical, one thing is abundantly clear: I find it extremely hard to fully relax without feeling guilty and unproductive. As an addict to the world of deadlines and to-do lists, “productivity detox” is a difficult and painful process.

Perhaps you’re a performance addict too. But you’ll never know for sure until you take time to break free from your dependence on activities and accomplishments—the “drugs” that enable you to feel good about…

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Added by Jim Buchan on May 14, 2017 at 3:05pm — No Comments

Avoiding Overdrawn Relationship Accounts

Many decades ago, I discovered the reality of Jesus’ teaching that it’s more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). So I became a giver, and I’ve received many blessings as a result.

But, as with most truths, there’s another side to this principle: Healthy relationships are reciprocal. When one person in the relationship does all the giving and the other does all the taking, the bond inevitably becomes twisted and toxic.

Sadly, I’ve been rather slow in…

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Added by Jim Buchan on May 12, 2017 at 4:58pm — No Comments

The Great Adventure...or the Great Yawn?

Recently I’ve been reflecting on the stunning passage of Scripture where Jesus tells some fishermen in Galilee, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Captivated by this teacher and miracle-worker—later revealed as the Son of God—these men “immediately left their nets and followed Him.”

Think of how radical their response was. Without protesting or asking questions, they each left their livelihood in order to pursue an uncertain future as a…

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Added by Jim Buchan on May 3, 2017 at 9:39pm — No Comments

Getting Back on the Trapeze

When you learned how to ride a bike, you probably fell down a few times. Hopefully, you got back on and tried again.

The same principle applies to many other things in life—such as relationships, careers, and ministries. You can’t allow momentary failures or setbacks to keep you from picking yourself up and giving things another try.

At the same time, there’s another principle to remember when you begin again: Usually there are some things you must let go of, even as you…

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Added by Jim Buchan on April 10, 2017 at 10:39am — No Comments

Getting Back on the Trapeze

When you learned how to ride a bike, you probably fell down a few times. Hopefully, you got back on and tried again.

The same principle applies to many other things in life—such as relationships, careers, and ministries. You can’t allow momentary failures or setbacks to keep you from picking yourself up and giving things another try.

At the same time, there’s another principle to remember when you begin again: Usually there are some things you must let go of, even as you…

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Added by Jim Buchan on April 10, 2017 at 10:39am — No Comments

Comfort Zones & Coffins -- Is There Really a Difference?

Over the past few years, I’ve met many people who’ve been wounded by life’s traumas. Some have gone through the agony of divorce or betrayal by a business partner. Others lost a loved one or were fired from a job.

After we’ve been traumatized, our tendency is to pull back and try to avoid further risks. We opt to play it safe and stay nestled within our comfort zone.

But I’ve found that comfort zones are a lot like coffins. In a coffin you’re already dead, but…

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Added by Jim Buchan on April 8, 2017 at 1:21pm — No Comments

When Your GPS Signal Returns

Recently I was praying with a friend who was struggling to find God’s direction for his life. As we prayed, I vividly remembered the Bible’s account of how the magi temporarily lost sight of the star that had started them on their journey:

Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right…

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Added by Jim Buchan on March 26, 2017 at 6:15am — No Comments

Why Was Elijah Depressed?

Elijah has always been one of my favorite Bible characters, and I’m particularly intrigued by the chapter where he fights deep depression (1 Kings 19). The mighty prophet had witnessed amazing answers to prayer, stopping the rain for years before starting it again. He had multiplied a widow’s meager supply of food and raised her son from the dead. And for good measure, he called down fire from heaven and slayed the false prophets of Baal.

Huge victories, to say the least. Impressive…

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Added by Jim Buchan on March 21, 2017 at 2:45pm — No Comments

Do You Have a SUSTAINABILITY Problem?

I had never given much thought to the issue of “sustainability” until my daughter entered the master’s program in Urban Planning at the University of California Irvine. Abbie helped me see that while some activities appear to work satisfactorily in the short term, they cannot be successfully sustained down the road.

Perhaps you think of sustainability mostly in terms of environmental issues, but I’ve come to realize the wisdom of applying the sustainability question to just about…

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Added by Jim Buchan on March 12, 2017 at 5:53am — No Comments

5 Strategies for Overcoming Stress Overload

Stress often gets a bad rap. It’s not always bad. Our goal should certainly not be a “stress-free” life, for that kind of existence would be extremely boring and unproductive.

Just as a guitar string needs some “stress” in order to be in proper tune, so do we. If you strum a guitar string that is too tight, it’s liable to snap. But the same is true if the string is too loose. Whether too tight or too loose, if the string is out of tune it becomes more vulnerable to damage.

Of…

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Added by Jim Buchan on March 10, 2017 at 1:56am — No Comments

The Perils of Being a Good Juggler

I have an exceptional ability to juggle lots of balls at the same time. I don’t mean literal balls. My hand-and-eye coordination isn’t good enough for that. But, better than most people, I’m able to successfully juggle multiple projects, activities, and relationships.

Many of my best friends are only able to focus on one project at a time. Sometimes I envy them, for being a good juggler is both a blessing and a curse.

Almost anyone can successfully juggle one ball from hand to…

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Added by Jim Buchan on March 3, 2017 at 4:46pm — No Comments

The Craziness of Wearing Someone Else's Jersey

I grew up in the era of Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown, and I’m convinced he was the best football player of all time. Yet I never had a Jim Brown jersey. In fact, except for the players who were actually on the team, I don’t remember people wearing NFL jerseys back then.

From Boston to Houston this weekend, thousands of people will be wearing Tom Brady jerseys. Last year our hometown Carolina Panthers were in the Super Bowl, so Cam Newton jerseys were a big thing. Sadly, Cam…

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Added by Jim Buchan on February 3, 2017 at 6:25pm — No Comments

Love-Starved & Love-Resistant

I recently discovered a strange phenomenon: People who are the most starved for love usually are resistant to receiving love when it’s offered to them.

This is like California or Texas after a long-term drought. When rain finally comes, the ground is so hard that it can’t properly soak up the water. Instead of being a blessing, the rain sometimes causes a flood!

Have you ever tried to show love to someone who was extremely love-starved? If so, the person probably either…

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Added by Jim Buchan on January 31, 2017 at 4:43pm — No Comments

Job's Melancholic Birthday

At my age, birthdays are something I would prefer to forget rather than celebrate. Yet the greetings of “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” continue, and I’m always grateful for the nice sentiments.

This got me thinking of the story of Job. He had a happy life at the beginning and the end, but the middle was pretty rough.

Thankfully, we don’t have to get stuck in the middle of the story.

At one point, Job was not a big fan of his birthday. A season of incredibly severe trials had begun,…

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Added by Jim Buchan on January 29, 2017 at 2:02pm — No Comments

Defusing Your Emotional Land Mines

My friend Ron is a divorced man in his 50s who has ventured into the world of online dating the past few years. He’s a good man who sincerely would like to find a new wife. But although he’s met a number of good prospects, each new relationship has exploded after a month or two, often suddenly and unexpectedly.

Ron typically explains the breakup in terms of “overemotional” or “hypersensitive” women. “They all say on their online profile that they’re baggage-free and drama-free,” he…

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Added by Jim Buchan on January 22, 2017 at 6:17pm — No Comments

Remembering Your True Calling

Have you ever had a “voice from the past” remind you about important aspects of who God created you to be?

That’s what happened recently when I was contacted by Matthew Donovan, a friend I hadn’t seen in the nearly 20 years since he moved away from Charlotte. We were able to spend several hours together at the Panera Bread Company, catching up on things and then praying for each other.

Part of the conversation was especially illuminating for me…

“Have you been speaking…

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Added by Jim Buchan on January 20, 2017 at 2:37pm — No Comments

Rediscovering My 'True North'

When I was a kid, we didn’t have all the cool video games and technology of today. Some of my most memorable toys were marbles, magnifying glasses, and gyroscopes.

Recently when I was praying, God spoke a powerful message to me through two of my other childhood toys: a compass and a magnet.

First, I recalled the amazing attributes of a compass. When set on a level surface, the needle rather mysteriously points to “true north.” Somehow the compass detects and automatically…

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Added by Jim Buchan on January 19, 2017 at 9:10am — No Comments

Lessons from My Unbalanced Tires

A few years ago I purchased a new set of tires for my car. They weren’t the highest-rated tires, but they came with a 60,000-mile warranty, which seemed like a safe bet at the time.

As I drove away, I patted myself on the back for getting such a great deal. It was good to know I wouldn’t have to deal with buying tires again for at least 60,000 miles.

Everything was fine as I drove down the road, 25 mph, 35 mph, and 50 mph. But when I took my new tires on the freeway, my…

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Added by Jim Buchan on January 8, 2017 at 2:03pm — No Comments

Silencing the Cicadas

A few months ago, the Holy Spirit spoke a concise but powerful word to my heart during a personal retreat: “Jim, you need to silence the cicadas!”

If you’ve never been around any cicadas, you may want to visit YouTube and check them out. Cicadas are large, ugly insects that cluster together in trees to make an almost-deafening sound, especially at night.

The Lord advises us in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” But how do you do that…

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Added by Jim Buchan on January 2, 2017 at 8:12pm — No Comments

Ready for an Honest New Year's Assessment?

These 5 connections hold the key to spiritual fruitfulness & fulfillment.

A pivotal moment in my life occurred around this time of year in 2010. My friend Don Wright and I were taking our usual walk around the track of Weddington High School, and I told him quite earnestly, “Don, some things have really got to change in my life next year.”

Don has a way of getting to the heart of a matter, and he reminded me of a sobering truth: “I think you said the same thing last year at…

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Added by Jim Buchan on December 31, 2016 at 9:48am — No Comments

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The Myth of Indispensability

Posted by Jim Buchan on September 2, 2019 at 7:17pm

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