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First Lines…

I love the opening line to the book, “Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont.”

“She came from a world of sensible choices…”

The first lines in any narrative, are the introductory bricks in a sidewalk that lead us to the heart of a story. They are the whisper of former, unknown events that give insight into the character we are about to meet.

A first line is a choice.

Do you want to go further?

Are the following lines and pages, and chapters worth your time?

When an author gets it right, the best first lines of books are not a choice at all, but a capturing.

“He began to die when he was twenty-one, but tuberculosis is slow and sly and subtle.”

From Doc by Mary Doria Sophie Russell

“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents, grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.”

From Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

“In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”

From The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.”

From Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

See what I mean? The first lines are curtains drawing upward, the author leading you by the hand forward into a story (but also another world).

YOUR life has an opening line.

You are not the chance product of an evolutionary process. Your story is not the result of an explosion in a paper and ink factory…you were created as the main character…intentionally, deliberately, and thoughtfully.

And you either know this…or you don’t!

If you know that your life is a narrative read by others, you will craft it daily.

If, on the other hand, you are NOT aware that your life is a book read by the balance of those who observe, you will capture NO readers…you will simply type mindlessly upon the page of your existence.

I ask you…what is YOUR first line? What bricks will lead me, and others, into reading your life? Does it influence? Does it draw back the curtain behind which there is a captivating life…or will those who sit in attendance leave after the first act?

Christianity is about influence. And those who wish to have a significant effect on the earth must appeal to a broader audience than the few trapped within the salt boxes we call churches.

Yes… APPEAL TO MORE THAN THE CHURCH!

The message of the Gospel is not a drab re-hashing of a tired ancient Hebrew text.

It is the telling of a story…the one great story, whose first line is “In the beginning” and whose last line is, ““The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen” (Rev. 22:21).

I urge you… be captivating and make it worth the while of others to explore your life by making your first line extraordinary.

Is your life worth other people’s time? Do they want to go further?

Don’t be ordinary… be uncommon, exceptional and unique.

As for me…I want to be a renaissance man…

A Renaissance Man…

By Doug Pacheco

“I want to be a Renaissance Man…

A renaissance man; renaissance man,

I want to be a renaissance man,

When I grow up one day.

A man who studies sun and star,

Who plays piano, flute, guitar,

Who runs the race both near and far,

A renaissance man I’ll be.

Who’s kind to children, loved by all

Who sees men as equal, big and small

With heroic deeds answers the call,

A renaissance man I’ll be.

A man who others often see

Repairing souls so they’ll be free,

In brokenness on bended knee,

A renaissance man I’ll be.

Who holds his peace ’til he has heard

The arguments of many words.

Whose own desires will be deferred,

A renaissance man I’ll be.

I would not stoop to lowly things

To be a monarch, prince, or King,

A coat of many colors bring,

For a renaissance man like me.

Who shares his wealth to horizons end,

Blessing children, stranger, and loyal friend;

And the widow’s rights he will defend,

A renaissance man I’ll be.

And when at last from earth I’m free,

And my grandchild comes to honor me,

Oh, may he fulfill this prophecy,

And be a renaissance man like me.

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30,952 Days…

I added together the five ages of my parents and grandparents, (five because I do not know at what age my paternal grandfather passed away) and divided it by five to arrive at 84.8 years.

I was curious about the length of my life. I could think of no other way to accurately judge how long I might live, so I did an average and if it holds true I would have lived 30,952 days in my lifetime. Of course, the length of our lives is subject to many things…the type of work we do…our diet, our activity level, and where we live. Many more factors enter into it, but assuming I maximize all of the above in a satisfactory way…my life span could arrive at that particular number.Jesus’ life spanned 12,227.5 days or 33.5 years.

This means that; should I live to 84.8 years, I will have outlived Jesus’ earthly life by 51.3 years or 18,724.5 days. I have always thought, “I must spend my days with urgent purpose and activity in order to be obedient!’ It is important work to be sure…but; at least in my life, I simply do not see rushing around in urgent activity with a nervous twitch to speak with more and more and more people.

Faith is not activity…

Instead of spending his limited time on earth, going to the Kings of the earth and displaying signs and wonders, to convince them to bow their knees to Him, Jesus spent His days walking the countryside, healing nobodies, the non-important people who had no power or authority on the earth. He only chose 12 men but invited at least 120 to follow along.

He chose to pour his days into a few people. The results have changed the world.In reading about Him walking the countryside camping out, preaching from a boat, a mountain, a house where the roof was cut open and in open fields, it almost appears that he had no plan, no plan at all! He simply went willy-nilly across the countryside.

Where was his social secretary and administrator? He didn’t even carry a Franklin Planner…or a palm pilot, or a smartphone to schedule his appointments…in terms of efficiency, his exploits took him across one side of Galilee to regions beyond in Judea. How impractical! He only had 12,227.5 days…the clock was ticking…why didn’t he move more quickly?!

They should have used mules or donkeys or something to travel faster, reach more, have a greater impact. I would have! They had the money…well, Judas had the money…but it is obvious they weren’t desperate for cash. The only reasonable explanation that I can come up with, besides the mystical “it was the power of God that made it happen” is simply this… the power of the message of freedom and the love that brought about healing and wholeness, was a seed that had so much life within it, that only a few seeds were necessary to sow.

He used those 12,227.5 days to sow his gospel of repentance and love before his main mission, which; was to die. And, if you think about it, the people he came to preach to, rejected the message! Not a very good track record for the Savior of the world…right?

You and I don’t have a mission to die for the sins of the world…only to ourselves. We also don’t have a quota of people we have to reach with the message of repentance and love…but we are simply told to go into all the world and preach the gospel teaching them to observe all the HE taught. He didn’t guarantee all would listen or that all would be healed or delivered…all He promised was that He would be with us…with the believers in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe…yes, even Russia and the Ukraine.

He is there, and here, with us in whatever number of days we have left…and he will remain until the end of the age…the age of grace and mercy, before He comes to judge the nations as the Lion of Judah.

Whatever days I have left, I have dedicated to telling his story, encouraging, exhorting and praying. I will not worry myself about how many places I have to go or schedule a world evangelistic television special, because the seed of the message has so much power in it…that it will soon take over the world.

Influence comes one person at a time.