The FAA And Your Relationship With Jesus

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I did this blog on my business site earlier today but it was so good that I wanted to share it with my “Holy Crap” family as well! Enjoy!

We have flown a bit over the holiday season and it is still amazing to me that anyone can travel anywhere in the world in hours by getting into a giant metal tube that really should be too heavy to fly anyway. Just to think about how far technology has come and how air travel has improved in the last forty years is really astounding.

The one thing that has really never changed, and probably never will, is the reactionary nature of the airline industry. When there is some kind of airline disaster the first thing the FAA does is create some kind of rule that tries to remedy whatever happened. The incidents of 9/11 created a greater scrutiny of anything sharp or what could be conceived as a weapon. The shoe bomber incident created the smaller quantities of fluids that can be in your carry on. The Samsung phones smoking on a flight last year was the genesis of banning the Samsung Note 7 on flights.

I am not saying that any of these rules are bad in and of themselves because the airline industry is just trying to make sure that air travel is safe for everyone, but when safety is thought of as a RESULT of negative actions then it becomes a reactionary response only.

In our relationship with Jesus, we can fall into some of the same traps. We can think of our actions with Jesus only in terms of the negative things that are happening in our lives. Maybe we don’t spend time reading our Bible and learning about his love until we are feeling a lack of love in some way in our lives. We get into some kind of financial trouble and then decide it is a good time to give to God and see if we can get some kind of financial blessing when we are not a consistent giver in the first place. This can become a terrible pattern of only doing things for/with God when we need something or trouble hits our lives.

Today, don’t wait for pain or discouragement to hit your life before you decide to spend time with Jesus. When we make the investment in our relationship with him preemptively, we set the stage for success in life not based on circumstances but in knowing that no matter what happens, our lives are in God’s hands. The things we do to help get through difficult times end up being birthed from our foundation in Christ and not on our surrounding circumstances.

The Simple Truth of God’s Love

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We have been trained to believe that we need to become something before we can be accepted by God. The truth is that we can NEVER become who we can be without accepting God’s love for us just the way we are.

Your Mission Today and EVERYDAY: Accept God’s love for you and watch your life begin to change for the better!

The Holiday Season and Dealing with People in Depression

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I think Christmas is one of my favorite times of year. Not only do I get to be around people (which I love) it is also the time that Ghirardelli Peppermint bark hits stores, an excuse to watch one of my favorite movies Elf, and because my primary love language is gifts, presents are exchanged!!

For others, the Holiday season can be just the opposite in about every way. Coming from a family where there was so much love and a true celebration of the holidays it can be hard to imagine the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas could be anything other than enjoyable. That is, until I got sick with my eye condition. Then the full reality of the depression, angst and despair that people can experience was brought into perspective.

People have family members that they have not talked to in years because there was something said or done that caused real hurt in them. Some people lost a loved one or are currently going through some challenge medically, emotionally or spiritually.

As humans, we are naturally selfish not only in our actions, but also in our thinking. We can base our reactions towards people on things that we assume they should know or get. We can think or say things like, “Why would everyone not be happy this holiday season? They need to just get over their issue with family” or “Why did that person snap at me when I asked her a question at work? Don’t they realize this is the season of love and joy?”

I always want to be considerate of where people are in life because of the things I went through with being sick on Thanksgiving and Christmas for four years in a row. I was not always the most pleasant person to be around during the holidays even though it was nothing personal with anyone around me but more with my anger at God. I didn’t need someone to pull me aside at a gathering and try and counsel me out of being sad/mad. I just wanted to be left alone and would lash out at times because of the mental and physical pain I was in.

We MUST be intentional with loving those people who seem to be having the hardest time with the holiday season. It is not even so much about saying something to them but just showing love where you can and praying for them. Think of it this way, if you were in their shoes and dealing with some kind of pain over a holiday, how would you want someone to treat you? Jesus was the best example of having TRUE empathy for people who didn’t understand the peace that they could have by just trusting in God.

If you are someone who is hurting this holiday season, know that if you are reading this blog then I am praying for you to find hope and peace in your mind and heart.

Being an agent of change by loving people and acting like Christ in EVERY way is not easy, but necessary for those looking for hope in their hopeless world.

Three Key Takeaways from The Election

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Many things were going through my head the past few weeks as I watched the election season unfold and even the past few hours after the election. Here are a few things to consider for us as a country and as individuals.

1. Social Media has been a great litmus test as to depth of friendships

I can remember a time in life where Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms didn’t exist. I have really appreciated the ability to stay connected and reconnect with old friends and make new ones. It is awesome to be able to share my life with people and for me to feel like I am physically around them more than I actually am. That is about where the appreciation stops for me. The problem is that we create relationships with people online that are “an inch deep and a mile wide.” I can remember getting into arguments when I was younger and I would always know who was a true friend and was not by the outcome and spending time with them to know their heart.
I believe we have allowed our connections on social media to make us shallow with one another instead of really knowing and loving each other regardless of our differences. We need to take a look inside and the things that would cause us not to be friends with someone. They may be legitimate because it is a toxic relationship, but we need to be careful with things that offend us. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they hate you.

2. Wikileaks has taught us something; if you don’t want anyone to find out, don’t do it

No matter where you are on the subject of the hacked emails and the ethics of Wikileaks, we are becoming an increasingly transparent world. I was searching for cool looking backgrounds for my iPhone a few years ago and found an image that said “If you don’t want anyone to find out, don’t do it – Chinese Proverb” There is so much truth in that little statement. The entire Wikileaks situation gave an example of thinking first before you do something illegal or something that you will regret. This is not a Democratic thing or a Republican thing or even an American thing. It is a HUMAN thing to evaluate your actions and words and how they will affect yourself and others around you. That is the reason why I read the Bible and ask God for guidance everyday; to help me make the best decision for myself and be the best for everyone around me.

3. Donald J Trump is not the new Messiah of America

Even though I think the election was a move in the right direction and against the political establishment, electing Donald Trump for President is not the single answer for America. The ONLY answer is followers of Christ reflecting Biblical principles in their speech, actions and love. Each person who calls Jesus the leader of their life has a RESPONSIBILTY to not only love God with their heart but to share that love with others in meaningful ways. Some would see George W. Bush or maybe Barak Obama as the issue for the situations we see ourselves in but the truth is that the people we elect for President are a direct reflection of the hearts of the people. The point I am making is that we need to be focusing more on the HEARTS of people more than the VOTES of people.
We need to be a healer of hearts and brokenness with the people God puts in our path. If people say, “That Christian is a reflection of the love, heart and Godly correction of Jesus” then we have done our job on this earth.
For those of you who supported and voted for President Elect Donald Trump, please be VERY careful of your words right now on social media and with each other. Remember that Jesus was ALL about being a PEACEMAKER and not a CRAP-STIRRER when it came to interaction with each other.

I am praying not only for America but my part in helping bring healing to a divided country that needs Jesus more than they realize. I understand the responsibility of being in media to tell stories that make people want to make Jesus the leader of their lives but also to help bring us together as a divided country. Today, ask yourself what is YOUR part to help bring healing and what are you doing to make those things a reality to the people you interact with this week.

Generosity has to do with HEARTS not HANDS

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I was talking to a friend about generosity and what motivates someone to give. I am the kind of person that if I have it I will give it. I can remember praying and having a conversation with God early in my life where I told him the more He gives me the more I will give.

During our conversation I said something that I think really sums up giving and meeting the needs of others.

I said, “Generosity is not what is in your hand, it’s what is in your heart.” Wow. I just sat there and looked at Aaron and said, “That statement is ending up in a blog post or on Facebook in some way.”

I think it is SO important to realize that generosity really has NOTHING to do with whether or not you have lots of money. Even the term “lots of money” is relative because “enough” to one person may be barely any to another.

The heart is the primary factor when it comes to a person giving to others and not what they see in their hand. When we only see what is in our hand we limit giving to simply a physical expression instead of really letting it be an expression from the heart.

God ALWAYS wants us operating from a place of heart and not simply evaluating what we think WE can afford to be without. Giving is not learning to go without because we gave to others. It is being content enough with what we have and being able to trust God for what we need so that we can be a blessing to others in their time of need.

Have a great day and, as always, I am praying for you!

Two Choices in Life: Worry Backward or Pray Forward

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Below is a paragraph that I know God impressed on me to help people going through pain and is just one example of many helpful points for people in my book.

Worrying backward and praying forward is a statement that summed up my life for four plus years of dealing with things that were beyond my comprehension and a process that took me to the very end of myself. I became a professional at “worrying backwards” in life, trying to regain who I once was and working to find a path back to where my life had been before I was sick. The problem is the person I needed to be NOW was forward and not back to the old me. Enjoy this quick section and think about your life today and if you are “worrying or praying” in life.

Excerpt from Chapter 15 – Answers to Consider 
“We all have two decisions in life when pain hits; we can either worry backward or pray forward. Backward is familiar to us because it is something we experienced, and we have a point of reference of a time without pain. When I pray forward, I decide to look ahead with an expectation of solutions that bring even greater levels of contentment with God leading my life, using a roadmap that I could never access without Him. A fact of hiking that is true in life as well is that maps lead to destinations, but guesses lead to being lost. I trust God much more with my navigation than I do my best guesses in life or worrying about situations that, in reality, I will never be able to control anyway.”

My hope is that people pick up a copy of my book not for me to make more money but that I can use my experiences in pain to help others hang on, even if it is just for one more day.

Tim Tebow and His Ten Magic Fingers!

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It has been all over the news this week about Tim Tebow being at batting practice and while he was signing autographs, someone in the crowd had a seizure. He laid hands on the guy, prayed for him, the seizure stopped and the guy was fine. I think it was awesome that Tim thought to pray for someone and that he was able to help.

It is funny to read the storylines from the media and their perspective on the healing. It was like, “Tim Tebow was minding his own business when suddenly, a gentleman fell to the ground with what seemed to be a seizure. So, for whatever reason, Tim laid his hands on the man and magically the seizure stopped! We are checking into the incident to see if the man was a plant in the crowd to make Tim look good and for the Mets to put him into major league rotation.” (I made up that last bit, but would it surprise anyone that the media, at this very moment, are doing a background check on the man who had the seizure?)

There are a few principles that I think are important to highlight and use to examine our own lives and the world we live in.

First, It should not surprise anyone who understands this was a healing, that the media or people watching the event unfold did not understand what was going on. There is even a verse in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 1:18 that states people who don’t really understand Jesus are not going to realize or recognize his power on display or the fact that they can have even GREATER things and an eternal life with God in heaven.

Second, these kinds of things are not just for the mighty Tim Tebow to have an opportunity to do and see God move in a miraculous way. Many times, we put people who we think are more “religious” than ourselves up on pedestals and think that they can do things we cannot. I am sure if you asked Tim, he would admit that it was only the power of God that worked through him in that man’s life and not the ten magic fingers on the end of his arms. If we are asking God for opportunities to help work miracles in people’s lives he will meet those needs and give us doors to walk thru. The big question is will we take the opportunity to step out from the crowd and be willing to do what God is calling us to do?

Third, I have a “what if” scenario for everyone. Tim Tebow got cut from football because he was not the commodity the NFL wanted to promote. He also apparently had some fairly glaring issues with accuracy (I am no expert) but the fact is that he was out of football. What if Tim’s WHOLE ENTIRE desire to now play baseball was God positioning him to be in that exact place to pray for that man and be a part of his healing? Those are the kind of things that can be hard to wrap our heads around. Maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t about Tim Tebow but it was about God using events in his life to position Tim to be in a place to be a blessing to someone else.

Maybe you are reading this blog and don’t understand what I am talking about with God healing people. That SAME POWER can reside inside of you and even comes with an amazing relationship with the creator of the universe. Maybe you are reading this and you always compare your relationship to Jesus to others who you feel are more spiritual than you. You have a unique anointing to be the person that God needs you to be on this earth and a circle of friends that need what you have inside. Maybe you are a follower of Christ and are getting wrapped up in the circumstances of life and wondering why negative things are happening to you. It could be God positioning you for something greater for yourself, or even more importantly, because there is someone you will interact with that needs what you have.

These were just a few things to consider today in how we will live today on this earth. Tim Tebow is living his life to glorify God first, and in the process, getting a platform to share even more about the love, grace and peace of God that EVERYONE needs. We can all do the same if we just choose God over us.

Talkers are Praised While Listeners Go Unnoticed

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I cannot say that I know very many people who are great listeners, including myself. Someone who, when their name comes up, is known to others as an exceptional listener. At the same time, we can name numerous amazing speakers when it comes to people we think have full command of the words that come out of their mouth. It is an interesting thing to me that we praise talkers but great listeners in life go unnoticed. Maybe it’s because we feel like if we don’t share how we feel we will not be able to change our corner of the world. Maybe you grew up in a large family and if you were not able to express yourself well that you were ignored or even forgotten.

As a follower of Christ, I was ALWAYS taught growing up the importance of telling others about my relationship with Jesus. Even now, Christians far and wide believe the most important thing is telling the world about how much Jesus loves them. We even sing worship songs about “telling” and build vision/mission statements around talking! When was the last time you read the vision statement of a religious organization that says, “We will listen to the broken and answer with love first and words second.”

Please hear me. I am not poking holes in religious organizations or churches but just making a statement about maybe some of the pacing we do as followers of Christ that tries to mimic the people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus yet. The world is all about telling others who they are, how they feel and the convictions they have and operate by.

There is an incredible power exhibited when you LISTEN to someone who either disagrees with your stance on something or even says things based from a place of hurt or pain. Stop trying to come up with a witty antidote to something being told to you and just tell yourself to shut off your mouth and engage your ears and mind to just listen.

The amazing byproduct of listening is that it encourages others to hear what YOU have to say because they felt honored that you would listen to them. So it is not whether you ONLY listen or ONLY talk but that listening opens up the channels of communication with others and helps you share what is on your heart. Maybe it is a priority of listening with a result of talking. Even Jesus would interact with people in a question format, listen to what they would have to say and then share. The greatest communicator to walk the earth was first and foremost the greatest listener, and He is who I want to be.

God DOESN’T Just Love You…

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The Bible tells of instances where people came to Jesus because they knew who He was. Those people would be considered “believers” in our day. But it is also FULL of times where Jesus went out to minister to people needing help and not even knowing that Jesus could fix what was broken. They would be considered “lost” in our day.

If you are a follower of Christ, it’s not just about coming to church on Sundays, praying, reading your Bible and spending time with Jesus for self consumption. It’s about following Christ’s example and going out to get the lost. The church does not only exist for us to consume good teaching and feed only ourselves for the week. No one will know how great Jesus is and how the church can help them if we don’t go get them!

The question is what does it look like to “go get” people? For some, it is making sure that we find and tell people what they are doing is wrong and that we don’t show an ounce of care because that would be justifying what they are doing. Others have been led to believe that Jesus came to this earth to simply love with nothing else in mind. That is also incorrect. His love for people was and always is there regardless of the situation, but his REAL purpose for being on this earth was to bring CHANGE. It was change for Jesus’ followers to have to leave their known professions and follow Him and his teachings. It was CHANGE in the lives of people to be healed from disease that had plagued them for years. It was CHANGE for the religious officials who were more concerned about keeping the religious laws of the day rather than doing what Jesus directed which was helping the poor, sick and broken.

We are now the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are looking for a change in life and maybe don’t even know it yet. That means we love everyone no matter what but we are constantly asking God what we need to do to be an agent of change in their lives. It may be loving someone unconditionally while telling them that you think they may be making a poor choice. It is still love to care for someone and disagree with their actions. Jesus loves ME when my actions might not line up with what he thinks is best for me and because of that love I know where I can go when I want to make a change in my life.

It is very important to remember that we are not the ones who BRING change in people’s lives but that we set the stage for GOD to bring change. When we are focused on setting up opportunities for God to move in people’s lives it takes the stress off of us to think that we have to make something happen in people’s life. When I love with the knowledge that I am not going to MAKE anyone change, I can let God work in their hearts and then be there if they want to go in a different direction in life.

Today, consider how you are going to go get the lost tomorrow by setting the stage for God to bring CHANGE in the lives of others. Jesus trusts that you are not going to screw it up so just go and love with a purpose!!

The Importance of God NOT Being “Early” in Your Situation!

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I have two friends, Matt and Jill, who moved their family from Colorado to Washington recently. He had been out of work for a very long time and living off of the severance package from his former job. He is a great employee and was looking for jobs everywhere but it was always not the right fit. They were feeling God’s direction to move to Washington without any real firm leads on a job for him and massive transition for them as a family with their three girls.

 I felt impressed to pray for them as a family the other day and texted them that I was doing a “run and pray” for them and believing that God would open doors that no man could close and close doors that no man could open. Jill texted me the following day and said that Matt had gotten a job offer that day and possibly another one by the end of weekend! Jill and I texted back and forth a few times and she said that they had just gotten their last severance check that day. She said, “God thinks he is so funny!” I responded and told her that in my life, “God has NEVER been early but He has never been late.” Jill responded and said that was so true. Then I thought of the countless times I have said that same line to people through the years.

Then it hit me. I responded something that I know came straight from God. I texted “If God was early, we would think it was our talents, connections, whining or complaining that made it happen.” All of which are NOT true!!” Wow. My fingers were typing it as I was thinking about why God is never early in our situations in life. It all made sense at that moment and I texted Jill that I felt a blog comin on!! Haha

Maybe you are in a situation where you are trying to give something to God and trust him for the outcome and wondering why God is not coming in early and making the changes you want to see. You are probably anxious about the situation and curious as to how God is going to “pull this one out” of the fire. Just remember, if God was early in meeting your need in life then you would probably give yourself the credit for “praying hard enough, complaining enough or just crying enough” to make it happen. Trust is essentially believing something is going to happen when nothing in the physical realm seems to be changing.

Today, pray and make your request known to God but then trust HIM to do HIS part in your situation. I am not saying this is going to be easy. In fact, it will probably be some of the hardest prayer/trusting you can do in life but will be the most gratifying when you truly release something to God and then see Him bring the increase. Just ask Matt and Jill and their journey these past couple of years. Good stuff.