True Contentment In Life…Is Not More Things

I am in Las Vegas this week for NAB and learning about media trends from the people who work around the world to create media and connection for the masses. My focus and heart this week is to hear what is being done and what people see on the horizon for media. I then want to combine those principles with prayer and see what God comes up with to help me move Christian Television along and into the future.  
I am struck with the speed of changing technology and the insatiable desire for humankind to want things faster and more customized to their life even when the newest technology is already out. I firmly believe that this is a result of unhappiness in the human condition without God. Let me explain.  

I love and enjoy technology as much as anyone but I know that I can fall into the trap of needing to have the latest or greatest of whatever gadget, game or app that I currently own. Technology in itself is not a bad thing and can make our lives more productive as well as help us stay connected to family and friends. The issue comes when we are consumed in our minds with dissatisfaction and the technology we own and use. It used to be where technology would change about once a year but now there are not really even any estimates as to how fast things change. That means that even if I have the newest technology right now that it could potentially be out of date by the end of the first week or month that I own it! When my mind is not set on the things I own but the people that I can touch with the love of Jesus around me, then those technological pieces of equipment are only a means to an end and not a destination. I cannot talk for others but can only say for myself that I have fallen into the trap of wanting what I don’t have more times that I can count.  

The problem with wanting what you don’t have is that you make your thoughts about YOU and not about reaching others. We were not created to only serve ourselves and it is interesting to hear comments at NAB about companies that are standing out from the crowd because they are helping people feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. For example, a company called Warbly Parker competes with Lens Crafters in the world of eye glasses. An important but overlooked sales technique is that they donate money to developing countries for every pair of glasses purchased.. Because people feel like they are giving to something bigger than themselves they decide to spend their money with that company. What people don’t know is that their giving towards developing countries in that way is only a reflection of their creator.  

Today, take an inventory of what you are pursuing in life. Maybe it is a new car, house or some temporary thing on this earth and in proper perspective, that is fine. But when we desire or value the newest/best and not people we realize there are no amount of “things” that can fill our lives to make us feel content. A life with Jesus is a life looking at how we can be a blessing to others and using the technology/things we have to accomplish that task. 

Aaron Hernandez and Broken Reasoning

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Reading about Aaron Hernandez’s death today made me think of where he had come from, his rise and eventual fall in the sports world and his personal life. I found this picture of Tim Tebow and Aaron Hernandez when they played together at the University of Florida. I am not sure that many people remember the two winning a national championship together for the Gators and the talent that they both showed on the field in front of millions. Two men, who had everything to live for but because of personal decisions, had lives that went in very different directions.

Whether it is said or not, I believe people see the actions of others and label them as “good” or a “trouble maker” immediately which helps to encourage those people to live in that box created by the world around them. I am not saying that good or bad decisions don’t have consequences, but that God sees us ALL as equal. Each of us make mistakes at times in life but the key is what we do to correct patterns that are destructive versus things that lead to a fulfilled life. We all have the ability to reach out to God and seek direction. There is not a SINGLE person on this earth that is predisposed to make decisions like Aaron made in life. People have potential to make a turn around in life from negative decisions keeping in mind that the decisions people make will define the kind of life they make for themselves. That is why we need God’s help making those good decisions that not only benefit us but those around us.

When you think about it, our lives are just a series of decisions each moment we are alive. The question is not if we are going to make poor decisions in this life but what will we do the moment after that poor decision is made. Or, when something bad happens to us what do we do with that opportunity? Will we continue down a path of bad decisions as Aaron did, or will we reach out to God and begin to make investments in our relationship with Jesus? I can remember all the times of despair when I was sick and the mind games the devil would play with me causing me to sometimes give in and get discouraged and hate God because of my situation. I created a pattern of losses in my life because I reasoned that God was not honoring my holy and righteous actions in life and that I didn’t deserve the pain I was in. The fact is, pain in life is a fact whether it is something that happens to us or something we bring on ourselves.

Poor decisions in life are a result of broken reasoning. This is not something religious or non-religious but from a place of what makes sense to us personally. Aaron Hernandez being accused of shooting someone because he spilled a drink on him at a nightclub was a poor decision but that decision was based on broken reasoning. So his reasoning was that if someone does something to make him angry that they need to be shot. This is a textbook example of broken reasoning leading to poor decisions and his eventual hopelessness that lead to suicide. Asking God to take control of our lives is an exercise is asking God to help us make good decisions. That is why the Bible is such an instrumental tool of wise decision-making. Forgive your neighbor. Turn the other cheek. Love one another even as you are loved. Basically, to love and know God with all your heart and love the people put in your path.

Consider the love of God today. Think about the power you have to turn your life over to him and ask him to help you start to make good decisions instead of bad ones. It is NEVER too late to start making good decisions. Such an amazing thought that God doesn’t label us based on what we do. God has NEVER been mad at us a day in our lives. He is certainly disappointed when we make poor decisions but not mad at what we do.

I pray for Aaron Hernandez’s family and his young daughter. I pray for the family who was affected by Aaron’s actions and maybe feel like Aaron killing himself robbed them of justice. I pray for those people who will post things on social media and make light of or think it is a joke that he killed himself. I pray for those people who have developed a reputation that they want to change but feel like they can’t. We have time on this earth to make good decisions and that includes maybe giving Jesus a chance to help guide and direct us from a place of victory and not defeat. It is time to allow God to fix your reasoning so you can begin to make good decisions in life.

The Devil’s Greatest and Worst Moment…All in 72 Hours

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All the assumed wins that ended in failures through the years setting him up for the “big one”. All the times in the Old Testament where he had been on the path to victory but God stepped in and took control. He started in the garden tempting Eve and continued through the Old Testament time after time. There was the time on Mt. Carmel where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal and had a showdown that ended in a loss. There was the time the Philistines had captured the Ark and thought they were going to start a winning streak against God’s people. Only to have it cause terror and tumors with the Philistines who came in contact with it only to be returned WITH OFFERINGS. So many apparent victories that ended up in utter defeat from Moses, to David to Saul. The list goes on and on.

Then Jesus came on the scene. The stage was set for the “biggie” of failures for the Devil and a crippling loss of power he had in the lives of humans. Jesus was on the earth for thirty years before his official ministry began but he was already known as a young man who spoke with authority in the synagogue. When John the Baptist baptized Jesus and he was sent in to the desert to be tempted that was where it all started to unravel for the devil. Temptations of hunger, protection and fame were all thwarted and so began the frustration. This weekend is Easter, which formally started with Good Friday, the best night of the devil’s existence. He was finally going to get his revenge. For being kicked out of heaven, the humiliations through the years of God coming through for his people and it was all coming down to this one moment. Jesus’ final breath on the cross and the words “It is finished” brought a sigh of relief to the devil. I am sure the smile that came over his face could not be contained and the celebration ringing through hell was boisterous and arrogant.

Then came Sunday. I can only imagine how defeated the devil felt when his master plan of trying to eliminate Jesus on earth ultimately and completely failed. When the stone was rolled away and Jesus was resurrected back to life like after what was like a three-day nap. And to add insult to injury, it says in 1 Corinthians 15 that over 500 people saw Jesus before his return to heaven! Not only did Jesus overcome death but he took a victory lap to encourage those people who were going to stay on earth to carry the message of not only his power but his love and compassion for people that needed to know him.

I share all of these words to help you understand the authority you have when you accept Jesus into your heart and make him the leader of your life. You have that same power over death and hell and access to God to share your heart and take authority over any earthly situation. This is not a guarantee of everything happening in life the way you want it to but when you understand that God has it all under control then your worry can subside and you can rest in his power and ability. It is also a reminder of how brief our life on this earth is and that we can have a hope of heaven when we die in addition to guidance, direction and purpose for life now.

Have a great Easter weekend and always remember; the devil lost, Jesus won and you have access to that very same power. I have mentioned this before, but it says in Matthew 7:7 that if you seek God you will find him. It can start with a simple prayer that says, “Jesus, I need you “ and maybe a trip to your local Bible-based church to see what this Jesus thing is all about. Or maybe it is time for you to come home, and even when you read this you know exactly what I mean. Have a great weekend and Happy Easter!! JESUS IS ALIVE!!

Pastors & Ministry Leaders: A Few Keys To Help Guard Your Heart and Life

Pastor Caution Sign
I just read an article about the pastor of a large church here in Denver and the apparent revelation of an affair. News like this always rocks me and makes me very sad for the body of Christ. Below are some of my thoughts for people in full time ministry or who consider themselves a ministry leader, especially those who are married. My wife and I have been in ministry over twenty years and feel like I have a few observations that could help a pastor/leader who will be tempted by the devil on a regular basis.

You are not above a moral failure
First and foremost, when a person in leadership hears about another leader who has had some kind of moral failing, the first thing to do is pray for them and realize that NO ONE is above falling to temptation. When you realize that you are as vulnerable as anyone else in the world then you begin to put the elements below in place to keep your eyes focused on Jesus.

Firewalls
My dad is a mechanic so I have been around cars my whole life. If you didn’t know, there is a very important part of every car that could save your life if your engine ever caught fire. It is called the “firewall” and separates the engine compartment from the rest of the vehicle. It is made of reinforced metal and fire retardant material to help shield passengers from fire and is an INTENTIONAL element of every vehicle. I have multiple firewalls in my life including my best friend and my wife who are allowed to randomly ask me how I am doing in my mind and actions. Not just sexually, but in financial dealings and just to help me stay on track in life, especially being in television ministry. Now, I can always lie and tell them everything is fine when it may not be, but if I do that I am endangering myself with relationships in my life. That would basically be the equivalent of taking a hacksaw to the protective element of a car and opening myself up to danger. Something important to realize is that accountability is only as good as the desire to WANT to be held accountable. That “want” comes from value we put on our marriages, our ministry and ourselves.

If you are married, wear your wedding ring
One of the easiest ways to help deter advances from anyone, if you are married, is to wear your dang wedding ring. This is not a hard and fast rule, because people can be so unhappy or broken in life that they wouldn’t care if you were wearing your wedding tux or dress and carrying around a crystal framed picture of your spouse, they would still make a pass at you. Wearing your ring shows intentionality in your relationship to your spouse. If for nothing else, it can be a reminder to the vow you made when you are being tempted in some way. If you don’t like wearing rings then get a tattoo of one on your ring finger or get a gel ring or use a twisty tie. Now there are times where you will not have a ring on. For me it is when I go shooting, hiking or running. The point is that when you make an effort to wear your ring, you don’t know how that can help deter someone from making advances. Again, it is not fool proof but everything helps.

If you are married, have a great, honest sex life
I truly believe that one of the main issues that trip up married people in ministry is their sex life. You also notice that I didn’t just say “great” sex life but added the word “honest” as far as communication with your spouse. Men, you need to let your wife know that sex is important (if it is) and come up with an agreement on how much sex you will have. Women, you need to be honest with your husbands about your sexual needs as well and if either of you feel like you have a low sex drive or are losing the desire for sex. When you are honest about things like this, you are making sure that your sexual needs are met in the context of marriage and not leaving a door open for someone else to fulfill that need that was only and always meant to be enjoyed in the context of marriage. I know that for Yolanda and me, just being busy in life can be a main factor in disrupting a healthy sex life. The key is COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION!

Be Careful about Movies/Entertainment you Watch
I am always astounded at the number of church/ministry leaders who go to movies (that can be easily checked online for content) that have nudity in them. You need to evaluate the desire for entertainment in your life and at what cost. Everything you watch, even on television, needs to be evaluated and screened as far as where it encourages your mind to go. I am not saying that watching a movie with nudity will keep you out of heaven but actually something just as bad. It can cause your mind to wander and be tempted to do something with someone that will tear down what you are called to do on this earth to help people see Jesus in and through you. Essentially, becoming a stumbling block to someone else and standing in the way of them developing a relationship with Jesus. We need to do everything we can to mitigate entertainment that causes us to have a wandering mind sexually. The world we live in is not getting better with sexual content in movies and television and actually getting worse. The choices we make about entertainment is not trying to prove that we are more spiritual than anyone else, but protecting the things we see and hear that fully shape who we are and how we act.

Again, none of these are magical rules for life but just common sense suggestions to help secure a healthy and happy marriage in ministry. Because ministry is about people and dealing with vulnerable moments for them, it is important that we live an INTENTIONAL life in the area or moral purity. Temptation will ALWAYS be around us as long as we walk this earth, but we always have a choice to prioritize our lives and decide what we are willing to protect on a daily basis.

I had some GREAT advice today from a friend about diffusing gossip with someone. When people bring you some juicy morsel of information you can stop that person and say, “Wow. You really care a lot about that person. Have you tried to call them yet and pray with them?” I thought that was a great way to keep in context why people are sharing information that can only be construed as destructive and not constructive.

Praying for you all and the great work you do to help people walk this life to reflect Jesus. Keep fighting the good fight and make sure that you value the right things in life and guard them with all your heart.

Why Birding is Just Like Listening To God

Bee Eater
(This pic is of a Bee Eater…eating a Bee that Yolanda took on our trip to Nepal last year)

Yolanda and I went “birding” over the weekend. If you don’t know what “birding” is, it’s finding a place that birds hang out, getting a decent camera and/or binoculars, and walking around trying to see or take pictures of the rarest ones you can find. The key is to go out looking with the realization that you may not see anything or you may hit the jackpot and see a ton of them. Yolanda has gotten some amazing (and I mean AMAZING) pictures from all the places we have been. It is like every bird is just waiting for our car to pull up and then they have a little bird fight to see who gets to fly in front of her camera and get shot (in a good way).

When I go, I am mainly going to support her but I also feel like it is an intentional time of not talking about work (because you are supposed to be quiet and not talk) and for some exercise. I have to admit, I get just about as excited as she does to see an owl or another rare breed. But for me, it is more about just getting out and getting away from the grind of life.

When you are birding it is very important that you remember a simple recipe for success. No matter how far you walk or where you go looking for birds, you need to occasionally stop, look up and listen. You can be out walking around and a great bird can be in the tree next to you but if you don’t stop, look up and listen then you will probably miss a great opportunity.

It is the same with listening to God. I can get so busy in life with my “walk” with Jesus that I can forget sometimes in life to just “stop, look up and listen” for things that God may want to share with me. I am a firm believer that God is always speaking to us and willing to be found but we are the ones who need to learn to slow down in life sometimes and be willing to wait on God and his voice.

Sometimes I can intentionally “stop, look up and listen” with God and I don’t hear a peep (get it? Haha) If I am consistently stopping, looking, and listening for Him I raise my chances of hearing something from God AND I train myself to learn that it is not even always about the grand revelation that God would share with me. I think the peaceable life that God teaches about in the Bible is 20% Spiritual and 80% just learning to shut up and listen. Listening to others. Listening to those who love us and want to bring Godly correction or even God speaking himself to us.

I know that going birding has taught me more than just the importance of not talking, which I still fail at regularly. It has taught me that the world around me will let me “run” in life as fast as I want, even to the point of burnout. If I am not taking time out of life to just BE and not try and DO, I will allow the world to dictate the pace of my life and not God. When I intentionally put the brakes on and take time to enjoy nature AND use that time to listen to what God has to say, I take back control of my life and essentially put myself on God’s time.

I use birding to slow down my life and shut up. What do you use? When trouble hits in life the peace we find in those times of quietness and listening to God will be a foundation to help get you through. Think today about what you do to change pace and “stop, look up and listen.”

The Shack; Helpful or Hurtful?

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The Shack. Probably one of the most polarizing Christian movies to come out in a long time. I have read many blogs and opinion pieces based on the movie and wanted to check it out for myself to see what the hubbub was about. The primary reason was because of opinions from people I respect and admire on both sides of the issue. I had to find out who was “right” and who was “wrong”…right? Haha (By the way, there are a lot of spoilers in here so you if you have not read the book or seen the movie, just skip to the last “summary”paragraph of the blog).

All kidding aside, I truly enjoyed the movie but could see how people who are against the movie could interpret what they wanted with it. This blog, and my opinion for that matter, is only from my worldview, what I have experienced in life and how the movie affected me in my journey with God.

I have never read the book so I had no point of reference for what I was going to see only the opinion of my wife, who had read it a long time ago, and a gentleman who lived in our town home complex who had suggested I read it. He came from a very poor understanding of God’s love and forgiveness and had been abused in the church by a priest and was very far and distant from God. When he had read the book he said that it helped him reconcile with God and even work towards forgiving the man who abused him. I thought that was amazing since my interaction with him was when I was going through my eye situation and he was someone that God had laid on my heart many times. When I saw the movie was coming out I instantly thought of him and his journey with God and all the ups and downs.

I want to say something VERY important before I get into a couple of points about the book and my opinion on what I saw. If you are a follower of Christ and have people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus yet around you (if you don’t, then go find some) and think that ANY single movie is going to cause people to turn to Jesus then you are wrong. When Christian’s think of movies like this as a DESTINATION and not a part of the JOURNEY with God then they will get into error. What I mean is that you cannot build theology on a movie like this and neither can you throw out all the wonderful references to God and his redemptive, patient and overwhelming love for his creation. We cannot be LAZY in our discipleship of people who don’t know Jesus yet or who are just starting a walk with him. Movies like this can be an amazing PART of helping people walk through pain in life. To help them forgive themselves from their past, forgive others who have hurt them and help people see that bad things will happen all through life with no respecter of person.

Of course, everyone needs to evaluate the movie for himself or herself and I respect people on both sides. I will say this though, for those of you who do not support the movie, I pray you are finding ways to talk to people about forgiveness of themselves or hurt from the church or from God and recovering from devastating life events. This movie is not the only vehicle for that kind of thing but we should always be looking for ways to bridge the gap to where people exist in their pain. The main vehicle for me is also my book and why I titled it “Holy Crap” and not “Eye of the Storm” for example. It was intentional and probably cost me a lot of money from publishers that loved the book but not the title. It was more important for me to be edgy with the title than to be known as a famous published author.

There are a lot of points I could bring up but I wanted to address a couple of the big ones that people have brought up.

God as a woman
There is a very important line in the movie where God basically says to Mac, “From what you have been through, I didn’t think that you needed to have a man/father in your life right now.” Mac had poisoned his abusive father when he was a child and had a VERY twisted thought of men in authority. For me, I did not take that as a dig at removing the “man” or “father” aspect of God as much as it was God meeting Mac where he was. I remember when I was in my darkest days and wanting to end it all because I didn’t see value in life. God met me where I was whether it was through people interacting with me, praying for me or just doing what they could to love on me. That is the God I saw exhibited in this movie. The other proof that it was not a feminizing of God was that after Mac sees his dead father in the movie and gets some healing/closure, God shows up as a man. Disputing the idea that the movie was only trying to remove the masculinity from God and a greater emphasis put on God meeting us at the point of our need.

Mac and God talking about God’s wrath and God’s comment about sin being its own punishment
When I heard this in the movie I had to think about what it meant to me. Some have said that it was only telling “half the story” of God and his relationship to man but I want to bring up something else to think about. God’s righteous anger at man is not based on his hate for us but for the things we would do in life to not accept his love. That is different than saying that God punishes because we are “being bad” in life. God’s anger is based on disappointment not on hate. I know this sounds like I am splitting hairs here, but I think it is important that people who don’t know Jesus yet in life understand that God doesn’t come from a place of “do this or else because I inherently hate you” but from a place of “do this because it will be good for you, I love you and it will keep you from hell.” Those are very different aspects of judgment and it is not the place for a movie to educate people on things like that but OUR responsibility to share with people we are or SHOULD BE discipling. There is also a line in the movie when God appears to Mac as a man and asks him to forgive the man who murdered his daughter. He essentially says that every evil action has a consequence. That doesn’t sound like a God that says, “It’s ok to just live how you want and I will forgive you and you are guaranteed to make it to heaven.” Again, my opinion, but I think it was an appropriate balance to the former comment about sin being it’s own punishment.

There were three other important elements in the move that were great and need to be highlighted.

Even when life seems like a mess, it still has beauty and a grand design
There is a point where Mac is ready to walk away from the Shack and the Holy Spirit connects with him and asks for his help in the garden. As he is walking into the garden he says, “this looks like a mess” because there are plants, flowers, vines and leaves all over the place. The Holy Spirit asks Mac to help remove an area of the garden that eventually will be the place that he finally has closure with his dead daughter. The Holy Spirit tells Mac, “The ground needs to be dug up so that other things can grow.” The illustration is that the garden represents Mac’s life. As the camera pulls away from the garden, which looked like a mess from the ground, it has perfect symmetry and intentional beauty from God’s perspective. How many times in life do we not see the perfect work that God is doing in us when our lives just look and feel like a mess. God is always creating beauty from EVERYTHING we go through whether it is digging up weeds or planting new greenery.

Discipleship is important and so is church
The character played by Tim McGraw plays a simple yet important role in the life of Mac in the movie. He is a friend from church who lives across the street and is invested in his life. He mentions that he has history with Mac’s family and he does a good job, as an example, of giving Mac space and being there when Mac is ready to respond. This is probably one of the best examples I have seen in a movie like this with people going through a painful season of life, and someone wanting to help but not overwhelming people with lots of “religious talk” when all they need is for someone to be there to walk with them. I thought this was powerful and reminded me of many times people who I know and love were there at just the right time to lend just the right amount of support, Spiritual or otherwise.

I also liked how the movie depicted church as not just a place where everyone is a hypocrite but just people dealing with all kinds of things under the surface and human. I was reminded again of the fact that without the church and the support of other believers that were praying for me through my pain I would not be on this earth to help people. There was a scene where Mac is an older man in church with his family and was not able to worship or sing any songs and was distracted by the turmoil inside. Then at the end of the movie you see him in church again worshipping with his family and enjoying his mental and emotional freedom he found. I loved the illustration that the church was as much a part of his healing as it was a place he felt fear because of his father.

That pain from the past leaves a mark in people’s life when it is not dealt with
This is probably the most important lesson of the movie for me that unresolved pain in life will always catch up with you no matter how well you try to hide it. In the movie, you see Mac being able to cover the pain of the his past with his family and the guilt of poisoning his abusive dad fairly well until tragedy strikes and his daughter is kidnapped and killed. It is so much like life and the things that people deal with; it takes everything for people to cover up the pain from past scars but when they reach a tipping point it all comes out and no one is left untouched by the hurt. If there is a lesson to learn from the movie it is that God WANTS to take that pain of past hurts away but we need to be willing to GIVE those things to him. There is a line in the movie where Jesus says that he doesn’t want robots but people willing to follow him. Such a great reminder for us all that our free will is a powerful gift that we give to those we follow.

So what did I think about the movie? I thought it was very entertaining and an important reminder of the love of God and how deep and wide it goes in EVERYONE’S life. When we think of the love of God it is not just restricted to followers of Christ but EVERYONE. For God so loved THE WORLD that he gave Jesus. It helped me think about forgiveness issues in my own life and making sure that I am not harboring bitterness at God or others. Also that God is operating from a place of wanting me to win and not waiting to punish me for my failures. He is still sad that my choices bring consequences but is cheering me on to greatness.

Did the movie make me want to read my Bible more? Yes. Did it help reinforce my feelings that God saved me from wanting to kill myself because of his love for me? Absolutely. Is the movie a good building block for your theology? No, and I don’t think ANY movie is for that matter. I really believe that this movie is going to help a lot of people through some very difficult issues and it is going to start some GREAT conversations about who God is in people’s lives. So believers need to be ready to minister to people who watch the movie and want more information. What those people need is not for someone to try and help them understand hell. Those people are already on their way there if they don’t know Jesus so why not use an opportunity like this movie to help steer someone towards God?

All just my opinion, but I am always thinking of how to go get the obscure lost person who doesn’t know up from slant about God and will probably go see a movie like this with or without my approval. I really believe that even the people who are boycotting the film love Jesus and want the best for those who don’t know God and want them to operate and not be led astray. I also think it is important that we realize movies like this can be great opportunities for people to talk about who God is in their life and maybe make necessary changes that will determine their destiny with Christ. I can tell you that no one will be asking me about who God is to them if they go see Deadpool 2 when it comes out. But just maybe The Shack will give me an opportunity to be a part of a changed destiny.

 

The Power in Submission To God and His Will

Submission To God
This week I was thinking about the times I saw the most growth with God in my life and felt like I really learned important life lessons. There were all kinds of seasons and circumstances that surrounded times of growth for me but one thing was always constant with every single one of them and it was submission. Submitting of my will in accordance with God’s will or even leadership that I was under. Submission is, by definition, all about accepting and yielding to an opposing thought or position.

Let me give you an example of submission to leadership. I can remember when I first came on staff at Orchard Road with Pastor Sarah as my leader in the youth department. We were talking about her doing a review for me to help with my public speaking ability. I told her that I thought I was pretty good at public speaking and didn’t really need a review. She then asked me, “So you think how you speak now is as good as you will ever get?” I had to really evaluate what she was asking me, not realizing that she had her own experience earlier in life with an even higher profile pastor/leader who had asked her the exact same thing. I thought about it for a minute and decided that I wanted to get better as a public speaker and we began to do reviews for each other and it has become a very important element of my current role with television and helping people to excel at presenting to audiences. I am still not the best public speaker I know, but those moments of pushing have really helped shape me as a leader and speaker myself.

I shared that story to help illustrate my natural bend when it comes to correction and making changes in my life. I understand that growth, whatever area it is in, is important but it takes me having a revelation about it’s importance until I actually make a change.

Looking back now, I can see that my sickness with my eye brought a very important lesson to me about submitting to God’s will. Some people will read that comment and think that I considered what I went through in sickness with almost losing my eye as God’s will but it is MUCH bigger than that. I want to say something very important that you MUST get if and when pain hits in life. If we always think that God’s power in life is about keeping us OUT of painful situations instead of keeping us safe IN painful situations then we will be in a perpetual state of questioning based on outward circumstances instead of inward convictions.

Today, learn to submit QUICKLY to God and his will for your life. Reading the Bible is important as well as learning to just sit and LISTEN to what God is saying to you and not just TELLING him what you need. It will take you from a reactionary relationship with God to an inward conviction of power and strength that is stronger and will last longer than any painful season in this life we live on earth.