A Key to WINNING the Coronavirus FIGHT

I can remember three times when debilitating fear struck me when i was sick.

One was when I had been sick for a few months and Yolanda and I were sitting on the couch at our house waiting for the results of a CAT scan of my head/eye area. I remember laying on the couch and not saying anything to Yolanda and my mind wandering from cancer to anything that could be worse. The test came back negative and the doctor said that everything (minus my eye situation) looked normal.

I can also remember being sent to the hospital to get a test for Grand Wegeners disease as a possible solution to why my eye was flaring up. I remember laying in the hospital before being admitted to the ICU and singing, with tears in my eyes, an old Imperials song “He Didn’t Lift Us Up To Let Us Down”. I got my kidney biopsy with a three day stay in ICU to make sure I didn’t have internal bleeding and released with another “good” report that my immune system was not functioning correctly and the core issue of my eye flaring up. This didn’t help where I was mentally and struggling to get a foothold on my disease.

The third time was when I took a trip to Barnes Eye Institute in St. Louis Missouri to meet with one of the best retinal doctors in the country. Barnes is known as the “Mayo Clinic for eyes” and I had high hopes that they would be able to give clarity to why my eye was acting up and giving me issues. I remember sitting in the examination chair with my eye dilated (which I have and always will hate) and the doctor taking a look in my eye and saying, “It looks like your doctor in Colorado is doing all he can. I don’t have another solution to your issue.” It was like someone punched me in the stomach.

Each of these situations gave me greater insight into what despair looked like when someone faces an issue, especially when it comes to fear and health. The best way I could describe what I was feeling during my entire time of being sick was like I had claustrophobia but it was coming from inside me and not from outside forces. Meaning, there was nothing I felt like I could do or anywhere I could go to make it better. It was like I was drowning inside myself with water pouring down my throat and an anchor tied around my foot.

I learned that when i got sick I knew Jesus for everyone else besides myself. In essence, I had lost my first love with Christ and thought that I was in full control of my destiny as a youth pastor and able to just cruise through life because I was a good person and doing the work of the Lord. I believe that God had to interrupt my life so that I could recalibrate and learn how to trust him even in the darkest days or nights.

I share these things to illustrate what it was like to lose control, or what I THOUGHT I was in control of, in my life. You see, we live our lives with a false sense of controlling the things around us or even our own health. Of course, we can be wise and eat healthy, get sleep, etc. but the reality of life is that we cannot prevent all bad things from happening to us. I can almost remember to the day after being sick for so many years when i finally let go and said to God, “I recognize that I cannot control this situation and whatever you have for me is what I will receive.” After I prayed that prayer, things turned around for me. It was not that I was succumbing to defeat but deciding to live my life in SURRENDER.


It is funny to think about how I reacted when I got sick and how I grew up with important outdoor life skills. I do a lot of hiking and always have from when it was a kid. Growing up in Montana, we were always taught one simple and important fact about getting lost in the woods. It wasn’t to bring enough extra supplies or know how to make a shelter, how to sterilize water or even build a fire. It was to STAY CALM. If you lose your head in adverse situations then you already start at a disadvantage. I even had a time when I was hiking a 14er (a 14,000+ ft mountain, for those of you not from Colorado) and got off trail and started going the wrong way up the mountain. I was assessing our situation and making plans to stay overnight in the wilderness but was able to think logically through the situation and not get nervous. Also because of keeping my head, we were able to find the trail again and get back to the car with limited problems. So even with all my learning and understanding of keeping calm in adverse situations I still “lost my head” when i got sick because I felt out of control with limited information about my sickness and why I was dealing with a rotten eyeball.

It is similar in seeing people’s response to not having a lot of information about COVID19 so they spin out of control and (for example) buy up rolls and rolls of toilet paper! There was nothing any of us could have done to prevent where we are and the only thing we can do is STAY CALM, trust in God and take patient steps to get through this season of life. In fact, those who don’t have a relationship with Jesus will be watching how Christians react to this situation and if we are going to walk in the same worry and fear that others do or are we going to show where our hope is; in CHRIST alone. I know that the peace I feel now in this situation is from spending so many years in fear when I was sick with my eye condition and see the results; loss of sleep, tearing down of my trust in God and pulling everyone around me into my black hole of defeat. Christians need to now PROVE all the worship songs we have sung for years in church and take a stand against the enemy and his lies and schemes.


Praying for you all and that the PEACE and love of God surrounds you like a flood and that you will NOT listen to the lies of the devil who wants to try and flex his power when the ONLY power he has is what we allow him to have in our lives. That you will take this time now to develop your relationship to Jesus or maybe start on the journey of making Him the Lord of your life. Once you experience HIS peace there is no virus, no disease no earth-shattering event that can keep you from mental and emotional well being that people have searched for and never found without Christ.

God Showed Me Lots of Things…That Were Just Not For You!

I had a GREAT hike trip this past weekend and decided to leave my phone at home. It was probably one of the most freeing hiking trips I have ever encountered in my life because it was missing all of the distractions of my technology and people trying to pull on me. I honestly believe it was something that “reset” me with my technology and distractions in life. I didn’t take one picture, video or create any social media post while I was gone. I was just able to enjoy nature, the amazing views and the company of friends.

I also had some GREAT times with God and him sharing things with me about my life and an unhealthy focus on turning things he would share with me (that were only for me and not anyone else) into a blog or instagram image or facebook post. It was a realization that everything God shares with me is not for public consumption, but everything he shares with me will help me when I know I need to share things with others.

Maybe you are like me and cannot stay off of your phone or social media. I have turned off ALL of my notifications on my phone except reminders, calls and texts so that I can have a buffer and my phone is not alerting me constantly. The best advice I can give someone who thinks God showed them a fresh revelation about an area of their life is put ACTION to the words of God. Just because God shows you something doesn’t mean anything has changed. You need to initiate and activate your free will to match what was shown to you.

So…God showed me ALL KINDS of stuff on my hiking trip but unfortunately, none of it was for you. It was all to help make me a better man, son, brother and husband. But think of it this way; they were all things that will help me be a better citizen of earth and develop my listening and obedience skills with God so I can love the people around me in an even greater way. Be encouraged that you can have that same relationship with Jesus and know that he wants to talk to you, no matter what you have done or where you are from. It’s as easy as reaching out to him and just saying, “I’m here, God. Speak to me.” Have a great week!

I had a GREAT weekend of hiking this past weekend and decided to leave my phone at home. It was probably one of the most freeing hiking trips I have ever encountered in my life because it was missing all of the distractions of my technology and people trying to pull on me. I honestly believe it was something that “reset” me with my technology and distractions in life.

I also had some GREAT times with God and him sharing things with me about my life and an unhealthy focus on turning things he would share with me (that were only for me and not anyone else) into a blog or instagram image or facebook post. It was a realization that everything God shares with me is not for public consumption, but everything he shares with me will help me when I know I need to share things with others.

Maybe you are like me and cannot stay off of your phone or social media. I have turned off ALL of my notifications on my phone except reminders, calls and texts so that I can have a buffer and my phone is not alerting me constantly. The best advice I can give someone who thinks God showed them a fresh revelation about an area of their life is put ACTION to the words of God. Just because God shows you something doesn’t mean anything has changed. You need to initiate and activate your free will to match what was shown to you.

So…God showed me ALL KINDS of stuff on my hiking trip but unfortunately, none of it was for you. It was all to help make me a better man, son, brother and husband. But think of it this way; they were all things that will help me be a better citizen of earth and develop my listening and obedience skills with God so I can love the people around me in an even greater way. Be encouraged that you can have that same relationship with Jesus and know that he wants to talk to you, no matter what you have done or where you are from. It’s as easy as reaching out to him and just saying, “I’m here, God. Speak to me.” Have a great week!

The Kids In Our Nepal Children’s Home Are Growing Up!

Yolanda and I love coming to Nepal to see the kids at our children’s home in Kathmandu. We are currently here celebrating Christmas a little early and having a big party.

We had a pizza party last night with all of the kids and the people that work here at both the homes. I made a startling yet pleasing discovery while watching the contrast of our older and younger kids. Something that gave me hope in the process here of not just saving kids from the street but helping to properly educate and cause them to become productive members of society.

We have a group of younger kids that are recent compared to all of the others who have been with us since the beginning of starting the home. I can remember the first time we came over to Nepal and watched the kids react to mealtime. It was something I will never forget. ALL of the kids would eat so fast and go back for seconds as many times as they could almost like a subconscious result of being an orphan and not knowing where their next meal would come from. I saw a complete contrast of those older kids, now almost ten years later, and their reaction to our pizza party. They sat with their friends and ate at a normal pace, not shoving in their food and not pushing and shoving to get back in line for seconds. In fact, we had three pizzas left over from our party when in the past, every single crumb would be devoured by our kids. I mention this because I saw a contentment and security in the older kids that they knew they were taken care of and not worried about getting enough to eat. It was like they had a kind of peace on them that they were not in an orphanage but in a home where they felt safe, secure and knew that their basic needs were being met.

When I saw this, I had a full “aha” moment and realized that the team here and the work CTN has been doing is not only worth it in making us feel better about helping those less fortunate but that the kids were feeling the support and sustainability of the people and system here to help guide and direct their lives.

Now compare this story to your own life. How do you react to God and the system he has for taking care of you? Do you live in fear that what you are receiving from him today will run out tomorrow and you will be left in the cold and not supported anymore? Or have you “grown up” and are now trusting that the same care that God gives you today is enough for your tomorrow and especially for your eternal future? I believe this is moving from the “milk to the meat” of the word in trust with God. I can think of many times where I was in a situation and thought that God may have forgotten about me, but then he ends up meeting every need in a perfect way.

As we begin to wrap up our trip here in Nepal, I know that I needed to see the growth of our kids and the trust they have in us and the system that is set in place. It has once again helped me consider my own life and how I can continue to trust that God will take care of my EVERY need according to HIS riches in glory!

Is Pain from the Devil or From God? Excerpt from Holy Crap

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Below is a quick paragraph from Chapter 1 of my book about pain in life and where it comes from.

“Something important I want to make sure you understand before you continue reading is my perspective on the cause of sickness and on dealing with pain. I know there are at least two sides to why pain happens in life. There is a camp that believes sickness is purely a direct attack from satan that is not a part of the natural order of our existence on this earth, while others believe that God allows things to happen to teach us life lessons that we would never learn without them. This book is not to try to help you decide whether pain and sickness is directly a demonic attack or if it’s God allowing a necessary season of teaching.
The only fact I want you to realize, no matter what theological standpoint you come from, is that, if you don’t learn from the crap of life, it becomes purely a game of survival and not growth.”

When you are sick you don’t really care where it came from, you just want it to end.

Today, think of someone going through a struggle of some kind and reach out to them. Maybe say a prayer for them or just text them and let them know you are there. The other key is don’t get offended if they push you away or don’t respond at all. People going through pain react in all kinds of ways that may not make sense. Keep loving them and be available.

Talkers are Praised While Listeners Go Unnoticed

Listening
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.

Four “E’s” to Help Change Your Life!

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I want you to consider four “E’s” this weekend that could change your life.

Equip
Think about what you need to activate in your life to be successful to not only yourself but to the people you come in contact with for the rest of this year. Do you need to ask God for patience or for wisdom in a specific area of your life? Let this be a weekend of taking inventory in your life and areas you need to be equipped.

Engage
There are people you have in your life that you need you to engage. I mention in the Holy Crap book about the power of reaching out to others when you are in your own crap of life. Don’t wait until you have everything figured out in life to engage others and see how you can help them. Even a phone call that says you are thinking about or maybe even praying for them can speak volumes.

Encourage
Let God encourage you where you are in life. Our natural human nature is to see the things that we still need to work on and then try and strive to get to those places. There is nothing wrong with working on yourself and trying to become a better person in all areas of life, but it we don’t have a little encouragement along the way, that path is much harder to navigate. Take some time today and let God speak to your heart and encourage you right where you are and to help you see how far you have come in life instead of how far you have to go.

Empower
Empowerment is such an amazing word. It literally means to give power to (someone) OR to give official authority or legal power to (someone). When you ask Jesus to be the leader of your life, you then have authority given to you by God over the devil and his schemes for your life. You are empowered by Him to pray prayers that you could never pray in your own power and to take authority in all areas of life.
This awesome power if available to you if you would only reach out and ask for it!

I am believing that these four E’s can help you live the full and complete life that you were always intended to live. Have a great weekend and know that I am ALWAYS praying for each of you!

Take Heart and Trust God!

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John 16:33
…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The world will be full of problems and trouble of all kinds. Even in the book of John in the Bible, there is a factual statement Jesus makes about problems and pain life saying that “this world will have trouble.” So it is not a question of IF there will be pain but WHEN and to what degree.

The term “take heart” means to evaluate your heart and where your trust is in difficult situations. This verse was not when Jesus and the disciples were lounging next to a lake eating figs and enjoying the cool fresh breeze. It was before Jesus’ arrest and the beginning of a very difficult time for his followers.

Today, think about where your trust is located. Is it in temporal earthly possessions? Is it in your looks or your personality? Or is it in Jesus who is the one who has overcome the world and all the destruction that will continue to occur around us? Find hope, peace and strength in Jesus and maybe start to give him control of even one area of life. You can do it. I am praying for you and believing for the BEST in your life.

So Many Losers in the Olympic Games…or…NOT!

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I am fascinated by the coverage of the Olympics and the thirst to promote the winners and pretty much forget about anyone who doesn’t come in first, second or third. We should NEVER forget that ANYONE who made an Olympic team from around the world had a level of dedication and sacrifice that probably most people reading this blog would never even begin to pursue.

Even the slowest time or worst performance in every single category of the Olympics is far greater than a person on the street could do even on their best day. Each person is considered the best in their COUNTRY in each sport, which is something amazing to consider.

Some of the same principles of comparison can cause people to live a defeated life  because they compare themselves to others. Run your own race. Set your own goals. A relationship with God is not called a “personal relationship with Jesus” on accident. You are uniquely and wonderfully made with abilities that no one else has and talents that are only as great as the effort YOU put into them. God created you and as the old saying goes, He doesn’t make JUNK!

Today, stop comparing yourself to others and strive to be the best version of YOU! With God as the director and guide for your life, you can have the best “Olympic life trainer” ever to push you to be the best you can be.

I am trusting that you each see how special you are in God’s eyes. Have a wonderful day!