The Power of Music in the Crap of Life

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There are many things I remember when I went through my eye condition but the one thing that stood out the most was music and especially the worship that I listened to while I was sick. Even though I was furious that God would allow me to go through so much pain, the music I listened to always brought me back and calmed me down.
Below are a couple of lists of artists that I listened to when I was sick and some that I currently enjoy.
I always want my life to be a resource to help people hold on, even if it is for one more day. God loves you so much and wants you to find the “holy” in the “crap of your life.

Music to Get you Through
Fred Hammond (Anything from Fred is amazing but Promise Keeper (Song) was very important to me when I was sick)
CeCe Winans (Waging War – Song & anything else she does)
Casting Crowns (Praise you in This Storm – Song)
Bethel Worship (Through it All – Song)
Jesus Culture (Let it Echo – Album)
Anthony Evans – (Real Life / Real Worship – Album)
Bryan & Katie Torwalt
Crowder – (Lift Your Head Weary Sinner – Song)
Hillsong United (Zion – Album  and Empires – Album)
Lauren Daigle
Lincoln Brewster – (Oxygen Album)

Local Worship Artists
Dave & Tara Powers
Marcus David Ford
Andy Garcia
Tyree Morris

Keep Calm and Shut Your Pie Hole

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From Chapter 13 – The Do’s and Don’ts

“One thing that is important to do with someone going through pain is just to spend time with them without talking about what they are going through.”

I have an entire chapter where I discuss what TO say and do and the things NOT to say or do with someone going through pain. Before I got sick I didn’t realize the power of having a totally unrelated conversation with someone could be so refreshing and actually help me get my mind off of the situation I was in. We don’t need to have all the right answers for people in pain and just by reaching out and offering to connect, you can have a greater positive impact than you could imagine.

If you have someone you know going through something painful it may be time to reach out to him or her and not attempt to psychologically deduce what is going on or ask 400 questions about their situation. When you actually DON’T ask them about all the details of where they are in life I am fairly sure you will pleasantly shock them. Just being there for people can be more than 1,000 words could ever say.

Have a great night and week!

Holy Crap Book Info and Ways You Can Help!

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The pic above is from the Celestial Seasonings tea tour with my mom and Yolanda. It’s in this post just for a laugh! Haha

We are only a few short days away from my book being available on my publisher’s website this coming Tuesday, June 7th. I wanted to make people aware of some things that they can do to help get the word out about my book and helping it get into the hands of people who I believe really need to be encouraged by my story.

If you can buy my book on the http://www.electiopublishing.com website the week of June 7th that would be AWESOME. I really want to show my publisher that there is a need for the book even before the full release on June 28th. I am not sure how long you would have to wait to get the book once you order it from them but you will be the first to get one before anyone else. If you are in town or at one of the book releases we are planning then you can bring it and I will sign it if you would like.

The FULL release of Holy Crap will be on June 28th and that is about the time I will have the author copies available that Yolanda and I are ordering. We are planning a probable book release here in Denver and a few other states possibly (think of states I have lived in…:) and will have books with me for you to buy. We are using the new Square credit card readers (that include the chip readers and apple pay, android pay, etc.) we will be able to process card payments as well as cash.

Once you read the book, even if you didn’t buy it on Amazon.com, if you could go to Amazon and leave a review once it is up after June 28th that would be stupendous (and I don’t just throw those kinds of words around 🙂 The interesting thing is that the “normal” book world looks at Amazon reviews to see how a book is doing and also can encourage big box bookstores, like Barnes & Noble, to carry a book if it is popular enough.

If you have ANY connections at all to people who could help get the book into areas of your town or state (radio, TV, bookstores, etc.) please notify me so we can chat (Facebook also works to connect) about how to maybe get the book into your area.

I will have window decals available (cut out 3M lettering that will look sweet and not goofy looking) of my website HolyCrapBook.com that I want to encourage people to put on their car windows to help us promote the book over the summer. I will have these decals in the next couple of weeks and can get them to people in Denver but will also be willing to ship them to you if you would like one.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, please be praying for the next few months of my life and the things that we believe God wants to do with the book. As I have said to many people and from the beginning, we are not thinking of this as a moneymaker as much as a ministry to people hurting and ready to give up. I am especially trying to get the book into people’s hands who do not go to church.

Thanks everyone!!  I am sure excited for the future and using such a crappy and painful time in my life to have greater meaning than, “Hey! I made it!”

Be a Part of God’s Pursuit!

Stop Fighting People and Start Fighting Hell

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I went on a little run tonight in my first town I lived in when I got married, Worland Wyoming. As ran and prayed I asked God to show me what was happening in the Spiritual realm in town so I could know how to pray while I am here. I felt impressed with something that almost changed the paradigm of ministry to people and even what I am trying to do with Christian Television in Denver.

I felt like he said, “it is time for people who follow me to stop fighting other humans and start fighting hell.”

I think there are too many people who stand behind the wall of “what they believe” and throw rocks at all the people they don’t agree with or disapprove of. I really have no idea where that mentality came from because Jesus sure was not like that when he was on the earth interacting with people who probably did not line up with his belief system.

It is much easier to tell people what you are against than to stand up for what you do by leading with love and acting like Jesus. For some reason, we feel that interacting and working with people we disagree with in some way is going to “taint” our “super-holy walk” with baby Jesus. This is EXACTLY the mentality that the devil wants believers to have.

Until we start to see people who are dealing with the struggles of life just like us, we will continue to judge the actions of people we disagree with instead of loving people FIRST and then praying and looking for our role in their lives.

Stop acting like the religious people of the Bible. They were the ONLY ones who Jesus argued with in the Bible, by the way.

I want to be known as the one who doesn’t agree with everyone but loves LOUDER and FIRST with EVERYONE I come in contact with during my life. That’s what Jesus did and that is what I am going to do. Want to join me?

I Got Mad for the Orphans Today…OOPS

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Today I got angry. I know this surprises everyone that I actually lose my cool every so often (haha) but today was especially interesting. I got angry about the orphanage that Yolanda and I oversee in Nepal. Sometimes, I can get negative about people that I think would and should support what we are doing but don’t want to get involved. I mean, they are ORPHANS for crying out loud!

The interesting thing was that I preached a message at a church a few weeks ago about not having to defend God, the Bible and what He wants to do on the earth. I said, “We don’t need to defend the Bible, we need the Bible to defend US!” (Plus, I knew that was from God because it was too good for me to come up with such a clever line) I had lots of passion and meant every word I said. I am not sure why, but I threw all that good teaching for EVERYONE ELSE out the window and got ticked for the sake of the orphans!!

I need to remember and listen to all that good teachin’ I am happy to give others and remember that our kids in Nepal are HIS kids and not our responsibility. We are just to do our part, present the vision and trust God for the support. We have already had others who are fully behind what we are doing and I know that God is going to bring even more people to us to take care of the kids.

Today, think about something you are worried about or gotten angry about because you thought you were defending the less fortunate or even God, for that matter. Remember that He has way more power than you, has been around a lot longer and has the ability to actually protect YOU and not the other way around.

Ok. Now I feel better getting that off my chest. Have a great weekend!

God Messed Up My Run this Weekend

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I have not been running as much as I should the past few months. My life has been so crazy with getting everything going at the TV station that I basically run out of time at the end of the day to go home as run. Although I have a gym membership, I am not a “treadmill” kind of person and living in Colorado affords me many opportunities through the entire year to run outside. So this past weekend it was 55 degrees and sunny on Saturday afternoon so I decided to go for a run.

My normal mode when I run is to start out slower than I end so I focus on a ½ to ¼ mile run as fast as I can back to my car. My run started like any other with pacing myself slower when I started knowing that I was going to get a good clip in at the end of my run. The problem was that God had other things in mind.

I was listening to the new Natalie Grant album “Be One” that is mostly worship. If anyone knows me, I normally use my runs to pray for people but this was different. I was just getting ready to do my last ¼ mile of my run at top speed and I felt God tell me, “turn your music off, and pray for the land to be redeemed as you walk on the trail back to your car.” Immediately the beginning of the scripture in Deuteronomy 11:24 came to mind “Every place where you set your foot will be yours…” I have had enough times where I felt like God was telling me something and I disobeyed or was slow to drag my feet and comply but this was not one of them. I immediately turned off my music and walked back to my car praying instead of my “fast as I could run” clip I had planned, and it felt great.
I have also been listening to Crowder’s song “Lift Your Head Weary Sinner” the last few weeks and it has been giving me a heart for people coming back to God and not worrying about any kind of shame from their past. I think this is part spiritual and the strongholds that the Devil has over towns and people just living in deception that they can walk in freedom. I am now going to be much more alert and aware of when God is telling me things and asking me to be obedient in praying to redeem the land and where I place my feet.

I want to challenge you to not just go through life today and make it business as usual or to let your routine run your life. Sometimes it’s important that you let God “mess up your run” and use you for eternal things in the spiritual realm that you could never dream of or imagine. It may be something as simple as praying over a ¼ mile stretch of running trail that God has greater purposes for than for exercise. Have a great week!

Casual Christianity Sucks – Three Points for Lovers of Jesus to Live By

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I posted a blog about the times that are changing for someone to be a “casual Christian” and the events of the day moving people to know what they believe and what they are willing to lay down their lives for. We have seen this more often oversees with Christians being rounded up by groups like ISIS and killed because they are followers of Christ. It seems that we do not have a problem with freedom of religion in the United States but a problem with freedom of Christianity and I think I know why.

1. Don’t be surprised when people who are not followers of Christ don’t understand why you love them the way you do.
Many times in the media, and just in our culture, the focus is normally on how people identifying themselves as Christians judge others instead of how they (should be) loving others. We all follow rules in life. It can be seen in the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the sports teams we cheer for or the places we work. The key difference is that as a true follower of Christ we need to love like Jesus, tell the truth like Jesus and let Him be the only watermark for our actions. This is only seen in the Bible and the instruction it gives. If you don’t know the Bible then you don’t know how to love people.

2. Don’t just love people, also tell them what you believe.
These two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I cannot recall an instance in the Bible where Jesus expressed true life-changing love without providing that person with knowing the truth about what he came to do, which was to alter the destiny that they were convinced was either their lot in life or made them the most happy. That was why Jesus was the anomaly when it came to loving people; he loved louder and more than ANYONE else but it didn’t stop at just expressing love and helping people feel accepted and listened to. It was about a difference of opinion to help people consider if what they were choosing for their life really was the best path. I believe there are many well-meaning Christians in this world that are trying to convince people what they are doing is wrong without loving them first. This method has never led to ANYONE truly giving God control of their life. It is a form of manipulation and it’s wrong.
Love, Listen, Lead – Love FIRST, Listen to where people are in life and then Lead them to Jesus (with your actions and words if necessary 🙂 (Click Here to see resources for people who have basic questions about Christianity)

3. Don’t think it’s your responsibility alone to get everyone to heaven.
Many times, especially if you grew up in church, we forget that it is the Holy Spirit’s job to draw people to Christ and not our convincing words. I have mentioned this before in other blogs, but it is important to understand that we are each just a part of the greater process that is the miracle of someone giving Jesus control of their life AND their destiny. I am not on this earth just to help people think that it’s important to give Jesus control of their life while here on earth, I want to be an agent of change for people’s destinies!

Have a great week and know that God will give you the ability to live a successful life on this earth loving people but still being able to disagree with life choices. Just make sure that your love for people is deafening. There is NO GREATER LOVE than loving someone who hates you. THAT is the true love of Jesus that this world needs and the only thing that will shock people out of where they are to where God wants them to be.

The Supreme Court Decision about Gay Marriage Made Me a Better Christian

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The past week’s supreme court decision concerning gay marriage has been a lot to process. I have read a lot of things that I agree with and things I disagree with (on both sides of the subject) since social media caught fire with everything. I do know, however, that this decision and the climate of our country right now has helped me become a better Christian. Now you may say, “Brian, how has this decision that you disagree with from the supreme court made you a better follower of Christ?” It has helped me evaluate what I really believe and the level of persecution I am willing to endure because of my beliefs.

I think the decision to restrict and limit my Facebook interaction was wise because I can tell you that it doesn’t feel real good when I see posts on my feed that are basically calling me a homophobic bigot.  I have noticed that I am not getting mad at the posts or people who share or like articles like this but it makes me cry and have compassion on them. My question for people in the church is who is going to cry for the people we believe are broken and hurting? Who is going to keep relationships with people we disagree with so that we can be a safe harbor for people to ask us for help or to pray with them or just to listen to them?

In my opinion, the climate of our country has partly to do with people in the church (including myself) who disagree with people who are against basic Biblical values, but have not shown people a different way to live. We gossip as much as anyone, the divorce rate is as high or even higher than people who don’t profess a relationship with Jesus and the list goes on and on and on. I have been a follower of Christ pretty much my entire life and I can say, that without a doubt, most Christian’s classify sins as “the really bad ones” and the “ones that everyone does so we just kind of look the other way.” I believe that it does say sexual acts with the same sex are a sin but it also says that sex outside of marriage is wrong or that if I look lustfully at a woman that I have already committed sin in my heart. We all have struggles that we deal with and have the option to present those things to God and have him help us walk through life or we take on the job ourselves and try and figure stuff out on our own.

The one thing I appreciate about the Bible and my relationship with Jesus is that there is no “sin-o-meter” that says some sins are really, really bad and others are ok and that God will let slide. The reason why these things are in the Bible is because God knows that they are not healthy for us. We need to all be the best citizens of heaven AND earth that we can be. We all fall short sometimes, but as believers in Christ, we should always strive to let Jesus shine through us and accept and love EVERYONE we come in contact with. In fact, I feel like I try and go out of my way to be more friendly and more loving to people who I disagree with on subjects like same sex relationships. My intent is not to patronize people but to show them that I can disagree with a lifestyle choice but still love them. If they don’t believe me it doesn’t matter because I know that I did my part to show a different kind of follower of Christ who can love and still disagree with them. Jesus NEVER expected to get the same kind of response he was giving when he loved anyone in the Bible, and as a followers of Christ, we should not expect anything in return either. If we love someone and expect something back in return that is actually CONDITIONAL love and not Jesus’ UNCONDITIONAL love.

So the reason I can say that the supreme court decision has made me a better Christian is that I am not just considering in my mind what I can LOSE (tax exempt status as a pastor, being fined or thrown in jail just because I believe something different about marriage, etc.) but what I can actually GIVE to those people that hate me because of my beliefs. I know that by sharing what I believe it is not going to change people’s minds about what THEY believe. I must love LOUDER than anything in my life and keep my convictions about what I think the Bible says about ALL sins, then maybe, just maybe someone will inquire why I STILL love them and can disagree with their actions. Jesus was the greatest example of love to ever walk the earth, but EVERY story in the Bible about his love didn’t stop at the act of love. There was always an inquiry or a transitional point where people who were not happy with the life they were living would be changed by the convictions of Christ. Love started the conversations, but Jesus’ convictions brought the healing. I have to believe that if the words I read in the Bible are true, then God will give me the strength to set the example for healing that I believe we ALL need, not just people who deal with their sexual identity.

Fire Wave Vision…Sweet Baby Jesus

firewave2I wanted to share a vision I had on a run last week. I was considering whether I should share it or not but felt like it would encourage people. I don’t get a lot of visions so when I do see something like this I know it is important for me and possibly important for others to hear.

God was showing me a wave on a beach with it crashing down and pushing the shoreline. Then it was a wave of fire that was rolling on the ground and burning up things. I saw people who were tangled in old dead weeds that represented past hurts and scars that were keeping them from freedom of movement and making them extremely uncomfortable. The greater problem was that they didn’t even realize they were immobilized by these roots. The fire wave rolled around the base of the people and burned away the old weeds which gave them ability to walk in freedom.
Then my vision shifted to a dark forest that didn’t even have any moonlight with people wandering around and lost. The wave of fire was bringing light and helping people find their way over to the wave for warmth from the cold.
I felt like God told me that when followers of Christ pray for “more fire” that they should not consider the DESTRUCTION fire brings but the warmth and light it gives to people in darkness. The fire of God is a freeing agent for people as well as a warming and guiding light for those who are lost and don’t even realize it. God was showing me that my new position in Christian television needs to be based on the LOVE of God that is a hot fire which has the ability to free, warm and direct people who are in darkness. He also shared with me that the more I pray, the greater the size and scope of the wave which equates to an ability for more people to be helped.

As I type these words, I am reminded of the verse in Hebrews 12:29 that says “for our God is a consuming fire.”
A fire that that refines and burns away hurts to give mobility that would never have happened without it.
A fire that gives ability to see into the darkness around that is so prevalent in the world today.
A fire that provides warmth to keep people from the freezing cold that steals joy.

Have a great week and, as always, praying for you today to feel the warming love of God in your heart and bring healing to areas of you life that you may not even realize need it.