Man360 is Coming and YOU Are Invited!

It is hard to believe that after 2 years of harvesting segments for my men’s program and all the things we have had to fight through, that Man360 is going to launch in a week! I am excited for what the program is going to do in helping men. I wanted to share a quick blog about what people can expect who tune in each week including the creative use of the website Man360.tv as a full part of the program as well.

Man360 was birthed out of a desire to produce a TV/streaming program that is high quality, clean, entertaining and Spiritually challenging for men. Although anyone would enjoy watching the program, it is specifically geared towards men and helping them become complete in every way. This means that we will have interviews from people like Tony Dungy, JB Brown, Dr. Henry Cloud, John Tesh, and many more. The interviews are geared towards honest questions that focus on struggles that each man had and I give them a chance to speak into the lives of viewers to help challenge or encourage them in some way.

Another segment we are developing is “Things Brian Doesn’t Want to Do” and is basically getting me to do things that I don’t want to do. The first episode will include me getting a pedicure with my brother in law, which was hilarious.

We also have book reviews or teachings that I will do from the Bible to challenge and encourage men to get into the Bible. We may review a devotional for men to pick up or just talk about a good book that deals with a topic like fear.

Yolanda and I have worked very hard on getting segments from around the US and around the world from our travels. We have segments that will play from states and countries like Florida, Utah, New Hampshire, Barcelona, France, and Dubai. These will be focused on interesting facts about the areas we are in or maybe a quick devotional to get the viewer thinking.

I will also do outdoor gear reviews on things like how to choose the right hiking boot to picking a good pocketknife.

We will also have musical guests like Josh Baldwin from Bethel Worship Collective, Tyree Morris, and Sean Be. It was fun to sit down with these guys and hear about their journey into Christian music and I think you will really enjoy each interview.

The website, Man360.tv will play an integral part of the program as well. After each episode, we will provide viewers with “additional content” on the website that will be directly connected to the episode they will see. We will have additional footage that we didn’t have time for on the program as well as links to gear you can purchase or books that we mention on the program. There will also be a link to my book if people want to pick up a copy and an email connect for people to let us know how we are doing, send a prayer request, or request me to come speak at their event. Content will be changing each week so you will want to make that part of your regimen each week.

Yolanda and I created a program that I hope you will enjoy with a bit of humor, informative reviews of things like gear, books and also teachings from the Bible. We have been praying over this program that I touches many men and helps people see that you can have fun and be a Christian too!

Man360 launches next week, November 12th at 7:30pm (MST) nationally and will also replay here in the Colorado market on Saturdays at Noon. You can also go now to Man360.tv for more information about where to view the program.

We appreciate all the love and support for the program and believe that God will use it to touch many people!

Testimony From a Reader

glowing wooden cross

I have had people through the years share with me how much my story has meant to them but this testimony I received recently really struck a nerve with me. Maybe because it hit so close to home in my mind and reminded me of the depth of despair I was in when I was at my deepest darkest point.

As I have said many times, stories like the one below are not just about selling more books but about sharing what God has done with my simple story and how he can use what YOU have gone through for His glory too!

Here is the testimony I received from a reader. I pray it encourages you AND helps you know and recognize that you are not alone in the fight.

“I just finished your book. I can’t say just how much it touched my heart and soul. As soon as the new church I want to go to opens back up I am going to go. I am going to call the pastor tomorrow and ask him when I can start going.

I have been sick with a disease since I was 10 years old. I have been lost many times on the journey of life and am recovering now from being lost and making the wrong choice when it came to trying to take my life. I was in so much pain that all I wanted was for the pain to stop. All I remember is waking up in the ambulance and being so mad that my plan didn’t work. That was about 8 months ago and now I can say I am glad that I didn’t lose my life that lost moment.

Thank you for sharing your story and making me feel like I am not so alone in this world.”

As I pray for this new friend, I pray for you as well. That you would sense God in the middle of your darkest night and that Jesus’ great love would intersect you in a miraculous way.

There is just as great a chance of something wonderful happening in your life tonight as there is something terrible. How about you expect a MIRACLE and not just more crap in life? You can do it. I am cheering you on!

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.

Where People Find Jesus…

end of road
I was praying for the viewers of my TV station this morning that they would find Jesus if they don’t know him. I also prayed for people who have known God for a long time that they would continue to deepen their relationship and be open to Him showing them new revelations of his glory, grace and peace.

As I was praying, I thought about a term I have used many times while talking to people about having a relationship with Jesus and “coming to end of themselves.” I considered what that term actually meant to someone finding and deciding to follow Christ. Then I felt impressed by this statement:

People normally don’t find Jesus in the “middle” but at the “end” of themselves.

When people are still in the “middle” they can think of a relationship with Jesus as something else to add to their lives. But when they are at the end of themselves, they are done “doing” things to find peace and they are willing to accept the peace and direction from Jesus, which has fully to do with surrender.

Even the term “surrender” for some people can be difficult because that word can be synonymous with hurt/pain or being taken advantage of. Hurt from the past can be a deterrent from people walking into a relationship with Jesus but I can tell you that trusting in Him is a step towards a freedom you have never experienced before. The difference is that Jesus only wants the best for us when we give him control of our lives.

Following and trusting Jesus is simple but can be difficult at the same time because the “effort” shifts from us trying to FIND peace to ACCEPTING Jesus, who actually IS peace. When we accept Jesus we get peace and don’t have to wait for something additional to fill the voids in life. This is where the power and importance of the Bible comes into play. The Bible is the guidebook for life and not just a book of suggestions to help train our minds to trust in God. For example, the book of John can be a great overview of who Jesus is to humanity and the book of Romans helps illustrate the power and importance of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.

Today, no matter where you are with God, take one step closer. If you have don’t know Jesus and have trouble in life, just cry out to Him and tell him you need help. If you are a follower of Christ and don’t have a good church home, find a church that teaches the Bible and Jesus. If you attend church somewhere and are not currently involved in anything more than Sunday am, find a way to serve.

Praying for you today to find the peace that I found so many years ago as a kid and then with my physical issues, realizing that Jesus NEVER left me through my entire life. Jesus loves YOU that much too!

 

 

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 Short But MIGHTY Phrase

Short and Mighty Phrase
I felt the full gravity today of thanking the person that helps manage the property for our television station. I could tell when I first met her that she deals with more than her fair share of negative words and attitudes with tenants and people telling her that crap is broken and for her to drop everything and assist them.

We had some leaks that have existed in our portion of the building even before we moved in. The church that used to own the building we lease in had done everything in their power to try and help get the leaks fixed but it always ended up with water pouring in everywhere. When the new company took over our lease, we contacted the lady who was the asset manager and asked them to fix the leaks in our area. After a few phone calls back a forth, they brought out a roofing specialist and they made the appropriate repairs that have been working great for probably two weeks.

I decided to give our property manager a call and thank her for their company fully fixing our leaks and preserving the electrical equipment that we have stored all over our office. It was funny because when I called her she didn’t really know how to respond at first. I told her I was sure that 99% of the phone calls she receives are negative in nature and can be wearing on her. I told her I wanted to encourage her and thanked her for her help. I could hear her voice loosen and she said that I made her day. I am not sure if she is a follower of Jesus but from my simple thank you I have gained entrance into her life just from being grateful.

Then I thought of the verses in Luke 17:11-19 where it says that Jesus healed 10 lepers and only ONE came back to thank him.

Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Verse 17 gives such an interesting response from Jesus before he tells the man to rise and go. He mentions the nine other lepers that had the same condition of this man but did not come back to find Jesus and thank him. I wonder if this portion of scripture is here to remind us of the importance of a thank you? Or is it an example of being obedient to the urging of God when thanking people in your life and not looking for an equally generous response? I think it was a bit of both.

You can NEVER underestimate the power of a simple thank you. Thinking of all the things that Jesus endured while here on the earth and the countless stories of his power moving in people’s lives, there are very few examples of people actually saying thank you.

Think today about your life and if people around you would consider you a grateful person. Is there someone in your life that you need to thank for something they did or they do on a consistent basis? I have heard many people say, “That person knows I appreciate them. Why do I have to say anything?” Verbalizing a thank you is not only for encouraging a person, but it is also for you to hear yourself appreciating those around you.

Your words have power to speak life or death and a simple thank you is the best example of life-giving power in someone else’s AND your own life.

No One Buys Gift Cards from a Store Going Out of Business

giftcards
I went to a store going out of business in my area last week and thought I would share my experience for humor and an important lesson I learned. First, when I pulled up, there were two signs on the side of the building. One said “Going Out of Business Sale – Everything Must Go!” and the other one said “Now Hiring!”. After chuckling and doing a double take, I thought I should take a picture and send it in to one of the late night talk shows so that others could get a laugh out of it. It was so weird to see those signs hanging next to one another knowing that only one of them were true. When I walked into the store, it looked like ants disassembling a Sunday picnic with people walking all over the store assessing the best deals and making their purchases. Plus, in the entire time I have lived in my area, that store has never had that many people in it to my memory.

As I walked up to pay for the discounted treasures I found, the check out aisle had a completely FULL kiosk of gift cards for the store. Again, I chuckled and then was instantly struck with a truth that applied to that store and to life; no one buys a gift card for a company going out of business. Our world puts an incredible focus on the temporary things causing people to strive to get things that, when they die, will not matter anyway. I remember taking my youth kids from church to a graveyard and asking them how many garages they saw by tombstones. The answer was obvious as I shared that there are no garages in graveyards. There are no U-Haul trucks in a funeral procession full of possessions to leave with the deceased person at their gravesite.

There is an incredible responsibility on all true followers of Christ to share with others about the relationship that they have with Jesus and help people shift the focus off of “gift cards that won’t have any value” when the “store” of life closes. Even greater, is if you call yourself a follower of Christ and have a passion to acquire things in this world that is out of balance with your pursuit of Christ, then you need to reevaluate your relationship with Jesus and what HIS value is in your life. I am only saying this because God has done some “housecleaning” in me including an evaluation of my focuses and things that I value.

Today, you have an incredible opportunity to show people around you the power of a focus that is on eternal things and not just the temporal. Just remember that not everyone you come in contact with will understand this principle and needs to not here your WORDS about what you believe with well crafted social media posts but see your ACTIONS that have a magnetic power to draw people to Christ through you.

Aaron Hernandez and Broken Reasoning

tebow-hernandez1
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

Crying Satan 2
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!!

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.”