2021 Was a Great Year! Am I Insane?!

Well 2021 is finally over. I see people posting some pretty funny memes about what they thought of this past year but as I look back I can say what a great year! Now, why would I say something like that considering where we are in the world in so many dysfunctional ways?

Maybe 2021 has been a year of seeing and knowing what NOT to do. Isn’t that as important as a year we would define as “great”? Generally, I don’t like correction but when we get something wrong or something bad happens in life those moments raise the value of the “right” in life when we have Jesus in control. It seems like correction is something talked about in every other verse of Proverbs. From the results of being stiff necked in Proverbs 29:1 (A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed–without remedy) to Proverbs 12:1 (Whoever LOVES discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid) Such fun verses to meditate on the first day of the new year. Haha

You may say, “That’s easy for you to say. You had a relatively uneventful year.” Unless you realize that I fell in the airport late last year, had to have major rotator cuff surgery and be in an a sling for 42 days. AND since the new year has happened my insurance deductible went back up and I start 6 months of painful physical therapy that will cost thousands of dollars so…yeah…I would have a reason to complain to start the new year but I wont. I am going to ask God to put the people in my path that need to hear about him; Doctors, nurses, receptionists, my PT person, etc. and not just complain. I pray that our eyes are fixed on HEAVEN and not on the trappings of this earth.

2021 has also been a WONDERFUL year of defining lines in the church body and those who want to pursue holiness in life and those who want to just add Christianity into the other things they do. This may sound like a judgmental statement, but it is not. I know about the story of the thief on the Cross and him living his life for himself to the end and Jesus inviting him to heaven. I do think that there will be people who make it to heaven who don’t do much on this earth for Christ. To me, that is a scary place to serve God from because if we say we are a follower of Christ but we only follow him to the local church on Sundays and our Bible and prayer when it gets tough in life can we TRULY say we are a follower of Christ? ALWAYS remember that Jesus didn’t come to CONVINCE anyone that they needed to follow Him. He came to live a life of example and OFFER a different way to people who had unmet expectations in life. It is also an observation based on people who want to get to heaven but don’t want to change their actions including the trend of “Christianity in Hollywood”. I do believe that there are some wonderful followers of Christ out there, but there are many A list stars that have professed their Christianity but still take acting jobs that reflect Godlessness. I believe that is leading people astray to think that a walk with Christ is about just saying you follow Christ but not doing anything in life to prove it.

So what will 2022 be to you? Will it be a year of recognizing what you did wrong this past year then changing what you do this year to expect a different result? As we get closer to the return of Christ remember that there will continue to be a blurring of what it means to have Jesus in control of your life. You may be reading this and say, “How do you know that YOU are right?” The only thing I know is that I don’t want to live as far away from Christ as I can and only reach out to him when things go bad. I will use the Bible as the guidebook for my life and be involved in a church that preaches the Word AND is not afraid to defend what is being preached from the pulpit. I will love EVERYONE equally but also not be afraid to let people who I disagree with know that there is another way to live life. That may sound like judgement to some, but I’m not trying to make anyone live the life I do. People have to come to the end of themselves before they decide to do something different. This new year I will be a bridge to people getting back to Jesus who have walked away. Basically, I want to be an example to people i come in contact with and see the fruit of the decisions I make to put Jesus first in everything because it is not about ME or anything about me but Jesus IN me!

Have a GREAT 2022 and I am praying for you!

Godliness STARTS with Kindness

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I love it when God shows me something AFTER I am obedient and listen to his promptings in my life. It is like the dessert capping off an amazing meal. They are moments that make me want to not just ASK God to give me an opportunity to step out in faith but to actually follow through with promptings from the Holy Spirit. Sadly, this doesn’t happen as often as it should. Something happened to me last week with an outcome that meant more than what I expected. Let me explain.

I was at a shoe store and by the time I got done looking around, didn’t even realize why I was in there. I knew I was in there looking for shoes, but not sure why I had picked that day to go to that particular store. I had found a pair of shoes that I liked, but decided to put them back. This is SUPER unusual for me, as I love to shop and especially if I find a pair of shoes for the right price.

As I was finishing looking around, I walked by a lady and her son who was probably in his early 20’s. They were walking through the aisles and I had walked by them a few times in the course of walking through the store. As I was passing them I overheard the lady mention to another shopper that it was her son’s birthday the following day. I thought that was nice and continued to walk towards the front door to leave. As I was walking out, I felt the Holy Spirit say to me that I needed to get that kid a gift card and give it to him.

At first I thought it was just me and not something that God was putting on my heart. As I continued to walk out of the store, I got almost sick to my stomach that I knew I needed to be obedient and do as the Holy Spirit directed me. As I was standing in line, the thought came to me that I wanted to do this and not share anything about it (like the blog I am typing right now) or say anything to my wife, which THAT thought turned out being just me and not God.

I purchased the gift card and as I was walking up to the mom and her son, I was thinking of all the amazing things that this interaction could do. Maybe they would start crying or maybe they would say that this was a confirmation of something else that they felt was happening in their lives. The possibilities were endless. I walked up them and said, “I overheard that it was your birthday tomorrow and wanted to bless you with a gift card and say happy birthday.” While the mom grinned ear-to-ear and said thanks, the young man gave me a handshake and said, “Thank you very much!” I told him to enjoy his birthday and to have a great night. The interaction was simple, quick and straight to the point.

Now, as I tell that story some in the “church” community would wonder why I didn’t take advantage of the situation because I was giving him something as a stranger and try and share the plan of salvation that God offered as a free gift as this gift card was being given to him. Nope. None of those things came out of my mouth and I think there was a great reason.

I am going to say something, not as a blanket statement about all followers of Christ, but as many who do not have a fundamental truth operating in their life that needs to be addressed. Godliness starts with KINDNESS. Kindness and being a loving and giving member of this earth is not automatically given to people who have maybe the best intentions for introducing people to Jesus without seeing how they can meet a basic need and just be kind.

I had a conversation with an older lady who is a viewer of our programming on CTN here in Denver and she said that someone came up to her and said something derogatory about her love of animals and it offended her so bad that she never went back to church. This statement broke my heart for her because she based the ENTIRE church congregation on the idiotic statement from a member of her church. Also, this church member forgot the first principle of Godliness: KINDNESS.

I think the reason why God impressed on me to be kind to that mom and her son was so that I WOULD be able to share my experience and have each of us take inventory on how we treat our fellow man. If every person who called Jesus the Lord of their lives, would put kindness first and focus on being a part of people’s journey to find God then I think we could actually make a difference in this world we live in. Never forget that even though heaven is the ultimate goal that we have a RESPONSIBILITY to represent God in everything we do and say and that starts with nothing religious.

For those who Say They Can’t have Faith in God, Never Update Any Mobile Device…EVER

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I had an update pop up this am for my Apple Watch. I went through the normal ritual of accepting the update on my phone, which brought me to a screen that asks for my permission with micro writing that I KNOW no one even cares about and trusts blindly. I scrolled down to the bottom, as I do every time, and mindlessly clicked “agree” when I did not even read one word or warning.

Then it hit me.

I come in contact with people all the time who tell me that they just can’t have faith in God because they need to be able to see, know and understand everything He is doing and will do. Just like when Apple asks me to trust them with a device update that they feel will be necessary to help with security and new enhancements for my watch, when I trust God in my life I am doing the same thing. I trust he knows better than me because he is the “creator” of my life as Apple is the creator of my watch. I was not there when the watch or my body was put together, but I trust the update and God will do what is advertised and that it will enhance my life in some obvious way.

When we can see that we put our trust in all kinds of things each day without truly having complete knowledge of how they were put together and how they will work, it makes trusting God just a little bit easier. Updates for most devices are based on two things; security and enhancements. Putting your life in God’s hands and allowing him to guide and direct it, are based on very similar principles. God wants to enhance our life by giving us the security of knowing that no matter what happens to us, He will be right there with us and will never leave us.

In all reality, we do not have trust issues in this life. We have issues with who/what we put our trust IN. We need to consider heavenly trust in the same category as anything else in life and give trusting God a chance. The Bible says that if you seek Him you will find him.

I guess I just dared you to trust in God’s love, provision and help for your life.
Are you up for the “trust” challenge?

I Serve a Pushy God…And I Like It

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I had a conversation with Ken, one of our team members at work, and we were talking about God taking care of us as we walk through life. We specifically were talking about Psalms 23 because it is such a great example of God telling us what he will do for us in pretty much all seasons of life.

I mentioned something to him and when I said it, I knew it came from God so I want to share it with you today. It has to do with the first three verses of chapter 23 and there are three terms that I want to emphasize because it says a lot about what God knows we will need in this life we live.

1     The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3     he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right path for his name’s sake.

It is amazing to think that when God created us he knew we would need to be “made, led and guided” in this crazy life that we live. We are naturally stubborn and want to do our own thing, walk our own path and then just deal with the consequences of those decisions. When I read or listen to the Bible I get a better revelation of the principles in there that are wrapped around and answer the issues I am either dealing with or will deal with the longer I am alive.

It is further proof that God is FOR us and not AGAINST us and offers to help in three different ways as stated in Psalms 23. He will make us rest when we feel like we are running a thousand miles an hour, lead us beside quiet waters when our natural bend is to try and dance around raging rivers and guide us along the right path of life IF we will allow him. The key is getting the Bible in you and allowing it to permeate every part of your thinking, which in turn, will lead to a life that follows after God and brings peace.

Maybe some of you are in a place to not understand this peace that God offers and don’t know why reading a simple book could change your life in such a drastic way. Think of it this way; if life is really a struggle right now for you and you are running out of options, what do you have to lose?

Praying that you will be have hope in despair, wisdom where there is confusion and love where you feel hate. Have a great day!

God’s Love and Our Moronic Activity

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This past weekend I went on a run and pray. I love running in Colorado because even though it is supposed to snow in two days the path that I run on is completely clear. It is wonderful to be able to run pretty much through the entire year so it gives me some great time outside to pray for family and friends.

I also love observing the scenery around me including the people that I pass who are out on the trail enjoying the day. Today I passed a couple getting married by the river (even though everyone in the wedding party looked fairly cold), lots of birds and other wildlife and many families out with their kids. One mom I passed had 3 girls that all had scooters, skateboards or some alternate form of transportation. Her face said it all; “Get it ALL out of your system kids because momma is VERY exhausted and doesn’t want to have to deal with you all when we get home. In fact, it may be time for bed for everyone at 4:30pm when we get home.”

Even though I tease about her facial expression, you could see that she was there for one reason and one reason only; to wear out her kids so they would behave later on in the evening.

Then I passed a dad who had one kid in a stroller and the other on a small scooter. The kid was no older than five and kept crossing the centerline riding into my side of the trail. He would patiently pick up the scooter with the kid on it and reposition her to go straight and give her the best chance of staying on her side of the trail. This happened probably three times from when I saw them and I am sure this correcting procedure happened their entire walk. He was patient and only walked about two miles an hour. Basically, I witnessed two opposite ends of the spectrum when it came to parents interacting with kids on the trail.

When I got done running I felt like God say to me, “The patient dad is how I feel about humanity and those I created. I am not impatiently just putting up with people but I am a loving father that picks up the scooter, repositions it and waits patiently with you to figure out that there is a safe path or a harmful path that will get you run over.”

Maybe you think that God is up in heaven with a billy club waiting to beat you over the head and bring correction if you make some kind of mistake in life that even causes family and friends around to react with anger or disgust. If you will let him, you can ask God to help you by allowing him to grab the “scooter”of your life and reposition it correctly.

The key is asking God to help make those corrections in your life and recalibrate you for the better. The way you can tell if you need recalibration in an area of life is if something you are doing/thinking was birthed out of some kind of hurt. Just like that small kid who needed correction last weekend on the trail, they didn’t even realize that if they would keep heading in the wrong direction that it would be bad for them and may have even caused hurt.

Some of you reading this need to listen to that “tugging” in your heart right now and ask God for help.

If you need some to pray with then please click here and send me a message. I will do my best to help you and help believe for AMAZING things this year in life.

I am praying for you!

I Gave Shoes To The Homeless This Weekend

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Yolanda and I participated in an outreach to the homeless of Denver this weekend and it was exhilarating. I LOVE being able to connect with people who don’t need a handout as much as a firm handshake, eye contact, maybe a hug and a smile to let them know that someone cares about where they are in life. Yolanda and I helped hand out shoes to people and to hear the thankfulness in the voices of people we helped was priceless.

I am not writing this blog to try and make myself look good or to guilt others into doing something in their community to help people in need. I want to bring up a few points to consider while helping people who are homeless or just in transition in their lives.

1. Don’t treat the homeless LIKE human beings treat them AS human beings
People who are homeless are not a lower level than anyone else and deserve the respect of people who are volunteering in some way. The best way you show respect is by not patronizing or taking down to them. Ask them their name, shake their hand and make eye contact. You would be AMAZED at what a smile and a firm handshake will do for someone.

2. Ask them to tell you their story and JUST LISTEN
Yolanda and I sat with two girls during lunch and had them tell us their story. We just sat and listened to them and let them know we were there to support them. Not to preach to them. Not to make sure they cross the proverbial “Jesus finish line” to make sure they were going to heaven. Just to listen to them and be a part of their journey in life. An important thing to remember is that showing love and meeting a practical need in someone’s life can speak more “Jesus” to someone than all the talking in the world. Yolanda and I love people first and let them ask us why we do the things we do. Jesus always comes up in conversation and we didn’t have to force any “religion” on people.

3. Don’t just help during the holidays
It is easy to get motivated to help during the holidays but the fact is that people are not just homeless and/or hungry during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. All of these organizations need help year round and would gladly accept the volunteer help at other times than just the end of the year. I think there is a Godly impact in a person’s life who commits to helping year round and not just as a give back during obvious months. The TRUEST form of being like Christ is looking for those in need and filling that need.

Have a great holiday season and I encourage each of you to look for ways to go outside yourself and meet practical needs in your community and then continue those things year round. Remember what Jesus did when he interacted with people; He met the practical need FIRST and that was the path to helping meet the deeper Spiritual needs.

 

What Others Are Saying About “Holy Crap”

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I have had some great feedback about the book and how God is using it to help people work through issues in their lives and wanted to share a quick testimony I received today.

If you have not picked up your copy of Holy Crap, I encourage you to do so. It can be an amazing resource as you walk through a difficult situation or to help someone else you know who may need your love and support. I want what I went through to make a difference in the lives of people experiencing pain. It is testimonies like the one below that make all the things I went through, worth while.

“I have been thru what is unquestionably the most challenging 8 months of my life. My son
was killed in a car accident in April. A close friend of the family has been in the hospital, in another state, since July. My wife has been away taking care of him most of that time. And my father just passed away in November after a 9 year battle with Parkinson’s.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Holy Crap just came out. Not that Brian wrote it just for me, but I have found that God has a way of arranging things that go way beyond ‘coincidence’. This book has been awesome. Not that it has made what I’m going thru all that much easier. But it has been a real blessing to know other people walk thru serious challenges and come out on the other side, better for the experience. I may never understand God’s methods, but I can see the difference He makes for those of us who choose to believe.

No matter your current life situation, you should look into what Brian shares in Holy Crap. There is a lot of wisdom shared in a very ‘down-to-earth’, easy to read style that I think can benefit anyone.”

Much Love – Lou

The Holiday Season and Dealing with People in Depression

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Generosity has to do with HEARTS not HANDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Tebow and His Ten Magic Fingers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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