My Near Death Experience from Chapter 1 in “Holy Crap; Finding God’s Presence In Your Pain”

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Excerpt from Chapter 1: Holy Crap! This Book Is For Everyone! 
“When I was kid, I would ride with my grandpa occasionally to a favorite lake to go ice fishing. I can remember one trip where I thought it would be fun to jump up and down on the cracking ice around the edge of the lake. I liked the sound the ice would make when I would jump up and down on it, not realizing how dangerous it was for me to be at the lake’s shore on ice that was not completely frozen. I was right next to the shore and jumped way up in the air and came down on a piece of ice that gave way under my feet. I fell into the ice-cold water a good distance away from where my grandpa was sitting. The ice under my feet was like a slide under the water, and I couldn’t keep my feet under me and started to slip under the ice. I tried climbing out of the lake but would just slip further into the icy water. I reasoned that all I could do was turn back out towards the middle of the lake and break the ice further away from shore until I could get out to thicker ice and climb out. I can remember thinking that I was going to die. Well, needless to say, I ended up pulling myself out and getting back to the safety of my grandpa. I learned a valuable lesson that day about icy conditions on a lake and did not try anything like that again.
 
I share this to help you understand something: when you are in the middle of crap, your primary thinking is to just survive. I understand the feeling of despair and the instinct of survival in an adverse situation.”

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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.

 

The FAA And Your Relationship With Jesus

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I did this blog on my business site earlier today but it was so good that I wanted to share it with my “Holy Crap” family as well! Enjoy!

We have flown a bit over the holiday season and it is still amazing to me that anyone can travel anywhere in the world in hours by getting into a giant metal tube that really should be too heavy to fly anyway. Just to think about how far technology has come and how air travel has improved in the last forty years is really astounding.

The one thing that has really never changed, and probably never will, is the reactionary nature of the airline industry. When there is some kind of airline disaster the first thing the FAA does is create some kind of rule that tries to remedy whatever happened. The incidents of 9/11 created a greater scrutiny of anything sharp or what could be conceived as a weapon. The shoe bomber incident created the smaller quantities of fluids that can be in your carry on. The Samsung phones smoking on a flight last year was the genesis of banning the Samsung Note 7 on flights.

I am not saying that any of these rules are bad in and of themselves because the airline industry is just trying to make sure that air travel is safe for everyone, but when safety is thought of as a RESULT of negative actions then it becomes a reactionary response only.

In our relationship with Jesus, we can fall into some of the same traps. We can think of our actions with Jesus only in terms of the negative things that are happening in our lives. Maybe we don’t spend time reading our Bible and learning about his love until we are feeling a lack of love in some way in our lives. We get into some kind of financial trouble and then decide it is a good time to give to God and see if we can get some kind of financial blessing when we are not a consistent giver in the first place. This can become a terrible pattern of only doing things for/with God when we need something or trouble hits our lives.

Today, don’t wait for pain or discouragement to hit your life before you decide to spend time with Jesus. When we make the investment in our relationship with him preemptively, we set the stage for success in life not based on circumstances but in knowing that no matter what happens, our lives are in God’s hands. The things we do to help get through difficult times end up being birthed from our foundation in Christ and not on our surrounding circumstances.

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 Simple Truth of God’s Love

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We have been trained to believe that we need to become something before we can be accepted by God. The truth is that we can NEVER become who we can be without accepting God’s love for us just the way we are.

Your Mission Today and EVERYDAY: Accept God’s love for you and watch your life begin to change for the better!

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!

Two Choices in Life: Worry Backward or Pray Forward

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Below is a paragraph that I know God impressed on me to help people going through pain and is just one example of many helpful points for people in my book.

Worrying backward and praying forward is a statement that summed up my life for four plus years of dealing with things that were beyond my comprehension and a process that took me to the very end of myself. I became a professional at “worrying backwards” in life, trying to regain who I once was and working to find a path back to where my life had been before I was sick. The problem is the person I needed to be NOW was forward and not back to the old me. Enjoy this quick section and think about your life today and if you are “worrying or praying” in life.

Excerpt from Chapter 15 – Answers to Consider 
“We all have two decisions in life when pain hits; we can either worry backward or pray forward. Backward is familiar to us because it is something we experienced, and we have a point of reference of a time without pain. When I pray forward, I decide to look ahead with an expectation of solutions that bring even greater levels of contentment with God leading my life, using a roadmap that I could never access without Him. A fact of hiking that is true in life as well is that maps lead to destinations, but guesses lead to being lost. I trust God much more with my navigation than I do my best guesses in life or worrying about situations that, in reality, I will never be able to control anyway.”

My hope is that people pick up a copy of my book not for me to make more money but that I can use my experiences in pain to help others hang on, even if it is just for one more day.

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.

The Change that Pain Causes Can Be for Good or Bad!

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Pain will happen in life no matter who you are or where you come from. The question is not IF pain will happen but what you will do with pain WHEN it happens.

When we stop asking God “why” pain is happening and start asking “what” can we learn from it, we go from a survivor to a THRIVER mentality and attitude. When we only seek to survive in life we lose the ability to gain some wonderful perspective and actually USE the things that happen to us to make us stronger.
Praying for you today to get through the pain you are in and see the great things that can come from change that painful situations can bring.