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.

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.

Talkers are Praised While Listeners Go Unnoticed

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I cannot say that I know very many people who are great listeners, including myself. Someone who, when their name comes up, is known to others as an exceptional listener. At the same time, we can name numerous amazing speakers when it comes to people we think have full command of the words that come out of their mouth. It is an interesting thing to me that we praise talkers but great listeners in life go unnoticed. Maybe it’s because we feel like if we don’t share how we feel we will not be able to change our corner of the world. Maybe you grew up in a large family and if you were not able to express yourself well that you were ignored or even forgotten.

As a follower of Christ, I was ALWAYS taught growing up the importance of telling others about my relationship with Jesus. Even now, Christians far and wide believe the most important thing is telling the world about how much Jesus loves them. We even sing worship songs about “telling” and build vision/mission statements around talking! When was the last time you read the vision statement of a religious organization that says, “We will listen to the broken and answer with love first and words second.”

Please hear me. I am not poking holes in religious organizations or churches but just making a statement about maybe some of the pacing we do as followers of Christ that tries to mimic the people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus yet. The world is all about telling others who they are, how they feel and the convictions they have and operate by.

There is an incredible power exhibited when you LISTEN to someone who either disagrees with your stance on something or even says things based from a place of hurt or pain. Stop trying to come up with a witty antidote to something being told to you and just tell yourself to shut off your mouth and engage your ears and mind to just listen.

The amazing byproduct of listening is that it encourages others to hear what YOU have to say because they felt honored that you would listen to them. So it is not whether you ONLY listen or ONLY talk but that listening opens up the channels of communication with others and helps you share what is on your heart. Maybe it is a priority of listening with a result of talking. Even Jesus would interact with people in a question format, listen to what they would have to say and then share. The greatest communicator to walk the earth was first and foremost the greatest listener, and He is who I want to be.

God DOESN’T Just Love You…

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The Bible tells of instances where people came to Jesus because they knew who He was. Those people would be considered “believers” in our day. But it is also FULL of times where Jesus went out to minister to people needing help and not even knowing that Jesus could fix what was broken. They would be considered “lost” in our day.

If you are a follower of Christ, it’s not just about coming to church on Sundays, praying, reading your Bible and spending time with Jesus for self consumption. It’s about following Christ’s example and going out to get the lost. The church does not only exist for us to consume good teaching and feed only ourselves for the week. No one will know how great Jesus is and how the church can help them if we don’t go get them!

The question is what does it look like to “go get” people? For some, it is making sure that we find and tell people what they are doing is wrong and that we don’t show an ounce of care because that would be justifying what they are doing. Others have been led to believe that Jesus came to this earth to simply love with nothing else in mind. That is also incorrect. His love for people was and always is there regardless of the situation, but his REAL purpose for being on this earth was to bring CHANGE. It was change for Jesus’ followers to have to leave their known professions and follow Him and his teachings. It was CHANGE in the lives of people to be healed from disease that had plagued them for years. It was CHANGE for the religious officials who were more concerned about keeping the religious laws of the day rather than doing what Jesus directed which was helping the poor, sick and broken.

We are now the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are looking for a change in life and maybe don’t even know it yet. That means we love everyone no matter what but we are constantly asking God what we need to do to be an agent of change in their lives. It may be loving someone unconditionally while telling them that you think they may be making a poor choice. It is still love to care for someone and disagree with their actions. Jesus loves ME when my actions might not line up with what he thinks is best for me and because of that love I know where I can go when I want to make a change in my life.

It is very important to remember that we are not the ones who BRING change in people’s lives but that we set the stage for GOD to bring change. When we are focused on setting up opportunities for God to move in people’s lives it takes the stress off of us to think that we have to make something happen in people’s life. When I love with the knowledge that I am not going to MAKE anyone change, I can let God work in their hearts and then be there if they want to go in a different direction in life.

Today, consider how you are going to go get the lost tomorrow by setting the stage for God to bring CHANGE in the lives of others. Jesus trusts that you are not going to screw it up so just go and love with a purpose!!

Four “E’s” to Help Change Your Life!

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

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

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

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

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

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