GPS….Just…WOW!

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I was typing an address into my car’s GPS the other day and thought, “Wow. We have come such a long way with navigation in this world.”

I can remember when I used to have to just know where to go and my own crappy directions. We also used to go to AAA to get a “TripTik” for longer vacations. It was basically a map that was spiral bound at the top and about 4 inches wide and 8.5 inches long with your route cut into 25 miles increments. The AAA agent would have to use a stamper to let you know where construction or obstructions were going to be on a trip. There was no guarantee that you would not get lost using the map because it was still up to you to find the turns.

I have voice-activated navigation in my car that has real time traffic as well as a Garmin in Yolanda’s car that you can wake up by saying its name and tell it where you want to go. It just boggles my mind how technology has advanced when trying to get around.

Then I thought about the life we live in general. What are we allowing to give us direction in life? Is it trusting ourselves and our knowledge of what we have experienced to help us navigate life, like when I first started driving? Is it just based on other people we know and their experiences as in the case of going to AAA to get a TripTik? Or is it looking to God with a global network of satellite “life” images and accurate positioning to trust in our journeys? I know now that if I were to not have GPS in my vehicles that it would be much more difficult to get to where I wanted to go and I would most likely get lost.

When we give God control of our lives we basically say, “God, I know you have mapped out every place that I would need or ever want to go and I trust in following your directions in everything I do.” The key as well with GPS is that you still need to make the turns!! You don’t put in the location you want to go and then just sit in your car. You need to still drive and follow the directions.

Think today about giving navigational control of your life to God by reading the Bible and seeking God in prayer. If you don’t know how to do that, then click the “Connect” button above and send me an email. I will be more than happy to help you calibrate and start using the “God GPS” in your life!
Have a great day!

Empathy is the Finest HOLY in the CRAP

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Chapter 12 – “When Pain Has Value”

“It is interesting for me to look back on the “eyeball years” because I really feel God was working on my empathy for people more than He was working on my belief in Him while I was going through the worst of my eye situation. I want to state it again because I think this concept is so important for a person following Christ: God was working on my empathy for people more than He was working on my belief in Him. Now, to a “career Christian,” this can sound terrible. But I know that if I tell people I love Jesus more than anything in my life, but I can’t have empathy for people, give to the needy, help the poor, take care of widows and orphans, or just simply love people who are making bad decisions in life–as I do sometimes–then my relationship with Jesus is a lie.”

Many times we focus so hard on trying to believe things for our own lives rather than letting Jesus teach us empathy for others while going through crap in life. The empathy we have for others is what changes our relationship with Jesus. We go from just being concerned about ourselves and what WE can get and what WE need, to an outward focus that wants to serve others. It is the perfect and selfless example that Jesus gave us while on this earth. When we are focused on giving to others, Jesus not only meets our needs but meets them with perfect timing to receive it for maximum impact.

Today, think about how you can get involved in someone else’s life in a practical way, especially if you are going through some kind of crap of your own. When we help take care of God’s children, WE are taken care of. It’s the Kingdom way; give yourself away to find your own needs met.

As always, praying for you all to have daily revelations from God and a heart that is pliable to His ways.

Reach Out to Someone and Do NOTHING!

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In my book, I talk about the importance of just being there for people instead of trying to give them encouragement, a scripture verse or maybe even my book!! (I bet you have never heard an author trying to sell his book tell you to be careful before you buy and give his book to someone going through pain) I am more concerned about activating people to lift one another up than I am about hawking another book and making another sale.

Sometimes the GREATEST thing you can do is reach out to someone and do NOTHING but just hang out with them. Don’t even bring up what they are going through and even preface the meeting with, “We both know what you are going through, but let’s just hang out and not talk about it.” Basically, the opposite of what you would assume a blog post about helping people in their pain would say.

When people deal with painful situations, they are usually never without thinking about it through the day. When you connect with people and just be with them, it can be like a mental oasis in a desert of despair. I think sometimes we want to ask questions about what people are going through to prove that we care but in reality, we can make it worse.
I am not saying that this is the best EVERY time in connecting with people, but it needs to probably be the first option.

So today, go reach out to someone you know who is in the crap of life and just BE with them. I guarantee, they will KNOW that you care by saying nothing.

Let this be YOUR Independence Day!

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Today is the 4th of July and a time that American’s celebrate coming together and deciding to start a new life for themselves from the rule of British government. But today can also be YOUR independence day from fear and things that hold you back from being mentally and emotionally free.

When people are in pain, one of the WORST things that happens is worry. Worry is a very interesting animal in that it can cause a person to stop moving forward in life while causing a fear of the future. I know that with my eye situation I have at times been paralyzed by the fear that comes from the unknown. Today is the day to possibly give God an opportunity to help keep your focus away from the worries of life and on the potential of the GOOD that is around the corner.

I want my life to help people see a different definition of being a follower of Jesus. He has brought a level of freedom to me that I want to share with people and offer it to them. If people don’t feel like a relationship with Jesus is something they want right now that’s ok. Everyone is different and God has a special plan of freedom just for you but you need to be willing and ready to accept it. Don’t let people try and coerce or force your into something you don’t want for yourself. The most powerful changes in life come from discovering the need for change on your own and then deciding to make a change.
The people who created America 240 years ago were only willing to make a change when they saw the need for it. The same is true with each of us and a relationship with Jesus.

Praying for you to see the need for God in your life. He has never let me down and you can have that same assurance in this life that God is in control.

Have a great 4th of July and don’t get meat sweats from all those hamburgers and hotdogs!

The Power of Music in the Crap of Life

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

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

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

Stop Fighting People and Start Fighting Hell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Old Books Contain Timeless Truths

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Anyone who works from an office and has a lot of books will realize something very interesting when you have to move to a new area; you will find books in your collection that are out of date. I have acquired not only books myself through the years but also a full library from my mother-in-law when she died which had ones she got from a pastor friend when he died.

I have always had more books than shelf space through the years and moving into my new office was no different. It was time for me to go through my books and pair down the ones that I was probably not going to use or read anymore. When I was working full time in church as a pastor I would get books from people like George Barna or whoever the “stat” guy/girl was who was talking about why people do what they do in relation to the church and God. I found all kinds of “how to” books on doing things to get people into church but the dates were from 1998, 2003 and a couple from 2010. The thing I realized when I was holding those books is that they were out of date and, in general, irrelevant at this time in history.

Then I came across 2 Bibles that had dates signed in them from 1910 and 1907. Two books that were almost 100 years old and still had relevant truth, timelessness teachings and powerful words to change lives and alter destinies. A book that I try to implement in my life everyday to the point that I have a question that I am going to ask myself starting in 2015. It is the simple statement, “will what I do/say right now give Jesus a good name?”

The teachings of the Bible have shaped me and molded me into the person I am today and will stay with me until I am no longer on this earth. Men through the ages have been known for many things but I want to only be known for living the truths of the Bible out in my life. That is the legacy I want to leave on this earth and to know that I bettered the lives of those I came in contact with from a life-giving, life-changing and life-empowering book, known only as the Bible.

Good Riddance to Moderate Christianity!

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The days of “moderate Christianity” are coming to close, and I say good riddance! I was talking with a couple of different people this past week about all of the “anti-Christmas” situations that have come up in the news. My favorite so far was a Fire Station in some town that had a “Merry Christmas” sign on it. An atheist group filed a complaint with the city so the fire department took their sign down, in compliance, and put up a new sign that read, “Happy Birthday Jesus, We Love You.” Each of these people I was talking to said that it was amazing to see the attack on Christ and Christianity in society and I said, “I think it’s great!” I said, “I think the opposition to Christ that is happening in America is good because it’s weeding out moderate Christians who only have a familiarity with Christ and not a real relationship.”

Never forget that your belief in anything will only have its personal value tested when it is opposed, and this includes being a follower of Christ. Jesus even mentions opposition in the Bible in Matthew 10:22 and also in Mark 13:13 where it says believers in Christ would not just be opposed but hated but that those who endured to the end would be saved. This was not only a forewarning of attacks but even a CONFIRMATION that they were living properly! It was also a word given for followers to make sure and count the cost of following after Jesus. I am not sure in today’s world of consumer Christianity that much cost counting is done before deciding to follow Christ, which makes me very sad. I am not saying this as a judgment but more of an observation of the society we live in and what people are willing to give up for Christ versus giving things up for self. If this wave of challenges concerning Christ and people who follow Jesus will help people get off the fence with their beliefs, I think it could actually be something amazing and good for the church. It can also be a good lesson for Christians to learn to lead with the love of Christ (shocker) instead of conjuring up a lecture ABOUT the love of Christ. Jesus’ words were ALWAYS followed up with action so if I say I am following Him, then my actions better line up in the same way. Have a wonderful holiday and Merry Christmas!

Living a Facebook-less Life in December

If you are reading this blog then you really like me more than just to follow me on Facebook or Twitter.  That is because I have taken a break from social media in general for the rest of the month to quiet my life down.  I felt like I was investing too much of my emotional and physical energy observing the digital lives of my friends online. Now i am a social person anyways so social media for me was just an extension of my natural personality of enjoying the company of others.  But I noticed myself becoming addicted to Facebook and checking my “likes, comments and messages” on a non-normal frequency.  I feel like the break has been good for me in that I deleted the app off of my phone, logged out on all my computers so I would not click into it in a time of casual web surfing and generally unplugged.  It has only been 10 days, but it feels like I have been off of it for a longer time than that timeframe.  I never want my physical interaction with people to be superseded by my digital life online.  One thing I have reflected on while being away from Facebook and Twitter is knowing that I need to stay more disciplined in not trying to get into online disagreements when I know I am not going to convince someone of my point of view.  I want to focus on things that will help people consider where they are in life and to make changes, even if they are incremental, to begin to see good change in their lives.  If we would all see our importance to the world wide web, even if it’s small, we would act differently and probably look to make investments in the lives of others. All of this to say that I think its good for people to take breaks from social media so you don’t lose yourself and think about the investment or withdrawal you are making in the digital world.  This Christmas season, be thinking of ways to take breaks from things that are becoming habits and recalibrate your life before the end of the year.  Even when Jesus was on this earth it says in scripture that “He went away to a quiet place to pray.” Don’t wait to make a “new years resolution” to start changes in your life.  You can get a jump start on everyone else by making healthy choices now!