Friday, December 9, 2011

I went to start a fight..............

Fifty years ago on Sunday December 11 we ran away to Conyers Georgia to get married. (the picture is actually my JR, SR picture from the following May.) The journey however actually began on August 25, 1961. I went to a teen hangout to start a fight. Lets just say I was not what you would call a “fine young man” though part of that was true, I was young. Something went terribly wrong with “my plan”. I saw a girl across the dance floor and told a guy I was with I had to meet her and would be “going steady with her in a week”.  (Just saw Denis Sweat at my school reunion last October. First time since that night.) I walked up to the blonde doll and asked with my best “pitch” “You wanna dance?” She blew me off not once but twice! It was at that point I became more determined......she told me NO! That’s not happening. I returned with my best stuff and pressed the issue.....I’am in! Yep, she danced! The conversation began with exchanging names, school, ages etc. It was at that point I realized it could be a very short relationship. I ask her age and she said it was her 18th birthday. In response to her question regarding my age, I replied, “I am 19”. Several weeks later standing outside a Pool Room, it’s called Billiards today. I let the hammer down. You must decide, me or him...that’s the other guy. She decided on me then and there. Another several weeks on November 22, it was  my birthday. That is when the truth came out. I was not 20, on my birthday but 16. That of course means I was 15 when we met. I knew it would be a really short conversation if I had said 15 so, “I lied a little”..

It was only a few weeks later that we ran away to Conyers to get married. It has been an adventure to say the least. It was seven years before we came to Christ. I will just say those were very interesting years. Then Jesus came and it has been different ever since. The picture is not from the wedding. There are no pictures at a $10.00 wedding. It is from my junior Senior Prom...yep, my Junior Senior! Maybe we will write a book some day and fill in all the blanks.

For now, let me just say we are still dancing!!!!!

Read some things I am learning after Fifty years......

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The “Church” is a Movement not a Place............

I am reading through the bible this year on a chronological plan. So, the last couple of days have been reading all the passages on the Resurrection. I was reminded of all the events surrounding the discovery of the empty tomb. Made me think of Peter and John running to see. Mary’s encounter with Jesus outside the tomb. Breakfast on the beach with His boys. They all ran and told everyone in sight about Jesus!

Then we move to Holy Spirit coming in Acts. It was like spontaneous combustion! The flames just ignited and spread like it was driven by a drought and gale force winds. They were crazy out of control with the Message! The Disciples were spreading the Good News throughout the Mediterranean world. Their number grew was organic not institutional. There was no “church”, no “place” they attended on Sunday where it all emanated from. No! A Movement was born! It was about Jesus and who He was and what He had done.....that’s all. There were no programs, productions or bulletins to be handed out with the tightly choreographed order of the day. It was just a Movement!

But something happened....... Something happened with the translation of the word “church” and now the “church” is understood to be a “place”, a building.  It’s the sanctuary, the house of The Lord. It is no longer an organic growing Movement but, an institution, Religion. Yes, I know there are some exceptions, some signs of “hope” that “The Movement” is stirring  again. There are some that are looking more to Jesus than a dead institution and that is a good thing.

I think many “churches” remain institutionalized because they are scared of what Paul said in Galatians 5:1 “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” (MSG) You see, A Movement can not be controlled. And that brings me to my closing comment and a question for you.

“Religion is scared of relationship, for if relationship with God is possible, religion is unnecessary.”
Is Religion scared of you?                                      
Or, have you become part of a fossilized institution?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Why is “Come to Me” so difficult?

 One of the most simple statements Jesus ever made.........
“Come to Me”.......Matthew 11:28-30
Why is it so difficult to follow?

In our last post the topic was “HALT”. This is sort of a followup to it in that it is the logical next step after you have noticed the “red flags” and practiced the “HALT” exercise. Most, if not all the struggles of life can be resolved by accepting this simple invitation from Jesus......”Come to Me”.....

It doesn’t matter what we are struggling with, Relationship issues, Parenting, a lapse of integrity, Physical issues, Pornography, Doubts or Fears. Maybe you are just worn out with Religion. And especially if you have “fallen and you can’t get up!”

Most of us however would rather try everything before we  would stop and do as Jesus said “Come to Me.” It is just too difficult to imagine that there is nothing we can do. So, we try to bargain with God. We Repent and try harder. We Read our bible and pray all day. We may even find a church where we can throw ourselves on the altar an weep. We bite nails and try harder. Finally we fail again and try even harder as we begin the cycle again.... When we come to the end of ourselves...self effort then we can hear the call to “Come to Me”............

So what is it about Jesus’ bidding, “Come to Me?” The first “Come” has to do with salvation. It is a gift that only He can give. The second gives us a choice. We can continue to “slam our head in the car door” or we can accept the invitation to “Take His yoke and learn of Him.” When we take this course we “Find Rest for our soul”

So, how do we “Come to Him?” it’s about “Relationship.” He wants us to come to Him and develop an intimate Life with Him. Get alone with Him and ask what He wants you to know, then listen....
When we struggle, if we look into His face and listen to Him and learn His ways we WILL find Rest for our soul.

There are no commands or condemnation, just a gentle “Come to Me”

Saturday, October 29, 2011

HALT is a Powerful Word ................

 "Halt" is one of those words we usually associate with a command from a Police Officer or something in the Military. In our context however it has a far different meaning and may have greater far reaching, even life changing  consequences when ignored.

Halt is defined by Webster as:
“to stop; cease moving, operating, etc., either permanently or temporarily.”
Lets break this simple word down to see just how powerful it really is.


These feelings can tip us that we are under undue pressure and are more vulnerable than normally. We are in Danger!........  

Hunger can cause anxiety or a drop in blood sugar, leaving levels whacked out leading to poor choices. Anger or holding a Grudge causes us to focus on self leading to self pity. Loneliness can lead to trying to meet the need for companionship in an unhealthy way. Tired, just plain old being too tired can lead to not standing up to temptation when we most need to. Vince Lombardi once said “Fatigue makes cowards of us all”  

This is a time of extreme vulnerability to wrong thoughts, pornography, an affair, or overindulging in some other area. You know what you need to watch for!

So you see, This little word can be very powerful when viewed in the proper perspective. When we are feeling too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired it is like a Warning Light on our Dash or control panel. So, what am I to do when I notice one of these “Red Lights” flashing on my dash?
Well, lets say we just noticed one flashing......HALT...find out what’s going on before you move another inch. You may need a route recalculation or you may even need to “Phone a Friend” for help! This “Halting” may just give you enough time to come to your senses and alter your future for the better!
Practice it now.........HALT!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Have you ever experienced a failure in life?

That was a “Trick Question”........ Of course, you have unless your name is Jesus. We all have experienced failures in life some small and some huge. The real question is "are your failures from the past still haunting you today?" Many of the men I encounter are really not experiencing the life Jesus offers in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
We were never designed to drag the “Baggage of The Past” throughout life. That’s what forgiveness is all about. That is what The Cross purchased for us and the Resurrection assures us of the ability to walk the John 10:10 Life. The blood of Jesus did not “cover” our sin as the sacrifices of the Old Covenant! He is The Lamb of God that “Took Away” our sin. John 1:29 “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”  Becoming a Christ follower changes everything. We no longer have to drag the “baggage”  of our sin and failures because He has taken it away.

Now you say, I am not so sure of that. Well here is a good picture for you. Read John 21:12-17. After Peter had so miserably failed in denying Jesus, he meets him face to face on the beach after the resurrection. You know what Jesus said to him? “Lets have breakfast.” John 21:12 “Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.”
He never mentioned Peter’s failure............

Lets have breakfast....................

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Like Father Like Son..............

Dad, this can be a scary thought or an incredibly Great and Satisfying Thought. We have a choice! The choice is ours. I must confess, it took me many years before I realized this phenomenon was taking place. It’s called “Like Father Like Son”. Mary and I recently took the opportunity to see the movie, “Courageous.” It’s a story of Masculinity for Men, Marriage, Family, Parenting, Loss, failure and Courage. It “Rocked my soul” as I watched and relived many moments of my own life. I along with Mary, Rob and Phillip were miles along the journey before I realized I could and must Change my Direction and in so doing the Direction of my family.
Great Intention is not enough, we must change our Direction.

I had to confess to myself, God, Mary and my sons that I had failed miserably in leading them. Then, I am sure it took some time for them to believe me....that came only after they “watched” me for some time. If your kids are young and in those formative years, you can beat the curve by realizing the importance of what they see in you now. Take advantage of the awesome opportunity to Lead Courageously!.

If like me you are down the road a ways and your kids are no longer in those formative years there is “Hope”. It is never too late! Get over whatever keeps you from facing them, confessing and asking forgiveness. Don’t try to defend yourself! Now be prepared to be “watched”. It may take a while, but I can tell you from experience you can earn their respect. In the rare case they never come around, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you are a better man for "Maning Up" and facing them. Your conscience will be clear knowing you stepped up to The Plate!
“Watching You”
I Dare you to watch this all the way through!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What does Influence mean to you?

Influence is one of those things that is almost always at the top of my “Think List” dominant thought. Webster defines Influence this way: “the capacity to have an effect on the Character, Development, or Behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself”. It’s like the imprint our foot makes when we walk in the sand only much more powerful. Notice what Webster said, we influence, effect, have impact or leave our imprint on the “Character, Development or Behavior” of those around us.
 And it is not only the positive that leaves its mark, “every Step” leaves a mark.

I never knew Steve Jobs but he influenced my life and the lives of many of you as well. I have been amazed at the front page coverage of his passing going into the fourth day. I have taken time to read much of it while thinking of what is being said of me and what will be said when I am gone. What kind of influence or imprint am I making and what will be left when I am gone. When I walk away from a conversation, what does that person feel, think, or say as a result of my presence in their life? Are they refreshed, energized, blessed? Or, are they exhausted and demoralized?

We leave those imprints everywhere we go!
In a conversation with our mate.
In a conversation with our children
On the phone with a friend or business conversation
In the supermarket line
At the car wash
At work or play when we are unaware that anyone is watching.
And the list goes on..................

So lets look in that well worn mirror and ask ourselves........
How am I Influencing the Character, Development or Behavior of those I encounter?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What kind of Disciple are you part two.......

In our last post we talked about Discipleship and asking ourselves the compelling question, “what kind of Disciple am I? What do those around me hear and more importantly see when they are in my presence?”  I was thinking a couple of days ago about living in a small community like Blairsville. It is not like being in a large city like say Atlanta. Here we see the same people often and you know the spiritual status of many of them. Not only do you see them but, in local restaurants you often overhear conversations Oh, he is a pastor, she is secretary at a church, he is the music person at that church or he is a deacon and she is the wife of a deacon. But, what is even more telling is the fact that they also know your status. And yes, they are watching and listening!

So, now we must look in that mirror and ask the question....”What do they hear when they sit across or behind me at a restaurant or what do they see when I interact or don’t with others. Of course, in a small community any time someone is involved in those things we would all call sin everyone knows right away. There are some other things I think are just as important but, not on the “Big Sin Hit List”? Say like leaving an adequate gratuity when you leave a table......not a gospel tract and fifty cents. One pastor in town walks into a restaurant and never speaks to anyone unless they are members of his church.....interesting. It is amazing what kind of “gossip” you hear from a table near by and you know it is a group of men or ladies from one of the local churches. The tragic thing is many who hear and see are not believers but they know those who are. I am sure they are not attracted by what they hear and see.

So, what kind of disciple are we. Look in the mirror and ask yourself. I do and sometimes I have to confess, I am not so pleased.

Essential reading for every Man
Healing The Masculine Soul
By Gordon Dalbey

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What kind of Disciple are you.........

Been thinking a lot lately about being a Disciple and just what Jesus had in mind  when He spoke these last words to the Disciples.

Matthew 28:19-20 (The Message)
“Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."

I guess a couple of things really stand out to me.
  •  Train everyone you meet in this way of Life
  •  Instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you
Jesus of course,  had in mind something intentional but,  I could not get away form the thought that I am indeed training everyone I meet. I am instructing them in a practice of life. BUT, whose Life? Did you ever hear the comment “what you are doing speaks so loud I can’t hear what you are saying”? What a sobering thought! People are watching us as we live our lives and yes, some are following us. We may not even be aware but none the less, they are following.

So, the question we must ask is pretty simple. Does the Life I am living before them match the message that comes from my mouth. Or another way to say it is “does my Life look like what Jesus had in mind?”

I look in the mirror often and ask myself...”Does my walk match my message? and if people follow me where will I lead them?”

Have you looked in the mirror lately?  They are following......

Essential Reading for every Man
Healing The Masculine Soul
By Gordon Dalbey

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Are you Paying Attention to The Signs Part Two?

Why?  You may ask would someone look at a sign that clearly says “make a Left” but points to the right and and do it anyway?

Out text in the last post was Galatians 5:16: ”So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”  Years ago, I heard a teacher say this “if the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense.” If there ever was a verse that makes common sense, this is one of them. Yet, so many get it wrong and focus on the sin, failure or the negative rather than the positive of “who we are in Christ”. This brings us to part two of our post last week. There is of course, a place for the sin to be mentioned but it is secondary to the positive of our “Identity.” And is better understood and received by those who are “settled in their Identity.”

When the teaching from parents, in a book, small group or the pulpit is continually “sin focused” by that I mean the emphasis is continually on the sin, the action, the behavior it is bad theology. Strong? yes! But, you can read the New Testament for your self. There was a guy named Paul who penned most of it under the inspiration of Holy Spirit. Just compare how much he spoke about our “identity”, us in Christ and He in us with how much he talked about the sin and failure of us as individuals. For instance, Romans, Galatians and Ephesians. They are all packed with the Transforming Power of our identity.

Lets face it we are what we continually and habitually think. This is why scripture tells to renew our mind, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:22-24 and to pull down strongholds II Corinthians 10:3-5. The whole idea of Renewing the Mind is replacing a “Lie” with “Truth.” Or we could say fixing our mind or focus on the Truth rather than the lie. Dominant Thought then is what we continually or habitually think or focus on. Just a s a side note, this is one reason pornography is so damaging. The images remain on the screen of our mind....”dominant thought.” Because it is constantly before you, you continue to go back......Dominant Thought is Powerful.

So we have a choice! We can use Dominant Thought for us or against us. We make Dominant Thought work for us by following the admonition of Ephesians 4:22-24. Put on the new man, Romans 12:2 Renew our minds, II Corinthians 10:3-5 bring every thought captive to Christ or Joshua 1:8 meditate in the word day and night. All of this is simply Practicing the Presence of Jesus in your Life. It does take some effort but it is well worth it and it will get easier as you continue to make Him your Dominant Thought.

So, ask yourself...What am I continually or Habitually Thinking or Focused on?

Essential Reading:
Practicing His Presence
By Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Are you Paying Attention to The Signs?

Why?  You may ask would someone look at a sign that clearly says “make a Left” but points to the right and and do it anyway? Well, I have looked in the mirror and ask the same question of myself. Perhaps you have as well. The fact is we often just do not Pay Attention the the Signs. That is a responsibility we can not pass off to anyone else o matter how hard we try. We must Pay Attention!

The good thing is God never intended for the signs to be confusing or complicated. We and sometimes the people we listen to seem to be able to “complicate dirt.” Lets look at just one of the signs God gives us today and “think” about it. Galatians 5:16 is an easy one but we often get it wrong. In fact, most of the preaching and teaching I have ever heard got it wrong. Here is what the text says....”So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

So, seems simple enough but still so many people get it wrong. Look at the text what comes first? “Walk in the spirit” or “stop sinning?” I will help you, first comes “walk in the spirit.” Please tell me why then, do we hear so much about “we must stop sinning?” When the message is Backwards it doesn’t matter if it is what we hear at church or if it is deep in our own belief system it is still “Backwards.” And therefore, puts us on the wrong road and going in the wrong direction even when our intentions are right. When we continually focus on “the sin or failure” whatever mine or yours may be, it activates a law in our mind called “The Law of Dominant Thought.” This becomes all we think about and consequently we find ourselves “doing it” almost automatically. We wind up in the cycle of fail, repent, try harder, fail try even harder and trudge on in a frustrated Christian Life or even worse just surrender to the failure and settle there.

Good News! That is not necessary! In the next post we will see how to correct our course by Paying Attention to The Signs.......And the power of Dominant Thought.

Struggling here? need a confidential listening ear? email me  

Life Changing Read:
The Saving Life of Christ and The Mystery of Godliness
Major Ian Thomas

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pornography is a Ticking Time Bomb......

Read six things you should know regarding the devastation caused by the Ticking Bomb. The Collateral Damage is staggering!  Addiction to pornography has reached pandemic proportions in our country. And t is not limited to just men or those outside the church. In the past ten years we have seen the numbers climb at mind warping speed. If you are part of the statistics below...stop now and read carefully and slowly...There is help.....
A comprehensive two-year study by Alexa research…has revealed that based on their searching habits....“Sex” was the most popular term for which people searched.  Of all the terms searched for online, 0.3289% - or roughly 1 of every 300 terms, were “sex.” 

A nationwide survey of 1,031 adults conducted by Zogby International and Focus on the Family, found that 20 percent of the respondents - which represents as many as 40 million adults - admitted visiting a sexually-oriented web site.  Thirty-seven percent of males between the ages of 18-24 admitted they had visited sex sites.  Almost 18 percent of those who identified themselves as Christians and 18 percent of married men also admitted viewing these sites. 

Of the people we encounter that are “hooked” on Pornography most tell us the following. “I do my devotions/quiet time, and attend church regularly. I belong to an accountability group and even went forward and confessed it to the church. But, it just does not work.

Now, some would say these folks are just not saved.

          Here are six things you should know.....
  • As you can see from the statistics above, you are not alone
  • Your behavior does not determine your identity.
  • You can certainly be saved and “hooked” simultaneously
  • God loves you no more or less if you do or if you do not!
  • Help is available if you truly desire it
  • I am praying for you, maybe even as you read this blog post.

Come on, take that first

Saturday, August 20, 2011

When Deliverance from sin is not enough...............

Why are there so many Christians that are indeed freed from sin still Bound by Religion? There are perhaps multiple reasons but I believe the major reason is a lack of understanding of Romans chapter seven.
The fact Paul uses marriage as an illustration to make his point seems to cause some confusion for many. The passage is not about marriage, but about deliverance from the Law and performance to meet it’s demands. I  hope this short preview will compel you to study the chapter and ask Father to show you it’s true meaning and application for your Life.

Here are some clues for your study

  • Romans six is about freedom from our sins
  •  Romans seven is about deliverance from the law.
  •  We are as powerless to acquire freedom from the Law as we were to find freedom from or sins.
  •  Why are there two husbands and one wife mentioned
  •  Soak in verses two through four....what is Paul saying
  •  Romans seven teaches us that not only were our sins dealt with at the cross but, we as sinners were dealt with as well. Compare Galatians 2:20. You might call this “Two sides” of the Cross.
  • This is about the time we start thinking ...WOW, I need to do something  for God because He has done so much for me..... and this is where The Law captures us.This begins a cycle of trying to “DO” the will of God, “Failing”, “Trying” harder and then failing again.
Now, if you are sufficiently challenged and want to know more drag out your Bible, iPhone or iPad and soak in Romans chapter seven. As you read, ask Father to open your eyes and ears to what He is saying to you. If you still have questions you can email me or read the book I have posted below.

Essential reading:
The Normal Christian Life
By Watchman Nee

Or, you can just Google it and find several Free PDF Versions.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Do your “Default settings” need to be Reset?

A default, in computer science, refers to a setting or value automatically assigned to a software package, computer or device and assumes there will be no user intervention or changes. These settings may also be called “Presets”.  So, what’s the point.? They are intended to operate correctly “out of the Box”...No “Tinkering” needed!  When we become part of the family of God, He creates in us “Defaults or “Presets” as well. And like electronic devices the “Defaults” are best left alone.

We all know what happens if you “mess” with the settings beyond your ability. Everything gets out of whack! Things don’t work like they should. The views are distorted. The device may operate slower, behave erratically or even “crash”. The remedy is often found in returning the device to it’s default settings.

In real Life, when we mess with the “Defaults” God has given us the same effects begin to surface. Being men, “we” try to fix it by continuing to mess with the settings.The reason we continue messing with them is we think the “issue” we see is the problem. This however, is a deception of the enemy. The “issues” we see are only the symptoms of the  real problem. We are operating outside our “defaults”. And it will only get worse until we recognize and address the root or core issue and return to the “Defaults”. So, what do we do to get back on track?

Here are four suggestions:

 1- Stop messing with the settings like trying to read your bible more, pray more, try harder, promising to stop or change or go to church more. More activity will only take you in the same direction until you change it.

 2- “Put your hands in your pockets”. Not literally, just get your hands off of it. Now, get quiet and ask Father. “I am struggling with (you fill in your blank)”... “what do you want to say to me about this?” or Lord, what do I need to know about this?” or "Lord what would you have me do?” He wants to answer, we just need to stop and listen.

 3- Refer to the Owners Manual for the “Default” settings. Here are a few suggestions. Romans 5:10, Romans 6:6, II Corinthians 5:17,21 Galatians 2:20, Galatians 5:16. And notice the order of events in Galatians 5:16 it is essential.

 4- And finally, call a consultant. Your Pastor, a trusted who will first listen but then, tell you what you need to hear rather than what you want to hear. Here’s a novel idea send me an email. That’s why I do this blog.

Once you have restored the “Defaults” the view will become crystal clear! Things will run more smoothly and you will experience peace, maybe for the first time in a long time.......

Do your “Defaults” need Resetting?

Essential Reading for every man or woman:
Classic Christianity by Bob George

In under a minute you could be reading on your iPad or Kindle.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Three Dangers of a Drifting or Wandering Mind....

I was reading a devotional book called “Jesus Calling” by Sara Young the other day that really rattled my cage about drifting and its dangers as well as how to avoid it. We don’t often place enough emphasis on the “Operations Center” of our Life as we should. In fact, as we work with couples and individuals I wonder if many even realize that the “soul” (our Mind, Emotion and Will) is The Operations Center. We read in
Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” The Mind is our thinker and it is the CEO of our Soul. So when we “drift” it could also be called a “wandering mind.”

So, what are some dangers of drifting or a wandering mind?

1-You could find yourself about to go over Niagara Falls if you drift aimlessly.

 2- You can find yourself neck deep in an ungodly “soul-tie.”

 3-You could find yourself up to your eyeballs in pornography.

So, how do we avoid drifting or a wandering mind..........

1-Use an anchor. Holy Spirit is our anchor and the more “closely attuned we are to Him” the sooner the rope becomes taunt and arrests or drift. As we listen to Him.

2- Keep your mind and attentions fixed on Jesus. Practice His presence in all you do. Every time you realize you are drifting, adjust your compass. I strongly recommend “Practicing His Presence” By Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach. A brief but, powerful read.

3- Get serious about renewing your mind. Romans 12:2. It is by the Renewing of the Mind that we are transformed! Maybe more on this later depending on the interest interest.

So, what's on your Mind?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Three musts to create a New Ending for your Life.........

Maybe you are not like me but, there are three words I have never wanted to be first in line to spout....”I was wrong”. Why is that so difficult especially for us as men? By the time you get to my age however, the pain will subside some and it will be “a little” easier. In my last post, Two Defining factors we talked about our Belief System and our Choices and the possibility of change. Today I want to share some insights from Andy Stanley’s book, “The Principle of The Path”. I read it back in 2009 and could not help thinking of it while writing the last post. Let me share some of Andy’s insight here.
So, here are three Musts to get on the right “Path”.
  •  Acknowledge where we are:
This is perhaps the most difficult. Geographically Speaking you can’t get to where you want to go unless you know where you are. You need a starting point! Life is no different. We must get honest with ourselves about where we are in order to begin a “Route recalculation.”
  •  We must make a choice:
Am I going to continue as a double minded man or change. Andy sites Proverbs 27:12 “Be cautious and hide when you see danger--don't be stupid and walk right into trouble” CEV. Now is the time to make that change. every day counts.We don't have to walk right into it...We can change!
  •  Ask yourself some hard questions:
“In light of my past experience, my present circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams, what’s the wise thing to do?” So, just stop for a minute. Take a deep breath, grab something to write, iPad. Legal pad etc.  The point is “Just Doit”. Start making an inventory of the Route Recalculations you need to make and before you get up, begin at least one. Well, assuming you have been honest and asked yourself the hard questions, I suppose you could call that the first step.

“The Principle of The Path” is a MUST Read!
But, don’t just read it, Study it well!

Let me remind you in parting,

“Nobody can start a new beginning but, anyone can start today and create a new ending.”

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Do you understand the Two most defining factors of life?

So, what are these two factors and why are they so important? Glad you asked!

I- First is what we believe. Not just what we “say” we believe but what we really believe.
A “Belief System” is something we all have. Some of us don’t even realize it but it is there. It is developed with time as we are growing from childhood. There are some good and bad aspects in all our Systems. Have you ever wondered why you do some things you really would rather not and yet, you can’t seem to change.....sounds like Romans 7. Well, the reason is that somewhere in that Belief System is something that registers with that behavior (more on that later).

II- Second is the choices we make. All of life is balanced on these two pillars. All our choices ultimately come from what we truly believe. Oh, you may at time make a choice that goes against it but in the final analysis they will not last just like in Romans 7. The world is full of people walking around who if asked would say, “I believe (              )”. The truth is however that if you watch long enough you will “see” that it is not really what they believe. James 1:8 speaks of being double minded. The Bible in Basic English puts it his way. “For there is a division in his mind, and he is uncertain in all his ways”. The underlying truth here is, if you in your Belief System have one position and try to “behave” in some way opposed to it, you are as the verse says double minded. And the behavior cannot be sustained. So you can see from my first point that the negative behavior is registered to something in the Belief System. This means simply that we will behave according to our Belief System.

I hope considering these two thoughts will have the same effect on you as they have for me. It first caused me to ask a couple of questions.

A- Is this terminal or can it be changed?

B- If it can indeed be changed, how do I change it?

You can breathe now.....No, it is not a terminal condition unless we choose to ignore it. And it can be changed if we are willing to do the work. In my next post we will talk about how to make the needed changes.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Six things to consider when someone says “I want to follow in your footsteps”

“I want to follow in his footsteps”. It was on Father’s Day after the service. Several of us stood talking when my grandson, Caeden came up really excited to share what he felt God was saying to him. He explained that his heart was burning to share what God was up to in his life by being His “delivery man”. He is nine by the way. Then he talked about Holy Spirit and went to a nearby water fountain to illustrate how He desires to flow through us. It was then he pointed to me and said  “And I want to walk in his footsteps”.

I am yet not sure what all went through my mind. I at once experienced more emotions than I am capable of digesting. These were indeed sobering words for me. Perhaps my most prominent thought was “where have I led him? What will his life be like if he does indeed follow in my footsteps?

So, here are six things I believe worth considering if someone is watching....

Paul told Titus in Chapter two some things to teach men.

1- The life of a man is to harmonize with what he says he believes. I am reminded to ask myself more often “am I harmonizing”?

2- The life of a man is to be temperate or in moderation. Not off every wall or whim. Steadfast, dependable.

3- The life of a man is to command respect. That doesn’t mean he is stiff and has no fun in life but, his life reflects the importance of what he says he believes.

4- The life of a man is to be ‘self-controlled’. A sensible man, known for sound judgment, speech and decisions. He lives by his own counsel.

5- The life of a man is to be sound in faith. Evidence of his trust in God should be readily seen in his life.

6- The life of a man should exhibit endurance. Not just physical endurance but spiritual endurance in the sunshine or the storms of life.

These are of course, not all that are important. They are some however, that I believe are important in my context and perhaps you will as well. I want to plan with great intentionality to finish well so that anyone who should track after me is not derailed because of my lack of attention to the important things of life.

Am I there yet? No! ...... Remember, I am a work in progress..............

What do you think is important?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Four things to do when Life is Out of Control..............

Life can seem so smooth and things tracking just like you have planned and then SUDDENLY, in the twinkling of an eye everything is out of control. Total chaos! What? What just happened? And you realize you were never really in control at all.

That’s just what happened to me two years ago in July. I went to get blood work for a routine checkup with my doctor. If you had asked, I would have told you I was forty. I felt great and Life was Good! However, the blood work revealed all was not well. It was some time before the Docs could figure out what was wrong....hate the unknown!
Turns out a strange blood disease was attacking my body. One that there is little known about, only shows up in every twenty to thirty thousand people.And there is NO cure. Enter a Great Storm! What? What just happened?

Reminds me of the passage in Mark 4:35-41 when Jesus and the disciples were on the sea of Galilee and a Great Storm arose. The boat was filling with water and sinking! What? What just happened here? Their response....Master don’t you care we are perishing! Ever felt that way? Maybe today? If not maybe tomorrow......

So, here are four things I am learning to do when Life is out of control?

I- Remember what He said in the beginning of the passage.

Verse 35 “Let us cross over to the other side”. There was no contingency or bail out plan. "They" / we are going over to the other side.

II- Remember, your eyes and ears will lie to you!

We see Jesus asleep as in our passage and think He is off the job. NOT! He is NEVER off the job! Hebrews 13:5 tells us “He will never leave or forsake us”.

III- Recall the trust, faith and passion you began the journey with.

Never give up in the dark of the storm what you embraced and believed in The Light! In verse 40, Jesus asked the question “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

IV- Pay attention to the end of the story.

Verse 39 “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be Still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm”.

Yes, theirs and ours is a Great Storm. However Jesus brings Great Calm. Just Run to Him in your storm. I am with you.......
Jesus calms the storm!
So, tell us about your storm.............

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Father's Day Experience

I had an awesome Father’s Day with my kids! Went to church with all of them at The Oasis in Loganville. As Pastor Tim Cash unpacked 1 Timothy 4:6-7 regarding Spiritual Fitness he said this “I see myself as a Life Coach”. I almost stood up in my seat and screamed. What if we had millions of Leaders like that???? And it gets better. I have had a flare up of the blood disease in the last couple of weeks...lots of Doctor stuff. There were half dozen people approached me and said “how are you? We have been praying for you” ...That included Pastor Tim. The others I did not even know and one great big guy named John grabbed me in a bear hug and said lets just pray right now. And Just when I thought it could not get any better my kids knowing I don’t wear ties, gave me a Swiss Army watch for Father’s Day......they also know I like to be on time. I am so Blessed!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Confessions of an older Dad............

I don’t know what your status may be. Maybe you are a Dad of some years, a younger Dad or maybe you are not a Dad. That would make you a son or daughter...sometimes the girls sneak and read the Masculine Soul and that’s OK.

I recently wrote about being a work in progress. There were times in my early years as a Dad that I was more a piece of work and lacking in the progress area. When my first son Rob, was born I was seventeen. That’s right seventeen....”so what was you plan as a Dad you may ask”. I did not know there was a plan and there was no one in my life to lead, mentor,disciple or even encourage me. I was almost twenty-one when Phillip came along...still no idea...

Yes, I did the best I could with what I had to work with but botched the job in many respects. As a result, though they never said it, they really could not wait to get out of dodge once they were old enough. There were several years that our relationship was shall we say less than what I would I have desired. As I began to finally realize my responsibility I launched a campaign to discover just where I had missed it. That led me to some face to face conversations where I had to say “I was so very wrong when I
( You can fill in this blank )  and I need to ask you to forgive me. Easier said than done I might add. And then again though, it was never said I think there was a sort of probation period for me. Oh, they heard what I said but I think they were waiting to see if I would live it. After several years we have a Great relationship now and enjoy each other immensely.    

So, why would I share this “stuff” with you. First to remind you that we are indeed a work in progress. If you are a younger Dad, ask God to teach you and to put someone in your life to encourage you and as a role model. But perhaps more importantly to urge you to cultivate that great relationship you have with your kids or with your Dad. And if you don’t have such a great relationship whether you are a Dad, a son or both or even a daughter young or old. I want to urge you in the strongest terms possible to pursue it. Get face to face with your Dad or that son or daughter or on the phone if necessary and ask or receive forgiveness. Express your love and begin working to build mutual respect. You will never regret it I haven’t.

Happy Fathers Day!

Here is a must read  book for Dads or sons!

Healing The Masculine Soul

By Gordon Dalbey

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Why “Just say “Stoppit” still does not work!

Because we work with people we are constantly confronted with the question “why can’t I just stop it”. Now you fill in the blank...stop what? What is it in your life that you have struggled with for perhaps years? You have prayed, promised and who knows what.....
Oh, it may have disappeared for a while but, at last, there it is a gain. So you begin to ask all kinds of questions like why doesn’t God change me? What am I doing wrong? You may have come to the place of asking what is wrong with me? Or you may have reached the place of believing there is something wrong with you. This often shows up as “I just must not be saved”. While this may be a possibility, it is most likely not the answer. And can only lead to a frustrated Christian life. The problem is more likely that you have been attempting the Christian life from a “Law Based” perspective.

Law says, you must not, you should not or just say “stoppit”.
I call this the Law of Prohibition:
A law or decree that forbids. “Opposed to Grace”
Laws by nature tend to be negative “Do Not”. Any Law we establish as an “I will not” causes us to “focus” on the “negative” or issue whatever it may be. It magnifies and increases my desire for (you fill it in) by activating the Power of Focus. The continual struggle to “stop” or “refrain From” in fact makes it my “Dominant Thought”. We only get what we want, not what we don’t want.
So, how is that working for you?
The answer is found in Galatians 5:16
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh”

Have you experienced this?
Leave a comment........

Suggested Reading:

Classic Christianity 
By: Bob George

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Warning! Feelings Buried Alive Never Die

Fifty years ago industrialists thought they could just bury toxic waste and it would lie safely and quietly forever. We have since learned it doesn't just lie there. It causes all sorts of problems. Oh, it may take a while before it shows up but it will. It begins to eat away on whatever “safe” container it may have been placed in. Eventually a “meltdown” will occur contaminating water, crops, and the soil. Left unattended it can cause disease or even death to animals and humans. Feelings Buried Alive react much the same way. They never die! And “Self” is simply not equipped to handle them.

Some of the feelings we attempt to bury alive are guilt, (real or imagined), anger, resentment, inferiority, loss, rejection, worthlessness, insecurity and the list goes on. We typically try to bury them in one of two places. I am really not sure which is most popular, the mind or emotions. The truth is, neither is a good place for such storage. Any attempt to keep Feelings buried Alive will result in a meltdown. We often see on containers (batteries for example) must be disposed of properly. Burying feelings Alive is NOT proper disposal. Meltdown usually begins in the mind or emotions but will eventually find it’s way into the body. The mind, emotions and will comprise the soul. The soul works like a link between the spirit and the body. When Toxic Waste contaminates the path from spirit to body through the soul, it hinders communication from God. That hindrance of flow from spirit to body can result in emotional disorientation, mental fog, a false perception of life in general, destruction of interpersonal relationships, various types of acting out and a multitude of physical symptoms.

Proper disposal? More on that later..........

Suggested reading:

Handbook to Happiness
By: Charles Solomon

Monday, May 30, 2011

Are you a Work in Progress?

Do not believe the false rumor circulating about me........
Just because I have been quiet for a while does not mean that I am "dead" or even considering it. Though, it is inevitable if Jesus does not come. What is true however is that I have not arrived and do not have it all together or even “pretty well together”. I am indeed a work in progress.....And, I’am back......

Are you a Work in Progress?

Why is it that men especially seem to be afraid to admit we don’t have it all together? That we are not the best husband, father, son, friend or man or even blogger. We somehow believe we must wear a mask to conceal what we really believe and feel about ourselves. Which by the way is where we form our identity.

Maybe you are like me, you really don’t have it all together. Take this Blog for instance, I am having a hard time being consistent posting. Does that mean I am not ok? Does it mean I am not a good husband etc? No, it just means I really don’t have it all together and I am a work in progress. “Progress”, I like the sound of that. But, because we are afraid of what our wife, our friends, our children or other men or those who read this blog may think of us.....We sometimes wear that mask to cover our true and deepest beliefs and feelings.
I considered saying blah, blah, blah regarding the blog but I finally just ripped off my mask and  decided on "I just don't have it all together instead. 

The two main ingredients of life are what we believe and the choices we make. So help me here, am I the only man who drags this mask out sometimes or do I have company? Let me hear what you think....”believe”. Join me so we can continue to make some “Progress” together.....

Here is a book that has been a real help to me:

Also see my posts on self-talk

What did I just say to myself?

“Telling yourself the Truth”
 By William Backus

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Could you be a Victim of Identity Theft?

Are you a victim of Identity Theft? Would you even be aware if you had been victimized?
What makes Identity Theft so devastating is the fact it is a Crime of Deception and it can be a long time before you even realize you are a victim. Because Identity Theft unlike being robbed, attacked or burglarized is a crime that is not readily detected it can be far more damaging and costly. it is during that all critical period of time while you are unaware that the damage is done. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes of our society. Over 10 million persons per year are victims of identity theft. And it can happen even to those who think they are safe and protected from it. Are you a victim?

When your identity is stolen you can suffer many different types of loss. There is financial loss, emotional stress, enormous amounts of time lost in restoring and recovering, relationships can be disrupted and sometimes people are even imprisoned falsely due to identity theft.

I want us to think today about a different Identity Theft. Satan, the enemy of our souls is a Master of Deception. In fact, that is the only “tool” in his bag. But, hear me loud and clear he is out to steal our identity. you see when we came to faith in Christ we received a new nature, a new Identity. Our old man is dead according to Romans 6:6. We are new creatures and the “Old” is gone according to II Corinthians 5:17. We have been made the righteousness of God. According to II Peter 1:4 we are partakers of His divine nature. And yes the abundant life has been made available to us according to John 10:10 along with the peace of God that passes all understanding Philippians 4:7.

The problem is many who have come to faith in Christ are victimized by Identity Theft. They in fact, are not enjoying the above benefits of being “In” Christ but, have been deceived by “churchianity” and religion. Being deceived, they believe a half gospel that promises a trip to Heaven in the future but falls short of a life of sure Identity and peace in the here and now. Stop now and ask yourself if you are the victim of Identity Theft. Jesus on The Cross identified Himself with us and we Identify ourselves with Him through baptism. Reflect on the verses above and ask yourself if you are being deceived. It was about twenty years into my walk when I realized my Identity had been “hacked” and I was not experiencing the Life depicted in John 10:10 and Galatians 2:20. How bout you?

Suggested reading:
“The Rest of the Gospel”
By Dan Stone and Greg Smith 

A note for Ladies only:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What to say when you talk to yourself............

Since negative Self Talk can be so devastating and so many men struggle with this phenomenon I thought it might be good to offer some Truth to combat the lies. Below are several types of negative self talk to help in identifying your particular type. The enemy wants to deceive you in any of the following areas and cripple you by believing his lies.

  He wants us to feel inferior, inadequate or insecure
  He wants you to feel worthless or without value
  He wants you to be paralyzed by what you feel others think of you.

You might call this developing positive Self Talk. This is not the “pop Psychology” type “positive.” This is the Positive Self Talk that comes from understanding our true identity in Christ. This identity for the believer of course, begins at The the moment of salvation. Unfortunately however, many are in reality identified with Christ but, are still believing the lies of the deceiver. We are told in scripture that it is The Truth that sets us free.

John 8:31-32
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ESV
So, if we are to overcome the lies and enjoy the freedom of Positive Self Talk, we will need to abide in His word.

Here are some suggestions regarding “what to say when you talk to yourself”.......

Ephesians. 1:5          I have been adopted as God's child.
Romans. 8:35ff        I cannot be separated from the love of God.
Colossians.3:3         I am hidden with Christ in God.
John 1:12                 I am God's child.
Ephesians. 2:6         I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm.
Ephesians. 2:10       I am God's workmanship.
Philippians 4:13       I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

These verses are only a small part of the Truth of God regarding our identity in Christ. I hope they will be enough to stir your interest in digging into the scripture to discover the depths of our true identity.
You might want to consider reading  the following books:

Classic Christianity by Bob George
Handbook to Happiness by Charles Solomon


Saturday, February 26, 2011

What did I just say to myself?

Did you know we are talking to ourselves all the time. No, it is not out loud, but it is there none the less. It is like a faint buzz just below our level of consciousness most of the running beneath the radar. At other times however, it seems to explode like someone screaming in our ear. This is why it is so important for us to  acknowledge it’s reality. The next step is to begin identifying it. It is most noticeable when we feel we have failed at something, screwed up “again” or failed at something “again”. There are many triggers for it and we don’t all experience them the same way. This phenomenon is called “Self Talk” and is very Real.  For those who are unaware, it can be the source of tons of Grief in your life.  In the next post or two we will discuss this further. Self Talk can also be Positive and is actually a Great friend when it is Positive.

Below are some tips to help in identifying our unique “Self Talk”.

  Stop! ..... Listen! What are you saying to yourself? The best time to listen may be when you feel you have just screwed something up “again” or failed at something “again”.  

 Is this the first time you have been aware of if? Realizing that it is happening is a huge step.

 What did you say to yourself? It is important to pay attention to what you are saying.

 Was it positive or negative?

The vast majority of self talk is negative. For this reason, can be one of our greatest enemies. It is part of a greater deception we will uncover and discuss in a later post.

Looking forward to seeing you next week and meanwhile....
“What are you saying to yourself”?


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Are you an Alpha Male.......

The term Alpha Male has different meanings to different people or groups. For the sake of our conversation and context “Alpha Male” represents the man who is or aspires to nurture and develop the leader in him. The characteristics we are going to talk about today are not meant to be all inclusive but simply some food for thought. For some of you they will seem a “no-brainer” but for others of you they may seem unattainable. The “take away” from this post is simply to approach life with your personal best as a man, as a son, a husband, a leader or whatever your current role in life happens to be. 

So what are some of those characteristics or traits we might aspire to make part of our lives? I will mention only four here and they are Not in order of importance. In fact I would say that the order of importance will surface for you as you process them and look in “your personal mirror” related to each one. Maybe it would be helpful for you to prioritize them and work on them as you see need in your own life.

 He values others:
One of his important traits is that he values and respects others, men and women alike. He will recognize your achievements and successes. He will acknowledge your input in conversation, relationship or business. While he may at times appear aloof or uninterested, he is none the less focused and listening.....he hears you. In short, it’s just not all about him!

 He speaks with confidence:
While many struggle to speak, pray etc in a group, to another male they may feel threatened by or even to his mate (before whom he may feel inadequate) the Alpha Male exudes confidence. He speaks succinctly, deliberately. He knows he will be heard.

 He is not defensive:
Because he is confident and comfortable in his own skin, he feels no need to vie for the approval of others or to defend his words or actions. When questioned he will answer wisely and softly.

 In a leadership vacuum, he will fill it:
Some men walk into a room filled with people or even a relationship and look around to find the “Alpha Person” and immediately fall in line to follow. They sometimes feel insecure and inadequate when in a situation with a leadership vacuum. Not so with the Alpha. When he enters the room, he becomes one of the leaders if not the leader. He may even have people think he is “The Leader” or address him as though he were even when he is not. He just has presence.

So, the “take away” from this post is simply to approach life with your personal best as a man, as a son, a husband, a leader or whatever your current role in life happens to be. 


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Life Style Goals for 2011

Reason escapes me as to why it is at the end of an old year or the beginning of a new one that so many people seemingly “out of the blue” just realize that their lives are out of control and something must be done. Not only must something be done, it must done NOW! So what do we do? Oh, we run around like our hair is on fire (usually on New Year’s Eve to make a list of “Resolutions” for the New Year. I am certain if someone from another planet observed this phenomenon they would be very amused at the strange behavior and with great haste make it back to their spaceship.  Webster defines Resolution as “a firm decision to do or not do something”. Now, assuming you can find or remember your list from 2010...Does this definition sound remotely like what you did? Now you are thinking ok, what’s your point? I thought you would never ask. The point is, most Resolutions don’t end well and rarely resemble Webster’s definition. So, what are some specific reason for failed “Resolutions”? There are of course, many but the following are some of the most common:

1- Spur of the moment ideas...The wheel squeaking loudest. Like maybe you “just 
    realized” you don’t have a pair of pants you can comfortably button.
2- Failing to understand how to set and actually reach a goal.
3- Failing to follow the plan. No Plan is any better than the person executing it.

So, lets talk about how we can succeed. This may even mean you ditch the list you just made or do some serious surgery on it. Before we talk about some positive steps, let’s look at some of the most common Resolutions Men make.

1- Loose Weight
2- Get fit
3- Get a Physical
4- Stop a bad habit
5-Begin some new habit
6- Improve relationships

I choose to call this Life Style Goal Setting rather than “Resolutions”. Here are several tips on “finishing well”.

1- Understand that Long-Term Change is what we are talking about. When you begin with the typical New Year’s Resolution mindset you are setting yourself for failure from the beginning. I think you will agree that your first or early thought after hearing someone say NYR is “That didn’t work”. So we must change our mindset.
2- Understand that change begins in my mind is huge. This is why there is so much emphasis in scripture on renewing the mind. So, change that mindset and begin with the end in mind.
3- Remember that goals must be Realistic, Measurable and they must be written. There is much more that could be said here but perhaps later. If you have difficulty setting goals click on this link for a handy free tool. Goal Enforcer may be just the tool you need. to help. I would love to hear your thoughts and progress as you work on your Life Style Goals.