Tag Archives: Always Forward

A New Year…A Renewed Focus

Happy New Year!

It just seems like yesterday that we were starting 2014, and now we’re in the full swing of 2015 already.  The days just go so quickly especially with so much we have going on in our lives.  I know I was quite on this blog through the last few months of 2014.  I love to write, but I always need that inspiration, something that really sparks my thinking and gets things flowing.  I tend to get those times where writing just slows for a bit.  Guess it comes in waves.  I will say that through the last few months I was able to enjoy some great time with my family.  We got to spend time in the woods hunting, although, no harvest this year, still times that was well worth it all.  At the end of the year, I was able to take my family on one final getaway to the Gulf Coast to close out 2014 and ring in the New Year!  It was a great time.

So now we move into 2015. What next?  For a lot of us, it is time of resolution.  A time where we decide this is what I going to do differently this year.   It could be exercising more (You can always tell when New Year roles around at my gym), eating better, quit a habit like smoking, going to church more, or any of a number of other things people resolve for.  As we all know, the hardest part is keeping those resolutions.  Like I said, my gym is always jam packed at New Years for a couple of weeks, then it fades back to us regulars again.  For me personally, I tend to stay away from resolutions at New Years.  They sound great, but I just don’t think much of them anymore.

I would challenge everyone to shoot for something.  Resolve to have a revolution in your life (spiritually, mentally, and physically).  My pastor is talking on these lines currently.  Revolution is defined – To engage in effecting change in ways of thinking and life altering behavior. To Transform.  I would challenge that our spiritual lives are in need of revolution more than anything.  We live in a society that is blind.  A false tolerance society that is aimed squashing out the Christian faith and silencing those that proclaim the name of Jesus Christ.  It’s all over the world.  I can feel it now as I write this.  My heart knows what to say, but I have the enemy hammering me trying to change my direction.  That’s the way this world is working now and we need a revolution to stand strong in our faith and be bold in proclaiming the Good News.

3 weeks from today I will be taking a journey to Colorado to attend a Wild At Heart Boot Camp.  Locally, I am making the point to be more intentional in my faith and how I lead and guide my family in the faith.  I have been working at this for the last few years and I learn more with each day that passes.  The Boot Camp is another way I am arming myself both in my time with God preparing for a battle that I know I need to engage in.  We all in the faith are called to engage in this fight for God’s Glory.  To be bold in our faith and help lead others toward Christ and away from this world as well as from the fog of religion that has pulled a thick veil over  the eyes of people.

Stay with on me this a moment.  Y’all remember  the moment Christ died on the cross, what happened in the temple?  The veil was torn that separated people from God in the Holy of Hollies.  Who did that?  God himself.  He tore the veil as the door was now open through Christ and we were saved through God’s undeserved grace.  Jesus constantly battled the religious as they were twisted in their man made way of thinking.  But what has happened today in the church.  Religion has happened.  Across the Christian Faith, religion is taking root and pulling up a man made veil, separating us from God again.  You can’t deny it, it’s all over.  Rules, dress codes, regulations, man made dogmas.  So much false religion.  In Beautiful Outlaw, John Eldredge wrote, “The spirit of our day is a soft acceptance of everything – except deep conviction in anything. This is where Jesus will suddenly confront the world as a great rock confronts the river flowing ever downhill. He is immovable…Christianity is not a set of convictions – it is a truth. The most offensive thing imaginable. ”

There is so much I need to do and need to learn to do better as a believer.  I know what thing to be true.  God loves me.  He loves me so much that he came of flesh in Jesus, sneaking behind enemy lines and suffered and died to save me from wherever I was all my sin.  He rose from death and defeated the grave so that we can be made new and now have a pathway to eternal life through Christ.  It’s so awesome.  I can only hope to love God and love Jesus even a fraction of as much as he loved me and all of us.

My renewed focus this year is to focus on just loving God the Father, loving Jesus, and loving the Holy Spirit.  Letting every part of me be covered and renewed in the Father.  Not let religion and the world cloud me but to be an authentic man, without the fig leaf and be who God created me to be.  The battle is just beginning and it ‘s not going to be easy.  I arm myself everyday through intimacy and time with God.  I pray that you will be able to let God open your heart to him as well and let a revolution take place in your life wherever he is leading you.

I pray for a blessed New Year for all of you!

Rest From Life’s Distractions and Noises

I feel like it has been forever since I last wrote anything.  These last two month’s have been so full that it has pulled me away from my writing.  We all face those times where we are just so jammed up and full of activities and work in our lives that we don’t take those times for ourselves and our personal focus and attention to our life and faith.  We get so busy that even though we try to keep ourselves on point, it gets very difficult to to.

As an example, I have a daily habit of spending time in Scripture and prayer and then keeping my prayer journal to reflect on what I read and on my day and whatever thoughts come around for that day to reflect on.  I have been in Scripture everyday for the past 3 years or so and started journaling at the start of this year.  The last couple of month’s however, I noticed something.  I was not writing everyday.  I still read Scripture everyday, but I was not writing.  I would just brush this off as if there was just not much to write on that day, but there was more to it.  It came to head in the last week or so.  I really started to realize that my mind and life had been so jammed up and filled with noise that I could not focus enough to write anything.  Case in point, I have not written on this blog since early August right before a business trip to Colorado.

Since then, my work has been absolutely crazy, my poor wife was in the hospital in early September and of course kids activities for the fall have just kept so many distractions up.  I am not complaining, but what I realized is that I was letting so much noise get in my head, that my heart was not as focused on my faith as it should be and on ensuring my mind and my heart were clear and focused.

Our worlds are full of chaos and noise.  What I have come to realize is that through it all, we have to take time for ourselves to rest and refocus.  Get away from the craziness or life in some way to get reconnected with God in your life and with your family.  What’s the safety tip always given on an airplane if the oxygen masks come down?  Always secure your mask before helping others.    We have to make sure we take that time to ensure we are taken care of ourselves, otherwise it makes everything else that much harder.

I’m going to write more about this later, but this past weekend, my sons and I went on our first deer hunt together.  It was not long, but we spent about 5 hours in our deer blind Saturday morning. What a great time it was for us.  We got just hang out, but what else I loved was just sitting there and looking around.  Listening to the trees in the breeze, watching squirrels and a raccoon running around and the couple of deer we saw come up in range of our bows, but not where we could shoot this time around.  I was in complete awe of the beauty of it all.  This is all God’s creation that He saw was good.  It is absolute beauty.  There were no other worries other than just taking it all in.

I’m to chronicle our hunts on another blog really soon, but I just had to share this because, this was what really opened my eyes again.  I felt like I was reconnecting with God.  Just as I am when I sent in solitude on the beach, I felt the same way sitting in silence in the woods on a crisp Fall morning.  I realized I need to ensure I take those times to just reconnect.  It certainly helped me refocus myself.  While the busy life will always be there with work and 3 kids and my beautiful wife, I know I need those moments to give my heart and my mind the rest it needs to press that reset button and ensure I don’t lose sight of my God and all that He has created me for and all that He is in my life and that I stay connected with Him fully which helps me stay connected with my family and everything else even better.

Good to be back writing again.  I’ve certainly missed it these past couple months.

The Road Less Traveled

I’m sure you all have heard of the famous Robert Frost poem, “The Road not Taken.”  A part we always here is as follows:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
 

There is so much in this related to the path we travel in our faith and how we draw closer to God and where He is leading us in life.  Each of us have a different path we take through life and have to make different choices along the way about which direction to go.  What often gets missed is which path God wants you go down.  Rather people see where the world is leading and tells them they should go and they take that road.

I always remember growing in Sunday School classes hearing about taking the rocky and dangerous road to God or the gold paved path to the Devil.  That is such a real thing for us.  It’s very easy to say, I want to take the way everyone says I should go.  I’m going to jump into this career, I’m going to live here, I’m going to attend this college.  All because it’s what’s expected of them.  It seems like the easy path to success.  It always makes it easy for you to drawn closer to things of this world that are not closer to God.  It can draw you to easy indulgence and sin in any number of areas and can bring about addictions that are hard to shake because they make you feel good about yourself.  All the while down this path you fade further away from God.

Then there is the other road.  The one less traveled by.  This one hits a number of bends and curves and obstacles along the way.  People like to shy away from this path, because it seems so difficult.  For 20 years of my life, I shied away from it.  This is the path that leads to closer intimacy with God.  It is not an easy path by any means and the world will pull you back time and again to go the straight and narrow.  We have to make a choice in life, however of which road we will take.

One thing that many people will not do, which pulls them away from the winding path, is to trust God.  So often throughout God’s word, we are shown were God went out of ahead of His people.  He helped lead them to victory when they trusted and put their faith in Him.  In my Scripture reading today, it talked about David defeating Goliath and how he put his full faith in God to help him prevail.  Jesus went out ahead of His disciples as well and went ahead of us to prepare a place at the wedding feast.  It is shown time again through God’s Word.

What does that tell you?  Quite simply, you should put your full faith and trust in God.  He will be there and will always move out ahead of you if you put your faith and trust in Him.  Doesn’t mean the path will be easy.  Like I mentioned, you will face obstacle after obstacle along the path.  The world and Satan will constantly try to trip you up.  You have to fully surrender and trust where God is leading you.

Trust me, it took me a long time to come to this realization.  I followed the more expected path, other than getting married at 18 and starting my family so young.  But I went to college and started a career.  All the while, I was not letting God lead me.  Now I get it.  God is leading me on a wild adventure right now.  It is filled with twists and turns, but it is so awesome to able to draw closer to His heart each day.  Also getting to share my testimony and use that to testify to all of you about where He is leading me.  I don’t know how far He’s going to take me.  Could stay local, or this thing could go national or global.  I don’t know.  I don’t expect anything in return, but just trust in where He is leading me and leading me to share my story and the Good News of Jesus Christ.

I hope y’all will stay with me on this journey as we see where it goes. It’s going to be quite a ride.  Sure the world will get in my way.  It often does, but I am thankful I get to take the road less traveled to pave to hopefully lead others to Christ and to jump on the less traveled road themselves.

Having Faith in Where God is Leading You

Have you ever had those moments where you felt like you were called to do something radical and different?  You sat and pondered the idea and felt like it was something you needed to act on.  Then in the midst of preparation and putting that idea together and bringing it to life you fall back and start having thoughts pulling against you.  Thoughts that may the result of fear and anxiety over what you are about to do and then quiet often, fear over what others might think of it.  Then you start to question your own motives and often questioning God’s motives and wonder if you can really go through with it and where He may be calling to go.

I’ve definitely had those moments.  Many of you saw my last post “My Faith Testimony,” where I stood in front of the camera for the first time and shared with everyone my personal faith testimony and journey of how I came to building a relationship with God and Jesus Christ.  Those reading my blog will know that I first posted about this idea over a month ago.  I knew that was going to be a big moment for me and faith journey and knew God was leading me to take that step.  Over the last month, time and time again, I questioned myself and even prayed if this was what God really wanted me to do.  It would pull me away from the idea and took me some time to finally get up in front of the camera to do it.

What you don’t know, is that it took three efforts of recording to finally get it to where I wanted.  After the first time through I was so caught up in critiquing myself and was so scattered that I almost scrapped the idea.  I felt throughout the days after that something was trying to stop me and I started thinking very negative about it.  After a few days of prayer and discussion with my wife, I was motivated again and trusted that God was leading me down the right path.  Since posting, I realized that it was the right thing.

Sharing my story and journey took a lot of guts for me.  I am quite the introvert.  Very reserved and am not one that goes out to seek attention and conversation.  God was telling me that I needed to take a giant leap of faith though.  I realized from this that when He is calling on you to do something new and big, you just have to trust Him.  Trust where God is leading you and have faith in the results.  I don’t do any of this, writing or the videos for my own sake and glory.  For me it is all about God.  It is all about drawing closer to God’s heart and helping to lead people to draw closer to God as well.

The enemy will try every way he can to stop you.  That is where the doubts and fears come from.  You begin to worry about what the world will say if you answer that call; if you make that big change or do the task thrown before you.  You start to stress about potential consequences and start hearing conflicting thoughts in your own head.  I dealt with those same thoughts.  I often deal with those thoughts when I write too.  That feeling of hesitancy before hitting the button to publish.

Simply put, trust in God.  Have faith in where He is leading you.  Have the confidence to take the leap.   You’re going to always have naysayers.  You’re going to always contend with some kind of negative trying to slow you down or prevent you from doing what your being called to do.  Spend time in prayer.  Listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  Know that God is using you for His purpose and have faith that your efforts draw you closer to Him.  Give God all the glory.  The results may not always be what you expect, but trust what God expects and what He’s doing.

You have a choice in it all.  God gave us that will to make the choice.  He knows where He wants to move, but we have to decide if we follow where He leads or go our own way and where the world tells us.  Have faith in Him.  Saint Augustine said, “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”  Your faith will bring about great reward in the end.  Hold tight to that.

Re-Focus Yourself for His Purpose

I hope that every one of you is off to a great start in 2014.  I know I have been away for a few weeks as I took time to focus more on my family and our time which has pulled me away from writing.  As my first post of the year, I really wanted to write something that was impactful and really set to the tone for what you can expect from me and my writing this year and going forward.  When I first began this blog at the end of 2012, the primary focus for me was what I could do and build to make life more fulfilling for me and my family.  As the year and my writing evolved and through my time in scripture each day that focus began to shift as it still seemed that something was missing.  Later in 2013, the writing really began to get shift in focus to bring faith further to the forefront and discovering what God has called us to do.

I want to begin 2014 with a renewed focus in my writing and helping each of you that read my writing with the goal of discovering God’s purpose for you.  You see, before, it was more on what could I do for myself to help achieve what felt to be the purpose, but where it needs to be is what was I created for and what do I need to do to fulfill the reason I am here and was created.  In my daily reading this morning, it began with this, “Joy comes from seeing the complete fulfillment of the specific purpose for which I was created and born again, not from successfully doing something on my own choosing.”  This is from “My Utmost for His Highest,”  We all struggle with this in life and it can sometimes take time to find that purpose, but if first takes turning to God.  We cannot EVER do this on our own.  We need Him through it all.  It’s not about what we want, but what He wants from us.

Sitting in church these past couple of weeks, my Pastor’s teaching has been focused Purpose and what is that purpose.  What and opportune time for that message and I can certainly hear God talking to me through Him more as I refocus and hone in my real purpose.  Yesterday, the message was very clear.  Our personal mission in life is as follows: What I believe God wants me to do? Hebrews 11:1-8
To worship God with all that I have – Abel
To walk with God in a manner that is pleasing to HIM – Enoch
To work along side God as he gives me assignments – Noah
To witness the works of God – Abraham

What a powerful message!  This is something we have to work at everyday, but the primary reason God has created us is worship Him, walk with Him, work with Him where he assigns, and to witness His works.  It doesn’t get much simpler than though.  Don’t listen to what the world thinks you should do, return to God and listen to Him through The Word, through fellowship with others, and through prayer.  He has that plan for you and will reveal that to you.  You just have to act on it.

We all have unique gifts and abilities that we are blessed with.  God will use those abilities and our experiences in life to be able to fulfill His purpose for us.  For me, large part is to continue writing to you to witness to you from my life experiences to show how much God loves us and works through us and how the redemption through Christ works through us.  He has been working wonders in my life these last few years.  Drawing me closer and closer to Him as I walk with Him each day.  We all have trials and tragedies of different kinds in life, but God uses those to work through us and bring us closer to Him and that’s what He’s doing in my life and will through yours.

If you struggle with your purpose in life, return to scripture and prayer.  That is the first step to unlocking what it is you were truly made for.  Don’t listen to what the world thinks.  Don’t be complacent.  God is calling on each of us and has a unique purpose for each one of us if we choose to accept it.  Let’s all begin this focus today if you have not already.  Turn to Him and I promise you, that you will see amazing things through Him.  Trials will still come as the world and the evil of Satan tries to engulf you.  That won’t end, but you can be strong and give it up to God, nail your struggles to the Cross and push forward to what you were made for.  Never settle, because God has a plan for each one of us.

Returning to Your True Father

As I have written about many times, I have been on a long spiritual growth journey these last few years.  It has taken me through ups and downs as I’ve learned more about myself and my calling in life.  A big part of that journey is also dealing with the kind of father I want to be and how the influence of my Dad molded my beliefs and direction.   It all correlates to the how I relate to my family (my wife and kids) and how I am now guided through life.

As I shared last month, my life took a wild turn 4 years ago when I lost my Dad suddenly in a car accident.  I struggled with that for some time as I tried to find answers and a sense of purpose in life now that the one person I thought was invincible and a giant in my life had now been called home and stepped into eternity.  It was all so sudden and how to move from that was quite a challenge.

I then shared with you my spiritual journey from there and how I buried my self in scripture everyday to get my life back in order and regain purpose.  This journey began about 3 years ago and has been amazing.  My walk with the Lord everyday has helped me grown immensely as a man.  I recently finished a book called “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge and now reading his next booked “Fathered by God.”  These readings have helped give me better perspective about my purpose as a man created in God’s image and my real purpose in life.  It has helped me to understand that in life we all have wounds that we have to deal with and learn to accept and overcome.  As a man I am called to live the life of a warrior now for God to stand and fight for His Kingdom and be bold in my beliefs and how I share my testimony with all of you.

As I’ve written before, I recognized that the tragedies that are put in front of us are a part of the plan that God puts before us to help us return to him.  That is how I came to grips with my Dad’s death.  He was called home suddenly, but it was a call to return to God.  It is up to us, however to recognize that calling and then find our way back to Him.

Yesterday while reading “Fathered by God”  I came to another realization about God’s plan and purpose for each of us.  My Dad was an amazing man.  He guided my growth even through times where I was an idiot and his influence helped me through the challenges of my teenage years and early adult years in how I dedicated myself to my family and made sure that I was always there for my wife and children.

When I lost my Dad however, I felt I lost that influence.  Who do I turn to now?  Who can I confide in and seek out for guidance as I continue to grow.  At 35 years old, I’m not close to done growing.  The answer came to is that while I lost my earthly Dad, I now had to turn my true Father.  My creator, my redeemer, and my sustainer.  He is the one that I now had to turn to for my guidance and my continued growth to live my existence in God’s image.  I am still an unfinished man and have a great deal more to go.  My time spent immersing myself in God’s Word has become my time to turn now to my Father for my continued growth.  My Dad, Rocky, brought me a long way, and now God is there bring me the rest of the way.  I turn to God for his guidance, Jesus for his salvation, and the power of Holy Spirit.  That is what I now have to bring me through life and to live out my purpose, fully alive in God.  The Glory of God is Man Fully Alive!

So what does this mean for you, especially you men out there who are wondering through life unsure of yourself or who to turn to.  I can testify that we are ALL meant to turn to our True Father.  He is the one that created us and is the the true end of all things.  Turn to scripture and I promise you that the Word of God WILL bring you a long way.  If you allow yourself to open up to God and the Good News, I promise you that your life will forever change.  He has brought me so far these last few years, since I fully turned to Him.  As I said, I have a long way to go still, but I am so thankful that I still have my Father to turn to.  He will never abandon us and will bring us through any storm we come across in life.  He will give you the strength to battle the evil one and sustain you through.  All we have to do is return to Him.

4 Years in the Whirlwind

I have not taken the time to write as much as I would like these last few months.  A few blog posts here and there, but as often happens to us, life and priorities get in the way.  This morning, however, I felt compelled to make sure I wrote something new.  I’ve mentioned this some in my writing and its definitely something that has taken precedence in my book.  4 years ago today, on October, 13, 2009, my entire family and I were tossed into what I call, the whirlwind.  On that day, we lost my Dad after a terrible rush hour accident that claimed his life and two of his co-workers, with injuries to six more of his co-workers.  It was a day we never imagined would happen and dealing with that tragedy was something we never thought we would have to deal with.  We were forced to come to terms with a lot from dealing with our own struggles of faith in why this happened, to dealing with the person that set this event rolling by an act of stupidity.  It was an emotional roller coaster that still plays out to this day.

In dealing with this tragedy, I have had to come to terms with a lot in my own life.  First, the loss of my Dad in such a tragic way, profoundly scarred me and sent me into a dark shadow for many, many months.  I tried to find my way through my faith, but honestly, it was not strong enough yet.  For some time, I did not think a thing else in life mattered.  If something like this could happen to someone like my Dad, who was a wonderful man of God, and an awesome Father, what was the point of things.  I was not angry at God, but I just did not know what to make of it all.

After the first year or so, I began to refocus my life and worked to really make sense of all of the emotions I’ve had to deal with.  I have a wife and children that depend on me and I knew that I could not spend my life dealing like that.  I began to read more books related to faith and then finally found my way to the Word of God.  I made it a point to read every single day.  I knew that through God’s word I could find the answers I was looking for in life and a way to make sense of all of of the emotions I dealt with from this tragedy.

Through this journey, I have learned the power that forgiveness has.  I’ve learned that despite the anger I have for the one that set this whirlwind in motion, I knew that forgiving was one of the only ways to release that anger.  It freed me from the burden of constantly worrying about this guy and was a huge step to move forward.  From there, I learned to simply surrender to God’s will.  To let him take control of my life and understand that He is in control and has a purpose for everything we deal with in life.

So what of this purpose?  What does it all mean?  Truth be told, my brother, Rob, said it best at my Dad’s funeral when he said that we may never know all of the answers until we go to meet God face-to-face.  I do however think there is a reason that has been revealed now.  We often hear the question of why God allows these terrible things to happen.  The purpose of it all is quite simple actually.  These tragedies are are allowed as they bring us back to God.  Often times people stray away.  I’m know exception, but through tragedy, many times people find there way back to God as they search for their own answers.  This was no exception.  I sometimes think that God looked at Dad, knowing he already had a devoted son, and this was a way to grab the attention of the rest of us.

We all deal with tragedies in different ways.  The bottom-line however is that through any tragedy in life, if we surrender and turn to God and find redemption through Christ, there is nothing we cannot overcome.  Nothing is impossible through Him.  Let Him take control.  We will always go through all of the pain and emotions that come with any tragedy, but know that God loves you through all of that.  He is there with you and waiting for you to turn to Him and I promise you, that you will find the healing and the power you need.  He is so Awesome!  If I did not have Him to turn to, I don’t know were I would be now, 4 years later.  I certainly would not be here writing this.  His love and His healing is so real, if you choose to seek it out, surrender, and let Him take hold of your life.

Thank you for reading.  I am closing today with this little prayer that you can say just help on your own journey.  God Bless you all!

Father, thank you who you are and for continuing to love us everyday.  Help us to love you and love each other more and more each day through all of the events of life. Thank you for the redemption we have through your son Jesus Christ.  Guide us each day as we learn to seek you more and let you take hold of our lives.  In Christ’s name – Amen

Dad and me Christmas 2008