Tag Archives: faith

Giving God Your ‘Yes’

Last weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to spend a weekend with ministry allies.  It was a weekend filled with men who were moving on the same mission God has led me and lead ministry movements in different capacities.  It was such fruitful time of getting to have good conversation with like-hearted men and even get an opportunity to reflect with God on where I am in my own journey personally and in this mission of going after the hearts of others.

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As I think back over this weekend and getting to hear from men from different backgrounds, including men like Michael Thompson, who authored The Heart of a Warrior and Gary Barkalow, who authored It’s Your Call.  Yes, I name dropped a little.  What was stirred in my heart is these are men that did a simple, yet very difficult thing for many of us.  Each of us have given God our “Yes.”  So many of us were compelled at one point or another, many from the Wild at Heart Boot Camps and also The Heart of a Warrior Encounters.  They were compelled to do something; to go after the hearts of others.

Think about this for a minute.  Have you given God your ‘Yes.’  There is a calling on every one of our lives to allow this world to feel the full weight of who we are as image bearers of God.  So often, we live our lives uncertain of where we are and what we are doing.  We may hear God calling us out, but we are afraid to move.  Giving him your ‘Yes’ doesn’t mean your going to go through a career change and move to full-time ministry.  What it means is that you are willing to step-up and step-out into a life with God, following wherever he may lead, allowing God to begin train you up as his son or daughter, and no matter where you are step into the fight for the hearts of others.  We are all, ALL, commanded to be in this fight in some way.

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If you’ve been reading my posts these last years, you know a little bit of my own story to say “Yes.”  It began 4 years ago this month.  For the first 36 years of my life I was uncertain of myself, I was disoriented and not sure of where I was going.  In January 2015, I was asked by God, yes God spoke to me, if I would be willing to follow Him into the unknown and trust Him fully.  While snowshoeing at 10,000 feet, I looked over the valley and surrounding snow covered mountains and gave God my ‘Yes.’

From that moment, that day, it was on.  First, I was compelled to come home and do something.  I could not stay disengaged anymore.  God began to train me

and grow me in ways I never expected.  I also made it a commitment to no longer walk through life alone and isolated as so many men still do.  It’s been a radical call into something I never once thought I would be engaged in.itsyourcall-zoom_grande

So think about this for yourself.  Have you truly given God your ‘Yes?’  Have you answered to call to begin to live out the truth of who you are as God’s image bearer? As Gary Barkalow wrote, we all have a glory, a weightiness and splendor about us that reflects piece of God’s glory.  That says something very deep about who we are and we have to be willing to receive that.  John Eldredge wrote in Wild at Heart for each of us to let the world feel the full weight of who we are and let them deal with it.

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So, I want you to truly think about this for your own life.  Even take some time to take this God.  Where have I not given you my ‘yes,’ God?  What will this look like for my life to say ‘Yes?’

Take some time and truly think about this.  Saying ‘Yes’, is big deal, and there no such thing as maybe.  One think we need to be ready for as well, with saying ‘Yes’ is that it will be messy.  There will be very messy moments along the journey where you stumble.  I certainly have and will continue to do so.  It’s a part of God training us up.  We also become huge trouble for the Enemy.  They one who wants to draw our hearts away from God.  That will bring more of a mess to your life as you dig out your foxholes and engage in the fight.

Will you choose to give God your ‘Yes?’  Will you choose to answer the call to live out who your are, truly?  I promise you that this is a journey that is will worth it.  If you are uncertain, but want to know more, let me know.  Also read Wild at Heart, The Heart of a Warrior, and It’s Your Call.  Three books that will definitely help to orient your heart.

Let this be there of ‘Yes’ with God.

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Trust God’s Perfection

It’s interesting to know and see how difficult it can be for people to trust God.  We run through so many different circumstances in our lives that, in our fallen nature, we are turned and question Him when times get difficult.  His love is right there for all of and never failing though.  As I’ve written time and again, no matter where we are in life, God is always pursuing us.  It is never failing and never ending.

If you study scripture and see all that has happened since the beginning, you can see that what ever God wills to happen is going to happen.  We His people turned away from Him, he turned away but only for a period of time and them was right back with Him.  The purpose is for everyone to know that He is the Lord and He is always there for us if we just trust in Him.

Psalm 18:30 says, “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true.  He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection.”  Think about that for a minute.  God’s way is perfect.  God is the love, strength, courage, wisdom, power, and everything else rolled into one.  He is the source of all  creation.  When He declared in the beginning that His creation was good.  He created perfection.  He created us to also live in His perfection and glory. Even when struggles arise in our lives, know that God’s will and perfection will shine through our lives if we trust in Him.  I know it can be so easy to turn away.

One thing I hear people often ask and even I have done the same thing, when difficulty arises is Why?. They question God and wonder where He is working in all of that.  I’ve been selfish in this manner too.  When I lost my Dad, I asked why many times.  When I lost a job many years ago, while raising a young family, I was asking why then.  I did not get it.  I did not understand where God is working.  It is not God’s will for us to suffer and struggle, but He allows these things to happen in this fallen world in hopes of drawing us near.  Jesus told us we will face trials and sorrows in this life.  It will happen.  Even when you feel that your faith is it’s strongest, it will still happen

Mother Teresa said, “God will never, never, never let us down if we have faith and put our trust in Him. He will always look after us. So we must cleave to Jesus. Our whole life must simply be woven into Jesus.”  It’s so simple when you thing about it.  Jesus came to save us from our sins and  set us free from the grips of satan and death who is always trying to deceive us and destroy our hearts.  Jesus said that Satan’s goals is steal, kill, and destroy us.  We see this everyday with junk that we face and we see others facing.  As Mother Teresa said, God will never, never, never let us down.  We need to trust in His perfection.

I know often times that my writing may seem to be a little on the serious and gloomy side when I focus on pain and struggles.  I do this because it is very real.  I have have been through this and we all have.  I believe those struggles are a sharp reminder that we need to hold tighter to God and remain strong in our faith.   Don’t let the pain and sorrows of this world turn you away.  When those times come, hold tighter.  I know how challenging it can be, but don’t let go.  When you hold the tightest, that’s when the enemy pulls at you stronger.  Trust in God’s perfection, always!

An Unending Pursuit

Have you ever felt that there was something you needed to go after and you would not stop until you got it?  Have you ever fell head-over-heals in love with another that you felt there was nothing that would keep you pursuing them and staying close to their heart?  Have you ever had anyone betray you repeatedly, but no matter what you loved them through it?  Do you that this is just a glimpse of the level of love that God has for each one of us?  He loves each one of us so much that He will continue pursuing us through all the junk that infiltrates our lives.  Have you ever stopped to just contemplate how deep of a love He has for us?  It’s really something quite awesome to think about and really goes beyond our realm of understanding.

The Father wants nothing more than for us to be drawn to Him in faith and connected close to His heart.  His desire would be for everyone, no matter where they’ve been in life, to come back to Him.  Simple fact is that His love for us is so great that he willingly sent His son, Jesus Christ, to come and die for us all and be resurrected to life to give us a doorway to eternal life through Him.  We are called to return to the Lord in faith and turn away from sin.  We are called to share the Good News with others and steer them to faith in Christ.  Through all of that, we face a number of challenges and obstacles that will always try to pull us back.  You will see negative reactions from people, you will seem to face new and greater challenges that threaten your faith.  Satan has so many tools at his disposal to try to stop us and will try harder and harder to pull us from God.  Through all of that, God never lets go and will never stop pursuing us.  Those that have not come to faith or lost faith, He will always continue pursuing them.  His desire is to open our eyes to His glory and set us free from our sin and death.

My family and I were re-watching the movie, God’s Not Dead last night.  If you have not seen this movie, I would highly, highly recommend it.  There’s a couple of theme’s from this movie that are so real and evident for all of us today.  First, the main character in the movie, Josh, is challenged to prove God’s existence.  What a challenge and one that so many would shy away from.  What I want to look at is the negatives that Josh faced.  Not only was this atheist professor going to try to shut him down at every turn, but his family discouraged him, and his girlfriend, whom he loved a great deal tried to forbid him from it, ultimately leaving him.  A lot for a college freshman to deal with.  The Holy Spirit kept pursuing him though and gave him the strength and courage he needed.

Then we have his professor.  An atheist who because of his own struggles turned completely away from God.  He instead was stuck on human reason and logic which in his opinions did not support the existence of God.  (Spoiler Alert)  Through all of his anger and hatred for God from what he felt was God’s betrayal, when his mom died, the Lord finally opened his eyes.  Josh was used a tool to open his eyes and many others.  He comes to Christ in the end and finally sees the truth and reaching his salvation and accepting Christ right before he dies.  The same happens to a liberal blogger who is left alone when she discovers she has terminal cancer and cries out in desperation.

I share all of this for one reason.  No matter how far down our journey goes, God never stops His pursuit of our hearts.  He will pursue us to the very end all the way through our death.  Christ came to save us and rescue us from the death that we all deserved.  God took on himself as the son, all the suffering and punishment and death we deserved.  There is no love greater in all of the world.

Perfection Is Not The Key

Have you ever faced times were you just filled with guilt over situations in your life where you have fallen to sin?  Have you ever been so caught up in trying to be perfect in your life that it keeps you from being you?  This relates to not just in faith, but in how we interact with people.  Many times people are so worried about the perception they give others when they are in social situations that they put on a “poser” persona and don’t act as themselves.  In faith, often times people are so afraid to sin that it eats at them trying to be perfect and then when they do fall, they get so riddled with guilt.

There is one thing in life that we need to always remember.  We are all sinners.  We live in a fallen world and sin is now a part of our human nature.  None of us are ever perfect.  I’m surely not.  I fight my own battles in life where sin and Satan infiltrate.  It’s a part of our world and something we all have to battle.  I don’t care who you are where you came from in life, it is a part of us.  Perfections is not in the cards in this world.  As you all know, Jesus was the only one to ever be perfect.  He came and showed us the example of what it is God intended man to be.  To always seek God and glorify Him in all we do.

When we all understand that perfection is not the key for each one of us, then we can focus on what is.  That, quite simply, is Jesus!  Jesus is the key, not perfection.  One we realize that, then we can spend our lives drawing closer to Him each day knowing that by God’s grace and love when we do fall to sin in our lives, we are forgiven because of Jesus.  Jesus is the answer.  An excerpt from the book “Becoming Myself” says, “We won’t be perfect on this side of heaven. But Jesus is perfect. Always.  We are becoming more holy and true. Jesus already is.  His name isn’t “Becoming.” It is “I AM.”

Jesus is the answer to it all.  When we surrender and accept in our lives as our Lord and Savior, we can then turn away from sin.  Jesus already to the judgement and punishment for our sin.  We can nail that sin in our lives to the feet of the cross and let Jesus take it from us.  Still going forward, while we strive to not sin, we need to understand that we are still not going to be perfect.  We will all jack it up at some point and many times.  Thanks to God’s love however, we don’t have to bound to that sin any longer.  We have Jesus.  He is the only answer we need and the real key to everything.

This is such a vital area of life for all of us and unfortunately, so many don’t understand or know this.  Seek Jesus.  That is your answer.  He was God’s answer to the sin and corruption of this world and He is the answer to conquering our sin and our salvation.  Seek Jesus through God’s Word.  Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your life.  An posting from Joseph Prince today said, “No Word and all Spirit? You’ll blow up. All Word and no Spirit? You’ll dry up. But have the Word and the Spirit? That’s how you grow up!”  Fill yourself with God’s Word and the Holy Spirit daily.  Draw closer to Him and know that Jesus is the key.  Don’t live a life of perpetual guilt trying to be perfect.  Seek Jesus, Always!

Free to Live and Free to Love

I have this sticker that is on the back window of my truck.  It is the image of the Cross with the words “We are set free.”  This comes of Galatians 5:1 where Paul tells us that Christ has truly set us free.  Many may wonder what it means to be truly set free.  What are set free from?  Paul stated that we are set from the law that enslaved the Israelites.  While working out this morning, I was watching a program with a gentleman named Joseph Prince.  I had never watched him before, but got caught up in what he was teaching.  He took us back to the time at Mt. Sinai when God laid out the 10 Commandments to Moses.  Prior to that point, God would come meet with people Abraham, Isaac, and others face to face.  When the Israelites began Exodus, they would often grumble to Moses and God would show grace by parting the Red Sea, raining Manna, bringing water from a rock.  At Mt. Sinai, however, it all changed and when the elders of Israel said they would do all God commanded, the laws were handed down and they became slaves of the law.  For the next 1,500 or so years, we see time after time where people turned from God and then would repent and obey God’s law.  The focus, was more on keeping the commandments rather than on faith in God and loving Him.

Fast Forward now to Jesus.  When Jesus was asked about which Commandment was the greatest, he said that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind.  True faith and love for God had been lost up to that point for most.  People were bent on keeping the law that they lost site of what it meant to be truly faithful.  Through Jesus Christ, we are shown God’s grace and love.  God became flesh and willingly gave his life to die for us and take the punishment of sin that we all deserved.  That is grace and love.  Through this willful sacrifice, we were set free.  Free from sin, free from death when Christ rose from the dead.

Now we are free to live and free to love God.  In the book Free to Live, by John Eldredge, it states, “Loving God is the centering of your existence as a human being. It’s the restoration of you reason for existence. What a relief it is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. What an utter relief. For then, every other relationship falls into place; every other desire finds its appropriate place in our life. Again, this is why mere “morality” can never substitute for true holiness. You can keep all the rules you think are important and not love God. This is where it all begins, truly loving Jesus with all your heart. Where things are out of whack, that is where our repenting needs to take place.”

Jesus’s first coming was in Grace.  Grace to set us free and to be given an open door to once again be able to know God and learn what true faith is and what true unfailing love is.  Through full faith and trust in Christ, we are free. We are free to love God with all that we are. We are free to live for God’s purpose and His will for our lives. We are free to live. Jesus is Life!

It’s a great feeling to know what the Grace bought through Christ’s redeeming blood has brought us.  Even when we are not deserving, we have the intercession of Christ.  Just as God continued to show Grace to the Israelites through their grumblings in the wilderness before Mt. Sinai, His Grace was again returned to us through Christ even through our fallen state and no matter how much we have jacked up our own lives.  I am just as jacked up as the rest, but know that through repentance and faith in Christ I am redeemed and free from that sin.  We are free to live and we are free to love!

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Let Christ Rule Your Heart

Yesterday, I had the privilege of spending some morning Bible Study time with a group of guys where I worship at The Cross in Loganville.  First, what a great time it was.  To be honest, I have never sat down in that kind of setting to just fellowship and talk and discuss scripture with several other believers.  I have had one-on-one conversations many times in the past or with a couple of folks, but never really participated in that kind of Bible Study session.  Let me tell you, it was a great experience.  I got to meet some guys I have seen in passing attending worship, but never really got to know.  What I did learn, was that we all have a great story and testimony of how we came to faith in Christ and often times it came from various trials and difficulties of various kinds.  We all have story.

But getting to the root of the study, we focused on Colossians 3:15-17.  The first thing right out of the gate, Paul tells us to “let the peace that comes from Christ rule our hearts.”  This really struck with me as we discussed the versus and I listened to Tim, the lead pastor, break it down.  All too often in this life, we are quick to take action or speak without thinking.  We can start lashing out in anger or whatever it may be.  Either way, we can often get caught-up not letting Christ lead our words and actions.  This is often the case for many that may go to worship on Sunday, but raise hell the rest of the week.  I’ve been there too.  We need to let Jesus umpire our actions and keep us under control every single day.

In verse 16, it says, “Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives.”  As we walk in close step with Christ, we should let all the He is and His message fill us each day.  Let Jesus speak through us also, as we share, teach, and counsel with others.  The line given in the study was “Speak only when spoken through.”  Don’t just spout of opinions and talk to be heard.  Let Christ fill your heart and the Word fill you and speak what is being spoken through you.  I have encountered many people that like to talk just to heard.  They don’t think about what their saying and just ramble on.  Stay away from that, and rather speak life.   In Toby Mac’s song, “Speak Life,”  he says the lines, “Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted; watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope, you speak love, you speak life.”

If we speak from the Good News and the promise for new life and salvation in Christ, its amazing the impact it has on folks.  Especially when they are lost and broken.  When you speak what Christ is speaking through you and through the Word, it will bring them to life.  We are a representative of Christ when we speak and testify and should remember that.  2 Corinthians 5:20 calls us “Ambassadors of Christ.”  I want to live that way and those of you that are believers, I pray that you will as well.  A gentleman in the Bible Study mentioned that the first thing we have in sharing about Christ is our own story.  Our own Testimony to how Christ has transformed our lives.  To be honest, it is one of the most powerful weapons we have as a body of believers.  We all have a story.  We all have taken paths through adversity, brokenness, and many other challenges.  We all have had times either completely separated from God or where we questioned Him.  Share your testimony and be contagious.  By sharing your own story, people can relate and then see just how much Christ has transformed your own life.

Let Christ rule your heart.

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.