Tag Archives: faith

We’re All People…We’re All Broken

I’ve been greatly inspired these last several months, weeks, and days.  My family and I found a new worship home this year, rather found our way back to our worship home.  It’s been an eye opening experience to be able to worship God every week with so many believers.  So many people who have their own story as we all do.  So many people who have had their share of pain, struggle, and brokenness, as well as joy and happiness.  This morning on my way to the office I was listening to the radio and hearing discussion about an article that referenced the fact that throughout the Bible, New and Old Testament, God used people that were broken to advance his Kingdom and Glory.  Only Jesus pleased the Father and did not fall short of His Glory.

With the release of God’s Not Dead this past weekend, I started thinking more how God uses so many different people in so many ways to help advance His Kingdom and share the Good News of Jesus Christ.  I’ve been connecting with more and more people these past few days on social media, particularly Twitter that are involved in ministry, involved in the movie, and people that are connecting with God’s message.  I realized that we’re all people and we’re all broken.  God is using each and every one of us in a unique way for His Glory.  While we may have different assignments and paths, we all have the purpose of being Ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Each and every one of us now and throughout history has a unique story that has brought us through trials and struggles.  My pastor challenged each of to write out our testimony and share that with everyone.  Our story of life through struggle and brokenness and to redemption.  Our personal testimonies are a huge way to bring others in and show just how God is working in our lives and how faith in Christ transformed.  A few years ago, He transformed me big time.  I was lost spiritually for way too long.  I am writing out my story and you will all see it very soon.  I pray that it finds its way to many more as I show what God has done in my life.

We can all do the same.  If your faith has transformed you, share it with others.  Open up about your own brokenness and how Christ redeemed you.  We can all do this.  We all have a story, we all are just people, and we’ve all been broken to some degree.  Pray and figure out where God wants you to work for His Kingdom and use your story to bring others to the Kingdom.  It’s a huge battle that we all as a body must take part in and are purposed to do.

God is Good…All The Time

Have you ever really stopped to think just how awesome  and good God is. No matterwhat we go through in life, no matter our struggles, joy, good times, or bad times, He is always good and always there. This weekend, my family and I went to see the movie, God’s Not Dead. We have been seeing yhe previews for this movie for months and have very much looked forward to its release. If you have not seen it yet, I highly recommend going to see it. I rarely go to the movies, but I was not missing this one. So amped up to see faith driven movies hit the mainstream box office. Oh, and even on limited release, it came in 4th at the box office, which was awesome to read.

I won’t spoil the movie, but there are two men, pastors in the movie. A line the repeat back and forth throughout the movie, through good and rough times is, “God is good…all the time…and all the time…God is good.” I just thought, how powerful that one simple, yet true statement is.  God is good all the time.  We should never lose site of it, ever.  No matter what may come through our lives.  What troubles we may encounter or what joyous times we may encounter.  Remember that through all of it, God is good.  God is there for us.  God loves us unfailing.   Even when we don’t deserve it, God is there to pull us through.

Think of that today.  In everything you do, think of that statement.  God will never let us down, ever because He is good all the time.  I won’t over analyze it.  It’s simple and I want to keep it that way.  God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

The Restoration of Spring

So today, spring arrives.  For many it has been a long and miserable winter.  Even in my neck of the woods in the Georgia, we’e dealt with more winter than we care to.  With that said, while many may still have to deal with winter weather for a while longer, the coming of spring brings new restoration to our world.  We start to hear the birds singing, the trees begin to bud, and we see new life beginning all around us.  It is a fresh start as we look forward to longer days and warmer weather.

In my reading this morning, I was pointed to look closer at God’s creation and how His coming kingdom restores our world.  God gives us a glimpse of this restoration each year as move out of the darkness and cold of winter into spring and summer.  Through Jesus, wherever humanity was broken, He restored it.  Just has the blind man could see, the deaf could hear, the lame could walk, and the dead returned to life.  Jesus restored and restores all who have faith in Him and seek Him.  My reading this morning was and excerpt from John Eldredge’s book Epic.  John explains that “the restoration of the world played before us each spring and summer is precisely what God is promising us about our lives.  Every miracle Jesus ever did was pointing to this Restoration, the day he makes all things new.

As the warmer days come back upon us, think about this restoration and the promise that God has made to us.  He sent His son Jesus Christ to live among us and be sacrificed so that we could be made new.  So that we could be restored to God once again as we had fallen so far.  No matter how broken our lives may be and we all have that struggle to contend with, Jesus is the answer and restores all.   We get a taste of that restoration every spring with new life.  Jesus brings us new life if we have faith in Him.

I am in the process of producing my first video blog.  As I mentioned in my last post, I will be sharing my personal testimony with you all.  Part of that will show just how much Jesus has restored me.  I’ve gone through my own share of struggles, doubts, and fears.  It was not until I was 33 years old that I realized just how far I had strayed and I found my way back to God and let me tell you, He has restored me so much.    I still struggle with daily troubles that life will bring in this world, but I have new hope and Jesus was and is that answer and He is yours too.

My prayer for everyone that reads my posts and who will watch my videos is that my life and testimony will be a beacon that will be draw others in.  That people who may be struggling and not know who Christ is will find there way to get to know Him.  He is always there and like the prodigal son, will pull you in with open arms when you find your way home.  He will restore you.  Look at His creation and how awesome it is.  He can do so much more within you, no matter where you are in life.

Faith is So Simple

Do you ever think of faith in God in terms of complexity?  Have you ever felt that having faith and worshiping Him is too complicated and involves too much?  Sometimes it does appear that way.  All too often there are churches that try to over complicate matters of faith with man made ideas and dogmas.  They drive believers to jump through so many hoops that it starts to clutter the real purpose of faith and what it means to be faithful to God.  Truth be told, it’s not that complicated.  What does faith mean to you?  Do you find yourself trying to do a lot to follow someone else’s rules for worship and devotion?

Look back in scripture and think long and hard about moments of faith that shown throughout history and displayed for us in the Word.  Start with Noah.  He was instructed to build an Ark because God planned to destroy a world that had become so evil.  Noah trusted God and did so.  Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaac to test his faith.  As much as he did not want to, he trusted God and took him to be sacrificed only for God to stop him right when he raised his blade.  Moses was told to free the Israelites from Egypt and trusted in God’s power to guide him through the task.  David trusted God to help him defeat Goliath.  Then, above all, Jesus showed tremendous faith in God and His mission throughout his life and surrendered His own life so that we might be saved only to be raised again and conquer the grave.

Do you see the idea and simplicity behind it all?  Faith is complete and full trust and devotion in God.  To seek Him in all we do and and seek to glorify Him in our lives.  It’s that simple folks.  Full and complete surrender.  2 Timothy 2 tells us that we should pray.  Pray for everyone and ask for God’s intercession on their behalf.  Give thanks for everyone.  God wants us all to be saved which is why He sent his son to purchase our freedom.

I was thinking about this this morning when reading scripture and it talked about about the Israelites continuous complaining to Moses about being led out of Egypt.  If they would have simply surrendered and trusted where God was leading them, it would have been a different journey.  God would probably not have made it a 40 year journey to ensure that the older generations died before reaching their promised land.

It took me a while to realize this all.  Through my life I’ve been to numerous churches from different denominations.  Each having different rules of worship, different dogmas, and more.  When sitting in church a couple of weeks back.  My pastor talked about just how simple it was to be faithful and pray.  We don’t have to over-complicate folks.  Walk with God each day.  Build your personal relationship with Him.  Accept Christ as your savior.  Show faithfulness each day in your life and glorify God in all you do.  Faith is so simple.

Having Courage to Pursue

How often have you ever had an idea or thought come through that you wanted to pursue after, but then decided against it?  It’s in those moments where you know have a great thought or idea and you know it can be powerful, but you hear something discouraging you or you fear what others may say about it.  It could be a simple idea for a new project at work or it could be a life changing move in life such as starting a new business or something.  It could be anything.  Something lights you up and gets you motivated but when crunch time comes, you shy away.

I’ve certainly been there.  I’ve been there a lot in the past year since I started writing to this site and posting to my Facebook page.  I get motivated and then discouraged or just lose motivation due to distractions or wonder if people even care about what I have to say. I wonder if what I am doing here really made any impact.  While I don’t write as much now due to a busy family schedule, I realized that even if only a few people read it makes a difference that can impact more.  I share my thoughts and testimony in hopes that people will be able to find their God given purpose in life and pursue it with no excuses or apologies for it.  Part of my gift and purpose, I’ve realized is writing here and when I hear others mention it knowing they read, it’s encouraging to know that just maybe I’m having an impact even if it is just on a few.  I start with a few in hopes of impacting many more.

Anyway, I digress.  My example is just one, but to my point, if you ever have that idea or passion that you know you are called to pursue in life, that is when courage is needed.  Your faith in God can be a big factor in building that courage.  That naysayer that you hear in your head telling you no or being discouraging is the adversary trying to cloud you thinking.  Don’t listen to that.  Talk to God, get on your knees every day and I promise you, your faith will build your courage and when the time is right, God will tell you when it’s time to move.  Marcus Tullius Cicero said that, “A man of courage is also full of faith.”  Your faith will drive you forward and God will prepare you to battle this world and pursue your purpose.  Don’t let world distractions get in your way and discourage you.  Have faith and courage and you will succeed in achieving what God purposed for you.

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

Let The Spirit Work Through You

Do you ever recognize that feeling that God is using you for a purpose?  That feeling comes where you feel like you are being called to something bigger than you have ever faced before.  It is quite a feeling and many of us meet that calling in different ways.  Some embrace it and let the Spirit guide them while others chose to maybe stay on the sideline and not act.  That choice can come from fear of the unknown or lack of faith in where you are being guided.

There are also those times where you may feel that you are not being guided or you are just not sure what it is God wants you to do.  These feelings may come in times of uncertainty.  Maybe career disappointments, challenges with your family, or any of a number of other things.  Maybe you were pursuing a career opportunity you hoped and prayed would pan out.  Then at the end it does not pan out and you are left wondering what next.  My brother Rob, said something to me yesterday that was pretty powerful.  We recognize God’s hand during those joyous times, but we often fail to realize that even in those times of what may be disappointment, it is really the God’s hand sheltering you.  Maybe protecting you from what may not be a good road or maybe he is just not ready for you to move just yet.  Believe me, when He is ready for you to move, He will move you.

Life presents so many challenges and also so many reasons to celebrate.  We were created for God’s purpose, so the best thing that any of us can do is to get out of our own way and let His Spirit work through us.  We allow that to take place and we will be guided to where we were meant to be.  It may be a bumpy road.  It may be filled with many trials, but you will be that much stronger for it in the end.  St. Francis of Assisi is quoted as saying, “If God can work through me, He can work through anyone.”  That’s just another example of how important each of us are.  We all have part to play if we just let the Spirit work.  The Holy Spirit is always here to guide us.  Paul said in Romans 8:26, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.”

So what stops you from opening up to God’s plan and letting Him work through you.  It may not always be evident, but He is always at work in our lives.  I’ve seen in through my family and friends and in my overall outlook of life and faith.  If you close off from God’s purpose for you, how can you ever expect t come alive fully.  Our spiritual growth is the foundation of who we are.  Without it, nothing will matter.

SpiritofPower

Isn’t The Lord Simply Amazing?!?!?

We’ve all heard that term, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”  It’s amazing just how true and real that statement is.  I’ve learned throughout my life that He works in ways we just don’t see coming often times.  Maybe its through a tragedy.  Often times we may wonder what God is doing when something bad happens.  What I have learned though, is that those things happen in order to give us a chance to return to Him and glorify Him more.  It also allows us to gain strong glimpses of His goodness when he moves others to work.

My family and I received a wonderful view of this in the past couple of days.  My son, Brandon, was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic this past fall.  Obviously, with all of that comes added costs of buying insulin, monitors, test strips, and doctor follow-ups.  It was certainly a challenging time frame for the family and most certainly my son as he has learned to live this new life as diabetic.  He has adjusted to this so much better than I could have ever hoped though and does not let it run his life.  In fact, he was named by our local Children’s Healthcare system as their Comeback Athlete of the Month and now is being voted on for Athlete of the Year.  He is a competitive travel baseball player and did not let it stop him at all.

With that said, this week, at our doorstep, there was delivered a whole host of diabetic supplies.  A new monitor, test strips, needles, and more and will be replenished every three months at no cost to us.  Someone, somewhere put our name in to this Christian Foundation that is now supplying these supplies on going.  I can’t even begin to tell you what an amazing blessing that was to our family.  To know that a substantial portion of this permanent cost is now covered is simply amazing.

This was just further proof of God’s amazing and mysterious work.  It is quite evident that His Spirit moved through someone to do something that we never saw coming and was a tremendous blessing to our family.  We are so grateful to this mysterious person and recognize that this was God’s work.

If you ever have a doubt that God is not at work in your lives.  Think again.  He is very much there through every aspect of our lives.  He has a purpose for everything He does and that we encounter in life.  Challenges come to Glorify Him and wonderful things happen to Glorify Him.  It all comes back to God.  Don’t lose site of the Lord and take time to speak to Him through prayer.  he will intervene in your life.  Many times in ways you never see coming.  He is always there and I am so thankful to have a God that loves us that much and whose glory shines down everyday in our lives.

The Power that Faith Brings

I have devoted a great deal of time these past few years renewing my faith and relationship with Christ.  I’m not always on point in this walk, but I come a long way in ensuring I walk with Him daily and keep His path close to my heart as I grow as a man of faith and a leader for my family and those around me.  Through my journey, I have learned just how powerful that faith can be in my life and in anyone’s life who chooses to walk by faith.  Even when we are unsure of what the end results may be, following a path by faith will lead you down God’s path for you and help you grow closer to Him in your own life.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”  When we choose to walk through life by faith, we are putting our trust and confidence in the Lord that he will provide and guide us down the path he has chosen for us.  I think we have all heard people over the years talk about their struggle with faith when they cannot see what it is God has planned for even see proof that God is actually here for us.  I walked down this pathway some especially after I lost my Dad and did not know what it was that God was doing and questioning why he would let something as tragic as that happen to someone like him.  Since that time, I have grown to understand that those events happen life for specific reasons.  My Dad was a man of tremendous faith, and maybe through what he endured, it may help others to find their way to the Lord and I think that certainly happened and continues to happen.

So what does faith me to you.  In my Bible readings this morning, the subject of faith as a active thing versus a passive feeling was discussed.  Through faith, Christians can rely on faith for their day to day living.  We’ve come too far in life to live passively and not exercise our faith.  Our lives are a unique opportunity for each of us to life a life of faith and not sit back letting life pass us by and being complacent in how we live.  Just to use an analogy from my reading, lets say you were given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a round of golf at Augusta National Golf Club.  You come to the Par 5 13th hole at Amen Corner.  After driving down the fairway you are faced with the decision to layup or go for the green.  Chances are you may never play that course again, so why not take a chance of faith and go for it.  In other words, when those unique opportunities arise to exercise your faith, take advantage of it.  You only have so much time to so.

If you look throughout our history, so much was done and accomplished on the pillar of faith.  Go all the way back to Abraham, who showed ultimate faith by being willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac as instructed by God, only to be stopped by God himself, when he saw that Abraham had committed all his faith to God.  By trusting in Him, even though he may not be physically visible to us we can make through and accomplish anything in life with the Lord by our side.

Martin Luther King, Jr said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”  It may be scary to take that step into the unknown, to begin a new chapter in life, to begin a new career, to begin a family, to begin a ministry, or whatever it may be.  That first step can be tricky, but demonstrating faith and stepping, even when you cannot see what will become, is extremely powerful.  It shows a lot of your own character and God will also guide you through those steps into the unknown.  Walk by faith, even when you cannot see.  He will guide you through it all.

How Do You Define Success?

I have been fairly quite these past couple of weeks.  This is that time of year where my family is constantly on the go.  We have travel baseball, travel softball, and archery.  The schedule for the kids get so hectic from week to week and this weekend, the tournament schedule begins for our two younger ones and our oldest is competing in the state DECA competition with his high school.  Despite all of this, we love every bit of it.  We only have our children with us for so long, and we have made it a point to ensure that we enable them to have every opportunity to pursue their passions.  It is a joy to watch them all doing things they love to do and excel at what they do.

With all of that said, having such a hectic life can be a recipe for tearing at the relationships in the home and in life.  The same holds true for people that get so caught up in the craziness of work and forget about home as well.  Amber and I make it a point to take advantage of those times when we are not on the go to spend with one another and do things as a family to ensure we do not lose touch with each other.  I know we are not the only ones that do, but it is important to point out how significant this can be.  If the busy life causes you to lose sight of the important things in life, especially your family, how in the world can you ever call yourself successful.

As with most blogs I write, there is a key quote that goes along with it.  The quote I found today was great and comes from the late Zig Ziglar.  Mr. Ziglar stated, “I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.”

I know many people that are so steadfastly focused on their work or other busy goings on in life that they forget the focus needed on the home life.  It is all about balance.  This was the reason I call my venture 4 Pillar Living.  There is a balance to every aspect of life that needs our focus and attention, but we cannot get so focused in one area that we neglect other areas.  You can never be truly successful that way.  I believe success is attained when you are able to balance each of these key pillars of life in a way that they begin to compliment one another.

I’ll go back to my original example of the busy schedules of our children.  If Amber and I were strictly all about the kids events and activities and did not take time for another that would hurt our marriage.  We take the time to unwind and spend together.  Even if it is just sitting on the couch together late in the evening after the kids are in bed.  When I am working from the house we make it a point as much as possible to get out and go to lunch together.  That is our time to spend with each other.  Even if I have a busy day with work, I make sure I step away to spend my time with her.  What good am I if I focus on work, work, work and neglect her or even my family.  That is the way to disaster in the home.

These are things I have learned over time.  I stumble at times, but I have learned and work to improve on each of these areas of life.  The same holds true when it comes to my faith.  I can balance my life with work and family, but if I neglect my faith and my walk with God, how can I ever be truly successful.  He created me for purpose, just like the rest of us and if I neglect that, then I cannot be successful.  As Mr. Ziglar said it is a balance of success stories.  You have to be able to find success in each area, in each pillar.  Don’t neglect one over the other.  Find success in each area then you can be successful.