Tag Archives: growth

Never Satisfied Standing Still

Spiritual growth is something so substantial to everyone of us.  We are all on different journeys.  Some seeking a closer faith with God, so stay complacent, and some just fall back or go with the flow.  In my men’s ministry study last night, the thought of satisfaction with where I am spiritually came about.  I wish I could remember the exact things said, but it got me really pondering my own spiritual growth.  I have been on quite a ride these past many months, spiritually, and the thought of where God will continue to lead me is so exciting.

I want you to think of your spiritual growth.  Are you satisfied with where you are?  Are you complacent, thinking you drawn closely to the Father or your a good servant or tither.  You read the Bible daily and so many other things.  All great things.  But if you really stop to think about it, do we ever reach full happiness and completeness spiritually in this world.  The answer to this, from what I can tell is, no.

Think about it.  Because of the works of Christ, His life, death, resurrection, and ascension, we are given a freedom that had been lost to a world of religion, performance, and evil.  We were justified by the works of Christ to now walk in freedom and to seek and be restored to the Father through Jesus.

Nowadays, so many are completely complacent with where they are spiritually.  They see themselves and regular church attenders, they take part in activities, serve in various roles, but on the inside, they still fall short of the Father on many levels.  Sound familiar?  That’s because this is every single one of us.  In this world, because of our fallen nature we are still well short of the glory we were created in by God.  We are restored and made new in Christ, but we are still fallen, while we still walk here and until Christ’s return or we step in eternity ourselves.

So again, are you fully satisfied with your spiritual growth? Are you satisfied with where you are now and standing still?  I know I’m not.  My ultimate goal is complete restoration to the Father through Christ.  I will not see that in this world, but I can continue growing each day to draw nearer and nearer until I reach glorification in Heaven.

I here people all the time talk about just being happy.  Happy with life, content with their circumstances, and just get along.  They want to be happy.  The problem is that ultimate happiness will not come in this life.  There will always be something else to bring you down or spiritual forces pulling you back.  You have to check where you are and your motives in life to see where you stand spiritually.

I am loving this book I am reading through, “Effective Biblical Counseling,” by Larry Crabb.  I believe I mentioned it in a previous post, but I am learning a great deal about what it will mean to be a Biblical Counselor in my future.  But Larry shares, in chapter 1, and important point about spiritual maturity.  He says it involves 2 elements; 1) immediate obedience in specific situations and 2) long-range character growth.  This is essential  We cannot be satisfied with simple obedience and performance now.  We have to grow continuously.  Larry later shares that, until the time of glorification, in Heaven, “God is in the process of sanctifying me, of purifying me, of slowing helping me to become more of what He already declared me to be. He has granted me the position of acceptability. No He instructs me to grow up in my position, to behave more and more acceptably.”

We can’t be satisfied where we stand.  God desires each of us to continue to grow in Him and to Him until the time we are finally fully restored and glorified in Him.  Don’t be complacent.  Don’t compromise your faith and your spiritual growth thinking you good to go.  We must always work on growing.  I will continue to grow and I take delight in everything new I learn. It’s a process that will last a lifetime, but I know God is using that to continue working on my heart and sanctifying me through Christ.

A Whole New World After Wild At Heart Boot Camp

The last four days have been absolutely amazing. I had the chance to spend time in the mountains of Colorado and attend the Wild At Heart Boot Camp. It was an experience like I could have never imagined. I am going to attempt to do this Boot Camp some sense of justice in sharing some of my experience. First, if you have never heard of the book, Wild At Heart, it is a book that I would highly recommend. A friend of mine, KC, gave me this book a few years back when I was going through a great deal of life struggle and trying to return to God. The book sat on my desk for well over a year before I finally picked it up in the summer of 2013. When I finally did read it, it was life changing for me and really began to drive my journey. Definitely a must read.

Wild At Heart was written many years ago, by John Eldredge. He heads up Ransomed Heart Ministries in Colorado Springs.The unique thing about John is that he is real. He is not a religious theologian and is truly after God’s heart and helping people find their way to God. John and his small team conduct this and other Boot Camps. They are there in person and genuinely care about the hearts of men and helping them discover who they really are in God’s eyes, the image bearers of God, and discovering the wild and masculine nature of God and themselves. The journey also takes you through your wounds, renouncing and forgiveness of those that wounded you and of yourself, discovering your real name and identity in God’s eyes, becoming the warrior we are meant to be, learning to pursue the beautiful side of God’s image in Eve, and discovering that we are in fact God’s sons and how he wants to Father us into our inheritance in His kingdom.

Let me just say that this is not your run of the mill, hand holding, singing by the fire, men’s retreat. This is a raw and real treasure hunt getting into the heart of a man. The Ransomed Heart team, guides you through a real discovery journey in addition to a great deal of time to yourself to just walk and commune with God. Again it far surpassed anything I could have hoped for or expected. In my time of prayer and being with God I heard Him talking with me like I never had before. He opened my heart, opened my eyes, and allowed me to discover freedom and my true self. Putting aside the poser in me and the fig leaf that has plagued man since the fall of creation when Adam chose Eve over God. If you think I am crazy about hearing God speak to me, you’re wrong. He talks to us, we just have to be willing and open to hear it. All those thoughts that run through your head are not just you. You just have to listen.

Let me get into the setting. We were high in the Colorado mountains at Crooked Creek Ranch, near Fraser, CO at about 8,500 feet. What an awesome and majestic setting with the snow covered mountains rising high around us. Crooked Creek is an incredible place. It is a Young Life Camp and they set it up right. I was completely unplugged from the world for the first time in a long time. That in of itself was incredible. I was able to eliminate all distractions and let my heart experience every aspect of what God had in store. In the time leading up to the trip, I knew the enemy was attacking me. He was pissed and trying to dissuade me. I could feel it in my attitude at times, constant headaches, and feeling anxious and fears. He was relentless, so I had to be relentless in my prayer and arming myself. Getting there was half the battle.

So now I am there. What to expect. First, I was fortunate to be roomed with guys from Georgia. That was cool. Guys from all walks of life. Pastor, retail, emergency services, doctors, and more. All different guys, but all on the same journey of discovering who they were as men and discover everything God had for them. I had the chance to really bond with these guys I now call my Band of Brothers. This is something I never had. Guys I could do life with, so very blessed to have these guys come into my life and share the experience with them. These are connections I look forward to maintaining once home.

Through the experience, I was also able to further discover the larger story I am apart of. How my life plays an intricate part of God’s larger story. There are some, even so called religious leaders and Christians that will say God does not have time for all the small things in our life. I’ve heard this before. Let me tell you, He cares about every single bit of it. He cares if we skate through life in our own small story. He cares about the wounds that help bring us into sin and our false self. He cares about every single bit of. Above all, He has told us our hearts are good and made new because of Christ Jesus. Our hearts are not bad and we do not have to spend life carrying the burdens of our wounds. We can have life, in Christ, and we can live free from the bondage of sin and the religious veil that God himself tore in two, but so many religious ‘christian’ denominations have put back up with rules and false dogmas that are not from God and keep people in bondage.

So let’s journey a little into the sessions we did have. John and his team talked through various aspects of the masculine soul, our woundedness, our real identity, the warrior in all men, the lover in us and the beauty to rescue, and our place as God’s sons and allowing God to Father us as He desires. These guys shared so much Truth from Scripture and then their personal testimonies and struggles in life. It helped to make it all very real and relatable. We spent time in deep prayer together as a group, about 440 guys. Something else I have never really allowed is people to pray over me in a time where I was just broke down. Two team members walked to me, sat with me, listened to my story and then just prayed over me. They genuinely cared and it was something I desperately needed. I have always put on a false self shouldering many burdens that weren’t mine to bare, even acting strong when I was completely broken. I could bare my heart to these guys and my Band of Brothers free from any judgment, and they the same. Words can’t even begin to describe the power God poured into this time.

The greatest part of it all was being able to sit by myself or walk around and just talk to God and listen to what He had to share with me. Those moments of prayer, listening in silence with no distractions , and writing in my journal what I was hearing was incredible. God helped me to renounce my wounds and agreements, discover my real self in His eyes, discover the warrior in me, where I need to better pursue my bride and better initiate and validate my children as they come into being young men and women, and validating me as a man bringing me into sonship with Him. Simply incredible time with the Father. I could go on there forever.

Another part of the journey was the adventure. Discovering the sense of adventure that we lose when we leave childhood. Growing up it was all about adventure and discovery. We lose that when we become adults and the world tells us otherwise. There’s so much to see and learn about in God’s kingdom. As part of my journey, one of my brothers and I strapped on snowshoes and headed up the mountain behind us. Probably pushed near 9,500 to 10,000 feet. We met up with some other guys and made the long journey to the top and down the other side. The view of the valley from up there was breathtaking. It was a challenging hike trudging through 2+ feet of snow and tested you physically as a low lander, but we pushed through and made it. God had something special for the few of us that got to experience that.

All in all this was a journey I desperately needed and I am ever thankful that the Father brought me on this trip. I discovered a great deal about myself and feel very ready to go back to the world as a changed man with a renewed since of hope, armed with the armor of God, and ready to fight for my heart, the heart of my family, and to help others discover the heart of God and all God has for them in their lives. I am thankful for the connections and new Brothers.

I firmly believe in the ministry that God has inspired John and his team to share with the world. It’s very powerful and speaking to men and women all over the world. We had guys from Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, and Brazil among other places. People may think they are just about making money, but they are not. The cost paid for the event with all the food, which was awesome, accommodations, and resources was well worth it. It’s not overpriced. They only run a couple of these events a year on purpose, and all money for resources purchased there (books, DVDs, audio resources ) is donated. They don’t keep a dime of that. It’s very real. They invite us all to take the message and resources out to the world to share with others. I intend to do just that. You guys, I highly recommend you taking a look at this book and others they have if you have not. If you have questions about it, let me know. If you feel God calling you to a Boot Camp, go. You will not regret it. This won’t be my last event. Ladies, I recommend you check out Captivating, written by John and his wife Stasi. My wife read it and it’s been life changing. They also have a Captivating events for women in the same type of setting, but geared toward the feminine heart. My wife plans to attend one in the near future. Discover that you are the image of God’s beauty, mercy, and tenderness. You are the final touch of God’s creation.

I know I have shared a lot. This is just the tip of the sword of all I experienced. There is so much more, but I will leave it at this. Men, we are the image bearers of God’s wild and masculine side. We all need to discover this and get out from behind the fig leaf, the poser that we all are behind. Take this journey. Check out Ransomed Hearts website htttp://www.ransomedheart.com. It’s journey I promise you will never regret.

Until next time, God Bless.


Being Bold and Showing Your True Self

I have found my writing through the 4 Pillar Blog to be a great avenue for me.  Through my journey and growth in God I have been able to use my writing as a way to discuss what I learn and share my testimony.  In my own writing, my hope is that I am able to help others as well who may be going through struggles with their own lives to find their way to God by learning the amazing things he has done through my life.

For those that know me personally, they know that for most of my life, I did not proclaim my faith with boldness.  I would talk about it in passing from time to time, but never really got out there to really show it.  In the last two years especially, I have used my writing though as way to get bolder and really show who I am in my faith in God and how He has helped my growth.  It’s not about being in your face, “Look at me, I’m a Christian” either.  It is about being proud and proclaiming loudly that I trust the heart of God and am allowing Him to work through my life.  This has been a growing process for me, but I proclaim it louder and louder each day, in my writing and conversations.

I receive daily emails from Ransomed Heart Ministries that include daily readings that have been written by various authors in this ministry.  I’ve mentioned before that I read Wild at Heart and am currently reading Fathered by God by John Eldredge who is the President of this ministry.  One email this week had a reading from the book, “The Sacred Romance.”  It really spoke to me about the daily battle we have in our lives of being bold and pursuing the heart of God or giving in to the evil that is in this world.  Here is a bit from the message.

There is another great “revealing” in our life on the road. We run our race, we travel our journey, in the words of Hebrews, before “a great cloud of witnesses” (12:1). When we face a decision to fall back or press on, the whole universe holds its breath—angels, demons, our friends and foes, and the Trinity itself—watching with bated breath to see what we will do. We are still in the drama of Act III and the heart of God is still on trial. The question that lingers from the fall of Satan and the fall of man remains: Will anyone trust the great heart of the Father, or will we shrink back in faithless fear?

As we grow into the love of God and the freedom of our own hearts, we grow in our ability to cast our vote on behalf of God. Our acts of love and sacrifice, the little decisions to leave our false loves behind, and the great struggles of our heart reveal to the world our true identity: We really are the sons and daughters of God.

Reading this spoke to me about my own life and the decisions I have made in life, some good, some bad that either shows trust in God or fear and faithlessness.  Whenever we stand-up and are bold about our faith and whenever we choose the path of God we show our true identity to the world and it gets louder and louder and we begin to see the evil pushed back more and more.  As this reading said, and as is stated in Hebrews, there is a great cloud of witnesses.  They wait for how we will act and the decisions we make.  Stand and be who each of us were created and called to be.  When you do so, you come alive in the creation you are that God intended for you to find and become and you can overcome the evil that is in this world.   Be who you were always meant to be, not what this world thinks you should be.

Is It Time to Move or Be Still?

Have you ever come to a moment where you faced a the daunting decision of making a dramatic change in your life, such as a career change?  Do you ever sit and ponder wondering what the results would be if you change and the risks that are involved in those changes?  We are often faced with the challenge of whether or not to make a big change in our life.  It could be changing jobs or career entirely, walking away from your work to do something independently, changing the church you attend, or any of a number of other things.  These big changes can have been consequences on your life, both positive and negative.  The challenge we face however is not really whether or not to change.  Often times you know it is the right calling, but the whether or not to take that leap and move.

I firmly believe that the path we take through life is all a part of God’s plan for us and each road we go down is a significant part of our spiritual journey and growth.  How we choose to manage that growth however is up to us.  We can learn from them and take our cues from God on the next steps or we can sway from that path and choose what may feel like the safe alternative.

Many people, whether they like to admit it or not, myself included, took safer paths through life building on careers doing work that seemed like the right thing to do even though it may not be what really brings you to life.  We go through this for many years and then one day through our own journey, we realize, this is not where we are meant to be.  God had another purpose for me and now that I know what it is that’s where I need to go.  The problem is that we get so caught up in the comfort that we cannot decide whether to make that change and take the risk.  We are faced with the choice of either moving or being still and staying where we are.

While every change is different and some more dramatic than others, we have a choice to make.  You can plan through it effectively or just out right leap.  Either way, my challenge is this; if you are faced with the decision of moving or being still, it is time to move.  If you pray about it regularly and you feel God telling you it is time to move, then it is time move.  Take that leap into the unknown.  It is a scary thing.  I tell you what, it scares me to change.  But that fear is from the evil one and all those that tell you that it is not right.  If you feel down deep it is right then that is you coming to life and that purpose that God created you specifically for awakening like  sleeping giant eager to burst out to the world.  Listen to your heart.  Pray on it each day and ask God to reveal his purpose to you.  It is there inside each and everyone of us, but just needs to be awakened.

This year, I’ve gone through some serious changes in my own life and how I approach my path and growth.  God revealed this door to me to share my testimony through writing to all of you and through other channels as time goes forward.  It’s been a serious transformation for me.   The change is still happening, but I know where my purpose lies now.  I made the next dramatic move a few months back by stepping away from my doctoral studies.  I realized that it was work that was building toward that safe career path, but not one that truly spoke to me.  I didn’t care how much time I had already put in.  I knew it was not the right path, so I had to step away.  Let me tell you, however, it was hard to do.  It took time, but I finally got there and made the choice.  When I did, the burden relief was huge.  I felt free to really pursue my real calling and purpose and hear I am.

We all have different callings in life.  Although I would are to say that a lot of that calling and purpose revolves around advancing God’s kingdom in some way.  It’s how you choose to do that matters.  If you feel that urge to move, if you know it is what God is calling you to do, then make that move move.  Be bold.  Take on that battle.  Don’t let the evil one and the world stop you.  Take that leap.  It may seem scary, but when you do, you will feel it in your soul that this is what you were meant to do.  You will come alive!

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.

How Will Your Next Chapter Read?

As I have shared with you many times, my faith and life journey has gone through an amazing adventure the past few years.  It has led me from a dark shadow and doubt to a renewed sense of who I am and who I want to be based on what I know that God has called me to be.  Last year, a colleague and friend of mine gave me a book called “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge.  With everything I had going one, it took me a while to really sit down and read this book.  A couple of months back, I made a tough decision to step away from my doctorate studies to refocus myself.  At that point I decided to finally start this book.  For me, I am not one that can sit and read a book in a weekend.  This was a slow and deliberate process.  But what a journey, let me tell you.  This book has ignited me in my journey with God and my journey and growth as a man, husband, and father.  I feel I am more ready than ever to take on this world and use my life testimony to share with others and relate with others in their lives and where they have been and where they are going.

We all have a calling in life and reason for why God created each and every one of us.  There are many who never realize that calling and slump through life complacent, miserable, and never know what it means to truly come alive.  “Wild at Heart” reaffirmed my belief that we are called by God to a purpose and it is up to us to answer that calling.  To not let the evil of this world tell you that you can’t.  You have a chance to get away from the dredges of everyday complacency and get out there and live the life you were created for.  For you men out there, this is a calling for you to live as the adventurous and wild spirit that you were intended to be.  Remember you were created in God’s image.  Everything that is God is about the risk, adventure, strength, and courage that is reflected in men.  Remember as boys, we were wild.  We wanted to explore, we built forts, played war, looked for new adventures.  That is the embodiment of God in us as men.  When we grow, we tend to lose that sense of adventure as the world begins to call.

I challenge each and everyone of you to spend time in prayer and scripture every day.  Ask God to show you what He has called and created you for.  He will show it.  I promise you.  And don’t fall into the trap that once you figure that out, everything will change instantly.  It will take time and dedication to get there, but you can do it.  It’s like I tell my wife as she slowly builds her photography business.  Each day is a growth journey.  The more time you put into the effort, the better you get, and the closer you get to fulfilling that purpose.

We all have the opportunity to come alive folks.  Focus on those key areas of life that will help you come alive.  It is up to you to write the next chapter of your life and where your journey takes you.  What will your next chapter in life read?  Will you continue to live a complacent life that does not help you come alive, or will you step into the calling that you were created for.  Let’s all step up to this challenge.  I sure will and I hope that you will join me.  We can all get there.  


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

Time to Unleash Our Potential

Greetings to everyone!  I hope everyone has had a great summer as we get to that time of year where the kiddos starting heading back to school.  It’s amazing to me how early that starts.  Two of mine already started last week and my oldest later this week.  It’s been quite a summer for me.  A time where I have been very busy with family and work, but also had the opportunity to get away and spend some time relaxing at the beach.

With everything going on, I have not spent much time on my writing as I would have liked to.  The blog has been very quite since early June.  I found myself steering away from my own writing at times.  It gets easy for life to get in the way and not focus on things the way they need to be.  The last two months, 4 Pillars has been in the back of my mind, but has not taken the focus it needs.  I still very much believe in what I have written.  I think there is a way that each of us can focus on all areas of our life in order to really come alive and become the person that God has called  to become.

My wonderful bride took an awesome step this week and started work on a business venture of her in photography.  The start-up of Amber Clinton Photography has begun and I could not be more proud of her to be going after something that she truly loves to do and make it her own.  The response has already been great because of the great work she has done with this as a hobby.  I’m excited to see where she is able to take it over time.

Her push to make this happen has had me reflecting a great deal on myself and the work I started here at 4 Pillar Living toward the end of last year and the first half of 2012.  I truly be believe that God has called me to do something big hear as well through sharing my own testimony to life and what I believe is what we all need in order to come alive.  I’ve put all o this aside for too long now and it is time to get myself back on track through my writing and bring 4 Pillar Living a step further.  I can’t go backwards any more.  Charles Simmons said, “Never go backward. Attempt, and do it with all your might. Determination is power.”

I plan to take that determination further and keep up my writing.  I still have a book a book in progress also.  I had hoped to be further along in it by now, but now is the time to get it back in focus.  I hope that it is something you all will support me on.  I have a lot to say and I plan to get it all out over time.  The first half of 2013 was an amazing ride with this venture moving and now I look forward to the next steps that it will bring to everyone

Let’s all unleash our full God given potential.  We were created for a purpose and it now time to realize that purpose!

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.

What’s Your Excuse?!?!?

Yesterday, I was a at a big meeting that was capped off by a motivational speaker.  Some of you may have heard of him.  His name is Erik Weihenmayer.  If you have not heard of him, go to www.touchthetop.com to learn a little more about him.  Erik is a truly phenomenal speaker with a great story of overcoming serious adversity to do amazing.  What is his adversity, you may ask?  Erik is blind.  Blinded after a rare eye disease hit him in college.  Okay, you may think great.  What is even more amazing though, is the things this guy does.  First, he climbed Mt. Everest (yes blind), he goes kayaking, and a number of other amazing adventures.  For the purposes of the meeting, a key message he had was the importance of the team he has behind him.  I will touch on that in my next post.  The other big message that I got was, what’s our excuse for not doing anything?  This guy climbs mountains, along with others with disabilities, including one guy who is a paraplegic, and another that is a double amputee in his legs and others.  It was truly inspiring to see the wonderful things he has done in his life and not letting the setback of going blind run his life.

Hearing his story reminded me of another I guy I had heard about a couple of month’s back named, Sean Stephenson.  He was featured in December’s issue of Success Magazine.  Sean suffers from brittle bone disease, and at age 33 has suffered over 200 fractures.  Despite all of this, Sean is a guy who does not let anything keep him back and has become very successful as an author, motivational speaker, and more.  He’s a guy who does not let things hold him back.  Listening to his interview from that magazine issue was pretty awesome as well.

Both of these guys made me reflect on myself and everyone around me.  We all come through life and meet different levels of adversity.  Things that seem like a brick wall trying to keep us from unleashing who we are meant to be, or at least it may seem like it.  I have learned from my experiences, and from these two stories that any adversity set before us can also be significant strength builders to becoming who we are truly meant to be.  We have to let ourselves hear what that is and not be consumed in the pity party saying poor me.  Albert Schweitzer said, “One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.”  Those moments of adversity are those moments when our metal is truly tested.  We are meant to find out who we really are and how we can overcome that adversity and use it to our advantage.  Erik Weihenmayer and Sean Stephenson certainly did.

So I ask you, what’s your excuse?  If you are stuck in that mode of I just can’t get ahead.  I can’t find opportunity.  I can’t reach my goals.  What’s your excuse.  Truth be told, there is not excuse.  You have to find it in yourself to pick yourself up and drive forward.  To leap over that obstacle in your way to find the opportunity, to get ahead, to reach your goals, and come alive.  I have said time again that we all have a purpose under God.  He has a special purpose for each one of us.  That adversity is a significant part of that purpose.  Live, learn, and continue to drive forward and grow.  I say again, what’s your excuse?  If you let adversity hold you back, you will always find yourself falling behind.  Getup and climb.  Use adversity as a source of strength and you will be stronger than ever before.