Tag Archives: Life

Is This About Me?

There’s no doubt and no denying that we are in a self-driven culture.  A self-sufficient, self-reliant culture.  This life, each and every day, tells us to figure what I can do, to make life work for me.  Achieve success.  Achieve, win, go faster, be on top.  You get the idea.  Living and working in two different worlds has led me to learn that it does not matter what line of work we are in or what, the self, the ego, if you will, is always right there to give us a nudge and push us along.

Over the past couple of years, I have been blessed to begin counseling with individuals and couples and also to work with a solid team of to host men’s ministry weekends or boot camps as we have called them.  While it has been hard burning the candle at both ends, maintaining my long-term work in the process, it has been some very fruitful and fulfilling work to see individuals and families transformed come alive in a variety of ways.

In the midst of it all, however, I always think back to the first night of our first boot camp.  We didn’t know what we were doing.  We had a plan, felt led by the Spirit, and were going to execute it as best we could.  That first night and the next morning, however, events happened, that God used to tell me, “When are you going to remember that I am in control?”  It was as clear as can be.  We prayed through that and allowed God to take more and more control, which was the best thing we could have done.

Now fast-forward.  We’ve held 3 weekends, my wife helped lead a weekend for women, and we are planning our fourth men’s weekend this Fall.  What has been very obvious is the ministry that has sort of morphed out of all of this and the thoughts for continued growth that has come from all of this.  We are in the planning the stages of something new to be birthed and will be so pumped to share about it as it all comes together.

20180716_114333_0001.pngAs I think about it this, I guess I’m writing this post as a reminder to myself, just as much as it is for all of you.  This is not about me or any of you.  This life is not about us.  It is about God, as the author, creator, and perfecter of our story and lives, through Jesus Christ.  Every morning, as a part of my prayer, I pray that God helps me to remember that this is all about Him and not about me, that He is the Hero of this story and that I belong to Him.

So, I started this post, but talking about the self-fulfilling culture we live in.  I was led to Galatians 5:16, where Paul writes (out of The Message), “My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit.  Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness.” He goes on to write, “For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day.”

AllThingsNewLearning from this is very important for all of us. God places desires in our heart for living, but those desires from Him are out of desire to live a life with God.  When we go to try to make life work on our own, pursuing self-fulfilling desires that are driven by the false-self, we will be derailed and life cannot be found there.  John Eldredge wrote, “Faith looks back and draws courage; hope looks ahead, and keeps desire alive.”

So what are you looking to.  What are the ambitions that drive you ahead?  Is it purely out of what this life will bring you, or do you look ahead to the hope that is head by pursing the Great Adventure with God?  Do you seek His will or your own?  As Paul write, the free spirit, which we have in Christ is at odds with self-interest or the false-self.

The false-self says, how can I make life work for me.  The true-self or the free spirit as Peterson put it, seeks and desires the ultimate life, that comes only with God and through Jesus Christ.  Paul wrote in Ephesians 4 to put off our old-self, our sinful and false nature (this is the nature that is self-driven) and put on our new nature, our true-self, that is created to be like God, truly holy and righteous.

We have a great hope that lies ahead with the coming of Christ and restoration of all things.  I urge you brothers and sisters, do not spend your life trying to make life work for just yourself.  There is no life to be found there.  This is not about us.  It is about God first.  Choose a life with Him.  Don’t be so short sighted to strive for the worlds standards or your own standards of success.  You will miss the mark big time.

Align yourself with God and allow the Holy Spirit to overwhelm you and lead you in the way you should go.  God is trying to grow us and train us in this life in order to perfect us for His Kingdom.  Choose the, with God, life.

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You Can’t Do This Alone

Everyday I find that I am a learning something new about myself and about my relationship with God.  I have been on a journey these last 4 years getting to truly learn about God, drawing closer to Him, and being more intentional about my faith.  It has not always been easy.  Last year, was a big step forward for my family and me in our growth and in our faith.  We connected with a body of believers that we’ve absolutely grown to love and worship with.  Then about middle of last years, life began to interfere and we drew away for a short time.  Toward the end of the year we drew ourselves back in and have made it a point as a family to become even more intentional about our faith.

Last week, I had a serious gut check of myself and how I was going about things.  I knew this all along, but it really hit me as I sat in my Men’s Ministry Group.  I have been a Lone Ranger for way too long.  For most of the last few years since I began to get more serious about my faith in Christ, I have done things alone.  I studied scripture on my own, read through many books of faith on my own.  Prayed and conversed with God on my own and dealt with my own issues and sins on my own.  I have my wife and together we would have our moments and discussions, but to be honest, we weren’t always on the same page and I was guilty of trying to force her growth, spiritually rather than letting her grow in her faith the way she needed to.

For both of us, though, we realized there was an element missing, especially for me.  I never had anyone outside my marriage, no other men in my life that I could do life with and converse with about my faith regularly and help me in my growth.  I was doing things on my own.  We were doing things on our own.  A lot of that stems from being married as young as we were and our goals to make in on our own.  We both have friends, but not, especially me, no one that I would connect with on a deeper level of spiritual accountability and faith.

So what’s my point here?  The point is you can’t do it all on your own.  Yes, there is a lot of spiritual growth that must be individual.  We need our alone times to converse with God, we need that solitude.  I am going to Colorado this week a lot for that purpose.  I’ll talk more about that later.  But, the simple fact is that we cannot do it all on our own.  We need to be connected with others of faith.  When we can connect in this manner it will stimulate our growth and connection with God even more.  I’ve missed out on that aspect, a lot because I just never would seek out those connections.

Look all through Scripture.  People had there connections to help them along.  Jesus had his disciples.  The Apostles had the support of one another and so much more.  It goes beyond just sitting in groups and worship once or twice a week.  We need to do life with others.  It is essential for our own growth and sanity.  Doesn’t mean it’s always roses and sunshine.  It’s a lesson I’ve been learning and slowly coming toward.  It’s been out of my comfort zone as introverted as I am , but I think very essential and I am making this a point to become even more intentional in this area of my faith

Rest From Life’s Distractions and Noises

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

According to His Purpose and Not Ours

Over the last year, I have written a great deal about purpose. Many people to this day striggle with what it is they are here for wonder aimlessly trying to find the answers. Often times, it is related to a career path where we try to find something we are passionate about and gives us fulfillment. The more I wrote, the more I realized that our purpose is much bigger. Our purpose, each one of our purposes, comes from one source…God. The issue we have to contend with is unlocking it. The thing is that it’s right there in front of us already. It is breathed through the Word of God and we just have to take that time to walk with Him and learn it. Yes, God will giveeach of us differing assignments, but it all circles to one single purpose, to honor and glorify God, to worship God, and to Walk with Him, and witness for Him.

Each of use has struggled with this. I most definitely have. Our hearts and minds get in the way and then our direction begins to cloud with worldly distractions. We face problems that we think are too big to handle and even doubt God’s ability to answer and help. There is one truth I know though. God is way bigger than any problem or struggle we face and by living for His purpose we will see that realized always. When I lost my Dad a few years back, I was lost. I struggled and wondered aimlessly for sometime trying to figure out what really mattered. My faith was not a central point as much as I said it was. In essence was not honest about my struggle and continued to wonder if I did have a purpose. God’s purpose was revealed through this struggle though, even though it took a while to see it. The purpose of walking closer with Him and worshipping in prayer and worship.

Two years ago, I recommitted myself to my life missions with my family, when I committed to the Resolution to them. That Resolution hangs as a daily reminder now of where God is leading me. Now in the last year, since starting 4 Pillars, I think God’s next purpose is being realized in working with God through what He gives me and witnessing for Him of just how powerful He is in our lives. So yhis is where I will continue to go. I commit to all of you and before God to continue walking in step with Him daily and to testify to His glory.

We all have our own skills and talents in how we can do this very thing. Please dont’t sit back in life. None of us were meant to be by-standers. Romans 9:11 says that…”God chooses people according to His own purposes.” He is calling on every single of us if we will listen and let His Spirit shine down through us. Let’s answer that call. It’s His purpose and not ours.

Re-Focus Yourself for His Purpose

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

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

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

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

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

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

Returning to Your True Father

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Complacent or Purposeful

Do you ever stop to evaluate your own life to figure out if you are living a life that is planned out and expected of you?  Do you ever get the notion in your mind that there has to be much more in life waiting for me than what has presented itself?  Do you find that you are just going along in life following a plan that just does speak to you or ignite you?  Are you feeling complacent?

Those questions are just the tip of iceberg when it comes to looking at our lives and how we live.  I have seen all to often where people jump down a particular path because it is either acceptable, safe and secure, or what they’ve been taught to do.  In addition, often times life circumstances happen that bring about decision that seem like a good idea at first, but as time goes on you realize that it really is not who you are or you chose that path for the wrong reasons.  It’s not a great feeling because then you start to find yourself stressed and not sure what you can do change.

Often times what is needed is for you take a step back and completely re-evaluate your direction to figure out what it is you are doing and whether or not the path you chose is the right one.  At this point your assessment should look at whether your life is just complacent and settling with your circumstances or if you are living out your real purpose and living purposefully.  I am sure many will say, if giving a true assessment will say they’ve become complacent.

In some ways, I’ve felt the same way.  not with my beautiful wife and children but in overall career and education paths.  Sometimes it feels like I’ve settled into rolls just to make sure they were provided for.  Nothing wrong with that, but when it becomes a problem is when you feel like your path is sucking away at your own soul.  I’ve certainly had that feeling.  The beauty part is that no matter what path you take, every part of it is a part of your journey and growth.  Going through those challenges better prepare you for the making the changes you really need to make in your life.

So what do you do if you find yourself complacent and realizing that you need to make a change.  Well that is simple, CHANGE.  I know it sounds daunting, but that’s what needs to happen.  Figure out what it is that truly makes you happy and go do that.  Live a purposeful life and don’t let naysayers stop you.  Author Joseph Campbell said, “We must let go of the life we planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”  There is a lot more out there waiting for you accomplish in life and life is way to short to sit back and let it all pass by.

Take life by the horns and take the lead on the direction you want to take.  Choose to live a life of purpose and say goodbye to a life of complacency.  It’s something that we can all do.  You don’t have to live miserable and unhappy in nowhere jobs.  You don’t have to keep up with the Jones’s.  The life you lead is between you and God and he will get you to that life of purpose if you trust in Him.  Be purposeful and you can Come Alive!