Tag Archives: Restoration

The Fog of Religion

I’m going to talk about something today that will not be very popular with many people.  This has to do with the religious veil that is pulled over many of our faces still to this day.  A veil that Jesus himself brought down and that was torn in two, forever opening the door to the Father through Christ.  I guess it’s appropriate that this is on my mind today on Ash Wednesday.  This day is observed by many as the start of Lent, leading up to Easter.  Even before I fully came into my faith, something never sat right with me about it all.  Now that my eyes have been opened, I see it more clearly.

We have a serious religious problem across the Christian faith.  I guess it’s bound to happen over a 2,000 year period as messages get skewed and people begin to prop themselves up through the creation of new religious practices.  While Lent and Ash Wednesday are not referenced anywhere in Scripture, I don’t have an issue with people that want to observe this time.  The problem lies in the motives of the heart.  There are many people and I know many, that use the time leading up to Lent to indulge however they want. To live like hell and just whatever.  Then Lent comes, they get the ashes on their forehead and then portray to be living a like a Christian for 40 days.  Easter comes and goes and right back to life as usual.  Living a life in Christ.  Seeking holiness and sanctification is not for only 40 day out of the 365 days we have each year.  This is meant to be a 24/7 365 life.  People think that this time can make up for the rest of their crazy living.   Doesn’t work that way.

a43673c9d067ac92903fa8250de42be5In his book, ‘Beautiful Outlaw,’ John Eldredge speaks to the religious fog and how Jesus himself was very much anti-religious.  That’s who he went after directly more times than not through the Gospels.  John says this, “The religious fog uses sanctified worlds and activities, things that look and sound very Sunday school to distort our perception of God and our experience of Him.  It is cunning as a snake and adaptive as the flu, infiltrating our practices to make them ever so false.”  Read the Gospels and as John stated, there is one thing that is unmistakably clear…religion is the enemy.  “Every hostile encounter Jesus has is with very “churchy” people.  This spirit is the great enemy of our life with God, and it is this spirit that Jesus warned his boys about when they were whispering in the boat about the bread” (See Matthew 16:6-12).

Religion is a major problem that we to contend with.  Religion is built by man on rules and regulation that continually build up larger walls between man and God.  Jesus tore those walls down.  Our salvation, our freedom, our restoration, our eternity lies with Him and Him alone.  Not in religious practices and rituals.  We are to be disciplined spiritually through prayer, studying and learning Scripture, and so on, but getting caught up in religious discipline and practices can be a real problem and can begin to pull you away from the heart of God.  Following Jesus does not require the burden of religion.  Matthew 11:29-30, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

9780060694425_p0_v2_s192x300Why do we forget this?  There is a cost to following Christ as it will pull you away from many around you, even if you are close them them, if they do not follow as well.  However, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  Jesus did not put up more religious walls to shield us from God.  No…He opened the door. The goal of living a life in Christ is to live as Christ lived.  Not to follow every little thing that He may did, specifically, but to follow His example.  In ‘The Spirit of the Disciplines,’ Dallas Willard explained it this way, “The secret of the easy yoke is simple, actually.  It is the intelligent, informed, unyielding resolve to live as Jesus lived in all aspects of life, not just in the moment of specific choice or action.” 

I have grown to become very much against religion.  Actually, I hate religion.  It is the enemies ploy to skew the message and the Good News to pull us away from the heart of God and truly living our lives in Christ.  Christ is the example, not the pompous religious pharisees of today that prance around with so much pomp and circumstance just as the pharisees and religious leaders in Jesus’ time did.  Christ challenged them directly and fiercely.  We should not let our lives fall into their trap again.  Clear the religious fog and live in the freedom and restoration found in Christ alone and is directly available to each and everyone of us.

No religious ritual can ever make one’s heart right with God.  That only comes through the grace and spiritual blessings of the Father through the works (life, death, resurrection, and ascension) of Christ Jesus.  Religion keeps you in chains and bondage behind a veil. Jesus tears down the veil, breaks those chains, and sets you free.

A Much Needed Disconnect and Reconnect

It’s felt strange not writing at all these past couple of weeks.  I just returned with my family from some much needed rest at the beach.  For my family and me, the gulf coast is like a second home.  That is our typical escape from the busyness of everyday life.  I look at this time as a moment to let go and just live, enjoying being in the presence of the Lord.  Being able to wake up each morning and on the waters edge, looking out over the expansive waters of the Gulf, it reminds me of just how small we are in God’s larger creation and larger story.  All the while, despite how small we are, God pursues us and loves each of us just the same.  Psalm 23:3, “He restores my soul.

I recall being in Colorado earlier this year and being able to, for the first time, letting go and unplugging.  This time around, I tried to do the same, leaving my phone in our room when we went on the beach.  Not wanting to be bogged down with social media or news or anything else.  It’s still amazing to me how difficult that becomes for us these days.  To let go of our shackles that is our phones and connections and just live.  I did my best to do that this time around and it was very freeing.  It truly gave me a chance to let go for a bit.

I just can’t stress how important it is to let go.  To unplug and get away from the routines of life.  We all get so bogged down and busy that many of us just find it impossible to get away, let alone unplug from the matrix.  I was finishing up one of my first classes and writing a paper relating this issue of a counselor, while successful getting near the edge of burnout and abruptly taking a vacation.  Reaching burnout can affect your judgement as I have studied, so we have to take the time to take care of ourselves.  Take care of ourselves physically, spiritually, emotionally.  We need our time to just let our minds break free and not think about work and our buys lives for a bit.  A week hardly seems like enough, but when we can, we need to do this.

This week, I also reconnected deeper with the Lord.  Getting to just spend more time in Scripture and prayer than I’ve allowed myself too sometimes was amazing.  I have loved being more connect with Him and this week away allowed me more time to dive deeper into that connection with Him.  We face so much in this world and there is so much chaos around us, but just knowing that God is there always and has always been the same as he was and will always be the same, is awesome.  I know I can always go to Him and he will restore me; spirit, soul, and body, heart mind, and will.

Thankful for the time I had with my family on vacation.  Would love to have more of that time, but I am pumped to restored and renewed for what is to come.  Ready to dive back in.

Diving Deeper – Walking With God

Over the last couple of years since the first version of this blog, the writing and the overall goal and direction have continually shifted.  What started as a site writing about finding freedom in life and work and looking for overall purpose and direction began to really shift.  I have learned a lot these past couple of years about life and about my God and the restoration that is offered to us through Jesus.  If you look at Isaiah 61, this is the Scripture that Jesus uses to proclaim his purpose.  To comfort and heal the brokenhearted and to set the captives free.  This offer and purpose to restore each and everyone of us.  We were all captives and all have been the brokenhearted in some way.  From this I began to really shift focus in my writing.

What started as 4 Pillars has now evolved into 4 Streams.  The streams that Jesus walked in to offer our restoration.  Discipleship, Counseling, Healing, and Warfare.  I adapted to this teaching after reading the book Waking the Dead by John Eldredge.  I believe this teaching is a central part of restoring our hearts and in drawing closer to God in our lives.  It enables us to come alive.  Since coming into the 4 Streams, I have learned a great deal.  The issue now is putting that all into practice in my life.  I believe this is critical teaching and as I walk in the 4 Streams, I want to share that with you to help you apply it further in your own lives.  So what I am going to share now is deeper dive into each of the streams.  This first post will be on Discipleship, or more specifically, Walking with God.  I want to provide teaching that I’ve learned from John and others, confirmed in Scripture, and from my own experiences walking with God and building that intimate relationship.

So, what do you think of when you think of discipleship?  Many things that come to mind are around our christian growth.  Learning to be more responsible, connecting with people in fellowship, connecting with our church families, and much more.  There’s one key aspect that is often overlooked in discipleship and that is walking with God.  Conversing with him and seeking him in our lives for counsel.  Making him an intimate part of your life.  Not just knowing about him, but allowing him into  your heart on a deeper level and really hearing him and getting to know more about him.  This goes beyond just reading Scripture too, as I’ve come to find out, and includes our prayer time and learning to hear him in our hearts and discerning what is really God, the enemy, or our own selves.

John points to Mark chapter 1 and when Jesus encounters the first disciples.  His invitation to this rag tag bunch is to hang and to walk with him.  “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people” (vs 17 ).  Follow me, walk with me.  That’s quite an invitation.  ‘I will show you how to fish for people.’  That tells me that if we follow Jesus, he will lead.  Walk with God and he will lead us in our lives and on a deep and intimate level.

Again, what does Jesus offer.  He offers restoration and life.  Our hearts our made new through Jesus.  The path to life can be a rocky path, however.  We encounter so much warfare and attempts by the enemy to take us out.  Happens all the time.  Has happened to me.  Walking with God in discipleship can be key in traversing this path.  “You will make known to me the path of life” (Psalm 16:11).  If we walk with God he will reveal the path he wants to lead us on.  “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14).  So we have a path to life and restoration in Jesus.  It is narrow path, but God offers to show us the way.  He knows each and everyone and desires for us to lean and trust in him to lead us.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

So in walking with God a key aspect is being able to hear him.  Being able to decipher his voice when he speaks to you in your heart.  Not around you, but down deep.  You need to be able to decipher his voice from the clutter of the world and the enemy and your thoughts.  Learn to figure out what’s really from God.  This is something that definitely takes practice and I am working at it everyday.  Still don’t have it down and God still continues to amaze me in they way he speaks and leads me.  We need to be able to turn to him for counsel and ask him into everything in life.  John Eldredge used many examples in his audio session talking about seeking God with even the smallest things and the big things.  It’s important and we need to be more reliant on him and not ourselves.

In seeking his counsel though, we have to be able to accept it even when he tells us, NO.  If we don’t listen we he says no, then we are still trying to be self-reliant.  We are still trying to trust ourselves, “lean on our own understanding.”  You can’t be self-reliant and walk intimately with God.

God will definitely start to stir us in the way he encounters us in trying to restore our hearts.   What does God do to begin restoring us?  He reawakens desire.  He disrupts and stirs our lives and hearts and he intrigues, all to stir us to walk with him.  God has worked this heavily in my own life.  This started over two years ago when I began to write on the first version of this site.  Something stirred in my heart.  Didn’t know what it was at the time.  I just knew I was being called to something more than what I had been in.  I began to write, but still spent much of my time very self reliant and not opening my heart to hear God in any of it.

What happens this year? As you all know, God sent me to Colorado to the Wild at Heart Bootcamp.  He intrigued me in what would be there and disrupted my world completely unplugging me from my regular life and allowing me to completely plug into him.  Allowed him to dive deep into my heart and to hear God speak to me like I have never heard before.  He began to Father me and he was inviting me to walk with him.  Since then, he has lead me on a whole knew adventure these last few months.  I believe God is leading me to take the stories and experiences of my brokenness and restoration to counsel and help others through my own testimony and through this teaching.  It all begins with being able and willing to let go and walk with God.  Hearing God and talking with Jesus is a fundamental right of every christian.  Something that no other religion or cult in this world can ever offer you.  They just can’t.

I hope this was helpful.  I will also be dive deeper into the other streams next.  To help give you all a deeper understanding of where I am going with my writing and teaching.  I have links on the front page of this site and my About me page to will lead to some resources at Ransomed Heart that dive deeper.  I will be diving in and learning more myself as we go along.  I hope you join me on this journey.

“The dullness that overshadows a passive person is increased by the mounting number of times one doesn’t respond to the promptings of God.” –Greg Manalli


I Want To Be The Real Deal

Being the real deal…Being Authentic.  What do those words say to you?

While you ponder that, I would like to take you on a journey to look down deep inside yourself.  There is something that every single one of us has had as a part of our sin nature. That is our fig-leaf.  We have all been posers in some way.  I don’t care who you are.  It’s been an inherent part of our nature since the fall of man.  Genesis 3, what do Adam and Eve do after their sin and they now realize they’re naked.  They sew fig leaves together to cover them selves.  They hide.  Ever since then, this has been such a huge and inherent part of us has humans.  We are posers!

God’s revealed so much of this to me in my life over these past years and especially the past few weeks.  Through Wild at Heart, I was able to allow God into my heart deeper to further expose the poser inside of me.  The false-self.  The Ransomed Heart guys shared the analogy of an iceberg.  10% of the iceberg is above water, while the other 90% hides below.  This correlates to our motives and behaviors.  Our behaviors are the 10% on the surface, while the motives are all hidden. I wrote last week about motives and what drives them.  We have to examine those to really get at the heart of how we act and how we portray our lives.  Do we portray a false front or are we authentic?

There’s many ways that we pose or put on the false front to hide.  For me, God pointed right to my reserved passivity.  For many years I have hid behind my quietness and not willing to take a stand and be a voice.  I would speak-up off from time to time, but often would stay back.  I hid behind that as a strength.  Of being to be observant and only speak when needed.  Someone once told me I was tough to read.  Never really let that sink in until this time when I really looked at my heart.  That really told me that I was hiding.  I was putting on a false front and not living authentic as a man.  I was always the nice guy that just got along.  Easy to capitulate and not put up a fight.  God had another way for me though and he has been working on my heart to show me all of this.

People hide in a number of other ways too.  Either way you cut it, the surface behaviors you present to the world are driven by motives that are hidden.  We have to be able to get to the heart of those motives and know what they are before we can address them and really begin to grow and shed that fig leaf.  One thing they shared with us is that deconstructing the poser in us is huge in realizing our brokenness and where we need restoration.   When we shed that poser a cool thing happens.  We lose our ability to bullshit our way through life anymore.

As for me, I want to be the real deal.  To be the authentic man.  God wants all of us to be the real deal.  To shed our false-self.  To put off the old man, our sinful nature and come alive.  To be authentic.  It can be a very difficult journey to do so.  To really get at the heart of your brokenness and seek God for the restoration that you need.  I recommend you get away from your regular life for a day or two.  Escape into solitude and just commune with God.  Go in the wilderness or somewhere and let him get at your heart.

“Christ has truly set us free” (Galatians 5:1).  Because of this freedom we have in Christ, we can shed the poser.  We can put off our old sinful nature and come alive in Christ.  Ephesians 1:4, “Even before he made the wold, God loved us and chose us Christ to be hold and without fault in his eyes.” God made us and knew us before creation.  He made our hearts to be real and to authentic and to be good.  Jesus is the picture of full authentic masculinity.  He is what each us could have been if we always put God first through everything in our lives.  And I mean everything.  “Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy”  (Ephesians :23-24).

My call to everyone today is to let go.  Let go of the poser and the fig leaf that we all hold on too.  Search for your authentic self.  Let Jesus into your heart and he will restore you through all of your brokenness.  Trust me, he will restore you.  I would pray that if you have not taken a look down this path, that you try to.  Have faith the journey and where they Lord takes you.  Let him lead you.  For men, I would highly recommend you pick up the book, Wild at Heart by John Eldredge as a starting point.  For Women, I would highly recommend you pick up Captivating written by John and his wife Stasi.  My wife read this book and loved it.  Transformed her life.  Great starting points to really get down into your heart to restore it and come alive shedding the fig leaf we all hide behind.

This is not an easy journey or a quick journey by any means.  It’s been a long 1 1/2 year journey for me and now that God has really take hold of heart since the Wild at Heart Boot Camp, he has me on fast forward.  It’s a journey of restoration that Jesus has for each of us.  He came to save us from our sins yes, but he also came to restore our hearts.  To be made new and to be the people God intended us and created us to be all along.  I challenge you to take this journey if you have not.  Come alive and become the real deal.


What Kind Of Man Do I Want To Be?

Ephesians 5:16 tells us that we should make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.  The problem that many of us have is that we let opportunities that come our way just pass right by and we do not do anything about it.  We spend our days in our own small story and hide from opportunity.  It could be right in front of our face, yet we do nothing.  I can speak all about this, because I have certainly been guilty of this in my life.  Truth is truth and it’s not worth hiding from.

In John Eldredge’s book, “Free To Live – The Utter Relief Holiness,” he shares something we all struggle with in our life’s.  It has to do with how we hide in our lives.  We are all guilty of this in someway.  We have that fig leaf that protects us in our small story.  Here is what John shares:

One of the strangest quirks of life here on this planet is the fact that the one face we hardly ever see is the one closest to us: our own. As we move about in the world every day, our face is always right before us and always just beyond us. Somebody could write a fairy tale about that. It would be an allegory for how rarely we see ourselves, who we truly are, the good and the bad. But in unexpected moments we get a sideways glance, as when passing by a plate glass window downtown, and most of the time we don’t like much what we see.

Notice how we are in elevators: No one makes eye contact. No one wants to acknowledge that we are seeing and being seen. In a moment of forced intimacy, almost claustrophobic intimacy, we pretend we aren’t even there. The reason? Most times we just don’t know what to do with what we see. About ourselves, I mean. It doesn’t take a Nobel Prize winner to see that something dreadful has happened to the human race. So we look at the ceiling or our shoes; we watch the numbers report the passing floors; we hide. This is how most of us approach our entire lives—we hide what we can, work on what we feel is redeemable, and despise the rest.

There is a better way.

There is most certainly a better a way.  I can totally relate to this.  I ride an elevator to a 21st floor office and it has often been an awkward time.  I find myself staring up, staring at the floor counter, or my phone.  I know I’m not the only one either.  If you think about we are hiding.  We hide from opportunities to fellowship, know others, and from exposing anything about ourselves.  I’ve been coming to great terms about the false story I’ve lived in and hid behind.  I have a great deal of work to do, but the Lord has been revealing so much about who I am and who He is calling me to be.

It begs the question of what kind of man do I want to be.  Do I want to be one that stays in my hidden small story and behind my fig leaf or do I want to put off the old man, the poser I’ve been and come alive for my God and for His kingdom.  It takes a great deal of courage to come out from behind our fig leaf.  It is so easy to be stuck in that world and in that life and be perfectly content with just getting on life.  As for me, I not live in this small and false story any longer.  God has shown me who I am and I know I cannot go back.

Ephesians 4:24 says to “Put on your new nature, created to be like God.” God is calling all of us to a larger story.  He is calling us into his kingdom.  To leave our sinful nature behind and live for him and under his undeserved grace and mercy that we have through Jesus Christ.  When we learn to leave this old nature behind, the opportunities that will unfold through our faith will be enormous.  With our real identities in Christ, we can truly move forward for the kingdom.  We all have gifts and talents we’re blessed with.  It’s a matter of whether we decide to put them to us.

In now living our life through Christ, we can share our faith with others.  As my Pastor shared with us, we can extend the love of God to others.  Jesus extended compassion to everyone.  The lost (Matthew 9;36:37), the sick (Mark 1:41), the adulterous, and the demon possessed (Mark 5:19).  We all have an opportunity, through Christ to share that same compassion and love to others.  We all have a number of different ways that God is calling us to do this.  We are not saved by our good works, but since we are saved, we have the opportunity to do works that God calls us too.

So in returning to the question, what kind of man or for you ladies, what kind of woman do you want to be.  Do you want to hide behind your fig leaf, or do you want to answer the call God has for all of us?  Do you want to be on the sidelines out of the game, or do you want to be in the game?

I know this all sounds easy, but if you turn to the Father in prayer and daily communion with Him, He will Father you through this.  He is wanting to raise the fatherless place in all of us to restore us through Christ Jesus so that we are now alive and equipped for the race.  Armed with the full Armor of God and ready to get your hands dirty and into the battle. Remember, the Father is orchestrating a rescue of all of us.  You have to make the choice of whether you allow Him to rescue your heart and bring you to life.  The free will choice is always ours to make.  Will you choose God first or this world?  I used to choose the world first and hide just as Adam did.  I no longer want to be that man.  My new heart is in Jesus and my desire is come alive in Christ and walk with God in discipleship and love.

Seeking the Counsel That We Need

In this world we are filled with joys and sorrows.  We have things that happen to us through the years that seem to define who we become, whether right or wrong. We suffer from wounds that drive many of the choices we make and even the sin we live in.  Those wounds often get buried deep in our hearts for a long time.  We hide behind our fig leafs and those things never come to the surface.  We don’t let anyone in and then we let those wounds define a false self in us and for the world to see.  This could be wounds you suffered from your parents, siblings and other family, anyone else around you.  When they hit you as a kid they hurt.  You may not realize it, but they really begin to take hold of your life.

I’ve suffered through many of my own wounds.  Many I suppressed for a long time.  I bared a great deal of weight on my shoulders and tried so hard to prove myself in my family life and work life.  I realized I was missing a key part of it all.  God.  I came to believe in Christ long ago, but it was not until my 30s until my life really began to point more seriously toward him.  Now at 36, I’ve crossed a whole new bridge as I’ve come to realize that I really needed Jesus to get down deep into my heart to uncover those wounds so that they could be brought to the surface and nailed to Cross for good.  Jesus wants to restore our hearts.  He came to make our hearts new.  We have to be willing to let him though.  We have to open the door to let him in.  He opened the door to our salvation already now we have to let Him come in and heal us so we can walk through that door.

While I was in Colorado, Jesus dove way down deep in to my heart.  I had wounds in there I never wanted to admit or let out, but things that completely defined the false self I became for the first part of adulthood.  It hurt like I had never hurt before.  The thing was, this is exactly what I needed.  I needed the Lord to dig into my heart.  As I walked in communion with him I heard him initiating me into the man he new that I was. The man that I was meant to be all along.  I was never fully initiated into manhood and grew up faster than I should have.  Now I could hear the Father calling me HIS SON.  I was HIS SON and he called me out to be the warrior and the man I was meant to be.  Truly amazing the intimate counseling that He offers us.

Ephesians 4:23 says to “let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”  I think I referenced this in my last post, but it is so true.  If you let the Holy Spirit in.  If you let God into your heart and into your wounds he will renew your thoughts and your attitudes. Verse 24 says, “Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.”  When we allow him fully into our lives to counsel and heal us, we come closer to the Father.  We are his image bearers and being renewed in him gives us our new and true nature.

This does not just stop with my trip out to Colorado though.  I now know I need to seek God’s counsel for so much more.  When wounds begin to resurface or when struggles come that seem to pull me down, I know I can walk with God and talk with him.  He will pull me from the struggles I find myself in.  None of us have to live in the dark places of our wounds.  Many choose to, but we don’t have to and Christ set us free from the enemies grip on us and our wounds.  We are told in Colossians 2, that Jesus disarmed the angels of darkness.  We don’t have to bound to them any longer or let them dwell in our wounds.  Christ won that battle.

God knows our hearts (Luke 16:15).  He knows exactly where we are in our life and Jesus came to restore our hearts.  In order to do so however, we must let him come to where we are and into our wounds.  He won’t leave us there if we trust him, though.  The pain will be temporary and you will come alive from that.  I’ve never felt as alive as I do right now and I’m fired up to where God is leading.  I needed his counseling first in order to come to where I am.

“God never said that the journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile.”  – Max Lucado

A New Year…A Renewed Focus

Happy New Year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rest From Life’s Distractions and Noises

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding Peace For Restoration

We live in a very noisy society today.  Everyday we get up and go about our business, we are bombarded with a million distractions around us, stuff on radio and tv, social media, daily traffic on our commute, drama in our circles, drama in the workplace, and so much more.  From the time we get up, until the time we go to sleep, we are under constant bombardment which can easily distract and wear us out, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually.  With so much going on, many of us don’t take the time to step away and find time to sit in peace and solitude to restore ourselves.  I was reading an article yesterday about solitude an and the importance we have of finding a place where we can stay away from the distractions of this world and restore ourselves in solitude.

Some where do you go for that peace or do you at all?  For me, there are a few places I find helpful for my restoration.  First for my daily time, it comes in the early morning hours, before the house starts moving.  When I get this time, I dive into God’s Word and meditate and journal on what I’m reading that day and then pray on it.  This is a daily practice that helps really get the day going.  Also during my morning workouts at the gym.  I plug my ears in with Praise and Worship music whenever I workout and stay locked in for the next hour and half.  For my major restoration from the year of craziness that comes from work and family priorities, it comes when I am at the beach.  There is something about getting up in the early morning and walking on the sand before all the other vacationers come out.  I listen to the ocean, feel the breeze, and in that place I feel completely locked in with God.

During any of these times, it’s not about being alone and lonely, it’s about solitude.  As the article I read in And Sons Magazine describes, there is a distinct difference between loneliness and solitude.  The author describes loneliness as “Cold. It haunts us in the quiet hours when we have failed to create enough white noise to drown it out. It is scary. It is deafening.”  Solitude however, “is the quiet of standing in a windless snowfall. The snow acts as a sound dampener—it’s hard to hear a car even if it’s only 20 feet away. It’s more than quiet—it is substantive, as if you could stretch out your hand and push into the silence like a down pillow.”

As the article also points out, there is one who made moments of solitude a regular practice.  That is none other that Jesus Christ.  Many times in the Gospels we read of Jesus stepping away into the wilderness to pray and restore himself.  To connect with The Father.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

“After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone….” (Matthew 14:23)

Then of course there was the 40 days in the wilderness which prepared Jesus for what was to come in His ministry and in fulfilling His purpose according Scripture.

These moments of solitude are extremely important parts of our lives and our restoration and preparation for what is still to come in our lives.  In these moments we can connect closer with God.  We can sit still in silence and fill His Spirit fill us and restore us.  It is in these moments where we can fully let go of the stresses this world brings in our daily lives and talk with God and listen to where He leads.  These moments are priceless and really help prepare for the next steps in our journey.

I am going to touch on this more in the coming weeks.  My next video blog will come out in July and will be on this very subject.  I think this is such an important part of our lives in our walk with God and finding where He is leading us, dealing with the spiritual battles and sin that the Adversary throws our way every day, and in restoration our lives and relationships with those around us.  We all need that place and that time to find peace and restoration.

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.