Tag Archives: Risk

Letting God Forge the Way – The Anvil

I have been very quiet on this site this year as this will be my first post since the new year.  This year started off with a bang as I began my counseling internship in the final phase of my Masters program with Liberty University.  It has been a huge experience so far.  Needless to say, I’ve been a little busy with that.

AnvilThe big thing that has been going on however, is about take place tomorrow.  What began as a conversation over breakfast many months ago has led to the development and now launch of our first Wild at Heart modeled Boot Camp, called The Anvil Men’s Boot Camp.  God put it on my heart well over a year ago, that it was my turn to begin seeking and rescuing the hearts of men.  As time has gone by and as I began to counsel with people, I realized that so many of the problems within families stem from the father in some way, whether he is abusive, completely absent, or present but not present. This pattern is destroying marriages left and right and wounding children by the score.

The need was there, but what would I do about it.  In counseling, many of my clients are women, so getting men to come sit down one-on-one is going to be a challenge.  I realized how huge it was for me to step out of my element and go the Wild at Heart Boot Camp in Colorado a couple of years ago.  We were encouraged to take this message back home.  In the last year, I got to know a few other men who had a similar desire.  2 sages and a peer.

The conversations began.  My peer, friend, and brother, Matt and I started small with a men’s small group where we began to lead men through the Wild at Heart message.  It became evident that something bigger was needed.  I met a man named Butch just by happenstance, and we decided to have breakfast and the conversation began. He is a sage who has a huge passion for men’s ministry as well.  The idea was born.

I pulled in another brother and sage, Steve, who also attended Wild at Heart and is immersed in their ministry as well.  Conversations began to happen and we decided that it was something we had to do, sooner, rather than later.  Only way to learn how was to dive in and give it try.

So that’s where we stood. We knew what we wanted to do, we found the site, and now we needed the men.  Conversations with my friend and pastor, Tim, brought me to begin leading some of our men’s Wednesday night Bible studies.  Again, all of this is out of my element, but I jumped in.

I have to admit, we were skeptics at first.  We knew we would start small and opened it to just 12 attendees. There was skepticism as to whether we would get 6 or 8.  A few weeks later, I’m calling Butch and saying telling him we need a 2nd cabin.  Now with a day to go, we have a 19 men heading to Upstate South Carolina for 4 days with God.  Unreal the response we’ve had and we have more waiting in the wings for next time.

So these last few months in 2017 have been all about planning this event out.  Writing content and coordinating everything.  To see it all come together has been so huge.  I can tell God has been at work in this and we’ve made it a point to surrender it all over to Him and not let this become about any of one us.  We know that if a group a men get together like this, God is certain to show up and He already is.

I knew there would be opposition, but the Enemy has been relentless in his attacks, which tell us even more that we are moving in the right direction.  My family has been attacked relentlessly in the recent weeks.  Stating with physical problems from a baseball to my face, a concussion one week and then a diabetic seizure for one my sons, a large allergic reaction for my daughter, and a stomach bug that hit my oldest son.  All of this has put a huge strain on my bride’s heart and mine as well.  We spent a lot of time holding each other and just letting the tears flow.  We knew what it was though.  Satan was trying to use all of this take us out…to stop this weekend from happening.

We have flipped it on him and surrendered it all to God.  The suffering is hard, but nothing in comparison to Christ and we know this.  We just turned to prayer and have had an army of prayer around us, which has pulled us through all of that in ways we couldn’t have imagined a few years ago.

southeastern-expeditionsSo now we’re ready.  All the content is written.  Final details are being nailed down and tomorrow we head to the mountains.  We’ll have some great times of learning and fellowship and times of one-on-one with God, and some adventure on the Wild and Scenic Chattooga River, yes where they filmed Deliverance.  Hopefully no banjos on the shoreline.  Just kidding.

We’re just so pumped about this.  About the men willing to take the risk to head into the wilderness and we sit in eager anticipation and expectation of God’s goodness.  I know He is up to something big here and can’t wait to see what happens in the lives of these men, who range from 20 to their 60s, and then how their families, our church family, and community is impacted.  It’s all about God and He gets all of the glory here.

As Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

Daring To Risk

There seems to be a theme that has been building in my life that has really began to come full circle as we begin this year.  I wrote about this last week when talking about living an adventure and that theme falls back to risk.  Throughout life there is the challenge to enter into risk or to avoid it.  To try things that are dangerous with an uncertain outcome or to play it safe and follow the straight and narrow.  There are good risks and bad risks.  When I was a kid, we didn’t think twice about stacking all kinds of junk and leaning a long board against it for a ramp to jump our bikes.  What was probably even less genius about it is that the ramp was on the driveway and the landing point was the road.  We certainly had our share of close calls with cars flying through.

There’s another type of risk that is good risk.  It may still be dangerous.  It can leave you with a lot of uncertainty, but the outcome in the end will be more wonderful than you can imagine.  That is the risk to follow Christ.  The risk to say to the world that I don’t belong to you and I am going to follow where God leads.  This may not seem like a risky thing on the surface to some, but this type of risk is more opposed than anything in this world.  There is so much spiritual warfare pitted against anyone that wants to follow God’s lead.

I remember this time last year.  I was just a couple of weeks out from flying to Colorado for the Wild at Heart Boot Camp.  As the day drew near, I came under attack, although I didn’t know it at the time.  Every single day for the weeks prior, I suffered continuous headaches.  It bothered me a random times of day.  When I was working out, when I was reading, when working, and other strange random times.  It continued so persistently that I was contemplating cancelling the trip.  I was worried about what was going on.  I had never suffered those kind of headaches and haven’t since then.

I fly out and it’s still bothering me.  I get to Denver and board the buses out to Crooked Creek Ranch, it’s still there.  Thinking this may also be altitude, I ignored it, but it still worried me.  Then we get to the first session on Thursday evening.  We prayed as a group.  Me and 400+ other men.  Then John Eldredge says, “Congratulations men, you made it.” The rest of the time there, the headaches were gone.  I came home, the headaches were gone.  I didn’t realize this until later that this was spiritual warfare.  The enemy was trying to stop me.  I took the risk however and followed God and life hasn’t been the same sense.  That was a good risk.

Risk is such a powerful thing and God calls each of us into risk.  Being willing to risk it all, no matter the cost, to seek out His will and allow Christ to come in and transform us.  Risk is always opposed by the enemy when we are following God, but God has been taking a risk on us from the very beginning, first in creating us, and now in his pursuit of us.  Then we see stories of people risking it all for the Lord.  All the way from the beginning.  Abraham followed God to Canaan.  Moses stood against Pharaoh to free Israel.  David stood against the giant, Goliath.  Jesus lived His life on earth following the Father’s will even to the point of His death.  Then we have the apostles, most of whom lost their lives in service of Christ Jesus.  Such amazing stories of incredible risk.

God is calling each of us into risk as well.  He called me to Colorado and is now calling me to do Kingdom work seeking the lost through counseling.  I pray about this change everyday.  I don’t know what God will have in store as this work truly begins.  He is using the gifts He granted me for His glory now and I have surrendered to that.  That is a big risk.  It’s going to bring about massive changes for my family, but it’s something having a renewed heart, mind, and spirit that we welcome wholeheartedly.

Too many people are complacent in where they are in life.  Especially many Christians.  God calls us into risk and into spiritual growth and maturity.  We can’t be stranded in stale adolescence.  David Wilkerson wrote, “Today, some Christians are content to merely exist until they die. They don’t want to risk anything, to believe God, to grow or mature. They refuse to believe his Word, and have become hardened in their unbelief. Now they’re living just to die.”  Don’t live life to just die.  As one of my friends, Jeff, wrote today on Facebook, live to live.  God has so much in store when we enter his Kingdom.  Be willing to risk now so that you can live life and not just live to die.

Let’s get out of mediocrity.  Let’s get out of stagnant and stale adolescence and risk it to follow Christ no matter the cost.  The enemy will oppose you.  His demons will oppose you. The world, even including people you love, will oppose you.  You, however, need to be willing to oppose all of that in order to live for the Kingdom.  To win for the Kingdom.  To be sanctified by Christ daily in your walk with Him.  To follow Him no matter the cost and if He is calling you to move, being willing to move into the unknown.  Dare to risk!

I want a lifetime of holy moments. Every day I want to be in dangerous proximity to Jesus. I long for a life that explodes with meaning and is filled with adventure, wonder, risk, and danger. I long for a faith that is gloriously treacherous. I want to be with Jesus, not knowing whether to cry or laugh.” – Mike Yaconelli

Willing To Live An Adventure

What comes to your mind when you think of risk and adventure?  When I think of this, there are often images of being a kid, jumping on the bike and riding around town, through the woods down trails, and exploring everything.  When your a kid, everything seems to be an adventure as you are starting to try new things.  You’re willing to get out there and try new things, go new places unsure about what lies ahead, but still you want to go.  For my kids, they love to get out and explore.  We have a river that runs along our neighborhood and they will get out there and explore through the woods, even stretching the limits to follow the river to see where it goes.  That’s a part of being a kid.  God set in us the desire to explore and take on adventure. The desire for adventure.

Something happens though.  We grow older.  We become tainted by the world and we lose the adventure.  Some become stranded in adolescence and try to keep it going, while many of us grow older and begin to do what the world expects of us.  We begin to lose the adventure.  We fall into complacency in our lives and start to do ‘the right thing.’  For me, I know that is definitely the case.  I’ve mentioned this a bunch, but I went college have multiple degrees in areas I really didn’t have a passion for, but thought, “Hey, that’s how to make more money and be successful.”  I thought that was what mattered.

Sitting in our men’s study this week I was reminded of things I learned reading through Wild At Heart and at the Boot Camp last year.  We all have an adventure to live.  As I mentioned before, God set adventure in our hearts.  The desire to risk and follow the desires of our hearts.  I was listening to a recording with Bart Hansen from Ransomed Heart where he talked about the adventure and risk.  Something he shared with us a Boot Camp.  Psalm 37:4, which says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Life is meant to be lived as an adventure.  This comes with living with faith in where God is leading us and being willing to follow wherever He is leading.  I read this in Wild at Heart, but at first didn’t know what this meant to me.  Risk. That’s a scary word for many.  It was for me.  I was so complacent and comfortable for so long.  I felt I was doing what I was supposed to and was able to provide adequately for my family.  We started so young, Amber and I, and I wanted to prove I could do it.

I realized that God had another plan for me though.  I had been feeling this calling on my heart for a while, that there was something more I needed to do.  I didn’t know what that was.  I began writing on this blog.  I knew I was being called to help people in someway, but didn’t know how.  Ideas came and went.  Then it all happened last year.  I realized that God was calling me deeper to help seek the lost and help them find breakthrough and restoration as I did.  This led to counseling.

When this first came up, I really looked at it like, “Really God?  Counseling?”  He affirmed this, not only in my heart, but in the conversations I later had with Amber and then with my pastor and friend, Tim, as well as others.  So I did it.  I jumped in.  It was time to go on an adventure.

Bart Hansen shared something significant when it comes to adventure and risk.  We can risk all day long, but if we don’t follow God in faith through it, we will have nothing.  Also, we can spend our days trying to follow God and putting in the study and work, but if we don’t jump out and risk when He is calling us to adventure, then we are left with nothing as well. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Follow God, no matter where He is leading.  Follow in faith. Be willing to risk it all, but to risk it all for Him and Him alone.  That’s the kicker.

In Wild At Heart, John Eldredge wrote, “Life is not a problem to be solved, it is an adventure to be lived. That’s the nature of it and has been since the beginning when God set the dangerious stage for this high-stakes drama and called the whole wild enterprise GOOD. He rigged the world in such a way that it only works when we embrace risk as the theme of our lives, which is to say, only when we live by faith. A man just won’t be happy until he’s got adventure in his work, in his love, and in his spiritual life.”

The drama that is playing out in front of us in God’s epic story is full of danger.  Risk is ingrained in our every being.  Every part of us.  We are meant to live a life in faith that is willing to follow God, to follow Christ, no matter the cost.

I still look at the work that lies ahead of me.  I don’t know what God will have in store as time moves forward and as I complete my studies.  I know there is a tremendous amount of risk and change that will come our way.  The difference however, and Amber and I both see it this way, we are now following what God’s call is for us.  We are willing to go on this adventure, because we know following Him is what we are meant to do.  It’s what all of us are meant to do, but sadly only a few do it.  It took us until our mid-30s to figure it out, but that’s how He worked it out.

If you trust Him, He will lay the path before you.  Jesus calls us to follow Him.  Living a life that is unscripted and lived by faith, is the only life worth living.  As John Eldredge wrote in Fathered by God, “This is the time for a young man to stop saying, ‘Why is life so hard?’ He takes the hardness as the call to fight, to rise up, to take it on.”  

It’s time to stop standing still.  Time to stop letting the world dictate what you do and how you live.  Rather, it’s time to start following the desires of your heart which is where God is leading.  Follow Him on the adventure that is being laid out in front of you.   Be willing to risk it all for Jesus.  It won’t always be easy, but the cost will be worth it.

It’s Never Too Late For Change

I’ve written about finding your calling many times.  The search in trying to determine what it is God leading you too and then making the steps and having the courage to make the change.  I started this blog over two years ago as I started feeling like God was calling me to something new.  The only problem was that I never stopped and listened enough to what it is he was calling me to.  I just knew it was a far cry different from where I was.  I have been blogging for many years and keep on doing so just because I love to write.  I love to share different things that are on my mind and hopefully make people think and to form their own conclusions.

In the last few months, that calling has become more and more intense.  The closer I got to attending Wild At Heart, the more intense the battles became.  It’s like the enemy knew that God was truly going to gain another warrior.  Not just someone who sits by and pays lip service and just sounds off with opinion, but someone who is ready to battle for the kingdom.

I learned who I was in Colorado.  I learned beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was God’s son.  I know I have referred to this experience a lot, but it had more of an impact on me than I had ever thought possible.  I prayed many times in the weeks leading up to that week that God would open my heart to all he had for me and good gracious….he certainly did.  It was and has been like a whole new awakening.  I have come alive like I never thought possible in my heart and now with the resolve to go where God is calling.

For a long time I was afraid of risk.  I was afraid to rock the boat and make bold changes.  I became complacent and was comfortable with where I was.  I thought it was the right thing for my family and for me to just do what seemed to be expected despite the fact that I no longer found any joy in what I did.  The meaning has been lost and I was living in such a small story.  God has called me and he’s called all of us to a larger story.  It’s just a matter of whether we respond to it.

Life is so full of risk, and following our hearts and God’s calling can be quite a risk.  It can be unnerving to not know what is around the corner.  To not know what the outcomes will be.  We have to decide to choose God first, though, and to trust him.  We’ve all heard the phrase, “The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.”  I believe in this statement.  God is not going to leave you where you are.  He will go wherever you are to pull you from your old and false self and your life of sin and from the jaws of death.  He will go there but will not leave you there.  He will pull you out.  Likewise, he’s not going to lead you down a path that would not be for his glory.  That’s what it’s about after all.  To glorify God in all that we do and with all that we are as his children…as his beloved and his image bearers.

So the question remains; is it ever too late to make a change.  The answer is that it’s never too late.  I don’t care where you are in life.  It is never too late, especially if God is leading you and you are seeking his counsel through it all.  It’s never too late.

For me, God’s leading me in some awesome directions.  He’s put some awesome men in my life that I know I can turn to for counsel, the knights of my round table if you will, and He’s counseling me through it as well.  I also have the full support and love of my wife and children.  What the end results will be, it’s hard to say, but God is calling me to service and I am answering.  It’s going to take some schooling and learning on my part as I move to a world of christian counseling, writing, and ministry work, but I’m so excited.  It’s like a whole new beginning.  All I can do is trust and leave the outcomes up to God.

Where is God calling you to live courageously?  It’s never too late!