Monday, September 29, 2014

Five steps to help get your life in gear!

Get in Gear!

Exodus 14:15New Living Translation (NLT)

Escape through the Red Sea
15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!

I really love fast cars and a close friend of mine bought the coolest vehicle. It is a silver Chevrolet Camaro with two thick black racing stripes that lay across the hood, roof, and trunk. The car is quick and the best part is its manual transmission.

When they brought the car to the house I was crazy excited. I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel and take a spin. Seeing the car was cool but when I got into the driver’s seat it got even more exciting.  I slid the key into the ignition and turned the car on – goose bumps quickly raised on my arms as the deep baritone sound emitted from the chrome tipped twin exhausts.

My left foot engaged the clutch and my right foot engaged the brake. I then released the parking brake and pushed the gear shifter into first gear. The anticipation of power was overwhelming!

After my right foot came off the brake my left foot slowly released the clutch. We’re moving! Chug chug jerk jerk stop. That car jumped more than a kid in a bounce house. After a couple more tries we were rolling.

As difficult as it was to get out of first gear in this car, I am reminded of how people are either afraid to get out of neutral, can’t get out of first gear, or are rushing to speed in sixth gear.  Every gear has a purpose including reverse. It is ok to backup and reevaluate. Staying idle cannot be a permanent position if you ever want to succeed. However, it is necessary to rest or return to the ready position when life’s red lights appear. Taking the first step is a big choice and the joy of first gear can be exciting but even that gear cannot be ridden forever. Then, some are in such a hurry to go fast that they miss the power of progressing through the gears gradually.

Here are five steps to help get in gear!

Make a Plan
The best intentions will rarely materialize if they are not properly planned. Habakkuk 2:2New Living Translation (NLT)
Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.

Leverage your Fears
Control those things that are trying to control you. Use your faith to stomp out your fears and when you are weak remember that God is fighting for and with you.
2 Timothy 1:7New Living Translation (NLT)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Handle Anxiety
There is a difference in walking aimlessly and allowing God to aim your steps. Your plan looks like no one else’s. Your mapmaker and destination creator knows where you are going – there’s nothing wrong with asking for directions!
Philippians 4:6New Living Translation (NLT)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Avoid Haste
Unbridled speed is dangerous. Manage your actions and you will achieve greater success.
Proverbs 25:15New Living Translation (NLT)
Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones.

Properly Rest
Resting allows the mind and body to recover. If you are tired you cannot function at full capacity. Rest is essential to functioning in excellence.
Psalm 46:10New Living Translation (NLT)
 “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”

Get in gear! Your finish line is waiting!

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Unusual Healing...

Won’t He Do it?!?!

Unusual Healing

I contend that people spend more time WORRYING about how God is going to fix it than just BELIEVING that He will fix it.

While on missions in San Andres, Colombia we were invited to visit a popular attraction called The Aquarium. I should have started asking questions when they said we needed a boat ride to get to the aquarium.

I expected a large building with glass enclosures that held a variety of unique sea animals. Instead I stood on the embankment of an island looking at water with a local guide. He was wearing swim shoes, swimming trunks, and carrying a bag of bread. Wait! What the what?! The guide said he was going to throw bread into the water to bring the fish close while we were snorkeling. I thought, no sir, I like my fish on a plate or behind some thick plated glass! Before we stepped into the water the guide suggested that we wore swim shoes. Not me, with internal arrogance I declined. After all, I grew up running around without those unfashionable footies. Unfortunately I was the only person that decided to forgo the shoes. 
A few steps into the water, I reached an underwater cliff. Attempting to be careful, I walked slowly. Suddenly I slipped and was doing everything I could to keep from landing face first. My hands braced my fall and for the moment everything was ok - until my finger started throbbing. Something sharp and black was protruding from the index finger on my left hand. After several attempts at trying to remove the object with the thumb and forefinger of my right hand I decided to ask for help.

In life, some individuals, without mentioning names, get into precarious situations and will try to fix it without even asking about solutions…(head down hand raised). It is in those failed attempts that potentially more harm than help is taking place.

When I eventually asked for assistance, I was told to immediately go back to shore. I discovered that a portion of a sea urchin was in my finger and there was only one way to fix it. Pee. Wait! That’s gross! Not only was I supposed to pee on it but also my finger must be immersed in pee for two minutes. I don’t know about you, but I have never used the restroom for two minutes straight despite my level of hydration.

I was eventually given a makeshift cup made from a water bottle that was cut in half. I immersed finger, the swelling subsided, and they pulled the spike out.

Mark 7:33
After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man's ears. Then he spit and touched the man's tongue.

Mark 8:23
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?"

John 9:6
6 Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes.

In each occurrence, Jesus did the unimaginable to achieve the unbelievable. My favorite of the three is what happened in the Gospel of John. A man who was blind from birth had an encounter with Christ. Jesus is questioned about who caused the man’s affliction and he answered simply. The man was born that way so that “the power of God can be seen in him.”

Not everything you go through is your fault but your Father in heaven can use anything to open your eyes and the eyes of those around you.

Jesus spat on the ground, made a mud pie, and placed it on the man’s eyes. I believe that this salve of sorts was not the complete cure but it was part of the solution. The man is delivered to the body of water called Siloam, which means sent. He had to be guided, he was blind and there was a paste on his eyes. (Side note: sometimes God has already started the work – you may be the one that helps someone achieve his or her next step)

When the man returned from the water, the bible says he could see. After you have prayed, been to church, heard what you needed – you have to move. Going to the doctor is only the first part of your healing. You have to take their advice and fulfill the prescription.

You may be looking for healing in your life and still feel blind. The physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental cure you want is available but it may not come the way you want it. It is up to you to accept it though.

Tell God what you need and trust His healing ability.

If we can trust experts to fix our cars, homes, or otherwise without question – why not trust the One who created your body and orchestrated your life to fix that too? Yep! #WontHedoit

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Strike that! Sorta...

I don't watch a lot of television but there are a few shows that tend to catch my attention. One of those shows deals with lawyers battling it out in a court room. A sneaky and persuasive tactic that one of the lawyers employs is to say something they know will grab the attention of the jury. Although the lawyer is not supposed to say it, they will do it just to get the information out. The judge will then bang their gavel and say, "Please strike that from the record." Which means do not add that statement to the record of the trial. As well, the judge is encouraging the jury to disregard the statement. 

The court reporter can remove what was said, but the jury will have a hard time forgetting what they heard.

Robert Griffin III was seen before a post game press conference wearing a t-shirt by the clothing company, Not of This World. There are several pictures of him with the shirt on that clearly displays the saying kNOw Jesus kNOw peace. By the time the famed quarterback reached the platform to speak, the t-shirt was turned inside out.

According to Fox News, a uniform inspector told RG3 to reverse his shirt because it was not a Nike product. According to CSN, a Redskins representative expressed RG3 personally decided to reverse his shirt to avoid being fined. The NFL has bylaws that define what a player can and cannot wear on game days. RG3 has been previously fined for wearing unapproved labels.

The Bible says, "You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father" Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT).

I believe that RG3 believes in Christ. I also believe that he was right to reverse his shirt even though other players wore unapproved shirts on the platform. Yet, I am boldly confident that nothing can stop the Word of God from being expressed and spread. They can never strike that from the record. Even with the shirt turned inside out - you can still make out the letters. If that isn't good enough, look at all of the publicity this shirt has received because of the circumstance. They may have attempted to mask the message but it still got out. KNOW JESUS KNOW PEACE! I don't know if the quarterback was trying to make a statement but his actions made a difference. He could have changed shirts completely.

We must continue to spread the Gospel and tell His story. 

RG3 went into the locker room with a severe injury but after his MRI on Monday, he has a better report and once healed, will be back on the field. That is another way to show The Light without even saying a word. 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014


How does something priceless become worthless?

How does something worthless become priceless?

It makes way more sense to take the evening before to prepare for the next day. But who does that?! I like to wait until morning and the possibility that I will wake up late and have to do everything with limited time. It’s the thrill of the morning!

Of course this isn’t the greatest of plans but I am working on it. After dropping my son at school around 7am, I head to the gym. Inevitably, I forget stuff. I never realize I am missing some pertinent article of clothing until after I have completed my workout and taken my gym shower. Not long ago, I left my belt at home and my 36inch waist pants were guaranteed to cause problems for my 30inch waist. Not wanting to drive home, I decided I would just keep my hands in pockets and hold my pants up all day. After all, I had already purchased a few belts because of my forgetfulness and I refused to buy another one.

Imagine my chagrin when I arrived at work and my boss wanted to meet while walking around campus. I’m pretty crafty but this was gong to take effort. One of the people on our walk notices my wide stance every time we stopped and questioned me. I had to honestly admit, “My pants are too big and I’m just trying to keep them from falling down.” He laughed and said he had an idea. A few moments later he returned with a piece of discarded electrical wire. He said, “Here, tie this around your waist.” I realized then that in need – substance trumps pride. A “worthless” and refuse item became “priceless” and useful fashion.

In the right hands something seemingly worthless can become priceless
In the wrong hands priceless items are treated as a worthless

1 Samuel 17:40New Living Translation (NLT)

40 He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.

When King David was a boy, a great giant was challenging his family and people. King Saul encouraged David to wear his armor to battle Goliath. David tried it on and quickly removed it stating that he was unfamiliar with the armor. Instead he grabbed five smooth stones from a stream. There is a colloquialism that says one man’s trash is another mans treasure. What we have to realize is that we may have treasure sitting in our own trashcans.

The very item you need to be successful could be the exact same item you set aside because you didn’t see its value. I don’t know how many people walked over the same rock that David picked up to knock down Goliath. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that David picked them up. Pick up your rocks and go to war! Maybe you are the set aside item because someone else didn’t see your value. Allow this blog post to remind you that Psalm 139:14 is confirmation that you are valuable beyond measure. Pick yourself up and go to work!

God has given you the right hands to do the job and you are in the right hands to do His work.

Get your mind right!

2 Kings 4:1-2 New Living Translation (NLT)

Elisha Helps a Poor Widow
4 One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the Lord. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.” 2 “What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house? “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied.

She underestimated the value of what she already had. It’s a mind game. You first have to see the value in what you have. Then, even if you are uncertain on how to appraise or utilize it, take it to someone trustworthy to assist you.

Finally, I really enjoy this television show called Storage Wars where people bid on abandoned storage units. Whoever owned the units for some undisclosed reason stops paying the storage fee and the storage company then auctions the unit to recoup whatever money they can. The catch is that those bidding on the unit cannot touch the items in the unit and they can observe its contents from a distance. It gets exciting when someone steps in at the last minute and pays top dollar for the unit. I believe that you have stored an amazing dream in a forgotten locker. Well, that locker is up for bid and I am confident that the contents are priceless.

Romans 5:6New Living Translation (NLT)

6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.

Sinning is defined as missing the mark. The bible says that cost of sin is death or separation from what gives you life. I thank God that while we were separated from the source that defines our value – HE stepped in at JUST THE RIGHT TIME and paid the ultimate cost. His payment gave you and your dreams a priceless value. Go get your stuff and make something happen!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Walk in Love...

I was often perplexed at how celebrities allow complete strangers to evoke such emotion from them. After all it is some person in Internet world with an opinion but no relation to their day-to-day life. However, anytime something hits the Internet people are poised to post their opinion. After watching recent events in Internet world transpire, I am convinced that public opinion is powerfully scary. Yet, how people react to the opinions is even more significant.

The Rap artist Jay-Z penned in his song Heart of The City  (Ain’t No Love):

“respect the game, that should be it
 What you eat don't make me s*** - where's the love?

It’s strange to quote Jay-z but his words in this moment are profound. What you consume or do is your opinion and does absolute nothing for who I am as an individual. So, drop the hate and start helping. That’s love.

Because we are in such an over-opinionated society – every one has something to say and someone has to hear it.

2 John 1:6New King James Version (NKJV)
6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.


Have you ever watched how people physically walked? You can tell a lot about person by their walk. Late people run. Confident people walk pronounced. Ashamed people walk hunched over. Nervous people barely walk at all.  But everyone has a destination and each needs the proper transportation to get there. If the shoe or transportation is inadequate the journey is terrible.


The love that 2 John speaks of is a commandment and not a suggestion. This same love is everyday and is not limited to certain days.

When I was first learned to walk, my back was misaligned and subsequently my walk was awkward. I knew how to walk but I could not walk well on my own. My parents were encouraged to attach braces to my legs. The braces worked to train my legs and body to walk more adequately.

I believe that everyone has the ability to love but circumstances have affected our ability to do it well. That is why God sent the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:8) We have power when receive the Holy Spirit.  Yet, although we have him, we tend to ignore Him when we want to walk our own way. And, like me without my braces – right walking is affected and a fall is coming soon.

As you spend more time with God, your Holy Spirit braces don’t leave you – you just become a stronger walker.

How do you walk in love?

·      Practice Patience
·      Pursue Peace
·      Push for Progress

WHY should you walk in love?

·      It is your assignment
·      Is WINNING the argument worth LOSING your testimony

WHEN should you walk in love?

·      Everyday
·      Sometimes SILENCE is the LOUDEST response

We do not serve a somewhat good God and we cannot be somewhat good in the way we love. This isn’t ooey gooey love - this is respect, attitude, and actions. God’s grace is sufficient for you. He can help you recover from your errors but practice Love daily. It isn’t easy and it will require effort…

Love Period.

When people work to push you from position, don’t forget who you are and where you are going. Instead of running to react, walk in Love and watch God work it out.

Walk in LOVE.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pressure Points! But where?????

Deep Sea Survivor

How many professional games have you been to and witnessed the exorbitantly long concession stand lines? Have you ever stood in that line? At any point, did you feel sympathy for the individual behind the counter?

I never considered them either until the Thursday I agreed to volunteer at a NFL concession stand. With over 50 thousand guests, free hot dog coupons, understaffed concession stands, disgruntled workers, and new people on the registers - it was a Molotov cocktail anticipating ignition.

Philippians 4:12-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[a] who gives me strength.

The Apostle Paul writes these motivational verses in prison, a place of great physical distress. I can imagine him sitting on a few strands of coarse hay that have flattened from body weight. The air is uncomfortably cold and rank with a stench of death. Three dark stonewalls stand menacingly from floor to ceiling and a solid gate completes the room. Chains constrict him but there is enough slack for Paul to write. He could complain about the walls or consider that the room has an exit.

The pressure of this intense circumstance and the possibility of death are daunting. With just enough light and strength, Paul writes how to live with joy.

His mind is strong and his body has endured a lot, but neither of these things can take total credit for Paul’s survival. Paul eloquently says that his survival is solely based on his internal strength provided by God. It is in his blood. Let me explain…

There are few guarantees in life, however I can confidently promise good days and bad days. Your ability to look back at your bad days is proof you have - you can - and you will survive again.

The bad days contain Pressure Points. In moments of intense pressure – your body/mind will point out a few things. You will either sustain or suffer. Positioning yourself in prayer and pointing to God will help you endure.

Take a moment and consider the massive sea creatures that launch themselves high above the water’s surface and then dive thousands of feet deep. There is something unique that allows them to withstand the bone crushing pressure of those extreme depths.

1. Whales come to the waters surface to take in air and expend air through their blowholes. As you experience your up days – that is the time to take in as much of God’s presence, guidance, and peace. Just because you are in a good place does not negate the fact that you need to stay in contact with the God that got you there. Pray, worship, praise, and purpose time for God regularly.

2. As whales dive deep, their bones should break from the pressure. Instead, they bend. When you are in pressure places learn to be flexible. Staying rigid will only lengthen the moment and cause unnecessary strain.

3. At the lowest points of a whale’s deep dive, their lungs collapse. The whales rely on enhanced oxygen stores in their blood and muscle. It is at your lowest, darkest, and intense moment that you must release control and rely on what’s in you. Paul, describing how he survives his weak moments quotes God, “My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT).Your strength to survive is already in you!

The same blood that fell from Jesus as He was painfully whipped, nailed to the cross, and stabbed in the side is the same blood that provides healing for you today. That same blood is coursing through your veins right now. They expected Jesus to die and stay in the grave – but the blood wouldn’t let Him do it. You have what you need. Generations have shed blood for you to be where you are today. You will survive because you come from a line of survivors, overcomers, and achievers.

Lastly, when the whale darts back up after being at great depths, it occasionally breaches the water’s surface. There are several explanations as to why it breaches the surface. My favorite is that after breaking the surface the immense animal crashes back abruptly. Some marine biologists suggest that this giant gesture is to remove the dead stuff that was attached to the whale. When you emerge from your depths and explode from your past let that dead stuff fall off when you land on top.

Be encouraged! Your down days aren’t forever and what you need to survive is already in you! (2 Corinthians 4:9)

By the way, I survived the concession stand and will be back. The reward is worth the effort!