Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?

graveyard-381095_640

To some this may sound like a trick question, to others it is serious thought. I tend to fall in to the second camp. I really wonder how much would I be missed if I were no longer around. I often wonder what kind of legacy will be left behind by me. I wonder will there be enough people at my funeral to even carry my casket. I wonder a lot of different things about what the lives of those I love will be like if I were to pass away.

Now, I have been writing everyday minus one for the last 62 days, I wonder if you all would miss me if I were gone. I am curious if I have left a small mark on your world, that has left and indelible mark on you in some way? Everyone wants to be remembered for doing something good.

It may be selfish, but I want to be remembered for making difference in the world through my words. Not because they are my words, but because every time I write I try to offer hope and encouragement through the power of Jesus Christ. There is no way I have been able to do all the things in this life I have done without His guidance and help.

So it is not a legacy of me I want to leave behind but a spreading of the good news of Jesus. I want people to say of me, what they said of the disciples, “That He has been with Jesus.” And as it is being said God would be glorified and in the end I would be like John the Baptist. “He must increase, and I must decrease.”

If I haven’t left that kind of impact then what has my life been for? What is it all about? So I guess in reality while I want to be a little selfish and know if people would miss me if I were gone the biggest question is did I represent Christ well while I was here? If I were to stop writing tomorrow, would the work I have created be a good discipleship tool, or just more junk clogging up the net?

Question: Do you think I have made a difference for the Kingdom of God? How can I do more?

3 Steps to Reignite Passion in Your Life.

matches-171732_640

It’s is not an easy question to consider is it? But I would appreciate it if you took a moment to really think about the question. So…what is your answer? If it was no congratulations you are a lucky person. I on the other hand would have to answer this question on most days with a resounding yes. I do lack passion in my life. At least a burning desire to do certain things (except for writing). I love to write.

If you find yourself lacking, what are some things you could do to change? How about change your scenery. Changing what you have around you could release feelings and emotions you had not felt in a very long time. Go to a place you have never been before, or it could be a place you love but haven’t been to in a while. Where is a place you can go for a change?

Try something new. I know personally I love writing and glass engraving. They are both very cathartic for me. Each allows me to express my inner artist to one degree or another. Writing allows me to show more of the inner me and what is going on in my head. While glass engraving allows me to show off what I can do with my hands. I say try something new because before I was given a Dremel for my birthday last summer I would have never known glass engraving would be so much fun. What is something new you can try, one thing you have thought of just never attempted?

Meet more people. It sounds kinda funny but by meeting new people you open up new doors to the first two suggestions. You may end up going somewhere you haven’t been or doing something you’d never consider. I am slowly getting to know some of the baristas names at the local Starbucks and they have become a little more familiar/friendly with me. You never know if you’re single you could find your soulmate there I know one friend who did.

It is easy to fall into ruts or funks or whatever you want to call it. When we feel almost life less and wonder what in the world is going on. Being a student and a parent I can usually tell you what my life is going to consist of especially when I am without money. It is a lot of staying home doing homework of some sort. This becomes boring very quickly. My wife struggles with the same thing.

Question: What do you suggest to help bring passion back to your life?

When Is Good, Not Good Enough?

approved-29149_640

Riddle me this? It is something I have been pondering for a while. When is good not good enough. I mean you try and do your best yet for whatever reason its not good enough. Or another way to ask this question is, “why is good not good enough?”

Could it be because we live in a culture were everything has to be an amazing experience. Isn’t the goal for all of us to be better than good? When we start to do something we never set out to be mediocre we strive to be great or at the very least the best we can be.

Who is to tell us what is good or our best? We are the ones who determine that. We set the standard for our lives and the things we go after. There are goals we want to reach and should not allow someone else’s perceptions ruin our goals.

There will be those who will tell you, you are not doing enough to meet some standards they have set up for you. Wanting to measure you against others in the same aspects. Like for me I am hoping to become a pastor or in some type of full-time ministry. However, unlike the average pastor I have some sever health issues (specifically fibromyalgia) which can be debilitating at times.

With these additional challenges it is hard to be measured by regular standards, but I do my best. I hope live a life honoring to God. So I try to measure up to the standards set-up by others. We are still left with the question of when is good not good enough? And the answer is when someone else sets the standards and you are unable to reach them.

The next question to arise is how to do better than good? So we can do more than enough. The answer which comes to mind, is to trust in Christ. I know it sounds hokey, but it is the best answer I can give you. When we commit ourselves to Christ we can know we are going to achieve the best standards possible.

As long as we are committed to Christ, and are fully committed then we can know we doing our best. And our best is good enough. With all of this in mind we can know we are on the right path.

Question: Are you still trying to live up to someone else’s standards?

How to Love Someone Who’s An Addict

woman-511849_640

This is not an easy post to write. I am not writing as the person who needs to learn how to love an addict. I am the addict addressing how to be loved. In my life I have been addicted to A LOT of things. Ranging from alcohol and drugs to pornography. By the grace of a loving God through Jesus Christ I have been set free from those addictions.

However, there is one ugly monster I cannot slay and it’s the addiction of approval. I know when you read this headline you were probably expecting a how to guide since it says “How to love someone that’s an addict.” What I hope you get from this post is exactly what it promises. Just not the step by step variety.

For me I have learned not to put myself in the sin of proximity. It means not allowing myself to be put in situations where I may fall off the wagon. So the first thing you can do is not be a stumbling block for those who struggle with addiction. If they are trying to not do something, don’t bring it around them. This goes for EVERYTHING from food to cigarettes.

Try not to reminisce about the good old days when such and such used to take place. All it does is make the person feel like you don’t love them for who they are, just what they used to be. I was a very crazy guy in my previous lifestyle. Now I am more laid back. I tend to play the background and let others take the center stage.

One of the best things you can do is love the person through all of their struggles. It is not an easy road to travel. I did not walk the road alone and can take no credit for the turn around made in my life. It is all due to the intervention of Jesus Christ into my life. But what I do know is the things mentioned above have helped me to remain clean and sober for almost 13 years.

It is a whole different story about my addiction to approval though. I can tell everyone all day long how we are to find our identity in Jesus and we are fully accepted in him. Knowing these things should be enough, but for me they aren’t. I enjoy hearing I have done a good job, people liked whatever I did or however the acknowledgment may come. I write this as a way to acknowledge my need to overcome this aspect of my life and trust God is enough not only for me but my entire family as well.

There are too many things in life people can become addicted to. Watch for the signs in your own life. Comfort can become a ruling emotion, longing to take over. Eating can easily get out of control (take it from me). I had gastric bypass three years ago because my weight had gotten out of control along with the rest of my health. So I understand the devastating effects of addiction and wanting to be loved.

While being loving make sure you are not also an enabler. You have to know when enough is enough. Tweet: Being an enabler is almost more dangerous to an addict than being the one who tells them no all the time. I’d rather you tell me no to an idea out of love and respect than to enable me out of fear or rejection.

I just need to keep reminding myself there is nothing in this world to hard for God to accomplish. He has brought me this far. From being an ex-thug, addict and thief. To having a B.S. in Religion (Magna Cum Laude) and working toward my Masters of Divinity. These are things I never in a million years would have dreamed of. It is my hope, when i am finished with this degree I will be able to use it well and not just for more accolades.

There you have it. Some practical ways to love an addict, and some more about me you may or may not have wanted to know. Now it’s your turn.

Question:What are some things in your life you may be addicted to?

Doing What You Least Want to Do

workers-501396_640

There is a section of Scripture that speaks directly to this matter. Just maybe not the way you are thinking. It is dealing with sin, not some job or chore you don’t want to mess with.

In the 7th chapter of Romans, Paul tells us,he ends up doing the things he doesn’t want to do and the things he wants to do he does not do. To be exact this is what he says, “For I know that nothing good dwells ain me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 bFor I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, cit is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. “ (Romans 7:18-20, ESV).

There is no way in our day and age we are any better than the Apostle Paul was. It seems Paul longed to do good things but struggled deep within himself. As a Christian we should all feel in a similar fashion. One of the biggest places I struggle in life is in my home. I long to be a good husband, and father. I feel as though I fail daily.

My boys and I have a hard time relating to one another, at least my oldest son and I. It is a difficulty that brings the struggle of what may be sin. I want to love on them the same way God loves me, but I know for a fact I don’t. There is more yelling going on than I ever imagined would happen in my home. Whether it is between the boys at each other or me telling them to stop.

Something I always thought was oxymoronic was when my parents would say “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” I never understood what they meant until I became a parent myself. The act of disciplining my children can be more psychically challenging to me, than the act of disciplining them physically. However it is required to be a good parent. Hebrews 12:11 tells us”For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

So in reality I am doing the best thing for them even though they cannot see it yet. God in His infinite wisdom disciplines us His children as well. It is an act which we do not find comfortable, but it is for our good in the end. There are many things in life we are going to do which we do not want to do. Not all of them are going to fall in to the category that Paul is talking about. The good news is for those of us in Christ we are no longer slaves to sin, it does not have the right to control us. It merely has a residence in us.

While we cannot fully evict it we no longer have to listen to what it tells us. We are indwelt with the power of the Holy Spirit. With this person residing in us we can achieve much. A question I have for you is, “Is it better to have the Spirit inside of you or Jesus beside you? Where do you derive more strength?” As we grow and mature we grow in humble reliance on the Spirit.

May we all learn to do the things we least want to do, so we can become masters of the things we want to do. It will take a life time to learn this so we better start paying attention now.

Question: What are things you don’t want to do, but need to learn to do?

Do I Really Matter?

worried-girl-413690_640
We have all asked the questions at one point in our life. Yes you do matter, you may not mean something to everyone but to someone you are everything. I recently read in a blog post that if you think you are a pro then you are one. I think that works for some professions, but not all. It is easier for me to call myself a writer than a pastor.

The reason being is there are gatekeepers in becoming a pastor. I have to go through so many hoops (its almost ridiculous) but I am doing it because it’s what I feel called to. I have since I first came to Christ at 20 years old. It is often a struggle to feel like my calling is real because I have so many obstacles in front of me.

Even if things do not turn out how I would hope for them to, God is still in control. It will require faith and humility to learn how to trust God in these situations. Whoever tells you it’s easy is lying to you. God is going to allow you to reach a place where all you have is Him. In that place your faith will grow and you will learn to be more dependent on Him and trust yourself less. In doing that we start to learn our value in Christ.

Why do we ask the question of whether we matter or not? It’s because we all want to feel like someone cares. We can say we know that Jesus loves us, but if we are honest that isn’t enough for most of us. It is a condition of the fall that took place in Genesis 3. When Adam and Eve were tricked into believing a lie. It was a lie that they could be like God, when they had missed the point that we were already like God, being created in His image.

As we begin to really live in the love of Christ, we begin to feel our significance. We stop looking to things that are outside of our control for satisfaction. We want to feel loved and wanted by someone. We should feel love and acceptance from our parents, our spouses, our children, even our friends. In the end they are all going to let us down to some degree. But in Christ we find all of those things and so much more. I am not promising that life is going to be easy peasy, or a walk in the park.

Life is still going to have its challenges, but in knowing Jesus loves and accepts me I can face those challenges head on. Trust Jesus with your life so you can experience this same feeling.

Question:How can you learn to rely on God for your identity/significance?

Why You Shouldn’t Read the Bible in a Year

time-273857_1280

I recently read a well argued article on 3 reasons why you should read the Bible in a year. While David does a good job in arguing his point I think reading the Bible in a year is over rated. So many people make it a resolution that they are going to read it through starting the New Year and fall off. I think it is easier to make a resolution that you are going to read for 20-30 minutes a day or set a number of chapters you are going to read.
Then you have those people who make reading the Bible in a year a legalistic act. Like somewhere in the Bible it says “Thou must readith me in a year.” While it is noble for you to want to read the Bible in a year don’t do it if it is going to make learning more difficult, or less enjoyable. I would say only do it if you know you can stay committed to the heavy reading that is going to be involved.
Also in the article he mentions biblical literacy. As you take your time to read you should be able to retain more information. Which in turn will help you to become more biblically literate. That does not mean you will not need outside help like commentaries or a study Bible to help you understand some of the nuances of Scripture.
He also says that is is spiritual food and with that point I do agree. You cannot survive as a Christian without feasting on the Word. But that feast doesn’t mean you have to take in more than you can handle because some plan tells you too. By taking in what you can you will have a chance of better retention.
And it requires discipline to read the Bible with any kind of regularity. While DAILY is BEST, reading it several times a week is better than just cracking it open for Sunday service.
So the points David makes I agree with that it is spiritual food, it increases biblical knowledge and builds discipline. Where we diverge is that it requires the Bible to be read in a year. I have read the Bible cover to cover 1x and have read it as a whole several times reading it 1-4 chapters a day.
What do you think should the Bible be read in year or is it okay to take longer?

Beating a Dead Horse

     Have you ever done a task and felt like you were beating a dead horse? Well that is how I started to feel after this last eight weeks of class. I was working on a homiletics class on preparing a sermon. The sermon was on Philippians 1:12:18, and almost all of my course work for the last eight weeks has centered around this one portion of Scripture. I have had to do a lot of praying in the last week to get the needed motivation to finish this sermon. There were a few faithful FaceBook friends who offered up prayers alongside of me, and the words just started to flow. 
     I am not sure why it was so hard to write this sermon compared to others I have written in just a few days. Like I said I think it was because I was beating a dead horse. While I am positive some of my contemporaries have a different take on this set of verses I had exhausted my knowledge and understanding of them. I will more than likely post the sermon here on the blog in a few days. There are several verses that help me realize that the work I do is not just for men but for God and they are 1 Cor 10:31, and Col 3:23-24. It is easy to get wrapped up in all the preparation of writing and never actually sit down and write the sermon. I must say that I enjoy all of the work that goes into it and learning how to come up with better illustrations has been helpful. This class has taught me some things I can use in  my own ministry here with you all(my readers) and with the world at large such as those I preach to on occasion. 
     I know that it is not easy to do something that at times can feel like a drudgery, but let me encourage you to finish the work that is set before you. In the end you will be proud that you set your mind to something and finished it and it did not beat you. There will be times you just can’t do somethings and that is okay too, give yourself permission to know when those times are. But, don’t give up just because something gets hard, if you need to ask for help. For instance my oldest son is one of the smartest kids I have ever met (I’m not just saying that because he is my son.) He is in the fifth grade reading at and eleventh grade level. But lately he has been struggling with his math homework and needing more help. He wants to quit because it is hard and everything has always come easy to him, at least pertaining to school work. We won’t let him quit we encourage and help as necessary. I know right now you are asking yourself “What does that have to do with anything?” The answer is simple, if we let him quit he would never learn how to persist in life, and deal with those dead horses that will arise. Have you ever heard the saying,”How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” That is the process I had to use in writing this sermon heck even writing this post. 
It’s your turn now, what dead horses are you struggling with? How can I help?

Struggle to understand

I don’t know about you but there are just somethings in the Bible that I just don’ t get. Do you ever feel that way? When it comes down to the book of Revelation I have a really hard time. Reading commentaries and the usual study helps don’t really help because this is probably the hardest book for scholars to agree upon what it actually means. You get so many different stances on the interpretation that it makes it feel muddled and hard to get through. The best thing I know to do is pray your way through this book and others you are struggling to understand. 
     Ask the Lord for insights into His word, James 1:5 tells us that if we ask for wisdom God will grant it to us. So be bold in your asking of the Lord and see that he will not be bold in answering you! This is not a guarantee that you ask God for just any old thing he is going to give it to you were are specifically referring to seeking wisdom to understand His Word. In the book of Isaiah we are told that God’s  ways are not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts. Isa 55:8. This verse helps bring me comfort at moments like this when I have been struggling to understand what Jesus is trying to teach me through His Word. It is not always easy studying the Bible or being the guys people look to for the answers when it comes to Scripture. I hate to admit it but I have not settled on an eschatological view. I am stuck between pre-mil and a-mil. I am not sure if I believe in the rapture because there just doesn’t seem to be enough scriptural support for it in my opinion, so I guess that does mean I have a view huh?
     It is not easy studying to be a pastor and not having answers to the tough questions people want to ask. However, I am always willing to try my best and give a balanced answer. IF you have any questions you would like to ask, please leave a comment down in the comments section and I WILL RESPOND. 
What do you struggle with? Where can I help?