Takes Some Time, But Don’t Waste it.

Takes Some Time, But Don’t Waste it.

I am sitting in a Wal-Mart in Easton, Maryland. I am sipping on a Starbucks coffee and enjoying the rain. I am enjoying the lawn chairs that are for sale. As a road warrior I have long learned how to enjoy the journey and to find soft spots along the trail. Usually I am looking for those hole in the wall restaurants to dine. Quiet places to refresh and reload from the business of life. Waste of time? Oh no, valuable time needed to do the grueling work I do of traveling. This week I dined on Rock Fish off the Atlantic, last week Crawfish from the Gulf in Lousiana and a few days before that, fish baskets in San Francisco. The travel is tough but the food is fantastic.

All of us having been given only so much time here on earth. Think about this,

In a year we spend about
120 days sleeping.
45 days eating.
31 days watching tv.
14 days on vacation
13 days in church
2 days paying bills.

Now multiply that by the years you will live. What I am getting at is, are you spending your time in such a way that when you are passing from here to eternity you can be proud of where you spent it?

God gave you time and how you spend it will totally be up to you. Remember the time you got your first nice chunk of money? Someone might have said to you, “Don’t spend it all in one place or at one time!” Well that in your mind was impossible until later that day you had a bunch of busted toys, mangled receipts and empty billfold. Time like money goes faster than you think it can. But like money once time is gone you cannot make anymore. You lose the opportunity to hold that bride when she is gone. You lose that opportunity to go to a soccer game when he is grown. You lose the opportunity to listen to a parent when they are gone.

Busy? Sure, you are! But is your busy time the right time? Could you live with less and really have more? Will you keep losing moments for money!

Take all the time you need! No, I mean use all the time you have. Because you only have so many time chips to use and then it is time to cash it in.

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Moving Forward Living and Loving Life!

Moving forward living and loving life!

If you are living in the past it will destroy your future. If you are living in the future it will dilute you present. If you live in the present without valuing your past and without vision for your future you will be detoured from the real success and significance of life.

Living in the past is about as unhealthy as it is to stay in bed and think your rest is making you strong. Yes you are getting rest but you are missing out on the elements of life needed to be whole. The past is a great weight that should never be carried today. Each and every day we make decisions that are wrong or walk through doors that should have been avoided. Each day brings sorrow, hurt, disappointment, sadness, defeat, pain, breakups, and failure. But what about the good things we have experienced? Most of us cannot remember those events for bearing the load of the other stuff. Human nature will leave behind the good stuff to try to fix the broken. The good stuff makes us want to look forward the bad stuff makes us want to go back to change or fix it. No one wants to hire, marry, collaborate, partner or run with someone carrying all that baggage. You cannot go as fast, think as clear, move as much or achieve anything carting around the junk yard you are hoarding. No one will feel compassion for your bad luck and if they feel anything it is sympathy for your fate. No one partners with someone’s yesterday’s. until you cut loose from your past your success is doomed.

Then there are those who can do nothing today because it could disrupt their future. If you are living in the future it will dilute you present. Daydreamers are not the same as visionaries. Your future plans are wonderful if they are seen as a goal that has a path. Your path is your present. If your present is stymied by all the lofty dreams of your future then you will never have or feel the impact of the right now. The relationships you build are the ones you have in front of you right now. The experience you bring to the future is the things you are doing and doing well right now. The partnerships of your future are hinged on the collaborations you are living with right now. The success of your future will be determined by the failures you fix right now. The impact of your future is determined by the impact you are making on others right now. Today is a day to plant the seeds for a harvest tomorrow. It may be that young man you open a door for today is the same CEO who opens a door for you tomorrow. It may be the child that you help is the same man that helps you tomorrow. It could be the children you nurture in your home today are the same ones who will not fail to visit an aging parent tomorrow. It could be the woman you cherish as your wife today is the same lady by your bed as you pass from here to your reward. Your success and significance will be determined by how you mine and work through your today’s.

Last but certainly not least is your future. If you live in the present without valuing your past or without vision for your future you will be detoured from the real success and significance of life.

Learn from your past so that the same errors are not repeated. The best teacher in life is experience. There are two ways to get experience. One, live and move though it. Second, listen to others and learn from the failures and success of others. Truthfully not many people are smart enough to do the latter. Let your past be your teacher but not your guide. Never let him be your leader. Let your vision be your leader and guide. Have goal marks to reach toward . Who cares if you reach all of them. If you do then you dreams were too low. Your goals in life make you stronger, bigger and better. the lack of goals will make you weaker, smaller and less than your potential. Your goals will keep you going on the right paths and choosing the right strategies. Too many people allow the paths and strategies to determine their future. Your goals will make you choose the right paths or create new paths. When I hear people say, “We are building the bridges as we go or making the paths as they come!” I see folks who are either too stupid to know that goals determine bridge building and strategies or they know where they are going and don’t want you to know until it is too late to change course. Never drink the koolaide of people who will not release to you the true ingredients in the glass. To vote for a legislative bill without reading the bill and being asked to trust those who wrote is suicide. You and I must always know where we are going and why we are going there. Let your values determine your goals and let your goals always determine your paths or strategies.

The success and significance of your life is in your hands. Never ever allow people, systems, organizations, parents, children, friends or enemies to think for you. You and you alone are responsible for where you end up at the end of your journey. Live life and love the life you live!20130609-102915.jpg

Who is serving who?

Who is serving who?

“In the absence of criticism every organization ends up being managed for the benefit if the person running it.” John Garner

This is a powerful and true quote. It is frightening how many times I have seen this happen in churches, ministries and organizations. No minister starts out to control but with time, power, positions and money comes a feeling of ownership. Men begin to feel that they were raised up and given the right to control and dominate that which God placed them over. The ministry belongs to God and then to His people. He chooses among His people to serve His people. Never does He choose men to become a Lord to His people. When the organization or church begins to center around the leader and his desires danger is lurking. When council is rejected from peers because the leader knows best, danger is lurking. When people are asked to agree with leadership when no communication is given, danger is lurking. When the leader is over compensated while others who serve are underpaid something is strange. When sacrifices are forced at the bottom and benefits received at the top there is a problem.

Some say that they do not believe in the Church being a democracy it has to be a theocracy! I agree in part but also declare neither is the church to have a monarchy. God does not give us emperors to think for us. God exists in His church by His Spirit. From the lead man to the humblest follower His spirit exist in all. We are to follow and honor leadership but leadership is also to yield to amd respect others.

But the biggest problem comes when everyone is silent when things are moving the wrong way. If leadership is arrogant and self-serving someone has got to speak up. The Apostle Paul was vocal to Simon Peter when error was being practiced in the church. Galatians 2:11 Paul withstood him to the face. This did not make him an enemy, a rebel, or one who disliked others. Paul and Barnabas parted ways because they disagreed but still loved and respected the other. I think Paul was in error and later realized it.

The Church is made stronger by vocal voices and weaker by silence. No one should be disagreeable to be heard and to promote themselves. Neither should there be a desire to embarrass those in leadership. But we embarrass ourselves if something is awry and we are silent. We allow the enemy to destroy the work of God when we move in a direction that does not feel good to the Spirit.

“In the absence of criticism every organization ends up being managed for the benefit if the person running it.” John Garner

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Fear is a Liar

Fear is a Liar

My friend, Pastor Jeff Calhoun snapped a pic somewhere that got me to thinking. The words were, “Fear is a Liar!” Fear is a horrible liar! The opposite of “fear” most people think is faith. But that is not true. The opposite of Fear is love!

1 john 4:18 [18] There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

So if fear is a liar and the opposite of fear is love then the way to destroy fear is to love. Think about it a moment. How can you fear someone you love? How can you be afraid someone is going to hurt you when you know they love you? How can you worry if someone is going to take something from you if you love? It is impossible to be hurt intentionally by anyone who loves you!

But if someone is causing you to fear then that is indication of one of two things. Either you do not love them and need to be perfected in love to remove the fear. The other thing is you know they do not love you and you know that, by how they make you feel.

You can deal with how you feel about others by loving them. Love of this kind is not an emotional love. This type of love is a commitment brought about by a decision based on obedience to Christ. I will love others not because they are good to me or are lovable people but because Christ commands me as His Disciple to love others. I may not even like them or trust them but I choose to love them and treat them as Christ would treat them.

I cannot change how others treat me. They can cause me to fear and be apprehensive of them, something I have no control over. When others try to manipulate you, being a Christian does not make you their whipping boy or door mat. You are not a rebel because you act like a man. Nor are you less than a man if you are not coward by their actions. You may choose to love them but at the same time be wary of them. You cannot change others by acclimating to their whims or manipulations. Sometimes the best way to love someone is stand up in their face and force them to see themselves. I choose to love you but I also choose to love you enough to tell you the hard truth I see in you.

Yes fear is a liar and love is the truth! I choose the truth and refuse the lies.

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Real Eyes Realize Real Lies

Real Eyes realize real lies

“Real Eyes realize real lies” was on the front of a young ladies tee shirt in Lafayette, Lousiana. I was captured by the truth of the statement. People that lie are hiding behind their fears. People that lie that have no fear are evil. That is right evil. It does not matter that they are in the church or outside the church. Lies are demonic!

If those lies are because of fears the lies can paralyze you. It may that some person or organization is trying to keep you from stepping up and not showing them up. Step up and their lies are exposed. It may be that lies are told to intimidate you so that your brilliance is dulled. You could never shine brighter than the liars lest your brightness reveal their stupidities. If you live with the lies you will find yourself unhealthy and sickly. Your spirit will war with your flesh. Something in you says, “something is wrong!” But you cannot put your finger on it. Get alone with God in prayer and in the Bible. If others do not line up with the Word and the spirit then draw the line. Always follow The Lord and His Word and courage will manifest itself. You must identify the truth or you will never find your true identity. The truth can be painful even to those who expose it. But not as painful as a life chained by fear.

If the lies you are believing is a thinking system then expose it and move on. Examples may be that you trusted in a system, organization, a plan that is not reaping the results you thought. Maybe you thought a Masters Degree would get you the better Church or job. But you find yourself frustrated because no doors are open. Maybe you trusted in a church but the practice is not what you understand from the scriptures. Maybe it is leadership you once looked up to and now find those same individuals with shadows. It could be that you are just a timid person that finds decisions difficult to make. So you follow the crowd letting others make the decisions. But all the road signs are leading you to the wrong destination. As one man said, “If ten million people believe on a bad idea, it is still a bad idea!” Don’t drink the koolaid prepared in the secret kitchens of others. Again get in the Word and pray for the truth. Once you know the truth decide to follow it. You do not have to take large steps. It may be that all you do first is stop following, turn around and eventually find your path back to what is right. Once you do this, the courage of that decision will give you the answer for the future steps.

Fear is a horrible master! Don’t allow fear to make you his slave. God called you to be free. Close your ears to the jeers and move to the truth. Yes, Real eyes, realize real lies! Real men follow truth and never the lies!

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Get a Life

Get a real Life!

So many in our day have made non realities their realities. It is as if the things that are not real have become what is real. They have made fiction their non-fiction. If they see truth they reject it because it did not come by some artificial means. Their way of building relationships is inside a computer rather than face to face. I know folks that cannot interact in person but come alive on a computer screen. I have seen folks become big on the social networks who I knew to be very small individuals in person. I have seen those who I would consider hero’s in life chiseled down to midgets by the crafty words of others. When you had rather watch a reality show than life with reality you are sick.

This has affected every aspect of our lives. From our politics, faith, family, community and work. People are important. Connectivity with people has to extend beyond the electronic social networks. If all your friends exist in a screen you may not have no friends when the electricity is off. Living in the real world of marriage could never have the sizzle of The soap operas. Elicit affairs never can produce the ecstasy of a romance outside of marriage. No pastor can produce disciples in the vacuum of today’s light shows and productions. If you can make things modern and relevant great! As long as when the lights are turned back on people are drooling about Jesus rather than stage performers.

Life in the real world is tough, fragile, joyful, painful, dull, exciting, routine and chaotic. Get out of your closets and live and experience it before you die. Get out of the box on the table before you are placed in a box in the ground.

Get a Life!

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Hypocricy

Hypocrisy

It is really difficult to own up to the hypocrisy in ones own life. It is so easy to see others faults and ignore your own. I think of myself as a highly principled person. I think I am truthful, honest, caring, concerned and helpful. I feel like I am a person who’s friends can depend on in a pinch. Yet today I spoke with a person who’s child is in trouble and had been for many months. But today I heard her pain and thought how she has carried this load without my help. I heard about a friend who has been without a job and he was in need. I had money I could have helped him and failed to see his need. But somehow his need never registered with me. I am feeling pretty horrible about the realities of myself. Truth is I work really hard at the good things because I am so naturally all the bad things. I have a good reputation but only because I have filled my life with the things I do not possess. If I allowed all the realities and flaws to have their way I would be doomed.

I am lazy so I work hard so that laziness will not win. I have perversions so perverted that to speak of them shames me. So I work hard at staying away from those things that allow perversion to be released and have control. I have a horrible temper that knows no satisfaction. So I work hard at being tolerant. I am cruel so I work hard at kindness. I hold grudges so I have to continually forgive. I could go on but it may never end. Everything in me is wrong and bad.

The only hope I have is to fill my Life with the nature of Christ. I have to bring Him into my daily life so that He through the Holy Spirit has full control. But what a wrestling match it has been. My nature just will not let go. Fortunately for me Christ never let’s go. He firmly but gently holds on to me, transforming me into that which I could never be. Some might say, “No way, you are those things!” I am surely that man. The reason you may not see it is I am hid in Christ! Covered by the Blood that was shed for me to be free in Him! I am a long way from being what I should be but I am further than I could ever be without Him.

So today I am releasing guilt of my failures and shortcomings. Today again I am going to try to forgive others. I just can’t afford to not let go of all of it. Because if I hold any of it it will hold me and carry me out of Christ! He will never release me if I keep releasing the things of the world. Nothing can hold me but the things of the world I choose to hold and not release. Today I choose to once more sacrifice “me” for “Him”. I have to keep dying on the altars Because I never ever really die. A Living sacrifice in our case is not one that lives and dies on the altar but one that lives and and never dies. Because we never die we have the tendency to crawl off the altar. Either you will live your life crawling away from the altars of Christ or walking like a man to the altar that frees us to be what God has called us to be and become.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. [3] For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Everything Big Starts With Something Little

Everything Big Starts With Something Little

All of God’s great people in the Bible were faithful in the small things. In Matthew 25 Jesus told the parable of the talents. In it He referred to the one servant who had taken his master’s money and multiplied it. In verse 23 his master said to that man, …Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. In Zechariah 4:10 the Lord asks the prophet, For who hath despised the day of small things?…. There is a powerful principle in taking small steps.

Many people are not moving with God today simple because they were not willing to take the small steps He placed before them. If you have received a call into any particular area, you should leap at the opportunity – no matter how small – to move in the direction in which the Lord has called you. If you are called to be a youth pastor, and are sitting at home waiting for an invitation from some large church, you should know that it will never come. You need to find the first young person you can, put your arm around him, and begin to minister to him

Don’t be afraid to take small steps. The Bible promises us that if we are faithful in small matters, one day we will be rulers over m any larger things.

The impossible, many times, is just simply the untried.

I can remember a time in my life when I was literally frozen with fear at what God had called me to do. It seemed so huge a task that I was unable to bring myself to face it. A friend came to me and spoke two words that broke that paralysis in my life. He said simple, “Do something!” Don’t worry about the goal, just take the steps that take you past the starting point and soon you’ll get to a point of no return. As you climb higher, you’ll be able to see much farther.

We should all learn to grow wherever we’re planted.

As you begin, don’t be afraid. Eric Hoffer said: “Fear of becoming a has-been keeps some people from becoming anything.” Every great idea is impossible from where you are starting today. But little goals add up, and they add up rapidly. Most people don’t succeed because they are too afraid even to try. They don’t begin because of that old fear of failure.

Many times the final goal seems so unreachable that it keeps us from even making an effort. But, once you’ve made your decision and have started, you are more than half-way there. God will begin with you today – no matter what your circumstances. Just think how thankful you would be if you lost everything you have right now and then got it all back again. Wouldn’t you be ready to go ? Choose to think eternally, but act daily.

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Taking The Higher Road

The walk we have is a uphill climb at all times. Not that walking on easy trails are not there, those trails, just many times are the wrong journey to becoming more like Christ. The higher road is to leave the award shows of life and find ways to give glory to others. The higher road is to resist the opportunity to provoke others who have abused you with their actions. You might get the best of those characters but that is not the best ways to build your character. The higher road is to be happy with the provisions you have and to be pleased with the success of others. I find as I get older, wiser and more experienced that I am not as Sprit-led as in the earlier days of faith. I have allowed my growth to become my dependency. It is easier to see the faults and shortcomings of others. I want to turn my attention back to dependency on the leading of the Holy Spirit. I am concerned that what I know is keeping me away from what I could know. Today I want to know Christ and His will. To know Him is to take the higher road.

Galations 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. [26] Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Leadership Challenges

I read a statement recently that leadership today can be challenged by anyone who has a blog or a Facebook account. I have thought a lot about that statement and find it true but not correct. Just because one can challenge leadership does not mean that leadership is poor. It is so easy to throw shots at those in leadership when you do not have the responsibility the leader has to carry. Sadly many leaders today are crafting their message and mission to appease the digital voices from these sources. Leadership should determine what is right and do what is right. What is right may even get you unseated from your positions. Better it is to positioned with truth than to be postured as a politician.