Archive for May, 2012

“Don’t Caw. Come in”

Romans 12:10

There was a bar not too far from my home that had a sign out front with a picture of a crow standing with his arms open saying, “Don’t caw. Come in.” I just loved that sign. And it’s message is so relevant to the shift in how we interact with others. It seems in today’s busy, hectic, fast paced transactional world of technological communications, in-person interactions are becoming a thing of the past. We have gone from sitting down for lunch, to grabbing a phone call, to sending an email, to a 142 character text message. In essence, relationships are disappearing. There are many reasons for this. But if we are honest, spending time with someone else usually doesn’t fit into “our” schedule. This is true in our personal and professional lives. We are so wrapped up in ourselves and our own “stuff” that we don’t have time for others. Actually, we have the time…we just don’t make the time.

Challenge: Jesus told His disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another.” (John 13:34). How did Jesus love others? Sacrificially. He put others before himself. He spent time with His disciples, building a relationship. One of the greatest ways to honor someone is to give them the only non-renewable resource we have, our time. Make some time this week to grow your relationships…face to face.

Prayer: Lord, I have allowed my life to become so busy that I barely have time to get everything done. I know there are relationships in my life that need attention…most importantly, my relationship with you. Help me prioritize my day. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Make sure to check out Servant Warrior Radio every Friday morning @ 6am CST on KJSL AM 630 TruthTalk630 St Louis, MO and worldwide at www.truthtalk630.com. The mission of Servant Warrior Ministries is to reach guys, from 5 to 105, where they are to impact and empower them to be who God created and called them to be. For more information go to www.servantwarriorministries.org.

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Divinely Facilitated Opportunities

Isaiah 55:8-9

What is the last thing you want to have happen when you are a few hundred miles away from home? Oh, the answers are endless and certainly depend on a number of factors. There are a few that come to mind right away: someone gets sick (of course), a flat tire, blown hose, credit card trouble, DVD player in the back seat goes down, etc…For me, it’s the “Check Engine” light. Why? It can produce a level of uncertainty which could lead to feelings of uneasiness, anger, frustration, doubt, even fear. From something harmless to something “shut down engine” serious, that little light could be triggered by anything. However, there are God-elements to every frustrating situation, I call them divinely facilitated opportunities, that we often miss unless we are able to look past the situation at hand and are willing to be open to seeing things as God sees them or be used as He intends to use us. For example…

This year while on a trip with my family, the “Check Engine” light came on in our 1999 Suburban. It got my attention but we didn’t drive it the rest of the weekend so I didn’t think much about it until we started home. We hadn’t gone 5 miles before the car began to act up. I wasn’t going to take any chances. We went to a local auto parts store that does the free error code scan. I got the codes and a recommended repair shop. So I took my family back to our relatives’ house, unloaded it and them, and then took the family bus to the recommended shop. Based on the computer scan, I was looking at a rather costly repair…well over $600 between parts, labor, diagnostics, etc…. To be honest, I was a bit discouraged. I did NOT have the money to pay for car repairs. But rather than get upset, which is usually my reaction, I accepted there wasn’t much I could do about it and began to pray and ask God to reveal why I was there because the repair shop was NOT where I wanted to spend the day. Besides the obvious, the car issue meant we were going to miss my son’s baseball game. Did I also mention I am the head coach? Despite this, I knew in my heart there was a reason that I was there that had absolutely nothing to do with the Suburban. I just felt it.

The parts associated with the codes were replaced. Problem now…the error codes remained. I had to laugh. After some further diagnostics and voltage checks the problem was found…a blown fuse. Needless to say, the repair was not as costly as anticipated. And even though every indication and troubleshooting result said one thing, the actual problem was something completely different…and in hindsight, much more simple. The shop owner, an accomplished technician, was clearly embarrassed…and said as much. He said that he had never seen that before. I told him there was no need to be embarrassed. He did all he knew to do and followed the obvious path resulting from what the indications told him. During my time at the shop and through our conversations, I realized he was a man of faith…affirming that I was there for a reason. To make a long story short, as we were wrapping up I was able to share with him about Servant Warrior Ministries, give him some Full Armor prayer cards that he could use and pass onto others, and hopefully gained a new friend. He said it was funny that we were having this conversation because his pastor’s message the day before was about stepping out of our comfort zones and why we don’t reach out to others. You know, I always smile when someone hints at irony because I know there is NO irony or coincidences when you are dealing with God.

Why did all this happen? Why was I pointed to that shop and not another? Why did He keep me there 5 hours? Why did God place an undeniable prompting on my heart that there was a reason I was there that morning? I don’t know. I hope that one day I find out. One thing I do know is that it was God working in and through me that kept me from losing my cool. Additionally, I am pretty confident that what happened at the end of my 5 hour visit to the repair shop would not have happened or would likely have had no impact if I hadn’t been open to God’s prompting and whisper…realizing that all was not what it seemed.  We never know how God will orchestrate and use circumstances. We just have to always be ready.

Challenge: None of us know the future. Nor are things always what they seem. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Allow things to play out, especially those that have the potential of being less than optimal, and ask God to show Himself and His will through the circumstance. Trust me. If you will ask Him to give you perspective and discernment so as not to miss an opportunity or hinder His work through you…because of you…you will be amazed at God’s faithfulness. I was…and always am. We serve a truly faithful God. Keep it real…and Armor Up.

Make sure to check out Servant Warrior Radio every Friday morning @ 6am CST on KJSL AM 630 TruthTalk630 St Louis, MO and worldwide at www.truthtalk630.com. The mission of Servant Warrior Ministries is to reach guys, from 5 to 105, where they are to impact and empower them to be who God created and called them to be. For more information go to www.servantwarriorministries.org.

May 6, 2012

Relentless:

“Treasure Hunter”

Prov 1:7, 2:3-6; 1 Cor 1:27, 3:19; Eph 3:16-19

It has been said that “knowledge is power.” Actually, I think a more accurate statement is “the use of knowledge is powerful.” Knowledge by itself is like the sharpest axe in the world. It is absolutely useless unless someone swings it. Many of us find ourselves on this relentless quest for knowledge…in the acquisition of educational degrees, through books, training seminars, infomercials, etc… We believe that the more we know, the more we learn, the better we will be. Getting an education, preparing for one’s future, learning the particulars of an industry, product, job, etc…is essential to being successful and effective in many aspects of both an educational and professional environment. However, this knowledge is not the foundation by which God calls us in our lives. It seems the smarter we get by the world’s standards, the more capable we feel we are to analyze God’s Word, sometimes question its validity, demand scientific evidence and proof, or simply think we are too smart to believe in God and His Word. All throughout the Bible the perils are revealed, from God’s perspective, of being “wise in our own eyes” and of the arrogance that often comes with worldly knowledge.

Challenge: Proverbs 1:7 tells us “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,…” God does not tell us not to become knowledgeable about the world. He tells us not to become rooted in it. “For the wisdom of the world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness.’” (1 Cor 3:19) We have the instructions: “…and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.”( Prov 2:3-6). Rather than filtering God’s Word through worldly knowledge, try filtering worldly knowledge through God’s Word. I think you will be surprised at the perspective shift.

Prayer: Lord, your Word tells me that You and your love are the root of all knowledge, wisdom, insight, and understanding. And that wisdom and understanding are worth more than gold and silver. There is so much pressure on being seen as an authority on this or an authority on that…to learn this or that…all things based on man’s perspective. You tell me if I seek first your kingdom, the things I need will be given to me. Lord, thank you for your faithfulness as I need wisdom and discernment. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Make sure to check out Servant Warrior Radio every Friday morning @ 6am CST on KJSL AM 630 TruthTalk630 St Louis, MO and worldwide at www.truthtalk630.com. The mission of Servant Warrior Ministries is to reach guys, from 5 to 105, where they are to impact and empower them to be who God created and called them to be. For more information go to www.servantwarriorministries.org.

Oooo, That Smell

Posted: May 3, 2012 in Articles

Before I get started, if I may, I would like to remind you that this month we honor some very, very important people: Mothers ( Mother’s Day – May 13th) and those military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country (Memorial Day –  May 28th). I cannot think of two groups of people who deserve our thanks more. So to mothers everywhere, we say “Thanks, Mom. We love you. You’re the best.” And to those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom and way of life, with humble adoration and the utmost respect, “Thank you.”  Now…on with the show.

We’ve all heard the saying “April showers bring May flowers”. How true…how true. April showers DO bring May flowers.

So, it’s time to go out and smell the awesome fragrances of late spring…flowers, fresh cut grass, the crispness of the morning air, and skunks. What? Did he just say, skunks? Yes I did. But we’ll get back to that furry little two-toned terror in a few minutes.

If you have not seen the movie Facing the Giants, I highly, highly recommend doing so. Buy it even. It is in my top 2 favorite movies of all time. The other is Field of Dreams.  Of course, if you’ve ever read any of my articles, seen me at the ball field, or been around me for more than 30 seconds it is not hard to draw that conclusion. I digress. Facing the Giants is from the same people who made Flywheel, Fireproof, and Courageous. The Kendrick Brothers and the folks at Sherwood Baptist in Albany, GA, do it right. What a ministry they have. Anyway, there is a scene in Facing the Giants where Head Coach Grant Taylor (played by Alex Kendrick) tells his football team during a practice that, “Your attitude is like the aroma of our heart. If it stinks, it means your heart is not right.” Just then, one of the assistant coaches walks up to Brock Kelly, star linebacker and leader of the team (played by Jason McCloud), sniffs and shakes his head after he hears Brock whisper, “He sure is preaching today.” Coach Taylor asks him,  “How’s your attitude, Brock?” “It’s fine,” Brock replies. Then Coach Taylor drops the bomb, “Then you’ll be okay doing the death crawl, right?” What follows the team drill and a short exchange between Coach Taylor and his team is, in my opinion, 5 minutes of the most inspiring, powerful, impactful, and motivating film footage I’ve ever seen. I won’t spoil it…see the movie. And if you’re a coach, of anything, it’s a must.           

Now…back to the skunk. It is absolutely amazing how the scent from the slight spray of a skunk  can impact such a large area around it. For those who have never had the benefit of experiencing the byproduct of a frightened or threatened skunk, let me tell you that everyone within a few square miles of the little guy will enjoy its distinct and rather undesirable scent. A bad attitude can have a similar impact. Just like the aroma from the skunk, the stench of a bad attitude can fill a home, permeate a business, a ball team, a church, or a neighborhood. Get just a little bit of the skunk’s spray on your clothes and the smell will accompany you everywhere you go…just like a bad attitude. And just like that little skunk’s spray, whoever comes in contact with it takes the smell with them…everywhere they go. Before you know it that smell (a.k.a. a bad attitude) has impacted multiple homes, multiple businesses, multiple ball teams, multiple churches, and multiple neighborhoods.

The immediate and lasting impact one attitude can have on so many cannot be dismissed or ignored. The great thing is that a positive attitude can have an effect that is just as impactful…long lasting…and viral. God’s word tells us to, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  (1 Thes 5:16-18 NIV) It certainly is tough to have a bad attitude if we adhere to those instructions. So let the aroma of your heart be as sweet as pure nard (John 12:3)…and as glorifying. And remember, “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” (Gal 5:9 NIV)

Please pray this prayer with me: ‘Lord, thank You for Your grace, love, and forgiveness. Thank You for being faithful and true. Lord, all through Your word we are reminded of the large impact small things can have…such as the faith of a mustard seed or the tithe of a poor widow of two small copper coins. Lord, never let me forget the impact one attitude can have on so many. Let my attitude glorify You…and may people see You in me. Lord, please give me the strength to be who You see and who You created me to be. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Until next time…keep it real. And, Armor Up!

Also…BIG NEWS: Servant Warrior Ministries is on the air! Servant Warrior Radio hit the airwaves in April and can be heard every Friday morning, 6am CST (7am EST), on KJSL TruthTalk630, St Louis, MO. Join us! It is also streamed all over the world online at www.Truthtalk630.com .  Visit www.ServantWarriorRadio.com for more information, stations, listings, and times.

The above article is from Power Source Magazine, May 2012. The actual article can downloaded HERE.

April 30, 2012

Road Trip

Matthew 7:14

We all have times in our lives that were less than optimal. What caused the wheels to come off? Where did it happen? What road took you to a place that perhaps you shouldn’t have been? What left did you take when right was the way to go? Did you lean on your own sense of navigational ability or did you use a GPS? And if you used a GPS, did the “G” stand for “global” or “God”? Was the device a Garmin or a Bible? How did you get to where you are? Are you catching a theme here?

Many of us remember the days of road trips. And many of us still enjoy them. Perhaps in a different way than before but enjoy them nonetheless, we do. Oh, the stories we have and will never share… Guess what guys? We are going on a road trip. For the next month or so, we are going to look at things from life outside the house.  We are going to look at life “from the road”.  We are going to challenge some perspectives…face some hard truths…and hit some things head one…figuratively, of course. We are going to be real, relevant, relentless in our pursuit, and definitely Jesus Freak’ish radical. And we are going on this trip together. Are you with me?

I’ll be honest with you. There’s a lot that I need to work on. I need to work on being a better husband, a better dad, a better servant, a better follower of Christ. I know that if I focus on the latter, the former will have a much better chance of happening. It has to be less about me and more about Him. But I also know I can’t go at it alone. And why would I want to? It’s just like with a road trip. It could be done as a solo venture but where’s the fun in that? The best part about any excursion is who’s with you on it. So…Come on. Let’s go. I’m not sure when we’ll get back but I can tell you it will be a trip for the ages. Get in and buckle up.

Life happens on the road…outside the house. If we want to experience everything God has in store for us, we HAVE to leave the safe confines of our homes… our places of safety… our man caves! These safe havens are not necessarily brick and mortar structures. They are our jobs, our lifestyles, our habits, our priorities, our attitudes, our perspectives, our friends.  Confusion has set in, hasn’t it? You’re thinking, “I completely get the ‘If I have a destructive or bad habit, my priorities are whacked, or if I have friends that lean toward the rough side that I need to make a change.’ But, if the above mentioned “safe places” are not necessarily bad, destructive, some may even be good, why would I want or need to leave them?”

Bottom line: If something – a safe place – is keeping us from what God has in store for our lives, regardless of whether it’s good or even if we think it is, it’s dirt we need to shake. Don’t misunderstand me here. I’m not telling anyone to leave a job, a commitment, or a family. Far from it. I’m saying we need to remove the governor from the engine and let it fly. We need to blow the cobwebs from the carburetor and experience God’s highway of blessings! The cool thing is, when we go out on our road trips, we get to come back to that safe place. We get to come back home.  Often the experiences we have on the road have a significant impact on how we view things…some positively…some negatively. But there’s no way we aren’t changed in some way by what we experience as a result of being on life’s highway.

Challenge: I have heard it many times and it is certainly worth repeating here, ‘If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.” Let’s modify it to fit our road trip theme, “If we want God’s ‘Route 66’ experience, we have to get out of the house and hit the road.” Why is that? When Peter left the boat and stepped onto the water, who was there? You got it. Jesus. If we want to experience a life that is full of divine appointments and experiences, we have to go where Jesus is. We have to get out of the boat. We have to leave the safe places and hit the road.

Prayer: Father God, You told Moses that Your presence would go with him…that You would see the journey to the end. And I know that same promise is with me. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for Your direction. Thank you for loving me. Lord, help me to see You and to take the road You have for me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Make sure to check out Servant Warrior Radio every Friday morning @ 6am CST (7am EST) on KJSL AM 630 TruthTalk630 St Louis, MO and worldwide at www.truthtalk630.com. The mission of Servant Warrior Ministries is to reach guys, from 5 to 105, where they are to impact and empower them to be who God created and called them to be. For more information go to www.servantwarriorministries.org.