Archive for the ‘“Around the Table” Discussion Topic/Marketplace Devo’ Category

Relevant:

“The Struggle”

Romans 7:19

If I hear anyone saying that being a Christian is easy, I wonder whether they are living in the same world I am. I never will question anyone’s faith as our testimony is the ONE thing that can never be questioned. What Christ has done in the life of an individual is something no one can question…even though it happens more often than it should. However, being a follower of Christ, dying to Him daily, and doing what we know we want to do and are supposed to do is something that is not easily accomplished given the inherent nature of sin that resides in all of us. The apostle Paul, the author of 13 books in the Bible, faced the same struggles as we do today with doing what we know we shouldn’t and don’t want to do in spite of our relationship and love of Christ. In the book of Romans, Paul got very real with his fellow Gentiles when he said, “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” (Romans 7:18-19 NLT) We beat ourselves up when we do something we know we shouldn’t and often feel we should “pack up and go home” in regards to our walk with Christ because a voice we hear says, “a Christian doesn’t live that way…or do that. You’re a poser…a fake…a hypocrite. You can’t impact anyone for the Kingdom.” That, my friends, is the voice of the THE liar and comes directly from the pit of Hell. Ineffective and worthless to the Kingdom is exactly what the devil wants us to hear…and believe…because if we believe him, we no longer pose a threat. Don’t listen to him. Tell him to sell that somewhere else because we know in Whom our victory lies. Remind the devil that we know how the story ends.

Challenge:   One of the most effective tactics of the enemy is to remind us how far we fall short of perfection…of a sinless life. There has been only One who has lived a sinless life on this earth…and none of us are Him. Remember, God’s word tell us, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin.” (Romans 3:24-25a). “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for loving us…in spite of us. We fall so short of Your glory. Yet You still see us as holy…all because of Your Son, Jesus. Lord, give us the strength to call on Your name when the evil one attacks us with lies and deception as the devil has to flee when we call on Your name. Thank you for Your assurance of victory and everlasting life…all through Jesus Christ. In His name we pray. Amen.    

For more information about Servant Warrior® Ministries, visit www.TeamServantWarrior.com

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We’ve all seen them…and used them…acronyms. And in our social media world, they are becoming more and more prominent with many being used in everyday language. The military has been using acronyms forever in reference to weapons and to remember various aspects of training, battle strategies, preparation, tactics, etc… Now that social media has taken over as our primary means of communication, it seems we have become very clever and effective in saying all that we need or would like to say in only 142 characters. LOL (Laugh Out Loud), BTW (By The Way), BFF (Best Friends Forever), etc… and yes, all the others as well. Remember, this is a family friendly devo.  There’s the BCS, SEC, ACC, MLB, NFL, NBA, the list goes on and on.

And you know, the Christian community was not going to be outdone. It seems we in the Christian community have a new vernacular and essentially have tried to reduce eternal salvation, the incredible life changing message and love of Jesus , and a relationship with God…the Creator of the heavens and the earth… the Alpha and the Omega…the Beginning and the End…the Great I am…the omnipotent, omnipresent, and eternal King of kings and Lord of lords into some catch phrase Christianity. And when the catch phrases get further reduced… acronymed as I call it (Is that even a word? If not, we just created a new one.), what is left is what I call Four Letter Christianity.  I mean, we have WWJD (What Would Jesus Do), TGIF (Thank God I’m Forgiven)…yes, I’m glad it’s Friday as well, BAHF (Blessed And Highly Favored), PBTM (Please Bless This Mess), JDFM (Jesus Died For Me), and so on. And if we’re determined to continue to reduce Christ’s love, sacrifice, salvation, and relationship to only four letters, may I introduce one that should take its rightful spot at the top of the list along with JDFM? That would be: WJIT – Without Jesus I’m Toast…which is true both figuratively and literally.

In no way am I making light of anything…even though it may sound as though I am. People today use acronyms like WTH, WTF, LMAO. Yes. You read it correctly. I just included those in a devotional. We all know what they mean. At least most who use the social media platforms do. But for some reason, we think if we only use the letters that it makes the phrases…perhaps…more acceptable. Of course, we still want the phrases to have the same punch. I mean, why else would we say them. But using the letters seems to allow a wider audience through a larger number of mediums and communication vehicles to experience them. In the end, the intent is the same. I hope that is what happens when we jump into the world of Four Letter Christianity…the intent part, I mean. I hope that we’re not using the letters because we’re afraid to actually come out and say “Jesus Died For Me”. Or ask, “What Would Jesus Do?” Or proclaim that “Without Jesus I’m Toast!”. I hope that only space and/or character restrictions and not fear prompt the arsenal of FLSS’s (Four Letter Sermon Supplements).

Challenge:   In today’s politically correct, “try to be cool yet not offend”, sound bite, and 140 character communication culture, it seems as though we, the Christian community, feel the need to shorten everything in order to fit into the restrictive guidelines of a particular communication vehicle…or to shoot out a short catch-phrase “Jesus” response…or to fit a t-shirt design. And while our culture may want to microwave the message rather than to slow cook it, the awesomeness of Jesus Christ…His sacrifice…the gift of salvation…His love for us…His promises…the fact that He is the Way, the Truth, the Life, and the ONLY way to the Father…can never be reduced or diminished. And even though folks may actually know what WWJD stands for…isn’t it better to make sure? Especially when you throw the “WJIT” acro at them. Let’s make sure our message, or our Jesus message, is NEVER diminished or diluted.

Prayer: Lord, it is so humbling and amazing that You, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, want to spend time with me and be a part of every detail in my life. Your word tells me that I am to be in the world, not of it. Please help me rise above today’s fast paced, sound bite,  microwave culture and never diminish Your words…Your sacrifice…Your gift…Your love…You. I know I can’t do it in my strength. But You tell me that Your grace is sufficient…that You will never leave me…that if I call Your name You will be there… that You stand at the door knocking and all I have to do is open it…and Your word tells me that I can do all things through You who strengthen me. I believe them. And I believe YOU. Thank You for loving me.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.        

Jeff is the founder and lead servant of Servant Warrior® Ministries, a Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant movement to reach guys, 5 to 105, where they are, and share with them the love and life changing Message of Jesus Christ, and inspire and empower them to be who God has created and called them to be.

Meet people where they are…Love’em like Jesus would…Rock the rafters…Change the world…

www.ServantWarriorMinistries.org

Check out the new initiative from  Servant Warrior® Ministries:

Armor the T generic button victory for the t's

   

I was having a conversation with a gentleman just this past week who told me that as much as he hated to say it, he was really getting disheartened by the lack of genuineness among the men in his church. He said the more he thought about it, the more he saw it among the “Christian” men he knew and associated with. He told me that as much as he would like not to admit it, it made him not want to go to church. He said he could see why more men are not “stepping up” in the way they should man walking silhouettebecause despite what many “men of the church” speak from their mouths there is very little observable difference between the actions of men inside and outside of the church. No matter how many times I get hit with that reality baseball bat, it still hurts. Our actions speak much louder than our words. And, if I am real and honest with my own self assessment, I must admit that I am as guilty as anyone. Question to self: Is there enough evidence in my actions to substantiate my claim of being a follower of Christ? Too often, the answer breaks my heart.

Challenge: It doesn’t matter where we are, who we are, or what we are, a lack of genuineness puts a barrier between us and those around us. For men of God, if we are going to heed Christ’s commandment of “making disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19) and reach generations of men where they are and impact them for Christ, there has to be a distinct and consistent difference between us and men of the world. Talking the talk but not walking the walk hurts our testimony more than if we said nothing at all. This is true for men of any age. This week, we need to take a long and hard look in the mirror. We must be honest with who we see and ask ourselves, “If someone said something about me, either way, would there be enough evidence to convict me?”

Prayer: Lord, please help me be honest with myself and more importantly, honest with You. You already know me better than I know myself…and You love me unconditionally and call me your own. I pray that You, who are Absolute Truth, shines through me in all that I say and do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Jeff is the founder and lead servant of Servant Warrior® Ministries, a Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant movement to reach guys, 5 to 105, where they are, and share with them the love and life changing Message of Jesus Christ, and inspire and empower them to be who God has created and called them to be.

Check out the new initiative from  Servant Warrior® Ministries: Armor the T generic button victory for the t's

Meet people where they are…Love’em like Jesus would…Rock the rafters…Change the world… www.servantwarriorministries.org

“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.

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.

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.

Relentless:

“Open doors…”

2 Thessalonians 1:11

God is always working in our lives…on all three facets – professional, personal, and private. Much of His work comes with little or no action required from us. However, there is quite a bit that requires us to do something. I pray daily that God will open and close doors as He sees fit. I pray that prayer with the full understanding that when He opens a door, He expects me to go through it. If I am honest, I must admit there are times that I don’t. Thank goodness for grace. How often do we pray for something, for God to open a door, and then sit back and wait…and wait…and wait? While all the time the door was wide open. He was waiting for us to go through. It’s like praying day in and day out to win the lottery. Then one day we hear a voice say, “Buy a ticket.” I have never had the Holy Spirit literally pick me up by my belt loop and throw through a door that God has opened. I have to go through it myself. The cool thing about going through a God opened door is that we may go through with one perspective or expectation and what God has planned is completely different. Of course, we don’t realize how cool it is at the time. It sometimes takes a while to see it. But when you love the Lord, put your life in His hands, and allow Him to guide your steps, hindsight is pretty clear…and awesome. All those situations and circumstances that you thought were bad, painful, or completely whacked, many of them I’m sure were flat out awful, actually brought you to the exact place you needed to be…at the exact time…fully prepared and equipped to receive the blessing of your life. Now that rocks!

Let’s now take it a few steps further and from a different perspective. Up to now, all of the focus has been on us…the blessings we get from acting on God’s promptings and going through doors He opens. What about all those around us – our families, friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc…? How does our responding to God’s call impact them…or others we may never even meet? What legacy do we leave? We might never know. But think about this. What, perhaps, would have happened if Abraham had not acted on God’s calling to pack up all he had and to take his family, leave his people and his country, and set out to parts unknown (Gen. 12)? What about Noah, before that (Gen. 6)? If he had not taken action and built the ark (let us not forget that he built it in the middle of the desert) where would we be? Let me bring it a little closer to home. What if all of the pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and believers in Christ throughout history hadn’t, at some point, acted on God’s prompting and call? Would you, or I, or people around the world ever have come to know or be shown the incredible love of God? Would we be visiting here together, today? Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Challenge: Go through the doors that God opens. Regardless of whether it makes sense or not…because often times it won’t. And, what we think we want…or don’t want…may not necessarily be what God wants for us. His plan is perfect and He knows exactly what He is doing. And what He is doing is the best for us…regardless of how many times we throw a look of utter confusion heavenward. If you have any doubts, pick up His Word. He gives us countless passages of reassurance. One of my favorites, which is also our family verse, is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV) What an awesome God we serve.

Prayer: Lord, thank You so much for Your grace, Your patience, Your love. I know I don’t always act on Your promptings. Please give me the strength and the confidence, not in my own but in You, to go through the doors You open. 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.comThe 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.



Real:

“Shoulda…Coulda…Will Do.”

John 16; Romans 8:1-2; Galatians 6:10; Colossians 4:5

If we are “real” and honest with ourselves, guilt often hits us more for the things we don’t do rather than the things that we do. You know the “I should’ve done this.” or “I should’ve done that.” Why is that? Maybe because there is a verygood chance that what we “do” is seen or heard by someone other than us. But unless we tell someone, we are the only one who knows what we don’t do…what is on our mind…what we feel prompted to do…the only one who knows what God has placed on our heart. If you notice, the “shoulda – coulda – woulda – didn’t”s refer to the past, not the future. What we do, and don’t do, in the future is up to us.

Challenge: Romans 8:1-2 tells us, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”(NIV) It is that same Holy Spirit that intercedes on our behalf to the Father but also guides us, helps us, and was sent to make known to us what is from Christ. (John 16) “Hello,” said our conscience, the Holy Spirit. Galatians 6:10 tells us “…as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers.” And Colossians 4:5 challenges us to, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. “ We never know when God is going to throw an opportunity our way that, depending on how we respond, could change someone’s life forever.

Prayer: Lord, looking back there have been so many times in my life I feel like I missed opportunities that You placed in my path. Forgive me. Please give me Your eyes, ears, and heart so I will be open to your divine appointments and recognize the opportunity and Your hand in all situations. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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.


March 11, 2012

Relevant:

“The Struggle…Revisited”

Romans 7:19

If I hear anyone saying that being a Christian is easy, I wonder whether they are living in the same world I am. I never will question anyone’s faith as our testimony is the ONE thing that can never be questioned. What Christ has done in the life of an individual is something no one can question…even though it happens more often than it should. However, being a follower of Christ, dying to Him daily, and doing what we know we want to do and are supposed to do is something that is not easily accomplished given the inherent nature of sin that resides in all of us. The apostle Paul, the author of 13 books in the Bible, faced the same struggles as we do today with doing what we know we shouldn’t and don’t want to do in spite of our relationship and love of Christ. In the book of Romans, Paul got very real with his fellow Gentiles when he said, “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” (Romans 7:18-19 NLT) We beat ourselves up when we do something we know we shouldn’t and often feel we should “pack up and go home” in regards to our walk with Christ because a voice we hear says, “a Christian doesn’t live that way…or do that. You’re a poser…a fake…a hypocrite. You can’t impact anyone for the Kingdom.” That, my friends, is the voice of the THE liar and comes directly from the pit of Hell. Ineffective and worthless to the Kingdom is exactly what the devil wants us to hear…and believe…because if we believe him, we no longer pose a threat. Don’t listen to him. Tell him to sell that somewhere else because we know in Whom our victory lies. Remind the devil that we know how the story ends.

Challenge:   One of the most effective tactics of the enemy is to remind us how far we fall short of perfection…of a sinless life. There has been only One who has lived a sinless life on this earth…and none of us are Him. Remember, God’s word tell us, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin.” (Romans 3:24-25a). “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for loving us…in spite of us. We fall so short of Your glory. Yet You still see us as holy…all because of Your Son, Jesus. Lord, give us the strength to call on Your name when the evil one attacks us with lies and deception as the devil has to flee when we call on Your name. Thank you for Your assurance of victory and everlasting life…all through Jesus Christ. In His name we pray. Amen.    

“The Struggle…Revisited” is a re-post from October 2011.

For more information about Servant Warrior Ministries, visit www.servantwarriorministries.org.   

“Gearing Up…”

Eph 6:10-18

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV). Here’s the devil’s MO (modus oprandi or method of operation): render the man useless, irrelevant, and those around him will become easy prey. Why? Because Satan knows that as the men go in a society, so goes the society. If they are strong, the society is strong. If they are weak…well, you get the picture.

Men, there is a shared need. It’s in our homes, our businesses, our offices, our schools, coffee shops and restaurants. It’s in our communities, on golf courses, baseball diamonds, football and soccer fields, our neighborhood pool. It is everywhere we go. It is the need for men of all ages to step up. Generations of young men are being raised with the idea that they are not accountable for their actions, that there is no right or wrong, that someone will always bail them out, that somebody else will handle it. No. Unless we, strong, Godly, Christian men, step forward and accept responsibility for the condition of our communities…our churches…our homes, we are doomed to repeat the vicious circle of fostering generations of unaccountable, irresponsible, unethical, immoral, and weak minded men who will inevitably take those ungodly traits into the marketplace, into our churches, our homes, our government. The time is NOW to make a difference.

Challenge: Every day, men step onto a battlefield. It’s not a war against other men… but against evil. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph 6:12 (NIV) It’s time for men, 5 to 105, to step up, put on the Armor of God (Eph 6), take their place on the wall (Neh 4), and get ready for the battle of their lives…for their lives…and for the lives entrusted to them…their friends…their families…each other. It’s time to get the battle gear on. It’s time to Armor Up.

Prayer: “Father, today by faith in Jesus, I put on the (1) GIRDLE OF TRUTH. I thank You today that I know who I am in Christ – a child of God whose name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Lord, I want to by faith put on the (2) BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS to protect me from responding to circumstances and people emotionally rather than spiritually. Before I rise each day, Father, put on my feet the sandals of the (3) GOSPEL OF PEACE that I may be used by You to share the peace of God with other men. Father, I thank you that I can take up the (4) SHIELD OF FAITH knowing as I place my trust in You today, you are sufficient to protect me from fiery darts so that nothing can touch me. Lord, I place on my head the (5) HELMET OF SALVATION. Protect my thinking from things that don’t conform to Your will. Father, I take up the (6) SWORD OF THE SPIRIT which is YOUR WORD. This is my only offensive piece of equipment but it is also defensive so that when Satan attacks me, I am armed and ready to ward off all his arrows. The victory has ultimately been won. I march today under that great banner of victory, washed by the blood, armed with the Word, dressed in the armor of righteousness, believing and thanking You for what You are going to do. Lord, I pray this day that I may recognize who the enemy is and claim VICTORY as I am properly dressed to face every challenge by Your causative, overcoming power. In Jesus’ name. Amen. Ephesians 6:10-18.”

The mission of Servant Warrior Ministries is to reach guys, from 5 to 105, where they are to impact and empower them to be the servant warriors God created and called them to be. For more information go to www.servantwarriorministries.org

February 19, 2012

“Ooooo, that smell…”

Galatians 5:9

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, 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.

Challenge:  We must be aware of the immediate and lasting impact one attitude can have on so many.  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. And remember, “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” Gal 5:9 (NIV)

Prayer: 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 widow of two small copper coins. Lord, never let me forget the impact one attitude can have on so many. Please give me the strength to be who You see and created me to be. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

*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

February 12, 2012

“But the label says…”

Luke 6:43-44

Have you ever been in a store, picked up an item off the shelf, read the label, and realized that what you were holding was not what it said on the label? Even the most experienced and savvy salesperson would have a hard time convincing the person holding the basketball that it was not a bag of M&M’s…despite being identified as such by the label. One of my all-time favorite songs is “Jesus Freak” by DC Talk. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest Christian rock songs of all-time. When it pops up on the iPod, the volume meter can’t go far enough to the right for me. I love the song. “What will people think when they hear that I’m a Jesus Freak? What will people do when they find that it’s true? I don’t really care if they label me a Jesus Freak. There ain’t no disguising the truth.”  What about you? Does the merchandise match the label? There is a saying I have heard many times and is one that hits me square in the gut every time I hear it because I know there are times that I struggle with my answer. That question is: If I were to be accused of being a follower of Christ, would there be enough evidence to convict me?  

Challenge: “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.” Luke 6:43-44 (NIV) Despite what my label might read, I will be known by my actions, lifestyle, work ethic, character, and integrity…my fruit. We, the body of Christ, can be the biggest obstacle to people coming to know Jesus Christ if our tag and what they are looking at don’t match. We are called to impact others for Christ and to be a living testimony to His grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness. And the only way God can truly work through us is for the merchandise (us) to match the label.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your Son, Jesus Christ, who You sent to earth to bear the sins of the world, past, present, and future, and die on the cross so that we might have eternal life with You. Lord, thank You for Your grace and forgiveness as I know that I fall short daily. Lord, I pray that my life is a living testimony and sacrifice…and that others see You in me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen   

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

February 5, 2012

“In the club…or not.”

John 12:42

 Peer pressure…social acceptance…keeping up with the Jones’…status…popularity…Why is the need to be “in the club” so great that we will forego what we believe or believe to be right in order to maintain our social…”status”? No segment of our society is immune, even the church.  Every day in our schools, our communities, the marketplace, we ignore what we know to be right in fear of being ostracized…have our status or position negatively impacted…of being kicked out of “the club”. Classmates are bullied…and we do nothing. Young women are abused by their “boyfriends”…and we accept it. We witness, even take part in, unethical behavior and/or business practices…and we look the other way. Conversations that drip with gossip…we join in. Youth and teens succumb to the pressures to drink…take drugs…become sexually active. Why? Are we afraid we’ll lose status…street cred…the acceptance of the “world”?  “Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in Him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” (John 12:42 NIV)

Challenge: Regardless of our age, our spiritual walk, or our background, we all have a Divinely inherent knowledge of God ( Rom 1:18-20) and of what is right and just (Gen 3:11-12). For those of us who are followers of Christ, we are called to be the “salt of the earth.” (Matt 5:13) Christ calls us to be “…the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. ” (Matt 5:14-16 NIV). Standing up for what is right is exactly what we, as Christians, are supposed to do regardless of the world’s…“repercussions”. We can stand firm and stand up because we are assured by the Almighty that those who are persecuted for righteousness will be blessed, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:10 NIV)

Prayer: Lord, You are so worthy of praise. Thank You for Your love, Your grace, Your forgiveness, and Your faithfulness. Lord, You tell me that following You and seeking righteousness will bring a level of persecution. Father, please give me the strength to stand up for what is right, just, and true…regardless of how I may be treated by the world. Thank You that my reward is with You in heaven…not on earth. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Servant Warrior Ministries wants to reach generations of guys, from 5 to 105, where they are to impact and empower them to be the men God has created and called them to be. For more information go to www.servantwarriorministries.org

January 29, 2012

“Proper Prior Planning Prevents…”

Proverbs 16:9

Whether you believe it or not, God is always at work in our lives. God’s word says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Prov 16:9 (NIV). Think about how many steps we take every day to get from here to there. Think about the plans, or routes, we make for our lives.  As many of us know all too well, a plan’s first brush with reality often ends in horrible failure. Failure according to our perspective, that is. If we are taking a road trip, we check the weather, consider traffic patterns, etc… However, there is no way to plan for the unexpected occurrences that will inevitably happen along the way. I’m sure we all have stories, some of them very colorful, about the unexpected things that happen during a road trip. We cannot foresee everything that will happen to us during our trip…our life. Therefore, we have to get as ready as possible. The key is not simply to plan. The key is to plan and prepare…properly.

Being properly prepared allows us to experience fully and recognize God’s providence in all of the things that will happen while on the road. Rain, while difficult to drive in, fosters a rainbow when it’s done. And detours, while usually inconvenient and annoying, often reveal a much preferable route with breathtaking scenery and unforgettable experiences. Besides, how boring would it be if all our travels were filled with blue skies, warm winds, open roads, and no speed traps?

Challenge: There is a concept of The 6 P’s: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. For our road trip, would consider the destination, conditions, and duration in determining the appropriate gear needed…appropriate being the operative term. We must be as prepared as possible in order to handle whatever comes our way, both good and bad. On the road of life, we can be assured that we will get quite a bit of each. However, we can also be assured that the One who is in absolute control loves us and has provided us the greatest “How To” manual and “Prep Tool” ever printed…His Word.

Prayer: Lord, I know that I don’t know what tomorrow brings. However, I do know Your plan is perfect and that You are never surprised. You tell me in Your word that if I acknowledge You in all I do, You will make my paths straight. I trust in that because Your promises are always true. Thank you for Your faithfulness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.