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November…I’m so glad you’re here. The crispness of the air, the browns…oranges…reds of the trees…the smell of pumpkin pie (of course from all the pumpkins that survived Halloween…only to be carved up and cooked for dessert)…all serve as subtle reminders that winter is slowly approaching and, more importantly…Thanksgiving! As Americans, we have so much to be thankful for. We’re rich beyond comprehension and live and worship freely in the greatest country in the history of the world…protected by the greatest fighting force the world has ever known…the United States Military.  This Veterans Day (Nov 11) and every day, I want to express my humble thanks to warriors, past-present-future, and their families, for their service to this country and for being willing to make the ultimate sacrifice that so many have made…to lay down their life for another.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13 NIV).

There is a powerful parallel between Christ’s words to His disciples and the brave men and women who serve in our nation’s Armed Forces. You know, there are many reasons why people join the military. Some do it out of a feeling of patriotism or duty. Others see the military as an opportunity and/or pathway to a better life. Whatever the reason that caused the ‘called’ to step forward…to join something that’s bigger than themselves…to put their right hand in the air and swear to serve and defend America from all enemies, foreign and domestic…so help them God, it doesn’t take long before we realize that it’s not necessarily the “what” we serve and fight for…but the “who”…our friends…our fellow warriors…often they are one in the same…our families…those that we share the battles with on so many more fronts than just the battle front…that become our primary motivation and the fuel that drives us and becomes something much more powerful than the idea or ideal that first sparked our actions.

I’ll always have a very special place in my heart for the chapel on the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island, SC. During Boot Camp, Sunday service was a very special time. Every recruit went to church…whether they were believers or not. For some, it was the first time they ever walked through the doors of a church. For others, it was a reprieve from the training…the Drill Instructors…the stress. For me, there was an aspect of it that provided a sense of normalcy and a taste of home. More so, it was about an aspiring servant warrior wanting to get closer to and worship the mightiest Warrior, the first Servant Warrior, and bring Him into my new world. Of course, He was already there with me. I remember, like it was yesterday, standing in that chapel singing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and the indescribable feeling of pride that rushed through me. I can also feel the tears that literally streamed down my face as I was a part of a Marine congregation singing: “In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the Sea, With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me; As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, While God is marching on. They weren’t tears of fear…but of pride…and willing sacrifice. They were tears of the realization that Jesus Christ willingly went to the cross and gave His life for me…for my freedom from the bondage of sin…and that I, if necessary, was willing to give my life for another. While I was never called upon to give my life for another…so many others were. They followed the ultimate example of sacrifice and of love for each other…for those they knew…and even more they didn’t.

In the years since my time at Parris Island and in the Marine Corps, God has revealed so many things to me. One overwhelming truth is that the military community desperately needs a Savior…a Friend…THE Friend. They need to know “…there is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Prov 18:24(NIV). While bodies have been damaged…it is the spirits and hearts that have suffered the gravest wounds. The greatest casualty is not being forgotten. It’s forgetting that the only One who can truly heal a heart and restore a spirit has never left nor forsaken us…but stands at the door…knocking…waiting. All that is required of us to do…is open it.

Oh yea…one more thing…To all fellow Marines, past and present…Happy 239th Birthday. Semper Fi. “If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven’s scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.”Marine’s Hymn. Ooorah!! Until next time, Rock On…& Armor Up!

Don’t miss Servant Warrior Radio each Wednesday at 11:00 AM EST on its new ho3R Radio white backme at Righteous Rock Radio – 3r-radio.com

The above article was published in the November 2012 issue of Power Source Magazine and can be viewed HERE.

Servant Warrior® Ministries is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, Tax ID 27-0234581. Servant Warrior® is a registered trademark. Servant Warrior® Ministries, 2014. www.TeamServantWarrior.com

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SWM logo final 4-2012 Hello, May. Wow…summer is almost here. I know you’re pumped! Before I get started, I would like to remind you that this month we honor some very, very  important people: Mothers ( Mother’s Day – May 11th) and those military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country (Memorial Day  –  May 26th). I cannot road picthink 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 the families of and in memory of 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…let’s get on with it. We are continuing the Road Trip 2014 Series this month with “What’s Under the Hood?”  I think you’re going to like it…relate to it…maybe even experience a little uneasiness as it just may hit a bit too close to home. Hey…just sharing the Truth. It’s all good…and well worth the time.

And away we go! Let me set it up for you. You and couple of buddies emerge from the local gas and guzzle with some large cups of coffee…or Mountain Dew… headed back to your monster crew cab man machine that resides next to the pump that just delivered way too much gas to your ride. You guys climb back in and get back onto the interstate. A mile or so up the road you get the fortune of getting stuck behind a beat up, two-toned, primered, late 60’s model Camaro that, from the outside, looked to be lucky to be holding together and certainly didn’t appear to be interstate worthy…not to mention it was being driven by an elderly gentleman. Of course, conversation in the truck between you and your buddies ensued that was not necessarily favorable to the machine or the driver a hundred feet or so ahead of you. Now, in an attempt to get out of your way, the older gentleman and his Camaro found themselves pulling in front of a jet black, tricked out, and super nice Mustang convertible with the top down and the 30 something who is driving, and from the way he was going at it on his cell was obviously making the business deal of his life, clearly felt as though the nice gentleman who just pulled in front of him didn’t share his sense of urgency. Unfortunately, the traffic was such that would not allow the Stang to pass the ‘Maro. So…the young buck almost found himself in the trunk of the old guy’s car a few times as he was clearly agitated.

Now, you and your buddies are watching this unfold and likely have some mixed feelings about it…some sympathy for the older gent and empathy with the young stud. Hang with me…it’s about to get good. The young guy gets the opportunity to go around the older gentleman but instead of passing him and going about his day, he feels Camaro the need to express his agitation about being held up. So, he pulls in front of the Camaro and slows down causing the  older gentleman to have to put on his brakes. The young guy revs his little rocket a few times in front of the old guy as if  to say…”Look at this machine…and look at yours. Who are you to pull in front of ME and slow ME down?”

At that  moment, you see the back end of the Camaro lower a bit and you hear the unbelievable and deafening growl of  power as  the two toned bondo and duct taped Camaro jets past the little sports car like it was sitting still. Of course, the  young  man was to have nothing of that. He revved his ride to its max but the little 4 cylinder the young man was  sporting in his  tricked out Stang just didn’t have the umph…to keep up with the seasoned hot rodder. Not to mention  the Mustang was  in need of a tune up and oil change.  His car looked super sweet on the outside but seriously lacked  fortitude on the  inside. Come to find out, the old guy in the Camaro just finished restoring the powerhouse 500HP V8 engine on his 1969 ZL1 Camaro. Even if the kid had a Shelby Cobra, he wasn’t going to catch him. But you would have  never guessed  the Camaro had that kind of engine from looking at it.

I got to tell you, I am big fan of the Star Wars movies…not so much of the new ones but definitely of the original 3 and especially the first one, episode IV: A New Beginning. One of the best quotes in the entire movie, and there were a few good ones, came from Han Solo, of course played by Harrison Ford, when he responded to Luke Skywalker’s “observation and comment” of Solo’s ship the Millennium Falcon…it’s classic!: “She’s not much to look at…but she has it where it counts, kid.” I dig that quote and have used it often myself. Yes…I’m dating myself. But that’s ok. They don’t make good movies like that anymore. But that’s a subject for another day.

“Not much to look at but has it where it counts, kid.” How many times have we heard that the heart, not the outer appearance, of a person is what is important to God? All throughout scripture, God makes it very clear that what is on the inside counts much more than what is on the outside. Think about when Samuel passed the news that David, the youngster and not one of his older more outwardly appealing brothers, would be king of Israel… What did God say? “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV).

More for our conversation here was Christ’s admonishment of the Pharisee he was dining with, as told in Luke 11 and Matthew 23, regarding the vast difference between his and the other Pharisees’ outward appearance and… “what was under the hood.” Jesus said in Matthew 23:26-28, “Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

Too often we are more concerned with how we look to others than how we look to God. And I am going to go ahead and make a bunch of people mad but too often, our churches and those inside look, using our story from the interstate, more like the beautiful than the bondoed. Which one would you say you are? Which one would others say you are? And we wonder why our words and our actions don’t impact others…at least not in the way God would want. Here’s the harsh reality folks: People can see through the façade of playing the part of “Christian”. More times than I would like to admit I have heard the word “hypocrite” associated with Christians and the church. I have heard that both inside and outside the church. Of course, not every church body or group of believers is this way…too many are. You’ve seen them…visited them. Let’s start focusing on what God sees as important. He clearly tells us that if we clean up the inside…the outside will also be clean. If we are going to impact the lives of others for His kingdom, we must adopt an inside out focus rather than an outside in.

We’ll continue the Road Trip 2014 series next month. Until then…Keep it Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant. Rock On…& Armor Up!

Make sure to visit the Servant Warrior® Ministries’ site and check out all of the awesome things that are going on… SWM Brand Family 2-20-14 for linkedin

SWM logo final 4-2012April is here! That means another season of baseball is upon us. By the way, I’m in favor of making MLB Opening Day a National Holiday. So…if you see Ozzie Smith, tell him to let his friends in St Louis know that I’m on board! Spring also brings, for so many of us, the Yellow Cloud of Death…better known as pollen. But the undeniable fact is that Spring brings the absolute perfect weather for a ride with the top down, sunroof and windows open, or your head out of the window (please not while you are driving).  I certainly do not want to forget the motorcycle enthusiasts and their 2 wheel chariots. You guys are right in the mix. Bottom line: It’s time to hit the road!

A few months ago we talked about getting prepared for the trip. That preparation is essential for us to be able to handle the detours and forks God allows to happen to us in our life. Last month we talked about action and that action on our part is required if we are to experience all that God has in store for us. Now is really where the rubber meets the road. We’ve planned, prepared, acted, and now we’re on the road headed to wherever it is we are wanting or being led to go. What happens now?

Let’s set it up:  Above you is a sky so bright that it hurts your eyes. The temperature is about 80 degrees. The car, or motorcycle, is washed, waxed, and loaded with essentials for a ride. You drop the top and/or windows, and off you go. There is nothing but open road, fresh air, and…well, you get the picture. All of a sudden, you see brake lights up ahead…and they are not moving. As you get a little closer you see a flashing light and an orange sign that says “Detour Ahead”. Man, oh man. Just when I thought everything was going great, this happens. Sound familiar? By the way, I was referring to your life. Or how about this? You are driving…same blue sky, same fresh air, same shiny machine, and you come to a fork in the road. It’s decision time. What makes you take one way or the other? Past experience?  Knowledge of one road or the other or where they end up? Knowing what you will experience or come across if you go one way? Not sure what will happen if you take the other way? No need to answer now. I’ll ask many of these same questions later.

fork-detour-signsOn the road, you never know what you are going to experience and you never know when you will have to take a detour or come across a fork. Sometimes God gives us forks, where we are given the opportunity to choose a direction. One way is the direction that will take us toward Him, another way takes us away from Him, and another takes us back home. Other times, He will drop a detour in our path where we lose a directional option leaving us to go either forward in the direction He has determined or back to where we were. If you are like most of us (hey girls, if you are reading, this can apply to you as well), turning around and going back, or retreating, is not an option anyway.  Nor is stopping the car in the middle of the road. That is, unless you don’t mind a whole lot of irritated people behind you. Can you say “road rage”?  Sorry. In all fairness, however, sometimes turning around and heading back or even pulling the car over on the shoulder, out of traffic, is the right move.  We call the former, in the words of the United States Marine Corps, “fighting in a different direction” or “living to fight another day”. And the latter, God calls it waiting on Him. Any directional decision we find ourselves having to make has puts us in a position to either move closer or further away from God.

Think about some of the detours and forks you have come upon in your life. Each one impacts us differently and causes us to go in one direction or another. Depending on the severity of an event, occurrence, situation, decision, it is often times very difficult to take the road that takes us close to God. If something has happened that really turned your life upside, or that hurt you significantly, or created a circumstance that is very painful or one that if you ever revisit again it will be too soon, choosing to go in a direction that we know will inevitably bring us face to face with whatever it is that caused the course change is, in many people’s eyes, on the side of being a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic. God says different.

What are some of the reasons we don’t take the road that leads us to God? Don’t want to relive the pain? Fear of Confrontation? Sense of Helplessness? Fear of Isolation or having to face whatever it is all alone? Feel like no one understands what we are going through? Feel that no one knows how bad it hurt? Yes, guys, I am talking to you. Feel like we can’t forgive? Feel like we can’t be forgiven? Feel ashamed? Feel like there’s no way the other person, or anyone for that matter, can love us? The list can go on and on. I am here to tell you that in His word, God speaks through the Apostle Paul in the book of Romans and tells us that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” (Rom 8:37 NIV) Paul goes on to say that “neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39 NIV). Christ told us in the book of John, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV). I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer but it sounds like to me that Paul covered most, if not all, of the detours or forks I will come to in my life and that the Creator of the heavens and the earth, Almighty God, the Beginning and the End, has my back. Dude, if that doesn’t get you jacked up and encouraged, nothing will!

When you come to a fork in the road…take it. Take the way that will bring you close to God. He wants you to come to Him. He is your refuge, and fortress. (Psalms 91). And when a detour is dropped on you, relish it. Pray about it. God is likely pointing you in the direction He wants you to go. Rock On…and Armor Up!

Make sure to visit the Servant Warrior® Ministries’ site and check out all of the awesome things that are going on…

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Hello, March! Can you believe it? We’re almost through with the first quarter of 2014. Unbelievable. I hope the year is going well for you, so far. And while winter seems to want to hang around way too long for much of the US, some of the country is thawing out…Thank You, Lord! March means that baseball has begun, March Madness is upon us, 95% of us deny our actual ancestral origin and become Irish as St. Patrick’s Day and green shamrocks abound, and convertible tops are once again checked and serviced in preparation for Spring…and Road Trips! 

As we continue our Road Trip 2014 series, we’ve come to the part that is the hardest for many of us…me included. We have thought about what we would like to do and, more importantly, what we need and are called to do. Now comes the hardest part…DOING it. Literally stepping out of the boat…walking out of the door, getting in the car, starting it, putting it in reverse, actually backing out of the driveway, and then putting it into gear and hitting the road. It’s the point of no return. You know, I think of it like standing high above a body of water…any body of water. You say to yourself, “Man that water looks good. I’m jumpin’ in.” As you admire the glisten of the water below, your mind cranks up and hits warp drive immediately. “Dude, this is gonna be awesome! Wait a minute! Am I nuts? That water’s gonna be freezing! What if there’s a rock right beneath the surface? Is this really necessary? I mean…What’s it gonna prove? But I really want to. Man…what a rush it’s gonna be. Okay…I’m doin’ it.” Here it is…the decision….the point of no return. It’s time to put up or shut up. You have got do decide whether you jump, or not, knowing that once you leave your feet and you’re over the water there is no turning back. Let’s say you jump. Splash! WOW! Man, that is really cold! (Fret not, gents. I’m not going any further.) But it was really awesome! Yes, it may be a bit uncomfortable at first but after a while your body gets acclimated, and, it feels pretty good. In fact, you are glad you jumped in. It all starts with effort…action.

Anything we do in life takes effort or action, of some sort, on our part. Even breathing requires an exertion of energy. Some things are easier than others and some things we are more apt to exert more effort in doing. Let’s see. Guys, how many of us would say that more effort is made to get to the speedway, the golf course, or the ball field at 7:00 am on Saturday morning than is made to get to church at 11:00 am on Sunday? Ouch. Told you we would be hitting some truths pretty hard. Hey, most of us, if we’re honest, will admit we are guilty at some time or another. But I’m not here to throw holy bombs. I’m probably more guilty than most. Nevertheless, life requires effort and action.

God is always working on me and in my life…on all three facets – professional, personal, and private. Much of His work has come with little or no action required from me. However, there is quite a bit that requires me 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. I’m really honest with you when I say 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 you and I be visiting here together, today? Makes you think, doesn’t it?

So, hit the road. 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(NIV), “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.” What an awesome God we serve.

Road Trip 2014 continues next month. Until next time, Keep it Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant…and between the lines. Rock On…and Armor Up!

Make sure to check out www.ServantWarriorMinistries…often. Also check out the Servant Warrior® Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/ServantWarriorMinistries.  for updates and news.

Welcome to February, the short month of the year. But, despite what every other human being on earth likely believes, February is the true beginning of the year. I can already see the wrinkles on your forehead. January, while actually the first month of the calendar year, is really the “recover from Christmas, New Years, and extended time off, trying to get back in the saddle at work as well as adopting a healthy lifestyle, again, finding myself making the  same New Year’s resolutions as last year, still writing 2013 on everything, getting the kids back in school, and taking steps to make this the best year ever and realizing I don’t have the energy or the time to revamp everything so I’ll press forward as is” month. It usually takes a full 31 days to go through the aforementioned cycle but we do get through it, by God’s grace, and usually with a much better and more realistic perspective. That brings us to February. Now, on to 2014 and “The Road Trip”.  We talked last month that in order to truly experience the divine appointments and experiences God has for us, we have to go where Jesus is…out of the boat and into the waves. We have to get out of the house and on the road. But first…we must prepare.

Whether you believe it or not, God is always at work in our lives and truly wants to be a part of every minute aspect of it. God’s word says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (NIV). The harsh reality here guys is that despite our best efforts and desires, we are NOT in control? Think about all the plans we make during, and for, our lives.  As many of us know all too well, a plan’s first brush with reality often ends in failure. Failure according to our perspective, that is, not God’s. For the 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 have hundreds of examples of things that have happened to me while “on the road”. I have no doubt you do as well. And since we cannot foresee everything that will happen to us during our trip, we have to get prepared. The key is not simply to plan. The key is to plan properly. Hint: Taking planning advice from the One who does know what is going to happen to us is the smart thing to do. More on that in a minute.

One of the many things I learned while in the Marine Corps was the concept of The 7 P’s: Proper Prior Planning Prevents P— Poor Performance. For most audiences and applications, the 6 P’s are more than adequate. You just have to love my beloved Corpsfolded-road-map and the colorful expressions…hence the 7. Back to planning. For our trip, the destination, conditions, and duration will determine the appropriate gear needed…appropriate being the operative term. Having the right gear will keep us from being forced to create some crazy, but no doubt colorful, story about why we packed what we did or didn’t pack what we should have. Been there…done that…got the t-shirt. We must be as prepared as possible in order to be able to handle whatever comes our way, both good and bad.

God has incredible things in store for us during our trip. However, not acknowledging that there are two sides to the coin is about as smart as only looking one way before stepping out into heavy traffic. In addition to the awesome experiences and blessings that happen while on the road, there are road blocks, detours, delays, potholes, accidents, and overall disappointments. God’s word is the ultimate guide to trip preparation. Through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, God provided sound instruction on how to prepare, each day, for the trip.

The following prayer, based on Ephesians 6:10-18, was given to me years ago. And despite my search for many years, I have yet been unable to identify the author. But I truly want to thank him/her as it has impacted my life tremendously…as well as countless lives across the country and around the world. This prayer was a driving force in the creation of the Armor Up rally cry and will always be a mainstay in the Servant Warrior® ammo box. So…”Thank You”.  Nevertheless, I will continue to humbly ask for forgiveness as I distribute it and share it anywhere and everywhere.

armor of god modified“Father, today by faith in Jesus, I put on the (1) BELT 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 help me react to situations and people the way You want me to, not the way I may want to. Before I wake up, Lord, put on my feet the (3) BOOTS of the GOSPEL OF PEACE that I may be used by You to share Your love with others. Father, I take up the (4) SHIELD OF FAITH knowing as I place my trust in You today, You will protect me from the devil’s attacks and not allow anything to touch me. Lord, I also put on the (5) HELMET OF SALVATION. Protect my thinking from things that don’t line up with Your will. Father, I arm myself with the (6) SWORD OF THE SPIRIT which is YOUR WORD. This is my only offensive weapon but it is also defensive so that when Satan attacks me, I am armed and ready to repel all of his arrows. The victory has already been won. I march today under that great victory flag, 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 today that I recognize the enemy and claim VICTORY as I am properly prepared to face every challenge by Your overcoming, almighty power. In Jesus name. Amen. Ephesians 6:10-18.”

I encourage you, daily, to pray it for yourself. You can also replace the “I’s” with “We’s” and pray it over your family, friends, co-workers, teammates, classmates, etc…

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 finished. And detours, while usually inconvenient and annoying, can reveal a much preferable route with breathtaking scenery, unforgettable experiences, or both. Besides, how boring would it be if all our travels were filled with blue skies, warm winds, open roads, and no speed traps?  Until next time…Keep it Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant…and Armor Up every day!

Happy New Year, all. I know I’m a little late as this is finding its way to you a week into the new year…but nevertheless, I hope everyone survived the Christmas holidays. For you football fans, I hope that your team either won, continues to win, hopes to win, or that you have come to grips with the fact that no matter how much you screamed at the television, the refs, or both, painted your face, wore the colors, donned the rally caps, prayed for a fumble, or all of the above, you had little or no control over the loss and you will live…maybe. For those of you who are not football fans, it is absolutely okay. In fact, you just may be better off than those of us who are.

Back to the matter at hand. It’s January and the start of the New Year…2014. We have the perfect opportunity to make this year all that we wanted last year to be.  If last year was everything you wanted, great. Make this year even better. If last year was less than optimal, what caused the wheels to come off? Where did it happen? How much of it was you? How much was simply circumstance? How much of it was molding, preparation, and forging? If you determine it was more you than anything… what road did you take that lead 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…but will never share no matter how many bamboo shoots are shoved under our finger nails or how many times you make us listen to Milli Vanilli! Ouch! And the bamboo would hurt, too. Some of my greatest memories, as well as some of the most embarrassing, exhilarating, joyous, scary, spiritual, inspired and tragic moments happened during some type of road excursion. I am sure many of you can relate. While memories were certainly made and experiences realized once a destination was reached, often the trip began with no particular destination in mind at all. You simply gathered the guys together (sometimes ‘gathered’ was the operative term as late night extractions were not uncommon), made the announcement, jumped in the car (or were thrown into the car as a result of the extraction), and went. It was all about the trip…the journey…the ride.

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 road piccool 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.

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.

So, we are “Hittin’ The Road” in 2014. 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. We are going to 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. By the way…“Are we there yet?” Sorry. I couldn’t resist.  Until next time…Rock On…& Armor Up!

Wow…I can’t believe it is already November. Fall is in full swing. Turkeys are feeling extremely uneasy. The anticipation of dressing and gravy, sweet potato soufflé (which, by the way, I only get at Thanksgiving and Christmas…despite my tantrums), and honey baked ham is almost too much to bear.  With 3 NFL games on the slate this year: Lions vs Packers, Cowboys vs Raiders, and Steelers vs Ravens, we stay true to tradition and will once again have lots of football on Thanksgiving Day. College football rivalries are at their peak…and the BCS wraps up its less than glorious tenure. November brings a bit more awareness of the blessings in our lives…which despite your circumstances, I guarantee you can fill up multiple pages with all the blessings you’ve received. And, each Veterans Day (Nov 11), we make a point to thank and honor those men and women who have served their country, past and present, in our Armed Forces. For all who have served and who are currently serving, and your families, Thank You, today and every day, so very much.

USMC Dog

Last but certainly not least…November also brings about the annual birthday celebration (Nov 10) of the greatest and deadliest fighting force the world has ever seen…The United States Marine Corps! The proof of the greatness: Marines are God’s choice to guard Heaven’s streets. Amen!

Happy 238th Birthday to all Marines, both on and off active duty. Semper Fi. Oorah!

***

Now that I have alienated a good number of you…sorry…let’s get to it. When we hear the term “Fighting Man”, many images come to mind. I bet that if I sat down with 100 men and asked them to describe that image by using a person they know, actor or character from a book, movie, etc..and we meshed them all together, no doubt we would end up with a shirtless, gruff voiced, indestructible gladiator type universal soldier clad in armor – both of the muscular and man-made persuasion, bandoliers, rifles & machine guns strapped across his back, an assortment of knives strategically placed for easy deployment, chewing on a cigar, and sporting a quiet, lone wolf countenance as well as the scars and battle wounds from far too many enemy encounters. Wow! What an image. At some time in our lives, I think it is safe to say, we have all aspired and/or pretended to be that guy. I know I did…and have.

hero-silhouetteBut I am here to present the true Fighting Man of today. He stands head and shoulders above the image we created earlier and with abilities, strength, and talents that far exceed anything we or Hollywood could ever dream up. Want to see him? This is going to blow your mind.

Ready?….Drum roll please…louder….build up…louder…….crowd goes crazy… flash/explosion…big screen lights up… and…Insert picture of YOU here.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Come on, Searcy.  Be serious. I’m an ordinary guy…and certainly no warrior.” I can hear some of you now…“Jeff, I can’t stand the woods…guns…sports…war movies…or anything like that, So, I guess I’m about as far from being a warrior as they come, huh?”

From others of you, I’d hear…“Yeah, I’m a man’s man. I play sports. I like to tackle the woods now and then. I do my fair share of guy stuff…to include a fight or two back in the day (Maybe even yesterday for some of us). But a warrior…nope. Especially not in the sense you’re talking about…’cause When I look in the mirror, I don’t see Superman, Rambo, John Wayne, or even Private Ryan for that matter. I see…well… me. Tough guy? Yeah, you betcha. Or at least I like to think so. But, a warrior? Nah.”

Time to change how you view the man in the mirror, Gentlemen. Think I’m kidding? I couldn’t be more serious. If we don’t see ourselves as the fighting men we have been called to be, Satan, his henchmen, and the world will wreak havoc in the lives of our friends…our families…others around us…those very lives we have been entrusted to lead, protect and serve. And when I say families, I’m not just talking about the wife and kids type. It’s for you single guys, too. In fact, you may even have a tougher job. But that’s the subject of another discussion.

We are at war, Gents. We are at war against the world and, as God’s Word tells us in Ephesians, at war against the “devil’s schemes…against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world and against the spiritual forces in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:11b-12 NIV). I don’t know about you, but I have yet to see a bullet that can take out an “evil spirit in the heavenly realms”. In fact, I have no doubt that in my own strength I lose that fight, mano e mano, against a ‘power of the dark world’.  These battles rage constantly. And whether we choose to accept it or not, we are smack in the middle of it…taking bullet after bullet and punch after punch. We have a choice. Either we take a place on the wall and stand and fight…or we stick our head in the sand and hope the battle passes. Far be it for me to provide a reality check but if you stick your head in the sand during a fire fight, you get shot in the south end of your north bound direction. In all seriousness, you have to ask yourself a question: Are you relying on your own strength or on a source of strength that never tires or fades? If I might make a tactical suggestion: check your heart.

Uncle SamHey, you…Fighting Man…isn’t it cool that God looks at the heart of a man, and not his outer appearance (1Sam 16:7)…and certainly not his strength or ability. God works through those who are willing and available. Some words of wisdom that I’ve always hung on to are, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog.”  Remember Gideon, (aka “Mighty Warrior” – a moniker that, by the way, was given by God himself), the least of the least tribe of Israel who took 300 men and wiped out a few hundred thousand Midianites…with trumpets and jars? (Judges 6-7) Gideon’s strength was not in his physique but in his faithfulness and in his heart.  Just as in Gideon, and in that dog in the fight, the fight inside a servant warrior is a heart filled with Jesus Christ: The Name above all names; the Savior of the World; the Lion of Judah; ‘the Rider, called Faithful and True, riding a white horse and dressed in a white robe dipped in blood, His name is the Word of God, with the armies of heaven following Him’ (Rev 19). Now that is truly the Ultimate Warrior.

                                                                                   ***

Question: If I could offer you a way to guarantee victory in the inevitable battle of life and death, would you take it?

Well, I can. Ask Jesus Christ into your heart and receive the gift of eternal life (John 3:16). He’s standing at the door knocking. (Rev 3:20) All you have to do is open it. And if you’re not sure how the whole thing goes down…email me or shoot me a call. I’d love to talk with you about it. It’s easier than you think. And, it requires absolutely nothing for you to do except…well…give Him you…exactly how you are. No cleaning or squaring away necessary here. He made you…He knows you better than you know you…and He loves you exactly the way you are. Now that’s awesome.

Make sure to check out ServantWarriorMinistries.org and ServantWarriorRadio.com each Tuesday for the Blade Side of Christian Music and Talk. Until next time, keep it Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant…& Armor Up!

Hello, October. Ahhh…Fall. The leaves are changing…the weather is cooling down (It’s so good to be back in Georgia where there actually is a Fall)…the Fall Classic is soon upon us and football season, especially college football, is in full swing. I love college football…especially my Georgia Bulldogs. Who am I kidding…I love sports in general. As a fan, coach, and former player, I find myself becoming engrossed in coaching my kids, watching games, and just enjoying being a fan. That’s how guys are wired. We aspire to be a part of a team…a part of something. It doesn’t have to be sports. It can be anything. And as guys, we can sometimes be tagged with the label of being “rabid fans” of our particular team, driver, game, etc…That kind of passion and enthusiasm is great and what draws us into being fans. What if we put the same kind of rabid passion into crazy-georgia-fanbeing fans of Jesus and His team? For many, the perception is that it’s not the same. I have seen fans of opposing teams, especially of college teams, get into fights in defense of their unyielding devotion and passion for their school…their team. How many times have we seen that same unyielding passion and devotion in defense of Jesus Christ? No victory on any playing field compares to His over death. And no other victory past, preset, or future, will ever have such an impact on our lives, for eternity, as His. Think about it. I love my teams as much as anyone…maybe more so than most. But if I am honest with myself, I don’t think any of them would be willing to die for me…whether they knew me or not. But they get my enthusiasm, my allegiance, my passion.

Sports, athletes, entertainers, and so many other things get our passion, our loyalty, our devotion over the One who bore the sins of all of humanity, past, present, and future, and died for us so that we can have eternal life. And He did it for all. Romans 5:8 provides some perspective: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God is your biggest fan. Give Him some of your passion…your “rabid fanaticism”. Remember, with God, you are guaranteed a win. You can’t say that about any other team.

Lord, sometimes I forget the magnitude of your victory over death…and what it means for me. Please create a fire in me that will fuel my relationship with you and my “rabid fanaticism” for you. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Until next time, keep it Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant… Rock On…and Armor Up!

Make sure to check out ServantWarriorMinistries.org as awesome and exciting things are coming.

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Detour Ahead

Posted: September 4, 2013 in Articles

Hello, September. College Football is in full swing – with Pro Football on its way…the smell of fried apple pies is in the air as the annual Searcy Family excursion to the North Georgia apple festivals draws near…we’re a month away from the Fall Classic…and the leaves are getting ready to change with the coming of Fall. I LOVE Fall. With the changing of the leaves also comes long rides and drives through breathtaking color provided by the Fall foliage. Now, with rides of any distance, there is always the chance of a detour…and detours are what we’re talking about this month.

Let’s set it up:  Above you is a sky so bright that it hurts your eyes. The temperature is about 70 degrees. The car, or motorcycle, is washed, waxed, and loaded with essentials for a ride. You drop the top and/or windows, and off you go. There is nothing but open road, fresh air, and…well, you get the picture. All of a sudden, you see brake lights up ahead…and they are not moving. As you get a little closer you see a flashing light and an orange sign that says “Detour Ahead”. Man, oh man. Just when I thought everything was going great, this happens. Sound familiar? By the way, I was referring to your life. Or how about this? You are driving…same blue sky, same fresh air, same shiny machine, and you come to a fork in the road. It’s decision time. What makes you take one way or the other? Past experience?  Knowledge of one road or the other or where they end up? Knowing what you will experience or come across if you go one way? Not sure what will happen if you take the other way?

On the road, you never know what you are going to experience and you never know when you will have to take a detour or come to a fork. Sometimes God gives us forks, where we are given the opportunity to choose a direction. One way is the direction that will take us toward Him, another way takes us away from Him, and another takes us back home. Other times, He will drop a detour in our path where we lose a directional option leaving us to go either forward in the direction He has determined or back to where we were. fork-detour-signs

Think about some of the detours and forks you have come upon in your life. Each one impacts us differently and causes us to go in one direction or another. Depending on the severity of an event, occurrence, situation, decision, it is often times very difficult to take the road that takes us close to God. If something has happened that really turned your life upside, or that hurt you significantly, or created a circumstance that is very painful or one that if you ever revisit again it will be too soon, choosing to go in a direction that we know will inevitably bring us face to face with whatever it is that caused the course change is, in many people’s eyes, on the side of being a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic. God says different. In His word, God speaks through the Apostle Paul in the book of Romans and tells us that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” (Rom 8:37 NIV) Paul goes on to say that “neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39 NIV). Christ told us in the book of John, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV).

Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your grace, Your love, and Your forgiveness. I am grateful for Your sovereignty, Your guidance, and for the fact that nothing ever happens to me that has not already passed through Your hands. So often, the road I find myself on is dictated by circumstances beyond my control.  Other times, it is all my doing. Lord, as my life changes direction, I pray that You will take over the driving as well as navigational responsibilities. Please give me the strength to relinquish my grip on the wheel. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Make sure to check out ServantWarriorMinistries.org and ServantWarriorRadio.com for the latest happenings and radio shows.

Also stat tuned for the latest on The Keep…where we’ll Meet People Where They Are…Love’em Like Jesus Would…Rock The Rafters…and Change The World… Check out TheKeep.tv

Until next time, keep it Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant…Rock On…and Armor Up!

 

Hello, July. Summer is in full swing…vacations have ensued…Independence Day and all that goes along with it is upon us…and it is likely that school or anything that has to do with learning is farthest from our minds.

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 ax 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-treasure-chest 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.

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.

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.

As we celebrate our country’s 237 years of independence, we humbly thank those who have rung and continue to ring the bell of freedom through the selfless giving of their blood and sacrifice. That bell rings due to the blood and lives of patriots…not by the swing of a sledgehammer. May God continue to bless the United States of America.

Until next time, keep it Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant…and every day… Armor Up!

Hello, June. Unbelievable…2013 is almost half over. If you told me on January 1, 2013 that the circumstances around the Searcy household would be what they are, here on June 1, 2013, I would have said…well…something in the ballpark of “Wha’chu talkin ‘bout Willis?” If you’re old enough to remember the ‘Different Strokes’ reference…it always feels good to bring something fun back from the past, doesn’t it? And if you are old enough to remember…smile. We’re just getting…better…better looking…and wiser. If you’re not, don’t worry. Let me translate the reference for you. It means: “I’m sorry, but I think we have a serious misunderstanding, here. Either you are mistaken about who you are talking to or you are mistaken about what you are talking about. I do, however, want to give you the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps you are not feeling well…having a difficult time communicating…something…because if you said what I think you said…you’re out of your mind.” Now, I know that sounds a bit harsh but I certainly don’t mean to. I want to make sure you get the full translational impact.

I absolutely believe that God allows difficulties and trials in our lives to test our faith…to mold us into the people He requires us to be in order to fulfill His call on our lives…and to remind us of just how little control we actually have. I believe He allows them in order to give us the chance to put our “faith” money where our “faith” mouth is. But how do we really do it? Handle things when our circumstances get…well…tough, I mean. when-the-going-gets-tough1

We have all heard the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” It is right up there with “Pull yourself up by your boot straps.” We, especially guys, are very familiar with these sayings and attitudes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this type of relentless approach and tenacity when facing obstacles, hardships, or challenges. How many times have we tried to take things on ourselves, in our own strength, and come up short? How do we feel? Inadequate?  Weak?  Not up to the challenge? Even the fastest race car and most formidable earth mover machines don’t finish strong without fuel and/or the right operator. I’ve never heard of something that can move tons of earth with ease referred to as ‘weak’ or ‘inadequate”. And neither are you. Jesus Christ said “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:9. Don’t feel you have to take on the challenges of life alone or in your own strength. Let the Omnipresent and Omnipotent God work through you and on your behalf.

Maybe you are going through difficulties or trials right now. Perhaps difficulties and trials have been around so long you’re not quite sure if the light at the end of the tunnel is the end of the valley or a Greyhound bus. And if the trials have been around long enough…either end of the tunnel result is acceptable. But in all seriousness, we are to be grateful for the trials. I know that sounds absolutely ridiculous but God is all about going against rational, logical, mainstream thought. He loves us so much that He wants to mold us, prepare us, shape us into the people He wants so we can do that which He has called us to do. God is much more concerned with our character than with our comfort. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 NIV.

God is also all about us not having to go through the difficulties and trials on our own…in our own strength. I challenge you to lean on God and ask Him to help you with your challenges, difficulties, trials and obstacles. For many of you who find it hard to let go of things or feel the need to maintain control, rest in the fact that the Almighty is up for the task. He wants to show you how faithful and capable He is.

Father, I am so thankful that You care about the challenges and struggles in my life. I know they help mold me to be the person You’ve called me to be. I am also thankful that you are capable of handling anything and faithful to never let me down. Please give me the strength, Lord, to allow you to work through me and on my behalf. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Until next time, keep it Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant…and Armor Up!

Jeff Searcy is a highly-energized, motivated, and outspoken servant of the Almighty, husband, dad, Founder of Servant Warrior Ministries, Host of Servant Warrior Radio, coach, speaker, strategist, author, and average golfer.  For more information or to book a speaking engagement, email Jeff at jeff@jeffsearcy.net or visit www.jeffsearcy.net. Don’t forget to check out www.servantwarriorministries.org & www.ServantWarriorRadio.com.

Hello, May. It’s great to see you. I’d love to visit but we’ve got an enemy to track. Oorah!

This is the fourth installment of the Spiritual Warfare series headquartered in Ephesians 6:10-18 on how the very familiar “Armor of God” passage mirrors the mission of a Marine Corps Rifle Squad which is – to locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver and repel the enemy’s assault by fire and close combat.

This month, we’re talking about locating, closing with, and destroying the enemy by fire and maneuver. The “fire” we use are the weapons of God mentioned in Ephesians 6…The Sword of the Spirit – God’s Word…and prayer. But what about “locate and close with”? Well…I can tell you one thing. If we want to locate the enemy…we have to go where he is. Guess what…we don’t have to go far. In fact, go anywhere…watch almost anything…and we’ll find evil and/or the handiwork of Satan. In fact, there are very few places that we will go and not “find the enemy prowling around like a lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). To locate the enemy…go to where he is. And where is that? The world.

Now…I know it can be a powder keg subject, but there is no reason for us to avoid the things…the people…the evil of the world. In fact, I think it’s an awesome opportunity to say…”We will not back down or retreat…but will be in the world…not of it…and take the fight to the enemy with the weapons of God and power of Jesus in our camp!” Can I get an Amen?!
us-soldier-silhouette-desert-sunriseNow, I’m going to give you four reasons why it is not Biblical to avoid the things…the people…the evil of the world:

  1. We, Christians, are called to be “light”. Jesus, in His sermon on the mount, said, “You are 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 its 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.” (Matthew 5:14-16) If the world is a dark place, I can’t think of anywhere better to let our light shine. Can you?
  2. We are commanded to “GO”. Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19 to, “…go and make disciples of all nations…”  You can’t “GO” if you’re staying put. Expecting people to come to you is not “GOING”. To “GO” means to meet people where they are…both literally and figuratively.
  3. We are called to be “in the world…not of it.” Jesus, praying for His disciples, said, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” John 17:16.
  4. We are protected. After Jesus ate with His disciples the final time, He prayed for them…and for us. Here is part of His prayer out of John 17:11-16: “…Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it…” If the Savior of the world prays for His Father to protect His disciples, and us, from the evil one, I have full confidence that we have absolutely nothing to worry about. We can go boldly into any situation, circumstance, or environment…fully armored in His protection…with His weapons…and proclaim the name of Jesus and show a life that is being lived for Him. And all of God’s people shouted, “Amen!”

So…until next time, keep it Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant…and every day…Armor Up!

Please take time this Memorial Day to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We’re grateful to them all. Semper Fi.

The above article can be seen in the May edition of Power Source Magazine or viewed HERE.

Hello, April. You blinked, didn’t you? We’re already four months into the year. Wow! Baseball is in full swing…no pun intended…and summer is almost upon us. Sorry…no April Fool’s Day here. Only Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant TRUTH. This month we’re continuing the Spiritual Warfare series headquartered in Ephesians 6:10-18 and how the very familiar “Armor of God” passage mirrors the mission of a Marine Corps Rifle Squad.

Before we get going, let’s have a quick review to break down Ephesians 6:10-18 and parallel the passage with the Mission of a Marine Rifle Squad, which is – to locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver and repel the enemy’s assault by fire and close combat. The “fire” we use to destroy the enemy are the weapons of God… the sword of the Spirit – God’s Word (v.17)…and prayer (v.18). The “maneuver” is fitting your feet with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace (v.15). We repel the enemy’s assault with the belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness (v.14)…the shield of faith (v.16)…and helmet of salvation (v.17). “Close combat” is our interactions with others…how we treat them…and how we handle the trials of this world and the struggles of life.

Last month we talked about intelligence and properly preparing for your enemy. Now, while I love the strategic component of any battle…the fun doesn’t start until shots are fired and things start blowing up. It’s okay. You can admit it. I mean, at the end of the day, where would you rather be hanging out? In the intel tent (kind of cool) or with a gun 4 Gustavstories tall, 20 ft. wide, 140 ft. long, that takes a 500-man crew to fire two giant projectiles: a 10,584-pound high-explosive shell and a 16,540-pound concrete-piercing shell? Huh? Can you say really…really…cool? For you WWII buffs, yes, I’m talking about the German Gustav Gun…the biggest gun ever built…and one that left nothing but a 30 foot crater upon impact. This month, however, it’s about bringing out THE guns…BIG guns…I’m talking about a couple of MOAG’s, brother – Mother Of All Guns…guns way bigger than Gustav’s…and infinitely more powerful.

The weapons of protection or the “armor” listed in the passage: the belt of truth…breastplate of righteousness…and helmet of salvation are essential components of a Servant Warrior’s battle gear. Add the shield of faith and you have donned and equipped yourself with THE most sound and protective set of body armor…ever. But the “destroy the enemy by fire” is accomplished when we deploy THE most formidable weaponsever. What are they? Faith filled prayer and the sword of the Spirit…God’s word. Together they are the ultimate “Shock and Awe”!

Time, space, and word count will not allow us to go as deeply as I would like in our discussion about THE weapons…God’s weapons. However, before we talk about them we need to understand the type of weapons we will use in spiritual warfare. Paul describes them very well in his letter to the Corinthians. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2Cor 10:4 NIV)

What does the Bible say about prayer and its power?  “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”(Mark 11:24) “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”(James 5:14-16). Faith-filled prayer…like the sharpest axe in the world…is awesomely effective when swung.

And finally…the inerrant and inspired word of the Almighty…the infallible word of God… the sword of the Spirit…the Bible. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”(Hebrews 4:12) “For no word from God will ever fail.”(Luke 1:37). “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”(2Tim 3:16-17). Couple the Bible’s tactical effectiveness and its source of intelligence that is 100% reliable…100% relevant…100% accurate…100% available real-time…and you have the weapon of all weapons to take into battle…every day…and be GUARANTEED victory. Amen!

Until next time, Warrior, keep it Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant…and Armor Up.

The above article appeared in the April 2013 edition of Power Source Magazine and can be viewed HERE.

Hello, March. Man, this year is already flying by at break neck speed. And you know how I roll…at two speeds…ludicrously fast…and stop. And while speed is often our friend…rushing into a battle zone unprepared and unknowledgeable about the enemy is…well…a suicide mission. Now, for you folks who love to analyze and dive deep…deep…deep into things, this month’s article will give you much to chew on if you sit and think on it. For those who like to run with what the page gives…at face value…you’ll enjoy it, too, and hopefully get some good intel that you can use. I’m here to serve.

We are continuing the Spiritual Warfare series…headquartered in Ephesians 6:10-18…and talking about the parallel between a Christian’s calling and the mission of a US Marine Corps Rifle Squad. For those who have missed the past few series installments, you can get up to speed very quickly by either grabbing the past couple of editions of Power Source Magazine or by visiting ServantWarriorRadio.com and listening to the podcast messages. You can’t lose either way!

Now, to make sure you have the intel you need to focus on the task at hand, let me remind you of the mission of the Marine Corps Rifle Squad. It is to: Locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, and repel enemy assault by fire and close combat. Place that mission side-by-side with Ephesians 6:10-18, and you’ll find we could spend a long time here…at least a few months…and we just may do that. Why? Because it’s that important, that’s why. We’re talking about life or death here.

military-surveillanceWhether you’re a war historian or one not so enamored with what happened in the past…militarily…I am sure we can recall reading about or hearing about battles that went awry. Where armies…or individuals, for that matter…rushed in only to find out much too late that what they expected…as it relates to the enemy or the conditions…and what they found was completely different. That, my friends, is a situation that usually ends in horrible failure for one team. Ask General Custer. You’ve likely heard me say before that Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. That is true in everything…especially war. So looking back to the horrible failure mentioned a few sentences ago, what caused the failure? Certainly a lack of proper prior planning would be a likely answer. But what if they…or the individual…did plan? What might they…he…have based their battle plans on?

The purpose of spies, reconnaissance, unmanned drone planes, satellite imagery, information gathering techniques (Give me a break, I’m not used to being PC), etc…is to gather as much relevant and accurate information as possible. We want to know about the environment. We want to know everything about the enemy…his capabilities, numbers, tendencies, tactical positions, etc…We want to ensure, based on the information  or intelligence we are able to gather, that when we do go into battle or initiate other types of military operations, we are as prepared as possible for what we will face. What happens when the intelligence we receive or the sources used to prepare are not accurate or reliable? Yes…it does happen.

I don’t know about you, but if I am going into battle I want to ensure I have the BEST intelligence possible. May I remind you again, gentlemen…and ladies…that, like it or not, we are in the middle of an all out war…everyday. But, this is not a game that you can restart and do over. Now, given this piece of very important intelligence…that there is a war raging for our souls and the enemy field general is a seasoned war monger with a very long list of battle successes and confirmed kills who prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour…shouldn’t you properly prepare? Ever heard the saying “taking a knife to a gun fight”? Satan is incredibly crafty and subtle. He uses the things of this world…to include us… as weapons to destroy us. And when we go, everything around us is soon to follow. Often, the enemy seems…well…unbeatable. For those that are unprepared for battle…he is. “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle alone.” (Eph 6:13 MSG)

But there is a source of intel that is 100% reliable…100% relevant…100% accurate…has 100% real-time availability…and, most importantly, it GUARANTEES victory. Give me some of that! “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God’s Word gives us all we need to know about the enemy and is the ultimate intelligence brief.

The Spiritual Warfare series will continue next month. Until then, keep it Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant…and… Armor Up.

This article was published in the March 2013 edition of Power Source Magazine and can be viewed HERE.

Hello and welcome to February…the month that card companies, florists, and chocolatiers battle for supremacy and market share. Why can’t we just all get along? Come on…it’s about love…and Valentine’s Day.

We are continuing the Spiritual Warfare series this month and talking about real warfare. This month it’s all about the guy to your right and the guy to your left. It’s about the guys in the rear…back home…in training…and especially those who just arrived in theatre. It’s about making sure you are looking out for your battle buddy…and that he’s looking out for you. It’s about making sure you also look out for the new guys…especially the new guys…keeping them out of the danger zones…be there for them…and have their back. By the way…the danger and kill zones are not just for the newbies…seasoned warriors can end up there as well. In 1 Corinthians 10:12, Paul was telling the Church in Corinth, the spiritual studs, to make sure not to get prideful and allow themselves to look away as those before them did. He said, “Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.” (MSG)

We all know of someone…a leader in the Christian community…a friend…a family member…a brother in Christ…who has fallen…been taken out by one of Satan’s schemes…traps…one of his snipers. Remember, we’re not fighting against flesh and blood, here, but against spiritual forces. The devil is crafty…he’s the master of deception…trickery…and lies. He is the ultimate double agent who wants nothing more than to destroy lives…to destroy families…to destroy churches…to destroy warriors.

The enemy likes to divide and conquer….separate and destroy. To use an analogy from the jungle, a baby animal or an animal that is wounded is much easier prey than one that is faster, and/or experienced….or a part of a larger group. If the devil can get us away from other warriors…our battle buddies…our warrior battalion…our spiritual headquarters…we become much easier prey. I’m talking about you…me…all guys…even the stalwarts in the church. You know…the guys who could never be taken out. Hint: Refer back to 1 Corinthians 10:12…often.

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations…sometimes out of our own doing…sometimes not…that will test our mettle…our faith…our skills…even threaten our lives or the lives of those around us…our buddies. The only way many servant warriors make it through these situations is because other…more experienced…warriors…are there to help us through and keep us from getting taken out.

soldier-sunriseIn the life of a new believer in Christ, the decision to surrender their life to Christ  initiates an awesome, incredible, eternal new life. Hands down it’s the greatest decision of one’s life and a decision that can bring more freedom…peace…fulfillment… and “life” than we can possibly imagine.

The other side of that decision is equally as awesome but a bit scary, painful, and not necessarily for the marketing posters. When someone accepts Christ into their hearts, their life is changed forever. That decision also propels them right into the middle of an all out war…against them. New Christians, and even older Christians seeking to get closer to the Lord, pose a threat to the devil. And the devil will do everything he can, as quickly as possible, to stop this life direction and choice. That means he will come with everything he has, from all sides and sources. He will expel all available ammunition. That’s why we have to make sure none go down. But, again, if they do…we need to be there to patch them up…lift them up…get them out of harms way and out of the line of fire. We have to realize that we…as warriors…need each other…more importantly…we need each other to be ready, razor sharp, and “ALERT… because the enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8. The cool thing here and something we all need to remember…the devil loses. Need confirmation? Revelation 20:10: “10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Forever’s a long time…can I get an Amen?!

We do a great job of congratulating folks when they come to Christ. Unfortunately…we don’t do a great job of looking out for them afterwards…to make sure none of them, or us, get splintered from each other and, as a result of our own decisions…actions…or inexperience, wind up in the middle of a trap…an enemy ambush…or even on the wrong end of a evil sniper bullet. Don’t leave your wingman. Remember, we were never meant to go on this earthly journey…alone. Until next time…Keep it Real…and Armor Up!

The above article appeared in the February 2013 Power Source Magazine. The actual article can be viewed HERE.

Make sure to check out Servant Warrior Ministries & stay tuned for new episodes of Servant Warrior Radio coming soon to ServantWarriorRadio.com.