Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

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

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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.

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.