The correlation between the Bible & the Constitution…and why, as a nation, when we continue to move away from the former, we move away from the latter as well. It hinges on foundational texture…rock or sand.
One of my all-time favorite television shows is NCIS. I love Special Agent and United States Marine (no longer on active duty) Leroy Jethro Gibbs…especially his rules. They have been a mainstay throughout the show’s 12 year run. I remember the episode where he was reflecting back on the first time he met his late wife, Shannon, and as she shared one of her rules, he asked her, “Do you have a rule for everything?” Her reply, “Working on it. Everyone needs a code to live by.” How incredibly poignant…and so true.
The famed knights of the 13th & 14th centuries as well as the mythical King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table had a Code of Chivalry. It was rock solid, unbreakable, unbending, and consistent…not to mention honorable, ethical, and when followed, bettered society and everyone they came in contact with..whether friend or foe.

Without a code or foundational set of guidelines to live by, we, and our priorities and foundational principles, are tossed about like a “feather in the wind” as public opinion, societal trends, and the “flavor or issue of the month” change.

Whether people want to admit it or not, the foundational principles of this country were formed from Biblical principles  (simply look at the Declaration of Independence…”We are endowed by our Creator…” – with a capital “C”). The solid foundational principles of the Bible, the code & foundational principles the Founding Fathers and so many colonial leaders lived by, were then applied in the creation of the Declaration of Independence and ultimately in the US Constitution. By the way, let me remind you that no other country, in recorded history, has been governed by a single document longer than the young United States of America. Obviously, they got it right.

Yes, there have been 27 Amendments to the Constitution. They are amendments that reflect the documental changes necessary to govern the country represented by and depicted in two of the greatest documents ever composed. However, they don’t diminish the authority of the Constitution…nor do amendments or the amendment process make it a “living, breathing document”.

The Bible provides absolutism…clear right and wrong. The Bible gives a clear set of guidelines to live one’s life by. And just as the Bible provides guidelines on how we, as people, are to live, the Constitution provides guidelines on how to govern.

So what is the correlation? We, as people, don’t like absolutes. We don’t like to be told what to do. We like the rules of the game to change as we change…or as we want the rules of the game to change.

The Bible, like the Constitution, provides absolutes and authority. The further we get away from its principles, its guidelines, its authority, the further away we get from allowing a single authoritative component, in this case: a document, to govern us.
Of course, it’s not the document but the interpretation of it…and the value choices/ideological filter and that are used to influence that interpretation. Those values and “ideological filter” are the product of what we hold, and allow to be, our authoritative source. That, however, is and will the subject for another conversation. Until then…keep it real.

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Hello, all. I have held off commenting about the National Anthem kneeling and fist raising epidemic that has spread across the Land of the Free over the past few months. But, as I watch the 2016 Ryder Cup, I felt compelled to share just a few thoughts.

I’m not going to talk about the media’s role in this as it would become a very one-sided, politically and ideologically charged annihilation of the mainstream media and a scathing indictment of the erosion of nationalistic sentiment and virtual hatred for America. I will leave that discussion for another time.

I will preface my thoughts with this: As a prudent, pragmatic, rational, free thinking, entrepreneurial, free-market/capitalistic minded Conservative Constitutionalist and someone who has studied extensively and taught on the documents – The US Constitution and Declaration of Independence – that serve as the foundation of the greatest country in the history of the world, as well as being a US Marine no longer on active duty who has served to protect the freedoms expressed in and granted by those documents…especially those of speech (yes, to include those I don’t agree with), I definitely will not share the perspective of liberal minded. However, because of the fact that I am rational, pragmatic, and all those things I mentioned before, there’s a great chance that I will not agree with many on the right side of the politically charged ideological spectrum either on many issues. We’ll see if this is one of them.

Bottom Line: National Anthem kneeling and fist raising is not a free “speech” issue. It is a free “market” issue. Yes, the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution grants citizens the freedom of speech. However, like it or not, speech is always limited on stages and platforms provided by someone else. Case in point: the NFL players, a US Soccer player, and others who choose to express their personal perspectives and protests on stages provided by media platforms and stages funded not by them but by both public and private investors (companies) and stake holders (sponsors). Many of those who fund the airtime enjoyed by the NFL and its players do not share the protesting perspectives. Why? Because their customers don’t share them. That’s why. The reality is that without customers buying products, companies would not have the revenue to fund the airtime that has provided the worldwide platform and stage for athletes, many of whom who have contracts exceeding $100M in compensation, to share their “dislike” for the flag of the country that has afforded them the freedom and capitalistic platform to make those kind of salaries.

The argument here is NOT the protest around the fact that particular segments of our population are oppressed or face discrimination. Reality Check: Every segment of the American population – across the spectrum of race, age, religious affiliation, ethnic origin, sexual preference, etc… – have been discriminated against. Like it or not…accept it or not…that is fact. Red, white, black, and yellow males and females have faced discrimination and, if you want to use the word, oppression, based on some sort of characteristic or descriptor resulting from genetics, choice, circumstance, or a combination of the three. That is the subject of another posting and it is one that I could write volumes on. So, if you choose to embrace the inability to see past this point, you will likely struggle with the forthcoming logic and discussion.

The point here is that we can say whatever we want to say, regardless of where we are, who we are, or what we are. However, the flip side to the exercise of one’s Freedom of Speech is the associated and commensurate Receipt of Repercussion. Capitalism and the free market system allow for stages and platforms enjoyed and utilized by the NFL, MLB, NBA, NCAA, MLS, etc… These platforms and stages are provided by the associated media outlets that broadcast them and the sponsors who provide the funding. These platforms and stages are funded by consumers through their patronage of companies, small and large, domestic and international. And while these stages are seen by audiences worldwide, they are no different than classrooms, board rooms, showrooms, or living rooms, or any other kind of rooms across the United States. In all of these, there are rules and policies regarding what can and cannot be said while in them by those who are employees of or who represent these “rooms”. With that, if one chooses to extend him or her self beyond the limits of permissible banter, repercussions will ensue. The repercussions are the unintended consequences of the intended outcome. The concept of Intended Results/Unintended Consequences, one that epitomizes and is a foundational component of US History (not to mention life as a whole) and one I discuss often with my students, will be the subject of future posts. The unintended consequences of the free speech exercise are often the source of the most complaints, disagreements, and commentaries. Why? Perhaps it is because we are fostering generations who have no concept of accountability or responsibility. Too many believe that there should be no consequences for actions taken and are absolutely flabbergasted, floored, and dumbfounded when they suffer 2nd and 3rd degree burns after repeatedly putting and holding both hands on those hot, red round things on top of that large white (sometimes another color) box with a door in the front that pizzas go into frozen and come out cooked.

I am not even going to address the feelings I have when I see high school students, bands, football teams, etc…kneel during the National Anthem. That could be the subject of subsequent posts.

In a capitalistic and market economy, those repercussions are usually monetary. We are seeing these capitalistic repercussions resulting from the choices athletes are making. For example, Denver Bronco Brandon Marshall has seen more than one sponsor choose to sever ties with him because of his “stance”. There is a good chance we will start seeing even larger capitalistic repercussions from larger NFL and NFL affiliated sponsors as more athletes, teams, and even front office NFL officials are supporting this freedom of expression. I will tell that the more the wallet is impacted and money/sponsorships are pulled, the less these protests are going to be supported.

The argument that is being made by many is that these athletes are free to express their personal feelings in relation to societal issues facing our country. There is absolutely no argument to be had. They DO have the right to express their perspectives…but not on the dime of sponsors, which is essentially the dime of the consumers – you and me. Yes, there will be athletes and personalities who share my perspectives, and yours. But there will be those who don’t. If I am honest…if I am a true Constitutionalist…if I am going to be true to my word, conviction, and commitment of honoring everyone’s right to free speech, I have to look at every situation in its totality and run it through the same filter as I do all others. Personally, I would love to everyone standing with their hand over their heart when the National Anthem plays…for a number of reasons. That’s not hat we are talking about here. What we are talking here is the expression of free speech, a right guaranteed to citizens of the Unites States by way off the First Amendment to the Constitution, but complaining when people don’t like your expression because it is either being done on the consumer’s dime via corporate sponsor or it violates the rules of the “room” or having refusing to accept the associated repercussions (the unintended consequences) of the action/expression.

Listen, if a professional athlete, or anyone else for that matter, chooses not to stand for the National Anthem…fine. I respect his/her right to express or not express a love or respect for the flag of our country. But, if you are a professional athlete and choose to make an expression that the media will certain go all gaga over and plaster it all over everything, be willing to accept the repercussions. That could include lost endorsements, public relations backlash (which could lead to lost endorsements), or even additional internal disciplinary action. If you don’t like the backlash, personally fund some television time, play a recording of the National Anthem, and kneel, belly bump, do the macarena for all I care. But I know you won’t. You don’t have to. Why? Because you know the media will cover anything that is anti-American or that will spark a controversy. That is the sad state of where the media in our country has come. However, that is an argument for another day. Today, it’s about the fact that free speech has limits…especially when the stage is being provided by someone else.

Until next time, keep it real.

 

I’m back…

Posted: August 21, 2016 in Insights

Quick post…but will be getting back to slinging around thoughts, opinions, assertions, and observations…all likely to start a fire somewhere. I know we are inundated with experts, talking heads, and overall opinionated information that often boggles the mind and usually causes us to question the existence of grey matter between the ear canals of the pundit or commentator. I’m sure the same will be said of me. I’m okay with it. 

I won’t be drafting long oratories of mindless babble. I simply don’t have the time. I’ll keep them as short as I can but still be effective in the message delivery. 

With my new gig (actually year 2 and change) as a public school teacher and high school coach, I have SO much to talk about. At the end of the day, however, my goal make people think, encourage, challenge, and consider, quite possibly, a different perspective than their own. In fact, in the next post I’ll share with you what I share with every one of my classes, regardless of the subject, on the first day of every semester. Next time, we’re going to talk about Coach Searcy’s 3 P’s of Information. Trust me, only the brave and fearless will commit to applying them. I hope that’s you. 

Until next time, remember: No matter you’re doing and regardless of the outcome, a win or loss is completely up to YOU. 

See you in the trenches. 

Coach

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

Relevant:

“The Struggle”

Romans 7:19

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

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

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

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

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…

SWM Brand Family 2-20-14 for linkedin

 

 

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.ServantWarriorMinistries.org

Check out the new initiative from  Servant Warrior® Ministries:

Armor the T generic button victory for the t's

   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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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!