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!

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

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Detour Ahead

Posted: September 4, 2013 in Articles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. We, Christians, are called to be “light”. Jesus, in His sermon on the mount, said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16) If the world is a dark place, I can’t think of anywhere better to let our light shine. Can you?
  2. We are commanded to “GO”. Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19 to, “…go and make disciples of all nations…”  You can’t “GO” if you’re staying put. Expecting people to come to you is not “GOING”. To “GO” means to meet people where they are…both literally and figuratively.
  3. We are called to be “in the world…not of it.” Jesus, praying for His disciples, said, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” John 17:16.
  4. We are protected. After Jesus ate with His disciples the final time, He prayed for them…and for us. Here is part of His prayer out of John 17:11-16: “…Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it…” If the Savior of the world prays for His Father to protect His disciples, and us, from the evil one, I have full confidence that we have absolutely nothing to worry about. We can go boldly into any situation, circumstance, or environment…fully armored in His protection…with His weapons…and proclaim the name of Jesus and show a life that is being lived for Him. And all of God’s people shouted, “Amen!”

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

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

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

If your organizations idea of integrated resource development is not similar to the diagram above, you may need to rethink your approach. You are likely missing some great opportunities.

The concept of effective resource development is fairly simple and straightforward. Implementation can sometimes be a challenge but the concept and approach itself is fairly simple. Organizations, marketers, consultants, businesses, etc…spend quite a bit of time and intellectual energy on creating super fancy and complicated theories, strategies, assumptions, conclusions, and solutions regarding the acquisition and development of resources. In other words, a great deal of time, effort, energy, and money is spent on figuring out the newest, greatest, and most successful way to raise revenue.  At the end of the day, it all boils down to awareness and relationships, with the emphasis on relationships. More on that another time.

Today, I thought I’d share my rules regarding the concept of non-profit fundraising and resource development:

Rule #1. Funding follows awareness.

Rule #2. People don’t give to or support an organization unless they know what it does and can relate to it or its mission at a personal level.

Rule #3. Realize that it is that simple… If the concept is not clear, refer back to Rule #1 and follow the rule sequence until it sticks.

That’s it. Conceptually, it’s simple. To effectively and successfully implement, that’s another story.

Funding follows awareness and people give to organizations that they know about and can personally relate or have a personal connection to it, to its mission, or both. The impetus is on the organization to communicate its mission and message consistently and effectively to its constituents and target audiences using various and available vehicles and mediums. It is in the awareness and “getting the message out” where most organizations, and businesses for that matter, have the hardest time and thus seem to have significant activity but no productivity or success. I call the activity with no productivity, white noise.  The key is establishing & creating effective methods and tactics for deploying the organization’s message. There is also an essential ingredient that without, the best and most creative tactics in world will be rendered wholly ineffective and failures. That ingredient is knowledge of the targeted audience…which is another subject for another time.

Raising revenue can be very difficult even with the best message, mission, or service. So many factors come into play that it is sometimes very hard to pinpoint one specific cause or another for the successes or failures of a particular program, promotion, or campaign. Usually it’s a combination of many. What I can tell you it that everything takes time, trial and effort, consistency, and a hefty amount of tenacity. You can’t harvest apples from a tree if you only planted the seed yesterday. Conceptually, it’s easy: dig a hole and plant a seed.  However, keeping it alive and helping it grow is another story. It takes time for the tree to grow. But if you take care of it and do the things no one likes to do like watering, fertilizing, pulling weeds around it, pruning, spraying for bugs, you know, the non-flashy stuff, oh at the apples you’ll have…and the pies that go with it. Or…you won’t. The tree will die, despite all of the effort put into it, and no apples. Interesting how the same care can be given to two trees and one dies while the other flourishes.  Makes you go, Hmmm. Either way, a great deal of knowledge has been acquired…and hopefully, considered the next time someone has a craving for an apple turnover. Until next time…Keep it real.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year! Wow…2013. Now…given the fact that you are reading this article means the 12/21/2012 doomsday folks did NOT get it right. Who’d a thunk it? Of course…we are still here and the world is still turning. So…who’s up for another trip around the sun? I am. You know, it’s been said that time waits for no one…So let’s get on with it. Every day we draw breath, God has something for us to do. And every day…we are in a war…a Spiritual War.

Over the next few months, we are going to be looking at our calling as Christians…as men of God…as Servant Warriors…and how that calling mirrors the mission of a Marine Corps Rifle Squad…which is to: Locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, and repel the enemy’s assault by fire and close combat. Oorah! We will be hanging out in the book of Ephesians…chapter 6…verses 10-18. It’s a familiar passage and one that I think is one of the most empowering and inspiring passages in all of Scripture.

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

The way we, as Christians, engage the enemy is done through very similar tactics when comparing to the traditional aspects of war. However, we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph 6:12).

Now, one of the things our military learn during their training…and throughout their military career…especially if they are in a combat unit…is how to handle themselves in close quarters. Hand to hand…mano e mano. Effective close combat is one of the deadliest tactics we as Christians…as Servant Warriors…can employ to flat out kick the enemy’s tail…and hit him right where it hurts.  What am I talking about you ask? Here it is…

The devil’s tactics and weapons are the things of this world. He uses things such as arrogance, pride, status, and judgment to create separation among people…among God’s children…among our brothers and sisters…and thus making them, and us, easy prey for him and his henchmen. Divide and conquer is one of his most effective tactics. Why? Because we are the ones often delivering it…that’s why. And if we don’t recognize it…we will continue to be the weapons he uses to deploy his tactics. “What do you mean, Searcy?”

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick….For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matt 9:10-13) Throughout Jesus’ ministry, He didn’t spend all of His time with “church” people. He spent time with and loved, only as an all sufficient Savior could, those society deemed outcasts, unclean, unworthy.

In John chapter 15, verse 12, Jesus commands us to “Love each other as I have loved you.” Who did Jesus hang out with and gravitate to during His earthly ministry? That’s right…sinners. Want to know what irritates and hurts the devil the most? The tactical weaponry that we, as Servant Warriors…Christians…can let loose on the evil one and really rock his world? It’s when we love our neighbors as ourselves. It’s when we share the message and love of Christ with those often shunned and turned away because they don’t look like us…or act like us…or who has messed up…made mistakes. We must remember that we ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Our righteousness is like filthy rags…and none of us could be saved if not for the unconditional love and grace of God through Jesus’ death on the cross.

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

Make sure to check out ServantWarriorRadio.com.

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

“But the tag says…”

Posted: December 3, 2012 in Articles

Ho…Ho…Ho…Welcome to December! Wow. I blinked and here we are again…rummaging through attics and storage closets for décor that we hope can survive just one more Christmas season…body checking at the toy and electronics store (that is, if we’re even still allowed in the stores after the “jockeying for position” we did just before 4:00am on Black Friday)…and hoping that the obscure gifts we bought for those special “someones” on our list, especially those gifts we grabbed online, are…“what they are supposed to be.”

Have you ever been in a store…picked up an item off the shelf…read the tag…and realized that what you were holding was not the tag said it should be? Even the most experienced and savvy salesperson would not be able to convince a person holding a chainsaw that it was actually a bag of M&M’s…despite being identified as such by the tag. One of my all-time favorite songs is “Jesus Freak” by dc Talk. Hands down…one of the greatest Christian rock songs of all-time. When it pops up on the iPod, the volume can’t be loud enough for me. I sing like I have the ability and, for a few seconds during the song, I can rap. “What will people think when they hear that I’m a Jesus Freak? What will people do when they find that it’s true? I don’t really care if they label me a Jesus Freak. There ain’t no disguisin’ the truth.”  What about you?Does the merchandise (you) match the tag? There is a saying I have heard many times and is one that hits me square in the gut every time I think about it because I know there are times that I struggle with my own answer. That question is: If I were to be accused of being a follower of Christ, would there be enough evidence to convict me?”  

tag

Have you ever strolled through an urban market or a gauntlet of street vendors selling “genuine, knock-offs”? What does that actually mean? That it’s a genuine fake as opposed to a… what…non-genuine fake? I mean…is that a good thing? I make light of it but when it comes to us, as people, it is no joking matter. Take a fake Rolex watch, for example. On the surface and at a quick glance, it may look real…genuine. But after a closer look, when it’s really examined, its true identity is revealed. I have to admit that I have a fake Rolex that I bought from a street vendor in the Bahamas one year while on vacation. It’s a fairly nice watch and it looks a lot like a real Rolex. At a quick glance, it’s hard to tell the difference. I know it’s not real. And I am reluctant to wear it in case someone sees it and either thinks it’s real or thinks I’m trying to pull it off as being real. However, I do wear it periodically as a reminder that I can fool anyone at first glance, maybe even for a little while, but at some point…if I’m a fake…I’ll be found out. I’m talking about me as much as the watch.

In today’s world of maintaining a certain look, status, or lifestyle, we can find ourselves trying to “fake it until we make it”. Why? To be accepted? Fit in? What happens if we’re found out? What happens to our credibility? And, if by some chance we are able to live out the charade without anyone finding out, it’s all for not because we know the truth…and so does God. “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.” (Proverbs 10:9)

Despite what my tag might read, I will be known by my actions, lifestyle, work ethic, character, and integrity…my fruit. We, the body of Christ, can be the biggest obstacle to people coming to know Jesus if what our tag reads and what people actually see…don’t match. Remember, the only way God can truly work through us is for the merchandise (us) to match the tag. Until next time…KEEP IT REAL…and Armor Up!

Christmas is the time we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the greatest Gift ever given. “God showed us how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.” (1 John 4:9 NLT)

Please remember our military that are away from their loved ones…in harm’s way…protecting our freedoms and our way of life. May God be with them and protect them. I pray they…and you…have a blessed Christmas and New Year.

Make sure to tune in to Servant Warrior Radio each Friday at www.ServantWarriorRadio.com. Also, please consider a year-end tax deductible gift to Servant Warrior Ministries, www.servantwarriorministries.org.

 

Hello, October! Fall is in full swing…my craving for North GA fried apple pies has peaked…the Fall Classic is once again upon us…college football dominates conversations…and God is expecting His kids, that’s you and me by the way, to shine a little brighter this month and give the trick or treaters a few more lumens than lollypops.

Creation: Day 1. God set the tone for His plan. Genesis 1:4 ‘God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.” God made it very clear that He wanted the light to be completely separate from darkness. His Son, Jesus Christ, the true Light of the World, said in John 9:5 “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”…a responsibility He passed on to us. (see Matthew 5:14-16)

In Ephesians 5, Paul tells all believers, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”

Now, I’m not saying that being the light of the world is easy. It’s tough! Why? Because to be the light that we have been called to be, we have to put ourselves out there…exposed…on display…in the middle of the arena…which is why we’ll often shy away from being the “light”.

It’s common knowledge that one of the things feared most by people is speaking in public. Well, except for crazy folks like me who feel perfectly at home and comfortable talking on a stage in front of a million people. However, when we are light, as God calls us to be light, we are to be “on a hill…put on a stand to give light to everyone in the house…to let your light shine before men” (Matthew 5). I hear the screams now…”NOOOOOO! Anything but that, God!”

Sorry folks. We are not called to be lampshade Christians. We are called to be super L.E.D.’s…shining for all to see.

In fact, three things are going to happen to you when you are the light God has called you to be.

  1. People are going to look AT you.   Sorry. Get over it. Remember “ …the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self discipline.” People want to see how you live your life. If you are what you say you are. They want to see if you’re genuine. God wants people to look at us…His children. “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”  Some of you may be saying…”Jeff, I just don’t think I shine that brightly.” Trust me. You shine brighter than you think. The thought that you don’t is a lie the devil wants you to believe because he knows what will happen once you allow the light of Christ to shine through you.
  2. People are going to look TO you. When you bring light, truth, to people, to situations, to circumstances, people are going to look to you for guidance, direction, to show them the way. The light of Christ in us will be the flashlight for those walking in darkness.  Often people say, “Jeff, I’ve made so many mistakes, how can I lead anyone? How can I show anyone the way?” I understand where you are…been there…still there sometimes. Again…those are lies meant to discourage you and make you believe you have nothing to offer. God doesn’t allow anything to happen in our lives that He doesn’t intend for us to use to impact another life for His glory. Yes, that includes all of the mistakes…bad decisions…we’ve made throughout our lives. Remember, “God works all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.
  3. People are going to look FOR you. So many look for fulfillment in things of the world, possessions, power, in other people, and continue to end up unfulfilled. The more they search for fulfillment, the more fall. “But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.” Proverbs 4:19. As followers of Christ, we emit a light, a joy, and a peace that people are looking for. While they may not think so or realize it…they’re looking. They recognize there’s something different about a follower of Christ…a child of light…and if we are genuine and real…if we lead people in light and in truth…people will seek us out to see if they can get what we have. How awesome is it that we can say with a resounding YES! You can have the peace…the joy…the light…His name is Jesus.

So…check your batteries…plug into His power…and be the light, the L.E.D., you have been called to be. Until next time, keep it real…and Armor Up.

View the actual article as published in Power Source Magazine HERE.

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