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!

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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.

Make sure to check out Servant Warrior® Radio each week at ServantWarriorRadio.com. Servant Warrior® Ministries is a Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant…movement to reach guys, of all ages, where they are and empower and inspire them to be who God has created and called them to be. Find out more and how you can keep us in the fight at ServantWarriorMinistries.org.

Hello and welcome to September. Summer is wrapping up…at least on the calendar…college football has begun its 2012 campaign, and school is back in session. Now, while this message is for all of us, God put the youth on my heart.

I don’t know about you, but I love puzzles. And I think it would be hard pressed to find anyone, anywhere, who has never been exposed to or put together a puzzle. The nature of a puzzle is quite simple. It is made up of numerous pieces of distinct shapes and imagery and when put together exactly where they were designed to reside, the pieces reveal the desired image or shape as intended by the puzzle’s designer. Let me tell you, there are some awesome puzzles, a whole lot more than when I was a kid, to include the double sided two-dimensional kind as well as three-dimensional puzzles of Egyptian Pyramids, the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument, airplanes and aircraft carriers, even Fenway Park (Go Sox!), to name a few. And regardless of whether the puzzle is two dimensional or three, the concept is the same: Each piece has a specific spot in the puzzle. I’ve got an idea. Let’s look at God’s plan as an incredibly super-awesome puzzle and our lives as pieces of it. When you think about this in the scope of God’s plan, we all have a distinct purpose…calling…place in His plan…His puzzle.

Like it or not, God doesn’t provide us with a “top of the box” picture of His overall plan and how we “fit” into it. What we do know is that we are a hand crafted, one-of-a-kind creation that has been put on this earth at a specific time and place in history, with specific and distinct abilities and gifts for a purpose within God’s plan that only we can fulfill. How do I know? In Psalms 139:13-16(NIV), David writes, “For You created my inmost being, You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them ever came to be.”

Let’s put this thing into perspective. David wasn’t talking to Joe Schmoe, the clay-mation figure builder guy. He was talking to and speaking of the Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Creator of the heavens and the earth…the One who spoke the heavens and earth into being but wove together, with His own hands, you and me. We are a one-of-a-kind puzzle piece…created by the ultimate Designer. There has never been, nor will there ever be, another you…another me. That’s how. In other words, we all have a specific place in God’s puzzle. And, no matter how hard we might try and force a puzzle piece into a spot where it doesn’t fit, like trying to be something we’re not or what we may think others want, it becomes pretty obvious the piece is in the wrong spot. Here’s a perfect example. Remember that nice horse puzzle that we had as kids? You know the one…the gift we received from an elementary school Christmas party. Yeah, that one. It’s like trying to jam the round piece showing…well…let’s say the south end of the horse’s north bound direction into the square spot where the head should be. Get the picture? The key is not to allow the world and its lies and influences to mold and shape us but to allow God, the Master Designer, to shape and mold us into the people…the puzzle pieces…that He desires, so that we can fulfill the calling on our lives and experience all that He has in store for us…so that we’ll fit into His “perfect” puzzle.

Guys, I get it. The pressures to be what the world deems…desirable…in order to fit into its puzzle are powerful and everywhere. It’s in what we watch…look at…and hear. It’s in our conversations…who we hang with. The thing is, we decide what we watch…look at…and listen to. We choose the content and direction of our conversations…who we talk to and hang with. In other words, we have ultimate control in what we allow to shape us. If we will allow the Master Designer to shape us into the puzzle pieces that fit into His puzzle, and not the world’s, I guarantee your horse won’t be looking through the south end of its north bound direction. Until next time, keep it real…and Armor Up!

View the actual article HERE.

Make sure to check out ServantWarriorRadio.com each Friday morning at 6am CST (7am EST) on AM630 TruthTalk 630 St Louis, MO (www.truthtalk630.com) or anytime day or night at www.ServantWarriorRadio.com

Servant Warrior Ministries is a Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant…movement to reach guys, 5 to 105, where they are, share the life changing Message of Jesus Christ, and empower and inspire them to be who God created and called them to be. Visit www.ServantWarriorMinistries.org for more information.

I would like to welcome everyone to August. Summer and the heat roll on…kids face the reality that their summer vacation is virtually over…and folks all over will be squeezing in that one last getaway. And you’re planning that last chance road trip, I’ll bet you’ll rely on some type of navigational device to get you there.

You know, when you get right down to it there is very little difference between our lives and a road trip. And in life, like a road trip, getting good directional information could be the difference between, well, getting where you want to go…or not. Let’s take a trip down memory lane (Insert blurry picture and wavy lines across the TV screen here). Remember when… maps were what we used.  Let’s look at the difference between a GPS and a map.

A GPS literally provides direction. It tells us when to turn, the best route to take, often warns us of traffic (on the souped up versions). All we have to do is to do exactly what it says and we’ll end up at our destination. It’s a no-brainer on how to get to where we’re going. Maps, on the other hand, show us the spatial data but we must interpret that information and make our own directional decisions. Maps tell us nothing of best routes, traffic issues, or when or where to turn. I can tell you that if your head is buried in a huge Rand McNally or you’re trying to fold up the 10’x5’ road atlas of Texas, chances of you missing that turn are better than average. Bottom line: with maps our directional decisions are left up to us.

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have someone telling me when to turn than for the decision to be left to me. Can I be real with you? Despite the navigational training I received in the Marine Corps, I am and have always been directionally challenged. Land navigation was NOT my strong suit. I can get to where I’m going, mind you, but my trips are usually not without color or scenery. I think we all agree that a GPS is the preferred method of navigation.

Now, you might not know it but there are two types of Positioning Systems: a Global Positioning System, and a God Positioning System. A Global Positioning System represents the world. And the direction we get from a worldly perspective always points us to self. The world’s perspective points us to riches, applause, power, desires, pleasures, etc…“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” (Prov 14:12) A God Positioning System, on the other hand, represents direction from a Biblical and spiritual perspective. The direction comes from God and His word…and it always points us to Him. “Direct me in the path of Your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward Your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to Your Word.”  (Ps 119:35-37).

Let’s have some fun. Imagine we have dual, side-by-side machines. One Global Positioning System and one God Positioning System. The destination we plug in…Heaven. Yep…Heaven.

Here’s what we’ll get from the Global Positioning System: Do this. Do that. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Be a good person. Go to church. Blah, blah, blah. I’ll bet the money in my pocket that if we got the directions to Heaven from a Global Positioning System, or Mapquest, there would be thousands of turns and direction changes. The world is always asking what do we need to DO. And it wasn’t any different a few thousand years ago. Read John chapter 6. When the people finally caught up to Jesus after He fed the 5,000, they asked the million dollar eternal life question. “…’What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.’” (John 6:28-29) Now, let’s plug “Heaven” into God’s Positioning System. What directions do we get? One word: Jesus. That’s it. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6). No map…no compass…no voice in a box…only a Savior…Jesus Christ.

Now, don’t go throwing away your Garmin. You’ll need it for your family excursions. But make sure to get directions to your eternal getaway from His GPS. “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John2:17) Until next time, Keep it Real…and Armor Up!

If you’d like to hear the audio version of the “GPS” message, visit ServantWarriorRadio.com.

Make sure to check out Servant Warrior Ministries.

To see the article as it appeared in the August 2012 Issue of Power Source Magazine, click HERE.

Carnival Games

Posted: July 3, 2012 in Articles

Hello, July. We are knee deep into the summer…and it’s HOT. Many of us have already enjoyed a family vacation. Others are getting ready and some of us are wishing we had the time or the means. Regardless of the vacation status, we are continuing our summer amusement park series. Last month we talked about roller coasters and carousels. This month, we are staying true to the call and are stepping up to the plate…the counter…the foul line…the stool…the GAME…all with our eyes fixed on the prize…the 5 foot tall stuffed animal.

We have all seen them: skee ball, the bean bag throw, knock down the bottles, water-gun races, free throws, ring toss, and many, many more. They all look so easy. But don’t be fooled. These amusement park folks are smart. They draw us in, like someone else I know, by using the awesome, super cool, oversized, gaudy, obnoxious, and incredibly cheap (in terms of quality) prizes. Amusement parks and carnivals know how competitive we are, especially us guys, and that we, as the hunters, get our thrill from the kill…from meeting the challenge head on…defeating it…and telling that stack of three bottles that despite the fact that they weigh 25 pounds each and we are trying to knock them over with a Nerf ball, “You’re going down!” Nothing is going to stand in the way of bragging rights and us taking home our prize.

These amusement park and carnival games are eerily similar to the lies of Satan. The games seem so easy. “I mean, come on. How hard could it be to toss a hard plastic ring onto a glass bottle neck, anyway? And basketball? You’re kidding. Right? I am the king of the court. I don’t miss. The free throw game is a piece of cake. I’m walking away with hardware.” What we quickly find out is that the games are not so easy. The plastic ring is barely large enough to fit around the bottle and is so hard that all it does is bounce from one bottle to another. And the basketball hoop…well…it is NOT regulation size and I bet that if we did a little measuring, the ball would barely fit through if it would fit through at all. As it is with the evil one, there’s always a catch. He is the ultimate bait and switch artist. But, hey, I don’t want to be a kill joy. Let’s say we, by some crazy act of supernatural chance, actually do get a ring to land on a bottle top or a basketball to squeeze through a hoop and win. Did we really? Win…I mean.

Let me break it down for you. These games aren’t inexpensive to play…nor are the games promoted by Satan and the world. And after a bit of basic math, we realize that we just spent 5 times the amount of money it would’ve cost to buy that 5 foot tall stuffed animal at the local toy store for us to “win” the thing. Which is absolutely bizarre because as guys, we will wear, iron and re-iron a shirt 4 or 5 times because we don’t want to spend the $1.49 it costs to have it dry cleaned but we’ll drop $100 dollars on trying to shoot a basketball into an undersized hoop just to walk away with a $20 stuffed animal. In all seriousness, the games we are enticed by the evil one to play ALWAYS cost us far more than money. Now, back to the stuffed animal. Even if we can somehow justify the ridiculous investment, now we get to carry that awesome, super cool, oversized, gaudy, obnoxious, and incredibly burdensome prize all over the amusement park…on rides…to the bathroom… everywhere. The stuffed animal (aka, the prize) that we spent so much on, both literal and figuratively, represents the sin in which we find ourselves enslaved. However, we have THE true Liberator in our corner…the One who came to pay the debt we could never afford and give us real freedom. We are reminded by Paul in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.” So leave the “prize” with the obnoxious and pushy used car salesman, walk away from the game, and save your money and efforts for better, more kingdomly, purchases.

As we celebrate our country’s 237th anniversary 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…and Armor Up!

The above article appeared in the July 2012 Issue of Power Source Magazine. You can view the actual article HERE.

Make sure to check out Servant Warrior Radio every Friday morning @ 6am CST on KJSL AM 630 TruthTalk630 St Louis, MO and worldwide at www.truthtalk630.com. The mission of Servant Warrior Ministries is to reach guys, from 5 to 105, where they are to impact and empower them to be who God created and called them to be. For more information go to www.servantwarriorministries.org.

Roller Coasters and Carousels

Posted: June 4, 2012 in Articles

Hello, June. Summer is here. Well…even though summer officially begins in a few weeks, for many, it has already begun. Favorite vacation spots…here we come! Some folks will head for the beach. Some, for the mountains. And others…for the amusement parks. For me growing up, summer was chock full of sports and frequent trips to Six Flags over Georgia. I was blessed to grow up just a few miles from the park. I remember watching the nightly fireworks from the end of my driveway and being lulled to sleep by the whistle of the train that still circles the park to this day. Much has changed, though. One thing that hasn’t…the thrill of the rides. And while the advancement of technology and imagination has brought all types of rides and attractions to amusement parks across America and around the world, two standards remain: Roller Coasters and Carousels.

No matter where you go across this great land of ours, see an amusement park, fair, carnival, even some birthday parties, and you will find roller coasters and carousels. Why? Because people of all ages love them, that’s why. Take my family, for instance. My wife loves carousels. I, on the other hand, along with my boys, love roller coasters. Different strokes for different folks. But when we apply the nature of the two rides to the differences in believers’ walk with Christ, their differences, both the rides’ and believers’, couldn’t be more applicable to each other. If you’re a bit confused, it’s okay. It will become very clear…very soon.

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when I say, “Roller Coaster?” Perhaps words like: scary, exhilarating, exciting, fast, even dangerous or unsafe come to mind. Now, how about when I say, “Carousel?” Words like: peaceful, slow, safe, even boring are likely to spring forth. When we look at the nature of the two amusement park favorites, one is fast with patches of slow stretches. It’s exciting, has a track filled with twists, turns, bends, loops, high hills, low valleys, provides surprises around every bend, sometimes leaves us breathless, usually leaves us wanting more, and, despite the fear that many feel toward it, brings us safely back to the station…every time. The other is slow, methodical, predictable, safe, never ventures out of its circular path (which is not all that bad as it allows it’s riders to wave at the same people at least 10 times), and except for the random instance someone has difficulty getting either on or off the horse (come on, you can laugh….it’s ok), a ride on a carousel is rather uneventful. Now…if I asked the question: “Which ride and its description more resemble the life of a follower of Christ?”, which would you choose? Before you answer, let me make sure you understand the question.

As followers of Christ, we are called to live a life of faith-filled reckless abandonment of our own wills, plans, dreams, logic, security, abilities, control, and future, despite our fear, to the One who knit us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13), who ordained our days before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16), who hung on a cross and bore the sins of humanity, past-present-future, so that those who believe in him may have eternal life (Romans 4:25; John 3:16), and who said, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:24). I don’t know about you. But I can say with absolute certainty that it would be very difficult to find any person who has answered God’s call, from the beginning of time until now, whose life was more like a ride on a carousel than a roller coaster. So I ask again. Which ride and its description more resemble the life of a follower of Christ? Which ride best describes your life?

For those who love carousels, please know that I am not slighting you or making fun of your desire to simulate nailing one foot to the floor and walking a marathon. Sorry. I couldn’t resist. I know not everyone likes roller coasters. But I believe in my heart that if we would truly reflect on the times we stepped out in complete faith, against all logic and rational thinking, against perhaps even the urgings of those who are closest to us, to follow God’s calling, our experience was less like a slow, circular ride on a stationary horse and more like flying up and down hills of steel at break neck speeds, where it was hard to distinguish fear from exhilaration, yet was comforted by a confidence and assurance that the train we were on would remain securely attached to the track…despite the hair pin turns that sparked frequent thoughts to the contrary. That confidence was not in man-made machines. Our confidence…our assurance…was, and is, in God. Until next time…Keep it real…and Armor Up!

Make sure to check out Servant Warrior Radio every Friday morning @ 6am CST on KJSL AM 630 TruthTalk630 St Louis, MO and worldwide at www.truthtalk630.com with replays and more information at www.servantwarriorradio.com. The mission of Servant Warrior Ministries is to reach guys, from 5 to 105, where they are to impact and empower them to be who God created and called them to be. For more information go to www.servantwarriorministries.org.

The article above appeared in the June 2012 Power Source Magazine, www.powersourcemagazine.com. You can view the actual article HERE.

“Don’t Caw. Come in”

Romans 12:10

There was a bar not too far from my home that had a sign out front with a picture of a crow standing with his arms open saying, “Don’t caw. Come in.” I just loved that sign. And it’s message is so relevant to the shift in how we interact with others. It seems in today’s busy, hectic, fast paced transactional world of technological communications, in-person interactions are becoming a thing of the past. We have gone from sitting down for lunch, to grabbing a phone call, to sending an email, to a 142 character text message. In essence, relationships are disappearing. There are many reasons for this. But if we are honest, spending time with someone else usually doesn’t fit into “our” schedule. This is true in our personal and professional lives. We are so wrapped up in ourselves and our own “stuff” that we don’t have time for others. Actually, we have the time…we just don’t make the time.

Challenge: Jesus told His disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another.” (John 13:34). How did Jesus love others? Sacrificially. He put others before himself. He spent time with His disciples, building a relationship. One of the greatest ways to honor someone is to give them the only non-renewable resource we have, our time. Make some time this week to grow your relationships…face to face.

Prayer: Lord, I have allowed my life to become so busy that I barely have time to get everything done. I know there are relationships in my life that need attention…most importantly, my relationship with you. Help me prioritize my day. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Make sure to check out Servant Warrior Radio every Friday morning @ 6am CST on KJSL AM 630 TruthTalk630 St Louis, MO and worldwide at www.truthtalk630.com. The mission of Servant Warrior Ministries is to reach guys, from 5 to 105, where they are to impact and empower them to be who God created and called them to be. For more information go to www.servantwarriorministries.org.