Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Enemy Prowls

This is an actual photo taking off Cape Town, South Africa by some scientists studying the great white shark. Could you imagine floating on a toothpick with this beast stalking you??? This is an awesome image of spiritual warfare that is very real and is going on around us at all times. The Bible tells us that the enemy prowls like a roaring lion seeking to devour us (I think we can insert "shark" for "lion" in this instance). Most of us walk through life like the guy in the kayak, unaware of what is behind us and just paddling along in this great sea of life numb to the spiritual realm. If only we would look around with the eys of our hearts and realize we are in a world at war and there is a very real enemy seeking ONLY to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).

I went through an attack yesterday. I had a dispute with one of my workers and it got a little heated. After it was over, I was left with the feeling that I cannot do my job and I heard the distinct words "You're blowing it, you might as well give up". I immediately recognized it as an attack from the deceiver and father of lies who was putting those ideas in my head. So, I stopped what I was doing and took it to Jesus in prayer. For extra help, I enlisted the services of my wife too. To make a long story short, the enemy lost that one because I refused to agree with the lies he was telling me to believe. It was a tough battle to fight but I can stand and say I refused to cut any deals. Although the enemy is a powerful foe, his power cannot defeat Jesus when we call upon his name. Remember greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world!

Hearing God

How do we hear God? God speaks to me in so many different ways and I'm starting to realize that he is speaking ALL the time. The sad thing is, I only notice it a fraction of the time. How sad for me..... God is always using his still small voice through people, animals, movies, you name it, to speak to me. Since I want to always be in the will of God for my life, I realized I need to pay more attention to his calling, hear it, and put it into action.

I started my research (it's still a work in progress) and I've really been learning some good stuff that I want to share. First, I found that to really hear God, you have to listen with the ears of your heart. WHAT? Now I know we have to live from our hearts, we sing songs about opening the eyes of our hearts, but how do we hear with the ears of our heart? With that in mind, I was lead to the Old Testament and re-read Exodus 26 and how the Holiest place was described. Under the Old Covenant, the Spirit of God resided in the Holiest place and only the High Priest could enter once a year, on the Yom Kippur, to sprinkle the blood of a sacrificed animal upon the Ark of the Covenant and the mercy seat which sat on top of the ark. --(Where am I going with this? Bear with me)-- When Jesus came, he brought the new covenant (by his perfect blood sacrifice) and did away with the Jewish practices. Also, he made it so that everyone that believes in him is transformed and is given a pure heart. This pure heart becomes the believers personal holiest place where the Spirit of God resides. It's obvious that our heart is pure and good because God is holy and cannot reside in an unholy place. Think about it, your body is the temple and your heart is the holiest place, the holy of holies where the Spirit lives.

With that said, because the Spirit lives within us, he is with us always, counseling us and directing our paths. Oswald Chamber said that thinking too much with our brains (over-anlysis) can ruin our communion with God when he said "the common sense life can be the enemy of the supernatural life". So, when we walk with God by living from our hearts, only then will we better hear him. I pray today that God will fill me with his spirit and open the eyes and EARS of my heart.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Author of Our Story

I'm in the middle of reading John Eldredge's new book "The Ransomed Heart" and I have had a breakthrough. We all know from the 40 Days of Purpose series that it is not about us, it is about God but I have never had it put to me the way Eldredge does. On page 31 He talked about how we see ourselves as players in a big story, just like we see the main characters when we watch a movie. We can relate with the characters because they are "on the ground" and in the middle of the story just like we are in daily life. As we watch a movie, we root for the hero and even come to love them as the movie develops.

Heres the part that gets me: We never think about the author of the movie/story the whole time we are watching it even though he/she created the story. The author is hidden and seperate from the movie. I know I never thought of Robert Rodat while watching Saving Private Ryan, I just watched the movie and was sucked into the story he created. This applies to life in that we often forget about God in our daily stories/lives and don't make him the center of the story. We see ourselves and those around us as characters in a movie, but what about the author???? Here's what Eldredge says:

"What if? Just what if we saw God not as Author, the cosmic mastermind behind all human experience, but as the central character in the larger story? What could we learn about his heart?".

Friday, March 24, 2006

Why Every Movie Has the Same Storyline

Did you ever notice how almost every movie's storyline (especially the ones on Lifetime) go like this: all is well, a villain shows up, things are thrown into turmoil, then a hero comes and restores things, and they all lived happily ever after. That's the common thread to about every movie I have seen and story I have read.

It's funny but why aren't we tired of that storyline? It's been used umpteen times and yet we are still drawn to it like a moth to a bug-zapper. The answer can be found deep within us if you think about it this way: God has written that story on our hearts.

Think about it, he created Eden where man and woman lived in harmony with each other and nature. Then, the villain entered and the fall occurred. However, God is a God that loves to come through for us in the end so he sent our hero Jesus to make it possible for us to come to Him and have a personal relationship. Did you ever think about it that way before? The stories we watch, write, and read all spring forth from what is central to each of us (our heart) and the story God has placed there. It is a story we know well.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

WANTED - A Mission

I was sitting in my office today bored. I was out of touch with my heart, especially for my job, and was not wanting to do the work in front of me. I was hating being there! I've prayed for God to give me a renewed freshness in my work before but it's been awhile. I was in the self pity mode when the phone rang. One of my co-workers was on the other end and asked me to come to a certain area at work because an incident had occurred and I was needed. Finally, a mission! I immediately charged out of my office and made it to the scene just in time to take charge of the investigation. I secured the area, lead the investigation, and gathered the info I needed to put the situation to bed. Thinking back, that was one moment that I felt truly alive as a man. I was given a mission, took charge, and saw it through. After all of the dust had settled, I asked God to tell me what he was trying to teach me through this incident. I received an assurance that this situation was used to remind me that leading men is what makes me come alive.

All men are looking for a mission, something of value that will give them a sense of accomplishment and above all the assurance that they were born to do it. In other words, "it" is whatever talent God gave you that makes you Come Alive. There is a universal truth that God wrote upon the hearts of all men that I think Eldredge put it best when he said "All men want a battle to fight, a beauty to rescue, and an adventure to live". So (since I always try to end my posts with a question), What makes you come alive?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

You Can't Fight Alone

If you've never seen "Black Hawk Down", get it! (I put a link to it at the right of the page) I've owned it for several years and have recently had a sort of revival with the movie. The other day, I was asked to speak at our upcoming men's conference about why men cannot fight alone. I started praying about what I would speak on and the Lord guided me to a scene from Black Hawk Down called the Mogadishu Mile. I'll set the stage for you: A group of Army Rangers and a Delta Force Commando have been fighting their way through the bullet ridden streets of Mogadishu on foot. Death and destruction are everywhere, they are outnumbered, outgunned, and they have no way to get back to the safety of the American Compound. Then, an apparent savior arrives, a convoy of UN Peacekeeping Armored vehicles. But guess what, they're all full. All that's left to do is run and run they do, all the while taking constant fire from enemy forces. This scene is the rawest form of men depending on each other and engaging the enemy together that I have ever seen. Guns are blazing, one man is throwing up while he runs, and at one point a trooper falls but is quickly brought to his feet by his buddy and is urged on until they make it to safety. The underlying theme of this scene is that these guys make it because they stick together, fight for each other, watch each others back, and refuse to leave anyone behind to be picked off.

So you may ask, how does this relate to my daily walk? Remember, the enemy prowls like a roaring lion seeking to devour you. Here is how a lion hunts: identifies the weakest animal in the pack, assaults the pack causing great flurry and confusion, isolates the weak animal from the pack, and pounces on and devours it. Men, we are in daily battle for our souls and need other men to help us along the way and prevent us from becoming isolated and ultimately devoured. Like the Rangers in the film, you never leave your buddy behind. So men, I'll leave you with this thought, who's got your back?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Kentucky's Basketball Season is Over, Finally!

Well, It's over! What a tough year for the Cats....every year seems to be a tough year lately. Marci took this picture of Will at the UK/South Carolina game at Rupp Arena in February. We had alot of fun that day, and the Cats won! Oh well, better luck next year.

I know most people that read my blog are not Kentucky fans but I wanted to post this and let everyone know that what I am about to say, feel free to instert your favorite team. It's pretty obvious that America has become a society that worships the ball! Sports have become a large focus of our world. Be it baseball, football, soccer, softball, or of course basketball, we are fanatics! I remember being at this game, cheering and raising my hands as the Cats won on a last second jump shot. In fact, at one point, I was standing on my seat high-fiving the guy behind me. Come to think of it, I guess we were in essence having corporate worship focused on a bouncing ball and ten kids running up and down a court. It's kind of silly when you step back and look at it through spiritual eyes. What if we were to worship God with the same intensity? I don't ever remember standing on my seat in Church high-fiving the people behind us. I did for a ball team but haven't for the God of the Universe!?! I guess I have alot of room to improve along the road of my spiritual journey.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Band of Brothers Band and Internet Filters

This is a picture of the memory band one of my brothers presented me a while back. I wear it daily and always have a reminder to pray for my brothers. Also, every time I feel it on my arm I am reminded that I am not alone in the battle. This world is too hard to face alone and the warfare rages every day. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you do not have a band to fight with, join one. If there isn't one in your life, create one. If you need some ideas on how to create one, let me know and i'll try to help.

Also, I placed a link for the BSafe online internet filter in my Links section. If you don't have an internet filter, you need one. This one seems to be the best one out there. It not only filters what your kids look at, it keeps you accountable. Pornography is a cancer on our society and men are addicted every day. So, check it out, pray it through, and keep yourself and your family accountable.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Spring is about to be Sprung!

This has been a warmer than average winter but thank goodness it's almost over. I'm starting to see the first signs of spring. This is a special time of year in Kentucky because everything looks so dead all winter long and now new life is popping up all around us. There are flowers coming up, trees starting to bud out, and the grass is even starting to green up a little bit. During this transition from Winter to Spring, I am reminded of the seasons that I have gone through in my spiritual walk. There have been times when I was not as close to God that I look back on now and liken them to the dead of Winter. I went through a period like this last Fall when I was separated from my Band of Brothers for a couple of months. I was isolated from the pack and the enemy used that season to attack my heart. I let him win that time, cut a deal with him, and he backed off. But the big kicker was, when I got back with my group in January, the enemy was not pleased and he blindsided me. There were three weeks in January that were the most intense and painful warfare I have ever gone through. I could not have made it without my brothers and my wife praying me through that tough time. I overcame the enemy's attacks and was awakened to a new level of spirituality that I am experiencing right now. SO, if you have been away from the pack, get back in. There is strength in numbers:a cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Eccl 4:12.)& iron sharpens iron (Pro 27:17). When I look at where I am in my daily walk today, I can truly say that Spring has Sprung and Summer's a comin'.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Power of Imagination Given to God

One of the things I've never thought about turning over to God is my imagination. This was the topic of my devotional this morning and it really struck a chord. The funny thing is, it's because my little boy loves to watch Barney and Marci and I usually end up watching it with him. If you aren't familiar with the big purple dinosaur, the driving force behind Barney is the kid's imagination. When they use it, awesome things happen: Barney shows up, they are transported to a castle, they magically appear on a beach, and so on and so on........Pretty neat! Adult imagination works the same way as a child's. We dream about what it would be like if we had "fill in the blank" (money,fame,stuff......). But, that's just one way we use our imagination. As a Christian, the enemy has set out to destroy us and one of the toeholds he can get on our lives is to use our imagination as a breeding ground for fear. I've seen it in my life whenever a problem no matter how large, arises. The first thing that happens is worry about the problem, then it is all I can think about (obsession), and pretty soon I'm all worked up with fear and the enemy has won. What if we were to completely turn our imagination over to God?????? Let him take charge of it and channel his vision for our lives to us. My prayer today is to give it all to God, including my imagination, so that it may be used to glorify him and not be a breeding ground for fear as the enemy desires.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Band of Brothers

What a privilege it is to pray for and be nurtured by a Band of Brothers. This is a picture of me (maroon shirt) with my Band of Brothers taken in August at Promise Keepers in Nashville. What an awesome time we had! We saw God together!

When I look at this picture I am reminded by how much we need each other. We pray for each other, look after each other's stuff while we are away, and we pitch in to help as a group when we are needed. It is vital to EVERY man's survival to have a group of brothers that are there to fight with him and for him. Isolation is a tool of the enemy to cut off a man from the pack, weaken him, make him loose heart, and then pick him off. I've been there! I've cut deals, but not any more. I know in my heart that I have this noble few, this band of brothers to rely on. I love all you guys and I am always praying for you.

If you are reading this post and feel isolated, it's time to get involved with a Band of Brothers! It's time to rise up, put away your pride, and refuse to go it alone.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

It's official, I'm a blogger

I've fooled around with blogging for a while but never was disciplined enough to keep it up. However, this time is different! I plan to go the distance with this blog and update it often.

First about me, I am a Christian man that lives in Kentucky. I work in the 8 to 5 world have a wife, a kid, and a golden retriever. Over the past two years, I have been coming alive in Christ! I have never experienced anything like this before and want so badly for all men to have a close fellowship with God that I have been having. Through books by John Eldredge (wild at heart, waking the dead, epic) it's pretty obvious that most men have lost their hearts. It's not completely their fault though, the world, the flesh, and the enemy are all set up to destroy the heart and keep it subdued. Think about it, a man fully alive in Christ can do wonders for the Kingdom of God! The enemy shutters at this.

My mission is to help other men come alive in Christ and gain a new understanding that I never had until recently. That understanding being that the heart is central to everything and all of our being and that we are in a world at war and the enemy's only objective is to steal, kill and destroy. We all have a heart that has been attacked by the enemy so often that most of us have become numb to it. I want to see men get their hearts back, realize they are in a daily battle, and help them learn how to fight for their hearts and their family. Only then can we have abundant life! Jesus promised us life to the full (in abundance) and that life starts now. Not when our time on earth is over but now, every day, an adventure to live.

So, check back often, subscribe, leave comments. I want to connect with others on a similar mission and help those in need.