Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A prayer as we head toward the finish of another year...

Week 52:

Ephesians 1:17-23 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Keep these things in mind as you live out this last stretch of this year.  I lift up these things in prayer to God and ask you to do the same.  Invite God into these areas of your life.

Wisdom:  I pray I will unlock the wisdom that your Spirit has provided.  I pray I use this wisdom for good in order to lead those under my care. 

Revelation:  Please continue to reveal yourself to me.  I pray my eyes be opened to see where you reveal yourself, your purposes, and your ways.  Continue to reveal your character to me so that I may know your heart.

Enlightenment:  May I be enlightened.  Not so that I may be worldly, but so I am able to understand how you and your Spirit works.  Allow me to see what I need to live out my salvation in you.

Power:  God, let me touch the power you have already placed inside of me.  I pray I use this power for your purposes and to further your kingdom.  Let your power give me mighty strength.  Allow my weaknesses to show your strength. 

Authority:  Grant authority over the powers of darkness.  Bind the evil that attacks me daily.  Let your Spirit of authority live in me.  Let me use if for good and not my own selfish desires.

Forgiveness:  Soften my heart so that I may forgive those that may have wronged me and for those I am holding energy against.  Remind me that the measure I use is the measure used for me.  Forgive my sin; the hidden, the defiant, and the unknown.

Humility:  May I be humble in my thought and action.  Let me not think more of myself than I really am…the person you created me to be. 

Thankfulness:  Instead of focusing on what I don’t have, I pray I am thankful for what I do have.  Instead of focusing on the negative occurrences in life, I pray I am thankful for all the good that happens around me.  I pray I will be thankful for the blessings of the Spirit and of salvation. 

Fullness:  I pray I will be filled with life and joy that comes from above.  I pray I live every day with vigor that it is my last day.  I pray I bless others from the fullness of your Spirit.

Joy:  I pray that joy will abound no matter my circumstance.  I pray that deep in my soul I will feel joy.  I ask that I have joy to overflow for others to partake.

For others:  I pray for those who are reading this now.  I pray they are heard.  I pray for life in abundance for each person.  I pray that their souls be filled with your grace, mercy, and love.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

An article I have written for the Crucible Project Blog…

I have recently been honored to join 7 other authors in a rotating submission of blog articles for The Crucible Project.  You can read “Have I really changed at all?” Here.

Go and visit the site.  If you have not attended a Crucible Project weekend, then I highly encourage you to do so.  If you have a man in your life that is searching for a deeper walk with God and a Spiritual challenge, encourage him to go.

Thanks again for following my blog.

Blessings, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!
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Monday, December 15, 2014

The leader mask...

Week 51:

Luke 11:43 Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.

Luke 16:14-15 14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.

Matthew 6:5  “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 

Mark 12:38-40 38 As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces,39 and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”

One of the issues I believe Jesus had with the Pharisees and the teachers of the law was their love for their position.  These were Israel’s leaders.  Because of their knowledge and upbringing, amongst other things, these men had been placed into this leadership role.  I do believe that they initially approached their position with a strong sense of following God and leading God’s people.  Somewhere along the way, these men lost sight of what the initial assignment was for them. 

Somehow, these men began to believe that they were to act a certain way as a leader.  They began to take on this persona or mask that they felt a leader should wear.  They allowed the power of their position to make them into men they did not set out to become.  At this point, their position defines them, instead of their hearts defining them.  These men began to worship themselves and their power, all the while hiding behind the law. 

What is it about the leader’s mask that creates this persona and behavior?  When I exam my life, especially in leadership, I discover that I at times walk a similar path as these men did.  I get caught up in the position, the demands of the position, the power of the position, the rewards of the position, and eventually, the mask or persona of the position.  I actually give my power away to the position and become a victim of it.

In some ways, this is idol worship.  When I get caught up in my position, persona, and power, I set myself up as an idol.  I have said several times in many circles that in our culture the main idol we worship is ourselves.  Our American culture of hard work and a “pick myself up” attitude has us believing that we do all the work.  In some cases, this leaves no room for God.  In my case, I become a control freak and rely on my faith very little.  I create a world where I have the power, so I think.  In truth, I am worshipping myself.  I become a victim of my own creation.

Because of this mask and persona, I feel I have to be “on” all the time.  I leave no room for the authentic me.  If were to show that authentic part of me, I believe would be considered weak and flawed as a leader.  However, this world becomes exhausting.  Leadership should not be this hard.  And, I begin to lead in a flawed fashion.  My authentic self, which I have banished for the “position” begins to cry out to be let loose.  This hidden self could eventually cause me to self-destruct.  When I banish my authentic self, I am no longer living in truth.  I become a poser. 

When leading, there are times where I need to act like a “leader” and use the power given.  But I am to hold that loosely and stay true to who I am.  I must drop the leader mask and lead authentically.  Instead of performing how I think a “leader” should act; I am to lead authentically from my heart, married with my training as a leader.  I must look inside and see what drives me and connect with the authentic self…banished long ago.

For Christina men…if you are intrigued by this authentic leadership, then I suggest you join us on a Crucible Men’s Weekend.  I have not found a better place to lead men into authentic life and leadership. 


1.      If you were to give your leadership mask/persona a character’s name, what would it be?  Explain.
2.      Where did your mask originate?  What was the reason?
3.      If you hide your authentic self when leading, why do you suppose you do so?
4.      What do you think about the comparison between the Pharisees leadership and how you lead?
5.      Pay attention this week to how you lead.  Do you hide your authentic self?  Are you victim to the position?  Are you tied to the mask?

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

New ads posted on this blog

In an attempt to monetize my blog, I have signed up for Adsense.  What this means is that there will be ads placed in my sidebar.  Clicking through pays a certain amount.  What I want to note here is that I have no control over the ads that are placed in my sidebar.  Furthermore, I have been told that the ads that show up for you the reader are based on your internet searches.

I just wanted to inform the readers that I am not sure what ads may show up.  Hopefully, few will be distasteful or offensive.

Thanks for following my blog.

Blessings to you and yours over this Christmas season.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Being nice does not equal being Christian...

Week 50:

Matthew 5:46-47 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

I have heard a fallacy that seems to be common among those both in the Christian world and outside of the Christian world.  The fallacy is that to be Christian is to be “nice”.  Now, I am not saying to be Christian is to avoid being nice.  I am not saying that as a Christian, I do not practice being nice.  What I am saying is that nice is not a pre-requisite to being Christian.

Nice is not exclusive to Christianity.  Jesus alludes to this concept in the treatment of others.  In the passage above, He notes how we love and treat other believers well.  In fact, those He is speaking to are somewhat exclusive in their treatment of others.  It appears that these followers only treat other followers well.  Jesus points out that the tax collectors and pagans take part in that action.  He is advocating the difficult action of loving those who cannot or will not love us back.

This passage also triggers in me this fallacy that all Christians are to be nice all the time.  To be human and not always treat others nicely is somehow unchristian.  Now, to be mean and purposefully rude would be a bad witness to my faith.  That’s not what I am advocating here.  What really bothers me is the corner of nicety that I as a Christian have been painted into. 

For example, I have worked in a Christian School for most of my career.  When we compete in sports, we are many times accused of being unchristian because our kids, coaches, and parents show emotion in the midst of a competition.  Where does it say that Christians cannot be competitive and emotional?  Obviously, we do not want to bear a poor witness to Christianity, but some of what we are being accused of is simply competition and emotion. 

Another area of accusation is in the area of a person being directive or assertive.   My order is wrong in the drive through (again).  So, I go in the food place and make note that this is not how I ordered this meal.  This is assertive and directive.  I did not make any accusations; I just pointed out the mistake and in some cases ask for the change to the order.  There are times where I was accused of being rude.  I was not aggressive.  In fact I usually say, “I’m sorry, but this is…”  Now, in these cases, most do not know I am a Christian.  But the situation is similar in mistakes made among Christians.  Being directive is often misunderstood and labelled as rude and unchristian. 

However, Jesus was directive.  When I read through the whole of His story, I see at times where He says some things that make me want to cringe (and that is according to how I have been taught a Christian should act).  There is a time to be directive and a time to show compassion.  And Jesus modelled both of these for us.  There were times where Jesus seemed downright harsh. 

This devotional thought may seem more like a rant.  However, some thought needs to be put into how we present ourselves as Christians.  To put on the nice mask and deny what I feel is dangerous and veers from living in truth.  Obviously, I do not want to sin in how I handle myself in these situations.  But, I am not going to walk on eggshells either.  At times I have heard said to me, “That wasn’t very ‘Christian’” about an action I took.  If, I have not sinned or misrepresented Jesus in some way; then I usually speak this statement:  “Define ‘Christian’ for me (Which in and of itself is a directive question).  I think as Christians, we need not be painted into a corner of someone else’s definition of how we live out or faith. 


1.      How has this landed with you today?
2.      What do you disagree with in this thought?
3.      What do you agree with in this thought?
4.      How has your Christian world been shaped by this philosophy of “nice”?
5.      Pay attention this week on how those outside of Christianity view how we should act.  Also pay attention to how “Church people” view this philosophy of “nice”.  Pay attention to your reaction.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ask for the want and then accept the answer...

Week 49:

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

I go back and forth in my life over prayerful requests to God.  I have heard sermons and studied lessons over the subjects of prayer and requests.  Some discourage the asking for trivial things.  In fact, some discourage too much asking in prayer.  Some encourage me to bring everything to God.  There is some truth in both worlds of thought.  Asking with a wrong motive in mind will get me nowhere.  Not asking at all is a form of doing life on my own without God’s guidance.

Paul’s story of the thorn in his flesh is a good example to follow.  Paul had a want.  He brought that want before God…three times.  When I have a want, I need to bring it to God.  I will get an answer.  It may not be the answer I want, but He is faithful to answer.  It may not be in the time-frame I expect, but He is faithful to answer.  The key is:  Bring my want to God.

Just because God’s answer may be “no”, does not mean I should not ask.  He is not going to think less of me because of my ask or my want.  Even if my ask is shallow and/or selfish.  He knows my heart.  He knows the whole of my being.  And, ultimately, He knows He is going to answer His way in His time and He is comfortable with His answer.  Even if I second guess His answer; He is not swayed or insecure.  His plan will prevail and it is perfect.

This leads me to the second part of the request.  In order to live free, I must accept God’s answer.  God answered Paul (in some form or fashion) that His grace was sufficient and that Paul’s strength was in weakness.  Paul accepted the answer with gladness.  He saw God’s hand and the support of Christ in the answer.  Even to the point of boasting.

Many times, I feel that I get no answer.  Sometimes, God is silent.  The silence may mean I am to wait.  It may mean “no”.  However, I think many times that I assume too much through the silence.  It may not be silence at all.  The answer may be loud and clear and I’m so focused on what I think the answer should be that I miss the true answer.  Could it be that I am so self-absorbed in my want that I miss the answer? 

So, I find this truth about me.  The want is easy.  The ask is sometimes hard (I may feel too shallow or afraid).  The acceptance of the answer is hard when it is not what I want or hard to hear or see.  Yet, my example of Paul is the example for me to follow. 


1.      How does this verse land with you?
2.      What wants have you brought to God in the last year?
3.      Did you hear or see an answer?  What was the answer?
4.      What wants have you held back and not brought to God?  Why?
5.      This week, I challenge you to bring your want(s) to God and ask His guidance and answer around the ask.  Pay attention to what happens next.

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