Monday, July 27, 2015
Friday, October 24, 2014
I've just recently returned from Africa, where we visited six cities and two different countries. At each airport we landed, we were asked multiple questions about our exposure to certain high risk areas for Ebola. We were scanned with temperature sensitive equipment and examined by agents.
Ebola had broken out in the states, but not yet in the areas we visited.
We were warned by family and friends about the dangers of the deadly disease and many family members were very nervous about our going to Africa amid news reports of ebola outbreak.
On our return, I noticed that the moment I shared that we were in Africa, almost everyone took a step back, wiped their hand on their shirt (the one they had just used to shake mine) and asked "Which part of Africa?"
I always smile and say, "not that part."
But I saw something more deadly than ebola in Africa and the sad part is, it was already here in the US as well.
78% of Americans under the age of 15 already have it.
85% of the men in prison already have it.
If you have it, you are 3 times more likely to die - by suicide.
If you are a child and the majority are; you are 4 times more likely to drop out of school, and 4 times more likely to have severe behavioral disorders.
It already cost the US taxpayer billions to incarcerate and rehabilitate these infected.
It is an epidemic more deadly, more costly, and more widespread than Ebola could ever become.
But the good news is, its easily cured. The epidemic is Fatherlessness and the answer is Fathering.
When a young man is fathered by a strong and capable male mentor, the epidemic stops. We have seen it countless times. Its a simple yet profound cure. A little love and attention, instruction, and affirmation can change the tide.
When a young lady is told that she is beautiful and she has worth beyond measure, she will begin to radiate with strength and confidence. When she is taught the definition of her feminine strength, she will become a leader.
This epidemic will only become worse unless we identify and get involved in outreach to these youth. The symptoms are clear and evident in youth without fathers.
This epidemic is far more deadly and widespread than ebola. The time to act is now.
Great organizations like the Men & Ladies of Honor (www.honorministries.org) are spear-heading great outreach efforts and seeing tremendous results. Get involved by volunteering, praying, or supporting financially. You can make a huge difference in the life of one that has been infected.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Each year I follow a similar path; between Christmas and New Year I begin listening for a theme from the Lord concerning my upcoming year. Because I realize that "there is no greatness outside of God", I am sure to ask His opinion on my thrust for the upcoming year. Then, with that theme in mind, I sit down and write out the plans and goals that I have in my heart concerning the upcoming year. I try to do this on a retreat or weekend getaway with my family to a secluded place. We like to go to Beaver's Bend, OK where we hold our youth camps during the camp season. It seems like an appropriate place to hear from God.
This year I did something a little different when it came to goal setting. I involved my family. I asked what the Lord was speaking to them and what they had in their hearts. The results were amazing. We were closer as a family than I can remember in some time. It became a family devotional time.
The reason I involved them was because one of the clear words I heard from the Lord was that one my purposes for 2014 is to build those around me. To encourage and equip and help develop those in my sphere of influence (The Inner Circle) to reach the goals that God has placed in their hearts.
For that reason, I want to share a few practical things that we are doing as a family and I am doing personally to achieve the plans the Lord gave:
1. Commit to Spiritual, Mental, Physical, and Financial goals for myself and family. These goals must be S.M.A.R.T - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (X by Y).
2. Commit to Build and Encourage those in my Inner Circle to help them see great things this year.
3. Develop a DAILY devotional that includes Bible reading (I use the One Year Bible - NLT). Prayer & Worship ( I use Pandora - Bethel Live - On my Iphone during my shower time.)
4. Develop a weekly Family Devotional Time on Monday or Tuesday evenings with my wife and children where we read scripture, pray for one another, and discuss the things that help each other.
5. Develop a time when you can regularly assess where you are in your goal process. "Whats important is recorded, whats recorded gets measured, and whats measured improves."
Developing these habits will help you and those entrusted to you to grow leaps and bounds this year. Listen, life is short, so we have to make the most of our lives AND have fun while doing it.
I want to help you reach your goals this year. Even if we "baby step" it, lets get started. Let me know if I can help you! You can also join my inner circle Facebook page here: Inner Circle Facebook Page
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
The Spartan Path to God:
As fuel is to combustion, so holiness is to fulfilling purpose. Without a deep driven desire to maintain personal holiness, you will never accomplish the task for which you were created. A cleaner engine runs better. The love of God is not realized without being able to first fear God. The fear of the Lord is a prerequisite to receiving the deep places of God, the intimate friendship out of which comes a level of communion where the secret things in God are revealed.
You cannot experience the power of God without an understanding that salvation is free, but to walk in the favor of God, will cost you. Time spent seeking Him with your whole heart, time spent battling and winning against your flesh in temptation struggles where you adamantly scream “no.” I’m not talking about matters of legalism, I’m talking about, how bad do you want to walk blameless before the Lord.
In areas of gray, lurk the enemies of greatness. The difference between great and mediocre men lie in small compromises. There is Holy Spirit power to walk above these, but only in proportion to our hunger for holiness. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for holiness, for they shall be filled.”
It is the good vs. great decisions that a man must make in order to be one in which God is not disappointed.
The message of greasy-grace will not tread water here.
Sloppy Agape creates losers.
God loves each man, but to the select few who demand and struggle for His blessing, there is a special place. A place reserved for these VIP’s, a place of friendship, intimacy, power and favor.
Some practical tools to beginning the Spartan Path to God:
1. Journal your daily focus, triumphs, failures, thoughts and plans. This, even with a few lines, can help you to stay on task to walk the higher ground.
2. Make holiness your goal. Understand that others may, but you may not when it comes to matters such as drinking, lusting, coarse joking, idle communication.
3. Invite conviction: Ask the Holy Spirit to shine the light of His Spirit into every dark recess, revealing the small areas that need cleansing and forsaking. He desires this more than you. Come in faith realizing that this path will bring a smile to the Father’s face.
4. As much as you confess out sin, confess in righteousness. The enemy delights in keeping you pinned down the sin that you have already repented of. Shake it off and tell the devil to go to hell.
5. Turn off your TV.
6. Turn off your TV.
7. Turn off your TV.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Kingdom Production: Take it Like a Man
The essence of manhood is the same as it has been since the garden; let’s face it, we are men. And as such, we are moved and driven and motivated by the same things. In today’s user-friendly, politically correct, gender sensitive Christian community, some leaders are scared to tell it like it is.
The truth is, inside we all want to be mighty men. We all want to be heroes. Testosterone and the Holy Spirit inside us drive us to produce and that’s what we were created for.
The book of 2Samuel, chapter 23, has always caught my interest and cranked something on the inside of me. I’m sure it has done the same for you. We read this about David’s Mighty Men:
David’s Three Men
8 These are the names of David’s mightiest warriors. The first was Jashobeam the Hacmonite who was leader of the Three—the three mightiest warriors among David’s men. He once used his spear to kill 800 enemy warriors in a single battle.
9 Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. 10 He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the Lord gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder!
11 Next in rank was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled, 12 but Shammah held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.
David’s Thirty Mighty Men
18 Abishai son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, was the leader of the Thirty He once used his spear to kill 300 enemy warriors in a single battle. It was by such feats that he became as famous as the Three. 19 Abishai was the most famous of the Thirty and was their commander, though he was not one of the Three.
20 There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior[ from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. 21 Once, armed only with a club, he killed a great Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it. 22 Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightiest warriors. 23 He was more honored than the other members of the Thirty, though he was not one of the Three. And David made him captain of his bodyguard. (NLT)
What is that differentiated the thirty six from the 3, what is it that made them stand above the others? The answer in its unapologetic and unafraid starkness is simple: …numbers.
Numbers are what make the leaders. Production. Period.
I can hear the theological wheels rolling and the cannons being aimed.
But the truth is, Jesus said in that if a tree is producing, we should prune it so that it produces more. If it doesn’t it is to be “chopped down and thrown into the fire.” Matthew 7:19 (NLT)
He also tells us in John 15:8 that “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” (KJV)
Remember, in the parable of the talents, that all three “showed up”. Which is the measure of faithfulness and success to most churches. But not to Jesus. His only question was, “How much did you produce?” What happened to the one that didn’t produce? Matthew 25: 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (NLT)
Our production needs to be measured by the things that matter to God.
Our metrics have to be showing production in terms of Kingdom growth.
For the King, the marketplace has been opened for them to plunder and take ground to finance the work of the ministry.
For the Preist, it is souls.
We don’t need anyone to make us feel better about our lack of production. We need someone to unleash us on the enemy and see the casualties mount as satan’s kingdom is destroyed by mighty men. Figure out what you are. Ask God to show you. Then get busy devastating the enemy and producing for the Kingdom.
I know, not a real comforting word. But as we approach the end of time, it is now more important than ever that we get busy with the things that matter most. As Leonard Ravenhill’s tombstone reminds us “Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?”