Monthly Archives: October 2013

Stand and Shine


Every year at this time, I’m amazed at how many Christians are scared of Halloween. They believe that in partaking in it, they are partaking in witchcraft or celebrating the devil’s holiday. I get it if they don’t want to dress up and go knocking door to door asking for candy. What I don’t get is sitting at home in the dark with the lights out hoping no one comes and knocks on their door. To me, that is the opposite of what Christians should be doing. We should have the most lit up yard and offer the best candy available. We should have a table set up in our driveway and be sitting out there hoping others will come join us in conversation.

In Matthew 5, Jesus said we were to be salt and light. He didn’t tell us to run and hide. In verses 14-16 in the Message Jesus says, “Here’s another way to put it: you’re here to be light, bringing out God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in Heaven.”

Jesus said to keep an open house and to be generous with your lives. He didn’t tell us to hide our light and to give in to darkness. He told us to do the opposite. If there is no light, there can only be darkness. Why would we hide our light on a day where it is needed most? To me, that is falling into the enemy’s trap. He wants you to hide your light. He wants you to close your door. He doesn’t want you talking to your neighbors because they might hear you open up and talk about God. Jesus said that when you open up to others, you’ll prompt them to open up to God.

Most of us are scared to go door to door to share our faith. There may be people in your church who do it, but it’s not something most of us would ever do. We make excuses, we tell ourselves it’s ineffective, we say it’s offensive and we don’t want to push people away. Yet tonight, you don’t have to go door to door witnessing. You have people coming to your door hungry, looking for something more than candy. They’re looking for Light to see whose door to knock on. Oddly enough, the ones who bear the true light are cowering in darkness. They’re putting their light under a bucket while the lost search for light.

You don’t have to celebrate Halloween tonight. You don’t have to dress up. But I believe you are playing into the enemy’s hands and doing the opposite of what God has called you to do if you turn off your lights and hide. We are called to be salt and light. As Jesus put it in Matthew 5:13, “If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.” Don’t lose your usefulness tonight. Let God use you to build relationships with your neighbors, open up conversations and to talk to others about God. Don’t run and hide, stand and shine.


Filed under Uncategorized

E-Book Help Needed

This off time message is on purpose.

As part of the changes that I’m making to the site, I’d like to offer an e-book at the start of next year. I believe that there are people who are facing circumstances that are destroying their lives and will be able to benefit from this book. While each of us face our own mountains, the same enemy is there telling us that we are the only one who has ever gone through that and no one else can understand. It tells us that we are alone in our pain. While our circumstances are different, the pain and struggles are very similar.

In this book, I want to reach out to those who are hurting, going through a difficult time and/or are facing a mountain that they can’t climb alone. The book consists of 31 devotions of hope and it’s broken into 4 parts. The first part is “Broken Dreams” and deals with the feelings of having the bottom fall out again and again. The second part is “Survival” and talks about how to survive when you’ve been knocked down. The third part is “Getting Back Up” and is about finding the strength to stand when everything pushes you down. The final part is “Hope Renewed” and is all about moving forward with a new outlook on life.

I will post a new devotion each day on a separate site where only you will have access. Not only will you be helping me out, but you will also be testing out a site that has a bright future. I’d like to start this Friday, November 1st and continue every day until December 1st. I’m only looking for ten people who will read each day and provide their honest feedback on each post. If you aren’t interested, but know someone who could benefit, please pass this on to them. If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of and are willing to help me out, please email me at Thank you.


Filed under Uncategorized

My Expectations vs. God’s Reality

I’m getting close to my next Haiti trip. This trip has been an emotional roller-coaster for me. When I initially planned it, I had close to 40 people wanting to go. I had something at work come up on the week that we had agreed to and I couldn’t get out of. When I switched the week, it was like all the momentum was lost. Almost everyone couldn’t make it on the new week. I barely got ten people who could go. Soon after the deadline, people started contacting me letting me know they couldn’t make it after all.

I decided I would cancel the trip even though I felt strongly we were supposed to go. I began to allow my feelings to dictate my actions instead of what I knew God had said. My expectations for the trip were not being met by a long shot. I started with 40 and ended up with three from that original group. Of the ten who had signed up, five had dropped out. Money for the trip came in slowly. Out of frustration I went to God and complained. He didn’t beat me down, but He did remind me that this is about Him and not me.

I’m the type of person who likes to have a plan and to work that plan. When the plan goes out the window, I try to make a new plan. When all my plans fail, I begin to question myself and God. Did I hear Him? Is He paying attention? Why do I feel like I’m alone in this? Did I have the wrong expectations? I don’t think it’s wrong to ask God the hard questions or to be honest with Him when things don’t go as planned. He sees our hearts and knows our thoughts. Why not be honest with Him? I think He appreciates that more than us pretending that we’re ok with how things are.

Each of us have our own expectations in life, in relationships, in work, in family, in plans we make and of God. If you’ve lived more than a day, you have found out that those things rarely live up to our expectations. Plans fail. Life changes. We get dealt what we think are bad hands. Just because things don’t happen according to our plans, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t happening according to His plans. We see a small piece of the puzzle at a time and think we know where and how it fits in the whole, but God is looking at the picture on the box. He sees your life from beginning to the end and knows exactly where each piece fits and why they fit where they do. His reality is greater than our expectations.

His reality for my trip is a group of people only He could fit together. His reality is that the people He chose have the right skill sets to accomplish what He wants us to accomplish on this trip and not what I wanted to accomplish. I can fight Him and continue to be disappointed because my expectations aren’t being met or I can let go of my expectations, embrace His reality and know that what He wants to do on this trip is greater than anything I could have imagined. God always leaves that choice up to us. We can choose to be bitter and resentful or we can choose to let our plans and expectations go in order to embrace His. What’s your choice?

By the way, He sent five more people and has created a team that I could have never imagined or put together. I can’t wait to share with you what God has planned for this group!


Filed under Uncategorized



I saw a poster recently with a picture of Michael Jordan on it. It caught my attention because it’s been over ten years since he played. Underneath his photo, in big letters, it said “Victory”. Then it wrote out the definition of victory. As I thought about it, he became synonymous with winning and victory, but that’s not his full story. Before he became a star, he couldn’t make his high school team. After he became a star, he failed at gambling, marriage and baseball. He failed in more areas than he succeeded in, but he did not let those failures define him.

You and I are the same. Our failures outnumber our successes. I get caught up sometimes just thinking about my failures. I wonder why I still try. I beat myself down because my failures seem so stupid. I think I should be able to beat them, but each time I fail, I get down on myself. I saw a friend on Facebook ask the other day, “Is it a true portrait of a man to see him when he is tempted?” I thought a lot about that. My first inclination was to say yes. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I thought that because I allow my failures to define me.

You and I are more than who we are when we are tempted and when we fail. We are also the person who knows where to seek forgiveness after a failure. We are the person who stands on mountain tops with our arms outstretched looking up to Heaven when we’ve succeeded. We are the person who pushes through when we don’t feel like it and no one seems to care. We are complex and should never allow ourselves to be defined or think that an accurate portrait of ourselves is who we are when we fail.

In Romans 8, Paul listed all kinds of things that could define us. At the end of that list, he said, “Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ.” It’s time we started to see ourselves as God sees us. We are not all the mistakes, failures or temptations that we face. You and I are victors. We are the very definition of victory if we are willing to get back up, seek forgiveness and to try again. We may not be considered synonymous with victory in the world’s eyes, but we are in God’s. When He looks at you, He doesn’t see a failure. He sees someone made in His image with the power to win.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Opening Closed Curtains

When my first wife left me, I went into a deep depression. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I didn’t want to do anything. I just wanted to lay down and not have to worry about getting up. I was ready to quit everything: my business, my friendships, my obligations and my life. I couldn’t find the strength I needed to face each new day. I couldn’t stand to see the sun come up and remind me that another day had begun in this new life. I bought thick curtains so I could block the light from coming in.

Those curtains were very symbolic of what I was trying to do to everything else in my life. I wanted to block out everything good around me. Other’s happiness just made me more miserable. In fact, it made me bitter and angry. I didn’t want to see others who were happily married or in a fulfilling relationship. If I knew someone in my life like that, I closed the curtains on them. If someone was happy and bubbly, I shut the curtains on them. If someone tried to reach out to me to cheer me up, I slammed them shut on them.

Slowly I began to isolate myself from the positive things in my life. My world grew darker and darker. My brother took me to a doctor who put me on anti-depressants. The thought that I had to take a pill to cope with things made me upset. All they did to me were to numb the pain I was feeling. I felt like a zombie as I went through the motions of life. I still wanted the curtains shut and worked at pushing others away. Thank God I had friends and family who wouldn’t let me keep the curtains closed.

Every time I shut the curtains, they would open them. Every time I pushed away, they came closer. One friend would come to my house each morning at 9:30, knock on my door and tell me to get up because people needed me. Day after day she would knock on my door and throw the curtains of my life open. If I didn’t show up to work soon after that, she’d call and throw them open again. Soon I began to get up on my own. I began to find purpose in my life.

Just because the person who was supposed to love me through thick and thin, through sickness and health, through riches and poverty until death had rejected me it didn’t mean that others had. Because she didn’t need me in her life, it didn’t mean that others didn’t. As I began to slowly open the curtains and to allow light back into my life, I quit taking the medicine with my doctor’s approval. Each day, I opened the curtains a little more, even when I didn’t want to. I had to force myself to get back to the person I knew I could be. I had to quit pushing everyone away. It was a long, hard road, but one that was worth struggling down.

I wonder what part of this story speaks to you. Where are you today? Are you the one holed up in your world with the curtains closed trying to keep the light out? Are you the one who just wants to quit at everything and let the world pass you by? Have you found yourself letting the light in a little at a time? Are you a friend who has been pushed away by someone you love or care about? Or are you the friend who keeps knocking and opening the curtains for those who close them? I think we find ourselves in one of these places at some point.

If you are in a deep depression, seek help from your doctor, church, family and friends. It’s not weak to admit you need help. In fact, it’s one of the strongest things you can do. If you know someone struggling, don’t let them push you away. Keep knocking on their door. Don’t have thin skin. They need you more than you know. You can’t quit on them even if they’ve quit on you and everything else. Pray for them. Pray that you will have wisdom and favor when trying to reach them. Pray that God will show you how to open their curtains and let His light in.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Free Yourself From Fear

Today I’m starting something new on this site. I’m celebrating by giving away an autographed copy of Ted Dekker’s book “Outlaw” that released this week. I’ll tell, you more in a minute on how to win it. First, I want to share with you my idea. I’m going to be doing a series called “Free Friday’s” each week. Each of us have things in our life that hold us down. There are things that keep us from being all that God wants us to be. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to cast off those things that hold us so easily beset us. We need to free ourselves of them.


Today, to start the series, I want to talk about fear. Each of us have fear in our lives. It rears its ugly head in different ways. There is the fear that presents it’s self in the form of panic. That fear paralyzes us in so many ways. I’ve had this kind of fear in my life and it kept me from getting a good night’s rest for many years. This fear is usually caused by an event in our past and it keeps us from a bright future. It took a lot of prayer and God speaking to me to relieve it. He assured me that He was with me and wouldn’t allow the harm that I feared to come against me.

Another fear that some of us face is the fear of failure. We are so afraid that we’ll fail at something that God asked us to do that we never start it. That fear works in conjunction with our pride. We’re more afraid that our reputation will be ruined than we are that God will be disappointed that we didn’t act on His request. We stay in a constant state of planning instead of acting. I did that with my writing for years. I was so afraid of failing that I never tried. I read something by Mark Batterson that said instead of “ready, set, go”, as Christians we are called to “go, set, ready.” Free yourself of that fear, do what God said to do and let Him work out the success of it.

A fear I’m currently dealing with, and many people I met last weekend, is the fear of success. What if I succeed? Am I ready for the changes? Am I ready to chop wood and draw water (Ted Dekker’s message to us) for the rest of my life? I get so afraid of success that I don’t even try. I allow that fear to determine my actions, my planning and my writing. I would love to be a success, but on the other hand, the fear of “what if…” creeps in and sabotages me. Today, I’m freeing myself of that fear and I’m going to let God do what He wants to do. I’m going to accept His idea of success and not what fear has painted in my mind.

What fear do you need to be free of today? It’s time to give it over to God. It’s time to be free. II Timothy 1:7 says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” My prayer for you today is that you will release yourself from the prison that fear has held you captive in for so long. Whatever that fear is, God is greater. Put your pride aside. Put your doubts aside. Put your trust in the one who is greater in you. It’s Friday. What fear will you be free from today?

In order to win the autographed copy of Ted Dekker’s new book “Outlaw”, click here to go to my new Facebook page, like it and then share it with your friends. Anyone who does this by midnight Central Standard Time, today, October 25, 2013, will be entered to win. I will draw a name at random tomorrow and will announce the winner. I will ship you the book via US Postal Service. Thanks for your support and I look forward to finding something to be free from each Friday.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Lose The Label


I’m working out of town this week so I thought it would be fun to watch the World Series in a group environment. I left my hotel and went to Buffalo Wild Wings knowing they would have the game. When the hostess was starting to seat me, I requested a seat where I could see the game. She replied, “What game?” I let her know I was referring to the World Series. She went and asked her manager about it and he informed me they would have it on a TV or two, but wouldn’t be playing the sound. I looked at him puzzled and he replied, “This is a football town. People don’t care about baseball.”

I thought it was strange that he just declared the whole city as a football town. Then I started to think how many times I label myself as something. I’m not good at that. I can’t learn that because I’m not good at math. I have OCD. I’m quirky. I’m an introvert. I don’t do well around other people. Whatever the label, we put them on ourselves and give ourselves an excuse not to do something. We’ve said things about ourselves so much that we can’t see any other options. We believe it so it’s true.

God does not define you by your limitations or labels. When He looks at you, He doesn’t see what you can’t do. He looks at who He created you to be. He sees the potential to rise above the labels you’ve anchored yourself with and desires that you cut free of them. The limitations you have in your life are self imposed. I know people who have physical disabilities who don’t allow themselves to be defined by them. They accomplish more than people without disabilities because that’s not how they see themselves.

If you allow the label you place on yourself, you will never be able to do what you dream of. You will never reach the potential of all that God created you to be. When He made you, He didn’t call you fat, stupid, lazy, disabled, impaired, OCD, tired or anything else negative. When He made you, according to Psalm 139, He said you were “fearfully and wonderfully made.” It goes on to say, “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!” If God thinks about you that much about you and they are precious thoughts, then it’s time you changed how you thought about yourself too.

Are you smarter than God? Do you somehow know things about yourself that He doesn’t? It’s time to have the mind of Christ and see yourself in the same light that He does. Quit looking at what you think are liabilities and see how He can use those for His glory. Quit giving yourself excuses not to try something or to follow His will by labeling yourself with negative things. You are more than your self imposed limitations. When you get that, truly get that, you will be free and you will open the door for God to use you like never before.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Live Simply. Give Generously.

At the ReWrite Conference I attended this past weekend, Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom blog spoke. She shared lots of great insight into writing and growing an audience. While I took notes on all of it, one thing she said resonated with me and I’d put on a plaque if I could. She said, “Live simply so you can give generously.” Those words weren’t just a catch phrase from her either. She donated all the proceeds from her last book to build a shelter for 160 mother’s and children in the Dominican Republic.

It’s crazy how all the little things we spend money on add up each week, month and year. I think about a convenience store run I made this week for junk food. I walked out with a bag full of goodies and spent $12. Imagine if I did that once a week. That would be $48 a month or $624 a year. I could feed an orphan in Haiti 2 meals a day for almost two years with just what I spent on junk food in one year. What I spend on junk food in a week could feed that child something nutritious for almost two weeks.

I’m not living simply, I’m simply living. There are so many other ways to look at this. What about the time I spend in front of the TV or on a device playing games? I easily spend an hour a day doing that. What if I spent that hour investing in someone else’s life who needs a mentor? What kind of difference would that make in both of our lives? What if I spent it at the nursing home being a friend to the elderly who’s family rarely comes to see them? I wonder how our quality of life would improve. What if I volunteered as a Big Bother for a kid who needs guidance? If I was able to change the trajectory of one life, it would be worth it.

When I think of that phrase, I imagine so many possibilities. So many ways I could give generously. Then reality sets in. I don’t want to give up my Kit Kat and Coke. I love playing Minion Rush to give my mind a break. When the need for helping an orphan arises, I’ll say,”I can’t this month.” When someone needs my attention, I’ll say, “I don’t have time.” When an organization looks for volunteers, I’ll say, “I’m booked. Maybe next month.” It’s easier to live in abundance than it is to live simply. It’s easier to make an excuse than an effort. An orphan goes hungry. A kid grows up without a mentor they can look up to. Other’s lives are affected, but not mine.

I don’t want to affect my own life. I’m comfortable if I don’t think about the impact I could have on someone else if I could give generously. All of a sudden living simply is too hard. I’ll console myself that I go to church, put money in the offering plate and help out minimally. I’ll tell myself that I’m a good person and everything is fine. The truth is that I have RYRS. That’s Rich Young Ruler Syndrome. I tell God that I’ve kept His commandments since I was a child. When He asks me to live simply and give generously, I walk away sad because I have lots of things I’d rather not give up.

He asked me to come follow Him and instead I’m walking back into the life I told Him I was willing to give up. When push came to shove, I couldn’t do it. An orphan went hungry. A wayward child went to jail a few years later. Someone’s grandparent died alone. I had the power. I had the choice, but I walked away because I wasn’t willing to let go of the little things keeping me from living simply and giving generously. I wonder how that conversation will go when I stand before God and He asks what I did with what He supplied. How will your conversation with God go?



Filed under Uncategorized

Strong Enough To Overcome

I’ve been reading in the book of Joshua about the land allotment given to each tribe of Israel. You know the part where, like the genealogy sections, we typically skip over. I saw something interesting in Joshua 17:12-13. It says, “The people of Manasseh never were able to take over these towns – the Canaanites wouldn’t budge. But later, when the Israelites got stronger, they put the Canaanites to forced labor. But they never did get rid of them.” They couldn’t get rid of a few people in a few towns even after all the great conquests in the Promised Land.

As I read this, I began to think of the sins that I have in my life. You know the type. They’re the ones that no matter what I do, I can’t seem to beat. No matter how hard I try, I still succumb to their temptation every time. I’ve done fasting and prayer to get strong enough to beat them out of my life, but they still keep showing up. I’ll see something in the day that starts the process. My thoughts begin to dwell on the things that will eventually lead to the sin and sooner or later I fall. Sound familiar?

Near the last part of that verse, it says that they forced the Canaanites into forced labor when they became strong enough. When I read that, I thought of II Corinthians 10:5 that says, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” It’s our thoughts that keep the temptation alive in our heads that walk us down the road to sin. I’m not strong enough to drive out those thoughts and so I end up sinning. But here, Paul says we have divine power to demolish the strongholds in our lives.

There is a power beyond ourselves, in Christ, that can give us the power to take those thoughts captive and as the book of Joshua says, “put them into forced labor.” When we try to combat these thoughts in our own strength, there isn’t enough power. Those thoughts seem to be fortified against whatever we throw at it. They’re like the Canaanites in Joshua 17:16. The people of Joseph complained that they didn’t have enough land because the Canaanites had iron chariots and couldn’t be moved.

Joshua didn’t care about the iron chariots. He wasn’t looking at this as a physical struggle, but a spiritual one. He spoke into the tribe what they were that they couldn’t see. He saw what God sees when He looks at us. In verses 17-18 he told them, “you are very powerful” and even tough the Canaanites had iron chariots and were strong too, “you can drive them out.” He spoke into their lives and called out in them what God had put in them. He reminded them of their past victories and current realities.

You may see yourself like these two tribes. You’ve forgotten all that God has forgiven and delivered you from. You have strongholds in your life that you’ve allowed to remain because you haven’t seen yourself as strong enough to beat them. You’ve allowed them to shame you and to accept them in your mind. I’m telling you today that you are strong enough to overcome. You are powerful through the Holy Spirit that God has placed in you. If He has forgiven you and given you deliverance from other sins, He can give you the strength to beat the ones you’re struggling with today. Though they seem fortified with iron, God’s Word is more powerful and it is alive in you today. Bring those thoughts into captivity and drive them out of your mind’s landscape. You are very strong.



Filed under Uncategorized

Transformative Change


If you ever watch a gecko, you’ll notice that they blend in to their environment really well. They have an ability to change colors so they fit in wherever they are. They change colors and patterns as part of their defense mechanism. Once their environment changes, so do they. Their life doesn’t change even though their external appearance does. Contrast that with a caterpillar who enters a cocoon and emerges as a butterfly. His change is permanent because he underwent a transformation and not just a quick change. His life is different in everything he does after his change.

That’s the difference between change and transformation. Change is temporary and doesn’t really affect who you are. You adapt to the hanging environment around you, but then once that is over, you go right back to being who you are. I’m familiar with this because I’ve lived that way. I’d change my colors to reflect the environment of the people I was around. When I was at church, I’d use my head knowledge of the scriptures to wow those in the environment around me. I blended in pretty well. I knew what to say, how to say it and when to say it.

When I was out with certain friends, I was able to change my colors to reflect that environment. I could tell jokes that would make my mom scrape my teeth with Ivory soap. I could be rude, crass and everything they expected me to be. I knew what to say, where to go and what to do. I fit in well in their eyes. I blended in with the group. Isn’t that what we really want? To blend in, be accepted and to be a part of the group. So we change who we are temporarily to reflect the environment we’re in. We become someone else in hopes of being accepted. When we get back home and it’s just us and no one else, we change back to our real colors.

It wasn’t until I was transformed though, that I became someone else. I can look back at the person who I was before my chrysalis and see a completely different person than I am now. Change is temporary, while transformation is permanent. Change is easy, transformation is painful and hard. It took being in a cocoon of pain and suffering to permanently change me. I grew wings through the suffering and my whole mindset changed. I began to see life differently and no longer had to adapt to my environment because I could rise above it.

When God saves us, it’s not a temporary change. It’s a transformation. It requires painful separation from who we once were to who we’re becoming. It means we have to make the hard choices to leave behind the life we lived before so we can embrace the new life He has for us. Instead of changing back and forth from environment to environment, God desires to continuously transform us more into His image each day. The transformation is a journey that will continue throughout life. I’m done with change and living for transformation.

Who do you find yourself relating to more, the gecko or the caterpillar? Are you tired of trying to change all the time in order to meet the expectations others have of you? Do you wish you could just be the person God made you to be? Romans 12:1 calls us to be transformed into a new person by changing the way we think. He wants to renew our minds and transform us, not just change us. He wants to create something new in your life. Ask God today to help transform you more into who He created you to be.


Filed under Uncategorized