Oct 11, 2018

Bring It!


I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13 (NASB)


James wore the number four on his varsity football jersey. Darby and Colton wore the number thirteen. This was not by accident. It represented their favorite Bible verse—Philippians 4:13.            
Applied to sports, the connotations are obvious. But the secret to understanding this verse is found one verse up in Philippians 4:12“I have learned the secret of being content.” Paul isn’t saying he can throw a football farther or run faster than those who don’t follow Jesus. 
He’s saying that no matter how hard life hits, no matter how badly life beats us, no matter how far the ball bounces the opposite way, Christ is the secret of contentment. 
Life strength is in direct correlation with personal contentment. 
Four-thirteen isn’t about how we handle our opponent in sports, but how we handle ourselves in life. 
When life takes an unexpected bounce our faith helps us scoop and score. When blindsided by unforeseen circumstances, we’ll still get up off the turf. When we fumble the ball with a poor choice, it’s faith that encourages us to fight another day. 
I can do all things,” means I can push through all things. I will work through all things. I can handle all things. I can survive all things (except death, of course). I have the resiliency to overcome attrition instead of being overcome by it because of my relationship with Jesus Christ. 
As Christ fills you with His Spirit, passion and resolve, there’s nothing too big for you and God to handle together. You, plus Jesus, is a majority. Because of Him, you can take it.

You’ve got this, whatever “this” may be. Because of Him you can look at life and say, “Bring it!” 

Oct 2, 2018

Discover Her Brokenness


“This new relationship with its pledge to a life of togetherness comes with revelations of all kinds. Thus, the dreaded moment of revelation, that unanticipated understanding: Your spouse is broken. It is the unwanted awareness in every marriage.”                                                               ~Donald and Laura Minter
                                                                                    31 Days to Paradise


Shanna thought she married a stud (so did her husband) only to discover he was a train wreck! I thought I married the perfect women only to discover she was broken. Our fledgling marriage was a mess but we were committed until “Death do us part.” So, for a season I prayed for death—hers not mine. I’m ashamed to admit it now, but I wanted out and this was the only option this male could muster. She wanted to change how I dressed, acted, and everything in between. Apparently, I was broken and needed fixing, but everyone else said I was perfect. Truth be told, I was the “everyone else”.
But it didn’t take long for me to discover something horrible—my young bride was broken too! I couldn’t put my finger on it, but the signs were there. She couldn’t cook, didn’t want to make love all the time, and disallowed me from using our new towels and pillows because they were “decorative”. 
Who does that?
It took nearly two decades to discover her brokenness, but it was when I learned how to love her through it, our marriage became one Hallmark movies are made of, almost. 
It wasn’t until I decided to love Shanna in her brokenness that I discovered an option two was a possibility, a thriving marriage with my best friend.
It’s taken years to master loving Shanna and it’ll be decades before I have my PhD. in Shanna-ology, but I’m ready and excited to uncover every secret to loving her better than any man ever could. One day I dream she’ll say, “You’ve loved me better than I could have ever imagined. No one could have loved me better than you.”
Early on neither of us knew the state of our brokenness, but marriage has a way of bringing it into that light. We’re all broken and marriage is a tool God’s uses for healing. Rather than lording brokenness over your bride, love her over it. Instead of calling her brokenness out, call her up beyond it. Learning to love Shanna through her brokenness has brought wholeness and healing to her, our marriage, and myself as well. 
Maybe your brokenness came from abuse, or neglect, or both. Maybe it’s the spoiled stench of entitlement that has broken you. Or, maybe it’s the harsh reality of living in a fallen creation that has damaged your bride. 
Whatever it is, the sooner you uncover it and love her through it the better. 



Sep 25, 2018

Three-Legged Marriage

                                        
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; 
and they shall become one flesh.” ~ Genesis 2:24

I love performing weddings. Two beautiful, young, and na├»ve people fall in love, get married on some tropical beach, and move with choreographed fluidity through life, just as the sun sets over the ocean. 
Ah, if it was only so simple—or true.  
        The fact is substantially more gruesome and I wonder if we’ve been sold another Hollywood lie—fake news. Let me share my thoughts.  
Marriage is more like Three-Legged Race. Idealistic couples get married and the next day the wedding ring turns into a gunnysack. The young bride and groom discover that the inside leg is inside the sack as they hobble through life—as one?
 Yes, one flesh literally joined at the hip. 
 Some learn to run together naturally while others struggle to find a stride. All couples stumble, fall, and get up at some point along the way. And tragically, over half, frustrated with this unsuspecting challenge pull out their leg, throw in the towel that looks strangely familiar to a gunnysack, and walk away along with their reclaimed solo rhythm.
Marriage is falling in love, marriage, and a horse-drawn carriage ride into a tropical sunset. Rather, it’s rising into love, hobbling in a gunnysack, up the unforgiving slopes of life. Marriage is much more like a hobbling horse than a horse-drawn carriage.
You read that right, marriage is about rising into love. Marriage is awkward at first, even more awkward for those ignorant souls who dare to test the marriage covenant with the convenient move towards cohabitation, which only prolongs the inevitable and increases the chance of divorce. 
         We fall in love for about six months and rise into it for over six decades, during which we learn how to love our spouse. We love them through their pain. We love them through their brokenness. We love them through the varying seasons of life. 
         We learn their rhythm. We catch their stride. We learn the art of hobbling until one day we appear one entity in one stride, with one mind. It’s then that marriage becomes beautiful and couples learn the art and form the habit of hobbling in unison. 
         Where do you need to sacrifice your rhythm or stride to match your bride’s? Rise into it. The sooner the better.
            



Sep 19, 2018

Unschooled

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When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.                                                 ~ Acts 4:13 

A while back a man responded to my faith story with: “My mom was very sick when she was pregnant with me. I was supposed to be born mentally and/or physically handicapped, but through the prayers of godly grandparents, I was born healthy. I know I’m a miracle. I ‘believe’ in Jesus, but I don’t want to stop living my life.” 
He went on to explain a lie he believed that following Jesus would make him less of a man. Sadly, his view of Christianity was skewed—or should I say screwed—by the effeminate influences in so many churches today. 
What this man failed to recognize is that he’s a shell of the miracle God created him to be without Jesus. A man is “less than” without radical commitment to Jesus. His church experiences clouded the fact that trusting God would make him more of a man, not less. 
In fact, I passionately believe that a man will never rise up to his best version apart from the relentless pursuit of the God who made him. His potential to reach full capacity is only possible through wholehearted trust in Jesus. 
You may disagree. You’re wrong. Get over yourself. 
Today’s verse proves what God can do through men who ruthlessly trust him. God turns males into men, makes ordinary men extraordinary, and fills men who dwell inside an empty shell.
What’s the naked truth about faith? 
It’s simple. I hate repeating it but we men can be stubborn at times. The answer to becoming a man is found in Matthew 6:33: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”             
Trust Jesus to make you more of a man that you can ever imagine.