Oct 23, 2017

Feel the Weight

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

A few years ago The Great Hunt for God team I led was discussing men and their purpose in life. One seventy-plus year old man spoke up, “I’ve been a Christian for over forty years and I have no idea what my purpose is.”
The room fell silent, saddened by the tragedy that was his life. Jesus came to give life and purpose not to drift aimlessly down the river of time. Every man should have a sense of meaning—of mission. We weren’t created for anonymity but purpose.  We aren’t made to drift aimlessly but to carry weight, substance, and authority.
John Eldredge wrote,  “Let the world feel the weight of who I am, and let them deal with it.” This daily alert on my phone serves as a mnemonic motivator that on this day the world will feel the full weight of who I am and why I am here. And if they don’t like it, it’s their problem not mine
My full weight comes from the four to six core values I live by. Steven Covey, in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, calls values Big Rocks. 
Imagine equal amounts of water, sand, small rocks, and big (baseball-sized) rocks. The pitcher represents one day in your life. The equal substances represent the things that fill your day. Big rocks represent your highest-ranking values. Values are functional over form. They represent our actions, not our words or desires. Personal examples are faith, marriage, family, health, the adventurous life, and relationships. 
Smaller rocks represent daily tasks that (hopefully) align with my values. Essentially, it’s my to-do list.
Sand represents those things I don’t have to do, but must do at some point in the near future like mow the lawn, wash the car, or clean the garage. 
Water represents things I enjoy but serve no real purpose other than leisure such as watch television, social media, read a fiction book, take a spa, etc.
If I try to fit all four items—water, sand, small rocks, and big rocks—into a pitcher they only fit if I do it in descending order from big rocks (values) to water (leisure).
I decide what big rocks to live by. It’s my choice. I have the authority to select the four to six life-driving principles. I’ll drift when I fail to determine what they are, allow someone else to determine their core values, or veer off course. 
Are you living according to your values? Actions speak louder than words. Do you need traction in life? Is someone else controlling your destiny? Are you spinning your wheels with nowhere else to go? Get serious about your big rocks. Stop talking and start moving. Get out of neutral and get into gear.

Let the world to feel the weight of who you are. 

Oct 19, 2017

Guardrails

 “I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” ~Robert Frost

Imagine life’s road similar to the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1), which travels 655 miles of the California coast and through Oregon and Washington (as Highway 101). The road is treacherous throughout much on the journey along the coastline. To go over the edge in many parts of the road means certain death.
Guardrails litter the highway’s edge in a last-ditch effort to save lives.
             Similarly, guardrails border life’s rough and winding road. Skeptics call them boundaries, rules, or limits; but guardrails are an act of love to safeguard God’s children from harm—often times self-induced. Andy Stanley says, “Guardrails direct and protect.” A guardrail is not a scenic byway but a protective device.
            Unnaturally appearing against a natural backdrop, they serve a distinct purpose.  Pick one up. You’ll be shocked at their weight. Awkward looking yet they possess more substance than you’d imagine.  Choose the road you’ll travel. Choose the road less traveled, the path not taken. 
The Bible will direct your steps down the narrow road of life, but the Bible is not enough. You heard me right. Knowledge is futile without action—manifested through wisdom. Wisdom is the tool God uses to establish guardrails for those grayer aspects of life. 
Have you implemented guardrails to protect your marriage? Over half of all marriages in America end in divorce (inside and outside the Church). Here are  Ten Marriage-Saving Guardrails I hope help protect your marriage from catastrophic events. 
1.     Never develop an emotional “connection” to a person of the opposite sex.
2.     Never be alone with a person of the opposite sex unless at work with open door and window.
3.     Never engage in any negative talk about our spouse with a person of the opposite sex.
4.     Never compliment a person of the opposite sex in a way that would elicit an emotional response.
5.     Never have counseling/mentoring relationships with a person of the opposite sex. 
6.     Never make physical contact in a non-casual way (or place) with a person of the opposite sex.
7.     Never make foul, rude, course or sexual comments especially to a person of the opposite sex.
8.     Never give a gift or card to a person of the opposite sex that is only from you (say “we” a lot).
9.     Never have non-business related communication (real or artificial) with a person of the opposite sex.
10. Never assume your spouse is living by the by your standards! Be engaged!
Include guardrails in your marriage strategy now. You’ll be glad you did, so will your wife and children. Warning. It takes three decades to truly appreciate guardrails. It takes three years to really know a person—including your wife. It takes three weeks to completely deconstruct a guardrail. It takes only three minutes to destroy your life, and only three seconds to watch the faces of those you love start a lifetime of suffering as collateral damage from your sin.


Apr 20, 2017

Wedding Disorder


The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. 
~ Genesis 2:23-25


At a recent wedding something happened I’d never experienced in decades of performing wedding ceremonies. Two minutes into a five-minute message I looked at the groom and said, “I’m about to speak the unpopular truth to you. You need to love your bride from this day on more than you love anyone else on the planet.”
Turning to the bride I restated the same, “From this day on your soon-to-be-husband must become your most important person on the planet if you want to ensure that your marriage will last a lifetime.”
Then it happened.
From the second row back, on the right side, the father of the bride objected, “I’m not sure I believe that!” After quieting him down I thought, “you don’t believe what, that there is a recipe for lasting marriage?” 
It’s easy in America to say, “I’m a Christian”, but it’s much more difficult to be one. “Christian” today means politically conservative, American-dream-chasing, credit-debt-paying, and CEO attending (Christmas Easter Only) church believer. But it doesn’t mean being a radical follower of Jesus Christ.
God placed certain things in order for those who love Him. That order is simple. First, love God with everything you have. Second, love your wife before all others (Ephesians 5:22-33). And lastly, love people (including your children, parents and relatives).
At this wedding, the unpopular truth in Genesis 2:23-25 confronted this father-of-the-bride’s mistaken Christian identity. In that moment, he not only denounced biblical marriage, but his faith in Christ. 
When the divorce rates in church attenders is no different than those outside the church, I wonder how many church attenders Jesus has radically changed? When an overwhelming percentage of church attenders are consumers and not contributors, we must ask, “Who is actually saved in this church?”
Maybe we should stop warring against the homosexual community outside the church, and declare war on divorce inside Her? Maybe we should focus on our sin more than the sins of others. How about you? Are you a consumer? Do you hold the Bible as God’s Word even when it hurts—even when you don’t agree with it?


Apr 13, 2017

Second Time Keurig

But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil. ~Matthew 5:37


I heard about days gone by when men sealed deals with a handshake. Now they do it with lawyers. It used to be that a man’s word was his bond, but that day is long past. Now his word must come in the form signature at the bottom of a contract.
Whatever happened to the days when a man could stand on his integrity and be trusted to do so regardless if situations changed?
  A friend explained his theory to me. I agree. In my home we have a Keurig Coffee maker. Our Keurig uses something called “K-Cups” which are purchased with coffee pre-packaged and labeled flavor and/or brand. The draw back to K-Cups is that they should only be used once. 
I promise you will only use a K-Cup twice, once!
Second time Keurig coffee is a watered down, weak-sauce version of the original. They are far from the best version of the Keurig K-Cup system. 
Adult males today are like a second-time-Keurig. They wander life weak, impotent, and lacking power. They are a watered down version of the man they were created for. And society applauds them for it. Society expects it. Society has government-designed programs specifically for weak-sauce American males.
Men, we were made for something bigger than ourselves—something greater than ourselves. We were created in the image of God to reflect the best version of ourselves to a world desperately searching for an authentic life. More than anytime in our history, young men are desperate to model their lives after men who live as their best version. 
When a man refuses to trust Jesus Christ—I know how radical this sounds—
that man will never live as the best version of himself. He may live a good life. He may be successful, but without ruthless trust in Jesus he is nothing more than a watered-down, second-time-Keurig, version of himself. 
John Eldredge in his book Wild at Heart said it best when he penned, “Let the world feel the weight of who I am and let them deal with it!” 
Yes!
When a man radically devotes himself to Jesus Christ he unleashes his fury upon this world as the unapologetic best version of himself.  Trust the Creator of the Universe to grow into a man of substance, depth and courage. Let Him give you world-impacting weight!