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!” 
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!

Swallowed by the Moon

“But Martha was distracted with much serving…But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.’” ~Luke 10:40-42

Driving late one night from a meeting I received a call from a friend. He invited Shanna and me to fish salmon with him and his wife on the Columbia River. The fishing was great. We wouldn’t have to make the two-hour drive until 10:30 the next morning as opposed to the usual 2:00 AM. Shanna had never been on the Columbia, and he’d never invited me fishing, which made his offer more tempting.
But it was 9:00 at night. Tomorrow was packed with meetings, to-do items, and all that I failed to finished today. It wouldn’t be responsible. In a word—I was too busy.
We decided to go for it anyway. We opted for life to the fullest (John 10:10B). We chose to build a relationship with people we cared about.
We fished a warm, calm, and windless day—rare for the Columbia. Shanna fought two Chinook salmon, solidified a relationship with friends, and basked in an Astoria (Oregon) sunset that words will never do justice. Diving into a full moon trying to swallow us with two Chinook on ice, I leaned into my content bride and said, “Neither of us will ever forget this day.” 
But Martha was “distracted” by her schedule.  Jesus gently reminded her when “anxious and troubled” about “many things” we lose focus about what matters most. Being anxious and troubled is synonymous with being mentally absent and emotionally tangled. In this state, we aren’t the best version of ourselves.
When busyness threatens to distract you, focus on the moment. Wherever you go—be there
Richard Bailey and Joseph Carlson wrote, “Life is really nothing more than a series of present moments—one right after the other—to be experienced. You are always living in this moment—will you live it present or absent?” 
Wherever you go—be there. Enjoy the moment. Be present in the present moment. You can’t get time back. Make the most of your life. The full life Jesus promised is lived in full focus. Others experience the best version of you enjoy every moment.

Mar 22, 2017

Duck Dynasty Prayer

Sometimes our charisma can take us places that our character can’t keep us. 
Dwayne Pickett

At a recent men’s conference I heard the keynote speaker and friend Dwayne Pickett make a statement that knocked me out of my chair. His booming southern preacher’s voice hit like a left hook, “Sometimes our charisma can take us places that our character can’t keep us.”
I’m not sure what he said after that. I was preoccupied with picking myself up off the floor. 
His statement took me to five years earlier when another speaker posed a question that carried just as much punch, “What if God really does answer all your prayers (for ministry)?”  
The truth is too humiliating to admit. 
It would ruin me. 
I’m not equipped to handle the truth of a nationally acclaimed ministry. Are you? My character would collapse under the pride of notoriety. I hate to admit it but it’s true. Let me explain.
I regularly pray what I call my Duck Dynasty Prayer. I learned duck calling in the mid-nineties from a video called The Art of Commanding Ducks by none other than Duck Commander’s founder Phil Robertson. In that and other videos he and his backwoods-long-bearded-rednecks from Monroe, Louisiana would call and kill any ducks in their proximity. If any made it to the blind still alive Phil regularly crushed their skulls with his teeth! But today he’s the Robertson family patriarch and witness for Jesus Christ across America!
So I pray regularly that God, like Duck Commander, would make The Great Hunt for God a household name in America for Him. Dwayne’s comment inspired me to get ahead of the learning curve so when the day comes I will be humble, holy, and honestly ready. Someone once said, “Success is for a man to be ready for his time when it comes.”
So I’m keeping my fists up and preparing for the fight of a lifetime. Are you? Is your character ready? Or, do you have a few character flaws that need attention? 
How do you treat your wife? How engaged are you with your family? How faithful are you in serving others? How do your words reflect your heart? How does your internet history reflect your hatred of sin? How does your checkbook reflect your stewardship of God’s wealth? 
Prepare your character for the day when God puts you on display as a witness for Him!