Church…

Church

I have heard a variety of stories, testimonies, reasons and excuses why people do not go to church, fell out of church, or even walked away from their faith. Some are, “you do not need to go to church to be saved and be a Christian“, “I did not like that Pastor“, “The church is full of hypocrites“, “I was offended by the church”, or, “the church turned me away“, “The pastor or leader within the church stole money or had an affair“. “I was not being fed“, “I attend online“, “Churches just want my money” The list goes on & on…

So allow me for a few moments to share my perspective, what I have learned, and what the Spirit is telling me…

First of all the “church” is the people, not a building. So, yes you may gather anywhere and be the church. Whether in a building, in someone’s house, on the streets, or on a park bench. The intent of the church is to assemble together, learn, serve, grow, get equipped and then go out. However, the bible is clear that we are not to forsake ourselves the assembling together. (Hebrews 10:25) To gather, bring to the store house (Malachi 3:10), so that the Mission and Gospel may be spread to make Disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)

Secondly, you should not go to church to worship a movement, idolize a man, or even for a “social club”.  People that are truly saved know they are in need of a Savior, they know they are flawed, and their drive should be to worship and praise God, to walk out repentance, to serve others, to learn, grow, to get equipped, and yes then to go out. And yes, Christians do get tempted, and they will make mistakes. There is wickedness outside and inside the church. We as believers should focus on God, and His Son in Jesus Christ. Never a person, a building, or a movement. The church should not be a museum for saints, adornments of statues or artifacts. It’s a hospital for sinners, to learn, grow, worship, praise, walk out repentance, and live more like Jesus every day.  I also do not believe it is about religion. I believe it is about a relationship. If you desire a relationship with someone what do you do?  What did God do in love for us?  What are we willing and want to do for our love for God? 

Thirdly. If you are an adult, you should be mature enough to realize what you put into something, is what you will get out of it. Do not wait to be fed, do not wait to be called upon to help out, and serve. You have life’s manual within your finger tips, or on most electronic devices, the bible! Do not rely entirely on a human being to direct you, nor ask you to help, or expect to be continuously fed by a single leader or groups of leaders. You are an adult. Read the Word, and read it daily. Pray, and pray daily. Take charge of yourself, carry your cross, and get in the game. Strive to truly be a follower, not a bench seat warmer, not even just a fan, strive to be a sold out follower of Jesus Christ. The church is not just one man, or deacon or elder board. Stop putting so much on them, or unrealistic expectations. Read, pray, study, serve and love others. Trust me, you will get fed well that way. Or at least on the right path.

Fourthly. I am a tech guy. I like it and I sell it. I also watch a variety of church services online. However we were designed by our Creator for relationships. A relationship with Him, and relationships with others. You will have a tough time growing, expanding your horizons and challenging yourself for the Cause of Christ if you do not get into fellowship with others. To assemble together with others, to learn from others that are more knowledgeable and wiser than you. Trust me, you do not know it all. You never will know it all, but you can always learn, and learn more. You need to assemble, and again the bible says to not forsake it. People do need people, and it is physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy

Fifthly. Yep, humanity will fail you. People will offend you. And yes, Christians may very well offend you. Man made doctrine can get a bit ridiculous in my opinion. If you were truly offended to your core by someone in church, or a church leader. Worse yet, you were turned away. Ask yourself, “what would Jesus do?” My thought is to follow Matt. 18:15-17. Go to that individual and try to work it out. Talk through it. Seek to forgive one another and move on. If that doesn’t work, bring another believer, and/or member of the church. If that doesn’t work, then try to bring in another leader with another believer/member. If that doesn’t work, then it may be time to dust yourself off, and move on.

Lastly. Yes, tithing is biblical. It is how we are to invest in the Kingdom, in growing others, to help missionaries, to not just Spiritually feed others, but to also help physically feed (cloth & shelter) others. Did you know it is said that if all the members of churches would tithe just 5% the world could nearly eliminate world hunger? The thing is God doesn’t need or require our money. It is an act of obedience, a human effort and sometimes sacrifice to demonstrate the love of others, the love of God in giving of our first fruits. However, I believe He is also asking for giving of 3 elements of our life, simply out of the act of obedience and for our own growth. Those being to demonstrate giving of our Time, Talents, and Treasures. So are we also giving a tenth of those two other items? If we truly love God with all of our our hearts, minds & souls, and we owe Him everything, is giving back 10% of not just our Treasure, but that of our Time, and talent, that difficult?

In closing, if we truly desire to know more about God, if we truly desire a relationship with God, if we truly love Him, we would naturally want to invest as much time as possible learning about it Him, getting to know Him, doing as He asks or commands, gathering together to inspire, encourage, and help others to do the same all the while serving and loving one another as Christ demonstrate His love while He was on earth. If someone on earth loves us so much that he or she is willing to die for us, or did take a bullet for us, how much more should we feel and want to do for God if He was willing to do and did the same?

See ya at church.

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Top 10 Attributes of True Leaders

In my career and personal life I have had the privilege to have led many teams. Sales professional from a team of six up to nearly one hundred. In sports, I have coached youth sports, and taught children and adults karate. In ministry, I have led a variety of ministries from Men’s Groups to Young Married’s Groups & Retreats; from Sunday School to Youth Events, from financial planning committees to media ministries. Conversely I have also been led by some amazing leaders that pour wisdom and optimism into their people. These leaders have a vision of success, not just for themselves, or the company, but their people.

Being blessed to be on this earth for a few decades, both leading others and being led by others, I would like to share some of the wisdom I gained. Some is from trial, error and experience, while others was from formal education to countless books or certified seminars I have attended.

First of all, there is a difference between what is a manager and a leader. True leaders lead from the core of their values, principles with a passion that is contagious. Managers manage things, processes, and paperwork. If you are in the role of management, I hope you take a leadership perspective that I unfold in the following top 10 I have assembled here:

  1. Leaders are like great coaches. They inspire their people to improve. They motivate and communicate well. They will outline what you need to get things done, explain the process, and celebrate your successes.
  2. Leaders get to know their people, the members on their team. They learn what truly motivates each person whether that is in engaging conversion and 1 to 1s, to personality typology tests. Leaders listen attentively to their people and demonstrate a high emotional IQ also known as EQ.
  3. Leaders realize they are not perfect and they have a level of humility. They continually grow, and refine their skills, and grow in their ability while understanding that they too make mistakes. However, they learn from their mistakes and rise to the occasion to improve.
  4. Leaders believe in the products, services, or elements they represent. They adopt their company or organization’s mission and objectives and are able to communicate it well to their team with optimism and passion.
  5. Leaders have a solid core of values and principles to navigate their professional and personal life. They lead within their family, and their community the same way they do within the team or teams they are over. They are authentic, and genuine and the same guiding principles are apparent whether they are at work, at home, church, or in the community.
  6. Leaders realize they are after the same objectives, the same goals as that their team should be. They help remove obstacles and assist in providing the information and the tools for their team members to succeed.
  7. Leaders are good and experienced decision makers. They make informed decisions decisively and take responsibility for their decisions. They make no excuses, they are focused on winning with a well laid out plan. They are winners, not whiners. When others see a sand or water trap on the course, they see the beach and the ocean. They are natural optimists.
  8. Leaders value priceless time and invest it wisely and productively. Whether it is investing it in their team to accomplish goals, or in themselves to improve. They begin with the end in mind, seek first to understand their objectives, their team members, and then seek to be well understood. They do not waste time in processes, or unnecessary elements that are not productive, and proactive to achieving the goal and objectives at hand. They address things, or obstacles, initiate a plan to overcome and resolve it, then move on.
  9. Leaders lift their team members up. They look for qualities in their team members for someone that could fill their position. They realize if they can pour into others the skills and knowledge they have gained, realized or learned, then that is part of their role to build up future leaders to take their place.
  10. Leaders identify, mold and bring up future leaders. True leaders are always on the look out for new and future leaders. They look for someone that could replace them in the near future and encourage these individuals. They coach them in a way that brings out the best in them, so that they may bring out the best in others.

 

 

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YES, IRON SHARPENS IRON, BUT MAKE SURE ONE’S IRON IS SHARP

Don’t pretend to walk in their shoes, meet them where they are, and walk alongside

God nudged me at a young age of 15 when I made a profession of faith, but as some boys will be boys, I wandered until He got my attention in my 20s. That is when I strived to fulfill my promise for the miraculous healing He provided me and focused more to surrender to His will. Since then it has been an interesting, intriguing and educational ride. My experience, both the ups and downs, the good and the bad, the wins and the defeats; I have learned that faith is much more about a relationship, and not religion. It was why we were created. God wanted a free willed relationship with us, humanity. God loved us so much, and sought that relationship, that He came to earth in that of Jesus Christ, suffered, died, and resurrected for us.

I preface with the above paragraph in that all my years being involved with or leading men’s ministry, this has been a common verse or theme that many utilize;

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” – Proverbs 27:17

 in which I most definitely like, have shared it, and has been a theme in my circles.  However, there is something that should be kept in mind. When iron sharpens iron, sometimes sparks will fly, and one’s iron should already be sharp.

Speaking as a man with a few decades on me, I know men may often come together with some pride, hidden baggage, and possibly an over inflated ego. If you have led a men’s ministry, you know of what I am speaking.  When applying the above verse and it’s meaning, and to be able to best sharpen another, at least one of the men should be rather sharp, well versed, wise, and most importantly empathetic. If not, sparks could fly, and not the good sparks that we prefer to see from Hebrews 10:24-25,

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near

 

 

and 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

 

What do I mean you may ask?  I am saying do not pretend to walk in another’s shoes and lecture them. No one can exactly walk in another’s shoes. Instead meet them where they are (whatever level of understanding), listen to them, strive to be empathetic, and walk alongside them. Demonstrate that you care, first in which is that you listen attentively, much more than you speak.

From wisdom, comes sharpness, and if anyone lacks wisdom as James says let them ask God for it, and God will provide it in abundance;

 

Those in my circles have heard me say something like,

“I am living, learning and serving, because if you are not learning and serving, you’re not living”

The thing is we should always be learning, seeking and working to become better human beings, whom strive to have a closer relationship with our Creator and His son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was the ideal example of how to love, teach, serve, and lead. Want to lead others, lead like Jesus. Want to teach others, teach like Jesus. Want to demonstrate generosity, kindness, and love, then live like Jesus. Want to be a strong man, a real man, then live like Jesus.

Leading others is about having a servants heart, understanding their walk, and then walking them to the cross as an alongsider. Being authentic, not fake, or being some sort of poser. It is also about being open and vulnerable yourself.  So before you lecture someone, preach at someone, or chastise someone for their mistake(s), close your pie hole and truly listen to them. Seek first to truly understand them, their perspective, and most importantly their story. Then when you have built that trust, built into brotherhood, then seek to be understood from a place of empathy, and brotherly love.

Brotherhood must be built first, before Accountability

You cannot wear their shoes, nor know of the potential hell they have walked through, or still enduring, however you may love the hell out of them while demonstrating it in not just words, but actions and deeds, of what God, His Son, the Holy Spirit and your faith has done for you.

Yes, iron sharpens iron, but first make sure one’s iron is sharp, and that sharpness comes for God, from listening empathetically, hearing the Word of God, demonstrating the Word in actions, and deeds.

Shalom.

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Constantly Look for the Good…

Faith over Fear
Some time ago I decided to focus as much a possible on the positive, on the good, and to pay goodness forward. In fact, if it were not for the generosity, goodness and love of true friends, a wonderful church and close family, I may not be here today. However, it is not just because others loved me, even when I felt I was not lovable or worthy of love, it is because of my faith and knowledge of the love Christ has for us all. There is no testimony without a test. In tough or uncertain times I try to ask myself these top 5 following questions:
1.) What is God trying to teach me?
2.) What may I learn from this?
3.) What blessings can I count, and list, no matter how small
4.) Who can I serve today?
5.) What positive impact can I make in the lives of others, even if it is just one person, with a word of encouragement or a simple smile?
Friends, we can dwell in anguish, or celebrate each blessing no matter how small. We can tear others down with our words, or we can lift them up and inspire them. We can be consumed with fear and spread it like another virus, or we can be courageous an rebuke the tactics of the adversary in Jesus name.
Personally I prefer looking for the good, the silver lining in as much as possible, and as in as many people as possible. I prefer being the salt and light. To encourage. To extend grace. To choose faith over fear. To constantly look for the good. How about you?
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works” — Hebrews 10:24
Let brotherly love continue.” – Hebrews 13:1
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” — Matthew 5:16
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BROTHERHOOD and ACCOUNTABILITY

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3/5/2020

I have not been around the MC community all that long, nearly a half decade I guess. However, I have been around the biker community for a long time, since I got my first street bike at the age of eighteen. I first learned to ride a motorcycle at around 12 years of age on dirt bikes in the woods, on friends farms or land. The first time I rode, I was hooked.

The feeling on riding a steel horse with the power at the twist of a throttle, the wind in my face, the open road is often hard to put to words. If I did, it could take many paragraphs to pages.

Riding motorcycles with friends started feeling like family shortly after my first street bike, whether we were taking a long roll into the country or down south, or just a roll to bike nights or to the drag strip. We could talk about our bikes, and adventures for hours.

However, I didn’t always ride motorcycles throughout my adult life; life events, changes and priorities changed and there were times I needed to sell my bike and focus on other things like buying a house, taking care of children, and more. It seems though every time I found myself single, I got a motorcycle. Yes, I am one of those guys that sold my bike when my wife got pregnant or to put a deposit on a home, and one of those guys that when I got divorced, bought another bike.

There was a turning point in my life from my last divorce that rocked me to my core, that challenged my faith so intensely, that I nearly lost my faith with just about everything else I lost. It was a time I call, “A Perfect Storm”. I was affected on all angles of my life, not just financially, nor by the painful divorce, but physically, spiritually, and emotionally. It was some of the most dark times in my entire life, and if it were not for true non-fair weather Christian friends, and the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit trying to speak to me, I am not sure if I would have persevered as well.

There have been additional times of Perfect Storms such as my motorcycle accident to where I broke 15 bones, was in the hospital a month, a wheel chair 3 months, and off work with no source of income for about 4 and a half months. Or other times of hardship whether extreme financial, or personal, that I also discovered who were my “true non-fair weather Christian friends”. It are friends like this, I often call Brothers. It is times of adversity that they will be there the most.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” — Proverbs 17:17

Even before these adult “Perfect Storms”, I discovered that I was blessed with some amazing friends such as these that helped me not only through some tough times, adversity, and having my six in tough situations, they helped mold me into the man I am today.

Therefore it may be no wonder as to why I seek true Brotherhood and Accountability. In addition, since I love riding motorcycles, the open road, and the great outdoors, it is no wonder why I may be drawn to the Motorcycle Community and Motorcycle Clubs.

Within this community I have been asked a common question, a question I also commonly ask others, “So why pursue membership, or be a member of a Motorcycle Club?

This question was asked by my biologic brother during Thanksgiving dinner not so long ago, and I was both surprised and delighted when my nephew immediately responded, “the brotherhood”. And he was correct. However, it may be more than just brotherhood, but that is one of the main reasons. It is both Brotherhood and Accountability. So what does Brotherhood and Accountability mean, and look like to you? What does it mean and look like to me? It may be different for some, if not many.

During my years on this earth, (and now it has been plenty by some people’s definition), I have discovered that Brotherhood is not a word, nor bond, that should be taken lightly. To me, Brotherhood is earned over time, experience, and seasons. In the MC community, the word is most certainly not taken lightly. Ever heard anyone say, “Don’t Bro me, unless you know me”?  In the MC community, I have learned that this word is typically only utilized between friends that have invested that time, those experiences, and seasons together or Full Patches, which is typically become one in the same. In addition, if you ever see a patch on a motorcycle vest that is like the one below, it was given to them by a true non faith weather friend, a genuine brother that has had, and will continue to have his six.

In the Christian arena of bikers, the word Accountability can also be just as important. And again, those pursing membership or are members, I have discovered the average reason they are either pursuing, or a member in, a Christian MC, is because of Brotherhood and Accountability.

The unfortunate part in all of this in today’s age, I am not certain that some may truly know what Brotherhood and Accountability truly means. Granted I have a few decades of life on me, and I may be somewhat “Old School” who loves “Old School Values“, but simply ask a Biker what Brotherhood and Accountability is, and means to them. Then, if you may, observe them on how they exude, extend, give, receive and accept it.

Some may say they seek brotherhood, but later not willing to do the work of building into true brotherhood, staying the course, and put others above themselves. In addition, men may say they desire accountability, and as soon as they receive it, they disregard, discount, or reject accountability once they receive it, or take personal offense to it. Conversely one may say they “love” you, and call you “brother”, but do not show it, demonstrate it, nor live it.

True non faith weather Christian friendship, or what I may call, true Brotherhood is priceless to me. However, it is not easy to develop and maintain. It is more about your brother than it is ever about you. The focus, to me, is to give more, serve more, and love more, than you receive.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” — John 15:13

Let brotherly love continue.” — Hebrews 13:1

Accountability is also not always easy to extend, nor receive. However, wise men seek wise counsel. Wise men also surround themselves with others that are just as wise, or wiser.  I believe to become wise, you must be willing to be coachable, to at least seek first to understand, then to be understood. Don’t be quick to over react, not everything even deserves a reaction. Be quick to listen, slow to anger. Take some time to truly see what someone is seeking to tell you or advise to you, and in the Christian world, always compare it to scripture to see if it is good and sound. It is also a good habit to always verify and validate. The enemy loves to use what God hates like in Proverbs 6:16–19 to divide the church, an organization, the brotherhood, or any living soul by using those things.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” — Proverbs 12:15

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” “ — 1 Corinthians 15:33

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” — 2 Timothy 3:16

So why do I ride a motorcycle, I shared just a bit in the beginning, but that may take more paragraphs to expound upon. Why do I like the Biker Community and drawn to Motorcycle Clubs? Well other than my love of motorcycles, the open road, the great outdoors, encouraging others to chase after the “Beautiful Outlaw” in Christ, it is for the treasure of authentic, genuine, real, true Brotherhood and Accountability.

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Be real, and the real and right people will be there…

I had this friend that would confuse me at times. Not sure if any of you may have experienced this or not? We would be out with our guy friends and he would be acting one way, then when we went to church he would be another, then at certain gatherings he would act like a totally different person. I remember a time we were at a camp together and he drank excessively, and cursed excessively. Which was contrary to who he typically was otherwise. Not that I am judging this person at all. We all have our errors, vices, over sights, that may be deemed as mistakes, or others identify as sins. However, I continued to get confused about my friend, as one minute he seemed to very spiritual, and another minute he was venting about people and activities he did not like, verses approaching them or the situation privately. One minute he would make a commitment, the next he would break that commitment or not even show up. He would act one way around me, another way around a certain group of people, than an entirely different way around the next group of people. He would say something to later claim he never said such a thing. If he was asked to expound upon something that I or others were trying to understand and clarify, he would dance around the topic with many words, never really getting to the point, or answering the question. There were times I never knew which version of this person he would be, from one weekend to the next, or at each gathering. It was if his spirit was torn on who he was, who he is, or who he wanted to be, not really consistent one way or the other.

I know in the world we live in, have lived in, being real, authentic and genuine can be a challenge. It seems our identities become lost within social influences, peer pressure, stresses to perform, or out perform, the desire to impress and influence others. Whether to climb the corporate ladder, or rise in the field of recognitions. However, I believe we were designed to find our true selves, to be authentic, genuine. Although we live in this world, have to put on a uniform, a suit, or other attire in our careers, during certain events, presenting a product, service, or giving a lecture; it should never change who we are, what we are about, and to Whom we serve. The thing about it is if you are around the same people or person for a duration, and weather certain circumstances, and life events, you’re true self will always be exposed, I say strive to be authentic and real. If you desire profound, deep, long lasting relationships, that are authentic and real, you must also be authentic and real. Be that true self in a consistent manner. If not, you may seem double minded, possibly hypocritical, and unbelievable. In addition, your reliability, and integrity may eventually be questioned.

Personally, I am drawn to authentic and real people. People who are comfortable in their own skin. People who know who they are, what they are about, and to Whom they serve. Confident people, but not arrogant or conceited people. Those that know they are not perfect, that they have not arrived, but strive to improve. Those that truly mean what they say. Those that their word is their bond, and that if I am in a tight place, they would be there with and for me in a flash. Those that inspire me, encourage me, as well as love me enough to keep me accountable when I may be going off the rails. People that don’t just talk about love, brotherhood, and say they love me, those that show me they love me. Those that know they make mistakes, that they have failed, and may fail again, but they have learned from their mistakes, and know they do not really fail unless they do not get back up. And in turn learning from mistakes, teach others what they have learned. Men that are not afraid to take a stand for what is right, sound and moral, even if they have to stand alone. Those that call me up or send a brief text just to say hello, that they were thinking about me, or if they could meet for a beverage, bite to eat, or if there is anything they could pray about for or over me today.

I am blessed with many friends, and I thank God for that. However, my inner circles become rather small, and most closest inner circle is extremely small. Not that I am unfriendly, nor unsocial. Those that have met me, know that that is not true. It is because trust, true brotherhood, the love that is nearly unconditional does not come easy. It can often be very rare. It is earned over time, over experiences, and over life events. You also become the average of your five closest friends. (Proverbs 13:20) I strive to exude the traits in which I eluded above, therefore my closest inner circle of friends exude them as well, not just in words but in actions and deed. They have the same character, similar morals whether in the office, on the job, at church, at a campsite, in the gym, or on a barstool.

I say strive to be consistent, be you, the real you, and the man God is molding you into. You will attract and maintain the right people God meant to be around you, in your life, and part of your wolf pack, and inner circle. Don’t preoccupy yourself with vain accolades, or to impress the masses or other people who do not even care. Don’t be a lemming either, blindly following others. Be you, the real you, besides everyone else is taken. ; )

~

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Why does it seem some Christians seem to “eat their own”…

May I first unfold some preface? I am a believer, or what most may call a Christian. Although I have cringed at being called a “Christian” because I do not feel worthy to be called “Christ Like” nor worthy to be a follower of Christ. I am, however, very thankful that Christ thought and thinks I am worthy and died for a sinner such as I.

 

I voiced a proclamation of faith at the young age of about fifteen. However, I did not fully grasp the concept, meaning, and surrendering until my mid twenties. I will confess my faith has been tested and my journey has been a bit of a roller coaster ride, however through it all, I know who I am, what I am about, and to Whom I serve.

In my decades of being a “Christian”, I have obviously had a lot of experiences. I have attended more messages and sermons than I may be able to count. I have had the privilege and blessing to go on, and preach on, a Missions Trip, teach Sunday School classes, lead Men’s Ministries, Young Married’s Retreats, a church treasurer, deacon…

Through a few years of living on this earth, my experiences, I believe I have gained some wisdom, not only from some wise people, but from the Word of God, and how He has spoken to me through the years. Through this I have discovered that some “Christians” seem to “eat their own”. What do I mean by this, it seems some Christians or so called Christians seem quick to judge, and tear down other Christians, not just privately ,but often in a rather public way. I have had my fill of this, so stick a fork in me, I am done. See what I did there? Eat, Fill, Fork, Done? Any how, let me get back to a more serious tone…

I cringe each time I see other Christians get on this bandwagon of judging other Christians, especially over man made rules, or doctrinal issues. Who is any other believer or Christian to judge another believer or Christian? First of all, we are not The Judge, someONE has that job, and I certainly would not want it.

If we as Christians believe the bible is the inspired Word of God, then why are we not relying upon it more? Let’s first begin with a verse that may be well known by many:

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? — Matthew 7:1–3

Then some Christian Apologists may chime in with, “Well, we are to correct, instruct, and doctrine is good for all of that” First of all the word “doctrine” is from the KJV version. Not that I am against the KJV version before someone sends me some more hate mail. I did memorize a lot of scripture from the King James Version, however I prefer the ESV version. I can go into a lot of dialogue about versions, and why I read a variety, but this article is not meant to open that can right now. The ESV version is:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, for every good work.”

I believe this ESV version is more reflective of what is meant in a English Standard context. It does not say “Doctrine” it shares teaching, reproof, correction, training, so that the man of God MAY be COMPLETE, FOR EVERY GOOD WORK. No where does it say condemn, judge, ridicule, or tear down, whether privately or publicly. What I also think that some Christians forget is the majority of the rest of the New Testament in that what we do, we should do in love. That others will know Jesus, know God, know that we are believers, know that we are Disciples for the love we have for one another.

Here in this verse below we read Jesus wanted to drive home a point, especially when the religious of that day wanted to trip Him up;

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” — Matthew 22:37–40

How about what Paul wrote to the church of Corinth?

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” — 1 Corinthians 13:13

And what is love?

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” 1 Corinthians 13:4–7

So let me ask you a question, how is condemning, and publicly calling out what someone may think or believe is a sin, demonstrating love? How is publicly announcing what a person deems as sin, not judgement, or saying “that’s not Christian like”, not casting judgment?

I do believe that we as members of the Body of Christ, meaning Christians should lead, teach, encourage, inspire and coach others to the knowledge and understanding of the wisdom in the bible and that of Christ. However as this verses eludes, it should all be done in love;

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” — Hebrews 10:24–25

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Another thing I believe should be known that inevitably everyone has to pick up and carry their own cross, and work out their own salvation. This is between them and God. Here is a verse I believe reveals this;

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” — Philippians 2:12

Remember Jesus said, “Follow me” It was the person’s option to follow or not. It is their own free will to do so. You are not going to lead someone to a full understanding of Christ by beating them over the head with a bible, judging them, and telling them how awful each flaw they may have may be, or for each mistake, you deem as a mistake, that they make. If you want to be more “Christlike”, a “Christian”, if you want to be a true follower of Christ, then learn to lead, love, teach, instruct, and serve like He did.

Remember what Jesus said to Peter after His return in John 21:15–17 as Jesus wanted to drive home a point. He asked Peter if He loved Him, and Peter answer yes each time, and Jesus answer was the same three times, “Feed My sheep” The sheep meaning humanity. To tend to them, care for them, to feed them with love and manna from God. You do not feed sheep something abrasive or toxic if you are to tend, and care for them.

I share all of this in that it is true in the saying, “you can catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar” Meaning you can lead more to the understanding of God, His Son, the Holy Spirit and eternal salvation by doing it with empathy, love, and wisdom than by condemnation, judgement and ridicule. Often it does not even take words, it is often more profound by actions and deeds. The biggest sermon you can give is the way in which you live and love.

So stick a fork in me, I am done! “Christians” out there that think they need to condemn, judge or scare the hell out of others, especially other Christians… STOP IT! Stop eating your own! LOVE the hell out of them instead.

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Ear To The Rail

via Ear To The Rail

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Be Coachable

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Be Coachable

Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice.” — Ecclesiastes 4:13

Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.” — Proverbs 4:5

Be coachable. I have had the privilege, blessing and challenge to coach and be coached sports, lead teams on the field, in the gym, in the dojo, in a boardroom, and in the corporate field. Those players or team members that did well, for the long term, were those that were most coachable. Those that were respected the most for their accomplishments, and successes were and are still coachable. Sometimes people do not get this whether they are hard headed, never mature, do not learn the value of humility, or think they have arrived and bask in foolish arrogance.

When I both hired and trained employees, I did not focus on how much education they had, not always the written expertise on their resume; I observed how they spoke, held themselves, the way the can demonstrate in words, actions and deeds they had what it took to succeed. The ones that were coachable, tenacious, optimistic, but humble and respectful.

You can teach product knowledge, policies procedures, plays, and techniques, but you cannot teach the strong desire to succeed, tenacity, optimism, persistence, and work ethic.

So may I encourage you to be coachable, seek wisdom from wise people, apply that wisdom, and in turn teach it to others. Learn humility, because if you think you have arrived, you then shall surely fall. Always strive to improve, to grow, and if you fail, then fail forward. You never really fail, unless you never learn from your mistakes, and get back up.

DW

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So you’re “Billy Bad Ass”?…

First of all, I get a lot of people sharing with me their opinion. Especially what I should say and should not say, write, post, or do a video recording upon as a Christian. The thing is that I know my ikigai (if you do not know that word, I suggest you google it and research it a bit). I also know what I am about, most of my strengths, most of my weaknesses, and to Whom I serve. And the Whom I serve is not necessarily the opinions of humanity. (Colossians 3:23–24)

However, no matter if or how many times I may say that, I still get the scoffs, eye rolls, opinions, and hate mail. In which I am sure I am going to get one with the title I just shared with the word “Ass” in it. Just so those reading this may realize, ass is in the bible, so are a few other curse words, some you may not even realize they are a bit of a curse word the way they are written from greek to english or hebrew to english. I have not changed my perspective that our words should be honorable, encouraging, and edifying. You will rarely hear me curse, not just because our words can give life or death, (Proverbs 18:21). Nor that the fact I am to strive to be a new creation under God and what Jesus Christ did for me being that I am dead to sin, and alive in Christ, (Romans 6:11, Galatians 2:20). It is often the fact that I have been raising children for over 26 years and still raising them. However, sometimes certain words, including curse words, are needed to get a positive reaction, drive home a point, or draw immediate attention.

Let me provide an example. I have friends in the military. Some of them are or were Drill Sergeants, or COs. Now one of the purposes of Boot Camp is to tear out the civilized demeanor of a person, to build them back up to be a warrior that can follow orders extremely well, who can be depended upon in battle or at the time of war. So certain intensity as well as words may be needed to accomplish this. Still don’t believe me? Okay, let’s say you are in the middle of battle, and your leader says in a kind a gentle voice something like this, “Would you mind too terribly Mr. John Doe to pick up that rifle and aim it at that man over there that is shooting at us, please, and pulling the trigger as you are able?” or do you think something like this may get a quicker and more immediate response, “Soldier shoot that ba — -rd, before he blows our fu — g heads off!”

So now that I have shared that perspective and my own opinion before I get another person’s opinion, what does my title of my article mean when I write, “So you’re a Billy Bad Ass”? Well let me expound a bit upon it…

I am obviously a man that has a few decades on him. I was also raised with two other brothers in not the best part of town by some people’s perspectives. I did not realize it. For me, as a child to becoming a man, I thought most all towns were like this for the most part. Being raised were I was, along with two brothers, the circles we were around, and the streets we walked; I learned that most true tough guys were often not the loudest or most boisterous about it. At least the ones that I observed that had true grit, and of an ample character that was well respected. I found the true “Billy Bad Asses” you did not know about, well until business had to be handled, or a person crossed the line.

These “Billy Bad Asses” were more reserved in certain environments. They first were very observant. They seemed to be more about watching of others, observing entry ways, and exits, and rarely had their backs to the door or windows. They didn’t speak of how tough they were, the fights or battles they won. They did not soak in the glory of having to physically tear some one down, or apart. What I also observed is that they were men of their words. If they said they were going to be somewhere, they were there. If they made you a promise, they would never break that promise. If you needed them in a fight for something right, to have your six, whether as a moral booster, verbally, or if it may require it, physically. They were men you could count on.

One early example was when I was in about 8th grade. There was new kid of a slightly different or mixed ethnic background that came to our school. Quickly, the bullies, and taunters came out of the wood works. They would make fun of his clothing, his ethnic background, and often this lad would ignore the words, and taunts and be about his own business, going to class, and obeying the rules. Then it began to get physical. A taunt from a classmate here or there, then a firm push by a bully shoving this new classmate against the locker with a calling out to meet after school for a fight. This new classmate would typically respond rather calmly, but this time he said, “I do not believe you really want to do this, do you?” Of course the bully said “absolutely”, with some other profanity, and the new classmate agreed to meet.

As usual, when the bell rang, there was a gathering just outside the school grounds with the kids shouting, “fight, fight, fight”. One boy pushed the new classmate, while another tripped him and he fell to the ground. Then, I do not believe I have seen a youth jump up that fast with a 1, 2, 3 punch and knock down as I seen this new classmate deliver. The other kid that tripped him began to charge him, and the new classmate punched him so fast with several punches to the stomach, and face that I thought I might be witnessing a young Mohammed Ali. The kids that were chanting, “fight, fight, fight” were now speechless with most of their mouths dropped open. The new classmate dusted himself off, picked up his books, and began to walk home while the bully was crying with a bloody nose while running off, and the other was trying to get his wind back into his lungs while grabbing his jaw and stomach trying to determine what just took place.

I soon found out that this new classmate was a competitive junior boxer, and had been training in boxing for many years. He never told anyone. He never talked a big talk, nor of his victories or years of boxing. I had respect for this new fellow classmate, and to me, he was a true “Billy Bad Ass”. He also became a good friend until he moved away the a year or two later.

As I grew up, I have had the fine opportunity to meet and become good friends, or mentees with several true “Billy Bad Asses” in my life. One is my friend, and mentor growing up, my Master Sensei. He is rather small Japanese man that by looking at him, your first impression was that he may not be the best at handling himself in a fight. He is of small frame and stature. However, you would be very wrong. Even now at the age of 77, he is one of the fastest, and most powerful martial artists I know who can deliver a punch that may make you feel as though you were sent back in time, or out of your physical self. However, he is very humble, rather quiet, generous, and kind. Outside of the dojo, he does not carrying on about any type of battles he has won, how many knock outs he has achieved, how many boards or bricks he can break. Most often, he is more interested in you, what you have to say, what brings you joy, and contentment.

Those that I now may often call true “Billy Bad Asses”, are now what I may call “Violent Men of God”. These men may fear very few other men, if any at all, but Who they do fear is God. They are humble, reserved, and typically first focus on observing you, what you are about, what may also bring you joy and contentment, especially if they like you. They also have no problem taking a stand for what is truly good, sound, and moral; even if they have to stand alone. They are men that I know and confident that they have my back, especially when I need them, twenty four seven. Not necessarily for physical defense or protection, but for moral support, inspiration, encouragement and well as accountability. These type of “Billy Bad Asses”, and/or “Violent Men of God” get their wisdom from the Word, the counsel of other wise men, and their love for the Beautiful Outlaw in Jesus Christ. And yes, they are most certainly Holy enough to pray for you, but Hood enough to swing on you (if necessary).

God has used Violent Men of God to accomplish many things, and I believe He also used them to forge a new nation which is the United States of America. I also believe God still utilizes them to this very day. Whether that is on the battle field defending freedom, in homes with them protecting their families, and yes in churches to protect the congregation. In the Christian Motorcycle Club I am pursuing, these men often hold the title of “Enforcer” or “ Sergeant At Arms” You may not be able to identify them, especially at first. They are often not the loudest, nor the most flashy to draw attention to themselves, especially not their skills. However, what you may see is that they are not too far away, constantly observing, taking the current situation in, and will seek first to get to know you, your intent, and what you are about. Personally, I do thank God for them.

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