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People have asked me why I have not personally voiced my opinion much on the matter of what is occurring in our country that has many ardently and expeditiously typing out opinions onto social media since I am nearly always connected, a Digital Marketer, and Writer. First of all, why do I need to react, and if I do feel it deserves a reaction, I much more prefer to do so with facts, not fiction, with love, and not in haste, certainly not in angry or resemblance of hate.
I also am not a doctor, certainly not a disease expert. I do not claim to be a theologian, and I am not a pastor of any church. Neither am I a lawyer, a politician, or a government official of any sort.
I have, however, discovered who I am, what I am about, and to Whom I serve long ago which bestowed upon me a Mission/Purpose Statement which is, “To pour as much love and wisdom into my children as possible, and make a positive impact in the lives of others for the Cause of Christ.“ This I strive to do in what I say, how I say it, whether in written form, or verbally. Have I failed a bit, yes, but I strive to learn from those failures and not repeat mistakes.
I am not trying to be perceived as “self-righteous”, nor “churchy”. I have actual been hurt, and deceived by as many people “in-church” as people “out of church”, maybe even more. Besides, going to a church, or saying you are a Christian, does not make you one. It’s about a relationship with the Creator, and how you live your life every day of the week, not just on Sunday. I believe the church was never meant to be a museum for saints, artifacts, statues, fancy sound equipment, large band, laser show, and pyro-technics. It was meant to be a hospital for sinners, a gathering place for the broken who know they are in need of a savior, to heal, to repent, to mend, to learn, to worship, to grow, enjoy community, to get equipped and go out, so they too can show and share the hope in Jesus to a broken world.
I am also not brain washed, certainly not delusional in my beliefs and faith. I am neither ignorant, uneducated, nor of low intelligence. If you know me, my walk, my testimony and the miracles I have witnessed, up close and personal, then you will understand why and how I have the faith that I have, write and share as the way I do. If you know me, you also know that I am not easily persuaded, nor led astray, nor listen to something or someone and take it immediately as fact. I research, verify, validate, and re-verify. To know me, is to know that I am not a blind sheep. I do not follow a church, a movement, a human being, I strive to follow Jesus.
Do I have an opinion? Yes of course I do. Am I perplexed, as well as saddened, over what is, and has been occurring in the USA, as well as the world? Of course I am. Do I think I should get on some bandwagon, shout un-verified, un-validated rhetoric, chase a movement that leads to personal, material, or societal destruction? No I do not.
I prefer to apply wisdom, display love, demonstrate compassion, recite facts, in a more empathetic way.
I realize the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) may have been an overused “Christianese” statement, however it is as profound the day it was coined, as it is today. Truly, what would Jesus do? Want to know? Well maybe it is time to re-read the four Gospels, apply the wisdom of the letters of Paul to the churches, and apply the principles in the book of James or Hebrews. For those “in-church”, “out of church”, as well as those leading churches. It’s all available as quickly as you can take to your keyboards, whether online, via app, or on your book shelf, or night stand.
Whether we have enough wisdom to recognize it or not, we all serve someone or something. If you have faith as it is in the bible, as a believer, we strive to serve the Lord. If you do not have that type of faith or belief, then you may be serving yourself, or possibly an idol such as money, success, position, or power. Maybe a different God all together? Regardless, you will have to choose to Whom or what do you truly serve. We can point fingers, extend blame, make up excuses, give into the rhetoric, react in haste or anger, join a bandwagon of perceptions. Or we can truly be and live out the change we want to see in the world.
I prefer to be the change in the world, and as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15). What do you prefer? How do you prefer to say it? Do it? Demonstrate it? Live it?
I am a fan of profound quotes from wise people that I respect. Below is a really good one that is rather applicable as it was then as it is and should be today.
April 17th, 2019
If you hang around me for a while and get to know me, you will find I often use Sports cliches, sports analogies, and movie lines, even in general conversation. I like a variety of sports, have played and coached a few. I am also a movie buff. Therefore all of this may often intertwine in my general conversation.
In sports, a term is often used for those who do not get into the game, they are called “bench warmers”. Are there people who may be bench warmers of their faith, or their Calling, or what God’s purpose for them? Think about it, when you were saved, you were given the Holy Spirit, Spiritual Gifts, and seeds of Fruits of the Spirit. He didn’t intend us to be sideline observers, He doesn’t necessarily want us to be just Fans. He wants us to take up our cross, (not our therapeutic mattress) and FOLLOW HIM.
In addition, the church wasn’t designed to be comfortable movie theatre seats where we sit back just to be entertained. The church, no matter the size, was and should be a place to gather, learn, serve, praise, worship, get equipped and GO out. Jesus last words were not, “okie dokie, you are saved, relax & enjoy.” No, He said,
“I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.” — Matthew 28:16–20 (CEB)
What I wish to express and try to connect the dots is how to emulate and become like a Disciple and Apostle from the New Testament. I have been blessed to accomplish a lot in my life, however I have also lost a lot. Life can certainly throw you some curve balls whether you are a man of faith or not. The key is perseverance. It is also one of several reasons one of my favorite verses is Hebrews 12:1–3.
When I was a Sales Trainer, Manager, and Sales Director I often spoke before my teams from 6 to 100 people. Something I would say was, “Anything worth having takes a lot of work, anything worth having is worth working for” I also said this when I coached, and I say it to my children.
The Disciples were not perfect. Some were rough and tough fishermen, one was a tax collector, one was a doctor, one even became a traitor. They came from a variety of walks and had an array of personalities. However, Jesus called them. You see God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the Called.
I would like to encourage you to get deep into the New Testament these next few weeks, or couple of months and read about these 12 Disciples. Walk through a study on each of them. Google each of them and get to know them. Then study how Jesus spoke to them, ministered to them, served them, loved them. If you really want to know what it takes to be a Disciple of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, do this and strive to do as He commanded, and live like He did.
Conversely, if you want to know what is takes to be a Disciple and disciple others, I will recommend that you will discover it is much that same as Jesus taught and commanded His Disciples, as the rest will fall in place. I will also say, don’t be in a hurry, and miss the value of the Journey. Remember what Jesus told Peter in his over zeal wanting to be the best of these, Jesus basically told him and I paraphrase in more of our common terms, “Bro., slow your roll, if you want to be at the top, you must start at the bottom. You must be the least of these and serve, & love one another. For they will know you, me and the Father in you, by your love and servanthood.” Here is how it is written in Luke 22:24–27 in the ESV
“A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.”
We will also make time for what we truly value or love. It is written for where your heart is is where you treasure is. In other words you will invest your time, talents, and treasure into what you typically value the most. I must confess my own time, money, and even my talents have been invested in less productive manners than for the Kingdom.
If you have ever played sports or in any type of competition to win. (And I certainly hope you have always played to win.) It takes training, it takes hard work, it takes teamwork, it takes commitment, and it takes discipline. It also takes listening to a good coach or coaches. It also takes playing by the rules with good sportsman conduct. Often it takes getting up earlier than anyone else or putting in some long hours. And in the off season, eating right and getting to the gym to stay in top shape and keeping your skills honed. A professional athlete didn’t get there by luck, without countless hours of practice, not just during the season, but year around. Professional athletes did the work, most often at a very young age, and it took time. Professional athletes, as well as successful business people had, (still have), a vision, a mission and a purpose and that was their compass that they never gave up on, and never quit. Did they fail, yes many times. However, you never really fail, unless you don’t learn from your mistakes, and get back up.
I am hoping how the Spirit is talking to me as I share these words, analogies, metaphors, and devotion with you, are making sense. Readers, what you, I, and all of us have before us is not easy. It will take hard work, commitment, and discipline. Will you fail or make mistakes, I am going to say yes you will. However, you are not in it alone. You will naturally build brotherhood and/or sisterhood. You have a team. You have coaches (mentors), and best of all you have God and your relationship with Jesus Christ. I am going to close with a few verses from 1 Timothy:
“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, o keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time — he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” — I Timothy 6:11–19 ESV
So, are you a bench seat warmer, or sideline recliner viewer? Or are you a warrior, a player determined to win? To fight the good fight, to finish the course, to score touchdowns of lives changed for the Cause of Christ, to add to the souls to the Kingdom of Heaven?
Do the activity. Do the work. Carve out the time, and all will fall into place. Don’t get weary in well doing. GET IN THE GAME, Stay in the game, and play to win as we are on the Winners side!
There is “debate”, “argue-bate”, & “retaliate”.
If time is permissible, I am game for a good, intelligent, educational and civilized debate. I LOVED IT in High School and College. Unfortunately, that is nearly never the case on Social Media with a certain segment of keyboard warriors. It quickly turns into “argue-bate”, or “retaliate” if someone doesn’t agree, like the facts, their opinion is different, or they seem to get easily offended.
Why is it that if someone has a different opinion, that they are wrong? Why can’t all adults have the maturity and wisdom to agree to disagree with grace and humility?
Furthermore, just because I don’t agree with you, or we have differing faiths, upbringing, lifestyle, status, political stands, doesn’t mean that I hate you. I can disagree with you, with grace and humility, and still love you like Jesus does.
“You have to make it a way of life, as your life may very well depend on it”, “Anything worth having takes a lot of work, and anything worth having is worth working for.”
Yes, those are quotes of mine when I had addressed to my students, as their Sensei, at the peak of not only being a Martial Artist, but in physical shape as well. Granted I was much younger, however I made training in the martial arts, at the gym, and my diet a way of life.
Some that have known me before then, and during that time may say I made it a way of life due to the cancer scare that I incurred, as well as losing weight from that experience down to 132 pounds, at 6’2″. I will confess, that surely was a motivator. I also had the benefit that one of my best friends was studying Physiology, Nutrition, and worked at local fitness center who trained and motivated me. I also was in a relationship with a woman who was just about to finish her degree in Physical Therapy to become a Physical Therapist in Sports Medicine. It was their counsel, that of my Master Sensei, and my interest and passion for research that assisted me.
However, distractions, life events, accidents, injuries, and life catches up to you and before you know it, you may find yourself overweight, living with chronic pain, and simply do not have the energy you once had, and cannot seem to gather up enough just to complete a 5 day work week, then tend to the needs of a home or family.
I am here to tell you those are more excuses than certain reality. The reality is that your mind, body and soul can accomplish more and overcome more than you may realize. The come back stories I have heard about, seen, and personally witnessed, including my very own, will demonstrate what I am seeking to convey.
Let me first say this one more time, write it down, memorize, and apply it. “You have to make it a way of life, as your life may very well depend on it” and “Anything worth having takes a lot of work, and anything worth having is worth working for.”
These are not just phrases I coined in my younger years, or younger years of management and leadership. They are what I know to be true, and I have recently said this to students in the Karate Dojo, friends, people I have counseled, and to my own children, several times.
I coined this first quote of mine to initially apply in the Martial Arts. A person does not become a “Martial Arts expert” over night. A few classes, or even a few years does not make you an expert. In fact, in karate, you are only just beginning when you are given your black belt by your Master Sensei. That is why is is called Sho-Dan (1st Degree). A student must make it a way of life. The two to three days a week in the dojo is not even enough. A student needs to train at home too. I have advised training in front of a mirror, and even video record your training, so that you can improve on your own, in addition to being at the dojo. In an art such as Karate, you have to make it a way of life, as your life, or your loved ones lives, may very well depend on it. This is true with other exercise and diet. A person needs to eat healthy, proactively manage stress, and exercise, which is proven to provide a long, energetic, and healthier life.
Lets take the second quote and allow me to expound upon it a bit. Do you know of anything of value, or worth, of substance, that does not take hard work? That degree, saving for that new home, or nice vacation? How about that beach body? How about that promotion, or raise? How about that scholarship, sports medal, award winning contest? These are just some of the things that take a lot of work, and they are indeed worth working for. There are no hand outs in life, and no one owes anyone anything for doing nothing. Your life was a gift from your Creator, it is up to you how you utilize that gift, or you waste it.
My advice is do not say you cannot do something, or unable, unless you first try, and try again. Granted there are handicaps, and disabilities that may hinder your ability, slow your progress, or you may have to find a more creative, or innovative way of doing it.
Just ask Nick Vujicic who was born without arms and legs, yet has a very successful company, and growing ministry. He has a beautiful wife and two children. This man has done more athletic, sports related, and adventures than I can even dream of. You may check out his ministry and story at lifewithoutlimbs.org
Maybe ask David Ring. David was born with Cerebral Palsy. Orphaned at age 14, he was cast about from family to family with nowhere to call home. He endured constant physical pain, humiliating public ridicule and constant discouragement. Yet in the face of these seemingly insurmountable obstacles, David emerged not victimized…but victorious. You may check out his ministry at davidring.org
How about Kris Karr, when she was a 32-year-old New Yorker just enjoying life. But then, a regular checkup at her doctor’s office resulted in a diagnosis of a rare and incurable Stage IV cancer called epithelioid hemangioendothelioma, existing in her liver and lungs. Instead of succumbing to the disease, Carr decided to challenge her diagnosis head on. She attacked her cancer with a brand new nutritional lifestyle, and turned her experience into a series of successful self-help books and documentaries. Eventually, she launched her own wellness website, which is followed by over 40,000 people. Today, Karr is celebrating a decade of “thriving with cancer,” and is now revered as one of the most prominent experts on healthy living.
Did you know that Richard Branson has dyslexia? Instead of giving up, he used the power of his personality to drive him to success. Today, Branson, known for developing Virgin Records and many of its more technologically advanced spinoffs, is the fourth richest person in the UK.
Franklin Roosevelt became partially paralyzed at 39. After vacationing in Canada, Roosevelt developed polio, which eventually left him paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life. Even though he couldn’t walk, he went on to lead the country as one of the most respected and memorable presidents in history.
One of my work hard and come back stories was when I was struck by a negligent driver while I was on my motorcycle and dragged 50 feet, breaking 15 bones. I nearly died on site, and later in the hospital. I was in the hospital a month, in a wheel chair for 3 months, and off work with no source of income for over 4 months. One doctor said I would never recover, two doctors said it would be at least 8 months before I walked. When I was alone in my wheelchair, in my condo, in so much pain, that it not only hurt to breath, it hurt to exist. I was at low point to where I gave up, gave it all to God and began praying out loud in Jesus name to stand, and walk, and He gave me that right there and then on my daughters birthday, almost 3 months to the date of my accident! I nursed myself back to health through prayer, faith, healthy eating, and exercise. In the first part of this year, 2020, I did our dojos traditional 1000 kicks with my son, and received another black belt the following month. I usually am eating “The Mediterranean Way” which means The Mediterranean Diet, and re-committed to exercising 5 to 6 days a week whether it’s karate, fast walking, bicycling, or weights and machines at the local gym.
Now I am not advising going against a medical professionals advice. You should always check with your family physician before any exercise program or change in diet, however when someone tells me they cannot do something, or they have a challenge, or they have a handicap; I tend to lean on some of the stories and testimonies above and my thoughts tend to initially question this someone’s validity. Is it that they truly cannot? Did their medical professional advise them not to? Or is it an excuse? Or they do not want to put in the work? Because anything worth having takes a lot of work and anything worth having is worth working for. You must make it a way of life, as your life may depend on it.
Want to feel better? Want to sleep better? Want to have the energy, stamina, and flexibility to play with your children or grandchildren? Want to live a longer life? Then do something about it! Get out of that chair. Get off the couch. And get out, and do it. Get it done, and make it a habit, to make it a way of life.
I have designed a 21 Day Challenge I call, “Back On Track from being Lack and Slack” in celebration of many states opening back up from the COVID19 Social Distancing and Stay At Home recommendations to mandates. We begin on June 1st, 2020. Below are the details:
1.) 10k Week Day Step Goal or 50k in a week
2.) The Gospel of the Book of John challenge. Read a chapter a day for 21 days for each day of the entire challenge as the book of John is only 21 chapters.
3.) 21 Day Daniel Fast which more info may be found at this link:
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” – Romans 12:1
“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,” – Ephesians 5:29
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22
“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” – Proverbs 31:17
Back On Track from Lack and Slack Challenge!
With this challenge we are celebrating getting back on track as the states open up from the COVID19 Social Distancing and Stay at Home, to get back in motion, get back to the gym, get back to healthy eating, Fasting, and more…
Three things to remember with this Challenge:
1.) 10k Week Day Step Goal or 50k in a week
2) 21 Day Daniel Fast which more info may be found at this link: https://www.livestrong.com/article/347609-information-on-the-21-day-daniel-fast/
3.) The Gospel of the Book of John challenge. Read a chapter a day for 21 days for each day of the entire challenge as the book of John is only 21 chapters.
We will initially begin this challenge on June 1st, 2020. Post your take-aways, perspective, encouragement, inspiration, prayers in comments here below in comments of this post, or at our FaithFit Facebook group page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FaithFitCommunity
RULES: You must have, or purchase, a step counter whether that is your smartphone, a Fitbit, or any other device that can accurately track your steps, that you can share with us on a daily to weekly basis. The 21 Day Daniel Fast is the most difficult the first week, but stick to it. You can do this. It’s only 3 weeks! It has more than just physical benefits, you should also gain spiritual and mental benefits. Post Daily or at least weekly on your progress and join me by sharing some comments. You must begin with a weigh in. Do not be shy, we are all in this together, to encourage, inspire and help keep one another with accountable. You will need to stay committed to a chapter a day of the book of John, and share your Take Aways, Perspective ,or how God may be speaking to you.
DISCLAIMER: Before beginning any exercise program, change in diet, please always first consult with your physician. The author of this challenge, FaithFit, or any person or entity associated, or connected otherwise, is not responsible for any results positive or negative from this challenge.
Borrowed from a March, 2020 post from a public post by a man in Plainefield, IN. Well worth the read and share.
“I talked with a man today, an 80+ year old man. I asked him if there was anything I can get him while this Coronavirus scare was gripping America.
He simply smiled, looked away and said:
“Let me tell you what I need! I need to believe, at some point, this country my generation fought for… I need to believe this nation we handed safely to our children and their children…
I need to know this generation will quit being a bunch of sissies…that they respect what they’ve been given…that they’ve earned what others sacrificed for.”
I wasn’t sure where the conversation was going or if it was going anywhere at all. So, I sat there, quietly observing.
“You know, I was a little boy during WWII. Those were scary days. We didn’t know if we were going to be speaking English, German or Japanese at the end of the war. There was no certainty, no guarantees like Americans enjoy today.
And no home went without sacrifice or loss. Every house, up and down every street, had someone in harm’s way. Maybe their Daddy was a soldier, maybe their son was a sailor, maybe it was an uncle. Sometimes it was the whole damn family…fathers, sons, uncles…
Having someone, you love, sent off to war…it wasn’t less frightening than it is today. It was scary as Hell. If anything, it was more frightening. We didn’t have battle front news. We didn’t have email or cellphones. You sent them away and you hoped…you prayed. You may not hear from them for months, if ever. Sometimes a mother was getting her son’s letters the same day Dad was comforting her over their child’s death.
And we sacrificed. You couldn’t buy things. Everything was rationed. You were only allowed so much milk per month, only so much bread, toilet paper. EVERYTHING was restricted for the war effort. And what you weren’t using, what you didn’t need, things you threw away, they were saved and sorted for the war effort. My generation was the original recycling movement in America.
And we had viruses back then…serious viruses. Things like polio, measles, and such. It was nothing to walk to school and pass a house or two that was quarantined. We didn’t shut down our schools. We didn’t shut down our cities. We carried on, without masks, without hand sanitizer. And do you know what? We persevered. We overcame. We didn’t attack our President, we came together. We rallied around the flag for the war. Thick or thin, we were in it to win. And we would lose more boys in an hour of combat than we lose in entire wars today.”
He slowly looked away again. Maybe I saw a small tear in the corner of his eye. Then he continued:
“Today’s kids don’t know sacrifice. They think a sacrifice is not having coverage on their phone while they freely drive across the country. Today’s kids are selfish and spoiled. In my generation, we looked out for our elders. We helped out with single moms who’s husbands were either at war or dead from war. Today’s kids rush the store, buying everything they can…no concern for anyone but themselves. It’s shameful the way Americans behave these days. None of them deserve the sacrifices their granddads made.
So, no I don’t need anything. I appreciate your offer but, I know I’ve been through worse things than this virus. But maybe I should be asking you, what can I do to help you? Do you have enough pop to get through this, enough steak? Will you be able to survive with 113 channels on your tv?”
I smiled, fighting back a tear of my own…now humbled by a man in his 80’s. All I could do was thank him for the history lesson, leave my number for emergency and leave with my ego firmly tucked in my rear.
I talked to a man today. A real man. An American man from an era long gone and forgotten. We will never understand the sacrifices. We will never fully earn their sacrifices. But we should work harder to learn about them..learn from them…to respect them.”
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 “
“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.
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