Thursday, June 25, 2015



As I sat in my comfortable chair and mused over my coffee and morning reading the question came to my mind, Is God enough? Of course my first reaction was, sure I believe God is enough. But is He? Do I really believe it? Like the previews you see at the theater scenes of my life begin to flash through my head. During the times of life when everything is good it's easy to believe that He is enough. In the dark places and in the midst of conflict and opposition I forget that the same God is present with me in them. I get paralyzed by and capitulate to my greatest fears and begin to doubt that He really is enough. The promise to me and us in every season and situation is that we will not want for anything because He is enough.

As I read through Psalm 23 I was reminded of these things:

  • When I trust that God is enough I will not want anything more or less than Him.

When I trust and rest in the Lord, my Shepherd, I find that He is enough in every season, situation, and circumstance of life. When the Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want or be in want of anything more or less than Him.

  • In seasons of rest and restoration He is enough.

He is the Shepherd of my green pastures, still waters, and paths of righteousness. These are places of His gracious provision where He makes me rest, leads me to restoration, and He gives me His righteousness for His name sake. The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.

  • In dark valleys, moments of desperation, and despair He is enough.

He is the Shepherd of my deep and dark valleys. We all have times where it seems our Shepherd can't be found. Our situations seem so dark. Our emotions get filled with fear and doubt. Sometimes in the dark valleys of life panic sets in and it seems like everything and everyone is against us. Our Shepherd promises to be with us in the darkness. He promises to be with me, comfort me, protect me, and guide me to the other side of the dark valleys of life. So, even in the dark times the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

  • At the table of relationship where there can be celebration, feasting, conflict, discord, and even opposition, He is enough.

He is the Shepherd of the table. The table is the place of feasting and relationship. It is a place of celebration and joy. He has promised to prepare this place even in the presence of my enemies. In the seasons and situations of life that we walk through relational discord, strife, conflict, and even opposition the Lord has prepared a table for us to delight in all of His goodness, grace, and mercy. At His table and in His presence there is joy. His joy is our strength. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. So, at the table the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

  • When He  is enough the outflow of our life will be characterized by goodness, love, and mercy

When we trust the Lord to be our Shepherd, no matter the season, situation, or circumstance goodness, love, and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives. These characteristics will be the outflow of lives that are being lived abundantly in the presence of our great Shepherd. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

Though THE STRUGGLE IS REAL, the Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not want. No matter where we are today we can know that He is enough. Be encouraged!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Father's Day - The Struggle is Real

First of all, I love my dad. Unfortunately, we've just never had the closest of relationships. He left home when I was 5. Over the years God has healed the hurts and we have a much better relationship now. However, every Father's Day I struggle to find the right card, because most cards don't seem to convey thoughts that are real to me. I usually end up selecting a humorous card. Can you relate? 

Now, as a dad, I look back at how I have parented my own kids. Truth is, I've struggled as a dad. I love my kids and yet there seems to be this distance in the relationship. I've struggled with connecting. I don't know why, it's just the truth. I've been there for my kids, but I'm not sure that I've been totally present. 

Lately, I've really been trying to connect at a deeper and more meaningful level. I've been taking the time to probe my kids heart and listen. This has helped me to pray for them more specifically. 

Anyway, I have shared all this to say, we have to be careful on these type of occasions to make sure that the messages we share don't do more harm than good. Not all the people sitting under the messages this Sunday will be able to relate or celebrate. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL!

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Struggle is Real


Uphill Struggle by Rainbirder on Flicker Picture taken by, Steve Garvie

The picture above really communicates the purpose behind my post. I often feel what this picture communicates. I am the elephant climbing that incline. Have you felt this way? As I embark on a new journey I hope you will join me in it. As I find my voice and the courage to share it with you, I hope you find yours too. I want to hear your voice. I want to create conversations with common strugglers. I want to create something safe and real. Hence the new name of my Blog Feed: The Struggle is Real. If you find it beneficial to you please help me increase readership by following and sharing with other strugglers. 

Here is a list of my real struggles and the topics that I will be writing about. These are the struggles I have dealt with and in many cases continue to struggle with, and may very well struggle with the rest of my days. No need to struggle alone. Let's share, encourage, inspire, and help each other overcome the real struggles of life.  THE STRUGGLE IS REAL 
  • Insecurity
  • Pornography
  • Identity
  • Fear 
  • Finances
  • Depression
  • Disappointment
  • Disillusion
  • Anger
  • Rejection
  • Acceptance
  • Weight
  • Goal Setting
  • Marriage
  • Parenting
  • Doubt
  • Forgiveness
  • Failure
  • Regrets
  • Motivation
  • Leadership
  • Future
Wow, I can't believe how quickly I came up with these or how many real struggles I actually have. The crazy thing is there are probably many more. It's a great start. Can you relate to any of these? Do you have additional struggles you would like to share? Post your comments. Share this with your friends. Let me know how to best serve you with post that are relevant to your struggles. Whether or not we share the same struggles or have the same magnitude of struggles, THE STRUGGLE IS REAL!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Shut My Mouth


We've all heard it before: Judge not, that you be not judged. I sure like to remind people of it when they seem to be judging or criticizing me. How about when I am the one doing the judging and criticizing? Sometimes I can't help myself. I can't seem to "Shut My Mouth."

Why do I criticize?
  1. It's easier to see others imperfections than my own. 
  2. To make myself look better at the expense of others. 
  3. To avoid dealing with my own sin and weaknesses.

What can I do? Shut My Mouth
  1.  Remember that the same measure I use to judge and criticize others will be used to judge me. I'll take mercy over judgment any day. 
  2.  Be self aware and remember that I need to deal with my own issues before attempting to confront and correct others. Believe me, I have plenty to work on and work out. 
  3.  Remember the old adage, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." In other words, "Shut My Mouth." 
Whoever said sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me lied. Words hurt. Words have the power to create and destroy. The next time the oporttunity to judge or criticize presents itself I pray I have the self control to "Shut My Mouth." 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Love, Love, Love...It All Comes Down to LOVE

One simple truth: The Christian faith really all comes down to love. God is love. God so loved that He gave. Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. All the commandments are summed up and lived out through two; love God and love others. The fruit of the Spirit is love and all the additional fruits are produced through it.One hard fact: Loving others isn't that easy. May God's love increase in us so it can increase beyond us.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Fighting for the Heart of the King

Taken from the Barbarian Way by Erwin McManus 
I loved the book. So much of what the church has become and is about really isn't even close to our King's heart. It's almost as if we will fight for and about everything except His heart. The church is seemingly passive with her mission and aggressive with her preferences. The battle many of our churches should be fighting is for the heart of our King to return to the weakened, sick, and some cases terminally ill churches scattered throughout the country and not engaging in worship wars, personal style, room temperature, color of paint and carpet, pews or chairs, Sunday school or small groups, budgets, and certainly not letting the world know what we are against instead of who and what we are for. If this post offends, while not the intent, check your heart because you may be fighting for the wrong king. #fightfortheheartofyourKing #thebarbarianway #ErwinMcManus #lovedoes #lovewins

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Authentic Community

You know you are experiencing authentic community when masks get removed, personas are shed, and genuine love is shared one for another. I'm thankful that the group Tracy Pate and I do life with is maturing more and more in that direction. 

Thank you all for a great afternoon/evening. After a very tough week I feel refreshed and refueled for the week ahead. I pray and hope you experienced the same. Here is what I sense the Lord is saying to us: Stay focused on Jesus and don't become distracted by man. Pray for one another. Love without measure. Remain steadfast in faith. God has you, me, and us. Remember this, God is most glorified when we find our deepest satisfaction in Him. Love you all! Blessed to call you family!!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Put God First from My Utmost for His Highest Oswald Chambers

Great reminder from Oswald Chambers

Put God First
Jesus did not commit Himself to them . . .for He knew what was in man -John 2:24-25
Put Trust in God First. Our Lord never put His trust in any person. Yet He was never suspicious, never bitter, and never lost hope for anyone, because He put His trust in God first. He trusted absolutely in what God's grace could do for others. If I put my trust in human beings first, the end result will be my despair and hopelessness toward everyone. I will become bitter because I have insisted that people be what no person can ever be- absolutely perfect and right. Never trust anything in yourself or in anyone else, except the grace of God.

Put God's Will First. "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God" (Hebrews 10:9).

A person's obedience is to what he sees to be a need- our Lord's obedience was to the will of His Father. The rallying cry today is, "We must get to work! The heathen are dying without God. We must go and tell them about Him." But we must first make sure that God's "needs" and His will in us personally are being met. Jesus said, ". . . tarry . . . until you are endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). The purpose of our Christian training is to get us into the right relationship to the "needs" of God and His will. Once God's "needs" in us have been met, He will open the way for us to accomplish His will, meeting His "needs" elsewhere.

Put God's Son First. "Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me" (Matthew 18:5).

God came as a baby, giving and entrusting Himself to me. He expects my personal life to be a "Bethlehem." Am I allowing my natural life to be slowly transformed by the indwelling life of the Son of God? God's ultimate purpose is that His Son might be exhibited in me.

Wrestling with Emotion

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13:1-6 ESV)

Wrestling with Emotion
No doubt I've had seasons where I felt as if the Lord had forgotten me, and in a sense was hiding from me. As I wrestle with these feelings, my thoughts become my counsel. They tell me you've blown it again, you'll never be good enough (which is true), you are a failure and you will never succeed, God will not help you, you are cursed, and on and on the list could go.  

But, just like David, I remember what is true. God's love is steadfast. With that reminder I refocus my thoughts and turn them into praise for who God is and for His faithfulness. 

So, when you go through seasons wrestling with your emotions refuse to take counsel from your soul and remember what God says about you and every situation and season you find yourself in. He has dealt bountifully with us.

Qualified by Grace

Qualified by Grace
As I read the psalm below, it is hard not to immediately jump to the conclusion that I'm disqualified right out of the gate. I mean, who can say they walk blamelessly and do right all the time? Who can, has, does, measures up against these standards? Guess I never will be Holy enough to dwell on the Holy hill with God if it depends on me. That is depressingly bad news at first glimpse. However, In light of the Gospel it is extraordinarily good news. In Jesus I am completely made righteous and holy. And yet, I will continue being transformed in and by the righteousness and holiness of Christ until I die, or He returns whichever comes first. I'm accepted in Him. As such, I get to unashamedly approach God with bold confidence knowing I am covered. I get to rest in and enjoy the wonder and beauty of the presence of God. The sin that once separated me from Him has been forgiven in Jesus and I am free to delight in unbroken fellowship with the God who created me in His very own image and likeness. Why? Because His Grace Qualified Me! You too! As many who will call on and trust in Jesus can once again enjoy the creator and sustainer of life up close and personal. No longer will you have to stand off at a distance, go through religious rituals, or depend on another man. Grace Qualified Us! 

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved. (Psalm 15:1-5 ESV)

Life Lesson

Life lesson: you can't cheat consequences or out smart them either. Who do you do life with? Do they influence you positively or negatively? Find people moving in a positive direction, on the same faith journey, where there is mutual edification. Avoid those who pull you down and discourage your pursuits. After all misery loves company, so pursue those who are wiser, more experienced, and have reached the mile markers on the journey that you only dream about. Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20