Welcome to REAL Men RoCK

This blog is about the issues men face and things I have experienced.

I hope you will be encouraged, challenged, and stirred to take action.

Proverbs 27:17 (The Message)

17 You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another


ighteous   E ncouraging   A ccountable   L oving 


ely on    C hrist's   K indness

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


When I was in my early teen years my friends and I would get together every November and watch the Wizard of Oz every year. This scene about the Lion looking forward to getting Courage from the Wizard always made us laugh but when a man lacks courage it is not a laughing matter. Before I go any farther let me state that I do not believe that courage is something you possess as much as it is something that is stirred in us by our circumstances.

I am reading a book entitled, "Healing the Masculine Soul" by Gordon Dalbey and I want to share a portion of it from the chapter titled, "The Lion Speaks" and how it spoke to me.

For far too long, the image of manhood in our culture has been corrupted by the model of the “seeker”, the perpetually dissatisfied lone-wolf cowboy, space-jockey, motorcycle rider.

The seeker’s focus, or lifestyle orientation, tends to reflect his own self-serving human nature instead of God’s image or desire for him.

In our secular culture, advertising is quick to provide such human-centered goal images: the truck, the cigar, the beer, the bikini model. But the very vitality of advertising is based upon our dissatisfaction and insecurity, for the securely satisfied customer stops buying. The world therefore fears the man who is secure in his manhood, because he cannot be manipulated into buying its trucks and beer as a means of securing it.

Let me inject here that many churches fear a man who is secure in his manhood because he cannot be manipulated into conforming to the image most want a man to be. I believe we men are longing to be “real men” but we are afraid of the courage and strength it bears. We fear it because our society and churches have through the advertisements and sermons have driven into our minds that authentic manhood is not something to be desired.

What is courage? I do not believe it is something that you have all the time but is something that is stirred by the circumstances you face. Courage is displayed by the most unexpected guys. If you look at those men who have earned the Medal of Honor you will find that many were not the hulk of a guy most movies have as the heroes.

Let me show you from the Bible an example of the most unexpected guy showing courage.

1 Samuel 17 All of the brave men of Israel and their king, Saul, had gathered to face off with the Philistines. Daily they would gather on the top of two hills separated by a valley. I imagine that each morning the Israel army would get up and have scrambled eggs and toast and then put on their armor and head up to the top of the mountain.

Once they got there they would look across at the army of the Philistines and one would suddenly yell out an insult. As the words drifted across the valley the Philistines would move aside so that their champion could make his way down the hillside to the valley floor. His name was Goliath and he was a monster of a man. He would look up at the Israel army and taunt them by making fun of their lack of courage to send a man to face him.

One day a teenage boy arrived from the countryside with a bag of food for his brothers. I imagine that with the excitement of a teen boy he moved through the camp looking at the weapons and armor of the army. He imagined fighting the enemy and ended up on the mountaintop looking down at the valley just as Goliath began his taunt.

You know the end of the story David killed Goliath and cut off his head using Goliath’s sword. Single handed David brought about the end of the stand off.

Where did David get his courage to fight a man who was like a giant Redwood tree? It came from deep within David and it was a Natural Supernatural Courage that came from a strong belief in a God who would protect and guide him.

I do not care what you are facing and how weak you are physically you can have the same courage David had when you have confidence in God’s love for you and in the fact His hand is mightier than any man’s. You may not face a giant like Goliath but you do face giants of depression, rejection, fear, pornography, greed, pride and many other emotionally enslaving habits.

With the help of God’s Holy Spirit you can have the courage to fight those battles and with His weapons and armor found in Ephesians 6: 10-15. It begins this way: “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.”

That is what God is telling you today: “Be strong, have courage and be a man of God.”

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Simple Green House can Provide Vegetables in Winter

A couple of friends of mine built a simple green house last fall and began growing vegetables during the winter months at the Shepherds Garden.
Here are some pictures of the inside of the greehouse as the vegetable grow.
And here are pictures of the finished product.
The reason I am making this post is to share Rick and Larry's dream with you. You can go to their blog at http://shepherdsgarden.wordpress.com/ and see more photos and read some information about their project at the Shepherds Garden.

Part of the dream is to develop small green house technology so that homeowners or even apartment dwellers can grow vegetables in small yards or on rooftops. They believe they can grow vegetables for restaurants that want to have fresh vegetables on their menu year round. Their goal is to have their products certified as Organically grown.

Please pay their blog a visit and learn more about their dream. I hope that it will inspire you to move forward on any dream you have sitting with dust on it.
The next step at the Shepherd's Garden.

Monday, March 29, 2010

PORN - It will not only control you but destroy YOU!

I dare you guys to click the Covenant Eyes banner and break free from the bondage of PORNOGRAPHY.

Imagine No More SHAME
No More FEAR

I did it and I know the benefits of that freedom.  It is your choice to stay in the pit or to climb out and live. I hope you choose FREEDOM and VICTORY.

You will be glad you did.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Throw off the Image Others Placed on You

Loser! Untalented! Dumb! Hot Head! Fearful. 

These are words that describe some of the images people place on others. I believe each of those have been placed on me at some point in my life and the sad thing is I believed the people who placed them on me. I wore those images for most of my life and every now and then one of them pokes its ugly head out and tries to attach itself to me again.

Some of you see one of those images each time you look in the mirror or in given circumstances you hear the same words from someone although they may be spoken slightly differently today. With this post I want to point out to you that once you accepted Jesus as your Christ and Lord of your life you do not have to allow what other people have or are placing on you to be your image.

 2 Corinthians 5: 16-20 Because of this decision we don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don't look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We're Christ's representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you.

1 Corinthians 12: 27-30 (The Message) 27-31 You are Christ's body—that's who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your "part" mean anything. You're familiar with some of the parts that God has formed in his church, which is his "body": apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle workers, healers, helpers, organizers, those who pray in tongues. But it's obvious by now, isn't it, that Christ's church is a complete Body and not a gigantic, unidimensional Part? It's not all Apostle, not all Prophet, not all Miracle Worker, not all Healer, not all Prayer in Tongues, not all Interpreter of Tongues. And yet some of you keep competing for so-called "important" parts.
2 Timothy 1: 5-7 That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. 

Once you have accepted Jesus as your savior, received the Holy Spirit and made Christ the Lord of your life you are no longer the person you use to be. You no longer have to accept the lies others have told you and you no longer have to live wearing the image they have placed on you.

I recently had the old image that others placed on me surface. It poked its ugly head out and tried to attached itself to me again. I had a good pastor friend who loved me enough to point out that a root of harshness and unkindness was showing. He loved me enough to speak into my life but the key was he knew I would accept his words and take action.

If you are struggling with wearing the negative images that others placed on you I encourage you to ask God to have a person come along side of you to encourage you and help you move forward in victory. Victory will come when you surrender those ugly and untrue images to the rule of Jesus and the Holy Spirit will reveal to you the new image you have in Christ. 

If you walk in fear throw it off and walk in the confidence that God loves you. If you see a loser when you look in the mirror change mirrors and look into one through the eyes of God for He sees you as His child.  If you feel you lack talent read 1 Corinthians 12 again and work to discover the Spiritual Gift that the Holy Spirit has given to you for service. If you are a person who gets angry easily read Galatians 5: 22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Realize you do not have to be angry. 

As a follower of Jesus Christ you are a Winner! You have Spiritual Talents! You have the Wisdom that comes from the Bible! You can give Grace to others! You can live in Courage! 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Watch Your Heart

In my earlier writings I wrote about my mom leaving when I was about 3 years old, I wrote about the negative impact two teachers had on me and I wrote about being molested by a homosexual. Those were real events that left negative scars on my life. But I do not have to allow them to control my life and make me who I am.

With this post I want to begin to share the men and women who have had a postive impact on my life. Sometimes we allow the negative experiences we have had control us. Most of us, if we are honest, allow the wounds of our lives control us or we allow the actions of others to reopen our scars. Instead of calling on the Holy Spirit to heal the reopening of these wounds we allow the pains of the past to impact our lives again and we react in defense.

I want to share some positive things that happened in my early life that I believe should overshadow the negative. After my mom left my dad, Charles, still had to travel because of his job but now he took us with him. He and his two brothers owned Clark Construction Company which mainly laid water and sewer lines. I remember dad would take me to the construction sites with him and the men who worked for him would rub my head and in a loving way tease me. These men were strong, rough, firm but comapssionate men. These memories are postive and are the ones I should be pulling from instead of the ones that created wounds in my life.

Proverbs 4: 23 Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that's where life starts.

Our reaction or response to negative or preceived negative events in our lives begins in our heart. The negative and positive events of our life reside in our heart and we either choose to react from the negative or respond from the positive. When faced with negative actions of others I can either choose to allow the old wounds to be reopened or I can choose to call upon the Holy Spirit to protect my wounds. If I allow old wounds to be reopened I will react in a negative way to the person but if I allow the Holy Spirit to protect the wounds I will respond to the person with grace.

I encourage you to check your heart today for wounds that have not been healed and that still control how you are impacted by the actions of others. If you discover a wound share it with someone and seek the healing that only God can provide.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Can You be wrong even when doing Good?

James 4: 16-17 As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil. In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don't do it, that, for you, is evil.

Recently I was convicted about an action I was taking which was not wrong in itself but it was showing disrespect for another person. Even though what I was doing was good and helpful to someone else it was most likely done in an act of rebellion.

In the verse above James covers the sin I was guilty of. I knew that what I was doing was wrong because it went against the wishes of a fellow follower of Jesus and was hurtful to them. What I was doing was good but because it was not done with the other person's heart in mind it was nothing other than sin.

I encourage you to do what Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 13: 5-9  Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don't drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. I hope the test won't show that we have failed. But if it comes to that, we'd rather the test showed our failure than yours. We're rooting for the truth to win out in you. We couldn't possibly do otherwise.

We don't just put up with our limitations; we celebrate them, and then go on to celebrate every strength, every triumph of the truth in you. We pray hard that it will all come together in your lives.

If you find yourself with a flaw then I encourage you to repent of it, which means to turn from it and do whatever you can to correct it. It will be difficult to admit the flaw and it will require laying down some pride but over time God will restore you and bless your efforts. 


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Screening

Today I had a colonoscopy. Yesterday I spent most of the day doing the prep for the actual event today. Sometimes our lives have to go through a period of prep work and then the screening for problems in our character. I think the past year has been like that for me. I will not go into details but the results were that I had a spot on my character and it was revealed through some testing.  

Because I write from my heart my posts revealed to some of my friends a flaw and they have suggested I back off of blogging. Since blogging is my release I will probably not back off completely but I will be a little more selective on what I write about. I hope the change will be refreshing and benefitial to those who read this blog on a weekly basis. 

Recently the Holy Spirit told me to back off of getting involved with leadership and trying to find a full-time ministry position. I am spending the time between now and the date He gave me to get more focused on just enjoying worship, learning and serving in a more low key way.

My next post will be an example of the new direction and to be honest I do not know what that direction will be. I will asking God to reveal that to me but I know it will still be from the heart and maybe a little more encouraging. 

For those of you who know me I apologize if what I have written in the past few months seemed harsh and even unkind.

I am thankful to the friends who loved me enough to point out the flaw and to encourage me to make some changes. We all need friends like that. 

Come back in a few days and let me know what you think of the new direction.

Added 3/25/2010
"An obivious fact about negative feelings is often overlooked. They are caused by us, not by exterior happenings. An outside event presents the challenge, but we react to it. So we must attend tot he way we take things not to the things themselves." - Vernon Howard

Ouch! This quote hits my flaw on the head and I believe God caused me to read it today so that I could include it with this post.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Victory Through Accountability

Pride, Lust, Greed, Fear, Worry, Pornography, Lying, Cheating, Gossip, Fantasies, Debt, Selfishness, Drugs, Alcoholism, Smoking, Over Eating, Laziness, Lack of Prayer and Lack of Bible Study. What do all of these words have in common? They are all forms of sin that separate us from God, build walls that keep us apart from others and they keep us from achieving our goals.

There are two was for us to be delivered from the sins that we have in our lives. 1. God could instantly deliver us. 2. God could deliver us through us having a relationship with another person. There are instances in the Bible where God delivered people instantly but most of the time God delivers us a step at a time in a relationship with someone else.

In Exodus 14 God delivered the Israelites in a dramatic way by dividing the Red Sea so that they escape the Egyptian army. Most of the time God does not deliver us in this type of victory. He gives us Victory by having another person come into our life and giving us encouragement to fight the good fight and keep overcoming.

Proverbs 12: 25  Worry weighs us down; a cheerful word picks us up.
Proverbs 12: 15 Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice.
Ecclesiastes: 9 It's better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there's no one to help, tough!
Isaiah 1: 17 Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of the widows.
1 Thessalonians 4: 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words. 
1 Thessalonians 5: 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Hebrews 3: 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
James 5: 19-20 My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God's truth, don't write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.

Why do we need accountability?
1. Satan, our enemy, loves to see us stumble and be alone.
2.The world is closely watching us.
3. To remain right with God.
4. It encourages other believers and ourselves.

What happens when we are accountable?
1. We grow in our Christian walk.
2. We deepen our Friendships.
3.We gain greater awareness.
4. We begin to set priorities.
5. We find peace.

True Christian Accountability is encouraging and life changing. There is no room for put downs or shaming. We are to let the Holy Spirit to be the one who does the convicting. Our job is to be used to encourage the one we are holding accountable. Satan likes to condemn and shame but God convicts and leads us to repentance through His Kindness.

Romans 2: 4 You didn't think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? Or did you think that because he's such a nice God, he'd let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he's not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.

I encourage you to find another man that you can trust and who you want to experience this incredible life changing experience with. Ask them to hold you accountable and ask them what you can hold them accountable for. Together you will experience Victory through Accountability

For more information go to the following websites:
Character Counts by Rod Hanley 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Are You Failing? You are in Great Company!

Have you ever tried something and ended up not achieving what you were trying to do? You probably felt like a failure. What does it mean to be a failure? If we look closely at the lives of many great people we will find that they have tried to do things and failed. What eventually made them great was they got up and tried again.

If you are not experiencing any failure in your life you are probably sitting at home on your rear watching television or playing games on the computer. If you are experiencing failure in your life it is because you have made the decision to get off the couch and do something. 

What I want to do with this post is to encourage you to take the time and discover what you are good at which will give you an indication of what you can use in becoming the person you were meant to be. The road will often be uphill and you will get tired but I encourage you to dig deep and keep moving forward. 

Join the likes of Lucille Ball, The Beatles, Ulysses S. Grant, Michael Jordan, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney and Abraham Lincoln and Don't Quit! but Live!

Loyalty - Disloyal

I know of a decision made by an individual that in the minds of some appears to be an act of disloyalty. In this post I want to look at the subject of loyalty and determine whether a person can disagree and part from another without being disloyal.

Let's first look at definitions of loyalty.

From Wikipedia.org
Loyalty, also called allegiance or truth, is faithfulness or a devotion to a person or cause.

From Dictionary.com
1. the state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations.
2. faithful adherence to a sovereign, government, leader, cause, etc.
3. an example or instance of faithfulness, adherence, or the like: a man with fierce loyalties.

From Stanford.edu
Loyalty is usually seen as a virtue, albeit a problematic one. It is constituted centrally by perseverance in an association to which a person has become intrinsically committed. Its paradigmatic expression is found in friendship, to which loyalty is integral, but many other relationships and associations seek to encourage it as an aspect of affiliation or membership: families expect it, organizations often demand it, and countries do what they can to foster it. May one also have loyalty to principles or other abstractions? Two key issues in the discussion of loyalty concern its status as a virtue and, if that status is granted, the limits to which loyalty ought to be subject.

From these definitions we see that loyalty has to do with faithfulness to a person, an organization, a country or to principles. Loyalty is built around the ideas of relationship and respect. Loyalty without these two qualities can be problematic in that without a relationship based on equal respect one party can take advantage of the loyalty of the other and not be accountable to the other.

As Christians we need our final authority to be the Bible so let's take a look at some loyalties found in scriptures.

What do you think was the very first act of disloyalty that we can find in history? That's right the rebellion of Satan and the demons. 

Isaiah 14: 13-14 You said to yourself,  "I'll climb to heaven. I'll set my throne over the stars of God. I'll run the assembly of angels that meets on sacred Mount Zaphon. I'll climb to the top of the clouds. I'll take over as King of the Universe!"

Here we see that the very first act of disloyalty had to do with an attempt by Lucifer who became Satan, the Devil, to set himself up as the king of the angels and then the universe. So according to God's word one way to be disloyal is to attempt to take the leadership from another who has authority over you.

Let's look at an act of loyalty which is perfectly illustrated by the friendship of David and Jonathan found in 1 Samuel.  The friendship was a loyal one built on a relationship of trust and respect towards each other. Jonathan accepted that David had been ordained to be king over Israel and David accepted that until God caused that to happen Jonathan was his superior.

In a positive relationship there is mutual trust and respect but when either of those elements are not present the relationship with deteriorate.

Now to answer whether two can disagree but yet not be disloyal.

Acts 15: 36-41  After a few days of this, Paul said to Barnabas, "Let's go back and visit all our friends in each of the towns where we preached the Word of God. Let's see how they're doing."  Barnabas wanted to take John along, the John nicknamed Mark. But Paul wouldn't have him; he wasn't about to take along a quitter who, as soon as the going got tough, had jumped ship on them in Pamphylia. Tempers flared, and they ended up going their separate ways: Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus; Paul chose Silas and, offered up by their friends to the grace of the Master, went to Syria and Cilicia to build up muscle and sinew in those congregations.

St Barnabas is not mentioned again by St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles. However, in Galatians. 2:13 a little more is learned about him, and his weakness under the taunts of the Jewish Christians is evident; and from 1 Corinthians 9:6 it may be gathered that he continued to labor as missionary. It is believed that his argument with Pual was resolved.

The dispute between Paul and Barnabas grew to the point where they separated company but nowhere in scripture does it indicate that either man was disloyal to the other. The dispute they had was not hidden and it is evident that Paul even raised the point now and then. Eventually they resolved their differences.

What I get out of all of this is disloyalty has to do with actions that are done behind the back of the one you disagree with. Speaking the truth is not disloyalty nor is mentioning the points of disagreement. Disloyalty does come into play when one talks with others in the church about the wrongs the other committed or the hurts the other caused. Disloyalty is openly trying to take control of authority from the one who has been called to lead a particular organization but pointing out error is not an act of disloyalty.

What can be taken as being disloyal is pointing out error and taking an open stand about that error. If what is being pointed out is true and it is something that is hurting the body it is not disloyal to point it out to the leader. As a leader under that leader it is a duty to point out errors that is taking place that keeps the body from growing spiritually and physically. It is not necessarily an act of disloyalty to openly point out the error in fact it may actually be an act of loyalty to the leader and to the body.

Disloyalty comes into play when the person hurt by the actions of the leader is shared with others behind the back of the leader with the idea of splitting the people from the leader.

As leaders we must be open to others sincerely pointing out to us errors that we are guilty of that keep the church from growing or that is harmful to the body. If we are accountable to the body we will respond to those who share with us errors we are committing. We have to discern when one is being loyal by pointing out our error to us and when one is being disloyal by sharing their hurts caused by us with others.

Most of all as leaders we must show our loyalty to those in our charge by truly being transparent and accountable to them. Without a relationship built on mutual trust and respect every act of disagreement will be looked upon as disloyalty.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Don't Worry Be Happy

Matthew 6:33 (The Message)
30-33 "If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

I have a Bamboo garden and while the bamboo is filling in the area I have scattered Wildflowers. Every spring I rush out to the bamboo garden to look for flowers or new shoots from the bamboo. Each spring I find that they pop out of the ground with out my help. In verses 30-33 Jesus is telling us God will attend to our needs just as He does to the Wildflowers that appear unseen until just the right moment. He also is telling us that God takes pride in us because we are His special creation. We need to relax and not be so preoccupied with trying to get what we want so that we will be open to and receive what He knows we need. By focusing on God's Kingdom and God's Righteousness He will provide for our needs. When we worry about missing out on the Good Life we end up missing out on the Best Life which only our Father in Heaven can provide.

Inspired by sermom called Godonomics by Mark Warner Vineyard Church in Overland Park, KS  

Monday, March 8, 2010


Each of us, if we have lived longer than a day, has been hurt by someone else. Someone reading this has had another lie to them, still another has felt the sting of disloyalty, another tricked out of money, and the list goes on and on. We all have been hurt by and have hurt others. So what shall we do to move from the control of the feelings we are experiencing to freedom?

What I am going to share with you in this post is taken mainly from "Total Forgiveness" by RT Kendall.

I am not going to take each of the points that follow and break them down because I believe most speak for themselves. First, we need to understand what Forgiveness is not. What Forgiveness is not will give us an understanding of the idea of Total Forgiveness. 

Forgiveness is not:
  1. Approval of what they did to you.
  2. Excusing what they did to you.
  3. Justifying what they did to you.
  4. Pardoning what they did to you.
  5. Reconciliation.
  6. Denying what they did to you.
  7. Blindness to what happened.
  8. Forgetting what happened.
  9. Refusing to take the wrong seriously.
10. Pretending we are not hurt.

 What is Total Forgiveness.
  1. Being aware of what someone has done and still forgiving them.
  2. Choosing to keep no records of wrong.
  3. Refusing to punish.
  4. Not telling what they did.
  5. Being merciful.
  6. Graciousness.
  7. It is an inner condition.
  8. It is the absence of bitterness.
  9. It is forgiving God for what happened.
10. It is forgiving ourselves for what happened.

Here is how you will know if you have totally forgiven someone else.

The ultimate proof of Total Forgiveness is not sitting down with the person and explaining how badly they hurt you and how you forgive them. It is not telling others how you have forgiven someone for what they have done to you. It is not writing in a blog how you forgive others.

The ultimate proof of Total Forgiveness takes place when we sincerely petition the Father to let those who have hurt us off the hook--even if they have hurt not only us, but also those close to us. Total Forgiveness involves an additional element: "Praying for God's blessings to rain down on the lives of your offenders."

Totally forgiving another person is an achievable act. It can be done, and it is something you and I must keep doing. 

Here is what I suggest you do: 
1. Ask God to help you prepare to Totally Forgive. 
2. Purchase Total Forgiveness and read it completely. 
3. Begin to petition God for blessings on the other person. That means their finances, their health and their ministry or profession even if they achieve more than you. 
4. Go before God and petition Him to pour out His Holy Spirit in your life so that you can Totally Forgive your offender(s). 
5. If you want to meet with the person who offended you do so with the intent to be a blessing to them not for sharing how you have forgiven them for what they did to you. 
6. Walk away from your hurt leaving the pain at the feet of Jesus and with it having no power over you any longer.

People are impressed most by changed lives and this one act will change your life forever and you will make a lasting impression on others and they may never know what you have done but they will see the results. 

I hope you have found this helpful and that God has began to bring healing into your life. I encourage you to begin the process of Total Forgiveness right now and do not quit until every hurt has been forgiven. When you totally forgive your enemy, you have crossed over into the supernatural realm. 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Are You a CINO?

Larry came out of the building feeling excited about what he had heard. He was pumped and ready to do something. He and his wife went out to eat with friends and had a great time. He went home pulled the lawn mower out of the shed and mowed the yard. Then he and his wife watched television and went to bed.

Monday morning Larry got up at his usual time, ate his usual breakfast with his usual cup of coffee. He showered, shaved, dressed for work and headed off on the same usual route to work. He worked just as he usually did and left work at the usual time. As he drove home he took the same usual route and arrived at the usual time. He got on some work clothes just as he usually did and went to work in the yard. When his wife arrived home he gave her the usual smile and wave. After working together in the yard as they usually did they went in for a similar meal as they usually did, watched some television and then went to bed at the usual time.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were just like Monday with same usual routine. When Saturday rolled around he and his wife did the same usual routine they did every Saturday. On Sunday they got up as they usually did and headed off excited to hear another great sermon and worship to stirring music just as they usually did.

The above story is about Larry who is a CINO, a Christian In Name Only. Each week he worships to stirring music and listens to a terrific sermon. Each week he leaves services pumped but each week he begins Monday an unchanged man just as usual.

What are the characteristics of a real Christian? Is it found in performing miracles? Is it found in having high morals? Is it found in church attendance? Is it found in your church? As I close this post I am not going to point my finger at you and tell you that you are probably no different than Larry and YOU are a CINO. What I am going to do is list some scriptures for you to look up and decide for yourself, with the help of the Holy Spirit, whether you have been living a CINO life style. If you do not find yourself in these scriptures you are probably a CINO

Matthew 5: 1-12
Matthew 5: 13-16
Matthew 5: 23-24
Matthew 12: 36-37
Matthew 18: 15-15
Matthew 25: 35-36

The good news is the Holy Spirit with your permission is waiting to change that.

James 1: 22-23
James 5: 16

If you found that you are living a CINO life I would love to hear from you because you are now taking the first step in becoming a Follower of Jesus because you are acting upon His words.

Friday, March 5, 2010

FREE Hot Dogs! - Real or A Gimmick

Let me share with you two accounts of an Evangelism event and you choose which is more like what happened in Mark 6: 33-43.

A crowd gathered as a group of people cooked and prepared to hand out hot dogs. A sign hung hear to the cook that read, "FREE Hot Dogs!" The people eagerly waited for the moment they would hold one of the freshly cooked dogs and taking that first bite. The crowd knew this event happened every year around the same date. They knew they would get a dog, chips and a drink and they could continue their way to the shopping center. They had heard from others how this group every year gave out free hot dogs and then would leave immediately afterwards. Each year the community read in the paper what this group did at the local shopping center.

Across town another group of people were cooking and preparing to hand out hot dogs to a crowed that had gathered in anticipation having read the sign "FREE Hot Dogs!" The people eagerly waited for the moment they would hold one of the freshly cooked dogs and taking that first bite. The crowd knew this event happened every year around the same date. They knew they would get a dog, chips and a drink but also a word of encouragement with an offer of prayer or they could continue their way to the shopping center. They had heard from others how this group every year gave out free hot dogs and stayed around to meet the needs of those that came for the dogs. Each year the community heard from the people who had experienced healing, or who had received counseling or who had heard an encouraging word about what this group did at the local shopping center.

Mark 6: 33-34 From the surrounding towns people went out on foot, running, and got there ahead of them. When Jesus arrived, he saw this huge crowd. At the sight of them, his heart broke—like sheep with no shepherd they were. He went right to work teaching them. 

Later in this chapter Jesus has the disciples feed the people. The example is food can draw the people but Evangelism is more that handing out a hot dog. It involves the hard work of dealing with life problems in a way that people know you are genuine and that you care more about them than them coming to your church. If they know that what you are doing is purely to grow the numbers at your worship services. They might come to services once because they feel obligated but they necessarily will not become committed unless they receive what they need that will draw them back.

The difference in the two groups described above is one meets the need of physical hunger but the other goes beyond meeting physical needs to meeting emotional and spiritual needs. The latter group is following Jesus' example and we see people responding as those who responded to the compassion of Christ.

If you are involved in a church that does evangelism I encourage you to take the time to meet the emotional, spiritual and physical needs of people and you will not have to worry about your numbers. People want to be a part of a group where they feel genuinely welcomed and cared for. People are drawn by the Natural Supernatural act of meeting needs and hearing the word in a natural way without churchy speak. 

Suggested Books:
"Gentle Persuasion" by Joseph C. Aldrich
"Naturally Supernatural" by Gary Best
"Without Walls" by Randy White
"Power Evangelism" by John Wimber Online

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Place for Planting Seeds

Imagine a place where teens could go and get a smoothie, listen to a local band and even hear a short encouraging message for FREE. That is exactly what I think God wants to do in our community. More details will come when I understand where and what this place would look like and who might be involved.

The idea is a combination of a Coffee/Smoothie and Hamburger Shop with Christian Book/Music Store that has a meeting hall for entertainment or other activities.

It is not a new idea and is somewhat patterned after the following church in Alamosa, Colorado.

The Principle of Shepherding as a Ranchers and Breaking Barriers

In this post I will not be using any scriptures but some real life examples to prove my point.

I believe the Kingdom of God is built by Shepherds and Ranchers doing what God made them for and without fear of who gets the credit for the outcome. I need first to explain what the words Shepherds and Ranchers mean to me.

A Shepherd very simply is a leader who looks over his or her flock and cares for them personally. He or she sees a problem and they take care of it using all of the skills they have and reaching deep into the pocket of the Holy Spirit for those they do not have.

A Rancher very simply is a leader who looks over his or her flock by involving others personally in the care of them. He or she sees a problem and assess who in the body has the best Spiritual Gift to care for the situation.

Both know that it is the Holy Spirit that gets the credit for the good that is done and they direct focus to Jesus not to themselves.

Now for a couple of examples of what can happen when a Shepherd cares for the flock and what can happen when a Shepherd develops into a Rancher.

The Shepherd: When I went through my divorce in 1984 I found myself homeless and lived in my car for several weeks. A deacon in the church I was attending discovered I was homeless and invited me to come live with him and his wife as I got back on my feet. It was a difficult time for me and through his loving care and encouragement I was able to get back on my feet. Dick Mann is an example of a true Shepherd and has made an impact on my life. Today Dick writes a blog on a subject that he is passionate about. Rick's Cultural of Life
The Rancher: The following story is about a man who is the founding pastor of a growing church in Raytown, MO and it all began with an idea for a Wild at Heart group for men at his church. The man went to one of the leaders of the men's ministry and suggested the group. He was asked by the leader one question:  "What was needed to do the group?" The man replied the Wild at Heart kit and a leader. The next Sunday the leader approached the man and asked him the same question. After hearing the answer the leader handed him the kit and asked the question again. When the man replied a leader was needed and leader replied whoever holds the kit is the leader. From that little act of leadership the following story developed.

The Kingdom of God is built by men like these. They either shepherd the flock in a personal way with care and love of Jesus or they shepherd the flock through utilitizing the Spiritual Gifts the Holy Spirit has given to others in the same way Jesus did. They are the marks of the true Christian leaders.

Suggested reading about Shepherds and Ranchers:
How To Break Through the 200-300 Barrier by Rick Warren

Shepherds and Ranchers by Mike Gerhardt
I know Pastors who had not learned the valuable principle of becoming a Rancher and have not been able to break out of being a small church even though they have the desire and vision.

I encourage you to become a Shepherd and every now and then try being a Rancher by releasing others to service.  In his book, "Becoming a Leader" Miles Munroe says this "Effective Leadership Makes Itself Increasingly Unnecessary." and "You are a successful leader when your followers can lead others."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Top Dog needs a Good Support Dog But....

Many of you who read this blog are leaders in your own right. You may not be the top dog or the one who others look to for leadership. You are a leader because you are a mother, a father, a member of a board or hold some other position that helps an organization operate. Some of you have the gift to make the number one person look good by being a great number two.

I have a pastor friend who shared a book with me called, "Success for the Second in Command" by Billy Hornsby. I want to share some it with you and show you that you are important to the person operating in the number one spot in him or her being successful. I also want to show you that a successful number one person needs a person in the second chair in order to succeed. But there are also some roadblocks that keep numbers twos from being successful.

From the book:

Good number twos make up for the weaknesses of their leaders. They complement, accentuate, fill up, and add value to their leaders in every situation.

What makes the number two position difficult is often caused by the environment we grow up in. For the most part, we live in an egotistical world that only looks out for...that's right number one. Sometimes the person in the number one position grew up in an environment that reinforced looking out for number one and they will lead from that environment.

Once you have decided that you will accept being the number two person even if the number one person is self-centered here are some things to consider:

As number two, your success is affected by the success or failure of the leader.
As number two, you are expected to put someone else's agenda above your own.
As number two, you put your ego in check and sometimes bench certain abilities and talents.
As number two, your momentum is canceled when the boss changes directions or procedures without notice.

Here is some wisdom from John Maxwell.

Questions the Number Two Should ask about the Number One
* Do I respect number one? Does he or she respect me?
* Do I like being around him or her?
* Do I agree with he vision or purpose of the enterprise?
* Can I grow in this setting?
* Do I complement his or her gifts?
* Can I accomplish more under this person or by myself?
* Does this person believe in me?
* Does my leader support me?
* Will my leader add value to my life?
* Does this leader have my best interest at heart?

Here are a couple I would add:
* How does this person respect those he or she serves?
* Does this person believe in the people he or she serves?
* Does this person have a history of equipping, empowering and releasing others to service?
* Has the organization this person leads experienced any real growth under this person's leadership?

In other words, will this be a one-way street where you do all the giving, make all the sacrifices, and take the rap for failures? Or will you be elevated, encouraged, and acknowledged for your contributions? It will only work if the number one values you as a person and will respect you and give you opportunities to be creative and find significance.

One last thing from the book:

Leaders you don't want to work for are the controlling, insecure leaders who micro-manage every aspect of your life. It is also very difficult to thrive in an environment where the leader is incompetent and unable to lead the organization. It is not your job to fix this kind of leader; rather, it is your job to add value and use your leadership gift to try to help them lead.

Most of us will never be the number one person in an organization but many of us will have the opportunity to be a number two. Our job as number two is to make the number one successful and look good. But before we can do that we must understand and embrace the dream and goals of the number one. Above understanding and embracing the dream of number one we must know that number one believes and has trust in us in order for us to handle his or her weaknesses. If we sense that they do not respect or believe in us that will eventually erode our ability to continue moving forward because without a sense of respect and belief our support for the dream of number one will erode.

My encouragement to you is to interview the number one person as if they were going to be hired by you. If you do not like the answers they give to questions that are important to you then you probably do not want to join them in their organization even though the position matches all of the things you have dreamed about.