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

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Are You Using the Bible as a Weapon?

This post was inspired by a sermon by David Andersen who is one of the pastors at Vineyard Church in Overland Park, KS. I posted this first at A Community Chaplain.

I have sat through hundreds or maybe thousands of sermons and many were a call to war. We were exhorted to battle with the flesh, battle against the evil ruler of this world, and battle with those of the "world". I sometimes found that some sermons encouraged me to use the Bible as a weapon agains those who have sinned.

Make no mistake about it we as followers of Christ are called to war. We are called to battle our own sinful nature and the temptations this world brings our way. 

BUT... How are we called to use the Bible in this war? Are we to use it in pointing out the sins of others? Are we to use it to beat each other over the head when we have a dispute? The answer to these questions are found, you guessed it, in the pages of the Bible.

How are we called to use the Bible in this war?

2 Timothy 3: 14-17 But don't let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother's milk! There's nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.

Notice: These verses focus on using the word for showing US the truth, exposing OUR rebellion, correcting OUR mistakes, training US to live God's way.

Are we to use it in pointing out the sins of others?  Over and over again we are told in the New Testament to encourage one another. If you look at the times God rebuked people for their sins they were followers of His. In most cases He used those people to show the ones who were not His followers how to live and how to take correction. He did not call us to go up to someone who was outside of our fellowship and point out their sin to them. Within the fellowship we do have a responsibility to do that but only after we have considered our own sins and weaknesses. 

Matthew 7: 1-5 "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor. 

 6 "Don't be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don't reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you're only being cute and inviting sacrilege.

Are we to use it to beat each other over the head when we have a dispute?  

Matthew 5: 23-24 "This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.

Matthew 18:  15-17 "If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you've made a friend. If he won't listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won't listen, tell the church. If he won't listen to the church, you'll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God's forgiving love.

In Ephesians 6 it is clearly pointed out that we are in a war but it is not against flesh and blood. 

Ephesians 6: 10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

Look people are going to be people and they will at some point do something to hurt you and break your trust. If you say you forgive them but use the Bible to beat them over the head even when they have come to their senses and apologized you condemn yourself by the very Word. It is especially important that we reconcile with those who have taken the steps to correct a wrong they have done. If we do not then it is like our prayers and our offerings are stuck on the offering waiting for us to make the move towards reconciliation.

Most often what keeps us from making that step is PRIDE. We would first have to admit we may have also contributed to the problem and second acknowledge we have sin in our life as well. Pride keeps us from doing both of those things.

In March of 2010 I hurt another person, their ministry and those who followed that person. I had to acknowledge what I did and I had to admit I have sin in my life. I then had to apologize and seek forgiveness. It was not an easy thing for me to do but I knew if I did not I would be like Israel and be sitting outside of the Holy of Holies and access to God's Mercy Seat. 

Consider for a moment a person in your present or past that either has something against you or that you have used the Bible as a weapon to point out their sin. Let the Holy Spirit convict you of your part and then take the step to overcome your PRIDE and move toward reconciliation. Now as Dr. Laura would often say, "Go do the right thing".

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Am Who I Am

This was originally posted at "A Community Chaplain"

I wrote this on my facebook page: I am who I am and God is willing to work with that. He does not expect me to be perfect but to seek His perfection. There is a big difference in the two. The first is not possible but the second is a continual process.

What keeps a lot of people from attending church is a preception that those already attending are sinless or nearly sinless. It is true we are to be pursuing a life without sin but the truth is we will never actually reach that destination in this life. My vision is of a church where people come as they are warts and wrinkles and all. I do not mean they come content with who they are but real about who they are and what baggage they carry.

Let me break down the above statement.

I am who I am. I am not sure what your age is but during the course of your life you have become a certain personality and you have certain wounds and yes sin in your life. You are who you are.

God is willing to work with that. Believe it or not God is pursuing you just as you are. He is not waiting for you to clean yourself up because if He did that it would never happen. Let's be honest with ourselves we are a mess and well we have things hiding in our closets we do not want anyone to know about. The true is God already knows and He still wants to have a relationship with YOU. 

Romans 5: 6-8 (The Message) Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

He does not expect me to be perfect but to seek His perfection. A lot of energy could be put into what really counts if we could only accept what God knows about us and that is we can never be perfect. What God does expect us to do is to hunger for righteousness.

Matthew 5:6 (New International Version) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

The first is not possible but the second is a continual process.

I do not care who you are or how much Biblical knowledge you have you will never reach the goal of perfection as a human being apart from the full measure of God's Holy Spirit. 

2 Peter 3: 18 Instead, continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Messiah. Glory belongs to him both now and on that eternal day! Amen.

Growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus is a life long process and God is willing to work with who we are until the day He changes us completely.

Until then I will admit "I am who I am" and I am thankful that "God is willing to work with that".

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Are You Managing or Killing It?

Last night the leader of a men's group asked this question, "Are you managing your sin or are you killing it?"

Before we can answer that question we first have to define sin. In the world we live in today each of us might have a different definition of what sin is. For some of us it is the violation of the 10 Commandments and for others it is the violation of the church's teachings. What I hope to do by giving you a definition is to give you a clear one found in the Bible.

Sin: 1 John 5:17 (King James Version) 17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

Let's define Unrighteousness

1. not righteous; not upright or virtuous; wicked; sinful; evil: an unrighteous king. 
2. not in accordance with right or justice; unfair or unjust: an unrighteous law.

Here is the BAD news / GOOD news: Romans 3:10 (The Message)

We're All in the Same Sinking Boat
 9-20 So where does that put us? Do we Jews get a better break than the others? Not really. Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it: There's nobody living right, not even one, nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God. They've all taken the wrong turn; they've all wandered down blind alleys. No one's living right; I can't find a single one. Their throats are gaping graves, their tongues slick as mudslides. Every word they speak is tinged with poison. They open their mouths and pollute the air. They race for the honor of sinner-of-the-year, litter the land with heartbreak and ruin, Don't know the first thing about living with others. They never give God the time of day. This makes it clear, doesn't it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! And it's clear enough, isn't it, that we're sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else? Our involvement with God's revelation doesn't put us right with God. What it does is force us to face our complicity in everyone else's sin.

The BAD News is: "It is clear that this thing about Righteousness is not a "We verses Them" thing. Where it is them or us we are all guilty of being unrighteous."

The GOOD News is: Romans 4:3 (The Message)

Trusting God
1-3 So how do we fit what we know of Abraham, our first father in the faith, into this new way of looking at things? If Abraham, by what he did for God, got God to approve him, he could certainly have taken credit for it. But the story we're given is a God-story, not an Abraham-story. What we read in Scripture is, "Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own."

Abraham became Righteous not on his own merits but by trusting God. We cannot become righteous by managing our sin. We become righteous through trusting God to forgive us of our sins through accepting Jesus' sacrifice for us and then by trusting God to replace our sinful nature with His through the Holy Spirit living in us. Although we will never in this life reach perfection in righteousness we can kill the control sin has over us. 

So again the question for each of us is: "Am I trying to manage my sin or am I killing it?" Another way of putting it would be: "Am I living through my own strength or am I living through Faith?"

The BAD News / GOOD News is: You managing your sin is Wrong (SIN) and You trusting in God to Kill your sin is Right (RIGHTEOUS).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Other Blog - A Community Chaplain

I have written a couple of posts at my other blog ( A Community Chaplain ) I would like for you to read:

A Vision for a New Church


Can You be a Christian and not Attend Church?


Please come back and leave a comment if I stirred anything in you. Here are some comments I have received at BlogCatalog.com:

1. heartfelt and honest.

2. The layout is nice and simple. It is easy to read and i'm sure you will get alot of visitors and the visitors will be attracted to stay. Keep writing original and traffic will come original 

3. I think it's good, whatever one believes or doesn't believe, to be around people who are warm and encouraging and full of a positive energy for life. If a church provides this kind of nourishing atmosphere, then it is certainly a worthwhile place to be.

4. Well-written and non-judgmental, which goes a LONG way in my mind. I personally believe 'church' is a meeting of any two or more people honestly examining their belief systems together. So church can be at a coffee house, over happy hour, while taking a walk, etc. Just my two cents.

5. I read your two most recent articles. IMO both were well written, honest and may inspire those who are now or who wish to become followers of Jesus to remain true to his teachings as recounted in the New Testament writings. You have quite rightly pointed out that "the church" is either an organization, or institution nor is it a building - the church constituted by the followers of Jesus. I think that's a very important clarification for both unbelievers and believers alike to recognize. MO this is also an important statement you made because it rings with the truth: "You can be a Christian and not attend church. " In fact many Christians I know do live in the bush and rarely get opportunities when the weather is good enough for them to travel to meet and worship together.

6. Your blog is a matter of opinion. Pure speculation, nothing more nothing less. Blogs like this sometimes give Christianity a bad rap, by being "too preachy," "over zealous," and even "one sided." If you really want to encourage people, show them how church is a positive influence. Show them through your words, and not through your "worthless" opinion. And opinions, are worthless......, we don't know you. So therefore- why do you expect us to take your word for something. Get my meaning?

I don't like to sugar coat things. I can see how sincere you are, and I'm sure you would really like to do God's work here. Am I right? So I ask you Kansas man, you want the truth, or just smoke blown up your arse? 

I'm going with the truth.
Hope this helps you in your quest.

7. I read your post and it comes over as well-intentioned. I have also visited your other blog a number of times and left several comments and you come over as genuine and sincere.

I don't go to a Christian-based Church and don't consider myself any sort of a devout Christian. I was raised a Catholic and never experienced one iota of real love or acceptance in their fancy churches. All I found were abusive priests and hypocritical people who attended church a lot but only cared about themselves.

However, I do have God in my life and do my best to live with dignity and to help others. 
I am a recovered alcoholic and do a significant amount of unpaid work with still suffering alcoholics, including prison visiting, a shift on a helpline and one-to-one work in a womens refuge. I can be called out ar 3am in the morning, and I go. This is love in action and surely what Jesus Christ preached?. 

My husband works as a volunteer street pastor in a nearby town on a Saturday night - offering help to young people who are drunk and vulnerable.

He goes into category A prisons as a secular chaplain and listens without judgement to prisoners.

I found God when I found a 12 step programme, I meet with others and we make a committment to go to any lengths to help those who still suffer, we accept responsibility.

I never saw any of this sort of love in action in Church. People need a square meal and a bed for the night before they need a bible.

So Larry, I would be interested to read more about how you put your Christian faith into action in your communities, what you do to help the disenfranchised, the disillusioned and the lost. 

Smiles and blessings

8. Larry: Please do, and I shall keep visiting 'Real Men Rock' even though I am a woman, at least today I am not one that is swaying  

I applaud your sentiment - a church is about a gathering of people with a shared set of values getting into action to offer help and love to those who feel they are unlovable.

Smiles and blessings.

Thanks for any comments you might have.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Abandoned and Alone

This post was inspired by a men's group I attended last night. We talked about Ruth 3 and as we talked I could identify some of what Ruth must have felt.

Have you ever felt completely alone or experienced the fear of being abandoned?

I have. I know the feelings associated with being afraid of being abandoned and I know how it feels to lay in bed at night or spending your waking hours feeling completely alone. Even when I became a Christian I had moments where I was fearful of being abandoned and a lone.

When I was two and a half my mom left me, my brother and sister and she left us alone. For years after she left I would experience the fear that my dad would leave and never return. When I experienced abandonment at age 24 and again at age 34 these feelings resurfaced. These three events in my life have caused deep wounds within me and with it a fear of being alone and abandoned. 

A year or so ago a friend of mine was off and on in the hospital. Some of the reasons he was in the hospital were the results of his own actions and attitude. On one such visit he suddenly died. He died alone. That day all of the feelings I felt about being alone and abandoned came to the surface. I remember breaking down in tears but I also remember the Holy Spirit gently assuring me that my friend did not die totally alone. On the day my friend died I was healed of my fear of being alone and abandoned.

I am comforted that I do not have to fear being abandoned or alone every time I read Hebrews 13: 5-6 Don't be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, "I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you," we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I'm fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me? (The Message)

The first song in my playlist "Stand by Me" reminds me that there are people who are still suffering from the fear of being alone and abandoned. They need someone to stand by them in their struggles. They fear being abandoned because they struggle with alcoholism, drug addiction, pornography and a host of other life controlling habits. The rest of the play list reminds me that God promised never to leave or forsake us.

I encourage you to stand by your friends just as God stands by us. You may just be the person who the Holy Spirit uses to release that person from the bondage of fear.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Are You Settling In Haran?

Genesis 11: 31 "And Terah took Abram his son, Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife, and they went forth together to go from Ur of the Caldees into the land of Canaan; but when they came to Haran, they settled there".

From this passage I take it that the actually place Terah was to go was the land of Canaan but for some reason he stopped and settled in Haran.

He may have found the fertile area of Haran more desirable than continuing on to Canann. He may have encountered difficulties that seemed too great to continue the trip. 

I believe often in our lives we too seem to do what Terah did and quit moving toward our goal. We instead "settle" for what we have instead of pursuing our dream.

I believe that God has placed in you a dream. This dream has it's foundation in the experiences you have had and talents that you have been given. Often this dream gets covered with the dust from negative experiences or failed expectations. It could be wounds that have come from actions of people in your life or it could be addictions you have developed to cover the wounds of life.

When I watch movies or real life stories that are about people touching the lives of those in need I often feel a stirring in my heart. I believe this stirring is God's Holy Spirit letting me know that I am made to pursue my dream of fulfilling the mission He has given to me. REAL Men RoCK is part of that calling. I write here about those things I have experienced and how God has provided for the wounds of my life. Another part of that dream He has given me is to follow Jesus in preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God, proclaim release to the captives, to set free the downtrodden and proclaim the "Favorable Year of the Lord" (Luke 4: 18-19).

Do you experience those stirrings? What is it that causes you to come alive? If you can identify those moments then I encourage you to write them down. Ask God to show you just what it means and for Him to reveal what it is He wants you to do with those stirrings.

I want to recommend two books that might help you as you discover your dream.

1. "The Dream Giver" by Bruce Wilkinson

2. "Never Give UP!" by Joyce Meyer

John Eldredge says this in his book, "Dare to Desire": "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

So what is it that "Makes you come alive?" You will know it because it stirs your heart. Don't settle for what you have but Come alive!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Speak Life

I found the following story at Crystal Reflections but I have added a little to it.

Frog Story

A group of frogs were traveling through the woods and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out.

When he got out, the other frogs said, "Did you not hear us?" The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

This story teaches several lessons:

1. There is power of life and death in the tongue.

An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day.

A destructive word to someone who is down can be what it takes to kill them. Be careful of what you say.

2. Speak life to those who cross your path.

The power of words....it is sometimes hard to understand that an encouraging word can go such a long way. Anyone can speak words that tend to rob another of the spirit to continue in difficult times.

3. You can choose to listen to those who speak death or to those who speak life.

4. You can choose to be the one who speaks death or the one who speaks life.

Special is the individual who will take the time to encourage another.

Be special to others.

I think there is one final lesson to this story:  Act as if you are deaf to those who speak words of discouragement but come to life to those who speak words of encouragement.

1 Thessalonians 5: 11
So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you're already doing this; just keep on doing it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Moving Experience

     Several years ago I received a call from some one I attended church with. They asked me if our men's ministry helped people move. I answered no but let me see what I could do. I called around and got a few volunteers and we moved them. Now 30 some moves and six years later I want to share why some one who hates to move would help over 30 individuals move.
     After that first move I remember the fun I had with the other guys as we loaded the truck. We talked as we did the task and shared simple life stories with each other. After the move was done I remember the person we helped tell us how much stress it took off of her to know she had men showing up to help her move. It seemed every time we helped some one something marvelous happened between the men who moved the stuff and in the person's life that we were moving.
     Most of the people we helped were attended the church we went to but every now and then we would get a request from some one other than church members. Once I got a call from a church member to let me know they had read a post at CraigsList about a person needing moving help.
     I checked into it and found the woman had had several men offer to help but that they would expect some special favors from her before they would help. When I contacted her she asked what I was going to expect from her and she was shocked when I informed her that all she had to do was sit back and watch. She shared with me how she and her parents were physically unable to load anything and how her parents had given up on finding any honest and decent men to help.
     As we loaded the truck her two girls, ages 8 and 11, watched us. After a while they began to talk with us and shared with us how out of all of the people who had ever helped them they liked us most. The 11 year old shared how much fun we were having and that we seemed to actually care about them. It was at that moment I realized that what God had set up was one of those events where what was taking place here on earth was arranged by Him.
     On another move the reason we were doing it became clear as one of the guys who helped with moving the party told me how important that day had been to him.
     Let me be very clear I hate moving. My wife and I have been married for 24 years and up to six years ago we were moving every two years. But...I really enjoy these Moving Experiences. I enjoy rubbing shoulders with other men, talking with them, sharing our hopes and dream, sharing our disappointments and failures, and watching the stress drain from the faces of people dreading the move.
     Why do I do these moves? The answer is found in 1 Thessalonians 5: 11 So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you're already doing this; just keep on doing it.
     Bringing encouragement to another person does not require you to spend a morning or day moving them. It could be as simple as paying for their coffee, milk shake or changing their tire. I encourage you to take a moment and give some one encouragement even if it is only giving them a smile.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

So You Have Been Hurt!

So now what do you do with the pain?

Here are a few suggestions:
1. You could do as a recent country song sings about, pray for the person. Pray that they have a flat tire while on the way to an important meeting. Pray that their dreams become a reality for someone else. Pray that they get what they deserve. OR
2. You could say you forgive them but then refuse to meet with them because they haven't built trust with you again. OR
3. You could do what Jesus did as He hung on the cross. It is found in Luke 23 verse 34 Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them; they don't know what they're doing."
I was convicted today by the sermon given by David Andersen at Vineyard Church in Overland Park, KS. and it is what has inspired this post. Some of the material comes from, "Total Forgiveness" by R.T. Kendall
In today's sermon David spoke about our enemies in life. Those we chose to have and those who chose to have us as an enemy. In both cases we can choose to do what Jesus taught in Matthew 5: 43-48 "You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. 

 48"In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you."
First, we have to establish some ground rules:

Forgiveness is not:

  1. Approval of what they did.

  2. Excusing what they did.

  3. Justifying what they did.

  4. Pardoning what they did.

  5. Reconciliation. Although this is something that in most cases should take place.

  6. Denying what they did.

  7. Blindness to what they did.

  8. Forgetting what they did.

  9. Refusing to take what they did seriously.

10. Pretending that we are not hurt.

Nothing will be achieved by doing the above. The wounds of being hurt will still be there and each time you see, think about or hear about the person those wounds will reopen.

From "Total Forgiveness"

"Just as God forgives people without approving of their sin, we also must learn that forgiving people does not imply an endorsement of their evil deeds.

"Totally Forgiving someone is a choice. It is not a feeling--but is rather an act of the will."

"Relinquishing bitterness is an open invitation for the Holy Spirit to give you His peace, His joy and the knowledge of His will"

Total Forgiveness involves an element beyond just saying we forgive the other person: it involves praying for God's blessings to rain on the lives of your offender."

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

So you have been hurt! Someone reading this has had people betray them, some have had people who misused or abused them, someone may have been raped, and I could go on and on. 

The wounds you have and the pain you feel are very real. The actions taken against you were wrong.

So what do you do with the pain? How do you heal the wound? How do you trust again? 

There is only one way to not be under the control of what someone else has done to you and that is lay it at the feet of Jesus and let Him handle any punishment that should be handed out. Then get up and ask the Holy Spirit to come and comfort you in the pain and to heal your wound. Once you do this you will no longer be controlled by the actions of someone else. Then do the radical thing and ask God to rain down His blessings on the person.

Earlier I mentioned that in most cases we should seek reconciliation. I do not recommend that in cases of rape, murder or any other violent actions against you or anyone close to you. But in cases that do not involve violence it may be very appropriate and pleasing to God for us to accept the other person's invitation to reconcile. That does not mean we will be best buddies with them but it does mean we will work side by side in the name of Jesus Christ in Kingdom work.

So you have been hurt! Now what are you going to do about it?

Here is the truth: "No matter what you decide God is going to love you and the other party."

Friday, August 6, 2010

Are You Frustrated and Ready to Give UP?

There have been days when I am so frustrated with the events in my life I feel like just withdrawing from continuing the battles. I do not mean taking my life but just wanting to quit trying to move forward with my dreams and the desires of my heart.

Then I see videos such as this one. 

God is always faithful and He promises to never leave or forsake you. Hebrews 13: 5-6 Don't be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, "I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you," we can boldly quote, "God is there, ready to help; I'm fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?" (Message)

Hebrews 13: 5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU," (New American Standard)

Earlier in Hebrews Paul tells us to run the race with endurance: Hebrews 12: 1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

Videos like the one above remind me that when the journey gets tough Jesus is right there ready to help me to the finish line. All I have to do is call upon the Holy Spirit and like the dad in the video He will help me as I move forward.

If you are struggling today with the fact that you are struggling then I encourage you to ask God to show you the truth about whose you are. Once you understand that you belong to Him and that He will not forsake or leave you then you will, with the Father's help do as the young man in this video did, finish the race.

I hope that you found the same encouragement in the above video as I did. I may not finish first but I will finish!

Here is one more video for you to listen to with your eyes closed and your mind open.

as Sung by: Michael W. Smith
Mentioned on the video - written by: Lana Holt

He accepts you at your worst,
when he is hoping for the best.

Jesus loves you.
Jesus loves you.

He will never ever leave
and he will never ever forsake.

Jesus loves you.
Jesus loves you.

He is proud of who you are
and he has faith in who you’ll become.

He’s not like us.
He loves you just because.

He’s not like us.
He loves you just because.

And brokenhearted,
do you want your healing?
Oh trust again there is love in his right hand.

And brokenhearted,
do you want your healing?
Oh trust again there is love in his right hand.

He believes that dreams are true
and what a plan he has for you.

And Jesus loves you.
And Jesus loves you.

When you want to walk away,
he is asking you to stay.

Jesus loves you.
Jesus loves you.

You will never be alone,
he’s made your heart his loving home.

He’s not like us.
He loves you just because.

He’s not like us.
He loves you just because.

And brokenhearted,
do you want your healing?
Oh trust again there is love in his right hand.

And brokenhearted,
do you want your healing?
Oh trust again there is love in his right hand.

Oh trust again there is love in his right hand.

do you want your healing?
Oh trust again there is love in his right hand.

do you want your healing?
Oh trust again there is love in his right hand.

Oh yeah, yeah, there is love in his right hand.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

You Are the Way You Are for a Reason

Are you struggling with some life controlling issue, failure, illness, disability,  sin or a sin committed against you? Have you tried to overcome and seem to fall into the same rut? Have you had prayer for your situation and still do not see any improvement? Are you frustrated or even angry with God?

If you answered YES! to any of the above then I hope this post will give you encouragement and the Holy Spirit will comfort you as you read it. What I am going to share will at first seem so crazy that you will not want to accept it. All I ask is for you to consider what I share and let God speak to you about it.

We are told in the following two scriptures that God knew us before we were even born. From these scriptures I believe it would points out that God knew what we would face in our lives and He knew where we would be in our journey at this very moment. He even knew that you would read this post today.

Isaiah 44:2a I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born.

Psalm 139: 16 but with your own eyes you saw my body being formed. Even before I was born, you had written in your book everything I would do.

So if God knew you would be struggling with whatever issue you have He must have a purpose for allowing it to be in your life. I believe that the reason for where you are right now can be found in following poem by Russell Kelfer:

You are who you are for a reason. You're part of an intricate plan. You're a precious and perfect unique design, Called God's special woman or man.

You look like you look for a reason. Our God made no mistake. He knit you together within the womb, You're just what he wanted to make.

The parents you had were the ones he chose, And no matter how you may feel, They were custom-designed with God's plan in mind, And they bear the Master's seal.

No, that trauma you faced was not easy. And God wept that it hurt you so; But it was allowed to shape your heart So that into his likeness you'd grow.

You are who you are for a reason, You've been formed by the Master's rod. You are who you are, beloved, Because there is a God!

If you have been hurt by others then God has a reason for allowing it to happen. You understand more than one who has not been hurt by others how it makes you feel. It is you who can be the instrument of God's peace to another who has been hurt.

If you are struggling with lust or tend to view pornography God allowed it to happen. You understand more than one who has never had that struggle what it is like to deal with it daily. It is you who can be the instrument to a man or woman struggling with lust or porn.

You see God allows stuff to happen to us so that when we accept Him as our savior He can use us to touch the lives of other people who are struggling with the very thing we had to struggle with.

As crazy as it sounds we need to rejoice in the struggles we have had because they help us to be better able to bring glory to our Creator as we help those who are struggling around us.

James 1:2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

This post was inspired by Rick Warren's book, "Purpose Driven Life".

So what do you do now?

1. Admit your situation and share it with someone you trust.

2. Continue to pray and get prayer for it.

3. Use what you have learned to help others.

4. Make yourself available for service.

5. Rejoice and Do Not Give UP!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Friend Loves at all Times

A friend placed this on his FaceBook wall. I believe this demonstrates my idea of Accountability better than any words I can share.

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

A true accountability partner will help you back on your feet and follow you as you struggle in your battles.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Breaking the Chains

First I want to share that I wrote a new post at A Community Chaplain  about 180 days of waiting and I hope you will go and read my first post about that subject which was written February 3, 2010.

The following post was inspired by a sermon by Mark Warner, Lead Pastor at Vineyard Church in Overland Park, KS.

Do you feel like you are bound by chains? Chains of greed, being a workaholic, pornography, lust, anger, drugs, alcohol, or any other thing that keeps you locked up. 

Are you managing your sin? If you are it will eventually come back and be even stronger. 

I am going to show you through this post that you can break the chains that have you bound to some addiction.

The keys are not found in some self-help book although there are many good books that can help you manage your sin.

I believe one of the things God is calling me to do is found in Luke 4 which Jesus quoted about Himself but I believe it is also a calling for His followers.

Luke 4:18 (New Living Translation) 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free,

During the 180 days  of not being involved in a leadership role I learned that my most important calling is to help men discover they can be free of those things that keep them bound.

I claim the following scripture in my life and I claim it for any man who desires to break the chains that have them bound.

Galatians 5:1 (The Message) The Life of Freedom
1 Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.

Here is my role in you being set free: I am here to encourage you and point you to the one who will set you free, Jesus.

John 8:36 (New American Standard Bible)  36"So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

How refreshing it is to know that I am not the one who will lead you to freedom. The reason that is refreshing is I am just as likely as you are to fall into relapse but Jesus is our perfect example. It is He that will live in us through the Holy Spirit and help us gain freedom by breaking the chains that bind us.

 If you want to hear more about breaking free I encourage you to listen to the sermon, "Hope for the Sexually Broken", by Mark Warner, Lead Pastor at Vineyard Church in Overland Park, KS.

I you are struggling with something that is keeping you in chains I believe God can and will break those chains. Here is what you must do:

1. Admit you are bound.

2. Lay it before God.

3. Get into His Word and pray.

4. Seek an accountability ( or what I call an Encouraging ) Partner.

5. Realize it will not be a quick fix but a process.

6. Thank God for breaking each link as you journey along the road.

7. Use what God does for you by serving another guy who is struggling with being chained. 

Galatians 5:1 (The Message) The Life of Freedom
1 Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.

John 8:36 (New American Standard Bible)  36"So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Begin to live the life of freedom found in Grace of Jesus Christ.

Amazing Grace from Northeast Christian Church on Vimeo.