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Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

Having The Tough Conversation

difficult conversationLet’s face it; we all experience this from time to time. That elephant in the room that everyone’s aware of, but no one wants to talk about. It could be the conversation you need to have with your parents, or with your child or spouse. It could be the talk that needs to happen between you and an employee or coworker.  Whether it’s the big elephant or a bunch of small stuff that’s been swept under the rug for years… either way it’s encroaching on, and diminishing the intimacy and authenticity of your relationship.

So why are these very necessary conversations so hard to have? It’s our FEAR OF PAIN. Come on, nobody likes pain. Given the choice, we all choose comfort over confrontation. The very thought of having the conversation produces anxiety in us because our fear is, “this is not going to go well or end well”. That thought process is true for all of us, but that entire process happens in our head, and gets all twisted up with the worst possible outcome, which produces more anxiety. Mark twain said, “I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened”.

My experience is this, while they are difficult to have, the positive outcomes to these conversations far outweigh the rare negative ones. I can still remember getting the phone call from Kirsten saying, “We need to talk, I’m coming to pick you up”. GULP! I didn’t know what it was about, but I knew it couldn’t be good. I remember this sick feeling in my stomach waiting for her to arrive. I’ll save the details for another post, but suffice it to say, it was one of the toughest conversations of my life, but in the months following that conversation our relationship soared to new heights because of it.

Avoidance is the best short-term strategy to ensure long-term misery. Muster the courage, lay down the negative thoughts, and go have the conversation. Freedom is on the other end.

One Strategic Move to Getting Unstuck

Getting UnstuckIf you’ve been married a couple years or more and you are willing to be brutally honest, your marriage is probably mediocre at best. I apologize for starting out so bluntly, but stick with me for a minute. The first part in making it better is identifying and admitting where you are. The other issue is you aren’t sure how it got that way… it happened so subtlety. You woke up one day and realized it wasn’t great.

You want to know what happened? You stopped pursuing your spouse. It’s that simple… and hard. Men, when you were dating you’d talk for hours on the phone, you’d go to the chick flicks, you’d drive hours to spend 15 minutes with the one you love. You pursued her! But once you “got” her… you stopped. Granted there may be a lot of scars, anger and disappointment present today, but those are by-products of not pursuing your wife.

Another trap we get into is surveying the landscape and comparing our marriage to those around us. Come on! With a 50% divorce rate, if you are still together you are doing a lot better than those around you, aren’t you? The problem with the married couples you’re comparing to is that their marriage is mediocre too.

Pick any area of your life and ask yourself this question, “Can I neglect that area, not work at it, and see growth or success over a long period of time?” The answer is absolutely positively NO! Yet couples say, “why don’t we have a good marriage?” When for years they have been neglecting it. Consider your body; don’t eat right and don’t exercise and your heath is going to decline. Don’t manage your workplace, don’t plan ahead and your business will decline. Take your yard for example; don’t cut, fertilize or water it for just one year and you will have a mess. Over a long period of time you will only see deterioration!

Here is the hardest part… you don’t know what to do to make it any better. TO GET WHAT YOU ONCE HAD, YOU MUST DO WHAT YOU ONCE DID. Period. Own it! This one strategic move, consistently practiced, will propel you out of mediocrity.

How do I know this will work? Eight years ago my marriage was shattered. With bitterness, resentment, anger and the works, I began to love, cherish and serve my wife without expecting anything in return. I began to do what I’d done at the beginning of our relationship. Was it a quick fix? No. Was it hard work at times? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes! Yes! Yes! Love never fails. Today Kirsten and I are best friends, we enjoy each other’s company… we actually like one another :0) Get started today! You can do this!

It’s Your Timing That’s Off!

looking at watch2Check out this awesome promise given to the Israelites as God tells them about their promised land.

Exodus 23:25-30 Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span. “I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.

To think that a blessing from God (Him basically wiping out all your enemies… literally clearing them from the land) to think that could be a negative thing… even a harmful thing is a bit shocking isn’t it. Me personally, the way I’m wired says, “lets get this done!” But look at the wisdom in verse 29 But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. God knew exactly what to do, how to do it and when. His timing is perfect. The other interesting this is that He knew they needed to increase, they needed to change to make this successful as well.

God has made so many promises to each of us, but a lot of times it feels like His timing is a little off doesn’t it. Guess what I’m reminded of today. His timing is perfect. My wisdom is laughable to Him and I just might need to increase.

God Hurry Help!

God Hurry Help

Everyone has something going on in their lives. There is at least one area of your life where there is some kind of adversity or obstacle or resistance.  If that’s not true, give it a day or two.

James tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials… but come on… no one enjoys Resistance and Obstacles and Adversity…

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Most of you will agree with me that God will use your current circumstances for your good. Regardless of how you got there, God can use it for your good. Whether someone did something to you or you made a bad decision that got you there… whatever the reason, right?! We have all made bad decisions that got us into a pickle… We can look back and say “Yep I did that.”

What I’d like you to consider is this: What if… God is responsible for, or has allowed, your current circumstances… I want to let that sink in for just a minute… What if… What if God has orchestrated events in your life that have directed you into a not so good place…

Some of you right now are beginning to think “God is good… why would He do that?” well stick with me. Would you just consider with me that the adversity you’re facing is God’s doing… for your good.

Here’s what I know to be true, Muscles only grow by experiencing resistance. Faith grows the same way… you can spend years studying, but if you never get to apply your learning your just book smart…

OK So all that to say, there is a strength that comes from adversity.

God has created each and every man to have Impact and Influence. He created you a certain way… He wired you a particular way, and He has created and allowed circumstances and adversity to help mold you, and form you, and mature you into that very thing. AHA! I’m starting to understand James a little better now!

The following is a familiar story but it’s right inline with what we’re talking about.

A man finds a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther.

Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we could never fly.

Here is an interesting thought… If God really IS orchestrating some adversity in your life to help you grow into the man He has created you to be. He has got to be saying “Bless your heart” when He hears you praying prayers that sound like this:

God hurry help
God get me out of this
God make a way
God rescue me
God fix this

So what I want you to consider is this. Take your current situation, your current season, take that thing that you’ve been praying to God for His help to break or release or rescue. Come on… Let’s get real honest for a minute… what is it? is it a financial hardship? is it a heath issue? is it a relational problem? Marriage, children, siblings? Are you going through life lately asking “What the heck is going on?!”
What if… just maybe, this thing you are trying to escape or fix is God’s doing or “allowing” FOR YOUR GOOD!

Jeremiah 29:10-11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

How about Joseph: can anyone relate to Joseph? Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Here is the verse about Joseph (Genesis 39:21)… Really a theme throughout his life that just blows me away.

Genesis 39:21 But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor… WHAT! If you know Josephs story there are plenty of years in his life that didn’t look very kind or favor filled! Here are four things Joseph knew to be true:
1. God is in control;
2. God is at work even when it doesn’t seem obvious;
3. God’s work in our lives is complex and multifaceted; and
4. Even if everything is against us, God is for us.

Let me give you a personal example. In 2005 my wife and I were separated for 11 months and 14 days. She left for a lot of reasons but most importantly was the fact that I was not providing for my family the way I should have been.

What I was trying to do, and praying for God’s help to do, right up to the time she left was trying to save or prolong what had become a very dysfunctional relationship. We weren’t friends, we had grown apart, etc. I’m praying “God fix us”, “God help this business I’m trying to start to prosper” and He won’t… He didn’t… and today I am so very grateful he didn’t… You see I, and if your honest, most of you; we all want the easiest, quickest way out of painful situations and circumstances. All God had to do was answer a prayer or two I had prayed… Simply allow a few prospects to become customers… to me at that moment that’s what needed to happen… that would have fixed things.

The truth is, that would have prolonged things and the existing relationship… but come on, that’s a whole lot better than separation or divorce right… or so I thought. You see, I had one perspective (God help fix this spot I’m in) and God has His perspective… His is always better by the way. His perspective was this; I don’t just want to prevent separation or divorce, I want your relationship to thrive! I want you and Kirsten to both become more healed and whole so that you can love one another again… so you can like one another again… so you can be a help to each other and foster love to each other, your children and others. In addition to all that I want the Glory! I want you and those around you to have no other explanation… But God.

You want to know the problem with His perspective? To accomplish it, His plan involved almost a year of separation, His plan involved a time out of sorts to do some needed work in our hearts. His plan involved pain. His plan involved me having to learn and grow and change. His plan involved some hard work. His plan involved sacrifice.

All that to say, today looking back, I have proof if you will that God was much more than a bystander or someone to “help me out”. He orchestrated some things… even some hard things… all for my good

God is in this! Remember Genesis 39:21 “But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor…” well the Lord is with Michael and He is extending kindness to me, and giving me favor… AND the same is true for every one of you! The Lord is with you, He is extending Kindness to you and showing you favor.

Can you just for a minute begin to look at your situation, your circumstance, your dilemma in a new way. In a way that has God in control and responsible, to see you though… to show you kindness and favor? I hope so!

You have questions and doubts, but God doesn’t. You have fears and struggles, but God doesn’t. Walk like that. Talk like that. Lead like that.

Have You Ever Been In A Funk?

In A FunkIf we’re honest, we have all been in a funk from time to time. We’ll I’ve been in one for about 10 months. Some of you are saying “Really?” and others of you are saying it’s about time you admitted it… or got over it. A little while back I told a friend that I felt a million miles away from where I was a year ago. A year ago I had this passion oozing out of me. I was getting ready to pastor a church… to love on and do life with a group of people I had grown to love deeply. And not only was this my hearts desire, it is something God had told me would be so years before. And rather miraculously He was making it so without any pushing or manipulating from me.

Well, all of the momentum God had created to divinely fulfill the desire of my heart and launch me into this new season came to a sudden stop… and I was heartbroken. I’m telling you my eyes leaked for weeks just thinking about it, and then God did something; He healed this hurt place in my heart. He helped me understand this was a good change, one He orchestrated. And while I felt better, I’m telling you I was in a different place. That passion I mentioned before was gone and while I can tell you I don’t believe I was ever bitter, I was different… Empty is the best word I can think of to describe it.

Based on some needs of my family we begin looking for a new church home and we attended some great churches, but I’m telling you this guy who had come to love the Bride of Christ was now wondering at times if She was even relevant. I asked myself questions like, “If my children were all grown… would I go?” I’m telling you I just felt hollow… for the first time since meeting Christ a dozen years ago I wasn’t even sure where I fit in the body of Christ.

I have had a zeal for ministry to men for a dozen years. It is something that just burned in my chest. I’ve blown it in so many ways men can blow it. Absentee father, Unfaithful husband, Workaholic, Horrible provider, Pornography addition and then some… So much so that I can relate to just about every man. And God has redeemed and restored and rescued me. He has given me beauty for ashes in so very many areas of my life. He’s done so not only because He loves me but also for me to be a messenger of hope to others. With that said, I believe the honesty and transparency of these blog posts can be helpful to men, but I haven’t posted a thing for a long while because I didn’t think I had a relevant thing to say…

I had gotten trapped evaluating my past and present trying to determine my future.

Gideon is a great example of this. Check this out; Judges 6:13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

Ever felt like that? “If the Lord is with me… Where is He?” “But now He has abandoned us” Our prayers feel like they are hitting the ceiling… God isn’t speaking to us like He once did… I think we’ve all been there at one time or another.

I don’t have a magic bullet for you today… I wish I did. So I’m just going to outline some of the mistakes I made leading into, and while in this “funk” to communicate what God is teaching me in hopes that I will come to know it more deeply, and that it might be a help to someone else today or in the future.

Mistake Number 1: Isolation

I know, I know, everyone would say that’s a no brainer but I’m telling you I’m more insulated than most men I know from being able to isolate and yet this past year I was able to pull back without any sirens going off. No I didn’t go “dark” but I’m a little afraid oh how easy that might be to do. Long story short; you can be surrounded by people and still be alone.

Mistake Number 2: Filling in the blanks

I believe many of us here have had the pleasure to hear God speak to us personally… In so many different forms. Through His word, a vision or dream, From Him directly, a prophetic word. Through our spouse or children. So many ways. I cherish those times… I write them down and put them in my journal. And while sometimes God’s message is a very specific like No. Yes. Go. Stop. Those may not be easy to obey but they are very very clear. Other times it is a lot more vague like “what I’m about to do is so you may preach My Word to those who don’t know Me”. Which leaves a lot of unanswered questions like “ok what are you about to do, how long does “about” take, and what time does this start?”

Well hearing God speak those words to me was awesome but it was like this big blank canvas and those words were barely enough to paint the sky in this new picture. I held on very tightly to those words and this new picture/vision and as the years progressed some things seemed rather obvious to me and I filled in the blanks. I filled in the blanks and created this beautiful picture and I’d stared at it, I memorized it, I prayed over it. But the problem is I painted in a lot of the blanks and my paint dried and became static. Today I understand that God’s economy is a much more fluid picture that continues to grow and change… It’s much less rigid than the ones I/we create. I have confused some of the things God has said as destinations, instead of what I believe them to be today, which are points along the journey.

In that fluidity is the adventure! And every man is wired by God for Adventure

Mistake Number 3: Holding too tightly

God has done some amazing things for me… miraculous things, things I will forever cherish. And in this current season I am just beginning to understand that even holding too tightly to the things of God from the past may restrict His ability to do a new thing in my life today.

Think about that picture I just talked about… what if you have done most of the painting in that picture and God is trying to fulfill His plan for you, and yet you are holding so tightly to that version of your future. It might be grand in your eyes, but I Promise you it is inferior to God’s best. I believe this is the case for me.

And what I’m finding is it takes time to clear away space for a new vision, a new dream, a renewed direction. We can hold so tightly to what God has said that we leave no room for His plan because we have filled in so many of the blanks for Him. Continuing to look at that picture we can get stuck there in a place called “I guess this is as good as it gets” or “I guess maybe I didn’t hear exactly right” or you fill in the blank. But it’s stuck nonetheless.

And in God’s deep love for us He wont let us stay stuck. He repositions us…  and MAN! That’s uncomfortable! When it seems like God is pushing the reset button. When He seems to be doing things that are contrary to what He’s previously said, and not congruent with this beautiful picture we’ve painted.

I am reminding us all today that you were made to be awesome, incredible, and creative… and the enemy’s job is to minimize you. You are suppose to bear fruit… Jesus cursed the fig tree because it was not producing fruit.

Sometimes it’s tempting to back off, resign ourselves to defeat, and live in the shadows when the going gets tough.  Don’t! God has designed an amazing adventure for every one of us. You have potential you have yet to begin to tap, and if your not smack dab in the middle of your adventure today… WHY NOT?

Here’s what it took for me to get some clarity. It took a break with routine – Getting out of the complacency of my day to day. For some that might mean getting away… For some it’s your electronics, you’re so “connected” you’ve forgotten what quiet sounds like. Some of you it could be pushing too hard… Working so hard you are not leaving room for God to move.

If your feeling stuck or a little like me or Gideon. Take a break from your routine; Stop asking the same questions you’ve been asking God and just show up and see what He might say if you give Him a blank canvas. Maybe even inviting Him to push the reset button.

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

When Was The Last Time You Were Truly Happy?

If it takes a while to remember the last time you were truly happy, something needs to change.  You need to invest yourself and your life differently if you are unhappy. Rarely if ever does “life” bring happiness to an unhappy place. Unfortunately, when most of us start to look at what would make us happy, we immediately look for the quick/easy solution. Something needs to change and because our eyes happen to point outward, that’s usually where we focus first… Change my location, job, friends, hobby, spouse, etc.

The truth is most of us are sick. Heartsick. At one level or another each of us has places in our heart that are lonely, disappointed, disillusioned, fearful, angry, anxious and numb. Everyone around us wants change. We look for things that will lessen the negative effects of those places in our heart. We buy products, elect politicians and travel just because they promise us some kind of change. We assume any change is good, but actual experience doesn’t bear that out at all! Change is inevitable: rusting, fading, aging, and other experiences in life are change, and they are not for the better! Change for change’s sake is seldom good.

Good change isn’t accidental. It is intentional. The most lasting change is the type that happens within us, but unfortunately that’s usually the last place we look. Instead of changing locale or career, what comes to mind when you look inward? Would you like to be kinder, more generous, less critical… what is it for you? If you were real honest what’s the one thing that comes to mind?

At the end of Matthew 13:15 (from the Message) Jesus says, “…so they won’t have to deal with me face-to-face and let me heal them.” This just baffles me. A loving God who wants to heal us, and we’d rather put our fingers in our ears and shut our eyes and act like He’s not there… Regardless of why we do it, we all do it at times, and as time moves on, those places in our heart become fortified and hard.

Today I’m asking God to show me the places in my heart that need to be healed. In my experience it’s a prayer He rushes to answer. What do you say? Will you ask Him today?

WOW! Just finished typing the sentence above and answered a phone call. By the time I hung up, I’m aware of an impatience that stems from a selfish place in my heart. God, honor your word and heal me.

17 Habits That Will Change Your Life… Pick One

As we approach the New Year many of us start to think about goals and resolutions. More often than not we have at least a few things we’d like to change. The biggest problem is, sooner than later we don’t keep one or two and we throw in the towel on all of them. For that reason I thought this would be a good time to re-post this.

We all have seasons in our lives where we need a “makeover”. Sometimes it’s when things aren’t going well or our circumstances aren’t the greatest and sometimes we wish there were things about ourselves that were different or better.  The point is when we get to those places in our lives we usually make a list of half a dozen things or more we’d like to change. Things to start doing… things to stop doing, and off we go. For instance, here is a sample list most of us can relate to.

I’m going to:

  • Lose 10 pounds
  • Start  weekly ‘date night’ with my spouse
  • Go to the gym three times a week
  • Read more / watch TV less
  • Spend quality time with my kids
  • Work less

While the list above has some great ideas in it, it’s the list that causes most of us to be unsuccessful. (More on this in a minute) Sooner than later life happens: the boss made me work late on my planned date night so now my spouse is mad and I’m alone in front of the TV at midnight eating donuts thinking what a crazy idea it was to join a gym. That’s a funny scenario but come on… not so far-fetched.

We all have full schedules and an array of demands for our time and attention so trying to change too much too quickly will result in failure most of the time. Here’s the secret. Pick One. Pick one habit you’d like to start or stop. Anything at all but just one, and get started. By all means have a list of things you want to do or stop doing, but attack them one at a time. Everyone has heard the old adage it takes 21 days to make a habit and it’s true. We’ll guess what; do you know how many 21 day periods there are in a year? 17. That’s right 17! Talk about a Makeover! Imagine what you and your relationships will look like in a year. Imagine what you will feel like in a year. I dare you to start today!

BTW In my first 21 day period my habit was to become a more polite driver. No I’m not the guy yelling with the excessive hand gestures… I’m the one he’s yelling at. Like in football there are two kinds of drivers offensive and defensive. I’m an offensive driver; Kirsten just says I’m offensive. Want to know what my second 21 day habit is? Same thing. I’m getting better but not quite there yet. I should have picked something easier to start with. What’s your first habit going to be?

Broken Bones And Your Relationships

Did you know that when a bone breaks and it heals, it becomes strongest at the point that it was broken? That’s amazing to me. You would think that that place would be the most vulnerable in the future, but it really becomes the sturdiest. (I can see God’s fingerprints all over that science!)

Consider for a minute that our “bone” is our relationship, and it’s broken, but not set properly… It heals, but not correctly. In 2005 my wife Kirsten and I were separated for 11 months and 14 days. Kirsten reached a point at which she couldn’t continue. It was my fault, but I won’t go into all the details of “why” but suffice it to say I was not providing for my family the way I should have been, and we had been though many many tough years. At the time I was doing everything I could to try to keep us together… but the truth was I was trying to prolong a relationship that was mediocre at best.

In hindsight I see very clearly that God had a lot to do with the separation. In my mind I had two choices; staying together in a very dysfunctional, mediocre relationship or divorce… My choice was to stay together. God’s perspective was better! (Isn’t it always!) Here is what God knew to be true. Kirsten and my relationship was broken, and it had been for many years… much like a broken bone. Unfortunately we never got the “break” fixed properly. I liken it to a broken arm. Hold your arm out in front of you and now bend it 90 degrees. Imagine you broke your arm and it healed on its own just like that. From now on you couldn’t bend it any more or less from the elbow. It still looks just like an arm, it’s still somewhat functional, you can still tie your shoes, you can still scratch your nose, but you can’t throw your child in air and catch them. It’s ability and usefulness is limited. That was our relationship. It still looked like a marriage, but our level of love and life was very limited.

God’s option was this; He’s going to re-break the arm (our relationship, the separation) and He’s going to do some healing on both ends and then bring it back together and set it properly this time. So that it can be fully functional again!

If a bone becomes strongest at the point that it was broken, and the same is true with our relationships. That means that unless we’ve received the correct and complete healing, we have limited our level of life, love, joy, enjoyment, you name it. Unless we’re willing to do some work, our relationships can only decline.  I’m not suggesting you dig up a bunch of old stuff, but if your marriage isn’t thriving today there is a reason, and it very likely is that your capacity has been limited by a break in the past that was not healed correctly or completely.

So what’s the point I’m trying to make? It’s this, for years I was a peacekeeper in my marriage. Sweep it under the rug, let’s move on etc. and there was a huge obvious bulge under the rug at our house. Do you know the difference between peacekeeping and peacemaking?  Peacekeeping is about avoiding conflict at
any cost.  It’s ultimately a selfish motive because the status quo is desired above all else. Peacemaking understands conflicts can be a healthy stepping-stone to an improved relationship. It seeks time and effort to resolve problems, not ignore them. One leads to relational decline. The other to relational strength. So are you a peacekeeper or peacemaker in your marriage? Give peacemaking a chance.

 

Activating Your Latent Excellence Or Ability

Here are some thoughts from the last Asheville Men’s Breakfast some of you asked for.

The definition of potential is a latent excellence or ability. Each of us has natural potential and supernatural potential. One, we can physically and mentally train to bring out, and the other takes God’s involvement to fulfill.

Judges 6:12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”

You know Gideon’s story… his clan was the weakest in Manasseh, and he was the least in his family. Gideon didn’t think a lot of himself, but the angel was speaking of, and to whom, God created Him to be. A similar thing happened when Jesus renames Peter and begins to talk to, and about Peter, but it’s in the same “future tense”

Matthew 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

This is what Jesus says about the man (Peter) who is about to declare he doesn’t even know Jesus. Jesus knew something about Peter that Peter wasn’t aware of yet.

What would Jesus say about you and your future today?
How would He address you?
What has He said?

There are some of you reading this that haven’t heard, and others who haven’t even considered the possibility. For others of you, God has spoken to you very clearly. He has called you by name, He has shown you purpose, He has prophesied your future and like Peter and Gideon, you are still a little unsure how it could be true.

Our difficulty in walking out Gods calling for our lives is we try to wrap a God size vision and destiny in our aptitude and abilities. God’s supernatural fulfills destiny, not the sweat of our brow! Too many of us are trying to muster, what only God can provide! There is a place for diligence and hard work, but when you try to occupy a space God wants to fill, He won’t. God wants us to believe in who He has created us to be, so much so, that we will walk in it. It’s in our believing, it’s in our walking that releases God’s supernatural.

The woman with the issue of blood believed and power was released. In the same way God speaks, and expects us to obediently walk, and as we do God’s supernatural is released and collides with the potential He wired within us.

We all have natural potential that we’re aware of and that others have noticed. Maybe athletically, musically, artistically, mentally… but there is a reservoir of “potential” that only God’s supernatural will activate.  Our stepping up, and stepping out calls that forward. I can bring a coach alongside me to help call out, and bring forth my natural potential, but I’m talking about something different here. I’m talking about God activating something we can’t.

Ephesians 3:15 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us

You have potential in you that you aren’t aware of. God has places and things in store for you that you will never even imagine.

I see over and over God casting a vision to a man or woman who then wrestles with it, and if the man or woman has the courage to walk it out, God fulfills the vision for His glory. From the beginning to today and into the future. That’s how God operates.

Adam, Eve, Abraham, Noah, Moses, Gideon, Mary, Peter, Paul, Steve, Pam, Tim, Michael, Sam, Karen, Nick, Bill, Insert your name here: ______

Over the past 10 years I have gone through John Eldridge’s Wild At Heart Series with hundreds of men. We’ve done it in weekly small groups, conferences and retreats. There is a section where we ask the men to get alone with God and ask Him what He thinks of them. They ask God, “Who am I, and why am I here?”

Every Single Time, God speaks to some of the men in these groups that day. He gives them a name and in many cases a mission statement. Equally consistent is each man’s reluctance to tell others what God has said to them. WHY? Because in so many cases we are just like Gideon and Peter… we look like the exact opposite of what was said. “If I admit what God says about me it might cause people to laugh or they may think me arrogant.” For that and other reasons we tend to wait to speak up, and step out until we can see even a little “proof” that it might be true. Unfortunately, God doesn’t work that way. He meets us in our speaking and stepping.

You shrinking back from what God says, denies the power that God wants to demonstrate through you for His glory.

I believe that every one of us have been wired with God given potential, a latent excellence or ability that once acknowledged and combined with God’s supernatural will enable us to accomplish for His glory what we could never imagine in our own strength.

If you are in the threshing floor like Gideon taking care of business or like Peter, you’re following Jesus before He’s renamed you. Ask God to speak. Ask Him for marching orders.

If God has spoken, He’s given you direction, He’s birthed a dream and you are now “wrestling”. Begin to communicate that to close friends. Get good counsel, and ask God for the timing to walk it out.

If you are operating in that calling, you’ve heard, you’ve wrestled, and now you’re walking it out. Be aware of the enemy’s ability to fight you with “good” to keep you from God’s best.

Stopping Bad Mo

In my last post I likened momentum to a train, so the most effective way to stop bad momentum might be to jump from the train or run it off the tracks. But in that analogy what if you are the train and jumping isn’t an option. What if we have to literally bring the train to a stop and head it in a new direction? Stopping momentum isn’t easy and when it’s good momentum that’s a great thing, but when it’s bad, well… enough said.

I believe there are several groups of people where different strategies can be employed, but today let’s talk about folks, who for whatever reason, seem to make progress but inevitably hit a wall or the wheels come off. These people are talented, bright, self-starters. They are resilient; they get back up and try again and typically have a good attitude, but invariably nosedive over and over.  It might be relationships or jobs, or businesses, but regardless of what it is there seems to be a hint of self-sabotage in their DNA. Do you know someone like this? Is this you? This is a fairly accurate description of me for much of my life. One of the common denominators about folks like this is they aren’t big on team. They are usually doing life alone. Not to say they aren’t likable and don’t have friends, they do, but there’s an aspect of how they do life that isn’t shared with many people.

I’m not going to break down the whole self-sabotage thing today and whether its fear or failure or fear of success. Whether it’s an identity issue or what you believe about yourself. I don’t have YOUR answer in this post but I am going to point you to it. Here it is:

  1. Are you ready to admit what you’re doing isn’t working so well? (this is #1 for a reason)
  2. Ask for help.

Your answer is waiting for you in your friends and family. Somehow we are so close to it, we can’t see the forest for the trees, but it is fairly obvious to those around us. Are you ready for a change, and do you have the courage to listen and apply what people who love you have to say? Listening to those who have my best interest in mind and letting them help me has changed my life for the better. It wasn’t easy, change never is, but it is so worth it! Go get ‘em!

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