Go West Young Man!

January 15th is my work anniversary date. So this week I celebrated my 29th anniversary with Hallmark Cards. It’s hard to believe that much time has gone by. Where did it all go?

As I reflected upon the past three decades (close enough) this week, I thought about my story and how I risked starting a new life in the Wild West of Kansas. It is a story of my Heavenly Father guiding me to a new land, my earthly father providing tough love, and a boy willing to go on an adventure to become the man he was intended to be.

Let me take you back to the fall of 1989. I was in my last semester at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. It was a time of great expectations as I would soon be finishing school in December and looking forward to a new job somewhere close to home.   Home was Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I had grown up there my entire life and had no reason to believe that my career would be somewhere else. I loved that city and still do to this day.

The story starts with a letter from the Career Placement Office at Miami University.   Hallmark Cards was coming to Oxford in October and they wanted interview me and 13 other candidates. I showed the letter to my three other roommates at the time and we all laughed. I said to them “What do they think I am an artist?” How naïve of me at the time to think that Hallmark only employed creative talent.

As I looked over the letter, I noticed that the second interview was in Kansas City, Missouri. I had never been out of the Eastern Time Zone in my life, so why not take the chance and interview. I might get a trip out west with the cowboys and Indians (a common thought back east).

The interview date came and went and by the grace of God, I was selected for a second interview in Kansas City during November. The trip to KC was wonderful. I interviewed in both the manufacturing facilities in Kansas City and Leavenworth. The people were wonderful and the company had values that I could be proud of.

In November, I received a job offer from Hallmark, but my place of employment would be in Topeka, Kansas.  I didn’t even interview in Topeka. That seemed strange, but it really didn’t matter anyway. It was a fun trip, but I was going to find a job in Pittsburgh.

I then came home over the Thanksgiving holiday. My father and I were sitting in our living room and he asked me about the job offer from Hallmark in which I needed to give them an answer in the next few days.  I said to him, “They want me to work in Topeka. I didn’t even interview there. Besides, I wouldn’t know a single soul in an 800 mile radius. There’s no chance I’m taking that job.”

My Dad then said “So if you do not take this job with Hallmark, where will you be living when you graduate in December.” I responded in a matter of fact tone “Well, I’ll be living right here with you Dad, looking for a job in Pittsburgh.” Then there was silence for a couple of minutes, almost an uncomfortable silence. My dad then spoke to me the words that changed the trajectory of my life. He said “I am sorry. You do not have a place to stay here.  You have a great opportunity to work for a company with a good reputation. If you don’t take this job with Hallmark, you will need to get your own apartment. I suggest going on an adventure out west. Meet new people and learn a new culture. SeYou can always come back home after two or three years and have it on your resume.”

Well, that was a shock. It almost felt at the time like a kick in the gut. My mother was completely appalled listening in the kitchen. Her son was being thrown to the street by mean ol’ Dad. That tough love, however, quickly gave me a new perspective. I immediately had a new attitude. Well, maybe I could make this happen and go on an adventure.

What my Dad was really saying was “I believe in you.   You have what it takes to go on this adventure. You will make new friends. You will succeed. You are the man.” It was tough love, but better yet, it was the blessing from my father that I always needed to hear. My Heavenly Father was speaking through my earthly father. I now know that these words were directly from the Lord above.

To this day, my Dad feels guilty about the direction he provided me on this day. Let’s get this straight. There is absolutely no reason for him to feel badly about this. It was exactly what I needed. It was the best thing he could have ever done for me. I didn’t need to be coddled. I needed to be called up as a man, to be the man the Lord intended me to be. He believed in me. That’s exactly what I needed to go West with the cowboys and Indians.

So I packed up everything I owned in my Honda Hatchback wagon and followed the sun to Topeka. My father gave me one spoon, one fork, and one knife for my new adventure and sent me on my way. It was time to grow up and be a man. I thank God often that my earthly father loved me so much that he would call me up in this manner.

At the time, I couldn’t see that my Heavenly Father was directing this adventure for my life, but it is so clear now that he had a hand in all of this. God was calling me, like Abraham, out of the land of Ur to go on a great adventure with Him. I am so thankful that he did. My life has been forever changed based on His leading.

I believe the Lord has blessed me abundantly for taking this risk. As a result, He has given me a beautiful and Godly wife, six children, great friends and a long-term career at Hallmark Cards. All glory goes to my Father in Heaven. He has given me many other adventures in my new home, but those are stories for another time.

So here are a few things that I’ve learned based upon God leading me to my new Promised Land:

  • Our Lord has a mission, plan and calling for every one of us.
  • This mission is a great adventure with Him.
  • We need to be faithful in what we cannot see and obedient in his direction for our lives.
  • This means giving up control of our lives to Him. Total surrender.
  • We need to pray for this mission on a daily basis. Ask Him to expand your impact, leadership, and ministry for His Kingdom.
  • If you do so, He will answer your prayers and you will experience the Glory of God in your life.
  • Your adventure with Him is not about you. It is about His Kingdom and bringing it forth to others.

Take the risk. Go on an adventure with God. He will not disappoint!

Letting go to move forward

Our family spent New Years creating what hopefully will be a new tradition. We are calling it to burn the ships after a song that has touched us this year. The song is by For King and Country and has given us the opportunity to talk about the things that we have encountered in the past year and have allowed them to get a grip on us. The situations, comments, inner thoughts that we have, all can take hold of us and cause us trauma, false guilt, anxiety, depression and all of this can be magnified when these situations start to compile.

So this year we decided to try something different, we took newspapers and cut them into different sizes. We then took markers and wrote the “things” that had been spoken over us or that were having an effect on us. In doing this, we talked about not forgetting these “things” we put on the paper but to release the grip they had on us and allow Jesus to fill and heal those spots. We took those pieces of paper and placed them in the pot and then we released them and returned them to ashes.

This year our family will be heading into transition and change, the mission God has before us is exciting, but it is not without fear and nervousness. But through this exercise doors for talking about those fears have been opened. The communication within our family has been wonderful since walking into this night of release.

My encouragement to you is to take the time to do something as little as talk or pray together. The freedom that can come from such a small thing is amazing. We will be praying for you. So go forward and burn the ships.

BELIEF IN HIM

There are three types of people that you may come across this week, starting this new year:

  1. The ones that say, “Happy New Year” and mean it. They know it is a great time to be alive! They are genuine and are happy to see people.
  2. The type that can only worry about what they did not get done last year and add that worry onto getting everything done this year also. (Did not lose that weight or save enough money.)
  3. And the last type, the ones who just do not care. They are just going through the motions of life and waiting for their next disappointment.

I hope you are a #1 type. Life is so much better.

If you look at the three types, the thing that separates #1 from #2 and #3 is belief. Belief in God and His plan. Belief in the scriptures and the promises made to us.

For this new year – please answer the following questions:

  1. Do you believe in God?
  2. Do you believe in God as the Trinity; Father Son and Holy Ghost?
  3. Do you believe in the miracles that Jesus performed?
  4. Do you believe in the promises that God has made to us? The rewards?
  5. Do you know in your heart that you will be with God when your days on earth are done?

If I had put “Why?” after each question, what would you answer?

 

E6 Ministries is founded on the scripture of Ephesians 6 – specifically putting on the Armor of God and fighting against evil. We are fighting for the restoration of men, families and churches. We believe that any person that also believes must put on the Armor of God and fight.

Belief can be costly. You can lose family, “friends’ and opportunities for having and sharing your belief in God. The heavenly rewards promised are very much worth it.

When I was 17, myself and a couple others decided to start a Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at our high school. The rejection by most of the guys in athletics was tough, specially since many had been friends since grade school. But it was worth it, the start of a great program that continues today.

Never doubt that any trial, hardship, dissention of family or friends, health issue or other is just a moment in our time. God has promised restoration and rewards for taking up the sword in His Name. This road may be tough here on earth, but what is waiting for us will make every tough day; every bad situation just wash away.

 

I had a dream the other night and would like to share with you.

I was on a dirt road, gradually climbing at every turn. Then on both side of the road were boots, helmets, shields and swords in huge piles, seems like for miles. I turned the last bend and there were the gates into heaven.

As I walked up to the gate, I was told I could not enter dressed as I was. I asked what did I need to do and the voice softly answered, “Take off the Armor of God. You don’t need it beyond these gates.” As I stripped off the armor, all pain, anger and sorrow fell off me too.

As I stepped through the Gate, the Voice said “Welcome home. You have no more wars to fight. Please join everyone waiting to see you”.

 

Folks, I believe in my heart that God let me see this just to remind me that all the pain, sorrow and troubles are really worth it. I believe and I know that God exists and waits to see us in his time.

I pray you start or continue to fight the fight, endure the junk that the earth throws at you and look forward to the day of restoration.

Belief in Him

Surrender to Live Free

“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.” Galatians 5:1, MSG

On November 17th, 2018, our pastor preached a powerful message and I have been living in its truth and power ever since. I encourage you to listen to this sermon for more context (https://youtu.be/0LiSkci4mUo), but the power of this message sent me on a journey of profound breakthrough. The Holy Spirit’s power of revelation opened my eyes to the truth that a surrendered life brings more freedom than a life of fighting for control. The fight to control my life, to make life work for me, has been the harness of slavery I have worn for far too long.

Three questions came to my mind from this key verse the message was built upon: How has Christ set us free to live a free life? Why do we need to take a stand? How can we never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on us? 

How as Christ set us free to live a free life? Christ can only set us free if we choose to allow him. We must surrender by asking him to set us free. Freedom starts only through relationship with Christ. There is no way around it. Becoming a Christian starts with surrender; your sin, your life, your will, and your soul in exchange for freedom and eternal life. Why then do we tend to stop surrendering when our entire Christian journey began with an act of surrender? Because our experiences in life, our wounds, pain, other people’s sin toward us, our own sin, and the lies of the enemy cause us to doubt the heart of God, his goodness, his trueness, and his love for us, so in return we take back control.

One of the key points our pastor made in his sermon was “Be careful what you surrender for things of convenience.” This simple but profound point is accurate and relevant to our behavior in today’s society. Everything in modern society is driving us toward convenience in order to achieve comfort. It’s been going on for nearly two hundred years since the Industrial Revolution began in the 1830s.

Think of all the modern “conveniences” we have in America: cars, smart phones, instant access to information, air-Conditioning/heating, online banking, indoor plumbing, voice responsive devices, same day delivery, drive-thrus, fast-food, 24 hour news cycle, airplanes, the internet, temper-pedic mattresses, smart homes, self-driving vacuums and lawn mowers. I could go on and on, but what are we giving up? Self-reliance and freedom in some ways. We are daily giving away our freedom in exchange for control and comfort. I am writing this blog post on a laptop while sitting in my recliner in a heated home listening to the Chiefs game, and yes I am very comfortable. We hardly have to think about our wants. We just click or speak a voice command and we have what we want. We have in many ways become slaves to modernity. We have become enslaved to convenience in order to control our lives so that life is more convenient. It is a circular cycle of giving away freedom for convenience. And I am afraid we have done the same with our spiritual life. I know I have many, many times.

I am not saying these things are inherently bad in and of themselves, but I am saying we have transferred those expectations to God and we are forsaking the truth that God is a God of process. When we don’t involve him intimately in our daily lives through daily conversational intimacy with him, instead we are striving to make life work for us through convenience because he’s not moving fast enough. The surrendered life is the inverse. We must surrender to him and wait on him in order to live more free. Why have I missed this truth for so long??? I believe it has been because I have lived under a self-imposed tyranny through a terrible misunderstanding of the theological doctrine of pre-destination. Thank you Jesus that our pastor cleared up my misunderstanding!!

The best explanation our pastor gave for the doctrine of “pre-destination” I have ever heard is as follows: “Pre-destination is NOT pre-determined or pre-decided; instead pre-destination is God’s foreknowledge. God knows everything already because he is not bound by time. He sees all of human history outside of time, therefore as far as God is concerned, all of human history has already happened.”  I am asking you to take a moment and let that marinate in your mind and penetrate your heart. Having this category of understanding take root in your heart will change everything. God already knows what has happened and what will happen, but he does not determine our choices, in fact he cannot determine our choices. You can now step out of the fatalistic view that your life is already scripted, that you have no choice in the matter, that you should just throw your hands up in the air and check out of life because everything has already been decided. This mindset is called fatalism and my friends this mindset is not only dangerous, but it is a harness of slavery.  There is not a drop of freedom in that way of thinking, none, zero, nada. Let’s step out of that mindset together and start walking on the path of freedom through surrender.

The next point our pastor made will give you hope beyond hope and truth beyond truth: “Everything that happens to you in life is NOT always what God wanted to happen.”  Wait, what? How can that be? How is this possible?  The answer is love my friends. This is the most important character trait of God, that he is love. Because he loves us, he gave us free will, the freedom of choice. He had to:

“7 My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God8 The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love-so you can’t know him if you don’t love. 9 This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. 10 This is the kind of love we are talking about-not that we once upon a time loveGod, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.”  1 John 4:7-10, MSG

 In order for freedom to even be possible, free will/freedom to choose must exist. Why?? Because God is love and God’s love always gives the freedom to choose. Secondary, but just as important and interwoven into his character is that God cannot lie. God is incapable of lying. Follow me here; if God is love, and he is, and if God cannot lie, and he can’t, then God would be both unloving and a liar if he did not give us the free will to not choose him; otherwise we would be robots, living and waiting for his every command for what to do next. We would have no say. Therefore, God would be interfering with our choices and controlling us, and in doing so he would not be love, so that is why things happen to us in life that he never intended, because he gave us the choice to sin, to choose to do evil, and go our own way. Ironically, by giving us this choice we can actually understand his goodness and his love because we have a contrasted understanding of what love and goodness is not, which is personified in the evil we see in this world and the evil that has been done to us. Thank goodness it is impossible for God to lie or not be love.

The good news is that by living surrendered and asking him what we should do or where we should go each day brings us into partnership with him and his will. We are playing our part in the larger story of life by choosing to allow his will to take precedence over ours. Otherwise, if we live  striving to control life, we are forsaking his better judgment and desire for us. Why? Because our will is not his will and his will is not ours.  His ways are higher than ours. The more we offer ourselves to him, the more he will guide us to do what he wants which will always be better than what we want, always. Make no mistake in your understanding though, we can always choose to reject his will. Ultimately though, by surrendering to his will we are more free than not because we will be operating at the highest and fullest capacity of love possible. By choosing our own will we are actually choosing the harness of slavery rather than the life of freedom. The simple truth is we are the most free by choosing to surrender!!

Why do we need to take a stand? We have an enemy!! You have an enemy!! “8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.  9 Stand firm against him and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.” 1 Peter 5:8-9, NLT

The enemy takes advantage of our freedom, tries to steal it, and bring us back into bondage. He uses temptation and tries to seduce us back into the flesh through the world. He is always trying to show us that God is not love and we are not free to choose. How does he do this? He uses religion, rigid doctrine, and he twists the Gospel into  a false gospel of fatalism or works. He tells us the lie that life is already decided, everything that happens to us is from God, and everything bad that happens in life was meant to be, so it must have been from God. Friends, that is a lie from the pit of hell. We always have a choice to receive this freedom, to live in it, to surrender to it, to allow God to love us, and to listen to his voice.  It is true however, we also have the freedom to not receive, to not believe, to live pridefully with hard hearts, to not let God in, to never surrender, and to ignore his voice. The scriptures are full of people who chose not to listen, to go their own way, to defy God’s commands, and wholeheartedly reject him and his love. Read their stories and see how things turned out for them. Even God’s very best, Moses, King Saul, and King David, to name a few, all chose their own way at times. They never lost God’s love for them, but God did not spare them from the consequences of their choices when instead of surrendering to freedom they chose to go their own way.

It is never God’s desire to choose for us. In his love he has chosen us, but he just doesn’t choose for us. He always loves, he can’t not love. He does not have the ability to not love. The decisions of our lives are always up to us. It is always up to us to choose him and take our stand against the enemy in the power of Christ!! We must choose to stand firm.

Because mankind chose the harness of slavery from the very beginning through Adam and Eve’s sin, from the second we were born we were guilty of not choosing freedom: 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8, NASB.

God has always been innocent and yet he made a way for us to find freedom: 23 Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners…and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, 24 God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” Romans 3:23-24, MSG. 

Because of God’s love, he provided a personal and individual way for us to choose a life of freedom, but choose we must and act we must: “9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved… 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10: 9-10, 13, ESV

He has done his part, have you?

How can we never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on us? If we confess God made a way through Jesus, we believe he made a way, and we call on the name of Jesus to save us then he will say Yes to us and no one will ever be able to put the harness of slavery on us again!! His answer to a surrendered heart will always be yes!! The freedom to surrender is ours. Freedom has always belonged to us, the freedom to choose to say yes to God through Jesus has always been right in front of us all along because God made it possible. He loved us too much to leave us in our bondage. Why? Because he is love! Our freedom calls to us to choose daily to surrender to it, if we want the freedom he offers we must surrender to it.

The last question our pastor asked, and the most powerful question I think I have ever been asked was: “If God had his way, what would my life look like?” I have been asking myself that question every single day since November 17, 2018. For me, I have decided it looks like a life of surrender:

Father, I give you my life! Have your way with me! I surrender my life to you today in order to take hold of the freedom you offer, just as Jesus surrendered before he willingly went to the cross! He chose to surrender to your will and ransom his life for my freedom! Jesus, thank you for purchasing my freedom with your life! I invite you to be the Lord of my life this day and I surrender the throne of my entire life to you today. Come and take over. I will come back to you each day and surrender again so that I may have the freedom you promise. I will live surrendered as demonstrated in Matthew 6:25-34: 25 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear? 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:25-34, NASB

I will conquer each day by choosing to surrender in belief to the power of your promises in Psalm 91:

1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.

9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”

Psalm 91, NLT

“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.” Galatians 5:1, MSG 

May you find a life of freedom through surrender and never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you!

Live Free!!!

Merry Christmas to you and all your loved ones!

 

The Power of Prayer

                                               

We recently listened to a message on praying for family members and were encouraged to never give up. There is always hope when we pray for family and friends until the day they depart from this world. We know this first hand in our own lives. After praying for our son for years and not knowing if we would see him come around in our lifetime, the unthinkable happened. He hit rock bottom, turned to God and has begun a new life. His ninety day Hope City rehabilitation program is coming to a close and he is standing strong. This is nothing short of a miracle and we know this has been a result of years of prayers by many.

There were numerous times that we struggled in our faith, not knowing if our son would make it another year, a month or even a few days, but we chose to continue the good fight. It has been a battle but our perseverance has paid off, “FREEDOM” for the one who has been held captive by the enemy of our soul. I want to encourage anyone who has family or friends that are distant or in trouble, pray and make a declaration to the enemy that you will never give up praying for them. God will move on your behalf.

A Blessed Weekend

Yesterday at noon, we finished another boot camp. What an incredible blessed time for the 57 men that attended this weekend. God is always there for us, and He showed us again the blessings and mercy He has given each of us.

Our E6 team started off on Thursday morning to travel down just outside of Clinton, Missouri, to a great camp aptly named LifeChange. It truly provided each man there that opportunity, to change his life.

Men began arriving at just before 4pm to check in and prepare for the weekend. There was excitement for something new coming, with fall leaves showing God’s colorful wonder.

Throughout the weekend, men at different times, had their moment when God showed His love and spirit. Unplugging from the distractions of work, phones, email, television and cell phones gave each man the opportunity to be able to listen and, in many cases, hear and or see God. A number of men were provided answers that have had on their hearts since childhood.

When Sunday rolled around, many of the men had found friendships and brotherhood for the first time. Some men became mentors of others.

The greatest thing to see was a renewed fire in the eyes of the men who attended this boot camp. Some were beaten down pretty well when they registered Thursday afternoon. The attacks and warfare that some men encountered prior to coming to camp was overwhelming. But now they had a new arsenal to fight the enemy; to protect their family, their marriage, and their restored heart.

And they know they are not alone. God stands with each of us, no matter.

And we know in the end that the Trinity prevails.

It was a blessing to be there this weekend.

 

I get the privilege to announce that E6 Ministries will be putting on their first Advanced Boot Camp – February 21-24, 2019 at LifeChange Camp, just outside of Clinton, Missouri.

Advanced Boot Camp is for anyone who has attended an E6 Ministries or Ransomed Heart Basic Boot Camp. There are limited spots for this first-time event and I hope you will consider attending the deeper dive into the restoration of the heart with us. Registration is available now on the E6 Ministries website at E6Ministries.org.

Blessings on your life….Warren

Live for Today

“Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.” Matthew 6:34 TPT

Sounds simple right?! This concept is anything but simple to live out. The world is throwing information, schedules, problems, challenges, relationships, social media, finances, commuting, parenting, marriage, conflict, and once in a while it sprinkles in some goodness.

Something has happened to us, to our hearts in the midst of the life we are striving to make work for us. How then can Jesus, in the middle is his famous Sermon on the Mount, throw in this concept as if all he has given us to understand about how to live as a Christian is able to be followed, he tosses this grenade of truth and expects to us to be able do this?

The truth is, he knows we can’t do this, or anything he called us to be in this sermon, on our own that is. He is calling us to surrender to relationship with him and in turn the outcome. He is showing us how to live as a follower while calling us to give over today to him. It is a relational call. Jesus is saying, “Son, stop worrying about the future, for it may never come, walk with me today, surrender the day to me so we can do this together.”

What a compassionate and loving thing to do!! He knows we can’t not worry about the future so he invites us into deeper intimacy and relationship by calling us to give the day to him, to allow and trust him to orchestrate our day.

Yet, I, we resist because that would mean giving up control of trying to make things work for us, giving over our ability to make a comfortable life for us. Don’t get me wrong, I love air conditioning and my temperpedic mattress, but is that really the point of life?

I don’t see anywhere in the gospels where Jesus instructed us to seek comfort. Instead, he warned us of the suffering to come in following him. So why do I resist giving the day to him? After all, he knows what is coming today. He does want to give me good things, but he also knows there are challenges headed my way. Maybe the good thing he wants to give me is a detour to avoid an accident or an opportunity to help or minister to someone in need.

Why in the world would I presume to know better? Because my stubborn and prideful flesh jumps in the way and seeks comfort and the easy path. But Jesus said the road was narrow, so why do I seek the wide path? This is the battle each day, to choose today and set worry about tomorrow at the foot of the cross.

Jesus, help us to live for today, surrender the outcomes, and walk with you in the challenges, for today has enough troubles.

Strength and honor brothers!!

Someone You and I Can Always Count On

This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit the town where I grew up. The reason for visiting was to help my Mom and Dad move into a brand new home in a retirement community. As I drove around the town, I noticed how many things have changed since I grew up while also noticing how a few things had not changed.

This time down “memory lane” brought to mind many wonderful memories of my time growing up. It also reinforced to me what has never changed and what has always been a rock and foundation for me. Those two things are: the unconditional love and support of my parents and the unconditional love and support of my Heavenly Father!

The two go hand in hand because as I have observed my parents throughout the last few years of my life, as they navigated many changes and challenges such as the loss of both of their parents, severe back surgery for my Dad, the selling of their childhood farm, and most recently my mom being diagnosed with cancer, the one constant has always been their unwavering faith and love for their Heavenly Father. At no time has their faith wavered, their belief in healing weakened, or their question of God’s heart toward them. They have been a rock and an inspiration of what true faith looks like.

This has been especially true since my Mom’s diagnosis with lung cancer about 3 months ago. I had always thought of my mom and dad as prayer warriors and an encouragement to others when they were going through struggles of their own, but to watch my mom and my dad walk thru this attack on her body has been something to behold. Their belief in God and how He is going to heal my mom and most importantly use her to help others as she navigates her treatments has pushed me and my faith. Watching my mom as she hands out Bibles to nurses and doctors and other cancer patients has challenged me in sharing my faith, while at the same time watching my Dad show his love and support by never leaving her side. They have been inspiration to me of what a life devoted to God looks like and what a committed and loving marriage looks like.

Even though we don’t know what the future holds with my Mom, walking thru this journey with her and my dad has already proved to be a blessing because of how it has brought our family closer together as well as brought an importance to appreciating every moment of life. It has also confirmed to me that no matter how things change or how much they stay the same, I can always count on the never-ending love and support of my parents and my Heavenly Father. He has shown once again His ability to turn what Satan meant for pain and heartache and instead has turned it into a testimony of his faithfulness and grace.

Just like my Mom and Dad, He never seizes to amaze me and is someone I can always count on and is someone you can count on too!

Beating “The Game”

Where do you find peace and rest? At your home, in the wilderness; some place of solace, right? It seems like the search can be endless, like a never-ending game of the popular Milton Bradley game “Risk.” Ahh, “playing the game” as they say, trying to make it in the world. But that’s just it, the world can’t get us there. It can’t provide that solace we seek. I know, I know. This is basic, right? But let me tell you, in the spirit of full disclosure; I struggle with this daily. I struggle to find rest, and in turn, peace. This comes from all the usual distractions and commitments we all deal with, the balancing act; “the game.”

I’m not a person who can sit still for too long. I get restless. I like to be on the move but it’s not sustainable. I get run down and begin to feel overwhelmed. That’s right where the enemy wants me; where he wants all of us. Busy! One of my E6 brothers shared with me one of the greatest acronyms. B.U.S.Y- Buried Under Satan’s Yoke. That is so true and it was great wisdom to pass along, so I pass it along to you. This is the enemy’s plan, bury us in busyness; keep us from peace and rest in the Father.

I shared earlier that I constantly struggle in this arena. It’s true. Even with all the head knowledge and the wisdom given to me through quiet time with the Father, this is where Satan knows he can get at me. My career requires me to be on the move, in front of things and always strategizing in a highly competitive and high stakes environment. It’s exhilarating but also exhausting. Given this, I struggle to maintain a time of rest and solitude in the Word and with the Father.

It’s painful to admit that. I mean, I’ve been involved in the ministry for a number of years and this is the basis, quiet time with the Father, to get peace and wisdom. But I will say prior to this revelation from the Father via his Word, the boot camps, studies etc., I would have been taken out by the enemy. Not to be seen in the Word for months or years and no relationship with the Father. Thankfully, God has changed me here, to where I can at least recognize the root cause of feeling overwhelmed and tired and I can regroup. This is the challenge for many of us. Getting lost in the busyness of day to day.

But God directs us to rest, rely on him, seek him and he will bring peace. This releases us from that feeling of being overwhelmed which comes straight from the enemy. It allows us true rest; resting in God the Father. As I mentioned, this is a constant struggle, but it just takes a small reset; one minute of quiet time or a 3 minute worship song to get this peace. It doesn’t need to be another arduous task we create. God just wants conversation. Intimacy. Invite him these small moments in the day to deliver a big presence of peace from God. Remember, Satan wants us to be so busy that we don’t take this time with God, remember “B.U.S.Y.” Keep that in mind. It was life changing for me.

So, take the time to engage with the Father; beat “the game.” Take time in the mornings when possible to have meaningful quiet time. Worship in song on the way to work. Listen to a podcast and pray. If you are on the run like I am many times, just take a few minutes here and there to engage. He’ll meet you when and wherever you need him. Just bring him in. He’s the game changer and world beater! Rest easy, Brothers!