What are the holidays made of? As I have pondered this question, I have come up with two words- Thanks and giving. We are to be thankful and we are to be giving. It is actually out of my thankfulness that I am drawn to give. I think the two go hand in hand. If I am truly thankful, my heart will want to give.
Here we are on Thanksgiving Day. Our first "Black Thursday/Friday" shopping experience.
I Hate to Give! (Not Really...)
Are you a giver? Well, I have a confession. I am not one. Not at all, actually. I truly believe the classic question to see if you are a giver or not is to ask yourself what you would do if you won the lottery. My first thought is always to tithe, go on an amazing vacation, to set up college funds for our kids, and to save enough money to have a wonderful retirement. What is left over, we could give to a charity and/or to our families. The giving comes after taking care of myself. My husband is the true definition of a giver. He always says, if I win the lottery, I want to give however many million dollars to our church or to CCS, to a charity, etc... Let's just say that isn't my first thought...ha ha:) I LOVE his heart.
A few weeks ago, a picture of a little boy and a dog went viral, as the dog would take naps with this toddler. People all over the world "oohed and ahhed" over these precious pictures. I, too, have some precious pictures of my dog that leave me breathless.
Below you will find a post that I wrote for fullydevotedfamily.com. You can either click HERE and read the original post with a really cool picture or you can scroll down and read the post right here.
As a sports guy I get so much joy from seeing the upset. Saturday night was no exception.
Saturday night the University of Auburn played the University of Alabama in a matchup of the #1 and #4 ranked teams in the nation. More importantly than that was at stake the 78th Iron Bowl.
The state of Alabama was at war over football. We are talking about the tree poisoning kind of war that can only take place over football.
In what is sure to be one of the greatest endings to happen since the band came on the field with :01 second left Auburn had a chance at the unbelievable. You see, Alabama and Nick Saban had rushed out to a 21-7 lead in the 2nd quarter. With just seconds left in the game Auburn had tied the score at 28-28. Alabama had the ball and chose to kick a field goal to win the game.
Auburn was staring in the face of their impossible, their upset. Once chance left and little did they know that :01 second was plenty of time for the impossible. Alabama kicked the field goal and it came up short but you see Auburn had a guy waiting just in case that happened. Chris Davis #11 caught the ball at the back of his end zone and proceeded to go 108 yards all the way down the field with no time left to pull off the impossible and beat the #1 Crimson Tide.
Last year Auburn was a dumpster fire and fired their head coach. Just 12 months ago this was their impossible. Today they wake up having accomplished their upset.
As I watched the replays what hit me is this, what is my impossible? What is my upset?
I can define that for you. My upset would be staying the course. My upset would be staring in the face of all the desires I battle to creep back into the worldly desires to follow money and achievement. My impossible is to keep God as my quest.
The question is, will I be like Gus Malzahn and make my plan. See, going into last night Auburn wasn’t supposed to beat Alabama. The odds were strongly against them. Gus Malzahn, the coach of Auburn had told his team leading into the game to just make it a 4 quarter game. Which means let’s give ourselves a shot to win in the 4th quarter.
Give themselves a shot is what they did and what happened? Their upset happened.
I love sports and I love the underdog. What is even more exciting is that spiritually my impossible in this world places me as the underdog! Can you imagine what the celebration will be when I accomplish my upset?
If you think the Auburn fans had a party can you imagine what awaits spiritual winners?
For the brave: Share below what is your spiritual upset? Not just to follow God, but what will be your obstacles. I look forward to the discussion.
Who loves secrets? I know I do. At least when I am the one keeping them. I am not too fond of them when someone else has them.
Well my secret I told you about Wednesday is now known. It felt a lot safer when only I knew about it. Thursday morning I met with a group of guys to tell them about an event and program that I think is going to be pretty special.
March 20-22 I am going to have a men's retreat in Mena, Ark. I know you're thinking what in the world is in Mena? It seems like not a lot which is good because this is going to be a guy getaway. We will spend 3 days riding UTV's / ATV's. All in the mountains. I know, pretty awesome. Sorry ladies.
In March I came across a mentoring system for men. It is called Radical Mentoring. You can see their website here. In June I invited 10 guys to participate in a mentoring group. 5 brave souls accepted and in July we started what I consider to be one of the greatest spiritual opportunities for these guys and myself.
The system is simple, monthly meetings with a retreat at the beginning and the end of the mentoring season which usually last 8-12 months. Each month the group reads an assigned book which forms the basis of the next meeting. Each member gives a net out of the book. This details what the book taught them or spoke to them about their life. Not a book report. This is about a catalyst for change.
Other men are desperate for real relationship. We have just never seen that celebrated in our culture. We've been looking at the wrong culture is the problem.
Last week I had a guy that is 35 call me out of the blue and express his desire to find real friendship. Christian friendship that will help him be a better husband and dad. I am convinced guys want to be Godly men. We just have to be willing to throw them a bone.
This is not an accountability group. At the very first meeting the mentor gives his faith story, the good, the bad and all the ugly. In July when I gave my faith story it took about 30 minutes for me to tell my story. For the next 2 1/2 hours those guys asked every question you could think of about my story.
At the second meeting each member tells his faith story. This is the cornerstone of why this system is so amazing. Imagine, a group of 6-8 guys knowing the utmost, dirtiest, worst parts of each others lives and why they feel they ended up there. Most men never experience true relationship like that. That is it. Never again do you sit and discuss sins.
Once you go to that level with guys you realize a few things:
1) I am not the only one who feels like I may drown
2) So there are other guys who feel like they can't seem to get it right spiritually
3) That guy I thought was "perfect" is as flawed as me?
4) Worldly Life is so superficial
At that point the cat is out of the bag. I finally realized that some of the guys I thought had pristine faith stories were fighting just as hard as me. Though I would never wish this on them it was so empowering because for so long I thought it was just me. I thought I was the only guy in the room that being what God called me to be seemed difficult.
Through this process I made what should be one of the biggest turns for me spiritually. I cannot avoid sin. I must chase after God and by default sin will not be in my eyes. When my heart is turned toward God my heart cannot be turned toward sin.
Expose light to darkness and there will be a reaction. Fact.
So, to sum this little secret exposing post up let me say this. We only have 21 spots available for this little adventure, this time. For the guys interested in this there is an application process which involves two things:
1. Write the Obituary Announcement that you would like to see in the paper the day after your death…(of old age and by natural causes). Write it in the third person, like a reporter. Include the following:
· Significant professional accomplishments – what would you like for the paper to say that you accomplished in your professional life.
· Community accomplishments
· Church accomplishments
· Family accomplishments
· A quote from your wife
· A quote from each of your children (present and/or future “dreamed” of children)
· A quote from your best friend
· Finish this paragraph and include it somewhere in your obit…“In (insert timeframe), he participated in a Radical Mentoring Group. It was a significant deal because...”
2. What are your expectations from the Radical Mentoring Group? – In another 250 words or less, tell me why you want to do this. What do you expect to happen as a result of being involved in this group? Why would you commit to doing all this reading, memorizing scripture, opening yourself up to a bunch of guys? What do you want to learn? How do you want to change? What's your REAL motivation?
The goal of the retreat will be to leave with 3 new mentor groups.
I know, when I read this the first time I thought what in the world. We are now 5 months into this group and I realize more than ever that having to put into words what you want said at your funeral makes you really think about your life, not what you've done but how you have lived and loved. If you haven't done those things then your obituary is hard to stomach.
If you are interested or if you would like more information then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ever found yourself in the dead center of what you believe to be God's will? Having prayed, fasted, believed, waited, prayed, fasted, believed, waited?
I can honestly say I have very few times found myself in that position. God's will seems hard to grasp, too slow to wait on and not near as dreamy as I think his will should be.
I mean come on. This is God's will and God's will is earth creating, light producing, mountain making kind of stuff so surely his will for my life will include such immense things. Too bad most of the time it doesn't.
Too bad that most of the time God's will is quiet, slow, unremarkable in the eyes of the world. On the flip side when you follow God's will when it isn't fun he comes through in some remarkable ways. I want to learn to love his will when it isn't fun so that when I experience the fun times of his will in my life it resonates at the level it should.
Yesterday we had what will be Aly's last procedure. Yes. Re-read that sentence. Here, I'll help.
Yesterday, we had what WILL be Aly's last procedure. Two years, one month and two days from diagnosis we had Aly's last procedure. I didn't know this day existed back then but today as Aly naps on the couch I am in awe of life. Not the life I've made for us.
The life that God gave us. See Josh's version of life wasn't like this. Josh's version was flashy, special and spectacular...in the eyes of the world.
The life God has given us is quiet, powerful and will change other peoples lives. That's the God kind of life. I am starting to kind of dig the life with less significance to the bank but utterly ridiculous significance in the Kingdom.
And let me be clear, we aren't living in a hut, riding bikes and begging. We are at a point of reaping that breaks my heart as I type this. This level can only be done by God. I could not have created this.
Tomorrow morning I share with a group of guys about a dream, a dream I know changed my life and I think can change theirs. I'll let you know about it later, it's a secret for now.
I've got to let the dog out, this home office has it's down sides...
A few weeks ago when I had my brain MRI, I was scared. Not as panicked as I have gotten in the past, but of course scared. My head pain was excruciating and pain and fear are not a good combination. I thought I would share with you a short moment of my brain MRI experience.