Friday, November 18, 2016

CAN YOU HANDLE FRIENDLY FIRE?

Ever felt the sting of words spoken from someone you trusted?

Did those words seem malicious, reckless & uncaring?

You didn't like what you heard & you didn't care at all for what you felt?

It may be that this encounter with "friendly fire" was not really a bad thing at all.

When we get offended by feedback, we're communicating that we don’t want to hear the truth. Some prefer to be lied to or have nothing said to them at all. The problem with this line of thought is, it reveals one's foundational belief as, "If the truth is going to hurt, then keep it to yourself." By living this way, one will always have a distorted & dysfunctional view of reality.

So, what's the remedy?

We must pluck out the pride and humble ourselves to both God and others. When we can listen without being defensive & open the door to feedback, we then benefit from healthy and direct communication.

Growing pains are real AND growing up is necessary!!!

#WisdomWeighsIn
#MaturationStation

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"We Stand Corrected!"

This will be one of my shortest blog entries to date. It's a simple thought that I've been marinating in as of late. One of the most quoted, and I believe most misquoted statements flippantly spoken today is, "I made a mistake!" And, some will even qualify the size of the mistake, "I made a BIG mistake!"

Every now and then, some people may even through in the word "Sorry" at the beginning. Well, allow me to just shine some light or apply some correction tape here for just a moment.


---> If you knew what you were doing was wrong, then it wasn't a MISTAKE, ...it was a bad CHOICE. #past

---> If you know what you are doing is wrong, then it isn't a MISTAKE, ...it is a bad CHOICE. #present

---> If you know what you will be doing is wrong, then it won't be a MISTAKE, ...it will be a bad CHOICE. #future #premeditationofwrong



Check out what the Writer of Wisdom says in Proverbs 27:12: “A prudent man sees evil and hides himself, the na├»ve proceed and pay the penalty.”

I believe we must stop trying to soothe our consciences with passive acknowledgements of wrongs thought, spoken, or done, and conveniently saying, "I made a mistake!" Rather, we must begin accepting responsibility for the decisions made on a daily basis and admit the premeditation of the wrongs committed.

But, how do we do this?
By simply “Trusting in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

The way to avoid "mistakes" is by making better choices when and where they begin - in our minds. The apostle Paul provides direction, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Let us be intentional with our thoughts and we will experience such better results in our daily decisions.

#renewyourmind #realignyourwill #reinforcewithyouractions

Friday, July 17, 2015

"Get Real & Stop Playing the Blame Game"

Do you ever get tired of reading social media, watching the news, and listening to some people's general assertions, such as:

"That's why our country is where it is."

"You can thank Washington or our President for that tragedy?"

These statements, along with others, are referring to the media highlighting the twisted responses to perversion, profanity, tragedy, and appalling proclamations of those who claim a monopoly of certain "correctness," or demonstrate a reckless disregard for humanity. Just because one feels they have the "right" to do what they want in the name of moral, legal, or religious freedoms, doesn't necessarily qualify it to be "approved."



"There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death." (Proverbs 14:12)

Human reasoning should never be the sole apparatus to rely upon when traveling through life. Mental mathematics and intellectual evaluation, when pursued without prayerful inquiry and the absence of a biblical compass, is a sure formula for self inflicted defeat. Now, don't sit there and try and make sense out of that statement. 

I have a confession to make: "I Am REAL'igious!"

You see,...
You may be living for the Weekends.
You may be living for the desired Money tree.
You may be living for the next "off 'da chain" Party stop.
You may be living for your moments of indulging in mere Sensuality.

BUT listen friend,... if you aren't living to follow Christ, then you are bankrupt, barely breathing, on life support, and weaving a web of your own demise. 

Do yourself and so many others a huge favor. 

Stop spinning and start "REAL'ing." Begin taking note of what the REAL issues are and don't be so apt to blame everything and everyone else for some of the issues that were born and bred in selfishness, neglect, and a much larger pool of problems. 


SUMMING IT UP: We would all experience less undesired and unfortunate circumstances in our individual lives, communities, nation, and even our world, if we'd all be more responsible to "set our affections on things above and not on the things of this world." (Colossians 3:2) Each one of us need to cultivate sound courage and be more consistently committed to leading by example in all of our relationships. But, guess what!?! This demands intentional definition, discipline, and the deployment of daily devotion.

Prioritizing life is REAL'ly simple when focusing on the things that not only feel right, but those things that truly matter most. Often, we are so quick to claim certain priorities, yet our practice reveals something is out of alignment. Our practices reveal what our true priorities are in life. And, what do you think it is that populates our priorities? It is our perspective. If we have the correct perspective (viewing field), then we will establish sound priorities, and those priorities will shape and determine our practices (behavior / actions). 

Ask yourself,
"Do I have an eternal perspective?
Or, have I settled for an earthly, temporal,
emotionally driven, and self absorbed perspective?" 


Oh, and BE REAL with your answer.

Friday, July 10, 2015

"Are YOU Connected?"

Through the years, I've been asked the question, "Do I have to join a local church?" My response has always reflected many key points regarding church membership. However, I've often begun by simply saying,"No, you don't 'have to' join a local church, but when you become a Christ follower and are committed to Him, you will 'want to' join a local church."




Recently, I read a short article written by pastor and well known author Rick Warren on this subject. After reading it, I concluded it would serve as a great resource for those who may have questions, or even contemplating church membership today. 

Take a moment to absorb his perspective on the importance of getting plugged into a local community of faith.

---------------------------------------------
Pastor Rick Warren writes...

"Why You Need To Join A Local Church"
"...they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will. (2 Corinthians 8:5b NIV)
Whenever a child is born, he or she automatically becomes a part of the universal family of human beings. But that child also needs to become a member of a specific family to receive nurture and care and grow up healthy and strong. The same is true spiritually. When you were born again, you automatically became a part of God’s universal family. But you also need to become a member of a local expression of God’s family.
The difference between being a church attender and a church member is COMMITMENT. 
Attenders are spectators from the sidelines; members get involved in the ministry. 
Attenders are consumers; members are contributors. 
Attenders want the benefits of a church without sharing the responsibility. They are like couples that want to live together without committing to marriage.
Why is it important to join a local church family? Because it proves you are committed to your spiritual brothers and sisters in reality, not just in theory. God wants you to love real people, not ideal people. You can spend a lifetime searching for the perfect church, but you will never find it. You are called to love imperfect sinners, just as God does.
In Acts, the Christians in Jerusalem were very specific in their commitment to each other. They were devoted to fellowship. The Bible says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." (Acts 2:42 NIV).
God expects you to commit to the same things today.
Joining the membership of a local church is the natural next step once you’ve become a child of God. You become a Christian by committing yourself to Christ, but you become a church member by committing yourself to a specific group of believers. The first decision brings salvation; the second brings fellowship.
---------------------------------------------

Friend, wherever you are in your life journey today, wherever you may be in your walk with God, just know...
YOU matter
YOU matter to God. 
YOU matter to others. 
YOU are so valuable and important to God that He placed within you something that is unique to you that can only come from you. Something so many other people need in your community, in your city, on your job, and in this world. You see, we are at our best when we are sowing into the lives of others. The way to reap a harvest is through the sowing of seeds. Each and everyone of us reap what we sow! 
The apostle Paul encourages you and I to "get Connected" and in doing so, we will fulfill the very purposes of God for our lives personally and His Church corporately in Ephesians 4:16: 
"From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."
If you are not yet connected to a local church, begin taking the steps today in finding one. Remember, no church is perfect, because it is comprised of imperfect people. 
But, here's some good news:
YOU + ME = WE, and together, WE are stronger! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

TWISTED WORDS & SAME SEX MARRIAGE

WHAT ARE YOU SAYING, or NOT SAYING? 

There seems to be an apparent lack of understanding among some "Christians" regarding being vocal ("speaking out") on the recent "SAME SEX MARRIAGE" legislation in the Supreme Court.


First of all, it is clear that for many professing Christians, if you disagree (don’t support) with the ruling, you are quickly labeled a hater. On the other side, if you choose to walk lightly, avoiding the subject, you are marked as one who chooses to compromise and marked as a supporter. This twisted distortion must be examined on a personal level. 

To truly love refuses to be silent in the presence of error, evil, and the evolution of deception. We are to speak the truth in love in the camps of confusion and corruption. Someone "speaking out" should not automatically be interpreted as "hating" simply because another person may be uncomfortable with conversing about the truth. So, rather than avoiding the subject, we choose to responsibly deliver the heart of God, which consists of the inseparable truth and love that we have come to know personally. 

Secondly, in an attempt to offer emotional support to those in favor of the "Same Sex" ruling, some professing Christians have failed miserably in their attempts to relate by swiftly saying, "Well, we're all sinners!" Wait just a second. Really? Nowhere in the Bible, are men or women who have come to Christ, called sinners after their conversions. Nowhere. Never! This is clearly not a concept that has any foundational merit in the Scriptures. Instead, they are called saints, believers, disciples, but never sinners.

The Corinthians are called saints (1 Corinthians 1). As a matter of scriptural context, this was precisely a frustration and surprise experienced by the apostle Paul. Though they should have been, some Christians were not conducting themselves like saints. 


I want to be clear here. We are not merely sinners – saved by grace! We are saints – called saints, who are expected by God to conduct ourselves in increasingly "saintly" ways. True saints are those who experience holiness and righteousness from the inside-out, and if they sin in thought, word, or deed, they sense immediate conviction. Remorseful regret. A deepened sorrow and vivid shame for their inappropriate behavior.

SUMMING IT UP: It's really simple. IF every human being falls in love with Jesus Christ first, there will be no conflicts or struggle with fornication, homosexuality, same sex marriages, infidelity or divorce. There are no contradictions between God, His Word, and us.

Like the psalmist David, let us pray, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart (*and my conduct/behavior) be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer." (Psalm 19:14 - *my emphasis)


Thursday, June 18, 2015

"YET, Another Storm!"

"AMERICA, WE MUST WAKE UP!" 

Yet, another storm has hit the east coast.
Another storm has hit America.
Another storm has hit the Church.


No, I'm not referring to an atmospheric disturbance that any local weather news team has been tracking. Rather, "the man suspected of killing nine people at a prayer meeting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, was caught some 200 miles away in North Carolina, local and federal officials said. After an intensive, 14-hour manhunt for the man who carried out a massacre that officials are calling racially motivated, Dylann "STORM(my emphasis) Roof, 21, was arrested in Shelby, N.C., during a traffic stop shortly after 11 a.m.," said Greg Mullen, the Charleston police chief. (Per Travis Dove for the New York Times)


One of the immediate hot topics that has already made headlines is that of "gun control." We are so quick to focus on the obvious, the measurable, and at times, those things that will be charged with heated political debate. We must shake ourselves and be freed once and for all to acknowledge, accept, and appropriate that the adversary of events such as Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC and Sandy Hook in Newtown, CT, is not guns, hate, racial divide, or mental health. 

In the midst of all of the investigation into this most recent bloodshed in Charleston, South Carolina, we must not ignore a very critical piece of evidence. Look at the scene. With crime scene tape surrounding a holy sanctuary, family and community members have once again been riddled with the reality we too often disregard. Evil is real!

Sadly, as a nation, we have welcomed these evil acts by making God an option, rather than a priority. 

- The perpetrator is not flesh and blood. (Ephesians 6:12)
- The suspect is not 21 years old. 
- The weapon was not a 45 caliber handgun. 


The cessation to these senseless acts will not be constituted in the chambers of Congress. Beginning at the White House, we must confront the author and conspirer of such devastation and destruction by truly authenticating our pledge as being "One Nation Under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!"

SUMMING IT UP: As I wrap up the occupation of my heart here today, I want to clearly call "The Church" forward and UPward. Free from the torment of fear, we must rise, stand, and not coward in the wake of this unfortunate "once again" horrific happening among our faith family in Charleston, SC. 

This is no time to retreat. 
This is no time to be overcome by fear. 

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10) Rather, we are being called by our Commander to unify our faith, our mission, and our pursuit as ONE people marching in faith, both in word and in deed.


We must do more than cover social media walls with spiritual pleas and mere emotional remarks. 
We must do more than utilize these acts and events as a voice for political agenda.
We must do more than feel sadness and sorrow for the families of the innocent victims.
We must drop to our knees and pray that this madness cease. 

My prayer is,
"Lord, let it begin with me!"

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31)

Friday, June 12, 2015

"TESTING 1-2-3..."

Though this is not a classroom and you aren't necessarily looking to earn credit for a degree, carve out some time to consider engaging with the following three (3) tests.

THE TEST OF TIME: 

Take time to seriously evaluate the stark contrast between the following, in asking yourself:

- How annoyed and angered do I get when I am informed that my hours on my job are being cut back?
- How bothered am I when I lose personal and corporate time with God and those within my Community of Faith (local church)?

Do you feel the same, or do you tend to find a higher level of tolerance when "missing church" or "Bible Study" or your "Small Group" opportunity? 


Are you more time conscious with being "on-time" for work and then find yourself conveniently building in an acceptance for being tardy at church?

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Ephesians 5:15-17)

THE TEST OF TALENT: 

Whatever your talents, skills, gifts, niches and joys in life may be, are you intentional in assimilating those into your job, your relationships, and in your community? What about in your local church?

What are you doing today to sharpen those skills and develop those gifts to benefit others?


"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." (1 Peter 4:10-11)

THE TEST OF TREASURE: 

Take a moment to consider the priority of your financial resources every payday.

Does God get the first 10%, or is He even on the radar when you are factoring what is left over?

Managing your money begins with how well you prioritize its distribution. 


"Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;" (Proverbs 3:9)

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty." (Malachi 3:10-11)

WINDING IT DOWN: 
Each and every one of us are encouraged to take all that we are and all that we have and steward it, utilize it to make much of God. There really is nothing greater you can do with your life. There’s no HIGHER purpose than to take your time, your talents, and your treasure and use them to glorify God.
"BE ENCOURAGED FRIEND!!!" 
When you live for the glory of God, you’re doing what you were created to do. And you become who you were created to be. 
Make the decision today to join the team wherever you are and watch how you can, and how you will, make a difference. 
Let's live life on purpose each and every day!!!