If you want to be happy for a lifetime...

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I love this remixed Chinese Proverb I heard at a Conference.

If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a week, go on a vacation.
If you want happiness for a month, get married.
If you want happiness for a year, win the lottery.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, [love God and] help others.

When it is all said and done.  There are only three things that really matter and most likely people will be contemplating one (or all) of these three things about you …when your funeral rolls around.

1. Did you have a growing relationship with Jesus?
2.  Did you live out your life with love, integrity, and character?
3.  Did you help the lives that were around you?

It’s amazing how those three things are not only what people talk about at funerals, but they are also what brings a person to the truest sense of happiness.
Your fortune won’t matter, but the lives you helped with it will.
Your knowledge won’t matter, but the lives you helped with it will.
Your fame won’t matter, but the lives you helped with it will.
Your position won’t matter, but the lives you helped with it will.
Your achievements won’t matter, but the lives you helped with it will.

May we endeavour to bring people to the truest sense of fulfillment and happiness.

Three Ducks

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Question: Three ducks were sitting on the edge of a fast flowing river.  One of the ducks decides to swim to the other side. How many ducks are left?

Hmm, the quick answer is two, but it sounds like a trick question doesn’t it.

Answer: Three. Just because you (or a duck) decide to do something doesn’t mean that you will actually do it.

But what if one of those ducks actually goes for it. What if one of them dares to take on a fast flowing river to get to the other side…then how many do you have left?

Okay, now the answer must be two, but realistically I still think that is the wrong answer.

Answer: Zero.  When you (or a duck) courageously decide to take a risk for a worthy cause it will often embolden those around you to do the same.

Billy Graham said it this way, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”

One of the biggest regrets a person of faith has on their death bed is that they didn’t take more risks.  This is a  reminder that the greatest moments in your life will not take place when you make a decision, but when you act on one.  And you never know who might be inspired to follow you.  Courage inspires courage.

10 ways Fathers distance themselves from their Kids

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Our men's group at church is going through the book Resolution. Last night we talked about 10 things that distance ourselves from our kids and three things that draw us closer to them.  I found these two lists to be a great evaluation tool for me as a dad.
Below is a checklist to evaluate how you are doing raising your kids.  Are you parenting in a way that is drawing your kids closer to you or are you creating distance?

Ten ways fathers distance themselves from their kids

  1. Absence

  2. Anger

  3. Unjust Discipline

  4. Harsh Criticism (Name Calling)

  5. Lack of Compassion

  6. Showing Favoritism

  7. Hypocrisy

  8. Hurting their mother

  9. Misunderstanding

  10. Unrealistic Expectations

Three ways fathers build a close relationship with their kids

  1. Attention

  2. Affirmation

  3. Affection

So what if you read this list and realize that you missed the mark in a few areas.  Maybe your kids are fully grown now and you think that it's too late to restore your relationship.  The sad truth is that there are many children in this world who don't shed a tear at their father's funeral because of the pain they felt from him.   It’s never too late to make things right. One of the best ways to heal the wound in your relationship with your kids is to man up and humbly tell your kids where you went wrong and that you are sorry.  It doesn’t take rocket science to figure that out, but it will force you to swallow some pride. Have your kids ever heard those words out of your mouth?  I've had to say sorry to my kids a few times, and its never easy, but in the end it brings healing, freedom, and it puts the regrets behind you.

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. ~ Colossians 3:21

Leaning on a Shovel

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I live in farm culture.  A place where there is a strong ‘gitter done’ mentality.  If you’re not sweating then your not working.  Infact, the idea of taking a rest, a hiatus, or especially a sabbatical is a foreign concept. Nobody wants to be that guy that was caught leaning on his shovel.  There is some truth in that mentality. It is healthy to steer clear from laziness and to have a strong work ethic, but if a person never takes a break then eventually they themselves will be the one who breaks.

In college a couple of my roommates called me “Busy Biz” because I was always on the go, hoping to accomplish something for Jesus.   Ministry became my obsession.  I was always dreaming and even daring to push the boundaries, but after 14 years ministry began to lose it’s joy.  I had a resume full of places I had gone and people I had ministered to, but it started to feel like a duty rather than a joy.  The thrill of following Christ had faded.   My emotions had gone raw.  My wife took notice of my ministry fatigue and she began to encourage me to take a short break from ministry (a sabbatical).  I initially laughed at the thought of taking an extended break, but she was persistent, and she won the tug-a-war match.

I spent 40 days disengaged from ministry.  I still came up with a plan of things to do like: study my Bible, get healthy, cherish my family, house work, etc. But anything ministry related was out.  No sermons.  No planning.  No dreaming.  It was super hard at first because I felt like I was leaning on my shovel.  But looking back it was one of the best things I have ever done.  It gave me a fresh perspective and rekindled my heart for God an ministry.  Its not the easiest thing for us driven types to do, but now something I plan to do every 7 years (Deuteronomy 31:10).

Why? Because in the long run it makes me stronger and my ministry healthier.

Are you one of those types who keeps pushing hard?  Has it brought you to a place where you are starting to feel your passion fizzle?  If that’s you then maybe its time to take a break and lean into God.

The World's Most Dangerous Place

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A while back, I did an interview with Moody Radio’s program, “Choose this Day”. When the host asked me to tell the listeners about the most dangerous places that I have found myself in, my mind raced to a place that I had not shared about in previous interviews.  I told her that the most dangerous place I had been was the couch in my own living room.  It may sound comical, but it’s true.

Inherently, my couch isn't a dangerous place…for me.  But it is extremely dangerous for the millions of people in the world who are waiting for someone like you and me to fight for them. My couch is dangerous for me, because it tempts me to disengage from the mission that God has given me. My desire for comfort can easily outweigh the cause that God has set for me.

It’s estimated…

  • 27 million people are in slavery right now

  • 4,000 children die from dysentery every day due to unclean water and poor sanitation

  • 100 million people worldwide are homeless and one-third of those people have been uprooted from their home due to a tragedy.

  • 17,000 people have been illegally trafficked into the United States

  • 3 billion people survive on $2/day

  • one-third of the world has never heard about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus

Don’t get me wrong. There is a time to rest, but sleeping our entire life away is dangerous. May we move past being people that react to becoming people that act.

A Warrior’s Prayer

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Lord,

This is my request.  My petition. My desire.  
Give me…

  • a heart to know you like David

  • selfless humility like John the Baptist

  • ears that hear your voice like Samuel

  • unwavering morality like Joseph

  • inspired creativity like Bezalel

  • awe-filled worship like Mary

  • prayers that mean something like Hannah

  • convictions worth dying for like Daniel

  • whatever-it-takes compassion like Esther

  • diehard comrades like Jonathan

  • extreme faith like Abraham

  • courage to go against the odds like Caleb

  • disciple-making vision like Barnabas

  • words that change lives like Peter

  • unfathomable wonders like Elijah

  • fierce determination like Deborah

  • trailblazing zeal like Paul

  • innovative strategies like Joshua

  • resilient stamina like Noah

  • enduring trust like Job

Lord I pray, that you would be gloried with my life and that I would not detour from the legacy that you have set for me.


Is there a person in the Bible that has an attribute that inspires you? Let us know who it is in the comment section.

Braveheart Speeches in the Bible

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A Braveheart speech is given by someone who has found a cause worth dying for.  A cause to make the world a better place. It's poetic and passionate.  It's spoken with unwavering conviction, especially as its looks death in the eye.  It is not spoken by a phony, because those that utter the words speak from the frontlines.  The messenger's authenticity is not questioned, because their scars speak for themselves.

The Bible is full of Braveheart speeches.  Here are a few Braveheart speeches from the Old Testament.  May these speeches continue to echo and inspire us to live boldly for Christ:

God to Joshua before going into Canaan’s Land
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:7-9

Caleb to the cowardly Israelites
Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it….the land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”  Numbers 13:30- 14:9

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego before going into the furnace
“King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver usc from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18

Esther to Mordechai before risking her life
“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16

Gideon to his army of 300
“Watch me…Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’ ”  Judges 7:17

Deborah to a Fearful Leader
“The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you [Barak]: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands….certainly I will go with you [Barak], but because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman. ….Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?”  Judges 4:6-14

David to Goliath
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LordAlmighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.  All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47

Jonathan speaking to his Armor Bearer
“Come on, let’s go over to where the Philistines have their outpost…Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer. “Perhaps the LORD will help us, for nothing can hinder the LORD. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!…We will cross over and let them see us.  If they say to us, ‘Stay where you are or we’ll kill you,’ then we will stop and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come on up and fight,’ then we will go up. That will be the LORD’s sign that he will help us defeat them.”  1 Samuel 14: 1-12

Joab to his brother Abishai
“If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me, but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will help you.  Be strong, and let us use our strength for our people and for the cities of our God, and may the LORD do what seems good to him.” 1 Chronicles 19:13

I know that there are more.  If you got a favorite one I missed leave it in the comment section.