Older post, but it encapsulates what I’ve been thinking lately…

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My wife Angela grew up in a family that believed in playing even harder than they worked, and they did so (and still do) on dirt bikes.

For the first while I didn’t ride aggressively enough to make the bike go where I wanted to end up; even thought I was “in control” I felt more like a passenger along for the ride. Depending on what I rode over/into, and how fast I was going, these “obstacles” had the potential to re-direct, stop abruptly, or in combination of the first two, injure me dearly.

I would often get going too fast for comfort as I went up hills, jumped over logs, rocks, or ruts. I would often hang on and hope for the best as the bike dropped into a rut and was forced to follow the tracks of the riders previous to me. This was terrifying at times.

I…

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Time to Reconnect

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Angela and I had the most wonderful privilege of escaping to the wilderness for almost an entire weekend without the kids. We slept in, we didn’t wake up to kids crawling over us, we didn’t have to change any diapers, we didn’t have to prepare any meals, we didn’t get peed or puked on, we had naps…

It. Was. Glorious!

First, I should probably clarify that I’m not the kind of guy that likes to hand off the kids at any given time in order to take off and indulge in a hobby, or a sacred weekly activity with “the guys.”
I take my role as a Dad pretty seriously, and that means I work hard to show my family that I have their best interest in mind at all times. I’ve also discovered that a big part of that is loving my children’s Mother.

It’s important to remember that I’m a Husband first, and a Dad second. Both are hefty titles, but it’s imperative that I remember which comes first.

I vividly remember my own Dad coming home from work day after day, and the first thing he would do was track down my Mom. If she wasn’t near the door when he walked in, he would walk the whole house if he had to. His first embrace was always Mom.

It didn’t take long for my siblings and I to realize that Mom was first in Dad’s heart and mind, and once they had a few minutes together, it was our turn to tell Dad about our day. There was no neglect, it made me feel safe.

I’ve worked hard to model this in my own home as well, and although we don’t get “out” as often as we would like at times, we always work hard to make time for each other, and we work hard to show our kids that this time together is important.

I’m not saying I’m doing everything right, I have faults and weaknesses, just like the next guy. But I want to encourage you this week in your marriages to show your kids that your spouse comes first.

It can start with the smallest of things, dish her plate out first at meal-times, hold the door open for her, make some time each day for just the two of you to sit and talk (explain to your kids that you aren’t to be bothered because this is important.) Let your kids see you honouring each other with your time, energy, and attention. Our kids are watching our every move and their perspectives and opinions of marriage are being developed and formed as they watch us interact with each other.
(A scary thought at times.)

Be so encouraged in what you are doing, keep at it, work hard to build a good home for your wife and children. The family was God’s idea, let’s not forget that. 😉

 

Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; (Psalms 127:1a NKJV)

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Crumbs or Feast

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We have a collie that absolutely loves to clean up after our four kids once meal time is wrapped up.

It’s gotten to the point, that he will forfeit his own food (which is proper dog-food) in order to get the mini-buffet within the creases of the high-chair. But what makes a dog so inclined to pursue a few tasty morsels, compared to the well balanced diet he is consistently being offered?

It makes me think of how we see church sometimes.

In our church we are blessed beyond measure to have Pastors that care for and feed the flock the balanced truth on such a consistent basis.

We are constantly taught week after week, the amazing Word of God in ways which we can apply it to our lives so we can be succesful. Yet sometimes, it can be the smallest of distractions that keep us from being there consistently.

Sure we all have holidays and vacations, and those are necessary. I’m talking about general consistency in church attendance. This past week, my Pastor reminded us that our roots are to go down, while our fruit is to go up, and that a tree is not sustained by it’s own fruit.

Yes, camping is one of my favorite things to do with my family, I feel the most relaxed when I “get away from it all.” But God did’t design us to always do that, sometimes we need to be in the thick of it, getting our hands dirty for the Kingdom.

As springtime approaches and the sun sticks around a little longer each day, let’s all be reminded that we are to bear fruit for others to eat of, and this means that we need to be in church, to be the church.

Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching. (Heb 10:25 AMP)

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Jesus, the Good Shepherd

Jesus is called the Good Shepherd in John 10.
He provides us with the ultimate example for each and every leadership situation we might find ourselves in.

When he has brought his own sheep outside, he walks on before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. (John 10:4 AMP)

We should be following Jesus’ example in all we do.
As a Husband or Wife, Dad or Mom, Church Leader, Sunday School Teacher, the list goes on…

We need to lead from the front, just as Jesus does with us. (Heb 6:20)
He goes before us, blazing the trail.

We need to be vibrant examples to those who are following us. We can’t instruct people to do one thing, while disregarding our own instruction. It just doesn’t work like that.

There is a reason why Jesus didn’t say He was the great cowboy who drives the cows from one place to another.

It’s because a great leader doesn’t say “Go”, a great leader says “Let’s Go!”

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Serrated Words

The question still sears into my mind and heart.

“Would you let another man talk to your wife the way you do?”

It stopped me in my tracks and I instantly felt ashamed for the way I had treated my wife in the past when I first heard it. My mind quickly spun through the reels of memories of times I was upset, mad, or hurt and lashed out with venomous words.

There was no way I would ever let another man talk to my wife that way, so why did I do it?

Me, the one that is supposed to encourage her.
Me, the one who entered a covenant to love her for the rest of my life.
Me, the one who promised in front of family and friends that through sickness, through health, through rich, through poor, that I would love till it hurts (and then some.)

Yet, I find myself tearing her down with words spewed out in anger.

Just like building construction, what takes months or years to build, can be reduced to rubble in a matter of seconds when proper care is not used.

So how do we keep from doing this?

As always, Christ is the ultimate example.
We are to love our wives the way Christ loves the church.
We are to look out for them, and we are to have their best interest in mind. (Think of the sacrifice Christ made on the cross for the church, does watching the kids for an evening, or sitting through that chick flick really seem that bad?)

I don’t see Jesus yelling at the people who came to Him broken, insecure, or hurt. He welcomes them tenderly with open arms. His love is unconditional, indescribable, and all inclusive.

Maybe you’re like me and have said some hurtful things.
Take heart, our God is the redeemer, and His forgiveness is readily available.

It might hurt your pride a bit, but admit your mistakes. Work things out.

Lets make the choice to cherish our wives, and remember, we’re better together.

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Pulpit, Yes. Soapbox, No.

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We each have a pulpit.

We always have.

Whether or not we’ve used if effectively, it exists.

We have been standing on these pulpits for years now.

Living our lives, describing our values, our beliefs, our faith, to the people around us in great detail.

Sometimes we may have even used words to do this.

It’s been said that only 7% of communication is obtained verbally.

That means that 93% of communication is obtained simply by watching someone’s behaviour.

It’s safe to say that the people we surround ourselves with often, have a pretty good idea of what we hold as important. They have seen how we respond to adversity. They know how we handle a set-back. They know where our hope is. They know whether we respect your spouse simply by how you talk about him or her. They can see where our priorities are when we are talking about the weekend.

No two individuals have the exact same pulpit. Each one is a little different.

These pulpits are a chance to speak into other’s lives as well, let’s make a concious choice to not misuse the influence we have in our various environments.

Think of the people around you as your congregation, and your life as the message.

We need to open our eyes and realize who our own personal congregations are.

It’s our co-workers, the guys at the gym, the people on the bus, the waitress in the restaurant, the list goes on. In this day in age we also have a tremendous opportunity to step up to our cyberspace pulpits too!

Facebook friends, followers on Twitter, and our circles on Google+.

Let’s use these connection points to encourage others and speak life and blessing into everyone we cross paths with.

Let’s choose to be intentional in thought, word, and deed. People may not believe what you say, but they will always believe what you do.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15 NKJV)

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Leaving A Legacy

Around the time that I started this blog, I made it a personal goal to leave an outstanding legacy in this life.

I want to be remembered as a man who loved to be in God’s presence, and serves Him wholeheartedly (because He makes me better and better.) A husband who cared and provided for his wife, who loved her passionately, and didn’t leave his feelings to neglectful assumptions. A Dad that invested quality, and quantity time with his kids doing what they wanted to do, not just involving them in what I am busy with. A friend that you could confide in, that you could laugh and cry with.

But all these goals are only scribbles on a paper if I don’t exercise my willpower and work hard.

“Direction not intention determines my destination.”
Pastor Darryl Harms

Looking at the above list, one would probably think that these are all very noble desires and goals. However, believe it or not it causes me to question my motives.

It makes me wonder if I am I just doing it for the people who will esee me, so I will be remembered as a great man. Or if I am doing it because I know in my heart and soul that Christ has called me to set the bar high in all that I do?

For me , this starts with making the transition from impressionable to influential. I want to be the best I was made to be. I don’t want to be swayed by people’s opinions, simply because they are just that, opinions! I don’t want to change how I act around certain people, I want so much of Christ to be inside of me, that this will be all people see.

I know it won’t all happen at once, and I am grateful we serve a God of many chances and a God of unending wisdom. With His help, I am unstoppable!

What goals have you made for yourself, and what are you doing to complete them for this year, or even this lifetime?

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV)

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Authority – Over or Under

rear-view-mirror-policeWhat is the first thing that you think, when you see someone of authority?

It could happen to be your supervisor walking past your station at work, an officer of the law hiding behind a light pole with a radar gun, or the white Crown Victoria on the highway that grows lights on the roof as it gets closer.
Is your reaction one of fear, or peace?
Generally speaking, our reactions will be reflective of our past and current actions.
For example, when you see the car on the highway with the cherries on top, does your stomach go into a knot as you look down at the speedometer?
It comes into play for me when I see my general manager’s name pop up on my call display. I have this default mode of instantly thinking that I am in trouble even when I haven’t done anything wrong.
If we were really honest too, I wonder how many of us would admit thinking this way when it comes to our relationships with God?
Many of us are still of the thinking that God us up in heaven with a big stick ready to rap us over the head when we do something wrong. When this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Yes, God expects obedience, but He doesn’t expect perfection. He has given us freely all things pertaining to life and godliness, which includes His grace, the ultimate power to reign over sin!
I remember my Pastor teaching about authority not too long ago. His key point was that it’s not all about who you are in authority over, but rather whose authority you are under. I never fully understood this until a few months ago when I started a new position at work, under a new manager. The difference in the level of management was night and day, I was very happy to be under the new manager due to the skills, experience, and authority that was carried by him.
We don’t need to wince or cower when the name of The Lord is mentioned (unless someone is using it in vain.) There is a big difference between bowing in reverence, and cowering in shame.
The God of the Heavens rebuilt the entire universe’s infrastructure, just so you and I could spend eternity with Him. He longs for our affection, time, and worship. Let’s pray that we would receive supernatural revelation of His authority.
When He is for us, who can be against us?
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The Deep Love

I was laying on the couch tonight while trying to entice Caleb (our 2 year old) to come snuggle with me. I knew I could run after him and grab him, carrying him over my shoulder back to the couch, but we all know that forced snuggles are never the same as the real deal. It’s not near as special when they are kicking and squirming and doing everything they can to escape my grasp.

It made me think about how passionately God desires our attention and how we often push our time with Him to the back burner. It’s almost like we don’t understand the lengths that God went to, in order to make a way for us to have a real relationship with Him.

This evening I have had my thinking renewed in the area of the time I spend with my Heavenly Father. I absolutely love to snuggle with my kids, and the love I have for my kids isn’t even a fraction of the love God has for His.

Let’s be reminded today that it is within these special times with our Father, that the problems of the day melt like wax, and the cares of this world drift away.

Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. (James 4:8a MSG)

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Update Available

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We live in a world where updates are offered continually as bugs in software are being revealed and security threats are discovered.

It’s just like us and our walks with Christ.

We easily get bogged down with the cares of this world, and our minds become dull after steadily absorbing the negativity in the world around us. Our thinking becomes prone to the attacks of satan and we don’t hear God speaking to us on a daily basis anymore.

We need to implement a constant upgrade cycle in order to keep the mind of Christ in the forefront position.

Daily prayer time, bible reading, and consistent church attendance are vital to keeping sharp and alert as to what is happening in the Kingdom around, and within us.

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. (Romans 12:2 AMP)

The default setting of humanity is conformity. It takes consistent hard work to make the transition from being easily influenced, to influential.

For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart. (1 Corinthians 2:16 AMP)

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