Wednesday, February 29, 2012

If Faith Were Muscles, What Would You Look Like?

As a Christian we live by faith. Faith is being fully trusting and confident and having full assurance in God's word and what He says. Everything about our walk should involve faith. Faith is simply like a muscle that grows stronger and stronger through exercise. The stress and pressure of facing daily challenges and circumstances with confidence in God is an exercise that builds vibrant faith. So how's your faith? Is it huge or wimpy? We know we're to walk by faith, yet we can so easily begin walking by sight. What's amazing about faith according to Hebrews 11:6 is this, " is impossible to please God without faith." We won't please God by what we know, who we know, or even what we've done. The only way to please Him is through faith. Every single day gives us opportunities to put our faith in Him and trust Him in whatever we go through and experience. The flip side of faith is to doubt and allow unbelief to enter. I just can't imagine living life like this anymore, seeing it's how I lived for about 20 years. Earlier, in Hebrews 3:12, we see an ominous warning, "Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God." I must always be on watch  to guard my heart from doubt and unbelief. It's at every turn, every decision, and every thought, and I can't let it worm its way into my life. I am a man of God who's called to live by faith having, "confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see."(Hebrews 11:1). Today let your faith muscle grow! Let it get big! And allow it to become huge! God wants us to have Huge faith!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Friends Are Like An Elevator

I was talking with someone yesterday about their teenager and some of the things they are dealing with their teenager's life. Unfortunately it was very sad and tragic. I asked this parent what kind of people their teenager spent time with and hung around. Immediately their head dropped, and in a grieved tone they muttered, "People they shouldn't be spending time with." One of the most important principles in life we need to have nailed down deals with people. The Bible is full of verses that give us wisdom when it comes to friends, people and relationships. Who I spend time with can do one of two things. It can either propel me forward, strengthening my walk with the Lord, or can take me down. By surrounding myself with people who have good fruit in their life, I put myself in a position to grow and become wise. One of the clearest verses about friends is Proverbs 13:20, which clearly instructs us, "He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed." There's really no way around this. I have the choice to either be wise or destroyed? And if you're curious about what a fool is, all you have to do is go through Proverbs and see how the Bible describes one. But as obvious as this is, many people don't heed this warning and reap the consequences. One of the best choices a person could ever make is to surround themselves with people who are growing in the Lord, and seeing the kind of fruit in their lives that you want in yours. I'm so thankful for those amazing people in my life today who constantly challenge me to live for the Lord, and those in my past who helped me become the man I am today. Thank you for being a Godly example that others could follow :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Grade School "House of Pain"

This morning I sat in one of my least favorite chairs, the dentist chair. I had a very nice dental hygienist and  she did a wonderful job of making me comfortable and cleaning my teeth. I always think it's funny when the dentist asks questions when your mouth is clamped open and sharp objects are going in and out of your mouth. Going to the dentist brings back memories of when I was in grade school in New Zealand. Being socialist, every grade school in the country had a free dental clinic to take care of students. I remember that whenever a student was done in the clinic, they'd be sent to a class with a request for the next student. Back in those days it was old school drills, hand-mixing your filling mixture, and no pain medication. As you can tell, I had an experience any grade schooler should never have experienced. One time I had 3 cavities that needed to be filled. The dentist drilled with the old school drills and I had no pain medication. Then I mixed the mixture sitting in my dentist chair, and my cavities were filled. A day later a student entered my class with a dental request, and to my disbelief, my name was called. I sheepishly went to the "house of pain" as it was referred, and climbed into the big chair. The dentist said they'd used wrong measurements the day before and they'd need to take care of it. So began my torture. For some time, which seemed like hours to me, she proceeded to rip out the cavity fillings from the day before, again with no medication. Once out, she kept drilling, I mixed the mixture, and she filled them for the second time in two days. My experience was brutal, but I'm now glad I have a dentist and assistants who are much nicer and always give me pain medication if I ask for it :) Those were two of the toughest days of my life.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What Was I Thinking?

Have you ever done something and then looking back on it, you ask yourself whether or not it was the wisest thing to do? As you can see from my picture, one time I went into an enclosed area with some tigers. Now these weren't full grown tigers, but believe me, they were plenty big enough. As I stepped into the enclosure, I saw a gate open about thirty yards away and these two tigers began running towards me. For a brief moment I was alone with two tigers. As they quickly made their way to me, one of their handlers appeared on scene. Praise God! I got to play with these tigers for about 30 minutes and can say I've done something not a lot of others have had the chance to do. It's funny how your thinking changes as you get older. There were risks and chances I took in years past that I don't think I'd take now, being older and wiser.  As you think about life, you truly can grow in wisdom, understanding and knowledge, but only if you're willing. I can learn from being taught or from experience, and as we know, learning from experience can sometimes be a lot harder. As a father and husband, I also know that eyes are watching what I do. If my children see me doing something, what it says to them is that it's fine for them to do also. In my life I want to do things that I can say follow me, especially when it comes to spiritual things. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." I want to live my life in such a way that I can say to others, follow me as I follow Christ. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Let It Go...

On my drive home there's a church with a reader board that has some of the best statements. As I was driving home yesterday, this sign said, "Injustice is only as powerful as your memory of it." I thought about it for a moment and chuckled. Just like everyone else, in my life I've experienced injustice. Things done or said that were definitely unjust and unfair actions or treatment. Injustice isn't right, and unfortunately is a reality in life. I've personally experienced things that were very hurtful and grievous. It would be so easy for me to become a victim of these things and allow them to determine who I am. But in reality, I can't let these them determine my steps, my destiny or who I am. Everyone will experience injustice from time to time, the question is, will you choose to let it go, or allow it to be as real today as it was a year ago? Or ten years ago? That injustice can only be kept alive through your memory of it and living it over and over. When I look in the Bible, there are so many examples of people who experienced injustice. How about Joseph being jailed because of the false claims of his master's wife? Or Uriah's death because of David's orders? Or even Jesus Himself? As He hung on a cross, crucified because of false accusations and hatred, He said in Luke 23:34, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Talk about some serious injustice taking place, and yet Jesus chose to forgive and not let what these men did become a vivid point of anger, bitterness or offense in His life. If we look back in our lives, all of us will find examples of injustice. The important decision is whether or not we'll allow them to be distant memories or the fuel for today's bitterness. Just like Jesus, the choice I've made is to forgive  :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Take A Stand and Expect Persecution

Have you ever noticed how when someone takes a stand for something Godly, usually they're persecuted, attacked, opposed, and at times, vilified? Whether it's in politics, especially in the current GOP races, a law, a decision or even a personal conviction that opposes culture, persecution and attacks are bound to follow. I think about some of the vandalism, personal attacks and hatred towards people such as Brandi Swindell and Stanton Healthcare, as their pro-life stand opposes abortion. They take a stand for life and all of sudden they become a big target for hatred and vilification. But what's interesting to me is how Christians are surprised when attacks come, as they take a stand for Christ and the Bible. It shouldn't be any surprise to us. The Bible is clear with verses such as 2 Timothy 3:12 which states, "Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." When people become born again, they're fooled if they think their life is now going to be easy and without opposition. All we have to do is look at what happened to the disciples and Jesus Himself. He told us in John 15:18, "If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first." If people persecute or attack you, don't be discouraged by it. Don't allow their hatred and opposition hinder you from being who God's called you to be and doing what He's called you to do. Find comfort and strength in verses like 2 Corinthians 12:10 which encourages us, "That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong." If you take a stand for something Godly today, expect persecution and opposition, but don't let it hinder or stop you :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Every Woman Needs These...

I love giving hugs, but there's nothing quite like hugging my wife. Sometimes I think we let our lives become so hectic or even mundane, that we can forget or overlook those special or meaningful moments. To me, seeing my wife is always a highlight in my day, and I treasure hugging her. There's nothing quite walking into your home after a long day at work and wrapping your arms around the woman of your dreams, and her wrapping her arms around you. A hug can say so much between two people. A hug is simply "clinging firmly or fondly to someone cherished." I just love doing it! I love seeing couples hug, especially those who have been married for many years as it shows their continuing affection for one another. 1 Corinthians 13:7 tells us that, "Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." For many people, a hug can signify so much. It can represent a love that never chose to give up. A love that not only made it through the good, but also endured the challenging. Here's a simple tip, especially for you guys. Your loved one needs your affection and one of the best ways to show your affection is by wrapping your arms around her, holding her tight, and whispering in her ear how much she means to you. And for you women, let me tell you that from a guy's perspective, having the love of your life wrap her arms around you, is simply amazing! Hug the one you love today. It's totally fine to show your affection towards the one you love.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Want to Stay Out of Trouble?

This morning, one of my son shared a verse with me the Lord had put on his heart. It's one of those verses that if we listened to its wisdom, it would definitely make things so much smoother for us. He shared with me Proverbs 21:23 which tells us, "Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble." The tone of this verse comes across strong, but obviously there's a reason for this. If you're like me, at times we say things that we wished we hadn't. Things seem to come out of our mouths which at times, shocks and surprises us. It's one of the things which gets us into trouble more than just about anything else. It's amazing at how many verses there are in the Bible, which deal with those things which come out of our mouths, especially those things which are not good. What if we chose to do what this verse says to? What if we watched our tongue and chose to keep our mouths shut (when we need to)? The fruit of heeding this verse is something everyone wants more of, and that's staying out of trouble. So much of the trouble we encounter is self-inflicted, due to what we choose to say. Many times we want to say something, knowing it will probably produce trouble, yet we go ahead anyway and reap the consequences. Today I encourage you to choose your words wisely. Take heed to the wisdom of Proverbs 21:23 and enjoy staying out of trouble. Remember that your words are like squeezing a tube of toothpaste. Once you've squeezed the toothpaste out, you can't put it back into its tube. It's out forever.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Where Are the Faithful Men?

Men, we have been challenged, and I know every man loves a challenge. This challenge is not a one time thing, but a daily one. It challenges the very core of who we are. The challenge comes from our wives, our children, our friends, life itself and the Bible. Proverbs 20:6 asks us a great question, "Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?"In other words, many men claim to be loyal and loving, but where do you actually find one of these guys? Faithfulness, loyalty and loving should be the hallmark of who a man is at his very core. Whether everyone is watching him or whether he's alone, he should be faithful. Ask any wife about what she desires in a husband and I'm sure faithfulness will be at the top of her list, or at least I'd hope it would be. As a man I'm called to be faithful in everything, not just the big things, but also in all the little things. Just to clarify what being faithful is, it's being, "true to one's word, promise or vows; steadfast in allegiance, affection or loyalty; reliable and trusted." There's no way around who and what we've been called to be. You may ask yourself, "how do I become more faithful?" It starts now with every choice and decision you make. These choices and decisions are not to impress or please a person, but the Lord Himself. He chose to be faithful to us, and our lives should reciprocate our faithfulness to Him. As we choose to be be faithful to Him, it will affect every area in our lives. So when the question is asked, "who can find a faithful man?" People should be able to point to you :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What A Woman Truly Wants

Some of you may ask yourself how I know? We'll I'm not a woman, but I will give you what I think and what I've seen over my years of pastoring. The truth of the matter is simply this, when it comes to what a woman truly not only wants, but also needs. She wants to know she's loved, cherished and valued, whether she's at her prettiest or not. She knows her husband's love for her is the same whether she's on a mountaintop, or whether she's in a valley. Whether it's her best day or her worst. If she's secure in this, she knows her love will last and not fail. However, I feel that before she can be assured of this, she must be secure in God's love for her. She must know how loved, cherished and precious she is to the Lord first. In life there are so many pretty women, but what makes a woman truly beautiful is the love that's bestowed upon them by God and their man. Knowing they're loved truly makes them blossom, shine and be gorgeous. Sometimes my wife may be under the weather, very tired or just had a crazy day, but regardless of how she may look or feel, to me she's beautiful. And I make sure she knows it. I don't say it just to say it for the sake of saying it. But I say it because it's true. I mean it. Love is the greatest thing on the planet, and it's what makes or breaks relationships. Last night at retreat we heard an amazing story that I encourage you to read about Johnny Lingo and his eight cow wife, Sarita. Here's the link: Guys, regardless of how your girl looks, feels or thinks today, let her know how much you love, value and cherish her. It's what she truly desires.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What A Guy Truly Wants...

I'm currently attending our Harvest Church Young Adult retreat. The emphasis is on "No More Games", emphasizing Godly relationships. It's been amazing so far and I know it's only just beginning. Early this morning I was reading through Proverbs 31, thinking about how blessed I am having my wife. There are so many things a guy desires in a wife, but often these are selfish or superficial, and once married, they don't seem to be as meaningful as other things. In the Message, verses 11-12 say, "Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long." Is this ever meaningful when it comes to marriage. A wife sees everything with her husband, both the good and the bad, and yet nothing should separate them. Trust is essential to the success of any marriage. A wife who enjoys her friend's "gossip groups" will diminish his trust and could lead him to regret it. She covers him, loves him and builds him up. She's ever mindful of the vows she made on her wedding day, where she said publicly that her love for him would prevail, regardless. She never allows spite's poison (grudges, pettyness, malicious, desire to harm, frustration, humiliation, bitterness or ill-will) to have its course in their marriage, knowing it's destructive fruit. I'm so thankful for my wife and blessed because of her. Verse 10 is my reminder for what the Lord blessed me with, "A good woman is hard to find and worth far more than diamonds." Thank you Katherine :) I miss you.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Only In My Dreams...

If you're like me, you have something that you'd love to do, even if it's a dream. One of my dreams is to fly in either an F-15 or F-16 fighter jet. Now I realize that it will probably never happen, but it doesn't diminish my love for thinking about it. One of the things I love about our valley is the road that winds its way around the end of the Boise airport runway. Why is that so cool you may ask? I love it because it allows you to pull over and park and watch planes take off or land, at very close proximity. To me it's the closest thing I'll get to ever being in one of these amazing fighter jets. This week in Boise we have some F-15s that are doing training missions in and out of the Boise airport. There's nothing quite like watching them come in to land or take off, especially at very close proximity, with the roar of their engines and their intimidating looks. Most of you don't know this, but before I came to the US on a tennis scholarship, I was considering joining the Royal New Zealand Air Force and seeing whether I had what it took to become a pilot. Two of my close high school friends both became pilots, one flying F-16s and the other C-130s. So I've always had a fascination with flying and going fast (in planes). I encourage you, even with your busy life and schedule, every now and then, take time to do things that you love and don't get to do very often. Who knows, maybe I'll see you at the end of the Boise airport runway watching jets take off and land :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fun is Essential in Life

So we're right in the middle of our HITC winter retreat. We get to have a couple of fun days together and then head up to an awesome young adult retreat in the mountains for 3 days. One of my favorite things to do with our extremely hard working and stretched to the limit HITC students is provide opportunities for them to unwind and have fun. Well yesterday we did just that. We invaded JumpTime Idaho, and being the only people there, we had a blast and took over the place! We bounced and played, and I even had an opportunity to do some Tebowing. So many people have this wrong picture that being a Christian limits you from having fun. Well are they ever wrong. Anyone who truly serves God will tell you that being a Christian brings freedom and joy. That was so obvious to me yesterdat with our students. After being on a pretty challenging schedule, a little bit of unwind and play is just what the doctor ordered. I love watching 18-30 year olds have so much on trampolines and other things. Seeing their smiles, hearing their laughs and just watching them is so rewarding. If life was only all about hard work without any times of fun, it would be pretty mundane. I'm so thankful that in Christ we have life, joy and freedom. We can never forget Jesus' promise to us from John 8:36, "So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." I'm so looking forward to some great activities today and then a powerful young adult retreat to round out the week. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming, because of how I love life and everything that's going on in it :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Love Filter

As most of you are aware, or at least I hope so, today is Valentine's Day. A day where cards, chocolates, flowers and a host of other things are given to loved ones. The main emphasis of today is love. If you asked culture to describe love, I think you'd get some pretty interesting ideas. Actually I don't know if interesting is the right word to describe the answers you'd get. It's only in the context of understanding God's love that we can truly understand what love is really about. The Message lays it out well in 1 Corinthians 13:7, "Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force itself on others, isn't always "me first," doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end." Most people who read this verse would probably think it's crazy! But crazy it is, because it describes love through the eyes of a God who's crazy about us. As Christians it's so easy to say we love others, but how does your love hold up through the love filter of 1 Corinthians 13? Love is the most powerful and amazing thing the world has ever known and it's author is God. Enjoy your Valentines Day today, and never forget what true love looks like :) 

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Music of Opportunity and the Sound of Potential

(Please view the link I've posted below as it may be one of the best clips you ever watch). I'd never heard of Patrick Hughes till just recently, and you probably haven't heard of him either. However, this young man is one in a million. Although he's a man with incredible physical limitations, he certainly doesn't see it that way. He sees the blessings in life instead of the problems. He sees the abilities God gave him and not the disabilities. It's not about what he can't do, but what he can do. Even with his physical limitations he's a musical genius. If anyone in this world has the opportunity to question or have a wrong attitude, it would be Patrick Hughes. Amazingly, he never goes there. In a culture where being a victim is commonplace, that's the farthest thing from Patrick Hughes' mind. His view is that life is way too short to live it as a victim or without being thankful for all he has. This young man is a reminder to us about what life is all about. I encourage you to watch his story at As you go through your day, don't focus on your limitations, but on your possibilities. Don't let problems hold you down or define who you are or what you can do. Don't look at problems, but at your blessings. And in everything, never forget God's promise to you found in Hebrews 13:5, "I will never fail you. I will never abandon you."

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Want or Need?

I was in a conversation this week where on several occasions the person said, "I need..." As our conversation continued it became very evident this person was very confused when it came to needs versus wants. A lot of people seem to get confused on this topic, especially young people. A "need" is simply something that you really can't do without. I picture someone having a serious asthma attack, and their need for an inhaler. A "want" however, is something you wish for or desire, but it's not essential. I'd love a new cell phone, however, the older cell phone I have seems to do the job right now. To me, wants and needs are pretty obvious, but this area can become gray very quickly. It's interesting how many people have allowed things that are really only wants, to actually become needs. You hear things like, "I can't live without it", or "I'll die if I don't get one". Let's look at some things and decide whether they're really a need or a want. How about some Starbucks coffee? A new car? A new computer? A new gun? A bigger house? Are these really needs and essential? Is a Starbucks essential to your survival? You drive a car that works OK now and so does your one year old computer. Another gun to go with the one you already have and a house that gives you a little more room than the house you're already in. Don't be fooled! Our culture is never satisfied with what it has. It's always looking for something bigger or better. This fact can easily sway how we view what is really a want or a need. We can't forget Paul's words in Philippians 4:11, "for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have." For fun check this out:

Friday, February 10, 2012


Have you ever noticed how much people whine, not referring to babies, but adults? At times I'm amazed at how many adults whine, moan, complain or grumble. I've been there just like everyone else. In the past I've whined and complained, but I recognize it was wrong. Nowadays, those who know me best would agree that they seldom hear me whine or complain. I thought babies whined and yet people who whine often want to be treated as adults. Go figure? Whining is defined as, "to snivel or complain in a peevish, self-pitying way." So what makes us whine? Perhaps we didn't get what we wanted? Or we didn't like what someone said or did? Maybe we feel it's our right? Or perhaps we really have no reason and it's just who we are? Whatever the reason, it's not a very good one. I love today's picture of a grown man with a pacifier in his mouth. As ridiculous as it looks, this is exactly how we look when we whine. A great picture of how God views whining is found in Numbers 11. In verse 11 we read, "Moses heard all the families standing in the doorways of their tents whining, and the LORD became extremely angry." Whining didn't sit so well with Him. If whining isn't what should come out of our mouths what should? I love what the Message says should come from our mouths in Ephesians 4:29, "Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift." Can you imagine if the only things that came out of our mouths were helpful and that we viewed our every word as a gift? Today I challenge you to let your words help and view them as gifts. If you don't, you risk looking like the guy above :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012


One of the most commonly found things among people in our culture is insecurity. And unfortunately this frequently shows up in the way people view themselves. So many people battle low self-esteem on a daily basis and this is usually very evident. I know from time to time we can all face a little discouragement or battle low self-esteem, but one of the things we must never forget is who made us and how He feels about us. Look at how Psalm 139 describes the way God feels about us. Verses 13 and 14 say, "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it." Then verses 17 and 18 say, "How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!" Do you begin to see how God feels about you? You're no loser! Through Him you're a winner! Don't label or view yourself as someone you're not. God cannot and does not lie, and so what He says about you is the truth. You belong to Him and are His masterpiece. Today, remove the L sign you're making from your forehead. Let your actions, attitudes, words and thoughts reflect who you really are. In Jesus you are a champion! You are valuable, precious and the apple of His eye. Yes your life is meaningful and He has called you to great things :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Things Aren't Always What They Seem

With anything, just because it looks like one, definitely doesn't mean it is one. I think most of us have experienced this at some point, whether with something or someone. I've used this photo as an object lesson. It shows what appears to be 4 quality tennis balls, but don't bet everything simply on what you see. Each of these balls looks like they'd work great for a game of tennis, but unfortunately three of them are flat. Only one of them actually bounces. All too often we do the same thing when it comes to people. We base everything on what's seen on the outside. 1 Samuel 16:7 is a great Biblical illustration for us about this saying, "Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." How easy it is to base everything on how someone looks, rather than what's on the inside and their fruit. I think our culture is far too outward appearance focussed. And just like with these balls, if you didn't take a moment to squeeze and bounce them, you'd be completely fooled. Some of the most amazing people I know are those who are often overlooked by others because of their outward appearance. Yet as you get to know them you begin to see that they're truly gems on the inside, also having great fruit in their life. I'm so thankful that we can learn from Samuel experience. If he would have chosen who he thought should be king, based on outward appearance, he would have blown it. Instead he chose to listen to the Lord and chose based on something more far more important. And just in case you're wondering, the ball second from the left (Wilson US Open) is the one that actually bounces :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Great Friends Are Such A Blessing...

Every now and then I choose to blog about one of my friends and today is one of those days. I remember the first time I met Brian Hesse, almost ten years ago. He'd moved down to the valley to attend NNU from Coeur d'Alene. I met him at Starbucks on Broadway and quickly knew the Lord had brought our paths together. From that moment on I have been blessed to call him a great friend. People like Brian don't come along everyday and I'm so thankful for friends like Brian. There are many things that come to mind when I think of how to describe a friend. Things like loyalty, honesty, integrity, and a willingness to help others grow in the Lord. Brian has been all of those to me, and to many others too. His consistency, strength and faithfulness have opened many doors for him and have given him much influence. I don't get to spend as much time as I'd like with him, but when we do get together, it's like we pick up right where we left off last. Yesterday we got to spend a couple of hours together and we had a blast, well actually we did a lot of blasting at targets. I'm always excited to see how much people grow because of their willingness to allow the Lord to mold and form them. Brian is no exception and I'm so proud of the man, and now husband, that he is. Soon he'll be celebrating his first wedding anniversary to his beautiful wife Katie. Good friendships don't just happen, but they take work, commitment and humility, as well as many other things. Many of us have friends like Brian in our lives, and I encourage you to cherish those relationships. And to you Brian, thanks for being a faithful and loyal friend. I'm richly blessed having you as a friend :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

And I Mean No Weapon...

I love reading about or watching war history and the weapons used in war, especially WWII. Like most guys, stuff about planes, tanks, guns and special forces grabs my attention. One of the most awesome weapons ever produced is the Barrett M82A1 .50 cal with some AN/PVS 10 day/night optics. This rifle is an extremely powerful weapon in the natural, but we also have some very powerful weapons in our arsenal as believers. I believe our greatest weapon as a Christian is the Bible, the Word of God. It's the powerful Sword of the Spirit. Whatever the devil throws at us, the Bible has what we need. It holds the keys and strategies needed to fight off and defeat every attack that comes at us. One of the best verses in dealing with the enemy's attacks and the outcome the Lord pronounces is found in Isaiah 54:17. It declares to us, "But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD; their vindication will come from me. I, the LORD, have spoken!" What an amazing verse for us! What a promise from the Lord! His Word is where we must go when our enemy tries to strike. No weapon, person or plan will succeed against those who trust in the Lord. Take some time to get into your weapon today, the Word of God, because in it you'll find everything you'll need for victory today.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Tragic Loss...

As most of you probably heard, yesterday the world lost a great leader in Steve Appleton, CEO of Micron. Steve was one of those people who always seemed to bring out the best in you. Steve was also on tennis scholarship at Boise State and graduated a couple of years before I arrived there. He was a competitor to say the least! He was always encouraging the "little guy" to break through and win. I last saw Steve at a BSU women's match last year. He came up to me and asked how I was doing. As always, he was keenly interested in how you and your family were doing. My son even got to meet him on this occasion. It's funny how when you see an old friend that you never imagine it will be the last time you'll see them. One of the things I admire about Steve Appleton was his generosity and desire to help others. He definitely never allowed his corporate success to go to his head. His roots and loyalty were always Blue and Orange all the way. On a plaque at the Appleton BSU Tennis facility there's a quote from Steve which says, "Tennis taught me more in one season than a lifetime of other experiences." I couldn't agree more with him. Looking back, Steve at heart was simply another Bronco tennis player, with lots of dreams and determination. But he didn't just twiddle his thumbs and do nothing. He chose to put feet to his dreams and see how far they would take him. My heart goes out to his wife Dalynn and children in this difficult season. Steve, thanks for caring for all the "little guys" and helping their dreams soar too. Here's a great clip about Steve and tennis

Friday, February 3, 2012

Time Sure Flies...

I was going through an old scrapbook last night and came across a photo from 1983. This photo shows as a young New Zealand tennis player. That player is me. It's funny because I can remember exactly when and where it was taken. That was nearly 30 years ago. Have you ever thought about how fast time goes by? I remember as a teenager how time seemed to move by slowly, but as I've gotten older, the time button seems to have been turned up and left in the "fast" position. The Bible describes man's days in Psalm 103:15-16, "Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone—as though we had never been here." From God's perspective our lives are like a fast blur, here one day and gone the next. When you're young, you have this idea that you have so long to live. That you have many, many years till you get old, but don't fall into that trap. Our lives pass by so fast. It's like driving through a small town at 65mph. I guess that's what's impacting me so much as I look at this photo. It was almost 30 years ago and yet it seems like just yesterday. Don't be fooled into thinking that you have an endless supply of years ahead, because you don't! Live today having no regrets. Live it with passion and excitement. Live it full of thanksgiving and appreciation. Live it without bitterness towards or envious of others. Live it with joy, enthusiasm and peace. Won't you live life to the fullest today? Your years are going to go by so much quicker than you realize and you have no control over life's speed dial. Live life today!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Why Is Telling Someone "Great Job" So Hard To Do?

For those of you who really know me, you know I love encouraging others. I love speaking words that brighten their day or cause them to smile :) When I see someone do a great job with something I love saying, "Great job!" But not everyone does this. In fact, at times I'm surprised how hard it is for some people to give others credit, especially where it's due, or to tell them how good a job they did. It's actually quite unnatural for many in our culture. Proverbs 3:27 tells us, "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so." If someone deserves some credit, why is it hard to give it to them? If someone has done something well, let them know. If someone has done a great job, let them know they did a great job. Sometimes I think jealousy and envy can creep in and lock the door when it comes to us complimenting others. We wish it was us doing the good job and getting the credit, but because it's someone else, we're irritated. I'm a big proponent of treating others how you yourself want to be treated (Luke 6:31). Many people want others to tell them they're doing a great job, yet those very people refuse to tell those around them about the great job they're doing. Look around today and if you see someone doing something special or doing a great job, and let them know. Speak up and encourage, allowing your words to lift others up and soar! There are many people around you who are doing a great job. All you have to do is say these two simple words, "great job." :) If you want to watch one of my favorite clips on this, check out this link. It's long but is well worth it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Loving the Underdog

People really are amazing. One of the things I love hearing about is when a person, against all odds, finds a way to succeed. I see it on a daily basis with our HITC students, and believe me, some of them have succeeded against all odds. Have you ever noticed how often the Bible tells how God used men and women mightily. Yet often many of those He used were not people you'd expect Him to use, and yet He did. Against all odds, they were used by Him powerfully and mightily! I recently saw a story about a young man named Mark Herzlich. As a college football player at Boston College, two years ago he was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer. It constantly caused him unbearable pain and required much surgery and treatment. He was told that he'd never walk again, let alone play sports. Yet this young man decided to become a person who wouldn't let others hold him down. He fought cancer and won. What's so amazing about his story is that it's only been two years since his diagnosis. And yet yesterday, he arrived in Indianapolis to play in the Superbowl for the New York Giants. His story is really amazing but there are people like him everywhere. People who don't let a diagnosis or others hold them back from seeing their dreams come to pass. As Christians we serve an awesome God! Paul states in Philippians 4:13 that, "I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." Don't let things hold you down or back today. Be who God's called you to be. Today, be a champion, an overcomer, and a person of victory, through Christ.