Monday, December 31, 2012

Another Year in the Books

It's hard to believe that today is the last day of 2012. The year seems to have gone by so fast with 2013 looming big tomorrow. I'm so thankful for God's faithfulness over this past year. He has protected, provided and loved as only He can. He's done things I didn't expect Him to do as well as not doing things I did want Him to do. Regardless of anything, He knows what's best :) I'm looking forward to 2013 and seeing everything the Lord has planned. Today I choose to thank the Lord ahead of time for this upcoming year. I choose to follow Him wherever He may lead. I choose to trust Him in everything. I'm going to fear the Lord and not others. I'm going to put what He thinks above what others think. I'm going to live 2013 as His child. I can't help but think of what Psalm 9:9-10 promises me, "The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you." Thank you Lord for 2012 and the new year :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Concealing Sin Is Never A Good Choice

A fresh cup of coffee in my hand and the pages of my Bible open on the counter. What a way to start a day :) Immediately one of my favorite verses becomes front and center. Proverbs 28:13 says, "People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy." There are some very important truths to be found in this verse. Why do people think that concealing or hiding their sins is the best option? If you've ever done this, you know how it can eat away at you and even imprison you in a sense. It's easy to believe the lie that no-one else knows or will find out, yet this thinking is merely a trap. We must take action and do what the verse tells us to do. We must first confess and acknowledge our sin. This is followed by our turning away from it. This turning away is called repentance. It's a change of mind and heart which produces a change in behavior and attitude. When you choose to confess your sin and receive His forgiveness, then you must walk away from that sin. Too many people confess their sin but unfortunately aren't willing to walk away from it. What an incredible opportunity before us. Confess our sins, receive God's forgiveness, turn from our sins, and last but not least we receive His mercy. There's something so beautiful about the mercy of God. And today this mercy is fully available to you and me :) Are you ready to receive His mercy today? 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

4x4's Don't Make You Invincible...

A white Christmas is what we had yesterday and it continues snowing this morning :) I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas day with your family and loved ones? As you can imagine, with the snow and freezing temperatures come dangerous road driving conditions. Last night the freeways were closed due to these dangerous road conditions. What always amazes me are people who think because they drive a big 4 wheel drive vehicle that they can drive however they want, regardless of how bad conditions may be. It's as if they see themselves as invincible. Yet so many wrecks, slide-offs and injuries involve 4x4 vehicles. I think this false sense of security unfortunately puts many people at risk. Being in a 4x4 sliding on ice is certainly no better than any other vehicle. I think the same can be true when it comes to life. Too many people rely on their own self-sufficiencies thinking that they're going to be fine. Unfortunately this isn't the case and couldn't be farther from the truth. I thought I was a pretty self-sufficient person but was I ever wrong. I recognized my great need for a Savior. And ever since I've been living for Him, my life has been completely different. Just because you have a 4x4, don't be fooled into thinking you're invincible. And just because you are self-sufficient, don't be fooled into thinking you don't need a Savior. Psalm 16:1, "Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust."

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Best Gift Ever

It's Christmas tomorrow! The most incredible day of the year. But as you unwrap your gifts don't forget  the great gift God gave you. John 3:16 tells us, "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." He gave us the most incredible gift anyone could ever ask for, His Son as a our Savior. I know that tomorrow will be full of excitement and anticipation. However, don't allow the getting of gifts overshadow God's gift to us. Take a moment and thank Him for all He's blessed you with and His great love for you. Tomorrow, some gifts won't fit, some won't work, and even others won't be appreciated. But the gift of God's love always fits, always works, and when understood, is always appreciated. Have a very Merry Christmas and thank you God for the best gift I've ever received, your Son Jesus Christ :)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

What Some Call Limitations Others Call Opportunity

I can never write enough about people who don't allow limitations in their life to hold them back. Sometimes we allow the smallest opposition or excuse to prevent us from doing things. While running, just because I'm tired, do I stop? I sure don't. I came across this amazing clip yesterday which is so inspiring. When it all comes down to it, no limitation should prevent us from doing things we'd like to. Philippians 4:13 tells us, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." To think about how many people don't try something because of what they view as limitations, excuses or even fear of failure. Don't let these things prevent you from trying things. And please take a moment to watch this clip and be encouraged as I was :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Rejoicing Crushes Jealousy and Envy

With Christmas right around the corner, we will all be involved in both the giving and receiving of gifts. You will give others gifts that they are going to be thrilled about. While others may receive gifts that you wished were for you. Jealousy and envy is something that's a constant battle in our culture. How come they got that? How come that happened for them? How come they get to go there? I think these are questions everyone asks themselves from time to time. In a culture that's always into bigger and better, sometimes we can lose sight of those things that are precious. This Christmas, when others get things you could only dream of getting, choose to rejoice with them. Don't allow jealousy to worm its way in. When others get to go places you'd love to go, rejoice with them. When others seem to be blessed like crazy, rejoice with them :) If you don't rejoice with them, you open the door to resentment, frustration, a victim mentality and a whole host of other junk. Rejoice with what others are blessed with and never stop being thankful for everything you've been blessed with :) You have a lot to be thankful for and rejoice about. Don't allow jealousy and envy to ruin the season.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Can't Stand Being Sick :(

I'm now on to day 2 now of being sick and can't stand it. It's seldom that I ever get sick and so when I do, I really do. There's nothing worse than lying in a bed, feeling gross and not being able to do anything. When you go from being very productive to doing nothing, it's like someone pulled the park brake on while cruising down the freeway at 65mph. Actually today, my fever seems to have resided, but I do feel like I just competed in the Iron Man triathlon. Soreness, stiffness and lots of aches and pains are my lot today. I did have a good time reading my Bible this morning and spending some time with the Lord, which is a good thing. However, I will miss the HITC Christmas party today as it's the student's last day of school before two weeks off :( Continue praying for me, for a quick recovery and that I can get everything done that needs to be done. The verses I'm clinging to today are from Psalm 103:1-5, "Let all that I am praise the Lordwith my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lordmay I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and  heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!"

Monday, December 17, 2012

Should We Ban Motor Vehicles Because They Kill People?

According to the US Census, automobile accidents caused over 35900 fatalities in 2009. That is a huge amount of people killed by motor vehicles. This includes the thousands killed by drunk drivers, excessive speed, dangerous driving, driving too fast for conditions, those driving under the influence of drugs, and so on. When innocent people and families are killed by drunk drivers on a daily basis, shouldn't we do something about outlawing motor vehicles? I mean vehicles are dangerous because people die everyday because of them. Do you really think that vehicles are to blame for people dying? I think you're foolish if you do. People cause accidents and deaths. People choose to drink alcohol and then get behind a wheel. People choose to drive at excessive speeds. People choose to drive recklessly. The problem is with people and not objects. You could make the same argument for anything else that people use to kill others. People choose to use an objects to hurt others. Objects such as cars and guns don't have the ability to hurt and kill others on their own. People using them are the problem. I think it's easy to attack something as being horribly wrong and wanting to bring sweeping measures to try and curb deaths by its' use. But when it all comes down to it it's the human heart that needs changed and the only way this can happen is through Jesus Christ.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


As I got up this morning I was still in disbelief and shock at what took place yesterday in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. The tragedy which occurred at a place so many of us believe to be a sanctuary of innocence, a grade school. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around why such a horrific event took place and why it involved the most innocent of the innocents, grade school aged children. As a father I can't even imagine what families and loved ones of those who lost their lives yesterday are going through today. The only thing I can think of to do is be comforted in the loving arms of my comforter, Jesus Christ. No amount of anger, tears or pain is going to change things. All I can think of to do is to run to Him. Jesus Himself promises us in Matthew 5:4, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." In these simple words we see His promise to us. I hope that everyone affected by this act will turn to the Lord and receive the comfort He offers in times like this. My prayers and thoughts definitely go out to the families of Sandy Hook. I pray that the Lord's comfort finds each one of you and that you allow Him to wrap His loving arms around you...Also please take a moment to watch these amazing words shared by Mike Huckabee..

Friday, December 14, 2012

What's Your Personal Growth Plan?

I constantly hear people talking about how they want to become a leader or perhaps grow as a leader. But when it comes down to it, there must be more than just talk or a desire. Those who become good leaders do so because they have a plan and a strategy. Our HITC students just got done watching a powerful DVD by John Maxwell on developing leaders. I've read and watched lots of Maxwell, but this is one of his best. One of the things he stressed was having a personal growth plan. This plan is one of the main things that separates those who want to be leaders and those actually become leaders. Do you have a personal growth plan? Something that sets the course for you to develop and grow as a leader? If you do, great! If not, it's never too late to get one :) If someone believes that they've arrived as a leader, they're really only kidding themselves. A leader can always find areas to grow in and improve. Personal growth plans can be simple or a little more detailed, but the important thing is having something that works for you and succeeds in its goal. A couple of things in my plan to help me grow as a leader include: reading a book a month, listening to or watching a CD or DVD every other week, meeting with someone I look up or that I would consider successful monthly, and writing frequently to help my writing skills. As I've been faithful to do these things I've seen continued growth in my own personal life. If you don't have a personal growth plan, now is the perfect time to get one and begin to see the fruit of your labors :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

When Starbucks is a Luxury...

Before you read the rest of this post, you must know that I only chose Starbucks because it was a place that I used to visit frequently. However, it could easily refer to any coffee shop for that matter. In the past year my Starbucks visits have declined significantly. I do love the atmosphere and environment, but unfortunately when your personal financial belt is a little tighter, things like Starbucks become the first to go. I've seen recent statistics on Starbucks drinkers showing things such as how much people spend and how often they go in a week. It's as if their coffee shop visit is what they're supposed to do. For the last year now I've probably only visited Starbucks once every few weeks. And even then it's for my favorite grande Earl Grey tea with cream and raw sugar, which dings me $2.28. But the thing I have learned over this past year when it comes to Starbucks has been such a valuable lesson for me. In years past I may have visited Starbucks up to three times a week. It was what I did. Instead of being something special, it became the norm. It's funny how your perspective can change over time. Now when I go to Starbucks I view it as being a luxury. Have fun when you visit your local coffee shop today :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pranks Are Fun Till...

Pranking is everywhere and everyone loves a good laugh from them. But when can a prank go too far? When can a prank be too much? When people play a prank on someone, the purpose is fun. However, more and more I'm seeing pranks go wrong. In other words, the negative side of pranking. I remember a story about a person who had some friends play a prank on them as they entered their own home. Not realizing it was a prank, the person drew a gun they were carrying and shot dead one of their friends. Or recently, the two Australian DJ's who played a prank by calling the hospital where Princess Kate Middleton was staying due to her severe morning sickness. Sadly, the nurse who took the call and fell for the prank, Jacintha Saldanha, committed suicide the next day. Nobody ever expects something like this to happen when they plan it, but pranks do go bad, and probably more often than we realize. Feelings can be easily hurt,  not to mention personal property, and occasionally injury and even death. In Proverbs 26:19 the Message is very clear, "People who shrug off deliberate deceptions, saying, “I didn’t mean it, I was only joking,” Are worse than careless campers who walk away from smoldering campfires." We can definitely learn from these words of wisdom. Am I against having fun? Absolutely not! Those of you who know me know I love having fun and joking around. But with pranks there's a fine line we must all be aware of. Please take a moment to think before doing something you'll regret at the expense of another. Something that may cause something you never expected.

Friday, December 7, 2012

How to Treat Others

How others treat you is how you should treat them, right? If someone is mean to you, then you can be mean to them. If someone hurts you, then you can hurt them. If someone steals from you, then you can steal from them. Unfortunately, this is how too many people think. They believe that whatever someone does to them, that they now also have the right to do back to them. But is this really how we should live? Is that the heart and attitude that will make a real difference in our culture? I don't think so! When it comes to treating others there's no better verse than Luke 6:31, "Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!" (Message). For some people this may be a complete change in thinking as it really does contradict what our culture says. It certainly did when Jesus said it. If you want others to treat you a certain way, then start treating them the way you would like them to treat you. If you want people to be kind to you, then you start by being kind to them. Don't wait for them to be kind, but you start and take the initiative. Too often we won't do nice things to others till they first do it for us, but how about you be the one to start? Today why don't you put the Golden Rule into practice and treat those around you how you yourself want them to treat you :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Downside to Social Media?

Jovan Belcher was an NFL football player with the Kansas City Chiefs. This past weekend he ended his girlfriend's life and then drove to his team's facilities and took his own life. Their deaths left a 3 month old girl to grow up with no parents. People have asked how a tragedy like this could have happened or even been avoided. Belcher was surrounded by teammates and others daily, yet why was no-one aware of the inner struggles he was experiencing. As you're fully aware, we are now living in an electronic and social networking culture. Texts, Facebook, Twitter, emails, etc, serve their purpose, but they don't allow you to look into the heart and soul of a person. It produces mainly surface communication that prevents anyone from knowing the struggles and battles that may actually be going on in a person's life. Social media has its purpose, but never allow it to replace personal verbal communication. There's lots of things I'd like to add to this post, however, one of Belcher's teammates, Brady Quinn, hits the nail on the head. I encourage you to listen to this man's heart as he shares something that seems to be so easily forgotten and overlooked in our culture. Please take a moment to watch this 60 second clip here

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Yet Another Bizarre Twist to Kindness and Generosity

I appreciate all the views and comments about my blog post yesterday. Yes, I thought it was a sad ending to a wonderful act of kindness and generosity. But now this story has taken yet another bizarre twist. The homeless man, identified as Jeffrey Hillman, seems to have added to his story a little. Yes, he still feels he should have a piece of the pie of his story with it being flashed about just about every media outlet around the nation. But he has now explained why he isn't wearing the boots he was given by that NYPD officer's kindness and generosity. And in my view, his reasoning again points to the sad place our nation is becoming at times. Essentially it's two-fold. Firstly, he isn't wearing them because he's hid them. As a homeless man wearing new boots he was afraid for his life, saying someone might kill him for them. Secondly, he said he's stated he's already sold them or thinking of selling them. It's a sad place when someone feels threatened by the gift of another. Perhaps it shows how primal things can be when Biblical values are ignored. And also, it can also cause those who desire to do something special and purposeful, like the NYPD officer, to choose not to do it, out of concern for someone's safety or motives (selling the gift).

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Sad Follow Up to Kindness & Generosity

Well today I'm shocked! I have to write a sad follow up to my last blog post about the generosity of a NYPD officer buying a pair of boots for a barefooted homeless man last week. You can take a look at it here To me it was an incredible act of kindness and generosity. However, today I read that the homeless man is no longer wearing the $100 boots for one simple reason. He wants a piece of the pie when it comes to all the media and attention he's been getting. The photo and story created a media frenzy and the homeless man at the center of the story feels like he should be gaining something from all of it. If I wrote my last blog on kindness, how could I not talk about greed and discontentment in this one. It's hard for me to even fathom. Instead of appreciating the $100 boots and socks, someone who had nothing now wants even more than he started with. Is this what America is really coming to? Many of us have done random acts of kindness or have been recipients of it, yet there's never a cry to want more or even credit for what's been done. Has our nation become one where all we can focus on is wanting more? Where has contentment gone? Contentment is a place very few people now find themselves. Will you choose to be content with all you've been blessed with today? Or will greed try to work its way into your life? Tonight a man's feet will be freezing in New York because of his greed (and stupidity).