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The Well House

I’ve now been to The Well House Church twice. It’s a movement of the Holy Spirit through Rob Touchstone. It’s not for everyone. It’s not a secret society, cult or manipulative religious movement to control your every move. It’s a sincere search and open door community that meets people where they are at. It excludes no one, and not only is it a jumping off point for those who are new to Christianity, but I think it could me a very deep place of discipleship for those who take the Great Commission seriously.

unnamed-2Salt and light do not call attention to themselves, yet they make a profound difference when they aren’t present. When the body of Christ gathers in any form or place powerful things happen, and the seeds planted in receptive hearts grow exponentially with the hope that only our Creator can give.

Evil is not new. Evil is actually very old, and we are all guilty of perpetuating it. All all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and these computers, iPhones, Androids, iPads and Microsoft Surfaces have increased the distractions we face.

There is literally only one thing that is needed. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

The Well House Church might be a place you can find that.

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My Superpower

Single In The Suburbs

Seeing women supporting women is one of my favorite things in the world.

Something that has made my heart so incredibly full has been all the incredible support I have gotten from friends and family since announcing my new business with Rodan + Fields. I haven’t been able to work since I got sick with POTS right after graduating college, so having a job is a really exciting thing for me. I’m stoked to have something really productive and fun to do with my time, and I want to use this business to change the world. I know how ridiculous that may sound, but as someone who as suffered with pretty bad acne for years I know just how great it is when you are able to stop focusing on that and feeling confident in your own skin. Clearing my skin might not have changed the world at all, but…

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Chain Deletion

I am about to throw some chains off. It’s intuition. Here are some other reasons why. The first one being that God if for me, and the ones after that from John Maxwell.

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  • Winners are less sensitive to disapproval and rejection – they brush it off.
  • Winners think “bottom line.”
  • Winners focus on the task at hand.
  • Winners are not superstitious – they say, “that’s life.”
  • Winners refuse to equate failure with self-worth.
  • Winners don’t restrict thinking to established, rigid patterns.
  • Winners see the big picture.
  • Winners welcome challenge with optimism.
  • Winners don’t waste time in unproductive thought.

 

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As A Man Thinketh

img_0045Who am I when I’m alone? What do I do when no one is watching? That’s the real definition of who I really am. I hope it’s no different than when people are watching. I’m sure it is sometimes because I’m human, but I’d like to think I have a high level of integrity. And I do.

Life boils down to the thoughts we choose to dwell on, and what we do about those thoughts. We can’t control our thoughts, but we can control how much we meditate upon them. Here’s a spoiler alert. Thoughts lead to actions, so be careful what you allow to enter your mind. My friend Craig Eckstein taught me this. If you have a steady mental diet of bad stuff then your actions will reflect the bad stuff that goes into your mind. It’s elementary really. It’s not a difficult concept. What we allow to control our thinking will be what influences us. And the longer we allow negative, bad thinking to enter into our minds the more ingrained the habit becomes, and the harder it will be to break those defeating thoughts. Prevention becomes the key. I’ll compare it to an alcoholic’s battle with alcohol.

Once an addict admits to having a drinking problem many times the only solution to solve the addiction is to be a teetotaler. A teetotaler completely abstains from any kind of spirit. Drawing boundaries is essential in any endeavor to create a new habit.

If I am an alcoholic I do not condemn someone else for drinking, but I may not go out to eat with them if I can’t be around alcohol. If they are a true friend they will not condemn me either for choosing not to be with them as they drink alcohol. It’s a loving action that speaks volumes of concern and care for something that can literally destroy a life.

Thoughts destroy lives. We are who we are because of the thoughts we think as those thoughts lead to actions.

Think good thoughts. When you think bad thoughts, or you fight depression like me be patient with yourself because it won’t change over night, but it will change. When you stay the course, and desire to improve your life even in the face of failure no one can stop you from getting to a better place in life.

I’m living proof.

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Keep On

cropped-cropped-tig_10111.jpgThis morning did not begin the way I wanted it to begin. I went to bed too late, so you have that. I had to reset my alarm when it went off at the normal time because I needed more sleep. We got off to school fine, and I picked Morgan up to head to our first stop. We cleaned the heck out of that house, and I take a lot of pride out of the extra mile to Old English furniture.

I’m unsatisfied with the present state of my business because it’s not where I want it. I’m trying not to be a pushy salesman, but people don’t know about your company unless you show and tell them. I need to drop my aversion to selling. I think I will. What they think is their problem. I’m going to balance my offense, and if they think it overkill I can read that and adjust. If it’s a text or email then they always have the right to delete it. I really don’t like being a jerk though, so I’ll make the necessary adjustments. I’ve come too far to give up now, and everything I ship is not going to cross the pond. That’s called life, and if I survived it before I’ll survive it again.

I’m moving on and winning I’d like to add.

If God is for me who can be against me?

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faith, uncategorized

The Shack

imagesDo you ever come to the white screen or empty stage with fear? I do. I frequently will have a barrage of thoughts to share when exiting the shower only to arrive here to forget them all, but as I craft these words I think in silence as the Holy Spirit unveils fruit.

My incredible friend David, who happens to be my father-in-law too, and I went to a seminar based upon Paul Young’s novel The Shack. If you’ve read the book or seen the movie you know the story. I’ve not seen the movie because if it’s anything like the book I will be one hot mess, so I’ve chosen to wait to see it in the privacy of my own home where I can cry an ocean as I suspect I will. I’m not going to give any plot spoilers because I want you to experience the fiction for yourself. I will say that every last one of us has shacks we come to, and don’t try to avoid them because bad and good happens around and in them. That’s what the seminar was all about. It was about how we have a Father who never leaves or forsakes us at any time in our lives, but especially times when we have moments in our shacks. And notice I wrote when, not if. I think we’ve read that somewhere before haven’t we? “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.” He indeed overcame the world, but we wonder sometimes because our suffering can be so great, and the questions out number the answers. We want resolve and closure, but in so many cases there is neither, and we’re forced to retire many evenings never really resting because life is empty even for those of us who call upon the name of God.

If God is so good why did my child die? If God is so good why did my wife die? If God is so good why did my partner leave me for someone else? The hurts are real, deep and many times there’s not a damn answer in sight. What do we believe in those moments? Most of the time we are just in survival mode because we can barely put one foot in front of the other.

I left for work the other week or so before the sun came up. I instantly remembered the dark nights of my soul when I would rise at 2:30am to be at work at 4am. It was the hardest 10 months of my life. The rush of despair ran in like a thief only to go away because I realized I wasn’t going to a dark dreary grocery store stock room. I was going to do work I really love. I love to clean houses. I love everything about it. But in that moment of memory I knew how afraid and paralyzed I was in that last store before the bottom fell out.

You’ve been there. Her lips were so inviting before you knew what was happening, and the next thing you know your inside her only to realize she wasn’t your wife. We fail in life not because we are sinful people, though that is certainly true, we fail because we are desperately searching for something to replace the pain we experience minute by minute in our shacks. All the things that come promise something, but those things never deliver the promise because they are lies. Do they feel good? Do they make us think we have love? Yes. That’s why we do them time and again because to some level they do fill the void that not only screams for relief, but it screams for a happiness that can only be found in the One who created us.

Jesus Christ looks down upon all our comings and goings, and in our heart of hearts He whispers His love for us. He doesn’t scream or force Himself upon us because gentleness is very much a factor in His way with us. In many ways the Cross was merely the beginning of His gentle nature nudging us into union with Him. His resurrection is the attorney’s last statement before the Judge that His blood pardoned all our crimes, yet we persistently strive to earn our own salvation. I do it every day because even on my best day I do not see or experience His unconditional love for me. I cannot accept His free gift of mercy because I’ve got to “earn” it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If I truly submitted to the One who knit me together in my mother’s womb I would not only run to my shacks, but I bust the door down to meet my Papa in a full embrace for eternity.

But here I am. I’m on Earth typing a post on my blog about the shacks I’ve had to go through. Someone said at our seminar that there is nothing I know about myself that God doesn’t. I can’t keep anything hidden from Him. Adam and Eve thought they could, but God was just testing their faith to see if they really thought they could “hide” from God. You know the story. God plays a little game with them the same he did with Cain when he murdered his brother Abel. “Where is your brother Cain?” “Where are you Adam and Eve?” He knew full well where they were, and we know what happened because we’ve read the stories a million times. Abel’s blood cried from the ground as God told Cain, and not only did God bring Adam and Eve out from hiding, but He made clothes for them because they realized they were naked.

The human body is a beautiful creation God made for us to enjoy. We have perverted it by looking at each other with impure eyes and thoughts, and our depravity over the centuries have objectified women whom God gave beauty to respect and admire. There’s no doubt God created male and female, yet thousands of years later He communicates that there is neither male or female, Jew or Greek. We’ve hardened our hearts to the point that now if we can’t pigeon hole you into what we want to define you than you are marginalized. And it’s 2017 when we’re supposed to be this “intelligent” race of human beings who are to tolerate everyone and everybody and all that they believe.  No wonder we’re confused. Someone decides they want to work with babies, but they are an adult man. Men don’t belong with babies. Women do. Really?

We’ve got to jettison the gender stereotypes that say all women should be barefoot and pregnant. Grant it, men can’t get pregnant in case you were wondering. But they sure as hell can love, hold and change a diaper. Women can preach, teach, shepherd, and though some are not comfortable with this reality let me ask them if God cares who relays His message to a hurting world? My mom is 70 years old, and her entire life has been committed to preaching, teaching and shepherding me. She’s still doing that. She hasn’t let up, and I sincerely pray she’s able to do that for many more years as my own daughter has children in the future.

If God can speak to a prophet in his shack through a donkey don’t you think God can speak through a woman into the life of a hurting man? Absolutely. You’d think there’d not be a glass ceiling in the church, but obviously there is. That doesn’t mean that that has to continue, and I pray that God open the flood gates of heaven with His promises for all mankind to listen to one another as the God of all 7 billion can speak through every last one of us to every last one of us.

The point is not whether or not a woman can do this or that. The point is how is God revealing Himself to me? And once we get past that question we can move on to the meat of what He is saying and communicating.

Diversity doesn’t demand division, and we can disagree over medium, but the message is the same whether it comes through a man or a women. Eve was created from Adam’s rib, not the heel of his foot. We are a help-mate, but Satan has turned us against each other, and his work continues to do so.

Paul Young uses a black woman to represent God the Father in The Shack. Her love for Mack, the main character is evident, and the Father’s love for us is evident not matter what someone else says or does to us.

John 3.16 says God loved the whole world so much that he gave his only son to us. He literally sacrificed his very own son as the ultimate sacrifice of all time to blot out the paralyzing sin that afflicts us to this very moment. Sin will still be part of our reality in the morning because Satan can still roam the Earth with his network of evil doers.

The question for us is not who is delivering the message of hope to us in our shacks, rather am I going to believe and act upon it when the bottom falls out.

The choice is yours.

 

 

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faith, uncategorized

Laying Down Our Lives

I have an amazing fraternity who walk with me every day. They began at the Donelson Church, but they have far surpassed the  walls of that church building. And the beautiful thing about it is that they span 50 years in age. I’m in the middle age wise. Our conversations, meditations in Scripture, and almost worship in song tonight is a testament that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is very real.

Some of our number have gone through tough battles with cancer, others have ministered to prison inmates, and still others give generously when they could have said no. Our motley crew love Jesus Christ first and foremost above all, and the crosses we bear are made bearable when we confess our pain and suffering to each other. It’s what church is about.

Is our covenant with each other perfect? No. Do we piss each other off? Yes. Are we sinners? Yes. Do we forgive each other? Yes. Do we continue coming Wednesday night after Wednesday because our bottom line is love? Yes.

There is no greater calling than love in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus created love in the Garden. He has been with the Father from the very beginning as the best selling book tells us. The Bible is not an ancient text that chronicles a dead man’s history. Does it talk about men and women who have passed from this life? Yes, but it doesn’t stop there. It chronicles the life of the Son of Man who longed for humanity to be set right. And His longing drove Him to come to Earth to live among us, but ultimately to die for us as the ultimate payment for sin. It was the only way man would be able to be reunited with God as he was in the Garden. Is it as good as it’s every going to be? Absolutely not because Satan, a fallen angel is still very much among us with his network of evil doers. Their time is limited, and they know that, so they are doing all they can to create carnage among human beings.

So long we keep gathering like my dear fraternity this Satan will continue to have his troops scattered to the four corners of this global village seeking whom they may devour. They will get some, but for those of us who are willing to lay down our lives for the sake of Jesus Christ they don’t even have a prayer as we continue to pray to the One who has already won.

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