A message of PURPOSE revealed in STAR WARS

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The following is a really great guest post from Eric Anderson .  I asked him to bring the topics of PURPOSE and STAR WARS together for this post and he did a really great job.  Thank you, Eric!  

“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope.” This line from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, is one of the top 100 lines in the whole history of cinema. Although it was not the first line in the movie, it became the first significant line in a franchise that has impacted millions of individuals, as well as culture as a whole. This line brought an old man out of exile into a conflict which spanned a galaxy. Obi-Wan Kenobi had been in exile for nearly 30 years at this point. He was keeping tabs on a child on a desert planet far from his former apprentice. He did not exactly choose this exile. It came after he experienced a battle with a friend who betrayed him and his friend’s new mentor was just too powerful for the few Jedi that were left, to take down. But this line gave him a renewed purpose.

Purpose is a hard thing for us, right? We often struggle with it. Whether as a college student in a boring job with classes that are overwhelming or a businessman who is traveling to another continent for work or play. We live in a culture that does argue over our origins, regularly. In a world where a view like Han Solo’s claim of “Kid, I’ve flown from one side of the galaxy to the other and I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful force controlling everything,” I would argue that we should take the side of Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan knew the Force. He had used the Force and responded to it time and time again. For him, it was not a struggle, and it doesn’t need to be one for us, either – even in exile.

The Jews in Babylon knew the feeling of exile. They had been in exile for nearly 70 years. They had sought purpose in the exile and were longing to get out of exile. First, we’ll look at the purpose within exile, then the purpose after exile. There were several prophets that can stand out in this time period. Jeremiah did not go into exile, but he wrote a letter to those in exile which is found in Jeremiah 29. Now normally, people focus on verse 11, but we shall look before that at what he actually told them to do while in exile. Verse 7 tells us: “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” He didn’t want them to just carry on in life, but to live missionally within their context. This fits with Jesus’ teachings. He taught us to share our resources with those who have none. Even when God sends you where you do not want to go, He has people there for you to reach. People for you to love, be generous to, and to which you can share Jesus. I doubt that Obi-Wan just sat there while he was on Tatooine. We know he was looking after Luke from a distance and also that Yoda had told him to train in communing with the Force. Did you really think he became a Force Ghost later on by doing nothing on Tatooine?  In Jeremiah 29:12, after telling us He has a future and a hope for us, God says: “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” God has a relational and personal purpose for us. Jesus himself said that he calls his disciples “friends” and not just servants (John 15:15). This calling is one that exists both in and out of exile. It never ends and it will continue in eternity.

Exile is never permanent. It is always temporary, even if it feels long. When the 70 years were up, God revealed a particular part of His plan to two different men. One of them was sent to build walls around Jerusalem. Nehemiah felt a calling from God to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem and Ezra felt the calling to build a new temple for worship. They each have their own book in the Bible and I encourage you to read them. It seems that when someone is pulled from exile, throughout scripture they have a role. Paul spends time growing closer to Christ in exile then goes on his missionary journeys after that. Jesus spends forty days fasting in the wilderness and then completes his calling to bring redemption. Obi-Wan’s purpose was to get Luke out of his exile and helping with the rebellion against the Empire. In the newest Star Wars film, we find another person coming out of exile. A girl named Rey. She has been living life as a scavenger on a planet that experienced a huge battle and has many crashed ships on it. She then helps seek Luke Skywalker after enlisting in an army to fight the New Order.

Whatever phase of life you are in, whether you feel exiled to a place you do not like or if you love where you are, God has purpose for you. First of all, for you to enjoy life with Him, and secondly for you to bring His redemption to those around you.

Thank you again, Eric Anderson! And thank you to those that have taken the time to read this blog post.  I pray this one and any others you take the time to read, will bless you and bring increase into your life.  Please help us to reach further and bless more people by sharing this blog with others you know.  Together we can make a difference!    

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A Challenge to “Take Each Day Gladiator Style”

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It’s a scorching day at the Colosseum in Rome and the crowd is roaring with anticipation. Suddenly, a steel gate goes up at one end of the arena and the crowd elevates to something way beyond a roar, as a burly man enters carrying a shield by his side and a sword in the other hand. Just as he is making his way into the center of the arena, another steel door disappears into the rock wall and out appears a battle-scarred man, screaming a blood-curdling noise. He charges towards the center of the arena with a shield set tight to his chest and yielding a massive sword. As he arrives at the center and goes from a sprinting charge to a leaping flight and with his sword set to swing, he crashes into the other gladiator and THEN?????

Here we are, a new day of dawning light has come. Your eyes open to the sound of an alarm clock and so it begins. You just entered into the arena of battle for yet another day. How you enter it sets the tone for how your day will go.

So many enter each day with a victim mindset; a “WHY ME” mentality that screams defeat from the very beginning. The facial expression screams, “I give up” before the daily ever truly has the opportunity to produce! So many wake up each day, already with an attitude of total defeat leftover from the day before. As soon as our eyes open, we must engage the day like a gladiator entering the arena of battle. If we surrender, we will find defeat to what we can’t get back.

We MUST take on a warrior mentality when it comes to life. When I picture a gladiator, I picture a warrior that knows defeat is not an option. He knows this mentally and keeps that mindset for the battle he is entering into.

The battle between the two gladiators was taking place in their minds long before they entered the arena. The stage was already set for certain victory in both their minds, but the realization was that someone would not be walking out of that colosseum of alive.

I want to share 10 attributes of a warrior, which can help you be the victor and no longer the victim.

1. Ambition: You will never have what you don’t truly desire!

2. Knowing of Purpose: You must be locked in and focused on your WHY!

3. Physically able: Your family, friends, and dreams need you being the best you can be. YES, I’m talking about how you take care of you which is a reflection of how we also take care of others.

4. Honor: How we honor those in our lives speaks loudly of our character and the person we really are.

5. Compassion: I like the statement that goes something like this: One of the greatest ways for us to succeed is by helping someone else to succeed.

6. Faith: What do you believe in? I myself, have my faith as a Christian and am totally secure in it. Many don’t know what they believe and are tossed daily about by the beliefs of all those around them. YOU and you alone must be set and solid in your faith and not give up or give in, no matter what comes your way.

7. Courage: This is the ability to do something that you know is difficult and dangerous. Courage is a daily decision we will make whether we want to or not. What we don’t face, we will encounter over and over again until we do.

8. Discipline: Do you have a discipline that is self-motivated OR do you require others to guide you through life? Discipline is something we set best for ourselves; we must create a check and balance system to make sure we walk it out.

9. Freedom: You must realize that you have been freed to be all you could ever dream to be. The only thing that can truly stop you is you!

10. Endurance: You must have the ability to endure. Life might not always be the way you want it, but you have got to be willing to push on and NOT give up.

I know there are many more attributes we could list, but these speak loudly to me in my life. You could also expound on each one for your own life.

So which gladiator are you—the one that brings the battle OR the one that has the battle brought to them? We have got to recognize, correct and overcome those weak areas in our lives and move on to conquer the day and be the best we can be!

Now get busy and make this day count!

Originally posted on The Good Men Projects website on 4-2-2016. CLICK HERE TO READ

 

Men, Are You Ready to Make Each Day a “Jump” Day?

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6 steps to taking a glorious leap into the unknown.

For a moment, let me create a visual journey for you. Picture yourself standing on the edge of a very tall and sheer cliff, overlooking a beautiful clear body of water. The cliff is so sheer that you can’t even see what’s below you, but you know the water is there just waiting for you! You look out, and as far as the eyes can see is the beauty of creation. You slowly slide to the edge of the rocks to where you can only feel total emptiness in front of you. What do you do? Do you take a step of faith and hope for the best, or do you turn around and risk this being something that you spend your life regretting not doing? What to do, what to do?

You close your eyes and with one step you find yourself drifting into absolute nothing. At the same time you feel excitement, fear, carelessness and so many more feelings peak and in a matter of seconds, you splash into the end result of your journey. When you come up out of the water, you find yourself overwhelmed by this rush of emotions and you’re out of the water and making the climb up the cliff to do it all over again! CLICK TO READ MORE

Originally Posted on The Good Man Project

Redefining Your Life is Not as Hard as You Think

 

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The greatest gift we guys can ever give to ourselves, and to our family and friends, is to live this life the best we can!

When 2016 started, many did the traditional New Year’s resolutions and right away fell into a statistic of failed resolutions that is shared by many around the world. Now I know that it is not on purpose but it is a matter of fact, that many make big promises with little results. Losing weight, kicking habits, or just becoming a better version of oneself is not to be reserved for a once a year event, but instead, to be walked out daily.

I have done this year after year, until in 2015 when I took a different path and chose a word and made it my focus for the year. In 2015, the word was “Simplify” and I made some steps throughout the year to simplify my daily world. However, by the end of the year, I discovered that simplifying my life turned into a lifestyle I wanted to embrace.

Now we enter into 2016 and I found the word “Purpose” saying, “Pick me, pick me” and so I did! Purpose can simply be defined as the very reason we exist.

Now purpose for me as a husband, father, friend, public speaker, coach, mentor, CEO for a non-profit, entrepreneur, writer and podcaster is very important and that is the reason for the title of this article. There will never be a life well lived if the purpose for that life is never found, embraced and then walked out.

Sometimes just some small changes can help us redefine the life we are living and here are just a few ideas.

  1. Stop sweating the small stuff. Even though this is an old statement, it is one of great truth. People die daily stressing over things they can’t change. We have got to decide once and for all, “If I can’t change it, I’m not going to stress over it”. Worrying will not change anything BUT our health!
  1. Never allow another to decide the value of you. I myself for years based my worth on what others thought about me. When that is the case, then the life we live will be purely based on what others allow. We must take control of our lives and get off the emotional roller coaster once and for all.
  1. Living life forward creates a sense of value that is life changing all its own. A great way of doing this is by serving others. It could be volunteering your time in your community, at your church, your child’s school, etc. and as we do this, we soon find that we forget about us and our problems and get a new perspective on life. That new perspective could be all we needed to put us on track to living that well lived life.
  1. Be true to you. You’re one of a kind, a masterpiece and so live like it. Stop being a follower of the crowds and start blazing a new trail.
  1. Be adaptable and flexible and learn to flow with the waves and not against them. I think that many feel that if they become adaptable then they are giving up control of their own lives. But that’s so far from the truth! Being adaptable or flexible simply means we are flowing with life, which is better, and not becoming like a ship in the ocean being battered from all sides by the waves that surround it.
  1. Learn to love you because if you don’t find yourself lovable, how can anyone else! If you can’t stand to be around yourself, then how can we expect anyone else to want to be? Many live life with a love/hate relationship with themselves that seeps out and onto other relationships unless we come to terms with our own selves.

These are of course not the end all answers, but simply suggestions to a new start in living a life well lived.

So today, start living your life on purpose with purpose. It truly is up to you!

This article originally appeared on http://goodmenproject.com/ on January 6, 2016

CLICK HERE to go to original post.

What Do You Say?

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I wonder how many were counting the minutes until 2015 would end, in an almost fearful state of mind? I know there was also a group that was embracing every second that 2015 was going to give them; believing to the very last second for breakthrough, healings, restorations, transformations, etc.

Life gives us two options, to embrace and fight against whatever is coming our way OR give up and accept what is. I have found that if I decide to embrace the moment through Christ, it goes much differently than if I fight against it on my own strength and power. Embracing does not mean giving in and giving up, but instead knowing that God has your back and by faith through grace we can do ALL things through Christ.

According to Webster, one of the definitions of embrace means, “to use (an opportunity) eagerly”. In Christ, we have all kinds of opportunities, but on our own we are VERY limited! In Christ, we tap into a limitless power that says, “I CAN”. I CAN do all things through Christ. I CAN do great things. I CAN walk in divine health and wholeness. I CAN live blessed above and beyond all I could ever ask or think. I CAN! I CAN! I CAN!

So, what are you now going to say about 2016? It’s up to you!

And Two Shall Become One…

After reading comments from the pictures and posts I put on Facebook from my Anniversary Date Day on May 1st, I was led in my heart to start this series. This is Part 1 to the “Kingdom Relationship” series.

Notice: I am not a professional marriage counselor, nor a perfect husband. My wife has put up with a lot and given more grace than anyone should have to. I write this series from my heart and under the prompting of the Holy Spirit, my hope is that this message will in some way minister to others and bring those relationships to a whole new level – one I call a Kingdom Relationship.

“And the two shall become one flesh, so that they are no longer two, but one flesh.” (‭Mark‬ ‭10‬:‭8‬ AMP)‬‬‬‬‬‬

I had mentioned in my last blog post that I would be starting a series on Kingdom Relationships. I am not doing this because I have all the answers or think I’m the perfect husband. I am just a man who was blessed over 23 years ago with the most amazing woman ever to grace this planet. I’m pretty sure I could write a book on what NOT to do in a marriage. “I’m sorry” and “please forgive me” are words I have spoken way too many times and my wife has always forgiven me and loved me no matter what! We live life forward nowadays, not looking back; and you must do the same. She has truly stuck by my side through the good, the bad and the ugly.

Debbie Spanberger, AKA Angel, I dedicate this series to you and want to say thank you for making me the most happy and blessed man on the planet!

Back to my opening title and scripture. One of the reasons I feel relationships fail, has to do with the fact that many never fully see themselves as “one together”. The word “commitment” is almost a dirty word nowadays, and one that society has perverted in so many ways. We want to be on our own and live like we are on our own, even in our marriages. Separate lives, separate dreams, separate bank accounts and the list keeps going. I’m not asking for you to agree or disagree, I’m simply speaking from what I see and hear around me on a regular basis. Marriage failure rates seem to grow daily. (I talk from experience, as I have gone through the divorce walk and I wish that on no one!)

“Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.”
Zig Ziglar

Again, a Kingdom Relationship is not a perfect one. We are human and we are going to mess up. I hear couples say “we never fight” and I want to ask them, “Do you live in the same house and talk to each other?” As male and female, we are wired completely different. (We will get more into that thought later.) I think as males, we have a streak of stupid embedded in us because of some of the things we do and say…. just being real and honest here!

I read an article a few years ago in USA Today that was talking about a growing trend in people living together before marriage, to see if they fit into each other’s lives. They want to see if they like living with each other before they get married so that if they don’t like it, they won’t have to get divorced, just in case the relationship doesn’t work out. How sad of a concept and one that is totally against what the Bible calls marriage. Any level of relationship, especially marriage, is not a trial offer like a piece of software that you try to see if you like it first, but instead, it is a relationship that you enter into fully and committed to from the start.

Nothing I ever put in my posts is meant to be me passing judgment, but instead, to hopefully bring a Christian perspective to those that have ears to hear. I know my readers come from different backgrounds and beliefs, but I will always write and share according to what the Bible says and never add or take away from it. And from that I know that we all can grow and learn.

“Whatever your mindset is when you enter into a relationship, will reveal your staying power during hard times.”
Keith Spanberger

Marriage is clearly defined in Ephesians 5:22-33 (CLICK HEAR TO READ). No gray areas: one man, one woman, fully committed, forever, end of story! So what happened? The lack of commitment as I have said many times already, is the start, but not the full answer.

“Compromise and lack of commitment will destroy any relationship and leave us one day asking why.”
Keith Spanberger

Again, don’t think my wife and I have a perfect marriage, but instead, we have a marriage filled with God’s grace which is crucial for success in anything we do in life.

I have only scratched the surface in this post, but I hope that it stirs your hunger for creating a new fire in your marriage or relationship. Stay with me as we journey deeper in the next post on having a Kingdom Relationship. Also, please share this post with others you know. This blog post and this series are not about lifting me up, but instead, lifting up my God and His Son, Jesus, my savior. My life and marriage would be nothing without Him!

Passion

“When you catch a glimpse of your potential – that’s when passion is born.”
Zig Ziglar

I like how Zig brings the word “glimpse” into this quote. I believe many are not living a passionate life. So many have allowed the day-to-day things to become a place of comfort or just events and it bleeds over into every area of their life. If we could get a glimpse of the real us, we would live more passionately. Marriages become just a sustaining relationship with no positive emotion when passion is gone. Dreams sink into the memories of yesterday when passion is no more. Our work and service to others becomes nothing more than works when passion is gone. In anything we do, if passion is not present, then it cannot grow and many times it actually separates.

What is PASSION? According to Webster it is, “A strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something: a strong feeling (such as anger) that causes you to act in a dangerous way: a strong sexual or romantic feeling for someone.”

The absence of passion is something that many never see coming. It’s when the passion is completely gone that we normally see the result of its absence. I read a great book by C.S. Lewis titled “The Screw Tape Letters” and it focused around the theme of deception. Via deception, passion can easily become no more. Almost everything we start has some level of passion, but if the coals of passion are not daily stoked, they can easily be smothered out until the artic chill of lifelessness sets in.

“Live with passion”
Tony Robins

“Passion is the genesis to genius”
Tony Robins

You see, God created us for a purpose, but that is not revealed until we live on purpose. Passion is birthed from desire! My desire to serve my God, bless and serve my wife and be a blessing to family, friends and strangers comes from a desire to live a Kingdom life. These are also the ones that fuel me to fulfill my God given dreams.

“We must daily stoke the coals of passion”
Keith Spanberger

Here are a few steps you can take to rekindle passion in your life:
1. Realize it’s never too late to start over again. As long as you have breath it’s not too late.
2. Close the door to negativity. It might mean removing people or things; whatever it is, close the door on it.
3. Realize you are worth it. You deserve to live a passionate life in every area.
4. You’re not anyone else. Don’t try and be someone else or compare yourself to another. Realize that you are one of a kind. A Kingdom original. God created each of us as one of a kind, so be just that.
5. Stop making excuses. It will never be the perfect time to start, so you might as well start RIGHT NOW!
6. It does not have to be perfect to begin!

These are just a few thoughts and I’m sure you can add your own to this. I would love to hear your ideas and any other thoughts below.

So why not start now making today the day you start stoking the coals of passion in every area of your life. Let your spouse know that they are important to you. Let the world see your passion for life. Let your desire to live life to the fullest breath put passion into all that you do. I want to close with this scripture that was part of my Bible time yesterday. I hope it speaks loudly to you and pushes you to be and do more than you ever thought possible.

Galatians 6:9 (AMP) “And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.”