A message of PURPOSE revealed in STAR WARS

star-wars-pic-to-go-with-star-wars-post

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!    

A Challenge to “Take Each Day Gladiator Style”

colosseum-rome-italy

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?

jump-290x173

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

What Do You Say?

new year 2016

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!

“Growing Pains” in your marriage =)

 

 

My wife, Debbie, and I just attended a really great marriage conference hosted by Kirk Cameron, and with special music by Warren Barfield. (You can CLICK HERE and find out more about this conference and upcoming events.) It was a really great date night for us and I wanted to share with the guys out there, what I walked away with from this event.

IMG_9375

Before the main conference started, we had the opportunity to go to a VIP time where Kirk spoke to a small group of us and then did an autograph session afterwards. It was really cool to meet him!

IMG_9359 IMG_9362

As I looked around at all of the couples in the room, I wondered what their relationships were like. Now as for me, I’m married to my best friend. We did not spend our childhood growing up together, but when we met, something just clicked. I would say that, YES, it was love at first sight, at least for me =) But let me add, that the road to where we are 23 years later from that first date, has not always been an easy one. I have told on myself many times in my writings and probably will have many more times to do that, but that is not the point of this post. Our journey, although one filled with lots of good, bad and sometimes ugly encounters, always seems to just get stronger and stronger, in our love for one another.

One of the highlights of the night, was when Warren Barfield sang “Love is not a Fight”. I know most of you have probably heard this song, but if you have not, I would recommend CLICKING HERE to go listen to it; truly listen to the words! I know that all couples are at different places and have traveled different journeys, but I believe that Warren’s song says it all, “Love is worth fighting for”!!

IMG_9370

Kirk spoke a simple to follow and easy to understand message all based on one scripture. He used 1 Peter 3:7 (NKJ) “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” Now I’m sure if you compared notes with my wife and others there that night, we all had a different take on what he was saying, but I’m going to share in this post what I walked away with.

Here are 6 points based on this scripture:

  1. Dwell with them” – Spend time with her, invest time getting to know the uniqueness of the person she is. Our investment into our spouse, is important and will strengthen and grow our relationship.
  2. Understanding” – To understand anything in life we have to grow in the knowledge of it. We should know her, her likes and dislikes, favorite color and so on. Feeling understood is important to almost everyone and so who best should understand your wife, than you?
  3. Honor” – We as guys, need to move beyond respect and actually honor our wives. We honor her by how we treat her, both in private and public. Both when we are with her and when we are apart. We should NEVER make her the punch line of our jokes and she should never be seen by others as being less than the most important person or thing in our life, second only to God. She is NOT your sister, so remember that in how you treat her. Kirk mentioned that we should inventory all that she does. Start making a written list of all that she does around the house, what she does for you and the children and what she does for others and when that list is finished, you should make sure she knows that she is 100% appreciated.
  4. Weaker vessel” – Now never think for a moment, that this means that this weakness dictates your right to control her! You’re called by God to be a leader and not a dictator; she can’t follow someone who is not leading her somewhere! I see it as a reference to the fragileness as that of the finest china or other precious item. We should have our wives backs and never allow anyone to make her feel like she has been backed into a corner. I myself have failed at this one and when I think back to those times, I cringe! We should ensure that she feels safe and bring peace to the situations of life. This is one place that my heart was convicted strongly of at the conference. There have been times that we have been driving and Debbie has gotten scared over something I or another driver might have done and instead of comforting and making her feel secure, I responded negatively and got offended.
  5. Grace of life” – Our love for our wives should be just as God’s love is for us. It should be FREE and not based on what she says and does, but solely on what I know I’m supposed to do and be. Grace defined to me, is simply unmerited favor and kindness. So again, it’s FREE!
  6. Prayers not be hindered” – Now I don’t believe God turns His back on His kiddos, but I do believe that we can close the door on our blessings. Our love walk is key to the success of all that we put our hands to do. Marriage, business, all areas; so with that said, I believe that if we are not walking in love, then everything is pretty much going to be out of whack and spiraling downhill for us.

These 6 areas I believe are key to having a healthy and blessed marriage and making your wife feel like the queen she is. Always remember that she was God’s daughter before she was your wife! I see God’s grace in this, because if someone hurts my daughter, then they might get to see a side of me that might be very surprising and if God created all things by His words, then I’m sure He could relocate things by His words. Just saying! =)

We need to take responsibility as the God ordained leaders we have been called and created to be. We need to take responsibility for our actions and today, make right the wrongs and ask forgiveness for any areas we have fallen short in.

Make consistency the new normal in these areas and watch your marriage become the one God wants you to have.

When you feel like God’s not listening…..

God-is-waiting

“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you
want most for what you want right now”
Zig Ziglar

Have you ever had one of those days that makes you feel like God is just not up there hearing what you have to say? (Now this is NOT the time to get a holier-than-thou attitude and say, “Oh no, not me,” but instead, just be real.) WELL, “I” have been in this place and it’s not a good place to be in!

For most people, it’s hard to find joy in waiting, as we are a society that wants everything NOW. We teach our children to have patience, but when it comes to us and God and our prayers, we think we must have an instant miracle, move, and/or manifestation, or something must be wrong. We bounce back and forth between “is it me or is it you God, who is delaying this”? We track the response time as if the answers to our prayers are on a travel schedule. I believe that one of the secret recipes to a joyful Kingdom in life is finding joy in the moment. Now I will be the first to admit that this is NOT always easy. I have learned that in those times, the best thing I can do is reassure myself of God’s promises by daily diving into His Word. Here are a few anchor scriptures that I cling to:

Deut 31:6 (NKJ) “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

1 John 5:14 (AMP) “And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us.”

Mark 11:24 (AMP) “For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].”

You see, the truth is that God never leaves us, He always hears us, and He never withholds from His kids. Even before we gave our life to Christ, He knew us and through the power of choice we either let Him in or keep Him at bay.

So how do we overcome?
1. Don’t let the situation change who you are. (I stole that from my wife!!!) – You see, we can’t let a temporary circumstance create a change in us, but instead, we must create a change in it.
2. Don’t give up! His Words in Mark 11:24 are powerful words to hang your prayers on. Make those three words your battle cry in tough times. I have my own three-word battle cry and it is “SUCK IT UP”. (CLICK to read “SUCK IT UP” post)
3. Continually fill yourself with the Word and don’t stop when things get good, but instead, make it your lifestyle. I like how Tony Robbins says that “leaders are readers,” but I take it one step further with what you put in you is what comes out during those tough times. A good business book can give you insight into certain techniques and processes, BUT nothing that truly pertains on how to live and thrive in His Kingdom. So get a good balance on what you are filling yourself up with, but always focus on the Word.
4. Stand no matter what! 1 John5:4 (AMP) “For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith.”

Those are just a few thoughts that will help you in your daily life. I hope in some way you have been encouraged by this post and would ask that if you know someone else that could benefit from this, to please forward it to them.

QUESTION: How do you handle the season of WAIT?

I look forward to your response.

NEW Kingdom Thinking Podcast #23

NEW - KT iTunes logo

Kingdom Thinking Podcast #23