You have no idea of the impact you can have in this world. Every person has a God-given gift, calling, and a role to play in growing the Kingdom of Heaven. You (yes, you!) have been given a unique skill and talent from God! You possess passions deep down in your…
Have you ever experienced God’s silence?
I’m guessing you have, unless your prayers have never gone deeper than those of a college freshman.
“Dear, God, I know I haven’t studied at all and I stayed up all night playing Xbox Live, but I would really appreciate an ‘A’ on this quiz! If I pass this class, I will go to the mission field!”
Actually, I bet that guy experienced a lot of God’s silence, too!
When God really does go silent, it can be one of the most stressful, painful times in our lives! Why is it that God is never silent when things are going really well? When the bills are paid, we have a stocked fridge, and our job is going well, we never seem to be concerned with how much God is talking to us or answering our prayers. I mean, things are good! Of course He is answering our prayers, right!
But when that job opportunity disappears, and I don’t know how I’m going to provide for my family next month? Then I want God to show up right here and now! I want answers. I want solutions. Yet, it is in these times- when our daughter is in the hospital, our car was broken into and our debit card was stolen, or our dad passes away- that God seems to go quiet.
Why is that?
I have no idea. None of us do. Sure, we can remind people that God is always with us, but that doesn’t always help at that moment. As a matter of fact, that can cause anger and resentment towards God. “Well then, if He is here with me, why won’t He answer and give me some Hope!”
We don’t have those answers. But maybe there are some things we can do. As easy as it would be to just sit back and do nothing until we see a flash of light in the sky, I’m convinced that this is rarely the solution. And even though we may want to crawl into bed for a week, you guessed it. Not the answer, either.
So, what can we do? Do we just have to sit and wait?
That is what a lot of Christian advice sounds like. “Stop. Wait on God. Be ready for Him to speak to you. When the time comes, you’ll know!”
But think about this: First, how many people in the Bible (that did amazing things in God’s name!) actually waited on God? Very few! Second, according to Barna research, 60% of Christians have no idea what God’s will is for their lives. So, is that who you want to take advice from? I would put money down in Vegas that the people so concerned with waiting on God are the same exact people that don’t know what God wants them to do with their lives.
Yes, there are times we need to wait on God. But I can guarantee you there are a lot more times where we should DO something. How can I be sure? Because that is what Abraham, David, Moses, and Paul did. They acted, even when they didn’t have a clear direction.
So, here are three things we can do when God appears to go silent. (more…)
Yes, I’m talking to you. I am scared of you. Totally. Completely. 100%.
It’s not because of what you may think. It has nothing to do with your appearance or how much money you make. I would have no problem meeting you in any type of social setting. No, you don’t freak me out. I’m not afraid you will steal from me or hurt my family. This is not some sort of paranoia. My fear comes from a completely different place. But it is just as real. It is so strong, in fact, that it has the power to paralyze. My fear of you has done this on many occasions, more than I can remember, and much more than I want to admit to you. That would simply add to my paralysis.
You don’t realize the power that you possess. But I do. I have seen it many times, and I have experienced both the positive and negative sides of this power.
Your power is simple: You have the ability to accept or reject.
This may not seem like much at first, but I assure you, it is! This power is able to build up or tear down. Entire careers have been created through the wielding of this power. Yet, many more lives have been crushed.
And so, this power has rendered me, well, powerless. I know that I have a message to share with the world. I also know that every time I write, every time I post, every time I shoot a video, you have the power to accept it or reject it, accepting or rejecting me in the process.
And I think I’ve handled just about as much rejection as I can handle.
I can blame busyness or moving states or job changes or any number of things on the fact that Phosphorus Project has floundered for so many years. I could. But it would be total crap. And I know it. I have not ever fully given my “all” to my dream because I am afraid that you will reject me. That you will think I am a fraud or just plain suck. And then you will turn your back on me and walk out the door.
While it may seem like I am being hard on myself, I’m not. Honest, but not overly harsh. I’m not even unique in this struggle. Every writer that I follow has admitted to wrestling with this same issue. What if I share my art with the world, and the world hates it?
Or even worse, ignores it! (more…)
We all come to faith for selfish reasons. But have you stayed there?
Normally, religion and selfishness don’t mix too well. As a matter of fact, when we usually hear the world selfish in the context of spirituality, it is for a very bad reason. Selfishness is not a positive character trait. It’s a mistake to live our lives focused on “me.” It’s a sin. Yet, this is how all of us came to faith!
It’s true. No one decided to follow Jesus because they thought that was the best way to heal the world. Plenty of people are doing great things in the world. And honestly, you don’t need Jesus to do it. So, why then, do we come to faith? Simply put, because of what we get out of it!
Most people seriously consider religion, faith, or spirituality when they are experiencing some sort of life crisis. Maybe it was a death in the family, a financial obstacle, or a divorce. During these times, we are looking for hope, for answers, and a support network. These are things that lead to faith. We have to see the needs in our lives, first. Otherwise, why would you need God? That is why Jesus said it is so hard for rich people to believe in Him… They don’t realize they have any problems. But once life punches you in the gut a few times and you finally understand that you aren’t in control, that’s when we start looking for answers outside of ourselves. That’s when we turn to God.
The problem is that our churches are filled with Christians that have never moved beyond this point. They went to church for years and even served on committees. In fact, there is a nice little indention of their butt on one of the padded seats because that has been their spot since 1997.
But our faith can’t stay there. If we try to stay in this state of “What’s in it for me?” or “What have you done for me, lately” spirituality, we are nothing more than empty souls. This was the religion of the Pharisees. They were only interested in what their spirituality did for their lives,bringing them power, influence, and prestige. Jesus had some strong words for this type of spirituality. (more…)
Can you narrow your life’s purpose to one simple phrase?
We all have a calling. That thing we can’t help not doing. It draws us. Compels us. It gets us up early in the morning and keeps us awake at night. If we could abandon everything else, we would quit our jobs and dive into it with every ounce of energy we possess.
God’s will for our lives.
It doesn’t matter what you call it. We are all talking about the same critical concept that affects our future. What is that ONE THING you need to give, share, or create for the world? (By the way, my spell checker wants to me to change the phrase to “in the world.” But we know the difference, don’t we? We are creating something for the world!)
I’ve had a pretty good idea of my calling for several years now. I want to write. I want to speak. I want to create resources that help people grow deeper in their faith, love their families better, and discover their purpose. That took me months and years to uncover and form in my own life. But honestly, it is still a little vague. But three weeks ago, I had a break through!
My oldest daughter, Ellie, lives in a different state with her mother and step-dad. (I was married and divorced by the age of 25. We will talk more about that story another time. Or you can learn a little more about it in my free ebook. You can get it here.) Ellie visited with us over spring break, and I was taking her back to meet her mom. It’s a 2.5 hour drive each way, so it gives me plenty of time to myself on the drive back home. I usually listen to music, podcasts, think, and connect with friends. This time, I called my friend, Jason, to share with him some of my thoughts and dreams for Phosphorus. During the conversation, he asked one key question. I instantly knew it was critical.
What is the ONE thing you want to share with the world? What is your mantra, your story, your specific platform?
For years, I had been working towards this goal without realizing it. People would ask me, “What is Phosphorus?” and I wouldn’t have a good answer. I narrowed down my passions to helping people grow in their faith, I love being a family man, and helping people discover their true purpose. I can give my life to these three areas. But that is still pretty wide open. Faith alone is a huge avenue filled with a million different angles and opinions.
Could I narrow it down more? If I were standing in front of an audience for one night and could only share one thing, what would it be? What would I want to leave them with? I couldn’t possibly talk about every aspect of Faith, Family, or how to discover their Purpose. So, given 15 minutes to speak, what would my topic be? (more…)
Deep down, we live with this belief that love will give us everything that we want. It will fulfill us and tell us what we want to hear. Love will guide us to positive emotions and mornings filled with perfect cups of coffee and heart shaped pancakes. Love…
Our culture has a “busyness” problem. I would even call it an epidemic! There are not enough hours in the day, yet our schedules keep filling up with items that stretch us thinner and thinner. It doesn’t take long before you snap! But is there anything we can do about it? I believe there is.
There are some great resources out there on how to best use your time. I have used many of these in the past. You could:
- Use a timer to help you stay focused.
- Create a “stop doing” list.
- Get up an hour earlier each morning.
These are great tools, and I have tried them all. But sometimes they still don’t work. Why? Because I can’t even figure out where to begin!
As crazy as that sounds, I bet you have had the same problem. It should be easy, right? The more tasks we have to accomplish, the more options we have to begin with. But the opposite is true. We get overwhelmed and end up spinning our wheels working on a little bit of everything.
Hands down, the MOST frustrated I feel is when I am busy the entire day, but HAVE ALMOST NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT! As you can tell from my serious ALL CAPS, it makes me want to scream. I would rather have a day doing nothing because at least I would have gotten some rest.
But there is hope! (more…)
Each of us has an area of life that we are wanting to improve. You already know the one I am talking about. It immediately came to your mind- that “thing” you just can’t shake. It’s like an itch you can’t seem to scratch. You’ve tried over and over, but so far, it’s mostly been met with disappointment. But what if there were something that helped us to finally find success in this area? I believe there is!
I was inspired this morning by my son as he was getting ready for school. He’s in kindergarten, so he is can get himself dressed for the most part. But he always needs a little help with something. This morning, it was his shoes. (Hey, some days are just easier than others!) After I took out yesterday’s double-knot, I handed Noah his shoe and said, “This one goes on your left foot.” He thought for a second, and then reported out loud, “This is my left foot.” Then he paused, looked up at me, and said, “Right and left are hard!”
That one simple statement hit me. Yeah, for a 6 year old, right and left can be hard at times. But I bet everyone that reads this has no problem with right and left. If you were getting directions, and someone told you to “hang a right”, you wouldn’t have to think about which way to turn. As for Noah, the more he works on his right and left, the more it will become second nature. (more…)
You don’t even have to drink Dos Equis.
Vanilla is great in ice cream, not in life.
My wife, Kristen, and I have an ongoing argument that involves ice cream. This argument goes beyond “What is the best flavor?” It drills down to the very heart of the matter… the ice cream base. She loves just about any flavor that begins with chocolate. Even her Dairy Queen Blizzards have to be made with chocolate. Having chocolate simply in the ice cream is never enough. It must be made with chocolate ice cream to begin with. Me on the other hand, I love all things vanilla. Cookies and Cream? Yes. Cookie Dough? Yes! Butter Pecan? For the love of God, yes!
But… As great as it is in ice cream, vanilla kind of sucks in real life.
No one wants to be just “vanilla”. Even in the ice cream world, I rarely choose plain vanilla, unless I have some warm peach cobbler to put it on! (Can you tell it’s almost lunch time!)
Vanilla equals plain.
Vanilla means anything but INTERESTING! (more…)
What do the voices in your head tell you? And don’t even act like you don’t have voices. We all do! They show up at the most critical of moments- when are making a big decision or stepping out of our comfort zone to live out our purpose.
That’s when these little annoying voices show up, and I know exactly what they tell me!
You’re not good enough.
You’ll never succeed.
You’ll never meet your potential.
You’re just going to fail… Again!
Do any of those sound familiar? Man, I hear those ALL of the time, especially that last one. “You’re just going to fail, again!” (more…)