The reason Pope Francis is changing the world

Pope Francis is at the White House. I'm watching the live broadcast of Pope Francis's visit to the White House and President Obama's address. No matter where you fall on the religious or political spectrum, you cannot deny the impact and importance of this event. It is a…

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How “Family First” still puts God first

How “Family First” still puts God first
courtesy Sandi Hanna vis freeimages.com

I strongly believe in adopting a "Family First" philosophy. Too many husbands and fathers leave family as a distant second behind work and career. Even hobbies. For parents, our families are our first calling. (You can read more of my thoughts on Family First here) However, one push…

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What the 9/11 tragedy can teach us about our faith

Today is September 11th. Before 2001, that would mean nothing. Now, it means everything. This morning, I have been on Google looking at image after image of the attacks and the aftermath. It's heart wrenching. Like millions of Americans, I was watching the live television broadcast after the…

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3 Things you can do when God goes silent

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 goes silent

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…)

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What’s In It For Me?

What’s In It For Me?
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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!

isawnyu via Compfight cc
isawnyu via Compfight cc

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.

Selfish Christianity

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…)

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Why This is the ONE Thing I Feel Called to Share with the World

Why This is the ONE Thing I Feel Called to Share with the World
Photo courtesy ajmac via freeimages.com

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.

Calling.

Our Purpose.

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!)

Photo courtesy ajmac via freeimages.com
Photo courtesy ajmac via freeimages.com

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…)

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Sometimes (God’s) Love Hurts

Sometimes (God’s) Love Hurts
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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…

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It’s Ok To Have Doubts About Your Faith

I’m a skeptic. I have a hard time taking things at face value, especially in today’s culture. If I get an email from my bank or Paypal about my account, I never click the links. I delete the email and then open up a second window on my own. If I read a story online, I fact check it to make sure it isn’t a hoax. Why? Because most of them are! In a world where everyone has an opinion and they can share it easily with the rest of the world, it creates doubt.

Faith is no different. 

Photo Credit: Melodi2 via Freeimages.com
Photo Credit: Melodi2 via Freeimages.com

Have you ever heard the phrase, “The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it!”

I’ll be honest, that person worries me. Listen, I believe the Bible. I believe the Bible is the Word of God and doesn’t merely contain the Word of God. But I came to this conclusion after years of study and personal discovery. Simply believing something just because “it’s in the Bible” is nothing more than blind faith.

And blind faith is weak faith.

Faith is at the core of the human soul. This is important stuff, no matter what you believe. You may be reading this and not believe in Jesus, God, or the Bible. I respect that… If you came to these conclusions on your own. Whether you are a Christian or not, I don’t think we should simply believe something because it is what our parents believed.

Or what we learned in school.

Or what a friend told us our freshman year of college.

Question Everything

I think this phrase is feared in a lot of churches. It shouldn’t be. I want to question things. I work in a church as a youth director, and I challenge my students to question everything. Doubt is ok. Questions are healthy. (more…)

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