A Terrible, Wonderful Kind of Fear

In twelve days, I will celebrate my sixtieth birthday. Earlier this year, I was dreading birthday number sixty. But I lost thirty pounds and got my fat self into pretty good shape and I can tell you this, I am looking better at sixty than I did ten years ago. I feel better too.

But, still I’ve been around the block once or twice and I’ve had the pre-fishing excitement push adrenaline through my veins a few times and the prospect of walking into the river to chase fish tomorrow should just be another day in the life of an angler.

I guess it should be, but it isn’t. I’m sitting here with the anticipation of four-year old waiting to meet the mythological Santa on Christmas morning. My knee is bouncing in rhythm to some hard rock song playing inside my head.

I’ve noted and forgotten countless things to do before I go. I’m not too worried because I know I have almost got everything I could possibly need and some things I know I’ll never need and a few things I don’t even know what to do with already stowed away in the camper.

I’m a man on a mission.

Luke 5:1 One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.

Jesus noticed Peter and his boat. For Peter, it was a day like any other day, fish, sell the fish (except today they had struck out and had no fish to sell), wash the nets, get everything ready for the next day.

But a crowd of people came along following some dude that was about to get shoved into the lake because everyone was trying to get too close to him.

I guess Peter was not particularly planning on being a boat chauffeur for a teacher while his stomach grumbled for dinner.

Peter had been a man on a mission, too. He had fished and fished, worked hard and worn himself out and was now ready for a big meal, a beer and a nap.

Finally, Jesus finished speaking and sent the people away.

Peter had to feel relief as Jesus wrapped his talk up and he go ready to head for home.

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go fishing!”

“Seriously? Fishing? We’ve been out all night and the fish aren’t anywhere to be found.”

But Peter, being a fisherman, couldn’t resist one more cast.

I’ve had some times when I have been just done with fishing and I’m thinking about going to eat a steak and getting into bed and a buddy says, “Hey! Let’s try that spot over there!”

After a brief moment of “Are you nuts?” I’m ready to give it just one more shot…for a few hours.

Peter let down the nets where Jesus said to. Soon they were afraid!

When I was about three or four, I remember hooking a fish while sitting on a stump at some lake I can barely remember. The rod began to bend and I was afraid as it seemed it would either fly from my hands or pull me into the water.

It was a terrible, wonderful kind of fear. It is one of those things that I can get just a taste of again when a fish starts to prove to be more than I can handle. There’s nothing quite like that moment when everything is hanging in the balance and my line is at the breaking point. Win or lose, those are the moments and the prospects of more of them are what keep me fishing.

Well, Peter had fished a few times and had experienced what every lifelong fisherman had experienced but here he was with Jesus feeling a terrible, wonderful kind of fear!

He was a man on a mission, he was in his element, in his moment, filling boats with more fish than he had ever seen before.

Then it hit him. This was more than boatloads of fish. This was a moment that turned his whole life upside-down. Fishing wasn’t just work or recreation or a way to fill his belly. It was the place he met God.

He met God! What a terrible, wonderful kind of fear he must have felt as he fell to his knees.

Fishing may never be your thing. You may never get all worked up and lose sleep the night before having visions of terrible, wonderful fear. But, every single day, in every single thing we do, we can meet God.

Just like Peter found himself face to face with the Messiah, I can find myself inside the arms of Christ, face to face.

Maybe I need to stop thinking about fishing so much and think more about the fact that I can, at any given moment, be filled with the realization that every cast I make, Jesus is right there with me.

Not just any Jesus, THE Jesus, is right there with me saying, “Let’s go fishing!” or “Let’s tackle this problem” or even “Let me handle it from here”.

I think I like to limit Jesus to being there when I pray and when I go to church or when I tune the radio to a Christian station.

But he is with me always, even till the end of time. Fishing, working, sleeping, always, I can meet him anywhere.

When I go fishing, I look for him. Sure, I love fishing. But, in the midst of what I love, I want him there. I’ve lived a selfish, self-absorbed life for more years than is necessary, more years than is healthy and it brought me to a place where nothing seemed to be enough.

When Jesus is with me, there is a terrible, wonderful kind of fear and awe that fills me.

What could ever be better than taking my best buddy fishing with me?

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Doing Things Better

Ok, here’s the deal. For the next several days, I’m pretty useless to most of mankind. Tomorrow night, I am going to a concert with my son and Saturday I am going north the the Great Lakes Region to chase chinooks, cohos and chrome.

Yep, I am going fishing.

Since I am now at an age where riding on motocross tracks is no longer an option for me and I’m not ever going to hit a home run or throw a runner out from deep in the hole at short, I focus on trying to get a bigger fish on a fly rod.

Oh, I am still capable of getting injured wading where I shouldn’t wade. In fact, a few years ago, I smacked a shin on a boulder so hard I was sure I busted my leg.

It nearly stopped me from fishing!

Yep, I can find a way to get injured in a sandbox playing with a rubber ball.

I checked the weather forecast for Milwaukee, fifty for a high on Saturday and cooler on Sunday. Now if the water levels cooperate, those rivers should all have salmon in them.

I’ve tied a LOT of flies. I’ve got my gear all together. The camper sits in front of my house ready for final loading before hooking it up and hauling it to Wisconsin.

There will be five of us, spending the day fishing, eating around a campfire and telling stories of the ones that got away. Salmon fishing is filled with stories of fish that get away. Hooking a fresh salmon on a fly rod is kind of like kicking a beehive. A lot happens real, real fast.

Speaking of a lot of things happening real fast, I’d like to tell you about my past week or so but I’m afraid the would be too much information.

Let’s just say it was a real pain in the “you-know-what”. If you’re curiosity is getting the best of you, Google “thrombosed hemorrhoid”.

Chances are, I’ll write tomorrow and try to actually write about something that is worth your time. But, for until Wednesday, I’ll be arising each day to meet the dawn with my fly rod in hand.

I’m afraid this morning i am just trying to find a workable position to navigate this day that balances on getting things done with my visions of rivers full of King Salmon.

I’ll leave you with this thought, life is hard. Oh, you know that. Everyone knows that. But, I’m not done. My life has been hard. Heck, last week I couldn’t sit, stand or hover in mid-air without being miserable. No matter what I did hurt and my brain started telling me there was never going to be any relief.

Of course, I knew there would be…probably.

But, I’m not always so certain things are going to get better when life gets really hard, uncomfortable, anxious and painful.

A hard life is harder when a man or woman accepts that it may not ever get better.

Here’s a little tip, when life is hard, go do some better for a few days. Your definition of better might not be the same as mine. You might not want to go stand in a cold river casting flies to fish that aren’t hungry. But, it does something for me. It opens up a part of living that I get blind to now and then.

Your living better may be going to visit a friend that you haven’t seen in a while and laughing for a few hours about how stupid you used to be. Maybe it is finding a quiet spot with a great view and just letting the sun hit you in the face.

Heck, I don’t know but I’ll bet you do. I’ll even wager at least even money you need to go do whatever it is right about now to jolt you out of the rut that just seems to be getting deeper and deeper and seems so hard to escape.

Yep. I’m going fishing. When I get back, I have men’s ministries stuff at church to prepare, worship team work to do, Celebrate Recovery groups to lead, a family to go to bat for, a job that needs me, friends to pray with and a blog to write.

Don’t be ashamed of needing to go fishing. Jesus did it every now and then, too.

A Message for Men and Those Who Love Them (and Those Who Hate Them)

I guess this message is also for those indifferent to men as well.

I think about this subject every year about this time.

See, I am leaving this weekend for a salmon fishing trip. Every October, I head to the Great Lake Region and chase kings and cohos around the rivers with the guys.

I’ve always got room for more!

I never manage to fill my creel with fishing buddies.

I talk to countless men that say, “I really, really want to go!” They used to use the cost thing as the reason to stay home but I figured out a way to get just about anyone along on the trip if that’s what they want to do.

The big reason for not going is, “Well, see, the kids have a football game, cheer-leading practice, choir concerts, science fair, nuclear testing, breakfast, lunch and dinner and an audition to appear on Broadway.”

But nearly every one of these men will be picking up, dropping off and waiting for a kid to do something they don’t give two hoots if they do or not.

This is NOT a substitute for quality time with your kids. Sitting around waiting on them and hauling them from one location to another is not developing character and integrity.

In this society where every setback is the end of the world, filling a kid’s life with potential setbacks and setting impossible standards to do their very best at so many things all at once they are overwhelmed by expectations.

In fact, society knows this and says, “Oh you tried. Here’s your trophy for sucking at what you did.”

Dad, let you kids fail at some stuff.

Tell them they are awful at Broadway musicals if they sound worse than a trio of alley cats and show them how to put that energy into what they are good at. Refuse to promote busy-ness over quality.

You don’t move up the ladder in the office by looking busy. You move up by being good at what you do.

Every kid is good at something. Teach a kid to find it. Don’t teach them to waste time trying to polish turds when they have talent and ability that brings them to the top in other aspects of life.

I sat with some kids at a track meet one day. They all hated it. Their parents made them run track. Why? Maybe because if the kid is running in circles doing what he hates, parents can sit in the car and dream of what may have been.

Men, sit with those kids like I did. I’m no great example but I Forrest Gump’ed my way into some insight there. They told me something they wouldn’t dare tell their dads.

Whatever you do, try to be the dad who hears what his boy or girl is saying, what they are really saying.

My son and I used to talk, really talk. Then I became a chauffeur dad, hauling him to his motocross races week in and week out.

Sadly, I think I became more of an employee than a dad.

It has been a long time since those racing days but that talking we used to do never came back. To this day, I often sit alone wishing I could talk with him like we did back before his kid voice turned into a man’s voice.

I don’t tell people what to do very much but I am seeing some guys making huge mistakes, mistakes that I made and still suffer for now.

Don’t let your kids see through you that a dad is just a glorified cab driver and ATM machine.

If you want to sacrifice for your kids, give them time that is face to face, that talks about stuff that is not easy to talk about, that hugs them even though it embarrasses you both, that shows them it is OK to be broken and hurt but even more OK to swallow your pride and get back on the right track.

Be a dad that has to get away from it all and set his heart right again. Let them know that a man, no matter how great he is, needs other people and that he can’t do this life thing right without God.

Tell those kids that every now and then, the Daddy Uber Service is shutting down for a few days and dad is going to do some maintenance on his broken down spirit.

Show them that the “end of the world” is seldom anything more than a new door to open.

If you know a dad that is spending all his life and breath teaching his children that his own life ends when marriage and kids roll around, slap him stupid. Prop dads up to be something kids aspire to be, not dread to become.

Stop throwing words around like “toxic masculinity” and stop shaming men for being men. Instead, encourage them to use their masculinity to serve others and build each other up. Encourage them to be brave and courageous and to stand when society tells them to get back in the house and take their place on the couch.

Being a man isn’t something we should kill of any more than we should squash femininity.

There will always be terrible men…and women. As Christians, let’s keep striving to do it the right way.

Work hard to obtain integrity, then work hard to maintain integrity, and then teach the kids those things. That doesn’t come waiting in the car outside school while they do something they don’t want to do while you listen to talk radio alone in the dark.

Teach those kids to listen to your voice, and then give them something worth listening to.

What About Today?

Well, the stores are going to be putting away Halloween decorations soon. But no worries, Thanksgiving and Christmas are out and I guess Valentine’s stuff will be all over the place by November 1.

I don’t know who “they” are but “they” sure don’t want anyone to enjoy today.

Facebook has all sorts of people talking about how bad they hate summer and want pumpkin spice (which I hear has nothing at all to do with pumpkins) and others are talking about how much they hate summer and fall and want Christmas to be here.

It seems that enjoying today is an absolutely ludicrous proposition.

Sure, I always look forward to the fishing in October but I prepare for it by fishing every other month in the year as well.

I’m not saying I have all the answers to people wishing their lives away so they can live in the perpetual nastiness of the smell of fall (which you can concoct and experience year-round without worry of prosecution by the local magistrate).

But what about today?

It feels like we are all encouraged to forfeit today to focus on tomorrow’s great great grandfather.

Today, is going to have some pretty awesome opportunities if we don’t waste them all in Walmart’s HallowThanksMasTine’s Day aisle planning what is going to come soon enough whether we want it to or not.

Today, whether it is summer or winter, rainy or clear, windy or calm needs to be lived and not tossed over into the future where all it does is decay into what could have been.

Surely, God isn’t wanting us to throw these chances for greatness, or even grueling efforts that painstakingly create something someone needs to survive another minute or so, into the pile of time wasted and opportunities squandered.

Today.

There is a today and it can make a difference. Sure, we can wish today was not today and boycott it. We can wish for snow and hate this day because it is simply what it is.

We can hate today because there isn’t a pumpkin latte sitting somewhere inside it. For me, that is reason to rejoice. I’m a black coffee kind of guy but if I am going for a latte, I want caramel and chocolate or some other sugary goodness and not anything with cloves in it.

But that is just me…and a lot of other smart people…lol.

I’ve got stuff to do today. I’m preparing to do some things. I’m doing things. I’m going to hit the sack tonight feeling good that today happened and I packed as much into as I could.

Sure, something can happen that makes this a tough or even a bad day. I’ve had bad days that no matter how grateful and focused I was, they were just bad.

But, I don’t have to pronounce it bad before it even begins and long for it to be over while I fail to accomplish what God gave me this day for while I fantasize about another day that probably won’t happen the way I want it to and I may not live to see anyway.

Days are like that. You are only promised the one you live in right now.

I’ve been cringing over all the people complaining that it isn’t Halloween yet, it isn’t Thanksgiving yet, it isn’t Christmas, it isn’t Ground Hog Day.

Wake up! It’s today! Hurry, before it has a chance to go south on you, put something great in it.

So often, it is my choice whether there is any good in a day for me. I far too often choose to open the door on the day and leave it open so all the flies come in and annoy me to death and I am just glad to end it.

Well, this has been kind of like yesterday, rambling all over the place and turning left and right and up and down hoping I made sense out of the nonsense I add to my life.

Don’t forget. It’s today! Make it great!

Football, Losers and Hope

Well, last week took a few ugly turns. U G L Y. But, things are better, although, it appears I don’t heal at the speed I once did.

At any rate, I’m feeling a lot better and I have visions of salmon leaping from the rivers in my head.

I had a great idea yesterday concerning what I would write today. I’ve completely lost all clues of what that great idea was. I need to make notes of great ideas and stop trusting my brain to do so before it moves on to bad ideas as usual.

So, it is Monday morning and I lost my first game in my fantasy football league. Yesterday afternoon, it appeared my streak would easily take me to 5-0.

Then, Keenan Allen was nearly invisible in his game, followed by six more players that fell far short of what the experts say they should have scored.

Even Patrick Mahomes fell flat and I fell flatter.

You may not know what any of this means. It’s fantasy football, where you assemble the best team you can and your players go up against another team in your league every week.

So, yesterday, I went from being pretty confident to waking up this morning and wondering what the heck happened?

In reality, I like to take too much credit for what my team does. If I really knew what I was doing, I would have played D. J. Chark yesterday instead of leaving him on the bench and I could brag about still being undefeated.

I don’t really know what I am doing.

Chark sat on my bench and in real life had the best game of his young career but it did me no good at all.

But even after he turned in his brilliant performance that didn’t give me a bit of help I was confident.

I knew that Keenan and Pat would save me.

Well, I guess I didn’t know that because in order to know something, it has to actually be. Right?

Well, it wasn’t and so I didn’t really know much. My knowing turned into wondering and my wondering turned into doubt and my doubt sucked the life out of my hope as reality proved to be different than what I wanted it to be.

I fell into defeat.

I had a lot of faith that those guys were going to have awesome days and it turned out they didn’t even have good days.

Thankfully, it is only a fantasy football league that I play in with family and friends. They are all used to seeing me lose and are probably all pretty happy this morning that all is right in their worlds again.

I remember when I was a young guy. I put a lot of faith in a man. He performed well week in and week out.

But then, he failed.

I cut him from my roster. This wasn’t a fantasy roster, this was a real life roster. I cut that failure from the team like the Pharisees cut the lepers from society.

The only time I really thought of him after that was when I wanted to blame someone for something.

As I sit here this morning, that man is no longer on this planet. But a lot of good things that were the fruit of his life here still are. I’m sitting here wondering how many wins I missed out on being a part of because I dropped him after that loss.

On Friday nights, I go to Celebrate Recovery. I sit with a bunch of other people that have been cut, waived and dropped. I sit with all those that have failed and had all faith in them withdrawn.

What happens during all this sitting? We celebrate!

Yep, this big bunch of losers and rejects are able to celebrate victory after victory and win after win.

I wish I could sit down with that man from my past and celebrate with him now. It’s too late.

But I can sit here and look at what happened so it doesn’t keep happening. After all, it is great to celebrate something that you felt certain would happen but celebrating the comeback of the century with a team that has been playing for the consolation prize is epic (unless you are celebrating a Cubs victory).

See, I put my faith in a man. That’s it.

People are people. They are going to screw up, make mistakes, fall, crash and burn.

No man is above this even if it appears God comes to him for advice. That ain’t the way it is. Even smiling Joel Osteen gets the shakes about something in life and someday it might take him down (I will not use this platform to endorse or condemn Joel, he just smiles a lot and is a good example for this illustration).

People that have faith in man tend to go down in flames with the man that takes a nosedive.

Now, when I look at people, I don’t seek out their faults, but I acknowledge they all have them. Some of them are people we wish we could be that, in reality, are on the brink of ending their own existence because of their hidden demons.

My faith has to remain in God. God never fails, never wavers, never changes with society’s whims and desires and never, ever is going to crash and burn.

That keep me from being so devastated when a man I admire does a nosedive into a huge pile of steaming…you know what I mean.

And God can fix anything. ANYTHING.

God can take the world’s biggest, most epic fail and make a miraculous victory. Hit up a local Celebrate Recovery or Teen Challenge or any other group full of losers that have learned to win.

God not only performs miracles, but he does it routinely, over and over again. Oh, we want to see water turned into whine but he’s making beauty from ashes all around us constantly.

People need God. When we lose sight of that, we end up in the dumper, on a bender or on the news.

But even if we forget about God and go out on our own and commit the stupidest blunder we can think of, God is big enough to bring us back to victory.

Find someone that has failed. Put them on your team. You may not know what you are doing but God doesn’t need you to know what you are doing. He just needs you to reflect him to people that need him.

Owwww!

I’d love to write today. But I have bleary eyes from not sleeping last night. I’m hesitant to tell you what kept me awake. Maybe later. Let’s just go with I was in a lot of pain.

I tried everything I could find on the internet to rid myself of the pain. I think it just got worse.

So, first thing this morning I sent my doctor an email with all the gory details (which I will spare you) and hopefully, in a couple of hours, I’ll get a phone call with instructions related to what I should do next.

It’s all kind of embarrassing and I don’t know why it should be any different than telling people I broke my arm (which is one of the few bones I haven’t broken).

I think it is going to be a long, hard day. Even if the doctor relieves my pain, my bleary eyes and foggy brain won’t change until I get to meet my long lost friend, Serta.

I reckon I’ll keep the coffee maker busy all day long. Coffee can often help me simulate being awake when, in reality, I am more like the walking dead.

I had some really good stuff to write today. I sure hope tomorrow is better and I remember the good stuff that is eluding me right at this moment.

Today, all I have for you is a “Howdy” and a “Hang in there!” I hope to be back at it full strength in the morning.

Right now, I’m headed to the coffee pot…slowly.

“I” Trouble

I have eye trouble. Maybe, I actually have “I” trouble. I think that the truth is, I have eye and “I” trouble.

You may be saying to yourself, “That boy right there ain’t right in the head.”

Well, you may be right. But, that is a different problem entirely from my eye/I trouble.

See, “I” have a natural tendency to see what is wrong with you and be blind to what is wrong with “I”…er…me.

Heck, I can spot the guy that dresses funny all the way across the Walmart parking lot while I don’t have a clue that Bozo the Clown wouldn’t be caught dead wearing my outfit.

I guess that is like being farsighted. Or is farsighted where you can only see things close up? Eye don’t remember.

I used to know a guy that had a nose that was so big, I couldn’t hardly talk to him. I mean, this was a cartoon quality nose. I have never seen such a thing on another real live person. I used to wonder if it hurt his neck to carry that thing around all day.

I still nose him (sorry) but he had something done with his nose that makes it look way too normal for his face now and I still talk to him distracted by his nose while I wonder what the heck they did with all that extra nose they removed.

I’m not going to transition from eyes to noses now. I’m just trying to show that eyes seem to do things I don’t really want them to do. Maybe my tongue is in some sort of conspiracy with them against me.

See, when my eyes notice something about other people, it gives my tongue something to talk about (that should usually remain unsaid).

Matthew 7:3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”

Jesus gets right to talking about my eye problem. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to remove specks from the lives of others while I have a log sticking out of my eyeball socket.

Not only can I not see well, with no depth perception (depth perception is a requirement when seeing what others are dealing with) but I don’t have long enough arms to perform any delicate surgery on someone else when I have this giant Sequoia hanging off my face.

Another quick side note here is that a lot of specks in others lives clear up when I remove my own log. It seems that I am responsible for placing specks much more than I have removed any.

Jesus may sound a little harsh by using the word “Hypocrite” here. But I’ve learned hearing Jesus say that to me keeps me willing to hear other truth. While flinging the “Hypocrite” word around generally shows I am in denial about something pretty serious.

I can recall grabbing the log in my eye and pulling, twisting and tugging on that thing from sun up to sun down and that thing never budged.

For a lot of years I just gave up on it and stumbled and struggled clumsily through life wondering why life was so hard.

Life is tough with a log in your eye.

Finally, after a lot of mishaps, missteps and a lot of other thing that start with “mis”, I sat down with God and talked to him about this thing.

We came to agree that I was just going to ignore the specks, splinters and other lumber products in the lives of others and set to work, working together, to remove this log and heal my eye and the damage the log has done.

I could never ever have gotten to this place where I am today without God being the project manager on this huge task. I’m not going to sit here and tell you the work is all done either.

Yeah, the big old log is pretty much gone. But the way I was used to seeing the world lies to me about what I see now. It tells me that what I saw in the past was truth and what I see now is just my imagination.

So, I have to seek truth…even if I don’t like what truth has to say.

I still have an I/eye problem. But it isn’t the same as it was. It is more manageable and easier to maintain.

Oh, I know that this speck I have here and there can still somehow turn into mighty logs again, but not as long as I am willing to allow God to keep them clean.

I even seek out guys that have had successful log removals to help me with my specks. I can see clearly most of the time and life is a lot easier. Depth perception really does make my spiritual walk less hazardous.

I don’t have to look on others and see their specks to make me feel like I am worthy of something. It is a lot more fun to look at others, ignore their specks and see they are worthy of more than I can give.

How to Fix Something

How many times has some Christian pointed out your flaws and you went straight home and started working hard to fix them?

It isn’t because you are flawless. No, you aren’t flawless. I’m not flawless. No one is flawless.

Why doesn’t claiming to be filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking anointed words, throwing in some bible scripture and heaping on some guilt and judgment turn this world into a little bit of heaven?

Seriously, I have never shamed, goaded, guilt-ed, judged, proclaimed, taunted, protested one single person into any meaningful change other than they hated me and avoided me for decades and will probably continue to do so for decades to come.

Nope. Pharisees, with all their lawmaking and enforcing were never really known for their great success at drawing people into the fold. They were better at making themselves feel better about being in an exclusive club.

Jesus didn’t start off the Sermon on the Mount by telling everyone they were an abomination to God and heading for hell.

In fact, I heard all that stuff for a long, long time and felt no inclination to make a true attempt to turn all of my life and will over to God’s control.

It was more like, “I don’t really like this part of my life so God can have that…for now…if I have to.”

I kept what I wanted and no amount of gum-bumping and tongue wagging was going to change any of that even if it was supposed to be speaking Christ to me.

Luke 6:37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.”

The only power judgment and condemnation has is to inflict pain and paste a giant “Judge me, condemn me” poster on my back.

Jesus didn’t inflict pain to bring people to holiness. He accepted pain for them on the cross. I suppose if we are willing to die for those we claim to want to save by our words of judgment and condemnation, we could maybe have a right to speak. Otherwise, I need to keep my big yap shut!

We do have power to change things in our words, though. But it doesn’t come in the form of pointing my finger at the beaten down, deceived sinner that is struggling to understand a world that has been turned upside-down and confusion rules lives.

Revelation 12:11 And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb
and by their testimony.
And they did not love their lives so much
that they were afraid to die.
]

My mission isn’t to conquer sinners. It isn’t to conquer sin. Nope. Sinners need to be saved and only God can conquer sin. My mission is to defeat the lies of the great deceiver and to destroy him with a liberal dose of the blood of the Lamb…and the words of my testimony.

While I have never pointed out a person’s faults (without them asking me to) and got big spiritual superstar results a single time (in fact, my finger=pointing has poked some people in the eye and they cannot see the truth to this day when otherwise, they may not be so blind), the words of my testimony, words about my faults and flaws and failings and the mighty hand of God being constantly at work in my life making things better has had a profound effect on some folks.

Not everyone. Some people just roll their eyes and wait for me to shut up. It just isn’t their time. See, it doesn’t matter whose testimony it is as long as it is about what God can do in a messed up life.

Heck, the life doesn’t even have to be all that messed up. It just has to have needed God.

The last time I gave my testimony, at least a dozen people spoke to me wanting to know more, to tell me what they wanted to change in their lives, to just tell me they needed to hear it.

One guy walked up and said, “Tonight I found out how selfish I am.”

I didn’t tell anyone they were selfish. I just talked about how I have been selfish. God took it further.

God fuels the words of my testimony, he invites me to share them and he makes them more than just idle chatter floating through the atmosphere.

Do you want to make some real change around you? Tell people what God does for you. Write it down. Look for opportunities to share it with others. Maybe even, be a special speaker at an event of some sort.

Don’t cheat the world of the power of your own testimony.

Churchy Churcherson

New Hope for Dry Bones

What would Jesus do?

Remember that? There were WWJD bracelets and all sorts of other things with those letters on there to remind us to stop and think about what Jesus would do in our situation.

I don’t know how much it actually helped people to change their behavior but there seems to be a lot less regard for what Jesus would do.

These days it sounds more like, “What would (insert political party) do?”

Church people are falling into this abyss of hate just like the rest of the world.

Just the other day, I read Churchy Churcherson’s (name changed to protect the innocent) post on Facebook proudly pronouncing everyone that didn’t believe that the trinity was a lie was going to hell.

According to him, you have to be in the enlightened club to understand the bible and apparently I am not.

He felt sorry that I was…

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