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The Art of Listening

24 Jun

If there was one thing my mother was good at, it was listening. I could always count on her to hear me out. As a know-it-all kid of course we butted heads many times but she was always actively engaged in the moment. She wanted to hear what I had to say so she could respond appropriately.

I’ve been noticing a dangerous trend in our country.

There used to be what they called a, “community ethic.” We were all pretty much on the same page. Conversation or, “small talk” was by and large pretty easy. We showed each other common courtesy. It seems those days are all but gone in some circles.

It’s perfectly normal to be passionate about your beliefs, we all have personal convictions, but the polarization in America is getting out of control . . . and the ear splitting silence of the media is deafening.

I heard a comedian this morning talking about how we’re watching two different movies in our culture. That’s a perfect description. The problem is we’re no longer talking to each other. We’re even past the point of talking at or over each other. In fact most of us don’t talk at all because it will invariably lead to a headline topic and begin to go south in a hurry.

In a free society you can agree to disagree, it’s okay. It’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong it’s a matter of respect.

During a conversation most of us, if we’re honest, aren’t paying much attention to what’s actually being said. We’re already thinking about what we’re gonna say next, or our mind will wander off into other areas of life, things that need to get done, places we need to be. Listening is an art form, it takes concentration and real effort; it doesn’t come naturally. We’re self centered by nature, we can’t help it. But if we don’t get a handle on this somebody’s gonna get hurt.

God give us patience, a genuine interest in hearing the opinions of others, hearts that want to be part of the solution not the problem..for Your glory.

Amen

James 1:19-20 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Boundless Devotion

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God is Faithful

13 Jan

I don’t know about you but I’ve always had a tendency to try and control the outcome of things in my life. I believed that as long as you put in enough effort at something you inevitably reap the rewards, like planting seed or even cooking the harvest. That has some truth to it but if you’re a believer the, “outcome” is more of and outgrowth, determined by your level of faith.

I’m not talking about how much faith you have, or some kinda name it claim it nonsense, I mean how you’re trusting God with the whole of your life; the substance of your faith.

Up until the last few years mine was pretty shallow. I trusted Him with my salvation, I read the Bible daily, prayed all the time, but I never learned how to let go of the shovel.

I’d compartmentalized everything. I had my marriage, my relationship with my kids, my job, my ministry, my friends, all neatly packed in boxes, everything checked off, safely put away.

All of those things are critically important, but they need to be part of each other; to mingle together. As humans, we just don’t have that capacity, it’s too much to carry at once. We need to put it all in God’s hands, that’s how He created us.

Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Here’s to New Beginnings

7 Jan

I’m super excited about this new path I’m on. I’m still an aspiring Author . . . but we all need something to anchor to. Even the Apostle Paul supported himself as a tentmaker.

My family’s been in the wood flooring business for over a century. I love working with wood, I didn’t see any other path for myself to be honest.

I watched as the industry continued to grow and expand but I couldn’t keep up with it anymore . . . and opportunities were dwindling for a 48 year old man with arthritis.

I was scared to death.

Outside of the book I never thought about branching out into other directions. I’d worked as a professional apartment painter for a while but when the work ran out I had to find somewhere else to play, so I went back with what I was familiar with.

“Painting,” isn’t much of a challenge for me but professional painting is a different beast. There were a lot of fine tuning skills, in terms of production that I just didn’t possess, and it’s really hard to get an apprentice gig with a painting outfit. There’s SO much competition!

But God knew what He was doing. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He’s got our lives all planned out.

Psalm 51:1-6 Have mercy on me oh God, according to Your steadfast love, according to Your abundant mercy. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You would be justified in Your words and blameless in Your judgements.”

Unrealistic Expectations

6 Jan

Thirty years..thirty years of tunnel vision, busting my tail trying to prove myself, believing in other people’s pipe dreams, carrying their vision, being taken advantage of . . . hoping that someday it would all pay off. What did I get in return? Zilch, nada, nothing but dust, dirt, headaches, hernias, arthritis, the list goes on and on.

I got paid a good wage but for some reason my dreams never materialized.

I was raised to, “Stick with what you know” to, “Become an expert in your field.” That’s all well and good but I’ve been trying to do it all in my own strength instead of trusting God with my future.

These past couple of years have been quite revealing. I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’ve finally figured out that my struggles haven’t been with my level of expertise or not meeting the, “right people.” I’ve been heading in the wrong direction. The more I smash the throttle the faster my wheels spin but I just wasn’t going anywhere because I was chasing the wind, dragging around a dead dog on a leash.

I had my own vision of what my career should look like by now. I figured the more detailed it was in my mind, the better the outcome would be, but wood floors were just meant to carry me to this point . . . not all the way home.

I know lots of older guys that are still struggling in the industry. I’m just glad I was able to let go, I’m finally gaining traction.

Sometimes believing in God is the easy part. Believing in his plan for our lives is often much harder. That requires trust in him. Not just in his existence but in his ways, his word, and his promises. That can seem like such a tall order for us when life is spinning. But part of being a Christian is committing our lives to following him, wherever that may lead us. When we trust that He will guide us safely along life’s path, we can walk confidently all the way home.

Read more here

The Great Flat Earth Deception

1 Jan

About a year ago, a former business associate began looking into the flat earth theory. At first it was innocent, just a guy digging around on YouTube for information, but it’s morphed into a dangerous delusion. He’s a Seventh Day Adventist, I can work with that in terms of the Christian faith and non-essentials. I’m all about some unity when appropriate, but something started to shift in his thinking.

I felt constrained to speak up but I knew it would cause an issue so I just kept my mouth shut. He’d already lost all of his friends (literally like, don’t call me anymore), and besides who was I to critique his personal choices? This is America after all (and I was on his payroll). However, he started quoting the book of Enoch as gospel and twisting scripture around to align with his new illumination.

Then came the, “videos.” He spent $1000.00 on camera equipment and became obsessed with close up images of stars and time lapsed photography of the sky. It wasn’t long before he completely lost his grip on reality. He now considers himself a prophet sent by God to spread the message to unbelievers. He holds the earth as not only being flat, but that it’s a never ending plane. 😶 The only thing stopping us from venturing out further is a giant ice wall that surrounds the continents, heavily guarded by the military.

His life was beginning to unravel, and it was affecting business. He’d, “evangelize” to anyone; our suppliers, fellow contractors, builders, even his customers! I started praying . . . hard.

In less than two weeks God provided the best job I’ve ever had with an awesome boss, great pay, year round work, lots of room for advancement . . . a phenomenal opportunity. I told him it would have to be part time for now, that I’d like to give my old boss some notice, he agreed.

SO, for the past couple of weeks I’ve been keeping him updated. He knows I’m working somewhere else but I haven’t it told him that I’m moving on yet. He says he’ll let me know when something cracks. I figured this would be my opportunity to clear some things up so I texted him last night after he sent me yet another one of his daily videos.

Me: Be careful with how you’re using scripture bro, truth is holy..not to be trifled with.

James 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

The vast majority of historians and scholars don’t even believe that Enoch wrote the, “Book of Enoch” for instance.

If you’re gonna, teach” you have to exegete and have a thorough understanding of the hermeneutics around the verses. You can’t just apply it willy nilly to what you’re talking about. In other words we need to bend our understanding around the scriptures not bend the scriptures around our understanding.

His Response: Mind your own business. If you don’t agree with it don’t fukin watch it

Your mind is indoctrinated by mans foolishness which makes you a fool as well.decieved by the devil.just think if im wrong well I would be in deep shitright.but the thing is that you are which makes you the one that is in trouble with the lord….denying his true creation.and believing the lies of science..even dareing.to even QUESTION my fukin intelligence and my discerning powers..how dare your foolish ass message me these things on my phone regarding my life and my beliefs. You bitchI am a profit of god.a messenger to this world.id be fukin careful what comes out of yo fukin mouthIf i were youGods word doesn’t teach a heliocentric model of earth.he hints that it’s flat with a sun and moon under a FIRMAMENT so if you deny me.u deny the lord

God is Faithful

26 Dec

Just an update . . . that new job I started last week, what an opportunity! I had a gut feeling it was gonna work out, but talk about pressure. I was right up against the wall!

For the past few years I’ve been dealing with severe chronic pain. Due to the nature of my particular field of expertise, unbeknownst to me, I’d developed arthritis in my hip. I thought it was more of a muscular issue than a skeletal one. I figured that stuff didn’t happen until you were in your sixties.

Initially it was more of a dull ache than anything else, but one day it got to the point where I couldn’t work anymore, I could hardly walk without a cane.

I was cleaning up the yard at my place of employment when out of nowhere it felt like someone stabbed me in the leg. The pain was unbelievable! The next day I went in for x-rays and discovered the underlying problem.

It was devastating.

I was recently divorced, I had no insurance benefits and now that the issue was exposed it was a, “pre-existing condition.” I didn’t know what to do. I hadn’t even earned enough points to receive disability benefits, because for years I’d been trying to get various businesses off the ground so my wife could stay home (I’m an entrepreneur at heart). Over time I went through my savings just to survive, until I was flat broke.

Things looked bleak, that’s actually when I began writing Boundless Devotion.

I went to a pain clinic and got some relief but as it is with many of these kinds of situations, I became dependent on the medicine. I suppose that’s just a fancy way of saying addicted.

I was now trapped in a piercing enigma. It was all I could do just to trust God, read the Bible and hope for a positive outcome.

Eventually I was able to lay down the meds (thank God) and began a physical therapy regiment I’d found on YouTube of all places lol. Not long after a friend of mine offered me a partnership deal of sorts in his business (I mentioned it last week) but it just never worked itself out practically speaking.

Now finally, after almost three years, the Lord has shown Himself to be that friend that, “sticks closer than a brother.”

I was always a lover of God and souls. His word truly has been, “a lamp unto my feet” since the kids were little, but I’ve had my share of battles with the flesh and to be honest, was in need of some serious spiritual intervention. The problem is, my ego has a tendency to hold me captive at times.

I see all this as God’s discipline, He’s been using it to draw me closer to Himself. As a result of His faithfulness and His excellent craftsmanship I’m now entering a new phase in my life.

Oh, and the ex and I are talking again. 😉

I know a lot of you have been praying for me lately, thank you.

Psalm 51:6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

“Boundless Devotion” is Gaining Traction

20 Dec

I’ve been thinking lately, Boundless Devotion is beginning to take off. In the past week I’ve gotten more likes on the Facebook page than I have since it’s release. I’m getting lots of great feedback too.

The plan was to create a sequel, but I’ve since changed things up.

When it comes to marketing I’ve always been a fan of the old adage, “Leave ’em wanting more.” I figured what better industry than writing books. But honestly I want my first title to be the best that it can be, so I’ve decided to bag the idea and just complete the series in one book.

When the update is available I’ll let you know.

The next project is probably gonna be set as a western. I’ve always been a fan, and I’ve got a lot of great ideas swirling around in my head.

I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for all the support! 👊

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