Friday, December 6, 2013

What Do You Give To A God Who Has Everything?

We all have people that we have a hard time shopping for.

You know the frustration that comes with this and you go to the mall hoping to be inspired right? You walk down the concourse and look in shops and stores that seem to offer everything you can think of and the middle of the concourse is jam packed with small kiosks that also have things promised to please that person on your list. You just want to find the "Perfect gift" right?

What do you give someone who needs or wants absolutely nothing?

What do you get for someone who has absolutely everything?

I have to look at God when I ask this question because for so long I tried so hard to come up with ways to "Present my body a living sacrifice" to Him. If I dressed a certain way or only listened to certain types of music, went to only church functions, only had friends from within my church, or even read the Bible through in year that would be pleasing to God right?

Would He smile at me then?

I was painted a picture of a angry volcano type of God who needed me to constantly check boxes to please Him and keep Him from erupting and He really was more like an unstable parent to me than a loving Father.

I could never do enough because if I prayed for an hour it was if the question was asked, "Why didn't you pray for two?"
Any gift that I brought to Him always seemed to be something that He already had or that someone else could do better and really He was not interested in receiving it anyway.

Then one day, I spied something out shopping that pulled me in right away.


This was the perfect gift for a God who has everything!!!

See, the day of your birth and the day of your death are two days that you have absolutely no choice over. You do however have a choice over what you do with every day in between these two events.
It is options that give choices power.
It is the options that are utilized that make the choice valuable. Think about it, how loved would you really feel if someone had no option but to love you? It is the choice that they made to love you out of all the options that they had that makes the love that they give you so valuable.
So when it comes to getting God that perfect gift, is it really an option to check boxes if you are afraid He is going to break your legs if you don't? No. It is no different than playing by the rules of Don Coleon.

But He is God the Father and not the godfather. He does not demand anything from us that we are not willing or capable to give Him freely.

So we walk through the spiritual mall and check out stores like "Standards R Us", and the "Service Center", we consider the tithing store, and the attendance shop and ultimately we fail to feel like we gave Him the right gift because to truly give a perfect gift, you need to know the person well that you are shopping for. There is nothing wrong with standards, servie, tithing, or any of it, but if we giving those things to keep Him happy with us or to be a better gifter than the other relatives than we are missing the mark.

I had been shopping at the store "Law-Mart" and coming up with terrible gifts for Father. One day I came across the Kiosk of GRACE in the middle of that proverbial shopping mall and it was at that Kiosk of GRACE that I discovered the "Perfect Gift for the God Who Has Everything".

It was Faith.

Does it really take Faith to be in a spot however many times a week? Does it take Faith to serve in a ministry?

Does it take Faith to read your Bible through in a year?

Not that any of those things are wrong, but really ask yourself this question, "What have i done today that required Faith to do?"

Things will begin to shift just a bit in our shopping mindset if we do.

"By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith."  ~Hebrews 11:5-7

Faith is simply put, choosing God over so many other options that seem to make sense.

It is choosing to trust in the fact that the Christ did die for your sins and that His work was finished at the cross and that I have received a new nature to walk in.

God's wrath for me was poured out on Jesus and now because of Him there is therefore no more commendation. The only way that I will face the wrath of God is to die without a relationship with Him through the shed blood of His son.


It is Faith that allows me to operate in newness of life.

It is Faith that provides me the strength to tell temptation "No".

It is Faith that enables me to be today what He made me to be.

If God intends for me to live my life out of and through Faith in Him to be who He says He is, than what is it that He cannot do with you?

You might say, "Well Dan, I have made some pretty lousy choices with my life."

"Sometimes it is the wrong choices that bring us to the right places"

He has you here right now and of all the things that your eyes could have seen today, they are seeing this. Why is He allowing you to read this out of everything that you will read today?

What is it that you would do if you were not afraid that God could not or would not help you to do?
What would your life look like one year from today if you just decided today that you were going to operate in Faith that God is who He says He is and that He is able to accomplish what He speaks into your heart?
Give God the perfect Gift today!
Operate in the Faith that HE is who He says He is and that He can do and will do what it is that He has said He would do!
Shopping for "The God Who Has Everything" and finding the perfect gift is not hard at all if you know the God you are shopping for.
Climbing with you,

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Waiting for Superman

Faster than a speeding bullet he raced onto the scene.

Sometimes it was through a window sometimes it was even through the wall, and when the occasion called for it, it was through the doorway like the rest of us.

He showed up and he did what the rest of us wished we could do in those situations in life where a person who chose to impose their will on everyone else was stopped from doing so.
He stepped in front of the weak and he became their strength and he became their shield from the bullets and debris that would be flying all over the place.

If you could not get out of a burning building on your own, he was there to pick you up and fly you off to safety. If you could not escape an oncoming a bullet, he would deflect what you could not dodge. He stopped speeding trains and plummeting airplanes.

It was his smile to you when the smoke cleared that told you that you did really good on your part under pressure for the strength that you had and that everything was going to be OK. He would speak a word of encouragement, pat you on the shoulder and then fly away just as quickly as he showed up.

He was Superman.

I write quite a bit about Superman because I am in fact a Superman fan. I always have been and unless the story line gets too crazy I always will be.

I see in the character of Superman so much of what I want to be for the people that are allowed to be in my life.
I want to be strong, protective, vigilant, and patient. I want to "save the day" in the train wrecks life throws other people's way. I want to take the bullets for them and see through every act of frustration on their part and respond with a calm patience. I want that...

I am however, not Superman.

I fall short and my jumps in life are just enough to clear the first two steps out in front of the tall building Superman would so effortlessly jump in a single bound..

I think that if I had a dollar for every train I derailed instead of keeping it safe I would be a very rich man indeed, and in spite of my best intentions to protect my Metropolis, I end up in my own logic and reasoning becoming the Lex Luthor who strangles it to a position of becoming a shadow of what I know it's potential can be.

Have you ever rushed into the proverbial "Building on fire" only to discover that your rushing in weakened the structure causing it's premature collapse?
Have you ever found yourself doing more harm than good because you in fact are not the cure all  you thought you were?

Once the train comes rumbling full speed out of control you had better be able to stop it because there are passengers who are hanging on for dear life depending on the fact  the one who boldly stepped onto the tracks ahead really does have what it takes to help.

So what do we do when we realize that we are not the Superman that others need us to be?

David often found himself in this type of scenario. He did a lot of good and he did his share of wrong as well. He loved the Lord, and yet he found himself in this battle of dependence upon the God that he praised for His ability to stop the speeding bullets.

He praised God for His unfailing ability to be the only one to stop an out of control train wreck like Goliath and yet stepped in front of a runaway Mack Truck like Saul.

Right in the middle of this rampage through Metropolis David finds himself chased from his home, crawling through caves, and hunted like a wild animal. The Superman cape is torn and the blue uniform is ripped. The finely chiseled jaw of this superhero is cut and bleeding and worst of all...his very soul has been crushed. Can this really happen to a Superman?

Right in the middle of this struggle for a hero to stay on top of the pedestal that he has been unwillingly placed on we find him curled up in a cave and speaking something that comforts me when I go through cave times myself.

Have you ever went to hang your cape up at the end of the day and been discouraged about the condition that it is in as it goes back in the closet?

You know, the cape you wear as a parent, a spouse, a friend, and employee or employer, a grandparent, or even just as a person?

It looks so tattered now and at one time it was brilliant and red and it was a "Symbol" of something greater for others to ascribe to but now it looks like it is ready for the car wash towel pile. Look at what David has to say;

"Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah."           ~Psalms 3:1-2

Please notice that David is taking an honest look at the circumstances around him and these are the result of him trying to stop a train by himself.

Notice the word "SOUL". This word is one to describe our Mind, Will, and our Emotions. The popular consensus of the day was "Ain't nobody got time for that. No one, not even God can help this man."

Have you ever felt this way? Beyond hope.

What happened Superman?

Then look at the response because this is for us!!!

"But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me." ~ Psalms 3:3-5

David acknowledged within his spirit that he was not Superman. It is OK to understand that you are not the master of the universe.

David said, "Father, you are my bullet deflector, you stop every bullet that flies through the air and you are my strength. You literally hold my head up. Without you I am a spineless mess. You hear me with super hearing and you see me with x-ray vision, and I can find complete rest under the shadow of your cape."


I love the word "Sustained", because it means God alone keeps it going. When I step onto the tracks in front of a runaway train, it is me who is going to get creamed and not the train.

When I intervene in the life of another in my own wisdom and strength I will do more harm than good. I need to be clothed in Christ. It is not me that they need, it is Him.

I am not Superman and neither are you.

To expect anyone to complete the work of Christ in another person's life will only lead to disappointment and regret. It is in the realization of this which causes us to recognize and establish God in our hearts as the only one who can stop the bullets in our life and in the life of another.

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."   ~  2 Corinthians 12:10

I know you like the way that the cape hangs off your shoulders because I do as well, but today can I challenge you to surrender the self imposed responsibility to save the city to the One who truly is THE Superman!

Take the cries of the citizens of Metropolis to Him and allow Him to be in their life who He claims to be. When you are in a position where God opens the door to help with the runaway trains, then understand where your true strength comes from.

Wait on Superman!

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."    ~ Isaiah 43:31

"Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah."
                                                                                                                         ~Psalms 3:8

Climbing with you,

Saturday, November 30, 2013

I Hear You Knocking But You Can't Come In

The knocking sound started firm but soft and it just would not stop.

"What in the world?", I thought to myself. Maybe if I just do not move the person knocking would get the idea that I was not home and just leave.

I looked out the window and spied him on the front porch. He was shaggy and dirty and certainly not someone that I had ever met before. I lived in Granite City, IL at the time and while Granite City was a nice place to live, you did not want to open the door to just anybody.

So he knocked, and I did my best to ignore.

I went to the back of the house so I would not have to listen to the sound of the knocking and after a few brief moments the knocking stopped and I heard a car door slam. I went to the front door and looked out just in time to see a very beat up small blue rusty pickup truck cough to life and drive off around the corner.

I was about to turn around to go back indoors when I saw it sitting in my driveway.

It was  a little house. Y'know one of those little plastic pre-fab jobs that kids love and then 6 months later they just pose as a giant lawn obstacle to mow around?

There it was. Sitting in the middle of my driveway and larger than that was the question in my mind of what was this all about?

Who was the homeless looking guy on the porch, and why did he leave a plastic Little Tyke house in my driveway?

My wife and very small son would be coming home soon and this house was in the middle of the driveway so I picked it up and drug it around to the backyard. If he had the wrong address at least it would be safe for him in the backyard, and why not let my son play in it until the bearded mystery man came back for this mistaken drop off?

My son would play in these houses forever every time we went to Toys R Us and I thought he would get a kick out of it.
They arrived home about an hour later and I could hardly wait to see the reaction on my son's face when he saw this new playhouse. I walked him by the hand around the corner of the house and had him close his eyes and I think that i probably was more excited for him to enjoy it than I thought, because his reaction when he opened his eyes killed me.


"Clark", I said, "Buddy, its a house like you always play in at the store!!!"

"Oh cool", he said nonchalantly as he walked up to it and began inspecting the shutters and the little plastic faucet on the sink. "Yep daddy, it finally came today."


"It finally came?" I asked Him. "Buddy did you know this was coming?"

"Yeah daddy, I sure did..." before he could finish I asked him, "Buddy do you know who was bringing this to you?"

"I sure do daddy." He responded very matter of fact. "I asked God to give me this house when i was in the store before and He finally picked today to bring it to me."

Let me just say that I was stunned beyond belief and at that moment I heard another knock deep within my spirit. I looked out through the window of my heart and I saw another homeless looking guy with a scruffy beard and dirty clothes. His hands had wounds on them.
My family and I were about to make a major transition in life and were praying about moving to Mobile, Alabama. We had to sell our home in housing market that had just crashed. No one was buying and it would be difficult to make this move that the Lord was directing us to move.
That is when I opened the door and looked the bearded guy in the eye and heard Him say, "Dan, if I can provide a house for your child because He asked me, why would you think that I could not sell your home in a bad market and help you buy another in a state 11 hours away? I really am that big Loved, and if you will just take the steps that I showed you I will be with you."

I will never forget that conversation that I had with Father in the backyard that day. Our home sold to the people who looked at it after the sixth day being listed on the market.

I was reading this passage the other day and it hit me just as hard.

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.                         Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."   ~ Revelation 3:19-21

This passage is always used to tell people that God is wanting to enter their hearts for salvation, and while He does, this passage is not speaking to someone who is in need of salvation. This verse is a message from God who is asking those who have already accepted Him to allow Him access to themselves.

So why would people not open the door to Him?

I mean if opening the door to God meant developing a deeper level of relationship with Him, why would anyone in their right mind choose to drown out the knock, go to the "back of the house" or just pretend to not be home?

The benefits of opening the door are absolutely outstanding!

As I think about this I asked myself, "Dan, why do you stand on the other side of doors in your heart that Christ is knocking on?"

Here is where the answer hits us each right between the eyes. It cuts wide and it cuts deep.

I believe with all my heart that we don't answer the knock on the door because we do not recognize the sound that we hear as a knock.

We hear the noise and mistake it to be something so far different from what it truly is, an invitation from our creator to know Him better.

We mistake the noise of a knock to be a termination of employment, a doctor's prognosis, or a financial hardship. Maybe the knock on our door comes in the sound of a relationship that falls apart right in front of us, a loved one that leaves, or a change in life that seems to leave us reeling in it's wake.

God's knock is always a point where He calls us to come to the end of our self because until we reach a point where we realize our need for Him we will never reach the potential that He made us to reach.

The "Knocks" of life are painful and it is because of this that we often find ourselves avoiding the doors that we should be opening. We want the knocks to be on our terms. We have the "sound" in place in our mind that we feel we should hear and we are prepared to respond to that sound only. If the "Knock" sounds like a pay raise, a deeper level reached in our marriage or children that always behave with expert decision making ability, then we are ready to run to the door.
It would be no different than opening the door of your house to someone that you know and certainly avoiding opening the door to the knock of someone who looked like a homeless bum.

It is the "Knocks" of God that can seem to literally knock us to the ground that He uses to introduce Himself to us in a deeper level of relationship and it is those "Knocks" that He allows into our life that are in all actuality His calling card.
Each week of my life I have the opportunity to correspond with people who have discovered the "Knock" that seemed to shatter the comfortable silence of their life was the loving desire of a Father who was seeking a relationship with His son or daughter.

The doors provided in life that we beg God to open or close on our behalf require us to see Him for who He truly is, will be, and always has been.


What have you been hiding from? What "Knock" have you found yourself avoiding?

What "Knock" has had you pretending not be home over?

Please do not be afraid of the unknown. Please reach out and open the door and what you are going to discover is that the God who created you and placed within your heart the desire for the things that you desire most is ready and willing to show you just how powerful of a role those desires play in His story for you.

Don't run, don't hide, and please do not pretend that you do not hear Him standing at the door and knocking.

Romans 8:28 promises us that all things work together for good. Everything that God allows into our life is going to work out for our ultimate good. The "Knocks" that we try to escape and avoid will only work for our good.

Open the door.

Father is waiting and what He has to show you will have you saying, "I knew it would come, I asked Him for this and He decided today to bring it to me!"

Climbing with you,

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Day I Defriended God

There it was.

Oh, they just had to make that comment didn't they?

Don't they realize that not everyone agrees with them? I know what I'll do. I will just "de-friend" them!!!

With one click of a button I just provided a major relief to my personal stress levels.

Have you ever been faced with the decision of Face book, "To Friend or not to Friend?"

Someone makes a post or shares a link with a religious or political viewpoint that just tips the scale of their worth to you as a friend and you find yourself taking the option of least courage and de-friending them.

Recently I went through a significant change in my life and because of that change it became very obvious that I needed to make some changes to the friend list that I had acquired on face book.

It was not an easy thing for me to do because I truly value people and I always want to keep my mind open to different viewpoints and opinions on as many topics as I can, so this was by no means an easy thing for me to do.

I went through the list removing people that meant a great deal to me, but in order to keep things clean with the circumstances surrounding this decision, I began removing them.

Have you ever removed someone from a friend list?

Have you ever thought to yourself, "It's ok if I remove this person from the list because I have more friends."?

We are so fickle are we not?

What does it take to have a person worthy of being removed from a "friend list" in our life?

A disagreement or difference of opinion?

A critical remark or a hurtful word?

A failure to be present in a time of need or a lack of support during a difficult season?

I came across a passage of scripture the other day that really struck me as truly beautiful and amazing and it made me fall in love with Father even more.

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
                                                                                                       ~ John 15:15-16

Do you see what a relationship with Christ means?

John 15:15-16 tells me that I am God's friend.

I mean think about that for a moment.

Why does it not say, "God is my friend"?

It tells me this truth this way because if I made God my friend that would give me the power to determine the parameters, limits and boundaries of that friendship. That would mean that if I made God my friend, then I would posses the power to de-friend God.

In the relationship it was God who did the choosing.

I am His by His choice.

His choice.

How insanely awesome is that?

He does not evaluate every comment that we make to see if we still have friend worthy traits. He never hides our posts no matter how messed up and inaccurate they are.

In fact, He decided in that while we were yet sinners...
while we actively sharing posts that misrepresented Him and His intentions and purpose...
while we ranted about circumstances that He allowed into our life solely based on our own views.
While we trashed others in our posts...
while we were yet sinners, Christ reached out his hands and died for us.

He does not have to hide our posts.

He already knows our skewed up rants that we make and then regret making later when we come full circle with the entire truth of the facts that we inaccurately ranted about.

Instead we treat him just like he is one friend on a list of some many others.

He did not do what we asked of Him so we go to His page and click de-friend.

He disagreed with me on the solution to a situation in my life so we go to His page and click de-friend.

We cant understand His hand our life and I don't trust His heart so we go to His page and click de-friend.-

We find Him to be unfair and we forget that it is His purpose and not His fairness that dictates the circumstances of our life, so we go to His page and click de-friend.

We are so fickle.

Then this passage comes along

We click the de-friend button and nothing happens.

Why even have a de-friend button available if it does not work???

Look at the passage again..

"...Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." ~John 15:16

It says, "Y'know, you don't really have a say so in this relationship status. You in fact do NOT control God."

So why have the "Unfriend button" so easily accessible in our hearts to push?

LOVE this...

The button that we click to de-friend God only serves to remind us that it's not about us and that no matter what we feel toward Him in our understanding of Him and His allowed circumstances, He is the one with the power in the relationship.

Oh, we can try to "Hide" His posts on our timeline and go out of our way to try to
"Block" Him on the timeline of life, but He has already decided to make us His friend.

He does not choose to keep the friendship with us because of who we are, but rather for whose we are.

God can NEVER receive this alert from you, because He alone posses the power to cut you lose and He has already decided that you were worth going to the cross for and that you were worthy of the ultimate sacrifice.

That is just half of the awesomeness of this statement.

Now you are able to have Him flow through you to those around you. You are now able to hold relationships in your life with the same power if you so choose.

"...that ye should go and bring forth fruit..."

What does this mean? This is where it gets awesome, because it means that He is saying to you,  "Since I made you my friend you CAN now bear lovely fruit."

It is an option for the first time in your life to now be able to let Him flow through you!

I am not sure where you are as you read this blog post and I am not sure if you have ever reached a place with God where you found yourself disappointed with what you thought He should have done in your circumstances. It very well may be you are clicking the de-friend button frantically even now...

God's purpose, not His fairness dictates the circumstances of our lives.

If you have pressed, want to press, or even plan on pressing the de-friend button with God then please let me tell you that you are about to see something absolutely POWERFUL in your life.

You are going to press that button and nothing is going to happen.

In the nothing that happens you are going to see an overwhelming display of Father's love for you, and i am so excited for you to feel that love in realizing that His friendship is not based on our feelings or emotions.

Keep climbing, because you have already been through so much and to stop now would truly be a waste of everything that you have made it through to get to where you are.

Climbing with you,

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Where Do You Come Up With This Stuff?

Hey there.

I want to introduce you to some pretty special people.

I guess you first notice them for who they are when you are a kid because that is when you first become aware of everything in your life.

She held me closer than anyone else ever could hope to and it was her hands that first taught me what it was like to touch.

She was the first one that looked into my eyes and it was her voice that was the first to reach my ears and tell me I was loved.

She was the one who laid in a bed for weeks on end with little to no movement and endured pain beyond belief so that I could experience life.

She helped me with my first steps and taught me how to get back up after you experience a fall. She taught me that the value in a fall was that it taught you how to get back up again.

She also taught me that cheerios did not belong on the floor and spaghetti did not belong in my hair. (Both have been invaluable life lessons!)

She taught me how to spell and how to write and never seemed to get tired of doing either.

She is my Mom.

He made me a promise that he kept. He promised to do his best teaching me to become a man and to provide for my needs.

He taught me how to work hard and he taught me how to play even harder. He taught me that stuffed animals could talk and that G.I. Joes had a mission in life to steal Barbie cars and joy ride them down a stair case.

He taught me how to draw, and that has completely given me life. He taught me how to notice everything that I saw around me and pay attention to detail.
He taught me how to change a tire and how to make friends with anyone.

He taught me how to laugh and how to find the words to say what you feel inside.

He is my Dad.

They are my parents.

Are they perfect?

Is anyone really perfect?

I guess I first noticed them when I was a kid because they were all I had to notice. I do remember that when I left home at seventeen how much they seemed to change to me.

I really believe that it was because for the first time in my life I met a lot of other people.

I lost sight of who they were in the crowd of distracting voices and faces around me and for a bit of time I actually believed the lie that I was who I was because of me.

While it's true that my choices were my choices and my consequences were results in choices that I made, I was so far from being a self made man that it was pathetic.

I was given a blessing that many people don't get. I was given a Mom and a Dad who, while they made mistakes, truly loved me.

You will not find them in a celebrity listing anywhere nor will you find them on a stage in front of thousands, but it is what they invested in me that has reached thousands through this blog.

I guess as you get older you really do begin to "Re-notice" your parents for how incredible they really are. You notice them not because they are the only voices and faces in your life but because they are the some of the most valuable ones you may ever have the privilege to have in your life.

It was my dad who gave me my ability to be creative and my mom who gave me the ability to process thoughts that my creativity brought to life.

Dad gave me the ability to express the thoughts that invade my heart and my mind through my words and artwork and it was my mom gave me the ability to live them with my life.

I get my arms and my hands from my Dad, and I get my eyes and my heart from my mom.

My mom is probably the only person I know who chooses to risk easily giving away love knowing that it will more than often result in receiving hurt equally as easily.

My temper is my dads but my temperament is my moms through and through and this has been something that I have thanked God for so many times.

Dad taught me to be able to make friends with anybody and mom taught me that not everyone needed to be a friend.

I do not think that I will ever be able to repay either one of them for what they have done for me or the investments that they have placed into my spirit but I will certainly try by living what they have taught me and forgiving them for the regrets that they look back on in the journey of parenthood.

Today marks the 11th month anniversary of "The Man and The Wall" blog and today I just wanted to do something a little bit different. I wanted to thank Mike and Liz, my parents.

In eleven months the messages of this blog have been read in over 74 countries around the world and have been read by over fifteen thousand people. If you have ever read anything within these posts that has encouraged you on your climb with the Lord, it is these two people that deserve the credit. It is because of what they taught and lived for me that have allowed me to become the person that I have.

I guess I just wanted to celebrate the 11th month anniversary with a recognition of two tremendous people in my life and two of the biggest contributors to the ability to express my heart each week on this blog.

I love you mom and dad!

Climbing with you,

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What is Wrong with Mr.Wilson?

I have a major confession to make and when you read it you may find it to be a bit of a shock.

We all have this goal of what we would like to be when we "grow up" don't we?

I mean when I was a boy, the goal was very simple. I wanted to be a ninja.
I made my own weapons, practiced hanging from doorways and learning the black arts of stealth.

That was a child's dream of course and now that I am thirty five the goal has been elevated to something far more practical and useful to society.

While I am not downplaying the importance of the role of a functioning ninja in today's fast past society structure, I am merely pointing out the fact that my personal goals have shifted to areas more suited to my present skill set.

When I grow up, my personal goal is to become a Hermit.

I think that I am actually more suited for this occupational career than I am comfortable in admitting.
I love meeting new people and socializing, but there are times in life when I desire nothing more than a cave (This is why I have a man cave), no cell phone reception, and a volleyball companion named "Mr.Wilson".

I think the reasons why I feel the desire to retreat to a place of castaway is in fact for the very same reasons why you do.

How do know this?

Because you and I are pretty much the same in the fact that we all find ourselves in seasons of life where the Cave is more suitable to us than the Castle.

The Castles of life have the need for us to think and behave in a manner of royalty and dignity and interact with wisdom and precision. There are many things that you will find furnishing a castle, but one thing that castle in all of it's spaciousness has no room for would be doubt, insecurity, and vulnerability.

Castles of life call for a steady head to prevail and they demand that you are absolutely certain about the next step for the kingdom that you oversee.

That is the castle.

The castle is a great place to live and I believe that each of us would say that the castle is where we would all like to stay permanently, but this is not reality. The reality of it all is the fact that the caves are also a part of life.

The Caves are just as much a part of our life as the castles

The Caves are the times when we find ourselves looking at what we know the long term goals and destinations of our life to be and then we look around at where we are and ask the tough questions.

"How is this season shaping me for the next?"
I find another castaway sitting in his own man cave that encourages me during the times of shifting between the Castles and the Caves.

"David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam:.."                            ~ 1 Samuel 22:1

David was anointed as a very young boy to be the next king of Israel. Think about that for a minute.

Talk about a summer to remember.

He was tending his Father's sheep when he is called to stand before THE prophet of Israel. This was THE guy who made kings. I imagine that his flushed skin tingled as that warm oil slid down through his scalp and ran in streams down his neck and channeled across his shoulders.

David was going to be the next king!!!

The next day, he was back out with the sheep, doing the day to day tasks and within his heart now beat a new purpose. Tending sheep more complicated than anything he had worked with before.

Have you ever seen a glimpse of what God has given you to do or be a part of?

It's huge, and overwhelming.

Very often you look at what you have around you at the moment He shows you and you see that you are already doing a similar thing but on a different level.

Paul the tent maker was used to thread the structure of the church.

John was mending nets and he was given the future of mending the understanding that people had and still place of Father.

Peter was fishing and his future was to be spent gathering up men.

What does Father speak into your life?

How does it relate to something you are doing right at this moment.

I often wonder if David did not look back and realize that God sent him into the highways and the hedges to be in place where the "lost sheep" could be gathered up?

"...and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him. And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men." 1 Samuel 22:1-2

So the Cave was in all actuality the best preparation for the Castle!

It is the Cave season of life that truly tempers us and refines us for the Castles that God has for us.

While in the Cave David poured out his heart in the Psalms that strengthen us to so much extent today.

Can you see him laying there at night and just looking around at 400 people who were the lowest of the low? Each of them were having their own  individual cave experience too.

Can you hear him???

"How in the world does this relate to the purpose in my chest?"

"I was anointed...wasn't I?"

" When Saul came to me and brought me into the palace I was not surprised because after all, how do you learn proper Castle protocol than from a king right? I thought this would be on the job training?"

So David stayed in the Cave.

Maybe you are in a Cave season of your life and you want nothing to do with anybody but a Mr.Wilson.

The Cave is so far from the Castle place, ministry, or arena of life that you felt God had called you to and you find yourself staring in disgust at the surroundings that are so very different than the surrounding that you felt He had for you.

Look at this please!

"And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the hold; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah." ~ 1Samuel 22:5

David was hiding out in the cave and he was surrounded by people who also found themselves hiding out in a cave.

Then an un-named prophet comes up and gives David an incredible word. It was a word that I find applies to you and to me for the times that we find our self in a cave type experience.

"Abide not in the hold..."

Simple and yet to the point.

If you find yourself in a cave type of experience, it's OK.

Yep. It's OK to be in a cave from time to time.

The best of us find ourselves in caves as we make our journey to the castles that God has showed us to be in our future.

There is no shame when you find yourself frustrated in a cave pouring your heart out to God wondering how it fits into the plan of a castle, but don't plan on staying there.

The cave is only a place on the path and it is certainly NOT the final destination when God has promised a castle.

The day you should worry about is not the day that a cave precedes a castle, but rather the day that you decide that the cave is where you need to stay.

If you are in a cave today, it's OK to be there for now. Take your time and find your voice with the Lord, but don't stay there.

If you have found yourself with the vision of a future castle placed within your spirit, please understand that training for that castle will more than likely take place, not in a courtyard, but in a cave experience.

I liked the movie castaway and found it fitting to use as the backdrop to this post because in the movie the main character finds himself in a circumstance that seemed hopeless.

He even befriended a volleyball that he named "Mr. Wilson". He seemed to despair in the movie and at one point had came to the conclusion that no matter what he thought he was going to do one day, he was destined to die in the "cave" of an isolated island.
Then he decided that the dream (Delivering a package) was more important that the cave he was in and decided to leave.

Caves or remote islands, it really doesn't matter which one you feel you are on. They are both just a place to temporarily stop before you move on to the dream that God has for you to live in and through Him!

Don't make Mr. Wilson a permanent friend. He stays in the cave, not you!

Get up, and get back after it!

Climbing with you,

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Becoming A Superman

You don't ask for it.

In fact the day that it first happens you are almost always the last to know.

You don't get to plan it.

The reason why you don't plan it is because if you did it would automatically take you out of the running.

You just show up and you be yourself, because at the moment of truth you either are or you are not the right material.

It starts with having the ears to hear what is going on right in front of you in spite of everything going on around you, and the ability to look past the demands of a great metropolitan newspaper column deadline to notice the seemingly insignificant needs of an individual that has reached the end of their rope.

You do not need to be from a faraway planet that exploded in a disaster to see through the defences and actions of the people right here on this earth. You just have to be down to earth you know?

X-ray vision was limited by lead, but once you learn to hear what is truly going on within the people around you, you also discover the ability to see through the harshness and angry words of those that you walk among.

The ability to leap a tall building with a single bound is pale in comparison to the ability to bound a heartache within the chest of a child or to step in front of a person who is not old enough or strong enough to dodge a bullet that had their name on it.

Outrunning a speeding train?
Try racing after someone who is bound and determined to make wrong decisions in life. They barrel down the tracks at a breakneck speed and no, you can't always stop them from making the choice but you can outrun them to that place where they arrive broken and bleeding. You can be waiting for them with arms open and a chest to hold them too.

The "S" on the chest will not matter nearly as much on that day as the hot and wet tears that they will leave in it's place as you embrace them and help them find reconciliation.

Being a Superman or a Wonder Woman is something that each of us has the potential to be, and in most cases we would be shocked to discover that to someone we already are.

More than likely you wash their clothes every day, and stress yourself out over a dinner plan that will both meet the nutritional needs that their bodies require while at the same time be fun enough not to have a nose turned up at it.
You have to balance out the need to feel like you are not a slob by frantically picking up after them with the desire to create the atmosphere that you home is not museum.

You navigate them to soccer, gymnastics, dance, baseball and amid every demand that pulls at your attention you still find the request to listen to him exclaim about a new level he beat on a Mario Bros. video game while zipping up the back of a princess dress.

Sleep? Ha!

When did you ever see Superman sleep?

The only time that comes to  my mind was a scene in Superman two where Christopher Reeve gave up his powers to be with Lois Lane and even then my parents fast forwarded it so my mind would not be corrupted. In a way i am glad that they did that because I seem to be in the stage of life as a parent where sleep is evasive to the cries of a bathroom run, or a bad dream that needs to be explained away.

Maybe you kissed them goodbye at the door on the way out to work?

Maybe you are counting the minutes until you are able to come home to them today?
Being a hero to another person is really not difficult to achieve and you don't need the physique of a Greek god or goddess to achieve it either.
It is simply taking the time to realize that you are different. If you are one of His then you have a new citizenship. You bring to this world a power that is from another world. It is through that power and that power alone that you live, move, and have your very being.

"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,  Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference:  And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy," ~Jude 1:20-24

We tend to over complicate it don't we? I mean we set so many stipulations and preconceived pictures in our mind of what it takes to make a difference do we not?           We think it is an amount saved up in a bank, finding the perfect gift , achieving a level of success in our field of occupation, or solving a complex problem in minutes in a relationship that has taken years to be created.  When in all actuality being someones hero and making a difference in lives of others is found in doing for them what the normal citizens of their Metropolis do not seem to be doing for them.    
Stopping the flight patterns of life to just take the time to notice them. It is taking the time to really listen to them in spite of the sounds that are trying to drown them out.              
Understanding that you do not have the answers for their problems every single time nor do you have to have all of the answers, but you can connect them with the one who does.
Putting yourself in front of them when the proverbial bullets are flying because you know that even though the bullet was not intended for you that you are strong enough to deflect it. Not every problem that they face should be one that they face alone, nor are they capable of facing that problem or circumstance alone. Why do you think you were in earshot of their cry for help?    
Enjoy to the fullest every moment those that Father has placed in your life right now. The future may have other things in store, but you cannot live in the future no more than you can live in the past. You have what you have right now.    

Realize that life is not guaranteed and the things that seem to be big right now will not matter 5 years down the road. Mistakes happen, kids don't always listen, cars break down, people who love each other do  disagree and life is flying by faster than a speeding bullet.      
Make yourself available. Most people do not feel as though they have someone in their corner even though they are surrounded by people that they know love them. Make them aware that you are in their corner even if you feel they stepped into the ring with an opponent twice their size that they never should not have messed with.
Ask what you can do to make their life better. It's OK to do that? Yep! It sure is.
Never forget that you only get one chance to do this thing. What makes Hell so terrible is not just what people will find there, it is also in what they will not find there.
In Hell there will be no trace of any kind of God because He is not there. God is love. In Hell there will be no love of any kind.
Think back about the rich man who went to Hell. Do you remember what he asked for? He asked for a dip of water for his tongue because he was tormented in the flames.
Please recall that he was not tormented BY the flame but rather IN the flame. What was IN the flames of Hell?
Every evil action, perverted thought, and wicked molestation. It is all there. He was being tormented IN the flame by what was also IN the flame with him. He saw the only face he knew in life afar off in paradise and he asked for a dip of water. Water would have evaporated in the heat so why ask for water?
I believe he was asking for water not because he was thirsty but because he wanted to experience one last act of compassion.
Just one more act of love and that will tide me over in all of this Hell that i am in.
Imagine you are with your family and you are walking in a mall and you reach a courtyard and you are surrounded by a mob of 30 tough men. They surround your family and suddenly lash out against them with every form of pain that they can physically inflict. You try to fight them off but they are also assaulting you and you are screaming with all of your might as you hear the screams of your family members being brutally attacked, molested, and disfigured. You scream for help to all of those who are walking right bu you and NO ONE notices or if they do, they stop and drink their coffee as they watch you. This is a taste of what Hell will be like. No love and NO compassion.
You may very well be the one to display into the life of another today the very last act of compassion that they will ever know. Who can't you show Christ to? Who cannot you forgive today?
You don't ask for it.

In fact the day that it first happens you are almost always the last to know.

You don't get to plan it.

The reason why you don't plan it is because if you did it would automatically take you out of the running.

You just show up and you be yourself, because at the moment of truth you either are or you are not the right material.

My job had a costume dress up day this past October 31st. I decided to dress as Superman, and unfortunately I was sick the day before and while I was out it was decided by my department that they were not going to participate.                                                                 Yep, no one clued me in so I walked into the office that day and worked all day dressed as Clark Kent. This was not the most enjoyable day for me. When I got home my little girl came out to the truck to meet me dressed up as a princess. As I put her to bed that night I said, "Good night my beautiful little princess!" She looked up and responded, "Good night my big handsome Superman. Daddy, you are my hero."   

I am not the best dad in the world and I make more mistakes at it than I care to blog about, but I do want to make a difference in the lives of my children.
Whose Hero do you want to be?
Whose hero are you?
Do you want to make a difference? It is really not as complicated as we tend to make it.
Climbing with you,