Tuesday, January 29, 2013


"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light." Gen 1:1-3 Have you ever felt like things were formless, empty and dark? In some ways, we live in a formless, empty and dark time. Many are experiencing darkness, despair, discouragement, disillusionment, fear... Throughout history, many have described walking through a "dark night of the soul" or "desert" season - a transitional time of lack as God prepares to take one deeper into His ways, presence and purpose. "To use another word, things were obscure." an on-line article explains. "This is the root meaning of the Spanish word oscura, translated as "dark," as in noche oscura, "dark night." As in the dark of a real night...The whole point of a dark night of the soul is not knowing. If we were aware of what was going on, we would disrupt or sabotage the process. We need to not know to get through it while allowing it to run its course and achieve God's goals... all people are created with God's presence inside them, but also with a deep desire for God that can't be satisfied by anything or anyone but God...The ego can only be put aside if our desire for God is satisfied by God Himself.... " (NeoMysticism.com) Allow me some liberties here as I try to parallel Gen 1 and "Dark Night of the Soul"... "In the Beginning..." Before God created the earth, man, and all that is in it, everything was dark, empty, formless. There was nothing! "Things were obscure." There was no "knowing". Things were void, non existent, empty. Out of nothing God speaks. He speaks right into the empty, dark, formless void: "LET THERE BE LIGHT! And there was LIGHT!" WOW!!! If we could but grasp this. WOW! There was nothing! Blank! Zero! Absolutely nothing! God, the creative one, simply uttered the words: "Let there be Light." BAM! There it was. LIGHT! Life, existence, purpose, people, animals, water, land..... Out of nothing came everything! He creates a Garden. He creates Man. He puts man in the Garden and gives man everything! Then, Genesis 2:9 tells us: "The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Two simple trees: Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge... We know the story. We have been living with the consequences ever since. Man disobeyed God, enticed into a life of separation from God. We have been living there since! Daily we deal with the battle of these two trees within our own soul. Will we abide in the Tree of Life (JN 15), trusting God with our lives? Or, will we eat of the Tree of Knowledge, making ourselves god over our own lives, having to understand everything before we can trust? The Tree of Life is simply a life abandoned unto God, trusting Him with our whole heart, soul and mind; living a life in total surrender to our creator - as He intended us to live. This is the only way to life! The Tree of Knowledge is completely opposite. Unfortunately mankind has mass produced this second tree and it's what most people buy and eat from, even most "Christians". The "Dark Night of the Soul", in simplistic terms, is the stripping process to get us back to God's original intent of abiding in Him. Much is dark, empty and void in this hour. Can you feel it? Be encouraged, God has a history of doing amazing things in the midst of such darkness. "LET THERE BE LIGHT!
http://www.breakthroughglory.com/ http://www.facebook.com/Breakthroughglory

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Living The Adventure!

Living in obedience to God is a great Adventure! 24 years of saying "Yes" to The Father has resulted in a life full of adventure. These past 3 years have been no exception. Since my days in the mortgage business ended 3+ years ago, life has been an increased adventure with God, as I have lived out the journey of His ministry calling. It has not been easy, yet it has been a great faith building adventure. The past few months have only increased the intensity and adventure as we have been on a journey to greater fulfillment and destiny. This past week was the birthing of something new, as we held our first "Breakthrough Conference" (Oct 19-20). I have been doing numerous conferences and retreats over the past several years, yet always under someone else's vision or as part of a team collective vision. It has all been great, yet it has been preparation for something more. A couple of months ago, I received a prophetic word (in Redding, Ca) that launched something new and speaks well to this season of our life: "You keep trying to be second, but God has called you to lead...I see you digging a well... it's been hard... breaking through to water... God is pleased with your faithfulness. Because of some of your decisions, your children are thriving..." Though it has been hard, our children are thriving. And, despite my apprehension, God has called me to step out and lead. The Breakthrough Conference was the first time I launched out in the leadership role that was specific to the passions and calling God has placed within my heart. The fruit was very encouraging as many encountered God in a very real and personable way (see "Testimonies of Breakthrough" blog entry, Oct 24). While this Breakthrough conference was going on, my family was also in need of a major Breakthrough as well. We were in desperate need of a place to live. Our 9 year old daughter, Kailey, wrote a song that she sang at the conference describing our circumstances well: "I can have Joy in the Lord... God's about to do something great... we're moving in ten days... We're on the rope, reaching for the next knot... I can have joy in the Lord... God's about to do something great...". We did need to move in ten days, and we did believe that God was about to do something great! Though we have been on the rope, reaching for the next knot, we have had Joy in the Lord! Though pressed, God did come through! We move this week! Just as Kailey sang, God did do something great! We needed to find a place to live by the end of this month (October). While that may not sound like a big deal to the average person, it was a big deal for us. We have not been in a financial position to buy or rent a home. We needed God to come through in a big way! He did! Though it was scary along the way, not sure what would unfold, we actually had options to choose from within a week of moving date! God is so good! We move this week into an amazing house, in an amazing situation, with an amazingly hospitable host! Our kids are full of excitement and joy by what God did on our behalf! They are thriving! God did do something great! He is so good! This journey reminds me of a movie clip we use to show on our RTG weekends, called "Never Cry Wolf": A university professor, "Tyler", who is not an outdoor guy, goes to some remote country to study wolves. He hires this rugged pilot, "Rosie", to get him to his destination. They are flying in a small, old crop plane. It's an Adventure! While talking in the plane, Rosie, the pilot, shares his philosophy on life. "...I'll let you in on a little secret, Tyler... The gold is not in the ground. The gold is not anywhere up here. The real gold is south of 60, sitting in living rooms, stuck watching the boob tube, bored to death. Bored to death, Tyler!....." The plane starts to flutter.... "What is that?" Tyler panics. "...What's Wrong?" "Boredom Tyler, Boredom! That's what's wrong! How do you beat boredom, Tyler? Adventure. Adventure, Tyler, Adventure!" The plane is rapidly descending. Rosie, the pilot, steps out on the wing of the plane to fix the propeller. The plane is shut off, nose diving toward the ground. Tyler, panicking, is forced to take the wheel. The plane cranks back up, and Rosie gets back in the plane. A massive mountain is right in front of them. It appears they are going to crash as they head straight for the side of this mountain. At the last minute, Rosie, the pilot, pulls them out of danger. See "Never Cry Wolf" clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAbU7Ha3jTA&feature=youtu.be No matter how it appeared, Tyler and Rosie made it out alive! It was a great adventure! While it is scary at times, there is no boredom when following God step by step! We are all enjoying the Adventure, learning to enjoy the faith journey He has us on! Scary at times? Sure! Yet, the Adventure of living out His calling, in His presence, is well worth it! We are enjoying the Adventure! And the kids are "Thriving"! How about you? Bored? Or living the adventure? There is no greater adventure than saying yes to God and His purposes! God is so good! Enjoy The Journey! Bart

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Testimonies of BREAKTHROUGH!

The following are testimonies I sent out via email to all who had attended the Breakthrough conference. Be encouraged: "I wanted to share some of the testimonies I have received from those who have already experienced a level of Breakthrough following this past weekend's Breakthrough conference (October 19-20, 2012). May these testimonies of Jesus encourage you as they have me. Remember, sometimes God moves the Mountain and other times He gives us the grace and strength to climb the Mountain toward our breakthrough. Whichever place you are on in this journey, be encouraged because God is with you! May these testimonies encourage us all as God prepares us for the abundant life Christ purchased for us to live out in the garden, eating from His Tree of Life! - A lady (Kathy) shared with me: "This conference changed my life! Friday night I cried for two hours straight and didn't know why. .. God reminded me that I had shrunk back in fear from ministry since the '80's. Today I am free and excited about doing all that God has!... This weekend, I received Breakthrough and it changed my life!" (more below).- - A gentlemen who helped as well as participated in the conference as an attendee stood up Sunday at church and said, "As many of you know, I am not one to say things like I am about to share. It is too flaky for me. Yet this weekend at the Breakthrough conference for the first time, during worship and ministry time, I saw an angel standing over (Kathy). It was an angel called Comfort.... Then I saw angels standing up on top of the suspended speakers and I thought 'why would they be up there?' I heard, "Because we can." :-). The pastor of the church said this right after, "I know (guys name), he is not one given to flakiness, which is why I wanted him to share this." - This morning I received this email from Kathy (testimony above): "Though difficult to express because words seem inadequate for the magnitude of change, the conference was a progressive ministry of breakthrough for me: 1. Not understanding the unstoppable flow of tears Friday evening, the Lord sent my friend (referenced above) who told me he saw an angel with arms wrapped around me ministering comfort. My experience confirmed this, and (his) boldness to share brought an understanding of the extreme ministry of comfort and peace I experienced. 2. The teachings and testimonies of Bob and Bart were a symbolic demonstration (a visual object lesson) of the unity Father desires among his children. Two brothers, serving in different Christian streams, ministering in power together... 3. Knowing the Lord sent Bishop Simeon (from Kenya, Africa) thousands of miles on this missionary journey to America with certain spiritual authority and blessings, I determined to seek a blessing and perhaps an impartation. He provided a beautiful, affirming word regarding my name, position, call, and destiny in the kingdom - new beginnings. His word was similar in content to one spoken six days earlier by Pastor Richard. How good the Lord is to repeat, repeat so we get it! 4. I received eternal teachings, treasures from Haggai, Genesis, Proverbs 13:12 regarding restoration of the Tree of Life and abiding with Jesus so that the sap of heaven flows. Residing where heaven and earth kiss, where the glory is, where healings and miracles naturally flow. 5. I received the love of the Father and gift of faith to believe He will use me as part of His church and as a vehicle for the prophetic in Tallahassee. 6. The final gift of the conference came when I shared with Bart my misunderstanding and fears of the prophetic. He and his beautiful wife led me through a prayer renouncing the lies I had embraced and confessing that I will indeed prophesy. I have been set free. Thank you, Bart and your team for all you brought. May God multiply back to you pressed down, shaken together, and poured into your lap spiritual, physical, financial blessings of every kind. Blessings and gratitude to Father and to you, Kathy" - A middle age man came up for prayer saying that he was severely depressed. He received prayer, renounced generational witchcraft and other generational evil, confessed Jesus Christ is Lord of his life, and received some prophetic words of encouragement. Sunday, he showed me scars on his wrists.... then told me that for the first time he heard God speak to Him clearly and He now knows God is with Him. He is excited about life and his future! He explained that this conference had saved his life. The person who gave him a scholarship to attend sent me this: "I talked to (name withheld) on Sunday..he seemed so much more alive and joyful. He looked good..and has a glow on his face. He said his life has changed forever since the conference. I know he has been blessed and filled with the love of the father and he will never be the same again!" - A lady wrote, " ...I really liked the conference! I went primarily because (someone) invited me and I felt a "nudge" from the Lord. I've been a "spirit-filled Christian" a long time.... But God wanted me there and the whole reason was for the prayer I got... I ended up waiting til the end, pretty much. God was testing me, "How much do you really want this?" And of course my husband came in and said, "I'm ready to go, I'll wait in the car!" But it was so worth it! I so needed to hear that...Wow! I had been discouraged for a quite while. And I really felt something lift when y'all prayed for me.... I felt somehow there was more space and so clean in my chest, for lack of a better way to describe it! I had never realized anything was there! So thank you for being available to the Lord and for hearing Him. God's blessing be on you..." - Another lady emailed this, "Dear Bart, Dan and I thank you, your family, LifePoint Church and all who helped you for this weekend. We needed that!!! ...Several blessings happened during the conference, including reconnecting with saints we haven’t seen in a while. There were some very personal past breakthroughs that were confirmed, a couple that happened while we were there, and two continue as we walk out this week. As we were worshipping, waiting for the Holy Spirit... to change the atmosphere, I began to get frustrated, so I knelt and prayed to Jesus and Father God. I told them that their inspired scripture tells us that, if we ask anything in Jesus’ name, believing, we would receive. So I ask, “Come Lord Jesus.” When I arose and began praising the Lord, it happened! Maybe it was just for me at that moment, but I felt this tingling which let’s me know He is really, really close! I think that what happened when He visited me was that He healed my body. I had all the symptoms of cancer in part of my body. All symptoms disappeared! I just know He touched me! Hallelujah! Also, I needed direction about what to do with my life... I received a word of knowledge from the pastor that I should rest and wait on God.... When he and Ross prayed, they heard that while I’m resting, I should ask God for the new thing He has for me. Prayer time in church Sunday morning confirmed that and the last little bit of pain, which felt like labor pains to me, left my body. As we left church, I think the “new thing” was "birthed" (spiritually speaking)... as we chatted with a parishioner we don’t know very well. We will wait and see. I’ll keep you posted! I was very excited about the confirmation at the conference that Dan’s spirit has been set free.... to see my husband receive a vision at the conference and trust to report it to you, is amazing and a testimony that God is good!!! I can’t wait for your next Breakthrough Conference! How about this weekend!?!?!?" - A lady and her husband sent me this: "I just wanted to thank you again for making the way clear for (husband) and I to come this weekend. It's wonderful to see you stepping out in such faith and courage to usher in breakthrough for our region and for individuals. I loved watching you step out where your heart and passion lie. Your passion for the unity of the body is rooted deeply in my heart as well. I could see hearts moved during the weekend and I wished we could hear some of the stories of where breakthrough occurred and hopefully you will over the upcoming days... I know the weekend stirred up a lot of thoughts and even questions for (husband) and I and we have been talking about many things related to the weekend this morning.... I think this week-end has given us a solid foundation for experiencing breakthrough... As I was listening to you share followed by Bob doing the 4 sculpts I thought this is another conference - at least a 3 or 4 day week-end retreat. There was so much truth and good in all of it... (husband) and I had an interesting talk this morning about destiny and influence... I hope what you are hearing here is that I believe you have planted a seed of something amazing with what you have done this past weekend. You have been pregnant with this for a long time and this weekend your water broke and now the baby has moved into the birth canal - this weekend was just a ultra-sound picture. Very exciting to get a glimpse of what's about to be birthed. Be encouraged!!! ... Blessings to you Bart! You did a very good thing this weekend and I know your Heavenly Father is proud of you." God is Good! I sent an email to some who had donated scholarships etc. and I received this back from a gentlemen who lives in New Jersey, who donated to the Breakthrough conference: "After reading the testimonies, I rejoiced... But, then I sat back and was working on some other things... Something happened....an intuition, a feeling of more freedom, less restriction as if the Word of God now has less resistance, at least in my proximity where I am. I feel an outpouring right now. And, a lot of things. The Lord... the whole spiritual realm shifted... it just shifted. This is good. I can live with this." "For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus" Rev 19:10. May the prophetic power of these testimonies bring us more into His Glory and ways! May we all enjoy life in His Garden where His Glory dwells among us! Bart

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Beautiful Bride

Young men dream of marrying a beautiful bride. Young ladies long to be swept off their feet by the man of their dreams - to know they are beautiful, loved and desired.
Then marraige happens...and childhood fantasies get dunked into the sea of reality. She is not the front-cover model of 'beauty magazine' everyday of her life, and he is certainly not prince charming - who mysteriously knows how to love her well.
Truth is, no matter what fantasy we dreamt up, we are all children of Adam and Eve, the once beautiful, amazing creations called male and female who portook of the original deception. We are fallen creatures who have been tainted by sin. We are not as beautiful and charming as the movies and magazines portray.
So lets stop kidding ourselves. OK, deal?
Yet despite our shortcomings, God calls us to live an extraordinary life. This is what He tells us about married life, recorded in Ephesians 5:21-25 "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord... Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church..."
Say what? How in the world do we do that?
We don't! It is not something the world knows how to do. We need Christ to do this through us.
How does Christ love His Bride?
Ephesians 5:25-27 goes on to say this, "...(He) gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless..."
Jesus loved an unlovely Bride.
Have you ever stopped to think about what Jesus might feel. My mind just happens to work that way :-). Just imagine for a minute how He must feel about His Bride.
Hebrews 12:2 tells us that "He endured the cross for the joy set before Him."
What was the joy set before Him? It was probably several things, like being at the right hand of the Father, ruling over evil, rescueing His people from sin into evelasting life...to name a few. Yet the greatest joy set before Him, I believe, is the beautiful Bride He died and rose again for.
At face value, He got a raw deal. He laid His life down for a beautiful, spotless Bride. Look around - do you see Her anywhere?
Sadly, I see a motley, divided Bride with so many spots and stains She is hard to even identify. I would hardly call Her beautiful!
If I were Him I might file a complaint asking for a rebate. She is certainly not worth the price He paid. 'Where is the "spotless Bride" I was promised up front? Where is this "beautiful Bride" hiding?'
I for one believe She needs to go through a "year of beauty treatments" like Esther and the other virgins were required to go through before being presented to the king. ("...let beauty treatments be given to them." Esther 2:2-4). Truth is, I think we are going through such beauty treatments, and I believe that God is getting Christ's Bride ready.
The Father desires for His son to have the beautiful Bride He promised Him. Yet, I believe He also understands Her current shortcomings quite well.
Look at what God calls the prophet Hosea to portray in his life: Hosea 1:2-3: "When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, 'Go marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.' So he married Gomer..."
Not only does she have a funny name, but she is an unfaithful bride. She cheats on him repeatedly, and God calls Hosea to marry her and to love her.
How do you do that?
The same way Christ does, I guess.
This is a prophetic picture of God with Israel, and I believe with Christ and the Church. How many times did the children of Israel turn from the Lord, like an unfaithful woman? Is Christ's Bride any different today?
Truth is, WE are His Bride and we - yes you and I included - have been part of Her unfaithfulness.
Is this what He died for? Is this the "Joy set before Him"? Are we the "Beautiful Bride" He is coming for?
Some talk about this being the "last days". Well if it is, we have some serious beauty treatments to endure! Christ is coming for a beautiful Bride and we still have curlers in our hair, not to mention arms connected to legs and legs connected to ears... we are a totally disfigured, disunified Bride with great need of beautification before Christ entertains coming back for us. He died for a beautiful Bride! Not a dysfunctional, self-serving, pleasure-seeking promiscuous woman.
This is what Hosea prophesied to the children of Israel, and I can hear the cry for us today: "Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but He will heal us; He has injured us but He will bind up our wounds. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will restore us, that we may live in His presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth." Hosea 6:1-3
Hosea lived a painful life in a prophetic posture depicting the very marriage between God and Israel. Gomer was an unfaithful bride, yet God told Hosea to marry her and to love her in the midst of her unfaithfulness.
This is a picture of Christ's love for His Bride - The Church!
This is the kind of love God calls us to live out in our marriage and as His Bride.
"...In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body...This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Eph 5: 28-33
Truth is, we are not the "supermodel" or "knight in shinning armor" we depict one another to be, yet we are the Bride of Christ and in so keeping - regardless of what we see - He sees us as beautiful.
His love is making us into the beautiful spotless Bride He died to restore and be united as One with.
We are the joy set before Him! He is cleansing us in order to draw us into eternal intimacy with Him - our King and Bridegroom!
Enjoy the Journey!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Heavenly Minded

It's funny how we have these phrases to express what it is we really want to say. Some years ago a friend said to me, "We can be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good."
Have you ever heard that phrase before? There is some merit to it. What they were saying is, we don't want to be so "spiritual" that we "live in the clouds" and avoid living in "reality". There can be a tendency to "live in the clouds" so much so that our feet are not on the ground. No one relates to a "flaky" Christian - you know the type: always looking for the next supernatural sensation, yet lacking in character and integrity in day to day life.
That's not who Christ is, and as "Christians" we are called to represent Him as He truly is.
It is true, we don't want to be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. Fair statement. Yet let's look at this from another angle just to bring some balance. What "minded" do we want to be? What mind does Christ want us to have?
Let's be honest, while some tend to be too heavenly minded, there are far too many "Christians" that are too earthly minded. To which I say, "We don't want to be so earthly minded that we are of no Heavenly good?"
We do need to have our feet on the ground, yet we also need to have our eyes fixed on Jesus, and our heart, spirit and mind set on the things above.
How else can we be "in this world but not of it"? (paraphrase of Jn 17:15-18)
"Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world... my kingdom is from another place.” John 18:35-37
There is a greater Kingdom to which we are called to serve, while here on earth.
"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Romans 14:16-18
"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power." 1 Corinthians 4:19-21
We are called to live life here on earth, yet from a heavenly, Kingdom perspective.
"...God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus" Ephesians 2:5-7
We are seated with Christ in Heavenly places! How in the world do you do that, and still live here?
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:1-4
With our feet still "on the ground" we are somehow called to have our hearts, eyes, spirit... "in the clouds" so to speak. We are called to live in heavenly places here on earth... a wild concept if you stop to think of it...
"God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise..." 1 Corinthians 1:26
I'd say He did!
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD." Isaiah 55:7-9
That is quite the understatement. God's ways are much greater, higher, and far reaching then ours could ever be. He is the Creator, we the created!
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-3
Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, and we are seated there with Him! WOW!
"...He raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come." Eph 1:19-21
Seated in Heaven with Christ, high above all evil forces... WOW! Sounds "Heavenly minded" to me!
As if that isn't challenging enough, look at what Jesus tells us to be about recorded in John 14:12:
"Very truly I (Jesus) tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." John 14:12
Think about that. WOW! What did Christ do? He Loved people, He did what the Father said to do, He healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons... He did many miracles, signs and wonders... He obeyed the Father (even onto death)...
WOW! How are we doing?
It sounds like Jesus has called us to live higher!
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:1-3
OUCH! Looks like we, as the Body of Christ, have some renewing to do if we truly want to represent Christ?
There is a higher way of living that Christ died and rose again for us to experience here on earth. There is a greater purpose Christ has for our lives than just getting by, being "successful", self-sufficient, and leaning on our own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Our Creator has a greater purpose and desire for His creation! He desires for His will to be done and His Kingdom to come here on earth as it is in Heaven, through His people who are seated with Christ in Heavenly places!
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one." Matthew 6:9-13

Here's to being so Heavenly Minded that we do the earth some Kingdom good!
Enjoy The Journey!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


Is waiting hard for you too? For something I have spent a large part of my life doing, you would think I would be good at it by now. Is that even possible? Let's admit it, waiting is tough! Some things, like pregnancy, have a painful waiting period (not that I have experienced that first hand :-), yet there is a timeline for delivery. Other things, like destiny/purpose/calling, may not be as physically painful, but can hurt deeply when there is no known deadline associated with the waiting period. Waiting, no matter how you slice it, is rough!
I find myself weary in the wait. For twenty some years I have been waiting for things promised. While I have tasted some fulfillment of these promises/dreams, I still wait for the fulfillment of the things God spoke years ago.
You may have read my last Blog, "Living In The Now" - That's how I have learned to endure the wait; however, I still have longings yet to be fulfilled, and if you have felt "longings" before you know how painful they can be. Yes, I am learning to live today, while still holding hope for the promise of tomorrow.... Yet, waiting is tough! How you learn to endure the waiting process is important, but the longings remain a painful reminder until the promise is met.
Could you imagine, moms, being pregnant yet having no idea when the baby will be born? Rough! That's about how I feel spiritually at times - pregnant with purpose yet with no known deadline for delivery! Ouch!
Like it or not, there is a waiting period for God's promises as He prepares us for His purpose. As I experience this pain of waiting, I recall words a friend shared with me about 18 years ago: "You can say ouch, but don't ever say stop!"
There are some drastic illustrations of this. I read this article about the US Navy Seals ("BUD/S Training" Navyseals.com): "Hell week is a test of physical endurance, mental tenacity and true teamwork where 2/3 or more of your class may call it quits or 'ring the bell'. Physical discomfort and pain will cause many to decide it isn't worth it... Sheer fatigue and sleep deprivation will cause every candidate to question his core values, motivations, limits, and everything he’s made of and stands for. Those who grit it out to the finish will hear their Instructors yell the longed-for words, 'Hell Week is secured!'"
Drill instructors constantly yell in their ear offering incentives to quit: "All ya gotta do is ring that bell and you can get a room in that hotel...". At anytime, you can quit. This is to assure that only the best make it to the end.
While it may not be that physically extreme in God's "boot camp", it can feel that way mentally and spiritually at times.
I for one refuse to "ring the Bell!" I may say "Ouch!" but I will not say "stop!" Though painful, I will continue to yield to God's hand of molding and shaping. I say, "Father have your way!"
Imagine what Abraham and Sarai went through: They are perfectly comfy in the land of their relatives when God says "Go to the Land I will show you" (Genesis 12:1). Abram obeys... He and Sarai go from place to place, tent to tent, thing to thing... no land. When they finally see the land of Canaan, there are giants occupying the land. They go to Egypt for years during a famine and Abram almost gives up his wife (God redeems his mess)... At last, after years of waiting, Abram and Sarai enter the promised land! Time too celebrate, right?
Weeeell... God tells him to look at the stars, "So shall your offspring be."(Genesis 15:5). God promises him a son!
Many, many years go by...
If you have ever waited a very long time for a promise from God you understand what happens next: Genesis 16:1-3 "Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, 'The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.' Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived."
OOPS!!! Ishmael was born. As they say in the commercials, "Don't try this at home!"
The Book of Galatians says this: "For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise." (Gal 4:22-23)
In our time of waiting, it is way too easy to "birth an Ishmael". The thinking goes something like this: "God promised... it sure has been taking a long time... maybe I am supposed to do something to bring it to pass..."
Ishmael is that which is born of the flesh. Isaac, the promised son, is what is born of the spirit as a result of waiting on God! I have heard it said, "if you birth an Ishmael, you have to change Ishmael's diapers, but if you wait on Isaac, God takes care of what He births." How many "Ishmael" ministries have we been a part of? Yuck!
God is looking for those who are willing to endure the wait in order to birth that which is of him. Any takers?
An instructor at the Institute of Ministry I went to 20 years ago warned us: "When God has a call on your life He will first give you a taste of what He has, then He will lead you in the desert to "test you, humble you, show you your heart... so that in the end you won't say 'look what my hand has done' but you will give all the Glory and honor to God." (Duet 8) Then, once the wilderness/preparation process is complete (different for each of us), God then brings you into the fullness of what He called you to."
Waiting is painful, but seeing the fulfillment of God's Promise is well worth the wait.
Just ask Joseph, who endured slavery and prison before becoming a leader of the world. Ask Job, who lost everything to end up with twice as much in the end. How about Joshua? The dude saw the Promise land as a youth and was ready to go in, but the turkeys with him talked everyone out of it! So he had to endure 40 years in the desert. Ouch! Yet, in the end, he was the one to lead God's people into the Promise Land (see Joshua 1...)!
You see, when you wait on God, and go through the painful waiting process, you come to realize that the only way the purpose could come to pass is if God Himself does it! How else does a prisoner (Joseph) become a leader of the world? How else does Abraham and Sarai have a child way past childbearing age?
"What is impossible with man is possible with God." Luke 18:27
So what do you do while you wait?
What did Joshua do while he waited? "The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent." Exodus 33:10-12
When the waiting becomes grueling, I remind myself of what this is all about. The key to waiting is sitting in God's presence.
Waiting is tough, but one day it will be well worth the wait!
God is preparing His people for His Glory!
Enjoy The journey!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Living In The Now

Are you a dreamer like I am? I have had dreams and desires tucked away in my heart for many, many years longing to see them fulfilled. I can honestly say that I am now starting to realize some of them. Through trying circumstances, life has led me to live more from my heart. In many ways I am deeply fulfilled, yet like many people in today's economy, it hasn't been without a price. While living out desires is great, I must be honest and admit that sometimes I am left wondering where daily provision will come from. Such lack can lend itself to anxiety and fear at times.
During such times, I find it crucial to gain perspective and examine if I am on the right course. This week has been such a week. Today I took the time to beckon the Father for wisdom and insight. What I received encouraged me, so I thought I would pass it on in hopes of encouraging you as well.
A little background may help: I am coming off about three months of fulfilling ministry and provision opportunities. I was encouraged to see such consistency and fruitfulness. Things seemed to be rolling forward. Then without warning, while driving down the highway of life at a steady speed, someone seemingly slammed on the brakes... Screech! It all came to a sudden stop! I was awakened to the reality of having no visible opportunities on the radar before me... I needed insight and wisdom!
Hoping to get some very clear answers as to what to do about the needs of tomorrow, I instead heard this:
"Focus on today, leave tomorrow to me."
'What? That isn't helping me figure out how to keep the electricity on this month? I need answers!' I wrestled within myself. Yet a strange peace filled my heart as I wrote out the following, as a secretary might do when assigned to take notes from the boss:
"Enjoy Now. Enjoy Your family, friends. Enjoy what is before you today. Today is what belongs to you. Live it! Tomorrow is still unknown. Tomorrow is yet to happen for you. Today is what you have now. Enjoy it! I have tomorrow all taken care of."
Yeah I know: 'That sounds good, but will it pay the bills? If only there was a bank that would exchange encouraging words for cash!' I decided to yield. 'OK, I'll listen!'
"I am wanting to teach you the key to abundant life. It is found in enjoying today, enjoying now. Now is where life is. Now is where My kingdom is. Now is where I AM. Now is where you are. Now is where love is, joy is, fulfillment is."
I take it I am to start learning how to live in the now! Quick learner, huh?
"The world, influenced by the father of lies, wants you to believe that happiness is found tomorrow - by planning for the next event or form of gratification. That is fleeting at best. This type of thinking only leads to anxiety, fear, denial, depression, despair, disillusionment, discouragement, lack of fulfillment... So much time is spent thinking about tomorrow, that today is lost. Now is ignored while longing for someday in the future to come. Someday never comes and all of the today's and nows are gone."
Ouch! How many today's and Nows have I lost? Too many...
"Live today. Live now. Enjoy the life that is before you. Today is where you are. Enjoy today. Live today, love today, laugh today, play today, feel today... Be who you are today and enjoy now with me. I have tomorrow. You live today!"
I Know. I can almost hear it: 'OK, that's great, but don't we have to plan for tomorrow?' Perhaps our idea of planning is in need of some refinement: God's idea of 'planning' is abiding in Him, leaning upon His chest, seeking Him, obeying Him, trusting Him, doing what the Father says to do... He sees the future (we don't). He has the master plan (we don't). He knows the beginning from the end, and He is a faithful Father who will never leave us nor forsake us. Our job, is to trust him!
I know, easier said than done! Agree! That's why I am writing this blog! I'm living in such tension even Now. :-)
Perhaps Jesus' written word can help encourage us all:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:25-34
Following Jesus sure isn't easy! Yet, He is the source of life! I don't know about you, but I still need to learn the art of living in the Now!
Enjoy The Journey!

Friday, December 03, 2010


Has a child ever taught you? If not, you may want to hang out with one :-)
The other day, Joshie (Joshua), our 5 year old son, did a great job of expressing his heart to his mommy: "I want to do something with Daddy tomorrow." Of course, I was informed, and a plan was quickly put in place to honor his heart.
When I arrived the next day to pick him up from school he smiled real big and ran into my arms. Our "boy date" had officially begun! As we got into the car I asked him what he wanted to do. He answered with such love, "What do you want to do, Daddy?" After affirming him for his kind heart, I responded, "I love your heart, buddy... I want to do what you want to do. What do you want to do?" He decided he wanted to "get Root Beer and drive around". As we drove a bit, we agreed it would be fun to get some lunch and go play at Tom Brown Park.
What an adventure we had together. After drinking Root Beer and eating Tacos, we were running through the playground - which we had to ourselves - playing on every swing, slide and gadget there. He led me on an adventure to avoid the "alligators" below (imaginations are fun). We climbed under, over, around... unlocking "lasers" and "gates" to get to the other side, laughing and playing for well over an hour. We had fun together!
Now, let me clarify, we play together most every day, but during the Thanksgiving holiday, we were busy playing with cousins and visiting family, so this was our time to really play. It was a special play date in which we both drank up being together.
At one point, after we ate our lunch, before our adventure, Joshie sprawled out onto the bench next to me and laid his head on my lap. As I rubbed his back he wiggled and giggled drinking up this play date with His Daddy! His heart and mine were one, soaking up our love for each other.
Yesterday, while spending time with my Father (God), I was asking Him what He wanted to say to me today, and immediately my time with Joshie flooded back to me. I could almost hear God say to me what I said to Joshie "I love your heart... What do you want?" When I finally quieted myself (after processing some stressful circumstances with Him), I could clearly hear The Father say to me, "What do you want?"
Today, this rings in my head even louder; "What do you want?" While this is a very comforting and loving question it also troubles me, because I am not even sure how to answer.
What do I want?
May I dare ask you (yes you), "What do you want?"
For me, when I boil it all down, following a very intense season of deeper refinement and waiting/lacking, what I want becomes quite simple:
Just like Joshie, what I really want is time with My Father. As I sit quietly before Him I "wiggle and giggle" basking in His love and presence.
What I really want is Him, His presence, His love, His purpose... HIM!
Deep down isn't that what we all really want: To be with Our Father?
I learn alot from my children, above all I learn how to be a child!
Thanks Joshie! Thanks Hannah! Thanks Gabrielle! Thanks Kailey!
Thanks Daddy!
May we all enjoy Him daily!
Enjoy The journey!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Whose Kingdom...?

Be warned, I am in a feisty mood. Something has been eating at me...
A little backdrop:
Over the Fourth of July weekend, we had family over to the house for a nice potluck dinner, followed by a fireworks display. It was great! Each family member brought a food dish and we all shared together in the bounty. Afterward we went to the area fireworks display to celebrate freedom and enjoy each other's company. Not everyone brought blankets, but some brought extra, so every family had a blanket to sit on as we celebrated the 4th of July on my wife's birthday. It was a great evening!
All Things in Common
So what is eating at you? You may be asking. Not that... The evening was great; we all enjoyed gathering and sharing things in common. What bothers me is how unusual this is - not for my family to get together, but for people to share all things in common.
Look at what was said about the early church: "All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people... Acts 2:44-47"
Now, I am not preaching about doing church or even meeting together. I have a much more pertinent issue to air out here: living the Kingdom message.
Whose Kingdom are you building?
Many years ago my brother Bob brought a teaching to my uncle's very profitable and powerful company entitled, "Whose Kingdom are you building?" It was a bold, yet honest question that He delicately laid onto their laps (I might have launched it like a grenade, but Bob, in his compassionate gift, just gently dropped it :-). Not sure what they did with it, but it has stayed with me ever since.
So, I ask, whose Kingdom are you building? Yours, or God's? Realize it or not, we are building one or the other (and if we are building our own, then we are helping to build the enemy's Kingdom... told you I can launch grenades :-).
Becoming more fed Up:
I find myself fed up with "Christians"! What? You heard me right. I am fed up with people that call themselves after Christ's name but who do not resemble the characteristics of Christ (yes, I do evaluate myself by the same standard and I aim to repent when I fall short. Yes, I do remove the plank from my own eye before I look at any other speck... I speak from what I live, including where I have fallen short and gotten back up. Truth is, I am fed up with myself sometimes. You? :-).
Trials teach us God's ways
It is interesting what you learn in the midst of life's trials. When I made decent income in my previous job I tried to be sensitive to the needs of others, but looking back I only saw shadows of reality. Now that I have been through a long and difficult season of lack, I see a bit differently. You learn a great deal of compassion when you walk through difficult times. It's good, yet it is painful to see how blind people, including myself, are to other's needs.
The Good Samaritan:
I have been impacted before by the story of the Good Samaritan, but not until now has it felt so real and present. Try to read this for the very first time and catch what Jesus is saying to us.
"On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:25-37

How many of us see a need and just keep walking? I wonder what the priest and Levite were thinking that encouraged them to go to the other side of the road and keep walking? Were they in a hurry to get somewhere? Where they afraid? Were they too dressed up to be willing to get dirty? Did they assume the man got himself into this mess - that he somehow deserved it? Did they judge the man, looking down on him as poor, wretched, weak? What must they have been thinking? What would cause someone to ignore another man's needs?
I do not want to enable you!
Or, maybe, like many of us today, they didn't want to "enable" him. Have you ever heard that phrase used before? Maybe you have said or thought that yourself a time or two. Here is how it works: Steve doesn't have a job and he is in obvious need of help. So instead of reaching out to help, we ignore Steve while reasoning that we do not want to enable him. In other words, Steve has the same ability as we do to work and get a job. He needs to get off his butt and work! We do not want to enable him and cause him to depend on us, right? There may be times this has merit, but do we take the time to get God's heart for Steve? Do we take a minute to put ourselves in Steve's shoes to see what it must be like for him (compassion)? Maybe there is a good reason Steve is not working... do we ever stop to ask? Or, like the priest and the Levite, do we just keep walking on the other side of the road justifying why we are ignoring the obvious need?
Good reason vs Good Samaritan:
There must have been a good reason swirling through the heads of the priest and the Levite as they kept walking past the need. But what good reason would God accept? Thank God for the Samaritan! If not for him, the man could have died on the side of the road, while the more well-to-do walked on by as they ignored God's child in need.
You see, from what I understand, the Samaritans were looked down upon by the priests and Levites. They were a lower class. Maybe this is why the Samaritan had compassion. Maybe he knew what it felt like to be ignored and overlooked by others. He wasn't about to treat another human being with such disdain. He had heart, and his heart overcame any pride, faulty thinking, judgement or fear that may have hindered the others.
It's a privilege to call ourselves after His name:
You see my friend, there is much more to the "Christian" life than going to church, fellowship and memorizing a few scriptures. Religion without the love and presence of Christ is a waste of time! Why bother? If we do not love one another, then we ought not call ourselves "Christians" because that is not what Christ taught and lived. It is an honor and privilege to call ourselves after the name of Christ, and we have a responsibility to carry His name as He intended.
Here is what He intended:
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." Romans 12:10
"Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8

"We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother." 1 John 4:19-21
How do we love our brother?
As Jesus concluded His point with the expert of the law, so will I: "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:36-37
I warned you that I was in a fiesty mood :-)
Balance is needed:
Though we are not to ignore need, and compassion is to lead us, it is important to clarify something here: Compassion is not being driven by need, but rather being driven by what the Lord is stirring through His compassion within you when He wants to do somthing through you (Jesus did that which the Father said do)... The mistake many make is they make the need the call, instead of obeying what the Father is saying and stirring - that is why time with Him, hearing His voice, is so crucial.
That said, we need to be careful not to respond as the priest and Levite did, making excuses as we walk on by. Rather, in each case, it is crucial that we ask the Father what He wants to do...
Enjoy The Journey!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thermally Enjoyable!

While sitting on the porch looking out over the lake in the middle of this summer day, Ken pointed to the large bird in the air. "It is riding the thermal."
"What is a Thermal?" I dare asked.
Ken informed me that it has something to do with warm midday air hitting the ground and bouncing up, forming a wind that certain large winged birds rest in and are lifted up to greater heights...
Upon some further research, I found this: "Thermals are updrafts of warm air that rise from the ground into the sky. By flying a spiraling circular path within these columns of rising air, birds are able to 'ride' the air currents and climb to higher altitudes while expending very little energy in the process. Solitary birds like eagles and hawks often take advantage of thermals to extend their flight time as they search for food..."( Aerospaceweb.org"). Just like Ken taught me.
Eagles ride the Thermals
I find it of great interest that "Eagles... take advantage of thermals to extend their flight time..." Look at what Isaiah tells us in Isaiah 40:30-31: "Even youths grow tired and weary,and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." We were created to soar on wings like Eagles. We were made to ride the thermals!
The Early Bird Gets the Worms
Have you ever heard the phrase "The early bird gets the worm"? Does every bird like worms? Do Eagles eat worms? From my limited understanding, the large winged birds do not like worms. They eat meat! I for one, do not like worms! What about you?
Eagles were not created to be like the "early birds", they are bigger, more powerful and perhaps a bit less agile. Eagles, and other large winged birds, benefit from the winds of a Thermal. It makes their flying experience easier and more effective. A tiny "early bird" would not do quite so well in a spiraling thermal, nor would they find many worms.
Lessons from the winds of the Thermal
Again: "...those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 30:31. It's time we learn to soar.
Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28-29
Jesus has called us to come to Him and rest, to take on His easy yoke and enjoy Him and his peace. Yet, how many can allow themselves to slow down enough to do so?
Isaiah reports "... God will speak to this people, to whom he said, 'This is the resting place, let the weary rest'; and, 'This is the place of repose'— but they would not listen." Isaiah 28:11-12
Perhaps we are wearing ourselves out trying to keep up with the "early birds", while settling for "worms", when God has created us to eat "meat" and ride upon the wind of His Spirit like Eagles.
Here is what the Apostle Paul says on the matter: "In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."
God has created us to eat "solid food", why settle for "worms"? :-)
"You are too heavenly minded"
Have you ever heard the phrase "You are so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good?" I understand the point, and it has merit. Some people are so flaky that they detract from the work of the kingdom upon the earth. Yet, there are also those who are so earthly minded that they are of no heavenly good!
Some are so busy doing what they think is "godly" that they are missing what is really of importance and value.
"The good that is the enemy of the best." ...
"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:38-42
Martha was doing what most would do. She was busy preparing and doing. Mary was sitting at Jesus feet. Martha was troubled by Mary's lack of help (what some would classify as "lazy"). Jesus was teaching a higher way of living, "Mary has chosen what is better." Being busy is "good", but being with Jesus is the "Best"! Many settle for the good that is the enemy of the best. One thing to note, Martha gets a bad rap, but this was when Jesus first met them, so she grew from this. So will we.
Many of us are stuck being earth bound when God has called us to be heaven bound.
We are not of this world.
"If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world..." John 15:19
"My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it." Jn 17:15-16.

We have a unique calling to be in the world, as lights in the midst of darkness, but not to be of the world. We are to be in the world but not ensnared by the ways and philosophy of the world. We have been given a higher perspective.
We are seated with Christ in Heavenly places
"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus..." Ephesians 2:6
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:1-3.
We are seated with Christ in Heavenly places, high above all rulers and principalities, and not bound by the limitations of earth. We are seated with Christ in Heavenly places!
We are to soar to greater heights and see from a higher perspective.
It is always beneficial to examine ourselves
"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test." 2 Cor. 13:5-6. Perhaps we should all evaluate ourselves and take note: Are we the "Early bird" who has settled for "worms"? Or, are we extending our wings and riding the wind of His Spirit soaring to new heights?
Greater heights await us
There is something greater that the father has for us. Are we willing to let go of what we believe is good in order to soar into what God calls great?
Remember: "...By flying a spiraling circular path within these columns of rising air, birds are able to 'ride' the air currents and climb to higher altitudes while expending very little energy in the process. Solitary birds like eagles and hawks often take advantage of thermals to extend their flight time..."
It's time we take advantage of what Christ has done for us, and learn to "ride the air currents" of His Spirit and "climb to higher altitudes", where we are seated with Christ in heavenly places, "while expending very little energy in the process", as we take hold of His easy yoke and rest with Him... this my friend will "extend our flight time" and add valuable years to our life.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer." Proverbs 9:10-11
Perhaps it is time we "mount up with wings as Eagles" and soar to new heights as one.
I trust and pray that you will thermally enjoy your journey!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Prepared For His Promises

What do you do when circumstances are trying and you see no hope before you?
"The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert... traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded... the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said,"Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?"
Ex 17:2-3
The children of Israel felt like Moses and God had brought them out to the desert to die. The desert sands get hot and the lack of typical provision and purpose brings out what's really inside a person;it's easy to grow weary and feel like God has left you out to die.
Have you ever felt the heat?
"Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. "
Ouch! It is so easy to complain sometimes, but it doesn't go over real well with our Father and creator.
I feel for them:
The children of Israel had reason to be afraid as they wondered aimlessly in this vast and lonely desert not knowing where God was leading them or where there next meal was going to come from. It must have been tough.
I understand...
Our journey has been difficult too: failed dreams, unfulfilled visions, going from place to place and thing to thing wondering where God was leading us. We have lacked in every major area of life: provision, purpose, relationship... We seem to be going nowhere fast. Many months have left us not knowing where our next provision was going to come from. We have been in a modern-day "Desert" of lack and it's been tough (yet he has faithfully provided "Manna" each month).
If all we have is the current trying circumstances to gauge from then we are in Big trouble! When all you can see is trying circumstances, it is very easy to panic and question God, His leaders, and others around you. Sometimes we do wonder, "did you bring us out here to die?"
Thank God we have past history to learn from (so we don't make the same mistake twice):
"Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of the men twenty years old or more who came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob-" Numbers 32:10-12 "Not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it." Numbers 14:22-24
Why was God so angry with the Children of Israel?
My guess (based on evidence from scripture and speculation): 1. The trials revealed their true heart and lack of gratitude 2. He is their maker and they His chosen people, yet they held tightly to their own lives and did not trust Him with their whole being. 3. They were so consumed with their natural circumstances/hardships that they totally missed God. God did so much on their behalf, and they missed most of it: A. He led them out of Egypt, freeing them from years of slavery. B. He gave them a Godly, desert trained, leader (Moses). C. He parted the Red Sea (Come on!). D. He led them with a cloud by day and fire by night. E. He destroyed their enemy (Red Sea). F. He provided for all their daily needs (Manna, their clothes and shoes never wore out). G. He protected them. H. He visited them (His Glory). I. He gave them the best land as their inheritance (Promise Land). J. HE IS GOOD-It's who He is!
We move toward what we think about most:
Most of the Children of Israel were so self-consumed, fearful, ungrateful... that they were blind to the greater reality. All they could see was the natural trials around them. They were so consumed with the hardships of the moment that they missed God and all the wonderful, amazing ways He supernaturally intervened on their behalf. They obviously did not know Him well, or they would have known His goodness.
"And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites... a land flowing with milk and honey.'" Exodus 3:16-18
It was there's to have. All they had to do was walk and obey!
Remember the 12 spies who went to scout out the Promise land? 10 negative scouts saw giants and were afraid, 2 positive scouts - Joshua and Caleb -saw the goodness of God and and the great land he promised to give them.
The Negative report:
"...All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, "If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword?... Numbers 14:1-4"
The Positive report:
"Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, "The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them. Numbers 14:6-9"
God's Report (The bottom line):
"...The Lord said to Moses, "How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?... "...Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun." Numbers 14:1-44
The plight of those who gave the reports:
"...So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it- these men responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord. Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived. Numbers 14:36-39"
Be careful not to miss the "Promise Land" God has for you:
Many of the Children of Israel missed the promise of God due to their grumbling and complaining. Moses also, though he was God's faithful leader, missed the Promise land as well:
"(Moses)and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them."
It sounds like a raw deal, after leading these people for 40 yrs, but Moses allowed the rebellion of the people to get him out of a yielded place before the Lord. Moses struck the rock in anger, not trusting and honoring God, therefore he was unable to enter the Promise land... Leaders must be careful to stay in a yielded place of trust before the Lord at all times, even when people are being very difficult. Anger, not surrendered to the Lord, can cost dearly.
Thank God, we are not under the Old Testament law any longer. Thank You Jesus, for your death and resurrection that brought forth Grace. Glad we will not be destroyed for our rebellion. But, there are still consequences to our decisions - we still have our will and our choices do matter. God does discipline those He loves (Heb 12:5-7), and He also rewards the faithful(1 Sam 26:22-24).
As a reward for His faithful obedience, Joshua got to lead the people into the Promise Land (40 yrs later):
" "...No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them." Joshua 1:1-6
What made Joshua different?
1.He spent time in The Glory:"The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent." Exodus 33:10-12 Joshua knew the goodness and presence of God. He was intimate with His creator.
2. Joshua obeyed God regardless of the price.
3. Joshua saw the promise land and knew it was good - He kept the Vision before him.
4. Joshua was grateful for all that God had done, is doing, and will do.
Count it all joy, in the midst of the desert:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."James 1:2-4
"...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:3-5
How can we be sure to reach God's "Promise Land" for us?" 4 Keys:
1. Spend ample time in His Glory... (Exodus 33:10-12)
2. Obey God regardless the price "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:38-40
3. Keep the Vision before you "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-4.
4. Thank God for all that He has done, is doing, and will do (Attitude of Gratitude: "In all things"... even in the desert while being prepared.)
God is preparing a people for the fulfillment of His promises!
Will you and I be among those who endure, who keep the vision before us, rest in His Glory, and praise Him in all things?
If so, we too will see His Glory and dwell in His promises! We are being prepared for His Promises!
Enjoy The Journey!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


What if God were mute, or we were deaf? That would stink!
Yet, sadly enough that is how many Christians live, as if God doesn't speak. What a sad and lonely existence!
A common misconception is that God only speaks through His written word. Another common myth is that only Prophets can hear from God.
"Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32
Yes, God does speak through His written word and Prophets do hear from God... Oh, but there is so much more!
Jesus tells us in John 10:26-28, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."
The truth is, anyone who is a follower of Christ is given the privilege of hearing the Good Shepherd's voice.
Could you imagine a sheep that was unable to recognize his masters voice?
In some places, shepherds bring their sheep to large fields with other sheep and shepherds all mingled together. The only way out from the crowd is to recognize the shepherd's voice when He calls.
How many of us feel lost in the crowd, unclear what direction to go in or what crowd to follow?
Thank God He is not mute and we are not deaf! We can hear His voice!
So, who teaches us how to hear His voice?
"...the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things...." John 14:25-27.
What an awesome and amazing privilege God has given to those of us who want it! We can hear from the creator of Heaven and Earth!
So, how does He speak?
Jesus spoke in parables, mysteries and in plain language to those who could understand. He speaks the same today. We just need to take the time to listen.
As a father on Easter, I do not hide the eggs deep beneath the ground so that my 4-6 yr olds can't find them. Yet, for my 10-12 yr olds, I may hide them a bit deeper.
I believe God, as our Father, is much the same. His ways are deeper and greater than our ways, yet He speaks in ways we can understand. Yet, it requires time with Him to learn to recognize His voice. The challenge is learning how to discern His voice from all the others.
Key #1: Be a follower of Jesus. Key #2: Spend time with Him daily to learn to recognize how He speaks specifically to you.
Enjoy The Journey!

Bah, Bah!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I was spending part of the morning playing with my four year son Joshua, putting together a marble game. It took us about a half hour of building. When we were done, he played the game twice then went to do something else. While we had a great time together, my adult mind reasoned that we should take more time playing with what we had just spent time creating. We reached a goal, now we should enjoy it. Joshua had other ideas in mind.
Later that day, I was spending time with The Father, asking Him what He wanted to teach me/say to me today. This simple, yet profound truth emerged as my object lesson of the day:
"Just as you were spending time with Joshua putting together his game, so I want to spend time with you. Did you notice his excitement in building with you? It was the process of building with you that thrilled him... The finished result was great for a sense of accomplishment, but it was the process of building with you that thrilled him most.
This is what it means to enter in like a child. A child is not concerned about tomorrow. A child doesn't even comprehend tomorrow or next week, or next month. All a child understands is now. Ask a child what they did earlier in the day and they will answer concerning what they just did. A child has no concept of yesterday or tomorrow, only right now.
This is what I am returning you - living now. What happened yesterday has helped shape you, but in terms of now it is not relevant anymore. Tomorrow is yet to be revealed. What you have before you is now. Enjoy now.
You have spent so much time trying to relive yesterday and longing for tomorrow that you have missed today; you have glossed over right now.
I am returning you to live in the now. Now is where the joy is. Now is where the peace is. Now is where I Am. Live with me now.
When a child is sad now, they cry now. When a child is happy now, they giggle now. When a child is sleepy now, they nap now (or fuss because they need to nap :-). When a child is hungry now, they eat now. When a child is in the mood to play now, they play now. A child lives in the now. So shall you.
Our time together is always now. I am with you always. Whatever now is I am there... Our time together is about living, about being together just being you. You are who I long to be with, you - as you are!
Wherever you are, whatever you do, I am with you. We can always enjoy now together. Now is where we live. Now is what we have. Now is life. Now is joy. Now is peace. Now is prosperity. Now is love. Now is.
It is the process of us being together now that brings us life and joy together. Let's enjoy now, always..."

After this, I tested it out. I asked Joshua, "What did you do yesterday, Joshie?" He quickly answered, "Went to school?" He actually didn't. "That was the day before buddy." I then asked, "What are you going to do tomorrow?" He looked up at me puzzled, "You tell me." I then asked, "What are you doing now?" He quickly answered, "Playing with you!"
It is so true, a child lives in the now.
What is next? I do not know. But I am learning to really enjoy living in the now!
What about you?
Enjoy The Journey - now!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


What do you do when nothing makes sense, and the only things that do make sense seem foolish? Ever been there? It seems I live there anymore. My address might as well be 123 South Foolish Street, because it is where I am living anymore! There is not much I am doing these days that makes conventional sense. Yet, despite that, I feel more peace than I have in years (when I allow myself to rest in it, and not beat myself up with anxiety and fear)... It is an odd time.
This morning I was looking out my back door, just contemplating and quietly praying. About seven birds landed before me - two older Cardinals and five little ones. They were peacefully strolling along the ground pecking for food. Off to the right, a squirrel joined the party, prowling calmly along the ground. He found a nut, perched up on the fencepost and peeled the outer shell and nibbled on the nut within.
As I observed their world, it struck me how simple it was. Each day, they just do what is natural to them. They do not strive, strain or worry about where there provision is going to come from. They don't even consider tomorrow or even ten minutes from now. They live in the moment, at peace, doing what comes natural to them.
I thought about the words Jesus spoke, recorded in Matthew 6:25-27, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
That's it right there. For about seven months now I have been on an intense training course on the subject of faith and trust. For at least 4 months, we have not known where our next month's provision was going to come from. Yet by the end of every month, there is always enough.
Jesus says look at the birds... I did. They were peaceful. They did not seem to have a worry in the world. They were provided for. They did not concern themselves with tomorrow but rather knew how to enjoy today.
I would imagine that I am not the only one out there who is going through financial struggles (I read the paper sometimes). It's tough out there. The system we once relied upon -ourselves- is not so reliable these days. There has to be a greater way...
It seems in days like today, that anxiety has a very loud mouth, and worry and fear can roar like a massive lion. Perhaps we can take a lesson from the birds: tune out those loud voices and get back to a quiet place of peace and trust, knowing that our Father cares for us. There is a greater way. It's called trust, faith, rest, peace...
I have recently heard that an Eagle goes through a process called Moulting. It is a time when the Eagle begins to loose it's feathers and grows very weak. Typically this time is spent sprawled out on a large rock, in the sun, sitting in a weakened and vulnerable posture, dependent upon other Eagles to tend to their needs - A difficult time for a strong and powerful creature to endure. When this process is complete, the Eagle grows new feathers, stronger wings, and more keen eyesight. Once complete, the Eagle can soar to greater heights empowered to see with greater vision.
Perhaps you too can relate. Be encouraged, the time will come when we too can soar to greater heights, newly empowered with greater strength and vision.
When all else fails, "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"
Isn't it about time we too learn to walk and fly like a bird?

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Like many former players, I grew up not having a relationship with my dad. When I arrived at Florida State to play for Coach Bowden (class of 1987), I was a young man trying to figure out what it meant to be a man. I did what I thought men do in college...
It seemed that every time I was looking in one direction for the meaning of life in college, Coach Bowden would boldly demonstrate something completely different. He seemed to have no concern about what others thought concerning his views on life. He was going to be true to his convictions no matter how adamant the protest.
It was not unusual for Coach Bowden to bring in well known speakers such as Billy Graham to come and speak to the team. He didn't seem to care that most of us lived diametrically opposed to the message they would bring.
Typically during Bowl week, Coach Bowden would make it mandatory for the whole team to attend the FCA Breakfast. Many would come in hung-over resenting having to be there. That didn't stop him.
I recall one day, while the team was huddled by the tree, Coach Bowden speaking to us like he did most everyday before practice. Yet, on this particular day, Coach Bowden decided to talk to us about life; "Men," I recall him saying, "Do you know what fornication is?" We snickered, "Do we ever!" My friends and I laughed it off as yet another one of those quirky Bowden moments.
While Coach Bowden was determined to make us champions on the field, he was equally determined to make us champions off the field. I was not one who bought into his off the field philosophies, I was with the other group if you know what I mean.
Yet, when my dreams came crashing down and my pride was bruised and hope shattered, I was desperate for answers for my life. It was then, while sitting in the locker room of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (no I didn't make it :-), that all these crazy things that Coach Bowden said and did came flooding into my mind. Not having a clue what it really meant to be a man at peace, I cried out that day for answers. It was then, 21 years ago, that I encountered the God that Coach Bowden demonstrated and spoke of.
I am forever grateful! Because of Coach Bowden's quirky boldness and odd conviction for life, I can now be a man of similar conviction and passion. I am now able to be a faithful husband and a loving father to my four amazing children.
We all know that coach Bowden is a legendary coach, and many players would concur that Coach Bowden was like a father/grandfather to many of the fatherless. Yet even more than that, Coach Bowden is an ambassador of the living God, and his life and conviction for truth has brought life and purpose to many.
I can count over a dozen x-players that I personally know, who are now living lives wholeheartedly devoted to the purposes of God, and each would say that coach Bowden had something to do with it.
There was a day, a year or so after I finished at FSU, that I decided to write Coach Bowden a letter to thank him for the "seeds" he planted in my life. I didn't even know if he received it. It was sometime after this that my brother (who also shared similar convictions) invited me to go to an FCA breakfast where Coach Bowden was to speak. Other than the mandatory breakfast at the Bowl games, this was my first FCA breakfast. Little did I know the surprise that awaited me: In the midst of his talk, Coach Bowden pulled out a letter and began to read excerpts about an x-player. He added something like, "I enjoy seeing guys go on to have successful careers in the NFL, but this is what matters to me most..." He was referring to the change of life I had thanked him for in that letter.
When I played, Coach Bowden called me - along with the other 90 guys on the team - "Buddy". I honestly did not think he knew my name. Now, when ever I see him, the first thing he asks me is, "Are you still ministering?" He remembers what is dearest to his heart!
While there may or may not be a large celebration for Coach Bowden following his retirement (I am sure there will be), one thing I am confident of: there will be a massive celebration in heaven, with a large banquet room full of all the thousands of lives Coach Bowden impacted for the Game that matters most! I for one will be there to stand up and shout!

Coach Bowden, you are much more than just a football coach, you are a Life Coach! Thanks again, for the life you shared. I, and many, many others our eternally grateful!
Bart Schuchts #98 (class of '87)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


I was recently asked the question: "So, what is happening?" It would have been so easy to rattle off all the challenges I am faced with being unemployed with a family of 6 (wife and I, and four children), yet what came out of me surprised me. The heat tends to bring up all kinds of "dross", and I have seen my fair share of uglies coming to the surface in this time of intense heat. I guess that is what motivated me to share the answer that came forth this day. Following such intensity, it was refreshing to hear something good come to the surface. Perhaps you can relate:

What's happening? More refinement, more waiting... more submitted and yielded to God... More hope of what is to come. More love for my wife and children following more intense refining. More faith in God's goodness and provision despite what we see...More ministry opportunities yet no more clarity as to what is next, yet more peace that God has us in the palm of His hand and all of our steps are ordered by Him. Less understanding yet more peace, rest and trust. More comfort in knowing of God's exceeding and abundant goodness despite what my eyes can see and my mind can comprehend. Less money and direction, yet great assurance in the awesomeness of God who is our provider and the one with the plan. More peace that surpasses all understanding as I rest and trust in His goodness. Less answers yet more rest in not questioning the one who is The Answer. More peace in knowing who is God and who is not. More rest upon the chest of Him who is my comforter and source of life.
More trust that it really is all about Him, and that He alone is Lord. More acceptance that I truly do belong to Him, and I am good with that, more able to rest in His goodness.
What will happen next? I don't know. He does. And I am OK with that (at least today, which is the only day I am living in).
I am realizing more and more that God just can't help Himself - it's who He is - He is just good and I am just going to have to accept that! :-)
So, what is happening with you?

Enjoy The Journey!

Monday, September 28, 2009


Recently, when asked how things are going concerning work, I found myself answering, "There is nothing on the radar..." I was thinking about this phrase this morning: "nothing on the radar" and I recalled the time years ago when I was lost at sea.
It was during our college winter break that four us decided to venture the Bahama islands by way of boat. We boarded Eddie's 22 Ft Mako boat in Key Biscayne, Fl and headed for Bimini Island, where we spent a restless night on lounge chairs by the pool, half-eaten by mosquito's (remember, we were college students on an adventure). By morning, we were eager to get to our destination of Free Port, about an hour and a half jaunt across the sea.
We noticed many large crafts docked, so we inquired as to why. We learned that there was a small craft advisory, with a large craft advisory anticipated with the threat of a winter cold front sweeping through. The seas looked to be about 4-6 ft, which was enough to rock our tiny boat, but our poor night's sleep and thirst for pleasure brought us all to the unanimous decision to "go for it".
Rocking like a surfboard going against the surf, we ventured off shore out into the vast sea. Once comfortable at sea, we decided to stop midway at a tiny remote island to watch Eddie dive for large Grouper. While he was down 40 ft below, the 3 of us noticed a large black cloud creeping toward us. As soon as Eddie surfaced we brought it to his attention, and after one more brief dive, we were on our way to Free Port.
We made it about ten or so minutes before that remote black cloud became the sky about us. It brought with it cold wind, heavy rain and bolts of lightning that struck the water on all sides. At one point, while holding onto the steal beam on the boats side, I felt electricity shoot through my hand as lightning struck the sea some 100 ft away. It was cold, windy and frightening as the sea and storm engulfed our tiny craft in it's massive grip.
We went full tilt trying to beat the storm to our destination, but to no avail. The seas had now picked up to about 12 to 14 ft, and proved to be too much for us to overcome. Cold, wet, intimidated and overwhelmed we grabbed the radio to call for help, only to learn that we had no means of communication - it didn't work! We checked the gas situation, only to learn that we had less than a quarter of a tank of gas! As we looked at the compass to make sure we were on the right course to Free Port we discovered that it was spinning out of control - we had no clue where we were heading!
It is not like being lost on a highway somewhere, and you can stop to get directions or at least find a safe place to rest. NO! This is the sea, and there was no land in sight, and we had no idea what direction to go in to try to find land! We were LOST! We didn't know if we were heading toward a distant Bahama Island, the States, Cuba, England... or anywhere at all.
Several hours had now passed and the storm had not let up. By this point we had turned off the engine and rode with the massive waves allowing the sea to take us where ever it was going. Our minimal supply of beer and Peanut Butter would not last long (remember we were college students). We were young, dumb and apparently soon dead, lost at Sea!
We kept hoping we could spot a boat off in the distance somewhere, but not even large crafts ventured these rough seas on a day like this one. We were the only fools at Sea it appeared. We had no idea where we were going not to mention how to get there. I was developing quite a prayer life about this time, grabbing hold of any hope I could muster (no, I was not a practicing Christian as a college student...getting closer on this trip however).
I was afraid we were not going to make it, and I was mad. This was the year I transferred to Florida State to play major college football, having given up a scholarship and starting position at Georgia Southern College, that year's 1AA National Champion. I was not ready to give up on my dream, not to mention my life! But, there was nothing I could do about it! I was at the mercy of the Sea, and I was no match for this massive beast! It seemed evident that we were going to die at the hands of the Sea!
Following one mirage after another - our eyes continually tricking us as we hoped beyond hope to see a boat, land or anything - we finally saw something off in the distance. Another mirage? NO! As it got closer we could finally make it out; it was a large craft of some sort...
With our last bit of gas, we cranked the engine and headed toward our vision of hope before us. As we did, Eddie, who grew up on the ocean, warned us, "chances are a boat at sea in a storm like this is running drugs. If so, and we approach them, they may shoot at us!" This was no time, nor was anyone in the mood, for pulling our leg. Eddie was serious. As one, we agreed we would rather take the chance and die fast rather than die slow at the hands of the sea... We went for it!
As we approached, they yelled out at us, "What are you doing out here?" While not the warmest greeting, it sure beat the sound of guns! Before we knew it we were hooked up to this massive tug boat headed for Puerto Rico - not ideal, but far better than dying a slow death at sea!
Following some time, we were invited in to observe their sophisticated Radar screen. Fascinating! Other than circular lines, and a mark that indicated where the Tug boat was on the screen, I saw nothing. I believe that was part of the point. They asked us how we got here, out in the middle of the ocean far from land, and after hearing our story they were amazed we were still alive. They pointed to a tiny dot off in the distance. "You guys can travel with us to Puerto Rico, which at 10 knots, will get us there in about two weeks, or you can try to reach this distant Bahama Island we spotted off in the distance."
You would think fear would have kept us on the boat following this traumatizing day, but while afraid, we were college students with short memories on a adventure... With only the faint light of a Lighthouse way off in the distant night, covered in more rain, we headed toward our unknown destination hoping to have enough gas to make it. We arrived! It was too dark to tell where we were, but by morning, after purchasing gas, we discovered two remote islands: One had some people on it and the other did not. We ventured to the one that did not. Shortly after docking the boat, a cruise liner showed up off shore with one row boat after another making it's way to this remote island.
Turns out we landed somewhere near heaven! Before we knew it, we were feasting in this Bahamian style celebration accompanied by music, games and a massive feast that we were welcomed to partake in. We ate like kings!
We went from famine to feast, death to life, despair to great hope, fear to the time of our life, as these vacationers inquired about our story and paid to go diving with Eddie (who is amazing)...
It was the scariest time of my life, yet an adventure I could never replace! (Thanks Eddie! :-)

So now, as I find myself answering, "Nothing on the Radar!" There is so much more to that statement than I first realized!
When the disciples, who were fishermen, were out in a similar type storm, Jesus was asleep! (How do you sleep in a storm?). In fear, they woke Him and He stood and quieted the sea!
When the wind and the waves mount up against us we have two choices: focus on the wind and the waves and be gripped, as I was, by panic and fear; or rest in the boat with Jesus! When He says, "We are going to the other side", there is nothing to fear! We might as well learn to rest and enjoy the adventure with Him!
When things look devastating, and death and defeat seem to have us in their grasp, look a little closer, it's not a mirage, there is a distant land on the radar! There is a Lighthouse that will lead us to the feast!
No matter the wind and the waves, we will get to the other side!
Enjoy The Journey!