Clarity in the Six O’Clock Hour….

Sometimes I believe that God is with us in those lonely and desperate moments in our lives…. Having clarity during those times has always been a challenge for me; maybe it is for you too. Rather it’s the past chapter, the current chapter, or a future chapter in our lives I believe that God has a plan for each of us. I know that there are believers and non-believers that will passionately agree and disagree with that vision and I’m OK with that. Tonight, as I sat in my church and took notes on a sermon themed, “Defining Moments,” I knew that my defining moments are a great mixture of successes, failures, frustrations, difficulties, and even triumphs. Friends, simply put, I think some of our story may be already written, but a great part of it may not yet be lived. I’m proud to be here and I hope you are too. Wake up! Look around. We are still here!

God Bless!
BT

Advertisements

See Ya Later….

I find my self here today to say good-bye to the blog world, or maybe it’s a “see you later….” My heart is heavy as I type because this has been an awesome template for my thoughts and my beliefs, the things that I love the most, and most importantly my faith walk. I am just at the point where it’s time to take a step back from here and maybe put my energy, efforts, and thoughts into something new. I have no idea what that is or if it will ever make it’s way to the surface, but I’m not questioning the timing….

I wrote here for the first time on July 29, 2012 and really had no intentions of it being the mental therapy that it’s been. I’ve written with passion and with enthusiasm about subjects that I felt were the closest to my heart. I’ve shared a lot and I’ve made great strides in my faith and for that sole purpose this was not a waste of time, but a great stepping stone into many things in my life. I’m proud of each word I’ve ever expressed here and just like every other moment in my life I have no regrets. Growth, for me, is not always visible to others, but I certainly carry that feeling of accomplishment from within. That’s what this empty canvas has done for me… It’s made me better on the inside.

A few weeks ago someone called me out and the words have been stuck in my mind and heart since that moment…. I was told that maybe I needed to quit with the blog because that’s not who I am and that I was fake. Harsh words, said in the heat of the moment perhaps, but aren’t those moments the ones we remember the fondest? I thought about that word over and over…. F-A-K-E. I realized that perhaps I had become fake and that maybe I was not this Super Duper Christian that maybe I was portraying myself as. Then I realized that I wasn’t fake at all, I was just human. I am indeed a sinner on many different levels and I am not in any way ashamed of that. I kept thinking over and over that I knew that God hates the sin, but loves the sinner…. At the end of the day I don’t think I’ve ever been that Super Duper Christian, but I’ve been real, and for that I make no apologies. I love you for your criticism….

Over the past 30 days I’ve been reading Proverbs…. I recommend it; it’s a great addition to your daily bible reading, it’s simple, and full of great reminders. It’s where I found my favorite verse in the bible, a verse that I’ve carried with my since I started writing here.

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another.

The list of “iron” that has sharpened me is a long one…. From Revolution 365 I’ve done things that I never imagined doing….
– I accepted God into my life for the first real time
– I walked through several things with Tyler (my son)
– I had a great baptism experience at my church
– I’ve read through the bible 5 times now
– I can pray now, without thinking I must be crazy
– My relationship with Lauren (my daughter) is stronger than ever
– Through my faith I was able to reach out to people that I never knew were there
– My faith has been the shining moment of my mom’s battles with her illnesses

One last thing, before I go…. When you write something that just about anyone can get their hands on you have that fear that maybe no one will ever see it, at least I do/did. I know I’ve reached a few people because they’ve told me so. For me, that’s the payoff…. If it’s effected just one person then it was worth the effort. Ive reached out everywhere in the process. Here, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, etc. I will say this though, one person always made sure they “liked” it, I mean like every single time. Every blog, every picture, every thought, every verse, every everything. For that I say thank you. I also say CARPE DIEM, my friend!

See ya later Friends….

God Bless!
Brian

Thanks Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day! Make sure today you tell your mom how much you love her and if you’re a mom I hope you have a great day…. You’ve earned it!

What makes our moms so great? What is it that gives them these super powers that scream out….. “IT’S GONNA BE OK!” For me I experienced the life difference it makes when you have a strong mother in your life at a young age. Over the years I’ve pushed my own mom to the limit and then some. At no point in my life (I’m 42) did I ever think that I’d play the role as the parent in my relationship with my mom, but life happened and I currently find myself taking care of her the same way she’s taken care of me.

What are the qualities that most of us have inherited from our mothers? In my life you have to be careful asking that question because my sister will tell you that we (my mom and I) are just alike! Hey on her good days I admit to it, on her bad days heck no! Seriously, I think she just taught and shown me that we are all full of successes and failures, but the difference is making the very best out of the highs and minimizing the lows. Failure is gonna happen, but knowing the page still turns gets me through to the next chapter.

Yesterday I heard my mom say something and right there in that moment I realized exactly what my mother has taught me…. It’s the way she loves God and the way she knows that God remains faithful despite where she finds herself in her life. She told her aunt, while hugging her after a family get together, that she was going to be OK and that God will heal her. She said “I’ve got faith, that’s all I need!” In that moment I think that was my proudest moment in a long time. She’s right…. Faith is all we need.

I do know that someone reading this does not have their mother with them today and to those I will tell you that she may not be here physically with you today, but she is still always with you. Friends, love your moms and be proud of them!

God Bless
Brian

No Turning Back….

Life as a father of a “tween” daughter is getting very interesting these days…. The conversations that I have with my 11 year old daughter (Lauren) are literally all over the map. We talk and laugh about things that can go from what’s on Disney Channel to her using big words I probably didn’t even know at her age, then straight into her telling me that she wants to visit Paris, then no it’s Italy…. I won’t even get started on the physical changes that she’s going through and yet I still do not own a gun…. Will a baseball bat work? Will that keep the boys away? OK….. Focus. Focus.

I often tell people that I didn’t just get to where I’m at with my faith overnight, it was a huge struggle in my life for many years. I think I’d be pretty accurate in saying that I adopted my parents faith/faith habits and it was very later on in life that I came into my own as to who I was (faithfully speaking) and what my relationship with God is defined as. One of my goals as a father of now a son (Tyler) that will graduate from high school in 77 days (WHAT!) and then Lauren going into middle school is that I want to be their anchor when it comes to their faith. I want them to know and to understand that life will not always be so easy to navigate through, it won’t always come to them so easily, sometimes they will have to go after it. Making mistakes in my life makes it easy for me to tell them what I don’t want them to become. I just want them to be more, have more, experience more…. As parents isn’t that our biggest goal and dream for our kids; don’t we want them to trump our successes and minimize their failures?

Lauren and I are on this faith journey together it seems…. Her interest in our church and her love for God is clearly there and I’m excited that this summer she’ll experience her first church camp, possibly experience baptism, and then middle school! I’m not sure who’s more excited/scared, me or her! In her own words, she said that she’s excited but scared at the same time.

I picked this song out for Lauren…. The words “No turning back, I’m moving on, not looking back. I’m giving Him all that I have. Though I may wander I am not lost, so many distractions, but I look to the cross.”

Have a blessed day friends!
Brian

Yes Sir!

Has God ever spoke to you in clear words? Meaning…. You actually felt Him in your presence, you heard His voice, and you had no doubts at all that it was Him. My belief is that believers will believe and most likely doubters will doubt. The deeper my faith gets and the stronger my personal relationship with God becomes the more I experience these moments…. I cannot be the only one; I cannot be alone in this conversation….

I believe in timing too, especially God’s timing. His timing, His will, His pace, etc. On this day (last Sunday) He picked the oddest place to give me that “nudge.” If you’ve experienced this form of God’s attention then you know what that “nudge” is all about. It’s a very clear and emotional feeling. It’s the greatest form of clarity that I’ve ever experienced and, for me, I don’t have to doubt that it happened, because it’s that real. OK…. Here’s the story!

In the shower before church Sunday (January 11, 2015)

Without notice, God appears…. He just shows up, I didn’t ask Him to be there, He was just there. Don’t get all weirded out on me, just block out the visual! It was simple; all He said was, “Put the soap down.” So…. I put the soap down. Duh! I felt Him right there, hand on my shoulder. All He said was this…. “You want it all?” I ain’t no dummy, so I looked up and said, “Yes Sir!” In that moment it felt like it was just God and me. Not just in the shower, but in the entire world. It felt that real and God made me feel that important. Then God said, “Then why aren’t you going after it Son?” There are no words to express what my reaction was like in that moment. God was gone and I was there alone with my thoughts and all I could do is shake my head in disbelief. Not in disbelief over the conversation, but because He was right, God was right! I was not going after it. Not as His follower and not in any other aspect of my life. The best way I could explain it to myself was that I had become comfortable with waiting on life to come to me. I had become like a magnet and I was willing to allow things to come to me and believe it or not I was getting by with that way of living/thinking. I had become average and, in my opinion, and that too was OK with me. Life as that magnet allowed me to attach to some things and it allowed some things to attach to me , but not the really important things, not the things that really matter. Who wants to be average? Who wants to just get by? Who wants to miss out on a life that is better than just mediocre? God was OK with it, He still loves me. He’s still going to provide and I’m still going to be faithful to Him. How many of us do that? How many of us are OK with just being average, with just being mediocre? A lot of us are. We’ll survive, but in that moment I think God was just making me aware that He loves me on a level that is more than just average, His love for me and my life is better than just mediocre. It was one of the best moments of my life. It’s changed my mindset and it’s provided me with the clarity that I’ve always wondered if I’d ever experience.

I really had no plans to open up about this, I had no plans on telling anyone about this either, but someone said something to me a few days ago and it’s been stuck in my head…. He was right, he was absolutely right! He said, “You never know who’s watching, we’ve always got an audience.” Maybe someone out there reads this, maybe they relate, maybe they believe, and maybe they pass it on to someone that needs to read it. In fact I want every person that reads this to share it with at least one person and I want you to ask that one person to share it with someone too. Not just Amber McKinney, she’s the one person I know in fact reads this stuff, but every one!

God Bless!
Brian

Countdown to 2015….

Happy New Year! Well almost….

As they say, “Out with the old and in with the new!”

Is it me, or did 2014 just absolutely fly by….

Every year I try to come up with ways to make “creative” New Year’s resolutions and ever year those seem to go by the way side by the second week of January. Do you feel that way? This year, when making those resolutions, remember that a resolution is merely nothing more than an intention of something you’re determined to accomplish. That’s a lot of pressure and a lot of us (especially me) set those “goals” with unrealistic expectations. Today, as we get ready to welcome in 2015, I thought I would count us down to the new year with 10 verses that will help us all ring in the new year with expectations that God has already met and accomplished for us! How awesome is that and you’re welcome!

#10…. Pslams 37:7
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

#9…. Lamentations 3:22-24
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

#8…. Hebrews 12:10-11
They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

#7…. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!

#6…. Philippians 3:13-14
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

#5…. Ecclesiastes 3:11
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

#4…. Isaiah 40:31
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.

#3…. 1 Peter 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

#2…. Ezekiel 36:25-27
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

#1…. Jeremiah 29:11 (My Favorite)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I hope 2015 is the best year of all of our lives…. I know that God is alive and He is in every decision we make, big and small. I pray that we all continue on our faith journies in this life and that you always know that we serve an amazing and forgiving God. I wish you and yours the absolute best!

Happy New Year!
Brian

3 Simple Steps For Priority Recalibration

532076662_55fac597b9_mWant To Know How To Get It All Done?

What are the top 10 things on your To-Do List today?  How are we supposed to grow, get things done, and engage with what is important to us?  Whether you keep an active To-Do List in your pocket, on your phone, or swirling in your head chances are you have one.  I’d be willing to bet that on most days, you don’t get to everything on that list.  I’d bet that most days you have a couple of things from that list that seem to constantly get moved to the top of tomorrow’s list.

In the spirit of full transparency, this post was due on Wednesday.  Not next Wednesday.  The one that happened three days ago.  Now, I know you were all waiting with baited breath for this week’s installment.  I’m sure I disappointed many of you.  I can tell by the stack of emails I received titled “WHERE’s THE POST?” and “LATE AGAIN?” in my unread email folder.

All kidding aside, the point is we are busy.  We are very busy.  Ok, we are way to freakin’ busy to engage the way God intended.  At least, I am.

I hit this point a few times each year and it tells me it’s time for a priority check.  I sat down this morning and did just that.  I won’t bore you with my list.  That’s not the point of this post.  The point is,

Busy-ness is the ENEMY of ENGAGEMENT

As I was having some prayer time with Jesus the other day, the Holy Spirit spoke those words to me.  I was quietly thinking about all kinds of things and asking Jesus how I was supposed to get it all done.  The words just whispered across my lips and hit me like a Mack truck.

Here I am asking God how I am supposed to get all of this stuff done AND do it well,  Then the answer just whispers across my lips.  God was telling me I’ve painted myself into a corner again.  I’ve not been INTENTIONAL about the things I am supposed to ENGAGE in and I’ve allowed myself to get distracted with busy-ness.

There are things that are essential to our lives and there things that are important.  Those things are very different, but because we don’t make this distinction we get confused.  This is why priorities are so hard to set properly.

3 Simple Steps For Priority Recalibration

1.) List Your Priorities As They Are
Right down the big things that are important to you.  God, Family, Friends, Work, Church, You.  Then rank them.  Then rank them like no one will ever see them.  I say that because our “natural selves” (the one we are dying to as we become more like Jesus each day) will fight you and on the first iteration tell you to right down what others expect.  You may need to write this list several times to get your honest answers.  The key is to write them down as they truly are today.

2.) List Your Priorities As You Would Like Them To Be
Now that you’ve realized you won’t die from taking a long, hard look in the mirror you can write the list the way you’d like it to shape up.  This is where you put the list in the order you feel it should be.
Hint:  It probably looks like the first iteration of the previous list.  Just sayin’.

3.) Compare the Lists
Take stock of the differences in your lists.  Commit to paper the things that you do not have room for and pray through how to establish the new list.
Hint:  You need to pray against distractions to your priorities.

Distraction Alert:
If you are like me and most of the rest of the world, you are easily distracted.  Squirrel!  See told ya.  Distractions come in the form of fun, technology, and new adventures to only name a few.  I know I sound like your high school coach, but you need to ask yourself EVERY TIME something new comes your way,

Does This Align With My Priorities?

And be relentless.  Make sure you don’t mistake sticking to your guns with NEVER trying new things.  You need to try new things to grow, but the new things need to fit within your happiness bucket.  That means aligning with your priorities.

 

NOW, I’m off to follow my own advice.

God Bless…