Venting = Gossip?

I was in a meeting recently where we were discussing gossip and how sinful it is and how destructive it is to relationships and communities. One person in the meetings asked this question:

Doesn't every person need a safe place to vent?

I realized something. Every time I hear the word "venting," my spirit has a negative reaction. Always have. I have even used it and not liked it when it came out of my mouth. Why? Because almost every single time someone "vents" they gossip. It just seems like a pretty way of masking the sin of gossip.

Vent literally means "to give free expression to strong emotion".

After the question about venting was asked, another voice perks up and says:

Isn't that what a quiet time is for?

And it hit me! Yes! This is how it should work. Rather than take the risk of gossip by "venting", turn to Jesus and dump it all!

And then today, I encountered these verses:

Psalm 62:8, "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."

Psalm 142:1-2, "I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy. I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble."

So, I wonder....shouldn't Jesus be enough for us to get out all of our venting? Or are we worried that he may not agree with us and tell us what we want to hear?

Unsafe People

I just recently read a book called "Safe People" by Cloud and Townsend. It was a good one and goes well together with the book "Boundaries."  I told a friend of mine that if you read these two books together, you significantly reduce your chances of being hurt. :-) One of the sections of "Safe People" dealt with defining unsafe people. I found it helpful to identify the common traits of unhealthy people laid out in a list like this. Here they are:

1. Unsafe people think they have it all together instead of admitting their weakness.

2. Unsafe people are religious instead of spiritual.

3. Unsafe people are defensive instead of open to feedback.

4. Unsafe people are self-righteous instead of humble.

5. Unsafe people only apologize instead of changing their behavior.

6. Unsafe people avoid working on their problems instead of dealing with them.

7. Unsafe people demand trust instead of earning it.

8. Unsafe people believe they are perfect instead of admitting their faults.

9. Unsafe people blame others instead of taking responsibility.

10. Unsafe people lie instead of telling the truth.

11. Unsafe people are stagnant instead of growing.

12. Unsafe people avoid closeness instead of connecting.

13. Unsafe people are only concerned about "I" instead of "we".

14. Unsafe people resist freedom instead of encouraging it.

15. Unsafe people flatter us instead of confronting us.

16. Unsafe people condemn us instead of forgiving us.

17. Unsafe people stay in parent/child roles instead of relating as equals.

18. Unsafe people are unstable over time instead of being consistent.

19. Unsafe people are a negative influence on us, rather than a positive one.

20. Unsafe people gossip instead of keeping confidence.

Now the question is: What do we do with them? Unsafe people need love to.

Please Confront Me

It usually stings to get confronted by people. At least that's been my experience. We feel stupid. We feel attacked or judged. At least that's how I used to feel. I would most often feel this sense of discouragement. Picked on, not loved on. But over the last few years, all that has changed. Now, when I am confronted I feel so loved!! Deeply cared for. In fact, when someone helps me see where I dropped the ball, I feel so special. They care enough about me to help me instead of leave me the way I am. They love me so much that they're wiling to put themselves in an awkward position by telling me their feelings. Wow. How powerful.

Recently, I said something hurtful to a guy. Then, he came to me within the hour and told me. I was so thankful for him that it moved me to tears. He REALLY loved me that day. Instead of judgement, I got grace in the form of honesty.

Tricia asked me a few weeks ago to tell her what would make me feel more loved by her. One of the top three on my list was "do not hold back on me in places where I can grow to be more like Jesus"!

It's as simple as this: insecure and prideful people hate being confronted. Secure and humble people love it!

Which do you want to be?

Emotional First Fruits

We all experience joys and pains as we walk with Jesus. Victories and Defeats. And we long to share them. While listening to a teaching this morning, I encountered a brilliant reality that I desperately needed to hear. Here is the truth: The person to whom we take the first-fruits of our emotions to is the one we become intimate with. The first-fruits of our pain.  The first-fruits of our joy.

I am convicted. Because I realize that countless times, I have taken the first-fruits of my emotions to people (wife, parents, co-worker, overseer, a friend). I will tell people in full color what I was feeling before ever talking to God for even a minute. Then, sometime the next day or so, I will talk to God about everything in 1 minute with no detail, because, after all, the Lord already knew (he must have heard the 45 minute version I gave my friend). However, the reality is that I gave my first fruits of emotions away to people instead of God.

The byproduct of this is: we build great horizontal relationships while we weaken our vertical one.

In Psalm 25:1, David was in a great deal of pain. He was really hurting. He could have gone to a lot of people. But he took his pain to the Lord. It says..."Unto thee, Oh Lord do I lift up my soul"!  Then, BAM...he let's God have the first fruits. Not people.

I think this is a lesson I have been learning.  A change I have been making. But now I see it much more clearly.  And I intend to live this.

Jesus gets the first fruits.  Not just financially, but emotionally. 

Our Bipolar Marriage

Tricia and I celebrated 10 years of marriage last week.  And I am madly in love with this woman who keeps growing and becoming more stunning on the inside and the outside with each passing month. But here is something I want to share out of our journey. We have learned a lot about marriage and love in our years together. But, here is a lesson we have learned that you do not hear very often that we are ready to go public with:

Our marriage is bipolar.

Huh? What do you mean?

Well, bipolar means "having or relating to two poles or extremities" or "to be characterized by opposite extremes". Yeah, I know there is also a psychological disorder that goes by the same name.

But here is my point:

Sometime marriage is awesome! Life is good, you are in love, feelings are bubbly, sex is magical, and no one is in the doghouse.

Then, there are times (sometime a week after the last state) when you cannot seem to get one thing across without misunderstanding, feelings are less than "lovely", hearts are cold and sex...what sex?

Ok, so maybe it's not that bad, but the truth is, your marriage can feel bipolar at time.  We think it is normal. We feel healthy. Maybe you have felt this way before too and wondered what was wrong with you. I don't think anything is wrong with you. Keep working at it. Keep loving. Keep faithful. And every year it gets better and better if you are committed to it for life.

And this concludes my (perhaps bad) marriage advice for the day...

Truth or Lie?

If you respond to or react to poor behavior from another person, you are missing the point.  Behind every behavior is an emotion.

If you just focus on even the raw emotions of another person, you are missing the point. Beneath every emotion is a root hurt.

Even If you just focus on the root hurt in another person, you are still missing the point. Deeper than even the root hurt is a LIE.

I lie that has been believed and lived into. A lie that has taken hold...a strong hold (stronghold).

I am sorry to tell you, but you and I both still believe many, many lies. Our believing them is Satan's master plan. He is the Father of them.

But, God wants to give us truth--truth that will set us free (John 8:36).

In 2 Corinthians 10: 4-5, we see that the battle is fought against the lies in our minds where we must 1) demolish strongholds, 2) demolish arguments against the knowledge of God, and 3) take every THOUGHT captive.

What strongholds, arguments and thoughts are you still fighting in your mind that is feeding your hurt, your emotions and ultimately, your behavior?

Perhaps you should make a list of some lies you believe and in a column next to it, make a list of the counteractive truths.

Guilt ≠ Change


Confession: After almost 10 years of marriage, I still fail at it plenty! 


Now that this is out of the way, let me share openly (with Tricia's blessing) something I've learned from the Lord through our marriage witin the last few months.


Guilt does not bring change! Condemnation will not breed transformation. Beating yourself up will not lift you out. Guilt may help you make a change for a day or a week, but it will be a cover up, not a real repair. Feelings of condemnation and failure can be inspiring-- for all the worng reasons-- and none of the changes you make will really last-- not if guilt was their motivation. 


Let me prove my point with some transparency about my own life. I cannot count how many times Tricia (my wife) has let me know that I was not making her feel like my priority. She has found many ways to say it through the years, but it always comes back to the same things-- I want to feel like the most important relationship in your life, Noah! I want you to SHOW me that what you SAY about me is true." If I have heard it once, I have heard it 300 times. 


My reaction almost every time: I feel like a loser and a terrible husband. I feel guilty...becuase I am.  She is right. And out of my feelings of regret and sorrow, I launch a campaign to DO better. 


It never lasted. Becuase guilt ≠ change. 


A few months ago, while laying in bed it was : "Noah, I want to feel like number one to you after Jesus AND I really want you to lead me more spiritualy. You seem to be able to lead everyone else spiritually.  What about me?"  Now, stop here!  This was the exact place where, for the last 10 years, guilt would enter the scene.  Not this time. There was some pain.  It would be hard for anyone to hear this from their spouse. But something wild happened....


I felt LOVE! I felt Jesus loving on me. I felt him accepting me.  I sensed him hugging me. I heard him speaking to my heart and saying..."I love you, Noah, and the best motivation for change is love for me. When you love your wife, you love me." It was a powerful moment!  And it was one my first real tastes of love-motivated change. 


Since that night, things are different.  God's love for me is inspiring me to love Tricia more. The love and acceptance of Jesus is the engine that is propelling me ahead these days.  Not guilt! And it has felt WAY different and WAY more lasting than anytime before.


Guilt ≠ Change! 

The 3 things that hold you back


I feel like I meet a lot of people that are held back, hesitant, reserved, lacking confidence. Over and over again, I see incredible gifting and anointing in people that seem to not be operating to their potential.


In my short years of ministry and through prayer, the Lord has revealed to me what I believe are the three main areas that hold people back from being bold and confident with their voices and gifts

  1. Pain. You have been wounded somewhere along the line and you are afraid of it happening again. The wounds are not healed, so you are held back.
  2. Insecurity. For many varying reasons, you are just not secure in who you are and what you have to offer. Could be lack of affrimation, lack of theology of who God has made you to be or fear of man and desire to please them and feel important. Whatever the reasons, you are insucure and it compresses your gifts and your voice. (You may want to read this blog I wrote about Jesus and insecurity.) 
  3. Secrets. Enough said. Secrets in our lives make us feel totally unworthy to assert ourselves into any leadership or to speak up and offer our gifts and voice.  Secrets place major drag on your life.  (I reccomed highly that you read this post I wrote recently about secrets.)


Are you held back? Take a look at these three areas in your own life.  Take them before the Father in prayer.


I long to see your gifts released.  Please stop hoding back on us and robbing us all of what you have. We need it. We need you! Come on.

Ahead, Behind and Beside


This year has taught me so much about discipleship. Here is one of the things that has crystalized for me rather recently...


I think that we all need to be engaged in three types of discipleship relationships:

  1. Ahead: We need to ask someone ahead of us in their walk with Jesus to come over us and dsiciple us intentionally.  You open up to them and they speak into your life, challenge you and encourage you in the faith.
  2. Behind: Inetentionally select people that are not as far along as you in their faith journey...particularly someone that is spiritually hungry and containing noticeable potential and then ask them if you can disciple them.
  3. Beside: Engage in a few peer discipling relationships with people who are in a similar place as you in the faith. Challenge each other and walk with each other in an intentional way.

All three of these relationships must be:

  1. Intentional
  2. Accountable
  3. Centered around Jesus
  4. Focussed on obedience

I personally think that each of us should enter into at least one of each of these relationhips. Are you in any of them?  


Older related discipleship posts:

Previouly wrote about obedience based discipleship which I define HERE.

I have blogged about the fact that I think we have a discipleship crisis HERE

Then, I got lots of questions about whether you should pursue discipling relationships or wait on them.  I answered that HERE.

Even earlier, I had blogged about 2-way discipleship.  Read that HERE.

I love my wife more than my kids


Lily, our daughter, and second child was born one week ago today. There are a lot of things I am feeling and learning already.  But, allow me to share the one strongest feelings I have had since Lily arrived.


Last Saturday, just after the birth (less than 15 minutes), I told Tricia and her Doctor that this experience has only increased my love for my wife. Listen, I LOVE my kids...with a type of love I have never felt. But, when you have spent 13 years of love and almost 10 years of marriage with a woman you've been through thick and thin with, and she is now giving you your second child, you REALLY LOVE A WOMAN!  My first response to Lily's birth was a deeper love for Tricia, my wife for life!!


She has been faithful.  She has been honoring. She is full of inegrity and honesty. She has followed Jesus radically. She is a woman of noble character.  She believes in me more than anyone on the planet. She serves our home. She sacrifices for all 3 of us. After Jesus, she is my everything.


Growing up, when my Mom would upset one of us kids, we would go to Dad, who, though he administered most of the spankings, was typically softer than Mom. While trying to get Dad to side with us, he would ALWAYS say "your Mother was here long before you and she will be here long after you"! That stuck with me and it formed me.  


Look, I love these kids with crazy love.  But not like I love their Mother.  She is top, my gem, my angel. Has been since 1999 and will be until y'all attend my funeral or we attend hers. 


While you will not find a Bible verse to say this is how it must be, you will find many that suggest that this is how it should be. God never asked you to love your kids like Christ loves the church or to become one flesh with them, did he? (Genesis 2:24 & Ephesian 5:31-33)


PS- I know this easier for Dads to say than Moms. I will leave you to  think through that.  

Older Leaders


I want to share some thoughts about older leaders. Why? The purpose of this blog post is to increase grace, honor and understanding for leaders that are further along than you. But a few things need to be said first...


  1. First of all, these reflections are from my own expereince serving under the spirititual authority of older leaders. They may not be consistent with your experiences, but they are mine.
  2. Second, I am choosing to not define "older".  I will let you do that based upon whether you find the reflections applying to "older" leaders you have served with. Of course, these are gross generalizations that you can judge for yourself.
  3. Third, this email is not describing any one leader I have served under, but rather a sampling of a few. And I have been BLESSED to serve under some dynamite leaders. 


Older leaders can seem inflexible. Be careful before you conclude that. What you see as inflexibilty may actually be wisdom and commitment to integrity. They have more years of practice at standing firmly on what they believe in than you do. You would waiver and call it "good" and "flexible".  They just know what they believe in, get it said, and stand by it. What is wrong, is when they communicate their commitments with a pride or beligerance lording over others. 


Older leaders can seem stubborn and unwiling to see and consider other options and opinions. Let us imagine that you are working with a 60 year old leader and you feel that they are acting this way.  Stop and remember this: that 60 year old has had a solid 35 YEARS to learn and form their values.  Their values are based on what they have seen work and fail, please God and displease Him.  So, there is very little conversation when something has worked for 35 years and now you want to try to convince them otherwise.  Sure, there is always a slim chance that their personal value is wrong. But, 1) you will not change it and 2) the chances are higher that they are correct and you just have not had that "class" yet. So, let it go. practice submission and honor and see how you behave in 20-30 years. 


Honor and respect are totally different beasts. You give honor. People earn respect. Honor your leaders regardless of how much they bother you.  Keep pouring out honor as long as you serve them. Leaders often rise to the level of honor they have been given.  You can impact them this way.


Stop taking things personally. When they question something you do or suggest or propose, they are not attacking you. You will do yourself a major favor if you would get yourself out of the center of everything. Most of the time, it is not about you. And even when it is, it is their job to make you aware of it, not your job to assume it.


Stop slamming your leader.  If you are talking negative about your leader behind their back, you will have no confidence when you are in their face and your relationship will never be healthy. Honor them bhind their back. Even with your spouse.  In fact, your spouse will almost always follow your emotions.  If you do not like a leader, she/he will not either. If you honor them, so will they. 


Older leaders are a well of wisdom and stories....but if you are not interested in receieving what they have, they will be mature enough not to just force it on you.  Desire it.  Ask for it. Don't just sit there. You have to ask questions so they feel invited to share what they have.  Older age can be a very vulnerable time....give the leaders ahead of you the confidnce that you care to hear their hearts! 


How do you think I learned these lessons? Yup. The hard way. No reason for you to do the same.  Please share this news with others you know that need to read it. Save them some heartache.

Most People Look at Porn


Most men look at pornography. Practically all research indicates between 50%-80% of men and not too mush less than that for women--who have an even harder time abmitting it. Your Dad probably did, maybe he still does. Your brothers probably look at porn. Your husband probably looks at porn--and lies to you about it.  You Pastor likely looks at Porn too-- and is totally stuck because if he says a word to anyone, he's convinced he will lose his job.  


You might look at Porn to.  On the same computer you are reading this blog post on. 


And women look at porn too-- increasingly so.


And while looking at it, men and women alike, masturbate, leaving them artifically sexually satisfied and destroying normal sexualty with their spouse or future spouse. 


It is destructive, thrilling, addictive, exciting, harmless (so you think), harmful, and easy to hide while it destroys all that you are and all that the Lord wants to do in you.


This morning, I read one of the very best, open, and honest articles on porn that I have ever seen. It nails the issue with spiritual confidence and truth.  There IS HOPE!! 


Please click here at READ THIS post on Mark Driscoll's Resurgence Blog!!  I think you will find it powerful.  It is slightly, but appropriately graphic- be warned. 

How to Ruin a Relationship


Today I tweeted this: "Had a revelation today about how I've screwed up past relationships and how changing one thing has changed everything. Blog later."


I would like to tell you exactly how to ruin a relationship:

  1. Look for the bad in a person. (You will have absolutely no problem finding it.)
  2.  Judge them in your heart for their poor character. 
  3. Tell yourslef how much better you are--so that you feel really good about yourself.
  4. Look for opportunities to tell others about the poor qualities you've found in that person and slip it in like it is no big deal (or even as prayer requests or fake-care comments).
  5. If they agree with your negative sentiments, talk about the other person together-- and be sure to justify what you are doing by saying that you just needed a safe place to vent. 
  6. Make sure you tell your Spouse as well and make an excuse because it is ok to tell your spouse everything in your heart. 
  7. Keep repeating steps 4 & 5.
  8. Find other people that you do not like and repeat steps 1-7 again. 


Here is the impact of living like this.  Please read this carefully:

  • You are sinning and the sin produces guilt in your heart.
  • You are being disloyal and harmful to the person and deteriorating their character. 
  • When you see them, you will not be able to look at them in their eyes.  You will shady and shifty.
  • Someting will be "off" in your relationship. 
  • You will be carrying secrets.
  • Trust is lost whether the offense is ever uncovered or not.
  • The person you have bashed gets the vibes you are slinging with your shifty eyes whether they know anything or not.
  • Whether the person you gossiped to is totally trustworthy or not, the person you gossiped about WILL find out one day. Count on it.
  • You become insecure everytime you are with the one your gossiped about.
  • You can forget about any real in depth, life giving stuff happening in the relationship.
  • You have ensured that the relatioship will not last.  It is the beginning of the end. 


Sound like I know what I am talking about a tad? Yeah, because I have been there.  Done this.  Got the T-shirt. Ashamed and repentant, Tricia and I comnmited in our hearts when we landed here in Africa 10 months ago, that we would look for the good in people and talk about that and leave the bad to the Lord to work on. And we are currently forming the most honest, authentic and life changing relatioships we have ever had. 


Do you struggle with this? You can change. Start today. Call 1-800-shutyourmouth. Or email


Seriously, God can heal this in you.  Now.  Starting now. And as he does you will be amazed at the confidence you will walk in as you relate to people with guilt-free eyes and heart.

I want my Mommy! Happy Thanksgiving!


It's Thanksgiving morning in Africa.  Well, kinda. It is technically Thanksgiving in America. In Africa, it is just a normal day.  Our neighbors are leaving for the job site. All systems are go.


Today is our first meaningful holiday we have been away from family.  We have now lived here in Cape Town for 10.5 months. 


Yesterday, Mom sent me an SMS asking me what time we would be getting together to make my pumpkin pie- a tradition we have had for many years. It hit me when I read that. We will not be making our pie this year. I cried. In the grocery store.  Like a fool. I miss my MOMMY!!  


I will miss the vibes of this day.  The vibes on Thanksgiving day in America are just special! Crisp air, naked trees, Christmas already in the air, slamming food, Macy's parade, cider, smells, feelings...we miss it.  And I will miss seeing my beautiful sisters come strolling through the doors with their hair and make up all did up and their dishes of food all prepared. And my Brother-- he would be cooking up something domestic and unusual.  He will put a woman on defense. ;-)


As much as we will miss, we are also thankful and joyful today.  Thankful that Selah came to visit us.  So awesome!  It has made a massive difference. And we are excited to just go on a day trip to Hermanus and Franschoek.  Google them and be jealous. ;-)


And finally, I am thankful that we obediently followed Jesus to this place.  We are precisely where he wants us to be.  And there is not an earthly possession, no holiday, no friend or family member worth cashing that in for.  Will desire for obedience to God to be the main longing of our life....even if it costs and huts some days.  God makes up for it in other beautiful ways! 


So, today we are THANKFUL!  And we say to you, Happy Thanksgiving! 


Provocative Questions

Normal.dotm 0 0 1 529 3019 Capital Christian Fellowship 25 6 3707 12.0 0 false 18 pt 18 pt 0 0 false false false


I am coming to believe that there is major power in asking the right questions.  I am also learning that I stink at asking good questions and I want to get better. Proverbs 20:5 tells us that "the purposes of the human heart are deep waters, but those who have insight draw them out."  I yearn to draw things out of the waters of people's hearts. 


Here are 10 AWESOME questions to ask an accountability partner each time you meet. Use them regularly with another Jesus follower and I promise you that there will be fruit flowing from it.


1. Have you been a testimony this week to the greatness of Jesus with both words and actions? 

2. Have you been exposed to sexually alluring material or allowed your mind to entertain inappropriate sexual thoughts about another this week?

3. Have you been responsible with your finances or have you been consumed with wanting something that does not belong to you?

4. Have you been honoring, understanding, and generous in important relationships this week?

5. Have you damaged another person by your words, either behind their back or face-to-face?

6. Have you given into an addictive behavior this week? Explain.

7. Have you continued to remain angry toward another?

8. Have you secretly wished for another's misfortune so that you might excel?

9. Have you spent daily time alone with God in prayer and in the Word this week?

10. Have you left anything hidden in answering these questions?


Can you imagine what would happen if we all met in pairs, triads or quads and worked through these regularly?  Wow!  HERE is the link for these questions at their original source.  They are called LTG questions. 


For kicks and grins, here are some more provocative questions that I compiled and weeded through.  You could pick and chose these as the Holy Spirit leads you. 


This week....


  • Did the Bible live in me this week? Did I give it time to speak to me every day?
  • Am I enjoying prayer?
  • When did I last speak to someone about my faith? 
  • Did I disobey God in anything?
  • Was Christ real to me? 
  • What known sins have I committed since our last meeting?
  • What temptations have I been met with? Were you delivered? If so, how?
  • In what ways did God make his presence known to you since our last Meeting?
  • Which spiritual disciplines did God use to lead you further into holiness of heart and life?
  • Have you sensed any influence or work of the Holy Spirit since our last meeting? 
  • What spiritual gifts did the Spirit enable you to exercise? What was the outcome?
  • What is the condition of your soul? 
  • What sin do you need to confess? 
  • What have you held back from God that you need to surrender? 
  • Is there anything that has dampened your zeal for Christ? 
  • What do you need to ask the Spirit of God to reveal to you that you have not yet understood? 
  • Have you spoken with a non-believer about your faith in Jesus Christ? With Whom?



  • Is my conscience clear in how I feel toward and speak of the people in my life?
  • Did I break people’s confidence and share private information I had no right to share?
  • Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I going to do about it? 
  • Is there anyone toward whom I am jealous?
  • Did I give priority time, energy and emotion to my spouse and kids this week?



  • Have I been with a man or woman anywhere this past week that might be seen as compromising? 
  • Have I exposed myself to any sexually explicit material? 
  • Have I commited adultery or fornication this week?
  • Have I crossed any lines that it seems clear Jesus did not want me to?
  • How pure or impure have my thoughts been? 



  • Did I pray about the money I spent?
  • Have any of my financial dealings lacked integrity? 
  • Did I buy things that I did not need?
  • Am I currenytly looking to justify a purchase that I know I should not make at this time?
  • What have I given away this week?



  • Was I consciously or unconsciously creating the idea that I am better than I am?
  • Was I honest in all my acts or words, or did I exaggerate? 
  • Was I a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits?
  • Was I self conscious, self-pitying, self-absorbed, self-centered or self justified?
  • Did I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy? 
  • Was I defeated in any part of my life? 
  • Was I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy, or distrustful? 
  • Did I grumble and complain? 
  • What fruit of the Spirit would you like to see increase in your life? Which disciplines might be useful in this effort? 
  • What opportunities did God give you to serve others since our last meeting? How did you respond? 
  • Did you encounter injustice to or oppression of others? Were you able to work for justice and peace? 
  • How has the Bible shaped the way you think and live?


  • Did I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  • How did I spend my spare time?  
  • Have I spent adequate time in Bible Study and Prayer? 
  • Have I given priority time to my family?
  • Did I invest the proper quality / quantity of time in my most important relationships? 


HERE is where I gathered most of these questions and sorted through them. This is a compilation of the ones I liked best. 

Stop Posing. Secrets are Draining.


Living authentically is something I would guess most of us long for.  But the truth is that many people don't! The fact of the matter is that many people live with secrets. There is often a valley between who we portray ourselves to be and who we really are when no one else is looking. Sadly, sometimes it is more of a canyon than a valley


Speaking from experience, secrets are draining!  They zap the life out of you. They take the wind out of your sails. Maintaining a false image of the real you takes a lot of energy and focus...becuase you don't want to slip up and give a sneak peak of the real version of YOU. 


Look, I want to share something with you and I hope you hear the heart in it....


The more authentically you live, the more energy and life you will have inside your heart. I have found that the more I live out of the real core of who I am and not the fake me I want everyone to see, the following things happen: 

  1. Relationships stop consuming as much energy and start producing it.
  2. My conscience feels clean, so my eyes can look clearly ahead. 
  3. My sense of security goes up as I realize how much Jesus loves me...the real crap and all. 


Can I encourage you to look honestly at yourself.  Do you have multiple versions of yourself to keep up with?  The "you" you want others to see and the "real you"? Or are you living whole...with integrity? I really believe that the more you close the gap between the public and private YOU and the more you renounce secret and shameful ways, the more God will blow the roof off of your life and use you for the Kingdom. 


Keep real! Don't pose. 

Obedience to Jesus = Presence of Jesus


Obedience to Jesus is a theme that has been capturing my heart these days.  I wrote about it here


Obviously, John 14 and 15 take the cake when it comes to Jesus repaeting himself about this obedience thing. Watch this:


14:15- If you love me, keep my commands.

14:21- Whoever keeps my commands loves me.

14:23- Anyone who loves me will obey me.

14:24- Anyone who does not love me will not obey me.

14:31- I do exactly what the Father has commanded.

15:10- If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love.

15:14- You are my friends if you do what I command.

15:17- This is my command: Love each other. 


So, things are pretty obvious.  The print in my Bible for all these verses is in the color red.  Jesus was speaking.  And he was clear in his desire for our obedience.  This is how we actually love him...obey him.  


But, check this out.  I never noticed this until recently.  Not only does our obedience seem to communciate and prove our love for God, but it seems to me that our obedience also welcomes his presence and nearness.  Watch this:


14:1-4- Don't worry about anything or get afraid.  I am preparing a place where we will be together! Presence. 

14: 5-14- I am the way to the Father.  Relax.  If you are in me, you are in Him and have access to Him. Chill. Presence. 

14:15-21- As you obey me, I will send an advocate, the Holy Spirit who will always be with you.  As you obey, I will be with you-- I will never leave you as an orphan. Presence. 

14:23-27- I will make my home in your and give you major peace. Presence. 

John 15- Total connection...branch to the vine. Packed with presence and closeness. 


Then, listen to the famous great commision in Matthew 28: "Go into all the world, make disciples, baptize people and teach them to OBEY and I WILL BE WITH YOU TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH!"


Obedience = Presence. 


Seems to me that Jesus loves to BE where He is OBEYED! 


Your thoughts?

If it weren't for Jesus!


I can say with confidence that I love Jesus Christ more today than I ever have in my life! I love his heart.  I love his dreams.  I love his character.  I love his compassion.  I love his grace.  I love his mercy. I love his presence. I love his mission.


Many time in my life, I have heard people say Jesus saved them out of a life of destruction and sin. I can't really say that Jesus saved me OUT of that, but I can say that he saved me FROM it!


I have been trying to get to know me.  And the more I get to know me, the more I realize who I am and what I would be capable of if it were not for Jesus.


  • If it weren't for Jesus, I would be materialistic and greedy owning every new thing I could get my hands on showing no self control in getting it.
  • If it weren't for Jesus, I would be run over top of a lot of people to get ahead.
  • If it weren't for Jesus, I would be deeply insensitive to the needs and feelings of others.
  • If it weren't for Jesus, I would be sexually promiscuous with plenty of women, not the lover of one. 
  • If it weren't for Jesus, I would have never scored the godly GEM of a bride that I did.
  • If it weren't for Jesus, I would be addicted to alot more than just coffee, Apple products and reading. I would abuse tobacco, drugs and maybe alcohol. 
  • If it weren't for Jesus, my aspirations would be centered on money, pride and position...all things that pass away. I would have wasted my life on a bunch of meaningless junk.
  • If it weren't for Jesus, I would be leading a whole lot of people! But, as my Mom always told me, "Thank God that you are taking people to heaven with you.  If not, you sure would be taking a lot of people to hell with you!" I think if it weren't for Jesus, I would be leading and influencing alot of people down the wrond road!


But, because of is an entirley different story.  And today, I just have to tell you how thankful I am that he has saved me and how very much I love him!


He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. -Psalm 40:2

Free Coaching


For many of us, it is hard to be confronted.  It is hard for someone to tell you where you messed up, missed the mark or dropped the ball. It does not feel good to realize you were wrong. But the truth is that we all have things worng with our character.  And sometimes, people care enough about us to risk telling us.  Then, when they do, you have some important choices to make.


How will you react to the correction?  How defensive will you become?  Will you really listen? Will you really change anything?


Often, we get defensive and reactive.  Well, today, a friend of mine (who wishes to get his credit in heaven and not on my blog), shared something with me that I thought was profound.  He said:


When someone points out a flaw in your character, you should look at it like free coaching.  People pay lots of money for coaches, consultants and counselors that tell them what is wrong with them and how to fix it.  How much more valuable is the FREE gift of coaching from people who actually know you!  What a great gift!  Maybe if we would view correction into our lives as a GIFT of free coaching, we would become less reactive and more thankful and humble.


Just a thought...