Finding My Soul Print

Posted: December 31, 2010 in Book Review

This is the third Mark Batterson book I’ve read and I am happy to say that this installment is from the heart,and  is inspired  by God, and in as few words as possible can and will show you glimpses of what God wants for your unique destiny. Mark makes a clear and concise disclaimer at the beginning of this book, and I concur, that if you are looking for a self help book your not in the right place.  As he puts it ” Self Help” is nothing more than idolatry dressed up in a tuxedo. However, if you are seeking to yield your  life to God and find out what he might have in store for your ministry, your family, and your walk and mission in life, then “Soul Print” is a read that will help you along your journey.

As usual, Mark mixes life experience with the scripture that show us specifically where God has worked in his life, and how God can work in our life. Mark impresses upon us questions that stir up the why behind our motives, and the what God wants to do with them.

King David himself, God’s beloved, is used as a backdrop to set the stage throughout the book of how God is more than willing to use humble servants who are intent on having their hearts reflect the Glory of God, no matter the sin, the tribulation, and heartache, we learn through this reading its a repentant heart God  can unleash within you in this season.

Mark Batterson, like other great pastors, asks the hard questions that get to the  nitty-gritty part of prophetic self discovery.

I personally am in a season where I am asking myself these hard questions as to why I want to be a pastor, and why my dreams and visions are not totally for self glory. I am also wrestling with discovering who God has crafted me to become, versus who I think I should be. This book has allowed me to meditate on scripture and pray that God will continue to give me revelation on how I can better serve him in his timing, and use gifts and talents he has given me to make an impact on this present generation.

Download a Free Chapter Here- Opening: Soul Print

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Grounded Ambition

Posted: December 21, 2010 in Word of Encouragement

Left to our devices we will find no end to the peaks we seek to climb and conquer…

Dave Harvey writes this in his book Rescuing Ambition:

“Goals may be great esteem boosters and  even solid guideposts, but they also tell us something about ourselves: they reflect desires. Sometimes they reveal a heart that understands God’s word and is ambitously reaching for ways to glorify God. At other times, goals are a monument to an exaggerated self-assessment.”

My list of goals and ambitions are short for the first time in my life. I usually have a vision, and a predicted outcome of doing good in my community or bringing in a necessary income so that I can better provide for my wife and daughter, and the list can go on. My intentions are good on the surface, however my eyes can be on something other than pleasing the Father.

I ask myself, why do I think I need to do this?

Am I trying to glorify the Father, or am I filling a desire for self importance?

Even if this is a Godly thing, is this where God would have me spend my time now?

I am being brutally honest with my ambitions, and praying that God would show me my heart in each matter. A very important part to the equation is actually listening to what God is showing me in prayer, scripture, and through those I hold my self accountable to.

Inviting God into every experience is key to our walk. I always invite God into my messy life experiences. When the car breaks down, the  finances are out of whack, and relationships are not going so well, I  invite God into them, and sadly thats usually after I’ve exhausted my own options.

What happens when I invite God into the midst of the good and the bad situations is amazing. His plan is perfect, and no matter the outcome, it has a rhyme and a reason.

In all of this my heart is the most affected, and that my brothers and sisters is what God is interested in first. He doesn’t need us to do anything for him, there isn’t anything he doesn’t already own, its all his! The choices we make to glorify him are more important than the numbers of souls we can bring to the pews, or the awesome worship music we can create, the wonderful ministry we have planned out.  The picture of my perfect Christian family is not more important than the fragrance of my attitude and my heart posture towards him.

Let’s ask the Lord what gifts, goals and ambitions in our life need to be pursued

Let’s ask the Lord what needs to be laid down at the cross for this season.

Be Blessed.

Song Titles: Destiny and The Concept

Desiring the Light

Posted: November 30, 2010 in Word of Encouragement

I humbly write in this space a word of encouragement to be a light in a dark place, to be the salt and light of the world, and to expose darkness more by how we live than how we “talk”.

My voice has been a loud megaphone for the Lord sometimes; I have been able to speak a word of encouragement to a brother or sister in distress. A word of encouragement to a person in a place of searching out the Father’s will for their life. What is better for some situations is our prayer and supplications, our quiet time with the Lord, and our obedience to allow our vessels to become a fragrant aroma in the presence of friends or foes, co-workers and peers alike. The reality is that God watches our moves, and the motivations and desires in our hearts.

What is our ambition in life? What do we pray for, and why do we pray for it? Would we be able to say with our lives that the “cup is clean on the inside as well as on the inside”?

There is no passing grade, and the only perfect grade starts with J and ends with S.

Somewhere in there, in the center of his will that is, we find his purpose for us. We find out what we are really made of, not primarily in the physical, but of the spiritual . How can we let more light shine in this dark place? It takes an honest search for the cistern that never dries, and us being that vessel waiting to be overflowing.

Be encouraged as I say that I am learning, just like you, what it means to make my life speak volumes about what Jesus has done in my life.

I’ve got life insurance, a down payment has been made, and when its all said and done, I know where I’m going.

I had a revelation, or rather a re-revelation. I’ve been convicted of falling into the mundane pattern of getting stuck in the day to day, Monday to Friday routine. It’s a little scary to think that we as humans are so easily distracted, to the point that we find ourselves lost, again. At the same exit ramp for the fifth time, at the same landmark for the tenth time. Only the Holy Spirit can guide us where we truly need to be.

So I take a deep breath, and remind myself that we are not alone, and we are not expected to have all the answers. What we are urged to do is listen for the shepherds voice, each moment, every day.

How do we hear his voice when everything is so loud?

The word that came to my wife and I was to get unplugged. To sort of reprioritize our time and energy, and put it into the life giving things that excite us and rejuvenate us. Holy is what we want to be, and holy is what we will be when we seek out things that glorify him, those habits will have us ready to go to him in the end, and also prepared to live a life that pleases him.

Peace and Blessings

Technology and God

Posted: October 4, 2010 in Word of Encouragement

Technology is our modern day Tower of Babel. I say this jokingly as I type this on an iTouch, and my wife video chats with her mother in another part of the country.

I have witnessed technology transform a nation dramatically. The last election was won by Obama because he took full advantage of he social networks the younger generations seek relationship through.

My hunch is that we are at a crossroads as a people. Christians are just as engrossed in the world as the unsaved. Our social networks might look a little more tame, but at the core of it all, we are spending the same amount of time in virtual realms, being distracted.

The good news is that God uses anything to capture his chosen ones. Email, YouTube, media heavy worship are all also pervading our “religious” world.

This transmission will hopefully reach someones computer screen. Maybe this will resonate, and they will pass this message along.

BEWARE!! Time is running out. The things of this Earth will come to pass. From ashes we came, to ashes we will return.

Where are we spending our time? Who are we keeping company with? Are we seeking to glorify God, or are we seeking the glories of this Earth?

Seek First His Kingdom!

Blessings!!

Desert Days

Posted: September 6, 2010 in Journal Entry

Starting to feel that feeling when you know the situation is calling for God to intervene, and for me to have faith. Faith is usually categorized as a hope and confidence in something, or someone that has not yet been realized. Right now I have to believe that God is going to come through, and that if I put myself out there, he will be faithful to do the rest. To pick up the slack so to speak and go where I can’t go. Typically we think of ourselves as his hands and feet here on Earth, but when it comes down to it, he is the one that opens and closes the doors. He walks the lonely paths with us. Ultimately he takes us where we can’t go, where our heart and will just meet their limit.

My prayer is that when the situation seems insurmountable, I stay in the center of his will, not wavering to the side of anxiousness, pride, and self-willed determination, and not crushing myself in despair, and giving up on the mission.

Lord have mercy on me.

A video I did for my friends at Chi Alpha.

Slow and Steady Plotting

Posted: September 2, 2010 in Journal Entry

This past couple days I think the Lord has been calling me into a place of intense focus on the little things in life. For me in particular I am making choices to focus in on the relationships that affect me, from the greatest to the least. This means I ask myself what kind of conversations did I have with God. Did I have any conversations with God? What were my interactions like with my wife? My 2-year-old toddler?

I just got through the 4th chapter of a book by Paul Tripp titled “What Did You Expect” and it is chock full of wisdom that continues to point a finger at the person in the mirror, and also that person’s heart.

Did I miss any opportunities to minister to my co-workers today? Was I too preoccupied with what I didn’t accomplish the day before, or was I possibly too distracted by what I think I must accomplish the rest of the day.

My prayer is that I pay attention to the smaller moments that God provides. Be it the conversations with my wife, the play time with my child, or the books I read.

Everything adds up to something.

10“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? (Luke 16:10-11)

My other prayer is that I can see what God has entrusted to me, and to cherish it, to do the best I can with what I have, and to never regret what might be  lost.

Sunday Mind Musings

Posted: August 15, 2010 in Word of Encouragement

It’s Sunday and for most it’s restorative, enlightening and rejuvenating. I’ve been meditating and praying on two main verses that were prayed over me by my wife and friend after church. Psalms 1 and Psalms 92. On top of that I’m halfway through “A Praying Life” by Paul E. Miller. I’m totally fascinated by the fact that prayer is not as complex and boring as I’ve made it out to be.

I’ve only been a Christian for 4 years not counting my childhood baptist church days, and without a doubt I can attest that we trivialize prayer, and we get cynical about its power and impact when done through Christ. The other day I found myself praying to God to help me find my keys I lose at least once a day. I’m also reading a great book on marriage titled “What Did You Expect: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage” by Paul David Tripp. I am blown away by the revelation that my idea of marriage, eventhough it’s fabricated through my understanding of the bible, is off center, and at best a 10% chance of how close God wants me to be to the truth.

With two books, two verses a day to read, on top of the occasional One Year Bible devotional, I’m swimming deep in God’s truth and need to sort it all out. I’ve come to the conclusion that God calls a sabbath not just for a physical rest, but a mental and spiritual rest. A retreat from the hustle and bustle of your 9-5 job, or if your young, ambitious and growing a new family, your 7-6 job has you dreaming of sleep right as you’ve left the office. The only set back is that my wife calls me to let me know we are out of bread and milk , and you need to swing by the supermarket.

But for the record God has called you into this place of work for a reason which will ultimately bring you closer to knowing him.

By the end of this Sunday, I’m hoping I was a blessing to my family, able to help my wife and daughter Sabbath. I’m praying that I blessed the Lord by actually slowing down, taking a load off, and actuallyy taking a much needed REST! My rest came in the form of some football, some book reading, and a long walk with the family.

God willing, tomorrow will be a productive day, and the week for that matter, will be a reflection of charging my batteries with God, his truth, some faith the size of a mustard seed.

Be Blessed this week.