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Thomas E. McDaniels

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My thoughts on Ferguson

strait_nThis is a guest post from Pastor Marty Strait the Lead Pastor of Pathway Church in Longview, Texas.   His information is tagged at the bottom of this post! 

My thoughts on Ferguson:

1. WE WEREN’T THERE. None of us really know what happened. Nor do we know what motivations were in the hearts of Darren Wilson or Michael Brown. Officer Wilson may be a racist, or he may have been protecting himself as he fulfilled the responsibilities of his job. Michael Brown may have been a victim, or he may have been a criminal. We don’t know.

2. A PERSON LOST HIS LIFE. Regardless of the circumstances this is tragic. The value of life is something that can only be measured by the price that God was willing to pay for each of us. Our hearts and prayers should be with Michael Brown’s family.

3. A PERSON’S LIFE IS RUINED. Darren Wilson’s life, as he knows it, is over.  Although acquitted, there are still threats against he and his family. There are activist who will not rest. He will be seued in civil court and that process will be costly and difficult and no matter the outcome, he still loses. He and his family will never live a normal or fair life again. We should also pray for him and his family.

4. THE MEDIA BENEFITS FROM CONTROVERSY AND CALAMITY. It is important to note that the reason we have a nation enraged is because we a have a media that has aired many conflicting versions and asked many provoking questions. Now they get to benefit from Ferguson’s pain. By the way, if you are basing what you think happened on what you read or saw on TV, I promise you are wrong.

5. RACISIM STILL EXISTS. Unfortunately, it has become clear in the last two days that racism is still prevalent in our society. We have white racists and black racists. We have poor racists and rich racists. We have famous racists and we have ordinary people who are racists. You probably have been shocked to learn that some of your friends are still battling racism. It is sad, disappointing and tragic.

6. THERE IS STILL WORK TO BE DONE. Racism is a cancer, it eats away at our society and causes our nation to suffer. Before we can see change, we must decide what the real enemy is. It isn’t skin color, it’s judgement based on skin color, and that must change. We must be honest with ourselves, cleanse our hearts and work together.

7. WE ALL HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY. We get to choose whether we are part of the solution, or the problem. Before you speak, post or act. Ask yourself what your motive is, and if what you are about to say or do unifies or divides. At the end of the day, we all have opinions and most of those don’t need to be shared.

About Pastor Marty

Pastor Marty Strait  is the Lead Pastor at Pathway Church in Longview, Texas.  Pathway Church is a great church with a passion for people and to connect people to God, His people, and His purpose.  We hope you will connect to both Pastor Marty and his church.

Re-Post/Thanks-Living

thanksgivingThanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  It touches many of the things that we Americans love most. Things such as; time off work, hanging out with family, watching endless football, and eating delicious food. These things must touch the top 5 greatest joys of life in America.

I must say, that the Thanksgiving Holidays are some of the best days of the year for my family.  We value waking up together, sharing a late breakfast, tuning in the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade, and preparing for a great turkey meal with ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, and a variety of sweets and desserts

Football stays on the TV even if no one is watching.   We follow the meal with a “family feud” that we call dominoes. The competition begins mild and intensifies as the game continues. The slurs also increase as the game progresses. Even if your not playing it’s quite entertaining to just listen in.

If the weather is conducive the young kids and middle aged men throw around the football and team off for a mild game of pickup football. Each year reminds me that I have only a few games remaining for this activity. 

All of it is a part of the holiday we call Thanksgiving. But the greatest thing about Thanksgiving is; it reminds us to give thanks to a God who gives us all these pleasures and family fun. As I reflect on the joy of this day I am sure we should do this more than just one day a year.  thanks1

Maybe we should also practice “giving thanks” more often?

If we were to practice “giving thanks” every day, maybe we could call it “Thanks-Living” rather than Thanksgiving! 

Let’s remember to give thanks to God for His undeniable blessings, and remind ourselves to live this way more often.  

Remember to post your comments, thoughts, and ideas.

The Season of Preparation

In this short clip Pastor Tom clearly shows us how specific seasons prepare us for our ultimate purpose.

You will enjoy this!

Prepare Your Future Before it Arrives

In this clip Pastor Tom makes the important point of preparing for your future before it arrives.

Interview – Defining Moments

Defining MomentsI was recently interviewed by David J Miller of Life Notes Cafe. 

The interview was concerning the  release of my new book “Defining Moments.”  I have posted the interview below.  I hope you enjoy the exchange.

1) You first delivered “Defining Moments” as a sermon series . . how did God speak to your heart about your own spiritual walk with Him during that time?

Defining Moments have always been a part of my own life.  I have always entered environments, places and especially anointed services with an expectation for God to do something remarkable in me.  God often left a deposit in me as I reached for God in these environments.  These were defining moments.  I think we often fail to allow our experiences to be developed into experience. Much like the book and depicted from the Life of David, my own struggles, and difficulties are what has shaped my life and left indelible defining moments in me! 

 

2) What is your favorite chapter in the new book? Why? My favorite Chapter is Chapter 7….David’s Dedication. The reason I like this chapter is the symbolism of Christ’s commitment to us. We are all like Mephibosheth. We are all lost. All cast-a-ways. All broken and all lame. David keeps his covenant with Jonathon just like Christ kept His covenant with His Father. And we All have the privilege of coming to the table and eat with the King. 

3) In the book you state that God allows battles/enemies to rise up in our lives, not to crush us, but to fan the flames of passion for freedom in Christ? Might a great spiritual mentor or advisor spare us from unnecessary battle?

Yes absolutely.  But I am of the premise that somethings cannot be passed on.  I strongly believe that the Holy Spirit is the primary teacher and He certainly uses mentors and teachers but there is something significant about personal exposure to pain, pressure and struggle.  Jesus was our frontrunner on this.  He learned obedience by the things He suffered.  If a mentor could pass this one certainly Jesus had the pass code to this. 

4) How do you keep your “faith” at 100% during the greatest battles of your life? You know, an overcomer mindset?

Staying in the word.  Renewing your mind.  Never allow your own mind to think it’s own thoughts.  I know this sounds super spiritual or even impossible.  But, recognizing your own mind and the true mind of Christ is key. If you allow your mind to think it’s own thoughts and walk in the flesh, it will.  If you discipline your mind, replace your thoughts with His and not allow your mind to wander through complaining, gossip, self destruction, you will win battles.  I have never lost a battle that I submitted to God’s word. 

5) We discover in your book that bringing God glory requires a heart that is prepared for change on any scale (“Commitment is signing a blank piece of paper and allowing God to fill in His will”)

Is our culture not full of “Christians” who have yet to realize it is about Him not us, Christians who have added Jesus to their life, but have not made Him their sole desire? What needs to happen?

The pulpit must be reserved for spiritual truth.  We have too much teaching toward the soul. We have limited the call to Christ as answering a phone call or altar call and not a lifestyle. We are not called to simply answer the call we are called to follow the call.  We have failed to make the call to Christ about discipleship.  We have made it about conversion.  I certainly want to do better here myself.

6) David knew failure – how do we help the church not sideline it’s leaders who have failed?

Firstly, We must first die to our self-righteousness. Most of us are hard on others in the areas we are strong. We also must look for genuine repentance in the leader and have a clear plan to restore the leader.  Accountability is key here.  We start with confession to all necessary parties, apply grace, follow up regularly and offer strong accountability.

7) Pastors often make poor Dads (like David) – what needs to change?

Obedience to scripture is a must.  If the church Fathers (elders, deacons or…) must make sure their Pastor is engaged in his family. The scripture clearly says if they are not handling their family, they certainly cannot handle the church.  So we start there.  If the church is the Pastor’s mistress that is clearly adultery.  The problem becomes that most Pastors make the church tick, and we place that priority over the Word.  We are paying the price for this mistake!!

8) How can our readers get their own copy of “Defining Moments”? It will be available as an ebook at Amazon.com soon and print copies are available at www.thomasmcdaniels.com.   We are also planning on releasing a small group study in January 2015

The Command of Purpose Pt. 2

purposeThe title depicts a reality that the person who discovers their purpose has a command on life. A command that few of us often never find.

Allow me to first make clear that our ultimate purpose is revealed by the God that designed us.  Finding our ultimate purpose is uniquely connected to finding the God that created us.  Many people make the mistake of trying to find their purpose without finding their creator.

Everything created is created with a purpose and only the creator can define the purpose of the created!

There is a truth to the fact that a discovered purpose places us in a commanding position. The position to command the field we will work in.  The position to command the what I will not do. Yes, it’s true, knowing your purpose is certainly the position of having an upper hand.  It certainly places you in the better position since 94% of Americans have not discovered their primary purpose.

Yes, it is also true that not knowing your purpose will create an identity crisis.

If we do not know our purpose we cannot determine our choices. One way that personal identity crisis occurs is where we focus more on function than our ultimate purpose.  In other words; this is the place we focus more on what we do rather than who we are.

Life’s greatest discovery is who we are.  The trouble is that most of us settle for surviving rather than thriving.  We thrive when our life is synced with our purpose and the reason we were born. This positions us to connect our gifts and talents to our ultimate purpose. When we connect gifts and purpose we then unlock our passions.  The people who have connected passion, gifts, and purpose are thriving in life.

These same people thrive with purpose and their passion gives them an added edge. I call this living by design. The design of God that detours default living. Those living by default subject themselves to making a living rather than making a life.

I love to say; never substitute what you can do for what you were called to do.

Many fall into this because they use the wrong filter to discern their purpose. Many use talent as the talentplumb line.  Talent alone is never the main source of determining your purpose.

I have come to realize that undiscovered purpose is much more important than discovered talent.

Talent and gifts often steal ultimate purpose.  Many of us have natural gifts that are never the final determination of discovered purpose.  Many Pastors have a gift to do business and to do it well.  This natural talent of leadership in business does not indicate the purpose of God over their lives.

I know talented Pastors who can make a living a several different fields.  This does not mean that their talent is the ultimate measuring rod of where they should work.

Here are a few suggestions for discovering your ultimate purpose.

1.  Discover beyond yourself

Many make the mistake of trying to discover their purpose by only looking inward.

2.  Discover the God of the Bible

God created you for a purpose. Your purpose was created before you were formed in the womb.

3. Discover the difference you want to make

Think and give thought to what, where, and how you want to make a difference. This is a bigger clue than discovering your gifts.  This is the bigger picture to your life and calling.

4.  Discover your “from God gifts

Not only your natural gifts although they have value.  Your God-given gifts indicate the higher purpose of your design and purpose.

5.  Discover your desires/passions

If you are born again then your heart desires must link to God’s desires for you.  Your greatest passion is not living our your passions, but seeking to know God’s passions for your life.

You see; the discovery of your purpose may be life’s most important discovery.

Let’s consider it vital!

Hope this helps. Would love to hear from you.

 

The Command of Purpose

purpose Finding our purpose may be the primary key to living a fulfilling life.  The current statistic is that 94% of Americans have not discovered their primary purpose. What a tragedy!!

There is only 1 way to be an original and that is by being yourself.

I recently was invited to preach at a church very different from the church I am employed.  The Pastor of that church called and said;  “be sure and be yourself tonight, we called you because were confident you would preach your way, not ours.”

It is so true, that exactly like the snowflake there is only 1 of each of us.  No 2 of us are alike. Each of us has a unique fingerprint because God has created us to make a unique imprint in life.  It is  also true that you are the best you, available!

God has made each us extraordinary.  A part of the “extra” in our ordinary is our ability to discover our unique self and the peculiarity of our personal existence. Many times we fall prey to imitating others. This often occurs when we have failed to discover our unique purpose.

Purpose is defined as; the reason for which something exists or is made, an intended end, aim, or goal.  You were not brought into this world without a specific design and intention of God.

Your purpose was designed prior to your arrival here on the earth.

The actual fact is; you were created before the foundation of the earth. And not just created but fearfully and wonderfully made by God the Father.  Father God put elaborate thought and purpose into your design. His ultimate intention was you were created for His purpose!

Rick Warren says; the purpose of life is far greater than your personal fulfillment, your peace of your own personal happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or your wildest dreams.  If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God, you were born by His purpose and for His purpose. 

bullseyeSo our greatest discovery is not what I will die for, but what will I live for!

I personally believe that until we make the discovery of our purpose our highest desire we will never find it.

So this becomes our greatest challenge and should become our highest priority. I realize this blog does not answer the “how to’s” to discover your purpose.

My intention in this post does not include the how, but to touch your heart and realize the importance of this vital need.  My hope is to shout into your soul that finding your purpose is the genesis of living a fulfilling and satisfied life.

Anything less is just being alive!

My next post will take us closer toward our journey. You can click here to watch a video that will enhance your journey and expand this post.

Would love to hear from you.

 

 

 

Freedom

In this short clip Pastor Tom shows us God’s desire to set us totally free!

Knowledge is Not Enough

In this clip Pastor Tom hits hard on a few of our cultural preferences over our Christian principles.  You will enjoy this one!

Prominent Leadership Learnings

importantAll believers in Christ should be learners (disciples) and learners are continually growing, changing, and developing.  Personal development is a necessary aspect of both a believers life and the life of a leader.

Personal development takes on a whole other aspect for those who follow Christ and have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. As a Christian we have the opportunity to change every day as the Holy Spirit is a personal trainer for us to become more like Christ.  This is like change on steroids.

This is not the heart of this writing but is a prominent point in how believers and leaders should live and how we can live a victorious Christian life.

Living above the circumstances of this life are never easy.  All of us walk through struggles, and challenges that steal our passion, dampen our hope, and steal our joy.

While this is a reality, believers and leaders have learned profound truths that keep them focused and balanced.

So I wanted to share a few of my “Prominent Leadership Learning’s.”

1.  Minimize your struggles and maximize your opportunities opportunity

This is one of my most important principles.  Being a Pastor makes me no stranger to struggles. I have my own and I Pastor lots of folks with a variety of challenges.

Some people make a living on struggles and their life is a constant cycle of going from struggle to struggle.

Learning to look for the opportunity in every struggle requires discipline and temperance. It is a foundational principle that can keep us from allowing temporary circumstances to steal our victory.

There is truly a silver lining in every cloud if we will simply look for it.

2. Turn your experiences into experience.

Many people go through life and never allow their experiences to birth change in their life.  Have you ever seen the kind of people that go from one challenge to another and fail to learn the lessons in the challenge?

We must realize that one of God’s teaching strategies is to allow challenges into our lives.

I do not believe that challenge is our primary teacher, but I certainly know that God allows tests that build our character. These tests also become lessons that serve us in making good decisions and  gaining needed experience.

3.  Lead from your passion and serve from your kindness

A few years ago I was struggling in a few leadership areas.  As I wanted to turn my experiences into experience so I began to do some introspection. At one point I realized I needed a complete overhaul in my leadership and the way I was serving.

I was leading from my kindness and serving from my passions. Trying to lead from kindness meant I was trying to make everyone happy because I wanted everyone happy with me. This was actually a huge mistake.

serve

In trying to serve from my passions I was focused solely on the projects and not on the people.

While this is a little hard to explain I hope you are seeing the big picture here. After seeing this clearly I realized the need to reverse this.  This reversal was life-changing for me. It gave me a base of how to lead and how to serve more effectively.

OK. There it is.  It was simple yet profound and if applied can truly change your life. Knowledge alone is rarely life-changing, but knowledge applied always births change into your life.

Hope this helps.

I would love for you to leave a comment.

 

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