In this short clip Pastor Tom helps us to discover how we can experience genuine change.
You will also enjoy several humorous moments!
In this short clip Pastor Tom helps us to discover how we can experience genuine change.
You will also enjoy several humorous moments!
Something happens when we venture away from the normal. I do not want to call it miraculous but it can be a step toward it.
When we leave the trail we begin to gain a greater sense of awareness. It also demands that we pay greater attention to our surroundings. To leave the trail means leaving the path where others have already been.
The trail called normal is normally smooth due to the number of previous travelers. Trails also serve as a comfortable guide. So truly; there is no need to pay attention to where you are going. Just follow the trail. The trail gives certainty.
Leaving the trail means entering into a sense of uncertainty. Oftentimes reaching for the next level will require you to leave the trail. To “go off” of the normal and let go of the usual.
This is not a easy step for many. We cling to our habits and most often stay in the familiar.
In the faith realm God often gives us instructions or an awareness that will require a decision that will challenge where we are. He is asking us to “go off” the trail. Push away from the normal and embrace the uncomfortable. People of faith often experience this as God makes us aware of the reality that He does not want us to keep doing it the way we have always done it.
Many of us need to be pushed into change. In some cases we need CPR to resuscitate our adventurous side. Most of have lost our ability to step out in faith, take risks, or step into change. Comfortable zones are like laying in the most soothing bed in the world. It says; come here, settle in, and I will give you constant rest!
Let’s resist the comfortable because it rarely leads us to our greatest purpose!
Let’s get back to CPR. This is my acronym to push you into a “go off” season in your life.
Many people believe that people who do great things are those who experience less fear than others. Actually the reverse is true. People who do great things are those who push through their fears and just do it afraid.
Some awesome quotes and I am not sure who to give credit to.
The courageous live forever, but the fearful hardly live.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it.
Nothing great ever happens without courage.
Courageous people have decided they’re not living afraid anymore. Bob Goff
And one of the most recent well know quotes on courage from the movie We Bought a Zoo..”it only takes 20 seconds of insane courage for something great to happen.”
The way we see things is epic to the way we respond. We must see things from the eyes of faith and possibility. We often fall prey to seeing the problem and fail to frame a doable solution. The key to future change is how we perceive the current circumstances.
In other words; it is often the repulsive of the ordinary that births the reaching for the extraordinary. This most often results from seeing your current circumstances by re-framing the outcomes and possibilities.
The impossible is not filtered by what looks possible or what was ever possible.
It is a matter of belief and action!!
Risk is best defined as the willingness to expose oneself to the unfamiliar, the unknown, or the possibility of danger, loss, failure or injury.
The greatest rewards are never experienced in the safe places. Risk is just that…risky. It carries an automatic fear and exposes the fearful heart. It also carries an incredible reward.
Divine risk and human safety are not compatibility. The greatest risk takers know that the greatest risk is playing safe. How many times have we seen great teams play not to lose rather than play to win the game. They often lose due to the fear of going for the win.
The truth is that we all lose when we play safe and fail to “go off” the trail. We lose the reward of change, the potential of fresh faith, and the joy of reaching the next level.
The next time you are on the walking trail just ‘go off’ into the uncomfortable and watch how alive you become!
Would love to hear from you.
Your comments are appreciated and encouraging.
Are lives are filled with challenges. These challenges often distract or destroy our faith. In this clip Pastor Tom challenges you to step out and do what God has called you to do.
One of my greatest desires was and is to be a great Dad. One of the reasons why is because my early 20’s were laced with a promiscuous lifestyle that hurt both women and children that I had contact with. Since those days I determined that when I had the chance I was going to better myself and make a difference to my family.
God graciously gave me that opportunity.
This decision came with a cost. As you know the benchmarks for faithful fatherhood never happen by coincidence or a string of good luck. In fact, there is no such thing as “the luckiest man/dad in the world” . . there are just those men who understand that an authentic life begins with a relentless attentiveness to the relationships of our life.
If that is your desire, here are four benchmarks:
Benchmark #1: Get Involved And Stay Involved
When Fathers stay involved the entire family unit is the beneficiary. I was very involved and aware of my children’s friends, relationships, phone content, and computer usage. I was not controlling and never overbearing, just informed. I was also involved in every sporting event and other important events and details of their lives.
Discipline and correction were easy because they both stemmed from a loving relationship. My boys knew their Dad cared enough to protect, correct, guide, and release. They also knew I was not their friend, I was their Dad.
One of my main goals as a Father was to raise men and not boys. I saw them as future husbands, leaders, and God seekers. My job was to prepare them for doing all these things well. So I realized the need to stay involved and here is why.
Children with involved fathers are:
develop better life skills
gain healthy independence
experience better self esteem
develop positive social skills
are more secure
suffer less depression
commit suicide less
experience pre-marital sex less
contribute to society more.
Benchmark #2: Be Their Biggest Supporter
Faithful fatherhood means becoming your child’s best fan, but It doesn’t mean liking or accepting everything they do. It does mean always accepting and rallying around them!
Benchmark #3: Be Their Kingdom Connector
With my kids, faithful fatherhood means that I am their corrector. I am also a prophet to their lives and a priest of our home. Being the priest of my home means I make sacrifice for them. I pray for them daily and speak God’s word into and over their lives.
Benchmark #4: Be Their Example
More is caught than taught. When we live a life worthy to be followed; we also leave a mark never to be forgotten. When I model what to do in hard times I leave an impression that my boys will never forget.
I am sure you can add some benchmarks a Dad can leave his children.
I would love to hear from you.
In this short clip Pastor Tom reveals how guilt creates a pay-system to God!
This is a guest post by Brandy Flanagan. Her info is at the bottom of this post.
But they all alike began to make excuses and to beg off. The first said to him, I have bought a piece of land, and I have to go out and see it; I beg you, have me EXCUSED. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to examine and put my approval on them; I beg you, have me EXCUSED. And another said, I have married a wife, and because of this I am unable to come.
Those of us who are parents know all too well the excuses of our children, “I forgot. It wasn’t me. He did it. The dog ate my homework”. Somehow when our children give us excuses, we do not except them and we try to teach them to take personal responsibility for their actions. However, how many of us Christians are walking around giving God and others, one excuse after another for our own actions?
We are just like these men in the above scripture, explaining why we cannot let the past or present go, so we can grab a hold of the purpose, love, and abundant life God has for us.I’ve met people that are still using their childhood or things that happened 20 years ago as an excuse to mistreat others and to rob themselves and their family of the present and future God has for them.
They are forever in the “victim” role, only dwelling and meditating on what has been done to them. If childhood events or a traumatic time in your teen/adult life have plagued you, you have more than likely done one of two things. Either you buried the trauma and tried to act as if it never happened until one day you implode or you became the victimizer, who explodes, punishing others for what someone else has done to you.
We have to get to the point where we say NO MORE EXCUSES! If you need counseling, get it. If you need to confront the person that committed the offense, do it. If you need to have a cry fest with God and just let it all out, then do it. We have to take personal responsibility for our actions today and get whatever help we need to move through and past the pain. There are generational curses we have to break so our children do not face the same pain and rejection we did. We have to be healed so our marriages can be healthy and not toxic.
There are people that are allowing self-doubt, fear of failure, and self-confidence issues to keep them from doing what they know God has called them to do. There is a business idea that has been placed in your heart that you cannot shake. There is a call to ministry on your life that you cannot run from. There is a career you have been called to so God can use you where you will be planted. But all you can think of is why you cannot do it. This is what the men of Luke 14 where fighting. “What if it fails and I lose everything? Who am I to be a minister…Look at all the things I’ve done in the past.
I am too messed up from my childhood. I don’t have the education. I am not smart enough to do that job. I’m not thin enough. I‘m not pretty enough…” We spend so much time telling God our excuses, we never see that if He called us to do it, then He has or will equip us. It is a faith issue. You do not have the faith that God will hold up His end. But there is one thing you can always put your trust in and that is God. He is faithful to do his part IF you will do yours!
No matter what the issue or excuse may be that has kept you from moving forward in life, you can do something about it. You do not have to waste any more time. You can say “I have dwelt here in the past and in these excuses long enough! Now I am moving into the life God has for me and my family- A life of victory and abundance.” Spend some time today praying and asking God to show you what you need to do to move beyond the past and lack of faith…then do it. It is time to live a life of No More Excuses!
Brandy Flanagan recently decided it was time to change her life. She is a newly inspirational speaker, writer, and entrepreneur. She and her husband, Scott, live in East Texas with their four beautiful children. You can follow Brandy on Twitter here.
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.
Thanksgiving 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.
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.
In this short clip Pastor Tom clearly shows us how specific seasons prepare us for our ultimate purpose.
You will enjoy this!