Remembering Christ

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Well, it is Resurrection Sunday. I am honored to take this time each year to remember the sacrifice that was made on the behalf of mankind. I remind myself each day that His death embodied the death of everything that I used to be. His burial covered my old life completely from memory. And with His resurrection, I rose to a new life that is pleasing to God. My faith in this truth has given me a new life! Thank you Jesus!

Be blessed.

“You Have Not Many Fathers” by Dr. Mark Hanby (Review)

“A son can be perfect in form and fully knowledgeable of his purpose, but live completely paralyzed by the lack of a father’s voice to bring life…” Dr. Mark Hanby

I honestly believe that the generation that is alive today is amongst the greatest generations that has ever lived. Not only are we highly intelligent and technologically advanced, we are also full of creativity, passion, and vision that can transform the world. Although some believe us to be lost and immoral, I truly believe that this generation simply demands from life a deeper meaning and purpose. A sincere authenticity, rather than baseless and antiquated platitudes, is required in order to capture the hearts of this generation.

Despite the greatness that lies within us, we somehow have not completely measured up to the fullness of our potential. It truly breaks the heart to see so many young people with greatness within, wasting their lives with ill and fruitless pursuits that ultimately culminate in unmanifested dreams. For followers of Christ, this is especially troublesome since the entire weight of the purposes of God’s Kingdom rests on the shoulders of a generation that has great gifts and potential, but for some reason seems to have lost its way.

Dr. Mark Hanby, in his book “You Have Not Many Fathers”, asserts that the reason why the church as whole is not completely walking in the fullness of the power and influence that God desires is because we have lost respect for the order of transferring power from one generation to the next; that order is from fathers to sons. Fathers (i.e. mentors or elders) are there to identify the potential within a person and assist them in developing and releasing it to the fullest. This relationship is affirming to a son or daughter (i.e. mentee/pupil), allowing him or her to be sent forth into his or her destiny wearing a coat of confidence and assurance of identity, purpose, and power. Sadly, one the greatest attacks we face as a generation is the total destruction and/or perversion of this most holy and most necessary order. Without it, this generation has been lost and stranded in a wilderness, possessing greatness on the inside that never reaches its fullness. If we are to rescue our generation and the purpose of God that lives within our hearts, we have to restore God’s order by reconciling the hearts of spiritual fathers to the hearts of their sons.

From a very young age I have always known what I was created to do. Believe it or not, I’ve been preaching since I was about three years old. At birthday parties, family get-to-gathers, anywhere there was an audience, I wanted to preach. Can you image a little kid with a small Gideon’s Bible, walking around preaching? Yup, that was me! My journey has been long, and not without a number of pitfalls along the way. Yet I never lost my zeal for God and for preaching His truth. If nothing else, my desire has only magnified and the wisdom of God has greatly increased within me. However, I can’t but wonder if I should be further along by now. I understand, everything has its season and timing. But if I ask myself “Am I living up to the level of my inner vision and potential?”, I would have to say that I clearly have work to. You know, we all start out with big dreams and visions for the future, but when the future becomes the present, it rarely lives up to the magnitude of our original dreams. Like many of my generation, I believe God called us to do great things, to have great influence, and to change the world. But what has been holding us back?

If you examine individuals that are successful in fulfilling their dreams and walking in their destiny they all seem to have few things in common. Despite being talented, gifted and knowledgeable in their craft, they all seem to have a certain grit and they wear a coat of confidence that aids them in their pursuit. They know who they are and they don’t spend time trying to qualify themselves for their destiny. Not seeking validation from their achievements, they believe they are supposed to succeed, and they do. Sometimes this confidence comes from inner strength or from a history of facing and overcoming life’s adversities. More often than not though, this power to move into destiny is bestowed upon them through the loving support of some parent, mentor, or role model that gives them the confirmation and the confidence they need to succeed.

In the life of Jesus, it was clear from the very beginning that God had an awesome destiny in store for Him. In fact, when Jesus was 12 years old, His parents lost Him for a few days because He was in the synagogues listening to the teachers and asking questions. However, you don’t see Jesus doing anything in ministry for a long period in His life. From the time He was 12 until He turned 30, you don’t hear much about Jesus doing any great miracles and preaching any great sermons. The Bible simply teaches that He grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and with man (Luke 2:52). However, something extraordinary happened to Jesus at the age of 30. As He went down to the Jordon River to be baptized, God spoke from heaven saying “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”(Matthew 3:17). With these words, God’s Spirit (the Father’s coat of blessings and power), came and rested on Jesus. It was only after the Father’s affirming words spoken over Jesus’ life that He was commissioned to move forward into His destiny. The words of God affirmed who Jesus was, clothing Him with assurance, confidence, and the power that was needed to fulfill His destiny.

Like Jesus, we may have a great calling or destiny, great gifts and visions, but without the validation and commissioning of a father, we are not properly equipped to carry out our mission. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you need validation from man before you know you are called or before you can function in your destiny. God and God alone, the heavenly father of us all, calls us and affirms us before any man says anything. However, whatever God affirms in your heart, he also confirms through the heart and vision of elders. It’s one thing to know that you have a calling. It is a different thing when that calling is confirmed by a father or elder. It is one thing for you to see it. It is a different thing when someone who is seasoned and respected in the area you are called to can look you in the eyes and say “I see it too”.

Not only does a father confirm that there is greatness within you, he also helps you correct areas of weakness and creates an environment where you can gain experience and increase your skill, confidence, and self awareness. Finally, a father knows when you are ready and can declare when it is time for you to be sent forth. This fathering process is a clothing or equipping relationship for the son; it provides a mantle of confidence and power to commission purpose and destiny in his life.

Like so many children of this current generation, I have struggled for years in my life, knowing I had greatest within me, seeing it for myself and experiencing a measure of success, but without experiencing the benefit that comes from a father’s confirmation in ministry. Although knowing your own greatness is vitally important and beneficial, being fathered by someone that can stand on the outside looking in and who can see and speak to that greatness adds a measure of power that can not be obtained any other way. Sure, the world is full of “self-made” men and women who have to do it all by themselves. But this was never God’s intension. The problem with being self made is that every generation is doomed to have to start over from scratch, wasting years and strength having to figure everything out anew, without the benefit of wisdom passed on from elders. The pain of abandoned sons struggling to find themselves and to overcome challenges without the benefit of the love and support of spiritual fathers is both crippling and paralyzing, leaving many in our generation lost in the wilderness still pregnant with unfulfilled dreams and unrealized potential. Oh, what many of us wouldn’t give just to hear the voice of a father say “I see your greatness too! I am here to help you to fulfill your dream.” It is the key to unlock the greatness within and to set us on the course to fully release destiny.

A father’s confirmation acts as coat of confidence (i.e. Aaron the High Priest’s rob or Elijah’s mantle in the Bible), that is passed from father to son, transferring power from one generation to the next to fulfill destiny and purpose. What this current generation needs more than anything is fathers to show us the way, to turn their hearts to us and commit themselves to fathering the vision and potential that lies dormant within us. In the Malachi 4, God declares that the day is coming when God will cause the hearts of the fathers to turn back to lost and abandoned children and for children to turn back to their fathers. Without the restoration of this vital bond, this generation will remain lost and naked, condemned to try to navigate through the wilderness of destiny without a compass to lead the way.

To purchase “You Have Not Many Fathers” by Dr. Mark Hanby, click the following link

http://www.amazon.com/You-Have-Not-Many-Fathers/dp/1560431660

Blessed to be a blessing! Helping our friends and neighbors in Haiti.

The following video is an awesome example of human compassion in a time of need. Let us all be inspired by Dr. Gupta’s example to use whatever means we have to help.

CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE VIDEO

To whom much is given, much is required. Even though we may be going through some personal economic hardships here in the United States, it is events like what is going on right now in Haiti that reminds us of how fortunate and blessed we really are.

We are really blessed in our country, far beyond most nations on the planet. It seems our whole society is so blessed that hardship for us may be not being able to get the outfit we want or not being able to take the vacation we planned. I do believe hardship is relative and I don’t mean to belittle our challenges. But try not having a place to stay or not knowing where you next meal is coming from. Try going through the anguish of seeing your whole nation crumble before your eyes or seeing dead bodies lining the streets. Simply heart breaking.

It’s wonderful to be blessed and I believe God wants to bless us. But let us never forget the purpose of the our blessings; to be a blessing to others in times of need. In writing to his young pupil Timothy, the apostle Paul wrote these words:

(1 Tim 6:17,18) “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.”

In the U.S., we might not think we are rich, but relative to the rest of the world, especially our friends in Haiti at the moment, we are! Let us never forget that when you have resources and you are truly blessed, you must be “Rich in good works”. Let us always be “ready to distribute” and “willing to communicate” with those in need, giving in whatever way we can.

I am blessed and honored to be in a country, regardless of its short comings, that comes through and helps when it is needed. To see all the countries in the world coming together to support Haiti in its time of crisis is a beautiful sight. For those who have helped out already, great. Let’s keep it going! For those who are sitting on the fence, these are some great places that you can lend your support:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/01/13/haiti.earthquake.how.to.help/index.html

http://cogic.net/cogiccms/charities/events/

http://www.redcross.org/

http://www.newmissions.org/Home/tabid/36/Default.aspx

http://www.shauninthecity.com/2010/01/4-panasonic-toughbooks-needed-yesterday.html

http://clintonbushhaitifund.org/

No matter the amount, everything counts. Together, I believe all of our small streams coming together can make an ocean of support.

Thanks and God Bless!

We are Christmas!

Galatians 2:20 (New International Version)
20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE LINK

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. The atmosphere, the lights, the music, the followship, not to mention the egg nog! But most of all, people are more loving and caring for each other for some reason.

Every year, it is my custom to take some time Christmas day to reflect on Christ and to celebrate what His birth means to us all. Sometimes it seems like He gets lost to us in all the hoopla of the season. I take the time to celebrate His birth and thank Him for the life I now have as a result.

This year, I found this song that I think summarizes everything that this season is all about. Performed by the lovely Spelman College Glee Club, this song reminds us that Christmas is more than just a season or a holiday. It reminds us that His birth that we celebrate during this season truly changed the world. As the result of His coming and our faith in Him, He now lives within us and through us. When we love, care for, and bless one another, He truly is living through our lives. We are Christmas! What an awesome thought.

So let the light of Christ live you in so that the world may see and know Him through us. Hope you enjoy this song, consider it my Christmas present to you. Love you, be blessed!

Thoughts on my 30th Birthday

Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)

11 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.

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Today is an important milestone for me: I turn the big 3-0! My birthday is always an important time of the year for me because it gives me the chance to reflect on the year and my life up until this point.

One thing I can say is that life certainly is a journey. You can’t get stuck in the moment or get caught up in the trivial, temporary things that occur from day-to-day. If you are living, you are constantly moving and growing and you have to stay focused on the big picture of your journey. When you think you reached the top of one mountain, you find there is yet another peak to climb. When you think that you can’t go on, you find the strength to somehow continue. When you think your failure is monumental, you find that no amount of sin can every breach the walls of grace. When you think that it’s too late, that you missed your moment, you find that tomorrow presents eternal opportunities for you to live your destiny.

In my formative years, I spent most of my time attempting to figure life out. Although I’ve done well for the most part, I stumbled a lot and wasted time going in an unproductive direction. As I look back, I can see clearly now. My successes have taught me that greatness lives within me. My failures have given me a platform to learn and grow from. Through it all, I have found my center and foundation is God and God alone. I have no other agenda or desire but to please Him. That is my only purpose. After living for 30 years now, and trying to figure it all out, this is my conclusion. Life for me is really that simple now.

Finally, I am truly thankful for life. For the ups and downs, successes and mistakes. Life is nothing like I expected it to be. I always expected things to be perfect, for things to go according to plan. What I have discovered is that life is perfected not by our actions but by God’s grace. A successful life is not predicated on our achievement but by our confidence in the God who loves. This gives us peace in knowing that no matter what happens, what I do or what happens to me, if I trust in His grace, I still have a future and a hope. He thinks only good thoughts about me and about my future. Therefore, I am thankful for the past and I am eagerly pressing towards the future.

Be Blessed!

5 Behaviors of Manipulative People by Brett Blumenthal

Do you every get sick and tired of manipulative behaviors that people employ to get their way? I sure do. I thought this article by Brett Blumenthal was very insightful. Take a look.

5 Behaviors of Manipulative People by Brett Blumenthal

Many of us like to think the best of people.  We like to think that they shoot straight and are forthright in their intentions.  We also like to believe that they will ask for what they want and not resort to crazy tactics to get it.  Unfortunately, however, there are times when we come across those who will do whatever it takes to get what they want…including manipulation.  Being manipulated never feels good, but the worst part of manipulation is that often, we don’t even realize that it is happening.  Here are a few ways to know if someone is trying to manipulate you:

Buttering You Up: To get their way, manipulators will often make you feel good so that they can then ask you to do something that they want.  The person may first compliment you or tell you what a wonderful job you did on something.  Making you feel good will, in their mind, make it difficult for you to say no…after all, you wouldn’t want to disappoint them or give them reason to think you didn’t deserve the compliment in the first place. What you can do: Return the compliments and the niceties before saying no.

Guilt: This doesn’t only pertain to Catholics and Jewish Mothers; guilt trips have been a successful manipulation tactic for centuries.  The saddest part of this strategy is that the victims of this tactic succumb to the manipulators’ demands because they feel they HAVE to, not because they WANT to.  In personal relationships, this sets up a co-dependency that is extremely unhealthy.  What you can do: Ask the individual if they want you to do something because you have to or because you want to.  If they say they want you to want to do it, tell them that you don’t and that they are trying to force you into something you don’t feel comfortable with.

Broken Record: Probably the most obvious of formats is the broken record tactic.  If a person asks you enough or pushes their agenda enough…constantly repeating the question or request over and over again…in slightly different ways, the victim will inevitably give in and give them what they want.  Oye!  What you can do: Ask the individual what they don’t understand about the word “no.”  Tell them that asking you over and over again isn’t going to change anything and that they are inappropriately over-stepping boundaries.

Selective Memory: This one gets me the most.  You swear you have a conversation about a plan and everyone is on the same page, and then one day, the manipulator pretends to remember the conversation completely differently, if at all.  What you can do: Record your conversations…seriously!  Okay, maybe not.  At least have a witness that you can count on to back you up if the person pulls this shenanigan.  Call them out on the fact that they conveniently change the game to fit their needs.

Bullying: If a person doesn’t get their way, they make you out to look or feel like the bad guy…like you are the wrong one.  What you can do: Be firm and tell them that their bullying tactics are inappropriate and unacceptable.

Keep your eyes open for these behaviors and continue to stand your ground to ensure that you aren’t a victim of manipulation.  Have you seen any other types of manipulative behavior? 

(See link below for blog) 

 http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/life/5-behaviors-of-manipulative-people-549848/

Found by Hillsong

CLICK ON PICTURE BELOW TO WATCH VIDEO

The only place we can truly find ourselves is in the one in whose image we were made. When we spend time allowing our need for meaning and identity to be fulfilled and defined by Him and Him alone, then we will ultimately find our true selves.

When we stand face to face with God (with holiness, with love, truth, wisdom, judgment, peace, endurance, and all His attributes), we are actually peering into our own reflection, discovering our true self.

Be blessed!

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