Three Keys to Keep You From Feeling Like a Failure at the End of the Day

A lot of people go to bed at night feeling like a failure. Either they don’t get done what they wanted to do or what they did get done felt insignificant and unsatisfying.

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Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson (Creative Commons)

Most people have hopes and desires of being successful, but for many, the problem is their definition of a successful day is undefined, vague, or unrealistic.

So let’s fix that.

Click HERE to continue reading and you’ll be taken to the blog of writer, author, and speaker Jeff Goins, where I had the privilege and honor of writing today. Be sure to snoop around when you’re there.

Being Wronged As A Possible Means For God To Bring Me Good

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Recently I’ve been struck with a particular view of God that David pretty consistently spoke of in the bible, regarding God being for him. The fact that David is referred to by God as “a man after His own heart” (Acts 13:22, 1 Sam 13:14) makes me all the more eager to discover what David believed about God, in hopes that I too might be a man after God’s own heart.

I recently wrote about this particular view of God that David possessed in a post titled “David And Two Little Words“. As I’ve been studying David and what he believed about God I was again struck by another scene from his life in 2 Samuel 16:5-14.

The backdrop for this scene is a conspiracy by David’s son Absalom to take the throne. David catches wind of it and flees Jerusalem to the wilderness. While David is on his way, “a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei” came out and cursed David continually, throwing stones at David and his mighty men saying, “Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man! The Lord has avenged on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood.”

One of David’s mighty men offers to take off Shimei’s head.

David’s response is pretty fascinating:

“If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’ Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today.”

What?!?

“It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today.”

So in other words, David basically is saying, “Could it be that perhaps this cursing is the means by which God will bless me?”

Who thinks like that?!?

David. A man after God’s own heart.

What a liberating way to live.

Do we focus on the pain and weariness that being cursed and wronged is causing or the possible good that God might be bringing?

David believed what Paul would later write: “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28)

David had a firm belief in the goodness of God being directed toward him, even in the worst of circumstances, even in the midst of cursing. And he believed it at a time of great loss and personal pain. He believed it when the kingdom he had waited for so long to receive was being taken from him from his very own son. Insult being added to injury didn’t cause him to waiver in believing that God was for him and that surely, goodness and mercy would follow him all the days of his life (Ps 23:6).

“So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust. And the king, and all the people who were with him, arrived weary at the Jordan. And there he refreshed himself.”

I want a heart like David.

(Image adapted from: Patrickcc)

David And Two Little Words

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In 1st Samuel 22 there’s an obscure verse that happened to catch my eye while studying the bible with a handful of men.

While David was hiding from Saul in the cave of Adullam, with his motley crew of 400 misfit men, he sought to find a place for his parents with the King of Moab.

“Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me.” (1 Sam 22:3)

What stuck out to me about that verse was the last two words: “for me“. A lot of people would have excluded those two words and just said: “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do.”

But David added those two little words to the end of his sentence.

And if you look, you’ll find that David often talked this way. In fact when writing a psalm when he was in the cave, he used similar language. He closed the psalm with these words:

“for you will deal bountifully with me.” (Ps 142:7)

David was waiting in that cave with confidence that God would “deal bountifully” with him. David believed what Paul would later write in Romans: that God is for us, and “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31) Even though he was sure that his enemies were pursuing him, he was more sure that goodness and mercy would pursue him all the days of his life (Ps 23:6).

What about you?

When faced with difficult trials in your life, what do you say?

“We’ll see what God will do” or “We’ll see what God will do for me“?

The question is really more about what you believe about God.

Do you believe he’s distant and aloof, indifferent to you and your situation?

Or…

… do you believe that he’s for you, that he’ll deal bountifully with you, and that it’s a sure thing that goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life?

Two little words make quite a difference.

5 Dangers Of An Emphasis On Revivalism

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“We believe the church must move away from an emphasis on revivalism. Under revivalism, the key to spirituality is revival—an event where the Spirit of God catches the church up in a spiritual experience of rejuvenation and catharsis that converts the lost, heals the sick and delivers sinners. We believe revivals happen (and we have enjoyed them in our church), even though this is not a New Testament emphasis. New Testament Christians are never instructed how to bring about a revival. Further, the ideology that places revival as the key to success in the church can be destructive to the notion of a church planting movement. People may look to such supernatural events for a shortcut. This expectation drains energy from regular daily evangelism, living for God, and disciple making, which seem mundane and unremarkable by comparison. Church multiplication takes daily effort, often exerted in very non-showy, quiet ways, such as building up fellow believers and engaging in friendship evangelism as a way of life. Consistency is essential. If a spiritual revival comes, we should accept it with joy. But waiting for the Spirit to “fall” often runs counter to the lifestyle needed for successful church planting.”

– Dennis McCallum (taken from “Urban Home Church Planting at Xenos“)

I agree with Dennis. If a revival happens – awesome. Who doesn’t want to see the lost converted, the sick healed, and the demonized delivered? But I believe there are some dangers in an emphasis on revivalism.

1) Exalting the fantastic over the mundane

Sometimes where there’s an emphasis on revivalism, certain things get valued over others that shouldn’t. The seemingly mundane and unremarkable tasks of changing diapers, working a job with integrity and Christ-like character, being a good husband or wife, cleaning toilets, disciple making, etc. can be devalued compared to platform ministry, healing, prophecy, etc. Noah & Jeremiah’s preaching were no less spiritual than Paul’s, regardless of the results, and Jesus working as a carpenter was no less spiritual than Jesus healing the sick.

2) Borrowing from the future to pay for today

Revivalism puts a lot of hope and emphasis on a future move of God. If this is not coupled with a present “in the now” satisfaction in God, completely independent of the possibility of any spectacular future move of God, an unhealthy dependence on borrowing from the future can occur in an attempt to pay for today’s deficit. The danger with this is that God does not guarantee revival in your sphere, in your lifetime. So if that’s what you are banking on for today’s satisfaction, you could find yourself ten years into it, spiritually bankrupt and disillusioned, with not a whole lot to show for years of commitment to something that hasn’t happened and may never happen.

3) Replacing gospel motivation

Because of a contemporary dirth in the centrality of the gospel in some circles, a vacuum of motivation has been created. The gospel then becomes in danger of being replaced with the dangling of euphoric revival carrots. As great as revival is, has been, or ever will be, it cannot trump the centrality of the gospel’s power to motivate followers of Christ to obedience and sacrificial service.

4) Indefinite requirements

How radical, hot, devoted, or sacrificial does one need to be, in order to see revival? How much prayer is necessary? How much fasting? This lack of specificity, especially over prolonged periods of time without revival, can lead to unhealthy personal and/or corporate striving for greater sacrifice in order to achieve revival.

5) Elitism

Whenever the key to spirituality or what individuals or groups of people identify primarily with becomes anything other than the person and work of Jesus, the danger of elitism is lurking right around the corner.  And this danger becomes all the more prevalent amongst a generation starving for purpose and meaning, who are engaging in radical sacrifice for the purpose of revival.

20 Myths Christians Believe About Money

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(Image Credit: Tracy Occ)

The following is a list of twenty myths that Christians believe about money and what the bible has to say about them.

This a longer post than usual. At the average adult reading speed it will take 4-5 minutes to read.

1) Money is the root of all evil

This is one of the most misquoted verses. It actually says that the “love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” 1 Tim 6:10

2) I don’t have to give to the poor

“Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.” Prov 21:13

“Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Luke 3:11

“Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.” Prov 28:27

3) The amount I give has nothing to do with income

“Now about the collection for the Lord’s people.. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income” 1 Cor 16:1-2

“If the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.” 2 Cor 8:12

“Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.” Deut 16:17

4) Money has nothing to do with honor

Paul’s first letter to Timothy has a whole chapter talking about financially providing for widows and elders and he uses the word honor in reference to their financial provision:

“Honor widows who are truly widows.” 1 Tim 5:3

“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”” 1 Tim 5:3,17-18

“Honor the Lord with your wealth.” Prov 3:9

5) How much blessing I receive has nothing to do with how much I give

“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Cor 9:6)

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” (Prov 19:17)

“Those who honor me I will honor” 1 Sam 2:30

6) My heart can be into God while refraining to give him my treasure

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt 6:21

7) How I handle money has nothing to do with whether I can be trusted with true riches

“If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?” Luke 16:11

8) Preachers shouldn’t get paid

“Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.” 1 Cor 9:13-14

“If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?” 1 Cor 9:11

“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”” 1 Tim 5:17-18

9) There’s nothing in the bible about giving regularly

“Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.” 1 Cor 16:1-2

10) I need to give God 10% of my income

Tithing (giving 10%) is part of the law and Rom 6:14 and Gal 5:18 say that we are no longer under the law.

11) I don’t get to decide how much to give

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Cor 9:7

12) I shouldn’t give when that’s all I have

“In a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” 2 Cor 8:2

Jesus said, “this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:43-44

13) If I give then I won’t have enough

“I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent … And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:18-19

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work…He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” 2 Cor 9:7-8,10,11

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” Prov 3:9-10

14) I should give God what’s left over after my other expenses

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce” Prov 3:9

15) Giving isn’t something I can get better at

“But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Cor 8:7 NIV

16) If I have an abundance, I shouldn’t be expected to help the needy

“Your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.” 2 Cor 8:14

“…begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints.” 2 Cor 8:4

“For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem.” Rom 15:26

17) God doesn’t give me money specifically to be used for giving

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” 2 Cor 9:10

18) It’s not the church’s job to supply the needs of the saints

“Contribute to the needs of the saints” Rom 12:13

“Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do.” 1 Cor 16:1

“There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.” Acts 4:34-35

19) I can be in the faith and not provide for my family

“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Tim 5:8

20) I can serve both God and money

“No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Luke 16:13

Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford [VIDEO]

Don't Buy Stuff You Can't Afford

This year I’m going to be doing more posts about money, so I figured I’d start with a video from Saturday Night Live featuring Steve Martin, Amy Poehler, and Chris Parnell called “Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford”.

This is some of the best financial advice you can get, delivered in so simple and straightforward a way, that it’s funny.

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2013 Book List

2013 Book List

I didn’t read that many books this year. I only read six.

Writing has replaced a lot of my reading time at this point in my life.

But even though I only read six books this year, I did read some good ones.

Four of the six books I read were on the top of manhood, one was on sonship, and another on the gospel.

Here’s my list of the books I read in 2013 with my comments on each one:

Healing the Masculine Soul: God’s Restoration of Men to Real Manhood  –  Gordon Dalbey

This book is one of the best books on manhood that I’ve ever read. I really enjoyed it. I love his in depth tackling of the topic of shame and how it affects manhood – really good stuff. For more on Gordon Dalbey, check out this video interview.

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Orphan Slave Son  –  Ben Pasley

This is an excellent book on one of my favorite topics. You may know Ben Pasley from the “Enter The Worship Circle” albums.

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A Guide to Biblical Manhood  –  Randy Stinson, Dan Dumas

This was a good read. I especially enjoyed the parts on procrastination.

Manhood Restored: How the Gospel Makes Men Whole  –  Eric Mason

This book had some good content but I was hoping for a bit more practicals.

The Explicit Gospel  –  Matt Chandler

This was a great book on the gospel. I Loved chapter four and every Christian should read chapters nine and ten.

Raising Boys Feminists Will Hate  –  Doug Giles

This book had some good nuggets, but it was way over the top on the delivery. He comes off a bit arrogant at times and uses some “colorful” language as well. There’s some good “meat” if you can spit out the “bones”. One of the few books I’ve read where I laughed out loud often while reading it.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

(Image Credit: National Media Museum)

What’s Your Godliness Training Plan?

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It’s not uncommon for people to have a diet plan or a workout plan. Especially at the beginning of a new year, millions of people make plans to train their body.

Part of the reason it’s so common to have a diet or workout plan is because most people know that if they don’t have some sort of plan to lose weight and/or to workout, that they won’t.

Benjamin Franklin said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” and Antoine de Saint-Exupery said that “A goal without a plan is a wish.”

Although many Christians believe these things to be true when it relates to physical training, unfortunately many don’t apply these principles to spiritual training.

The apostle Paul said it best in his first letter to Timothy:

“Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 Tim 4:7-8

If we plan for things that have “some value”, how much more should we plan for things that have “value in every way”, in both this life and the life to come?

What is your godliness training plan?

Do you have one?

Paul goes on to say the following in a subsequent letter to Timothy:

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim 3:16-17

So Paul commands us to train ourselves and then points out the specific, useful tool that God has given us to accomplish our training: the bible.

So what’s your plan to get in the bible? What’s your training plan?

If you’re serious about training yourself to be Godly, then you should be serious about getting into the bible.

What are you going to read or study? When are you going to do it? How often? What time? How long?

Consider reading through the bible in a year. Study something you want to improve in. Practice bible meditation. Pick a portion of scripture and keep rereading it over a period of time.

Your options are endless.

Don’t let yourself get spiritually lazy this year.

Get a plan and start training!

(Image Credit: A&A Photography)

4 Questions To Change Your Life

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We’re nearing the end of the year, which is a great time to set goals, evaluate what you are doing, and see if things can be done better. The following are four questions I’m using to do just that.

1) What Do You Do?

What do you spend your time doing?

Make a list. Be thorough, but not so thorough that you paralyze yourself.

Here’s some examples:

Sleep, eat, exercise, seek God, read books, work a job, marriage, parenting, dating, writing, church, pastoring, friendship, house work, entertainment, consume social media, watch TV/movies, surf internet, shop, play sports, create, play an instrument, live in community, counseling, etc.

For some, just answering the first question and being able to physically see a list of what you spend your time on, can be life changing.

2) What Do You Do Well?

Read through your answer to the first question and pick out the things that you do well.

Be honest.

Some of you, if you’re honest, may answer, “Nothing.” This question on it’s own can be life altering, because in our busyness we are becoming a culture of people that do many things, but nothing well.

Others of you may find that the things that you do well are not the things you want to do well, or that the things you are currently doing well are keeping you from doing some other things well that you’d like to be doing – which brings us to our next question.

3) What Do You Want To Do Well That You’re Not?

Go through your original list from the first question again. Don’t just look at all the things in this list that you don’t do well. Some things are not done well because they’re not important and time is limited. That’s fine.

What are the few things that you’re not doing well that you’d like to?

Don’t pick too many. Take into consideration what you are already doing well. You may be awesome, but realistically, you can only do a few things well.

4) What Are You Going To Do Less Of So You Can Do What You Want To Do Well?

Look at your original list again. Time to do some pruning.

In order to realistically do a few things well, you’ve got to eliminate certain things that drain the resources necessary to do them.

Don’t be distracted by the good. There are a lot of people that do a good job at a lot of things, but if you want to make a significant impact in a particular area of life, you must do a great job at a few things.

Good is the greatest enemy of the great.

What things are you going to spend less time doing good or poorly so that you can focus more time doing a few things well?

(Image Credit: Photographic Collections)

Yes You Are A Princess

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So there’s a new ad campaign for Mercy Academy telling girls, “You’re not a princess.” “Prepare for real life.”

I have five daughters and they’ve all, at some point, dressed up as a princess with much delight. My daughters are no rarity. Probably most girls would tell you that when they were little, they dressed up like a princess.

Why?

Because something inside of them wants to.

What is that “something”? Is it coincidence? Culture?

Girls want to be princesses because God created them to be princesses and to be treated like princesses.

I know that especially these days, “real life” seems to be presenting a different narrative, and this college is trying to prepare girls for the world we now find ourselves living in.

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But just because women aren’t treated like princesses doesn’t mean that they aren’t, and just because all or most of the men in your life aren’t princes doesn’t mean there aren’t any out there, and just because you’ve never been rescued doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to rescue yourself.

I know this isn’t easy to believe when the “men” in your life act like adult male avatars controlled by little boys.

I know this isn’t easy to believe when so many men believe that women are inferior to men.

I know this isn’t easy to believe when you’re pressured daily to sext pictures to your boyfriend.

I know this isn’t easy to believe when most guys you know watch porn and they expect you to act out what they see.

I know this isn’t easy to believe when adult males have sexually abused 1 out of every 5 of you.

I know this isn’t easy to believe when you’re father left your mother or never told you that you were pretty.

Yes, there’s a reason that a little girl’s desire to be a princess is so universal.

It’s because it’s written into creation.

Right from the beginning in Gen 1-3 we see the first princess, Eve in a beautiful garden with her perfect prince, Adam. Eve was made for him, literally. Shortly after, we see Eve captured in a castle of lies by a cunning, evil, serpent dragon (Rev 12:9), while her prince, Adam, stands idly by.

God the king and father promises to send his son the prince (Is 9:6) to rescue his bride from the dragon (Gen 3:14-15).

Ever since then girls have longed to be rescued and guys have longed to rescue. And God made marriage to display through husband and wife the reality of his promise of a prince who would rescue his bride, the church (Eph 5:22-23).

And that’s exactly what God the father did. He sent his son, the perfect prince to rescue his bride from the dragon, that we might live and reign with him in his kingdom (Col 1:13 NIV). This prince, Jesus, became the King and adopted us into his family making us royal children (Gal 4:4-5) or as we call the sons and daughters of the king: princes and princesses.

Ladies, your princess longing to be rescued by a prince is your longing for God himself. He set up marriage for princess wives to be found (Prov 18:22) by prince husbands to display how the Prince of Peace rescues his bride.

Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not a princess and that you shouldn’t wait for a prince. He set up marriage to bring princes and princesses together to point to the Prince that we eagerly wait for (Heb 9:28).