Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Creeping, Hiking, and Living- A Memorial Weekend Adventure

With one daughter living all summer in Johnson City, TN.....it made sense to try and squeeze out a family fun trip to the Tri-state area this past memorial Day Weekend (May 27-30, 2016).


I have heard about the Virginia Creeping Trail near Abington and Damascus, VA... but I can say this, it was better than advertised.

Even though it was heavily attended for the weekend, we had no trouble securing bikes and the 17 mile shuttle to be dropped off at White Top to begin the downhill ride back to Damascus. We were blessed with perfect weather and just had a blast, riding some, stopping some to take some pictures, and then riding some more.

The entire 17 miles from White Top back to Damascus is DOWNHILL. I hardly had to pedal.

But we took our time... the trail has beautiful scenery, amazing bridge trestles and stocked trout areas.

Though we talked about an all day ride, the 1/2 day was plenty

Every part of the trail was cool!

After a picnic lunch... we then hiked about 3 hours on a part of the Appalachian Trail....


We saw a lot of rain to our southwest, so we began to look Northeast and decided to try Breaks Interstate Park near Elkhorn City, VA.

It is billed as 'The Grand Canyon of the South' and it too was better than advertised- wow, majestic!

We drove to the visitor center after gawking at The Towers Overlook.. where really nice park officials pointed out where hikers should go...

We then parked at the Stateline Overlook and hiked The Notches, The Ridge Trail, The Grassy Creek Trail, and the River Trail....

And the down to the river, back up the mountain was TOUGH!

We enjoyed a Gospel Music festival in the amphitheater after that... and then took the beautiful Hwy 23 back to Johnson City.

Just an amazing trip...

Virginia is a beautiful state!

With gratitude.......

God's beautiful creation
The blessings of health, weather, safety
Great people
Good food
Memories with the fam!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lying and Dying- The Reality of the Epidemic

I took this picture to the left. It was an inside growing room right next to where my brother was found dead of an overdose in a trailer full of drugs on Sept. 7 this past year... a sad reality to the house of lies we are invited into everyday by those who want their weed and need their high.

It's happening in my town.... it is also happening in yours.

A bill filed by Rep. Patricia Todd, a democrat from Birmingham, would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Currently, possession of marijuana in that amount is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by jail time and fines. Todd’s bill, HB257, would make it simply a ticket offense.

“Possession charges for people clog up a lot of our court services,” Todd said. “This would help eliminate some of that bottleneck.”

The bill would specifically lower penalties for recreational users, not dealers who may be in possession of much higher quantities. Further, Todd believes the change would create much needed revenue for the state as offenders are forced to pay tickets.

“I believe it’s safer than alcohol,” Todd said. “If people could take their emotions out of it, I think most people would agree with me.”

I'm getting so tired of the messaging of lies..... how many more are going to die?

I already know the pushback... it is a mind-set and a group think...... the argument of ideas that sound good... but those in the morgue and the families who grieve in the wake of it don't buy the rhetoric.

Dr. Shannon Murphy is in Birmingham as well. Dr. Murphy is tirelessly doing everything she can to give good information to kids and parents- but she will tell you it is an uphill battle. At least she is trying to counter the message. And she has experienced the attack of the opposition..... just like anyone else who tries to point to the reality that is hidden is a cloud of smoke and haze.

She shared recently some important points with me.

I have been where you are, and I am familiar with the push back.

We just have to remember that the marijuana industry has the media working
for them essentially. As a result, the public does not hear the facts.
Often, even when they hear facts, they will try to refute or diminish

Only an ounce of marijuana...come on, what's the harm?

1 ounce (@ 28 grams) of pot is a lot. An ounce of pot typically makes about 60 marijuana joints, but this will vary on potency of joint (so there is a range anywhere from 30-100).

Can you give me some medical facts as a doctor? Isn't pot safer than alcohol?

That statement right there is straight out of the pro marijuana playbook, 'Pot is safer than alcohol'..... here are some thoughts:

Every drug has its own unique set of risks. Saying pot is safer than
alcohol is like saying, 'I¹m going to jump out of a 3rd floor window,
instead of a 4th floor window.'

Marijuana is more potent today than in previous years. The average THC

level 20 years ago was 3%, we are now seeing plants with THC levels upward

of 17% (sometimes higher). Additionally, marijuana is no longer a plant.

There are new forms of marijuana (concentrates) that can be anywhere from

60-80% THC.

They come in the form of waxes and oils that can be inhaled, vaped, or eaten.

Science has shown marijuana impacts many body systems. The American Lung

Association has said that marijuana smoke has many of the same toxins that

are present in tobacco smoke leading to serious lung illness including

chronic cough, wheeze, and frequent infections. Marijuana has also been

shown to impact the heart system with links to strokes and arrhythmias.

Marijuana¹s hit on the brain is especially concerning. Use has been linked

to impaired memory and learning, as well as mental health issues such as

depression, anxiety, and psychosis.

(A news report came out 2 days ago: 
Smoking cannabis ALTERS your DNA 'causing mutations that can trigger serious illness, including cancer' )

In fact, since legalization in Colorado, hospitalizations and ER visits for marijuana have increased significantly (38% and 29%) respectively.

Portraying pot as a 'safe' drug is impacting our teens in a harmful way.

Perception of risk associated with using marijuana has dropped considerably. In fact, marijuana use now surpasses tobacco use for most young people. In Colorado, past month youth use rates are now 56% higher than the rest of the nation. 

We need to stop the "spin," and get the facts out for our children.

Know that the industry challenges data much like the tobacco industry did. They obscure and deny health harms.

My friends, are you willing to really read the facts for yourself?

Try this link to the Rocky Mountain HIDTA report on the Impact of legalization 2015.

The Colorado legalization experiment is a failure by any measurement you might want to try.

I still think about my brother...it comes like a sneak attack... it was 4:15 AM this morning....


My brother was born when I was 10- and even though we grew up in the same home, it was NOT the same neighborhood.

At 24, I was finishing up college at the University of Alabama. My 14 year old brother was introduced to marijuana.

He never was a bad guy. Lee was a much sweeter person than I ever will be. He loved people and he was fun to be around. But four years of pot became a somewhat dull routine and he was looking for more. At 18, he was talked into shooting up a drug called dilaudid by a pretty girl at a party.

According to Lee, the high lasted for over a day and he would spend the rest of his life chasing that high... and would never find it again.

For 10 years, my brother hid his habit. He covered needle marks with tattoos and and he never showed signs of his growing addiction. But it didn't take long after that for everything to crumble.

In a very short span, Lee totaled 2 cars, stole from my parents, stole from my grandmother, shoplifted, prostituted himself....

At the end of his 1st overdose, my brother was taking (according to him) 5 to 7 hits a day and the high lasted mere seconds. He needed the drug now to stay away from painful withdrawals including fever, chills, muscle spasms, and nausea.

He came to the family for help and we ALL tried. My wife and I gave him a Honda Accord and he wrecked it in less than a week. He tried Celebrate Recovery and I used to take him to the Friday night meetings. I took him to church and he actually bought pills AT CHURCH! I took him to the movies and, as I watched him carefully, he popped a small pill right under my nose.

The most eye opening experience was taking him to the methadone clinic... and I watched men and women of all colors and backgrounds pour in and out of that place. I was sad to see him dependent on Methadone and cigarettes just to make it through a day.

The government called him cured... but he had hepatitis C, no health insurance, no steady job...

He would have long seasons of sobriety.. got married..got a job... but none of it lasted.

And what was left in the wake of this- a broken hearted family. My mom died pre-maturely... she was so worried about Lee that she neglected her own health. My grandmother spent money she didn't have on him. My dad visited the hospital too many times wondering if Lee would live or die.

Last August/September, we knew he had relapsed.. and were planning an intervention. He showed up at the emergency room at Baptist Princeton and raised a ruckus, trying to get pain medication. Sadly, the junkies can get it too easily from the hospitals.

So, after a fun Labor Day with my family, I got the sad news from my aunt that next early morning ... Lee was gone.

No one was surprised.

I asked law enforcement officers to watch over me as I drove to Lassiter Mountain in Mt Olive, Alabama and my heart sank to see how low it had gotten with my brother.

The trailer was filthy. And I stared at the last spot of his life. As with most addicts who relapse- the amount his body used to be able to handle was now a needle of death. Later on, I discovered that the line of heroin that killed him was taking people down all over the place. The evil irony was that this batch was laced with phentermine, the same stuff that killed Michael Jackson.

The picture below is where his final attempt to capture bliss stopped his beating heart.

What you can't see is that his 'lover' had already cleaned out anything of value left in the trailer. His computer, stereo, cash was all taken. The very next morning, this man showed up and attempted to collect life insurance falsely claiming my brother was his husband.

I grabbed what I could of Lee's and found journals and notes written back and forth between this man and my brother. He called Lee his "Binky" and had Lee take him to the casinos to blow a settlement the insurance company had paid out on the last wreck.

Those in the drug culture use and abuse more than just the drugs.... they suck the life out of everything around them. I pray for all of them... but consequences are contained in the activities.

I had gotten permission to get all of Lee's possession (what was left of them) out of the trailer..so you can imagine the shock of looking in that room and seeing all of the pot plants and the giant grow room.

I wiped away some tears.... we think we know the danger of heroin.... but what we have NO CLUE about is the scourge of marijuana.

I work with teens on a daily basis for almost 30 years... and I have seen it robbing kids of their future too many times!

Once a kid starts that lifestyle... nothing else matters....

The week my brother died was the very first day we started universal and random drug testing at my school. The program is designed to give kids one more good reason to say no.

It will not stop all use.... nothing will... but even if one kid is prevented from ending up like my brother, then it is worth it.

And if decriminalizing it allows just one more kid to end up a junkie... it is too high a cost!

Mrs. Todd will tell me to take my emotions out of it. 

But let me ask you... when your brother is gone... what advice do you have to take the emotion out?

Those that support it... your opinion will not change... you are showing what it is like to have your brain on drugs.....

Any questions?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

My Mental Illness is Better Than Yours

To all my blog readers.... it will take a special friend to get to the end of this one.

But take heart! The Lord has impressed pretty hard on me this morning... time to move on to another topic... apologetics has a way of turning off and tuning out......

I have a specific prayer regarding the purpose of my recent rants.....

Hank Williams Jr used to sing,

'Cause you see I'm a dinosaur
I should've died a long time before
Have pity on a dinosaur 
hand me my hat
Excuse me man 
but where's the door?

And that is how I feel a lot of the time... I'm into old things.... I'm into the old time religion... hymns, classical literature, and 18th century theologians......

Just that intro right there likely cost me many readers.........

But there is something I love about the old dead guys...... they were smart, they were confident, and they were full of optimism and hope.

Every time I read the Old Princetonians for example.... I love how they reason in an upward fashion ... you have to read them to discover what I mean. These men were full of love and joy, content in what they did, and satisfied with their slow but steady progress.

Any time I finish with B.B. Warfield, Archibald Alexander, John Witherspoon, or James McCosh- I am inspired to love God more and I have a deep awe of the Holy Scriptures which shine through them!

These men have been categorized under the term "Scottish Common Sense Realism"- but I see it more like 'Powerful Gospel Hope for Real Life".. it is the ecstatic declaration of the great truths of salvation poured out in oceans of grace.

These men were free...and in their freedom, they didn't seek leisure.... no, they became voracious workers and breathlessly exegeted every article of Scripture. And it never feels like labor to me. These men worked out of an abundance of love.

Today's intellectual arguments have more of a downward spiral- shouting, personal attacks... the enlightenment has a legacy of skepticism.......

My Princeton heroes have such hope and love..... try 'em...you may like 'em.

Now.... let's reason together for a little bit.......

How is it, that 2 men, can look at the same set of facts and stubbornly stand on two radically different opinions?

It happens everyday and almost in every way.

What is happening?

My premise is this- It isn't what is happening... it is more about what is NOT happening.

Let's add a few ingredients to this and see if I can find a half-baked conclusion.


Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. (1 Corinthians 8:1-3 ESV)
I have to be careful here to not throw this whole verse out of context- 

I always fear for super-smart people...... in some ways, the verses of warnings regarding 'those with great wealth' could almost be doubled down with application to 'those with great knowledge'.

We have to be SO CAREFUL HERE... especially to those (like me) who love to hear (or write about) themselves and what they think......

Paul is not condemning knowledge in this verse.... He is making a universal truth application to a very controversial topic.... knowledge can inflate our egos in such a way that we lose our way in the end.....

Indeed...the entire foundational theme of I Corinthians is Paul spending a full 4 chapters deflating human ego built on prideful, pseudo-superior, and foolish human thinking.... 

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (1 Corinthians 1:20 ESV)

And the result of this endless human debate and pride? CONFLICT- It is the motivation for the letter to the Corinthians....

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. (1 Corinthians 1:10-11 ESV)
Wait a minute! Go back a re-read what he is appealing for us to do?

BE UNITED IN THE SAME MIND AND JUDGEMENT? Are you kidding me?  We can't agree on anything!

Let me add another ingredient in this secret sauce......


This is even trickier..... have to be super,super careful here.......

As we acquire knowledge, we want to share it.... and as we share it... we want to find like minded approval and support....

and if we aren't careful, we will sometimes judge whether something is TRUE based on the NUMBER of those who agree with us.

But this creates a very dangerous situation... I hope you see it..... as each side rallies it's supporters... the winners are in the numbers.... SO the VALIDATION of truth now becomes just the popular mindset of the moment... it is what we hold to inwardly, supported by numbers of those who think like we do.... and there is no real outside objectivity....

Isn't the old snarky parent reply.... 'Well, if everybody said it was good to jump off a bridge, would you join them?' so appropriate here? But so true? Popular wisdom may not be wise.....

One more dash... please hang with me.....


How important are the 10 commandments?! I'm telling you.... these are foundational truths that are REQUIREMENTS of sustainable life and civilization! 'You shall not bear false witness" is one of these! And I GRIEVE over how rampant lying is in my generation... in some professions..it is an expectation!

Dishonesty comes in many dangerous forms.... the man unwilling to keep his promise, the withholding of very important information for personal gain, passing along an unfounded rumor, fudging numbers, the 'so called' 'white-lie' (such a horrible term).... or just plain MAKING STUFF UP....

"The bearing of false witness' is a serious sin in our society. And rampant dishonesty brings all artifacts of evidence into doubt.

In today's world,  opinions and presuppositions shape facts..... and it should be the other way around. It has gotten SO BAD that facts are made up to prop up our immovable views on matters of eternal significance.


Personal pride, peer support, and problematic evidence can convince you to walk straight into a chasm of death with no fear or trepidation.


YES.... but it's complicated... it is trying to convince an insane person that everything he is seeing is a lie......

Remember the movie, A Beautiful Mind? The 2001 film by Ron Howard is based on the life of John Nash of Princeton. Though some details had to changed or left out for the sake of storytelling, the basic premise was correct.

Here was a BRILLIANT man..... a mathematician, a Nobel prize winner... understood and developed theories in economics, differential geometry, computing, artificial intelligence...and on and on... but he had a mental illness... later diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia. "According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, a person suffering from the disorder is typically dominated by relatively stable, often paranoid, fixed beliefs that are either false, over-imaginative or unrealistic, and usually accompanied by experiences of seemingly real perception of something not actually present."

Read that again... a brilliant man....

DOMINATED..... by relatively stable (they hold together in analysis and experience)- often paranoid (hyper internal and personal) FIXED BELIEFS (almost impossible to shake) that are:

usually ACCOMPANIED by EXPERIENCES of SEEMINGLY REAL PERCEPTION of something that is not actually there!

So how would you ever convince this man that he is in error? It is almost an impossibility.

Reason with him? He knows he is smarter than you
Show him? How? His perceptions are twisted

In the movie, Nash finally begin to see inconsistencies in the hallucinations and found a way to ignore them.....

OK OK OK- stop telling me about the problem.... is there a solution?

YES- and it is all counter to what our natural tendencies are to do......

STEP ONE: HUMBLE YOURSELF.... As long as you are the most important person in the room...what no one else says has any value to you. Instead of walking around and wanting to dazzle people with your brilliance... why don't you elevate others around you and desperately drink in what they think, feel, and believe.

STEP TWO: BREAK OUT OF YOUR COMMON THINK TANK... Seek out those who see the world in quite a different way and find common ground... know them well enough to know where you are different and how the thinking goes in an opposite direction. By the way, if you find yourself disliking a person because they are different... you aren't doing as well as you think in STEP ONE.

STEP THREE: NEVER STOP LEARNING...but use learning to help others, not for your own personal dominance.

CONCLUSION- What if I am the crazy one?

You read me enough to know that I have planted my flag in the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I believe God exists, I believe, because of that, the Bible is true and the truth and testimony of Jesus validates it enough for me to cast my lot with Him.

But the teachings of Jesus should help me do what I am supposed to do...stay humble, live out the gospel, serve, be patient with those who oppose me, love all people, give answers to questions, stay reverent and gentle, and not be anxious or comfortable...this world is not my home... I am to just be obedient.

And if I am the crazy one.... it doesn't matter because the perspective I have gained allows me to successfully navigate a sad and dark place.

If you are the crazy one..... well... I trust in a good God to sort it all out....

In my worldview- it is comforting to leave the big stuff up to God.

Without my worldview- a man is left to be God himself... and that terrifies me...

Friedrich Nietzsche, (himself a brilliant crazy man,) understood this almost better than anyone. He personified it in his famous parable of The Madman.... but he also commented on it as he reflected on the philosophy of German, liberal theologian David Strauss....
Strauss has his full share of the temerity to which every successful hero assumes the right: all flowers grow only for him—the conqueror; and he praises the sun because it shines in at his window just at the right time. He does not even spare the venerable old universe in his eulogies—as though it were only now and henceforward sufficiently sanctified by praise to revolve around the central monad David Strauss. The universe, he is happy to inform us, is, it is true, a machine with jagged iron wheels, stamping and hammering ponderously, but: "We do not only find the revolution of pitiless wheels in our world-machine, but also the shedding of soothing oil"

My friend- (you have to be if you are still reading this with ANY interest)... I am an old dinosaur.... maybe too outdated for your fancy.... but you are going to have to choose... what is reality and what is hallucination?

We both have the same problems- we are prideful in our intelligence, we surround ourselves with people who think and talk just like us, and we have accumulated enough artifacts to support our strained grip on our truth....

I guess my last effort and plea to have you bend your knee to King Jesus is to take the temperature and measure the light.

Without God- this universe in now just a big enormous drive of an uncaring machine with our vain aspirations a mere speck of dust in a causeless cosmos... the wind is cold and the end is so dark that life becomes too cheap to save... including our own.

But the Bible is FULL of soothing oil- without it, the world will grow cold and dark and grind itself to oblivion..

But Jesus offers grace, hope, love of others, patience, understanding, humility...

In Jesus's kingdom, it is OK to laugh at our foolish human failures and get up and try again tomorrow.

Without HIS WAY (and all other religions are mere cogs of effort and product)- we are too important to be wrong. But as we gather our troops of truth, we must crush any opposition that stands as a symbol of our possibility of being wrong.

The way of Jesus gives us a chance to wait on God to rightfully judge......

The wisdom of man says it is too late to debate, now let the killing begin...

I have made my choice... I think it is pretty easy to make (though, impossible to live, thank God for grace)....

What about you?

Take your time.... but here's a start... just start reading the Bible again...it will be the most soothing experience you have had in years.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

The River of Life and the Shoreline of Reality

These are the things I think about when I am on a boat all day.... as a red-tail hawk tips his wings toward me... as a white oak kneels in prayer... as birds feed their babies in little round mud houses on the bridges... and as spiders build mosaic masterpieces in anonymity...

What follows is my prayerful plea of the day....... please read and consider.....

WHEN you become detached from the shore of outside objective truth…. a slow drift of decay begins and you find yourself in a small whirlpool of illegitimate concepts, notions, self centered comparisons, judgements, and reflections. Everything pulls your eyes to the center. The circle becomes tighter as others are collected in your spinning skepticism.

The rush of waters refreshes you as you spin faster. Your discourse with your company provides laughter and support. Your swirling whirlpool is in a fast current , but that is of no concern. Your companions make you laugh which drowns out the shouts coming from the shore.

A rope passes through the group. As it is tossed back and forth… it is unraveled and rejected as meaningless. No one casts an outward glance.

No challenges or questions changes the direction or slows the current….. Any possibility of reality is inside your rapidly spinning pool of deductions, words, agreements, and disagreements. You lock arms in solid support of final judgement. There is unity within your mind and within the group. Cheering and singing ensues!

Yet despite pleading and shouting…. Despite numerous attempts to reach out hands, and limbs, and lifelines…. Your whirlpool of perception finally drops off in The Waterfall of Reality….


YOU have to fight your perceptions and presuppositions…. You have to find a healthy self suspicion… you HAVE to seriously consider those things that cut contrary to your course of inclination.

YOU MUST NEVER dismiss offers of a lifeline…..

The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling,  and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,  that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

...among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.  

Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Rushing waters are everywhere… including the very lifeblood  beating through  your heart….  Pray that the eyes of your heart may ponder this  today.. The grandeur of God, His glorious love, and His wide river of grace.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:24 ESV)

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Finding My Aim- Motivation in May

If you spend any time reading my blog network- you will see that I take each month of the year and use it as a theme.

The month of May, for me, is MY AIM MAY and it is a prayer evaluation and confirmation of God's primary calling on my life and evaluation and confirmation of God's sub-callings in my life.

The principle I live by is Primary callings DO NOT CHANGE while sub-callings change quite frequently.

I wrote 31 devotions to explain what I do in these weeks of prayer and evaluation. Here are just a few things from them:


 I Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore (the fact of life after death, the truth of the gospel, and Jesus’ victory over sin and death’) my dear brothers… stand firm (stay in the stream of the historic and glorious gospel)- let nothing move you (including cultural pressure, temptation, enemies, or hard circumstances)- always giving yourself FULLY to the work of the Lord (Gal 2:20)- because YOU KNOW (I John 5:11-13)- your labor in the Lord is NOT IN VAIN (Romans 8:1 and the covenant promises of God).


Calling is the truth that God calls us to Himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to His summons and service.

  • What are my constant besetting sins?
  • Who are my significant relationships?
  • What makes me feel alive?
  • What is the core reasons for sadness or depression?
  • What am I ashamed of?
  • What does my wife LOVE about me?
  • What make my wife the most frustrated?
  • What aspects do my children love… what makes them insecure or anxious?
  • What does I Corinthians 13 look like in my relationships?
  • How am I doing In the 10 commandments?
  • Where does the Sermon on the Mount sting me?
  • What keeps me from sharing my faith more?
  • Why am I not more excited about Lord’s Day worship?
  • What risk would you take if you knew it would end up OK?
  • If you were given 6 weeks to live- what would you begin doing?
  • What makes me laugh? Who makes me laugh?
  • Where am I bearing a grudge or bitterness?
  • Where do I tell my biggest lie? What does that say about me?
  • What gets me grumpy? What makes me angry?

SEARCH Biblical passages for HIS GENERAL WILL and the boundaries. A VERY helpful passage is I Thessalonians 4. It says:
1) God’s WORD is my authority.
It sets my motive– To Please God by:
a- spending time in prayer
b-reading the Bible
c-fellowship- especially with my wife
d-practicing discipline which honors God
e- the priority of loving others (especially my wife and children)
I Thessalonians also tells me what to aspire to:
I also had some great questions to ask:
Finally there ARE two big reminders:
God guides: But not like a horse or a mule (Psalm 32:8,9) He expects me to use common sense and my mind.
Be peaceful: I am His child and He will be with me…no matter what.
If we keep ourselves in this mode- His quiet voice- the voice of a shepherd will pierce the darkness and silence.
 Now this is easy to say and HARD to do- BECAUSE we tend to do what WE WANT TO DO.
Often when we tell someone we are praying about a request- I call it ‘the slow NO”.
Here is what we ‘tend’ to do- and it has NOTHING to do with ‘calling”:
1) In making big decisions, we basically choose what we want to do. Even our prayers often are a covering of manipulation.
2) In making big decisions, what our peers think is usually more important than what God thinks.
3) When making big decisions, we often pick a position of power and pride over humility and service.
4) When making big decisions, our tentacles are up to catch the information that supports our presuppositions and we are not dissuaded by countering arguments.
“Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ- the greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him…. The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for Him.”
“To make a career or professional choice on selfish grounds is probably the greatest single sin any young person can commit, for it is a deliberate withdrawal from the allegiance to God of the greatest part of time and strength.”
“The call of Jesus IS personal but not purely INDIVIDUAL; Jesus summons his followers not only to an individual calling but also to a corporate calling.”
“Not only during the ascent but also during the descent my will-power is dulled. The longer I climb the less important the goal seems to me, the more indifferent I become to myself. My attention has diminished, my memory is weakened. My mental fatigue is now greater than the bodily.
IT IS SO PLEASANT TO SIT DOING NOTHING- and therefore so dangerous. Death through exhaustion is- like death through freezing- a pleasant one.”
Guinness quotes Oswald Chambers as a deep conviction to this vice:
We do not need the grace of God to stand crises, human nature and pride are sufficient…. but it does require the grace of God to live twenty-four hours in everyday as a saint, to go through the drudgery of a disciple, to live an ordinary, unobserved, ignored, existence as a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is inbred in us that we have to do the exceptional things for God: but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in the mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes.
I have 31 devotions that explore finding aim and purpose in your life.
You can find them here: My Aim May