Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fear Is A Tool Of The Enemy

One emotion that prevents us from achieving the best life we can live is - fear.  It robs us of our joy and creativity; it separates us from the success we can enjoy when we overcome it.  It is such an influential force in the world that lives are destroyed by its overwhelming power to defeat us.  The curious thing about fear is that - it is optional and voluntary.  We chose (subconsciously for the most part) to be afraid and by making that choice we create most of our own misery.  The good news is that we can chose to face our fears and in doing so disintegrate them.

I am daily working on this truth and adding it into my personal arsenal of mental habits.  It’s still a challenge for me and may take the rest of my life to completely install it (in my personality), but the results I’ve gotten so far convince me that it is one significant key to achieving every goal I’ve ever set and living as the relaxed and confident person I believe I can be.  Best of all I know that it is God’s will because He says, “Do not be afraid.”

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Freedom From “The Blame Game”

Taking responsibility for what you say and do is powerful and liberating.  This is true especially when you realize that your situation is (for the most part) your own doing and your reaction to your circumstances is 100% up to you.  I know this is something that has been said a million times in a million ways, but I believe that it can’t be said enough or in too many different ways.

Let me be transparent with you and admit that I’m far from having it all figured out.  I’ve got my share of personal issues to work on, but I do walk this talk and you won’t find me being a victim of circumstances or saying that I think someone else is the cause of my troubles.  I have made a point of reinforcing this belief system with a set of habits and disciplines that are transforming the way I think and the actions I take. Key to this is recognizing what I can’t do anything about and making a conscious decision to gratefully leave that stuff up to God because He is able to handle it all.  I trust that He is dealing with it perfectly and I refuse to worry about it.

If you are in the habit of and continue to blame everyone and everything for what is going on in your life then I suspect that things will probably go from bad to worse for you and you’ll continue to complain about it for the rest of your life.  However, when you accept responsibility for what seems to be happening to you (your finances, your relationships, your health etc…) then you can make a change for the better.  You can make a difference in they way the world treats you by adjusting the things you do and how you respond to what happens around you.  In my opinion, this is a wonderful way to view the world and can radically affect the way you live and the results you get in your life.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Finding Your Path To The Way, The Truth And The Life

No other mortal can tell you exactly what you need to do to find the answers to life’s questions.  We are all unique individuals who are looking through a complicated filter of emotional experiences and it takes the infinite wisdom of God to sort it all out.  Humans are not capable of fully doing that for each other.  We can help by sharing our discoveries and teaching what we’ve learned through our struggles, but ultimately it’s up to us to seek out the truth that can lead each of us to our best spiritual destination.

An atheist mother and an agnostic father raised me, so religion and spirituality were ideas that I had to learn about on my own when I came of age.  There were things I missed out on and things I may never have be able to fully understand had I been brought up differently.  There were times when I wished I had been shown the truth of the Gospel earlier in my life and had read the bible before I was in my mid 30’s, but all in all I’m glad I chose to seek God without having been told that I had to do so.  I might have resented it or been indoctrinated into some false teachings that could have stunted my spiritual growth and even lulled me into a false sense of religious righteousness.  Because I actively sought out God and the truth I found it has a deep and lasting effect on my ability to show others that they do not have to answer to anyone except the LORD and his grace and love are revealed to everyone who seeks them, regardless of their upbringing.

By doing the work of discerning what seeds to plant and harvest you learn the lesson of diligence and those crops are not easily uprooted by the wind of discouragement or by passing fads.  Although I suggest that you dig deeply into the Word of God and test to see that His Way is The Way, I can only suggest (because it is your choice) to do so and I know that your life will reveal the fruit of your choices.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Truth Of God Is In His Word

We have the choice of life or death and we make that choice with the words we read and speak.  Every word is a supernatural seed containing the pattern and life that will grow into the fruit we will experience in our lives.  Good fruit has good results and bad fruit, bad results.  The Word of God is the good and perfect truth made available for us to read and learn exactly what is right to do.  With this knowledge we are equipped to act in obedience to the LORD and enjoy a richly fulfilling relationship with Him.  By planting the Word of God in our hearts (through reading, studying and meditating on it) we can be permanently changed for the better.  This transformation will allow us to desire and experience the eternal blessings of righteousness (the kingdom of heaven) instead of being deceived and disappointed by the temporary things of this world.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Spiritual and Material Worlds

The "unseen", spiritual world is more real than the tangible world we experience with our 5 senses.  This is because the reality of the spirit is permanent, eternal and infinite; it transcends time and space.  The material, sensory, obvious world is temporary and consists of ever changing facts.  It is bound by both time and space.  The spirit world is made up of truths that do not change.

When a person accepts Jesus Christ as their personal savior and is born again, they receive the Holy Spirit of God.  This Spirit of the living God then dwells within them and is a permanent connection to the infinite, all powerful and all knowing creator of the universe.  It is when this Spirit saturates that person’s soul and is released into their physical body that true healing occurs.  This saturation displaces doubt and allows the supernatural power of God to be active in them.  This is the state in which faith is active and miracles are normal.

I am learning that to have this spiritual experience I, personally, must concentrate my thoughts on God and pay less attention to the material world.  I believe that this transformation (of soul saturation) can and will happen instantaneously.  However, my own doubt has been preventing me from being completely in touch with the divine.

Monday, March 7, 2011

We Only See A Small Part

One thing that God offers is feedback from an all-inclusive point of view without prejudice.  We only see a small part of other people and overlook what others see in us.  We filter what we do through our whole experience and we use that same filter when we look at what other people do.  Other people use a different “life experience” filter than we do so they see things that we do not.

By building relationships with others we can begin to learn how they see us and we see them with more understanding because our filters begin to have shared points of reference.  I think that God wants us to get to know people deeply because by seeing each other clearer we can help one another better.  This knowledge and common experience in turn helps us to be more like He originally made us to be.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Purpose Is Now Clear To Me

Today it is clear to me that my purpose in life is to obey God and to help others to obey God.  He is able to meet all of our needs.  He is kind and loving.  He is God Almighty.  He is the LORD our Healer and I love Him with all my heart.  All the fruit of the Spirit are from God (love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control).  These characteristics are found in those who obey Him and by obeying him we love our neighbors as ourselves.

Friday, March 4, 2011

An Example Of What God Has Done In My Life

I am petrified of selling (when I think about it) but that fear melts away as I actually take action and work at it.  I dreaded to contact my friends about a MLM "business opportunity" that I was involved in during the 1990's, but when I actually got on the phone and started talking to people, I found that the connection was enjoyable and the sale didn’t matter.  I flopped in that business but grew exponentially as a person and made some of the best choices in my life since that experience.

This emotion of fear (that I associate with selling) I believe, has its origins in my youth and the feeling of rejection I experienced when I would show interest in girls who were (or at least I imagined they were) "out of my league" and they responded with a clear lack of interest.  Obsessing about this (a condition fueled by a society that glorifies people who have success with dating), I developed an inferiority complex that crippled my social development and showed up in the symptoms of alcohol and drug abuse as well as an extensive quest for sexual satisfaction that resulted in depression and thoughts of suicide.

It wasn't until I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior did my life start to turn around.  I began to understand that what I really wanted was to love and be loved and that it didn’t matter if the love I gave was directly returned by the object of my affection.  I’ve grown more and more confident (not especially in me, but in Christ) and those symptoms have been eroding over the past 14 years as I live my life for him, using the bible as my guide.  I have found that I can share the unconditional love he has for me with others.

I've been clean and sober for over 12 years and am married to a beautiful woman who is very my best friend.  It's not like everything is rosy and every moment is happy.  I still occasionally think about drinking and using drugs, but I really don’t entertain those thoughts for very long.  I've had bouts with looking at pornography and depression over the years, but overall I've got a really good attitude and the length of time since my last descent into total self-obsession and debauchery has been growing.

I think that I might be able to use these life experiences to reach out and help others who are suffering with similar struggles.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Created In The Image Of God, But Not Always Looking Like It

Who we are supposed to be is directly related to who created us.  The truth is: we were made in the image of God and when we do things that are contrary to his will, problems arise in our lives.

To understand who I should be I look at the Word of God and study who He is, what He did and what other people who served him well did.  The characteristics that I find there are the ones that I strive to develop in my own life.  However, I often fall short of that ideal.

The difficulties I’ve known and the trials that I’ve been working through are what I call my “struggles in life”.  These experiences are part of what has molded me into who I am.  Throughout my life I’ve been imperfect and humbled, and by exposing my vulnerability it makes me approachable and therefore useful.  I can be of help to others because I can relate to people who have been in similar situations and they can relate to me.  By sharing our struggles with each other, we can see that we are not alone or weird or outcasts but instead we are part of a community because of the troubles we are going through.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Help Someone And Be Blessed

In defining my Unique Core Ministry I am seeking how my life experience can be of value to others.  In this quest one thing that comes to the surface is my focus on individuals and using my trials and suffering for their benefit.  At first blush this may seem to be a contradiction, I’m in trouble with something and needing help, and somehow this is supposed to help someone else?  Well it does, when you understand that by focusing on others, our own problems dissolve.

It has been my experience that by giving we always receive back more than we gave.   I have seen this work over and over again as long as the spirit of the giving is unselfish.  It’s not like an investment done for profit, but a gift given in love.  I don’t expect that spending time with a lonely, elderly person is going to compensate me financially, however, somehow I am richer for the experience.  I’ve heard stories of people inheriting great fortunes because of their generosity, but I don’t believe that type of outcome can be consciously engineered, it’s God’s way of administering justice and his bookkeeping is perfect.

Even though caring for another hurting person can be frustrating and seem unrewarding, it’s always going to bless you for being a blessing.  And at the end of the day, it just feels right to do the right thing even if you didn’t directly earn any money for your efforts.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How Can My Experience Be Of Value To You?

It’s pretty clear to me how my experience in video production is of value to someone who is interested in making a motion picture (that also includes sound recording).  I’ve spent years perfecting techniques and studying what works and doesn’t work (frame by frame) in making a high quality movie.  I own a plethora of high quality production equipment and know how to use (most of it) efficiently.  But, how does my life experience help others to have a better relationship with our creator?

I’ve made some major mistakes and paid a price for my foolishness.  For example, I spent way too much time “experimenting” with mind-altering substances before I started to act on what my heart was telling me all along: I am higher and happier when not under the influence of drugs and alcohol - plus I never have to buy more (because I never run out of) sobriety.  Now, how do I teach that to someone else?  Also, I have learned that my personal worries dissolve when I give my full attention to the needs of another person, now, how do I employ that truth into my daily walk so that (by living it) others can learn from my experiences?

I’m open to suggestions and willing to learn new techniques of using what is unique about my life (both the good and the bad) to benefit others.  My struggles and difficulties (both past and present) are opportunities to communicate with people who may be open now (or will be open in the future) to avoid similar pitfalls or to offer an encouraging hand up out of the pit they may feel trapped in now.

Monday, February 28, 2011

I Write And I Sing For You

The purpose of my writing is to reach out to other people and make a positive difference in their lives.  Music is such a powerful influence on thought and thoughts are a huge influence on the heart.  A good message tied to a memorable melody can touch another person for the betterment of that individual and (through the change in them) the lives of others also.  That is why (even in my secular songwriting) I make an effort to keep the lyrics as uplifting as I can.

I use the Word of God as an example and model for what I do.  It was written to be read so that the message from the LORD could be shared and passed on down through successive generations.  Its purpose is to reach us today and influence the people who read it to make choices for God’s glory.  However, writing does not communicate unless someone reads what is written and is changed by what they read.  Songs unsung do not achieve their purpose, so I sing to give life to words through music.

It is my deeply held belief that by reading the bible, writing and sharing what I write (the Word of God filtered through my experiences) I am living to reach people and influence them for the Kingdom of Heaven.  This is one way I fulfill the purpose God has created me for.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why I Am Happier Now

I used to be much more concerned about what I was going to do next and that caused me a considerable amount of anxiety.  I would worry about what I’d done and said and fret about what I had to do to get what I wanted.  This wasn’t working very well for me because I was seldom satisfied.

I keep coming to the realization (and each time I do it’s on a deeper level) that no matter what I achieve there will always be something else I want.  So, I focus more on what I have now and how it is fulfilling to me.  Rather than considering what I am going to do next and how great I’m going to feel when it is done, I reflect on and appreciate all that God has given me already.

It’s a simple thought process that yields a tremendous amount of peace and satisfaction in my life while giving glory to the creator of the universe.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It Is A Good Thing To Know God

I’ve never been a traditionally “religious” person but my fervor for intimacy with God through Christ makes me a Christian.

The first time I knew that God was real was when someone told me that He knew me and was thinking of me long before I was ever born.  The revelation of His eternal wisdom drew me into a heartfelt desire to know Him personally.  This led to my accepting Jesus Christ (God as a human being) as my LORD, my savior and my friend.  Since that day I’ve found that the more I study the bible, the more I understand the truth and the deeper I know the reality of God.

Here’s what my experience has shown me: a life devoted to seeking the truth finds the joy of knowing pure Love by having the Spirit of God alive in your heart.

Besides that, I’ll never know that God does not exist. If I die and there is no afterlife, I’ll have no awareness and therefore never experience what it is to be without God.  So I choose to be aware of His existence, now.  I believe that the Word of God is true and I will live on after this life and come to know Him more and more, and in greater and greater fulfillment for eternity.  This worldview makes me happy, satisfied and grateful.  I do not understand why would someone would choose to believe otherwise.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Purpose I Have In Living

The main thing that appeals to me about God is the infinite nature of His Wisdom and Power.  I know that for my entire life I will always be able to learn more about Him and continue to grow with His Spirit living in me.  That assurance is a solid force of comfort and an endless source of joy and wonder.  It is my sincere desire to share that understanding with others.  I trust that He will give me opportunities to be of service as long as I live.

It is with this concept that I build my ministry: I want to give you the same chance to know the Lord and to enjoy the fulfillment of His presence in your life that is only truly available through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  I desire to share the gifts He has given me so that I can reach you with His abundant Grace in hope that someday you too will know the joy of sharing Christ with someone else.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Home Is My First Mission Field

When defining my Unique Core Ministry, I start at home, serving my wife and helping my children.  It is my pleasure to be available for them as much as possible. I enjoy working from my garage conversion so that I can get right to their needs at a moments notice.  I admit that sometimes I feel like I’m being interrupted by them at work, however, when I look at it from a different vista I see that the opposite is true; I am breaking up the time I spend focused on the most important people in my life with my personal ambitions, business tasks and other self-centered projects.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How I Can Help Others To Know God’s Grace

The constant goal of my ministry is to show others the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I can only do this by living the Word of God and being a conduit of His Grace to other people.  I am a unique person and my life experience has made me accessible to other individuals because of the differences we share, respect (or in some cases) just don’t understand, yet.  There is someone “out there” who only I will reach because they will be ready, willing and able to accept the truth from me at some time.

For example, I am a walking, talking man of faith.  Long after it is obvious to the world that I am not going to be successful, I continue on working to make my God-centered dreams become tangible reality.  Because of this gift of “stick to it-iveness” I can talk with authority on perseverance.  When someone tells me they are tired and want to give up I can say (something like), “I know, I’ve been there, keep working at it, but maybe chose a different angle of attack, you will continue to as long as you persist.”  The demonstration of biblical principles in my life is attractive to certain people who will then be encouraged to investigate the source of my strength.

I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. 
I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.  So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. 
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isa 41:9-10 - NIV)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Inspiration Gleaned From The Study Of Scripture

Singing a great way to internalize any idea because the marriage of lyric to melody increases our ability to enjoy and remember what was written.  So many of the songs heard today are not based on the Word of God, and therefore a lot of harmful, misinformation has been embedded in our thoughts.  My mission involves sharing the truth found in scripture through the craft of songwriting.

There is nothing new under the sun, however, there is always another way to express the truth.  Whenever I study the bible and meditate on a passage from it, I find an abundance of ideas flowing out through me.  I feel a responsibility to collect those thoughts and write them down.  That is the call I am responding to with my music ministry, it is one way I have been gifted to share.

Monday, February 21, 2011

This Is Something I Do For Others

Although I enjoy practicing playing guitar and singing by myself, this alone time is not ministering to anyone except me.  I realize that in order to be effective in using my gift of music to help others, I must get the songs I write into the ears of other people before the words and music I write can do any real good for someone else.  This concept is what now drives my efforts to record my music.

I believe that by recording the guitar and vocal parts separately I can make my songs sound more like what I hear in my head and reduce the distraction of my awkward performances.  Also, the recordings can travel where I can not and be duplicated for expanded delivery to people who will benefit from hearing the messages they convey.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Defining My Mission - Day One

Today I am beginning to look at why I do what I do (writing songs and singing them) from the perspective of - How can I be of aid (or help) someone else with my gift?  I am asking myself this question - "What good can come to others from the sharing of the words and music I write?"

For starters, I should let you know that I first began writing songs in the late '70's when I was a teenager just learning how to play guitar.  I always wanted to sing but felt significantly hindered with a voice that just seemed to get caught in my throat.  I haven't really experienced a whole lot of positive feedback from my efforts to share music.  None the less, I soldiered on for decades, writing, singing and walking around like a minstrel with my dreadnaught guitar tied around my neck, looking for every opportunity to jam with other musicians but mostly playing solo to the four walls of whatever space I was living in at the time.

Why did I do this?  Because I felt an urgent need to communicate through the medium of melody and lyric and I had the gift to do it for hours on end hardly noticing that time was passing by.  It is a taste of eternity and I enjoy the heck out of it.  So the question evolves, "Am I helping anyone else by surrendering to the deep need I have to make music and sing new songs?"