"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." - Psalm 143:5

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Freedom Prayer




This small snippet from my sermon on Sunday…I hope it blesses you. You can listen online below. Please pray as I continue my series on freedom for the next two weeks. Oh, does that picture of St. Ignatius look like someone you know? Hmmmm…bless you all!  - Jay



Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty,
my memory, my understanding and my whole will.
All that I am and all that I possess You have given me.
I surrender it all to You to be disposed of
according to Your will.
Give me only Your love and Your grace;
with these I will be rich enough,
and will desire nothing more.
                    - St. Ignatius Loyola



That is my prayer, my desire for you and for me. The great adventure of serving God with all we have awaits us. It calls to the deepest part of who we are and whispers to every corner of our heart. Don’t you feel it tugging relentlessly at your sleeve? Does it wake you at night…disturbing you in a righteous way?

That’s freedom calling…that’s the desire of your heart waking up.





Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rock, Scissors...Hope


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I woke up early this morning to a quiet, sleepy house…every one still tired from yesterday’s full day of life. Quickly preparing for work, tasks like brewing coffee, making my lunch—just the routine of a daily journey—goes by silently and passionless. The morning air is filled with my heavy sighs.I stop by my desk knowing what I will see, my Kryptonite, the pile of bills that threaten my superpowers.

My power drains…and it’s time to go.

In that moment by my desk, I had loss hope. A rock and a hard place is not a good place to be…I hate it. I feel my power cut off, my faith breath fading…the Kryptonite scissors of doubt are working overtime on me.

Driving to work, I breathe a prayer…
Father, send me hope…please send me hope.

I start to worship and praise a God who is worthy…despite what I feel about the circumstantial evidence on my desk. The evidence contains facts for sure, but they are based on my circumstances not His truth. Like the mythos of Kryptonite, the only power they have over me is when I surrender to them. I praise a God of hope…the power returns.

Rock…Scissors…Hope covers them both…hope wins.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

I am covered by hope…what about you? How can I pray for you today?

 

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Heartfelt


heart1-1 copy During my prayer time this morning I felt that God was warning about giving our hearts away. There are many, many things that will ask you for your heart today. Some will even demand it from you. Circumstances, trials, fears, are the biggest culprits. The temptation to settle for something less than God's best for you is a loud one. Can I encourage you with this? Our hearts belong to the Father, first and foremost...and forever. Don't let anything else try to steal your heart away from pursing Him with all you have...guard your heart. I'm praying for you.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23

 

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Overcoming your stuff

 

This will be a crazy week, so much life going on, and so many battles to fight on so many levels. So Soulfari may be a little quiet this week as I continue to seek God for answers on how to lead my family through some tough stuff. As I seek Him to help me prepare and bring the next three weeks of sermons on freedom. As I continue to pray for you and others the Father brings to my mind and heart.

I woke up early this AM with this Scripture on my mind....

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." John 16:33

We're all going through stuff, some more difficult than others, and there are days when our stuff seems to be winning over us. Can I encourage you (us) that the Father knows, the Father cares and the Father loves us through all this stuff! His son has overcome the world...can He not help us overcome the world of stuff that we face?

Praying for you…Jay

BTW

4free copyIf you want to listen (and have about 30 mins) here is the first sermon from the series on freedom. It’s about finding your voice. Just use the sermon player on the right of my media page at strategicfathering.com

 

In this sermon I mention an answer to my hearts cry and how God is releasing my voice. Starting August 1st, on the Sound of Life radio network, a daily two minute spot, geared towards encouraging men, will be aired. Yours truly is the host of that small program…God has blessed me with a huge opportunity and I am grateful.

neweb banner If you need a small chuckle…here is the latest from Lambo and Chop…who are clearly having issues of their own.

 

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sermon Prepping My Heart

 

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This Sunday I begin a four part series called the Four Spiritual Freedoms, loosely based on FDR’s Four Freedom Speech. I’m always amazed my pastor gives me the freedom to speak at our church (Bridge Builders Community Church)…even when he’s out of town!

I knew my subject matter for months and have been slowly building my notes and references; believing in my heart this would be a special series. I knew the Father wanted to speak about freedom (I think He’s always talking about that) in a fresh way and disturb the waters of unbelief we sometimes wade in.

What I didn’t know (at first) just how much He would be messing
with my heart.

I thought I was a “free man”, one who understood what freedom was all about. It a lot of ways I am free…but not as free as the Father wants me. It’s more than just knowing about freedom, it’s more than studying about freedom and it’s even more than understanding freedom.

It’s walking in it…completely.

These are some of the questions we’ll be exploring…

If we’re free to use our voice…what would that sound like?

If we are free to desire (in a Godly way)…what would that feel like?

If we are free to worship…how does change us?

If we are free from fear…who will we become?

Will you pray for me as I journey with my church through this series? My desire is to convey the heart of the Father who wants us to be free. My prayer is that we open ourselves to the liberty that He has for us all.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Target Practice

 

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When you surrendered to Christ, did you realize the target you placed on yourself? Did you understand that you exposed yourself…that you came out of the darkness, the shadows…into the light…where you can be seen? Your message was clear…and the enemy knew WHO you stood with…the line was drawn. Now you have a fight on your hands.

If this was not so…why do we need armor?

In the movie Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers comes one of my favorite exchanges.

King Theoden: I will not risk open war!

Aragorn: Open war is upon you whether you risk it or not.

This small exchange resonates with me because we are at war. The battle is real and all around us. Open war is upon us; we must engage and fight to win this battle. The real risk is not the battle itself but passive surrender without a fight. The battle may seem like a skirmish, too distant to be a threat but don’t be fooled by where your frontline might be.

I’m tired of the enemy, tired of his tactics, tired of the war he’s raging against people I love. It’s time to place the target where it belongs…on an already defeated enemy. For this is the truth…

“He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” Psalm 18:34

“For You have girded me with strength for the battle; You have humbled under me those who rose up against me.” Psalm 18:39

Sold out alliance to His will, guarantees our victory in this battle. When we surrender all to the Father’s way—like Jesus did—there is no surrender to any other force. Will you pray this with me?

Father God,

We trust in your strong hand, we trust in the training of our hands and our hearts. Strengthen our resolve, our faith and our vision. We rely on your full armor and every promise we have from you. We are men after your heart, we are men driven by your spirit and we are men that belong to you. We bow to no other King but you our God and our deliverer!

Amen!

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Father Eyes

 

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He stopped; picked up the piece of paper I was drawing on and after a minute gruffly said.

“Keep drawing like that and you’ll make a lot of money some day.”

It was the only compliment (as cold as it was) that I ever received from my father. My story of living in a family of abuse is well documented in this blog (see here). The relationship with my father wasn’t a healthy one and we never reconciled our differences before he died. As a young man, I tried to run away from any connection that I had with him…I wanted nothing to do with him.

I wanted to be a baseball player; it didn’t pan out. I even tried to be a construction worker; I didn’t have those skills. I traveled in a Christian rock band; we disbanded after 3 years…the funny thing is that…

I became an artist.

Even thought he wasn’t a Christian, even though he was a cruel and harsh man…he did see something in me. Father God used my dad (as hard as it was for me to believe) to reach me with a message of purpose for my life. If Father God can speak such life through such difficult and cruel times…

How can I doubt His words now?

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. Matthew 7:11 NLT

How about you do you doubt the words the Father says about you? How can I pray for you?

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Why You Matter

 

 

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In the movie LOTR: The Return of the King is this wonderful scene between Elrond and Aragorn. Elrond visits Aragorn before he leaves for Minas Tirith and gives him a re-forged Andúril. (Made from the sword that defeated Sauron and broken in battle) While Elrond is trying to convince Aragorn to embrace the sword and his true lineage, this exchange takes place.

Elrond: You're outnumbered, Aragorn. You need more men.

Aragorn: There are none.

Elrond: There are those who dwell in the mountain.

Aragorn: Murderers. Traitors. You would call upon them to fight? They believe in nothing. They answer to no one.

Elrond: They will answer to the king of Gondor. [pulls out Anduril]

Elrond: Anduril, Flame of the West, forged from the shards of Narsil.

Aragorn: Sauron will not have forgotten the sword of Elendil. The blade that was broken shall return to Minas Tirith.

Elrond: The man who can wield the power of this sword can summon to him an army more deadly than any that walks this earth. Put aside the ranger. Become who you were born to be. Take the Dimholt Road.

Aragorn: [in Elvish] I give hope to men. I keep none for myself.

That last lines gets me every time I hear it. Aragorn seizes the role as a symbol of hope for Middle Earth, but surrenders the life he has been living (the life of a Ranger, unnoticed and not accepting his true role as King) and also undertakes a journey that may kill him. When he accepts Andúril, he accepts his destiny.

Will we accept ours?

Men…you are a legendary creation. Your life matters because God says so. You were given a holy mission, a commission and an epic journey to embark on. Your heart was forged in the fire of the Father’s love. You are being tempered by the walk of a son of the Most High. This is no ordinary calling…this is a quest…one you were born to face head on. Your life matters, it was designed to be so from the beginning. This is who you are meant to be…a man—God’s man—a man after His own heart. A warrior trained, not just for battle but also for winning that battle. Put away the Ranger, the part of you that drifts from your destiny…become who you were meant to be.

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9-10 NKJV

Tough question time. Do you feel you have drifted from your destiny? Are you embracing all God has called you to? How can I pray for you?

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