Monday, December 17, 2012

Do You Witness While You Work?

If you are like me and work in a secular environment, sometimes it can be hard to share your faith. People are always saying that we need to tell people about Jesus, or invite them to church, and those are good things, but sometimes I think that that might not be the right approach. For example, I work with some pretty rough guys. Some of them think that religion is just for people that are too weak or stupid to take life as it is. That Jesus is just a crutch for people that can't handle life. If I start trying to tell them about Jesus or ask them to come to church, they are not only going to ignore what I am trying to say but they might also pull away from me and make it hard for me to have a relationship with them.

This is the way that I try and do things. I live my life differently than them and they can see it. I don't hide the fact that I am a Christian or that I go to church, but I don't shove it in their faces either. If I can respect their choices and beliefs, even though I don't agree with them, then maybe they can learn to respect my beliefs as well. If I build a relationship with the guys I work with out of respect and honesty then when the time is right they will be much more receptive to anything that I might have to say. Especially if they can already see the peace and joy that God has given me.

If I can get to know them on a personal level, I can be a good friend and hopefully someone they can talk to about what is going on in their lives. Then I can pray for them much more specifically and really know where they need God to touch their lives.

Whether God ever gives me the opportunity to talk to them about Him or not is up to Him. But whether it is me or someone else later on, they will be much more open to it if they trust me and know that not all Christians are crazy people.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Love Of My Life

God has given me the greatest gift I think that any man could be given. And that is the gift of an incredible wife. Without Rebekah things would be a mess. She has more patience and grace than I will ever come close to having.

Raising kids is a huge challenge. Some people think that staying at home all day with the kids is taking the easy way but that is not so. Rebekah does so much for the kids and her days are filled with taking care of the girls and doing projects and helping them learn and grow. It is such a blessing knowing that my kids are getting the best possible care and treatment while I am at work. Rebekah has the best mothering instincts too. She has a talent for knowing what the girls need and if she isn't sure what to do she researches and studies until we can make an educated decision about what do.

If the girls are having a fussy day or a bad day somehow she finds the strength to keep going. I get home form work some days and within an hour I am stress and frustrated with the girls but somehow Rebekah can deal with it all day long. I don't know how she does it and I couldn't do it without her.

I know that I am not always as helpful or as thankful as I should be. I try and help out with the girls and with the house work the best that I can but the little bit that I do is nothing compared to what she does. I work eleven hours a day and then come home and play with the girls and then usually do the dishes. She works around the clock, even in the middle of the night she has to feed Emerald and some nights Emerald keeps her awake most of the night.

I am so thankful that God has blessed me with such an amazing woman to love and care for me. She is always helping me grow closer to God and helping me be a better person. I know that we are perfect for each other and God is so good to us.

So if you have an amazing wife, don't forget to be thankful for her and remember the gift that God has given to you.

Rebekah, I love you with all my heart and I can't imagine life without you. You make me a better person and I can't wait to spend the rest of our lives together discovering what God has for us!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Misinterpreting Life

So, we have all had bad days, we have all had things go wrong, days that seem like everything is against us. I have days like that. Everything seems to fight me, everything that could go wrong does. It is easy to think that it is just bad luck, or maybe Satan is just trying to bring me down. I wonder why God is letting this happen, why it seem like He just lets me keep struggling. When will God come through for me? Lighten the load? Why can't things just go smoothly?

What if our struggles aren't some sort of attack or just a bad day? What if God is testing us, letting us fight through something so that we can know that we have what it takes. We can battle through the situation and come out stronger for it. Know that we can solve that problem or deal with that situation. Maybe we need to build our confidence for something else that is going to come our way. Something that we wouldn't have the courage to take on unless we already knew we had faced similar situations and been able to come out ahead.

God never said life would be easy. He wants us to grow and learn and become more like Him. We don't know what is coming next and maybe we need the experience and the knowledge from past struggles to be able to work perfectly in a situation where God needs us to step up and really make a difference. To change a life that we wouldn't otherwise be able to without those hard days of our own.

So let's try and look at life a little differently. Start asking God "How do You want me grow from this? What do You want me to learn?" Try not to get discouraged when a bad day or a tough project comes along. Look for what God is trying to show us about ourselves. Don't be afraid to find out if you have what it takes, and don't be afraid of failure either. Don't be to proud to ask for help. Sometimes there are things that we just don't know how to do without someone showing us the way.

It's all about perspective. Maybe we need to starting looking at life from a different angle. Try and see what might be going on behind the scenes. It is hard to see the big picture and we can't always know what God is trying to do. So before you get too frustrated, step back and see what we can learn and what God has for us in these tough times.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Passion Of A Wounded Heart

Deep in my heart there is a passion that has been there for a long time. But right now it is almost gone. It is discouraged and nearly defeated. This blog is about what I am feeling and also a battle cry for myself. To not give up on what I love, to fight for what God has given me, and keep trying even if I never succeed.

I have been doing a lot of thinking and soul searching lately and that is what ultimately lead me to the realization that I am going to share with you. So let me start at the beginning.

I love music. I always have. Music has always been able to reach into my heart and stir my emotions. I love to worship through music, and I love to help lead people to a place of worship by playing my guitar. I love being in the presence of God, the way I feel His presence when I worship is the closest I ever feel to God. I long to play and sing and write music that will help other people feel what I feel and bring them to the feet of Jesus like they have never been before.

That is one of my hearts deepest longings, and that is where Satan has fought me the hardest. 

All my life I have known people who are amazingly gifted, people who can write and sing and play music in a way that I can only dream about. I play the guitar fairly well but it hasn't come easily. I have worked and practiced for hours and hours to be able to play the little bit that I can and there is always that little voice in my head telling me I will never be as good as they are. 

I have gotten so worn down by not feeling good enough that I haven't played my guitar in almost a year. But I  have realized that it doesn't matter if I am good enough, by my own standards or anyone else's either. If my daughter Mercedes sings me a song because she loves me I don't compare it to other people's songs. She is my daughter and she sang it for me and I love it because I love her. That is how God sees us.

So will I ever be good enough? Who cares! I love playing and worshiping and that is all that matters to God and that should be all that matters to me. If God wants me to share my music with others that is up to Him and He will work out the details. I am not going to let my passion be distinguished by fear of failure or rejection.

So find the desire of your heart and hold onto it. You never know how or when God is going to use it and that doesn't matter. What matters is that our Daddy loves us and He delights in what we give Him.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Four Parts Of A Healthy Lifestyle

As a guy, whether married or single, it is important to stay healthy. We need to take care of ourselves for many different reasons. As husbands and fathers we need to stay healthy so we can provide, care for, and protect our families as necessary. Now, I will admit that some things are a lot easier to do with the help of a wife, eating healthy for instance, but even so the responsibility for our health is ultimately up to us.

The way I see it, and this is just how I like to think of it not necessarily theology, is that there are four areas to think about keeping healthy: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  They are all part of who we are and they are all interrelated. If one area suffers they all suffer to an extent, so lets take them one at a time.

First the physical. This is the stuff like eating healthy and exercising. Eating healthy is more then just a balanced diet, although that is the place to start. Make sure you're getting all your food groups every day. I used to not eat enough vegetables but since I have been married and Rebekah plans the meals that usually isn't a problem anymore. Here are two things that help me when it comes to food: everything in moderation, and eat until your not hungry, not until you're stuffed full.

Everything in moderation means that I pretty much eat whatever I want to just not to the extreme. I will eat at McDonald's every once in a while but not every day. I eat ice cream but not after every meal. Eat what you like just don't over do it. This may not be true for everyone though so be careful. This is just what I do and it works for me. Second, I learned to eat until I wasn't hungry anymore and then stop. I don't just keep eating because it tastes good. I eat what my body needs and that is enough. Sometimes I have a snack between meals if I get hungry and that is OK. Eating smaller amounts more often keeps your metabolism up and then your body is using most of what you take in.

It is also important to stay in shape. There are lots of ideas out there for quick workouts that are easy to fit into your schedule. I am not very good at the working out thing but I have a pretty physical job that keeps me in pretty good shape. I am still trying to get in the habit of working out though to try and stay in really good shape.

Next is mental health. Keeping your brain active is important to good health especially as you get older. There are lots of ways to exercise your brain. I read every day. I love to read all different kinds of books. My favorites are sci-fi and fantasy books but lately I have been reading through a lot of the books that I have listed on my Resources page.

Another thing that I like to do is play games. I am not talking about video games, I am talking about real games with other people face to face. I love games that make you think, like Risk and Settlers of Catan, and I love games that make you think and react fast, like Dutch Blitz and Set. Whatever it is find stuff you like to do that keeps your brain active. Try and learn something new every day!

Emotions are next. This can be a tough one for guys. So many of us grow up hearing stuff like: "Real men don't cry!" but the truth is a real man needs to be in touch with his emotions. If we never let our emotions out they get all bottled up and then we end up exploding about stuff because we have all those pent up emotions that are trying to get out. We need to be able to show love to others, we need to be able to cry with others. If we can't show emotions we can't show people that we really care. There is nothing wrong with being able to cry. There is nothing wrong with being angry either, as long as we do not sin because our anger gets the best of us. The Bible is full of examples of God and Jesus being angry about things that are not right. We need to learn to have God's heart towards the world, learn to feel what God feels, what makes Him weep, what makes Him smile, and what fills Him with righteous anger. We can't be in tune with the heart of God if we have shut off our emotions.

Last, but not at all least, is our spiritual health. We need to practice good spiritual habits just like in all the other areas. It is a good idea to do some Bible reading every day. There are a lot of good devotionals out there that can help with daily time with God also. We need to know the Bible to help us hear from God and recognize God in everyday life. We also need to pray every day. The Bible says to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). I try to pray all through out the day when ever I think about it. Just little things like, "help me have a good attitude." or, "help me to stay busy at work today." I also try and listen to anything God might be telling me to pray about. I pray with Mercedes every night as part of our bedtime routine which is a good way to help her see God working too.

There is way too much for me to write in this blog about how all of this interacts and how they all effect each other but I will maybe write another blog that gets into all that later. So for now lets work on staying healthy in every area of our lives and see what happens. God wants us to be healthy and He want to helps us live healthy and fulfilling lives too, so don't be afraid to make some changes for the better!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


So, my last few weeks have been pretty crazy. I have been processing some things and there has been a lot of stuff going on with the girls too. So here is a brief recap of the last several weeks.

First we had a doctor appointment for Emerald and found out that she was not gaining weight so after a lot of research by Rebekah we found out that Emerald had a lip tie and a tongue tie which was keeping her from nursing effectively. You can read more about all that on my wife's blog here: My Tongue-Tied, Lip-Tied Baby. So Emerald had a small procedure to get that taken care of and then that same week she got a really bad cold that lasted 8 days. 

Mercedes had dental surgery two days ago because her front teeth were decaying and they had to be caped. It was a pretty big deal because Mercedes had to be put to sleep for the procedure which has a lot of risks for kids that young. 

So all in all it has been a pretty crazy and stressful month. I haven't been sure of what to write about because there is a lot of stuff bouncing around in my head. The point of this blog is to explain my lack of posts lately and to clear my head. 

The thing is, all that stuff has been going on and in the midst of that I tried to make something right with some old friends of mine and was met with a lot of hostility that kind of put me back a bit. Sometimes life keeps throwing things at you and you just have to keep praying and doing the best you know how. I have learned that I don't have to depend on what others think of me or worry about upsetting someone when I am doing what God wants me to do. I guess I have learned that as you seek God your path will intersect with other peoples paths and we can't always see why or what the big picture is. Sometimes paths that cross for a time separate again and unfortunately those partings aren't always easy or even wanted. Maybe some day we will see the bigger picture and everything will make sense but for now I will continue to seek God and hopefully have more blogs up soon.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Keeping It Real!

Now that I am a father of two amazing kids, I have been thinking about my responsibilities as a parent. How it is my job to provide for them and protect them. But also how it is my job to teach them and guide them. It is my responsibility to point them toward God. I can't force it on them, I can't make them believe, I can only teach them what I know and be living proof of the life changing love of God. 

If it is real for me, it can be real for them.

The truth is, if they don't see me living out what I am teaching them, they have no reason to believe it. That is a lot of responsibility! And it is the most important thing I can do for them.

That means I have to stay focused. Listen to God, talk to Him every day. Do my best to show them what it means to truly love and follow God.

And here is the exciting part. The thing that I love to think about and that really drives me and keeps me going. I look back and think about how far I have come in my life. How much God has changed me and how much more I know now then I did when I started following God. I think about how much I have learned and grown from what my Dad was able to teach me and how much further I still have to go. Then I imagine my children being able to learn from me. They wont have to start where I started, they can have a huge head start because of what I can teach them. I can spring them into a life with God that can reach so far beyond where I am because they will have a life time to learn just like I did only they can start so much further along the path then I did. And it will carry over to their kids too!

Are you beginning to see the impact that we can have? How can we afford to pass up this opportunity!

We can't!

We as dads can't let this amazing gift of being fathers go to waste. There is nothing that could possibly be more important! No football game. No job opportunity. Nothing! Our first responsibility is to be like Jesus for our family. We are the head of the family just as Christ is the Head of the church! It is what we were meant to do. 

Be vigilant! Be on guard! Don't be distracted or lazy, be what God has called you to be! 

A leader! A warrior! A son of the true Father!

And a dad!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I Love You Because...

OK guys, how many times a day do you tell your wives "I love you"? Hopefully at least two or three times. Well here is a challenge for you.

At Eastlake this morning Matt said something that really stuck in my head so I thought I would share it. When we tell our wives "I love you" let's try and add "because ...".

This will be tough for most guys if you are anything like me. I am not constantly thinking about why I love my wife. I am just not wired that way. I love her and I tell her I love her and that is that, right? Well not for Rebekah. She (and I think this is true for most women) is always wondering why I love her, or if I still love her, or how I could possibly love her.

So the challenge is this, start telling your wife, "I love you because..." fill in the blank. Now this is going to take some thought for most of us and here is the tricky part, once you start you won't be able to stop. You will probably need several things at one time also. Here is why, if you say "I love you because you made an excellent dinner." They are going to say "So you only love me because I feed you?" If you aren't prepared with several other reasons your are going to be stuck.

So put some thought into it. While you are at work or going about your day try and come up with a few good "I love you because..."s for when you get home. Don't be a wimp about it, dig deep and really tell her why you love her. It will be worth it. Your wife will know you love her and why you love her. If you tell her every day she won't ever have to wonder, she will know and she will love you for it.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

To Date Or Not To Date

There are a lot of theories about dating out there, especially in the Christian circles. This blog is not meant to debate them. It is just part of my story and experiences and what I think about dating.

Probably the most popular view in church circles these days is don't date someone unless you are going to marry them. This can lead to a number of problems on several levels that I will talk about in a minute. The way I like to think of it is, don't date unless you are ready to get married.

I dated a girl before I met my wife and I went into that relationship thinking, "this is the girl I am going to marry". I had never dated anyone before and in the back of my mind was the idea that if you date someone you have to marry them. At first, we were spending time together and getting to know each other and just enjoying being together. We dated for almost two years, and by the end her family had moved away and we were in a long distance relationship. The whole thing was a mess. We had gone way to far physically which I justified by saying it was OK because we were going to get married anyway. I had even asked her dad several times if we could get married. Luckily for me he was much smarter then I was and kept saying we needed to wait and not rush into anything.

Can you see how things could have been different if I had had a different perspective going in to the whole thing? If I had been thinking "lets get to know each other and see what happens" instead of "we are going to get married eventually" it could have been a lot different.

I thought I was ready to be married but I had a lot of learning to do. I would have gone into that marriage already unhappy and with a lot of baggage and it would have either led to years of painfully putting up with each other for the sake of the kids, or we would have just gotten divorced. I wasn't ready. God's plan was better then mine.

So what I am saying is this: Don't be afraid to date, but be careful. Make sure it is what God wants. Thinking you have to marry the person you are dating is a dangerous idea and I have seen a lot of people get hurt by it. If you take care of having a right relationship with God and know what He wants for you, God can bring the rest of the pieces together. I am not saying don't even look for a wife, I am saying trust God and keep your eyes open.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Living! - Or Just Staying Alive?

"I don't want to survive, I want to live!" - WALL-E

So it comes down to this, do we want to change? Is it worth the price? Are we OK with merely being "OK"? Do we believe that there is a greater purpose for our lives and if so are we willing to do what it takes to find it?

Mark 1:17-18 
Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him.
When Jesus called the disciples he simply said come follow me and they left everything and followed Him. They knew deep down that there was more to life than just fishing. They sensed their chance at something greater and they walked away from everything they knew without looking back.

I think that all of us, deep down, can sense that same call if we are willing to stop and listen. The question is, are we willing to follow? Can we walk away from all the stuff we have strived so hard for? It's just stuff after all.

The point of this blog is to challenge us to start taking steps toward something better. Becoming the men that God created us to be. So are you content with your life or do you want something better? Are you willing to do what it takes to get there? What is God asking you to change in your life?

Do you want to spend your whole life playing in the back yard where it's safe, or are you going to jump the fence, go exploring, and see what God has for you?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Romance Shouldn't Stop At "I Do"

Having a two-year-old and a four-month-old can make things a little tricky when it comes to those intimate moments. This is often rather frustrating, especially for us guys. Finding the right moment can be tricky and when the moment does come it is often rushed and rather unromantic. So here are some ideas to keep the romance alive so that when the right moment presents itself you are both ready to make the most of it.

It has been said that men are like microwaves and women are like ovens. Men are ready to go at any second while women need some time to warm up. This means that when the moment comes it is easy for us guys to be ready to go but not so easy for our wives. That is why we as guys need to step up the romance, get our game on and make an effort to keep the romance alive for our wives. 

Women love being romanced. They want to be wanted, to know that you are thinking about them and love them all the time. Not just when the moment arrives. Little things go a long way.

When was the last time you bought your wife flowers? Not just for a special occasion but on any random day just to say "I love you and I wanted to do something special for you". A note left on the bathroom mirror before you go to work is a great way to make her smile and she will be thinking about you all day and waiting for you to get home. When you get home from work, tell her you missed her and give a kiss. Not just a peck on the lips but a real kiss. My wife says if she can't remember the kiss then it didn't count so give her a kiss she'll remember.

Helping around the house and with the kids is a great way to show her you love her. Do the dishes, change a diaper or two, watch the kids so she can take an uninterrupted shower. If you don't know where to start just ask her if she needs help with anything. Try and think about her needs as well as your own. She has had a long day too and everyone likes a break.

Try and go on dates every so often. It can be hard with small children but it is worth the effort. The last date we went on we had Grandma watch our two-year-old and just brought baby Emerald along with us. Go for walks, it is easy to bring the kids in strollers or whatever. Hold her hand while you are walking. Remember how you used to hold hands everywhere you went?

All these things are just ways to let our wives know we love them and appreciate them. If you let them know how you feel all the time it will be much easier to have some quality time together when those moments come along. Also, as life will do when there are little kids around, things aren't always going to go as expected. Don't get mad if you have to hold off and postpone for another time. Just take it as it comes and make the most of it. Nothing will kill the mood for your wife faster then if you get upset with her because she has to go and take care of one of the kids.

So. The point of all this is not just some cheat sheet to help you get your wife between the sheets. It is about changing how we think about our marriages and remembering that our wives love to be romanced and if they feel special so will you. ;)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Eternal Life: Starting Now!

John 10:10b:
"I came so that they could have life - indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest."
It seems like most Christians in America today go through life only dreaming of when they die and go to be with Jesus, eternal life. Well what if we are putting the focus on the wrong word. The exciting part is life with Jesus, the eternal part is just the bonus that it continues after our earthly bodies die!

It is no wonder there are so many Christians just going through the motions. All they are living for is the hope that if they don't screw up too bad they will be with Jesus when they die. Well that is not enough for me and it wasn't enough for Jesus. He wants to go through life with us starting now!

When I think of the Christians all over the world who face torture and death for Jesus I have a hard time believing that they are going through all that just on the hope of life after death. NO! They are walking with Jesus every day. He is just as real to them now as He is once they get to heaven!

We can have real life every day! We don't have to wait for heaven to start getting to know our Savior! Lets start praying for life with Jesus starting now! No more waiting and only hoping for better things to come. Start walking with Jesus every day and when we pass on to the next stage our loving Creator will be right there with us!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lost Boys

I don't want to grow up! That's what Neverland is all about. Lost boys who don't want to grow up. So why is this fairy tale becoming a reality? Why are there less and less men and more and more boys? Maybe they want to grow up they just don't know how!

Most of the guys I work with are in their mid to late twenties and they still spend a large part of their time playing video games. Even the ones with a wife and kids at home. The percentage of men between 25 and 34 who still live at home is up to 19% as of 2011 and in the UK it is almost 30%! They say that this is due to the rising cost of houses and other such expenses and I am sure that that accounts for some of it. But I think there is more to it then just money.

I believe the root of the problem is Satan's attack on the family. As I already talked about in A Marriage Worth Fighting For the rate of divorce is on the rise. With the break down of the core family there is a lack of male presence in a lot of homes. Roles are getting mixed up and often reversed. Boys only have their moms to look up to and follow after. Women are forced to step into the mans role as the provider and protector. So with fathers out of the picture and women out of the house working full time who is there for the kids? Let's face it, even the best day-cares and preschools are not going to train and care for and love the children as much as their own parents would.

So what do we have? We have a bunch of boys who are confused and alone and afraid. They don't know how to grow up because nobody is there to guide them. Some turn to gangs, others find some sort of middle ground based on the warped male image created by today's media, and some are still at home with their moms or maybe a father is present but he is just as confused or afraid as the son.

If we look around we can see it everywhere. They say good help is hard to find and it is more true now then ever. In all the jobs I have worked at there are so few good workers. They have no work ethic, they complain, they don't take pride in their work. Maybe they are just lazy, or maybe they have never had someone show them the value of a hard days work. They don't know what it feels like to provide for a family. If they do have a family they feel that their spouse should be helping make money too so they don't have to work as hard or so they don't have to get by with less.

The point of my story is that we as men seeking God's will for us need to step up. We need to take care of our wives. We need to fight for our families and show our kids what it means to love God. We need to be there for our families not off in some false reality that we escape to through our video games.

Family first is my motto. I work hard enough to provide what is needed but not so hard that I am gone all day and my kids never see me. When I am home I try to spend as much time with my wife and kids as I can and then in the evenings after they are in bed I have some time to myself. 

If you don't know where to start, I have some resources that will give you a good place to start your journey and help you open the door to becoming a man after God's heart. A man who is living the way God intended, not stuck in limbo, a boy in a man's body. 

So many kids are getting lost along the way, left to figure life out for themselves. Let's reverse that trend! Lets make the family something that matters again. Let's be men who aren't afraid to face reality and do what it takes to keep our families alive!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Change Your Focus

Growing up in the church it seems like we are trained to be very worried about not sinning. Seems like a good plan, try not to sin. But I think that too often we become so worried about not sinning, not doing anything wrong, or not messing up, that we lose sight of what is really important. 

Jesus said in Matthew 22:35-40:
One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

He didn't give them a list of things not to do but rather he told them to love.

We need to change our focus. It is not about not messing up, it is about loving God and others. If we are spending our time learning to love God more and not worrying if we are going to do something wrong, our relationship with God will grow. We will be spending more time with God and He will help us work through the sin issues along the way.

It's not about being "good", it's about loving God and letting Him lead us through.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Everybody Fights

Everybody fights. It is a part of any relationship. Not all fights are the same though, and everybody fights differently. I don't know how other people fight so I am only going to write a little about what I have learned about myself.

I am very passive. Overly passive. Not even passive aggressive because that's too aggressive. Men were designed to have an aggressive streak, to fight and wrestle and play rough. Somehow while I was growing up I was ingrained with the idea that aggression was a bad thing. Don't fight, don't yell, don't be angry. So I learned to stuff all those feelings and emotions away and not talk about them or let them out. I was a very angry person for a while because I didn't know how to deal with those feelings in a healthy way. I have since learned a lot about forgiveness and dealing with anger. That being said, I want to share something that I learned recently.

Usually if me and Rebekah get into an argument or even a fight, which doesn't happen very often, Rebekah is very outspoken and I tend to just shut up and ride it out or walk away till we both calm down and then talk it out later. That is not a healthy reaction on my part.

The other night during a fight, we were both angry and Rebekah told me to get out of the room and like always I went into the other room. I was sitting on the couch and I was really mad and frustrated and thinking about what happened when something clicked in my head. I realized that I should not be walking away from fights with my tail between my legs. As the leader of my family and the head of my house I should be dealing with the situation, not running away till Rebekah calms down enough for me to talk without getting yelled at. The problem was not that we had a fight or that we both got angry, the problem was a lack of respect on Rebekah's part.
Ephesians 5:33 - So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. 
 By Rebekah telling me to leave the room just because she knew I would and then she wouldn't have to deal with what was going on, she was stripping me of the authority that God put on me as the head of my house. I was surrendering my role as the leader. Once I realized what was happening I was no longer angry, I got up and went back into the bedroom. Rebekah glared at me and asked me what I was doing there. I told her that she was out of line and that it was not her place to be bossing me around and telling me what to do. As soon as I said that Rebekah calmed down too. She told me later that she was really proud of me for finally standing up for myself and that she had been craving that kind of leadership from me. She said that when we are fighting sometimes her emotions take over and if I don't do anything, she says and does things that are hurtful to me and to our relationship. She needs me to be the leader that God wants me to be. Not so I can not listen to her and make her do what I want but so that I can keep things from getting out of hand and we can work through things in a healthy way.

Everybody fights, but the fights don't have to end in anger and hurt. We can work through our disagreements in a healthy way that results in a stronger relationship and brings us closer together instead of creating wounds and driving us apart.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Marriage Worth Fighting For

On the radio this morning they were talking about the current divorce rates in the U.S. The divorce percentage for first marriages is over fifty percent. More then half of marriages end in divorce and the rates are even higher for second and third marriages.

So what has happened to make marriages so disposable? Why are people so quick to bail out once things get tough? Does a vow not mean anything any more? Or did they just change them so instead of "Until death do us part" it's more like "Until I get bored" or "Until I am tired of trying"?

When me and Rebekah got married we made a vow to God and to each other and that vow wasn't taken lightly. We are going to be together until one of us dies. We both agreed before we ever got married that divorce was not an option. We wrote our own vows and we put a lot of thought into them.

This is what we wrote:
I, Ben, take you Rebekah, to be my wife.I promise to care for you and to protect you.I will be faithful to you and honest with you.I will be your partner and your best friend.I will help you raise our children and point them toward God. I will savor our time together.I will be understanding and supportive through laughter and through tears.I will hold you tight through good times and bad times.I will forgive you as we have been forgiven.I will never leave you.I promise to love and cherish you today, tomorrow and forever.

I, Rebekah, take you Ben, to be my husband.I promise to respect you and trust you.I will be faithful to you and honest with you.I will be your partner and your best friend.I will help you achieve your goals and dreams.Wherever you go, I will go. I will encourage you and support you through laughter and through tears.I will stand by your side through good and bad times.I will forgive you as we have been forgiven. I will never leave you.I promise to love you today, tomorrow and forever.

We meant every word.

As men we need to take a stand! We need to fight for our marriages and for our families! We have to stop sitting on our butts until things are so bad we don't even know how to start fixing them. Marriages don't just fall apart overnight. Little things creep in and start to build up over time. There may be a final breaking point and it might catch us off guard but if we look back the evidence is there.

My parents are divorced. They were both raised in christian homes and they were both christians. One day my mom said she was moving out and my dad never saw it coming. I have to give my dad credit because he truly started fighting for his marriage. He never wanted to be divorced. They had been meeting with their pastor and working on things before it happened. I don't know everything that brought their marriage to that point and maybe there was just to much stuff built up. My parents did a great job raising us, and me and my brothers and sisters all turned out great but along the way their marriage suffered.

I am not going to let anything sneak up on me. I am very proactive about making sure there is nothing coming between me and Rebekah. I can tell when she is upset and I make sure we sit down and talk it out. Some times she tells me I just need to let her be mad for a while but I hate for there to be anything wrong between us even for a second. I am fighting for my marriage before it can even start to slip away.

But why is marriage so important?
It is an example of Jesus' relationship with us; His church and His bride. It's not just about us, it is about honoring God and being an example to the world. In the same way that we have to fight for our marriages Jesus gave everything for His relationship with us. It means that much to Him and it should mean that much to us.

 Ephesians 5
21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.[b] 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body.

So when it gets hard, don't stop fighting, don't surrender, lay it all down for the ones you love.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Keeping the Adventure Alive!

Deep inside every man is the desire for adventure. We want to be a part of something exciting, something challenging, maybe even something that will change the world, if we aren't too scared to let ourselves dream big.

Do you remember what it was like growing up? I was lucky enough to grow up in the country, surrounded by miles and miles of land just waiting to be explored. Me and my brothers would spend our days building forts,  digging holes, climbing trees, and racing our bikes. The older we got the farther we would explore, and the more extreme our activities became. Me and my brothers and our friends would be playing paint ball, rock climbing, four wheeling, swimming, and all sorts of craziness and fun. 

So when did it end? One day we wake up and it's gone. Somehow it slips away. We "grow up". We have to get a job, go to college, be responsible, be a good little member of society. 

But deep inside, that love of the adventure is still hiding.

It is there for a reason. It is there because it is a part of God. It is there because our entire existence is God's great adventure. Satan wants us to lose sight of it. To get caught up in the everyday blah blah blah that is our normal life. He wants to distracted us from what God created us to be.

So the question is: How do we keep the adventure alive in our everyday lives? We can't always pick up and head to the mountains for a weekend of adventure. But there has to be a way to hang on to that feeling of excitement. Sometimes we forget that it is OK to have fun, it's OK to be goofy, it's OK to remember what it's like to be a part of an adventure.

It is not always easy to find adventure in the midst of suburban America. Everything is safe and tame and predictable. I try to break it up a little. To keep the excitement alive.

The other day me and my wife's family were all together at her parent's house. When it's nice out, we all like to go out to the yard and play a game or two of croquet. Well, after one such game the girls were ready to head in but us guys were still up for one more game. I suggested that we spice it up a bit and we came up with Extreme Croquet. We played with all the same rules except that you had to be running when you hit the ball and there could be no more then five seconds between hits or you would lose your turn. So there we were, (me and my three brother-in-laws) racing around the yard swinging our mallets like a bunch of mad men and it was the most fun we have had in quite a while.

It is the little things like that that can keep the adventure alive, and when we love life and it shows in every part of our lives that is what makes our friends and coworkers stop and wonder why we are so different. What do we have that keeps us going strong when others give up. Why are we happy when everyone is just trying to get to the end of the day.

So keep the adventure alive! Have fun! Show the world what life can be when we live how God created us to live!

If you have any ideas or stories about keeping the adventure alive, feel free to add a comment!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bedtime Prayers

Ever since Mercedes was a baby she has had a terrible time sleeping. When she was little she would be up almost all night crying. This would happen almost every night. When she was about ten months old it was about 3 a.m. and she had been crying for several hours, (she was in bed with us because we don't let the girls cry it out). I felt the urge to get up and just start praying. I didn't know what to pray but I just started talking to God. I asked him to help Mercedes and to tell me what to pray to help her. God told me to pray against unrest. I prayed against Satan and the spirit of unrest and immediately Mercedes was sound asleep and she slept the rest of the night only waking up to eat a few times. From that night on I have prayed with her every night before bed. We made it a part of her bedtime routine and she has not had that kind of sleeping trouble since. We have still had rough nights with her because she is a very high strung, high needs girl but there is a difference between the normal hyper nights and the spiritual attack nights. I have learned to tell the difference and when I am not sure I just pray anyway.

She will be two years old the end of July and she is now sleeping through the night and she falls asleep to me rubbing her back after we have read stories and prayed. Prayer is a crucial part of our bedtime routine and I will continue it with her and the rest of the kids for many years to come.

If you are wondering why it took me ten months to start praying about it, that is because I had a lot to learn and I am still learning every day. In the first almost three years of our marriage I have come a long way in learning to be a leader and a father and the head of my family and I still have a lot of learning ahead of me. That is why I started this blog, so hopefully I can share some insight and some ideas so some of you won't have to go through ten months of sleepless nights before you try a little prayer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Time Vs. Money

Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!  Ecclesiastes 5:10 NLT

Several times a week I am presented with a choice: stay an hour or two late at work and make forty or fifty extra dollars, or leave on time and be home for dinner and have a couple hours with my girls before bed time. Now forty dollars, three or four times a week, adds up fast. That's a lot of money, and as it is we are on a very tight budget. As much help as that money would be I just can't trade that time with my daughters. When it comes to work I have always said family comes first. If my job is demanding too much time and I can't be there for my girls then maybe I need to find something else. 

When I come home from work Mercedes runs to the door yelling daddy daddy daddy, and gives me a big hug and tells me what she is doing as best she can. She always want to cuddle me and tells me she misses me. I wouldn't want to trade that relationship with my daughter for a few extra dollars. I have worked with too many guys that have ended up getting divorced or have no relationship with their kids because they worked all the time. I refuse to let that happen to my family.

It isn't easy to do. It takes sacrifice. It is all about priorities. We only have one car. We don't have cable or a high def TV. I don't have a PS3 or an Xbox 360. We don't have the newest smart phones and iPads. But what I do have is a wife and two daughters who love me, who want to spend every minute they can with me, who miss me when I'm gone and can't wait for me to get home. That is what I do have and no amount of money would ever be worth giving that up for.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Becoming a man after God's heart is a pretty heavy statement! This blog is meant to be a window into my personal journey towards what God wants for my life. I will be blogging about questions (and hopefully some answers) that I am thinking about and dealing with in my life. God has put the desire to be a man of God deep inside of me. There is a lot of questions that I am seeking answers to and my goal is to share some incites and things that I learn with whoever cares to read them in hopes that my journey might inspire others to set out on their own journeys to find what God has put inside their hearts.

I will be trying to deal with and discuss things like: How do I be a true man of God? What will that look like in my marriage, to my kids, and at my job? How do I balance working, spending time with my kids, keeping the relationship with my wife alive, and finding a balance in the midst of all those things while still maintaining my sanity? How can I show my children the love of God and make it real in their lives?

There is so much to learn about being a real man and so much that I need to learn. If my ramblings and thoughts can help some of you to find a closer relationship with God, with your kids, or with your spouse, then this blog has served its purpose. I hope to post something about once a week. I welcome your comments and thoughts. If some of what I write brings up questions for you then feel free to ask me whatever and I will do my best to answer or it might open up a whole new box of thoughts and ideas. If nothing else we can grow together and share in this journey towards God.