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Kids and Rising’ TLC not exposing the ‘secret life’ of a lobbyist

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“WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal , that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…”

Life.  Liberty.  Pursuit of  Happiness.

In the center of the Old North Church in Boston is a clear reminder of the source of these “rights”.  Flanked by The Lord’s Prayer AND the Ten Commandments is a vision of our Holy Christ, offering himself to any that would BELIEVE.  He is offering true LIFE, LIBERTY from sin, and HAPPINESS that can only be found in Him.  Our patriot fathers BELIEVED.  Our Declaration of Independence clearly declares God as the source – He alone endowed us with these rights.  We must only BELIEVE.

Nothing more.  Nothing less.  We are all equal.  All have sinned and fall short.  It is only through God’s grace that we are saved and claim these rights.  John 3:16 makes it clear:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever BELIEVES in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

We can’t do anything more to gain these unalienable rights.  We must only BELIEVE.

Ancient scripture shows that even the Patriarchs (the Patriots of our faith) had sinful flaws – fell short.  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were scoundrels.  All guilty of lying, cheating, stealing, tricking, polygamy, adultery, among many other sins.  Each showed that they did not trust God.  They took matters into their own hands.  Their sins brought trouble to those around them.  They deserved the “wages of sin”.  Yet God worked through each of them to achieve His plan, despite their failure.  Instead, God offered them LIFE, LIBERTY, and HAPPINESS in Him.  Genesis 15:6 says –

Abram BELIEVED  the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”

Not because of his service, obedience, battles, sacrifices, study, prayer, quality of commitment, or contribution.  No.  God endowed Abraham and ultimately his descendents with these unalienable rights simply because he BELIEVED.

Christ offers the same unalienable rights of LIFE, LIBERTY, and HAPPINESS to you.  All you have to do is BELIEVE.  Reflect today on your independence.  Look to the altar of the Old North Church, where the lights of liberty shined, and be reminded of the true source of FREEDOM.  All you have to  do is BELIEVE.

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Can you be trusted?  Do you keep your promises?

As leaders, we are constantly being watched.  Our staff, employees, management, customers, clients, vendors, stakeholders, etc. – all are observing how we behave.  Even our family and friends are on the watch.  The way we manage, motivate, respond, and deal with both good and bad all communicate WHO we really are.  I’ve always said that you can really tell WHO a person is during a significant flight delay or cancellation at the airport…

Not only do our actions show others WHO we are, but they also let them know WHAT we believe.   We are especially on “display” as Christian leaders.  Our actions and reactions let others around us know WHAT and WHO we trust (and value).  Am I demonstrating the strength and confidence that comes from FAITH or am I submitting to fear, doubting the outcome of my actions?  As believers, we must TRUST God and His promises.

The entire Bible is dedicated to demonstrating that God loves us and can be TRUSTED.  He, without fail, keeps His PROMISES.

Joshua 23:14 says “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”

If God can be perfectly TRUSTED, and He keeps all that He PROMISES, why should a Christian ever show worry or stress?  God has our back.  For example, Psalms 34 says that IF we take refuge in God and fear Him, THEN we will lack nothing.  He PROMISES that if we trust Him, we will have what we need.  How powerful for those around us, those we influence, to see this TRUST demonstrated through our actions – our FAITH.

James 1:5-7 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

As Christians, our PROMISE has to be our FAITH in God.  We have to look to Him to guide our actions and reactions in all circumstances.  He PROMISES to give us the wisdom we need, IF we ask – but only IF we ask in FAITH.  By demonstrating this FAITH, we not only receive God’s PROMISES, but we make it easier for those we lead to TRUST our leadership and, ultimately, to even TRUST God.

WHO are you?  You have to be the same in all aspects of your life – be REAL.  The TRUTH of who you are is shown through your FAITH.  Do you BELIEVE or are you “blown and tossed by the wind”?  Remember – “they will know you by your fruit” (Matt 7:16).


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I’m a wreck!

Eighteen years ago today, I experienced the devastation of a major car wreck.  My life changed – forever.  I will never be the same.  The catastrophe “wrecked” my glorious future business plans, a chunk of my memory, my health, and my wealth.  I ended up bankrupt, paralyzed, and depressed.  I had a definitive choice to quit and allow the disaster to own my future OR move ahead, the best I could, and try to make a life of it.  By grace, God put an amazing wife, family, and group of friends around me that encouraged my new journey – they told me to GO!

In Genesis 12, God commands Abram to leave everything that he had known, his country, family, and culture, and “GO to a land that I will show you.”   For someone who had grown up in arguably the most modern city in the world, this could have seemed like disaster – his “plans” were wrecked.   Abram is asked to leave behind his familial binds, his business, and his culture and embrace an unknown future in order to create a new world. Abram’s departure from the familiar to the open-ended ultimately enlarged his vision and fulfilled God’s perfect plan.

Lech Lecha  – לֶךְ-לְךָ

These are the Hebrew words God uses in Genesis 12 to order Abram to GO!  – “lech”, which means “go” with the added emphasis and deeper imperative – “lecha”.  In essence, God is telling Abram to “go to yourself”, or “go for your own benefit”.  My Hebrew friends tell me that it means – “GO!  You have a calling and a purpose” or “GO! to what you are meant to be”.   Abram is challenged to leave behind all the established and cultured systems of Sumer in order to create a better, yet unknown world – for us all.

Scripture challenges us all to be “wrecked”.  Leave our old selves behind and seek a new unknown future – the one He planned for us.

Deuteronomy 4:29 (NIV)  –  “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

As Christians, we have to leave our old world behind and seek God, seek His plan, look desperately for His help and guidance.  Like Abraham, if we let go and look ahead, look to God’s plan, be willing to leave everything behind, and trust the promise that we “will find Him” – even in the unknown – we will be blessed.

My wreck, albeit unwanted, was and is a blessing.  It caused me to “depart” from the familiar to the open-ended unknown and ultimately enlarged my vision – gave me blessing.  Strangely, it made me who God intended me to be.  Now, as we all are, I am challenged to GO!  GO to what God has planned for me, GO for my own benefit, and GO and be who He planned for me to be.

James 1:2-4 (NIV) – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”


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Failure or Faith?

1 Peter 4:12-13

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

Why do we suffer?  Why do we fail?  Why do our best plans end up in ruin?

God uses all circumstances in our lives to bring us closer to him.  He uses our difficulty to teach us about his faithfulness.  He tests our FAITH.  He also uses our circumstance to help grow the FAITH of others.

How do you react?  How do you respond under pressure?  Is your faith demonstrated?

As Christians, we are called to a higher calling.  In difficulty, failure, and tragedy, we are called to look to God.  We are called to activate our FAITH and demonstrate our trust in God’s protection.  This is fundamental to our spiritual growth.  God uses our circumstances to teach us to better trust.  He builds on this trust by delivering.  It is commonly said “that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.  This is true on many levels.  God can use our problems to demonstrate his faithfulness to us – if we trust.  This strengthens our FAITH – makes our FAITH stronger.  God delivers.  FAITH is progressive.

Also – always remember – others are watching.  How we react to trouble shows others our true FAITH.  It shows how much we trust God.  How do others see you reacting?  Do you exhibit stress and concern? OR Do you trust God and his promises?  Our FAITH can help our fellow believers to advance spiritually and progresses their FAITH.   All we have to do is TRUST.

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

What a punctuation mark!  We are to be the followers of Christ we are called to be.  Our Christian walk is to focus on living out what we claim to believe – in any and all circumstances.  AND, we get a bonus.  Our difficulties, if we response in FAITH, strengthens us.  Gives us the perseverance to finish our “race”.  The PROMISE is that our FAITH, when activated, will ultimately grow us spiritually.

Follow Christ and His values, regardless of the circumstance.

Consider it a joy!

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Life OR Death.

Proverbs 18:21

21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Do you breathe LIFE or DEATH into the people and circumstances you encounter?  We have the opportunity, in all situations, to deliver LIFE or DEATH.  Do you give others optimism and hope?  Or do you offer discouragement, judgement, and disappointment?

The simple way in which we live and lead can be fresh air or defeat for those we influence.  This is true in our business, family, and culture.

I have had, like many of you, the unique privilege of learning many lessons from life and personal experience.  But most important, observing the lessons of those who have led successfully and breathed LIFE into my own LIFE has given me a great example of how to live in TRUTHWISDOM provided by my parents, in-laws, grandparents, sibling, wife, kids, and friends have brought the TRUTH into my LIFE.

  • “True leaders take blame and give away credit.”
  • “Remember whose you are – you were bought with a price.”
  • “The harder you work, the ‘luckier’ you get.”
  • “Lead by example – don’t ask someone to do something you’re not willing to do yourself.”
  • “Dead men can’t be insulted – it is Christ who lives through you.”
  • “Always take the high road.”
  • “Get Real – truth builds trust.”
  • “Make sure you light up a room when you enter.”
  • “Make a difference –  today.”
  • “Do what you love, it will never seem like work.”

This loose personal collection of sayings has changed the way I lead.  What a LIFE we have in Christ – we are His, and given for His good purpose — IF we follow.  We can make the harsh landscape of someone’s LIFE live again by the way we lead.  Give credit.  Lead by example.  Take the high road.  Get real.  Make a difference. Love what you do.

Romans 6:13

13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

Be an instrument of righteousness.

Servants speak by giving LIFE to others.

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Transform OR Conform?

Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Lead or Follow?

Are you a leader or are you a follower?  Do you set the standard and stick to your plan or do you work to be accepted and approved by your peers?  Are you leading the way?  This is a loaded question because as Christians, we should be leading “The Way” to the truth of scripture in all we do – Setting an example regardless of the consequences.

We are tricked into believing that we should FOLLOW a certain belief, political group, or pattern.  The truth is, we have been called to live under a different pattern.  Being transformed means that we are CHANGED.  We are different.  We stick to values, not dictated by the norms and popularity of this world, but of what is God’s will.

As leaders, we are regularly challenged with driving down a road that follows that which is directed and guided by the world.  Whatever is popular; whatever is WANTED; whatever brings immediate satisfaction – or the least resistance.  In truth, we are called to seek what God wants for our lives – in all aspects of our lives.  As Christian leaders, we should NOT conform to the ways of this world, but be transformed by the renewing or our minds.  This renewal makes us better – in everything – focused on His good, pleasing, and perfect will.  The renewal comes from recognizing that God has more for us.

Renewing makes things easier.  My grandmother passed into eternity today.  She was the best example of unconditional love for me.  With her, I never felt judged, criticized, questioned, or demoralized.  Rather, I always felt the simple power of love.  I knew she loved me – regardless.

Renewing our minds allows us to lead in a different direction.  It allows us to guide others, in love, to places they believed that could never go.  It gives us power to lead.

Remember –

2 Timothy 1:7

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Lead in a way that takes others down the road of power, of love, and of self-discipline.  Be the source of transformation for those you influence – in all you do.

Lead to glorify God.

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What’s Love Got to Do With It?


I John 4:19

“We love because He first loved us.”

We find freedom in service that is motivated by real love.  But how do we find the “love”?  It’s found through realizing and accepting that God loved us so much that He sent His Son to be our atonement, our scapegoat.  God loved us so much He was willing to die so that we could live.

If someone is willing to do this for you, wouldn’t it change your view of others?  Wouldn’t it give you the motivation to give back?  Wouldn’t you have an obligation to make their sacrifice worth something?  Wouldn’t you try to live better?  Of course!

I John 4 expounds – IF we say we love God and don’t demonstrate that love to others  – “love your neighbor as yourself” – THEN, we are liars.  Point is, IF we love God, THEN we love others.  He died for us, out of love.  We love because He first loved us.

So then, how should Christians demonstrate this in our work, family, and culture?

Real love, motivated by God’s original love for us, is lived out in TRUTH.  We have to get real and demonstrate real love.  But how?  First, we have to live it at home – in our family.  We have to be willing to separate NEEDS from WANTS and focus on the needs of our family and then the needs of others.  This is how Christ showed love – He addressed the needs of those he met, led, battled, or influenced.

Also, TRUTH is not always comfortable.  It’s hard to get real and be honest with what is right – especially with ourselves.  Isn’t it true that the easiest people to be around are those who are honest with who they are and what are their skills?  You can trust them.  We are motivated by their relationship because they are real – no pretense, no “perception”, no hype – simple TRUTH.  Love take practice buts progresses, like faith, as we practice.  The result – patience, kindness, and humility.

As Christian leaders, in a tough world, we can become a blazing light, like the sun, that shines TRUTH into the world.  We demonstrate real love by being who God created and planned for us to be – right where we are.  By living in TRUTH, we empower others with the ability to trust us.  Then, when we show a true attitude of service – motivated NOT by what we can get – but by a desire, an obligation, to want others to get real and know the TRUTH.  This is real love.  This is what should make us different – having the bravery to be yourself and the confidence to show God’s love through service.  Service that is truly motivated to see others be their best – be what God created and planned for them to be.

Remember – He loved you first.  Now live like it!

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Are You Free?

Galatians 5:13-14

13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

How do we serve as Christians – in our workplace, at home, at church, in our community?  Many make the terrible mistake of believing that by pointing out the problems, the sins, the wilfulness of others, and by pronouncing God’s impending judgement on them, they are serving the kingdom.  Untrue.  If this is your dogma, then your Christian life is in the condition of the Freedom School shown here – empty and falling in on itself.

Rather, we are called to be FREE.  First, FREE from the consequences of sin, through Christ.  Second, FREE from fear, as our faith takes control.  And third, and maybe most important, FREE to serve one another in love – by replacing judgement and disdain, with the heart of Christ.  IF the entire law is summed up in the command to “Love your neighbor as yourself”, THEN, we need to FREE ourselves and others through leading and serving in LOVE.

Those we “serve”, our co-workers, our family members, our congregation, our neighbors, should have confidence in the consistency of our character – founded in LOVE.  Our pastor, Dr. Gary Dyer, said today, “You can serve others without it being motivated by LOVE; but you cannot LOVE others without it being manifested in service.”  As Christians, we should lead thorough service, service motivated by love – this is how a servant speaks.

1 Corinthians 13:3-5

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,but have not love, I gain nothing.Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

FREEDOM is found in service that is motivated by REAL LOVEFREEDOM is a gift, a blessing.  We bless those around us, those we influence, when we GET REAL and let them know the truth of LOVE in our lives.  LOVE serves and is not characterized by the values of the world – envy, pride, rudeness, selfishness, anger, resentment, etc.  Instead, patience and kindness.  The world doesn’t need us to pronounce God’s impending judgement, this is already done.  Instead, we are called to the rescue.  We are called to be FREEDOM fighters.  Join the revolution!  Serve and lead with LOVE – THE guiding standard.

For true Christians, our FREEDOM SCHOOL should look like…………..HEAVEN.