My Writings. My Thoughts.
WAR is an unconventional style ministry for men. Extreme, rugged and non-traditional rules apply for Christian men seeking genuine mature growth as a disciple and warrior in the ongoing battle of good against evil. It will be a boot camp style event and it launches in 2014, and is for all men of all ages 18 or older. more details on registrations, session seminars and content materials coming soon.
The smoke was blocking the light of day, and blanketed the home, where a local man lived today. The dark toxic smoke engulfed the native’s home, as the flames grew closer to his location in the center of the house. The fire had consumed over 80% of the home, while the victim whose name has yet to be released from authority records, entrapped the individual with no margin of escape. The victim described the heat intensity stating, “It was so hot, I felt the hairs on my head, face and arms smoldering, and I could smell my own body succumbing to the house fire.”
The man miraculously escaped when he looked up and saw a hand reaching out of the thick smoke, and carrying him to safety. The man who assisted in the rescue has since left the scene, and could not be identified. With no physical description, authorities remain puzzled in the ongoing investigation.
Authorities concluded that there are no signs, indications or reason of arson or foul play. One officer suggested, “The fire must have started from the center of the home, and quickly spread from there.”
UPDATE: Fire’s Almost Fatal Origins Found
Do I have your attention now? Much like the news headlines of modern day media, we are so easily caught up in the lives of others, that we often become consumed by the flame of living vicariously through others, and neglecting our own motives and obligations. Like the fictitious story above, the fire that consumed the victim was not physical, rather spiritual. So easily, we can be overcome by the world and all it’s glamour, that we are consumed by it, much like a fire of the wicked, as opposed the flame of the righteous. In this case, the fire that burned indeed was a fire within the center of the man’s soul (his house). His ongoing struggle of good against evil, flesh over the spirit, straight and narrow, or the winding crooked path. The man survived the fire, because he inhaled the cindering flame of his own sin, and turned the other way to a path of divine immortality. Authorities, rulers or principalities can’t find fault with the fire that burns within a man’s heart to strive to do good, despite their best efforts. Despite what “officials” may say, never judge a book by it’s cover, even more so, don’t be so quick to judge. The flame did ignite in the center of the house, his heart, and spread like a raging inferno to ever corner of the man’s being, consuming him from the inside out. This too is evident when man chooses to turn from wickedness, and seek righteous living. No man, beast or ruler can extinguish the flame that burns inside all of us, so I say rise like a phoenix, seek redemption and there you will catch wind and ignite the land. “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” -Hebrews 12:29
Self examination is crucial to your day to day living. It’s always recommended to take personal inventory of our lives, and even more so, allow others in so we can become transparent to one another. This is where the term “Life Groups” comes into play in our spiritual lives. It’s so vital that we as Christians have a burning desire, a fire if you will, to learn more about our faith and walk with Jesus Christ. Getting connected with other Christians that share the same goals, passions and willingness as yourself is not only crucial as a Christian, but pretty much mandated. Why do you think Christ chose 12 disciples to follow him? Some got His message, while others needed a more illustrative approach. But they all shared one thing in common, a goal to follow Him. In like mind, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” -Proverbs 27:17 So not only should we cater alongside fellow Christians, but immerse ourselves in becoming disciples of His Gospel, spreading the fire of salvation, redemption, healing, forgiveness and honoring His Praise in everything we do. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” -Matthew 28:19
The fire that consumed the man in the story above can be interpreted two ways. 1) You can define that as the eternal flame of hell. 2) The flame of one man’s passion to grow in Christ and being “rescued.” It has no distinct indication to which side of the fence it’s on for that purpose, so I want the story to be open for your own interpretation. I leave you with this poem, called “Fellowship of the Unashamed.”
I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power, my die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of Jesus. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor by power.
My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me, my banner will be clear.
It’s simplistic in nature, and captivating to the very core. It connects us to our friends, loved ones and colleagues while providing a 24/7 network of unmatched possibilty and communication. It also is destructive, addicting and for the lack of a better term, idolatry. You see, when we take more time to spend on Facebook to see what Johnny down the street has been up to the past days, rather than getting off our backsides and spending time with the ones we should be, a barrier is formed, walls are erected and personal bubbles are formed around us.
Not only is does Facebook lack the emotional connection of sitting down with your best friend over lunch or dinner and talking about life, it’s is mere cyber space, a digital realm of pixels, HTML, PHP and code. You see, one thing I’ve realized about Facebook, it must be taken with a grain of salt, and nothing concrete should ever be consumed, discussed or solidified via this social network. Why? Because lacking the human characteristics of physical touch, compassion, voice and visual communication, Facebook isn’t “Real Life.” It’s a mere projected image of what we want others to think we are, and majority of circumstances, it’s typically someone or something we are not.
My own faith was recently attacked via Facebook. And when defending my decision from removing this individual from my life, facebook and other networks, they backlashed and exclaimed that I use religion, God and the Holy Scriptures to justify my own lacking thus catering it to my needs, as opposed to it’s true intent for spiritual and Divine awakening. The point to be made here is simple, don’t use facebook as a main tool to keep in touch with the ones you truly adore. If you want to keep in touch, do it in person, because nothing says love, humility and friendship like a nice lunch or dinner, or even a coffee or ice cream. Human interaction is being decimated in volumes too large to fathom, and we are becoming solely co-dependent on things we can see in our hands, and swipe the screens, and reload the pages. That’s not what we’re deemed to be as humans and adults.
If you are one who says, “That’s it, I’m gonna delete my facebook, I’m tired of it!” only to come back the following day and continue posting, than you too are missing the point of “Real Life.” Trust me, I’m guilty of this one a time or two as well, but came to a mutual decision with my spouse that we should combine our pages into one, and share that together with friends and family. The only reason we keep our facebook is so our family can see into our world daily, and let them know we’re still accountable, fighting the good fight, and keep true to the word. Never on our page will you see rants, bickering or vulgarities, only things of good nature, positivity and compassion. No, I’m classifying myself as a monk here folks, I’m just stating, leave your dirty laundry offline and away from the digital eyes of the world.
If this note struck a chord with you, GOOD! If it didn’t, GOOD! My point is only to make you aware that we must be more than text in a digital world, we must be REAL, thus doing REAL events in our lives to fulfill the human desire and instinct to be interactive, spontaneous, understood and absorbed in physical contact and interaction with our friends, family and loved ones. Not only will your spouse, family or kids see something different in you, they will love you just a bit more when you decide to “Do Something” beyond your Internet connection. Be positive, be creative, be accountable and lastly, love by showing, not typing.
Peace & Blessings!
An interesting statistic that I found out recently from a friend who’s been researching biblical references for my men’s boot camp project on WAR, discovered that over 280 times in the Bible it states our Lord is God of Armies, and only once is he referred to as the Prince of Peace. [Article Reference] Something many people in their Christian faith don’t acknowledge or want to dive into is the real ongoing battle of good and evil all around us. Did you know if you deny Satan and don’t believe in him, in essence you’re calling God a liar?
Reminds me of the story in Matthew when just hours after coming out of the water from being baptized by John the Baptist, Christ was whisked away to the wilderness for forty days where he endured all the temptations of the mind, body and spirit. Who do you think was the tempter in the midst of all of Christ’s triumphs of the flesh? Satan of course! I encourage you all to dive into God’s word in [Matthew 4:1-11], and read for yourself how Jesus rebuked Satan by using the very words of scripture already written and penned in black and white.
So what is all this about a God of Armies and not of peace? How about all the war references noted in the Bible like battlefield, “Whole Armor of God” [Ephesians 6:11], God’s Army, Waging war on Pharaoh, and it goes on and on. The fact is, the battlefield today is in a different realm, one that we choose to ignore and hide away in our comfort zones of self indulgence and self righteousness and remain reluctant to face the calling in our lives. Whether you’re an every Sunday Christian or not, that doesn’t exempt you from being stuck in neutral and neglecting to face your giants head on in life. Our giants are the war of the mind in today’s fight. Sad realization is that many Christians today are stuck in autopilot on their faith, and that’s reason they don’t take the next step and do something more, is due fear of the unknown. Stepping up puts you at risk on front lines of spiritual warfare, but isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? God didn’t create fearless warriors in picket fences, nor did he give us deep water faith only to be stuck in the shallow ends of life.
This fall, in Central Florida, a group of of men, including myself, will be tackling this very topic and undertaking an all men’s retreat boot camp geared to empower men where extreme, rugged and non-traditional rules apply for Christian men seeking genuine mature growth as a disciple and warrior in the ongoing battle against good and evil. We go to war, put on our armor, and learn about what God’s plan is in our lives. It’s going to be epic, and never done before that we know of.
We go to war this Fall, and here are some details on how you can attend this boot camp for men. Sign ups start later this Summer, and all men in Central Florida and beyond are invited to attend.
It’s funny sometimes how we get so wrapped up in our own little worlds with life, events and activities, yet, even though we’re spending a great deal of time with our family, we really never simply pause for a moment to openly say what we already know. Often times, saying aloud what’s already known and felt, and vocally/verbally proclaiming that truth can tighten those bonds. I just want to take this time to do that very principle, publicly and openly, to be as transparent and sincere about my life and path with my spouse, even more-so my own family, as I can be, and letting the world know how much I admire, love and respect my beloved.
You ever heard that old phrase, “Our time is not God’s time?” This rings so true in my own life, especially with my wife. You see, I was in a rocky relationship prior to finding my soul mate, and even more the fact that the woman I was dating at the time in 2007 was a bond initiated by my own engagement and action. I thought I could find love and a partner on my own, so I took action within myself to seek a companion without waiting on the Lord to deliver one to me. The six and half year long lesson learned in all of this was, “Do not instigate or fix things by your own hand or will, but rather be patient, wait up on the Lord, and seek Him. All things we do within ourselves will crumble and become an EPIC FAIL!.” I won’t say my time in the previous relationship was all bad, but I knew deep down it wasn’t God’s timing or his intent for my life late in the relationship, and realizing this when it’s all falling apart and fading away.
As an eighteen year old, I prayed a prayer that ultimately landed me a ten year journey of faith, awakening, soul searching and much needed life lesson in acting by our own hand. That prayer was for God to deliver the perfect companion to me, someone I could love, trust, admire, worship alongside and see wonderful things with. In some ways, I acted out of foolishness, and attempted to fix the problem by “finding a solution” without simply waiting on the Will of God. Seven years later, I’m single again, and really getting connected with who I am, my place in the world and soul searching again for answers. The answer came, like with all of God’s intent, in the most random yet unforeseen way, through Blue Man Group. Weird right?
A little known fact about my life as a Blue Man Group fan and owner of the first fan base, was that I did a great amount of online work for the fan communities, and organized many events, with the company broadening my horizons beyond the limits of Southeast Kentucky to such cities as New York City, Las Vegas, Chicago and soon to be Orlando. Here is how God answered a ten year old prayer that I uttered in my heart almost daily, even while in the six year relationship I was previously in. One of the fans of Blue Man Group by the name of Mike Ippolito, was dealing with some private and personal matters, and found relief and hope through my radio program on WMMT FM 88.7 called Crossroads. Mike listened to every show, and our love of 80′s music, classic rock and music grew, and so did our friendship. Mike would even call in requests from his home in Atlanta, GA and became an active Blue Man Group fan in my online community. Mike became so passionate about his connection with me, that he needed to see me in person, and one weekend in October 2007, he flew up from Atlanta to little Letcher County, Kentucky and joined me on my radio show at WMMT, and participated in my Open Mic Nights at Summit City Lounge in downtown Whitesburg. It was there, Mike and I grew to become even closer friends, and he blindsided me with this envelope and wrapped package. Stunned at the gift, I opened it, and found inside a beautifully written poem about friendship and two prepaid gift certificates to Blue Man Group Orlando with no expiration date. I later understood Mike’s father had passed from cancer, and my radio show and interactions became a way for him to deal with the circumstances that life had dealt him. I was speechless, shocked and humbled, but I didn’t see the big picture just yet of what God was doing in my life.
I took what I knew best with 2 Blue Man tickets, and organized an Orlando fan meet around these tickets, because at the time, I didn’t have lots of money (still don’t), but embraced the chance to see the new Orlando venue and meet new fans of the community. The date was set, July 26th, 2008, and at the time, I had a MySpace profile page. I was friends with a few of the Blue Man Group fans, and one in particular I “lurked” on her profile on and off. Something about her just seemed different, but I never contacted her as she was listed as “In A Relationship.” But that never stopped me from seeing her profile and photos from her many trips to Disney and Universal Studios, places that as a child, I would have given anything to experience, but our family didn’t have the money to make the long trip to Orlando when I was a child. One day, I happened to catch her status message that she was now single, and no longer “In A Relationship.” Really not expecting any sort of reply, and having much doubt about myself, I felt compelled within my being to invite her to dinner while I was in Orlando, and encourage our parents to join us as well to help not make things so awkward. Now, looking back, I knew it was God convicting my heart to reach out to Alexandra Irick, and welcome her to dinner with my father. I shutter to think about what would have happened if I hadn’t obeyed my convictions, and shunned the opportunity that God was giving me.
But here I am, it’s 2008, I’m single, she’s single, and I get a reply back, “Yes! I would love to have dinner the night before the fan event at Universal Studios.” Standing back in utter amazement, a bit astonished, mixed with jubilation, for the first time in my life, I was going to Orlando on a gift from a random person who became from best friend, I had a dinner date with Alexandra and her mother along with my father, and I was getting to be in the city I always wanted to visit but before, never could afford. I remember being in Orlando, and going down the elevator at the Ramada on International Drive with my father, and having a nervous cough of sorts, and being very anxious and nervous because waiting for me in the downstairs parking lot, was Alexandra and her mother picking us up for dinner. It was the very moment I embraced Alex for the first time with a hug, that I felt God compelling me more and more, and I knew from that moment, she was the “the one.” It’s a love and embrace I had never felt before, my very being, manhood and soul was rocked to it’s core by this amazing strong spirited woman that changed my life forever. 3 months later we were engaged, October to be exact, one year after Mike visited me in Whitesburg. One year later, we were married on October 10th, 2010, two years exact after Mike visited me.
Prior to October 2007, if I would have known the drastic turn of events that God was having in store for me, I honestly wouldn’t have believed it. Huge obstacles were overcome, my life became whole, complete, and I feel God more now in my life than ever before. So to recap, I prayed almost daily for God to deliver the perfect soul mate as an eighteen year old teen. Endured hardships, bad relationships and learned a life lesson of patience without taking selfish action of my own. 7 years later, Mike visits with a key to unlock Orlando, and within that key was a seal of a promise that if we’re patient on God, in His time, he shall deliver the desires of our heart if and when it’s His will for us. Through this gift of tickets, Mike allowed an opportunity for two souls who never met, nor knew anything of each other prior, to come together as one, and through that union God’s promise in my life had been fulfilled, my patience was proven just and my prayer was answered ten years later. Not only did God deliver a Christian wife, but a Registered Nurse as a little “icing on the cake” and “wink” from the Great Divine. I often times look back, and smile to Heaven and say, “Your just showing off now Lord!”
Through open doors, circumstance, convictions, suffering, learning, patience and enduring, God never ceases to amaze me. I am so proud of the woman my wife has become, so rock solid in her walk with Jesus, so passionate about her Savior and such a willing vessel to grow and learn in the awe inspiring power of a living God. Alexandra and I are inseparable, attached at the hip, best friends, soul mates, companions, shoulders, prayer partners, travelers, faith growing, passionate romantics and God’s amazing testament to faith, hope and expanding both our understanding of God’s Will in both our lives. By divine intervention, chance, opened doors and willingness to walk through on blind faith, I am forever a changed and humbled man by the sheer volume of love I have for my amazing wife. She is and always will be, my angel sent from God.