The WHY Behind Blogging

I may have met my book writing soulmate. In his book, Start with Why, Simon Sinek tells us that the businesses and people who make the greatest impact are those who begin by answering the question WHY.

We have three primary questions to answer, and both how we answer them and in which order we answer them determines who we will be and how fulfilled we’ll be with our decision-making.

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The 30 Day Challenge

Matt Cutts of Google fame presented at TED on the 30 Day Challenge. It was inspiring and motivating. Over the past few years, I’ve learned that every worthwhile change in my life came because:

1) I was ready
2) The change was bite-sized
3) I only had to last a short time before it became habit.

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Stand Apart, But For the Right Reasons

I read a great quote shared by Richard Hancock this morning:

If you don’t want criticism, don’t stand for anything. – John Addison

Most, if not all, of us go through a phase in our lives where we’ll do ANYTHING to avoid being criticized. This means following the trend, trying not to stick out, and probably condoning a lot of stupid behavior we really don’t like.

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My Wife Just Keeps Getting Hotter

I thought my wife was hot in college. And trust me, she was. I was all goofy inside when I’d look at her. That’s partly why I married her. I’m not ashamed to say it. I like beauty. I didn’t want to ever feel the need to lie about how beautiful she looks. So I was picky. VERY picky. And I wanted to know beyond a reasonable doubt that I’d still be attracted to the woman I married 20 years later. Check.

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What it Means to Establish a Vision for Your Life

Mommypotamus and I spent some time this past weekend at a local coffee shop talking over our vision. It’s a vision two years in the making, and we’re not there yet.

God Speaks Through the Discount Book Table

Thanks to this book God led me to at Mardel, Visioneering: God’s Bluepring for Developing and Maintaining Personal Vision, we finally have some help understanding the frustrations we’ve been facing. How many of you know that two years into a dreaming and planning and scheming mode, you can start to get a little weary, frustrated, and pissed off when the vision’s not coming to fruition?

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How Do You Respond to Adversity?

We are walking through this issue in this very hour. A blessing we expected God to deliver has been withheld, at least for a time. Looking with natural eyes, we’d be tempted to feel lost and abandoned to a vision-less and terrifyingly empty scenario. But I don’t feel yet compelled to release this expected blessing. I don’t believe people have the ultimate say in everything.

I trust in the word of the Lord, and I expect Him to perform His word. It’s not my job to fulfill His promises. It’s my job to simply trust Him. Will you do that with me? Will you trust in Him? When He speaks a word into your heart. When He leads you to something wondrous yet impossible. Hold fast to Him! Not to an object or a desired outcome. Hold fast to Him! He is the One.

I know not what tomorrow brings. Man has spoken against the word of the Lord. I choose to believe God. He decides what is best for me, and what is possible. He takes the wealth of the wicked and pours out blessing onto the righteous. He gives good gifts to His children. He is the faithful Father.

If He releases me from this vision, I will let it go. I will walk away. But not until. I do not hand my future over to simple and sinful men. May the word of Lord not return void.

Behavioral Changes Don’t Equal Intimacy

I’ve written twice this week about the content I focus on, whether it be television, radio, music, news, books, blogs, and tweets. It’s very true that the content we absorb and constantly wash our minds with determines the inclination of our emotions, beliefs, and thoughts. All that information takes up residence in our memories and must be housed. Contrary to popular belief, the mind does not lose or discard “irrelevant” information. That information is simply stored differently.

It’s possible, however, to only pour “godly” or “Christian” content into your eyes and ears and still be far away from God.

He is always present, but your heart’s orientation can still be far from Him. I don’t want anyone to have read this week’s posts and think that all they must do is stop pouring junk into their minds. That is an important step, but it is not the step that ultimately leads us into intimacy with the Father.

We must each have the desire to pursue Him. A clean and swept house that is not filled will eventually be darker than it was previously. This is not something to fear, but a truth to respect and believe. If you’re coming out of a deep dark hole and you think behavioral changes will keep you safe, you have been misinformed.

Most God dealings are shrouded in mystery. Let’s go ahead and acknowledge that and get it out of the way. There is no PERFECT explanation for how most things happen to draw us closer to God in intimacy. We see in part, for certain.

Somewhere in these mysterious dealings with our Father, I am drawn. Slight hungers and thirsts deep in my core. In the pit of my stomach or breadbox area. I long for Him. I feel the draw. It’s not always there. But when it is, I have more faith to draw near. For the briefest moment, my heart is not completely numb toward Him. And if I pay attention and honor that moment as a pivotal point in my life, I respond to the Father with an open emotional posture. I ask Him to come. I tell Him I long for Him. I tell Him I love him. I let myself cry when necessary to maintain the posture of longing that begins to swell in my being.

And I know He is pleased. He already accepts me fully. But He is pleased by the moments I choose to nurture that longing and cause it to swell within me. It is the faintest romance. But it is where I start. It is where I am.

I am not intimate or close to God because I set pop culture aside. I am intimate because I am sensitive and attentive to my own spirit and when I sense that a moment has come, I love on Him a little. I cast my cares at His feet. I let it all hang out and just BE near Him.

He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Come. Let us seek Him together.

My Life’s Purpose Seems Impossible to Reach – How Do I Get There?

It’s important to know your purpose in life. In fact, I would venture to say there are only a couple things more important. I’m a thinker. Some would say an overthinker. But I consider ideas and questions from many angles. Nine times out of ten, I’m not satisfied with the status quo answer. I see gaps. I see flaws. I see possibilities.

“They” say that we each attract like-minded people. If that’s true (and I think it is), then I hope some of you are really out there. At the very least, I hope I make a profound difference in one person’s life other than my own by writing in this blog.

I’m going to tell you how I am reaching my purpose. You ready for it? Here goes:

One small choice at a time.

Wait! Don’t leave! I know you’d like something more profound sounding, but this is the truth and if you get ahold of this truth, you will be on the path.

Here’s the deal:

At 17, I was a depressed, anti-social smoker with no hope for a future. I literally told people that I hoped to die at age 25 so I wouldn’t have to bear the lame adult years of being a pathetic domesticated and emasculated male. Just before 19, I cried out to Jesus in my greatest moment of trouble and He delivered me. I was born again, completely clueless about what it meant to live as a believer or as an adult. But my vision began to change.

Within two years, I was deep in depression again. I had no mentors, no one pouring truth into my life and holding me accountable for my thoughts, beliefs, or actions. I was wading through life without a guide, and I couldn’t believe God REALLY loved me enough to help. Everything I did was reactionary. I had no idea what I was aiming at. I had no long-term goals. I had no vision. What’s worse, I had dozens of prophetic words spoken over me that seemed to just bounce off me like BBs.

My point is, I don’t live in that mess anymore. You don’t have to either. I want to encourage you. This is a lifelong process, but I can tell you that my life has grown qualitatively better EVERY SINGLE YEAR. There is no time of my life I would rather be in than right now.

My Goal

It’s a burden on my heart to impart some of my story to you because I’ve had so many friends who are still drifting along without a sense of purpose or destiny. I listened to their aspirations and dreams back when we were 16, 18, 21. But some of those friends got stuck along the way and haven’t made much progress towards the life that God intended, and that will ultimately fulfill them the most while they walk this earth.

That is my heart. If you are discouraged, or have lost your way, I want to encourage you by the Spirit of God. So I will be writing some of my story in the coming days to share with you what I have done to overcome some MAJOR hurdles in my life.

I want to know you. I want to bless you. Spend five minutes with me. You’ll see how human I am. But we’re all JUST human. That’s it. There are no superheroes. There are no elevated people, like super apostles of the faith.

I want to bless you, and I hope you’ll share some feedback with me. Remember, comments are currency in the blogosphere. If you want to thank someone for writing content that matters, write a comment on one of their posts and tell them. Ask questions. Give alternative opinions. BLOGS ARE SUPPOSED TO START CONVERSATIONS.

With that said, I hope you’ll come back and visit and talk to me about YOUR story.

Stay tuned for more of my story.

As always, you can contact me privately here.

What Do YOU Want to Be When You Grow Up

“Danny, what do YOU want to be when you grow up?”

That question always puzzled me as a boy. What do I want to be? How the heck should I know? I have to BE something? What for? Why didn’t I get that memo? And am I REALLY going to grow up and be an adult like you?

People’s expressions taught me that it wasn’t okay to not have an answer to this most important question. I, of course, did NOT have an answer, so I made one up. The two answers I used most often were “I want to be a basketball player” or “I want to be a pastor.”

Nice combo, eh? The basketball player part is obvious. Basketball is fun. I was okay at it. I had dreams of being better. People did it for a living and no one asked THEM what else they wanted to be. So that was as good an answer as any. But the pastor thing? I have no idea where that came from. Seriously. I didn’t actually WANT to be a pastor. I didn’t much care for the pastor we had, and he was my only pastoral role model.

So there’s a mystery for you. Why did I say I wanted to be something I didn’t actually want to be? Why not a policeman, fireman, astronaut, doctor, or something “normal”?

You got me. I have no clue. But that’s what I chose.

Here I am. 32 years old. Still asking myself this question. What DO I want to be? What is deepest, truest passion? What is it that would most fulfill me in my life?

If I had to guess, I’d say that the reason I didn’t have any aspirations as a child was because I had never heard of or imagined the purpose God has for me. It’s hard to say you’re going to be a nuclear physicist when you’ve never heard of even an ordinary physicist, right?

Right. And I’d never heard of a prophetic person, or prophecy in any context until much later (and even then, the only context was of end-times prophecy which I don’t worry too much about). So it’s ironic that I chose to tell people I wanted to be a pastor, because that was the only member of the fivefold ministry I’d heard of at that stage in my life.

Sadly, I STILL don’t know what a full-time prophetic ministry looks like. I see John Paul Jackson, but he’s into these international prophetic training schools. That’s great, and much needed, but I don’t want to leave my wife and family every few days to travel the world. I also see Rick Joyner, but I’m honestly not sure what he does. He’s written very popular books, of course, but I guess he sort of runs a church, like a pastor. I’m not into being a pastor. I know that’s not my particular set of giftings or interests.

Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, I have an idea of what church SHOULD be, and it incorporates all members of the fivefold ministry: Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Evangelists, and Teachers. I’ve never seen a model of this in the real world, but I think it makes perfectly logical sense that the fivefold ministers should be actively working together to train and grow the Body of Christ. What a concept! A pastor, a prophet, an evangelist, and a teacher all working together! Does that ever happen?

Since most churches are built upon a pastor/teacher’s charisma, insight, or gifting, it’s rare to see church leaders share the spotlight or the power. They’ll call it whatever they like, but they’re really running a corporation as the CEO.

Back to my original dilemma. I actually know what I’m called to. But I don’t know what it looks like. And I don’t have the faintest idea how it generates income without being oogly (i.e. creepy and dangerous). I’m ready to make a move. I’m ready for transition. But I don’t yet see what I’d be transitioning into.