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Powerful Life Change Happens When You Have A Life-Lifting Partner

I have been involved in lifting weights since I was a teenager and I love it.  But one of the very first things I was taught was when you are working out never lift heavy weights on your own.  If you are going to shoot for a heavier weight or you are going to lift your max weight then you need someone there just in case you get stuck or can’t lift it.  There has been time and time again where I have needed a lifting partner to help me.  Just that little nudge, a yell of encouragement, or even the ability to grab the weight and rack it before I crushed my chest or blew out a knee. Everything that a lifting partner is taught to do when helping someone lift.  Usually, when I was getting ready to lift the heavy weight I would find a good friend or a team-mate that I trusted and knew had the strength to lift what I was lifting. (I would pick a lineman who looked at what I was lifting and would laugh and say, “puny defensive back”.) Then I would get on the bench or I would get under the bar in the squat rack, get in position and begin lifting.

I tell you about this not because I am huge and all muscle but because I think we could use lifting partners every day of our life.  Each and every one of us could experience powerful life change when we have life lifting partners.  Just think about it your getting ready to make a big decision, call your lifting partner.  You are getting ready to start a new job, call your lifting partner.  You are struggling with an addiction, call your lifting partner.  You are struggling in your marriage, call your lifting partner.  Here is the problem most of us wouldn’t do that because we believe that we can handle the heavy lifting all on our own. We have been taught that we don’t need anyone else when things get tough.  Except for when we are lifting heavy weights. (Why?) Here is a verse in the bible that I think sets the tone for what we need to do:

Galatians 6:2 (NLT) Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

Why is that we can lay down on a bench and try to lift heavy weight and then realize it is too much and then go ask someone for help, but we won’t do it when our marriage is struggling. (Pride)  We can step under a bar that has 45 lbs plate after 45 lbs plate on it straining against a squat rack barely lift it and say I can’t handle this at all, then go a lifting partner.  But when our kids are having a really hard time we won’t say a thing. (E.G.O. – Edging out God)

lifting partner

Here is what I am suggesting today start to develop a relationship with some LIFE lifting partners.  I guarantee that there are other guys just like you trying to lift and then carry some heavy burdens that could use your help.  You see that is what is so amazing about when you get LIFE lifting partners it doesn’t become a one-sided relationship.  There is give and take, there is the encouragement in the form of a pat on the back along with maybe a kick in the butt.  You have another person or persons that you can call when the weight of the burden is just getting to be too much, so the can step in and help you lift and carry that burden.

So start by thinking about at least two or three other guys that you like to hang out with in your relationship circles.  Then take a couple of weeks to pray about asking those guys to think about being lifting partners after you have explained to them what lifting partners could be for each other.  Once you have asked them then take a couple of weeks for each of them to pray about the opportunity of being lifting partners. Then come together and talk some more about who is in and who is out, then plan the next time you are going to meet as LIFE lifting partners.

Now that you have some guys that are willing to be LIFE lifting partners just meet and talk about what you all hope to get out of being lifting partners.  Then establish what will be your natural rhythms for when and where you are going to meet.  You also want to let each other know that as you begin to share and pray for each other that whatever is shared with lifting partners stays with lifting partners. (Unless someone is at risk of hurting themselves or someone else.) Then ask each other how you can pray for each other, pray and enjoy the rest of your coffee, beer, or soda just hanging out.  Then just continue to meet, talk, pray and hang out just a little reminder to take your time and not feel as if you have to go deep right away.  Let the Holy Spirit guide your moments and let the time you spend together lead the conversations.

(This was written for men but it can very easily be used for women as well.  The truth is that in my experience is that women already do this kind of relationship way better then we men do. But if this is something you can use by all means go for it.  Too many people are spending their lives trying to carry their burdens all on their own.) 

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Living In My Dad’s Hand Me Downs

dad-helping-son-tie-a-necktieWhen you are growing up as the oldest of four kids there is no one to give you hand me downs, except your dad.  Now if you don’t know what hand me downs are then you were either an only child or your family had enough money to make sure you had lots of new clothes.  So this is not going to be a story that you can probably relate to when it comes to clothing.  But by the time we get done here you are going to see that you are probably dealing with some hand me downs when it comes to your life.

Being the oldest of three boys and one girl and growing at a rapid rate around 8th grade I needed a lot of clothes quickly.  You see I grew 9 inches in one year.  So that meant I was constantly wearing pants that were called high waters. (If you don’t know what that means then we can’t be friends.)  My mom used to joke that they were just the right length when I left the house in the morning but by the end of the day, they were too short.  The problem with growing that fast is that it gets really expensive and being the oldest of four we were not in a place to buy jeans every other day.  That meant I was getting dad’s hand me down clothes.  Which you might think that can’t be that bad.  Well if at the time your waist is a size twenty and your dads is a size thirty then it can cause some issues.  But, you belt up and you keep going.  Now here is what you might not know about wearing your dad’s hand me downs, it makes you feel grown-up.  I mean to a 13-year-old boy you are now wearing man’s pants.  They aren’t the kiddie pants in the boy’s area of the store they come from Men’s clothing, you see what I mean?  Yes, they didn’t fit you perfect but, you knew that at that moment you were wearing man’s pants.

Flash forward to now.  I am no longer wearing my dad’s hand me down clothes. I am a dad of my own with a son and yes at one point in his life I gave him one of my shirts or even a pair of pants.  And yes the same was true for him as it was for me when I was his age the waistline was for sure not the same.  But I can remember as clear as a bell my son looking at me and saying, “Thanks Dad I really feel like a man wearing this.”

Here is the problem for many of the men that are around today.  They never had that moment with their dad where they got to wear his hand me downs. Maybe it’s because their dad was no longer alive, maybe it was because their dad was in prison, or just maybe it was because their dad chose to not be in their life.  No matter what the reason that little moment in life where you were able to see yourself develop into a man never happened and it is something that you have been thinking about with each day. Who knows you may be a dad now and you are trying to figure out what you are going to do for your son when the time comes in his life where he is starting to become a man.

Here is my encouragement to you. Don’t buy him a shield, don’t buy him a trip up some mountain, or create some party that lets him know he is becoming a man.  Just grab a shirt, grab a pair of pants, take him one of your ties and let him wear them for a little while.  Because the truth of the matter is that he is going to probably outgrow your stuff anyway. I am not necessarily saying he is going become a bigger man then you physically. (It could happen.) But he is going to outgrow what you have given him and that is ok because that means he is becoming his own man.  Which is what you want so that someday when you see him as a dad he is going to let your grandson live in his hand me downs.

Letting A Prisoner Out Of A Cell Is Not What Makes Them Free

prisoner

Over 10,000 ex-prisoners are released from America’s state and federal prisons every week and arrive on the doorsteps of our nation’s communities. More than 650,000 ex-offenders are released from prison every year. But what if I told you that most of them are still not free even though they are not living in a cell anymore.  They are still prisoners to their addictions, their broken relationships, and their past.

So what is it that we can do to enable them to experience freedom?  What are the ways that we can be a part of the life change for the men and women that have been in prison? I believe that these are a few questions that we need to be asking ourselves especially if we call ourselves followers of Jesus.  Here are a few things that I have learned over the last couple of months from spending time with the men and women of our city that have been released from prison:

  • SEE THEM AS A PERSON – They have already spent a great deal of time where they were seen as a number and not as an individual.  They carry with them not the identity as a person but the burden of what they have done.  That means we have the opportunity to see them not as a number and not as crime but as a person.  Here is a quote that I have been thinking about: Always pray to have eyes that see people, a heart that forgives the worst, a mind that forgets the bad, and a soul that never loses faith in God.” I believe that we have the possibility to be a part of the change of someone who may still see themselves as a prisoner. One of the things that I believe is important for some of us to remember is this: “The only difference between them and us, is that they got caught.” Just a little food for thought.

 

  • TALK TO THEM NOT ABOUT THEM – I have recently had the opportunity to spend some of my time with several men and women that have been recently released from prison. It has opened my eyes to the fact that many of them still have a hard time talking with people that they feel can either do or take away something from them.  They are constantly aware of what people can and will mostly say about them because of there life choices.  So I make a point to talk to them, to look them in the eye and find out who they are and what is happening in their life.  It is building on the first thing as seeing them as a person and then talking to them and not about them.  If more people were willing to talk to returning citizens we just might gain some understanding of who they are and what is happening in their lives.

 

  • CHOSE TO HELP NOT HINDER – This is where I am amazed at the hardness of some people’s hearts and the depth of the fear that they have for the unknown.  People will unfortunately automatically think of a person that has been released from prison as the worst person they can think of in this world.  But the truth of the matter is that many of these individuals are people just like you and me that have either made a choice or have been involved in a situation that has lead them to being in prison. (Think about Martha Stewart she is a felon.)  So why not see how you can help them? Why not see what you can do to enable them to see that they don’t need to go back to where they have just came from.  I am fortunate to be able to work and be with an amazing group of people that are doing just that, choosing to help these men and women and not to hinder them.  The place and people can all be found at the Second Chance Center a place where the decision has been made to help returning citizens experience lives of success and fulfillment.

Helping-HandSo what are you doing to help make men and women that were previously incarcerated feel free again?

For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.Romans 6:7 (NLT)

The Death of Fatherhood is Devastating your City Today!

Sad yound man

No matter where you live I want you to know that the death of fatherhood is devastating your city from the inside out right now, today.  Here in the United States the statistics are staggering when it comes to fatherless homes:

  • 25 million children in the United States are growing up in fatherless homes.
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
  • 71% of all adolescent substance abusers come from fatherless homes.
  • 80% of all in psychiatric hospitals come from fatherless homes.
  • 70% of adolescents in juvenile correctional facilities come from fatherless homes.
  • 60% of rapists come from fatherless homes.
  • 70% teen pregnancies happen in fatherless homes.

    (Statistics from National Center For Fathering 2015)

The statistics are not any indication on the women that are left with the heavy responsibility to care for children in many cases on their own.  These women are doing the job of two and doing it, most likely while they are working more then one job.  They are not the reason that we are talking about fatherhood.  We are talking about fatherhood because in most cases (not all cases) that we have men that are walking away from their responsibility and opportunity to be a FATHER.

Fatherhood

So what does this mean for us today? What does this mean for us in the coming years?  I believe that it is an amazing opportunity for those of that have had a father or have grown into fatherhood to help both young man and high school boys.  It is the opportunity that we have to be a part of breaking the chains of dysfunction that have lead to the slow death of fatherhood.  Here are some ways that we can take this opportunity and begin to make a difference:

  • Start where you are at with the boys that are right in your own neighborhood. I guarantee that you will see some young guys throwing the ball around or kicking that ball around on your street.  Just take some to spend with them playing and talking. It is amazing how much a kid will talk while they are playing.
  • If you are father then take the time to get to know the other boys or girls that are hanging out with your children.  Don’t just let them wander through the house without them seeing or getting to know there is a father in the place.
  • Take the time to talk and mess around with the boys and young men that are involved in your church.  You just might be exactly what one of these mothers are looking for when it comes to helping them encourage their children. (I had two men in my life that were just like this)
  • If you are single man that has no children of your own then I challenge you to get involved with an organization that would enable you to mentor a young man.  I know that there are many amazing organizations like this where ever you life. (Where I live we have an amazing group called, “Save Our Youth”.)

Here is my challenge to you whether your are a father or not, do something. Take the time to get involved in a child’s life.  You may never know the difference you can make by helping be a part of being a FATHER.

What are some other ways that you can get involved in the lives of children that are living in fatherless homes?

Did you see the car wreck?

IMG_3208Have you ever arrived at someone’s home or to work and they asked you, “Did you see that car wreck?” I have and until recently I didn’t really pay attention to the question at least until the car wreck happened to be my son Tyler.  I was sitting at home with my wife just relaxing when THAT phone call came.  It was Tyler calling me to let me know that he had just been in an accident, that he was ok, but that I should get to where he was at as quick as I could.  My son is 24 years of age he is a man, not a boy.  So when he called and explained it all to me I really didn’t panic.  I got dressed quickly to leave the house, had a back and forth conversation with my wife about which vehicle to take car or truck.  I grabbed the truck just in case it wasn’t that bad  a wreck and I could tow the car home.  But I drove to where my son was at and as I came over the hill to see the accident my heart jumped in my throat.  It was not a just a little fender bender, my son had been t-boned at a major intersection and his car was severely damaged. It was not what I had hoped to see at all it was a parent’s nightmare.  So I parked the truck in a lot in front of a store that enabled me to get to where my son was at with paramedics.

But as soon as the truck was in park my cell phone began to ring. It was a number that I didn’t know, but I answered it none the less.  It was an operator from the APP that I had on my phone called LIFE360 they wanted me to know that my son was in a car accident and they wanted me to know that the proper authorities had been notified.  It was an amazing phone call and I thanked the operator for calling me.  But you might be sitting there thinking, why was this an amazing phone call? You were already at the accident and didn’t need the phone call. And what you would be thinking right.  But what if my son couldn’t call me, what if my son was unable to call me? It let me know that the APP that we had put on each of our children’s phones and had the monthly subscription was all worth it.  Now here is the question that I know you want to ask, “How did they know he was in an accident?  Here is the amazing answer, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”  Want to know why? Because they called me and let me know about my son.  As a parent I was notified that my son was in an accident and that was a amazing news.

I want you to understand that I am not being paid to say this, I am not being told to say this.  But if you are a parent or a spouse that truly cares for the people in your family then you need them to get this APP on their phone.  This is the second time that the LIFE360 APP has been good for our family and has enabled us to know can care for our children.  What are some APPS that you use as a parent that have helped you?

 

 

Refrigerator FRONT Challenge

IMG_1760What does the front of your refrigerator look like today?  What do you have on the front of your refrigerator that communicates who you are as a family?  I want to invite you to take the refrigerator FRONT challenge today.  Before you even read this I want you to STOP and GO look at the front of your refrigerator and tell me what you see?

What is on the refrigerator that shows you are proud of your family?  What is on the refrigerator that shows you love your spouse?  What is on the refrigerator that shows what is important to you? (Included is the front of our refrigerator)  Why do you think that I am asking these questions? (Another question)  I am asking you to look at this because honestly it’s a place where your children go to daily, where you friends stop and look when they are over, and where you spend a some time.  The front of the refrigerator is the place where you can cast vision for your family, where you celebrate wins, and where you can place things that are a matter of prayer.

If you look at our refrigerator in this picture you can see pictures of children that we sponsor as a family and one my daughter Danielle sponsors on her own.  You will see two postcards that have some really amazing friends that are working on the mission in Vanuatu. Those cards remind us to pray for them.  There is a picture of our family that when I look at it reminds be me to be first thankful for my family and then second to pray for them no matter where they are of what they are doing. We have a small picture for Michelle and I up in the corner in a magnet we got while we were in Hawaii.  That is for me to be first thankful for my marriage and then second to pray for my wife and that our marriage will remain focused on Christ.   There is a green card where Morgan wrote out the message from our of experiences at Elevation.  It is a reminder for us about God has given us each special abilities that we are to use to point people to Him.  There is a picture of me as a freshman in high school at Rangeview High school in Aurora.  That is up there so that my family can make fun of me. (I get it 80’s clothes.) There is an orange card from our church that reminds us to know our neighbors, “Beyond the Fence”.   We have filled this card with our neighbors names and when we hear them share something that is in their lives we then write something so when know how to pray for them.  Then finally a magnet from Elevation the church that God lead us to start a little over 7 years ago.  I pray for the church family that is in need of Go’s grace and I pray that I will be the leader that God wants me to be for this church.

So what is on the front of your refrigerator? What are you doing to cast vision? What are the ways that you are using this simple place in your home to grow and lead your family as followers of Jesus?  If you want to feel free to post pictures of the front of your refrigerator here or on my facebook page. (Click here)

Decide to be Disciplined (Part Three)

disciplineAt the beginning of this year I made the decision to be disciplined when it comes to the important areas of my life.  I made the decision to be disciplined when it comes to my health, my life with Jesus, my wife, my leadership and my writing. (at least this writing) I had come to the realization that over the last couple of years that I had allowed stress, laziness, and other people’s priorities to take over how I was living life.  It is amazing how easy this can happen, especially when you have not decided to be disciplined with your life.

So when it comes to my wife I have set the goal to make sure that we go on at least 3 dates a month.  I have also placed on my phone an app that I think that many people would find useful. (tell you soon) When it comes to going on dates with my wife I want to do things that are going to fulfill her love language and make her feel that I have planned something special just for her.  Now if you don’t know your spouses love language then you need to either get the book, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and read it or you can listen to it on audiobook. Once you know the love language of your spouse you need to then download to your phone The Five Love Languages App. Why would you do that if you have the book?  Because it has a challenge and it has ideas of how to date your mate.  That’s right they give you ideas for dates and ways to talk with your spouse in their love language.  I don’t know about you but to me that is a WIN!

So I have decided to make my wife and her love language a priority I have decided to be disciplined about speaking and living in her love language.  Do you know your spouses love language?  Have you read the book? What can you do to speak in your spouses love language?

Decide to be Disciplined (Part Two)

disciplineAt the beginning of this year I made the decision to be disciplined when it comes to the important areas of my life.  I made the decision to be disciplined when it comes to my health, my life with Jesus, my wife, my leadership and my writing. (at least this writing) I had come to the realization that over the last couple of years that I had allowed stress, laziness, and other people’s priorities to take over how I was living life.  It is amazing how easy this can happen, especially when you have not decided to be disciplined with your life.

So when it comes to the area of my life with Jesus I have decided to make journaling, prayer, and reading disciplined. The goal that I have set is to make sure that I do this at least 5 times a week. My health and my ability to grow in my relationship with Jesus have been connected for me when it comes to being disciplined.  Once I have completed my workout in the morning I immediately get out my journal and my bible with a cup of coffee (we call it Christian Crack) then take a seat at the dinner table at my house.  Sometime it is alone, but most of the time it is with people walking around me.  So I will either put in my ear buds or just gently remind people at what I am trying to do.  Maybe for you having your time with Jesus needs to be ultimate quiet I get that, but the more that you can show and share what you are doing is a good thing. (set the pace for the family)

What I then do is write about the previous day and how I was able to see God at work in me and around me.  After that I write out my prayers. I know that for some people that this would be really strange, but for me it keeps me focused (I also like to go back and read them to see how God is at work).  I make it at least two pages in my journal, why I don’t know I just liked it.  Then I take the next page and write out things that jump out at me while I am reading the bible.  Many of those things I read that day I then write out so that I can read them over and over through out the day.  This is the way that I do it, it is a way not the way.  Maybe for you reading off your phone is good for you.  Maybe for you journalling online is good for you.  Maybe for you praying away for minutes maybe hours is good for you.  No matter what way you do it you need to make the decision to be disciplined.

What are the ways that you can make your life with Jesus lived out?  What are the ways that you are making this time with Jesus a discipline?

Decide to be Disciplined

disciplineAt the beginning of this year I made the decision to be disciplined when it comes to the important areas of my life.  I made the decision to be disciplined when it comes to my health, my life with Jesus, my wife, my leadership and my writing. (at least this writing) I had come to the realization that over the last couple of years that I had allowed stress, laziness, and other people’s priorities to take over how I was living life.  It is amazing how easy this can happen, especially when you have not decided to be disciplined with your life.

So when it comes to my health I have decided to get up every morning and work out. In fact the goal that I have set is to workout at least 4 days a week.  I had my son who is a personal trainer (you can hire him fright here on twitter @tjbloyer32) design a workout for me that helps me lose weight and gives me energy. Through this I have realized that when it comes to being a follower of Jesus that when my health gives that my ability to serve Jesus better and stronger.  I also understand that when it comes to my health that it is a place that I can worship God.

1 Corinthians 6:19–20 (NLT) 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

So I have decided to honor God with my body and be disciplined to work out and eat healthy. Being disciplined is a decision and today you to can make the decision to live a disciplined life.  It’s not going to be easy and there are going to be those moments where you are going to want to fall back into old habits, (sleep in that’s me) but you have made a decision to be disciplined so work hard.

What are the areas of your life that you need to make a priority and decide to be disciplined in today? What are you going to do to make things change?

Why a Free Market?

need food

We see people with cardboard signs all the time that say, HUNGRY or NEED FOOD. But what can you do about it? What if you could help a family that is in need get food in a dignified way?  This is the question that we have been working to answer over the last couple of months.  So at Elevation Christian Church we have an amazing group of volunteers that take our building and set it up for a free market that helps people that live in our community that are in need get food in a dignified way.

So to do this  we work with an organization that helps us provide quality food through the free market to the people in our community. We choose to work with this organization because most of the time when you ask people to donate food they give you the food products that they don’t like (sauerkraut) or have had for years. (Expiration not noticed)  Or when you ask people to donate money they think they are already helping someone by giving them money as the pass by them holding their cardboard sign. I watched a TED TALK where the Mayor of Albuquerque talked about how by donating financially to a food bank or free market can make a greater impact when it comes to helping people get food.  Unfortunately when we give someone money on the street is less likely to go to feeding them but to feeding their addiction.  So at the Free Market at Elevation we are able to purchase large amounts of quality food where we can then give it to the people that are in need for FREE.  That is why it is called, “The Free Market at Elevation.”

Through the amazing volunteers at Elevation we create a mini grocery store with grocery carts and all where people can get the food they need for themselves and for their families.  We also have people called, “Shoppers Helpers” that walk through the Free Market with the people from the community to build a relationship with them.  It is not someone that probes about their issues or their needs but someone that can become a friendly face.  Then once the person is done going through the market the shoppers helper asks how they can pray for that person and gives them a card or some encouragement.  We recently had over 100 second graders from a local school come and help set-up and while they helped they also created cards to give to the shoppers of the Free Market.  I was told that one man went through the market for the first time where he recieved his food, had someone pray with him, and then he recieved one of the second graders cards.  What I was told was the man thanked his shoppers helper for their prayers, then began to walk out of the building, while he was on the front walk way he read the card from one of the second graders. He was so overcome with with the care and the card that he came back into the building with tears streaming down his face to let the volunteers know how thankful he was for the food, the care, and the card.  He said that it was all just what he needed that day.

I tell you this because you can be a part of the Free Market at Elevation.  You can help people that are in need of food by your donations and when you donate you know that they are getting quality food and dignified care at the same time.  Just click here.  Because when you do you will be doing what is best for the person that is most likely going to be holding a sign some day saying, “In need of food”.  Be a part of the movement to make sure that someone is being fed and fed well physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Prepare for the END

Prepare for the end

Over the last several years I have been actively involved in a funeral home here in the community of Aurora.  I know that might sound strange but years ago I had an amazing group of men challenge me to prepare for the end of life.  I had only been to one funeral growing up so I was intimidated to say the least when it came to this season of life.  But through their support and encouragement I came to understand the necessity of knowing what to do when it comes to the end of someone’s life.  So now as a pastor in the community where I grew up it has enabled me to help friends and family when it comes to a loved ones last wishes.

But one of the things that I have realized is that man men and women don’t prepare with the end in mind.  I know, I know you are probably thinking but that is morbid.  I don’t want to think about my own death.  Ok I get that but here is what I have learned over the last 20 years.  You are not the one that has to deal with your DEATH.  Why? Because you are DEAD!  What happens is either your spouse or your children are left with the emotional and sometime very painful task of paying and planning for your final resting place.  I have experienced this time and time again where I am speaking with a room full of family members and they all stare at each other saying, “I don’t know what we are supposed to do.”  Well here are a few things that I am going to challenge you to do for the sake of your family:

  • Type up exactly what you would like to have happen to you after you have passed away. (I.E. funeral, cremation, burial, thrown in the ocean, whatever)
  • Go to a funeral home and talk with their pre-needs area.  This is where you can find out exactly what the cost will be for what you desire.
  • Start paying now for what you desire for your final resting place. (The costs will change year after year but at least you have payed the way for this.)
  • Place everything in a folder. Mark it and let your spouse or your kids know exactly what it is and how it will help them.  (Yes most likely they won’t want to talk about it but you are taking care of them in the long run.)

You might be asking yourself, “When should I put this together?” or “How old should I be to start this?” Here is my encouragement to you.  NOW!  We are not guaranteed to be around tomorrow, so do the best that you can now for your family.  This might even be a good thing to discuss with your spouse as you start planning so it doesn’t come as a shock when you hand them a folder of your preparation for the end.

What are some things that you are not sure about when it comes to preparing for the end?

Dare U 2 Dad

podcast

So starting in the month of February I am going to be recording once a month a podcast for dads.  Single dads, married dads, divorced dads, future dads, empty nest dads, and mentor dads of kids in your community.  So once that I have the podcast location and have the logo I will be posting the information for you start tuning in.  But what I want to do is invite you to share with me here in the comments section any questions that you might have about being a dad.  It is my hope that we can together discover and recover some of the amazing things that are to be done as a dad with and for our kids.

List below any questions or thought that you think would be good to cover on a podcast for dads.  Because we are going to Dare U 2 Dad!

Where is Common Courtesy?

Opening the door

One of the ways that I think that we can start by changing the attitudes of the people around us is putting them first.  Which means that we have to not think about ourselves as much. That is just a mini quote of C.S. Lewis:

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

So I want to be able to challenge each of us to start thinking of ourselves less when it comes to walking through life.  I recently was at the gym working out and while I was stretching out I was able to people watch and I was amazed at the interaction that I saw play out before me.  There was woman that was working out on a mat in the area in front of me. She was to my approximation in her late 60’s early 70’s and obviously was struggling with something physically.  But she was doing her best to get done what she was working at to get better.  Then as I watched a younger much healthier woman walked into the same area grabbed the battle ropes, stretched them out over the elderly woman’s mat and got ready to work out. She didn’t even bat an eye when it came to the other woman working out in that area.  I just sat back and I watched as the younger woman began to work out over the other woman’s mat while the other woman stood there waiting to get her mat.  The younger woman looked up at the older woman shook her head in annoyance and then kicked the older woman’s mat to her like she had always been there before the older woman.

That is where I had enough! I stood up walked over the to the older woman and asked her if she needed to continue to do her work out. She looked like she was tearing up and so I invited her to come over to where I was stretching out to finish up.  The younger woman then decided to address me, not a smart idea.  I won’t tell you what she said to me in front of the other woman but let’s say it embarrassed the other woman.  To which I responded, “Well at least this lady was willing to wait for you to get done with what you were doing before you were so rude in kicking over her mat. I am so glad that this lady is here because she is working on be a better person not a bitter person.”  Ok not one of my best moments but I hurt for the older woman at that moment.  Needless to say the younger woman quickly got out of the area and the older woman looked at me and said, “Thank you for helping me. It just seems like no one looks out for anyone else but themselves.”

So that has been bouncing around in my head for the last couple of days.  Here is what I hope that this can challenge each of us to do, THINK OF YOURSELF LESS.  In the next couple of days, open the door for someone else, let’s someone in on the highway, share the area that you are working out in, shovel your neighbors sidewalk, let someone go ahead of you at the grocery store.  Maybe even take the time to talk with your kids or the kids around you so that they understand what Common Courtesy is and why it is important if we are going to lead the next generation to be better then us.

What are three things that you can do this week for someone else? What are three things that you can do with your kid for someone else?  Make sure that you are doing it without planning to get a thank you, why you might ask? Because common courtesy should be done without the hope of anyone noticing.

Change the Voice

out-of-jail

Over the weekend I had the amazing opportunity to spend some time with a group of amazing people that are working towards not going back to where they had come from.  You see each of the individuals that were sitting in the room had all in the recent days, weeks, and months had been released from prison.  These were men, women, young, old, and of ever different ethnic origin.  As I sat there among them and heard the organizations leader speak to them about next steps and what they needed to do to stay out of prison and experience a changed life I was deeply moved.  It was when I heard many of them share about the voices in their lives that they needed to stop listening too if they were going to stay out of prison that I became emotional.  I heard them talk about their own voices, they talked about family voices, and they even talked about voices from being in prison.  But each one had a voice that they needed to leave behind so that they could move forward in a life that was to be changed and headed towards healing.

I was then reading the book of the Acts and reading the story of the healing of the beggar at Solomon’s Colonnade in chapter 3 and 4. The story of the beggar took my mind back to the room of people that I was with this weekend. Here is why, the story of the man who spent most of his life lying in front of the colonnade must have heard the voices of the people walking by call him all sorts of names like beggar, cripple, worthless, and many others.  But then came two men that would turn things upside down by asking him if he would want to be healed? The hurting and disabled men responded by saying yes. Then the lame beggar that could not walk began to run, dance, and leap because of the healing power of the name of Jesus Christ.  His life was changed in a moment.

But what about those voices, what about the names that were still possibly ringing in his head?  They were all replaced with one name, Jesus. You see that man had his life changed by Jesus, the names that he be called most of his life were replaced with Jesus, the voices that had called him lame and beggar were replaced with the name Jesus. Even the religious leaders that were trying to stop the name of Jesus couldn’t stop that;

14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say. Acts 4:14 (NLT) 

Because of what Jesus had done in the life of this man there was really nothing they could say.  That is why I was so moved this weekend. I know that for those that were sitting in that room there is a voice that will and can change the lives of those people there, and it is Jesus.  So on that day I was able to stand in front of those people and tell them about Jesus and that there is a family of people that love them and care for them even if they don’t know them yet and it is Jesus bride, the church. I pray that the voice of the people that are following Jesus called His church will be so loud that those that are coming out of prison can’t only here the voice of Jesus.

What are the voices in your life that are challenging you from hearing Jesus? How are you being the voice of Jesus to the people around you that are struggling?

Seek the one to Reflect the One

TheVow_ArtworkI am excited to be able to start the new year with a goal of writing on this blog at least twice a week and making it a part of what we are doing at Elevation.  I am also going to be writing to help husbands, fathers, and men to be all that God wants them to be in each of their lives.

So today is kind of a two for one! We have started a series called, “The Vow”.  We are talking about the vows that we need to take serious if we are going to be prepared for marriage or to have strength in our current marriages. Because if you are reading this you probably have like me seen the stats or studies that show that half of marriages are not making it for the long haul.  And most men are like me where we did not have the best or if any examples of what it means to be a Godly and loving husband.  So it is my hope that we can start the conversation where we can give men a place to start when it comes to preparing to be great husbands or help those husbands to grow and get better.

I have been reading through the book of Psalms and there is one that is specific about what it looks like for a husband to spiritually lead his family.  We talked about what it looks like to, “Seek the One, to Reflect the One” to our spouses or women that we want to marry in the first message of our series.  So read with me Psalm 128:

Psalm 128 (NLT) A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. How joyful are those who fear the Lord— all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table. That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him. May the Lord continually bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live. May you live to enjoy your grandchildren. May Israel have peace!

The writer is talking about how it starts first with the fear of the Lord and of the one who is following in the Lords ways.  Then it says that we will enjoy the fruit of our work because of who we are following the Lord.  But then it show how as we “SEEK THE ONE” it will enable us to “REFLECT THE ONE” to the people in our homes.  It is says that the wife will be like a fruitful grapevine flourishing within your home.  This shows that as you make Jesus the one in your life and that he grows and shows through you that your wife will flourish, that your home will be better because of the both of you being affected by Jesus and that your HOME will be different because of you both being changed by following the Lord.

It then goes on and talks about the kids! Your kids will be affected by the way that you and your spouse are being changed as you “Seek the One to Reflect the One” as a couple. The future of your family the future of your kids are being lead by the way that you are being lead by Jesus.  If we want to be a part of changing the directions of our families legacy’s we do that be following Jesus.  It also points out sitting around the table, maybe this week as you, “Seek The One to Reflect the One” you have a conversation around the table with your kids about what you are learning or doing as a follower of Jesus?

But then it talks about seeing Jerusalem prosper and that you may live to enjoy your grandchildren and see Israel have peace.  As I studied and read more this is showing that as we “See The One to Reflect the One” that it will lead to change in our community, that we will be a part of the change to generations of people because of the way that we are following Jesus.  What you do as a follower of Jesus and as a husband and as a father can be used by God to change the communities that we are in and the generations that are to come after us.

What do you need to do this week to “Seek The One to Reflect the One”?  How can you make sure that your wife is flourishing? How are you getting your kids around the table to talk about following Jesus?  Take some time to pray and think about this and please feel free to leave a comment and share what you are planning to do.

Dad to Daughters

kidsI was never prepared to be a dad let alone a dad of two daughters.  I mean I was a boy so when we had our son I kind of had that one figured out.  But daughters really, two of them, I was really deep in the weeds.  So I wanted to be able to share with you some of the things that I have learned being the dad of two daughters that have grown up to be amazing women. So here you go:

  • Listen to your wife!  I had to listen to my wife a lot because I am the oldest of four and my sister was ten years younger then me.  So I was clueless to a lot of areas when it came to what girls didn’t need or did need from a dad.
  • Hug them always.  One of the things that I always have done is hug my girls.  I hugged my girls even when they didn’t want me too.  Yep I went against the first one but that was only because I wanted my girls to know that I was going to love them and care for them whether they wanted me to or not.
  • Be Honest with them.  Now if you are a dad to a girl then you know the dreaded questions that start like this, “Dad what do you think about . . . ” insert hair, dress, make up, and a long list of others.  Unfortunately when we first started with these questions I was to honest and I did not set up my answer.  So I had a lot of looks from my wife and coaching with, “You don’t say that to a girl”.  To which I would answer, “Well then why did she ask me?”  So I would preface my answer by saying, “Do you want me to be honest?”  Now I said that when I didn’t like what I saw and I have said that when I did like what I saw. (Be consistent)
  • Set the Tone.  If you want your daughter to have a man that is going to love and care for her, then you need to set the tone.  So that is where you as the dad need to model exactly the kind of man that you want your daughters to look for in their life.  In fact I think that you should set the bar so high that your girls will go out on dates with the young men in their life and expect them to act like you.  And when the young men don’t act like you make sure you teach those same girls to not except it. So if you haven’t got what I am saying, then here you go.  Love your wife the way that you want your daughters to be loved.
  •  Prepare them for Life.  I know that you are probably thinking, well that is a big statement and you are right it is.  But I believe that it is something that is very important. So prepare them to handle their finances, prepare them to take care of their car, prepare them to defend themselves if needed, prepare them to speak up, prepare them to trust, and prepare them to leave home well.  I don’t expect my daughters to have to have a man to take care of them, I know that they can do it.  But I also want to prepare them for a life with another, so prepare them to talk with a man, prepare them to love someone, prepare them to sacrifice for someone, you see prepare them for life.

There are just a few of the things that I would say are important when it comes to being a dad to daughters.  But here is the last one and the most important prepare them to say, “I am sorry.”  How do you do this? Learn to say it yourself.  If there are some others that you can think of then feel free to comment and share them.

Living Terricited!

terrifiedWhat if I told you that every day should be a little terrifying.  What if I told you that if you aren’t walking through your life of faith a little nervous then you aren’t living at all.  The problem with both of those statements is that they make us UNCOMFORTABLE.  Something that most people in the western community of faith don’t like to hear.  I mean we want to be comfortable in our chairs, we want to be comfortable with our coffee, we want to be comfortable in our groups, we just plain want to be comfortable.

Well when my family and I felt that God was leading us to start a church in Colorado we all came up with our own word, “Terricited”. Because every day we were terrified and we were excited at the same time.  We were terrified that we were to move back to Colorado a place where I grew up and not as a follower of Jesus. (Dealing with your Past) But excited to be able to share with those same people about how my life has been drastically changed because of Jesus.  We were terrified that we didn’t have a place to live and we were struggling to find a place.  But we were excited about getting a place that would be a home base for raising our kids as the graduated from high school.  We were terrified because I had never been the lead pastor of a church, but I was excited because I had never been the lead pastor of a church.  In the New Testament you can read:

Mark 10:32a (NLT) 32 They were now on the way up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were filled with awe, and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear.

The people that were walking with Jesus the son of God in flesh, were in awe of what was going on were also overwhelmed with fear.  What does that mean? They were “terricited”!  So let me ask you this, where in your life are you terricited?  Where are you experiencing the awe of Jesus and the overwhelming fear where you need to see him show up?  Where are you terricited?  Because honestly I think that more and more of us need to be less comfortable and more terricited.  Let’s take some time this week to start getting a little TERRICITED.

 

Memorial Memory

2013-03-16 14.50.13

A picture from the Vietnam Wall of one our relatives that gave the ultimate sacrifice, his life.

Today is Memorial Day and I wanted to thank the families that have given the greatest sacrifice that a family can give, the loss of a loved one.  You see Memorial Day is not about the current men and women serving, it is not even about the ones that have already served, it is about the ones that left this earth serving their country.  So I can’t thank those men and women, but I can thank their families.

So if you are a family member of a service man or woman that has given their life in the service of the United States, THANK YOU.  I know that this may not be much but from a very young age I was taught that you don’t forget about the sacrifice others have made so that we can live in this country.  So today while I am enjoying a day with my wife, my kids, friends, and we are all barbecuing, I want you to know that I do this with the understanding that both individuals and families gave up so that I can enjoy my freedom.  So again, THANK YOU.

If you have lost a family member or friend in the service of this country, would you please place there name in the comment section as a way of honoring them on this day.

Thank you.

The Fall of Leadership

Men in TroubleOver the last couple of months I have been aware of several leaders in different church communities in our area that have had falls in their leadership.  They each bring with them a different type of leadership pain that comes to both the leaders family and the leaders church family because of the leadership fall.  But because of the many situations that I have become aware of in the last couple of months it has caused me to really think about the area of leadership and what leads to a fall.  Here are some of the questions that I have been asking myself:

  • Who did the leader have that really had the ability to know what is going on in their life?
  • Who was asking the leader the tough questions and then following up to make sure that there were no BS answers?
  • Who was making sure that the leader was living out a healthy work and family relationship during the week?
  • Who really knew the leader?

One of the things that I have been really challenged to do is make sure that I have these type of people in my life.  I also am praying that other leaders will look beyond the people of their own communities to build relationships with leaders that understand what they are going through in their area of business. What are some questions that you can think of that we can ask when it comes to the leaders in our churches?

Silver Lining to LIFE

25 Year Anniversary

When you get to a certain mile stone in life you should take the time to reflect on how you got there.  The reason that I believe that is important is because wouldn’t it be great to share that information with those that are coming after you.  Especially as parents and to be honest in this day an age as a father we need to show more young men on how to lead the way in married life.  So here are a few things that I have learned over 25 years of marriage. (This is the short list)

  1. Keep a long list of ways that you can make her feel special and loved.
  2. Keep a short list of the fights that you have and the things that are said.
  3. Make time for talking about her day not matter what she does in life.
  4. Find older men that can talk to you about what they have done to be a healthy husband and father.
  5. Have a group of men that you can have the tough conversations with about marriage and parenting. (Your wife will not always understand you. DUH!)
  6. Always find time to get away for at least 24 hours without the rest of your family.  Couples need to take time for themselves, your relationship needs to matter or your family will not get your best.
  7. Celebrate the things that show your wife and your family that they matter. (Anniversary’s and Birthdays are the easy ways, get creative.)
  8. Make sure that you take the time to date your mate.  (If there was more courting in marriage there would be fewer marriages in court.)
  9. Pray daily for the ways that God can continue to grow and unite you as a couple.
  10. Start back at one . . .

If you have an idea of one thing that you think is important to remember for a long lasting marriage please feel to make a comment and share.  The more that we learn from each other and the more we share the better we become as men.

Crazy Community!

So while I was looking through my Facebook feed the other day this is a video that was posted by Larry Leith from Tokyo Joe’s.  (By the way I love their food and I love the culture that they have created for their business.)  It is a great little coffee shop that is located down in Colorado Springs just an hour from where we live here in Aurora.  The whole idea of the video is that people would go and visit other coffee shops in the area because of the community that has embraced them and by doing so end up with a free drink at Loyal Coffee.  They are calling it the “Dis-Loyality Card”! What an amazing idea!

Here is where this video took me though – the church community.  Isn’t this what we should be doing as the church?  Letting people know that the community of faith is here for each other and build a community that is for the city not just ourselves?  I was recently a part of a conversation about two churches in a community coming together for an event that helps grow leadership for both the city and the communities of faith.  It was going to be an exciting opportunity to see the KINGDOM of Jesus respond in a way that would be a huge influence in the city.  Well unfortunately one of the churches was not willing to partner in this endeavor because the building where the event was being held was not good enough for their people.  Are you serious? The building is the reason that these two churches couldn’t come together to make a difference in the city like never before?

What if we decided to have “Dis-Loyalty” Sundays where we encouraged the people of our churches to go and support another church in the community?  What if we called them BIG KINGDOM Sunday’s and we showed support for the big kingdom of Jesus?

What do you think about the coffee shop idea? What do you think about the BIG KINGDOM Sunday idea?

It’s not About What gets Done.

TeachOver the last 10 weeks I have been working with about 20 guys when it comes to our Spiritual Fitness Process at Elevation.  It has been an amazing opportunity for these guys to get to know one another and for them to get to know what it means to be a follower of Jesus that makes followers of Jesus.  So one of the recent weeks we began to talk about what is most important when it comes to helping people volunteer and work together as the church.  It was a conversation that you could tell was creating energy in the room and was really starting to gain ground in each of the guys minds.  So for me being a visual learner I started putting what they were talking about to a graph on the wipe board. (The Picture Above)  When we were done this is what was fleshed out.

Now here is the thing.  I believe that what we walked away writing out does not just pertain to a church community but to business as well.  Here are the bullet points to the idea that we came up with:

  • Most leaders are Baby Boomers or Gen X. so they are looking for tasks to be completed.  Is the job getting done?
  • Most Millennial’s or Generation Z (See this book.) would be looking for a relationship to happen with the person they are working with. Are we working together?
  • So what we said was that if the job is not getting done, then the leader is going to get frustrated.  If there is no relationship then the follower is going to get frustrated.
  • The big idea for both to grow is that there is supposed to be talking/teaching while the tasks are being completed.  (The idea: you watch, I do, we talk.)
  • Then the leader and the follower grow and the opportunity for business or church growth happens as well.

What are your thoughts about the idea? What do you think is missing? Where do you feel the most frustration as a leader and as a follower?

Write yourself a letter?

Man writing on the paper in the officeThis week my brother Casey sent me an amazing article about Ryan Leaf and his life experiences.  What was so amazing about the article is that it was Ryan Leaf writing a letter to his younger self.  If you want to read it just click here you won’t be disappointed. But it made me think about what if I were to write a letter to my younger self and what would be the things that I would want to share.  Here are just a few of the highlights that I would share with my younger self:

  • Don’t let what people say about you or to you determine what you see in yourself.
  • Just because they are people that go to church doesn’t mean that they represent Jesus.
  • Know that when you experience heart break that it is leading you to the woman that you will spend the rest of your life with.
  • Just because there is a job that you want doesn’t necessarily mean that is that job that you need. God’s vision for you is bigger then your vision for you.
  • Enjoy the process and don’t always look for the next step.
  • Remember that your accomplishments are not in what you do but who you do them with in life.  There are three kids in your life that will change you and grow you more then you will ever know.

This is just a little of what I think that I would write to a younger Scott Bloyer.  What are some things that you would write down and tell your younger self if you could?  Looking back is always a good thing, just remember to not stay there. (Share one of your bullet points here.)