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Cross belong on shoulders, not steeples.

 

Assume the position for contraversy. The title alone does it. This blog by no means is meant to disrespect the church or the idea that steeples are in any way or reason wrong. This is based on a thought I had this week.

In and around 300 A.D. when Constantine established locations set aside for the church to exercise corporate worship, he took the church out of its intimate, organic, communal setting of homes and public places. Church was the people, bound together in a committed love relationship with one another and the Lord Jesus. Merriment with food and fellowship, preaching and worship, and serving the world around them was just life lived out of this love community. Natural. Eventually the church coagulated inside of brick and morter, scheduled to meet, and isolated from the community they once served as neighbors. No longer are they walking in their midst (on mission), “going about doing good” as said of Jesus Christ Himself. Now we have become weekly isolationists awaiting the hour long gathering. How can we conitinue to feed, heal, and visit the downtrodden? We need to invite them to us! We need a sign, a beacon, a recognizable symbol. Aha, a cross! And we shall hoist it high enough, over atop all other buildings. Then the lame and halt can hobble themselves to us!

Ladies and Gentlemen, how many friends are tearing the roofs off our churches to hoist their lame friends down inside for a miraculous healing?

Jesus “went about doing good”. He positioned himself in community, often times traveling out of His way to do an act of good. He sent His disciples out to travel to the town in order to be blessings, commanding them to pray blessing of peace upon the houses they entered. He sent them to the highways and hedges- to the lame, the halt, the blind, the demonic- the lost. Each one baring their own cross to die upon as they loved their neighbor as themselves. Ok, here’s the thing…we need more martyrs and less celebrities. As a pastor, I can tell you, we are pressured to preach for numbers, not neighbors. We’ve confused missiology for methodology. Programs. Money. Most young pastors today have a seminary education…yet don’t have any training in a “tent making” trade. They know, without their church salary, they can’t survive. Believe me, that pressure. Pressures to perform,perhaps even emulate the “hot shot preachers” with the mega churches, skinny jeans, and book deals.

It’s time we pull the crosses down from the steeples and place them on our shoulders. We cannot be the center of attraction, we must be the catalysts for missions. Deny yourself, your comforts. They will know you not for the size of the cross upon your steeple but the love you have one for another. By that, they will know you are His. And by THAT, He will be exalted and there will be no need to exalt a steeple. The crosses upon our shoulders are the crosses that feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and unshackle the bonds of the oppressed. They do it without church votes and church funds. They do it whithout others knowing or seeing. They do it in the spirit of the early missionaries to Asia and India, who carried all their earthly belongings inside their own caskets.  They do it because the cross is love for their neighbor.

Having the faith to walk upon the water.

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Peter was the only disciple willing to step out of the boat and do something no other human had ever done before. He walked on water. As the Lord Jesus bid him to come, in Peter’s mind, it must’ve seemed safer with Jesus on the waves than without Jesus in the boat. The other eleven disciples, huddled in fear and dismay, must’ve thought Peter was crazy to attemp such a thing. Isn’t it, however, what Jesus is bidding us all to do? The boat of “safety” is no place for a follower of Christ. He is calling each of us to live in such a way, that what seems safe, casual, or predictable is essentially more dangerous and degradating than the seemingly foolish actions of following him! I’m going to speak as one who has walked upon the water. I’m also going to speak as one who is currently standing on the water.

What do I mean by that? Nearly a decade ago, I followed God in a vision to plant a church. I’d never done it. Heck, I’d never seen it done! With a wife and two babies at home, I resigned from a healthy, lucrative church position to step out of my boat of familiarity and comfort to follow Jesus into waves deeper than I had imagined. I resigned on a Sunday. I was jobless and homeless on Monday. That following morning I drove around looking for work and a home. I can tell you that in the days and years to come, as I found myself hanging out ouside of my boat, walking upon the waves of shear faith and dependance, I saw God move in ways I could never have imagined. The remarkable stories of Moses, Daniel, Elijah, even the disciples all became more real because for the first time, miracles in my life had become normal and regular. I identified with the feats and acts of biblical proportions that, up until tha point, I had only read in Sunday School lessons. It was that season of walking upon the water that gave me taste for that type of living, causing anything less in my life to become dissatisfying, to say the least.

Fast foward to today. My family has again sensed a very real calling into a vision of God’s plan for our lives. Only this time, He is calling us out further, and deeper than we’ve ever gone before. As our family prepares for a new season of church planting, we realize that we are headed for deeper, shark infested waters. No longer we will have the familiarity of being indigenous to our surroundings, with family and friends to help us. We are moving miles away into a location where we know no one. Not a soul. We’re going to a place that is entirely different than what we are ust to, into an area of incongruent values and lifestyles. And, to do this, we have had to shed every piece of possible flotation devise. Behold, how God has called us to walk upon the water this time.

We, in the recent months, have essentially paired down to the bare essentials. We started by selling our home, giving away the majority of our belongings, and moving into a 250 sq. ft. camper. Yes, this caused a circus type attention, whereby we became an oddity to our community. It got worse. We began to pair down more, and more, and more. Selling this…giving away that. And, so now, here we stand. Virtually nothing more than the clothes on our backs. We have commited to our church to go, having transitioned our leadership to function in a way as to send us as missionaries. It’s done. And also, having committed to our new location to come. I’ve broken my parents heart. The die has been cast. Our farm is sold. In a couple of days I will travel down and spend a week looking for a new home and a new job. As I am away, my wife and children will be packing our belongings, cleaning out the camper, and moving into a borrowed apartment owned by our church. By the time I return, we will be homeless. The foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests…we will have no place to call our own where we may lay our heads. If the Lord doesn’t show up, we sink. 

THAT is the point. THAT is walking on water. THAT is what He has called us in to. We will either walk by faith or by sight. Faith saves. Sight sinks. Even as I write this, our decision has caused many friends to turn into distant skeptics. We are in a position of isolated abandonment. No longer do we have the friends, the family, the denominational support that we thrived in for so long. Many, or if not most, of them are still in the boat- looking at us with fear and dismay. Yet, we still hear our Savior bidding us to come.

So how does it feel to be walking on the water? You want to know the truth? A little stressful. To think it would be otherwise is sensational and idealistic. This was Jesus’ warning about following Him. It is NOT easy. It’s timultuous. At times, persecuting. All the while, challenging to stay focused and faithful. There are times I feel myself sinking. Everytime though, that sinking is met with a pulling up from my Savior’s hand. It’s definitely a feeling of adventure and it most certainly has a faith building component. You may ask, “you’re walking on water, how much more faith can you have?” Well, I believe there is a exorbant jump in faith even after the time spent walking on water as we are returned back to the boat. You see, after Jesus settles us into a new life, with our needs met and lives blessed, we will then take a deep breath and cry out with the same excitatory relief as the disciples to say “Surely You ARE the Son of God!” We will look in hindsight and say, “Did we really just do that!?” “Did you see what He did!” God, You REALLY are amazing!” That hypertrophic effect on our faith will initiate a spiritual growth as we’ve never seen before!

I am glad to be walking on water at the moment. It is the greatest sense of adventure I’ve ever lived. Total uncertain certainty! He’s got this! He’s going to protect, provide, and press us on to greater things. I know this, because my eyes are not on the waves. They remain fixed upon Him, the author and finisher of my faith. So, I’m asking you, to where…to what is He bidding you to, that you might be forced to step in to – that will require you to leave all that is safe, comfortable, or familiar? What safety nets are you holding on to? How can you know faith unless you step out of your boat, and tread water under your feet?

Why my family is givng away nearly everything we own; lunacy or liberty?

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I’m writing this blog in response to a spirit of bewilderment among my community and people who know me. I’ve been asked if I’ve lost my mind. Why? Because I’m giving away most of what I own. On the surface, that seems like lunacy. Even the thought of it makes me chuckle. Yet, with the proper backstory there may be some explanation, though, I can’t insure any more understanding.

My wife and I have been married for 15 years. For 15 years we’ve lived under the remorseful and shameful position of debt. Some of it was not our fault, most of it was. We pay our bills and survive and call that living. We have come to the conclusion that that is not living. We’re missing out on freedom. Freedom is living. We’re missing out on life experiences. Experiencing life is living. We’re missing out on the opportunity to bless others. Blessing others is living. And so, we took a huge leap of faith and decided to sell our home of about 1900 sq ft and down size into a 250 sq ft space. Even with this adjustment, we will still have running water, electricity, heat, air, fridge, stove, and satellite television! We’ll still be living better that 2/3 of the rest of the world. With this move we CANNOT take all our stuff. Stuff…that’s the point of this blog.

Our stuff has never brought us happiness. We’ve accumulated it, piled it up, shoved it in storage, tripped over it, and regretted it. Our treasure is just not in our stuff. Now, I’m not against having stuff. That’s just not where our sense of happiness is derived. So we made the decision to give it away. And this decision has caused so many to question us and even criticize us.

Our reasons

1. We don’t need it. What need do we have for 3 bedroom suites in a camper? Why would we hang on to things that we would only have to pay someone to store for us? THAT, to us, is lunacy.

2. Others have a need for it. Aaron is a young man. He’s a recovering heroin addict with a wife and a baby on the way. He is working hard at his recovery and finding his little family a house. The baby is due any day now. Aaron and his family had a need for our stuff. As he drove off with a pickup truck and tailer full of our stuff, he was teary eyed at the way God had generously provided for him.

3. I am raising world changers. My sons are 12 and 10. What they see in their mother and I are considered Gospel truth in their eyes. At this moment in their lives, we are making indelible marks that will shape their character and life choices forever. It’s important to us that they learn charity, love, grace, mercy and hospitality now, and to see that in us (the way that I saw it in my parents). We want them to see that we live by faith not by sight.

4. We our now investors- not spenders. Jesus warned against laying up treasure on earth where rust and moth corrupt or thieves steal, but to ‘store up for yourselves treasure in Heaven.’ We wake up every day considering how we might make eternal investments. As Emperor Titus would exclaim at the end of the day, “I have wasted today!”, if he felt he’d not blessed someone that day…we count our days, and lives a loss if we’ve ended it still full of out “stuff” and have not blessed someone else. Our treasure is on Heaven.

5. We are followers of Jesus. We read the red letters in our Bible and take Him at His Word. We follow Him, not American consumerism and aquire-ism.

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38

… freely ye have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8

Where is the confusion and how can that be misinterpreted to mean only things of little value? So, it’s ok to give little, but things of value? Lots of things of value? Big things? Well, yes, all of it.

I’m not monastic. I don’t believe any holiness or righteousness is accredited to me for living modestly or giving things away.

Why not sell you stuff? (I’m asked this a lot.)

For what? To buy more stuff? 

Well you’re going to have needs of your own.

My God has met every need I’ve ever had, He continues to do so daily. Why would He stop? My debt is from the moments that I failed to trust Him and got ahead of Him.

I think what people don’t understand is that THIS makes my family happy and fulfilled. Hard to believe for some, but actually we find immense joy in being able to meet needs of others, knowing that God has blessed with the ability to do so. Do we WANT to live in a camper while we slay the debt dragon? Well, no. But we’ve prayed long and hard for God to relieve our sin and debt and we don’t expect Him to send black birds with $10 bills paper clipped to their beaks (though He could) to pay off our debt…we believe we have a responsibility to the Lord in putting forth some effort. ‘If we pray for rain, we need to plow the field.’

Don’t worry, if it was up to me we’d live in a yurt, tucked away in the Cascades where we’d hunt and fish, smoke my pipe by a fire, play my banjo, and count the stars every night. What we’re doing isn’t THAT hard for homesteading hippies who love Jesus and others. 🙂

Our devotion to follow Jesus Christ and His teachings has created in us very personal convictions. These convictions lead us to do very odd things as far as Western Civilization is concerned, which sort of out of congruency with what Scripture actually teaches.

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. James 2:14-18

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.

28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—when you already have it with you. Proverbs 3:27

9 The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. Proverbs 22:9

13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13

Perhaps I’ve lost my mind. I feel like I’ve gained my heart…and freedom. 

Abs in winter? The secret to a revealed 6 pack all year long.

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Tonight while I was walking around the house shirtless, my youngest man cub walked up to me and started poking my stomach. “One, Two, Three, Four…” he was counting my six pack; though right now it’s more of a four pack. The oddity of this is that it is mid-January. Not even body builders have six packs now. Normally winter months provide a season of shortned day light, less moving, more eating, bears hybernating, and me adding an extra layer of fat to my mid-region. Granted, I have added a little, yet still showcasing a very visable outline of my  transverse and rectus abdominus. I just recently listened to Arnold (if you need a last name youre on the wrong blog) on a podcast the other day state how the attempt to keep a year round six pack will drive you insane. I could see that. If you constantly have to work at it and fight for it, it would drive anyone insane. They are easily the hardest muscles to keep uncovered.

My secret, though, is that I don’t really try to keep a six pack. I try to stay on point with my diet and helath, and like a cascade effect, everything else falls into place. But antedotically  speaking, let me give you my training plan for keeping a low body fat percentage during the most difficult time of the year.

  1. I eat fat to lose fat.

I drop my carb intake which lowers insulin, and I increase my fats. Insulin is the hormone at the wheel of the fat storing car that drives fat retention. I eat until I’m full of foods that I love, that are nutrient dense, and full of healthy fats like grass fed butter, coconut oil, and olive oil.

2. I forgive myself.

My diet isn’t perfect every day. I will fall, and fall hard occassionally. The next day, I wake up, forgive myslef and start again. I don’t starve myself to get back on track, and I dont continue down the road of dietary depravity to a world of utter lostness and no return. I just start back eating the way I know I should…(see #1)

3. I intermittenly fast.

I eat only anywhere between 4 and 6 hours every day. Leaving myself with a minimal 16 hour fasting window, my body has the opportunity to reset crucial hormones, enter a fasted state of fat burning, and upregulate ketone production. The majority of the day I’m just burning fat stores as fuel. As an added bonus, fasting has been proven to increase testosterone and Human Growth Hormone, making adding muscle much easier.

4. I man up to the cold.

I don’t let the weather dictate whether or not I’m going to work out. Even though my crossfit happens to be in a heated facility, my running still takes place in the frozen tundra that is my local running route. My beard gets ice cicles hanging from it on occasion. I refuse to let uncomfortable conditions stop me from moving .

5. I sleep more.

With daylight shortened, I allow for the natural adjustment of my circadian rythym and I respect it. I go to bed much earlier and allow my body the recovery it needs. Sleep has a wonderful effect on fat loss! *Sleep is not the same as sloth.*

6. And lastly, I lift heavy things.

I dump loads of muscle glycogen for fat burning and hypertrophy. Building lean muscle mass is vital for increasing metabolism, burning fat, and regulating healthy hormone production. It doesn’t take much, just a couple or 3 times a week; bench, squat, deadlift with some added accessory lifts, overhead press, curl, dips, lunges.

 

These things have just become natural routine. I don’t stress it, and I don’t beat myself up at keeping up with it. And, for all of that being said, I get to enjoy (at worst) a 4 pack of abs in mid-January, without driving myslef crazy trying to. Which at best, leaves me closer toward summer to go ahead and lean into a ripped physique without much work.

Fit For The Kingdom

I’m excited to announce that we are now published to iTunes! I’ll be building this content with more topics and interviews that will be sure to encourage and challenge you to live better. Head on over to iTunes and give me a 5 star rating! That’s literally what it takes to get the word out and YOU can help do that.

 

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FIT FOR THE KINGDOM PODCAST

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/fit-for-the-kingdom/id1195709802

 

When demons in hiding show their ugly face: A confession of a once broken pastor.

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I lay across my brother’s body, begging him not to leave me. In just a matter of minutes he was gone and his body lay lifeless. I was too young and not ready to take on the responsibility that he had left me with. How am I suppose to be strong for my parents and my newly wedded wife? The solution seemed to come in the form of sneaking into the living room in the middle of the night to burying my face in the sofa pillow while I unleash screams and sobs; a hidden sorrow. That wasn’t the only thing I buried. I buried my emotions and my weakness. I buried my vulnerability and in the end, ability to heal. Like a dormant malignant tumor, eventually it was sure to rear it’s ugly head. Ten years later to be exact. It came as unsuspected as an ice bath and in a most inappropriate time.  I was busy with life, successfully planting and leading an amazing church. I was innovative and full of energy. “The next high impact missional pastor”. None of that stopped me from hitting the wall and burning myself out, all the while secretly dealing with resurrected, unfinished grief.

In a matter of a few short months grief, laden with stress, sent my life reeling in a direction I never thought possible. I had become virtually non-functioning. Depression was full on. Not only was my body in excruciating pain form having twisted and kinked my spine into scoliosis from internalizing the stress, but my heart was black and suffering. I think of the words to Metallica’s “One”…

“Darkness imprisoning me. All that I see

images-1.jpgAbsolute horror, I cannot live.

I cannot die.

Trapped in myself, body my holding cell.”

I remember lying in a tub of water, sliding down to allow the water level to envelope my face thinking, “one deep lung full, and all this could be over”, or driving down the road thinking, “one whip of the wheel and ‘it’s finished.” Yeah, that dark.

I wonder if you’ve ever felt this kind of pain. I will spare much of the detail for now only to say that miracles ensued, healing eventually took its effect, and this experience left me with a life purpose to return the healing to those others who may feel as trapped or burdened by life. I’ll touch on those details later on. My ministry now is to enact triage to the bleeding, recovery to the lost, and optimization and prevention to the high performer. Those that know me today, who knew before then, know a completely different person and can attest to a holistic, identifiable change. I want to share the two greatest concepts that I came to terms with as a way to encourage you and point you in a direction of hope.

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1. ‘Who’ I am is not ‘What’ I do. 

I mistook my identity in what I did. I was a “church planter”. With that identity I believed more lies, like ‘how I perform’ or ‘how well my church functioned’, was a reflection on who I was and how pleased God was with me. Every day I awoke with a pressure to perform. I had to be reminded that ‘who’ I am is a child of God. That He just loves me. Period. He’s my Father that loves me without me having to perform at a certain level. He wanted to be close to me, and care for me, and shepherd my heart regardless of my weaknesses and depravity. I realized I was loved.

2. I didn’t need what I thought I needed.

I was seeking and needing acceptance from critics and enemies. I was needing affluence and applause from friends. I was needing a successful church. I was needing everything that I didn’t need. As a matter of fact this revelation of what I actually needed came by a book that I’ve never read. The cover was enough to bring a life changing epiphany. The book is called “Jesus+ nothing =everything.” I thought I needed Jesus + lots of other things. I realized,though,  He was enough. His acceptance, His applause, His strength in me was enough. His love was enough. His fellowship was enough. His grace was enough. And I already had all those things!

My delayed grief from my brother’s death was enough to trigger a severe power outage in my life for some time. We may never know or be prepared for what knocks us off our game. However, I have no doubt now what or WHO has the power to reconnect the power source and give life back; not just to live, but live with abundant life. If you’re struggling, don’t give up. Give in to the One that desires to sustain you, and heal you. He is Faithful and He is hope. And so, this is the primary role of Trent Holbert Fitness, to be a help to you to discover the healing you need, both physically AND physically.

Blessings

I believe I’m a dirtbag and maybe you should be too

So, I’ve recently discovered this movement within certain communities called “dirtbags”. I trail run as often as possible and I absolutely love it  and so I happened upon this community who are known as Dirtbag Runners.

These people travel everywhere, disregarding normal functioning lives, just so they can fulfill this love and passion for running.

The Urban dictionary defines a dirtbag as

A person who is committed to a given (usually extreme) lifestyle to the point of abandoning employment and other societal norms in order to pursue said lifestyle. Dirtbags can be distinguished from hippies by the fact that dirtbags have a specific reason for their living communaly and generally non-hygenically; dirtbags are seeking to spend all of their moments pursuing their lifestyle.

You are starting to see these dirtbags show up in a plethora of extreme lifestyle enthusiasms.

Dirtbag Geocatching? Really?  But, well, people are enthusiastic about different things. I believe this dirtbag movement is indicative of the Mellinials who do not find their purpose in a 9-5 but that the 9-5 is their to fulfill the purpose. And so for that, they are willing to disregard societal norms and expectations in order to live out their lives to meet said purposes.

Let me introduce you to Karl. images

Karl and I grew up together and Karl’s family were a bit hippy. Highly educated hippies. They taught Karl to live life with a varied pallete of experiences. Today Karl holds 3 Masters, and contracts himself out to corporations and business to help them solve problems. A while back, Karl and his dirtbag skiing buddies decides to make a short documentary about their weekend trip to Mexico. They idea was to board a plane in Colorado, fly to Mexico, hike the 3rd largest mountain in North America, ski down it, get back on the plane and be back in Colorado ready for work on Monday. It became a short film called “55 hours in Mexico”.

55 Hours in Mexico on Vimeo

https://vimeo.com › Joey Schusler › Videos

They did it and it was awesome and that was th point. Everything they did Monday through Friday was to be served as a means to fulfill their outlier passion.
I’m discovering that I am a dirtbag missionary. I’m a pastor. I’m a church planter. I’m a coach. I’m a community builder. Everything I do in life is bent toward the pursuit of fulfilling my passion. Everything! I’m selling my house and moving my family into a camper JUST TO make my life more efficient and suitable for serving this passion. If that’s not hippy dirtbag missionary I don’t know what is! But I’m sold out to this purpose. My “9-5” and all of my blue collar responsibilities are nothing more than tools that allow me to seek out my passion. I’ll travel. I’ll adapt. I’ll seek out. I’ll sacrifice. I’ll even move! And in so doing it will be awesome and terrible and I love it. It’s extreme living for an extreme activity.

What kind of dirtbag are you? What would define your passion and pursuit? Maybe you’re not a dirtbag at all. But maybe you’re intrigued by the lifestyle. Maybe you can lead a dirtbag movement in an affinity community that you belong to? Start something today that give sustanance to your life and others!

Secret Hurt. When pain is masked by strength.

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Much of what I do with Fit For The Kingdon is coaching people out of seasons of hurt. Primarily, that lot falls to pastors, church planters, and church staff as I can offer a greater level of empathy, seeing as how that’s what I am and I understand from experience. It ceratinly doesn’t stop there. I coach athletes, businessmen, lawyers, etc. People from all walks of life. The interesting thing that I have found is where or better yet, who these people are. On the surface,many of the ones that I coach go unnoticed becuae of their facade of strength. They’re leaders, elite performers. Just this past weekend I was surpirsed to find this to be true with a professional elite athlete that I had an interview with. Why did this surprise me? In the words of U2, “Everybody hurts”. I was able to minister to him and create a spiritually connected relationship that has hopes of repairing the damage of stress and pain.

Hidden hurt amongst strength. 

I’m a high performer. I never stop gong, I keep plates spinning, and I soin them well. Most people would never be able to identify me going through a difficult season. Unfortunaelt, as a high performer, I often refuse to let that darkness break through the cracks of my facade. As a matter of fact, as a matter of fact, as I write this blog, I do so from a convention of the gathering of pastors from all over the Commonwealth. The last time it was held here, I spent two day here walking around in pain so severe thav I could barely function, and no one noticed – A darkness that I will never forget. Today I’m recovered, yet I’m reminded to look clossley at those who walk past me or shake my hand with a smile. Many of them are secretly hurting. As, a matter of fact, within an hour of arriving yesterday at this convention, a fellow pastor took me aside to plead for help as he is severely afflicted. He is an exception to the rule, as most will fake it till they make it.

It’s hard to identify hidden pain wrapped in strength. I believe the reason it’s so hard, however, is that we aren’t looking. We don’t consider high performers, or “strong” people who are able to fake it till they make it. I would just say, stop and re-consider what it takes to be such a high performer. Re-consider the stresses that must go into keeping all those plates spinning. Re-consider that as a high performer, they don’t possess the emotional lingual skills to even know how to ask for help. (Meaning) they know how to be strong emotionally, yet they don’t know how to be weak and vulerable enough to let it out.

The next time you encounter someone who is ‘gettin it done’, would you keep in mind that that apparent strength and perfomance may be that person’s greatest weakness, blockading a hidden world of secret pain? Maybe it’s you. If you are going throu such a season, I implore you to allow someone the right to know, and the right to speak and minister to you. If you feel so lonely and isolated that you feel there is no one, let me assure you there is. His name is Jesus. And He invites anyone who is burdened or heavy laden to come to Him that they may find rest for their souls. He is a friend that sticks closer than even a brother. I hope that you might call out to Him and allow hime to be your strength during your time of weakness.

 

blessings

When honor is lacking; being ‘unfit’ for the Kingdom

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I was raised by a very stolid, demanding father. He worked hard with two calloused hands that supported his family and fed his children. He missed out on a lot of celebration and youthful activities with his two boys, yet what he lived by was a code of honor that he believed in. Hard work and honesty. It is what he instilled into us. My life lessons at the end of my adolescence  could be summarized into two very uncompromising categories; do not lie and be committed to your word. This became our ‘stand’. A stand is something that defines you, that you are not willing to compromise on. Regardless, if it gets tough or tempting, you maintain that value…and THAT is called honor.

Being ‘fit for the Kingdom’ is in reference to Jesus Christ’s teaching and remark to His disciples that ‘anyone who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God. This is about commitment to your ‘stand’. His disciples’ stand was to follow Him and his teachings. Unfortunately, many make that stand, only to let go of the plow when they encounter a stump or some other metaphorical obstacle . Perhaps not even an obstacle but something more tempting and pleasurable than ‘plowing ground’.

We live in a time and society that seems to be more unfit for the Kingdom that ever. A man’s word no longer has meaning. Handshakes are cordial, yet empty gestures. Just this week, I’ve suffered very detrimental blows to my hope and joy at the hands of men who I had given some reliance to their word, because they chose to be dis-honoring to their word and commitment.

What do we do when such collateral damage has ill effects in our lives? It would be easy to eschew society as a lost cause and become bitter. Believe me, today I am very hurt and fighting my own bitterness. Jesus, however was speaking of a Kingdom not of this earth.  Perhaps our answer lies not in man at all. When I think of the most honorable acts given by men, my mind drifts to those who sacrificed their lives for their country. Or, even to the smaller scale of a man who would dive on a live hand grenade to save the lives of his company, his friends.  The Bible even speaks to such honor as an act of love saying, “Greater love has no man than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends.” Though a man would perhaps more easily give his life to those he loves, would he be so honorable to give his life to those who hate him? Jesus did. He willingly laid down his life FOR the people who took it. When I am wounded by a dishonorable human being, I look to the One who gave me His Word, and keeps His Word at ALL times.

Choose today to be a man (or woman) of honor. Stop and consider your ‘stand’. What are those character values that you are unwilling to compromise? When you decide that then you are ready to exercise honor. And THAT is called character. Being fit for the Kingdom is a mindset that forges more than physical fitness, but personal…hard working, commitment keeping fitness.

Semper Fidelis

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