What has God called you to do? What dream is in your heart?
Get after it.
Begin working on your craft.
Seriously, start this second.
Disobedience will not only deliver hardship (ask Jonah), but can even result in God using someone else (ask King Saul). Obey the first time (ask King David) and go after your destiny!
In 2013, I was sitting at a writers conference (ReWrite) listening to Mark Batterson. He asked the audience how many felt called by God to write? My hand shot up! Then he said something that smacked me upside the head: “By not writing, you are living in disobedience.”
Up to that point I had talked about my book idea, dreamed about it, prayed about it, and even preached about it…without actually writing it. In fact, sometimes I would lay in bed at night with anxiety attacks as I thought about somebody else publishing my book. Even more so after highlighting the following quote from the book Go Big by Cory Cotton (Dude Perfect):
“If you don’t act quickly and wisely to stand out in the crowd, an idea marked with your fingerprint could easily end up with someone else’s name on the package.”
Nope. I wasn’t about to let that happen. I began writing. And working. And writing. After some book proposal coaching by Chad Allen via Book Proposal Academy, I entered by book proposal into the 2015 ReWrite Conference Writing Contest.
What has God called you to do? What dream is in your heart?
Get after it.
Begin working on your craft.
Seriously, start this second.
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From Dreaming to Doing
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. ~Proverbs 13:12 (NLT)
I’ve always been a fan of Nike’s shoes, but I love their slogan even more. When it comes to branding, Nike takes the cake and eats it, too. Who would have thought that a simple Swoosh logo and the three little words Just Do Itwould move Nike from selling shoes to selling dreams?
Perhaps they did. After all, that’s what dreaming is all about. I’m not talking about a series of thoughts and images occurring in your mind during sleep. I’m talking about contemplating the possibility of doing something BIG—doing something so big that the only way you could ever pull it off is to have Divine help.
God confirms throughout His Word that He will always do His part. The question of 2016 is, “Will I do my part?” Notice that Proverbs 13:12 doesn’t say that a dream alone is a tree of life. It says that a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. How does this happen? By doing your part.
Apostle Paul said the following in 1 Corinthians 4:20 (NLT): For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. In other words—use more than words. It’s good to talk about it—it’s vital to live it!
Just do it.
Together, let’s purpose in our hearts right now that during 2016 we will move from talking about our dreams to fulfilling our dreams.
Do it again.
IDENTIFY YOUR 41
I used to be a chaplain for a professional arena football team. Several years ago, I delivered a fifteen-minute message with the team two hours before a crucial semifinal playoff game. It was “lose and go home” or “win and play for the Super Bowl of indoor football.” During my short chapel talk I shared the biblical significance of the number 41.
It rained for 40 days and 40 nights. 41 came and the rain stopped. Moses committed murder and hid on the backside of a desert for 40 years. 41 came and he received a second chance, thus becoming the rescuer of Israel. The people of Israel wandered the wilderness for 40 years. 41 came and a new generation entered their Promised Land. For 40 days, Goliath bullied Israel and taunted anyone to fight him. 41 came and David slew Goliath.
I reminded the team, “You may feel stuck on 40. Don’t quit. 41 will come.” We prayed. They played. Final score: 41-40. Boom! Is my pre-game chapel talk the reason we won the game? No. Did God use it to minister to me and each player on our team? Yes. And hopefully this delivers a shot of encouragement to you.
The first thing I want you to do during this Daniel Fast is identify your personal “41” and give it to God. Need a second chance? 41 will come. Stranded in the desert? 41 will come. Stuck in a storm? 41 will come. Wandering the wilderness? 41 will come. Facing a giant? 41 will come.
*Click HERE to receive complete information about this year’s Daniel Fast, including a list of detailed food items to eat and avoid.
Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days. ~Daniel 1:11-14 (NLT)
The Daniel Fast is a spiritual discipline designed to better connect us with God. We are taking the next 10 days (January 4-14) of the new year to deepen our relationship with God and center ourselves around what God is going to do in us and in through us during 2016. This will be a challenging process, but we look forward to hearing from God and experiencing Him with intensity during the 10 days of fasting and prayer.
Don’t forget to PRAY during your fast! Prayer is the key. Without it, this fast is just simply altering your eating habits. Please post prayer requests during the fast on my Facebook page or by emailing me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Daniel Fast is a partial fast, which means that we will eliminate some common things from our daily diet, but will have generous options available. We will focus on eating fruits and vegetables that are pure and simple. We have included a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid. *If you have any known medical conditions or suspect such conditions, consult your doctor before beginning the fast.
Foods to Eat
Whole Grains: Brown Rice, Oats, Barley
Legumes: Dried Beans, Pinto Beans, Split Peas, Lentils, Black Eyed Peas
Fruits: Apples, Apricots, Bananas, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Cranberries, Figs, Grapefruit, Grapes, Guava, Honeydew Melon, Kiwi, Lemons, Limes, Mangoes, Nectarines, Papayas, Peaches, Pears, Pineapples, Plums, Prunes, Raisins, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tangelos, Tangerines, Watermelon
Vegetables: Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chili Peppers, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garlic, Ginger Root, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Okra, Onions, Parsley, Potatoes, Radishes, Rutabagas, Scallions, Spinach, Sprouts, Squashes, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watercress, Yams, Zucchini
Seeds, Nuts, Sprouts
Liquids: Water, Unsweetened Soy Milk, Herbal (caffeine free) Tea, Natural Fruit Juice (no added sugar), Honey
Foods to Avoid
Meat, Poultry, Fish
Caffeine, Coffee, Tea (Decaf is up to you) Carbonated Beverages
Foods Containing Preservatives or Additives Refined Sugar or Sugar Substitutes
Margarine, Shortening, High Fat Products All Breads
Dairy (milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, etc.)
*Some people choose to drink coffee (coffee is a bean) during their Daniel fast. This should be decided by each individual, however decaffeinated is the recommendation. You can get creative with your fast, too. Regardless of how much you cut out of your normal diet we know God will honor your sacrifice.
If you cannot eat fruits and vegetables for ten days, maybe you can sacrifice another area of your life? Here are some ideas of some things you can “give up” during our Daniel Fast:
Let’s do this!
Happy New Year!
This is what God says,
the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. ~Isaiah 43:16-18 (MSG)
This what Chuck says,
go back and read what God said.
#CleanSlate #FreshStart #NewBeginning #DoOver #41WillCome
Former judo Olympian and larger-than-life UFC champion Ronda Rousey entered last Saturday’s fight undefeated but shocked the world with a loss. To make things worse for her — not only did she lose — she got knocked out and even ended up in the hospital.
I didn’t watch the fight for a couple of reasons: 1. I’m not really a huge UFC fan; 2. I had a rare weekend off from preaching so Saturday night was family night. And yes, in my house Elf trumps two ladies punching each other in the face.
Like everyone else, I was stunned when a friend told me Rousey had lost. She’s so good at what she does that I had just assumed she had won. I immediately went to my Twitter feed to get the full scoop and ended up watching countless Vine videos of Rousey getting kicked in the side of the head. Again, ouch. I also learned while viewing my Twitter feed that Rousey had refused to touch gloves (i.e. shake hands) with her opponent, Holly Holm. I am no longer surprised that she lost.
I believe there are five simple truths we can learn from someone who got kicked in the face and ended up in the hospital.
1. Stay Humble
Proverbs 16:18 (MSG) says, “First pride, then the crash—the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.”
There’s a difference between confidence and cockiness. The moment we think we can’t lose is the moment we will lose.
2. Be A Good Sport
Refusing to shake hands is not only bad sportsmanship — it’s arrogant, rude, and sends a horrible message to every young person who looks up to you. Jesus said, “Love your enemies.” #BeLikeJesus
3. You Can’t Win Every Time
Nobody wins every game. Not even Mike Tyson won every fight. Nobody wins every time. Eventually, you will lose. And when you do lose, lose gracefully. I do believe Ronda Rousey will learn from her loss. We need to learn from our mistakes so we’re ready the next time. Failure + learning = growth.
4. Losing Reveals Your Real Friends
It’s funny how many people have jumped ship since Rousey’s loss. Before the fight everyone seemed to be on her bandwagon. Fair-weather friends aren’t real friends. Proverbs 18:24 (MSG) says, Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.
5. Get Back Up
One of my favorite scriptures (Micah 7:8 NLT) says, Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.
Rousey’s career isn’t over. She will get back up. Perhaps you’re lying in defeat. Get up! God’s got you.
- I’m bored out of my mind.
- They must not like kids.
- Wake me up when the sermon is over.
- This band stinks.
- Everyone is staring at me.
- I will never go back.
- This coffee is horrible.
- I wish the sound guy would turn up the volume.
- Everyone is judging me.
- The main pastor guy looks like my grandpa.
*Unless your grandpa is Sammy Hagar.
Click HERE for more information about RockChurch.
September is Suicide Prevention Month so I want to reblog this post by by the daughter of a man who ended his own life in March. I had the honor and privilege of baptizing Michael when he went public with his faith while attending RockChurch. In fact, I’m aware of at least five families from our church who have lost a child to suicide over the last two years.
Suicide is a very real dilemma that needs to be addressed and approached with compassion and grace. Sal’s words do just that by offering comfort, insight, and instruction from someone who is still walking through the valley.
As you read the following words let me remind you that JESUS will sustain you in your suffering.
We’ve all heard someone who has said that phrase, or a phrase similar to it like, “If that happens, I’m just gonna kill myself,” or “Kill me now,” etc. Phrases like this are just in our everyday conversations, and no one really thinks twice about them because, obviously, the people aren’t serious when they say them. They are just words that get said when you need to blow off some steam because you are at your wits end with a situation. I get it. I say them too. There are days when I am in a predicament that I don’t really want to be in but am forced to be there for whatever reason. When that happens, my best friend will 9 times out of 10 get a text message that says, “ugh…kill me now!” She just laughs and says, “that bad, eh?” And then we continue on with our conversation…
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Will you consider joining my Prayer Team? I am looking for people to P R A Y each day during the next 41 weeks to help pave the way for the official launch of my forthcoming book, #41WillCome. Sign up HERE for more details.
Seven states, thirteen days, 3,500 miles, 50+ hours in a minivan, seven camp services, two church services, nineteen Periscope broadcasts, multiple God-encounters, divine appointments, great food, awesome friends, one cabin, two houses, six hotel rooms, too many Starbucks, lots of writing, new moments, special moments, scary moments, crazy moments, hysterical moments, and one long roadside pee in the middle of the desert by yours truly = one epic road trip!
Myself, my wife Annette, my daughter Savannah (10), my son Ashton (7), and our student pastor Cory Vance set out for Arizona on July 4, 2015. Cory and I were featured speakers at a youth camp (Emmanuel Pines) in Prescott for Phoenix Christian Assembly (the church I attended as a child).
Here’s the story in pictures.
Since we left on July 4th it was only fitting to drive by this flagged out dude reppin’ USA in style! #Merica
What’s a road trip without an iPhone charging station?! #AppleAllTheWay
It’s easy to believe in God while driving through Colorado. #CreationShouts
I wasn’t sure if we were about to go through a tunnel…or into a life-size video game.
The Old West isn’t complete unless there’s a train zooming by a mountain.
We didn’t have time to drive the 15 additional miles to see the arches but we made time for Savannah & Ashton to showcase the sign at the Visitor Center.
This is the road (on the side of the cliff) that leads to the famous Utah arches.
This is me broadcasting live video via #Periscope in Utah. I got yelled at by Cory and my wife after almost slamming into the car in front of us. They made me promise not to Periscope the rest of the trip while driving. Lol.
This is actually called Church Rock Valley…which is kind of cool considering we pastor Rock Church. I guess we should add an Arizona campus here. “Welcome to the ChurchRock RockChurch campus!” Huh?
This is me peeing in the middle of the Arizona desert. The only reason you even get to see this is because my wife thought it would be hilarious to take a picture of me…in a moment where I couldn’t defend myself. It was either this or ruin the minivan we rented.
Morning View | Sedona, AZ
This is a collage of pictures from the drive to Arizona after safely arriving at camp.
Emmanuel Pines Camp | Prescott, AZ
Day 1 of camp was my fist opportunity to run on the roadtrip…and in the mountains. Uh, the view, though. #FitByFall
Our theme for camp this year was #Selfie so it was only fitting to take a selfie with some of the campers!
Cory gave his life to Christ at RockChurch 10 years ago. Now he’s our student pastor so it was a privilege to have him with us on this trip. He did the morning sessions and I did the evening sessions. #YourStoryMatters
Every year we play hide and seek in the dark. The staff hide one night and the campers hide the next night. Meet Dalton. He obviously came prepared. In fact, I think he’s still out there in the woods somewhere.
This collage highlights special moments. Kids were at the altar each night and worship was led this year by the pastor’s grandson, Mitchell. A few years ago at camp I shared a vision of Mitchell leading worship. It was fulfilled this year. So proud of this young man.
One of the reasons I believe kids get rocked by God at camp…is because they can’t leave! This was my 6th consecutive year and the best group of kids. The Holy Spirit was present. In this picture, the campers formed a prayer circle and completely took over the service. #BoomSauce
Meet Dayne. Dayne is autistic. He blew our minds and brought down the house when he entered this year’s talent showcase and performed several spot-on impersonations, including Daffy Duck, Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Bane, Joker, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Darth Vader, and an Englishman! This one was one of my favorite moments of camp.
Lake Lynx | Prescott, AZ
Cory doesn’t swim – so can you tell he was a slightly freaked out to be in a boat? BTW, in the upper right-hand corner I am pimping my friend – Pastor Bob Beeman’s new book, Seriously?! It was for a promotional project.
This view is one of the many reasons why I love camp and Prescott, AZ.
This is the cabin that Cory and I stayed in. We forgot to turn off the window A/C unit one night, the temperature dropped (since we were in the mountains), and the heater kicked on automatically and began burning up the cobwebs. This caused the smoke alarm to go off at 3:00 AM. Picture Cory running around the cabin with the fire extinguisher looking for a fire…all the while I slept like a baby. #StuffYouCantMakeUp
Another highlight of returning each year is the opportunity to bring my daughter, Savannah (middle). She attended junior camp for the fifth consecutive year. This is extra special because it’s the same camp I attended when I was her age.
Cory had everyone sign #TeamJesus contracts – committing to following Jesus even when life gets hard. This was an awesome moment. #NoTurningBack
Slide Rock | Sedona, AZ (If you want to see me jump from a 40 foot cliff – click here.)
I was honored to preach at my childhood church – Phoenix Christian Assembly – on Sunday morning and we also participated in the camp highlight service on Sunday night. Pastor Don Grosvenor (pictured above) baptized me when I was seven years old. [You can click HERE to view a video recap of the entire camp experience.]
Our good friends – Jon & Jennifer (and family) drove down from Queen Creek to be with us at PCA. Before moving to Arizona they attended our church (RockChurch) in Illinois. My wife (Annette) and son (Ashton) stayed with them while Cory, Savannah, and I were at camp.
This is the reason Ashton skipped camp to stay with Annette at our friend’s house. #PoolFun
I was very intrigued that the Starbucks drive-thru in Phoenix features a video feed. Our barista was gracious enough to pose for this picture. Notice she is pointing to my drink – which is “goodness in a cup.” 🙂
I’m pretty sure it’s a sin to visit Arizona and not eat at In-N-Out. Yes, I heard angels singing.
Pastor Don Grosvenor is 80 years old and has pastored Phoenix Christian Assembly (with his wife, Gerri) for 55 years. PCA recently opened and dedicated a Memorial Library that features those (musicians, celebrities, politicians, athletes, etc.) who were connected to or impacted by the ministry of PCA during the last 55 years. It was a very special moment to have Pastor Don give me the personal tour and share PCA’s history and his legacy.
One of my proudest moments on the trip (and as a dad) was finding my boy reading the Word.
Upper left corner – PCA Prayer Tower
Upper middle – Ash in front of PCA fountain
Upper right corner – My girl
Lower left – Hotel pool fun
Lower middle – Pastor Don’s grandson, Mitchell ( sunglasses are hiding tears because we are saying “Good-bye.” It’s always hard to leave.
Lower right – No explanation needed
On the road again – heading home – see you next year!