How a Man Can Feel More Alive This Week

If you know the answers to the following questions, you will feel a surge of meaning, purpose, and direction. Even if your circumstances are out of whack and you're under a lot of pressure. 

Who am I? (Identity)

Why do I exist? (Purpose)

What am I supposed to do? (Calling, Mission)

How do I do it? (Plan, Goals, Strategy)

If you DON'T feel excited about the direction of your life today, spend a few minutes reflecting on these questions. 

I feel so much more alive when I think about such things. 

What To Say When You See Something You Don't Like

The difference between a biblical Christian and a cultural Christian is not that they think different thoughts when they see something they don't like.

The difference between a biblical Christian and a cultural Christian is that a biblical Christian doesn't say the first thing that comes to mind.

"A man of knowledge uses words with restraint" (Proverbs 17:27). "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise" (Proverbs 10:19). "He who answers before listening - that is his folly and shame" (Proverbs 18:13).

What is your agenda for other people?

Some of us are trying to help other people buy into our agendas. 

Some of us are trying to help other people achieve their agendas.

Some of us are trying to help other people discover God's purpose and plan for their lives, and order their priorities around His agenda.

It's easy to get these mixed up, isn't it? 

Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner, for trying to get people to do what I want them to do – my agenda – instead of inspiring them with what you want them to do – your agenda. Amen.

A Group and a Bible Will Solve 90% of Your Problems

A man from Africa wanted to know about a money question. A man from Alabama wanted to ask about a purpose and work issue. A man from Alaska wanted to know, "How can I make my marriage work?"

Whenever a man from another city contacts me with a problem, one of the first questions I  ask is, “Are you part of a small group of guys doing life together? It could be in a couples group where guys occasionally meet off to themselves, or in a men only group?”

And the response is almost always the same, "Why do you ask?"

I ask because I’ve discovered that when men ARE part of group, these questions rarely make it to my desk.

In fact, I estimate that 90% of all men’s problems could easily be solved if men would regularly read their Bibles for themselves and do life together with a few other men in a small group.

Yes, it's that simple. Really.

The Words That Matter Most, Elvis, and Andrew Carnegie

We hear it all the time: "Words matter." And of course, that's true. But so do actions.

Andrew Carnegie put it like this, "As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do."

It's hard to trust someone who repetitively doesn't follow through on what they say. 

So better not to say anything at all unless we really plan to follow through. Proverbs 10:19 says, "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise."

Whether we're a husband, father, boss, laborer, pastor, teacher, coach, or political leader, the words that matter most are the ones we back up with actions. 

Reputations rise and fall on whether or not we "keep" or words. As Elvis Presley pleaded, "A little less conversation, a little more action please."

 

And I Thought I Was Just Taking a Hike!

Cloudless blue skies. 50 degree weather. Low humidity. A perfect day for hiking. I parked my truck on Highway 40 at the trailhead for the Florida National Scenic Trail.

I was slowly making progress, alone with my thoughts, wrapped in solitude. I was 4 miles into my 8.5 mile route when suddenly the loud thumping rotors of a helicopter shattered the quiet.

He passed right over, no more than 500 feet above. Actually, it was kind of exciting! I hiked another 2/10s of a mile, and then he buzzed me again. Now I'm wondering, "What in the world...?"

From my GPS I knew I was close to the clay road I had picked as the turnaround point for my out-and-back hike. As I emerged out of the woods onto the road, a  white truck was blocking my path. "What in the world...?"

A former military man got out of the truck. So here was the deal. While I was quietly hiking along, a $14 billion aircraft carrier was cruising just off the coast of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean. Top gun pilots and their crews had just completed all the pre-flight checks on each of their $60 million (each) F-18 fighter jets.

They were  minutes away from scrambling their jets for the sub-10 minute sortie to the Pinecastle Bombing Range where they would be assisted by a full ground and radar crew to practice annihilating Middle Eastern terrorists by strafing a mocked up caravan with live bombs. It was a complex mission with many moving parts that had been months in the making. All taking placing to the immediate west of the Florida National Scenic Trail.

And then there was me. Merrily hiking along, alone, but not quite as alone as I thought, clueless about how intertwined I had become in a much bigger picture.

As the chopper hovered overhead, the nice man explained everything. He didn't seem upset that I had almost aborted what must have been $10,000,000+ training exercise. I gave the pilot a wave, and he peeled off. The man drove me back to my truck.

As he dropped me off I was able to present him a signed copy of The Man in Mirror. Wouldn't it be something if that book hit home with him?

Let's face it. We are never as alone as we think. We are always part of a bigger picture. As well informed as we may think we are, there's a lot more going on here than we will ever understand. Occasionally, like on my hike, we get a glimpse, but most of the time we'll never hear about. And God may use you for the greater purpose of his will in what seems like a random situation.

So how should we respond when it feels like we're all alone, maybe even forgotten? Remember this: God doesn't do "random." God isn't caught off guard by what's happening to you. He doesn't say, "Oops! I didn't see that coming." He knows exactly where you are on the trail. And he is sovereignly orchestrating all human events, even our seemingly random circumstances, to guide us to him and to each other. As Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:11, he "works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will." 

"What in the world...? I thought I was just taking a hike!"