Monday, December 13, 2010

Getting healthy for the new year TIP

As we go into the new year we need to look at our body and have we been taking good care of it. If not here are some tips I found that can help you get back on track.

Try to eat some type of protein with each meal. This will help regulate blood sugar levels and keep you fuller longer. A higher protein intake with each meal makes people feel fuller and reduces food intake, resulting in improvements in weight loss and weight loss maintenance.

Apply the 80/20 Rule. 80 percent of the time, eat healthy foods from the ground up and 20 of the time, have your cake, pasta, chocolate, wine, etc. Remember�20 percent only. Watch your portions of these items.

Choose your carbs wisely. Avoid starchy and refined carbs, such as pasta, pizza, white rice, and white bread. Replace them with complex carbs, such as brown rice, brown bread, and high fiber carbs like green leafy vegetables. Avoid sugar and foods that break down to become sugar.

Do eat protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates together. However, take your meals with carbs earlier in the day and cut down on carbs on later meals. This is to prevent unused carbs from turning into body fat when you sleep and to regulate insulin level.

Don't be too afraid of fats. The fats in your diet that are bad for you are saturated and trans fat. So replace these bad fats with unsaturated fat and essential fatty acids (EFAs), and these good fats will keep your body fat and fat-related diseases down. But take your fats in moderation as they are still calorie laden.

When eating a meal with added fat, limit your carbohydrate intake. Remember, your body uses carbohydrates AND fat for energy. If you are eating both forms of energy, the body will use the carbs for energy; therefore, leaving the fat to be stored.

Eat often. By eating often, at every 3 hourly intervals, your body will think that food is abundant and less likely to store body fat for emergency, such as a famine. Therefore, do not skip meals. Skipping meals will slow your metabolism and force your body to use your muscles for energy instead of your body fat.

Eat smaller food portions. Decide how much you want to eat at each meal and then keep to it and do not eat anymore when that portion is consumed. Eat slowly to let your body signal to your brain that you are full. This usually takes about 20 minutes.

Do cardio exercises frequently. These can be any exercises that work up your heart rate to the extent that you are huffing and puffing for at least 20-30 minutes. Do your cardio exercises 5-6 times a week if you want to reduce weight or 2-3 times a week for weight maintenance.

Build muscles. Muscles burn calories even when you are not doing anything but resting. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn a day and, in the course of over a period of time, the calories you burned will add up very substantially. Building muscle mass is one sure way of losing body fat forever.

Share this year

This Christmas our family will be spending in taking care of others and we need your help. We will be going to a nursing home at 10am and 3pm. At noon, we will be feeding the homeless. We need 200 lap blankets and 200 pair of socks (mens and womens) for the nursing homes and we need 100 pair of thick socks for the homeless. We are also making homemade ornaments and baking cookies. Uhm...

Christmas is a time to show Christ to the world and this is one way we can do so. These are people who are likely to have no one else visit them on Christmas. If you can help us you can send me a message. You can buy the items or contact me about sending a check to buy the items. We have 35 blankets now, thanks to some generous friends.

Keena Cowsert

You can reach me at: if you can help.

Thanks again....

"A pessimist, they say, sees a glass of water as being half empty; an optimist sees the same glass as half full. But a giving person sees a glass of water and starts looking for someone who might be thirsty."
G. Donald Gale

Gods Chosen Few

God's Chosen Few
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, December 13 2010

But those who suffer He delivers in their suffering; He speaks to them in their affliction. - Job 36:15

He was born with cerebral palsy in South Africa. He barely survived his birth. He did not walk until he was four years old. One leg was longer than the other and he could not speak well. For most of his life, his hands shook and he had little control over them. Feelings of rejection and bitterness at his plight were common occurrences during his growing-up years. During his school years, he was chastised by kids and generally rejected by society.

At age 17, his father felt led to take his son to a healing service. That night, the young boy's leg divinely grew two inches. He no longer walked with a limp. Bradley met the Savior and began to grow in his intimacy with Him. God began to speak to him and show him things. Prayer became his source of comfort and strength. God gave him insights about people and situations, bringing blessing to all who encountered him. Today, this young man travels around the world as an internationally known intercessor and founder of a school of intercessory prayer. Literally hundreds of hours of knowledge about the way God speaks to His children have been birthed in and through this young man.

One evening Bradley walked forward in a meeting of about 40 workplace believers and handed a note to the leader during a Christian business conference. The note was for someone in the room, but Bradley did not know whom it was for. It was the last day of a 40-day fast for this writer. The message gave a specific description of what I had been experiencing the two years leading up to that night. Nobody would have known such details. I knew it was for me. It was a miraculous "telegram from God" that provided confirmation and encouragement of where God was taking me. God used one broken man to speak to another broken man.

God's ways are not our ways. His preparation of His warriors seems cruel and hurtful at times. His ways are much higher than ours. Trust the God of the universe that He can orchestrate the events of your life when they seem the darkest.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What are the ways in which my life can be a testimony for Jesus?

God's Response:
The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.
Acts 4:13

Those who obey God's word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in Him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
1 John 2:5-6

Our Takeaway:
Knowing that Peter and John were ordinary men, the council was amazed at what being with Jesus had done for them. No longer were they backward, fearful disciples. Now, through the Holy Spirit, they were courageous and able to boldly share the truth of Jesus with others.

A changed life convinces people of Christ's power. One of your clearest testimonies is the difference others see in your life and attitudes since you believed in Christ.

God's Challenge:
Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then, even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior and they will give honor to God when He judges the world.
1 Peter 2:12

Big T's Thought to Ponder:
I have mentioned this before in past devotions and I was reminded of it again this morning. I have never understood why people refer to it as "our testimony". Shouldn't it be called "His Testimony" and our witness or life account of all the wonderful things Jesus Christ is doing in our lives; as He molds us and grows us up, as He transforms our minds and shapes our hearts, and as He pours His understanding and love into each one of our lives, revealing Himself and who He is in each one of us and who we are in Him.
John 15:1-11

Jesus had just performed a miracle in this guys life, a guy that satan had a hold of and Mark tells us that Jesus told him to, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how He had mercy on you". I believe "your family" in this context meant, everybody that the man would came in contact with. Shout it to the ends of the earth!
Mark 5:19

This is His testimony for my life.
1 Peter 3:15

For the better part of forty-six years, like the demon possessed man Jesus healed in Mark 5:19, I too allowed satan to control and rule my life. I truly experienced every lustful and perverted pleasure this fallen world had to offer. I was a self-made, self-indulgent, prideful and arrogant entrepreneur; a shell of a man that didn't even have God on the radar screen, yet I had been blessed from head-to-toe. I was as lost and as far away from God as anyone could possibly imagine, never realizing that Jesus was right there all along just waiting and protecting!
Romans 5:8

Even in the midst of the cocaine parties, booze cruises, and the hedonism getaways in far and distant lands, the Lord always had some sort of hedge of protection around me. I tell you the truth, it's truly only by the Grace of God that I am here this morning to witness to any of this.
Ezekiel 33:11; 1 Timothy 1:15-16

I was captured by and in complete bondage to a thirty-six year drug addiction, serious alcoholic binging, and living completely over the edge in what seemed to be an endless pleasure paradox and quest for happiness and fullness of life. I had been blessed by God with a wife that was a saint in comparison; given two beautiful little daughters who rarely saw their daddy and a much older son heading in the wrong direction, never realizing that the little footsteps of a child are sure to follow.
Romans 8:20-21

Consumed and controlled by the all mighty dollar, which there was no shortage of in my life due to a ten-year-old global reach business that God groomed me into. It grew into my personal resource center for all the capital required to live this "successful life style" in which I was consumed by.
1 Timothy 6:10

Consumed to consume, the desire to acquire... This resource center allowed me to live in fancy houses, to drive the flashy cars, drip with gold and diamonds, eat and play at the finest restaurants and country clubs. It allowed me to afford the world travel and frequent Las Vegas getaways disguised as a businessman's busyness.
1 John 2:15-16

By all the standards and values taught and accepted by the fallen world in which we live: work-hard-play-harder mindset, I had truly reached the pinnacle of life, living the American dream! When I had reached the very peak of world success, God finally opened my eyes! It was barren, it was a dead ended road, and it wreaked of death and darkness! This was the night I was rushed to the emergency room, with what I thought was a heart attack.
2 Corinthians 1:4

As I sat in my living room, I felt overtaken and consumed by something I can't fully explain in words, but can only be described as a feeling and sense that life here was over and that I was getting ready to depart from this place. I feared for my life! I screamed for my wife, I huddled down on the floor with my wife and kids- the ones I realized, at that moment, that I truly loved more than life itself. I cried out to God not to take my life and to take care of my family because I knew I wasn't going to make it!

God delivered me to the hospital and I had four days to consider where I was in life and how in the world did I get to such a dark and desperate place. Although there was never any medical explanation of what happened on that dark and fearful night of March 13, 2008, God opened my eyes to reality, gave me hope, stopped the madness and a whole lot more! The only way to describe in words what happened in that hospital over those few days was that God flipped some sort of "Off Switch" inside of me.

From there, God basically laid out a series of events in my life that I can only explain as supernatural and the Divine Plan of Jesus Christ for my life. God had a cure for every disease in my life. When I say disease, I refer to the addictions that are too lengthy to mention; the broken relationships -with my marriage, with my kids and family; my business and the poison I had bred into it and endless other things that I can't begin to list. I want to share a few of His miracles in some sort of chronological order as He began His Divine house cleaning in my life:

"His Off Switch": I was a 3-pack a day smoker, daily pot smoker, cocaine abusing, binge drinker. After March 13, 2008, I never had the slightest desire to do any of these things again; He had set me free and broken the chains of bondage I had been captured by, all for His greater purpose and glory.
Philippians 4:13

"His House Cleaning": Several days after getting out of the hospital, I was sitting at work, and the Holy Spirit called me home to clean house. I went home and cleansed my house of all the worlds temptations. I flushed the contents of my so-called fun box and poured out an entire private stock of gallons upon gallons of satan's assorted pleasures and poisons.
Joshua 24:15b

"Success that Mattered To God": My wife had signed me up for, "Man in the Mirror - Success that matters"- a men's conference, months prior to March 13th. I had no intention of ever going and actually already had an exit strategy orchestrated. The Holy Spirit planted me there that Saturday morning and as I listened to one of the speakers life account of his own out of control and messed up life, I thought to myself, "surely there can't be two of us in this world that have lived this kind of life?" When there was a calling to pray that prayer, I made a second decision for Christ, praying a similar prayer to the prayer I cried out back in March, just to be certain that God heard me.
1 John 5:14-15

"Honesty Is God's Best Policy": After (16) years of marriage, my wife finally popped the question, the one that terrified me! "Have you ever cheated on me?" At that moment, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and basically said, "Tony, you have one shot at this- you have lied to everyone in your life for forty-six years; I can clear the slate today and allow the healing to begin, if you'll just be honest for the first time in your life... right now tell her EVERYTHING!" "Everything?" Everything! I knew at that precise moment that I was not only about to lose my wife, I was also going to lose my children. I had some weird kind of peace and decided to just trust God! I cleaned out the closest and shared every dirty little secret of my life that morning- the prostitutes, pornography, mistresses, drug addictions, everything! I didn't hold one thing back and in the process of all my realness, I ripped out my wifes heart. She had no idea of the man she had been married to for the last 16 years, but God knew that she was spiritually strong enough to hear the truth, the truth that would begin to set us both free from the grips and lies of satan.
Colossians 3:5-10

"Weekend to Remember God": Again, in Gods Divine plan, my wife had signed us up for some Christian couples getaway thing at church and again, I had an exit strategy already prepared. Still feeling the wake from the closet cleaning experience just a week prior, the roles were reversed for this weekend outing. I didn't need an exit strategy, I needed a miracle sent from God to convince my wife to go with me to this 'Weekend to Remember' Christian couples getaway! My wife loved the new man that God had been transforming since March 13th , but she hated the old sinful man she thought she once knew. I simply asked her if she would join the new man for a weekend of healing and renewing - leaving all the consequences up to God for a favorable outcome! God truly gave us this weekend- the love letters, the date night on the premier weekend of the movie Fireproof, and a special anonymous book called the "The Love Dare". It was too perfect to be anything other than God's sovereign hand upon us. Our marriage was supernaturally brought into oneness with Christ and it was restored to the eternal covenant we had committed to 16 years prior, but never experienced.
Ephesians 5:25-33; Ephesians 4:16-24; Colossians 3:9-11; Romans 6:6-14

My Resource Center?: God had been completely transforming my life- it was overwhelming to me! There were still so many uncertainties, so many things standing between me and my Savior. God was revealing to me all the poison and corruption that I had built into my company- the resource center that helped fund all the things the old man once desired and the same thing the new man despised! And again, my wonderful wife who was always looking after her husbands best interests, had signed us up for another one of these Christan conferences! It was some Financial Peace gig and a guy named Dave Ramsey. I went just because the guy was a Christian and I remember as I watched Dave on stage, talking about managing the resources that God has entrusted us. He kept giving biblical account to how we are called to be good stewards of the green stuff and that it ALL belonged to God. I was blown away by his teaching about handling personal finances and his sensible action plan for living a debt-free life. At the end of the show, Dave called business owners to the stage and he shared with us his one-week, intensive business seminar in Mexico- one which he would be sharing similar biblical values, but applying them to our business, verses our personal finances in FPU. It was called "EntreLeadership". My wife and I attended the event in Cancun that November and the personal one-on-one time my wife and I had the opportunity to spend with Dave, his wife Sharron, their kids, and his team was beyond awesome; it was a God-given opportunity to be mentored by this man! Dave Ramsey gave me the ingredients and a fundamental launching platform to build a Christian foundation for Ground Zero Electrostatics; to see the commonalities between a static control business and the Kingdom of God. It all sounded pretty weird, but something felt so right.

His Ministry: Dave Ramsey and the EntreLeadership program gave us the cement and rebar to pour a Christian foundation, which has beared much fruit for the Kingdom. He was beginning to reveal to me how Static Control and God fit together and what that looked like. So we had a solid foundation coming together, but we had no framework and not enough intentional Christians call-to-action. That's when a group called C-12 came into my life. It was a complete God thing, with multiple people all non-related to one another, telling me about this C-12 thing. "What is it?" I asked one business consultant from Chicago. "It's a Christan organization made up of local Christian CEO's, presidents and business owners. A group of peer-to-peer accountability partners that meet once a month and act as a board of directors and/or advisors." After about the fourth time God put C-12 in my path, I finally wised up, submitted and joined the group one week later. God had blessed us with the Christian, biblically-based foundation and C-12 was the actual framework- the Christian call-to-action, the wise council, and the conduit that God knew I needed to weather the eminent storms ahead. C-12 was the voice of God's wisdom that helped me realize that Ground Zero wasn't my comany at all- it's God's company! It's the ministry and platform He blessed me with, the one He intended me to use for His glory and Divine purpose for my life! Today anyway...

Waiting Through The Storms: By allowing God to guide me- through the practicing of His presence and by following and implementing the wise council shared by my brothers in Christ at C-12, He was preparing me for the uncharted waters ahead. Times that would bring the rockiest and most barren terrain imaginable, and rough seas that would make the perfect storm look like child's play. If someone could have given me a glance of my future, I couldn't have conceptually imagined the series of trials and tests that God was about to allow to enter my life.
Isaiah 43:1-3; Romans 12:12; James 1:2; Deuteronomy 31:6

From Hero's to Zero'$:
As a company we literally went from Hero's, knocking down $500,000 dollar months to Zero's- clawing to muster up a $30,000 dollar month. This happened overnight and the business was drying up and evaporating before my very eyes. The harder I tried, the worse things became! I had lost 80% of our workforce and our bank reserves had plummeted to the point we couldn't even afford to pay attention. There were many weeks where we couldn't make payroll, even when we could, it was always paid in order of priority from staff to owners. I didn't get it- God had completely consumed me for the past 12 months and I felt like I was walking on clouds; now I was asking myself, "Where did God go and who flipped the off switch on my business?" There laid the problem, "my business". I was still putting the business before God; holding on way too tight and trying way too hard. This process took me from a prideful business owner, to a humble servant, to Kingdom building.
Psalm 57:1; 2 Corinthians 12:9

God's Yoke Revealed: Humility wasn't the only treasure in these trials. At this point in my journey, I plugged myself into every possible bible study and men's group I could find. It wasn't until my redneck cousin Skipper, had shared with me during one of our 4am Bible studies about the "Yoke of Jesus" and trusting verses trying. I hadn't a clue at first, but God laid it on my heart to have a deeper understanding of what this yoke stuff looked like. It wasn't an egg! Once I understood what a yoke was, God revealed His yoke to me. I must say that it felt weird the first day I took the yoke of Christ around my neck. I felt guilty because I was no longer driving the bus, I was just a passenger on the bus! It seemed too easy, I wasn't working nearly hard enough, it just seemed to free me of my burdens. His revolution came to me during quiet time one morning... I was no longer in charge of my life or responsible for finding a solutions to our financial dilemma... He was! I was to just wait patiently on God and trust that He is in control. Trusting vs. trying, now there was a concept that would lead to growing my faith by leaps and bounds. His business, not mine? God's in control, not me? He is my provider and I am His child? Wow! Could it really be all about God? Him guiding and me believing and trusting on God for EVERYTHING? This was and is exactly what it all meant.
Matthew 11:27-28

Trial By Fire: I resigned as CEO and signed on as Servant Leader. I was broke and broken. He had stripped me and His company of everything and then He began to turn up the heat at the office! With lawsuits coming in about one a week, and with collection calls verses sales opportunities at a ratio of 3:1, we were beaten down and feeling hopeless. Paychecks were scarce at best. Commissions were non-exsistant and we were in survival mode and had been for months. Personally, my wife and I had never been happier in this new relationship with Christ. Then He turned up the heat on the homefront! It started with the A.T.M. machine spitting out a white piece of paper verses the green one I had grown accustomed to... "N.S.F.!, what in the world is wrong with this silly machine"? I rushed to work to confirm with my bank that this was just a bad case of fraud or a stolen identity thing. Sure enough, it wasn't the A.T.M. at all, it was another three letter acronym, the I.R.S.! And they had just cleaned us out of our entire savings, my retirement, and every penny in our personal checking account! Things seem to be going from bad to worse and we were being tested to the gills!
1 Peter 5:10; James 1:2; John 16:33; 1 Peter 1:7

Backup Plan: Our corporate attorney called and insisted on a meeting in his office to discuss a strategy to deal with the all-pending lawsuits that required our responses. Our plan was a common secular approach in business when people are under the pressure of the world and don't know where their security comes from - Bankruptcy! Just walk away! What in the world are you waiting for, file already? Our attorney's plan was brilliant and I agreed to the conception of a new corporation in my wife's name, hanging all our creditors out to dry in order to regain control of my life and my business. I should have felt great about this, right? Wrong! I had a pit in my stomach and an uncertain uneasiness, as I thought to myself, "We just crafted a wonderful and well thought out business plan -just be happy in it." I knew that I would feel better if I would go to that downtown Bible study I had been invited to months prior and it was right around the corner. I walked in, introduced myself and they began to show a video about Faith. The story line was Abraham walking with God and God assuring him that He would be blessed with a son and that he would have as many descendants as the stars above. Abraham and Sarah weren't getting any younger and decided to develop their own backup plan with Hagar just in case God's promise didn't work out. I immediately knew at that moment what I had just done and why I had that pit in my stomach. When I left the study, I called my attorney with the news that we were not going to be filing bankruptcy and that we were going to just wait on God to show up and deliver us or move on to other things. I think my attorney wanted to recommend a good psychiatrist to me!
Hebrews 11:1; 1 John 5:4; Psalm 118:6-9

Jesus In-Box: God kept reminding me of George Mueller's contagious statement of faith - "I will always have all I need to do all You have asked of me." Our finance manager and I were sitting in our typical Wednesday morning finance meeting, which never seemed to take much of our time back then. As we finished up in prayer that morning, we were both in tears over the abundance of financial trauma we were experiencing. Then, God put it on my heart to create and add Him to the series of incoming correspondence boxes that I had for all the employees. Since He was our new CEO and there was an empty box at the top, we were obedient to His request. In place of the tears caused by all the financial threats that were pouring into the company on a daily basis, we would simply place any financial threats and/or issues that were impossible for us to wrap our finite minds around, into "the Jesus In-Box" - it was jammed packed! This was about a year ago and today the box is completely empty. The debt is still out there but is being paid back at an accelerated rate as God wills. God has poured His Grace upon all the threats and His Company is getting healthier by the hour.
Matthew 19:26; Proverbs 3:5-6; Mark 11:22-23

Blind Bankers: I can only describe the following as God's Divine plan and another miracle from our Savior. Back in April '08 the bank that holds our max'ed out line-of-credit, called me into the bank for an ambush, I mean a meeting. The meeting wasn't exactly with my banker, it was actually a loan committee and they wanted answers! Their biggest question was, "Do you know why we have asked you here today?", "How in the world are you going to pay us the money you owe us?" , "Anthony, what are you doing to stop the bleeding?" I replied with a bold and excited, "We're praying!" As they all stared at me and then at each other, as if I was from Mars or some other planet, the regional VP replied, "Seriously Anthony." I rebutted, "I am being serious. We pray to begin our day and at the closing of our day. We pray with our customers and vendors alike. We even have bible studies at work." "We have elected God to step in as active CEO and I have backed down as servant leader. We are also working on right-sizing the business. I assured them that we were still the 5 million dollar a year company we were just two years prior and that we would be again. I told them that we were keeping our hands and feet busy for Christ and that I felt confident that we would have a profitable June '09. The regional VP said He was curious to see if my story would carry any weight, despite the fact that they didn't think we would make it the remainder of the month and that we were insolvent. He said he would allow us two months but would pull the plug if there wasn't significant change.
John 15:18-20; Romans 8:35-39; Psalm 27:1

God's Companies Are Resilient: We did end up having a profitable June '09 and by God's good grace, Ground Zero Electrostatics has been profitable every month since. I praise Him that we haven't missed payroll since early Q-1 2009 and at the current rate the Lord is pouring His abundance upon us, we will be a debt free company in Q-4 of 2012. These things can only be explained by the Holy Power of Jesus Christ Almighty. The last word from our banker and I quote, "I wanted to tell you guys how happy I am to see this has all turned around for you. Keep up the effort and keep talking to the man in the sky!!! He seems to have a great impact on all of us!" Our banker has inquired about our Thursday Bible Study on more than one occasion. Praise the Lord for the things He has done and all that He is doing!
Isaiah 55:11; Matthew 6:33

God's In The ESD Business: We have made the decision that once our debt is paid in full, and we are no longer slave to the lender, His company profits will be utilized for Kingdom building opportunities that God puts in our path. He has been doing amazing things through a generosity culture that was adopted in November 2009 and we are watching for every opportunity and the good works in which He has prepared for us beforehand. The old "resource center" that was once used for my personal, worldly pleasures has now been transformed into a profit center for the work of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!
Philippians 4:19; John 19:35 (NIV)

I could have literally rambled on and on for hours longer, sharing endless accounts to all the things Jesus has done in my life over the past twenty-four months. This journey has been amazing in how He has used me and His testimony to lead others to Christ and encourage the hopeless. We serve a star breathing, heart transforming, mind restoring faithful God that is our endless supply of acceptance, love, joy, peace, strength, courage, kindness, goodness, and every attribute that is desirable.

With complete victory and freedom in Christ, and by claiming the inheritance that I have in Jesus through trusting and believing, there is no longer anything I desire in this world in which we live except for the relationships He will develop through me while sharing His good news with the world. I Love You Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus and Almighty Spirit!

To God be the glory for the things He has done!

Excerpt from

Excerpt from
Pulling Together
by John Murphy
Consistent application of the 10 rules of high performance teamwork ultimately generates trust, respect, unity and power within any team. Conversely, consistent violation of any one rule destroys this bond. While the author of the following is unknown, "Lessons From the Geese" is a powerful illustration from nature of the rules of high performance teamwork. As you read about the natural unity that exists among this species remember - this same unity can exist in your organization!

As geese flap their wings, they create an uplift for the bird following. By flying in a V formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if any bird were to fly alone.
If we share a common direction and a sense of community, we can get where we are going more quickly and easily because we are traveling on the thrust of one another!

Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone, and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.
If we have as much sense as geese, we will stay in formation with those who are headed where we want to go, and we will be willing to accept their help as well as give ours to others.

When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies at the point position.
If we take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership as with the geese, we become interdependent with one another.
The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. If we "honk," we need to make sure it is positive and encouraging.

When a goose gets sick or wounded or is shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it is able to fly again or dies. They then launch out on their own, with another formation or catch up with the flock.
If we have as much sense as geese, we too will stand by each other in difficult times, as well as when we are strong. Let us all try to fly in formation and remember to drop back to help those who might need it!


The greatest accomplishments in life are not achieved by individuals alone, but by proactive people pulling together for a common good. Look behind every winner and you will find a great coach. Look out in front of every superstar and you will see a positive role model. Look alongside every great achiever and you will find caring people offering encouragement, support and able assistance.

Rising to this level of interdependent thinking can be challenging and difficult. Looking beyond oneself, asking for help or accepting help can feel risky. But people are not given life to simply take from one another. We are here to give. Our mission in life is to offer our gifts to benefit one another, to create mutual gain in the world. This is called teamwork, a win/win mindset stemming from a genuine commitment to the rules that allow it to happen.

Renounce the Agreements You've Made

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Renounce the Agreements You've Made
Your wounds brought messages with them. Lots of messages. Somehow they all usually land in the same place. They had a similar theme. "You're worthless." "You're not a woman." "You're too much?and not enough." "You're a disappointment." "You are repulsive." On and on they go. Because they were delivered with such pain, they felt true. They pierced our hearts, and they seemed so true. So we accepted the message as fact. We embraced it as the verdict on us.

The vows we made as children act like a deep-seated agreement with the message of our wounds. They act like an agreement with the verdict on us. "Fine. If that's how it is, then that's how it is. I'll live my life in the following way?." The vows we made acted like a kind of covenant with them. Those childhood vows are very dangerous things. We must renounce them. Before we are entirely convinced that they aren't true, we reject the message of our wounds. It's a way of unlocking the door to Jesus. Agreements lock the door from the inside. Renouncing the agreements unlocks the door to him.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

5th Tuesday Sarasota

Greetings WILDMEN, Friends and Brothers,

I have never considered these two Biblical passages together, but now that I have, I can make a few observations. At the Men At The Cross event, we studied Galatians 2:20. Those who were there received a nail with the inscription "Gal. 2:20" on the back. The nail links us to the Cross, just as our WILDMAN link, links us to each other as Brothers in Christ. We are not brothers of some club to which we as individuals belong and can come and go at will. We are Brothers in Christ because, as Paul said, "It is NOT I who live...". Therefore it is not I who belong to WILDMEN. It is not I who am forever linked to you my Brothers; it is the Christ who lives IN me who is linked to you. Praise God that you don't have to count on ME to be your spiritual link to Christ! You can trust that if there is any good thing in me that you might find useful in your life; it is Christ who is in me who provides that good thing.
Now look at the passage from Colossians. 3.3 first. "For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." "...MY life is hidden...", my humanity is hidden...does that not confirm Galatians... "It is not I who live...".... I could go on and on. God re-confirms, time after time everything that He has told us. Read these two passages and see how many similarities you see...well, not you, but Christ who lives in you! I hope this is making sense to you because it is just sorta rattling out of my head.
"My life is hidden with Christ..." reminds me of a Southern Gospel song titled "Hide Me Behind the Cross". The message of that song is that "I" should gain no glory by any of my actions because when people look at me, they should see nothing but Christ...The Cross. We as Christians must be always aware that the credit belongs to Christ and that we are saved by GRACE alone, not by our own works..., " that none may boast...". Because after all, It is not "I" who live......
(Colossians 3:1-3) (ESV) 1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
(Gal. 2:20) I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
The 5th Tuesday at WILDMEN Sarasota was awesome! The testimonies of the Brothers who spoke were a direct reflection of the truth of the above scriptures. Those Brothers pulled no punches and took no credit for any good things they have accomplished. We could all see Christ through these men. If you missed it, sorry...I can't give details here. What happens at WILDMEN, stays at WILDMEN! But you REALLY should have been there! Christ was there and working on a lot of guys.
I need you Brothers. I need the Christ in each of you. It takes all of the Christ I can get to keep me walking the straight and narrow! I will plan on seeing each of you this coming Tuesday at 7:00PM at the Forum at Woodland Church. Come hungry, come as you are and come with a friend whenever possible.
I love you!
Craig Smoot

Friday, December 3, 2010

Why do young men leave the church?

Recently there have been some news articles lamenting or merely documenting how Christianity does not retain young adults, they leave the church and Christianity behind once they graduate from their youth group. They are called "Leavers". The news pundits are mystified as to the reason.

David Murrow, John Eldredge, Mark Driscoll, Perry Noble and a host of others have identified the reason. Of course the mainstream church and media ignore them. Below is my brief summary of the problem.

The majority of "leavers" are young men. Christianity has been the purview of old men and women for over 100 years. There is no challenge, no battle, no transcendent cause, no reason to get excited. We (males) are told to be nice, don't upset anyone, turn the other cheek, show love at all times, suppress your God-given maleness and become like a female; testosterone is bad, estrogen is good. The vision of a glorious future in a restored kingdom has been stolen with images of puffy cherubs on clouds strumming harps and eternal singing. I don't know many men who are interested in that future.

The Christian church used to be about small bands of brothers coming together to fight for a common cause, to save the world against impossible odds, to spur one another on to true love and good works, to lay one's life down for his friends. Proverbs says, "As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another." It sounds to me like some sparks might fly from that type of activity. It is not genteel.

Sadly, now Christianity has become about a being saved by a wonderful, beautiful, gentle, kind man who wants to embrace you, who is altogether lovely, who is to be adored, and is the lover of my soul. I don't know about you, but I'm not looking for a romantic relationship with a wonderful man.

No wonder young men leave when they mature. They want to be men!

I want a leader I can trust, someone I know will always be there to encourage, and someone who will never fail. I want someone who knows the way to true life, victory and liberty and knows how to lead others on the same journey. That man, I'll follow. And I bet that the young "leavers" would return in droves if that is what they saw in Christianity.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Campout Tomorrow

Join us Friday Night for a fun filled night under the stars at Woodland the Community Church on St RD 70 in bradenton. This will be the 2nd Wildmen Campout and we will have the Grills going and the Fires Roaring. Bring the kids, your tent and foood we will supply the Grills.

Events include, Music by the Wildmen Band and Movies under the stars.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Living Word Christian Store

Advent Season Is Here

Advent generally is considered to be the beginning of the Church Year. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is the Sunday nearest November 30, and ends on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24). If Christmas Eve is a Sunday, it is counted as the fourth Sunday of Advent, with Christmas Eve proper beginning at sundown. Therefore, Advant began this year last Sunday, Novebmer 28. If the early start caught you by surprise don't fret, we still have supplies.

If you still need Advent supplies:

We still have candles and wreaths -

We have Advent Calenders . . . and some with chocolate in the little compartments.

Stop in soon and check out our value priced gift ideas; many under $10.00.

Also, don't forget about the new Laser Engraver. We can personalize many gift ideas for that Special Personal Touch.

See you soon - or shop us online

Save 25% Off Any One Non-Sale Item. Valid on in-stock items only. Not valid on special orders. Not valid on previous purchases. Not valid with any other offer. Not valid on Cafe food & drink purchases. One coupon per customer per day. Some other restrictions may apply - see store for details.
Valid at: Living Word Christian Store (941) 225-4050
Sarasota Crossing Shopping Plaza
Offer Expires: December 8, 2010

Something worth watching "Pledge"

A "skit" from one of Red Skelton's 1969 T.V. shows...

WOW.....just think about it, he said this on his T.V. show in 1969 and had no clue his words would ever come to fruition. SAD, isn't it?

What a wonderful and worthwhile clip to watch and share with all your friends and acquaintances!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Prayer Request

My sister is in Russia today meeting a little girl that she is trying to adopt, please pray for my sister Cathy and Alana. I have attached an update for you to read and some pictures.

I am asking God for a miracle and that she is allowed to bring her home with her on this trip. We serve and great God and he can do what ever he wants and I know that he can make a way clear for this.

Well … Cathy and Alana (Little Rock) have made it through Day 1 … Cathy is in great spirits but is very tired and finally getting some sleep … I am sure that you can all imagine how emotional this must be for her … Her strong spirit is a testament to the strength that she pulls from all of your love and support … Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers …

I have uploaded all of the photos she has sent and a video onto snapfish … Please see below for a link to them as well as a brief note form Cathy …

Just wanted to send along a few photos and a quick update from my journey. I had my interview today the Minister of Education and it went very well. She was a very nice woman and offered me advice on appearing before the judge and responding to questions. She said she was looking for a healthy child and girl for me - since boys can be trouble. I thought that was funny. After the appointment, we made our way out to Cherapanova to visit the baby house. It is in a very small rural village that is extremely poor. The baby house is very nice and the staff seem wonderful. Svetlana was pretty traumatized when they brought her to me and left the room - she could sense I wasn't a russian. With some time, she really warmed up and was very interactive. We played for over an hour with her laughing, being mischievous, and crawling all around the room. By the end of the visit, she was curled up on my lap just smiling and giggling. So far all looks well. She is a strong child thriving in less than adequate conditions. I have no doubt that she would do wonderful at home on Kent Island. I am hoping to get further medical information tomorrow. The only thing we have noticed is that sometimes she seems to have a lazy eye. Otherwise, she is doing well and only seems to be speech delayed. I'm not surprised though, because the baby house was so quiet all day - they must keep the children very quiet.

I'm feeling very optimistic. She is a beautiful little girl with a lot of personality and spunk. I'm being told that the process could be complete in as early as 2 months but not longer than 4 months. It'll be hard to leave her - it was hard today and it is was only our first visit. But - it will be worth it. Thanks again for all the love and support. I'll keep you posted.


Sent from my iPad

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tim Hawkins

Tim Hawkins Video

watch now

Tomorrow Night

Hello men, this is a very special week for Wildmen. We are hosting the 5th Tuesday celebration at Woodland. This event happens four times a year and is a time of celebration and being with old and new friends from other Wildmen outposts. There will be special music and food with many great desserts and wonderful times of testimony and sharing. Do not miss this one! If you have always wanted to try Wildmen, this will be a good week to do so.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Authors needed


We have recently invited several people to be authors to the blog and we are praying that the right people join us to help share the good news.

Check under the Hood

Check Under the Hood
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Wednesday, November 24 2010

"But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips." - Colossians 3:8

"The root issue you are dealing with is fear. The physical symptom is control, and when you cannot control, you get angry because of unmet expectations." These were the words I spoke during a conversation in a restaurant to my friend who was separated from his wife. He described his anger and how he never saw some of these characteristics in his life until he entered this marriage.

A friend once said to me, "Anger is like the lights on a dashboard. They tell you something is going on under the hood. You must find out the source of the problem." Whenever we have expectations of another person and those expectations do not materialize, our tendency is to get angry. The source of the anger is often the fear that the unmet expectation will negatively impact us. We fear that our finances, our well-being, our image, or any number of things may be impacted by the unmet expectation. My friend's wife had not met his expectations in many areas of his life, so then, many times it resulted in harsh words that damaged his wife's self-esteem. Now, it was leading to a marriage crisis.

Jesus often spoke of living as though we were dead. How can you live as though you are dead? "In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 6:11). It is a choice each of us must make. Once you become dead to that which stirs an emotion in you, God is free to change that situation. Until then, you can expect God to allow that situation to remain until you reckon yourself dead to the effects of the issue that causes you to struggle.

Is there something that causes anger within you? Ask God what the source of that anger is. You might be surprised at what you find. Then ask God to give you the grace to reckon yourself dead to that issue. You will find new freedom in your relationships and your own peace of mind.

Thiner Thanksgiving

"Thanksgiving tables are bountiful and beautiful displays of traditional family favorites. Before you fill your plate, survey the buffet table and decide what you're going to choose. Then select reasonable-sized portions of foods you cannot live without. "Don't waste your calories on foods that you can have all year long," suggests Diekman. Fill your plate with small portions of holiday favorites that only come around once a year so you can enjoy desirable, traditional foods."


We must forgive those who hurt us. The reason is simple: Bitterness and unforgiveness are claws that set their hooks deep in our hearts; they are chains that keep us held captive to the wounds and the messages of those wounds. Until you forgive, you remain their prisoner. Paul warns us that unforgiveness and bitterness can wreck our lives and the lives of others (Eph. 4:31; Heb. 12:15). We have to let them go.

Forgive as Christ has forgiven you. (Col 3:13)

Now - listen carefully. Forgiveness is a choice. It is not a feeling - don't try and feel forgiving. It is an act of the will. "Don't wait to forgive until you feel like forgiving," wrote Neil Anderson. "You will never get there. Feelings take time to heal after the choice to forgive is made . . ." We allow God to bring the hurt up from our past, for "if your forgiveness doesn't visit the emotional core of your life, it will be incomplete." We acknowledge that it hurt, that it mattered, and we choose to extend forgiveness to our father, our mother, those who hurt us. This is not saying, "It didn't really matter"; it is not saying, "I probably deserved part of it anyway." Forgiveness says, "It was wrong. Very wrong. It mattered, hurt me deeply. And I release you. I give you to God."

It might help to remember that those who hurt you were also deeply wounded themselves. They were broken hearts, broken when they were young, and they fell captive to the Enemy. They were in fact pawns in his hands. This doesn't absolve them of the choices they made, the things they did. It just helps us to let them go - to realize that they were shattered souls themselves, used by our true Enemy in his war against femininity.

upcoming events

Upcoming events:

This Sunday at 2:00PM Skeet Shooting Outing at Skyway Range:
3200 74th Ave N, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33702 PH. 727-526-8993
Cost: $20.00 per person. Guns Loaned for $2.00 Shells $9.50 Ticket $5.50

Next Tuesday please plan to join us for our 5th Tuesday Celebration in Sarasota.

December 3-4, Sarasota Camp out at Woodland the Community Church.

Thanksgiving video

This video is worth watching

watch now

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This week

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you and your families! Many of us are struggling with serious issues now and thankfulness may be difficult. It always helps me to look out to see so many others with burdens far more daunting than mine. The best help for me comes from looking up to see the blessings that God has given that this world cannot take from me. Try to find a path to genuine thankfulness; it will change your outlook on your situation so much.

Wildmen meets as usual this Tuesday with dinner at 7PM and some very special worship/discussion time to follow.
Fifth Tuesday is next week, 11/30, and we are hosting all of the local Wildmen Outposts at Woodland. We will have special music, food, worship and fellowship. Plan to come and bring friends or family members to this very special night.

Men at the Cross
We had a large group of men go to MATC last Saturday and what a glorious time we had. The fellowship time, music, teaching and encouragement was just off the charts.

Ther is no meeting for REAL Men this week as we all celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Check this out

chech out this video

it is great

Men at the Cross update

Hit over the head with a 2x4
The men at the cross event on Saturday was off the charts. The bottom line was that we needed to go out and find our Timothy. I stand there with 800 other men and pray God bring me my Timothy; whatever it takes I am ready. We are in the car driving back and I get a phone call from a young man that I have been sort of mentoring, and he wanted to get together that night but I could not because I had to work after church.
That night we go to church and I look across and see him sitting by himself in the front row. That was when I was hit by the 2x4 my Timothy was right there and I did not even see him. I love our father who cares enough about us to hit us when we are not listening or looking.
I share this because many of you reading this blog were there with me and we all need to be reminded sometimes to open our eyes, hurting people are right in front of us.

Do I have what it takes

Masculine initiation is not a spectator sport. It is something that must be entered into. It is one part instruction and nine parts experience.

This is what lies behind the story of David and Goliath. The armies of Israel have drawn up against the armies of the Philistines, but not a single shot has been fired from any bow. The reason, of course, is Goliath, a mercenary of tremendous size and strength, renowned for his skill in combat. He's killed many men bare-handed, and no one wants to be next. David is barely a teen when he goes to the camp and sees what is going on. He offers to fight the giant, at which point he is brought before the king, who in turn attempts to dissuade the lad. Saul says, "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth" (1 Sam. 17:33 niv). Sound advice, the likes of which I wager any of us would offer under the same circumstances. David replies:

"Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." (verses 34-37 niv)

Being a shepherd is the Cowboy stage, and David learned lessons here that would carry him the rest of his life. The life of the shepherd was not a sweet little life with lambs around. It was a hard job, out in the field, months camping out in the wild on your own. And it had its effect. There is a settled confidence in the boy-he knows he has what it takes. But it is not an arrogance-he knows that God has been with him. He will charge Goliath, and take his best shot, trusting God will do the rest. That "knowing" is what we are after in the Cowboy Ranger phase, and it only comes through experience. And may I also point out that the experiences David speaks of here were physical in nature, they were dangerous, and they required courage.

Heart Gallery

Heart Gallery

TGIF today

A Question of Ownership
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, November 22 2010

"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." - Matthew 10:39

Otto Koning was a missionary in New Guinea. He worked among a native tribe that had known only their village ways. One of those village ways was stealing from others. When Otto and his wife arrived and moved into a hut, the natives often came by to visit. The Konings would notice that after the natives left the missionaries' home, various household items had disappeared. They saw these items again when they went to preach in the natives' village.

The only fruit Otto could grow on the island was pineapples. Otto loved pineapples, and he took pride in the pineapples he was able to grow. However, whenever the pineapples began to ripen, the natives would steal them. Otto could never keep a ripe pineapple for himself. This was a frustration, and he became angry with the natives. All during the seven-year period in which this took place, Otto preached the gospel to these natives, but never had a conversion.

The more the natives stole, the angrier Otto became. Finally, one day Otto had a German Shepherd dog flown in from another missionary to protect his pineapple garden after other frustrated efforts failed. This only further alienated the natives from him.

Otto took a furlough to the United States and attended a conference on personal rights. At this conference, he discovered that he was frustrated over this situation because he had taken personal ownership of his pineapple garden. After much soul searching, he gave his garden to God. Soon the natives started having problems among their tribe. They discovered that Otto was the reason for their problems because he gave his garden to his God. The natives saw a correlation between what Otto had done and their own lives being affected by calamities in their village. When Otto gave his garden to God, he no longer got angry and was free from worry. The natives started bringing him fruit from the garden because they didn't want any more calamities to come into their village.

The light came on one day when a native said to Otto, "You must have become a Christian, Otto. You don't get angry anymore. We always wondered if we would ever meet a Christian." They had never associated Otto with the kind of person he was preaching about because his message did not line up with his life. Otto was broken in spirit when he realized he had been such a failure.

At the end of seven years, he witnessed his first conversion, and many began coming to Christ once he fully gave his garden to God. The fruit grew so abundant that Otto began exporting it and growing other types of fruit, such as bananas. His village became the most evangelized in the whole region, yet for seven years he had not one convert.

Otto realized something each of us must realize: To gain your life you must lose it, along with your possessions. It was only when he gave all his possessions to God that he became free from them. God measured back to him manifold once He had complete ownership.

Do you have some possessions that you need to give up to God today? Let God have all that you have. Become a steward, not an owner. You will be surprised at how well God can take care of His possessions.

Friday, November 19, 2010


We are meeting at Woodland parking lot @ 6:30am to carpool to Men at the Cross. Just be there if you want to go...we have tickets for you. Bring all your teenage boys for Free, there is a special break out session for them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Men at the Cross

Only 4 days until the Tampa Men at the Cross conference!!

Dear Petre,

By now you've probably seen "Blind Side" twice and if you're like me, loved it more the second time! I like it for some different reasons. You see, that woman who plays the part of "the mom" is so much like my wife it's unreal! My Debbie Jo, who I've been married to for 37 years and love more every year she puts up with me is a duplicate of that mom! She has such a big heart and that girl knows what she wants! I laughed through half that movie watching "my wife" take charge of everybody and then cried through the rest of it seeing that young football player's dreams come true.

Do you know why Orlando Pace's salary dwarfed Kurt Warner's salary the first time the Rams went to the Super Bowl? Because the guy who protects the Quarter Back's blind side is worth it! No left tackle, no quarterback. Ask Joe Thiesmann!

Who's your "left tackle"? Everybody needs one. He's the guy who prays for you daily. He's the guy who asks you tough questions weekly.

"Did you look at anything pornographic this week?"

"Did you honor your wife (or mom) this week?"

"Did you get in the Word daily?"

He's the guy who loves God more than He loves you. He believes in you no matter what, but he's not impressed by you. He'll shoot it straight and won't flinch if you're beating around the bush. He's the guy who'll sit by your hospital bed and help carry your casket someday. I think the reason most guys get knocked out of the game is because they don't have a left offensive tackle who is "bad to the bone" about being honest with them.

When a man is ready to pay the high price of vulnerability and transparency, he'll be ready to draft a blind side protector in the next draft.

I'll guarantee you it will be the most important draft day of your life.

Standing together,

Joe White

Monday, November 15, 2010

Results from this weekend

Acts 5

Re: May we always continue in teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah

Church isn't a noun it is a verb. The church isn't a place it is an action word. The book of Acts is all about the first church being a group of people who acted upon the gospel and shared the good news. In the result were many miracles.

This weekend the Wildmen in Pinellas went to serve at Shepherd's Village, a Christ centered single parent low income/reduced cost housing ministry to families. The men served these families with honor. They changed the oil, filter, wiper blades and cleaned cars for every car there from 8 am till almost noon. The miracle came in the closing prayer.

We started the day together in prayer and closed in prayer. In the closing prayer almost every one of the Shepherd's Village single parents whom the Lord had us serve had tears of joy and thankfulness for what the Lord was doing, without our knowing Christ brought His healing and forgivness. Truly the ministry was simple but for these mostly moms, it was overwhelming because the church, Jesus' people showed up, used their hands and feet and lifted up the name of Jesus Christ to serve the "good news" to what some people say are today's "modern day widows and orphans". Interesting how when the church "Acts" like a verb then the power, authority, forgiveness and miracles that only God can bring, they all arrive on the scene.

Acts 5:42 says, Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.

No matter what we do every day, people will know us and that we are His people by our service to Christ and our love for one another. The world and even the widows and orphans of His church need His refreshing. In this weekend's example, the church generously served refreshment. Thankfully we were privileged to see the Holy Spirit's work through Wildmen who were men of action. The result was everyone saw Christ glorify the Father.

Proverbs 11
25 A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

When we, you and me, "the church" Acts like the church, others will be refreshed. Refreshed by His good news...

May we never stop teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
All to the glory of God.

Friday, November 12, 2010

God Tube

That's right� is back! And it�s better than ever! We have listened to your feedback and suggestions...and we brought back your favorite Christian video sharing website!

Watch this video featuring the hilarious Skit Guys as they explain some of the exciting new features at including video uploads, better user profiles, friends, and more!

God Tube

Watch this is it funny





We serve an awesome God. Think about these facts.

What an awesome and orderly GOD!! God's order may be observed, among many other things, in the hatching of eggs.

For example:
-the eggs of the potato bug hatch in 7 days;
-those of the canary in 14 days;
-those of the barnyard hen in 21 days;
-The eggs of ducks and geese hatch in 28 days;
-those of the mallard in 35 days;
-The eggs of the parrot and the ostrich hatch in 42 days.
(Notice, they are all divisible by seven, the number of days in a week!)

God's wisdom is seen in the making of an elephant.. The four legs of this great beast all bend forward in the same direction. No other quadruped is so made. God ordered that this animal would have a huge body, and for this reason He gave it four fulcrums so that it can rise from the ground easily.

The horse rises from the ground on its two front legs first. A cow rises from the ground with its two hind legs first. How wise the Lord is in all His works of creation!

God's wisdom is revealed in His arrangement of fruit, vegetable, and grain seed sections and segments, as well as in the number of seeds/grains.

-Each watermelon has an even number of stripes on the rind.
-Each orange has an even number of segments.
-Each ear of corn has an even number of rows.
-Each stalk of wheat has an even number of grains.
-Every bunch of bananas has on its lowest row an even number of bananas, and each row decreases by one, so that one row has an even number and the next row an odd number.

-The waves of the sea roll in on shore twenty-six to the minute in all kinds of weather.

All grains are found in even numbers on the stalks, and the Lord specified thirty fold, sixty fold, and a hundredfold - all even numbers.

God has caused the flowers to blossom at certain specified times during the day, so that Linnaeus, the great botanist, once said that if he had a conservatory containing the right kind of soil, moisture and temperature, he could tell the time of day or night by the flowers that were open and those that were closed!

Thus the Lord in His wonderful grace can arrange the life that is entrusted to His care in such a way that it will carry out His purposes and plans, and will be fragrant with His presence. Only the God-planned safe life is successful. Only the life given over to the care of the Lord is fulfilled.

The lives of each of us are ordered by the Lord in a beautiful way for His glory, if we will only entrust Him with your life. If you try to regulate your own life, it will only be a mess and a failure. Only the One Who made the brain and the heart can successfully guide us to a glorious and eternal end.


If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would.
Knowing Him is more than simply quoting scripture and going to Church. It is actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day. We are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.

Please share this, if you feel led to do so. Sometimes we just take things for granted, when we really need to be sharing what we know.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Proverbs 11

Proverbs 11
1 The LORD hates cheating, but he delights in honesty. 2 Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. 3 Good people are guided by their honesty; treacherous people are destroyed by their dishonesty. 4 Riches won't help on the day of judgment, but right living is a safeguard against death. 5 The godly are directed by their honesty; the wicked fall beneath their load of sin. 6 The godliness of good people rescues them; the ambition of treacherous people traps them. 7 When the wicked die, their hopes all perish, for they rely on their own feeble strength. 8 God rescues the godly from danger, but he lets the wicked fall into trouble. 9 Evil words destroy one's friends; wise discernment rescues the godly. 10 The whole city celebrates when the godly succeed; they shout for joy when the godless die. 11 Upright citizens bless a city and make it prosper, but the talk of the wicked tears it apart. 12 It is foolish to belittle a neighbor; a person with good sense remains silent. 13 A gossip goes around revealing secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence. 14 Without wise leadership, a nation falls; with many counselors, there is safety. 15 Guaranteeing a loan for a stranger is dangerous; it is better to refuse than to suffer later. 16 Beautiful women obtain wealth, and violent men get rich. 17 Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel. 18 Evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last. 19 Godly people find life; evil people find death. 20 The LORD hates people with twisted hearts, but he delights in those who have integrity. 21 You can be sure that evil people will be punished, but the children of the godly will go free. 22 A woman who is beautiful but lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig's snout. 23 The godly can look forward to happiness, while the wicked can expect only wrath. 24 It is possible to give freely and become more wealthy, but those who are stingy will lose everything. 25 The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. 26 People curse those who hold their grain for higher prices, but they bless the one who sells to them in their time of need. 27 If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you! 28 Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring. 29 Those who bring trouble on their families inherit only the wind. The fool will be a servant to the wise. 30 The godly are like trees that bear life-giving fruit, and those who save lives are wise. 31 If the righteous are rewarded here on earth, how much more true that the wicked and the sinner will get what they deserve!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Men at the Cross, Help Opportunities

Volunteer Request for MATC Event:
1. Data Entry >After the Altar Call on Sat Morning 9:20AM...for about an hour to Enter Data from Altar Commitment Cards, and have that info ready to give to Pastors in 10:40 am Barnabas Meeting.Wife's or Female typist volunteers work great so men don't miss activities (but not a requirement).

2. Airport Transportation (From TPA to Largo Hotel) Help for some of our Arriving Platform team, Speakers and Musician's. Starting Possibly as early as Thurs Night??? But mostly several on Friday in late afternoon and evening arrivals. Some men that would like to help us with Transportation, I could just assign a Flight and arriving Person's Name and information to any volunteers that could make a pick-up, for us.

3. Able Body, volunteers to load into the Church and event Set up on Friday, starting at 9AM until finished. & Saturday at 1PM Able Body, volunteers to pack-up and Load out.

I would be the contact person for anyone interested in these volunteer needs just email me at or call my cell anytime (863) 797-6681

Bless You! George Ridenour

Multi Job Openings

Got this note from our brother Chase. He started a new job with a new company in the area and they need help. Call Chase if you are interested.

I appreciate your help with posting this job opportunity on the Wildmen blog. I only have limited details but I hope to help one of our brothers who needs employment or someone they may know that needs employment. You can have them call me if they need directions or more info. 262-770-7433

1) Light manufacturing / warehousing environment
2) Entry Level Position
3) Drug test required
4) Reliable Transportation
5) Must read/write English fluently
6) Manufacturing / Warehouse Experience a Plus bun Not Required
7) Printing and Press Operation Experience a Plus but Not Required
8) Must be able to stand 8 hours per day

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Is there anyone out there?

I see that we have many people visiting the blog every month but my question is why you are not engaging. I personally try to share things of interest and ideas but if you do not like the content please share with me some of your ideas.

For me my walk with God is always changing usually for the better but like everyone I slip and fall. Being a new Christian is a challenge, being an old one from what I am learning in the bible is a challenge as well. We do have an enemy and he does not want us to know the truth. I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic school and sadly we did not study that bible and I never knew or understood the relationship that our Father in heaven wants to have with us.

I hope to hear from you on the blog, you can just hit comment and you don’t have to leave your name.



Something I read that hit me like a ton of bricks

2 Peter
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pause on Purpose

Pause on Purpose
by Max Lucado

Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.
Mark 6:31

Ernie Johnson Jr. knows baseball. His father announced three decades' worth of major-league games, following the Braves from Milwaukee to Atlanta. In the quarter century since Ernie inherited the microphone, he has covered six sports on three continents, voicing blowouts and nail-biters, interviewing losers and buzzer beaters.

But one game stands out above all the rest. Not because of who played, but because of who stopped playing. Ernie was a nine-year-old Little Leaguer, dutifully playing shortstop. An opposing batter hit a ground rule double that bounced over the fence. Two outfielders scampered over the fence to retrieve the ball so the game could continue. (Apparently the league operated on a tight budget.)

Both teams waited for them to return. They waited ... and waited ... but no one appeared. Concerned coaches finally jogged into the outfield and scaled the fence. Curious players, including Ernie, followed them. They found the missing duo just a few feet beyond the fence, gloves dropped on the ground, found ball at their feet, blackberries and smiles on their faces.

The two players had stepped away from the game.

How long since you did the same? We need regular recalibrations. Besides, who couldn't use a few blackberries? But who has time to gather them? You have carpools to run; businesses to run; sales efforts to run; machines, organizations, and budgets to run. You gotta run.

Jesus understands. He knew the frenzy of life. People back-to-backed his calendar with demands. But he also knew how to step away from the game.

Having withstood the devil's wilderness temptation and his hometown's harsh rejection, Jesus journeyed to Capernaum, where the citizens give him a ticker-tape reception.

They were astonished at His teaching. (Luke 4:32)

The story of what he had done spread like wildfire throughout the whole region. (v. 37 NLT)

People throughout the village brought sick family members to Jesus. No matter what their diseases were, the touch of his hand healed every one. (v. 40 NLT)

Could Christ want more? Enthralled masses, just-healed believers, and thousands who will go where he leads. So Jesus ...

Rallied a movement?

Organized a leadership team?

Mobilized a political-action society?

No. He baffled the public-relations experts by placing the mob in the rearview mirror and ducking into a wildlife preserve, a hidden cove, a vacant building, a deserted place.

Verse 42 identifies the reason: "the crowd ... tried to keep Him from leaving them."

More than once he exercised crowd control. "When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he told his followers to go to the other side of the lake" (Matt. 8:18 NCV).

When the crowd ridiculed his power to raise a girl from the dead, he evicted them from the premises. "After the crowd had been thrown out of the house, Jesus went into the girl's room and took hold of her hand, and she stood up" (Matt. 9:25 NCV).

After a day of teaching, "Jesus left the crowd and went into the house" (Matt. 13:36 NCV).

Though surrounded by possibly twenty thousand fans, he turned away from them: "After Jesus had sent the crowds away" (Matt. 15:39 CEV).

Christ repeatedly escaped the noise of the crowd in order to hear the voice of God.

He resisted the undertow of the people by anchoring to the rock of his purpose: employing his uniqueness (to "preach ... to the other cities also") to make a big deal out of God ("the kingdom of God") everywhere he could.

And aren't you glad he did? Suppose he had heeded the crowd and set up camp in Capernaum, reasoning, "I thought the whole world was my target and the cross my destiny. But the entire town tells me to stay in Capernaum. Could all these people be wrong?"

Yes, they could! In defiance of the crowd, Jesus turned his back on the Capernaum pastorate and followed the will of God. Doing so meant leaving some sick people unhealed and some confused people untaught. He said no to good things so he could say yes to the right thing: his unique call.

Not an easy choice for anyone.

God may want you to leave your Capernaum, but you're staying. Or he may want you to stay, and you're leaving. How can you know unless you mute the crowd and meet with Jesus in a deserted place?

"Deserted" need not mean desolate, just quiet. Simply a place to which you, like Jesus, depart. "Now when it was day, He departed" (Luke 4:42). "Depart" presupposes a decision on the part of Jesus. "I need to get away. To think. To ponder. To rechart my course." He determined the time, selected a place. With resolve, he pressed the pause button on his life.

The devil implants taximeters in our brains. We hear the relentless tick, tick, tick telling us to hurry, hurry, hurry, time is money ... resulting in this roaring blur called the human race.

But Jesus stands against the tide, countering the crescendo with these words: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). Follow the example of Jesus, who "often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed" (Luke 5:16).

God rested after six days of work, and the world didn't collapse. What makes us think it will if we do? (Or do we fear it won't?)

Follow Jesus into the desert. A thousand and one voices will scream like banana-tree monkeys telling you not to. Ignore them. Heed him. Quit your work. Contemplate his. Accept your Maker's invitation: "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while" (Mark

What if:

What if the bible is true?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Proverbs 3

1 My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart, 2 for they will give you a long and satisfying life. 3 Never let loyalty and kindness get away from you! Wear them like a necklace; write them deep within your heart. 4 Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will gain a good reputation. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths. 7 Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn your back on evil. 8 Then you will gain renewed health and vitality. 9 Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces. 10 Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with the finest wine. 11 My child, don't ignore it when the LORD disciplines you, and don't be discouraged when he corrects you. 12 For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. 13 Happy is the person who finds wisdom and gains understanding. 14 For the profit of wisdom is better than silver, and her wages are better than gold. 15 Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. 16 She offers you life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left. 17 She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. 18 Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly. 19 By wisdom the LORD founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens. 20 By his knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth, and the clouds poured down rain. 21 My child, don't lose sight of good planning and insight. Hang on to them, 22 for they fill you with life and bring you honor and respect. 23 They keep you safe on your way and keep your feet from stumbling. 24 You can lie down without fear and enjoy pleasant dreams. 25 You need not be afraid of disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, 26 for the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. 27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it's in your power to help them. 28 If you can help your neighbor now, don't say, "Come back tomorrow, and then I'll help you." 29 Do not plot against your neighbors, for they trust you. 30 Don't make accusations against someone who hasn't wronged you. 31 Do not envy violent people; don't copy their ways. 32 Such wicked people are an abomination to the LORD, but he offers his friendship to the godly. 33 The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, but his blessing is on the home of the upright. 34 The LORD mocks at mockers, but he shows favor to the humble. 35 The wise inherit honor, but fools are put to shame!

Face to Face

Face to Face
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Thursday, November 04 2010

"I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete." 2 John 12

It is easy to fire off a letter to someone in this age of electronic communication because of its expediency. In business we call this being efficient. However, there are times when nothing but a face-to-face meeting is the appropriate means of communication. We know that verbal skills are a very small portion of communication. Body language, voice tone, and our expressions make up the majority of our overall communication. This cannot be seen through a letter or electronic medium.

John knew that being face to face with those he ministered to was important. And for John, it meant some major trouble to get from one place to another. It wasn't as simple as getting into a car or hopping onto an airplane. John's desire and determination to visit and talk face to face reinforces the importance of one-on-one personal communication.

I once had to confront a businessman about some problems we were having in a business deal. He lived in another town. The negotiations had stalled to some degree. I could have attempted to solve the problem over the phone. But I realized the serious nature of the issues required a face-to-face meeting. I drove two hours to his office and met with him face to face. It meant all the difference. It demonstrated to my friend I was serious enough about solving the problem to take a day to come see him. It also showed I valued him and he was worth the effort. This resulted in him giving greater emphasis to the issue

Next time a situation arises that requires more focused communication, consider whether the situation requires a personal visit. You may find this will be the key to resolving issues that otherwise might end in a stalemate.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Update and Prayer Request

Hello All………….John’s surgery was moved up to today……….answered prayer PTL………here’s the latest.

John went in for surgery at 3:30 and came out at 5:00 pm. The Oral Surgeon said that the infection was more severe than he even thought….it had compromised the bone around the implant so badly that it just popped up and out – no unscrewing needed. Usually they have to put some torque on these things to back them out. L The degree of infection also caused him to chisel out a very large part of John’s jaw bone until he got to healthy bone…………the pain was so intense, John came out of anesthesia a couple of times during the procedure and more had to be administered. I hated hearing that…… he hasn’t had enough of that already! The bone is now packed with the synthesized protein from the bottom up……….it’s a good 4 -5 weeks of healing time. John is back to 7-8 degree pain level tonight – still in the temple, ear, eyes, jaw..………Doc said it’s a waiting game now………to see if his pain recedes because of the infection being addressed by this procedure and antibiotics. If it doesn’t………we’re left with the Trigeminal Neuralgia diagnosis. UGH!

We’re choosing to believe and ask the Lord with ALL CONFIDENCE that this infection was the culprit all along…..that John be completely healed of ALL infection, and the radiating pain symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia BE GONE!

I know you’ll all join us in that prayer.

We are truly grateful for the body of believers the Lord has surroundings us through this and past trials. You have been beyond faithful in prayer for us. John and I know by His design life is experiencing trials, troubles, and hardships in this fallen world and enduring them – He does what I call “hurt so good” pruning in us during these times- it’s sanctification through the fire…………..knowing how persistent MY sin nature is………..there can never be enough pruning going on. J Lord, continue your work in us Lord………just give us the strength and endurance to persevere to your purposes and your glory. We know you haven’t left us…………you are carrying us. We trust you.

On our knees,

Wendy and John

Psalm 46: 1-2 – “ God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear.”

Wendy Gerhardt, Administration C12 South Florida

"Building Great Businesses For A Greater Purpose"

4460 Lords Drive

Sarasota, FL 34231

941-929-7247 Home

941-586-6000 Cell

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Your Daily Bread October 28

Proverbs 28

1.The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
2.When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a man of understanding and knowledge maintains order.
3.A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.
4.Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law resist them.
5.Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.
6.Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse.
7.He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.
8.He who increases his wealth by exorbitant interest amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.
9.If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.
10.He who leads the upright along an evil path will fall into his own trap, but the blameless will receive a good inheritance.
11.A rich man may be wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has discernment sees through him.
12.When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, men go into hiding.
13.He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
14.Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.
15.Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked man ruling over a helpless people.
16.A tyrannical ruler lacks judgment, but he who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long life.
17.A man tormented by the guilt of murder will be a fugitive till death; let no one support him.
18.He whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but he whose ways are perverse will suddenly fall.
19.He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.
20.A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.
21.To show partiality is not good -- yet a man will do wrong for a piece of bread.
22.A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him.
23.He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue.
24.He who robs his father or mother and says, "It's not wrong"-- he is partner to him who destroys.
25.A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.
26.He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.
27.He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.
28.When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding; but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Good read

Have you ever known a “mercy” person - that is, a person with the spiritual gift of mercy? I know it sounds like a cop-out, but due to the way I’m wired up, I really have to work hard to carry the attributes of a “mercy person.”

My younger daughter is a good example of a “mercy person.” She is wired up to care about any living thing. The only creature I can think of that she despises and fears is the bee. She will scream and run from any bee sighting. It’s an unnatural fear and quite dramatic. However, a few weeks ago at the pool, she saw a bee struggling in the water. It was a beautiful picture of her giftings vs. her fears – so I watched from a distance.

She cautiously swam up as close as her fear would allow to inspect the condition of the bee. Within a few seconds, her concern for a hurting critter won out and she leapt from the pool to gather a large pink flower from the nearby bushes. She jumped back in the water and carefully scooped the bee from the water with the flower and then took the tiny patient to the smooth tiles along the side of the pool. She began to gently blow on the wings of the bee in an effort to speed the healing. I wondered if she was even thinking about the fact that her lips were only inches from this buzzing insect that only minutes before she was deathly afraid of.

Within a few minutes, the bee flew off into the beautiful blue, Florida sky – and my daughter was filled with glee. She jumped up and came over, all excited, to tell what had just happened (she wasn’t aware that I was watching the whole incident).

I remember being amazed at how her inner makeup overcame one of her few nine-year-old fears and, as a result a life was saved. Ha – well, I bet the bee was happy about it.

In today’s reading of James chapter 2, I once again started thinking about the gift of mercy vs. fears. I love James’ writing style (especially in the New Living Translation). Take a look:

14 Dear brothers and sisters, what’s the use of saying you have faith if you don’t prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can’t save anyone. 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well” but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is no faith at all it is dead and useless. 18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” I say, “I can’t see your faith if you don’t have good deeds, but I will show you my faith through my good deeds.”

Did you catch the first part of verse 18: “…some may argue, ‘Some people have faith; others have good deeds.’” James is refuting the popular excuse that “I don’t have the gift of mercy – so I’ll leave that to those that do.”

Like my young daughter, I have plenty of fears and excuses for not helping the poor, the hungry and the naked. I’d much rather practice my faith in other ways. I’d much rather leave that to those with “the gift.”

But, James calls my pathetic excuses on the carpet with verse 17: “Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is no faith at all it is dead and useless.”

So – what to do? How can we put our faith “where our mouth is?” For me, I just needed the reminder from God’s word. No more excuses – I need to put my faith into action. Does it have to be in the area of serving the poor, hungry and naked? Well – that’s between you and God – but I do seem to remember another passage where Jesus rebukes those who never came to visit Him in prison, give him water when He was thirsty, etc.

Watching my daughter overcome her powerful fear of stinging insects to save a life has really reminded me that I have a job to do (not a job to just talk about).

Lord, forgive me of my excuses. I want to serve You by serving others. Increase my faith and my love for others. Help me to focus on someone besides myself. You have blessed me with so much – I want to bless others in turn.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Message from Joe White

This came in tonight and ties into what we are studying tonight. It is long but read down to the message about the Vine Dresser.

I remember when my grown daughter, Jamie, went into the hospital for surgery (nothing life-threatening, but painful and laborious just the same). As I leaned over her bed in the recovery room and discussed the surgical procedures that had just taken place with her, I began to grow faint. My face became pale and dizziness overcame me. As I quickly took a seat (before the nurse had to place me on a stretcher) I thought about this letter . . . and you . . . when, like me, you grow weary, dizzy and faint inside over the many mental, physical and emotional surgical procedures your children face in their perilous growing up years.

It hurts to be a parent.

Going through pain in our own childhood is one thing, but hurting with our kids is an entirely different (and usually more difficult) experience, indeed!

With today as reference "Point A" and the fine young adults they will be when they have their own kids as reference "Point "B", we as caring parents, often believe that the shortest (and best) route between "Point A" and "Point B" (as we have always been taught) is a straight line.

We naively ponder, "My child is not going to have to experience the kind of pain and difficulty I did to arrive there."

As we change those diapers and parent through those precious toddler years, we think, "If I - as a parent - can be careful enough and build a home safe enough and protect them enough and love them enough and put enough wisdom into their heads and send them to kamp and keep them in a youth group, etc., etc., they will travel between "Point A" and "Point B" without many detours. Life for our kids will be practically problem-free."

Sounds great on paper!

Unfortunately, (or maybe, not so unfortunately) that naive scenario and God's plan for His kids are usually miles apart.

As I have shared before in these emails, my wife and I raised two boys (Brady and Cooper) and two girls (Jamie and Courtney). All four are now in their 20's and 30's. All four (by the grace of God) are still alive! (Albeit, just barely due to a couple of instances) All four now love their mom and dad. All four are now following Christ. But . . . all four suffered through childhood and adolescence. There were detours and difficulties and derailments and devastations and disputes and disappointments - too many to number. I don't know how it is going for you, but in my home, we cried rivers of tears through those turbulent growing up years. After gripping tightly to a thread of hope until my knuckles turned white, during those crisis-filled days from age 8 to 18, the only two things I am sure of is that a. - boys are less expensive than girls, and b. - God is faithful to use perils in kids' lives to make them the caring, compassionate, persevering young adults that He wants them to become.

Hebrews 5:8 gives me great comfort as I beat myself up for not being a better dad. I often times thought I could have done a lot better job and painted a whole lot prettier picture of their growing up years. "Even though He (Jesus) was the son, yet learned He from the things He suffered."

From all the emails and conversations I have with kamp parents I think Debbie Jo and I are not alone in our confession that growing up is really, really hard, and kids are bound to suffer. Here're just a couple of lines from stories parents have shared through their emails recently. Maybe you can relate.

"The past two years have been brutally difficult for our 13 year old. Multiple moves, intense bullying, total academic breakdown, depression, thoughts of suicide, and running away. We've watched him get closer and closer to the edge of despair and destruction."

"Our 14 year old daughter has struggled with depression for two years and we have seen psychiatrists, counselors, tried 3 different anti-depressants and increased the doses many times, and nothing has helped."

"Throughout much of his life, our son has struggled with anger, low esteem and a self-defeatist attitude."

And from a teen recently, "I struggled with every drug you can name and drinks off the wall. I struggled with sex and heartbreaks weekly - it seemed. [But God has] turned me into a beautiful Christian who knows and loves the Lord more than anyone in her entire life!"

If these emails remind you of one or more of your "most prized possessions," I hope the next few lines will bring you peace and wisdom to help you get through and come out stronger on the other side.

First, God didn't stutter when He told a suffering Apostle Paul, "My grace is sufficient to you, and my power is made perfect in your weakness." This same truth then is true to your suffering child today. When leukemia struck my bone marrow this verse jumped off the pages to me. I've seen thousands of kids suffer through their growing up years, and they, too, in their suffering were endowed with God's sufficient grace. I've seen kids in bed with cancer, rejected by friends, sidelined by injuries in sports, emotionally damaged and with countless other afflictions, and in every case God never withdrew His grace. His grace was never partial. His kids ALWAYS had sufficient grace to weather any kind of storm. Count on it! He'll be there for them!

So, don't carry their load on your shoulders. (Oh, that's hard!) Give them to Jesus daily. Your kids are HIS. He promises to be there.

Second, James 1 and Romans 5 tell us to exult in our tribulations because tribulations develop character. There is no shortcut to strength of character. Easy roads produce weak, insensitive and insipid soldiers. James proceeds further to say, "So don't squirm out of your problems because when the way is rough your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow!" (paraphrased)

Parents, don't rush to your kid's rescue (unless they're in obvious danger, of course). Don't find fault with life's circumstances that surround them. It's not about their coaches or their teacher or their kamp counselor or their classmate! Difficult circumstances are not necessarily wrong because your child is struggling or hurt. Parents who rush to their kid's side to place blame, criticize and find fault are creating emotionally disadvantaged children! Difficult circumstances are like sandpaper. Just as the sculptor puts his hand on the mallet and chisel to build his great marble art, struggles and difficulties are God's tools to create human masterpieces in your children. Their Christian character is built through their suffering. Their compassion comes from their pain. Their faith comes from their being stretched. Their wisdom comes as they face their problems and stand on their own two feet.

If you have been prone to over protect, justify and place blame, - the next time you are tempted to remove the chisel from the Master Craftsman's hand take the same time and effort you took to place the blame and spend it praying for your child's character. As the years go by, you will literally be amazed at the difference it will make in the finished product!

Finally, (only because we are running out of paper) God "prunes" His kids like a good farmer prunes his grapevines, because God has '"fruit of worthwhile production" in mind when He created and gave salvation to your kids.

John 15 describes God as a vinedresser. Every branch that is pruned produces four branches - each stronger and more productive than the original. If your child is hardheaded or independent, pray for the Vine Dresser to come. If your child is bored or purposeless . . . if Play Station, MTV and music are absorbing his life, pray for the Vine Dresser. When the Vine Dresser arrives, even if you don't see the need at that time, thank Him for caring enough to stop by.

At age 20, 21, 22 and 23, you will stand in happy amazement as the fruitfulness and purposefulness and humility He has carefully structured in your children comes into full bloom.

Hebrews 12:5-11 assures us that God chastens the sons He loves.

Meanwhile, in the midst of the process, stick to the basics. Lavish them with encouragement. Stay in charge. Insist on discipline and respect. Pray together daily. Read and memorize scripture together. And support each other.

Live your life as a parent one day at a time, and be sure that every day, no matter how severely the minefields are exploding all around you, you find at least one positive thing to encourage them with. Find at least one way to help them pursue a dream. Pray and dig into the Word together at least one time that day. When the smoke is cleared, the view of the finished product will be magnificent!

If this email connects, be blessed by it and pass it on to others. If it doesn't, print it and file it. Before long you will need it.
A Fellow Soldier,

Joe White