Hurry! Do It Now! Be Busier! You Gotta Hustle! If You’re Not In A Hurry, You’re Not Working Hard Enough! (more…)
Hurry! Do It Now! Be Busier! You Gotta Hustle! If You’re Not In A Hurry, You’re Not Working Hard Enough! (more…)
It’s amazing to think that we are, each of us, a God-created and eternal being with a tremendous power to affect change around the world… and that most of us don’t walk in that identity. Why, it would be like being a folk singer who recorded a couple of albums in the 1970s, then faded into obscurity and a life as a blue-collar laborer, then getting a phone call thirty years later informing you that not only had your albums had gone multi-platinum in South Africa and Australia and that you were hugely popular over there, but that you had inadvertently contributed to the eradication of apartheid, South Africa’s government-mandated racism. (more…)
I don’t know about you, but I love this time of year. Christmas has just ended; the house is fresh with gifts and leftovers and a new year is right around the corner. I love the thought of a clean slate, a fresh start, a new beginning. With my background I guess that seems to make sense. But this year more than ever before I am overflowing with optimism about what the New Year will bring. Personally I’ve got three huge new things to release in January alone. Not to mention a new book releasing later this spring, over twenty speaking engagements already booked and trips to Israel and Vietnam planned for the fall. But my feeling of excitement goes well beyond the little world I live in. I’m feeling a strong sense that God is about to do something in YOUR life that’s never been done. Yes that’s right. In YOUR life! You the faithful reader of this blog…. (more…)
Can I be honest with you?
Sometimes I completely feel lost.
In fact, this hollow emotion hits me at least twice a day. For a moment the future looks impossibly hard to navigate, hope seems to be lost and life-long sobriety seems ways out of reach. (more…)
Do you want to see a miracle?
Learn how to give yourself away.
The past seven days have been full of opportunities to give back to others what God has so freely given to me. I’ve been able to sit down and talk about decision making with fathers and sons, discuss alcoholism with pastors kids and counsel old high school friends through social media, all while passing along my life lessons and experience with five of the most special men on this planet. Today my life is all about giving back. And I love it! It’s incredibly rewarding and no day is ever the same. However at times it can be terribly challenging and excruciatingly lonely. But in the end I believe I am fulfilling the singular purpose of my existence each time I give of myself to another.
I also think that God is honored and pleased when we give to others. When we do we are practicing the second most important commandment ‘Love your neighbor as yourself‘.
So what about you? You have gifts, talents, experience, counsel, ears to hear and arms to hold. Right? Well how are you using them? Today I urge you to give them all away. Freely. All the greatness God has blessed upon you, give it away.
Hug someone who needs it.
Love someone who doesn’t deserve it.
Forgive when its unexpected.
Listen to those who just need to talk.
Pray for those that hurting.
Walk with those in need of exercise
Teach those who just can’t seem to understand
Mentor those no one else will
Give yourself away & watch the miracle begin to happen.
People are often confused about this act of service and want to make it something bigger than it is. Giving yourself away is not about being perfect or doing something extravagant. It’s simply about being willing to love someone else. To take the energy that you would have used on yourself and expend it on another. What happens after you do this is the miracle. It ‘s seeing lives change because of what God has allowed YOU to do. The moment you realize that what you have done has changed someone else’s life, that’s the miracle moment.
I wrote about this in my book, here’s an excerpt from chapter 8….
The miracle behind giving back is how it strengthens you. So whether your personality is similar to mine or not, I challenge you to push yourself beyond what you are accustomed. Stretch yourself and see what happens.
Addict or not, we’ve all been given an amazing gift—a brand-new existence—and with that comes responsibility and with that responsibility comes influence. Courageously sharing our stories of hope and passing along lessons we’ve learned should become an innate part of our existence.
The Big Book again sums it up well when speaking to this charge to give it away: “Never avoid these responsibilities, but be sure you are doing the right thing if you assume them. Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. A kindly act once in a while isn’t enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be.”
- Taken from “Hope is Alive” – Pick a copy here:
I have a confession to make. Before last Friday I hadn’t been to the dentist in over two years! Yes, I know that’s really gross, but the last couple years have been a little crazy for me. I guess I just haven’t thought that taking the preventative step of getting my teeth cleaned and properly inspected was worth the time it took away from other areas of my life. Well last Friday proved that theory to be wrong. Very wrong.
As I was in excruciating pain, palms profusely sweating, backside sliding off the chair, I began to realize that prevention may not be all that bad after all.
I found out that prevention is necessary for long-term health and happiness. I also realized that often times we sacrifice prevention for short term pleasure. We choose to avoid what can be tedious, time-consuming and tiring over preventative steps that help us out in the long-run. Basically we end up increasing our chances of getting sick by avoiding the pain that prevention often brings.
We all are on a journey to find health. For some it’s a deeper spiritual health, a more balanced physical health or emotional health. Others, like me are battling diseases that want to see us depressed, desolate or better yet dead. So for all of us to reach this goal of ultimate health, prevention is necessary.
Here are a couple things this last trip to the dentist taught me regarding prevention.
Prevention must go deep
About half-way through my cleaning the hygienist pulled back and proceeded to tell me that I had signs of early periodontal disease. She then highly recommended that I have a “really deep” cleaning and that it would involve lasers. Yes, lasers! The laser, she told me, would clean a layer deeper than the normal instrument, therefore preventing my disease from getting any worse.
Same principal holds true in our lives. Sometimes we’ve got to dig really deep to prevent ourselves from blowing up. Whether the goal is to stop watching porn, stop telling lies or stop banging heroin. It doesn’t matter. The remedy is the same, a thorough and ongoing self-examination.
It takes comprehensively completing your step work, openly sharing your heart in a small group or meeting, calling a friend when new emotions surface, choosing to step outside your comfort zone, saying yes to something you used to say no to. Healthy living requires us to go beyond the surface level. We’ve got to go to the heart level. True prevention goes deeper.
Prevention must be intentional
When the hygienists began using the laser she did so with intentionality. She was hyper focused on a specific area between my gums and my teeth. If the laser happened to touch any other area the pain was sharp and intense. And I would normally blurt out a partial cuss word and kick my left leg in a spasm type manner. But by focusing on the thin area of risk, she was able to successfully prevent any further damage from taking place.
The same goes for our lives. Preventing a bad habit from coming back or preparing for a change in behavior takes an intentional, laser-like focus. We need to deal directly with the issue at hand. The person, the place, the thing, the habit, the circumstance, the kid, the emotion, the sickness, the fear, the failure, the grief, the shame!
Whatever the core issue is, we need to spend quality time diving into those painful areas. The more we are able to define what the bomb is in our lives, the more clearly we will be able to understand how to dismantle it. True prevention must be intentional.
On the journey to health, pain is almost an inevitable speed bump. But have hope, the more you dig deep and focus specifically on the areas of your life that cause you pain, the closer to health you will be.
As for me, I’ll be focusing on flossing twice a day from here on out… No more lasers!!
In chapter 4 of my book I talk about the importance of a good routine. At the time I wrote the book it was really easy to write that chapter because my routine was ticking like a perfectly wound watch. But since that time, my life has gotten a smidge busier and for a while there it seemed as though my routine had wandered off never to return again.
But the good news is, if we stay focused and self aware we can pull that routine back in place with a few easy steps.
Here is what I’ve done recently that has helped me jump back into a solid routine.
1: Got back on my knees:
When I start and end the day thanking God for everything He’s given me, I am in a much better place. When I venture off on my own I screw up big time. That’s about as simple as I can put it. I need God to help me stay sober. I need God to help me make good decisions. That is why I must start and end my day on my knees in total submission to Him.
2: Find a daily devotional to read each morning
After prayer time a great way to engage your brain and provide your soul some perspective is to read a devotional or meditative reading. I’ve found that when I just take five minutes to read something each morning I am in a better mood, my brain is more engaged and I typically have something good to tell someone later in the day.
3: Embrace “one” moment each day
A part of embracing a routine is pushing through the life circumstances that try to bump us off track. One way to counter that is by taking 10 minutes each day, finding a quiet place and mediating. This simple act of silence and breathing gives your brain and emotions the rest it needs to stay sharp. Plus it provides you balance and can settle unwanted nerves and anxiety.
4: Back in the gym
Here is the most obvious statement you will hear all day - Exercise is so good for you! Obvious right? But how often do we sacrifice it for something that not only doesn’t help us, but hurts us physically, emotionally or spiritually. For me, since I signed up at a new gym last month and committed to going with a friend 4 days a week (accountability makes all the difference by the way) I have seen a dramatic improvement in my mood, open mindedness and patience.
So what about you? Are you in a good routine right now? If so how have you maintained it? if not, what could you do to get back on track?
At the moment where nothing else matters, no person, no job, no image, no idea of who you are or who you thought you were supposed to be. The only thing that matters, the only thing that makes sense, the only thing that gives any peace is Jesus. He is all that will endure. He is all that sustains. He is all that makes the painful moment safe and the broken moment beautiful.
It’s in this broken moment, where everything that had no explanation before becomes completely clear. All the chaos that has defined your life instantly has meaning. You feel purpose rise up from within you and God and all his majesty appears. His love so radiant it’s nearly blinding. You feel His smile upon you, His love surround you and suddenly you realize He has never let you go.
At the moment where Jesus becomes real to you, nothing else matters.
My moment came when I realized that Jesus had never let me go. That He had loved me enough to pursue me into my darkness and work all of my mess into a message. That was my moment. What was yours?
We often pray for things to happen.
People to change, blessings to be received, the sick to be healed. But when God answers those prayers how often do we remember to thank him?
Today take a moment to say thank-you.
How has God answered a prayer for you today?
What is hope?
Is it an emotion? A belief? A feeling?
How would you define it?
Is it inspiring? Encouraging? Propelling?
Sir Webster would call it a feeling of desire for a certain thing to happen. I would call it more of an expectation that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.
If you really think about it, hope is a lot like air. Air is all around us. Air is not going anywhere and we need it to live. It fills the spaces between us and there is nothing we can do about it. Our bodies crave it, it is our fuel source. We need it to exercise, to eat, to sleep, to talk, to walk. In everything in life we need air! With every trigger in our brain that sets off the inhaling process we expect or “hope” that air will be there. We anticipate it filing our lungs, giving us energy, momentum, inspiration for the next moment in our life.
Conversely, without the appearance of air very quickly our bodies begin to realize its impossibility to continue. Without it we gasp, strain or maybe even beginning running to a place where we can find it. Our bodies within 90 seconds begin shutting down; if we are unable to find it within 3 minutes we are dead.
So what does this mean for you today? What do you take away from this analogy? This…..HOPE = LIFE
Just as we need air to live and we also need hope. Without either one, we have no chance of living. Maybe we don’t pass physically without hope in our lives, but spiritually, emotionally, psychologically we are done without it.
Hope gives us life. It encourages us, it gives us energy, makes us feel good. Our hearts and souls long for it. It fills up our life by bringing love and expectation. It helps us stay balanced and healthy. Hope bridges the gap in relationships with poor history. Hope enables us to believe that a better day is ahead. Hope reassures us that even in the darkest of days that we can overcome.
So wherever life has taken you, whatever struggle you may be facing, however big the challenge is before you. Today my hope is that after you read this, that hope will become alive in you. That your burden becomes a little lighter, that maybe for the first time in years you begin to believe that you can have hope again.
But where does it come from? How can you obtain a hope that you haven’t felt in years?
I know some of you are asking these questions. There is an answer. Over the next few weeks we will begin to unpack where we find our hope. How hope can change our lives and how we can pass it along to others. So stay tuned.
Until then, if you need some encouragement, a little shot of Hope. Check out some of these videos…
Hope is Alive!