What should we do now?

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There is no doubt that we are experiencing some very troubling times in America and throughout the world today. While there are many that believe that we may be in the last days, including myself, the question is what should we now do? How would Christ direct us to act?

Before I share my heart on that question, I want you to know that I am a retired State Trooper from Florida. I have been deeply affected by the recent events in Dallas, Texas as five of my brother Law Enforcement Officers lost their lives while defending the constitutional rights of Americans. But, I also know that there are communities and families that have also been impacted by the loss of their loved ones involved in incidents with Law Enforcement Officers. Their pain is just as real as those who lost loved ones in Dallas and we should all mourn for everyone that has lost any family member. My blog today is not to debate these issues but call us to a greater issue.

You see, I really don’t believe the ultimate answer to our situation is more debate and argument. It only leads to more polarization and lack of understanding between everyone. Does anyone remember the days when politicians of opposite parties actually liked each other? I think we have had enough of the great divide. Most everyone has grown tired of the current debates and arguments as they have done little to actually change our society for good. Today more than ever, we need God! What would Jesus instruct us to do if he were standing right in front of us at this very moment? I will go back to the late Dr, Martyn Lloyd-Jones and what he did when he took the pulpit in a church called located in Southern Wales called Sandfields.

The year was 1927 and the country of Wales was in great distress. The area that Dr Jones was in, Port Talbot, was particularly hard hit as there had been labor disputes for many years and the economy was as bad as it could get. There had also risen a steady decline in spirituality in the area as many believed that both the government and the church had failed them. It was a time when crime of every type was on the rise. People had abandoned the church and now they were abandoning the laws of society.  Add to that the rise of the Communist party that was looking to take advantage of this void and before long it was becoming hopeless.

While many of Dr. Jones contemporary Christian leaders were trying to bring change through the avenue of politics and social change, Jones took a different approach, one that I believe that we need to revisit today. As many continued to push for reform in the government, seeing that as the solution, Dr. Jones exclaimed that the greatest need wasn’t government reform but reform within the hearts and souls of men.

In an article written by Dr Paul M. Elliott titled Can God Change a Nation Through One Local Church? the following is stated about Jones and how he planned to approach the problems of his day.

He believed that the crying need of the hour was not reform in government, the school classroom, the economy, or even in public morality. The greatest need, he said, is spiritual rebirth among the unconverted and revival among God’s people. This can only come by the work of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Bible. All else flows from this, he said. There can be no genuine change in the externals of society without genuine change in the hearts of men. And that change must begin in the church.

The changes that came after Dr. Jones took this position were dramatic. Many say that as the church was revived and used to change the area of Port Talbot, that God used that one local church to actually change a Nation. In fact Dr, Jones, this preacher from a small community in Wales, is actually recognized as one of the two men most responsible for saving his country from Communism. You can read Dr Elliott’s entire article here through Teaching the Word Ministries  at this link: Can God Change a Nation Through One Local Church?

Today more than ever, we do not need more debate and arguments about the issues we are all faced with. There are plenty of people doing that for all of us.What we do need is more people calling for the Power of God and a genuine revival in the church. I really believe that now is the hour for all of us that call ourselves Christian, to enlist and let our lives count for God.

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Baptism at Felinfoel, Wales

 

There are three things I believe every Christian should do during this difficult time.

  1. Turn to God. He is our answer in our time of need. Lets pray as Dr. Jones prayed, for God to save the lost and bring revival to the church.
  2. Return to Our Roots. Prayer, Bible Study and sharing the good news of Christ through word and deed. There is nothing wrong with other activities that reach and serve the community, in fact they are good works we were created for, but they can not substitute for God’s power to change lives, beginning with our own.
  3. Be Humble and Kind. Tim McGraw may have sang it but Jesus modeled it. No one wants anything from an angry or proud Christian. “It doesn’t cost anything to be kind but it really pays off” Bear Bryant. Let’s be kind, even to those we disagree with.

I really believe that one local church or even one local person can make a difference if they will start with God. Will you join me in praying for our country and the church during the month of July? Let me know if you will. I don’t know what will actually happen, only that I must do what He is leading me to do.

Blessings,

Coach Don.

 

 

 

Keep Pedaling

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As I was on my morning bike ride, I came across this sign. I’ve seen it thousands of times during my lifetime, but today it was speaking to my heart. As I was training for my next triathlon, I was praying about getting through a current rough patch of life. Nothing serious, but aggravating none the less.

As I saw this sign God reminded me that any trouble we experience has a limited lifespan. In short, it will eventually end. Like the road project in your city that may seem like it will never end, it will eventually end. The question God asked me within my heart was this “What will you do during that portion of “Road Work”? “Complain, Doubt, Quit? Or will you keep pedaling”?

I answered that I would keep pedaling because it would eventually end, and I want to enter the “Good Section” of road right on time and not a minute behind. No matter what you are going through today, Keep Pedaling. Happy 4th everyone.

What are you looking forward to?

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As you look at other people throughout the day, try to notice those that either look happy or content. Now, if you dare, and if you feel comfortable, ask one or two of them what are you looking forward to today? You might even phrase it as “What are you looking forward to this year or in life in general?”

In almost every instance, you will find the most content individuals will have something that they are looking forward to, either that day or somewhere in their future. What is it about having a positive future vision that causes us to be happy in our current situation?

My favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. This verse makes the point that God has thoughts that He thinks about us and those thoughts are focused on a hope and a future. So what is it about having something hopeful to look forward to you that has the power to change who we are today?

  1. Having a future hope helps us endure a current negative situation. No doubt about it, having something wonderful in your future can help you endure a current situation. If you knew that the dream job was just around the corner and you were to going to get there soon, come “Hell or High Water”, you would feel different about the job you are enduring today.
  2. Having a future hope helps us see other people differently. If we have trouble seeing our own future and our own situation ever changing, we will really struggle to believe others have the ability to change as well. The optimist not only believes that they can change and become better, but also they believe others can as well!”
  3. Having a future hope helps us to do the hard work. No doubt about it, it takes hard work to change and create a new future. Having something to look forward to in the future can inspire us to work hard and pay the price for that new future. Take the summer vacation that becomes your driving force to lose weight. No matter what it is, the vision is the fuel for the journey.

The bible states in Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint. Vision for tomorrow provides power for today. Zig Ziglar used to say “Treat every day like it’s the day before vacation, and you will get more work done!” The reason that is true is because people that are getting ready to go on vacation are happy because they are looking forward to being off and being in a place that is going to be fun. The next time you have a friend or coworker that is getting ready to leave for a cruise or for a week at the beach, just ask them how they are doing?

Today you should get your calendar out and start marking some dates to look forward to. Even if you are marking dates of events that you will have to work toward or save for, just do it! Much better to fill your life with future hopes and dreams then past mistakes and current concerns. For a Christian, the future is nothing to worry about it, it is actually something to look forward to with great anticipation.

Look Forward! It will take you somewhere!

Coach Don

What if you knew that………..

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What if you knew that….

  • Your best job or a new promotion was just around the corner.
  • You were finally going to be able to lose weight and get into better shape.
  • The breakthrough you have prayed for has already begun and you are about to see it take place.
  • Your about to experience joy so deep that its actually going to make you laugh out loud.
  • Your about to receive a sum money that you were never expecting or counting on.
  • You are about to find your one true love after searching for many years.

Its amazing how much time we spend imagining what will go wrong in our lives instead of what will go right. Just Imagine if we spent the same amount time imagining what will go “Right” as we do on what will go wrong. The Bible talks a lot about our thoughts and words and how they either lead us into life or death. Into the life we want to live or into the death or destruction of the life we are meant to live.

If you could imagine your future into existence what would you choose to imagine? 

Here are three things you should do to change your thinking to think about the right things.

  1. Read the Bible. God’s word is full of what God thinks about you and your future. Just read Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. God thinks great thoughts about you and you can read them everyday.
  2. Write it down. Take 10 minutes today and write down all the wonderful things you would like to become or do. Have a positive goal sheet and revisit it often. While it doesn’t mean everything on it will become reality, it does mean that your life will be heading into the right direction. Write it down and revisit it often. Make changes as goals and dreams change over time.
  3. Talk to yourself. What are you currently saying to yourself? Is it something that you would say to your best friend or to someone you really believe in and admire? You need to be your own greatest cheerleader! Do you know how you can overcome a negative thought that you can’t stop thinking about? Talk out loud to yourself! Your tongue will overrule your mind every single time. Even if it takes several times you can win this battle when you speak positive life giving words to yourself. Your mind has to listen when you speak!

Choose today to start thinking great and mighty thoughts about yourself. God does, and He is always right!

Coach Don

Patience! A powerful key to real success

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In life we often look for the keys that will ultimately help us to succeed. Sometimes they are hidden and sometimes they are right before us in plain view. Things like….

  • Commitment
  • Desire
  • Consistency
  • Hard Work
  • Integrity
  • Humility

These stand out as needful and being necessary components if we are going to develop a life that is meaningful and successful. While there is no one that is perfect in obtaining all of these  virtues listed above, they clearly should be the targets we are all shooting for.

While the list stands out as items we should all work on, there are also a few that get overlooked. Many times they get overlooked simply because they don’t give us the same feeling as words like Passion, Drive and Commitment.

One of those overlooked and sometimes hidden keys is Patience. See, even now, as I even say it, it does not bring a feeling of being a true building block to providing me the ability to slay dragons and conquer worlds. While we all know that everyone really needs to work on being more patient, It may not be clear as to how patience is really a key to success?

First let’s look at what Patience really means. Patience is best described as the ability to remain calm and not become annoyed when dealing with problems or with difficult people. It can also be described as an ability to wait on something a long time without losing your cool and becoming upset.

Three reasons patience is a key to victory in life.

  1. Learning patience and becoming more patient makes us better people. We do all kinds of things to improve ourselves and make our life better. We work out, we read great books, we learn new skills and all of that helps us to develop into a better person. Did you ever think of learning to be patient as something that would greatly change your own life? In James 1:4 it states But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  What is it that happens when someone grows in the gift of patience? They become more like the one who created it in the first place, they become more like God. Can you imagine lacking nothing!  
  2. Learning patience increases your level of commitment. The world is full of people that can stay committed to something worthwhile for a few days. Growing in patience increases your ability to stay committed longer. While there are times no one should “Patiently Endure” something, there are a lot more times when a little more patience with a person or process would have yielded more desirable results than just bailing out.
  3. Learning Patience is really the key to longterm success. Many times we feel that difficult situations become more than we can bear or carry. God promises that he will never give us more than we can bear with his help. So that means in most cases when it comes to overcoming in life “It’s not about the Weight, it’s about the WAIT!  Just ask yourself this question? How many people ultimately succeeded in life because they simply would not quit. Think of people like Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison and even C.S. Lewis. Each of them had a journey that was difficult but not impossible. They simply had what I like to call “Active Waiting.” The journey to eventual success was not too heavy for them to lift, but they had to have patience. It took a long time to get there. Every great journey is going to try your patience and when you succeed, you will find that your patience has actually grown more simply because it had to. Most great mountains are not conquered by the strong, but rather by the patient.

If Patience is a real key to success, then the question has to be this. How does one actually obtain and grow in the gift of patience?

  • Submit your life to God. One of the nine fruits of the Spirit is Patience. Our ability to be patient comes from God Himself.
  • View things from another person’s point of view. You will have more patience for people when you take this view.
  • Work to eliminate hurry from your life. Jesus was busy but he was never in a hurry. Many times our lack of patience comes from the busyness of our generation. Take time to think of nothing at all.
  • Allow Trials to be your Teachers! In Romans 5:3, The Message, the passage states– “There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”

May we all grow in Patience

Coach Don

Top 4 Reasons Why Writing a Book this Father’s Day Could Change the World

This Sunday we’ll celebrate fathers. Some of you will take dad out for his favorite steak, while others will simply call to say “I love you.” For me, my favorite was the year my kids surprised me with a new grill. They sent me out into the backyard to cook steaks on my old, rusted-out grill. When I realized there was no gas in the tank, I had no choice but to run to the store and exchange the empty tank. When I returned with the full tank to connect it to the grill, I found in its place a brand new, shiny, chrome-brushed grill that was twice the size of my old one. I’ll never forget it.

Some of you will not be able to celebrate with your father the way my kids did with me. The reasons can vary; perhaps a dad has passed away, or you’ve never even known your father. My prayers go out for anyone facing those feelings today, and I hope you’ll feel the healing hand of God. I’ll touch on that below.

In light of this special day, and what it means to so many, I was inspired to think of the ways books about fathers can have an influence on fathers and everyone that celebrates them.

1) Books can influence fathers for years to come. If God has spoken to you about writing a book on being a great man, just think of the effect that could have on current or future fathers! Xulon recently released a new title by Pastor G.F. Watkins titled The Alpha Male, and the Women Who Get Them. It’s a great book about what it means to be a man. I believe it will help thousands of men avoid the pitfalls that can destroy generations.

2) Books can pass on legacy to your children’s children. On a weekly basis, I speak to someone who wants to leave a legacy in print for future generations. The desire to see one’s offspring carry forward the honor of the family name is a core desire of almost every father; even if their actions in life say otherwise, it is there. The father who takes the time to write it now, however, is sending a message in an open time capsule which allows future sons and daughters to look in and learn.

3) Books can honor forefathers from past generations. I have worked with several authors who were writing a book to honor the men who came before them. The desire to honor and preserve the legacy of a father, grandfather or past ancestor is a desire not easily quenched. Those who carry it feel called to be the one who ensures future generations hear the stories. If you feel called to write as a tribute to a father or grandfather, there is no better day to start than Father’s Day!

4) Writing a book doesn’t just impact others—it also impacts you. The first person affected by the book you will write will be you. The act of writing brings healing and understanding like no other act can. Some of you will write a book and become a better father yourself, while others will write and find the love and understanding to forgive a father who needs to be released. All kinds of things happen in the heart of the writer when they write. “The first words you write are the key to unlocking your own heart and soul.”

My prayer is that many of you will decide to begin your writing journey this Father’s Day, and experience all that God wants to do within your own heart.

One book down, Eleven to go!

I have five goals for the next 365 days of my journey until I turn 51. One the five is new for me, at least as a life goal—to read 12 books in one year. I say this is a new goal, but it is really a goal revisited. I have always tried to read a certain number of books during different periods of my life. I know firsthand how much a book can change one’s life. I can look back in my life and see where I dedicated myself to reading a book, and God has used it to impact my life in a great way. Whether turning me in a new direction, to challenging me to go after something I feel called to do, a good book can do more than speak into your life; it can actually spark new life, new power and enthusiasm.

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I have just completed my first book of the twelve that I will read this year. The name of the book is All In, and it is written my Mark Batterson. The book is going to go down as one of my favorites; it may be the second-most highlighted book that I have on my bookshelf at home. If you are looking for a “fresh word” from an inspired writer, who will have a heart-to-heart talk with you about giving your best for God, pick up a copy. I have always liked Mark Batterson’s work as a pastor, a leader and a writer. The book is published by Zondervan and is now available through all of your major bookstores.

Here are some of the highlights of the book that really impacted my life:

1. The subtitle, “You are one decision away from a totally different life”, says it all for me. In our complex world of a 1000 daily decisions, I love to know and be reminded that many times it’s just one decision that can make all the difference.

2. The question Mark asks his readers in Chapter 2: “Are you following Jesus? Or have you inverted the gospel by inviting Jesus to follow you?” As I was reading this book, there were many things that I shared with my sales team and friends. When I shared that statement, you could see on everyone’s face that Mark had hit a cord that all of us could understand. We all need to be called back to following the one that we call Lord!

3. The book is full of incredible stories that demonstrate the power of living “All In”, or totally dedicated to Christ. From Mark’s personal story of going from a failed church plant to risking it all to move to Washington D.C. and try again, Mark uses the power of both personal and historical stories to display the power of living “All In” for God. My favorite story is the one that he tells of a couple who goes to the mission field. This couple goes with great expectations of what they are going to do for Christ. By the end, the reader gets the impression that their journey was a total loss. However, as Mark recounts the real story, I doubt that many people will be able to read it without having a tear or two. It’s a great example of how one person’s sacrifice for Christ has a ripple effect.

If you are looking for a book to spark your relationship or your devotion to Christ, I encourage you to get this book—and if you are like me, make sure you have a box of highlighters. On to book #2!!!!