Father’s Day! Neck Ties and Tea Cups

kelvin-knot

 

This weekend we will once again honor our fathers on Fathers Day. Like many of you, I will hear expressions of love from my own children, while also reaching out to my own dad. It is a wonderful day full of love and admiration.

Recently, as I was getting dressed for a wedding and working on a new necktie I bought for the occasion, I had this thought about neckties. Some people believe neckties were created to torture modern man (and I tend to agree with that as well). I also had this thought: perhaps God created neckties. Not to torture everyone who doesn’t want to wear a tie, but rather to be a rite of passage between a father and a son. I still remember my dad teaching me how to tie my first necktie, as well as the first time that I taught my son. A lot can go on while a father teaches his son how to dress up and look his best.

It really is more than just learning how to tie a knot; it’s about becoming something. Just like a necktie, I believe God may have created little tea cups to help fathers develop a rite of passage with their daughters. As they are drawn to the floor to sip imaginary tea with their princess, they are teaching much more than just how to hold a tea cup. They are conveying a thousand meaningful messages without even knowing it. In these moments, children are more than just taught—they are truly being fathered.

Fathering is more than just bringing about the conception of a child. It’s really about teaching the child to know who they are and who they can become. Each one of these moments holds a special time in which worth, love and value are transferred from father to child.

The heart of fathering truly comes from the idea and desire that life should continue beyond our own lives. To have your name or your character live on through the lives of your Children is the desire of every father, including our Heavenly Father.

Like neckties and tea cups, our Father God also creates things in our life that require his involvement and time. Each time we interact with God in regards to our life, our job or our marriage, he is not only teaching us how to do it, he is teaching us who we are and who we can become.

As I work with authors that are fathers, I encourage them to write for their children, both natural and spiritual. I do this because I believe every great message of influence begins with a simple desire to influence those whom God has given us to father. It just happens that sometimes those messages are also meant for thousands of others who are just like the children you love and lead.

On this special weekend, as we celebrate Fathers Day, I would like to wish every father a very special day. May God touch you and minister to you in a very personal and meaningful way. I pray that no matter what your past experience has been as a father, you will experience the joy and significance of being the kind of father who parents many into their future destiny.

I would also like to pray for everyone who has lost a father, or never known what it was like to have a father in the first place. It’s not a cliché to say that God is a “father to the fatherless”; it is his actual word and promise. While He may not teach you how to tie a necktie or how to sip tea like a princess, he will teach you much, much more. He will show you how special you really are, and will become the father you may have never had. In him you will find more then you ever may have lost. He is not a substitute—he is the original father of us all.

Happy Fathers Day!

Article originally written for Xulon Press Publishing Company.

Keep Paddling!!!

If you are needing some encouragement to keep fighting, to keep believing and to keep moving forward, take a few minutes and encourage yourself with today’s post. This comes from a illustration that God gave me during a tough time where I needed to “Keep Paddling”

365toChange

white water

Sometimes life can become challenging! Sometimes things just come up without little or no notice at all. Sometimes life can be like a White Water Rafting Trip!

Many years ago I joined several other men on a trip to attend a Promise Keepers event in Indianapolis Indiana. On the way, we stopped in Tennessee to go White Water Rafting on the Ocoee River. I had never been before and like everyone else I was excited about doing something adventurous with some of my best friends.

The River Guide told us everything we needed to know before we entered the water. He explained how we would sit on the raft and he even gave us a detail of each section or the river and more importantly the rapids we would face together.

OcoeeMapRapids named ….Broken Nose, Flipper and Tablesaw easily cause your imagination to start seeing scenes from some Hollywood movie…

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What speed are you going?

When was the last time you did nothing? In our fast and crazy world there has never been a greater need to eliminate hurry from our daily lives. Today might be the day you just need to do nothing at all, including worrying about this week at work and some other problem that requires your mental thought.

365toChange

Speed Limit1Every road has a speed limit! Do you know what yours is?

In life everyone is traveling down one road or another on their way to what they want to become one day. These roads and bridges are more than just pathways to get us to where we want to go, they are the very brush strokes and pigments that make us who we ultimately are. Too many times we are on the right road but we are missing the journey that really takes us to where we want to go.

“The problem is that many times we are in such a hurry to get somewhere that we never really become who we are meant to become, we only change locations.”

Dallas Willard is quoted by in John Ortberg’s newest book SOUL KEEPING with this powerful statement Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You…

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God’s Stop Sign: Two Ways to Stop Worry and Negative Thoughts!

365toChange

Question! Have you recently had to battle negative or discouraging thoughts in your mind?

If you have, you’re not alone. Recently and in the past, I have had a few battles with negative thoughts of my own. Many times these thoughts come out of nowhere. You may know the kind of thoughts that I am talking about. Those thoughts that begin as you look at a problem or issue and before long you’re on the road of fear or worry. The thoughts begin with one single thought and then as your mind begins to turn it over, you begin to lose altitude, you begin to lose your joy. It something how your thoughts can go from being random to being filled with seeds of worry and fear. You may even find yourself beginning to get angry at someone, maybe even God Himself. Many times if these thoughts go unchecked, you…

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“What bridge are you wanting to cross this summer?”

Bridge Crossing

As this weekend begins the pathway through what we call Summer, I have been thinking how this time presents a great time to make some changes in my own life. It seems that as some things slow down and we take time to spend with our families on vacation or holiday, its important to pick at least one thing that I want to accomplish this summer before the rhythm of Fall begins.

For me, I have decided that in keeping with my goals before I turn 51, I have three goals to accomplish this summer. I consider these three goals one in the same as they are the core desire that God has placed within me to change my life. If you have been following my blog for very lone you will know that it has always been about losing weight and writing my first book. Because I will never quit seeking that end, I will keep crossing these bridges on my way to achieving it. Here are my three goals that make up the bridge I am going to cross this Summer.

  • READ at least three books over June, July and August
  • RIDE my bike at least 3 days a week over June, July and August
  • WRITE at least a third of my book by September

Here are three things to think about when you consider what bridge you should cross this summer.

Decide what bridge you want to cross

There are so many things you could focus on this summer. In fact, Summer can become so busy with so many activities that it just becomes a blur of motion and activity. The way you find what bridge you should cross this summer is by asking yourself the following questions

At the end of Summer where do I want to be? 

Do you want to have a summer full of great memories with your family? Then you want to cross the bridge that leads to “A full Summer with endless and wonderful memories”. Do you want to have a summer where you finish a project at your house? Then you want to cross the bridge that leads to “A successful Summer project finished”. 

After you have decided where you want to be in September, its important that you know where you don’t want to be. Ask yourself this question.

At the end of Summer where do I not want to be?

Have you had a Summer before where you failed to spend quality time with your family and you regretted that Summer? Have you had a Summer where at the end of it, you didn’t finish the one project that you had planed to finish? Just decide where you do not want to be come September and let that emotion help you make a plan.

As strange as it sounds, crossing a bridge requires two desires. The desire to enter a new destination or season and the desire to leave one or to avoid one. Without both desires clearly in mind it is easy to just hang out on the bridge.

Hanging out on the bridge is having just enough desire to move a little but not enough to cross all the way over.

Focus on where you want to go and where you don’t want to end up. Defining those things together will help you to be able to pay the toll that is required for crossing the bridge you really want to cross.

Have a great bridge crossing Summer!

The Resume of My 40’s

As I approach my 50th birthday, just one week from today, I am reflecting on the wonderful things that occurred during the decade of my forties. A lot of life happened during this decade. In fact, I would say that I experienced some of the most important events of my life during my time from 39 through 49 years old.

Here are a few things that happened from 39 to 49!

  • Left Florida for the first time in my life as Tracee, Hunter and myself moved across country to Texas to be part of a new church.
  • Moved back to Florida 2 years later to plant a new church in Winter Springs called Crown Pointe.
  • Traveled to more places, both internationally and nationally, than all the places I had ever visited in all of the first 30 years of my life.
  • Watched my children graduate from high school and two of the three graduate from college. My youngest is getting closer to his degree every day!
  • Walked my daughter Ashlee down the aisle as she was married to Lee Kasten. The memory still warms my heart!
  • Experienced the birth of our first granddaughter, Paislee Kasten. There is nothing like having a grandchild!
  • Had one of my deepest spiritual experiences of my entire life in Wales when I was 39. Had another one, just as significant in Wales again when I was 41. Nothing compares to an encounter with God!
  • I Finally finished college for myself, earning a Bachelor of Theology degree.
  • Coached high school football at Winter Springs High School and loved every single minute of it.
  • Went to work at Chase Card Services and became one of their top national sales representatives two years in a row. By God’s grace, I literally went from worst to first.
  • Took a brand new career path in sales and publishing at Xulon Press, where I eventually became the Sales Manager.
  • Competed in my first triathlon! A year later, I would actually place second in my age group.
  • Proudly watched as my wife Tracee published her first book, The Adventures of Akeem.
  • Started working on my first book, a novel called The Family Tree.
  • Finally went to my first Garth Brooks concert in Kansas City (when he came out of retirement just for me!).
  • Traced my family history all the way back to England and actually visited the historic church that my 7th great-grandfather founded in 1771.
  • Made over 100 new friends that I know by name.
  • Laughed almost every day!
  • By the Grace of God, I matured more in this decade than any other. I feel like it was my forties that caused me to grow into a man that fully loves God, his family and his friends. I thought I knew how to be a man in my twenties and thirties, but I am now sure that it takes years to make a man and decades to make a man of God.

These are just the main highlights. While I can’t fully describe everything, I can tell you that this decade has been the most significant one so far in my entire life—both in the great things that occurred and the deep testings that we went through, this decade is like a lifetime of its own.

Are you getting ready to turn 40? If you are, don’t dread it, look forward to it! If your journey is like mine, you will experience some of the greatest things that life has to offer during the next decade. A lot of life is getting ready to happen! Make sure you take it all in and that you take a few pictures along the way. You’re going to want to remember it one day! It makes me look forward to next decade of my life. What will I do in my fifties that I have never done before?

Next week I will post my 50th post of this blog on my 50th birthday. I will share what I have learned on this incredible 365-day journey to my 50th birthday!

21 Days and Counting

In just over 21 days I will finally be a grown-up, as I will turn 50 years old on September 5th. Wow! It has been an amazing year and I have learned some incredible things about life and myself. I am so glad that I did this 365to50 project, and I am planning to do it again next year as I set my annual goals to achieve before I turn 51 next September.

My goals for this year were:

  • Lose weight and get into better physical condition
  • Write my first book
  • Grow closer to God

I am so happy to report that I have made steady progress in all three of those areas. I have lost weight, and now I am in good enough shape to compete in triathlons. I have the story line for my book “The Family Tree”, and I have had breakthroughs with God that I so desperately needed and wanted. All in all, its been an awesome journey!

I am so glad that I didn’t let momentary failure keep me from moving on. I shudder at the thought of what it would have been like to face 50 while extremely overweight, with no book idea at all, and no closer to God than when I turned 49. That would have been a wasted year, and I have had my share of wasted years. You see, it’s not that I had to get everything right and hit every goal along the way, I just had to move from where I was at. To have stayed in the exact same place without moving forward would have been failure and another wasted year. While I have not entered the promised land of being a 205 lb author who knows God like Moses did, I am miles away from being a 299lb man with just a dream and ideas that were on hold. I tell you, there is no feeling like being miles away from where you never really wanted to be.

So, what do you want to leave? To leave the place that you don’t want to be in, you need to do these three things:

  • Love the Dream! Do more than just hate where you are at: you have to love where you are going. While it’s true that sometimes you will move when your misery factory gets bigger than your fear factor, misery alone will not make you move. You have to have a dream and desire that you love
  • You have to be willing to risk failure. So many people, including me, fail to move because they don’t want to fail. Every successful person’s path to the dream they desire is built by the bricks of failure. I have failed over and over this past year, but here is my secret. I fall forward. Yes, I fall down, but I fall toward my goal. Thats why, despite failure, I am miles away from where I started from.
  • You have to move! You have to take one step! My goal for every triathlon was to “Compete and Complete” every race I entered in. I never let the fact that I was far from winning keep me from entering the race. I may actually win a race one day, but I have to compete in and complete a lot of races on the way to achieving that goal. What are you failing to compete in or complete because you feel like you can’t win? Movement is winning! Just ask Lazarus!

I am now focused on a 21 day challenge to really hit the boosters as I hit 50 and start my next goals for 51. Follow me over the next few weeks as I really begin to reveal what I have learned from this journey.

What place are you trying to leave today? Leave me comments with your story below! Don’t forget, you can also follow me on Twitter here.