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Having Done in Room 1501 (Week 19-22) Passion or Fear in 2015?

Week 19 & 20 in room 1501 at Joy Christian High School were a wrapping up of the entire first semester of the 2014-2015 school year. (Weeks 21 & 22 were Christmas break)FullSizeRender

Week 19 & 20 were a couple of weeks of tidying up Bible Class Notebooks that would serve as the final grade of this first semester of Bible Class.  There were a couple of Zeros I had to give as a final grade.  The Notebooks worthy of being graded actually received a grade as low as 12 out of 100 and some received a 100!  It is quite an experience grading final work.  It shows how much the student cares and for some it simply shows that the student has brilliant strategy.  Strategic students know the educational system.  They know they want to pass the class, get the grade and move on.  Some of the students are doing so incredibly well in the class, that to even take a zero on the notebook, doesn’t drop their grade even a letter grade.  So…a few skipped the notebook and got a zero.

Now, to the rule follower adults reading this, who are shaking your head or even possibly feeling disgusted by this type of student behavior…This strategy actually made me smile.  As a teacher, I gave these students a zero on their final grade and moved on.  I can’t take it personal.  Some of these students who strategically took a zero learned a principle I taught in the first two weeks of Bible Class. They learned about what I call our Personal Hermeneutic.  If you want to know what these 6 levels of Hermeneutic are all about, you can read about it in full detail  here… Week 6 of this blog series of “Having Done in Room 1501”, titled (Spirit Week).  Simply click here.

These few students took ownership in their decision and knew that they could still get an A or even a B by taking a zero on the final project/test of this first semester.  If you read the levels of Hermeneutic, these students did not live in fear of being punished (Avoider), they are not living to please(Pleaser) their teacher or even their parents.  They are not living for some worldly reward (Seeker).  They simply worked hard all semester and knew they had created enough of what I call “grace space” that they could relax/sluff-off and be fine with the final result.

I personally think these students can be the ones who end up being the leaders of our future, because they know how to move forward in life successfully without pleasing everybody around them.  Some of the greatest world changers became what they are because they knew how to strategically break the rules, think outside of the box, generate change, and not be held back by fear of what other’s think.

Please know…I love the students who did the final project perfectly and accomplished an amazing Bible Notebook that is in perfect order. These students too, can have great success, and their work ethic of near perfection, shows it.   The principle I’m trying to point out, is that both example students mentioned above are right.  Just different.  I would bet a lot of money (and I’m not a betting man) that the student who understands the strategy of being able to get away with a zero and still get the grade has more potential at becoming a world changer and leader.  Why?  Usually the person who is in pursuit of the perfect grade, and doing everything by the exact rules laid before them…is someone who is not willing to break outside the box and break a few rules to accomplish something.  Again…this is not about right or wrong.  It’s about style and strategy.mandela and fear

Martin Luther King Jr. had to break a few rules to make change.

Nelson Mandela had to break a few rules to make change.

Benjamin Franklin had to take some huge risks to bring us some incredible inventions.

Michael Jordan failed at the freshman high school basketball tryouts and was cut from the team.

Isaac Newton was told by his teacher that he would never amount to anything.

Beethoven was told to he would never be successful in the music world.

You get the point.Road to success

After all…what is school really about?  Is about getting the best grade? Getting an A?   Is it about doing everything the teacher asks or requires?  No.  It is about the student becoming prepared to be successful in life.  Some of life’s greatest successes happen when we live motivated by our passion and not our fear.   

Are the majority of your decisions you make in life motived out of fear or pursuit of your passion?

I believe your best decisions in life are not the ones that make a lot of sense to other people…even your friends or family.  I think the best decisions in life are made through the understanding of how God made you, what He made you passionate about, and then pursuing those passions through the risk necessary to do what God asks of you.  It’s different for everybody.

The longer I am in the educational and academic system the more I am recognizing that Academia would prefer you to be a robot just like the robot sitting next to you in your class…just like the robots sitting in the Academic Chairs of Authority….so tests are created to make sure you are answering the right robotic questions to make sure you are the robot you should be….measuring all the robots in the industrial robot production lines to other robots.

I’m afraid the average school system is too much like the original line of Henry Ford’s industrial age, assembly line production, of the first car he produced.  These cars came off the assembly line with only one color to choose from, all exactly the same.  It was a great victory for the American way to build a profitable business.  My problem is that it seems that America is stuck in the past of thinking this is still the best process to create success today.  This might be true in the production of material goods, but not in any people business.

I believe our current culture is stuck in the cul-de-sac of the Assembly line age.  Those who are of age to have been influenced by the Industrial age of Assembly lines, are still in leadership of American businesses and are wrestling with the younger generation who have been raised under the influenced of the World Wide Web.  There is a giant traffic jam currently stuck in this Cul De Sac.  It is going to take time and lots of frustration before the traffic takes a U Turn and leaves the Cul de Sac.

Let’s take a moment and think in more detail about what I’m trying to say.   What does Henry Ford and the world of academia have to do with each other?

I do not think Henry Ford’s greatest invention was the Model T car.  In fact Henry Ford didn’t invent the car.  He invented the Model T version of a car. But, I do not think Henry Ford’s greatest influence upon our world came from the Model T…it came from the invention of the Assembly line.  Henry Ford discovered the ability to produce an affordable car through the assembly line that increased the efficiency of manufacture and decreased its cost.  Ford did not conceive the concept, he perfected it. Prior to the introduction of the assembly line, cars were individually crafted by teams of skilled workmen – a slow and expensive procedure. The assembly line reversed the process of automobile manufacture. Instead of workers going to the car, the car came to the worker who performed the same task of assembly over and over again. With the introduction and perfection of the process, Ford was able to reduce the assembly time of a Model T from twelve and a half hours to less than six hours.1926-ford-model-t-assembly-line-photo-338182-s-1280x782

Henry Ford is an inspiration to the USA.  He is a hero to capitalism.  Henry Ford’s style influenced millions of Americans to think differently about production and success.  I think Henry Ford and the other’s who were inspired to copy his style of business might have influenced our American Education System.

Have we created an education assembly line, that maneuvers individual souls down conveyor belts, to Education Assemblers who aim to manufacture products of same-ness?

It is an honest and fair question.  I think the answer is, yes.  And, I think this style has crept into our Churches, Hospitals, HOA’s, Sports world, and many other people circles.

This is why I personally am thrilled to see students jump off the “assembly line”…okay with getting a zero… to live strategically towards their passions, not afraid of the wrath of the Assembly line workers.

I am convinced… greater purpose and fulfillment is achieved through living in your passions and not your fears.  I am also convinced that those who live in their fears will someday arrive at death’s door very safe.  It is terrifying to step out, challenge, and/or ignore the assembly line workers, and live for your passions…but those who push through the terror of stepping out…will be the ones who change something in this world.

Some with a strong Bible understanding, might say that fear can be good, and also might quote the incredibly wise Bible verse of Proverbs 9:10,

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”  

I agree that there is a great purpose in Fear.  Please understand when I celebrate the person who strategically ignores a few rules, that I am not talking about anything that has to do with sin.  When I say I love the person who follows their passion…I am not referring, for even a second, that I celebrate unholy living of any kind.  That is not success.   Some fear is necessary.  The fear of putting your hand on a burning stove.  The fear of being too close to the unguarded edge of the Grand Canyon.  The fear of head on collisions in automobiles. The fear of breaking the heart and will of God.

That’s good fear.

That Bible verse, above…it says the BEGINNING OF WISDOM.  I don’t just want wisdom’s beginning.  I want it’s middle and end.  I want its fullness.  We must have some motivation based from fear.  I’m simply saying we must be very wise in WHO we fear.  I have a serious problem with the RULER Hermeneutic (Clink link and go to Ruler Definition section of that blog).  This type of person believes that if you break their rules, you dishonor God.  This type of person would really have struggled with Jesus in how He confronted the Pharisee’s of His time.   My goodness…Jesus was a rule breaker.  He followed His Passion…To honor ONLY the Will of His Father…at the ignoring of many authority’s rules.

And He was successful.  It didn’t make a lot of sense to the people around Him.  Even those very close to Him…who spent years with Him.  Jesus was so misunderstood because He followed His God given passion.  I wouldn’t say that Jesus ignored His fears…He instead had great courage and trust in His Holy Father that overruled his fear.

It’s not wrong to be afraid.  It’s wrong to listen to your fear at the demise of the Passion that God you to accomplish something for Him.

2015 is Here…ANOTHER YEAR IS ABOUT TO BLAZE BY….What fears are holding you back from living in the Purpose(s) that God is calling you to live for?

What do you fear?  Is it possible that the Devil has instilled some fear in you to try to keep you from doing what God would have you do and be?

I challenge you to really break down your fears by thinking about what it is you truly fear.  When you write down a few things you fear…then…ask yourself Why you fear it.  When you think of the answer…write that down too.  Then ask yourself Why again.  Do this process about 5 or 6 times and I think you will get to the root of what you truly fear.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all Wisdom.  I challenge you to live in complete wisdom…not just in wisdom’s beginning. Complete wisdom will be found by filtering through all the voices in your life and in your head and only listening to the Voice of God.   Listen to only God’s voice.  WARNING NOTE:  God’s voice will never tell you to do something that isn’t already founded in the Bible.  Or, as I like to say it…

GOD’S WILL will never go against GOD’S WORD.

Living for GOD’S Will through God’s Word…will cause you to live as an individual designed by God as an individual, who will stand before God individually to give an account of everything you did.  Don’t be a robot.  God created you as an individual.  If you live in the USA, then you also live in a country that is founded on individuality, filled with truths to be self evident.  You are created to be free.  Live in the Freedom of how God created you to live and follow His guidelines (Bible) of true freedom.  It’s the difference of living for your fears or for your passions.

Happy New Year.

Bring it!




A Dog’s Purpose (Perspective of a 6 yr old)

This post is simply a copy from the book called “A Dog’s Purpose written by W. Bruce Cameron. Thought I’d take a break from the heavy hitting material and share a cool perspective from a 6 year old boy about his dog. Learning from a dog and a 6 year old demonstrates to us sophisticated adults that we have a long ways to go. (Something Jesus said about having “Faith Like a Child” rings a bell when I read this great story. Enjoy it and let it convict you.


Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”

Photo Credit

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”

the Six-year-old continued …

”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Comfortingly true…

Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Puppy games are for big dogs too
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
Take naps.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you’re not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

Trajectory – Shift Happens

One decision, one person, one integrity problem, one accident, one encounter…and your entire life trajectory can be altered for eternity. We are all just one decision from having our entire life trajectory being altered for eternity. I have never in my life imagined living in Orlando Florida. I planted a church in Phoenix Arizona and dreamed to be the Lead Pastor of that Church for 40 years and then retire and pass the baton to one of my sons and ask to have the Church broom so I could be the Church Janitor and best cheerleader the new pastor could dream of. To be perfectly honest I hate the phrase, ‘If you want to make God laugh just tell Him your plans.” I hate it, but I get it.

I am completely dumbfounded, flabbergasted, blown away, that I now live in Orlando Florida. My family’s trajectory change has moments of thrill and moments of chill…yah…the bad kind of chill. One decision… has me living 2,180 miles from anything I have ever known and facing giants and obstacles that make my skin crawl, my heart ache, my blood pressure to rise, and my heart to beat faster for the thrill of the challenge. One decision led to this. One decision that I know I was supposed to make. How do I know that I was supposed to make it? Because God told me to. It was so clear that, if I had to make the decision again, knowing what I know now, I would have to make the same decision because God was that clear. Steve Jobs said that we can never connect the dots looking forward, only looking back. Others say we all have 20/20 hindsight.

So the average comfy Christian would reply to my paragraph above, “Its okay, Trent…God must have wanted you to live in Orlando Florida and have you doing what you are doing now…or… what happened wouldn’t have happened, its all God’s plan…so let go and let God.” Isn’t that convenient. I’m not a Calvanist and I think that answer is a copout. Its wrong to place all the blame or responsibility on God. Its easy to blame God for the disasters/trajectory changes going on in your life. When you blame God nobody else has to accept responsibility. The phrase, “God’s Got This” is true but that is different than saying God caused this. Want an example?

Adam and Eve. Did God plan and intend for them to break His rules of not eating of the specific trees in the Garden of Eden? Did God tell Himself before He created Adam and Eve….”Hey I’m going to create this thing called people and I am going to love them because I made them in my image to be like me…but in my plan I’ve got this little fun twist I want to play around with…I’m going to cause them to screw it all up. I am going to watch them become ashamed of each other and then I plan on watching them kill each other and then I’m going to kill my own Son to pay the price for their screw ups and how fun it will be…because I”m gonna blow them all away by raising my son from the dead after I kill Him! God leans to His right and asks His Son…”Sound Cool, Jesus?” “You up for this great plan, Son?” Jesus says, “that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, Dad.” God replies, “Oh, Jesus…don’t be a bad sport. You can do it! Think of the adventure!” So God proceeds with his “will” and for thousands of years orchestrates rapes, gangster murder, divorce and hate, suicide bombers, as He leans back into His memory foam love-sac and from His game room in His gated community called Heaven, xbox 360 controller in hand, intensely playing through His favorite game called Life. Press X for Jump, Y to knife, UP arrow to receive prayer, DOWN arrow for eternal punishment…

Too cynical for you? Yah…me too…I’m in a sassy mood. Its been a rough week. It all makes we want to scream from my roof top that Life was never intended to be this way. If you can read through my cynicism there’s actually a good lesson here.

Trajectory Shift. Your’s might shift tomorrow. Everything you’ve been doing for the past 13/20/60 years could be completely annihilated before your very eyes…tomorrow. If it happens you’ll be put in a trajectory change that will make you question everything you thought you knew about life, the people around you and leave you screaming, Why?!” Ask yourself… Do you trust that person you are about to make the deal with? Do you trust your spouse? Do you trust your dad? Do you trust that taxi driver as you jump in the back seat. Do you trust the engineer who just built the bridge. Do you trust the man who put the bolt in the truss hanging over your head in that giant football stadium? Do you trust the driver on the other side of the dotted yellow line? Do you trust the councelor who is meeting behind closed doors with your child? Do you trust the guy working under you as he sees the rungs of the ladder above you? Do you trust the spiritual mentor you’ve had in your life for the past 20 plus years? Do you trust your preacher and how he handles the church finances? Do you trust the man dressed up in a SWAT uniform carrying a gun across the parking lot of the movie theater? Trust and Trajectory shifts…they go hand in hand.

Its tough to walk the fine line of trusting someone, something, and at the same time making sure everybody signs the dotted line of security.

In God We Trust…everybody else pays cash and signs the agreement.
I’ve learned in the past year about trust and security and trajectory shift. God is the only one we can fully trust without thinking much about it, without worry, without stress. He always has our best interest in mind, even if it doesn’t feel good. Everybody else…you will have to choose to trust, it will require some security backup like contracts and waivers. Even then its a finicky trust. Its a trust that if all parties aren’t seeking the best interest of each other it will end up in a trajectory shift in your life that will take your breath away and you will be bothered by it the rest of your life. Shift Happens!

I chose to trust. 20/20 hindsight proves that it was a blind and naive trust. I didn’t have anybody sign the agreement that I wrote up. I didn’t get perfect clarity before I committed. I feel like a dummy. I trusted. I quietly pulled back the paperwork, folded it in half and slid it in my back pocket. Oh…I’d like that 20 seconds of time back. I believed in the idealistic dream that everybody has everybody else’s benefit in mind. You see…it takes two to make a plan work right. It takes all parties listening to God and behaving like God to make God’s plan work. Even one entity thinking only for themselves and the deal is bust. Trajectory Shift starting in 10…9…8…

I do not blame anyone, but myself. I don’t blame the other party. I most definitely do not blame God. I’m just heart broken over all the shift! Its a load of shift. I’m sick to my stomach…frequently…about it all. What does a man do now? I know the answer to that question!

You get up, shake the dust off your clothes and put your feet on the ground and start over. What else can you do? It doesn’t work to keep laying in the dirt bloodied and pathetic. It doesn’t work to listen to the voice of the critic. It doesn’t work to listen to the voice of one who is celebrating as you suffer the shift. You get up! Tomorrow arrives consistently everyday. Time keeps ticking whether I want it to stop or not. I must choose to fully grasp the shift and make the most of it. Shifts make for new beginnings, new places, new plans. Pain and trajectory shifts are twins. Pain doesn’t mean its bad, its just reality. Trajectory shifts means somebody didn’t get what they hoped for. That causes agony, but new beginnings too. My trajectory shift has landed me in another part of the country and feels like another part of the world. My trajectory shift has me realizing that everybody is the same whether you live in Arizona or in Florida…Uganda or Peru…Jerusalem or Paris.

I am truly understanding for the first time in my life what the Bible means by all Creation groans for the return of the King, Jesus Christ. I used to think only weak people groaned for the return of Jesus. I’ve realized its just the opposite. People who really haven’t faced a crushing trajectory shift in their life, who sit under the umbrella of false security and false contentment are the soft ones who don’t understand why people groan for the return of Jesus. If you aren’t groaning for the return of Jesus you have the “blessed” position of comfort and a life truly unaltered. You’ve gotten your way for too long. To this type of person, it is alarming to think of Jesus returning, for life is too good to have it all end now. Death terrifies this type of person because life is too good. What a crazy, wild, out of control world we live in…its quite thrilling if you think about it. I guess its all how you view life.

I am astonished at the patience and love that Jesus carried with Him every minute of the short time He lived here as one of us. He encountered such selfish people. On rare occasions we can see when He encountered a person that “inspired” Him. It was usually a person who had faced incredible hardship and trajectory shifts in their life. It takes my breath away when I think about how much restraint, that God the Father must have, to NOT send His Son back down here to settle the score once and for all and end the nonsense, the selfishness, the clamoring for power and privilege and position. Fighting for who answers to who. Scheming to get what they want when they want it. I want to scream…Jesus…please stop the madness! God’s patience is maddening to me and at the same time a beautiful gift to me. And you!

Its enough to make a pastor throw in the towel of ministry to go work at Home Depot. But…

No chance.
I’ll never quit.
Yes…I said it…Never.

I have been crushed. The crushing has made me smarter, harder, more aware. I’m not sure if all of those things are good or not? I assume it depends on how I use those knew weapons from this day forward.

Time tells all things. Trajectory shift changes all things.
For now…the trajectory has shifted. Shift happens. I can handle it. It just makes me weary. I must rest…for tomorrow is guaranteed to begin. The sun will rise. The Son will return. In the mean time….
I’ll try not to screw it up. If I do…that’ll change the trajectory again. Trajectory change wouldn’t be so bad if it was just me that it affected. The trajectory shift I experienced a year ago…because of one decision,…affected more than 20,000 people. Their trajectory was altered, even though multitudes of them will never know. I wish it would have just affected me. I faced an incredibly scary decision just a few nights ago that I had to make. I made it and my trajectory has shifted again. This trajectory shift has affected nearly 1000 people. In the next few days and weeks all involved with experience more trajectory shift because of the choices of a few.

I wonder if there is a viewing room in Heaven where we can someday go to see what should have been or what could have been if all parties would have just acted like Jesus. I don’t think an actual room exists, though, because the Bible says there will be no tears. Sitting in the viewing room of what should have been, would make any viewer watching their “should have been life” flash before their eyes, cry. If there was such a room, it would have a no vacancy sign on because it would be full of those who insisted that their life stay the same. It will be full of people who clawed and fought for only what they want. The video playing in that room will terrify those who refused to change, stretch, grow, give and risk. If you haven’t faced tremendous trajectory shift in your life, it will only be a matter of time. I think there are two kinds of people in the world. Those coming out of a crushing trajectory shift and those who are getting ready to enter a crushing trajectory shift.

As hard as the trajectory shift is…the shift is actually a gift from God. This wasn’t all in God’s plan. I will never know what God had planned in the plan before this trajectory shift. I will be thought provoked for the rest of my life wondering what could have been if everybody would have stayed in God’s will.
The things that happened has caused God to have to change His plan. It has caused God to pick up the ashes
What does a man do in this situation?

It makes him simply say…What now Lord? Here I am use me.

Trust God that He didn’t cause this trajectory change. Man did.
Trust God at His word that He’ll make beauty from ashes. He will.

The Shift is a Gift!

May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground.
Carry on.



The pure in heart are blessed, for they will see God.
Matthew 5:8

Do you want to SEE God?

Can you imagine seeing God? I have so many questions for Him. I have so many ideas of what God looks like. Again, I have so many questions. To see God, would change so many things wouldn’t it? Or am I just speaking for myself?

Some people say, “Seeing is believing.” Well…I believe and I have not “seen” God. I think my faith is strong now and I haven’t seen God. I wonder how much stronger my faith would be if I actually saw God? I wish God would just show up and let me see Him. I’m guessing you wish that too. I wonder if I would fall flat on my face in fear if God showed up, physically. Bottom line though…Is…I WANT to see God.

Jesus tells, in this passage I am referencing today, how I can see God. He says, BE PURE. Jesus gets even more specific. He says, ‘Pure In Heart.” The pure in heart will see God. Let’s face it, the heart is where everything comes from. Now scientifically some would argue that everything starts in the brain. I’m okay with that. But are you positively-absolutely-for sure that everything starts in the brain. I like to think that the heart is where something spiritual resides and medicine and science will never be able to explain it. 1 Corinthians chapter 1 talks about how all the wisdom/knowledge of the world will never be able to explain how God works. God actually calls all that knowledge, foolishness.

So…I say…everything starts in the heart. Want an example? If you have what is typically called a “foul-mouth, potty-mouth, or simply a bad-mouth,” I don’t think you do…I think you have a foul-heart, potty-heart or simply a bad-heart.” Jesus actually backs that thought up by saying in Matthew 15:18, “But the words you speak come from the heart–that’s what defiles you.” I don’t want to go into detail on this now, because this is a teaching coming up soon in this Hydrate Series.

But, there it is. Jesus says, what comes out of your mouth actually originated in your heart.

BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART FOR THEY WILL SEE GOD! And so…I am working on “The Pure Heart” thing.

I wish there was this great formula or a 3 point sermon for Purifying Hearts. There is not. Well…I’m sure there’s a 3 point sermon about it…but it will be laughable. Some people say naively, “Just read the Bible more and your heart will become more and more pure. I want to believe that, but that would be like saying, “You want to have a really sharp sword, just read the manual on how to sharpen swords more often and it’ll get sharper!” In my not so humble opinion, purifying your heart is like sharpening a sword, purifying gold or having a perfect diamond.

Swords get sharper when they go through heat, and friction.
Gold becomes more pure when it goes through the smelter, over and over and the impurities slowly get burned out.
Diamonds are in their most desirable state after they have been cut and polished.

So…How do I get a pure heart?

First, give your life, your thoughts, your actions, your words, your mind, your ideas, your everything to Jesus Christ as Lord of your life. Read and study what Jesus commands of us and practice living it all daily. Then…LIVE ON! Now…Introducing…LIFE! It will come at you hard and it doesn’t care if you make it or not. Life will work you over and spit you out. This is called refining, smelting, cutting, polishing. So, its gut check time.

Did you ever wonder why Jesus’ brother in the book of James writes, “Consider it pure joy when you go through trials and suffering.” (James 1) Was James nuts? Or…did James understand how purity happens? Trials and Suffering are friction. Trials and suffering are smelters. Trials and suffering are where you get cut and polished. The book of Job chapter 23 verse 10, it is written, “I shall come out as GOLD after He tries me.”

Sounds simple enough, right? NOT! Whoever said that Christianity is a crutch for the weak, is a clueless-wonder to what Jesus really asks of His followers. A person who says that Christianity is a crutch, is a person who has obviously been hurt deeply by somebody who declares themselves to be a Christian and continues to let that “christian” cause them to stumble. I won’t apologize for that person. If you think that Christianity is for the weak, then I want to tell you to stop using people as your example. Stop following people. Start following Jesus. He’s not weak. He’s not a Hypocrite. Quit putting so much reliance on how others treat you, become responsible for your own study of truth and make a decision. People will always get in the way. If someone in your life keeps getting in the way of your heart being pure, then remove yourself from the person. Quit following that person. Quit blaming that person. Here’s our tough reality. The people who were supposed to be following Jesus are the ones who actually killed Jesus on the cross. Now, don’t forget…Jesus chose to go to the Cross. If Jesus didn’t want to die for you, He would have walked from the cross and nobody could have stopped Him. But…the ones who were supposed to follow Jesus were the ones who drove the nails that fastened Jesus onto the cross. Quit following people. Quit letting people cause you to stumble. Toughen up, follow Jesus and quit using people as your scapegoat as to why you don’t want to face the truth. I have personally found that most people who think Christianity is a crutch for the weak, have never even read the Holy Bible. Read it first…then…we’ll chat.

Since I am mentioning imperfect people getting in our way of us following Jesus. I’m choosing to do a Confession time. I have, many times in my life, found some very real and dark corners in my heart. All you need to have happen, to discover these dark corners of your heart, is a little hurt. Or a lot of hurt. That hurt turns into anger and before you know it, you have thoughts coming from your “heart” that would make a criminal sweat. Or am I just speaking for myself here? I’ll just try to speak for myself. I’m pretty sure…I could be a sniper. I think I could put a bullet through an enemies head and not lose one ounce of sleep over it. So many people think that all pastors are just lovey, dovey wonderful and kind, nearly perfect people. You know what I think about that? I think…NOPE!
The men and women God used to lead His people back in the Bible times were a rough and tumble bunch. One of Jesus’ Apostles was from an order of people that are called the Sicari. They were known as a group of assassins. I don’t have time to go into that detail, but just google it. Peter, tried to kill a man with his sword when the group showed up to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas was just bad in so many ways. Let’s go way back. Elijah killed 800 prophets of Baal back in his day, and God took Elijah straight to Heaven without having him die first. There are a lot of “not-so-goody-twoshoes” kind of people that God used and uses to lead His people. I admit that I can be one of those…in my heart.

Now…I know…I know…I feel you wanting to preach to me right now. The fruit of the spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. You don’t have to preach to me about how much love I’m supposed to have for all people. I agree. I love all people. I wouldn’t be a pastor if I didn’t love people. I am just tempted…at times…to be a sniper! LOL



Purity of heart. It seems that some people are just born with a pure heart. Its not true…people are not born with pure hearts. I have personally found that people who have pure hearts are people who have payed a large price of pain for that pure heart. It always seems like the pure in heart are gentle and kind and loving. I have found, when I asked those who are pure in heart about their life story, that their story is one that breaks my heart. These people, with refined, smelted, and polished pure hearts, now look back on their lives and can thank God….NOT FOR THE PAIN…but thank God that He helped them THROUGH THE PAIN. These people have now, “Come out PURE AS GOLD.”

Do you really want a pure heart?
Knowing how much pain is involved in getting a pure heart…I’m tempted to say no.
But if I don’t have a pure heart, then I know that I will never see God.
I want to see God.
So I will pray this prayer to God. Maybe you would pray it with me right now too? “Lord…I want to have a pure heart. But…Lord….PLEASE…as you turn up the heat on my life to refine me, smelt me, sharpen me and make me PURE…PLEASE DO NOT TAKE YOUR HAND OFF OF THE THERMOSTAT.” In Jesus name, AMEN.

I will end this post now…and as you step out today to continue your refining, smelting, sharpening, polishing and PURIFYING…take great confidence in 1 Corinthians 10:13, which says, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure!”

I love that passage. So…bring life on! Whatever it takes for you and me to see God…bring it on! Right?
And when we have lived our lives through this life process of purifying our hearts…then…with pure hearts… you and I will go together into the presence of Almighty God.
What a cool day that is going to be.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

HYDRATE — WINNING FROM THE INSIDE 1 (Mt.5:3) “Poor in Spirit”

“The poor in spirit are blessed, for the King of Heaven is theirs.”
Matthew 5:3 (HCSB)

So Jesus is in Northern Israel when He speaks his very first recorded sermon. It says in Matthew 5 that Jesus went up a mountain and he sat down and began to teach. I have been to Israel now three times. I have walked on the ground where it is assumed that Jesus taught this crowd referenced in Matthew 5. We call this first sermon of Jesus’, “The Sermon on the Mount.” In the area I have visited there are a lot of hillsides. Its funny to me, as you read the Bible, and see the word Mountain used a lot. The mountains that are referenced in the Bible, leads us to imagine mountains like the Rocky Mountains or, as I live in the Phoenix AZ area, our Valley is surrounded by larger mountains. However, please understand, if you actually saw what the Bible refers to as Mountains in the Israel area, you would do better to think more of a hillside instead of mountain. This area that I have visited where it is assumed that Jesus preached this sermon that we have recorded in Matthew 5 is an area that has a hillside that goes upward about 100 feet. Littered throughout the incline of this “mount” are a bunch of chair sized boulders. As I stood at the top of this hillside looking down, it was very easy for me to see how Jesus would have walked through the flat plain of the land, through the crowds gathered there, and walk up the incline of the hillside or “mount,” and then sit on one of those boulders and begin to teach. Its a very cool place to visit and I hope you will be able to travel there someday and see the sight for yourself. I try to lead a trip every two years, maybe you could be a part of the group I lead over to Israel next.

As Jesus begins to teach, He simply says, “The poor in spirit are blessed, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

First of all let’s simply define “Blessed.” Blessed does not mean happy. Blessed means approved. This teaching of Jesus could be translated, “The poor in spirit are approved by God and will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.”

What does “poor in spirit” mean?
I do not think it means poor as in the opposite of being rich. Its not about the lack of houses, cars and bling. The Bible is loaded with faithful men and women that God used in mighty ways and they were wealthy. There is nothing wrong with being wealthy as long as you are “poor in spirit.”

Let’s look at it this way. Mankind…especially in America…values “HAVING & DOING.” The more you have the more successful you are in the eyes of the world. The more you do or accomplish, the more successful you are in the eyes of the world.

But Jesus didn’t teach this idea. Notice this teaching of Jesus’ doesn’t say, “Blessed are those who ACCOMPLISH poor in spirit or HAVE poor in spirit.” He says, “Blessed ARE the poor in spirit.”

So here is the deal…
This whole Hydrate series is about “winning from the inside.” I asked in a previous blog if your “happiness is portable?” The only way that happiness can be portable is if it is inside of you. If your happiness is in what you have or what you do, then if you lose what you have or can’t do what you do any longer, then your happiness would be gone too. Its like saying your purpose is found in your stuff and in what you do. But what if you lose the stuff or can’t do what you do any longer? Does that mean your purpose ends. No! Your purpose and your happiness must be portable. Your purpose and your happiness is in WHO YOU ARE.

Purpose is an “ARE”…not a Have or a Do! Happiness is an “ARE”…not a Have or a Do! (Do you understand this very important part?)

Jesus says blessed “ARE” the poor in Spirit. Maybe this is a good way to think about it, if you are still trying to understand “Poor in Spirit.” What is the opposite of poor in Spirit? The opposite of poor in spirit is “Self-Sufficient.” If you think you are self sufficient then you actually think that you don’t need God or anybody else. If you think you do not need God, then you are not “Poor In Spirit.” Thus…the Kingdom of Heaven will not be for you! If you think you are self sufficient, then others probably see you as arrogant. Those who ARE poor in spirit ARE humble. It might be fair to say that Jesus could have simply said, “Blessed are the humble, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

I want the Kingdom of Heaven so bad. I must continue to work on my “poor in spirit.” My humility. Don’t forget that Jesus told us in the Lord’s Prayer that we should be praying, “Thy Kingdom Come on Earth….as it is in Heaven.”

So…yes…we want to be in the Kingdom of Heaven for eternity. But in order for that to happen, we have to bring some heaven down to earth. That happens best when you ARE like the Kingdom of Heaven. Lots of people “DO” what Jesus commands, or “HAVE” Bibles they read frequently, but they ARE not like God internally. Do you know what I mean?

Be the ARE!

The “Sweat It Out” section is simply meant to challenge you to action. In the “Drink It In” section I share some history and teaching. Now that you drank in the material above. How will you “sweat it out.”

If you will…I ask you to get a sheet of paper and write out, in one or two sentences…”Who You Are.”
Some rules. You can’t write what you do or what you have. Remember, who you are must be portable. You could lose everything in your life due to a tragedy but that wouldn’t take away “who you are.” So write down who you are. Keep it with you today. Revise it as you think of other things that describe who you are.

Another thing to ‘sweat out’ is to ask somebody you trust whether or not you ARE humble or ARE arrogant. Ask them to tell you straight up. Make sure you don’t get angry at them for being honest with you. LOL If you get angry at them for being honest…then you will know for a fact that you ARE not in fact….”Poor In Spirit.”

Be humble today. Be poor in spirit. Don’t think you ARE self-sufficient. Ask for God’s help and strength in everything you do. Make sure you ARE a friend to others so that you may have friends in your life too.

Being poor in spirit must be a huge thing to God because it is the first sentence Jesus spoke at the very first sermon He ever preached. Poor in Spirit is a sense of need. I need God. I need others. The day I think I have arrived and I can do everything on my own. That’s not a good day.

Be thankful that you need others. That is how God made you. Write down the names of people in your life that you are thankful for. Use technology to send them a quick thank you note telling them why you appreciate them. Let them know they are important to you and that you need them in your life.

Don’t forget to pause and thank the Lord for how He made you and thank Him for promising to never leave your nor forsake you. You need Him. I do too.

Blessed are the Poor In Spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven!