Thanksgiving – from Morgan Snyder’s blog

A Happy Thanksgiving?


Pause with me for a moment.

Do this mental exercise: what comes to mind when you think of a turkey?

For most of my life, my first thought would have been an oblong, shrink-wrapped package in the frozen food section.  These plastic-coated wonders are so well suited for launching that there now exist actual community events testing how far you can throw them…

My second image would’ve been that iconic, golden-brown, perfectly-garnished turkey on an expansive platter; the image that Hollywood has bestowed deep into our collective psyche. I know a gal who worked for years as a food stager, spraying turkeys and such with layers of airbrushed paint to add that glistening flair…

Turkey Roasted

Both would’ve been technically true, and yet totally false.

Or maybe better said: true, but not real.

Describing a turkey is a similar exercise to one John and Brent offered in The Sacred Romance Conference years back:

What is the truth of a kiss?  Technically… it is two set of mandibles pressing together for a certain duration of time with the potential exchange of digestive fluids.  For those of you who have experienced the wonders of a kiss will know that while true, this description is so untrue. Those who know kissing feel robbed; those who don’t are apt to say, ‘if that’s what kissing is all about, I think I’d rather not.’  We’ve done the same thing to theology.

We’ve done the same thing to turkeys.

We’ve done the same thing to masculinity.

Growing up in the suburbs, you don’t learn much about wild turkeys—these brilliant, highly intelligent birds with stunning eyesight that can detect movement at profound distances.  These noble strutting toms have an entire language to vocalize dominance, competition, communication between mother and child, to warn of predators and more.  Watching their wild displays of strength and virility as they fiercely fend off competitors is remarkable.   To sneak into their twilight clucks and gobbles in their annual courtship is a symphony of wonder.

I started turkey hunting at square one.  No experience, no mentor.  Fatherless.

But hungry.  Hungry to put food on my family’s table.  Hungry to find the antidote for the danger that Aldo Leopold speaks of in A Sand County Almanac

There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm.  One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.

According to this wise man, I was in danger.

For years, my forays into the wild for the Merriam turkeys of the Rocky Mountains were futile.  Armed hiking was a better description.  Just spotting a track or a scrape or any sign of turkey was a remarkable success.

But this year was different.

I had collected four years of preference points and had my sights (and research and scouting) on my first limited, high-quality, turkey habitat.

I saw the first anniversary of my younger brother’s Crossing Over coming up on the calendar and realized my heart needed three things to commemorate the day:

Wilderness, Beauty, and God.

I had a feeling that I could find them out in turkey country…

Having scouted this state wildlife area a few times over the past  years, I got my boots on the ground the night before and managed to observe several turkeys making their transition from the courtship rituals to their high-perched sanctuary in the towering cottonwood trees.  Silhouetted in the last light, I put them to roost and quietly maneuvered  out  in the dark. I dreamed in wild anticipation—over beers, a one-man campfire, and under a starlit sky—of what might await me tomorrow at first light.

My heart was grieving and full. Aching, and being made whole.

Early in the still dark hours, I geared up and began my hike into the backcountry in hopes of setting up my turkey-calling ambush with decoys and all.  When first light arrived, the woods erupted with clucking hens and gobbling toms.  Light blazed upon tree tops and I was enraptured in beauty, wonder and adrenaline.

To my utter shock, a big tom caught sight of my decoy and made flight toward my set up only to be welcomed by my Remington 870.  It was ten minutes into first light, and I had my first turkey on the ground.

First Light in the Field

Such a fitting commemoration to my brother’s glorious life. Such a kind gift to my grieving soul.

An experience of the Father’s continued initiation and validation.

A rite of passage.

I admired the wild bird with the utmost respect and honor.  I took in the remarkable color patterns of his feathers.  I studied his well-worn spurs and torn up wing feathers with amazement, clear signs of his years of battling other toms for mating rights.  I admired his double beard, like a four-leaf clover of gobblers, and the brilliant red, white, and blue color patterns on his head and beak (those are lopped off the Butterballs before they make it to the grocery so I had never seen one up close).


After I gutted my first tom, I hunkered down among ancient cottonwoods and fallen timber, sipped on steaming chicken broth from the Thermos and watched and listened to the morning unfold. I felt a quiet, coursing anticipation as with each passing moment, I watched layers upon layers of beauty overlaid upon each other.

I’ve read about turkeys.  Researched hunting them.  Tracked them.  Observed them.  Learned their calls.

And with turkeys, something in me has encountered a new piece of creation that has always been right in front of me but which I’ve never chosen to intentionally and fiercely engage.

And something has been healed deep within me as a man.

I got something back.

I can’t full explain it.

But something has been made whole again…

Dick Proeneke is a mentor (from afar) who lived over thirty years in remote Alaskan wilderness. He lived in a cabin he built and maintained with his own hands, using tools he made with his own hands, eating food he gleaned with his own hands, and none of it with the use of machine power.

In his incredible documentary, Alone in the Wilderness, he illuminates one of the fundamental disconnections in the soul of modern man:

Too many men work on parts of things.

Working on the whole, recovering a mastery of the entire process of a thing is essential for the integration of a man’s soul.

For thirty-seven years, my turkey came from the grocery.

This year, it comes from the wild.

This Thanksgiving, First Light will descend into the smoker, hemmed with extra thick-cut bacon slices and a decadent rub of thyme, bay leaf, rosemary, and sage. He’ll be stuffed with aromatic delights of orange peel, garlic cloves, onion wedges, and bay leaves (Father, thank you for Youtube for our uninitiated places: it’s all new but I’m giving it a go).

First Light in Man Cave

Liturgy can be found in all sorts of unexpected places. And every day, in every situation, the Father is inviting us to become more true, more wholehearted, more of what he meant when he meant us, as men.

I appreciate how Michael Pollan frames the possibility of the table in Omnivore’s Dilemma;

Imagine for a moment if we once again knew, strictly as a matter of course, these few unremarkable things: What it is we’re eating.  Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what, in a true accounting, it really cost.:  We could then talk about some other things at dinner. For we would no longer need any reminding that however we choose to feed ourselves, we eat by the grace of nature, not industry, and what we’re eating is never anything more or less than the body of the world.

For countless generations eating was something that took place in the steadying context of a family and a culture, where the full consciousness of what was involved did not need to be rehearsed at every meal because it was stored away, like the good silver, in a set of rituals and habits, manners and recipes.

Walt Herrington’s Everlasting Stream is one of the all-time best books on the masculine heart. Walt was raised by a respectable, hard-working, blue-collar father.  Walt chose a professional path, ascending to the highest levels of society and professional accomplishment, at least externally, as a prestigious journalist for the Washington Post.  His life was completely disrupted through the backwoods Kentucky relatives of his wife.  First he was shocked to enter their world of rabbit hunting on a fateful Thanksgiving trip to Glascow, Kentucky.  Wearing borrowed gear and with a shotgun in hand, he was completely uncomfortable to find himself chasing rabbits with men of little societal stature.  Yet over the next twenty-five years of this ritual of Thanksgiving rabbit hunts, he found that these backwoods men had what he had been looking for all his life.  They were men.  They were brothers. They were friends. They were at ease.  They were comfortable and confident in their world. And their joy knew no bounds.  Decades later, he found himself reflecting on the remarkable paradox he found in the backwoods of Kentucky.

It took my father time to feel proud that I was a journalist.  I mean, I didn’t even know how to replace my own car muffler.  When I came to own a house, I wasted money on plumbers to fix leaky faucets and electricians to repair broken light switches. I hired a nursery to lay down the landscaping and a gardener to trim and tidy it all up twice a year.  Even if he could have afforded it, my father would never have ceded so much mastery of his world over to hired hands. But I had done what young men in America are supposed to do. I had risen in society. I had eaten dinner with the President of the United States.  Funny, but despite all my social ascents, my simple and deepest hope came to be that I could teach (my son) some of what my father had taught me about being a man.  He taught me that a man kills and eats animals. Animals bleed. Live with it.  He taught me that a man strives to master his world, whatever world that is. He doesn’t sit and whine —he acts. Most important, a man is never powerless, no matter how powerless he is.

It doesn’t take a hunter to put a turkey on your table.

And you don’t have to own a farm.

There are plenty of ways to move closer to reality.

I have friends that raise chickens in a coop they built and installed on the fenced slab of concrete in the back of their town home.

I heard the story of a guy here in Colorado whose family buys two young turkeys every spring and names them “Thanksgiving” and “Christmas.”  The kids tend to them daily and then on Thanksgiving the family harvests guess who, and on Christmas, his buddy.  It’s liturgy.  It’s honest.  His kids have lived closer to reality than most when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner (way to go, Jake!).

If you put your turkey on your table this year, I commend you. If you are like me and went most of your life thinking that turkey comes from the grocery, it’s not too late.

Start this year.

Start today.

If only to begin to acknowledge the reality that someone killed that turkey you are eating.

And before it was in that plastic wrap, it had feathers and wings, and was alive.

Start with the ache and the longing.  Allow yourself to feel it.

And desire.

To be more whole.

To cultivate more fierce mastery over your world.

It might start with investing the time and the intentionality to cut your Christmas tree down this year with your own hands.

Remember, integration of our external world facilitates integration of our masculine soul.

Ask God what it would take to sit down with those you love and share the turkey that you harvested with your own hands.

It may take years.  I’ve been chasing the dream of putting my own turkey on my family’s table for six years.

I’ve been chasing the dream of getting my heart back as a man for almost two decades.

Every day I’m a little closer.

You are too.

What if, next year, you were closer than you are today?

What would your first step be in that direction?

Maybe it is as simple as enjoying this most stunning documentary produced by Nature (the Nature series being the most viewed documentary series of all time) about the real and extraordinary life of a wild turkeys.  My Life as a Turkey features a man who chose two intentional years of solitude with no human interactions and instead, lived among turkeys from incubation to adulthood, giving visibility to a world never been visited by a human before.  And what he discovered was remarkable… More than a Butterball to say the least…

You can watch the HD digital download on iTunes for a few bucks.

Or if you prefer to order it, you can grab it at Amazon.

It’s great for the whole family, less than an hour.  And let’s be honest, it might do both of our hearts better than the third NFL game of the day…

Thousands of  years ago, Isaiah named one of the most fundamental problems of his day and it remains true on this Thanksgiving:

No one stops to think… (Isaiah 44:19).

That doesn’t have to be your story.

You can choose the Narrow Road.

And and you can truly have, a happy Thanksgiving…

Ask God; he’ll show you the next step.

Turkey strutting


Footnote: to watch a short trailer of Alone in the Wilderness click here.  I strongly suggest you enjoy the entire documentary as God leads…


Reminder – we will NOT meet this Wednesday (day before Thanksgiving) and will resume on December 4th.

This week, we went into Wholeness.  Here are the slides… uprising 9 wholeness

Perspective has so much to do with how we engage and deal with life.  It is actually a compass to tell you where you are on the spectrum between wholeness and brokenness.  If you have the tendency to be a pessimist, it probably indicates you have some soul damage.  It’s a reflection of your soul’s condition.
The optimist deals with the same circumstances but as a result of his wholeness, his perspective on life comes from the optimistic vantage point.  It’s a contrast between despair and hope.

Broken people tend to be takers/receivers.  Whole people tend to be givers.  No one is 100% one way and 0% the other.  We’re all takers to some degree.  But some of us have disappointments and we haven’t properly dealt with wound (i.e. you just bandaged it over without cleaning it).  Some of us have become bitter.  We harbor resentments and deep hurt and the more we do this, the more we shift the spectrum towards being a taker.

It is a diabolical, self-fulfilling prophesy – people hurt you, disappoint you and the more they do, the more you see it and then, the more inwardly, “me” focused you get.  You shift your mind/heart from a spirit of giving and pouring into others and into a stance of “people are there to meet my needs, fill me up and when they don’t, I get even more hurt, more disappointed.”  It’s a dangerous cycle.  We take and take until we run off all those around us.  As more and more people abandon us, we get trapped in brokenness.  We get bitter.  Bitter feels safe.  We feel justified but it’s a trap.  It really is like just putting a bandage on a wound without first medicating and cleaning the wound.  Eventually, that wound is going to fester and show back up as an even bigger problem.

Go back and read Galatians 5:19 and contrast that with the Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22.  In 5:19 you’ll see that all those actions – greed, envy, lust, etc. – listed are actions of the “taker” whereas the Fruits of the Spirit – love, patience, gentleness, self-control, etc. – are actions of the giver.

Where are you?  How’s your heart?  You know what you’re called to be – Galatians 5:22.  Those are characteristics of a healthy, whole soul.  How’s your soul?  Are you bitter?  Do others constantly disappoint?  Are you frequently let down by others?  This may indicate you’re harboring some resentment and bitterness.  These things divide you.  You are no longer integrated.  There’s work to do.

The whole person has an entirely different mind-set.  He is amazed at how people tend to come through.  He sees the positive in people.  Life is good even with its hurts.  He sees beauty in nature.  He doesn’t look to others to provide his happiness and, is instead, a source of happiness for others.

Do you see the difference?  Is your life sucking happiness from all those around you?  Or, are you a source of happiness to those you most deeply care about.  It truly is better to give than receive.

If you’re struggling with these things, it is time to come clean.  It’s time to address the bitterness, the wounds, the long-held resentments towards others and the pain of the disappointments in your life.  God’s design for you is that you would be whole and integrated.  He wants to restore you.  He wants to fully restore you.  Healing is there for the taking but you have to be honest here.  You have to open the wound, clean it and be vulnerable to what you might hear.

Keep your heart in Galatians 5:22.  Keep striving to LiveUP!

Wholeness this week & a comment on hope

This week at ManSchool, we will dive into Wholeness.  We will not meet next Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving).  We will resume on December 4th, 11th and 18th and then break until sometime in January.  I don’t think we’ll finish Uprising and so we’ll spend a few weeks on it early in the Winter and then transition to our Spring study.  We want to have a ManSchool testimony sometime after Uprising and before we start the new study.  We envision at least two men speaking for a few minutes about ManSchool and what it has meant to them.  We would also like all the men who are in ManSchool to be there on stage standing as a group as our brothers share their testimony.  Unity.  humility & Gratitude.  Be praying about this.

So onto Wholeness and I came across an old journal of mine and found this on Hope which is a huge part of wholeness from John Piper…

Romans 8:19-22 – “Creation groans to be set free from its bondage and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

It isn’t going to be “better” in this life…

  1. The whole creation groans – creation is in slavery to bondage.  No place on earth escapes it.
  2. It is futile to try – creation is subjected to futility (8:20) but we will be set free (8:21).
  3. God judicially sentenced the world to this suffering for man’s sin.  Adam & Eve did it their way “we’re going to eat what we want and do what we want and you can just get out of here with all your rules.”  We do the same thing only we’re more sophisticated and subtle.  This world seethes with rebellion in a nice, clean, suburban form.  So it is not an overreaction for God to say in effect, “This world is going to stay this way until my Son comes.  You’ll experience pain, suffering, bondage because that is how serious sin is.”

But there are also some promises…

  1. After this – we will see this pain end.  Glory will be revealed to us and in us.  Why does man desire greatness?  Canyons, mountains, The Lord of the Rings?  Something in man wants greatness.  That’s God.  We long to be near greatness – that’s the image of God in us.  John 17 Jesus said, “I want them to see my glory.”  He so love me that He wants me to experience glory!
  2. We’re going to be revealed – “Anxious longing of creation that waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Romans 8:19)  We will be titans!  Matthew 13 – “The righteous will shine like the sun in the presence of the Father“.
  3. We’re here in hope – there is a futility of home (8:20) when life, after all, seems futile.  But remember, we are here in hope.  Redeemed Christ became a curse for us.  My death and suffering are no longer God punishing me.  As a believer, God is for me.  He has no wrath for me.  He’s just purifying me.  Death, which was originally a curse, now has no sting.  It is a doorway.
  4. All creation will be freed – and brought into His glory (8:21).  Creation was made for me.  There will be a new me, a new body, new senses, new pleasures as God reveals a new creation.

We should take this and be so Heavenly minded so as to be radical in our pursuit of God because we have nothing to lose.  The people who are “no good” are those that have it all now – a fully funded retirement, plasma TVs, iPads, new cars, all the luxuries, fame, fortune, acclaim of others — these are idols to make Heaven come now because they don’t believe it is out there in eternity.

If you’re really sold on this, you will become so humble,  you’ll go into the hard places, the hard relationships, for healing, redemption and service because you have an inheritance coming.

The miseries of this life are not death throes but rather, birth pains.  8:22 – “a new Heaven, new earth” – all pain is a birth pain.  I’m not going to death, I’m going to life.  Whatever I know of suffering, I know this, Christ felt all I feel times 10.  Humiliation, pain, loneliness…  And so I know with full confidence, when God undertakes to do great things in me, He will first break me to humility to prepare me.

Let us rejoice in these promises – they are a critical part of wholeness.  Let us LiveUP!


What we men are praying for at ManSchool

We’ll update this on a running basis – we gather on Wednesday mornings and we worship and we pray – we pray deeply – for those in our midst in need…

Prayer requests from Wednesday 11-13-13

Sarah George and family at passing of Robert George,

missionary to China

Ava continued healing wisdom for doctors

comfort for parents Staff retreat next Tuesday – Thursday

Carolyn & family: many issues and needs

Shannon Mercer family on the loss of his father

Chuck Flanagan job: family stress

Jim COPD pneumonia

Jane Crane  breast cancer

Rustin Jessup  and wife   new baby on the way

Father God – Lord Jesus – Lord Holy Spirit we ask for Your ministry for all these. Amen!

gratitude part III

You’ve been a believer a long time but have you found yourself being judgmental, frequently disappointed in others or demanding?  Are others always falling short of your expectations?  Are you a “taker” in your relationships always seeing that your needs get met?

Tough questions.  Tough for all of us to ponder.  Especially us believers.

How can we be in this place?  Given all that Christ did for us in our total depravity, how can we have forgotten so quickly?  I think it has to do with a lack of gratitude.  We’ve moved beyond the wonder of salvation.  We’ve graduated to a more mature life than that crazy “newbee” Christian who was radical in his faith, not caring what others thought about this new passion in his life.  We’re now “civil” in our faith.  We’ve come to believe we’re pretty good people and pretty good people start thinking they deserve “more”.

You see, a starving man will rejoice over a chicken sandwich and a cup of water.  His gratitude will be overwhelming.  He won’t stop thanking you for providing him desperate nourishment.  That was us…years ago.  Full of gratitude, humble in the grace bestowed upon us.

And then…many years later, we’ve forgotten.  We’ve grown complacent.  We are no longer satisfied with basic nourishment.  We crave “more”.  We are no longer grateful.  No longer content.

A lack of gratitude is a manifestation of greed.  After a few years of this, we find ourselves perpetually broken.  Life isn’t working for us – even as believers – we can’t seem to heal.  We must know this, nothing will heal if we are ungrateful.

We are saved and then we drift towards forgetting.  We lose our gratitude.  We begin to reach for more.  Life starts to breakdown.  We hit the rocks and wonder why.  Nothing heals if we are ungrateful so only as we crash against the rocks do we realize that it starts with gratitude or a lack thereof.

Usually in there we discover some unforgiveness.  It may be towards our Father.  Or our Mom.  Or perhaps an old coach or a boss.  Maybe it is with our wife.  Unforgiveness is deadly.  It is a root that will go deep and run long in your life.  It leads to ungratefulness and we’ve seen where that will take you.

Unforgiveness is a willful refusal to give up resentment or an insistence that someone pay for a wrong.  It is hard to forgive because it seems like we are letting them get away with it.  But as Christians, we have to know that we surrendered our right to be judge when we turned our life over to Christ.  We surrendered our right to retaliate.

Do you remember the notion of “surrendering”?  Salvation called for you to surrender.  If you’ve ever worked with someone as they approached salvation, you understand their reluctance to surrender to the Lord but that is what it takes.  You surrendered way back then and immediately were washed in grace and radically transformed and empowered.  You were totally undeserving and you were eternally grateful.

You surrendered back then and you must surrender now.  Surrender your desire to get even, to have justice, to make things fair, to have an apology from those that hurt you.  Let it go.  It’s no longer your place to demand these things.  You put Jesus in that seat.  Let Him do His thing.

Kill unforgiveness in your life.  Surrender it and gratitude will return.  If you release this to the Lord, you’ll once again taste the sweet grace of gratitude.  The stress will lift.  The hurt/anger will move off you.  Once again you will feel love and you will be able to love.  You will be able to live a “generative” life – where you can engage all your talents, abilities and passion to become that which is good and true.  You can begin to live the life God designed for you.

But it won’t happen without gratitude.  Gratitude & Humility.

Here are the slides from today … uprising 8 gratitude pt 2



Sarah’s affair – gratitude part II

We entered into the second half of gratitude this morning at ManSchool.  I will put up another post (or two!) on this topic later with the slides.  For now, I want to share Sarah Markley’s story of her affair which I read this morning.

Let me encourage you to read this —  sarah markley story  — and here’s why, while you or I may never have had an affair – we are all guilty of the root cause of her affair.  She was ungrateful.  God had blessed her with a good husband, a nice home, a good job, great friends and she allowed herself to forget.  She forgot.  She was saved and had a great life and forgot what God had done for her, forgot the incredible brokenness that led her to salvation in the first place and she had grown complacent.

are you complacent?  are you taking a LOT for granted in your life?  do you “forget” what God gave for you?

I think many long-time believers are complacent.  I think we take a LOT for granted.  We are now numb to the original salvation and just how desperate we were way back then, how overwhelmed we were by grace and how excited we were to be living our lives for the Lord.  But now, we’ve drifted.  We’ve become lazy.  We think we have righteousness.  We think we are immune to risk.  We’ve let busyness or TV or the day-to-day grind take away the passion of our salvation.  And we are incredibly vulnerable as a result.

You see, I am becoming convinced that if we can possibly even  grasp this concept of gratitude, we won’t have money problems.  We won’t have sex/porn problems.  We won’t struggle with anger.  We won’t spend our life comparing it to other’s lives.  I believe gratitude is simply crucial to our walk.  Gratitude & Humility.

If we can grasp gratitude, we can find contentment.  If we can Trust, we can be content.  If we can be content/trust, we can let go of “control” and we can stop running off chasing all these other gods that ultimately destroy us.

Sarah was ungrateful and she wanted “more” and she ended up nearly destroying her life.  This is a great story.  It is long and painful but in it, you can see how God was moving, you can see the cost of her sin and you can see how her husband forgave her – because he fully understood his sin and how he must forgive her.  You see, Chad knew.  He got it.  He grasped gratitude – not for Sarah but for the Lord.  He still knew what God had done for him and because he lived a life of gratitude/grace, he could then forgive and love Sarah.

Sarah was a “taker”.  She always wanted more.  She harbored unforgiveness.  Deep roots of unforgiveness and ungratefulness had grown deep in her soul.

How about you?  How is your heart?  Are you a taker – never content, always demanding of others, always seeing others as not living up to your expectations or full of judgment?  Or, are you grateful and content?  more on this to come…

Humility & Gratitude my brothers.  LiveUP!


gratitude part I

The sinful woman (most likely a prostitute) comes to Simon’s home.  A gathering of “religious” folks are there and Jesus is in their presence.  There is an appropriateness to these things, a “right way” do behave in public, socially acceptable behavior, manors…

The woman isn’t interested in the “right way” to do things.  She is there to crash the party.  Jesus is there and she must have an audience with him.  Caring less about what the religious leaders thought was proper, she threw herself at Jesus’ feet and kissed them.  Her tears flew so freely that they washed his feet and she wiped them with her hair.  The expensive perfume she had bought was broken open and she anointed his feet.

She was forgiven much.  Huge sins.  A disgusting, degrading life.  And she was forgiven.  And…she knew it.  She knew she was forgiven and more importantly, she knew she unworthy of this forgiveness, she didn’t deserve it.  Grace.  She felt the sweet rush of grace.

Simon was a different matter.  He was the “good kid”, the rule keeper, the guy who always tried to appear religious and appear to have it all together.  He’d lived most all his life trying to keep the law.

And so…he truly didn’t understand his need for grace.  His need for forgiveness.  In fact, it probably was an honor for Jesus to be in Simon’s home among all the other “leaders” of the day.

Do you see why humility is so crucial to this entire process, to our entire walk with Jesus?  Simon wasn’t humble.  He was pious.  He was righteous.  He was a “good” person.

All this woman knew was gratitude.  She knew how desperately lost she was, what a train-wreck her life was and she knew Jesus had forgiven her and so the only thing she could bring to show great love.  She didn’t care what other people thought.  She’d raise her hands during the worship music.  She didn’t care if it wasn’t appropriate.  She would tell anyone who would listen – and some who wouldn’t listen – about Jesus, about her train-wreck, and about her complete restoration that was utterly undeserved and so she was flooded with gratitude.  “She who has much forgiven, loves much”

Simon – so focused on how religious he was – thought he deserved and thus he didn’t need gratitude.  That’s the difference.  “He who has little forgiven, loves little.”

Gratitude opens your soul to experience love and then you’ll become a great lover of others.   How’s your heart?  Do you feel like no one truly loves you?  Do you feel like you can’t truly love others?  Do you feel like your capacity for love is the size of a thimble or that you almost have this emotional defect where love is just simply missing?  It may have to do with gratitude.  Part II is coming and we’ll talk about this more next week at ManSchool.

uprising 7 gratitude

gratitude & humility…

change for next week

I will put up the comments/slides on gratitude hopefully tonight.  As I have worked with this material, I am struck by just how critical gratitude is to our lives and faith.  It is a crucial component of the Christian walk and frankly, I’ve missed a lot of it.

The information this week was great and we had a good session but frankly, I couldn’t cover 1/2 the material.  So, we are going to stay on gratitude for next week.  Please read chapter 6 in Uprising.  Please, if you came this week and think “oh we’re doing gratitude again next week so I can miss” … you can’t.  Please don’t miss this.  If you weren’t with us, you’ve got another shot at this.  Join us next Wednesday.

Driving around yesterday, I was struck by the feeling that we needed to do another week and then last night, Don Campbell emailed me and suggested the same thing and I ran it by Bret Crumpton and he fully agreed — we need to stay right here.  It’s good stuff.  Really good and if you are struggling with feeling loved, struggling thinking “no one really loves me” or if you are struggling with bitterness, resentment or anger, you need to come and listen.  Let the Lord move on your heart.

Gladiator used to greet his troops by saying “Strength & Honor”.  I love that.

But I am beginning to believe our call to one another should be “Gratitude & Humility”.  We should always be in a mindset of gratitude and we always need to remain in a place of humility.

Gratitude & Humility brothers.

gratitude – manschool this week

Men, we are going to talk about living a life of gratitude on Wednesday morning.  Let me strongly encourage you to come.  I just sense this is a message we need to hear.  As I have prepared for it, I am blown away by what I’ve let myself miss.

Do you remember what it felt like when you were saved?  Do you remember the washing of your Spirit?  Do you remember the feeling of being cleansed of your sin, of being forgiven?  Do you remember the feeling of walking on air for the weeks that followed and how you KNEW beyond any doubt this was REAL?

Do you remember gratitude?

Do you remember the stunning, knee-dropping grace that was poured out on you and how just before it occurred, it was totally lost on you and then, in an instant, you knew?  You got it?  How did that happen?  How were my long-closed eyes instantly opened?  Why did God pour this out on me when I absolutely didn’t deserve it, when I never saw it coming?

That sense of gratitude is what we are going to talk about because you see, if you’ve been a believer for 5 years or 20, it is so easy to forget this.  It is so easy to just be a businessman and a father and a Christian but to have completely lost that radical transformation and the power that we experienced.  Yes, we are still Christians but we’ve lost that passion, we’ve lost the “I don’t care who knows what happened to me, I’m going to spread it and share it” willingness.

We need to reclaim gratitude.  It will radically reshape your life.

Courage – UPrising 6

here are the slides uprising 6 courage

The journey towards having the courage to live the life God created you to live starts in humility and passes through integrity.  But humility and integrity are not titles we earn and then move beyond.  No, we are called to live a life of humility and integrity.  Out of that stance, courage will emerge to step forth into the life God designed for you.

The great characters of the Bible seem like these really courageous people God chose but in reality, they were a lot like us.  They too were trapped by fear and self-doubt.

Think of Joshua – Moses’ right hand man.  Imagine, just imagine what it would have been like to be Moses’ sidekick and understudy.  Imagine all the incredible things Joshua saw God do through Moses.  And then, imagine what it must have felt like to Joshua the day Moses died.

Up until this point, Joshua was defined by fear and doubt, by weakness and insecurity.  He describes himself as Moses’ aide.  Moses was dead and Joshua was being handed an even tougher task.  And he stepped UP.  He left his past definition of himself behind and stepped into who God was calling him to become.

So the question to you is this – “Who do you have the courage to become?”

God kept telling Joshua, “Be strong and courageous”.  For you and I this is tough.  It is so easy to allow ourselves to be defined by others.  To be defined by our past.  Defined by our worst moments.  Defined by our fears and our doubts.  To be defined by the least of us.  Perhaps the greatest act of courage is to stop this and allow ourselves to be defined by God.

We fear the dark because the voices will tell us that we are our worst moment, our greatest failure.  That we are our deepest pain.  Some of us are these things.  We’ve become them.  We’ve let them define us.  So we live in fear.

The choice is yours to erase all those things.  Stop hanging onto them.  God’s forgotten them.  You’re the one choosing to hang onto them.  These things make you less than all of what you were created to become – the one who God says are you.  You will never change…until you do.  Until you decide “enough is enough, I’m done with being who I was.  It is time to be who I can become.”  This is the moment to redefine your life.

It takes real courage to live out what God sees in you.

It takes real courage to LiveUP!