Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

As of May 25, 2017, I am officially a Certified Life Coach! It’s incredibly funny to me how so many around me have told me that I should be coaching, yet I didn’t see it. I truly love to build relationships and mentor those who desire mentoring or discipleship, but never thought of myself as a Life Coach. That all changed when I began a conversation with a good friend, let’s call her Heather (because that is her name), and she only confirmed what my wife had been saying for a while now – I am already Coaching in my everyday relationships, and this is exactly how God has decided to gift me and develop a passion in me for people and relationships. So here I am, answering that calling in my life, and praying God allows me a fruitful practice where I get to help as many people as He will lead to Three V Coaching in the coming years!

So many times when we are going through a rough patch or tough situation we are referred to a pastor or counselor for counseling, however, in many situations what we truly need is a coach helping us discover the path that will lead us to freedom. Now, coaching is not therapy, counseling, mental health care, etc., but in many cases a pastor or counselor is giving advice or spending a lot of time with people in a counseling role, when what they really need is a coach who is there in relationship to foster a healthy and focused life, helping you get on your desired path.

So now I come to you, the one who is reading this post, and ask, humbly, will you help me spread the word about Three V Coaching? As I get fully immersed into the coaching role, my hope is to network with people who share a passion for relationships and helping people get from where they are to where they, and God, wants them to be in life. That network could be with pastors and leaders who could refer those coming to them for counseling, yet they may just need a coach to help them through this stage of life. Other opportunities can be business owners and community leaders who would like to connect employees or others to a coach. Through coaching, I have a unique ability to help others discover the right steps they need to take to get where they desire to be most vocationally, personally or spiritually. Many times in life we can feel stuck, knowing we are meant for something…well, more! This is where a coach can come in and help guide your thoughts toward your goals. It is very easy for us to fall prey to the lies that bombard us on a daily basis – you know, you’re not good enough, you’re too stubborn, out of shape, not worthy, you’re almost 50 and feeling a tug in your heart to do more with your life (ok, that has been mine) and the list goes on and on. It is human nature to fall into the traps of approval addiction, people pleasing, and so on. As a coach, I can help you get your thoughts on the true path which leads you to freedom!

Three V Coaching stands for Vision, Venture, Victory. My minute-by-minute desire in forming this practice is to help people develop a Vision for their lives in which they can be proud of and truly desire, Venture together into the renewal stage of life where we form goals and habits around what is true in your life so that you can live in freedom, the Victory of a satisfied and fulfilling life you have always desired. Sounds like an ominous passion pursuit, and I even feel that way writing this, yet as we break down the lies that have guided us, develop steps and goals weekly, and begin seeing the fruit of the efforts taken, the light gets a little brighter in the tunnel we feel we are in, and life begins to be more tangibly joy-filled. Life is so much sweeter when we are on purpose and in relationship. Coaching is a relationship solely focused on trust, leading from your Vision, through Venture and on to Victory! My question now to you is, will you join me?

Please share the word, pass this post along, refer a friend or family member, or contact me yourself and let’s see how I can serve you as your new Life Coach!

Contact me at threevcoaching@gmail.com or at 765.621.6537 and let’s build a relationship!

Check out the website and new blog at Here!

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As I have navigated through many stages of life, one thing continually resonates in the lives of people I talk to, and it is such a powerful force that many sacrifice their convictions in hopes of satisfying those deep desires…Relationship!  Relationship comes in many different shapes and sizes.  Our relationship with a spouse looks different than a relationship with our kids.  Relationships with co-workers are different from family members.  Relationships with the clerk at the gas station take a different form than that of our best of friends.  Regardless of which relationship you are considering, it is apparent that we were designed to be in relationship!

When God designed us, He did so by creating us in His image.

Genesis 1:26 – Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

In that statement from God, something very profound occurs!  It starts by saying God said (singular) and then He said, Let us (plural) make man…woven into the very core of His creation of man was this idea of God being in relationship – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – yet being one God.  There has been much confusion and controversy over the idea of the Trinity, and many doctrinal statements have been made that have so many people scratching their heads or totally discounting the idea of a three in one God.  But, God didn’t build His word to confuse us!  He gave it to us to liberate us!

I truly believe that this “contradiction” in verse 26 (“God” and then “us”) is really quite uncomplicated.  Simply put, God is relational and He designed us in His image to be relational as well!

His plan is to be in relationship with us as we journey through this life building our relationship with Him as well as with those God has placed in our lives.  Yet, as we develop relationships with those around us, our primary relationship with God has to take first place in our heart and soul!  When we place God in His rightful place in our lives (first place), the other relationships we are engaged in just seem to work themselves out.  Having a Kingdom worldview keeps this life in perspective and focuses our heart on relationships.  Nothing in this world matters more than our relationship with God and our relationships with others!

love

Recently, my wife Lisa and I were able to take a short retreat to Cincinnati to focus completely on our marriage as we attended a Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference.  Going into the weekend, we both would have said the weekend was really just a chance to get away and rest, and maybe takeaway some refresher tips for our marriage.  After all, we’ve been married for 23 ½ years and have seemingly gone through every struggle imaginable over those years and persevered, and eventually thrived, through those struggles…focusing on God really makes all the difference in the world!  However, we learned quickly that in every marriage, and likely every healthy relationship, when not being 100% intentional, we tend to take each other for granted and slip up in areas of connection and conversation.  I am so thankful that we were able to attend and invest in our marriage to ensure many fruitful years to come!  I highly recommend a yearly marriage retreat or conference for every married couple (and every engaged couple)…your marriage is worth the yearly investment!

As I began thinking more about some of the discussions during the weekend, as well as witnessing so many young couples struggling in the areas of love and communication, I was reminded of some very wise counsel we had received a few years into our marriage that really helped us gain a better understanding of how marriage works and thrives.  The area of challenge is love – is it a feeling or a choice?

Let me ask you this: If someone were to come up to you and demand for you to “Love Me!” what are the odds that you will fall deeply in love with that person at that moment?  Demanding love never works, and is likely to repel the other person, not attract them.  Yet, when we show someone we love them, making choices to love them by having conversations with them, doing things for them, placing their needs and desires above your own, not only will your love for that person grow, odds are they will reciprocate that love.  You see, people respond with love when you love them in practical ways.  That giddy “in love” feeling can be deceiving because when that feeling, or emotion, fades we have a choice – we either choose to love or we choose to run.  True love always chooses to love, even when the feeling of being “in love” wanes a bit.  Mature love is active!

Some will say the “in love” feeling will never fade; “I love him/her too much!”  However, ask any woman with kids who are nurturing and caring for them, taking care of them when sick, running them around to all their destinations, all while working and trying to maintain the family unit…that “in love” feeling either turns to resentment or she chooses to love her husband in the midst of the trials and child-rearing.

In our marriage, that “in love” feeling faded pretty quickly as we had been married for 6 months when we got pregnant with our first child.  How I wish we would have understood that love is a choice as opposed to a feeling early in our marriage…I believe it would have saved us a lot of heartache and pain.  Once we understood that love is an action, not an emotion, we were able to begin healing and start loving each other again because we wanted to…not because of a feeling, but because of a choice.  Like any stage of life, love grows and matures as it becomes part of who we are.  Once discovered, I can honestly say that I love my wife Lisa more now than I ever have!

I can say without any hesitation that any marriage can be healed, regardless of how deep the hurt and betrayal may be.  I have witnessed in many marriages, as well as ours, miraculous healing that can only be credited to God and two people choosing to not give up on the godly institution of marriage.  You want to know something key…your spouse doesn’t deserve your love!  And you don’t deserve their love either!  We are all broken and fallible individuals seeking love and acceptance.  The key to a thriving marriage is placing God first in everything you do!   When we keep God first, loving our spouses becomes an act of love toward God as well as our spouse.  Our spouse may not deserve our love at times, but God always does, and He says that we love because He first loved us:

1 John 4:19 – We love each other because he loved us first.

So remember these key tips on growing a healthy marriage:

1 – Love God first and above all else.

2 – Love your spouse because God loves you – you reciprocate His love by loving your spouse.

3 – Remember, mature love is a choice, not a feeling.

Every healthy and mature marriage requires these three steps, and every unhealthy, failing marriage can be healed by two people taking these three steps.

I can say with all the boldness I can muster that because God loves me, I love Him more than anyone else!  Because I love Him so much, I choose to love Lisa with all my heart and in my daily choices.  Choosing to love her because God loves me doesn’t cheapen my love for her…it actually deepens that love because our marriage now is firmly planted on the foundation of God’s love!  And no other love can be as solid as God’s love for us…after all; He sacrificed His Son Jesus because He loves us that much!

Hello, let me introduce myself: I am just a guy…a guy on Valentine’s Day playing back the years of my marriage and realizing how blessed I am to be married to Lisa Marie Boyland.  So I thought I’d take an opportunity to brag on her a little!

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My lovely bride and I in Israel on our 23rd Anniversary this past year, September 28th, 2014

My wife’s heart is amazing!  The way she feels and shows compassion, seeking to help people take their next steps in relationship to Jesus, is inspirational to say the least!  Most every week she shares with me how she has had an encounter with someone God has placed in her path – someone hurting or angry, someone emotional or even possibly experiencing their last days on earth.  This side of my wife is the most attractive quality I see in her, and hearing her heart in these moments makes me realize how incredible she is and how much my love grows for her through these moments she shares with me!  Though I know she is beautiful on the outside, her inside is even more beautiful to me (and I am sure to those around her too)!

As I began to write a note in Lisa’s journal for Valentine’s Day (a journal in which only I get to write notes to her), a few verses from Proverbs 31, specifically the ones I list below, really jumped out at me as I look to the beauty, inside and out, of my incredible bride of over 23 years!

Proverbs 31:10-12, 26-30

10 An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.

12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

29 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”

30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Over the past 23 plus years of marriage, we would both say that we struggled a lot in our marriage, especially the first 8 years!  As it is in any relationship, when selfishness takes over our flesh, nothing good can come of it!  I was (and sometimes still am) pretty selfish!  However, once we gave complete control of our marriage to God (a choice we must make daily), He has led us to an amazing reconciliation and I can with complete honesty say that I love my wife more now than ever since I met her some 24 years ago!  Just to be clear, I am not talking about that giddy feeling that we get when first dating or when we are early in our relationships.  The love I speak of is a choice!  I choose to love her every day because God has revealed more to me through our relationship than in any other area of my life!  As He guides her, I fall even more deeply in love with her because God is at the heart of it all…and I can see God in the decisions she makes and the words that she says!

Over the past couple years God has been pulling me out of my comfort zone and calling me to step into something bigger than myself.  As I continue to discover what He has planned for me and my family, I continue to see how He is guiding Lisa in the plans He not only has for her, but also the plans He has for us as a family!  I am seeing more clearly now than ever how Lisa has sacrificed and loved me and our family in ways that can only be summed up as miraculous!  Her faith in God’s plan for our lives has become an active, daily journey where she trusts God fully, listens to His guiding voice, and simply responds by doing what He says!  We can all learn a little bit about obedience and love from this amazing woman of God!

As God continues to guide our family, and specifically our marriage, I just wanted to publically say how incredibly blessed I am to be loved and married to Lisa!  Next to God, there is no-one I would rather navigate life with than her, and I cannot wait to see how He plays this life of ours out as we press on toward the finish line!

Happy Valentine’s Day to a true Proverbs 31 wife!  Lisa, thank you for being an amazing wife and for loving me in ways that are becoming more unbelievable than ever before!  I love you more now than at any point in our marriage, and the best is yet to come!

dialogue

Thanks to my wonderful wife for dialogue-ing with me about this topic and suggesting that I write this post!

We are living in a monologue world!  We receive messages in monologue form all day long – from News to podcasts, from TV to sermons, most information we receive is brought to us in a one-way communication stream.  What I feel has happened over the many years of this type of information overload is the erosion of the simple conversation…a dialogue with another human being!

Solomon warned us of this monologue form of communication:

Proverbs 18:2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

I was having a conversation with my wife the other night about this topic as she and I had both listened to different programs discussing communication…one from a female source (Mid Day Connection) and one from a male source (Mark Merrill).  Often times men get a bad rap because we tend to be fixers (trying to fix everything especially when it is not being requested of us)…and unfortunately we tend to monologue about how to resolve an issue more than listen to the heart behind the issue.  Yet, women can also fall into the trap of trying to get across their point more than listening in a two-way conversation.  Again, I feel this is because we have been trained by media and even many parents to communicate this way, and I think society is a prime example of why this type of communication is sucking the life out of relationships of all kinds – marriages, friendships, coworkers, family, etc.

As Solomon has said (many times in Proverbs) only fools want to hear themselves more than others in their lives.  True relationship can only happen when mutual respect and love are offered up from both people in that relationship.  Our love for God is poured out to those He places in our paths and lives, and those relationships are strengthened during conversations that include mutual respect!  Jesus made it very clear the importance for relationship in fulfilling His plan for us:

Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law.  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Love is the key to everything, and love cannot be expressed in a simple monologue…at least not for very long!  Simply put, Monologue is forcing my opinions on you to try to get you to like me or make you change your mind. Dialogue is expressing our opinions to one-another with the hopes of a deeper understanding and relationship! 

My challenge for you this week is to pay attention to the conversations you have and see if you are more of a monologue-r or a dialogue-r.  In doing so, you will also notice how others communicate with you.  The goal though is not to get others to change their method of communication; the goal is for us to become better communicators of the message God has given us.  Listening screams to the people around us that they are important and worthy of our attention and love – and love is the message that God is pressing into us to not only receive from Him, but to share with others!

 dancing-rain

A week or so ago I was having a conversation with my wife and quite frankly, I was a bit discouraged…kind of like when an outdoor activity seems all but lost because an unexpected rainstorm has invaded our plans.  For some time now I have been feeling the desire to move into vocational ministry, however, at least at this moment, I don’t see myself as someone who will speak to groups of people…I am leaving that up to God, though!  Yet, over the past year I have felt an even more direct call into ministry from God; something that is constantly brought to my mind by God in every moment and circumstance of my life.  My discouragement has come from not knowing exactly where God is specifically calling me!  It seems odd to me that God would call me into ministry yet not give me specific marching orders, even though I intuitively know that is not how He works in my life.  Something I struggle with almost daily…learning to find joy when it rains!

James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Maybe my call is not so different than others who have been called.  God has simply given me one step at a time and once I am obedient and take that step, He shows me the next.  Many of the steps so far have been either faith steps or connections with people – I truly love when God prompts me to connect with someone He has brought to my heart and mind.  Some great relationships and deep friendships have developed and are developing through those interactions in which God was the only reason to connect!  Most of the trials I have been dealing with have indeed produced a steadfastness that has sustained my desire for relationship with God and with the people He has led me to (or to me).  I now see those trails (at least once I reflect) as opportunities to grow and discern God’s call in my life.

So, how do you respond to trials or disappointment?  How do you handle the victories and wins in your life and ministry?  In those moments, what do you think God is trying to teach you?  How can you and those around you grow during times of trial?  Do you have people in your life willing to pour into you even when trials come along?

Perspective makes all the difference when it comes to disappointment and trials.  Having a loving God in our life really does help us to see the struggle with joy knowing that the only way we can grow is to press through the trial and seek God to understand what it is that He wants us to discover.  Even though that way of thinking can be very difficult in the moment, having people around you who will remind you of God’s plan and purposes in your life can help keep you on the path that God is choosing for you…and besides, genuine relationship allows us to build each other up even when struggles rear their ugly head.  That’s how my lovely wife built me up the other night, simply by reminding me that the trials I am facing are opportunities to grow and take that next step of faith…answering His call one step and relationship at a time, especially when it rains!

Why are so many topics highly polarizing in today’s world, regardless of belief in God or not?  I believe it is deliberate (training in a way); not because God is deceiving but because He knows how authentic relationships are built.  They are built by working through disagreements and misunderstandings yet still loving one another.   Jesus never said relationship would be easy.  Loving one-another may be one of the hardest, yet most rewarding things we will ever do while here on Earth.  Authentic relationships can be (and if we are all honest, will be) messy; you won’t always agree, but how boring would life be if everyone agreed?  Hard conversations can and should be a catalyst to build trust and love; they should not burn a bridge in a relationship or worse yet, drive someone away from our Savior!

Proverbs 18:2 – A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Something God has been teaching me, but I still fail at far too often, is this: never go into a disagreement with the attitude of making a point or winning an argument.  Jesus condemned the Pharisees for such actions!  Having that attitude more often than not results in broken relationship, not conviction of Spirit!  “Seek first to understand”, should be our first priority when discussing any disagreement or misunderstanding with others.  Working through conflict, addressing differences of opinion, and loving one another are crucial steps to take in relationship if we are truly seeking to be like Jesus!  He never shied away from hard topics, yet those on the other end of that hard conversation always went away feeling loved and accepted (except the religious folks (Pharisees) since their desire was more about keeping rules not building relationships).   Accepting someone for who they are is in no way approving of any action on their part.  Accepting someone simply shows them that they are loved and are valuable to me and to God.

Regardless of disagreements, misunderstandings, or flat out disobedience to God, there is no sin (past, present or future) that has more power than the power of the cross!  Sin does not define you, Christ’s forgiveness defines you!  And that forgiveness is met with grace and mercy as we begin following Jesus.

“Grace, then, is grace,–that is to say, it is sovereign, it is free, it is sure, it is unconditional, and it is everlasting.” ~ Alexander Whyte

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There have been times when someone (well meaning Christians in fact) will say to me that they do not feel Relational Discipleship is completely Biblical.  I feel their interpretation may be getting lost in the title, not in the example of Jesus from the Scriptures.  Relational Discipleship is not only Biblical, it is modeled by Jesus Himself, as well as many others throughout the Bible, as the way to make disciples!

Relational Discipleship can be understood by breaking it down into four easy to understand action steps (Yes, our faith is active not passive!):

1) Build Relationships – Connect with many people, everyone that God places in our paths on a daily basis, and get to know them, spending time with them, being there for them.  This can be as simple as briefly connecting at your local coffee shop or gas station with the person you see behind the counter, or with the person you sit next to at work or school every day.  Some of these relationships will blossom into friendships that can become more intentional as the relationship builds!

2 ) Build Trust – Be consistent and genuinely care.  Honesty and transparency can take the relationship to a deeper level and allow more openness in conversation.

3) Invite them into a relationship with Jesus – As relationship and trust are established, Spiritual conversations become natural as long as we are following Christ’s example and placing Him first in our own lives.  When we whole-heartedly are fully devoted followers of Jesus, it makes no sense whatsoever to not invite others into that relationship!

4) Walk with Them – Just as a baby new to this world needs a parent to raise, feed, nurture and guide them, so does a new follower of Jesus need you to guide, nurture, teach and mentor them to become mature followers of Christ Jesus.

This is Relational Discipleship!  It is not a new concept at all!  In fact, it was designed and modeled by Jesus for us to follow so that we would go make disciples!  The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 is our marching orders for Relational Discipleship:

Go – Build genuine relationships with many.  We are active in our walk!

Baptize – Invite others into a relationship with Jesus, the One who saved us!

Teach – Walk with the new follower of Jesus, teaching them how to become more like Him!   Teach others to obey and apply His word, not just gain knowledge about Him, but really get to know Him!

If you are a follower of Jesus, this is not optional!  We are His Church and this is our commission!  So Church, go make disciples!

jesus-relationship-not-religion

Matthew 6:22-23 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

Eyes on Jesus

It’s been said that the eye is the lamp into our soul.  What we see, gaze upon, or linger on will mold our very nature and character.  In the same way, what we listen to shapes the way we think and behave.

Close to 15 years ago, I realized how listening to Sports Talk radio and watching Sports News was shaping my life – If I was to get on the path that God was drawing me to, I needed a change!  The negativity and sarcasm was so rampant that it had infiltrated my personality and very nature.  Sarcasm can still rear its ugly head in my life when I am not focusing on relationship with God and those around me.  It’s easy to see how sarcasm is killing intimacy in marriage and families all around us.

For me, I had to go cold turkey for an entire year – no sports talk radio or news.  God laid Romans 12:2 on my heart and showed me the way to beat the negativity and sarcasm out of my life.  He brought this Scripture to life for me: Do not conform to the patterns of this world (negativity and sarcasm for me) but be transformed (slowly into the image of His Son, Jesus) BY renewing your mind (focusing on the Truth of Scripture and not allowing Satan to bombard with his lies).  After that year, the desire for Sports Talk is no longer in me!

Do I still struggle with sarcasm?  Yes!  But now when I get caught up in it, God easily reminds me of the Scripture he laid deeply in my heart and I have a choice whether to continue in the behavior (which will damage the relationships I am engaged in) or take that thought captive and renew my mind on the Truth of Scripture (which strengthens my relationship with God as well as those around me).  I’ve found that even intermittent sarcasm wounds as much as consistent sarcasm.  We must build each other up, not tear each other down!

So what is your Sports Talk?  What do you see or hear that takes you in an undesirable (sinful) direction?  Gossip?  Porn?  Games?  Music?  TV?   Ask God to reveal to you your sin, and if He is too easy to ignore…ask your family!  Then seek out the Truth that God lays out in Scripture and dwell upon His Word as you renew your mind…your transformation from darkness to light will be apparent not only to you and to God, but those around you as well.  A wandering eye or mind is a breeding ground for sin…eagle-eye focus on Jesus is the cure!

 

This Heart

A thought has been driven into my soul today, even though God has placed this desire and calling in me for quite some time.  It’s not a new thought, but one that has been etched in my mind today as I have been going about my day. Here it is:

” I need to stop dying and start living!”

  How much time daily do I waste on things that just aren’t that important?  How often do I put things in me that are killing me: physically, emotionally and spiritually?  

 Anyone out there feel this way?

 Relationship – first with God, and then my wife, kids and those around me that He has blessed into my life – is the key to a fulfilled life in Christ! Our God is a relational God and He made us after His image!

  My prayer and earnest desire is this:

  God, grant me the will to only desire your life in me….to seek after you whole-heartedly in all I think, say, write and do!  Create a God-shaped heart in me and guide my path to fulfill all You ask of me…this is my one true desire!

“Sorry I am late; the traffic was horrible!”

“It wasn’t me, she did it!”

“I cannot tell a lie, I cut down the cherry tree.” (This is actually not true and was never uttered by Washington – it was a lie made up to show George Washington’s honesty…odd way to show his honesty, isn’t it?)

 

liar

         

Proverbs 12:22 – Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

If we often find ourselves saying things like, “to be honest with you”, we might want to check to see how “honest” we are truly being with others and ourselves!  Small deceptions give birth to larger ones that will destroy you and those around you!  And, calling them little white lies are just a way Satan tries to convince us they really aren’t that big a deal.

A kid grows up and is a really honest kid and then one day he tells a lie and gets caught by his parents or by a teacher.  That lie has now created a level of distrust and second guessing in whatever that child is saying, or possibly will say.  Here’s an even tougher one; a husband is trustworthy, works hard and spends time with his wife and kids. Then one day he gets caught lying about an affair he is having with a girl at his office.  Trust may have been built for decades up to that point, but that lie and deception has now driven a wedge between man and wife that has completely emptied her trust bank!  Yes being unfaithful is a sin; however, being dishonest to cover up one sin is just another layer of sin!  Confession may hurt but it leads to healing.  Lying always kills the relationship!

Bottom line, any type of lie is completely disgusting to a great and perfect God!  Why is that?  Because lies are the fastest way to destroy relationship!

Relationship was God’s idea from the very beginning!  Lying is Satan’s attempt to thwart the amazing gift of relationship that God invented!  As we strive to be more like Jesus in our everyday lives, let us build relationships as we love one-another and God, and resist the enemy’s attempt to break down the very nature of who God is…He, as well as we, are built for honest relationship!

As many of you know, my oldest daughter Kayla married her High School sweetheart, Andrew, this month.  As we were all making preparations for the celebration, I reminisced about the time spent with Kayla talking about faith and love, as well as praying together for that perfect someone to come into her life.   But as I looked back at how everything unfolded over the years, I discovered a huge truth that I’d like to share this month!

I have often prayed for and with my girls in regards to their future husbands, and still do as Haley and Chloe grow up, but I realized this past week a subtle shift I had made in that prayer that I hadn’t even fully realized.

Like many parents, we pray for our kids to find the “right” person for them.  I have prayed for someone to come into their life that would share their convictions and faith and would complement their personalities.  My hope is always that faith will drive all of their relationships.

Sounds good, right?  We all want our kids to find the right person and live happily ever after, whatever that means, right?

During the time Lisa and I have been raising our girls, we have always tried to instill in them a love for God and a love for people.  We’ve consistently taught that loving and serving others is a privilege that God desires for His people.  It is a natural progression in each of our faith journeys to first develop a love for God, and then develop a love for the things that He loves—people!  In the progression of discipleship, we not only love God and people, we serve them as we grow in our faith and put our actions where God’s heart is as He shapes our hearts!  That is not only true in each of us as mature followers of Christ, it is crucial that we teach this to our kids as we are raising them to be a generation that has the potential to change the world for Christ!

In this growing period, I realized that we had also been preparing our girls to BE the “right” person for the kind of guy that we hope they will all meet—you know, the “right” guy.  So my prayer for us all is that we will be parents and grandparents that will raise up a generation of young people that will not only seek to find the “right” one, but will become the “right” one that will be discovered in God’s time!  And for those who are single, vow today to become the “right” person so that when God shows you your “right” person, you will recognize one another by the fruits of your faith and love!  Romans 12:1 & 2 will guide you!

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Andy Stanley puts it this way—”Are you who the person you are looking for is looking for?”  For more discipleship from Andy on this topic, visit  this link:  “Love, Sex and Dating”.

 

Every year over the 4th of July, my family, as well as other families from Ovid & elsewhere, venture into the “wilderness” for a focused time of prayer, renewal, reflection and fun!  Family Camp at Miracle Camp is something I look forward to each year as the highlight of summer!

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             Getting away to camp, or anytime you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the busyness we bring upon ourselves, allows us to connect with God on a much deeper and less distracted level.  Jesus often modeled this when He would get away from the crowds to pray and rest.  If the Son of God got away for reflection, renewal and communion with the Father, why in the world would we think we could go through life without doing the same!  Jesus is the model we must follow as we continue to develop a biblical worldview and seek to love Him and others as Jesus always intended from His Church!

Luke 5:16 But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

Personally, I have a huge heart for Miracle Camp and how they reflect the love of God and are completely in tune with what the Holy Spirit is guiding through them.  I know people around me think I am a broken record, but everyone I know who has visited Miracle Camp for a Summer Camp, Family Camp, Marriage Retreat, Ice Camp, or the many other camp weeks they offer have come away with a love for Miracle Camp and a sense of awe in how God is guiding and directing everything they do and everything they are at the very core of their being!  Miracle Camp is one of my favorite places here on Earth!

So how about you?  Do you have a wilderness place where you can get away from all the distractions and really focus on our Creator—His love and goodness, His majesty and glory, His amazing grace?  I challenge you this week to find a place, schedule the time away to be alone with God as a family or as an individual (I need both) and let God speak to your heart as you pray and seek to make Him Lord of your entire life!

For more info on Miracle Camp and Retreat Center visit this LINK!


Have you ever heard the stories of someone pushing a person to safety from an oncoming car, or a dog that alerts his whole family to a raging fire in the home, both of which saved lives?  


The news stories (at least the good ones!) are riddled weekly with these “good news” stories of someone (even an animal in some cases) risking their safety or life to save someone else.  The reason these stories are so common is whenever they occur people cannot stop telling the stories of the amazing feat and the incredible compassion and love that someone showed for another person.  So why is that the same story, someone giving their life for the sake of yours and mine, is so hard to tell just because of the name of Jesus?

I have often heard the questions, “How do you know if someone is really growing in their faith?” or “How can you tell if someone is saved?”  The bottom line is this…growing people are changing.  People who are growing in their faith and in their relationship with Jesus Christ can no longer be the same as they have always been.  They don’t only grow in their knowledge of Jesus (head knowledge), they also are growing in their compassion (heart) for the things that God loves (lost and broken people).  Growing people cannot sit on the sidelines hoping someone else will step in and save the day.  Growing people are seeking God’s heart and are looking for opportunities to join Him in His mission to save the world!  Growing people are changing into the image of Christ!

There are really only three kinds of people:
  1. People who are far from God.  These are the people we come in contact every day and have an opportunity to build a relationship that will allow opportunities to share how Jesus saved us!  Romans 8:23 says this: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  2. People who have accepted Jesus’ incredible gift of Salvation and in their selfishness keep it for themselves as some sort of fire insurance, never growing or even seeking to grow.  These are people who are not changing and many would say they do not truly know Jesus at all!   They may attend their local church often, but are simply not interested in change.  Revelation 3:16 puts it this way; “So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.  It’s probably not a good thing to have God want to spit you out!
  3. People who are purposefully growing in their faith and seeking to make Jesus not only their Savior, but also Lord of every area of their life – 24/7/365!  Romans 10:9 says, ‘That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’ 

So the obvious question is this:  Who are you?  Or maybe more importantly, Whose are you?  Spend some time in prayer this week and earnestly seek to understand who you are on this list. 
  • If you are person number 1, I am praying for you!  I am here when you are ready to talk or ask questions!  God loves you and so do I! 
  • If you are person number 3, be encouraged!  You are changing the world and as you join Jesus in His mission to save the world, the world will be a better place and the Kingdom will be bursting at the seams!
  • If you are person number 2, my heart breaks for you, and so does God’s.  In one sense you may feel like heaven is in your grasp, but is it really?  That’s only between you and God.  I believe there will be many people missing in heaven who thought they were good enough or thought that salvation is a personal thing only.  My prayer for you is that you would accept Jesus as your Savior but not stop there…I pray you will make him Lord of every area of your life.  You cannot compartmentalize your life AND be a follower of Christ – God and sin do not mix!  He doesn’t want your Sunday devotion, He wants your every day, walking around devotion as you grow in your relationship with Him and are bold enough to share your life with others who need His saving grace and His Lordship over their lives!  Romans 12:1-2 from The Message Paraphrase says it like this: “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”  That type of devotion leads to an amazing life of joining Him in His mission to save and change the world!

Wherever you are in your journey of faith in Jesus Christ, always remember there is another step to take.  God is never done with us!  Whether we are very young, very old, or somewhere in between, God wants to work through each of us to save this lost and broken world!  His plan is never for us to coast into the Kingdom…and reading His word and knowing Him personally, I cannot see how anyone could live a life claiming Him as Savior but not giving Him their life in return.  Don’t waste your life on this world, give your life and service to God to not only change this world, but to build His Kingdom for eternity!  He is that good and He is so worth it!!

This question has been piercing my heart over the past few weeks:

Will the Word of God stop with me or spread through me?

With that thought in my mind, I feel compelled to do something about it!  It’s easy for me to post the stuff God puts on my heart so that others can choose either to read or ignore…there’s very little skin in the game in that manner.  But I am pretty sure that Jesus did not tell His followers (disciples) to go make disciples so they would post witty God thoughts or scriptures randomly in hopes that someone may read and choose to follow.  Nothing inherently wrong with that, but I don’t believe it should stop there. 

So…this is what I feel I must do with what God is placing in my heart for those of you I call friends and those of you that Facebook calls friends or Twitter calls followers.  I’d like to personally invite any of you who may not know Jesus to contact me and begin a dialogue.  Not so I can try to convince you of anything.  What I mean is that if you have a longing in your heart, are hurting, have questions, or are simply willing to investigate this man I love named Jesus, please contact me.  I am not looking to debate with anyone about other religions or even the existence of God to those who would call themselves atheists; there will be time for that some other day.  I am talking to those genuinely open and wanting to know why we even exist and how Jesus changed everything for you and me.  He is my Savior, My Lord and my Friend, and He can be yours as well!  Message me on Facebook (Rob Boyland) or Twitter (@rboyland), or email me at rboyland01@gmail.com.  If you don’t feel comfortable with me, please seek someone out who will talk with you about this incredible Savior!

For those of you who are believers in Jesus, who have made Him Savior and Lord of your lives, I have a challenge for you.  When you made Jesus your Savior, you also made Him Lord which means every area of your life must reflect who you are in Christ.  Compartmentalizing our lives into church life and secular life is not possible for those who truly claim Jesus as Savior and Lord.  Your marching orders from Jesus Himself are to make disciples.  You are a disciple, and every disciple must make disciples according to the words of Jesus.  That may mean you copy a portion of this message and post to your friends.  It may mean asking some questions to those in your circles.  It may mean helping someone out in need, even if that need is a listening ear.  Jesus said to Love God and Love Others…that means everyone, but especially those in your circle of influence and in your path everyday.  If you feel stuck or just want some practical thought about making disciples, go to Multiply Movement and download the video in the orange box.  It is kinda long, but it is crucial for those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus to step up and begin fulfilling His Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 to go make disciples!

Guys, I am not trying to twist arms or trick anyone into believing something they shouldn’t.  I am simply tired of living a life where I feel awkward in talking to people about Jesus and the amazing gift He gives to each of us in this…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us on the cross as THE FINAL penalty for death and rose victoriously from the dead three short days later as He conquered death once and for all! For everyone who believes in Him and calls upon His name will be saved and will spend eternity in Heaven!  The reason I share this is simply this – I want to spend eternity with each and every one of you and I would not be a true follower of Christ if I didn’t make an effort to share the good news of Jesus with everyone in my little world.  I love you and most importantly, Jesus loves you!