Pushing Past the Blah

It’s a chore to make it through the final stretch of travelling, hosting, feeding, shopping, attending and celebrating all the traditions we cherish. When the smoke clears and the bills arrive… we can start to feel pretty “BLAH”. 

abiblicalmarriage.com

abiblicalmarriage.com

No doubt.

In the aftermath of it all, be sure to re-center your heart. Distractions, pressure and regret can push you down, suck the life right out.

Quick reminder from RTP for 2015, read the bible this year.

Start and keep going, look for life where it can be found. The adventure of life can be an amazing testimony of God’s faithfulness or a series of unexplained disasters, near tragedies and sleepless nights. God has more for you… for us!

It’s perspective we need, a fresh wind of life and hope. Truth has a way of blowing back the fog and erasing our ‘Blah” into something beautiful. 

Wanna be beautiful this year… ?

I thought so 🙂

Check out the Daily Audio Bible right now! Sign up here for FREE and hang on to your seat! God will speak and you will thrive !

HAPPY NEW YEAR ! 

Pastor B.

Just a touch is enough

I’m amazed at how much we parents have to endure. If anyone had told us how much difficulty and despair we would experience as a father or mother, pretty sure we would have seriously reconsidered if parenthood was right for us. Kind of like the conversation we would have with ourselves about marriage. If you knew how hard it would be…. etc.

Parents (MOTHERS) seem to soak up all of the pain and pressure our tweens and teens bring to us... like giant emotional sponges we gather up our loved ones into a warm embrace, seeking to dispel whatever funk has stolen their joy and happiness. We soothe and smooth, reassuring them every day as we remind them of God’s faithfulness to make all things right… and new.

But what about us?

Who makes our hurts and woes go away after a super long day on the treadmill of reality in our parenthood?

Is it Facebook, Cabernet or the Xanax hidden in our cabinets that brings us our comfort and relief ?  Maybe it’s a warm bath with a fantasy novel full of romantic men and women who live their lives with passion and destiny 🙂

No matter your coping method of choice, it’s obvious to any who have dared to do it… parenting a child all the way is tough going. We get tired, we get exhausted… we get empty.

ac21doj.org

ac21doj.org

Imagine becoming so desperate for some relief that you would do anything, meet anyone… go anywhere to get help. Imagine feeling that way for over a decade… then you hear of strange new Rabbi nearby. Someone who helps common people get well. Probably exaggerated stories of healings and miracles, but out of options…you go.

As you arrive, crowds seem to flow around and over him, but despite the chaos, you can sense the truth in Him. If I could just touch his robe… If I could just get close enough to touch him… I could get relief, I could find help!

And so we read of the woman in Mark 5 who did just that. She simply reached out and touched his garment, and “He” healed her. The power of faith memorialized for eternity in this simple act.

He” is Jesus… the Christ, the living son of God. His heart is unchanged and He stands ready and willing to heal your deepest pain and darkest day with just a touch. It changes everything!

Parents, when life get’s insane… take the time to touch your faith again!

It takes determination to get through the mental crowds that form in our heads… strangling life and choking out our hearts. But it’s time that must be invested if we are going to make this parenting journey from adolescence to adulthood intact.

I’m strongly encouraging you to find your way to a community of faith that intentionally seeks to refresh parents and wives. I DARE YOU to take the risk of embarrassment and register for a weekend of retreat… see if I’m right.

Let His touch remove your sadness, pressure and pain over a weekend of rest. Watch and be amazed as He replaces your fatigue with Peace and certainty and Hope.

Your family will thank you… and your time away won’t be wasted. I promise.

Pastor B.

References:

Mark 5 (Biblegateway.com) (ESV) verse 25 “For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well…”

Women’s Retreats: – Daily Audio Bible (Georgia)  / Mission Chattanooga (TN)

Answers…

Looking for… “Answers”?

Troubled by the deep – drawn out – delaying issues of life we want answers. We’re desperate for God or a Pastor or “someone” to give us a sign, a clear reply… our cries for help need a response to let us know we’re not all on our own. Such is the human condition of man, we’re all trapped between the restoration of our life as it was intended to be /and will become/ and the reality of a broken world we must live in. fear-of-being-sick

I want to send a ray of hope your way today.

Your not alone, this struggle of faith and purpose is an epic drama of life and finds a rich tapestry of context for us within the pages of the Bible. David, Job… Isaiah, Paul, Esther, Ruth… men and women of world-changing influence, all felt as we do. Isolated at times from God, alone and desperate for some “answers”.

Psalm 42: 9-11 (ESV)

“By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me,  a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning  because of the oppression of the enemy?” 10 As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” (Biblegateway.com)

Find the comfort and “ANSWERS” your craving in the Bible… ask God for answers in the words you read and then pause long enough to “listen” for Him. You may not hear an audible answer from on high, but you will begin to sense the presence of something extra in your day, a longer fuse for your emotional venting, a deeper concern for others… a peaceful acceptance of the next “big surprise” as life hustles by you.

lawstudentally.com

lawstudentally.com

Instead of ‘reacting” to the pull of the broken world you live in… a sense of direction will emerge, a growing confidence that God has something for us to do, a place to be and a vital task to complete. The answers will come in the daily doses of truth that flood our minds and hearts as we read and ingest the bible. The lives and testimonies of those who have lived and loved before us, will infuse us with hope and remind us that their/our faith was/is well placed.

I believe God answers our questions.

I also have come to understand that His ways are unique and precious, subtle and gentle as He won’t come to speak to us until we’re ready to listen to what He has to say. So when your ready… ask away.

Pastor B.

Resource Link: Daily Audio Bible – a FREE daily app for connecting with the Bible and a online community of faith.

Sluggish-ness in Prime Time!

Feeling a bit “sluggish’ today?

Don’t worry, me too. In fact, it seems the last few mornings I’ve been especially challenged by the alarm…digging deep to just get out of my really comfy, really warm bed. But the sluggish stuff I’m talking about today is a bit more nebulous… even cerebral in nature, it seems to come and settle into our hearts and minds and slowly rocks us into a mild hypnotic state. It leaves me feeling disconnected, and apathetic about lots of important things…

According to the FREE DICTIONARY; Sluggishness is…
1. Displaying little movement or activity; slow; inactive: a sluggish stream; sluggish growth.
2. Lacking alertness, vigor, or energy; inert or indolent.
3. Slow to perform or respond to stimulation.
Life seems to come at me so fast and so crazy at times, that my innate mental defense is to simply slow everything down and dull myself into a sense of nearly comatose consciousness. It helps me cope with the anxiety of a hundred problems a day and not enough time to solve them syndrome. ( i made that up) 
Some of the sluggishness can be simply the fatigue of physical exhaustion, but I think this is different. It feels like my psyche is trying to protect my brain from going into redline territory and my body is all too willing to simply cooperate.
I tend to drift away from important relationships and connections with my family and friends, from my community of faith and I start to look for ways to avoid social activities and talking with people. Then I feel like crud and my Christian guilt meter starts to blare a inner warning and I have to start to rationalize why I’m being such an introvert and that really does take too much energy, so I just watch TV or hide in my work… and remain SLUGGISH.
My tried and true treatment of choice is a three mile path at the local city park. Borrowing from my hip son’s iPod playlist – mixed with some of my own classic Switchfoot and Coldplay albums… I’m in my Addidas and out the door, at 43, I’ve learned that stretching before walking, jogging or any exercise is essential and before I know it… I’m starting to loosen up, muscles to my mind. I even enjoy the sweat and the leg cramping  as I breath deep from the fresh air while blowing out my mental cobwebs with some seriously good music! My 3 mile moment to reflect seems to do a functional “reset” of my mind and body…all in about 45 minutes.
It helps reorient my body and mind into a fragile friendship once again and the sluggishness fades away… combining exercise with a podcast or two of the daily audio bible (or equally spiritually nourishing content) and I’m rapidly loosing my spiritual apathy as well as my emotionally “empty” status. Nothing works like scripture to put my mind, body and spirit into balance and…then I’m ready to look at my life”head-on” again.

As parents, we can’t afford to allow ourselves to dive too deep into the distractions of personal reflection and pity, we have to be careful that we don’t picture ourselves as “victims” and mourn daily over our unappreciated sacrifices. We can’t linger on the pain of our 15 hour work days and often thankless kids or spouses.
We are Parents, the protectors of our families and the real – life, making a huge difference mentors to our kids. Our lives will slow down after they move out, but for now… we’re in “Prime time” and we can’t pull back too long or too far to just “recharge”, we have to develop strategies to keep ourselves fresh and focused and spiritually alert to the issues and demands of our lives.
Bottom line, we all need find out what works the best for our own personal “reset“, and then do it regularly to blow out our cobwebs and get ourselves back up,  moving… and out there!
Our families are counting on us !
Love ya,
Pastor B.

Solutions to new years resolutions…

Gotta loose 20 pounds. No more ordering French fries, No more Diet Cokes, No cigars – No cigarettes, No sugar, No nachos, No shopping, No new cars, No new credit cards, No more non-essential commitments. These are ALL past New Years resolutions I’ve made and some I’ve kept.

What about you?

So many things to improve on this year, so many habits to change and behaviors to modify… so many in fact that it can seem overwhelming to just pick “ONE”. I’m tired of that old guilt game… it’s probably more important to take this natural – “first of the year” moment of personal introspection to a different level.

How about my spiritual development, my personal growth as a man or woman of faith?

Do I consider what needs to shift or change in that part of my life? Not immediately, in fact not really until I’m faced with a trial or serious situation beyond my ability to reason out. Then I need God and then I react by starting to “bargain” with Him for some favor in the circumstance. Wouldn’t it better to have His help along the way, to walk with Him and not find myself in a panic every few weeks, rushing around to find my bible and beg Him to make a miraculous appearance…when my life gets out of control ?

This year I’m going to focus on my Faith resolutions, and trust that when my personal spiritual growth occurs…the solution to my other resolutions will suddenly be revealed.

So… 2013 is here and these are my new resolutions;

1- To spend more time with my wife in prayer.

2- To begin and end my day with scripture

3- To focus on “Love” and not “Fear” in my family and life choices.

That’s it. My big 3. If by December, I’ve successfully improved on all three of these…I’m almost sure that the other resolutions will all be past history for me. Something tells me that if I’m all about being centered in the word of God and intentional to stay in unity with my wife, then most of my own personal stuff will soon follow.

rawrebecca.wordpress.com

rawrebecca.wordpress.com

The bible says it this way… I Timothy 4:6-10 (Message – from Biblegateway.com)

6-10 You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching. Now pass on this counsel to the followers of Jesus there, and you’ll be a good servant of Jesus. Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart. This is why we’ve thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers.

So, before you buy “another” gym membership or $200.00 exercise outfit… maybe consider investing in a one – year bible or subscribing to a online aid like “The Daily Audio Bible” for free!  This would be something your whole family might appreciate in the long run… and provide us all with some peaceful and profound changes in our lives in the weeks and months ahead.

Happy New Year RTP!

Pastor Brad.

Closing thoughts on 2012.

An entire year gone…. just like that.

I remember getting ready for 2012. So much uncertainty, an election year… Mayan Doomsday predictions, economic clouds and fears of recession. Jessica getting ready to graduate from High School…. all just poised to come crashing down on me.

Funny thing, now that I think about the specifics…it all worked out just fine. Great in fact!

Seems that there was indeed a path for us to walk together through all of that uncertainty. Each week and each day we got up and put our pants on just like any other, struggled to be good and faithful parents, spouses and friends. Made some good choices and bad, but moved forward because we had no other option. FE_DA_NewYear2013_122012_425425x283

2013 is going to be much the same. Lots of unknowns, lots of new things to discover and learn. The question is always the same… are we going to give it a “Go” by ourselves or live life along with others? Will we pick up ALL of the burdens as solo acts or will we allow GOD and others to step in and walk with us through the struggles and triumphs of the coming year?

My prayer is for you to remember the goodness of God in the coming year. To trust in the provision and peace that God promises to us and to live each day with others. Not isolated and alone, but risking the struggle to live out our faith along side like minded parents and friends as a family of faith.

2013 is brand new, unspoiled and fresh. Don’t live in the fear of what can or might go wrong, but embrace it as an opportunity to find out what will go right.

Living vs. Surviving…. one is an adventure full of exhilarating peaks and valleys…the other is a dreaded, tragic and overwhelming daily slog. Including God in the day to day gives us the fresh insights and perspective we need to see the adventure when all of our circumstances scream “crisis”.

Recognize this New Year as the perfect chance to experience God afresh. Get in the sacred scriptures, read the words of life. Watch yourself as it changes you from the inside out… and watch as your family begins to grow…one day at a time. I promise if you make the effort, it will be worth it.

Daily Audio Bible  (Brian Hardin) is the best place to start your new 2013-  A FREE and daily service, it provides you with the chance to read or listen your way through the entire bible in one year. DAB Not alone, but in a community of faith. It will let you get as involved as you want, or stay as far back from Christians as you need to. It’s a no – pressure, no hassle way to engage your faith and dig a little deeper into God’s word in 2013.

No way I would try to navigate the next 12 months on my own. I’m done with attempting to survive life with only personal opinions and instincts to guide me… I’m trusting 2013 to a much higher power 🙂

Happy New Year RTP!

Pastor B.

When you want to give up on your marriage…

Families are designed by God with two parents. The essential traits of men and women combine to form a fantastic set of skills and sensitivities perfectly suited to raise children into mature and well-adjusted adults.

Why then is it so hard and becoming so rare for two adults to get married and successfully raise their children without the tragedy of a divorce before they are done?

safianmediation.com

Current statistics hover around a fifty (50%) divorce rate in US households. (Source – CDC Faststats) That’s half of all marriages not surviving the challenges and temptations of life long enough to keep a traditional family intact. Pastors and therapists will tell you their offices are full of the broken pieces that remain of a family when one spouse simply walks away.

As I type out this blog I am considering soberly that some reading this are seriously considering giving up on your marriage. Before you do, PLEASE consider five things…

1- Love is NOT just a feeling. It’s an act of Faith.  I Corinthians chapter 13 is the definitive text on love and it includes not a single mention of love being an emotion or feeling, instead it’s chalk full of actions & behaviors that expresses love to another, and in doing so kindles anew the “feelings” that drew you initially.

2- The commitment that you made to join yourself to another before God is one that He takes seriously. It’s a Covenant. This is not a light or trivial thing to God, He requires us to honor Him in the relationship that is bound by the covenant. That means, walking away from a marriage for reasons other than infidelity or abuse become pretty weak in the light Biblical illumination.

3- Your family will suffer more after a divorce. Period. Breaking up a cohesive mother-father parenting team will impact the future growth and maturity of your kids, not to mention increasing the risk of lifelong scars of guilt, shame and anger that can cripple their adult relationships.

4- There is a devil. He hates you, and he hates the image of marriage and commitment and lasting love. He hates what it represents and he is determined to destroy your home, your kids and your life. Don’t under-estimate his tenacity and cunning to provide every kind of counterfeit and beautiful distraction possible. Don’t try to fight this with the strength of will alone. It takes a Faith community to get through the tough spots.

5- Singleness is not usually much of  a relief, in fact it’s harder. Just ask any single parent…. If there is ANY chance of recovering your marriage, ANY possible way to go back. GO! It’s so much harder to recover what’s lost than to rebuild what you have. (This is NOT true for those trapped in an abusive marriage)

So don’t be deceived, walking away from your marriage because you feel like things are somehow different, that you’ve changed, you don’t love him-her anymore isn’t the simple solution you may be hoping for. Those feelings may all seem valid currently, but are certainly not wise actions to consider in the heat of the moment.

For single parents who have already sustained the loss of a spouse, you know what I’m trying to say here. The burden and the pain of trying to raise your children alone is…. well, inexpressible. The church is rife with single parent homes that are in constant crisis and stress and our public schools and courts are jammed with the legal debris of the custody and alimony battles they host. (Soloparent.TV is an encouraging and free resource for single parents struggling to figure it out)

all-about-motherhood.com

Take a breath….

Pull back your emotions a bit and ask God if it’s time to see a counselor,  a trusted Pastor or a Priest. Share with a professional of your feelings and ask for their help in putting those in their proper perspective. There are certainly serious issues that can occur in marriage that may require a divorce or separation, but many- many -many divorces are simply escape mechanisms. We try to retreat from the difficult and often overwhelming sense of failed expectations, broken dreams and the sense of unresolved isolation – frustration that can come from sharing your life day in and out with the same person.

Jesus will be your only salvation. Literally.

Spending time with your savior daily is the first and best advice I can offer. Putting Him first will allow you to start to recover and restore your love for a spouse who may not be lovely to you right now. Hang tough, don’t surrender.

Please take the time to spend with God before you give up. Read the bible, (Link is to a Free daily Podcast) Pray…do it every day for 10-15 minutes for thirty consecutive days. I’ll guarantee you a huge shift will occur in your perspective and in your attitude. He cares, He can soothe your pain and He can touch the part of your heart that no one else can.

How do I know all of this?

Simple… He did it for me and He will do if for you, but only IF you’re willing to make the greatest leap of faith you’ve ever made. Trust God to change your spouse and in that process…don’t be shocked if the biggest change occurs in YOU.

Peace out,

RTP.

PS – for those who need to vent or get unbiased advice… bam567@msn.com for Pastor Brad.