Re-Birthday

Today, we have much to celebrate. We celebrate today because Alex and Austin share a birthday… or maybe I should say… a “re-birthday.” On this day, three years ago, PR31 had the privilege of leading both boys in prayer as they accepted Jesus Christ as the Forgiver of their sins and the Master of their lives.

In Scripture, we find that Jesus called it being “born again,” and the idea stuck with His followers. Being made right with God and adopted into His family is a lot like having a whole new birthday.

So this day is written on our “Remember” board in sharpie. This day pops up in our photo memories on the phone. This day is for celebrating.

You see, that day in 2016 marked the change of their eternal destiny. Now, they are children of God, not just children of Allen and Angela. Now, they have a future full of joy and hope spent with their loving Creator. Now, they do not have to worry if they are not perfect, because they have a Savior who is, and He is sharing His perfection with them… just because they asked.

If you’re not right with God today, don’t let another moment go by. Do what Alex and Austin did on this day three years ago…

1) Admit you blow it and do wrong things sometimes.

2) Accept that Jesus was punished and executed in your place for those crimes you commit against God when you do wrong.

3) Ask God to forgive you for past wrongs and help prevent you from future wrongs.

4) Invite Him to be in charge of your life, guiding you… leading you… directing you.

Do that today, and guess what? You’ll share a re-birthday with Alex and Austin! And that, my friend, is something to celebrate!


P. S. – If you make that choice today, would you let me know so that I can tell Alex and Austin their choice helped someone else? It would mean a lot to all of us!

The Space Between The Bookends

With the upcoming release of my next book imminent within the next few weeks- as the Lord’s helps- I thought back to a time about a year and a half ago when I came home from a trip speaking somewhere to find a gift Angela had waiting for me. I pulled the tissue paper from the gift bag, peered inside, and pulled out the two dark, wooden L-shaped objects. She explained, “They’re bookends… for the books you will write and publish.”

We had heard that we should keep something in front of us to remind us of the dreams we are working toward, and she knew that I had hit a point in the process where I was beginning to wonder if I would ever get finished. So, she made me those two simple bookends to remind me that one day my books would sit between them.

A day before my birthday several months later, my author copy of my first book arrived, and- after flipping through it, taking some pictures, and basking in the glow of the completed project- I had a spiritual moment as I placed the completed dream in the space between the bookends.

At first, I kept the bookends tight up against either side of that first book, but then something happened. I remembered that I have other books in my heart. As I began to write what I thought would be my second book, I looked at the first book sitting in the space between the bookends and realized that I needed to scoot them apart to make room for more of the books I plan to write.

Interestingly, I hit writer’s block on that book, and moved on to the next book when I couldn’t seem to break through. All along, I stared at the space between the bookends, and I determined that I would fill it.

It took me a little longer than I had originally planned. I wanted to release the book this weekend. I have faced challenges and setbacks, but throughout the entire process, there has been that space between the bookends- no longer completely empty- which reminded me to stay at it so that my dream of filling it would actually become reality.

One day a decade from now, I plan to have at least ten books I have written sitting in what used to be an empty space between the bookends. And here’s what I know… God has given me the dream and desire to write, the ideas for the books, the mind to conceptualize thoughts, the resources I need to capture those thoughts in print, and the team I need to make each book its best.

But I have to do my part if I am going to honor Him and His blessings by writing those books. I have to actually sit at the desk and put my fingers on the keyboard. I have to do the work of writing if I am going to fill the space between the bookends.

I give thanks to God for helping me complete this most recent book. It makes the broader dream of being an author more of a reality. I give thanks to those who have helped me make my writing better. I give thanks to Angela for showing me the space between the bookends.

I don’t know what you’re dream is, but I hope you have some visual to help keep it in front of you. I hope you have someone cheering you on. (I believe in you, in case no one has told you that.) And I hope that you will take that with which God has blessed you, put it together with your hard work, and see your dream become reality!

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

What A Great Day!

I don’t know what it feels like to be strapped into the seat at the top of a rocket or space shuttle about to launch, but I feel like maybe what I’ve experienced today as I have wound down the last 24 hours toward the launch of my first book… a dream thirty plus years from inception to reality… might be close.

What started in my heart all those years ago, turned into passionate pursuit about a year ago. Blogging, writing, learning, researching, creating, building a team, testing, editing, re-writing… re-writing… re-writing, marketing, and more.

And today has been spent hanging out with friends and family who have been so sweet to cheer me on.  I feel like one of those astronauts walking out and waving to the crowd as I prepare to board the spaceship for the trip of a lifetime.  Now, in less than an hour, the countdown will hit zeroes, and this thing will take off… blasting me toward my celestial mission.

Special thanks to all those who have played a part in getting me to this point.  And special thanks to all those who will believe in me enough to buy the book.  And special thanks to all those who will leave reviews, recommend to friends, and share with their own team what they learn.

I don’t know if this is a big deal to most folks, but I know that I’m excited to share… to encourage… to help… to boost… to inspire someone else to grow into all they can be and go for their own dreams.

I know that God has set me up to enjoy this wonderful experience.  His Word says that haven’t seen, heard or even imagined all the good stuff He has planned for us!

So, I may have butterflies in my stomach, but I have anticipation in my mind and joy in my heart as I buckle in for this ride that I once thought was reserved only for others.  And oh, what a ride this is going to be… in T minus…

Never Let A Dream Die

I sat at the small, stained wooden desk in my bedroom, trying to fill the first page of the spiral notebook’s blue-lined paper with the initial chapter in my first book.  Stuck because of writer’s block and the sense that I had no business writing a book like that at that point in my life, I put the pen down, and closed the cardstock cover on my dream.

Today, the family joined me in the guest-room-turned-makeshift-writing-studio with video cameras capturing the moment as I sat at another small wooden desk and this time tapped the screen on the iPad to tell the publishing company to begin making my dream… which had been shelved for about thirty years… become reality.  And this Wednesday night at midnight in the Central Time Zone here in America, people will be able to participate in a dream that I had thought might never be.

Oh, it’s not the book I would have written thirty years ago.  In fact, it’s not the book I would have written five years ago. But it IS the first book I’ve completed and had published.  And so I continue to go on and on about this because I want those of you who read this blog to understand how big of a deal this is to me.

And I write about it because I want to put a shining example out there that says, “Hey, regardless of your age or stage in life… whether you think you have what it takes or not… whether you think anyone else will care or not… whether you have dropped the ball once or a thousand times… NEVER LET YOUR DREAM DIE!

This book is a victory in so many ways for me, and I want to be an encouragement to you that you can still accomplish your dreams.  If you’re still alive, then you need to know that God has not given up on you.  So don’t give up on yourself!

I’ve had to learn so much just to be able to do this.  And now I’m about to put this dream to the test in the real world.  But I am more excited than I can possibly explain on so many different levels.

I want you to experience this… this joy… this energizing lift… this sense of completing a quest… this anticipation of what could happen next!  This is the place I believe God wants us to live in… not in the mundane, but in the majestic. He designed us to walk out here in this place of trust and obedience so that we could enjoy life to the fullest.  In fact, in John 10:10, Jesus said that He came so that we would be able to “have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”  (Amplified Version)

That is exactly what this moment in my life feels like, and I want you to experience it in your own life.  Late Wednesday night into Thursday morning, as people begin to visit this site and buy this book, they’re going to be adding fuel to the fire of the dream that nearly died at a little wooden desk in the bedroom of a teenage boy thirty years ago, but was resurrected all these years later.

So, what’s your dream? And how long have you had it?  Are you going to let it die?  Or are you going to let a little spark from the fire of my dream land on the tinder of your own dream and begin to set it ablaze once more?  Oh, how I hope you allow it to spring to life once more and chase after it with all you have!  I know that would make God smile.  It would make me smile.  And take it from the guy grinning as he types these words, it’ll make you smile, too!

A Dream Come True

At least thirty years ago, the dream of writing a book was planted in my heart.  I started and quit multiple times.  And then the dream lay dormant for years.

Over the past year, I’ve spent somewhere in the general vicinity of at least 300-400 hours working on producing this dream… not to count the hours others have invested in helping turn the dream into reality.

Then today… that dream came true when the UPS man delivered my “author’s copy” of my debut book, I Got A “D” In Leadership: Anyone Can Lead.

To hold that copy in my hands was absolutely surreal.  I laughed…. I teared up… I even jumped up and down with the boys.

If you have a dream in your heart, don’t give up on it.  I believe the Lord smiles when we follow through on those ideas and dreams He places in our hearts.

I’ll be sharing more info about the book in the days to come, but for those who are interested, it will be available for purchase beginning the week of September 18-22.

Dream on!

Twenty-Two

Twenty-two years ago today, I heard PR31 say to me, “I do!” And each day since then, I have watched her live out that commitment to love me.  She is my dream girl.  I would choose her every day of the week and twice on Sundays for the rest of my life.

Proverbs 31, from whence I drew her nickname, says that the virtuous woman’s husband blesses her publicly.  And so today’s post is that… my public proclamation that God blessed me with an amazing wife to share life with… and twenty-two years later, I’m so glad He did!

Angela  is my best friend, as well as being my sweetheart.  She listens to and lifts me.  She cheers me on and challenges me.  She nurtures and nudges me.

She is a woman of God.  Her passionate pursuit of Him makes me want to love both Him and her even more.

She makes me a better man… a better daddy… a better son… a better brother… a better friend… a better preacher.  I wouldn’t be the man I am without her in my life.

Her beauty is not only skin deep, though she is indeed gorgeous to look at. (She doesn’t even need makeup or fancy clothes to look pretty.) She is considerate of others’ feelings.  She gives generously… regularly. 

Her talents are off the charts to me.  She is one of those people who can make any recipe taste great… make any Pinterest craft more personal and special… make any trip more fun.

And yet for all her creativity, her practical skills are second to none.  She is the budget queen… homeschool teacher par excellence to our boys… and able to use the riding mower.

I’d keep going, but you probably can’t handle anymore.  And I could write ad nauseum about my love for her.  And when she reads this, she’ll think it was over the top… because she is also a woman of genuine humility.  See? I can’t help myself when it comes to her.

So, today, I celebrate twenty-two years of committed love between us… and commit again to the same for the rest of my life.  There’s no one else I’d rather take the journey of life with.

Thanks for loving me, Angela!  I love you like crazy… and I always will!!!

200th Post: You’ve Been Set Up

Whether you realize it or not, you’ve been set up.  Someone has been laying out an intricate, detailed plan which directly affects you.

The good news is that it’s God.  The rest of the good news is that He loves you and it’s good things… things to benefit you… that He has been scheming.

Psalm 139:16 reads, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

Jeremiah 29:11 points out, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'”

And Ephesians 2:10 declares, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”

God is not sitting in Heaven figuring out how He can punish you. He is working all things together for your good (Romans 8:28).  He has created a plan to bless you… to help you… to prosper you… to propel you… to give you life to the fullest.

John— the disciple who was probably closer to Jesus relationally than any other on this planet— recorded Jesus’ words in John 10:10… “…My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

And that doesn’t end here. For those tho accept Jesus Christ for Who He is and what He has done on their behalf, that life extends beyond death into forever.

You see, you’ve been set up.

No, not by me.  Not in this blog. I’ve never pulled any punches with you or sucker-punched you.  I’ve written what I mean and meant what I’ve written.

But you’ve been set up by God to succeed… to thrive… to flourish… to make a difference in this world… to impact others… to create… to dream… and as a result to be drawn close to Him in love.

So why not stop and take a moment right to recognize Him and His amazing plan for you… to thank Him… to acknowledge that He got way out in front of you on this… to let Him know that you appreciate Him… and maybe even to ask what else His good plans for you involve?

If you’re gonna be set up, at least you’ve been set up by the Best!

Thanks to all of you who read this blog, whether it’s your first post to read or you’ve been here for all 200 so far!  The words of encouragement you’ve given are deeply appreciated.

I look forward to the next 200 posts! More encouragement… more motivation… more moments spent with us living up in an often down world.  See you here tomorrow!

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