Who are You Thankful For?

Who are You Thankful For?

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.
Romans 1:8

I have been thinking a lot lately about the people who have influenced me the most. When I was a senior in high school, our youth group had a big rally one Friday and brought in a guest speaker for the event. I can remember meeting with a group of my friends, our youth pastor, and the guest to pray the night before the rally. I was overwhelmed by the compassion of the guest speaker for the students who would be sitting in those same seats the next night. We prayed until well after midnight and as a young man, this left an incredible impression on me. Our preparation was much more than organizational, it was spiritual.

I am thankful for moments like these when true discipleship took place. I saw faith in action. When I look back on my life, I see this happening time and time again. God keeps putting people in my life to continually point me toward Him. I am humbled to think that I am this person for someone else.

If you are struggling today, look around and see who God has placed in your life to encourage your faith. Spend a few moments to thank God for these incredible people. These friends, mentors, and moments of discipleship are equipping us for the plan and purpose that God has for us.

God continues to bring people alongside to stoke the fires of faith. Recently, I have had a group of five men that meet at my house every week. These guys are “all in” and the depth of their faith inspires me. I am praying and thanking God for them today. They add so much to this journey and I am blessed.

I am also praying for you. My prayer is that God will continually bless you with the kind of people that strengthen your faith and encourage you to press on.

Take a minute and forward this to someone you are thankful for.

Be the One That Brightens the Day

Be the One That Brightens the Day

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – I Thess 5:11

Do you want to live and work in an environment that encourages you to be the best that you can be? I’m talking about the kind of place that builds you up and enables you to reach incredible heights of achievement in the plan that God has for you. This is the kind of place that picks you up when you are down and celebrates without jealousy when you are up.

I think that most of us want to find ourselves in this kind of atmosphere. A majority of the people you interact with today desire the same kind of encouragement. Sadly, many do not experience this. Instead, they battle through adverse and sometimes harmful circumstances just to make it through the day. While many factors can add to an adverse situation, the most substantial by far is the relationships within that context. Negative people doing negative things create an exceptionally negative place.

You have the power to make a difference. You may not be able to overturn your environment in a day, but you can be the one who brightens the day of someone who desperately needs encouragement. Impact the lives of the people who cross your path. Choose to be a difference maker. Choose to be an encourager. Here are a couple steps to get started:

Eliminate negative talk

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. – Eph 4:29

Your words can build up or tear down. How will you choose to use them? Practice handing out compliments and being pleasant in word and tone. Filter out jealousy, gossip, and backbiting and focus on build up those around you.

Engage with a Positive Attitude

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  – I Cor 10:31

Seek to look for the good first. God is always at work, so even in the midst of troubling times, we can have faith that something good in on the horizon. Keep the focus on God’s plan for your life and don’t let external circumstances control your emotions. Once your attitude is secure in God’s love for you, then reach out and engage others.

Encourage in the area of Strength

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,  – Rom 12:4

We all have strengths and weaknesses. We all need each other. It is easy to criticize someone for the areas in which they are weak. Instead, become intentional about pointing to the strengths they possess. Show gratitude for what they contribute. Encourage others when they use their strengths appropriately and show your trust in them to continue to use those strengths.

Like a flashlight in the dark, be the one that brightens someone’s day.

Devotional Poem: My Great Savior

Devotional Poem: My Great Savior

Eloquence abandons me
As I try to describe
This implausible, inconceivable
Change in my life
I once was dead
But now I am alive
Given victory over struggle
Set free to thrive

But it is not about me
I am just a beacon
To point to the source
That deserves my devotion
I needed a Savior
Evil had me undone
Jesus came to my rescue
Restored what was broken

He’s the great Author
And He’s changing my story
He’s the source of love
And He wields it fiercely
He’s the dispenser of grace
And He gives it freely
I give all to Him
Because He is worthy

He doesn’t stop here
This grace is contagious
He transforms our lives
And makes us  His agents
Of good deeds and love
Mercy and kindness
Sends us out to the world
To reflect His brightness



There is astonishing potential
In the freshness of a new day
Will we choose to capture it
Or choose instead to stay
In places where we have always been
Becoming a creature of coziness
Willing to resist the appeal of the call
Than confront any risk of roughness

What if, instead, we launched out
Vaulting over the fear
Awakened to the glaring truth
Of just how exceedingly near
Our God is to us
Initiate a developing trust
Embracing the possibilities of what He can do
With a willing pile of dust

My plans seem so small in comparison
To His eternal perspective
I find my greatest significance
When my life becomes reflective
Of His glory and grace
So that others see His face
Leaving comfortable behind, His best ahead
I find my ultimate joy in the chase

It Will Get Better

It Will Get Better


It will get better

The pain may be extraordinary

The road may seem endless

The darkness may be too oppressive to bear

But I know it will get better


It’s easy to say things like that

When on the outside looking in

It’s harder to embrace that truth

As you freefall endlessly in a tailspin

But I know it will get better


People try to comfort you

With a word or with a verse

Leaving you wondering

If you are the only one who really understands the hurt

Yet I know it will get better


“All things work together for good”

And that’s more than a nice quote to put you at ease

It’s something much more substantial

Than any motivation you might receive


This is a promise from an Invincible God

The God that can make stars out of words

The God that can make physics bend and break to His will

The God that performs miracles because nature itself can’t box Him in

That God is at work right now


He never stops, He never sleeps, He never forgets

He is relentless

We may not always see Him

But He is always about His business


And He takes all the broken

He takes all the abandoned

He takes every moment

And with an Artist’s hand

Weaves it all together to create… good


You see, I know it will get better

Because God loves us too much to leave us where He found us

2 Rules of Influence

2 Rules of Influence


In Acts chapter 16 we find a story of unbelievable influence. The Apostle Paul and Silas boldly broadcasted the incredible message of the gospel throughout the streets of Philippi. As they ministered, they met a young slave girl who was dominated by darkness, possessed by a malicious spirit. Paul sets this girl free from oppression in an amazing display of God’s ultimate authority and power over all creation.

This does not make her owners happy. Her oppression was their profit. The malicious spirit told fortunes and people paid to hear their future from this foul influence. Now their income had been severed. Now Paul and Silas had become an unwanted nuisance.

They are beaten severely and thrown into the inner parts of the dungeon. This is the part of the story that amazes me. They have only been in the prison for hours and yet Paul and Silas have a profound impact on those around them.

As they sit bloodied, bruised, and chained they praise God. God responds in a supernatural fashion. The earth itself shakes as if in percussion to their worship. This was not a normal earthquake. Every door was opened and every chain fell off.

All the prisoners were free, not one left behind. This is the part where everyone runs and become free men once again. Except no one flees. Each one stays his ground as if the jail were still closed up tight.

Surely some of these men were guilty and deserved the punishment they had received. Given the opportunity to escape justice and continue living the same lifestyle, why would they stay? In just a few hours, Paul and Silas had such an impact that they all followed their lead and remained in the midst of the dungeon no longer by compulsion but now by choice.

God’s plan was to change the jailer’s eternity and that started with saving his life. If even one of those men had fled, the jailer would have paid the price. Instead surrounded by a group of wrongdoers, reprobates, and prisoners he asks “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Influence is a powerful thing. How do we have the kind of influence that resonates through eternity?

2 Rules of Influence

Rule #1 We All Have Influence

No matter where you find yourself on the org chart or in your social circles, you have influence. It may be great or small, but anytime we interact with others we gain the ability to affect their lives.

The power of your words and the inspiration of your actions will have an effect on those you spend time with. We know this from experience. How many habits or phrases have you picked up from people close to you?

The question is not if we are influencers. The question is what kind of influencers do we want to become.

Rule #2 You Can Influence how you Influence

The good news is that you have the ability to choose the type of influence you will have. We have all been in situations where we have no control of the outcome; where it feels like all the power has been taken out of our hands. Even in the midst of tough situations we never lose our capacity to impact others. Paul and Silas had no control over their environment or the actions of others in their situation. It was their response that made the difference. Their influence peaked in how they reacted to the dungeon.

Maximizing Your Influence

Start from the Right Place

Influence is infinitely more effective when your motivation comes from something bigger than yourself. People do not respond well to selfish ambition, instead, Paul and Silas had a righteous motivation. They possessed a confidence in God and in His plan for their lives. It was during their prayer and praise that the other prisoners were listening.

As you continue to practically exercise your faith, people will listen. Godly influence begins in your heart with a real love for God and a confidence in His plan for you.

Challenge Assumptions

The jailer assumed that the prisoners had done what anyone else would have done and fled. He was unaware that Paul and Silas had a higher calling. Don’t let culture or circumstance dictate your actions. Instead of asking what normal people would do in this situation, ask what God would have you do. Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and respond.

Because Paul and Silas stayed, the other prisoners stayed and the jailer’s life was changed forever. The story doesn’t end there. The jailer takes Paul and Silas home and his entire household hears the message of God’s love and their story is changed as well. We may never see how far out our actions reach but God takes little and makes much out of it.

Be encouraged today to keep doing what is right, people are listening.