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3 Pro Tips to Forgive like a Pro

3 Pro Tips to Forgive like a Pro

My son has had a great opportunity this year to play basketball on his middle school team. A few days ago, they asked if would do the voice overs for the 8th grade night festivities and I was happy to do so. I got a list from each student that had all the things they wanted the audience to know about them. I read out loud the names of their parents, their favorite basketball team and the best memories of the season. Each of them had listed their current goals in life and it was great to see the aspirations of these young men. I was not surprised to see that a majority of them wanted to play basketball in high school and college. Many wanted to take it to the next level and “go pro.” How great is the dream to find something that you love to do and become a professional at it?

As a follower of Jesus, we try to resonate the things that are close to the heart of God. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could “go pro” in our pursuit of God’s character? One of the things that is incredible about the character of God is His unfathomable capacity to forgive. It is absolutely unbelievable the depth of God’s love and compassion for us. Forgiveness is so close to the heart of God that we should desire its presence as a sign of a healthy relationship with Him.

Here are a few ways that we can begin to forgive like a pro:

Be Forgiven

Forgiveness always has a foundation. God’s forgiveness of our sin stands on Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross. Our ability to forgive comes from God’s forgiveness in our lives. I believe that true forgiveness is the result of God’s divine influence in and through us. Once we have fully experienced the forgiveness of God, we can then begin to express that forgiveness outward to others.

Be Forgetting

When someone does something wrong that affects us, we begin to focus a huge amount of mental energy to that event. How many imaginary conversations have you had in your mind with the person that has wronged you? How many times have you gone over all the things that you wished you had said? When we do this, we prevent ourselves from embracing the forgiveness that God wants to facilitate through us. Instead of dwelling in the land of wrongs, spend time focusing on real needs outside of ourselves. Once we have made the choice to forgive, we must begin to let go. Whenever the wrongs committed against you begin to dominate your mind, remember those outside of your circle of influence who are hurting and suffering. Take the time you would normally stew in negativity and spend it in prayer instead. Pray for those who are in need and for those who are hurting. By taking the focus off our problems and investing that time in prayer, we give space for God to work within us.

Be Forward Thinking

A lot of the things that I get upset over are so small in comparison to things of eternal value. Most of the time, I just need a change in perspective. What are the things that really matter? How can your act of forgiveness give someone a better picture of Christ’s love for them and for the world? Use this opportunity to demonstrate God’s character to those who only see Him through you.

Forgiveness starts with a choice. Is there someone you need to choose to forgive today?

How to Break Free from Bad Habits

How to Break Free from Bad Habits

You’ve come face to face with something that needs to change. It may be a sin that you know needs to be surgically removed from your life. It may be an action that continually hurts you or keeps you from moving forward. Whatever you are facing, you know that it can’t continue. You need a fresh start and you are ready to break free from the bad habits. Here are three steps to help you get started on your way to living in freedom.

Embrace Repentance

Repentance is a big concept that requires two things from us. First we must believe and admit that the action is wrong. Right and wrong are hard to express in our culture. It is very easy for us to justify our actions instead of embracing the fact that sometimes we do the wrong things. Once we have established that the action is wrong, then we can move to the next step. We must accept our portion of responsibility for the wrong. There may be other environmental or relational factors that have brought you to this place, but we need to look past these and embrace our piece of the responsibility. When we become accountable, we are no longer victims of all of these other factors. We are in a position to make a change.

Don’t Remove – Replace

A lot of times we think the best way to break free is to just stop the action or sin. Depending on how significant or influential this habit is in your life, it can leave a sizable hole. Then we stand at the edge of that hole and stare into it. Before long, you might find yourself falling right back in. Instead of just removing the behavior that you know is wrong, replace it with something that will strengthen you and your relationship to God. Fill the time that you have normally have spent on a toxic activity with something that will add value to you instead. Prayer, devotional time, serving others, and relationship building can be great alternatives to negative behavior.

Fully Rotate

The idea of repentance carries with it the concept of a 180 degree turn. It is important that when we move away from things that can hurt us, we move in a completely different direction. It doesn’t benefit us to replace one negative behavior with another. It’s about more than change; it’s about restoration. Choose activities that will empower you to accomplish God’s will in your life and then fully engage those activities.

How to Start a Great Year

How to Start a Great Year


No matter how good or bad last year was for you, I think we are all hoping, praying, and expecting this year to be greater. We may express that in different ways. Some make resolutions and set goals. Others seek out new ways of accomplishing lifelong dreams.

I believe that finding success in the coming year will not come from obtaining more things or advancing in certain areas of life. Instead, it will come from finding satisfaction and significance that is not connected to your circumstance. We are designed to resonate God’s goodness in our circles of influence and we find significance and purpose when we follow God’s blueprint for us. Here are 3 things that I know are true about you:

You are Designed

You are handcrafted by God. He has intentionally given you strengths and weaknesses that will enable you to actively engage in sharing His love with those who need it desperately. He gives you strengths to demonstrate His goodness. He gives you weaknesses so that you will be dependent on Him. You are a work of art created to be a connection point where the Divine meets the mundane.

You are Unique

There is no one else quite like you. God has individually crafted you for a purpose. You are not a random assortment of skills, abilities, and passions. As God has prepared you, He has prepared a place for you to make a difference and you are uniquely qualified to be a blazing light in that place.

God is Infinitely Creative

I am constantly amazed by the natural wonders we see. From an amazing sunset to the far reaches of the universe, we catch a glimpse of the creativity of our God. That same infinitely creative God pours His artistry into the creation of you. He is not bound by any limitations and in His limitless power, He designed you for this place and for this time.

All this creativity and design gives us significance and purpose. We were designed to be a catalyst for good. Look around you today. Where can you make a difference? What can you say or do that will build someone up or bring them closer to Christ? Be active in goodness and do something great for the Glory of God.

Essentials of Personal Growth

Essentials of Personal Growth

I love this season when we intentionally take some time to focus on just how much we have been blessed. I look around and I am astounded by the depth of God’s goodness to me. I love looking back and seeing how far God has brought us.

This highlights the importance of personal growth. Nothing is more discouraging than stagnation, looking back and seeing yourself spinning your wheels with no progress. When you see growth, however, you get energized to move forward with passion and persistence. If you aren’t seeing the kind of growth you would like to see in your life, here are some steps to help you get started:

Get a Plan

We plan in all areas of our lives from what we are going to eat for lunch tomorrow to what we are going to wear. You may be involved with planning meetings at work and then come home to discuss your family plans for the week. We plan for almost everything, but when it comes to personal growth, we just expect it to happen without much thought.

If you want to see some substantial growth, make a plan to grow. Think through what kinds of things will stretch you and give you greater knowledge and greater application then make time for those things in your schedule. Our time can disappear quickly, so make sure to carve out space for the things that are important.

Get Great Resources

We live in a great time for growth. Information is available to us from so many avenues. Find things that will provide the spark for your intentional growth. There is an infinitely deep well of blogs, podcasts, videos, books, and sermons to quench your desire to gain wisdom. Find some good sources and add them into your routine. Find people of wisdom who challenge you toward a greater faith and action.

Get Back Up

Even the best plans fall apart from time to time. Busyness creeps in and we miss some of our growth goals. When that happens, don’t let it defeat you. Get right back onto your plan. Don’t get set back by setbacks. Each time you get back up, you propel yourself forward. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, it matters how many times you get back up.


What are some ways you can invest in your personal growth?



Busyness is an epidemic. Our culture encourages us to push ourselves beyond healthy limits to overachieve. The problem is that as we are striving to achieve, we actually drive down our quality of life and miss some great things in our personal relationships. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in hard work. Working hard is good and I believe it is a way we praise God for the abilities He has given us. We need to give our best to the tasks we undertake, but we also need to set time for intentional refreshment. If we don’t get refreshment, we start to lose passion and endurance in life’s most significant areas. We need to develop habits that continually refresh us as we accomplish great things. Here are three habits to start developing this week:


Set aside some time each week for physical rest. Some people pride themselves on how many consecutive days they can work and brag about how much they get accomplished during that time. That is noble, but foolish. We are designed to require rest to function at our best. Getting a good night’s sleep each day is a great start, but we also need weekly refreshment. This is not only a benefit to you, it is also an acknowledgement to God’s design and plan for you. Do you trust that you will accomplish more if you give Him one day to rest and refresh?


In addition to physical rest, we also need to be refreshed in our spirit. This kind of refreshment only comes from time spent with God. Don’t neglect your personal time with God. Read His word for nourishment and talk with Him through prayer to align your heart to His. This is more than just a mental exercise, it is a growth experience as God take our small investment and produces His character traits in our lives.


There are so many negative messages consistently pushed at you. If we are not careful, we can begin to let those messages define the way we view the world around us. Once we begin to frame the conversation in negative terms, we have lost. Take some time to intentional refresh yourself mentally as well. Read blogs, listen to podcasts, and talk with wise people in your circle of influence. Saturate your mind with things that will enable growth. Choose a positive mindset and then feed that mindset. You will be encouraged by equipping your mind. This will enable you to make better choices and live more passionately about your purpose.

Develop habits now that continually refresh you as you work hard toward your God given goals.

Crafting a Better Lifestyle

Crafting a Better Lifestyle

Is there a fast track to success? I talk to a lot of people that would like to improve their situation in one way or another. They see an opportunity for growth in an area of their lives and they are looking for advice on how to get there. Commonly the questions revolve around how to overcome certain obstacles in order to get to the destination as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, these are the wrong questions. Success is just accomplishing a goal. The problem is that once we accomplish one goal, our brains move the goal posts and a new goal is formed. We will never find satisfaction in simply achieving “success.”

So how do we improve our lives and our situations?

I think in order to answer this, we need to start thinking like artists who are crafting our lives every moment of the day. To get more out of each day, think like a craftsman:

Craftsmen Enjoy the Process

When I lived in upstate New York, I had the opportunity to see some amazing craftsmen creating blown glass. It was so interesting to see them move the art from the fire and manipulate it and the repeat the process. Slowly a blob of raw materials became an incredible work of art. The finished work of a skilled craftsman is a beautiful thing.

Craftsman create because they enjoy the process of creating. They love the making of the art, just as much as the final product. If you want to find more success and enjoyment, you must find joy in the things that build your life. Things like Bible study and prayer are much more than a means to an end, they are the adventure itself. Dinner conversations can become much more meaningful when they are part of your craft. Every time you go to work and put your all into what you do, you are an artist. Find the joy in the process of becoming who God wants you to be and take pleasure in the things that form you.

Craftsmen create something of value

I love things that are hand crafted. Judging by the amount of DIY stuff on Pinterest, you do too. There is something great about creating something of worth. When deciding how to spend the limited amount of time you possess, choose things that create value. As you craft a better lifestyle, be wise and invest in things that really matter.

Craftsmen don’t take shortcuts

There is not a shortcut to a well-crafted life. It takes time and investment. If you take joy in the elements that create the kind of life you desire and continually do things that have value, there is no need for a quick route to the end. One day, you simply look back and see how far God has brought you and you give thanks.

Enjoy the creative process as you craft something valuable in your life.

2 Understandings to Grow Your Faith

2 Understandings to Grow Your Faith


I’ve never had anyone say to me “I wish I had just a little less faith.” The fact is that most of us, when we think about it, want to exercise more faith in our lives. I believe we would all like to see the kind of faith that drives our lives into greater significance and purpose. God makes some outrageous promises in His Word and then asks us to simply trust Him. Knowing that without faith it is impossible to please God makes it even more imperative that we progress in our journey. So how does it grow? How can we place more trust in God today than we ever have before? Here are two things that we must understand in order for us to see substantial progress in our faith journey:

Faith grows when we begin to understand God’s character

God is always good. When He guides and directs, it is always in our best interest. It is hard for us to step back and see things from that perspective, especially when our circumstances seem bleak.  The more we immerse ourselves in the character of God, the more we are able to trust Him in the big and the small. As we wrap our heads around the concepts of Holiness, Goodness, Patience, and Love, our faith begins to meet us within our context. Once our trust matures, we can then become bold in our actions and attempt great things for God.

Faith grows when we begin to understand God’s authority

God is the supreme authority and nothing is greater. Health issues, world politics, and even life and death are all subject to Him. Everything that comes your way has already been filtered through the authority, love, and compassion of God. He can take all things and make something good out of them. When you go through your toughest times, faith says that the best is yet to come. Trust God even when it doesn’t make sense. At some point you will see how He takes broken things and makes greatness from the pieces. He never loses control. He is always faithful.

Keep moving forward and let your faith blossom as you continue to understand God’s character and authority.

Making Sense of Tragedy

Making Sense of Tragedy


Finding the why in life is a vast undertaking. This is especially true in times of great tragedy. Yesterday afternoon we got word that a student in my children’s school district had passed away. An unknown sudden illness took control and in just a few weeks a healthy, vibrant teenager deteriorated into an unrecoverable state.

It was amazing to see the community rally together around this family. Rival schools and friends alike attended prayer vigils and fundraisers with an incredible show of support. Today, all of the schools in our area have donned our school colors as a tribute to this young man.

Late night conversations

Last night, after all the activities of the day had passed, I had a conversation with my son. He is several years younger than the student who passed and only knew him from a distance. He had heard the news and I wanted to be a support to him as he processed this loss. I asked him how he was feeling about what he had heard.

“Actually, I’m pretty angry about it.” he said. That was not the response I was expecting.

I asked him why and he said “I don’t understand. We did everything right. We got together and prayed for him. We did events and he still died.”

As a dad, these are the times where your heart breaks. I hurt when my kids hurt. The question of why was hanging over the whole situation. Why does God provide miraculous recovery for some, but not for others? Why does something so tragic happen to someone with so much potential?

I asked my son “why do you think bad things happen to good people?” He responded the way most of us do to that question – a very tentative “I don’t know.”

How can we make sense of it all?

I don’t have all the answers, but I talked to my son last night about perspective. We can’t make sense of all the hurt and pain that accompanies this life from our point of view. The only way we can have hope in the middle of the tragedy is to see our existence from an eternal perspective.

If this life is the best there is, then this is the saddest of days. I believe, however, that the bible gives us the hope that the best part of our existence is on the other side of this life and that we will spend far more of our existence on that side. We will feel the loss and the loss hurts, but there is hope In Christ.

This is my “Why”

This is why I continue to write and speak. This is the “why” that drives my life. I want others to know and experience the hope that Christ provides, the hope that death is not final, the hope that the best is yet to come.

What is your “why”? Live today like everything you do matters because it does. Do things that have eternal value and cherish every moment that you have.

3 Things Your Soul Desperately Needs

3 Things Your Soul Desperately Needs


Prayer is an amazing thing. Most people believe to some extent in the power of prayer but, as a follower of Christ, it is much more than just a cry out into the dark. The Bible shows us that prayer not a religious exercise, but a relational tool.  God desires to be connected to His kids and gave us the way for us to hear from Him (His Word) and for us to respond back to Him (through prayer.) I believe that we are intentionally designed with this relationship in mind so that we can only find true satisfaction in our connection to God. Our souls crave things that can only be produced in our lives by prayer. Here are 3 things that you soul desperately needs:


Have you ever spent so much time with someone that you begin to pick up their mannerisms and phrases? This happens as we spend time in prayer. As you pray, you enter into the presence of an infinite God. The more time you spend with Him, the more His character rubs off on you. It is during this time that our heart begin to become aligned with His heart. We begin to see the World through the lens of His love, mercy, and grace.


There are times in our lives where we have decisions to make that are not just the choice between bad and good. Hopefully, you have already resolved to choose good in that scenario every time. Sometimes, however, you have choices between two good things and you are trying to determine which direction to take. God gives His wisdom extravagantly. James tells us that when we don’t have the wisdom that we need, we must ask for it and God will supply. As my kids get older, their questions get tougher. I love it when they ask my opinion on something and I have something valuable to share with them from my experience. God interacts with us as a father with his children. He has all of the answers. He has valuable wisdom for our circumstances and He wants us to ask. God wants His kids to thrive, specifically in their relationship to Him.


Sometimes we look at our situations and there is nothing left for us to do. Sometimes circumstances are completely out of our control. The good news is that they are never out of God’s control. Prayer is a divine connection to an all-powerful God. There are times where He can intervene when no one else can. Because of this, there is always hope. For the follower of Christ, even death itself is full of hope. On the other side of this life is the prize – an eternity with the same God who loved you enough to provide an open door. So when it seems darkest in your life, prayer show us that daybreak is just on the horizon.

Reach out to God today. Make time for a conversation that has the potential to change you and the World.