Men and Friendships

Today’s a new day! Hello men. This post is for us. I want to get real about friendships. Based on my own experience and talking with other men, we are mostly failing in the area of friendship. Most men I have talked to share they have many surface friendships, but lack deep meaningful friendships. Can any other men relate?

I personally want to have intentional friendships that have meaning and depth. It appears so many men are happy with surface friendships. They fear deep intimate friendships. The casual version of friendship is sadly repeated over and over again and not just with guys outside the church. Men in the church are not doing much better. From my own observation, most men lack true friendships and happily settle for less. We use phrases like he’s my buddy or bro. These are not bad relationships, but just other men who do not understand the importance of having intentional friendships.

I could go into deep reasons why so many men lack deep friendships with other men, but so many of them are just excuses. Most of the time it comes down to laziness. Men like to use the excuse of being too busy. But that doesn’t fly. Go check with your wife or girlfriend. Their schedules are just as busy if not busier than yours, but they still find time for deep and meaningful friendships. As men we settle for less because we do not want to put in the time and effort.

Where are your friends that you can lean on and that can lean on you? Can you pray with them? Can you talk about real life with them? Your failures and successes. Over the years, I have observed too many men are scared to share their wounds, emotions, or real life issues with other men. The best example of a man we have is Jesus. He cried, he got angry, he had a tender heart. He chose to invest in real relationships with 12 other men. He dared to hold those men accountable. To walk through life together. The good and bad. To serve together. Do you have those type of men in your life? We all need men we can challenge and men who will challenge us to be better men. We need to be intentional in our friendships with other men.

So I want to encourage you and myself to do the following:

*Chose to take a risk and open up to some of the men in your life. See what happens. Jesus was not afraid to be vulnerable.

*Chose to be a better friend. Start to be intentional and sacrificial for other men. Asked the tough questions. Listen without interrupting or trying to fix the problem. Share your hopes, failures and dreams. Pray together.

*Chose to pray that God places Godly men into your life, then be on the lookout for them.

Notice how Jesus chose to be open and honest with the disciples. He chose to serve them and together serve others. Jesus chose to be intentional with these 12 men. Are we willing to do that with the men in our lives? It might not be easy, but I promise it will be life changing if we choose to put in the time and effort. No more excuses men. ~OC

Keep Moving Forward

Today’s a new day! God has wonderful plan for each of our lives. Unfortunately, we sometimes allow fear to hold us back from our God given purpose in life. God wants us to confidently walk forward and trust him.

As we walk out God’s purpose for our lives, we have an enemy that wants to steal, kill and destroy that plan. As we are walking out God’s plan, the enemy will try to creep inside and put doubt and fear in our hearts. The enemy wants to stop us in our tracks. To stop our momentum.

The enemy loves to use doubt and fear, to prevent us from pursuing our dreams and purpose in live. He wants us to be paralyzed by our current situation. All it takes is us focusing on the negatives instead of keeping our focus on God’s plan.

It’s too hard. What if I fail? Could this possibly be God’s plan for my life? I can’t do this. Sound familiar?

During our journey, we will all face these moments. Times we have to push through all the questions, doubts and challenges. To move forward in spite of our fears. If we wait for that gnawing fear to disappear, we will allow ourselves to become overwhelmed by the moment. We will stop moving forward. During those fear induced moments, we must keep moving forward. Do not let the enemy get the victory.

During the uncertain seasons of life, we need to trust God. Sometimes that happens one step at a time. God can use the trials of life to help us overcome our fears and experience victory and freedom through him. No backing down. No retreat. Keep moving forward. ~OC

Power of Hope

When we wake up and are still facing the storms of life, we need to reach up to God and grab onto the hand of hope. The bigger the waves, the worries and troubles, the more the stage is set for God to move mightily in calming the waves. God cares about our storms.

One of the lessons God wants to teach us during the storms of life, is to fully trust in Him and not lose hope. Hope is a life changing word. No matter how many tears have filled the boat, how many prayers seemingly unanswered, or how fear grips us there is hope. We can cling into that hope during the worst storms. God will always be by our side as the crashing waves try to take us out. Plant your feet in the beautiful hope of God. ~OC

Skydiving

In September of 2007, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I thought to myself I needed to mark this moment. So what should I do? I had always wanted to go skydiving. Why would anyone want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane? I got that question a lot. But I always thought it would be a great experience. So, after my Parkinson’s diagnosis, I decided I was going to jump out of a perfectly good plane. On a cool November morning, I filled out some paperwork, watched a video and prepared myself to jump out of a perfectly fine airplane. I was doing fine until I got on the plane and started getting further away from land. I started thinking is this really a good idea? Could I really jump out of a plane? I thought to myself I survived cancer, major surgery, a new diagnosis of Parkinson’s and countless hospital visits. Should I really be jumping out of a plane? I knew this was only fear trying to keep me from this incredible experience. I knew I would regret it if I tapped out and stayed on the plane. No, I was not going to allow fear to keep me from this opportunity. So at 14,000 feet up in the air, strapped to my instructor I decided to jump out. Before we jumped out, the instructor asked if I wanted to just jump out or did I want to do some flips on the way down? If I was going to do this, I was going to do some flips on the way down. What a fantastic view and experience. I loved every minute of this adventure. We landed safely and my wife had a big smile on her face. I think there was some relief mixed in with that smile. Embrace the adventures! ~OC

Wake Up Church

Today’s a new day. If you truly want to find out what a church believes, you do not even need to attend the church. Just check out the social media pages of some pastors and their spouses. As I have scrolled through my social media pages, I have been saddened to see so many pastors and their spouses more concerned about politics than the gospel. So concerned about their political views, they are willing to attack other believers who do not think like/act like/speak like they do. Evangelicals need a wake up call, need to become more compassionate and humble, focused on the gospel. Believers and churches need to stop getting caught up in out right lies and conspiracy theories. Faith community, you can fill every public office with a conservative right-wing candidate and this nation will still be a mess, because the only hope is Jesus. It’s about a heart change, not a Republican, Democrat or Independent change. Wake Up Church. Jesus is love, grace and forgiveness. ~OC

Storms

Living in Florida means we deal with a lot of storms. In the summer it can be sunny out, but around 3 or 4 o’clock a storm can come out of nowhere. Some days it can be raining hard in the front yard, but sunny in the backyard. Of course then there’s the hurricanes. Some hurricanes move quickly through, while others just stall over us.

On this crazy beautiful journey called life, we will face many different storms. Sometimes there will be a light rain that comes and goes in a minute.
Then there are storms that blow in, causing havoc for everyone and everything in its path.

We don’t like walking through the storms of life. Who does? We love the sunny beach weather. But unfortunately that is not the world we live in. We will all walk through a storm or two during this life. We will all face days of blowing winds and flooding waters. Stop for a minute and sit still. In that minute, I am sure you can think of one person who is currently walking through a storm. The storms of life are hitting them from every side. Maybe that person is you. I often hear pastors share we are either walking in a storm, just coming out of a storm or about to walk through a storm. How true. If you are currently walking through a storm, I encourage you to take hold of the strong hand of God. He will lift you up as you face the raging seas.

When we walk through a storm, that doesn’t mean God doesn’t love us or isn’t listening to our prayers. On the contrary, the scriptures tell us in this life we will all face trouble. We like to skip over that part because it isn’t very comforting or encouraging. But that doesn’t change the fact that we will all face troubles in life. When we walk through a storm we can take heart because God has overcome this world. That means He will never leave or forsake us. That should bring peace and comfort to everyone.

I have walked through many storms in my life. I have come to learn these storms have a purpose. That may not always be clear as we are walking through the storm. But if we will take the time to listen, God will reveal the lessons he has for us as we walk through a raging storm. I have learned God never wastes a storm. God can use a storm to show us the purpose for our lives or to reconnect us to our true purpose in life.

Hopefully this will bring you peace as you walk through your storm. Especially if you have walked through this storm for many years. You have been praying and crying out to God, but it appears he is not listening. Believe me I have been there. I’ve walked through a stormy season in life that lasted for almost 18 years. I was hit with one storm after another. So I get it my friend. Life can be hard. But in the mist of my storm, I saw God grow my faith in a life changing way. God allowed me to share the gospel with many as I walked the halls of the hospital or during my weekly treatments and doctor appointments. During the storm, God reminded me that my worth and value are not tied to my career, success or what I achieve in life. No, my value and worth are found in being a child of God. In being chosen by him, called by him, and equipped by him for a purpose.
Sometimes our lives are rocked by the storms of life, so that we can rebuild on a better foundation. On the firm foundation of God. ~OC

Hello Todd

Some nights, I wanna disappear into the night like a flying star. Maybe I can be like Marty McFly and find a time machine to take me back in time. Maybe I will travel to the year when I was 12. That’s when I remember my body facing its first medical trial. When life changed for awhile. Of course I didn’t know then that at 35, my life would turn into one crazy beautiful health journey. But a miracle would change that at 53. Then a pandemic would hit that changed everything at 55. I would tell that 12 year old, he’s going to take a lot of hits along the way. His life is going to become a medical odyssey. A journey around the world for doctors to see how this dead man walking keeps on overcoming. They whisper to themselves this man just refuses to die. I would share with that 12 year boy, it’s not by his strength that he is surviving the crazy waves. No it’s by the powerful love of God that he’s thriving as the waves come raging in. Remember when you were 10 years old and you asked the King of Kings into your heart? That life changing moment did not make life easy, but that single moment filled you with peace and hope. Those would come in handy in the years ahead. You will make mistakes along the journey, but when you look to your left or right the King of Kings will always be standing by your side. When you have questions or need some insight, God will always be there to direct your ways. You see, God is always listening even when you think he’s asleep. Hey, let’s take a break and return to that young man trying to navigate his way. There are some things you’ll do along the way you wish you could erase. But remember, every slip up will make you the man you will become one day. Far from perfect, but still allowing God to mold him like clay. People will build you up along the way, but will be quick to tear you down when you go astray. But don’t let anybody tell you how to write your story. Along the journey you might need to flip the script even if it scares a few people away. We are all products of our lived experiences. At times along the journey you will feel confused and scared. That’s when you stop and lean into the loving arms of the King of Kings. I hope you’re hearing this. I wish I could tell you life is going to be easy, but that would be a shiny bright lie. Yeah, I wrote about that before you should check it out. Life will be full of mistakes. That’s just part of the race. Do not forget about those lived experiences. But life will also be full of decisions you get right. Both are learning experiences. Don’t miss out on the lessons. When the journey gets hard, remember that Mother’s Day back in the day when you said yes to the Lord. You will often look back on that day when facing those crashing waves. Life is not going to be easy. There will be days you feel like throwing it all away, but then God will suddenly stop everything so you can take it all in and be amazed. Don’t miss one of those days. You see, life is going to go quick. One day you will wake up and wonder what happened to all those days. My prayer for that 12 year old boy, is that you will take it all in. The good and the bad. The memories that bring tears and the ones that bring smiles. Enjoy every minute of this amazing ride. ~OC

Hello Fear

Hello Fear, you are not welcome here anymore,
I remember when you were my closest companion
You would control my every moment
Hello fear, I thought I was safe in your arms
You were there every second of the day
I would let myself get lost in your life stealing lies
I tried letting you go on many occasions, but you still came calling
Then came the day, I fully surrendered you to the King of Kings
Oh, you still try to slip into my thoughts, but now I cry out to my King and you flee in fear
Hello fear, you can keep trying to take space in my head,
but I will keep calling on the One who died on the cross
to take away your power over me
Hello fear, you can never win
You can keep trying to come back
Hello fear, you can never break me
You used to own a space in my head
I was yours 24 hours a day
Hello fear, I know you are never far away
Some days, I hear you knocking on the door
In the past, I would open that door
Today, I call on the Lord when I hear you knocking and I watch you flee
Hello fear, you don’t own me anymore
You can never again fill my head with your lies
You can keep trying, but now I have the power to keep you at bay
This power does not come from me, but from the King of Kings who lives in me
Dear fear, you can no longer control me
Those days have come to and end
Today’s a new day and my life has changed
I know I have a target on my back
Fear will always be creeping around ever corner,
You will use every storm as on opportunity to slide back into my life
I might bend, but I will never break
I allowed you to rent space in my life for too long
You passed yourself off as a friend for too long
You always showed up on time
But today, you are not welcome
Hello fear, there are no vacancies inside my head
Fear, you have been replaced
Today, peace, freedom and victory have taken up space in my head thanks to the King of Kings. ~OC

Godly Friendships

Today’s a new day! As we walk through life we need true friendships with no secrets or hidden agendas. We need Godly friendships filled not with condemnation; but instead filled with grace. Godly friendships filled with forgiveness when one of our friends let’s us down. Godly friendships so strong we do not run away at the first sign of trouble. Godly friendships were we can tell our complete stories. Stories filled with failures, struggles, heartbreak and temptations. But also share stories filled with success and adventure. Godly friendships where we can freely share our deepest hopes, fears and dreams. Godly friendships where we will still be deeply loved and accepted even when the mask is taken off. Godly friendships where our true friends believe in us. God created each of us with a desire for relationships. It’s part of our DNA. We cannot escape it. We were created to be in deep meaningful friendships. God did not create us to be alone. If we try walking this journey alone, we are missing out on one of God’s greatest gifts. The gift of true friendship. So stop making excuses. Stop allowing past hurts to keep you from finding true Godly friendships. Step up and step into Godly Friendships. ~OC

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