The Sin of Not Being Serious Enough 


The Sin of Not Being Serious Enough 

In a similar way urge the young men to be sensible and self-controlled and to behave wisely [taking life seriously]. Titus 2:6, Amplified Bible

Faith is a serious matter. What we believe and how we behave can be the difference between heaven and hell, life or death. An abundant life or one of misery and hopelessness are competing outcomes, based on our sober mindedness about eternal matters. Life sets us up for suffering so it’s imperative that we prepare our hearts and minds to persevere through difficulties and love one another. Faith in Christ and the character of Christ is wisdom to overcome deception, lies and arrogance.

Paul urges his protege Titus to call out young men to a higher standard of living that takes life seriously. The reality of being a responsible human being who is self-controlled and behaves wisely refrains from overindulging now, and instead learns to wait and prepare his character to handle the Lord’s favor. To behave wisely is to accept that life’s challenges have been around for millennia, and that wise behavior comes from God and learning from those who have faithfully followed Jesus over their lifetime. Taking life seriously means being a lifelong learner of God.

“Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance” (Titus 2:2).

Sadly, some older males need to grow up and become men, the kind of men younger men can follow and learn from. Trade in your t-shirt for a starched shirt and stop acting like a kid. Some women need to quit obsessing over their outward appearance and spend as much energy and attention in cultivating a kind, generous heart that finds ways to serve others. Taking God seriously means taking seriously what matters to Him: lost souls, poverty, injustice, unforgiveness, fear and unbelief. Seriousness over our sins that sent Christ to the cross calls us to repentance!

Self-control at work may call you to resist manipulating for a promotion now in exchange for supporting the team and growing long-term respect. Self-control at home may mean giving up a hobby or career in exchange for a season of unselfish service. What does it mean to take life seriously by behaving wisely? Instead of spending more than you make, wisdom instructs you to pay your taxes, save, give and spend what remains. Wise living leads to fulfilled living! Take the Lord more seriously and you will enjoy the freedom of grace and the joy of willful obedience.

“Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, AMP).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a heart that takes seriously what You take serious, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: What area of my life needs the serious attention of God’s grace and wisdom?

Related Readings: Proverbs 5:14; Jeremiah 8:11; Romans 12:2; Ephesians 6:10-18; Titus 2:12


Fear Factor Part 3

Fear Factor Part 3 of 3

Fear: a painful and unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by expectation or an awareness of danger; to be anxious; to be afraid.

When we speak words of fear, we are speaking words of death: death to our health, death to our emotional state of mind, death to our spiritual well-being…

Fear of the Lord

Psalms 89:7 NKJV
7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, And to be held in reverence by all those around Him.

The word “reverence” means to regard with awe or great admiration, mingled with respect and affection, or a feeling of deep respect. To have a genuine fear or reverence for God means, when we have a choice to cuddlea spirit of fear or turn to God, we choose to turn to God.

Psalms 115:13 NKJV
13 He will bless those who fear the Lord , Both small and great.

Psalms 147:11 NKJV
11 The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy.

Psalms 34:7 NKJV
7 The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.

Psalms 34:9 NKJV
9 Oh, fear the Lord , you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.

Acts 10:2 NKJV
2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.

1. We are devout or devoted to God.
2. We have a godly influence on those around us.
3. We are givers.
“Much alms”
4. We will pray a lot.

II Corinthians 12:9-10 NKJV
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Fear of Death

Hebrews 2:15 NKJV
15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

It’s interesting that the word of God tells us fear and bondage go hand-in-hand. There is no such thing as having a fear that does not result in bondage. Fear leads to bondage in relationships. It leads to bondage in our personal life. It leads to bondage in our spiritual life. It leads to bondage in our minds.

Can you picture God waiting expectantly for us and even excitedly for us, while on this side we are crying out, “Why God? This isn’t fair!” We’re crying out words of fear.

The Bible says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”

Man rightly fears death apart from Christ. It is a just and certain punishment and it is the entrance into a life of separation from God for all who are not born again.

Men who do not have faith in God fear death. They dread it. They live their lives in the bondage of this fear of death.

Christians no longer fear death because of their faith in Christ Jesus. Death is a defeated foe. Paul looked at death as deliverance—as a promotion.

Rick Warren says, “Death, for Christians, is a transfer, a promotion. It’s on to better things. No more problems. You’re not ready to live until you’re ready to die. You don’t know how to live until you’re ready to die. Only a fool would go all through life totally unprepared for something that everybody knows is inevitable. You’re going to die—someday. If you have accepted Christ, then you’re going to go to heaven. You’ll be released from pain, from sorrow, from suffering, from depression, from fear.”

Revelation 21:4 NKJV
4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Watch “No Longer Slaves to fear (Official Lyric Video) – Jonathan David & Melissa Helser | We Will Not Be Shaken” on YouTube

Tears of Comfort 


Tears of Comfort 

Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”John 11:35-36

Every cry invites God. He counts and catches every tear. Each one is a prayer to Him.

 There is a non-verbal language of love that is communicated through compassionate tears. Empathy engages the heart at levels that verbal exchanges may not be able to penetrate. It is when emotion responds to emotion that a grieving soul senses they are cared for and understood. Tears quietly convey the aura that I feel your pain—I hurt because you hurt.

 Comfort is the first step in seeking to serve another’s pain. Refrain from truth telling until the heart receives proper care. Fear and anger have to be flushed from a hurting heart before facts can be appropriately applied and comprehended. It’s from a context of love and acceptance that people trust and receive. Tears become a conduit for Christ’s care.

 “This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you” (2 Kings 20:5b).

 We mourn with those who mourn so they are not alone. Desperation feeds at the table of aloneness, but security and peace preoccupy the person comforted by a community. It starts with a patient spouse or friend and spills over to sincere souls who believe in Jesus to bring wholeness and healing. Tears shed in love terminate isolation and invite intimacy.

 Does your husband, wife or child need a response of compassion, rather than a reaction of passion? Does your team at work need you first to listen and understand, instead of feeling an automatic demand for your agenda? Yes, truth sets free—but the mind comprehends after the heart has been heard. Tears prepare the way for truth’s arrival.

 “I saw the tears of the oppressed— and they have no comforter” (Ecclesiastes 4:1b).

 How is your heart? Do you have a safe environment to lay bare your soul? Self-reliance and self-condemnation are obstacles to intimacy with your heavenly Father and with those who love you the most. Dismiss driven discipline—instead practice vulnerable dependency. Replace shame with security in your Savior, and trusting transparency with a caring community. Your tears open your heart to emotional and spiritual healing. Free your soul to speak with moist eyes to your master Jesus—as He lovingly weeps with you.

 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission” (Hebrews 5:7).

 Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me Your mercy and love to comfort and care for others, in Jesus’ name, amen.

 Application: Who can I weep with and comfort in Christ? What in my heart needs healing comfort?

 Related Readings: Job 16:20; Psalm 126:5; Acts 20:19; 2 Timothy 1:4



Fear Factor 2

II Timothy 1:7 NKJV
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

The most common command in Scripture is FEAR NOT!

Matthew 14:22-33 NIV
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

I. Defies His Sovereignty

Matthew 14:22-24 NIV
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

Mark 4:36-38 NIV
36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

Fear is managed when you remember that God is in control and sovereign in your life.

II. Distorts our Perspective

Matthew 14:25-26 NIV
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

Fear and faith cannot live in the same heart, for fear always blinds the eyes to the presence of the Lord.

III. Derails our Progress

Matthew 14:28-30 NIV
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

IV. Decreases our Faith

Matthew 14:29-31 NIV
29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Fear is nothing more than confidence in the devil. It is the opposite of Faith – confidence in God.

1. Take Risks
2. Move Closer and Cry Out
3. Clarify Christ!

Matthew 14:33 NIV
33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Romans 8:31 NIV
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

How to Grow Meaningful Relationships


How to Grow Meaningful Relationships

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10

 The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) has one of the most loyal and rabid fan bases, who are easily influenced by the sport’s intoxicating affect. Though not a fan, I am amazed by those who are enamored by its entertaining allure. An innovative ministry leader in this industry spoke to me, and she educated me on how she builds relationships at raceway sporting events, earning the right to share the gospel in the process. What a creative way to go to the people and get to know them, so they might come to know Jesus.

 A blogger named Amy Martin describes the process of how NASCAR leaders have built their fan base:

  • Access leads to connection. (Fans are able to sign the actual racetrack.)

  • Connection leads to relationships. (At all ages.)

  • Relationships lead to affinity. (You can’t fake this affinity.)

  • Affinity leads to influence. (There’s a reason so many brands are attracted to NASCAR.)

  • Influence leads to conversion. (These fans would likely buy anything this driver is selling.)*

*( p. 48, How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie and Associates.)

 As we learn how to love like Jesus and enjoy access with Him, we can apply this process of influencing others with our everyday relationships and with new friends we would like to meet. I’ve taken the NASCAR process to develop raving fans and applied it to growing relationships.

 Access Leads to Connection

 Similar to a NASCAR fan inviting an acquaintance to a race for the first time, perhaps you invite someone you would like to know better to an experience you both would enjoy: a sporting event, training seminar, men or women’s conference, a concert, church, golf, tennis, hiking or a business opportunity. Be willing and generous to invest time and money to grow relational equity. When you give people access to your life, interests and relationships you grow understanding and trust.

 Several years ago I hoped to meet a leader who led a family foundation. We had a mutual friend who agreed to set up a meeting for us to get to know one another. Fortunately, another friend, Gary, who I worked with at the time had served our new acquaintance’s father several years before at a mountain resort. This common experience solidified our connection.

 Connection Leads to Relationships

 The leader of the family foundation, I’ll call him Scott,  asked thoughtful questions that revealed his interest in our best practices certification for non-profits and a willingness to personally engage in our year long program. Over the next 12 months we were able to build a relationship during our monthly shared experience of teaching, training and coaching. Growing a relationship takes intentionality.

 Relationships, like a tender seedling, require attention and care. Each person must water with time and cultivate with understanding. Over time the relationship takes root and eventually bears fruit. Which leads us to the next progression in gaining influence: relationships lead to affinity.

 Relationships Lead to Affinity

 What exactly is affinity? Sympathy marked by community of interest: She has an affinity to him because of their common musical interests (Webster’s Dictionary). Dedication to a common interest increases the likelihood for two people to grow closer to one another by getting to know each other. An excuse to hang out together over a worthwhile project grows affinity.

 Scott and I were both passionate about helping faith based ministries build organizational capacity so they could most effectively further their God-given mission and vision. We experimented on an executive leadership group model that proved to be a most valuable collaborative process with leaders exchanging ideas, resources and relationships. Scott’s foundation generously provided scholarships and we were able to provide leadership. I knew our affinity had solidified the moment we celebrated our results and discovered ways to improve.

 Affinity Leads to Influence

 Because I trusted and respected Scott, I was very open to his input on how to make our best practice training and coaching even better. I felt the reciprocal from him. Scott was very interested in our organizational growth plan and the financial and human resources required to advance forward to the next level or two. Our shared interest grew our interest in each other.

 You may push back, saying, “Boyd, I don’t have a year to grow affinity with another person or organization, I need help now”. I truly feel your angst, but part of the shift in learning to love like Jesus is to think long-term rich relationships, not short-term expedient ones. After all we can trust God’s timing is best for everyone, and we need to protect ourselves from using people for our own agenda, with only shallow interest in their’s. Long-term relationships expand influence.

 Influence Leads to Conversion

 Another way to say influence leads to conversion is influence leads to becoming a raving fan. Because of the generosity and practical wisdom of Scott and his family, our team became raving fans of their passion and priorities as a foundation. Instead of just looking to our interests (which we were compelled to follow), we learned how to appreciate the value of what a third generation organization like his had to offer. By taking time to learn from them, we were able to educate our colleagues in ideas we had developed over the years. Everyone was better: We is better than me!

 Three years into our relationship, Scott casually asked me one day how the foundation could make a significant investment in Ministry Ventures(which by God’s grace I co-founded in 1999). I explained our vision to repurpose our content for an online learning platform, which resonated with his entrepreneurial DNA. With the foundation’s input we scrubbed our plan, and over the next three years they gave a significant six figure gift for MV to practice what we preached about innovation and growth. The results were stunning with their gift returning 10X!

 Relational conversion may be an individual coming to faith in Jesus because of your influence, or an organization enjoying favor from God and people because of your faithfulness to invest for the long-term. This is an example of a process we can follow to pour into others (not expecting anything in return), so they will want to pour into us.

 “For you, my brothers, were called to freedom; only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the sinful nature (worldliness, selfishness), but through love serve and seek the best for one another” (Galatians 5:13, AMP).

 Prayer: Heavenly Father, show me how to serve others, expecting nothing in return, in Jesus’ name, amen.

 Application: Who needs my prayers and attention in this season of service?

 Related Readings: John 13:34-35; Romans 13:8; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 4:2

Hope Continually


Hope Continually


But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. Psalm 71:14 (ESV)


For most of us, hope seems to be elusive and conditional. We may feel hopeful on a certain day or in a season of life, yet circumstances and situations can change that cause hope to dissipate, quickly being replaced with our doubts and fears. How can we join the psalmist in this bold proclamation that we will “hope continually”?


Hope is not the denial of pain or sorrow but is the steadfast belief that our fears do not have the last word. Christians are not asked to ignore or dismiss the reality of suffering and injustice in this world and in our own lives. We are never asked to simply put on a happy face and pretend all is well. Especially as people who follow Jesus in the way of the cross, to be with Jesus is to be in places of chaos and brokenness. He invites us into these places to join him in speaking life where there is death, proclaiming hope where there is despair.


We grieve and we cry out for justice, but we hear St. Paul’s words to us, reminding us that we “do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).


Christians follow a crucified Lord who took every fear, every pain, and every doubt upon himself on the cross. Yet we also follow a resurrected Savior, one for whom the cross was not the end but the culmination of his mission to bring hope to the whole of creation. As it has been said by Christians over the years, “We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song!”


Hoping continually in all times, places, and circumstances is not blind optimism or wishful thinking but is rooted in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Paradoxically, it is the celebration of our limitations! For hope to be genuine Christian hope and not simply positive thinking, we must embrace our inability to heal our own wounds or free ourselves from the things that bind and enslave us. Hope is surrender, turning to Jesus and asking him to work in our lives a freedom and a hope that we are powerless to do in our on strength.


Look to Jesus today and rejoice in the glory of the resurrection. As you do you will find strength for the journey and a hope that will never fade!


“The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love” (Psalm 147:11 NIV).




Prayer: Father, thank you for Easter and the hope we know and share through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Amen.


Application: Where have your circumstances caused you to lose hope? How can the resurrection bring hope into even the darkest of places?


Related Readings: Romans 5:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:54-58; 1 Peter 1:3-6



Fear Factor pt.1

Fear Factor pt.1

What is fear?

The dictionary defines fear as a painful and unpleasant, often strong, emotion caused by expectation or an awareness of danger.

dread, fright, alarm, panic/terror, trepidation

1. Fear of flying- Aerophobia
2. Fear of spiders
3. Fear of snakes
4. Fear public speaking
5. Fear of heights
6. Fear of the dark
7. Fear of rejection
8. Fear of dogs
9. Fear of needles

According to medical science, a large percentage of sickness is caused by fear, sorrow, envy, resentment, hatred, or unforgiveness. If that is true, we had better learn how to deal with how we feel.

The spirit of fear is active when fear controls us instead of us controlling our fears.

Paul says the source is not God, so it must be Satan, or fear from our own sinful nature.

1. Power

Acts 1:8 NKJV
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

2. Love

Romans 5:5 NKJV
5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

3. Sound mind

Romans 12:2 NKJV
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT



He is Alive!


Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again”. Then they remembered his words.  Luke 24:5–8


He is alive, I am forgiven and my soul has been set free. He is alive and I am forgiven,  my joy I cannot contain. He is alive and I am forgiven, my faith is here to stay. He is alive and I am forgiven, my love flows deep and wide. He is alive and I am forgiven because He did what He promised—He arose after three days. He is alive! He is alive! He is alive.


What emotions did the friends and disciples of Jesus feel when they realized He was real? Certainly, they were surprised by the joy of knowing Jesus was back, even larger than in life. Even though they had watched Him raise Lazarus after four days of death, their faith had forgotten. But now they were glad again because God raised His Son to life.


“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).


If you look for Jesus among the dead you will not find Him. He has left the cold cemetery and risen to be with the warm love of His Father. Dead churches cannot claim the calming presence of Christ because they have forsaken the faith required to recognize Him. Look for the Lord among the living, those who live out their faith with bold grace.


Remember the words of Jesus, and your faith will resound with reassurance. “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Revelation 1:18). You serve a risen Savior who lives in your life by faith. Take Him at His Word, and joy will fill your innermost being as you celebrate His appearance almost two thousand years ago. Enjoy Jesus, anticipating your Lord’s second return.


“So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28).


Prayer: I praise You Lord for my resurrected Savior Jesus Christ, in His holy name I pray, amen.

Application: How can I reassure my faith with te reality of a risen Savior? Where are the places I can find Christ among the living? What words of Jesus do I need to constantly remember?


Related Readings: Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 Peter 3:18