All posts filed under: Personal Growth

Is Your Anchor Attached to the Almighty?

Have you ever heard a speaker address a large crowd, but knew God was using the person to speak directly to you? I’ve attended many conferences and have heard many speakers deliver top of the line messages but for some reason, there has been one message rolling around in my head more than any other. At this year’s Belonging Conference Robert Madu said, “You don’t have a faith problem, you have an awareness of God’s authority issue.” As he spoke these words, they hit my heart deep and helped me see things about myself I’ve been missing for years. If faith is the anchor to your life, I’ve always had a strong anchor. I hope for the things of God and see the evidence of Him lived out in my life, but an anchor needs to be attached to the boat. Robert Madu explained how the chain is your awareness of God’s authority in your life. You see, for me, I believe God has the whole world in His hands, but I fail to trust …

Is the Writing on the Wall for You?

-written by Betsie Richards Around this time last year, I was faced with a huge decision. It was a decision I prayed over very intently, honestly more than I’ve ever prayed over a decision before. I can’t even count all the ways God graciously showed me the answer. Signs, if you chose to think of them that way, sermons, bible study lessons, and random unsolicited messages from family and friends all confirmed what my decision should be. At one point, I’m pretty sure I said outloud, “Ok Jesus, I get it. I see what you’re trying to tell me.” I felt like I could clearly see what I needed to do as if it had been written out for me personally. We’ve all probably heard the phrase “the writing’s on the wall.” Sometimes in regards to failing businesses, failing managers for sports teams, and, sadly, sometimes even failed relationships or marriages. Unfortunately, most times the phrase carries negative implications. Daniel 5 seems to be no exception. King Belshazzar has a moment where he physically sees …

What Would You Include In Your Autobiography?

Who doesn’t love a good story? Especially if the story is about you. Back when people read newspapers, it was exciting to have your story printed so others could read it. We love to share about the good in our lives and I think this is why so many famous people write their own autobiographies. The beauty of story-telling is you get to include or leave out whatever details you want. If I was having you write about my life, I’d start with all the good stuff, too. Very rarely do you read a story of someone’s life where they admit how wrong they were, how they screwed it up, or the stupid mistakes they made. We may include bad things that happened to us, but rarely sinful decisions we made ourselves. In Daniel 4, King Nebuchadnezzar was the ruler of the entire world. He had built an incredible kingdom as he looked over it, he said, “Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city …

Can You Trust God’s Ultimate Plan?

At Southern Hills, we are making our way through the first six chapters of Daniel. So far, we have been taught about God’s sovereignty, King Nebuchadnezzar’s (“King Neb” as I will call him) pride and anger, Daniel’s faithfulness to God, and more. It is interesting to note at the end of chapter two King Neb is praising the LORD, God of Israel. Then, Daniel 3 begins with King Neb fashioning an idol made of gold. And this idol is huge! Once the idol is finished, King Neb demands everyone bow down and worship it. Whoever refuses will meet death by fire. As you can imagine, people worshiped the idol—just as the King had commanded. Everyone except for 3 men—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. As you may know, these men refused to bow down to King Neb’s idol and were thrown into the furnace. But they lived! Let’s consider the conversation place between King Neb and the three Hebrews. King Neb said: “But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery …

Will You Allow Your Kingdom To Tumble?

Have you played the game Jenga before? Essentially, it’s a tower of blocks and the objective of the game is to remove a block, placing it on the top of the tower without knocking the tower over. The first couple of moves are easy because the integrity of the structure is still in tact, but as the game progresses it gets more and more difficult. There is usually a point in the game where I scream, “There’s not a move! If I move anything, everything will fall and I’ll lose the game. Tell me what to do!” I struggle with insecurity. My mind is constantly asking, “How am I going to mess it up this time?” It doesn’t matter what it is… a message I’m preparing, an event I’m organizing, or a conversation I lead. I walk on egg shells so I don’t upset someone or shift their view of me. I don’t want the Jenga tower of my life to fall. I don’t want to move the wrong block and have my life collapse. …

Are You Suffering From Spiritual Identity Theft?

Identity theft! We cringe at the thought of it. We set up firewalls to keep the hackers out of our computers, tablets, and phones. We have to make a list of passwords for every bank account, every utility, every loan, and even our grocery store accounts and then a password for the program to protect our passwords. All because of an invisible predator. Identity theft didn’t begin with the digital age of computers. It began with the subtle lie of Satan in the Garden of Eden—“You will be like God…” (Genesis 3:5). Adam and Eve believed it. Satan stole their original identity—made in the image of God to walk with Him in fellowship (see Gen. 1:27, 3:8)—and their lives were filled with misery (see Genesis 3:16-19, 23). My identity was stolen at an early age. I was no longer Dale; I was “Freckles.” Had lots of them (still do)—and the kids in school reminded me just about every day. When the doctor gave me my polio vaccination back in the 50’s he said, “If I …

Priority One: What’s Important Now?

Over the past week I have been down in Orlando, FL attending a large national training conference based around Police / SWAT leadership & operations. The seminars and topics vary, but throughout, I have noticed it all filters down to the art of this: the ability to interpret rapidly flowing information which can change instantly, make a decision, and act. It has been a blessing to hear from some of the top minds in the nation and listen to wisdom forged in adversity. These men care enough to share their hard gained experiences, including the mistakes, bad decisions, and the hard results that accompany them. What’s painfully clear is the “human factor” always exists, everywhere, with everyone, and in all aspects of life. To a point, we can lessen the gap with training and tools and mindset, but we can never completely close it. Many believe this gap is where “chance” exists… I prefer to believe it’s better suited for grace. Throughout the week, Christ was speaking to me, almost at a whisper, “I am …

Dive In! The Water Is Great!

This past summer, I went to this place called Foster Falls, which is an eighty-foot water fall pouring into a swimming hole. When we arrived, there were a couple of guys at the top of the water fall ready to jump into the pool below. The first couple of guys jumped without hesitation, but there was this one guy who wouldn’t budge. You could tell he was scared! The guys who jumped were hyping up the guy. They were shouting encouragements, affirmations of the water’s depth, telling him it wouldn’t hurt, you name it. After a few minutes the guy at the top took the plunge, and when he resurfaced, he screamed with excitement. All the guys cheered hysterically! I believe this is what the church is supposed to look like. A lot of people aren’t too sure about this whole Jesus thing. They have seen people jump off the cliff through baptism, serving, or giving, but still they don’t trust the water. Is it true? Is there really freedom and forgiveness? Is it possible …

It’s Not What It Looks Like.

Last November the church was going through a series on finances. I don’t remember the series name, but with our life groups we were using a book called the ABC’s of Financial Freedom. I remember I was in my office reading the book, preparing for how we would use a particular chapter when God opened my eyes to something I had never seen before. I wasn’t generous. I did a pretty good job of looking the part. Karen and I have tithed since we were first married, and there were times this was hard to do. We support several friends who are missionaries oversees. If you ask me to help you, I will. If you have a baby, we will bring you a meal. You get the idea. I read my actions and concluded I was generous. Here is the danger in this thinking. In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus told a story about a Pharisee and a tax-collector. The Pharisee gave immensely and prayed a lot. He entered the temple and talked about all he had …

Are You Allowing God to Change Your Perspective?

I want to see the world through Jesus eyes, see through Jesus tears, I want to see the world through Jesus eyes, my vision’s not as clear I want to feel the world with the hands that made it, know the pain and appreciate it Hear their cries and hope to understand -Audio Adrenaline I would rarely claim to be the smartest guy in the room, but I probably won’t deny a little intelligence. I have lived and survived for 40 years, which has given me a set of experience to draw from. But when it comes to making any important decision, I generally try to ask my wife what she thinks. Some people might say I ask her just to make her happy. But early in my adult life, a wise man named Ken told a group of men, “Guys, when you get married, listen to your wives. God gifts them with wisdom you will never possess.” It took me a few years to grasp the truth. If I willingly listen to her perspective …